הוהיל בישא המ OR, A Serious Enquiry For a SUITABLE RETURN, FOR Continued LIFE, in and after a Time of Great Mortality, BY A WASTING PLAGUE: (ANNO 1665.)



Psal. 116.8.

For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.


I will walk before the Lord in the Land of the living.


I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.

Isaiah 38.18.

For the Grave cannot praise thee, Death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy Truth.


The living, the living, he shal praise thee, as I do this day, &c.

London, Printed by R. I. for [...] Johnson, and are to be sold by A. Brew [...]er, at the Threee Bibles at the west end of St. Pauls, and R. Boul [...]er at the Turks-head in Cornhill, 1666.

To such whom the Lord hath kept alive in the time of so great Death by the Plague in the Land, espe­cially in the City of London.

THe design of these lines, is neither to commend the Author, nor the Book, which in these few follow­ing sheets is presented to your view; the former being as needless to them that know his Person, as the later to them that read his Directions; but I would commend the Subject (being so seasonable) to your perusal, and the Duties (being so necessary) to your Practice. It was the saying of [Page] a Learned Divine, who had the honour of being made a Prisoner, as well as Minister of the Lord, That it was great pitty there were no more Prisoners of Jesus Christ, to write songs of his love: I will not say I could wish that more of our Citizens had in this late Dreadful Plague, remain­ed in this, then Doleful place, which to the Countries seemed more formi­dable than a Prison; but I believe that many of you whose Calling and Duty did tye your hands and feet, and shut you up in the City, have found such sweet experiences of the good­ness and love of God, that they will be recorded; And —65. will be re­membred by you with thankefulness so long as you live.

You have seen the Destroying An­gel entering the City, and Death riding upon the Pale Horse Trium­phant in the streets, Arrows flying, the [Page] sword bathed, Garments rouling in blood, and this grim Conqueror breaking in upon Houses without re­sistance, taking Captive, Men, Wo­men and Children, and clapping them up in the Prison of the Grave, where they must remain fast bound in his chains of darkeness, untill the opening of the doors, by him who hath the keys of the Grave, who ha­ving Conquered Death himself, will at his appearance loosen the Bonds of all Deaths prisoners, that they may stand before his Judgement Seat, to receive their Final Dooms. In the midst of which slaughter and Cap­tivity, the Captain of your Salva­tion hath stood by you, held his shield over you; set his mark upon you, and given you singular experience of his Power and Goodness in your preser­vation. You have been in a storm, God hath shown you his wonders in [Page] the Deep, and when so many Ships have been cast away before your eyes, and so many Persons have been devoured by the cruel Waters, and your selves inviron'd with waves on every side, yet the Lord hath kept you alive, like Jonah in the Belly of the Sea, or made a way for you to pass through, when so many not onely Egyptians, but Israelites have been drowned; you have been in the water, but the Lord hath been an Arke about you: You have been in the fire like the three Children, but the Son of God hath walked with you, and suppressed the violence of the fire, that it hath not prevailed over you; you have been like the Bush which Moses saw burning, but was not burn't, because God was in it. And when you look back upon those dark days, and black Bills of Mortality, where you have had account of so ma­ny [Page] thousands dying for so many weeks together: Do you not wonder at your strange escape? Do you not look up­on your selves, as Brands pluckt out of the fire? And must you not ac­knowledge it is the Lords mercy you are not consumed? You who have continued in the City in the time of the Plague, when such throngs of people have been crouding out of this world daily into another, have had singular advantages of looking into and preparing for Eternity, which few think of with fixed seriousness, till they be awakened by some dange­rous sickness, whereby withal they are usually so weakened in body and spirit, that they are rendred un­fit for such cogitations; but to be in such danger, whilst in so good health, and in such Leasure from encum­bring employments, I doubt not but it hath effectually moved many of [Page] you to soar a loft in your thoughts and Meditations, that you might take a view of the other Country, which the Scripture doth set forth, of the City which hath foundations, whose buil­der and Maker is God. I believe the wicked have had dreadful ap­prehensions of the burning lake, of the Ocean of Gods wrath, which every day they were ready to launch forth into, and that however some have been hardened, and are as bad, yea worse than before; yet I hope others have been so awakened with this dreadful Providence, that they have been effectually perswaded to Repen­tance and Faith in Christ, who alone can deliver from the wrath which is to come; I believe that others have had deeper impressions of Eternity up­on them, than ever they had in their lives, which the borders thereof, on which they have been walking have [Page] given them so near & frequent a pro­spect of; and I doubt not but all of you have made vows and promises to the Lord of a Holy conversation, of lea­ving those sins your conscience at that time upbraided you withal, and dedi­cating your lives to the Lord, if he would be pleased to spare your lives: Take heed of dropping asleep again after you have been awakned; of re­turning again unto sin after it hath been imbittered; of forgetting or a­busing Gods mercy after such a won­derful preservation; retain the same thoughts of sins evil and the worlds vanity, of the worth of true Grace and Christs beauty; retain the im­pressions you had of Eternity, when you were so near it in your apprehen­sions; hath God laid obligations up­on you by his preservations and deli­verances? And have you laid obli­gations upon your selves by your pur­poses [Page] and resolutions. Labor then to live up to your obligations, and if you be at a loss, what return to make to the Lord: You have by his Provi­dence this little Book put into your hands to give you directions; re­ceive them not as the bare counsel of man, but (so far as backt by the Scripture) as the Prescriptions of God, as if the Lord should speak to you from Heaven, and say, This is my will, these are your duties, and see that you perform them: Hereby you will both please the Lord, and re­joyce the heart of the Author, and him who is

Your servant in the Lord Thomas Vincent.


  • THe Preface or Introduction, p. 1, 2, 3.
  • DIRECTION I. Containing two parts, viz. Since you live after this Plague, Be not worse, but Better. p. 4.
    • I. The first part of this Direction containeth seven Que­stions, p. 5.
      Question I.
      • Whether wicked men wax worse and worse? p. 6.
      • Six things premised for Explication, p. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.
      • Proved by Scripture Instances, p. 12, to 17.
      • Proved by Arguments, p. 18, to 24.
      Question II.
      • What are the several steps or gradations, whereby sin grows from a low ebbe to its highest actings? Or, Ten Rounds in the sinners Ladder to Hell, p. 24, to 35.
      • Where, seven things about Gods hardening wicked mens hearts, p. 32, 33.
      Question III.
      • Under what Dispensations wicked men wax worse and worse? p. 35.
      • Viz. 1. Ʋnder Gods Providences, in Prosperity▪ p. 36, 37, in Adversi [...]y 38. in Deliverances, 39, 40, 41, 42, to 46▪ 2 Ʋnder Ordinances, Word, Sacrament, p. 47, 48.
      Question IV.
      • Why God is pleased to remove Judgements, though many men are worse than they were before? p. 48, to 52.
      Question V.
      • [Page]What are the aggravations of this great Impiety, to be worse, after Gods sorest Judgments, than they were before? Answered in Ten particulars, p. 52, to 59
      Question VI.
      • What are signs of a man waxing worse and worse? Answered in 14 particulars, p. 59, to 68
      • Where six restraints of sin, which keeping from sin do not prove truth of Grace, yet sin against, do prove height of sin, p. 63, 64, 65
      Question VII.
      • What Considerations may be useful to stop the stream of such mens wickednesse that are waxing worse and worse? p. 68, 69, 70
      • Seven Questions to such sinners, p. 71, 72, 73, 74
      • Six Directions to such sinners, p. 75, 76
      • Eight Corollaries from this first part of this Direction, p. 77, 78
    • II. The second part of the first Direction, Since you live, be better after this Judgement than you were before, directed especially to the godly, p. 79
    • Where, Ten Lessons to be learned by those in the City, that (by reason of the Plague) hath been a great House of Mourning, p. 80 to 89
    • Ten Aggravations of Gods Peoples sin, if they be worse in their spiritual condition after this Plague, than they were before, p. 90, 91, 92
    • Seven Positions, p. 93, &c.
    • Seventeen Arguments to Gods People to be better, p. 97▪ 101
    • Since you live after this Plague, pay your Vows, and live up to your holy Purposes and Resolutions, which you made in time of danger, and fears of death, p. 102—115
    • [Page] Where, Seven Reasons for care to keep your Resolutions, holy Purposes and Vows, p. 108
    • Twenty Helps to perform your Resolutions, holy Purposes and Vows, 115
    • Fourteen Aggravations if you come short of your Resolu­tions▪ holy Purposes and Vows, p. 116, &c.
    • Where, Eleven signs of a Beloved sin, p. ibid.
    • Since you live, and are free from, or cured of your bodily sickness, look after the cure of soul-sickness; take heed that you lye not under spiritual Judgments, when tempo­ral Judgment is removed, p. 142
    • 1 Sin is the souls sickness, in 6 particulars, p. 143, 144
    • 2 Spiritual Judgments are worse than temporal, in seven particulars, p. 145—149
    • 3 How a man may know whether he be healed of Soul-sickness, in six particulars, p. 149—152
    • 4 How a soul-sick sinner should do for healing, in 8 parti­culars, p. 153
    • The excellency of Christ our Soul-Physician, in 5 parti­culars, p. 154, &c.
    • 5 What those must do whom Christ hath healed of soul-sick­ness, to improve this Cure to the glory of God, in 4 par­ticulars, p. 158, &c.
    • Since you live after this Plague, be eminently exemplary in the capacity God hath set you, p. 161
    • An humble Exhortation to Magistrates, whom God hath preserved, p. 162, 163, 164
    • Subjects Duties to Magistrates in 6 particulars, p. 165, 166
    • Ministers Duties whom God hath spared in this Plague, in 4 particulars, p. 167— 175
    • Peoples Duties whom God hath continued to their Ministers, p. 176
    • [Page]Governours of Families Duties, whom God hath spared in this Plague, in respect of Family Worship, p. 177
    • Where is shewed
      • 1 Why, in 8 particulars, p. 179, to 182
      • 2 Wherein, in 5 particulars, p. 183 189
      • 3 How, in 4 particulars, p. 190, 191
    • Duties of Husbands and Wives whom God hath continued together after this Plague, viz. Mutual Love, p. 192, 193
    • Where is shewed
      • What manner of Love it must be, p. 194 195
      • Why they should thus love, p. 196 197
      • Wherein they should manifest it, p. 198, 199
    • Duties of Parents whom God hath continued to Children, in 5 particulars, p. 200— 206
    • Duties of Children, whom God hath continued to Parents, What, in 7 particulars: Why, in 6 particulars, p. 206— 209
    • Duties of Masters and Servants,
      • In 5 particulars, p. 210
      • In 11 particulars, p. 211— 216
    • Since you live by Gods secret way of preservation,
      • Watch against secret sins, p. 217
      • Perform secret Duties, p. 217
      • Minde secret things in publick Duties, p. 217
    • Where, Fourteen Arguments against secret sins, p. 219— 231
      • Nine masked sins detected p. 221, 222
      • Ten Preservatives against secret sins, p. 232, &c.
      • Four secret Duties, p. 235, 236
      • Six secret good things in Publique Duties, p. 237, 238
      • Six secret sins in Publique Duties, p. 239, 240
    • Since you live after this Plague, be dead to the World, p. 241
      • Viz. To the Profits of the World, p. 242, 243
      • To the Honours of the World, ibid.
      • To the Pleasures of the World, p. 245
      • [Page]To the Wisdom of the World, p. 246
    • How a man may know, whether he be dead to the World, p. 247, 248, 249
    • Since you live, be dead to sin, and be buried with Christ, p. 250
    • Believers are buried in 3 respects, p. 251
      • Two differences in burial of our Friends, and of our Sins, p. 252
      • Five things included in the Burial of sin, p. 253, 254
    • Four things for Comfort to those who are buried with Christ, p. 255.
    • Since you live after this Plague, walk in newnesse of life, p. 256
    • What newnesse of life doth not consist in, in 6 particulars, p. 257
    • What i [...] doth consist in, in Ten particulars, p. 258
    • The Excellencies of a New Life, in 10 particulars, p. 261
    • The Hinderances of walking in Newness of Life, in six par­ticulars, p. 264
    • Since you live after this Plague keep upon your heart a constant sense of Gods distinguishing Providence in pre­serving of you, p. 265
    • Six Helps so to doe, p. 267
    • Since you live, and many of your Relations dead, love God so much the more by how much you have fewer Objects of your Love than you had before, p. 270
  • [Page] DIRECTION XI.
    • Since you live after this Plague, remember what Con­science did condemn you for, in time of fear of death, and avoid it; what it did commend you for, and do it, 271
    • Since you live, after such danger of death, trust God for the future, 273
    • What this trust is? 274
    • Eight Arguments to trust in God, 275, 276, 277
    • Six special times for trusting in God, 278
    • Since you live after this Plague, give thanks to God for your preservation, 279
    • Three wayes how we must praise God for continued Life, 280
    • Twelve Motives to praise God for continued Life, 282, &c.
    • Six Helps to praise God for Continued Life, 288, &c.

DIRECTIONS how to live after a wasting PLAGUE.
QUESTION: How should those that have been pre­served by God from the Grave in this time of Plague, live in some measure Answerably to so great a Mercy?

THis is a Case of general concern­ment, to those many thousands whom God hath kept alive in a time of Plague, which hath swept so many thousands into their Graves, whose bodies are now rotting in the dust, and whose souls are entred into an unchangeable condition of hap­piness or misery, whose life is ended, whose time is past and gone, who are now receiving their wages or reward, according to what their state was found to be when the Plague removed them from time into eternity, from this World [Page 2] into that, which now they must be in for ever, without alteration or redemption. What Fa­mily is there in this great City, or what person is there in all those families, that are not con­cerned to enquire what signal and more than ordinary return they should make to God for such signal and more than ordinary preservation from the gates of death: who have walked upon the very borders of the Grave, and are yet alive, who have been nearer the brink of Eternity, and in more danger of being cut down than at other times, and yet are spared; and are numbred amongst the living, and not reckoned nor made free amongst the dead.

It is the unquestionable and standing duty of all living to live to God, but there is a super-added Obligation upon all those whom God hath marked out for Life, when the slaughtering Angel was going from Parish to Parish, from house to house, to cut down those whom God had commissioned him to remove from hence. Oh! should you not consider with your self, what it is that God expecteth at mine hands? How would he have me for to live? and what would God have me to doe? What is the special work he hath reserved me for? Hath God layd the Corpses of thousands in the Church-yards, and yet given me a little respit to act for my precious soul, and for his glory? hath he re­prieved me for a while, and am I not a living, walking Monument of his distinguishing Mercy, and unwearied Patience towards me? When others are dead, I live; when others must pray [Page 3] no more, hear no more, God giveth me time as yet to do both, and all other duties in or­der to my eternal peace. Thus should you reason your self into your duty, and to a dili­gent Inquiry, What you should doe to live in some measure answerably to so great a Mercy.

But Reader, wilt thou first resolve in the fear and presence of that God that hath redeemed thy life from death, to make a conscientious use of any helps and directions so to doe? wilt thou indeed engage thy heart (before thou rea­dest any further) to use thy utmost diligence in practising and obeying what shall be from the Word of God discovered to thee to be thy duty? yea, in the Name of God I charge thee that thou doe it, as ever thou wouldest appear before the Barr of God with comfort, and give a good ac­count of this his patience and Providence to­wards thee, and of these Lines which now thou readest, that neither the one nor the other rise up in Judgement against thee, as an aggrava­tion of thy sin, nor for the greater condemna­tion of thy soul. What dost thou say? wilt thou promise, and accordingly obey, or wilt thou not? If not, better thou hadst dyed in time of Plague, and fallen with others into the same common grave, than to out-live the Plague, and not out-live thy sin, to live longer to adde unto thy sin, and in the day of Gods patience towards thee, to be heaping up wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous Judgement of God: but if thou wilt, I shall by Gods assistance proceed to resolve this [Page 4] Important Case, in laying down these following Directions: which will also be of use to answer another Query, viz. How you may know whe­ther God hath lengthened out your life in Mer­cy or in Judgement. If you live according to these following Rules, God hath spared you in mercy, if you live contrary to them, and dye so at last, I fear your escaping this Judgement will at last prove a Judgement to you. The first of these Directions will be more general, the rest shall be more particular.


HAth God spared you in time of Plague, Then be better and not worse than you were before. Those that before were bad, have now greater engagement to be good; and those that were good before, are engaged by Gods merciful Providence to them to be better; not only better than those that are bad, but better than themselves that before were good. In time of Plague you did enquire for the best Antidote, and for the best Cordial and Preservative, and should you not now the Plague is thus ceased, enquire what is your best Return you are to make to God, especially when in time of Plague, Gods Pro­tection was your best Preservative, and the Spirits Comforts your chiefest Cordials.

[Page 5]This Direction consisteth of two branches, and I will speak of them apart.

Before the Plague begun.
  • 1 Be not worse than you were
  • 2 Be better than you were

And indeed if you be not better you will be worse, as afterwards will be made appear. Now because it is to be feared that some men will be worse after this dreadfull, and devouring, man-eating Judgement, than they were before, I shall more largely treat of this particular,The first p [...]rt of the first Di­rection contains 7 Questi­ons. if peradventure God may by these Lines prevent in some so great an evil after so great a Plague. Where I shall speak to these particular Que­stions.

  • Q. 1. Whether ungodly men doe oftentimes wax worse and worse, and why?
  • Q 2. What are the several steps that men do take in sinfull wayes in their waxing worse and worse?
  • Q. 3. Ʋnder what Dispensations wicked men wax worse and worse?
  • Q. 4. Why God is pleased to remove Judge­ments, though many men are worse than they were before?
  • Q. 5. What are the Aggravations of this great Impiety to be worse after Gods sorest Judgement than they were before.
  • Q. 6. What are the signs of a man that waxeth worse and worse under all the Means that God doth use to make him better?
  • Q. 7. What considerations may be usefull to stop the stream of such mens wickedness, that yet are waxing worse and worse?

SECTION I. Question First.Whether ungodly men do often times wax worse and worse?

SOme wax richer, and some wax better, and all men wax older, and many wax worser. 2 Tim. 3.13. But evil men and seducers wax worse and worse; deceiving and being deceived. To encrease in Riches is not simply evil; to encrease in Grace is surely good. This increase is commanded: 2 Pet. 3.18. But grow in Grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is commended, 1 Cor. 1.5. In every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance and in all knowledge. It is to be prayed for, Luk. 17.5. Lord encrease our faith. Col. 1.9. For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wis­dom and spiritual understanding. Vers. 10. That ye may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitfull in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. But to encrease in sin, and to grow in wickedness, especially after men have seen Gods displeasure against sin, in a wasting Plague, is an evil to be lamented, if we could, with tears of blood. When instead of ad­ding grace to grace, 2 Pet. 1.5, 6, 7. they adde sin to sin; to Drunkenness they add Adultery; to Passion Malice, to Malice Revenge. Some men make such progress in sin by little and little, till (as all the little Channels meeting in one place) become a common Sewer of all filthiness, [Page 7] and impiety; Sinks of sin and nasty dunghils of all uncleanness.

Let me premise these six particulars, and I will pass to the proof of this first thing,

1.Six things premised, for expli­cation. That the Nature of man is wonderfully depraved, and in all men (except Christ) e­qually sinfull. For

First, All men are equally under the guilt of Adams first transgression.

Secondly, All men are equally deprived of Originall righteousnesse.

Thirdly, All men have equally the seeds of all sin in their nature, all naturally prone to all sin, Gen. 6.5. though by reason of the tempera­ment of the body, some men might be more in­clined to one sin than to another, yet all sin is seminally and radically in every mans nature, all men by nature are equally tinder the curse of the Law, deserve the wrath of God, and equal­ly liable to the torments of hell, Ephes. 2.3.

2. That every sin that men commit is of a damning nature, and though some sins in compa­rison of others might be called little sins, yet in respect of the great God against whom they are committed, no sin is small. Though degrees of sin, and inequality of sinning, have greater de­grees of torment, and shall have inequality in sufferings, yet eternall death is the wages of the smallest sin. Therefore let no man think, while I speak of the increase of sin, that he is good, be­cause he is not so bad as others grow to be.

3. That in the world there are severall sizes and degrees of sinners, as in the Church there are [Page 8] severall sizes and degrees of believers. *Pe [...]de [...] haec [peccati] dif­ferentia graduum (1) A respectu personae a qua ad­mittitur. (2) A g [...]nere & natura rei, (3) Ah inten­sione & remissione actus. (4) ratione et modo patrandi. (5) A circumstantiis loci, temporis, &c. Ames [...]ed. p. 65. In the Church there are, Fathers, Young men, Chil­dren, 1 Joh. 2.13. And Babes, 1 Pet. 2.1. So there are severall sizes of sin­ners. Some morall men, some openly prophane: some are great swearers and great drun­k [...]rds, Ringleaders to sin; the Devils Lievetenants, provoking others to sin, and incouraging them therein. Some are chief a­mong sinners, Luk. 19.2. Some drink in Iniquity like water. Job 15.16. Some are drawn to sin, and some draw sin to them, and that as with Cart ropes, Isa. 5.18. some commit sin, and tremble at it: and some commit sin and rejoyce at it. Prov. 2.14. some commit sin, and are terrified at it when they have done it: some commit sin and make a mock and sport of sin, when they have done it, Pro. 10.23. & 14.9. some commit sin with great remorse and reluctance, and others commit sin with as great and eager greediness, Eph. 4.18.19. A dreadfull text, Having the understanding dark­ned, being alienated from the Life of God, through the Ignorance that is in them, because of the blind­ness of their heart, vers. 19. Who being past feeling, have given themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. These are sinners of a great Magnitude, if you weigh the things spoken of them (1) Having their understandings darkned. [...]. The word doth either signify the faculty it selfe, or the ratiocination, [Page 9] or reasoning of the understanding, and it is true in both respects, their understandings are dark and ignorant, and their reasonings are dark and obscure. [...]. (2) Being alienated from the Life of God, i. e.Vitam [...] Dei appel­lat, vitam illam qua deus vivit in suis: quam (que) praecipit & approbat. Beza in loc. That Life, that God commands and approveth, they are too much acquainted with a sensuall, flesh-pleasing, swinish life: but they are utter strangers to an holy, self-denying, sin-mortifying Life: because of the ignorance that is in them, as a bruit doth not know the life of reason, so sinners are ignorant of the Life of God. (3) Because of the blindness, (more pro­perly) the hardness of their heart; [...]. This word is sometimes rendred blindness, some­times hardness, because they are conjunct, a blind heart is a hard heart, and a hard heart is a blind heart; it signifieth the thick skin that cover­eth the palmes of the hands of hard labourers, that they can handle nettles, and in that part of their hand have no feeling of the stingings, as o­thers are sensible of. There is a thick skin hath over grown the hearts of some sinners, that they are (4) past [...]. feeling, unsensible as a stone, who are said to have their consciences feared as with an hot Iron. But though they feel not their sin here, they shall feel the torments due for sin in the life to come. The hideous howlings, and gnashings of teeth amongst the damned, speak plainly that they feel the punishment of sin. (5) Have given themselves over to lasciviousness, sometime sinners are said to sell themselves to work wickedness, as Ahab, 1 King. 21.2 [...]. sometimes are said to give themselves to wicked­ness, [Page 10] which denotes their constancy, and com­placency in working wickedness, as when St. Paul commanded Timothy to give himself to reading, he saith, Give thy self wholly to them, 1 Tim. 4.15. [...]. Be thou in these things, a mans heart is in those things he is given to, a Schollar that is given to his Book, a drunkard that is given to drinking, when his cup is in his hand, his heart is in the cup. He is in drink is our proverb, when the drink is in him. God and Christ should dwell in their heart, but their heart is in their sin, and sin is in their heart. (6) To [...], is opera quaestus. work, They work at sin as for gain, when it is the loss of the soul, that will be the issue. Sin indeed is a hard labour, and greatest drudgery: sinners work and damnation will be their wages; they should be working out their salvation; but they are working out their damnation, they are Labouring for hell, and taking pains to undoe themselves; and what is it they are so much imployed in; (7) In un­cleanness, in the extent and latitude of it, work­ing all manner of uncleanness, and that (8) with greediness, or with [...]. i. e. quasi aga­tur de lu­ [...]n ita ut [...]liu [...] alium superare conte [...]d [...]t. Beza in loc. covetousness. Wicked men are as eager after sin, as a covetous man is after a good bargain, they are covetous to com­mit sin. But Beza, renders it Certatim, con­tending and striving who may sin most, as if they could not get to damnation soone enough, or sure enough.

4. That the reason why sin doth not rise to its height in all men, is not from themselves but from God. It is God that sets bounds to the Ocean [Page 11] of mens lusts that they should no more overflow. God in great measure by restraining grace dam­meth up the fountain of sin, that it sendeth not forth so many streames as in others it doth. Gen. 20.6.—for I also withheld thee from sinning against me, therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. But some God giveth up unto their lusts, Rom. 1.24, 26.

5. That men stand not at a stay, in virtue, or in vice, in holiness, or wickedness: If a man doth not increase in grace, likely he is decrea­sing, so if a man be not mending he is growing worse; like rotten things every day are worse and worse; more seared, if not softned; more resolved to sin if not reclaimed. Of good it is said, Non progredi est regredi, not to goe for­ward, is to go backward; of wicked, I say, Non regredi est progredi, not to go backward from sin, is to go forward in sin.

6. That wicked men might seem to mend in one thing, and waxe worse in another, and so they do not leave their wickedness, but only change it, as one that was a prodigall and li­centious, turns to be niggardly and covetous.


THese things premised, I shall shew that oftentimes wicked men grow worse and worse; and therefore will appear that this ad­vise is not unseasonable, after such a thun­dring voice of judgement, as this Plague hath been.

[Page 12]This will be manifest

  • From Scripture,
  • By Arguments.

Scriptures shewing many wax worse. Nemo re­pente sit turpissi­mus, sed sensim sine sensu. First, The Scriptures evidencing this, that men oftentimes grow worse, and are more wicked, are such as these, Psal. 1.1. Bles­sed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners: nor sitteth in the seat of the scornfull. In which Scripture there are nine words that set forth the progress of men in sinning; and their comming up to the height of wickedness gradatim.

Psal. 1. v. 1. opened.
Three respect
  • Sinful Objects,
    • Counsel.
    • Way.
    • Seat.
  • Sinfull Actions,
    • Walk.
    • Stand.
    • Sit.
  • Sinfull Persons,
    • Ʋngodly.
    • Sinners.
    • Scornfull.

And every third of these includes the se­cond, and the second includes the first, non contra, every scorner is a sinner, and every sinner is ungodly, but every ungodly person is not a sinner, i. e. [...], emphatically, as the word is sometimes used, Luk. 7.37. And behold a woman, in the City, that was a sinner, i. e. a great and notorious sinner, and every such sin­ner is not scornfull. Sitting includeth [standeth] and doth suppose it, for a man must stand be­fore he sits in a wicked way; and standing sup­poseth a man first to come into that way, or to that seat in which he sits, but not contrary, a [Page 13] wicked man may walk in that way in which he doth not stand, and he might stand in that way in which he doth not sit, and so of the rest. Now here observe Davids climax or gradation, setting forth the progresse of wicked men in sin­ning. First they walk, then they stand, next they sit. First they are ungodly, then they are great sinners, next they are scornfull: For the fuller opening of this Scripture to see mens growth in sin, I will review them.

First, The Objects, about which wicked men are conversant, which were noted to be three,

1. Counsel, [...]Tam id quod con­sulitur, quam quod consi­lio effici­tur. Bith. Wicked men consult how they may satisfy their lusts, they deliberate how they may get an opportunity to sin. Thus the mali­cious man studies revenge, and the Adulterer contrives secrecy, Psal. 36.4. He deviseth mis­chief upon his bed, and the Devil is near his pil­low to be his counsellour.

2. Way, [...] Mos con­suetudo, studium quae sunt quasi viae per quas incedunt, versontur­que. Bith. Manner of life is set out by way, in Scripture, mens practises are their way, a man that hath a good trade and thrives there­in, we say, he is in a good way; and so the profession, and serving of God in such a manner is called a way, Act. 9.2. so that a wicked man maketh sin his profession and trade. Thus the common drunkard by his daily wickedness pro­fesseth himself a drunkard, that is his way.

3. Seat, By frequent commission they settle themselves on their lees, then fixe their abode in the house of sin, They lye down and like swine wallow in their iniquity, Psal. 36.4. He deviseth mischief upon his bed, he setteth himself [Page 14] in a way that is not good: They first consult, then act, then settle in their sin.

Secondly, The Actions which were also three.

1. They walk, [...] Ambulavit metapho­ricè usur­patur de vita, mori­bus & acti­onibus. they take delight in their sin as a man doth in a pleasant walk; and as the Devill (with whom they walk) in walking to and fro to tempt and devoure souls: a godly man might possibly step into a sinfull way, but a wicked man walketh therein.

2. They Stand, Next they become obdurate and shameless in sin, they are not ashamed of their oathes, and drunkenness, and open pro­phanations of the Sabbath; a godly man might fall into sin, but he doth not stand in it; he doth not persist in it, but wicked men will stand and justify themselves in wickedness and plead for it.

3. They Sit, As men secure, will persevere in evil; a man that sits intends to stay, it being a gesture more remote from motion than stand­ing is.

Thirdly, The Persons, and these likewise are three.

1. The Ʋngodly, a man that sins and repents not is an Ungodly man, Septuagint, [...].

2. Then they are Sinners, i. e. notoriously wicked as was before shewed; [...] Nomen plurale absque sin­gulari, ex conjugati­one Pihel deductum, idcoque significati­onem in­tendit, ac Habitum denotat. [...]i [...]lmer, in Psal. it sig­nifieth habituall sinners.

3. Then they are Scornfull, will be scorners of reproofs, and scorners of the way of holiness, and then are come to such height in sin, that Solo­mon forbids to reprove them as men scarce re­claimed, Prov. 9.7, 8. [...] which the Sep­tuagint [Page 15] translate [...], Pests, Plagues. Tertul­lus the Oratour called the Apostle Paul, [...] a Pest, a Plague, pestilent fellow, Act. 24.5. but by the Septuagint, scornful sinners are [...], the pests of a place. Thus from this Scripture you have the progress men make in sin, accurately described by the Psalmist.

Thus Cain waxed worse and worse, and did grow in sin, Gen. 4.

1. He dealt hypocritically with God, vers. 4. He brought to God of the fruit of the ground, but kept back his heart. (2) He envyed his brother Abel, and the grace of God that ap­peared in him, 1 Joh. 3.12. and he offered to God and persecuted his brother to death, Gen. 4.8. (3) He lyeth before an all knowing God, speak­ing falsly, vers. 9. (4) He flies in the face of God, as if God had charged him with that which was not his duty. Am I my brothers keeper? (5) He despaireth of mercy, vers. 13. My pu­nishment is greater than I can bear, or, My sin is greater than that it may be forgiven. (6) He flyes from God, vers. 16. (7) He takes up with the pleasures and profits of the world without God, vers. 17. So Cain increased in wicked­ness.

So did Ahab, 1 King. 21.

1. He seeth Naboths Vineyard. (2) He doth covet it, and unlawfully desire that which was another mans, vers. 2. and would have bought that which Naboth had not a power to sell, be­cause it was the Inheritance of his Fathers, vers. 3. and Numb. 36.7. (3) He was discontent [Page 16] at Naboths answer, though he gave him the Word of God as the reason of his denyal ver. 4. (4) He doth unfaithfully report the words of Na­both, as is usual with wicked men to doe, vers. 6. He leaves out the reason of Naboths denyal, Because it was the Inheritance of his Fathers, (5) He was guilty of Naboths death, suffering Jezebel to use his Seal to effect it, vers. 8. And Elijah the Prophet chargeth Ahab with his death, as being guilty of his blood, vers. 19. (6) He takes possession of that which was none of his own, and which he got with the shedding of innocent blood, contrary to the command of God, Ezek. 46.18.

The like steps you might perceive in Jezebels sin, and if you trace her, you will find her step by step to come up to an height of sin.

1. She approves of Ahabs unlawfull desire, vers. 7. (2) She resolves to get by violence what Ahab did sinfully desire, vers. 7, 8. (3) She makes her husband guilty of blood by gaining his consent to that which he would not act with his own hand, vers. 8, 19 compared. (4) She draweth other men▪ and makes them partakers of her sin; the Elders and Nobles, vers. 8, 9. (5) She causeth two wicked men to take a false Oath against Naboth. (6) She suggesteth the Charge that should be brought against him, which was high and false, ver. 10. Let them swear that Naboth did blaspheme God and the King; when indeed Naboth did neither. (7) She prophanes Gods Ordinance, she pro­claimed a Fast; she coloureth her wickedness [Page 17] with Religious pretenses. (8) She obtains the murder of Naboth, vers. 13. They stoned by Jezebels counsel an innocent man, to death. This was the growth and gradation of Jezebels wickedness, till it became monstrous great.

So Judas encreased in wickedness, and grew worse and worse.

(1) He was an hypocrite. (2) A Theife, Joh. 12.4, 5, 6. (3) A traitour to his Lord. (4) He despaired of mercy. (5) He murdered himself.

The groweth of sin is intimated in that ex­pression of the holy-Ghost, Gen. 15.16. The in­iquity of the Amorites is not yet full. It was in­creasing, but their measure was not full, sin would increase In infinitum, but there is a mea­sure that a swearer, or a drunkard, and all wicked men shall fill up, and then God will call them to an account, Mat. 23.32. Fill ye up then the measure of your Fathers. Thus from the word of God I have shewn that wicked men do grow in sin, and wax oftentimes worse and worse.


Secondly, ARguments drawn from Reason do evidence this, that wicked men are apt to grow in sin; I will take up with three only, least I be too large in this Direction. And they are taken,

First, A natura peccati, From the Nature of sin.

[Page 18] Argu­ments proving wicked men wax worse.Secondly, Ab impulsu Diaboli, From the In­stigation of the Divell.

Thirdly, Ab absentia contrarii, From the ab­sence of that which should keep them from sin­ning more and more. Removetur prohibens.

I. From sin.This appears from the Nature of sin that is predominant in ungodly men, that swayes, and Byasseth them in all their actions, and ruleth in them and exerciseth authority o­ver them.

1. Sin dispos­eth the heart to sin. One sin doth incline and dispose the heart to sin again: The first sin inclined all men to com­mit more, where grace is predominant, the heart is inclined to love God, and to obey God, the generall scope of such a mans life, and the bent and inclination of his heart is towards God and duty, to grow in grace, and become better and better. Now Contrariorum contra­ria est ratio & natura. Sin doth dispose the heart to sin, and to depart from God more and more, Heb. 3.12. It makes the bent of the heart to Backslide further and further from God, Hos. 11.7. It makes the heart set to do evill, Eccles. 8.11. The heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. As is the tide to the boate, so is sin to mans heart.

2. Sin begets sin. Sin is of a multiplying nature, as sin commit­ted inclineth the heart to the iteration of the same sin, so one sin begets another, of another kind, as drunkenness and gluttony, begets lust: and malice, revenge; as one circle in the wa­ter multiplies to twenty, out of one root of a tree grow many armes, out of one arme, many [Page 19] branches, out of every branch many twigs. From the same fountain proceed many streames, from the same body of the Sun, many Beames. So from one sin are many multiplied. So Adams first sin hath multiplied Innumerably.

3.Sin is link­ed to sin. In wicked men there is a complication and a connexion of sins, Sins thus multiplied are linked one to another; and are twisted together, as there is a chaine of graces in a godly man, that if you draw one link you move the whole chaine; when you exercise Faith upon a promise, (sup­pose) of eternall Life, this sets all his graces on exercise, as one wheele in a Watch moveth all the rest: Faith applying this promise, stir­reth up love to God that made the promise, and hath prepared the thing promised, it inflames ho­ly desires after it, & desires put on to diligent in­deavours to obtain it; it begets a lively hope, which earnestly, yet patiently waiteth for the possession of it. So there is a concatenation of sin, therefore sin is compared to a body, in which all the mem­bers by sinewes and ligaments are knit together;Rom. 6.6. that though all the members do not grow, to an equall quantity, but some are bigger, some lesse; yet all do proportionably grow; so though all sins in a wicked man are not of the same magnitude, but in some drunkenness is greatest, in some pride, in some covetousness, yet all sin is growing in them, and therefore must necessarily be worse and worse: as unbelief makes a sinner fearless of Gods threatnings, and fearlesness makes him secure, and security hardneth his heart, and when his heart is hard, and his [Page 20] Conscience seared, he will be very bad.

4. Sin infects the sinner. Sin is of an infectious nature, an infectious disease doth not only spread unto others, as one man sick of the Plague may infect a whole Pa­rish, but getteth nearer and nearer to his heart, and seizeth upon his very vitals, that he waxeth sicker and sicker, and at last brings him to his grave: So one sin doth not only infect others, as one drunkard inticeth another to the same sin, but sin encroacheth more into the sinners heart and affections, and brings him more and more into bondage to it, and so makes him worse and worse, as a man that was wont to take a cup too much, at length is brought to fre­quent drunkenness, till at last it brings him to Hell and to damnation irrecoverably, where he is as bad as he can be.

5. Sin is un­satiable. Sin is of a craving and unsatiable nature, therefore those that would satisfie their Lusts, must needs in length of time be very bad. There are four things which are never satisfied, and never say, It is enough, Prov. 30.15, 16. and sin may make a fifth: For though a man drudge under sin all his dayes, yet it thinks the Sinner hath not done enough for it. The Horse-leech hath two daughters, crying, Give, give: such a thing is sin, that never leaves sucking the heart-blood of the Sinner, till it hath sucked him to death. Sin cannot cease to ask, and sinners know not how to deny; and they must be wicked indeed, that will be as wicked as sin can make them.

I might run through the several kinds of sin, and shew how they are never satisfied: The [Page 21] Egyptians thought that the Israelites never made brick enough: and sin thinks the sinner never is enslaved enough, that he never doth obey enough; but I will briefly instance but in three.

First, Covetousness is unsatiable: it never saith, It is enough: It is not satisfied with having, nor in seeing what it hath, Eccles. 4.8. and 5.10. and therefore puts the Worldling to go drudge again. Crescit amor nummi, &c.

Secondly, Revenge is unsatiable. Malice ne­ver thinks it hath done enough, and therefore puts on the malicious to consult, to contrive, and never to be at rest till he hath been more injurious to the person that is the object of his malice.

Thirdly, Lust and uncleanness is unsatiable, and therefore such as are addicted to it, and would have it satisfied, must be very wicked,Oculi sunt in amore duces. for they never do it. 2 Pet. 2.14 [...], having eyes full of the Adulteress, the very looks of their eye be­trayes the lust of their heart; and it follows, And cannot cease from sin, [...]. therefore will pro­ceed to great Impiety.


II. Satan.THat wicked men will grow in sin, ap­pears from the instigation of the Devil, who is unweariedly diligent to tempt unto sin, and to adde one iniquity unto another: and that because he rules in their hearts, and takes them [Page 22] captive at his pleasure, 2 Tim. 2.26. A man will be very wicked, that will sin as often as the Devil tempts. A man is never so bad, but the Devil would have him to be worse; Judas was an hypocrite before, but yet Satan put it into his heart to be more vile, in betraying Christ, Joh. 13.2. Satan tempting without, and sin inclining within, Satan never ceasing to tempt, and Sinners not knowing how to resist, will be growing (like the Crocodile from an Egge) to a stupendous magnitude.


Absence of Grace.III. THat wicked men will grow in sin, ap­pears from the absence of that which should restrain them. If a man hath drunk in poyson, and hath no Alexipharmacum, or An­tidote, his sickness will grow upon him. Wic­ked men want that which should preserve them from sin; as

1. The Fear of God: This is that which cau­seth a man to shun evil. Job 1.1. Job was a man fearing God, and eschewing evil. Prov. 8.13. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. But where the fear of the Lord is not, there the flood­gates are pulled up: If the Devil tempt a man that feareth not God to sport on the Lords day, he will do it; to omit Prayer, he will doe it; yea, if there were no Devil to tempt him, he would run on in sin. This is brought in as the cause of crying sins, Rom. 3.12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, [Page 23] 18. Many sins there are enumerated, and at the close of all is, There is no fear of God before their eyes. Abraham dared not to trust himself with a people that did not fear God, Gen. 20.11. Abraham said, Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they will slay me for my Wives sake.

2. Wicked men want serious Consideration, that should keep them from being worse; they do not seriously consider of Death and Judge­ment, of the Wrath of God, of the Torments of Hell; nor of Gods Omniscience, that he al­wayes sees them. Hos. 7.2. They consider not in their hearts, that I remember all their wickedness, now their own doings have beset them about, they are before my face: Nor of his Omnipresence, that he is alwayes with them and by them; they consider not, If I sin, I shall lose my soul, and it will cost me bitter tears or bitter torments: They do not weigh in their serious thoughts, the greatness of their danger, the heaviness of Gods wrath, nor the eternity of the miseries of ano­ther world. God complains of the want of Con­sideration as the great cause of the height of sin, Isa. 1.2, 3, 4.

3. Wicked men want a firm assent to the verity of Gods Word, that they doe not verily believe the truth of Gods threatnings; but they have a secret hope that it shall goe well with them, whatever they doe, and whatever God saith. They hear of the evil of sin, and of the torments of Hell, but they feel nothing for the present, and fear nothing for the future, and [Page 24] therefore goe on to adde drunkenness to thirst, Deut. 29.19, 20, 21. And it come to passe when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to adde drunkenness to thirst. Vers. 20. The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord, and his Jealousie shall smoak against that man, and all the Curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his Name from under Heaven.

4. Wicked men want a lively tender Consci­ence, which should warn them that they sin not, and accuse them, and threaten them with dam­nation, if they doe. Many have cauterized Consciences, 1 Tim. 4.2. Where Conscience is dead, or sleepy, or feared, there iniquity will abound.

What are the several steps and gradations whereby sin growes from a low ebbe to its highest actings?Question Second.

THere are ten steps to the highest actings of sin, five of which are common to good and bad, the other five proper to the wicked and ungodly. Many Hypocrites may goe half way with the godly in that which is good, but never (while such) goe quite thorow. So too often a man that is godly goes half way with the wicked in sinning, but never goes quite [Page 25] thorow with them in all the circumstances of sin,10 rounds in the sin­ners Lad­der to hell. The rounds in the Sinners Ladder to hell are these ten:

  • 1. Original Concupiscence.
  • 2. Temptation.
  • 3. Inclination.
  • 4. Consent.
  • 5. Action.
  • 6. Custome.
  • 7. Habit.
  • 8. Hardness contracted.
  • 9. Hardness Judicial.
  • 10. Consummation or final Impenitence.

Of these briefly in their order.

I. Natural Concu­piscence. Natural Concupiscence, or the Vitiousness of our Nature, which is in Infants, this is as the Tinder or the Gun-powder whereby our Natures are apt to take fire at the least spark. This is a sin, because it is the absence or priva­tion of that rectitude which ought to be in our Nature; it is a fruit and punishment of Adams first sin, and an immediate consequent of the loss of our Original Righteousness. This is fomes peccati: like to that wherewith the fire is kindled or kept burning: called the Old Man, sinful Sin, the body of Sin, sin dwelling, Law of Members.

II. Tempta­tion.Then there is some Temptation, solicita­tion, suited to this corrupt Principle, either by the Devil or wicked men: or some Object pre­sented to a man that might stirre up and ex­cite [Page 26] this internal principle of Corruption in our hearts, and though all men have the seeds of all sin, yet Satan observing mens different con­stitutions hath different baits, (as men have several baits, for several fish) some he solici­teth to drunkenness, others to uncleanness, and others to covetousness: Where note, that Sa­tan hath a wonderful advantage of us, which he had not in our first Parents before the first sin; for there was nothing in their hearts that was corrupt, and yet how did the Devils tempta­tion together with the Object set before their eyes, prevail over them! What the warm Sun is to the stiff and frozen Serpent, it doth enli­ven it, and then it sendeth forth its venom, and useth its sting; that a Temptation, or an Object, proposed is, to our corrupt Natures. Some call this Abstraction, a drawing the minde off from good to evil.

III. Inclina­tion.Then there ariseth some Inclination in the soul, or an hankering of the heart after that sinful Object; an entring into a patley with the Devil, minding of the motion made by the Tempter, thinking further of the committing of the sin. [...]am 1.14. is inticed, [...], the word sig­nifi [...]th baiting, as men doe bait for fishes. This is called Inescation, (as the Fish delighteth to play with the bait) or Vitio­sus motus, joyned with some titillation or delight of the heart therein. The first motions of the heart, that are primo primi, though they be in­voluntary, and before consent of will, and the judgement against them, yet are sins, (1) Be­cause they are motus [...], disorderly moti­ons [Page 27] of the heart;Rom. 7.7.14, 15, 16, 17. (2) Because they be forbid­den by the Law of God, and (3) Hinder our love to God.

IV. Consent.Next is the Compliance and consent of the will, yielding to the temptation, and clo­sing with the motion made concerning such an act upon such an Object. The Will as queen and commander in the soul, makes a decree to close with the temptation, and to close with and consent unto the solicitation to sin, upon the understandings mistake in its comparative judgement, apprehending and dictating to the will that to be good which indeed is evil, or the sensitive appetite moving the will by the mediation of the understanding, allureth it un­to consent; and this is the conception of sin, Jam. 1.14, 15. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust and entised, then when Lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, &c.

V.Action. When the Will hath consented it layes a despotical or flat Injunction on the Members of the body to execute and proceed to action, and this is the actual commission of sin in the exe­cution, in Imperate acts. Thus when Judas had consented to betray Christ, he goes forth and covenants with Christs crucifyers, and betrayes him. Thus the eye moveth to behold, and the hand to act that which the will consenteth to and commands. Thus far it is the unhappiness of the people of God in their state of imper­fection, [Page 28] to yield. David had a principle of corruption, then an Object proposed, then wic­ked suggestions arose or were injected into his minde, then his will consented, and then pro­ceeded to the actual commission of his after-bitterly-lamented sin.

VI. Iteration.Then wicked men proceed to the fre­quent Iteration of the same sin, till it becomes customary. A wicked man is drunk till it is his custom to be so, and to swear till it becomes his custom to do so. This is a great progress made in sin, it is great growth, and such will be hardly reclaimed. Jer. 13.23. Can the Ae­thiopian change his skin, or the Leopard his spots? then may you who are accustomed to do evil, learn to do well. Aethiopem lavare is to labour in vain. Ministers endeavour to reclaim men accustomed to swearing, and lying, and drunkenness, and they preach in vain, and study and pray in vain, as to any success usually upon such mens hearts. It is the commendation of a man to be accusto­med to a thing, if it be good, for a Christian to say, it is his custom to pray; and a Minister, it is his custom to preach; though it is not good, that the one pray out of custom, nor the other preach customarily: To have it customary to per­form holy dutyes is good, but to do them customa­rily is evil. Thus it was Christs custom, or he was wont to preach and teach the people. But it is an aggravation to be accustomed to a thing if it be evil, and if it be gross, it is a sign of a graceless person: Though some carnal men [Page 29] when reproved for their often swearing, say, I thought no harm, it is only a custom I have got, and I cannot leave it: A custom! why that is the aggravation and growth of thy wickedness, and thou dost as foolishly alledge that to exte­nuate thy sin, which indeed doth aggravate thy sin; as a Thief accused before the Judge for stealing should plead, it was his custom so to doe. Now sin is become the profession of the sinner, and he goes to his sin as customarily as an Artificer to his Shop or Work-house; but it is not the custom of Gods people to make a custom of committing gross sins. David did to the wounding of his soul once commit Adultery, but it was not his Custome so to doe. Peter at one time did deny his Lord, but it was not his custom so to do. It is not the custom of a gracious person often to commit the same grosse sin, but it is his custom often to lament a gross sin but once committed. Therefore if it be thy custom to commit grosse sins, and thou art wont to do so, thou art gone beyond the people of God in thy sinnings. Thy state is deplo­rable.

VII.Habit. Customary commission of sin begets an Habit in sinning; whereby the love of sin is more deeply radicated in the heart. Habits are got by frequent repeated acts, and doth adde a greater facility to act; and such as are custo­mary sinners will soon be habitual Sinners, by frequent swearing they will have an habit of swearing; by frequent drunkenness they will [Page 30] acquire an habit of that sin, and what is habi­tual especially in evil things, is not easily lost.

VIII. Hardness contractedThen Habitual commission of sin be­gets contracted Hardness of heart, and fear­lesness of all Gods Judgements and threatnings; and contracted hardness added to natural hard­ness, is a great progress in sinning. Peccata sive sint commissio­nis sive o­missionis per mul­tiplicatio­nem diu­turnam, in consuctu­dinem ducta & invetera­ta, pravum habitum gignunt, ac quasi cal­lum obdu­cunt vo­luntati si­mu [...]c menti. Ames Med. p. 67.Thy Con­science is seared, thy heart hard as the nether milstone; past feeling. When Pharaoh hardened his heart, his sinning was great, Exod. 8.15. Now thou stiffenest thy neck against all admo­nitions, Act. 7.51. and hardenest thy heart against reproofs, Prov. 29.1. Now thou actest as if thou wert above controul, and if thou couldst, wouldest shake off the very Sovereign­ty of God. Exod 5.2. And Pharaoh (who was come up to the degree of hardness) said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voyce, to let Israel goe? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel goe. So hardened Sinners reply to Gods Ministers exhorting them to let their sins and lusts goe; saying (at least in their hearts) Who is the Lord, whose Name you use? we know not the Lord, neither will we let our sins goe, nor our pleasures and profits goe. Now thou sayest to the Lord, Depart from me, Job 21.14. My tongue is mine own, who is Lord over me? Psal. 12.4. Now thou gloriest in thy wic­kedness that is thy shame, Philip. 3.19. Thou rejoycest to doe evil, Prov. 2.14. and makest a mock of Sin, Prov. 14.9. and makest a sport in doing mischief, Prov. 10.23. Oh if thou [Page 31] couldest vapour it thus at the day of judge­ment, and make as light of torment as now thou dost of sin, if thou couldest brave it out thus be­fore Christ at his comming, and Russian like, bid defiance to an almighty God, and angry judge, thy case were not so miserable, but thou canst not, alas, thou canst not doe it: Now thou art stout against the Lord, Mal. 3.13. But then thou shalt sneake and crouch before him.

IX.Hardness judiciall. Then Judiciall Hardness is added to contracted Hardness, thou hast hardned thine own heart, and God will harden it also. Now when Naturall, Contracted, and Judicial, all meet in one mans heart, how hard must it needs be, and how great a sinner is this man in the sight of God? you read sometime, Pharaoh hardned his heart [...]mself, Exod. 8.15. and sometimes that God hardned Pharaohs heart also, Exod. 10.20. So God giveth men up to their own hearts lusts which is a greater judgement, un­speakably greater than all bodily Plagues. Read Rom. 1.21. to the end, Psal. 81.11, 12. Rev. 22.11. Isa. 6.9.10. Hos. 4.14, 17.

But here conceive of God aright, when the Scripture saith God hardneth mens heart, it is not to be understood, as if God were the au­thor of their sin no more than the Sun can be the efficient cause of darkness, for how shall the chiefest good be the authour of the greatest e­vill.7 things about Gods hardning mens hea [...]ts. For

1. God doth not infuse any wickedness into their hearts.

[Page 32]2. Nor doth God tempt them to sin, James 1.13. he may try them, but not tempt them to sin.

3. God commands no man to sin, for Gods command would make it no sin, as in the case of Abrahams Sacrificing his Son, or the Israe­lites taking the Jewels and Ear-rings of the Egyptians: except such things as are intrinsecal­ly evill, as are hating of God, and blasphem­ing of God, and these things God cannot com­mand, as he is said that he cannot lye, Tit. 1.2.

4. God with greatest severity forbids mens sins, he chargeth you upon pain of damnation, upon perill of Hell torments, that you sin not, but commands men to repent, and mourne for sin, therefore doth forbid them to be hard and stupid under sin.

5. Neither doth God co-operate, or concurre to the wickedness of their actions, though with­out derogation to Gods honour we may say, he doth concurre to their wicked actions, For in him all live and move and have their beings, Act. 17.28.Deus con­currit ad actum non ad maliti­am actûs. The action materially considered (as it is an action or motion) is good, and so God is the cause of it, but the action formally considered is evill, and so God is not the author of it, as when you spur a lame Horse, you are the cause that the Horse doth move, but you are not the cause of his halting.

6. But God doth permit and suffer men to harden themselves, he doth not give them pre­venting grace, but denieth that (which he is not bound to give) which would keep off this Hard­ness [Page 33] from them. So God is said to give men over to their own wicked hearts, to let them alone, and leave them to their lusts, Rom. 1.24, 26. and to give them over to a Reprobate mind, 2 Thes. 2.10, 11. 12. But if some should say, bare Divine permission cannot be the rea­son why God should be said to harden mens hearts, no more than he would be said to steal, because he suffereth men so to doe. Some there­fore adde,

7. That Hardness of heart may be considered either as a sin, and so God is not the author of it, or as a punishment, and so it may be from Excaeca­tio activa tribuitur Deo, Sata­nae & ho­mini scip­sum excae­canti; sa­tanas & Homo in ista actio­ne gravis­simè pec­cant, deus autem justissimè agit. Strangius, de volun. Dei circa peccatum. p 819. Modi notandi sunt, quibus dici­tur Deus indur [...]re. (1) Quia Deus juste deserit eos, a quibus desertus est, suumque auxilium subtrabit aut denegat, privatque eos donis suis, quibus illi perverse abusi sunt, idem. p. 824. (2) viam eis aperit, ob­jecta & occasiones subministrans, quibus illi flagitia exequantur, ut in perniciem suam ruant. 826. (3) Offert, confert, aut facit ea quae sua natura hominem ad bonum converterent, atque ad illustrandum, & emollieadum volerent, sed abutentium vitio fit, ut magis obdurentur. p. 827. (4) flagella, flagellorum remotio, adversa, impiorum indu­rationem promovent, iisque pulsati inster ineudis sub malleo magis indu­rescunt. p. 828. God, as the same thing in divers respects might be a sin, and a punishment of former sin, and a cause of future sinning, so the same thing in di­vers respects might be from God, and from the creature: as Absaloms Rebellion against the King was an hainous sin, as from him, yet it was also a punishment of Davids sins, 2 Sam. 16.22. But the Scripture asserts two things however, (1) That with God dwels no evill, and he cannot be the cause of sin, and yet [Page 34] (2) expressely saith, that the Lord hardned Pharaohs heart Exod. 10.20. Though we know not the manner, that doth not lessen the dread­fullness of the judgement, but when God doth judicially harden, then men are almost ripe in sin and for hell.

X. Finall im­penitence.When God hath judicially hardned them, they let loose the reignes of their lusts and now are fit for any wickedness, and stop not at the most abominable and loathsome practises. Now they can blaspheme, and mock God, and deride holiness, and act like incarnate Devils, when the people in Act. 14.8.11. saw the won­derfull works wrought by the Apostles; they said, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men, but when we see the most abominable, and sor­did practises of wicked men, might we not say, the devills are come up to us in the likeness of men? When men are judicially hardened they will commit sins against nature, Rom. 1.24, 26. &c. And could wish there were no God; nay now they are (when they have given themselves over to work wickedness, and God hath given them over too, when they say, we will be filthy, and God say, you shall be filthy) eager and greedy after sin, they weary themselves in committing iniquity, and yet are not weary of iniquity, and do even scorne at threatnings, and mock at judgements, 2 Pet. 3.3, 4. Men walking after their own lusts, say, where is the Promise of his coming, for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. Is. 5.19. [Page 35] That say, let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsell of the holy one of Israel draw nigh, and come, that we may know it. Thus sinning with judiciall hard­ness, and dying in finall impenitency, are at the bottom round, from whence they step into end­less misery.

Thus you see how great a matter a little fire kindleth; and from how small beginnings some have proceeded to the very pitch and height of sin, that can scarce be worse (save in the fre­quent iteration of the sins, that they commit) for they have got into all kinds of sin, they are guilty of spirituall wickedness, which the devill is, malice, enmity against God and goodness, &c. and of corporall wickedness, as Adultery, Drunkenness, Gluttony, &c. Which the Devill is not capable of committing, the Devill being only a spirit, but men consist of body and spi­rit, and so may commit more sins for kind, than the Devill himself can do. But God for­bid that after such a judgement, amongst us should be found such sinners, this will be an evil requitall to the Lord for his removing his sore judgement from us.

Ʋnder what dispensations do wicked men grow worse and worse?Question Third.

IN the generall I answer, wicked men are the worse in all conditions that God puts them into: more particularly they are worse and worse,


First, Wicked men wax worse under all Gods Providences, whether

  • Prosperity,
  • Adversity,
  • Deliverances,

Prosperity makes the wicked worse.I. Ungodly men are worse under their pro­sperity, when the world smiles upon them, and when they have all that their carnall hearts can wish and desire: If the Sun shine, it hardens the clay, and the more it makes the dunghill send forth unsavory smels, Rom. 2.4. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance, ver. 5. But after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgement of God. A wicked man is more hardened by Gods kindness to him; Animus Iniquus beneficio fit pejor. A wicked heart is made worse by every kindness. As, Christ fed Judas at his table, and he runs presently to betray him. The more God aboundeth to them in common goodness, the more they abound against God in multiplied wickedness. Neh. 9.16. ad 27. Psal. 78.12, 17. Prov. 1.32. The prosperity of fools shall destroy them, Isa. 26.10. Let favor be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteous­ness: in the land of uprightness will he deal un­justly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. They are worse by prosperity.

1. Because they are thereby listed up with pride [Page 37] and carnall confidence; many men the more rich, the more proud, and the prouder, the worser; the more their riches increase, the more they set their hearts upon them, and the more a mans heart is upon the creature, the worse he is. Prosperity is full of snares; and we are apt then to forget God, and to lift up the heel against him. Deut. 32.15. But Jesurun waxed fat and kicked, thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his Salvation. Here is great prosperity, and great impiety; and God seeing how apt his own peo­ple are to be worse by prosperity, doth caution them largely against it, Deut. 8.7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18.

2. Wicked men are worse by prosperity, because then they have more fuell to feed their lusts. Sodomites had fulness of bread, and that did feed their uncleanness. They turn Gods grace into wantonness, and his mercies into fuell for their wickedness. Those things which should be cords of love to draw them to God, they turn to the nourishment of their sinnes against God, and desire riches not that they may glorify God, but gratify their lusts, Jam. 4.3. The more abundance of outward things a drun­kard hath, the more he is able to please his palate with great abundance of the richest Wines; the more the adulterer hath, the more he bestows upon his harlot: and so the greater plenty, the more they lead a sensuall, bruitish, flesh-pleasing life, and the more of that, the worse they be.

[Page 38]3. Wicked men in prosperity are the worse, because they are apt to gather Gods special love to them, from the common bounty he bestowes upon them. Because the world smiles upon them, they think God doth so too: Because Gods hand is opened to them, therefore they think they are engraven upon his heart, and think Divine To­leration Psal. 50.18, 19, 20, 21. is Divine Approbation, when indeed it is a sign of Gods great displeasure, to give prosperity to a man in a sinfull course. God was angry with the rich man in the Gospel, when he gave him more abundance than he knew how to bestow, Luk. 12.18, 19, 20. and 16.19, 20. They are apt to think that is the best way, which is the most prosperous way, Jer. 44.17. But we will certainly doe what soever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn In­cense to the Queen of heaven▪ and to pour out drink-Offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our Fathers, our Kings and our Princes, in the Cityes of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, for then had we plenty of Victuals, and were well, and saw no evil: Vers. 18. But since we left off to burn Incense to the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out drink Offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. By prosperity they take en­couragement to proceed in their Iniquity.

4. Wicked men by prosperity are worse, because, they are apt to put far from them the evil day, and the hour and thoughts of Death and Judgement, and the Life to come: In health they have not serious thoughts of sickness; a [Page 39] wicked man is too apt to think that the Sun of Prosperity which shines upon him, will never set, nor be clouded. Psal. 49.11. Their in­ward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all gene­rations: they call their Lands after their own Names. In Prosperity they think little of death. Luk. 12.19. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast goods laid up for many years, eat, drink, and be merry. They promise themselves a con­tinuance of their outward happiness, and so sin more freely and abundantly. Isa. 56.12. Come ye, say they, I will fetch Wine, and we will fill our selves with strong drink, and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant. This per­swasion begets carnal security, and the more se­cure, still the worse.


II. Adversity makes wicked men worse.WIcked men are often times worse under adversity, judgements and af­flictions that do befall them, the more they are punished, the more they are hardened; there is nothing in adversity and judgements, in sickness and plagues, in poverty and distress, to make an alteration or a change in the heart of a sinner from worse to better, except God sanctifie it. The Plague upon the body is not a remedy in it self to cure the Plague of the heart, for men love more the plague of their hearts than they loathe the plague of the body. Possibly outward Judge­ments [Page 40] may put a stop to some mens sinnings for the present, but they will return to them afterwards, except God speak effectually to their hearts and consciences, as well as lay his heavy stroaks upon the body. Judgement to a sinner may be as a Barre to a Thief, it may stop him from the present act, but doth not change his heart; or as a storm to a Mariner, may make him cast Anchour for the present, but still he retains his purpose of sayling in his Voyage when the storm is over; they are oftner salve for their eyes to shew them their sin, than phy­sick for their hearts to purge them out; sinners in Judgements might declaim against their sin, but without a setled purpose in their hearts to decline their sin; where there is Grace, Affli­ctions work patience and submission; but where there is nothing but corruption, they often work passion, and repining, not Repentance; the more God sent his Judgements and his Plagues upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians, the more they har­dened themselves against God and his people; and by Gods Judgements were not the better but the worse, Exod. 7.19. to 23. Isa. 1.5. Why should ye be smitten any more, ye will revolt more and more. Psal. 78.30. They were not estranged from their Lusts, but while their meat was in their mouths, v. 31. the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them. V. 32. For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works. And as it was with the woman that had an Issue of blood twelve years, in respect of her bodily distemper, after great [Page 41] cost and charge and use of means, she was no­thing bettered, but rather grew worse, Mar. 5. 25, 26. so under Gods Judgements it is with most wicked men, in respect of their spiritual state, they are nothing bettered, but rather grow worse. And this appears,

First, Because in time of Judgment they are not separated from their dross ▪ Ezek. 24.13. In thy fil­thiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee (i. e. God used purging Judgments) and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee. God hath been purging our houses, but many have not been purging their hearts, but retain their heart-filthiness stil, and their life-wickedness stil: If God in Judgement say to such, You shall not be purged; their case is irrecoverably miserable.

Secondly, Because they are not more serious in Religion than they were before; either they omit it wholly as before, or are as dull and formal as they were before.

Thirdly, Because they are not brought nearer unto God, but are rather removed (were it pos­sible) at a further distance from God than be­fore. And the Reasons of this are,

  • 1. Because, When Gods hand is lifted up, they will not see, Isa. 26.11. they look more to se­cond Causes than to God.
  • 2. Because they search not after the sins that provoked God to so great indignation.
  • 3. Because, if they do see their drunkenness and whoredoms, and Sabbath-breaking, yet they will not be humbled for them, nor forsake them.


III. Deliveran­ces make wicked men worse.WIcked men are oftentimes worse by Gods delivering them from Judge­ments and calamitous distresses. Take a wicked man upon his sick bed, when God is shaking him over the Grave, and threatning him with death, and affrighting him with the terrours of Hell, you shall hear him acknowledge his sin, confessing his drunkenness, his neglect of his soul, and you shall hear him, it may be, with tears in his eyes promising, if God will raise him from his sickness, and trust him with life and time a little longer, he will forsake his wic­ked company, and prophane the Sabbath no more; If God will but try me (saith the sick, dying man) how will I live, and what will I doe, and how obedient will I be to the Com­mands of God: And when God answereth his desires in his restoration, he performeth not his Promise in his reformation, but is more wicked and more vile than before. You might see this in Pharaoh, when the Plagues were upon him, Oh then send for Moses, and let him entreat the Lord for me, and then I will let Israel goe: then he confesseth, I and my people have sinned, but the Lord is righteous. Though many wicked men, will not acknowledge nor confess their sin in times of Judgement, so much as an hardened Pharaoh did. But yet when the Plagues were removed he hardened himself more against God still. Read Exod. [Page 43] and 9.23.27. So Nehem. 9.27, 28, 29, 30. And the Reasons are,

1. Because after Judgements removed, they are more secure, and think the bitterness of death is past.

2. Because they break their promises made to God in time of Judgements, and so their sin is greater, and their guilt is greater, and therefore they the worser, of this more under another Di­rection.

3. Because Judgement is removed from them before they are purged from their sin. When the Plaister is taken off before the sore is healed, it will be worse: the course of physick is not continued, till the vitious humours are dispersed and purged away; but Gods people desire the cure may be wrought, before the Af­fliction be removed. But Pharaoh was for the removing of the Plagues, but not the hardness of his heart.

4. Because they adde Incorrigibleness unto all their former sins, and must answer for all those Judgements that were lost upon them. Wicked men shall not only answer for their Mercies, but for the Judgements God sent upon them to reclaim them; Sinner, God sent the Plague into thy house, and then he looked thou shouldest have hastened to have thrown sin out of thy heart; but thou hast not done it: God did cast thee upon a bed of sickness, but thy bed of sickness was not to thee a bed of sorrow for thy sin, thou howledst, and cryedst our of thy loathsom running-sores, but not of thy filthy [Page 44] heart, and more loathsome sins; thy body was pained, but thy heart not broken; thou hast been punished and delivered, but art not reformed: but know, the more thou hast sinned, and the more thou hast been punished here, and yet sin still, the more shalt thou be tormented in hell. For these thou shouldest look upon as means, which God doth use to bring thee to himself, and the more means thou hardenest thy self against, the more is thy sin, and the more shal be thy misery.

Thus wicked men are oftentimes the worse by Gods Providences. But if this be thy case that readest these Lines, that wast a drunkard before, and wilt be drunk more frequently now; that wast a lukewarm Formalist before the Plague be­gun, but now thou art quite cold in the matters of Religion; I charge thee in the Name and fear of the Eternal God, that thou presently bethink thy self, what an aggravation this will be of thy continued and increased wickedness, and that thou turn from it, least God turn thy body in­to the grave by some other distemper, as an Ague, or Feaver, or Consumption, though he did not by the Plague. Oh think with thy self, God hath taken away some of thy sinful Com­panions, that were wont to be drunk and swear with thee, who if God should bring them back again from the dead, would tell thee that they are damned for their Drunkenness, and that they have been in Hell among Devils, and have felt the wrath of God to be heavy and intolerable, for those very sins they have committed in thy com­pany, and thou with them: Would not they tell [Page 45] thee, if they had thy time, they would pray, but swear prophanely no more, if God had suffered them to out-live the Plague; or would after death and tryal of the torments of Hell, entrust them with life again, they would be better. Remember, some of them that the other day were drinking unto drunkenness in the Ale-house, dying in fi­nal impenitency, are now damned with the De­vils; that some of them that the other day thou hadst by the hand, and drunkest unto in the Ta­vern, and did sing and roar together at your Cups, are now howling and roaring amongst the damned, and are scorched in those flames, and rowling in that Lake of brimstone, where there shall be no mercy, no mitigation, no cessation of their torments: And know thou, whoever thou art, that if thou dost not speedily return to God, if thou dost not mend thy life, and that quickly too, if thou dost not repent and reform, and that quickly too, thou shalt be a companion with them in torments, with whom thou wast compa­nion in sinning: It was but a few dayes since, that they were with thee upon the earth, and if thou art not changed, it will be but a few dayes hence, and thou shalt be with them in Hell, and when thou art there remember, once thou read­est such lines that told thee so. Therefore, if thou art not resolved for Hell, be perswaded to be better after such an awakening Judgement; if thou valuest thy soul, if thou hast any fear of Hell and Wrath yet left in thee, let it work to a speedy Reformation. Tell me, what if God had set thee in some place, when five, six, seven [Page 46] thousand dyed in a Week of the dreadful Plague (amongst whom no doubt but many went to Heaven, and are now viewing the Son of God, &c.) that thou mightest have seen, impenitent Drunkards, and impenitent Worldlings, and impenitent Swearers, seized upon by Devils, and carried into torments, gone crouding in at the broad gate into pains eternal and unspeak­able, and couldst but have heard their words, or perceive their apprehensions of their manner of life upon the earth, how would this have affected thee? after such a sight as this what wouldst thou doe? Be drunk still? wouldst thou be a Sweater and a Worldling still? a Formalist and Hypocrite still? then, if thou wilt be damned, goe on, who can help it? But rather return, repent, that thou mightest have everlasting cause to admire God, that thou dyedst not in this Plague, till thou repentest of thy sin, and wast prepared for another World.


Wicked men are worse,Secondly, WIcked men will be worse un­der the dispensations of Gods Ordinances. But here I shall be the shorter, be­cause it hath been the Providence of God in the late Plague that hath moved me to this work, to which I would have my words have more im­mediate reference. Many wicked men are oftentimes the worse

1. By the Word.For the Word of God and the preaching [Page 47] thereof: Not that there is any thing in the Word to make men so, but it is Scien­dum est, Evangeli­um non perimere quenquam▪ sed evan­gelii con­temptum. Bez. in 2 Cor. 2.16. accidental to the Word; it may be occasioned by the Word, but caused by their own corruptions. Ministers might preach till they waste their strength, and yet they will be Whoremongers and Adulte­rers still, they will be envious and malicious still. The same Sun that softens the Wax, doth harden the Clay: Obed-Edom was blessed for the Ark of God, but the Philistines were cursed for it. Ungodly men suck poyson from the sweet Flowers of Gods Word, which yields nourish­ment to the souls of Gods people. Weak eyes are the sorer if they look upon the Sun. Natu­ralists observe, that the fragrancy of precious Oyntments is wholsom for the Dove, but it kills the Beetle; and that Vultures are killed with the Oyl of Roses. And St. Paul, that the Word is to some, the savour of life unto life, and to others, the savour of death unto death, 2 Cor. 2.16, 17.

2. By the Sa­crament.For the Sacrament of the Lords Supper. That which is to Believers, Calix Vitae, a cup of Life, is to Unbelievers Calix Mortis, a cup of Death. Wicked men call good evil,Grande id nefas, quando re­medium, non modo, non profi­cit aegro sed in ve­nenum vertitur. Par. in 1 Cor. 11. so they turn that which is good in it self, to be evil unto them. Donum male utentibus nocet. Good becomes evil to those that use it not aright. St. Paul, treating of the Sacrament sayes, Ye come toge­ther not for the better, but for the worse, 1 Cor. 11.17. The red Sea saved the Israelites, but drowned the Egyptians. And the reason why the Devil maketh drunkards and profane swear­ers so eager after this Sacrament (as our first [Page 48] Parents after the forbidden Fruit) is, because he knowes it will do them harm, not good; as a bad stomach full of crudities turn the food received not into the nourishment of the body, but for the feeding of their humours. As a mans Sea-sick­ness is occasioned by the waves, but the foulness of his stomach is the cause thereof. They must needs be worse, For (1) the Devil takes fuller possession of their hearts: When Judas had eaten the sop, the Devil entred into him; that's a fatal morsel, when the Devil follows it, Joh. 13.26, 27. (2) Their presumption and false hopes of heaven are hereby strengthened; they think, if they doe but receive, their sins shall be par­doned, and their souls saved. (3) Their guilt is more encreased, because they are guilty of the body and blood of Christ. This is dreadful guilt, this is a [...] fact. (4) They prophane Gods Ordinance, and abuse Christs Institution. (5) They are thereby riper for temporal Plagues, 1 Cor. 11.30 (6) They eat and hasten their own dam­nation, 1 Cor. 11.29. But I dwell not upon this, because I must pursue my design in reference to the late providence in the dreadful Plague.

Question Fourth.Why God is pleased to remove Judgements, though many men are worse than they were before?

THat God should stay his hand, and put up his Arrows into his Quiver, and his Sword into his sheath, and call in the destroying Angel, is indeed matter and cause of great admiration; [Page 49] that when men sin still, God doth not slaughter stil; when men provoke him still, that he doth not by the Plague punish them still: The sins that were offensive unto God at first, are amongst us still; the sins continue, the Judgement re­moved: Oh stand and wonder at this, that when Justice hath cut down so many, that Mercy yet hath spared so many; especially if you seriously consider Gods holiness and purity, Gods justice and severity, Gods infinite hatred unto sin, and that it is not the death of thousands that can sa­tisfie Gods Justice, nor the death of those that are gone down into the grave, that have paci­fied Gods wrath for us that do yet remain alive. What may be the Reasons?

1.Reasons are, 1. From God. God hath done this for his own Names sake: If you goe to the Church-yards and Bu­rial places in and about the City, and see the heaps of dead bodyes, and ask, Why hath God done this? We must answer, We all have sin­ned. If you goe into your houses and dwelling places, and finde so many living, after so great a Mortality, and ask, why hath God done this? We must answer, It is for his own Name sake. The Plague was inflicted because we had dis­pleased him, but it is removed because Mercy hath pleased him: We had deserved the in­flicting of it, but could not merit the removing of it. In this late Providence Justice and Mer­cy have been wonderfully magnified; Justice in removing so many thousands, and laying them in their graves; Mercy in sparing so many thou­sands, [Page 50] and maintaining them in life that have been so long walking in the Valley of the sha­dow of death: This is, because God in the midst of Judgement hath remembred Mercy. Ezek. 36.21. But I had pity for mine holy Name,—ver. 22. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God, I doe not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy Name sake. So when God gives good things, as well as when he removeth evil, it is for his Name sake. God hath taken away your sickness and plague-sores, and given you health. Vers. 31. Then shall ye re­member your own evil wayes, and your doings, that were not good, and shall loathe your selves in your own sight, for your Iniquities, and for your Abomi­nations. V. 32. Not for your sakes doe I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you; be ashamed and confounded for your own wayes, O house of Is­rael. Oh if you have been spared for his Names sake, then let all the praise of your life be unto his holy Name. But then you must not be worse but better than you were.

2. 2. From the Elect converted.God hath removed his Judgement in an­swer to the Prayers of his people. Prayer hath been an ancient Antidote against the Plague, and ma­ny have been preserved from the grave as a re­turn to prayer; and so it hath of old been pre­valent for the removing of the Plague: And therefore Magistrates commanding the people to fast and pray, proceeded in Solomons course to have it removed: 1 King. 8.37. If there be in the Land Famine, if there be Pestilence— what­soever [Page 51] Plague, whatsoever sickness there be. What must they do then? Vers. 38. What prayer and sup­plication (prayer you see is a Panpharmacum, a re­medy for every disease) soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands towards this house. Vers. 39. Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive— Prayer is the remedy prescribed by Solomon, But what are the persons whose prayers shall prevail for the removing of so sore a judgement? Not those that have Plague-wishes so often in their mouthes, but the prayer of any man, that know­eth (i. e. seeth and is sensible of) the Plague of his own heart.

3.3. From Elect un­converted. God may remove judgements for the bene­fit of his Elect that yet may be unconverted, and in mercy to them, who may be yet in their sins, God may stay this Plague, it might be for some yet unborn, that may proceed from the Loyns of some that are now worse than they were be­fore. The patience and long-suffering of God is conducible to the conversion and salvation of Gods Elect, 2 Pet. 3.15. And doth lead men to repentance, Rom. 2.4. Many peradventure have not yet repented, whom God will bring to glo­ry; and he that hath designed them to the end, will preserve them in life till the means have been effectual to fit them for that end.

4. 4. From Repro­bates.God may spare some that are worse, by removing judgements, because as yet they are not [Page 52] ripe enough for slaughter: The Oxe is spared lon­ger time, because not yet fit for the Shambles. Thus God spared Jerusalem till they had filled up the measure of their sins, Mat. 23.32. And so God exercised patience towards the Amorites, till their iniquity was full, Gen 15.16 God may remove and keep off judgement from some; and this may be in judgement to them, as he may in mercy, deny some mercies unto some.

Question Fifth.What are the aggravations of this great impiety, to be worse after Gods sorest judgements than they were before?

THat many wicked men are so, we have shewed before, and given the proof and reasons of it, But wo to you whose case this is: Is this the return you make to God? Is this the fruit of his patience and forbearance to you? Do you thus requite the Lord? Oh foolish peo­ple and unwise! Deut. 32.6. Will you seriously consider this evil frame of heart, and this ungod­ly practise in your lives, in these following parti­culars?

I. Are you worse then you were before, then you are more like unto the Devil than you were before, and the more unlike to God that made you. A man full of all sin, and bent to every wickedness [Page 53] is called a childe of the Devil, Act. 13.10. The Devil sins as much as he can, and thou dost as wickedly as thou canst, Jer. 3.5. It is a folly in men to picture things immaterial and invisible, and living, by things without life, [...]. Vnium, quo qui la­borat, ad quodvis scelus, pa­ratus est. Joh. 8.44. material and visible; never send a man to view the picture of the Devil with a cloven foot drawn by Art, the most exact and accurate lively picture of the Devil (as a Devil, that is, as a sinner) is the worst of wicked men; and who are worse than thou, that neither mercy can draw, nor judgement drive to God and Christ?

II. The worse you grow, and the further you proceed in sin, the more impudent you will be in the commission of it: The beginnings of sin are often done with blushings of face, but the pro­gress in sin is voide of all modesty; then you will be drunk and glory in it, then you will swear and not be ashamed of it, Jer. 6.15. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination: nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush—Pro. 7.13.

III. The further thou proceedest in making progress in thy sin, the more it is to be feared thou wilt never return, but if thou shouldest, the more thou hast to sorrow for. It is but very rare that God bringeth those back that are come up to an height of sin; sometimes he doth, that none might despair; but very rarely, that none might pre­sume. It is to be feared thou art forsaken of God, and he hath left thee to thy self, when [Page 54] word, nor rod, can reclaim thee from thy sin, nor put a restraint upon thee from waxing worse.

IV. The worse thou art after such a judge­ment, The sooner God will be provoked to hast on thy destruction by some other. God hath not spent all his arrows in the late judgement, he hath his Quiver full still; and if thou go on when God giveth thee yet a space to repent, after so great a warning by the Plague, he will ere long cast thee into a bed of trouble, Rev. 2.21, 22. Thy increased wickedness is to Gods wrath, as the blast to the fire, will quickly blow it up into a flame; though thy conscience is asleep, yet thy damnation slumbereth not, 2 Pet. 2.1.3. while thou lingerest in thy sin, Gods judgements do not linger, but are upon the wing; and the worse thou art, the sooner will they befall thee, and be more heavy when they come. Jer. 48.16. The calamity of Moab is near to come, and his af­fliction hasteth fast.

V. The worse thou growest, the more thou hea­pest up treasures of wrath, and every sin is adding to the pile of that fire by which thou must eter­nally be burned; temporal judgements might quickly befall thee, but if they do not, eternal damnation shall overtake thee; and the higher thou goest in wickedness, the lower thou shalt sink and lye in hell; God will proportion thy degrees of torments to thy growth and progress in sin. Now thou hast a treasure of sin, Mat. 12.35. And God hath his treasures of wrath, Deut. 32.34. [Page 55] And as thou layest in sin, to the treasury of sin, so God layeth in wrath, to the treasury of wrath. [...]. In crastinum recondere, quo signifi­catur homines dum cupiditatibus suis quotidie indulgendo existimant se aliquod bonis suis adjicere, tandem pro the sauro inventuros dei indigna­tionem. Bez in loc. Rom. 2.5. Thy present preservation, is but a reservation to greater indignation, then is disco­vered in a Plague. Tarditatem supplicii gravitate compensabit deus. He will recompence the delay of thy misery and punishment, with the weight and load of it, Job 36.13.

VI. To be worse and more wicked after so great a judgement, will be to slight and set at nought the justice of God, when you have seen with your eyes the dreadful heaps of dead Corpse, that it hath made in every Church-yard. Have you not seen that God is displeased with sin, and will you go on to do worse, as if you would bid defiance to God, even when he is angry and dis­pleased? Have you not seen that there is wrath in God? and that justice will call sinners to his barre by dragging them out of this world? And will you after all this go on to sin against a just God, and as it were say, let justice do its plea­sure, I will have mine? this doth aggravate your sin.

VII. To be worse after such a judgement, will be to sin against the Patience and the mercy of God that hath spared thee, and waiteth to see what thou [Page 56] wilt do after such a visitation. The mercy of God is the attribute thou intendest to appeal to, it is that which thou hopest in, but by this thy wick­edness thou wilt turn mercy it self against thee, that which thou wilt make thy request unto, must be the mercy of God, but this will plead against thee, and patience will plead against thee. Lord, will Mercy say, when thousands dyed weekly in London, I had pity upon this sinner and did spare him; when the Angel went through the Streets and Lanes in London, I Mercy marked out this man for longer life, but he abused me, and sinned the more. And I [shall Patience say] waited some moneths or years after the Plague, to see if the mer­cy shewed him, would any thing work upon him, but I was abused too as well as Mercy: The longer I, Patience, did lengthen out his life, the more he ad­ded to his sins, and therefore now we, both Patience and Mercy, deliver him up into the hands of Justice to deal with him according to his sins, and accord­ing to the wrong he hath offered unto us. Oh how will thy mouth be stopped when Mercy and Pa­tience shall plead against thee; sins against Mer­cy and protracted Patience, are aggravated sins; and the pleadings of Mercy and Patience against a man, will be the most piercing cutting plead­ings.

VIII. The worse thou art, the more thou wilt have to answer for, and the greater accounts thou wilt have to make when ever thou shalt dye. The more thou sinnest, the more sins shalt thou finde in the book of Gods remembrance, and in the [Page 57] book of thine own Conscience, when thou shalt be brought before the Barr of God: So many sins committed before the Plague begun, and so many while the Plague continued, and so many when it was stayed, and this sinner spared. When it shall be set down in the book of God, such a sinner was drunk so many times while the Plague was round about his habitation, so many Oaths he swore, when he saw multitudes buryed every day; so long the Plague was in the Parish where he dwelt, and in the house in which he lived, and he never made one hearty prayer unto God all that time: And such no­torious sins, in and after a time of a sweeping Plague, will multiply thy account and aggra­vate thy misery.

IX. To be worse after such Judgements, will be to adde Incorrigibleness to thy former wicked­ness: As before thou didst shew that thou hadst an unteachable heart, so now thou declarest thou hast an incorrigible heart: Thou wouldest not be instructed by Gods Word, neither wilt thou be corrected by Gods Rod; thou didst stop thine ears against Gods Word, and thou har­denest thy heart against his Rod. But if thou wilt not be corrected by a Plague, thou shalt be tormented in the Infernal Pit.

X. To be worse after such a Judgement, will be high Ingratitude. Thy life was the dearest thing thou hast in the world (except the sin in thy heart) for, skin for skin and all that he hath [Page 58] he will give for his life, (except his sin, and he will venture his life, and lose it too, before he will part with his sin,) and hath God kept thee, and is this thy thanks to God, to dishonour him more, and to provoke him more? As if he had spared thee for no other end, but to sin against him? Oh what is Ingratitude if this be not? Oh now for Gods sake, and for thy precious souls sake, that as thy body hath hitherto escaped the grave, so thy soul may (if possible) escape the damnation of hell, Be entreated, Sinner, to consider the evil of thy present practice, after such a narrow escape of death and the grave: Oh wilt thou that art but briars and thorns, set thy self against God that is a consuming fire? Dost thou sleight the wrath of the Almighty, or despise his power, or contemn his Judgements? Dost thou think that thou canst grapple with Omnipotency, and make thy party good against Almighty strength? Didst thou ever read of any one that hardened himself against God and pro­spered? and dost thou think that thou shalt be the first? who art thou? or what is thy strength, or what were thy Ancestours, that thou dost thus in pride and stubbornness of thy heart dare the great, eternal God, who can look thee into hell, and frown thee in a moment into another world? Sure, if thou hadst the knowledge of God, of thy self, of sin, of the guilt of sin, of Hell and the torments thereof, thou wouldest not thus proceed to adde these new sins to thy former old sins, but wouldest fall down upon thy knees, and cover thy face in the very dust [Page 59] before the Lord, in deep humiliation for thy sins, and wouldest own it as a Mercy so great, that cannot be express'd, that the Plague hath been so vehemently raging round about thy habitation, and it may be hath been upon thy body, and thou yet alive, and thy body not rot­ting in a cold grave, nor thy soul roaring in a hot Hell? think on this, this is Mercy; and wilt thou so abuse it?

Question Sixth.What are the signs of a man that waxeth worse and worse under all the Means that God useth to make him better?

MY purpose is not here to speak of the de­clinings of Grace in the hearts of Gods people, which never is so much (because not total) to denominate them absolutely bad, though they make them worse (because on the losing hand) being compared with them­selves, when better in the lively actings and daily increase of grace; but of the growth of wicked men in sin and Impiety, which may be discerned by these symptomes.

I. The less a man is attending upon God in the use of holy Means, the worse he is. Thou wast wont to keep up a constancy, or at least a fre­quency in holy duties, though thou never didst perform them in a right manner, nor from a [Page 60] right principle, nor for a right end; yet time was, that thou couldest not omit them, but thy natu­ral Conscience would reproach thee, and molest thy peace; and though the performance of those duties in thy manner and way, did never prove thee to be good, yet the total omission of them now, doth prove thee to be worse: inasmuch as thou hast shaked off all form of Religion, and dost not profess thy self to be at all Religious, but hast stifled Natural Conscience, and laid aside a sense of a Deity, which before did stir thee up to do some Homage unto God. Thou didst pray, but now thou dost not; thou didst hear, but now thou dost not; it is because thou art worse.

II. The lesse thou lyest under the common workings of the Spirit of God, the worse thou art: Though thou hearest and prayest as before, yet the Spirit of God doth not strive with thee as before: Thou wast wont to finde thy heart some­thing affected, and to have some common con­victions and relentings for sin, and some pur­poses and resolutions to forsake thy sin, and leave thy wicked wayes and company, and al­most perswaded to come over unto Christ; but now thou art no more affected than the seat thou fittest upon, and the Pillar thou leanest against; thou hast quenched the motions of the Spirit, and he in wrath hath departed from thee, and leaves thee to the hardness of thy heart, and the blindness of thy minde, and then thou must needs be waxing worse.

[Page 61]III. The more thou art found in the Iteration and Repetition of the acts of sin, the worse thou art. Thou wast wont to swear but seldom, but now Oaths are frequent in thy mouth: Thou wast wont to be drunk more seldom, but now it is thy weekly, or thy daily practice; Iteration of sin is an aggravation of sin: The number of thy sins, and the greatness of thy guilt is hereby en­creased, and thou made worse.

IV. The more kinds of sins thou dost usually fall into, the worse thou art. Thou wast wont to swear, but not to be drunk, but now both: Thou wast wont to be drunk, but wast not given to uncleanness; but now thou art; and to un­cleanness thou addest scorning at godliness, vvhen sometimes thou seemedst to approve it, and speak for it; and to thy scorning of godliness, thou proceedest to the persecution of godliness, when before thou didst pretend to favour and to countenance it. Thou art increased in thy wickedness.

V. The fewer self-Reflexions, the worse thou art. Thou wast use to reflect upon thy wayes, and sometimes consider of thy deviations from the Rule of holiness, and thy Conscience did check and did reprove thee; but now thou goest on and never lookest back, so much as to con­sider wherein thou goest astray; and though thou art more wicked, and more vile, yet thou hast more peace and quietness in thy wayes. It is [Page 62] because thy heart is more hard, and thy Con­science more seared, and thou worse.

VI. The greater Light thou sinnest against, and the more thou goest on against the Dictates of thy Conscience, the worse thou art. Consci­ence discovereth to thee the evil of thy wayes, the wickedness of thy life: Conscience threat­neth thee with damnation, with the loss of God and Happiness, and thundereth against thee, and doth disturb thee in thy sin, and yet thou goest on against thy knowledge, and dost impri­son the Truths of God; thou art worse.

VII. The more of thy heart and will is in thy sinnings than before, the worse thou art now, than before. The more the will doth give consent, and the more the will doth choose wickedness, the greater progress thou hast made in thy sin­ful courses. Though a Childe of God doth com­mit a sin, yet because his will and the bent of his heart is against it, the lesser is the aggrava­tion of his sin: when he can say, The thing that I doe, I would not, I allow it not. So, when thou art wilful in thy sin, thou frequentest wic­ked company, and thou wilt doe it; thou pro­phanest the Lords day, and thou wilt do it, this maketh thee to be very bad. The more of reso­lution and purpose of heart, the more of the choice and consent of the will in sinning, the greater is the sinner.

[Page 63]VIII. The lesser force divine Arguments have upon thy heart to keep thee from sin, than before, thou art so much worser than thou wast before. Time was, that Arguments taken from the Wrath of God, from the Torments of Hell, from Judgement to come, from the Curses writ­ten in the Law of God, did awe thy heart, and restrain thy hand from the open actings of thy grosser sins; these were once the banks that dammed up thy wickednesse, but now thou sleightest all these, that Hell doth not affright thee, and the wrath of God doth not awe thy heart; but the Spring and Fountain of sin with­in, is risen higher, and overflowes these banks, and like water spreads it self, and diffuseth it self in the general course of thy life.

IX. The lesser force humane Arguments have upon thy heart, to keep thee from sin than before, thou art so much worser than thou wast before. Though abstaining from sin upon such accounts, doth not prove the truth of grace, yet the com­mitting of sin notwithstanding these, doth argue growth of sin. Now these humane Arguments that did formerly restrain thee, were such as these.

1. Shame amongst men. Thou hadst an In­clination to wicked company, but thou wast ashamed to be seen amongst them; and there­fore didst not associate with them. But now thou thinkest it no shame, or if thou dost, thou hast a face of brass, and an heart of stone, and blushest not. Thou art worse.

[Page 64]2. Care of Reputation. Thou wast tender of thy Credit, and good Name; and though thou hadst a love unto some sins, that would have disgraced thee amongst men, yet now thou wilt blot thy Name, and lose thy Credit, and sacri­fice thy Reputation to satisfie thy Lust.

3. Costliness of sin. Some sins are very charge­able, and call for great expence; and thy love to thy Money, and natural affection to thy Wife and Children, was a barre which did restrain thee from them: Thou wouldest not feed and satisfie thy filthy Lusts, because it would be chargeable to thee; thou refrainedst from rio­tous Prodigals, because company with them would wast thine Estate: But now thou think­est no cost too great, no charge too much, that thou mayest have thy fill of sin, but tradest, and labourest, and workest, to get something to maintain thy Lust, and wilt rather that thy Wife and Children should want bread at home, than thou shouldest not have enough to spend upon thy sins abroad. Thou art now grown to an exceeding magnitude in sin, that thou art monstrous to beholders.

4. Health of body. Such sins that tend to the impairing of thy health thou wouldest not commit: Thou didst refrain, not so much be­cause they would damn thy soul, as destroy thy body. Thou thoughtest excessive drinking would shorten thy life, and hasten thy death, and bring thee sooner to thy grave; that acts of uncleanness would fill thee full of loathsom diseases, and leave some mark upon thy body, [Page 65] whereby thou wouldest be noted for an unclean adulterer. But now thou wilt venture health, and life, and all that thou mayest more freely sin: and the very food thou earest is now not only to nourish thy body, but to provoke thee to lust. Verily thou art much worse than thou wast.

5. Fear of death. When the fear of God would not prevail to keep thee from sin, yet fear of death somtimes hath done it, and according to the strength of the fears of death, have been thy restraints from sin: but now thou canst think of death, and speak of thy death, and yet act thy sinne.

6. Displeasure of men. Thou hast had depen­dance upon some that hate such sins that thou lovest in thy heart, but because thou wouldest not loose their favour thou hast bridled thy sin, but now thou layest the reignes loose upon the neck of thy lusts, and wilt proceed to obey them, let who will be displeased thereby. When thou wilt displease thy best friend, and them upon whom thou dost depend for lively-hood and mainte­nance, that thou mayst please thy lust, it is a sign that sin is very high in thy heart, any one of these formerly were a sufficient bolt to keep thee from grosser sins, but now all put together are too weak; a signe that sin is so much the stronger.

X. The more thou hast had experience of the dreadfull effects of sin, and the more God hath punished thee for thy sin, and yet wilt proceed, the greater sinner thou art. God hath punished thee [Page 66] with poverty as the fruite of thy sin; with diseases in thy body, with horrours in thy conscience, with the death of thy relations; when thou hast tasted the bitterness of sin to set against the plea­sures of sin, when God hath put worm-wood and gall into thy sin, yet thou art bent upon it: thou art very bad.

XI. The more thou justifiest and defendest thy self after the commission of sin than formerly, so much the worser thou art than formerly. When thou wast reproved, thou wast use to acknow­ledge thy sin, and to confess thy wicked­ness, but now thou dost plead for thy lust, and pleadest for thy evil wayes, and takest the quarrell of sin upon thy self, it is a signe thy heart is more wedded to thy lusts, by how much the more thou espousest its cause.

XII. When thou art more presumptuous in thy sinnings, and addest more contempt of God, and pride and contumacy than formerly, the worse thou art. Sins of presumption are scarlet sins, of a crimson dye; when a man sinneth against God, and bles­seth himself in his wickedness, and presumeth of Gods mercy, and presumeth upon the pati­ence of God, a man that sins presumptuously makes a bold adventure against express threat­nings of the Law of God, and is mingled with great contempt of God; it is no less than re­proaching and despising of God himself, Num. 15.30. But the soul that doth ought presumptu­ously —reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall [Page 67] be cut off from among his people, vers. 31. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment; that soul shall be utter­ly cut off: his iniquity shall be upon him.

XIII. The more mercies thou sinnest against than formerly, the worser thou art than before. God hath given thee more mercies, and multiplyed many good things upon thee, and yet thou com­mittest more sins, than when thou hadst fewer mercies; to make Gods mercy to be fewel for thy lusts, is an aggravation of sinning, for as much as it is contrary to the end of mercy, which is to draw men off from sin: every mercy thou re­ceivest hath a voice, and its language is, repent of sin, return to God, Rom. 2.4. God loadeth thee with mercy, and the more thou pressest him down with thy sin; the more good, and the more mercifull God is to thee, the more vile and re­bellious thou art against God, this is to be highly wicked.

XIV. The more thou drawest others into sin by thy entisements or example than before; so much the worse thou art. When thou art not content to sin alone, not to dishonour God thy self, but drawest and incouragest others to do so also; and so damnest thy own soul and others too; and makest thy self guilty of the bloud of those thou allurest with thee into sin. The more sins thou committest thy self, the worse thou art, and the more persons thou dost influence by thy sin to partake with thee, the worse thou art. [Page 68] Thus if thou wilt compare thy self what thou art now with what thou hast been formerly, thou mightest discern how much more thou sinnest now than thou didst before.

Question Seventh.What considerations may be usefull to stop the streame of such mens wickedness, that yet are waxing worse and worse?

BEcause I am loath to leave thee with a bare conviction, that thou art worse than thou wast wont to be; I shall add a few conside­rations to presse thee to put a stop unto thy sin­nings, hoping that though thou hast gone far, yet thou mayst return: while thou art out of Hell, thou art within our call, and within the reach of Ex­hortation and reproof. God hath called often to thee to return, and yet thou hast not return­ed, but art going on unto destruction. The Son of God hath called to thee, and said, How long wilt thou goe on in thy Rebellion against him that would redeem and save thy soul? he hath told thee, if thou dost proceed thou must be damned, and said, the Mercy of God will not save thee, and my Merits they will not, they shall not save thee, but if thou wilt return to God, and come to me, here is mercy for thee, here is pardon for thee, and I will give eternal life unto thee. The Spirit of God hath often moved upon thy heart, he hath been often knock­ing [Page 69] at thy doore, that thou wouldest open thy heart and let him in, and he would apply the blood of Christ unto thee, and he would fill thee with better joyes, and better pleasures, and better comforts than thou ever foundest in the way of sin. But hitherto thou hast stopped thine ears, and stiffened thy neck, and hardened thy heart, and wouldest not hearken nor obey.

The Ministers of God have often wooed thee and beseeched thee with tears in their eyes, and sorrow in their hearts, as if their happiness had been wrapped up in thine, and as if they could not have gone to Heaven and been saved without thee: while patience waited upon thee, they have been earnest with thee, and now at last one unworthy to preach the Gospel, is a suiter to thy soul, that thou wouldest be divorced from thy sin and be married unto Christ; as yet thou art out of hell, and art not yet reckoned among the dead, nor numbred amongst the damned, as yet thou art not irrecoverably lost, this day Christ is once more tendred to thee, in the name of God I once more offer thee pardon and eternall life, upon thy repenting of thy sin, and turn­ing unto God.

Oh that I could perswade thee, or if I cannot, as indeed I cannot; oh that God would yet perswade thee? If I might be serviceable to thy soule, oh how should I rejoyce; if I did but know where thou dost dwell, that hast been wicked all thy dayes, and now art reading of these lines, having a purpose in thy heart to come to Christ, I would come to thee (as oppor­tunity [Page 70] was offered) and beg upon my knees, that thou wouldest cherish those purposes, and be perswaded to what conduceth to thy eternall happiness: if teares and prayers would do it, I would endeavour (though my heart is hard) to shed them for thee; if putting my hands, un­der thy feet, and stooping to the meanest office of love unto thy soule, would excite thee to let Christ into thy heart, how readily (by the grace of God) would I be willing to it.

I beseech thee by the mercies of God, by the death of Christ, by the coming of our Lord, by the love thou bearest to thy self, as ever thou wouldest see the face of Christ with com­fort, as ever thou wouldest escape the damna­tion of Hell, return at last, and though it be late, yet return at last. But if thou wilt not, let God be my witness, let as many as read these lines be my witnesses, let thy own Con­science be my witness, that thou hast been asked, entreated, yea earnestly entreated to reform, and mend, and turn to God. But in hopes that I may prevail, I beseech thee in the fear of God, give in a sober and deliberate an­swer unto these following Questions.

First, Whether art thou going, while thou art waxing worse and worse? Dost thou know that Hell is at the end of the way in which thou art daily walking? Dost thou know, that if thou dost proceed a little further, a little longer in this course, thou wilt be among the Devils, those [Page 71] cursed Fiends of Hell? Or dost thou know it, and yet wilt venture to dance about the brink of a bottomless pit? who hath bewitched thee? or what hath made thee mad, that thou seest thou art going unto Hell, and yet wilt ven­ture on?

Secondly, Dost thou believe the Scripture to be the Word of God, or dost thou not? And are the threatnings contained therein, true, thinkest thou, or are they not? Wilt thou say they be false, or that they were found out by some Pre­cisians, or are the workings of some melancholly brain? or that they were found out by some Po­litician, to keep the world in awe? I would have thee know, that to thy eternal sorrow thou shalt finde them all true, even to a tittle; and to thy everlasting woe shalt know the truth of Gods Word: When thou art shrieking in the flames of Hell, and roaring hideously among the damned, because of Gods eternal wrath; thou shalt be convinced, that the wicked shall be turned into Hell, that the Unbeliever shall be damned, and that it was true which thou wast told, that without repentance there was no deliverance from eternal condemnation.

But if thou dost believe this Word to be true, what aileth thee then to live as thou dost? that thou actest quite contrary to what is contained in the Word of God? Doth not the Word of God in a thousand places cry down sin, and press to holiness? doth it not tell thee, the drunkard, the covetous, the unbelieving, the lyar, shall [Page 72] be damned? If thou never didst observe such places, take thy Bible and turn unto them. 1 Cor. 6.9, 10. Rev. 21.8. Heb. 12.14. Gal. 5.20. to 25. Col. 3.5, 6. Eph. 5.5, 6. Mar. 16.16. Mat. 18.3. Luk. 13.3, 5. Canst thou read and believe these Scriptures to be true, and yet goe on in the practice of those things that the eternal, holy God doth forbid upon pain of eternal torments? Wilt thou be worse than thy very beast, which thou canst not force into the fire when he seeth it before him. Shall I call out thy Neighbours to behold a dread­ful sight, viz. A man that knowes he is in the way to Hell, and yet will goe on.

Thirdly, With what face or heart canst thou hope (as thou dost) that God will pardon thy sin, or save thy soul, while thou persistest in thy wicked­ness, and encreasest therein? Shew me an in­stance of any one man in all the Word of God, that was pardoned and saved, who repented not, and I will be thy slave for ever. I know, great sinners have been saved; and I know, those that have gone far have obtained mercy: Manasseh did, 2 Chron. 33.12, 13. Mary Magdalene did, Luk. 7. But then they turned unto God. Canst thou say, there is any one now in Heaven that did not repent, and believe be­fore he dyed? or dost thou think that thou shalt be the only man?

Fourthly, Whom dost thou set thy self against? Or who is it that thou dost provoke? whose anger [Page 73] and indignation art thou daily kindling against thy self? What art thou, that thus dost sin? or what is God against whom thou sinnest? dost thou know thy self, and thine own weak­ness? And dost thou know God, and his Al­mighty power? art thou any better than chaffe before the winde of Gods wrath? art thou, any better than stubble before a consuming Fire? canst thou make thy party good against God? Then why dost thou take thy bed, when he layeth his finger light upon thee? or why dost thou complain and art so restless under the pain of the tooth-ache? why dost thou roar so much under the pain in thy bowels? and why dost thou groan, when he makes thee sick? why art thou sick, and why wilt thou dye, if thou canst contend with God? But if thou canst not, poor Worm, thou canst not; why then wilt thou pro­ceed and increase thy wickedness more and more, to provoke him more and more?

Fifthly, How canst thou call thy self a Chri­stian, while thou daily increasest in thy sin against God and Christ. Christians have their denomi­nation from Christ, because they follow his steps, and own him for their Lord and Master: Christ was holy, and so is every true Christian; Christ hated sin, and so doth every true Chri­stian; Christ did the will of his Father, and thou art doing the will of the Flesh and of the De­vil. That which consisteth of a head of one kinde, and members of another, is monstrous. [Page 74] If any creature had the head of a man, and the members were the members of a beast, it would be monstrous. Christ is an holy head, and all his members united unto him are holy members; therefore thou art none of them: Take it as thou wilt, thou art not a Christian, that should not be thy Appellation; thou art more rightly called a sinner, a Childe of the Devil.

Sixthly, How canst thou goe unto thy Prayers and yet go on in thy sin, and come to the Word preached, and hear drunkenness reproved, and go away and be drunk? How canst thou sit in thy Pew, and hear the Minister from God tell thee, the drunkard shall be damned, and all thy Neighbours know thee for a drunkard, and yet hold up thy head? Where is thy shame? art thou become impudent? where is thy fear of God and his Word? art thou utterly har­dened? where is thy Conscience? is it quite seared?

Seventhly, Dost thou think that God will never call thee to an account? Dost thou think that time will alwayes last? dost thou think thy soul shall live for ever, and yet do that which will bring thee to an eternity of misery? and expose thy self for a little momentany pleasure unto eternal torments? Thus I have set before thee these Considerations, whereby thou mayst be brought to bethink thy self, and at last en­quire, [Page 75] What would you have me to doe? I answer thee:

1. Make a stand and pause a little with thy self, whether it be not so with thee or no? and labour to convince thy self of the hainousness of thy sins, in making such an increase and growth in sin.

2. When thou art convinced thus, urge it upon thy heart till thou feelest it begin to melt, and to be dissolved in thy breast. Use thy Reason for thy souls good, after this manner: Oh God hath been good to me, and I have been wicked against God; God was alwayes good to me, and I have been alwayes evil against God; God multiplyed his mercy upon me, and I multiplyed my sins against God; if he had not given me bread to eat, I had dyed with hunger; and if he had not given me drink, I had perished with thirst; but what he gave me for my nourishment I have abused to gluttony and drunkenness; I have fought against God with his own mercy, and made his goodness an encouragement to me in my wickedness: He lengthened out his mercy, and I did lengthen out mine iniquity; Oh what rich grace and patience is this, that I am not in Hell! Oh this was long-suffering indeed, to bear so long with such a Swearer and Drunkard as I have been; and when the dreadfull Plague hath ta­ken away my Companions in sin, yet I am left behinde; Oh that it may be, that I may re­pent and turn to God! Woe is me! I have been damning of my precious soul, and have [Page 76] spent my dayes hitherto in dishonouring of a good and patient God.

3. Then resolve with thy self, that by the grace of God thou wilt forsake and leave those practises, and wilt no longer continue in thy wickednesse; say, Now I see this is not my Way to happiness; swearing, and lying, and drunkenness, is not my way to the Kingdom of God: The Devil hath deceived me, and my Companions have deceived me, and my own wicked heart hath beguiled me; I will, by the grace of God, I will do so no more; I am re­solved I will do so no more: And write down thy Resolution, that thou mayest have it under thine own hand, that such a day thou didst re­solve to do so no more.

4. Beg of God that thou mayst be deeply humbled for what thou hast already done, and labour that thy sorrow may be proportionable to what thy sins have been.

5. Make haste to Christ, and take him and receive him for thy Lord and Saviour, and sub­mit to him upon his Gospel-terms, as willing he should rule thee, as ever thou wast for sin to rule thee.

6. Then endeavour to be as good as thou hast been bad, as holy as thou hast been wic­ked, as eminent for piety, as thou hast been exemplary for iniquity; speak for Holinesse as much as ever thou didst speak against it; and love the wayes of God as much as thou wast wont to hate them, and by persevering so to doe, thou shalt finde great mercy will [Page 77] be shewn to thee, who hast been so great a sin­ner.


Corolla­ries from the first part of this Direction.NOw I will draw some Corollaries from this first branch of this Direction, and so pass on unto the second. Is it the Nature of sin to make men worse and worse? and do wicked men usually wax worse and worse? Then learn,

1. The evil that there is in sin: There is a depth in the evil of sin that cannot be fathomed, and a length in the evil of sin that cannot be measured; that is very bad that makes men so in every condition, as grace is very good that turneth every thing for the best to them to whom it is infused.

2. Learn that wicked men are never from un­der a curse: Let their condition be what it will, prosperity is a curse unto them, adversity is a curse, and deliverances are in wrath. When they do increase in riches, they do increase in sin; envy not the prosperity of the wicked.

3. Learn the bottomless depth of iniquity in a wicked mans heart: He was bad twenty years ago; he was a grief to all the godly in the Town and Parish where he lived, but yet he is many times worse than before.

4. Learn what abundance of guilt an old sinner goes with to his grave when he comes to dye: He was bad when he was born, and worse while he lived, and worst of all when he is to dye.

[Page 78]5. Learn the equity of Gods Justice in punishing a wicked man with eternal torments for sins com­mitted in time: For he sinned more and more as long as he lived, and if he had lived longer, he would have sinned longer; and if he had lived for ever, he would have sinned for ever.

6. Learn the over-ruling providence of God: that setteth bounds to wicked mens sins; if he did not restrain them, they would be worse, and do worse than they do.

7. Learn, that natural men by the improvement of common grace, or the means of grace, cannot work themselves into a state of grace, nor of themselves that are bad, make themselves to be good; for we have shewed, that without the speciall and irresistible operations of the Spirit of God, wicked men grow worse under the Administrations of the Gospel.

8. The folly of delays and procrastinations of re­pentance and turning unto God: Wicked men think they can repent when they will, and though they have no heart to turn to God for the pre­sent, yet they will hereafter; but he that is not disposed to turn to God and repent to day, will finde his heart more indisposed to morrow, and the longer they put it off, the more unwilling and unable they will be to do it hereafter. We have heard we must not be worse, now let us see we must be better, and that is the second part of this first Direction.


The se­cond part of the first Direction,HAth the Plague been raging, and you yet alive? then be better than you were before. And here I especially direct my speech to those that had the grace of God infused into their hearts, before this Judgement came upon us; that you would improve this providence by being better than you were before; if Drunkards and Swearers will not be better, yet be you; if sen­sualists and flesh-pleasers will not be better, yet be you. It may be the wicked will be worse, but will you be so too? If Gods people are not men­ded by his Judgements, who will? and hath God swept away so many thousands into another world, and shall there be no good effect, or fruit upon neither bad nor good? God forbid? London hath been a place of great prosperity, a City of Feasting, and a place of plenty of out­ward enjoyments; but in this last Sickness, God hath filled it with dolorous complaints by the many breaches made by death in so many fami­lies and relations; God hath filled it with pale faces, and sick persons, and running sores; God hath turned it into a place, an house of mourn­ing. And Solomon saith, Eccl. 7.2. It is better to go into the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting; for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to his heart. Have not your houses been houses of mourning, some dead out of most houses, and you are yet living; will you then lay it to your heart? What should you lay [Page 80] to heart? Lay to heart the great Judgement that hath been amongst you. Lay to heart the sins that did provoke the Lord to lay his hand so heavy upon you. Lay to heart the goodness of God in preserving you. The City hath been an house of mourning, but have you learned the lessons that are to be learned in an house of mourning? Have you met so many dead Corpse carried in the streets? have you seen the living laboring to carry forth their dead, and yet not learned the lessons that are to be learned in such a place of mourning? Where one is dead in a family, that before was an house of mirth and gladness, it will turn it into an house of mourning and sadness, much more, when many dead in one family; and this is the case of many families. God hath been teaching you many things at such a time, but is your lesson taken out? Oh, what dull Scholars are we in the School of Christ that must thus be scourged to learn our lessons, and yet have not done it? Consider, when God hath turned London, by reason of their dead, in­to an house of mourning, he hath been teaching you such things as these.Ten Les­sons to be learned in this City that hath been a great house of mourn­ing.

I. Verity of divine threat­nings.God hath been teaching you the Infallible verity of divine threatnings. God threatned our first Parents, Gen. 2.17. That if they sin­ned, they should certainly dye, they and their posterity. This threatning was made some thousands of years since, and it hath been made good in all generations. Length of time makes not voide the threatnings of God; men read [Page 81] Gods threatnings, but do not believe them, nor fear them, nor tremble at them. Many will not practically believe that they shall dye, though they sin, and will not at all believe they shall be damned, though they sin; but we see that men that have sinned must dye, and wicked men shall feel that they shall be damned according to Gods threatnings, but you have learned the truth of Gods threatnings in this, and they are as true in all other respects; therefore do you that are Gods people, learn the truth of Gods threatnings, when he saith the Drunkard shall not inherit the Kingdom of God; and let this move your heart to pity them that are such, that have a threatning of God, which is of undoub­ted verity, as a flaming sword standing in their way to keep them out of the Paradise of God, and be thankful unto God that you are none of these. Do you learn the truth of Gods threatning, when he saith, the hypocrite and un­believing shall be cast into the lake that burnes with fire and brimstone, Rev. 21.8. and pity and pray for them that are such, and bless God that you are none of them, and so are taken from under the curse of that threatning.

II. Desert of sin.In this great house of so great mourning, God hath been teaching you what are the Wages of sin. You have often heard that death is the Wages of sin, Rom. 6.23. The Greek word [...] there used, is a military term, signifying the wages that is due to souldiers, intimating that death is as due to a sinner for his service to [Page 82] the Devil, as pay is to a Souldier for his service to his General; it comes from the word [...], which signifieth properly, all kind of pleasant meats that may be prepared or made ready by fire, so that all the delicates, and dainty dishes that sin prepares for sinners, hath a deaths head in them. Do you learn this, and by this learn to hate sin more than you did before, and watch against it more than you did before.

III. Mans mor­t [...]l [...]ty.In this great house of so great mourning, God hath been teaching you the certainty of mens mortality. You have seen that this is the way of all flesh, Josh. 23.14. 1 King. 2.2. and there­fore learn to live as mortal, dying men should live; you have seen that thousands have been carryed from their houses to their graves: And, Oh what manner of persons ought you to be in all manner of holy conversation, after such a sight as this?

IV. The worlds vanity.In this great house of so great mourning, God hath been teaching you the worlds vanity. You have seen what miserable comforters riches are to men in time of Plague, and at an hour of death; you have seen death haling men from that which they had set their hearts upon; you have seen death dragging men from their riches, and from their pleasures, and hath forced them to come away to the Bar of God, and leave their riches behinde them, and their pleasures behind them. You have seen that riches could not go with them into another world, but left them in a [Page 83] time of need. You have seen that those that loved riches, could finde no comfort in them when they stood in greatest need of comfort. You have seen that what men have been labor­ing for, and scraping together all the time of their health and life, death hath come and scat­tered in a moment. Oh how weaned should you be from the world, and the riches and the plea­sures thereof, after such a sight as this! Oh how much less should you afford the world, of your heart and affections, of your love, desire, and de­lights that is so unkind to dying men, even unto those that served it most, and loved it most. Oh do you learn to deal so with the world, as you have seen the world to deal with others, i. e. turn it out of your heart with as little love and pity to it, as you have seen the world turn its followers out of it, and shake them off, not­withstanding all their entreaties to abide and stay therein. The world may now entreat you, that it might stay in your heart, and live in your love; but hearken you no more to its entreaties, than it hath hearkened unto others, and you must expect the world ere long will deal with you, as it hath dealt with others; therefore part with the world, before you leave the world.

V. The un­certainty of all rela­ti [...]ns.In this great house of so great mourning, God hath been teaching you the short continuance of all relations: you have seen death taking Hus­bands from their Wives, Parents from their Chil­dren, Ministers from their people, and so Wives [Page 84] from their Husbands, Children from their Pa­rents, People from their Ministers. Those that had but one onely Son. Plague and Death hath stripped them of him, and teared one relation out of the others bosome; fain they would have kept them, but death would not suffer them; they wept and cryed, but death would not have pity on them, nor hear their cries, nor regard their tears, but said, this is your childe, but I must have him; this is your husband, but I must seize upon him; God hath given me a Commission, and I always use to do according to the Com­mission I receive from God, if God will not spare you, in vain you look for pity at mine hands. I (saith death) am blinde and cannot see the beauty of your childe, that hath drawn out your heart so much towards him, I am deaf and can­not hear your pleadings for the continuance of your childe, or husband, or friend; if God doth not hear you, I cannot, and if God doth not spare and pity you, I will not, therefore I will smite him, and stick my arrow in his heart, and dippe it in his life-blood, and take him from you. Oh how many have thus experienced the dealings of death! and you have seen it, and will not you learn to sit looser in your affections towards your nearest and dearest relations? You have seen death hath seized upon them that were most beloved by their friends, and perhaps did there­fore do it, because they were over loved; and took up too much of that love, and that delight which should have been more, and would have been better placed upon God. Your lesson [Page 85] then is set down by the Apostle, for I would not teach you by rott, nor without the book of Gods word, 1 Cor. 7.29. But this I say, Brethren, [...] When they set forth to Sea, V [...]la da [...]t, when they have done their voyage, ve­la contra. hunt. the time is short, or rolled up, or contracted; a metaphor taken from a piece of cloth that is rol­led up, onely a little left at the end; so some. As Mariners near the Haven winde up their sails, or make them less. When the sails of time are thus contracted, it is a sign we are near the Har­bor of eternity. It remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none, Vers. 30. And they that weep as though they wept not, and they that rejoyce as though they rejoyced not; and they that buy as though they possessed not, and they that use this world as not abusing it, for the fashion of this world passeth away.

VI. Humility.In this great house of so great mourning, God hath been teaching you the lesson of humi­lity. How many humbling sights have you seen? every Corpse that you have seen hath been an humbling sight. It may be you have been proud of your beauty, but have not you seen that beauty vanisheth away when death comes; that beauti­ful bodies by the Plague and Death have been turned into loathsome bodies? and those that you have loved and been delighted to look upon, you have been glad to have them buried out of your sight, when once dead. How many open Graves have you seen, and those that have been nice and curious of their comely bodies, have been inter­red, and given to be meat for worms, and to be a prey to rottenness and putrefaction. Have you [Page 86] seen any difference betwixt the poor and the rich, be [...]wixt that body that was fed with cour­ser fare, and that which was nourished with more delicate dishes? Have you not seen bodies that were made out of dust, been turned to the dust, to be turned into dust, and will you be proud after God hath taken such an effectual course to teach you to be humble?

VII. Parity in [...]t [...]d afflictions.In this great house of so great mourning, God hath been teaching you, that all things fall alike to all, that the wise must dye as well as the fool, and the good must dye as well as the bad. And though God hath promised [conditionally] preservation from the Plague unto his people, which hath been literally fulfilled to some of his, yet some of his have fallen in this general morta­lity, God hath been teaching of you, that though grace doth deliver from eternal death, yet not from temporal; though from the sting, yet not from the stroke of death, that you (though godly) should be preparing for your own departure out of this world.

VIII. Difference [...]n the [...]anner.In this great house of so great mourn­ing, God hath been teaching you the difference between the death of the wicked and the death of the righteous, that though good and bad alike have dyed, yet they have not dyed alike. But as there was a difference in their life, so God did make a difference in their death: Have not you seen some wicked dye without any sense of sin, or [Page 87] fear of God, or Hell? and some with terrors in their consciences? and have you not seen some godly dye with peace and comfort, and giving good evidences of their hope of a better life? that God hath filled them with joys that they were going to their Fathers house? and that the plague and death had not so much in them to terrifie and affright, as the hopes of heaven had to comfort and support their hearts. It hath been ground of great rejoycing to hear: how many of Gods people in this plague did dye with joy and comfort? And should not y [...]u by such a sight as this, be quickened in your service unto God, and ever while you live look upon Religi­on as a real thing, that letteth in such real com­forts into their hearts, who had real grace, in such time of real discouragements; after such a sight as this, never think it a vain thing to serve God (though you must dye) who comforts his peoples souls in the very gates of death?

IX. Folly of delays.In this great house of so great mourning, God hath been teaching you the folly of delaying in the great concernments of another world; you have seen many Drunkards did delay to re­pent and turn to God, but when death once came to Arrest them, it would not stay till they had done their work. Have not you seen many have been surprized by death; that those that thought they would repent hereafter, and talked how they would mend hereafter, are gone down into the grave before that time was come? and wil not you after such a sight as this be quickned to [Page 88] make more haste in doing of the work that God expecteth at your hands? Have not you seen some that have talked what they would do the next year, laid in the dust before this year is past and gone? God hereby would have you learn not to boast of to morrow, because you know not what may be in the womb of another day, nor what to morrow may bring forth, Prov. 27.1. God would have you learn so to number your days that you may apply your hearts to wisdom, Psal. 90.12. God would have you learn to do your duty quickly, and to do it with all your might, because it will be too late, when you are rotting in your Grave, Eccles. 9.10.

X. Mortifica­tion.In this great house of so great mourning, God hath been teaching you the great lesson of Mortification; you have seen how many dyed by sin, and should not you be now dead unto sin, you should now in good earnest labor for the death of sin. O be the death of your passion, and be the death of your lusts, and be the death of your worldliness, especially be the death of your be­loved sin, God forbid that sin should be found alive in your heart after such a time of death to so many thousand persons. Are so many dead and rotting in their Graves, and shall not sin be dead and mouldring in your hearts.

These be some of the lessons God in his late providence hath been instructing you in, and if you can now do these duties better than before, it is some sign that you are better than you were before, But yet because so great a providence [Page 89] should not be sleightly passed over, with but a little Improvement, I shall take occasion to press you to be much better than you were be­fore; before, God saw a great deal of sin in his own people, and amongst Professors, much censoriousness, and rash and uncharitable judge­ing one of another, want of love and affection, a great deal of pride in Apparel, pride in Diet, pride in Furniture of houses, pride of Beauty, pride of Parts and Gifts; and God hath been staining the pride of all Families therein. God saw a great deal of neglect of Family Duties in Professors houses, and customary, cold and dead performance of them in others, and doth it not concern all to see where they have failed, and do so no more?


I Know the wicked World thinks that pro­fessing people are too exact already, and that they make more adoe than is needfull: But their Charge is,

  • 1. False; for there is no man is so exact in his life as he ought.
  • 2. Blasphemous; for what do such but blame God himself in giving such strict rules unto his people.
  • 3. Malicious; Cain envyed Abel because his works were evil, and his brothers good.
  • 4. Diabolical; what could a Devil say more, or what is this but to play the Devils part, in [Page 90] discouraging, discountenancing, speaking against the pressing after the highest degrees of good­nesse.

But let it be your great care whom God hath spared from the grave in this time of Plague, that are such as truely fear God, and are truely good: On take heed, that after such a preser­vation none of you might be found worse than you were; for though those that once were truely good, shall never so decline as to be [absolutely] bad, yet they may so farre fail, that they may [comparatively] be sayd to be worse. Here consider,

Ten Ag­gravations of Gods Peoples sin, if they be worse.1. To lose any degrees of Goodness and Grace, is a grievous and a sinfull loss: If you had lost your life in this Plague, it might not have been your sin, but you cannot be in the least degree worse than you were (after such a providence) but it is a great sin: Because it is our duty to love God as much as we can, there­fore to lose any degrees of our love to God, is to come short of our Duty, and therefore a sin.

2. To be worse in your spiritual condition, will be great unthankefulnesse to God for his watchfull Providence over you. If a man do a kindness for you, will you be worse towards him than you were before? And will you deal worse with God than with a fellow Crea­ture?

3. To be worse in your spiritual condition after such preservation and deliverance, will be displeasi [...]g unto God, and a grief unto him If [Page 91] God see his Children love him less, and fear him less, and delight in him less, will it not grieve him, and displease him? And had it not been better you had dyed, than to live to be a grief to God? Had not you rather follow your Children to their graves, than to see them live to be worse, and dishonour God? and will you yet do so your selves? Is it not a grief to you, the more kindness you shew unto your Children, to see them the more undutiful to you? and will it not be so in you to God?

4. If you be worse than you were in your spiritual condition, you shall have less commu­nion with God than you had before: and had not you better dye than lose your communion with God? for what is your life without fellowship with God?

5. If you be worse, you will have less Com­fort from God than you had before. If you deny Duty to him, which you performed to him be­fore, he will deny that comfort to you, which he gave you before, and what will your life be, without the comforts of God let down into your soul? is not his loving kindness better than life? Psal. 63.3. and what is life if you have no comfort in it? and where wi [...]l you have solid, lasting, suitable, satisfying comfort, if not from God?

6. If you are worse in your spiritual condi­tion than you were before, and love God less, and desire after him less, and delight in him less, you will have less Evidences for Heaven than you had before, you will not so clearly see [Page 92] your Interest in Christ, your title to his King­dom, as you did before; and do you live to blot your Evidences? Oh what an aggravation will it be to you, to say, before the Plague I knew that God did love me, but now I doubt of it. Before I knew, if I had dyed I should have been saved, but now if I should dye, I cannot tell.

7. If you are worse than you were, you will have less experience of the workings of God upon your heart, than you had before. You will not have such experience of his quickning presence, nor of the powerful Operations of the Spirit upon your heart; and what is it, if you feel the motions and acting of life, if you do not feel the motions of the Spirit so much upon your heart?

8. If you are worse, you will dishonour God more than you did before, and that you need not do, you did that too much before: And hath God spared you to live to his dishonour? I tell you, you had better dyed with others in the Plague, than live after it to dishonour God.

9. If you have less of goodness than you had before, you will have more of sin than you had before. If you love God less than you did, you will love something else more than you did; if you have less faith, you will have more un­belief; if you be less heavenly, you will be more worldly; if you be less spiritual, you will be more carnal: And hath God been using phy­sick to purge out your sin, and shall it be found more in you than it was before? Hath God put [Page 93] you in the Furnace, and doth your dross conti­nue, and increase? It is the nature of contraries, the less there is of the one, the more there is of the other. If the Sun be setting, darkness is approaching; if heat be expelled out of the wa­ter, more cold is introduced; and so it is with your heart in respect of sin and grace.

10. If you be worse, it will cost you much pains, and prayers, and tears, before you will re­cover to be as good as you were before. You may lose that with a little neglect, which you will not re-gain without great diligence. Thus I have laid before you these Considerations, to prevent your being worse: But that will not be a sufficient Improvement of this Providence, that you be not worse in your spiritual condi­tion, but you must be better: Not enough, that you do not decline, but you must increase and thrive in grace and goodness. And before I come to press you to be better, let me lay down these following Positions; and the last shall bring me to my intended Work.


Posit. 1. THere are many that are really bad, and not so much as seemingly good. There are many that do not profess any good­ness; such are your open, debaucht sinners, that give themselves up unto all Licentiousness and sin.

[Page 94] Posit. 2. That there are many that are seem­ingly good, that are not really good. Many make a great shew in Religion, that have no Religion in them. Many pray much, and hear much, and talk of good things much, but are not good them­selves; and the misery of these is,

1. That they lose all their labour; for if they themselves be not good, their praying is not good, and their talking of good things is not good: For, the sacrifice of the wicked is an abo­mination unto the Lord, Prov. 15.8.

2. They have no real Communion with God who are but seemingly good: For, what com­munion hath light with darknesse, 2 Cor. 6.13, &c.

3. They shall have no real reward, in the Kingdom of Heaven. Their goodnesse is but seeming goodness, and their happiness is but seeming happiness.

4. They are seemingly like to God, but are really like the Devil.

5. They associate with Gods Children, but are none of Gods Children; for all Gods Chil­dren are good.

6. They have no true peace, Isa. 57.21. But God hath really preserved you from death, and really kept you alive, therefore be not satis­fied to be seemingly good, but be really so.

Posit. 3. That there be many that are really good, that are not gradually good, that have grace in truth, that have not grace in growth. Those that are seemingly good are not so many as those that are openly bad, and those that are [Page 95] really good are not so many as those that are seemingly good, and those that are gradually good are not so many as those that are really good. Ever the better the fewer, both for kinde and degree. It is so in Naturals; not so many Whales as lesser Fish; not so many Eagles as little Birds; not so many Suns as Stars: And so it is in Spirituals; not so many strong men in Christ, as babes; not so many tall Cedars, as there are Shrubs in Gods Lebanon. Now my purpose is to exhort you (especially after such a Providence) to be not only really good, but to be gradually good.

Posit. 4. That those that are gradually good, are yet imperfectly good, as appears by the re­mainders of sin in the best; and would be evi­dent by a particular enumeration of their Graces, which is the best thing in the best men; they know but in part, and they love but in part, and delight in God but imperfectly, Philip. 3.9, 10, 11, 12.

Posit. 5. Those that are really good though imperfectly good, are truly acceptable unto God. God will not break the bruised Reed, nor quench the smoaking Flax, Mat. 12.20. There may be a great deal of smoak where there is but little fire, a great deal of sin where there is but little grace; but yet it is pleasing unto God, if it be true; a little grace is of great value, (a Pearl of small quantity might be of great worth) and better than a great deal of riches, or of gifts; better than a strong Memory pregnant phantacy, solid Judgement, quick Apprehension, voluble [Page 96] Tongue, or any such things; because the least Grace is a pledge of Heaven, and so are none of all the rest.

Posit. 6. That when a good man doth increase in goodness, he increaseth more or less in all saving goodness. When any one sin is more mortified, every sin is in some measure more mortified, and yet every sin is not equally strong, because some sins are more deeply radi­cated, have been more strengthened by frequent acts, and are more rooted in the constitution; so though addition be made in every Grace, when a Christian growes better, yet every grace might not be equally strong in the same Chri­stian, because some grace may be more oppo­sed by the contrary sin, and some grace is drawn forth more into act and exercise than the rest; yet as a Childe growes in all parts truely though not equally; so it is in a good Chri­stian: And this I adde, that you may endea­vour to be universally good, and universally better, better in Faith, and better in Love, and Humility, &c.

Posit. 7. That those that are good should la­bour to be better, and those that are better, should strive to be best. You should not rest in good­ness positive, but labour to have comparative goodness, and when you have it in the compa­rative degree, you should aspire after superla­tive goodness: You see it is so in other things; amongst Scholars men strive who should be the best Scholar; and amongst Artificers, men strive who shall be the best Artificer; and now after [Page 97] the Plague, you will perceive men to be more earnest in their Trading (I pray God they may not exceed) to re-gain, what they lost for want of Trading: And so amongst Christians, every one should strive who should be the best; and to quicken and provoke you hereunto, lay these things to your heart. Consider,


Seventeen Arguments to Gods People to be better.1. YOu are not so good as once you were; I mean in your Primitive condition and first creation, we had more goodness as we came out of the hands of God; then we had good and no evil: And when God hath restored us, we should labour to come up as near to what we were in Adam, (though not by the same Cove­nant) as we can.

2. You are not so good as you shall be. You were good in Adam, but you shall be better in Heaven: In Adam we were perfectly good, in Heaven we shall be perpetually good; and should you not labour to get as much of Heaven into your heart as you can.

3. You are not so good as you ought to be, no, not by many degrees; you come farr short of what you should be in grace and goodness.

4. You are not so good as you may be: Though you cannot be so good as you were in Adam, as you shall be in Heaven, as you ought to be upon earth, yet you may be better than you are. You have not so many degrees of love to God, but you may have more, nor such strong desires [Page 98] after Christ, but you may have more: How weak is thy love! how cold are thy desires! how stu­pid is thy heart! not only in comparison of what it ought to be, but of what it may be: Thou wantest many degrees, Oh Christian, put on, there is much more that is yet attainable.

5. You are not so good, but you need to be better. If thou be no better, and shouldst come into some conditions, thou wouldest be found not good enough to go through the same as becomes the Gospel. Thou mightest be brought into those straits, and assaulted by those temptations, that except thou hast more Patience, more Love to God, more Faith in Christ, thou wilt not be able to bear them, nor resist them, as becomes a Childe of God to doe: Thy burdens might yet be greater, and thy Duties greater, and thy Temptations greater, therefore thou shouldest hasten to be better.

6. You are not so good as others are, that have had but the same time, and the same means, and Helps as you have had, nay some that have not had so much preaching as you have had, nor such Examples as you have had, nor so much time, that did set out for Heaven after you, that were bad while you were good, yet have over­taken you, and gone beyond you: Oh Christi­an, thou art lagging behinde, put on, least thou shouldest be last of all.

7. You are not so good, but you are as bad. You have not so much grace, but you have as much sin; nay, is not your sin more than your grace? is not your unbelief more than your faith? and [Page 99] your wandring thoughts in duty more than your fixed thoughts in duty? and your dulness more than your liveliness? If thou canst say truely, it is not, do thou go and bless God that it is not so with thee, while I must go and be humbled before God, because it is so with me.

8. The better you are, the more excellent you will be. Riches is not your excellency, and Learning is not your excellency, and Grace is not your utmost and your highest excellency, but the highest degrees of Grace is. Reason makes a man differ from a beast; and the more rational a man is (by the improvement of Reason) than others, the more excellent as a man (for a Fool might excell a Wise man in riches) he is above other men: So Grace makes a Christian differ from a man as such, and the better Christian he is than others, the more excellent he is than other Christians are.

9. The better you are, the more like to God, who is the greatest, the chiefest, and the best good. When we lost our goodness, we lost our likeness unto God; and when God makes us good, he makes us like himself, and the better God doth make us, the more he makes us like himself: And should not this provoke thee to be better? espe­cially considering, to be most like to God, is

Thy greatest
  • Duty: The end of all the rest.
  • Desires: Oh that I were more like to God.
  • Dignity: And therefore our dignity will be greatest in Heaven, because there we shall be likest unto God.

[Page 100]10. The better you are, the more you shall have Gods approbation: And what will it be to be approved of God! You may by seeming good­nesse have the approbation of men, but you must be really good, if you will have the appro­bation of God; and the better you are, the more he will approve you. God observeth the worst of men, but approveth only of good men; and only the good actions of good men, not their sinful actions, 1 King. 15.5.

11. The better you are, the more clearly you will see that you are good. Many question, they are not good, and the reason of their doubt is, because they are no better: That time you spend in complaining you fear you are not good, improve in endeavouring to be better, and your doubts will be sooner answered, and your fear expelled.

12. The better you are, the more profitable you will be to all about you. The better you are in your self, the better it will be for your self, and the better for all about you; the better you are, the more you will lay out your self for God, and for the good of souls. Others shall be the better,

For your Counsels: You will be directing them how to do good.

For your Reproofs: You will be telling them when they do evil.

For your Example: You will lead them in the good Way.

For your Experiences: You will communi­cate to them how good God hath been unto you, and what God hath done for you.

[Page 101]13. The better you are, the more inward joy, and the more established peace you shall finde. The great trouble of a Christian is, because he is no better; be you better and you will have the les­ser trouble within, though the better you are, the more trouble you might have from men; but thats not so great matter.

14. The better you are, the more glory you will bring to God. Herein is my father glorified that you bear much fruit, Joh. 15.8. And what is your design in the world, but to glorifie God, and to do that, and be that which tendeth most there­unto?

15. The better you are, the more you will credit Religion, and realize the wayes of God; it will appear that Religion is a real thing, when it hath made bad men good, and good men better. If there were nothing else to disgrace the ways of sin, this would be abundantly sufficient to be­hold the great wickedness of those men (how bad they be) that walk most therein.

16. The better you are while you live, the more undaunted you shall be when you come to dye: The reason why we are so troubled in our sickness, is because we were no better in our health; con­science then remembers at such a time I sinned, and at such a place I fell, and in such company I defiled my soul; be better in Health, you will be the better in sickness and death.

17. The better you are upon earth, the weightier your crown shall be in heaven: Those that be truly good, shall have sure glory, but those that are better, shall have more. There shall be no want [Page 102] of any thing to any one in heaven, but yet some shall shine more eminently in glory, than others.

Thus I have dispatched this particular also, that you be better after such a signal providence as this, for if you be not, this very thing will be a greater Plague, than the Plague upon the body; and if you ask me wherein you should be better? you must gather up that in the following Directions, which shall be more particular; and such as may be useful to prevent men from grow­ing worse, which was the first thing, and help­ful to promote this duty of being better, which was the second thing I have spoken to.


Perform your pur­pose, pay your vows.HAth God spared you in time of Plague, that you live in some measure answer­ably to so great a mercy, carefully en­deavour to live up to the purposes, and resolutions and vows which you made to God in time of danger and distress. Good purposes and holy resolu­tions, when observed and put in practice, are great helps to an answerable return to God for his mercies conferred upon us; but holy, Reli­gious vows, being something more than single purposes and resolutions (being a promise made to God with due deliberation, of something law­ful in it self, and in our power to perform, as a [Page 103] testimony of our thankefulness unto God for some ex­traordinary mercy received, or expected, or deli­verance from some great evil in extraordinary dan­ger and distress) do much promote a holy life, whereby we may the better be inabled to walk in some measure worthy of what the Lord in mercy hath done for us, or given to us. In time of extraordinary danger, or when we are in ex­pectation of some extraordinary Mercy, we have the example of the holy men of God in Scripture, to binde our selves to endeavour to walk more close with God. So Jacob, Gen. 28.20. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, if God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on. Vers. 21. So that I come again to my fa­thers house in peace, then shall the Lord be my God. And this he was careful to perform, Gen. 35.2. Then Jacob said unto his houshold, and to all that were with him, put away the strange gods, and be clean, and change your garments. Vers. 3. And let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. Thus David made a vow to God when he was in danger of his life, Psal. 56.12. Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. Vers. 13. For thou hast delive­red my soul from death —And in the like danger, Psal. 116.3. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gate hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Vers. 4. Then called I upon the name of the Lord, O Lord, I beseech thee deli­ver [Page 104] my soul. Vers. 6. The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Vers. 8. Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. Vers. 12. What shall I render to the Lord, for all his benefits towards me? Vers. 14. I will pay my vows unto the Lord, now in the presence of all his people.

And hath not this been thy case, Christian Rea­der, did not the sorrows of death compass thee about? Didst thou not finde trouble and sorrow? Wast thou not brought very low, and received the sentence of death within thy self? Didst thou not then call upon the name of the Lord, and resolve thou wouldst walk before the Lord, if he would restore thee? and hath not God de­livered thy soul from death, and thy feet from falling? Then pay thy vows to God, and per­form to him thy promise, and live up unto thy re­solutions.

Tell me, what were thy purposes when thou heardest the Plague had entered into thy Neigh­bours house, when it came unto the family near­est unto thine? What were thy resolutions when the Plague did enter into thy house, and took one away, and then another? What were thy holy, deliberate, lawful vows, when it seized up­on thy body? When thou betookest thy self unto thy bed, to sweat out thy distemper? When thou foundest Risings on thy Body, Swellings and Carbuncles in several parts, when the ap­prehensions of death did fill thy minde, and the terrors of the Lord did fill thy heart, when thou [Page 105] thoughtest thou hadst not many days to live, and that thou wert near to death and another world, and shouldest certainly dye, if God did not pre­serve thee? What didst thou think then? And what didst thou purpose then, and resolve upon then? Didst thou not determine with thy self if God would spare thy life, if God would give thee health again, and try thee a little longer in the world, that thou wouldest walk more ho­lily, and act for God more zealously? That thou wouldest pray more frequently and more fervently? That thou would minde the world less, and heaven more? That thou wouldest make Religion thy business, as long as thou shouldest live? Didst thou not resolve that God and Christ, and things above should have more of thy heart and hearty love? That thou would­est then forsake loose and carnal company, and associate thy self with those in whom thou couldst discern most of God, and walked most con­scientiously before him? That thou wouldest no more take a cup too much, nor club in the Ale-house and Tavern, to the neglect of duties of thy family at home. Did it not then trouble thee that thou being a Professor, hadst been at nights drinking in the Tavern, when thou shouldst have been praying in thy family; that thy Wife and Children, though they have not gone Supperless to bed, yet have almost every night gone prayer­less to bed, except they went apart to pray in secret. But did not then thy conscience tell thee, that their performance of their duty would be no excuse to thee, when thou shouldst stand [Page 106] at the Bar of God, for thy neglecting of what thou oughtest to have done? Didst thou not then resolve, if thou shouldst live, it should be so no more? That thou wouldst read thy Bible more, as well as look over thy Shop-books daily? That thou wouldst spend some time in secret before God, whereas before thou wast use to waste it in thy pleasures, and taking of thy worldly delights.

Deal plainly, man, with thy self, and do not flatter thy soul, and daube with thy conscience, Was there not some such thoughts and purposes, and resolutions as these in thy heart at such a time? And didst thou promise and resolve in jest, and not in earnest; God did afflict thee by the plague in good earnest, and thou waste then affraid of death, and the grave, and judgement, in good earnest! And didst thou onely purpose in jest, and resolve in jest, and play with holy things when thou wast near another world? and dally with God, when thou didst not know but within an hour thou mightest have appeared at his Bar? and been set before the terrible tribunal of the great heart-searching God? But if thou wast in earnest with God, when God was in ear­nest with thee; if thou wast in earnest in promi­sing, be earnest in earnest to perform; if thou didst indeed resolve to reform when thou shouldst be well, then reform indeed according to thy resolution, since God hath made thee well, and saved thee from the Grave, to which thou wast so near, so very near.

[Page 107]Or if God hath been so good to thee to pre­serve thee from the infection of the Plague, a­mongst the many thousands that have been visi­ted, that thou hast not been heart-sick, yet thou hast often felt shootings, and pains, and prick­ings up and down in several parts of thy body; and sometimes hast had such things as thou hast thought to be symptomes of the distemper, and hast apprehended it to be approaching to thee, that hath made thee hasten to thy bed, and make use of thy preservatives, and thy cordials, that thou thoughtest thy self in real danger, and wast possest with real fears: What were thy purposes at such a time as this? And what didst thou re­solve to do? And how to live, if God would prevent the thing thou fearedst? Or hadst thou no such purpose in thy heart? No such resoluti­on in thy breast, that if thou livedst thou wouldst be better? Was thy heart indeed so backward unto good, that at such a time of fears and dan­gers, thou hadst not so much as a purpose to be better? but if thou hadst (and let thy consci­ence be thy witness, and the God of heaven that did fully know the purpose of thy heart) then now perform, what then thy heart did purpose to perform.

I am perswaded if the people in London (and in Country too) would live up according to the purpose of their heart, in time of danger of the Plague, would reform and mend as they did re­solve to do, we should be much better than we were before. Oh what a difference would there be in the frame of our hearts, and in the course [Page 108] of our lives! What a change would there be in all our practises? Those that were forward Pro­fessors of Religion, and were not much more then Professors, would be zealous practisers of Religious duties; and in order hereunto I shall to follow this direction, do three things.

1. Lay down some considerations why you should be careful to keep your purposes, resolu­tions and vows.

2. Prescribe some helpes how you may per­form your purposes, resolutions and vows.

3. Set down the aggravations of your sin, if you break your purposes, resolutions and vows.


Seven Ar­guments for care to keep o [...]r resolutions made in time of fear and sickness.1. GReat and constant diligent care should be taken in time of health, to keep our purposes, to perform our resolutions, and to pay our vows to God, which we made in time of sickness, and danger, and distress, if you consider these particulars.

1. The heart is deceitfulThat one great deceit of the heart of man doth appear in this, in being forward to purpose in our selves, and promise unto God, but are back­ward to perform. In time of sickness, what re­solutions do men make? what purposes have they in themselves, to mend and turn to God, and seem to promise this with tears in their eyes, and sorrow in their hearts, for the evil that is [Page 109] past and done, and seem to others, and think verily themselves, that they promise in good earnest, and mean to do as they do speak, and when they think the danger is past, and their fears removed, do nothing less than what they promised: I have known some upon sick beds so to promise, that they would be drunk no more, &c. and yet when health hath been re­stored, have returned to their wickedness: So did Pharaoh promise fair when the Plagues of God were upon the Land, that he would let the children of Israel goe; but when the Plagues have been removed, he hath hardened his heart against them more than before; and this he often did. Exod. 8.8, 15. & 9.27, 28, 34, & 10.16, 17, 20.

Now this deceitfulness of the heart is yet in part remaining in the best of men, and there­fore you must be carefull, else though you have promised, you will never perform.

2. Sin is en­croaching.That sin is of a bewitching, encroaching and alluring nature; if it can prevail, it will keep you from resolving against it; if you do resolve, it will entreat you that you would not send it farre from you, that your Resolution might not be peremptory and universal, that if you resolve to banish it from your heart, it might be only some of its members that are not so dear unto you, and reserve the rest; or if it be perempto­ry and universal, that you will part with all sin, it will contend that your Resolution may not be perpetual, that you send it not away for [Page 110] ever, but only till your danger of death is over, and your fears thereof are ceased, that then it may be received into your heart, be your Fa­vourite again; or if you do resolve to part with sin, peremptorily, universally and perpetually, yet after a while it will solicit you to change your resolution; or if you will not change it, it will solicit you to abate the strength and ve­hemency thereof; and will come and offer you so much delight, and so much pleasure, and so much profit, if you will not be so severe against it. If you are not carefull, it will encroach upon your heart, and insinuate and winde it self into your love and delight, and allure your will into a consent, first not to be so severe, next to in­dulge it, then to countenance it, and then to renew its acquaintance, till it again become familiar to you.

3. Satan will assault.That Satan will assault you, and set in with sin for its re-admission. If he cannot keep you from resolving, yet he will lay hard at your heart to break your resolution: He will lay his snares and baits, and use his stratagems in sins behalf; and come to you as he did to our first Parents, Gen. 3.1. He (i. e. Satan) said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the Garden? So Satan cometh unto thee, and saith, Yea, hast thou said, thou wilt not be kinde unto thy sin any more? hast thou said, thou wilt be so severe against thine Iniquity? If thou re­ply, I have said, I will not keep my sin, lest [Page 111] God be angry with me, and send some soret Judgement upon me; he will return to thee, and say, God will not surely be angry with thee to plague thee, it may be thou mayst escape, or if thou yield now, thou mightest repent, and renew thy resolution against it again, do it but this once, take but the other Cup; play but the other game. If you be not carefull to look to your Resolutions, when sin, Satan, and your own heart do set against you, you will certainly break them.

4. The world will inter­rupt. The World will interrupt you, that you may not live up to your Resolutions made to God in time of danger. This is another powerful As­saultant, for your heart and affections; and will plead, If thou didst resolve against sin, that was unlawful, but the things that I have (saith the World) are good, my Riches are good, and my Pleasures are not absolutely evil, and my Pro­fits are not unlawful; if thou wouldest turn off thy drunkenness, why should I be resolved a­gainst? and if thou wilt shake off thy wicked company, yet what have I done, that I must not be loved? Company-keeping (saith the World) did impoverish thee, but I will enrich thee, that did consume what was necessary for thy Family, but I come with supplyes for them, I will cloathe their backs, and I will furnish their Table, and I will bring in Portions for thy Children, I will make thee honourable and esteemed, and I will lay up in store for thee against thy old age, [Page 112] when thy labour will be past: Thus will the World come in for entertainment in your heart again, that though you resolved to spend so much time in secret Prayer every day, if God would suffer you to live, yet this worldly busi­ness cometh to divert you, and another cometh to take you off from your resolved practice: If you consider what earnest suiters, Satan, sin, and the World will be for your heart, and how your heart is as ready to yield, as these are to solicit, your heart is as willing to have them, as these are to have your heart, then without diligent care it is impossible to live up unto good and holy Resolutions made in time of danger.

5. The difficulty of the things you have purpo­sed and resolved to do, calls for your greatest diligence if you would live up unto them. The more excellent and difficult the work is we re­solve to do, the more apt we are to flag and faint, and come short in performance. Now it will appear that these things are difficult, be­cause They are

  • Praeter
  • Super
  • Contra


First, The things you have purposed and re­solved to do, are preternatural. These things are, that you will love God more, and that you will delight and joy in God more. Now those things are praeternatural which are added to another [Page 113] thing (as an adjunct to its subject) so that it doth not constitute the nature of it, nor destroy it, but perfect it. Such a thing is Grace, that you have resolved to get greater degrees of. Grace and Holiness doth not constitute the Nature of man, for a man without grace is a man; neither doth grace and holiness destroy but perfect Nature: Grace doth not destroy the affection of Love, but doth correct it, and place it upon its proper Object; nor destroy our Joy, but turns the stream of our Joy to empty it self in God, or rather to fetch our Joyes from God.

Secondly, The things you have resolved to do, are supernatural, above Nature; it is not in the power of Nature to enable you to do what you have resolved upon. You resolved in your time of fears and danger, to pray to God more fervently; but Nature cannot help you to do this: To believe more stedfastly, to love God more ardently, to walk with God more ho­lily, but all these are above the power of Na­ture; and must be wrought in you by the super­natural and almighty power of God; and yet you did well to resolve to endeavour to do all these, if you did remember to make your reso­lution, in the strength of Christ to do this, by whose strength we can do all things, Philip. 4.13.

Thirdly, The things you have resolved to do are contra-natural, against Nature, i. e. against corrupt nature: For our love to God doth not destroy the faculty or affection of Love, but per­fect [Page 114] it and Innoble it, but it doth destroy our love to sin, and our love to the World, and the things of the World. Now to do that which is against corrupt Nature is very hard, you will finde it exceeding difficult, it is swimming a­gainst the stream, and rowing against the tide, that if you do not ply your Oar, you will be carryed back.

6. You will meet with oppositi­on. The opposition you may meet withall from your nearest Friends, will make it evident that there is need of your greatest diligence to make good your good resolutions. You have purposed in your heart to spend more time for God, and your soul, and for the life to come, if you do so as you have resolved, it may be thy father, the Wife of thy bosom, thy fellow-servants, will scorn thee and deride thee, and set them­selves against thee. Thou hast purposed in thy heart to reprove sinners for their Oathes and Drunkenness, and Prophaneness, and if thou do so, they will envy thee for thy pity, and hate thee for thy love; it may cost thee dear, it may expose thee to trouble from men, and from those that by bonds of Nature are nearest to thee, if thou wilt indeed come up in thy practice in time of health and safety, to thy Resolutions, which thou didst believe was thy duty to make, in time of sickness and dan­ger.

[Page 115]7.Concur­rence of many du­ties re-qui­red. The necessary concurrence of many difficult duties that you may perform the purposes of your heart, in living in some measure answerable to the mercy of divine protection in time of plague, calls for your utmost diligence and care, else you will undoubtedly fail and come short of what you did resolve upon. Where many Du­ties are to meet, and to be done as necessary Requisites to another duty that makes this duty so much the more difficult. There are many things to be done, if you will perform your Vows and Resolutions to be better, without which it will be impossible, and these are such as

  • Watchfulness,
  • Self-denyal,
  • Fervent Prayer,
  • Frequent Examination, &c.

But these I reserve for their proper place, as Helps hereunto. But first I would have you to believe the necessity of your utmost care and di­ligence to perform your Purposes of an holy life. That man that thinks it easie to live up to such Resolutions, will undoubtedly come short in putting them in practice.


II.Twenty Helps for keeping our Reso­lutions. I Come to the Helps to be prescribed for the better performance of your Purposes and Resolutions of a holy, heavenly, Gospel-conversation, [Page 116] made in time of your danger by reason of the Plague. If you would live up to your Resolution of an holy life, then

1. Watch a­gainst your Darling sin.Evermore take heed of your Beloved sin; take heed of that which is to you Peccatum in delitiis; your darling Lust, which by way of special propriety you may call your own. Keep a very strict hand over it, for if any sin undoe you, it is likely to be this, and if there be any sin that will weaken your endeavours to live according to your purpose, it will be this: Be­ware of all, but especially of this; maintain your holy warfare against the whole hoast of sin, but especially fight against this as the General and Commander of all the rest: Whether it be pride, or worldliness, or the pleasing of your sensitive Appetite, or the Lusts of the Flesh, &c. That you may know what is your Darling sin, take these signs.

Signs of a beloved sin.First, That sin you have been more accusto­med to, and hath usually broken out to the wounding of your soul, and disturbing of your peace above any other sin, is your beloved sin.

Secondly, That sin that all other sins doe wait upon and vail to, and bring in their aid and assistance to maintain, is your beloved sin.

Thirdly, That sin of which you are most im­patient of reproof; you can hear of other sins, and be reproved for other sins, but if you are [Page 117] plainly dealt with about this, you cannot so easily bear it, but you will finde your corrupt heart to bestir it self to finde out excuses to ex­tenuate it, and plead for it; that is likely your beloved sin.

Fourthly, That sin is likely your Darling, when disappointments of the fulfilling, and plea­sing of it, is more grievous to your soul than the frustrations of any other sin.

Fifthly, That sin is your Darling, which you have often found your heart wishing it were no sin, when you wish that it had not been forbid­den by God; which you finde your heart most unwilling to resolve against.

Sixthly, That sin is your Darling, which you are willing to be at any cost and charges to maintain or satisfie.

Seventhly, That is your Darling sin, which you are most delighted in the committing of, and had rather part with all the rest than with this; it is a sign your heart is indeed marryed to that sin, when you will leave all to cleave to this.

Eighthly, That sin is your Darling sin, which doth most disturb you at the Throne of Grace, and fill your minde most usually with distracting thoughts. The Devil will divert your heart from God in holy Duties, and there is no sin he can better make use of for this purpose, than what your heart is most apt naturally to close with­all.

Ninthly, That sin is your Darling sin, which doth most interrupt you in your chosen Soli­tudes, [Page 118] and Retirements for your souls con­cernment. It is not every man, but some spe­cial friend that will joyn himself unto you, when he knows you are retired for some special business.

Tenthly, That is your Darling sin which Conscience doth most reproach you for in time of danger and fears of death.

Eleventhly, That sin is your Darling sin, which usually lies down in your thoughts at night, which your minde most thinks upon in the night when you wake, and first endeavours to salute you in the morning.

Whatever sin this be, you must resolve to deal severely with it, if ever you would keep your holy Resolutions: While you cocker this sin, and be too kind towards it, you will not walk so close with God in time of health, as you purposed to do in time of sickness.

And next to this beloved sin, be carefull to mortifie that sin that is next unto it in your love. There is some other sin, besides the Darling (which is chief) that the corrupt heart hath some peculiar favour for; and if you ask what sin that is? I answer, it is that sin which your heart is most apt to change your beloved sin for, when you press your heart to forsake your Darling sin: And that which was the se­cond chief sin in your Soul, would be first, if the former be taken down and suppressed.

2. And a­gainst Tempta­tion.Take heed of dallying with temptations, or playing with the baits of sin, and be careful to [Page 119] abstain from the very appearance of evil; rather deny your self of what is lawful, then play upon the borders of that which is unlawful, If you al­ways go as far as you may, you will sometimes go further then you should: If you venture to the ut­most, you will be in danger of transgressing and going beyond your bounds. You will finde the Devil and your own heart sometimes to reason thus, so far thou mayest go, and yet keep thy re­solution; so far thou mightest venture, and maintain thy holy purpose; thou maist go with such a one into the Tavern, and yet keep thy purpose to be sober, thou mayst take another Glass of Wine, and then another, and then ano­ther, and yet not break thy resolution. Thus the Devil will play upon thee, and ply thee, step after step; till he makes a prey of the peace of thy conscience, and hath brought thee to a violation of thy purpose, Principiis obsta, resist the first risings of the sin thou hast resolved against; thou hast resolved to keep a constant course of secret prayer every morning, but when thou ri­sest, there is this business offers it self to be done first, and then another, till thou dost omit it and neglect it, or there is this business which stayes for thee, and that will make thee first be slight and hasty, and over-short in the per­formance of it, till at last it brings thee to neg­lect it. Beware then of the appearances of sin.

3. Sin is as odious to God when you are well as when you were sick. Often press upon your heart, that sin is as odious unto God, and displeasing unto him at one [Page 120] time as another, in time of health, as well as in times of sickness and great mortality, when the plague is over, as when it was slaughtering thou­sands in a week. Though God doth sometimes manifest more of his displeasure against sin, yet he always equally (because he always infinite­ly) hateth sin. If the thoughts of Gods displea­sure, and the sight thereof in the effects of it, did move thee to resolve and purpose against sin, the believing thoughts of this when the Plague is over, will have some special influence upon thee, to make thee endeavour to do accord­ing to the purpose of thy heart in dying times.

4. Holiness in ac [...], plea­sing to God, more than in purpose.Consider, Holiness is as pleasing unto God at one time as another, and if God was pleased with thy purpose, it will be more pleasing if thou proceed unto performance: The moving reason of your purpose in the time of your distress, was that you judged it pleasing unto God; and would you please God at one time by purposing, and displease him at another by non-performance? Would you please God at one time by resolving to reform, and displease him at another by non­reformation? Sin and holiness is the same in the eyes of God at all times, but it seems it is not so in thine; if sometime thou dost purpose to forsake sin, and at another dost willingly com­mit it; if sometime thou approvest holiness, and p [...]osest to follow after it, but at another time thou art remiss in thy pursuit.

[Page 121]5. Sin is pre­judicial, [...]h [...]n you are well as when you were sick. Work this upon thy heart, that sin is as de­structive to thy soul, and pre [...]udicial to thy peace and comfort, at one time as another: Though sometime the circumstance of time might ag­gravate a mans sin, and make it more hain­ous (as a man to be drunk upon the Lords day) yet sin committed at any time is damnable, and sin loved at any time is damnable; though some­time we feel the effects of sin, in sickness on our bodies, and terrors and fears upon our con­sciences, and then have greater and more af­fecting apprehensions of the evil of it; yet you can at no time (when you have your perfect health) lay sin in your bosom, but it may sting you unto death. In your sickness you thought that sin would undo you, that your evil actions would certainly damne you, therefore you did resolve against it; think so still, and let those thoughts abide upon your heart, and they will carry you in the strength of Christ, to live as you did purpose.

6. Holiness in act will be sweeter to you, than onely in purpose. Work this upon your heart, that holiness in act, and a godly life in act, will be more sweet unto your soul, than it was onely in your purpose: And that a holy life should be esteemed by you at one time, as well as another, because it will be as sweet and profitable to you at one time as ano­ther; if you thought it would be for your good, to purpose holiness, and to resolve to live to God, and this did something quiet your heart, if you had dyed, that God had given you a real and unfeigned resolution, and fixed purpose of heart [Page 122] to lead (as you could with utmost diligence) a Gospel conversation, how much more will it be a comfort to your heart to see your purposes end in performances, and your resolutions come un­to a real, thorough, continued Reformation. Get the same thoughts of holiness in time of safety, as you had in time of danger; and this will help you to live holily as well as to purpose so to do.

7 When you are well, you are stil mortal. Keep upon your heart a constant, daily sense of your own mortality, and of your nearness to ano­ther world: What is the reason that men under sickness are more apt to purpose to forsake sin, and to promise to mend and to reform, than in time of health, but because they have greater apprehensions of death in its nearer approaches unto them; and things as neer do more affect, than things apprehended as further off; and was it not the thoughts of the nearness of death, and your daily danger of it, that did quicken you to resolve against sin, and for God, and to winde up your resolutions something high­er than at other times? Why you have reason still to walk in daily expectation of your dissolu­tion, though the plague be stayed. If the plague be removed out of your habitation, yet sin is not removed out of your heart; there is the merito­rious cause of death still in you, and there are natural causes of death still in you, and you must as surely dye, as if the Plague were raging, and you may assoon dye; we dye a thousand ways: death might be as near to you by some other dis­ease, [Page 123] and you may fall by some other dis­ease, as so many have done by the Pestilence; though you were not one of those that dyed eight thousand in a week; yet you may be one of those that dye eight, or five hundred in a week. Doe not say the bitterness of death is past, that now there is no danger; do not put far from thee the evil day. What if so many do not dye every week as when thou resolvedst to be better, yet thou mightest dye every week. An Apo­plexy, or a Feaver, or Dropsie might fetcht thee to thy grave, who hast (through Mercy and Pa­tience) escaped death by the Plague; think with thy self, when thy heart is negligent of thy former purpose, When? and why was it that I resol­ved to give my self more to a holy, heavenly life? When the Plague did come nigh unto my dwell­ing, and because I thought every day I might have dyed: Why it is my daily danger, if not by the Plague, yet by some other disease, that will as certainly be the cause of my dissolution, as if it were the Plague. Thou didst purpose, be­cause thou thoughtest death was neer, then per­form, because death is still as near, yea it is near­er to thee now, then when thou madest this reso­lution; for the more days thou hast lived since, the fewer now thou hast to live; it was near then, but to thee it is nearer now.

8.Believe judgment to come. Frequently possess thy heart with serious be­lieving thoughts of judgement to come. When men, and when thou amongst the rest shall give [Page 124] an account to God of all, thoughts, purposes, promises, vows that thou hast made to God, to walk before him in an holy life: But what ac­count canst thou give to God, when thou hast not performed what thou purposedst? If it was not good to purpose and to promise to forsake thy sin, and live to God, Why didst thou purpose? If it were? Why dost thou not perform? If thou fail now, thou wilt be self-condemned at the bar of God: thy purposes and promises will be brought forth against thee; and God will charge thee before all the world with breach of promise unto him.

9. Gods eye is upon you. Work this upon thy heart, that thou walkest daily in the sight and presence of that God that ex­actly doth observe, whether thou art the same in thy practice when thou art well, as thou wast in thy purpose when thou wast sick: God did see thy purpose, and he did hear thy promise made in thy distress and time of fears; and his eye is up­on thee, to observe how thou livest, and what thou dost; and do men keep their promises made to men (as some do from no other principle then) because the eyes of men are upon them, to ob­serve them, and they would not lose their repu­tation by falsifying of their promise, and wilt not thou much more perform thy promise unto God, when thou canst never break it, but when God is looking on?

10. Keep con­science tender. Keep a lively and a tender conscience, and diligently hearken to its admonitions, that thou [Page 125] keep thy purpose; cominations, while thou art purposing to come short of thy purpose, and ac­cusations afterwards; if thy conscience is not faithful unto thee, thou wilt be false unto thy promise, and fail of thy purpose; but if it be, do not choak the voice of conscience, for it is thy monitor and remembrancer to put thee in minde of the bond [...]nd obligation that lies upon thee to a holy life, by virtue of thy own resolutions and vows in time of great mortality.

11. Choose a choise friend. Make a prudent choise of some wise and holy Christian for thy most intimate associate: One that knows thy ways and practise most, that is most acquainted with the manner of thy life, and hath most occasion to be most in thy company (supposing him to be faithful, prudent, pious) tell him what hath been the purpose of thy heart, when the terrors of the Lord were upon thee, not onely against sin in general, or in respect of ho­liness in general, but what was the purpose of thy soul, and the resolution of thy heart against this sin (if it be convenient) in particular, which thou hast been most prone unto, and the parti­cular duty thou hast resolved to be constant and diligent in, which thou hast found thy heart most backward to; and engage him as he loves thy soul, and the promoting of the work of God in thy heart, that he will carefully observe thee, and if he discern thee to be backward to thy du­ty, that he would admonish thee, if forward to thy sin, that he would reprove thee; and in all [Page 126] deal faithfully with thee; this would be an ex­ceeding help to perform our promises and pur­poses of holy living; and such a friend as this is to be prized above his weight in gold; and such a friend as this, is better than a brother, if you finde him, let him not go.

12. Gods pur­pose al­ways the same to you. Seriously consider and work upon your heart, till you feel your soul affected with it, that Gods pur­poses concerning you and your good, and eternal peace is the same at one time as at another, and he performes all his promises which he maketh unto you: God doth not one time purpose for to save you, and another time purpose to condemn you; and why should you then be unconstant in your purposes towards God, one time to purpose that you will serve him more, and glorifie him more, and at another time be careless to order your life according to the intention of your heart. When you finde your hearts begin to slink, and goe from the purpose and promise that you have made, press your self with affecting thoughts of the Immutability of Gods purposes to you, and this might help you to constancy in your purpo­ses towards God.

13. Holy cou­rage. Steel your heart with an holy courage a­gainst all oppositions in your way of performance: Take heed of slavish fears which enfeeble your resolutions, and put a stop in the way of an holy life you have resolved upon; fear of dan­ger and of death made you to resolve to keep close to God, and yet your fear of death, and [Page 127] fear of danger for holiness sake, will hinder your living up to those Purposes and Resolu­tions. Fear of death natural and from God, was the occasion of your resolving to practise an ho­ly life; but fears of death violent, and from men, will be the cause of your breach of pro­mise so to doe: Therefore resolve to live up to your Resolutions, though loss of Estate, Li­berty, or Life, should attend you for so do­ing.

14.Zeal. Fill your heart with an holy Zeal for Gods glory; and if you be zealous for the glory of God, you will be couragious against all Impedi­ments and Obstructions of an holy conversati­on. Courage is opposed to slavish Fears, and Zeal is opposed to Lukewarmness: And Luke­warmness is inconsistent with the practice you have resolved upon. You have purposed to pray more fervently than you were wont to do, but if your heart be as lukewarm in Religion, you cannot do it; you have purposed to lay out your self more for the good of souls, to endea­vour to help others in their way to heaven, but if you be as lukewarm as before, you cannot do more than you did before: But if your heart be enflamed with zeal for God, more than be­fore, you will perform all your Religious under­takings with more life than before, you will pray with more life, and preach with more life, and speak to men about the things of God and ano­ther [Page 128] world, than you did before; and this is the performance of your Purpose.

15. Frequent Self-re­flexions. Be much in daily Reflexions whether you live up to your Resolutions, or no. Review your life every night, reflect upon your Duties, and the manner of performance of them. Survey at night before you sleep the actions of the day, whether they have been according to the Rule of Gods Word; what temptations did assault you, and how you did resist them; what cor­ruptions did rise in your heart, and how you did subdue them; what Ordinances of God you have sate under, and how you did improve them; what Talents God hath entrusted you with, and how you have employed them; what compa­ny you have been in, and how you did behave your self. If you do not call your self frequent­ly to account, you will live below your Purpo­ses, and not perceive it.

16. Renew your Pur­pose. Be often renewing your Purposes and Reso­lutions for an holy life. Frequent acts do beget and strengthen habits: Actually renew your Pur­pose to pray to God, to walk circumspectly, to discourse of the things of God, and it will at length be habitual to you so to do. If you finde upon reflection and self-examination, that your Purposes are weakened, and your heart draws back from that pitch of holiness you did intend to labour after, binde your heart thereto by the [Page 129] renewal of your Purposes. If you finde you have broken your Resolutions, do not resolve to con­tinue so to do, but repair them. If the Mari­ner be driven back by windes and storms, yet he keeps and renews his purpose of sailing unto his intended Harbour. If a Traveller fall in his Journey, he gets up and resolves to hold on his way.

17.It will bring great benefits. Presse your heart with the evils of coming short, and with the benefits of living up unto your Resolutions. The evils of this, I shall speak to in the third general Head that follows next in order. The Benefits of keeping the purpose of your heart are many and great: Your sins will not be so many; your sins will not be so strong, for Resolutions against sin that are firmly made and carefully kept, do exceedingly weaken sin; and if you should sometime sin, your sin will not be so great, when God doth see you keep the firm purpose of your heart against it, though sometimes you are overborn and bowed down, yea and fall against the inclination of your will, and purpose of your heart.

18.Pray for strength. Pray much to God for strength and pow­er to perform your Purpose. You resolved to pray more importunately unto God for mercy, but then you must pray to God, to enable you to pray as you have resolved. Resolution is our [Page 130] duty, but strength to perform them is not in our selves, but must be fetched from God, and that must be by fervent, frequent Prayer. Pray that God would not leave thee to thy self, that he would not forsake thee. Psal. 119.8. I will keep thy statutes; there is Davids Pur­pose: Oh forsake me not utterly; there is Da­vids Prayer. As you must not purpose in your own strength, but in the strength of Christ; so you cannot perform in your own strength, but in the strength of Christ. If your resolution be strong against sin, and you rest in the strength of your Resolution, and think you shall not sin, because you have strong Resolutions against it, you will fail.

19. Mortifie self-love and use self-de­nial. Mortifie Carnal self-love, and be very much in the exercise of self denyal. If you can­not deny your self of what is pleasing to the flesh, you will deny a holy life. You must often deny your own wills, and your own desires, and delights, your own judgements and reasonings, your sensitive appetite, and your profits in the world, and hate all these in comparison of bet­ter things, and when they stand in competition with God and Christ: If you love your plea­sures inordinately, and love your Liberty and your Life inordinately, your resolutions for strictness of holy walking with God, will not abide, nor be accomplished. The love of self, as well as of sin, is a great enemy to holy resolutions.

[Page 131]20.Examples. Often urge your heart with the Exam­ples of the holy men of God recorded in the Scrip­tures. They purposed and were carefull to per­form. Jacob vowed unto God, and payd it. David vowed unto God, and payd it. Job made a Covenant with his eyes, that he would not look upon Objects that should irritate his sinful nature, and said, why then should I do it? Job 31.1. So do you say, When I thought my self to be near the grave, I purposed to honour God more than I did before, if he should spare me, why then should I not do it? I purposed to watch against my sin, why then should I be careless?

Thus I have given you the Considerations to press you to be careful of your Purposes; and Helps to the performance of them, next I come to the Aggravations of neglecting to live ac­cording to your engagements in the time of sickness and danger.


III.Fourteen Aggrava­tions of neglect to live up to our holy Resolu­tions. THe Aggravations of the breach of your Vows and Resolutions made against sin, and for holiness, when fears of death were upon you, do exceedingly heighten and increase your sin; and because sick-bed Promises are so seldom made good, and sick-bed Resolutions usually prove so ineffectual, I shall desire you who have the Vows of God upon you, and who have resolved (if God would continue to [Page 132] you l [...]fe) as God and Conscience, and it may be others, are witnesses of, that you would weigh seriously as in the presence of God, the evil of breaking your Vows, and being careless of your Resolutions.

1. It is great hypocrisie.This is great hypocrisie, to purpose and not perform: You seemed in your affliction to be affected with your condition, and to be afflicted for your transgression, and to approve of an ho­ly conversation, then you could weep for sin, and now you work it; you could then lament it, and now commit it; then you seemed to be changed from what you really were before when you lived in some known sin; but now it appears that you have really lost that good which you did seem to have, and made profession of in time of your sickness. It is usual with Hy­pocrites to be best when they are ill, and to be worst when they are well. Hypocrites have their good moods, are good by fits; sometimes pray, but not alwayes. Job 27.8. For what is the hope of the hypocrite,— V. 10. Will he delight himself in the Lord? will he alwayes call upon God? i. e. He will not at all times, and in all conditions pray to God; when he is sick, he may, but when his sickness is removed, his Prayers are abated; It is a sign thy goodness was as a morning cloud, and as the early dew, it's gone away. Hos. 6.4.

2. Double Iniquity. This is double Iniquity; it is twisted wic­kedness: It is one sin woven with another; it is [Page 133] not onely double dealing, but it brings double guilt; if thou hadst not made thy vow and reso­lution to pray frequently, it had been but a single sin, if thou hadst been seldom in it, but now it is a double sin, and hath double guilt; that thou dost omit to pray, this is one sin; that thou dost omit it, after thou hast promised, and resolved and vowed to do it, this is the other sin; and in­deed is this thy mending in thy sickness and dan­gers, to be doubling thine iniquity?

3. Crea [...] [...]olly. This is great folly, Eccles. 5.4. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay t [...] [...]o [...] he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed: It is folly to do that which is better be undone than done. Vers. 5. Better it is that thou shouldest not vow, then vow and not pay. In thy af­fliction thou shouldest have learned wisdom and not committed folly.

4. It is to lye to God. This is to lye to God, to men: A vow is a promise made to God, Deut. 23. [...]3. That wh [...]ch is gone out of thy lips, thou shalt keep and perform even a free will offering▪ according as thou hast vowed un­to the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth. What is first called a vow, is after cal­led a promise, & if thou madest this promise with thy mouth and didst not really intend the fulfil­ling of it, but didst it, either to deceive thy self or others; or (had it been possible) God himself, what is this but a lye? If the words of thy mouth [Page 134] were not conformable to the thoughts of thy minde, that thou spakest one thing in thy sick­ness, and didst intend another; thou spakest not as thou thoughtest, thou art guilty of a lye Oratio, quando non est confor­mis menti dicentis, dicitur falsa ethice quando non est confor­mis rebus, est salsa lo­gice. ethical. But forasmuch as thy words do not agree to the things thou spakest of, thou art guil­ty of a falshood logical, both are bad, though the first is worst. And is not this an aggravation of thy wickedness to lye to God when thou art under his rod? Do not parents deal more severely with their children, if they finde them lying, when they are under the rod? Are we not like to children, when they are scourged, will promise any thing to be spared, but presently be found in the violation of their promise? But take heed how thou liest unto God. Remember the fearful instance of Ananias and Sapphira, Act. 5.3. Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan fil­led thine heart to lye to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land. Vers. 4. Whiles it remained was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thy heart? that thou hast not lied unto men but unto God. Vers. 5. And Ananias hearing these words fell down and gave up the ghost.

The like I might say of thy vow, before thou hadst made it, it was in thy power, Deut. 23.22. But if thou forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee; but if thou hast vowed, God will surely require it of thee, and to slack to pay would be sin in thee. Vers. 21. Why then hast thou conceived this thing in thy heart, to lie to the Holy Ghost, in [Page 135] making a vow and not paying, thou liest not to men, but unto God. Oh fear and tremble least death should seize thee presently, and thou fall down and give up the ghost. In thy vow thou liest unto God, if thou dost not pay, because we must vow onely to God; for sacred vows are a part of Religious worship, which must be given onely unto God, Deut. 23.21. Eccles. 5.4. But in thy promises thou hast made to men, thou hast lied unto men; and all this doth aggravate thy neglect of coming up to thy vows and pro­mises in time of sickness and fears.

5.To sin a­gainst con­science. To Neglect the keeping of thy resolutions and purposes against sin, and for an holy life, is it not a sinning against conscience, and against knowledge? It seems thy conscience hath told thee, when thou resolvedst to pray more fervently, that luke­warmeness in prayer was a sin, and yet now thou dost not strive against it, thy conscience told thee that the ways of God were the best ways, and best for thee to walk therein, and yet now thou dost not do it, thy conscience hath been so far inlightned to dictate this unto thee, and yet thou goest against the dictates of thy conscience; thou dost not onely sin with knowledge, but against it, and sins against knowledge and conscience, are aggravated sins, and such a sinner is an inex­cusable, and self-condemned sinner, Rom. 2.1. didst thou not condemn thy self in time of Plague, that thou hadst taken no more pains for heaven, and for thy soul, that thou hadst prayed [Page 136] no more, and lived no better? And what need we any further witness, when thine own consci­ence will come in against thee?

6. It will make death ter­rible. This will make death terrible indeed unto thee, when it comes in good earnest to seize upon thee, and then thou shalt finde that the same pur­poses, and resolutions will not quiet thee, when in former sickness thou hast had them, and in af­ter recovery thou hast neglected to perform them. Thy last sickness will come, and death at last will come, and then thou wilt remember what vows thou hast made, and how thou didst not pay them unto God, how thou hast resolved against sin and a wicked life, but hast made no conscience of living answerable unto them, and this will make thee much afraid to dye.

7. It is great unthank­fulness for your life. This will be great unthankefulness unto God for his preservation from, or restoration out of sickness: To God belong the issues from death, but you deny it to him. When Hezekiah was restored from his sickness (its thought the plague) he was thankful unto God for his restoration, Isa. 28.19. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I d [...] this day; the father to the children shall make known thy truth. Vers. 20. The Lord was ready to save mee; therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments, all the days of our life, in the house of the Lord. And is this to give thanks to God for preservation, for restoration [Page 137] from sickness? Hath God given you your life from the very borders of the grave? and is this the fruit you return to God, not onely not to be so good as you ought to be, but not so careful as you purposed to be? Or do you give thanks to God with your mouth that God hath kept you from the grave, and contradict it in your life? Your orall thankesgiving is nothing without pra­ctical thankes doing: Or do you praise God in words and dishonor him in your works, and do your lips acknowledge you are engaged to God for his protecting providence, and do you so live as if you had received no such mercy from him, and that your dependance were not now up­on him? Is this your thanks to God to break your word with him?

8. It will make you loose the benefit of affliction. This will make you loose the spiritual benefit of your sickness and affliction, to be worse by the mercies of God, is to have mercies in judgement, to be better by judgement, is to have judgements in mercy: But when you live no better, and are no better, nor endeavor to walk according to your resolutions in time of sickness, it is a sign your affliction hath not been sanctified to you, that (as to spirituals) you are not benefited by it; God hath put you into the furnace, but you are not purified, your dross remaineth; God hath corrected you but you are not amended; If af­fliction had worked for your good, if you had been bad, if would have made you good; if you [Page 138] had been good it would have made you better. David could say, Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I have learned to keep thy com­mandment, Psal. 119.67. But you might say, in my affliction I purposed to walk close with God, but after I have been afflicted I go astray. Surely your heart is very bad, when afflictions made you not better, and when mercies makes you worse.

9. It is to ap­prove of sin after dis­like. What is this but to like of sin, and disap­prove of stricktness of holiness, after you have pro­fessed your dislike of sin, and approved of closest walking with God: In your affliction you seemed to be sorry for your sin, but now the affliction is over, you seem to be sorry that you were sorry for your sin; in your affliction you seemed to repent that you had sinned, else why did you resolve against it? When your affliction is re­moved, you seem to repent of your resolutions against sin, else why do not you live and do as you did resolve? what is this but to smile upon sin after your deliverance, which you seemed to frown upon in time of danger of death and the grave? What is this but to finde sweetness in sin after you have tasted something of the bitterness of it? To re-imbrace that which you seemed to have cast from you? and this is an aggravation of the evil frame of your heart.

[Page 139]10. If thou hadst dy­ed in thy sickness thou hadst been dam­ned. What if thou hadst dyed in thy affliction, thou hadst gone to hell upon a mistake, and perished for ever, when yet thou hadst some hope (though upon false grounds) that thy condition was good, and that thou shouldest have obtained mercy: When thou wast sick or in danger, thou though­test thy condition was good, because thou foun­dest thy heart to resolve to forsake thy sin, and purpose to close with the closest wayes of holi­ness, but if thou hadst then dyed, thou wouldest without doubt have been eternally damned, be­cause thy resolutions were not penitential resolu­tions, as appears by the fruit of them, in my re­turning to thy sin again, and that thou didst not indeed love God, and his holy ways, for if thou hadst thou wouldest nor so soon, no, never after turned from them in the general course of thy conversation.

11. It encou­rageth the devil to tempt. This will encourage the devil to more fre­quent tempting of thee: For if by temptation he can prevail with thee to do that which is contrary to thy resolution; what hopes will he have to draw thee into sin, against which thou hast made no such particular resolution? If he overcome thee where thou art strongest, what spoil will he make upon thee where thou art weakest? It is a great advantage we give unto the devil, when we sin against our resolutions.

[Page 140]12. It provo­keth God. This will be a great provocation unto God, when thou dost sin, not only against his Pre­cepts, but against thy own purpose; not only against the obligations he layeth upon thy soul by Mercy and Afflictions, but against the Obli­gations thou layst upon thy self by thy Purposes and Resolutions: And in thy Affliction and fears didst thou not apprehend God to be exceedingly provoked, but thou must after he hath preserved, recovered thee, go on, to provoke him more.

13. Hinders Prayer. If this neglect be found in thee who hast the truth of grace, yet it will much hinder thy con­fidence at the throne of grace, and stop the In­fluences of the Spirit of God, and obstruct the il­lapses of the Spirit from descending upon thy heart. When thou keepest thy resolutions, and keepest out of the wayes of sin, thou canst go to God with an humble, holy boldness, and pour out thy heart with much enlargedness before God, and there is sweet intercourse betwixt God and thee, thou feelest thy heart to burn in love to God, and thou perceivest God to bear a love to thee; and oh how sweet is this unto thy soul! But when thou neglectest to watch against sin, and to walk with God; when thou hadst resol­ved to do both, when thou goest to thy duty, thou wilt finde Conscience reproach thee, and thy heart straitned, and thy mouth stopped, and thy confidence abated, thy heart much estranged from God, and God carrying himself as a stran­ger [Page 141] unto thee, when thou art upon thy knees: And this is the bitter fruit of a careless heart after heightned Resolutions.

14.Begets doubtings. If this neglect be found in thee that hast the truth of grace, it will much occasion the doubt­ing of the sincerity of thy heart. A Childe of God may fail and be remiss in prosecuting of his pur­poses sometimes, but if he be, it will make him jealous of his own heart, and suspicious that it is not well betwixt God and him; and is not that a sore evil, and much to be opposed and lamented, which doth blot thine Evidences for heaven? and will make thee question whether thou hast one dram of grace in truth conferred upon thee, infused into thee?

Thus I have finished this Direction also, shewing how you may live in some measure answerable to the great goodness of God in sparing you in time of Plague, when so many thousands fell round about you: By being care­full to be as good when the Sickness is over, as you purposed and resolved to be when you were in expectation of death, and waiting for your change and dissolution, when the Arrowes of God were flying amongst you, in the time of this sore Judgement of the Plague.


Since you live, look after the cure of soul-sick­ness.HAth God spared you in time of so great Contagion, that you live when others are dead, or were you sick and are recovered? then Endeavour that the Cure may be a thorow Cure, that your Soul be healed as well as your body, that there be not spiritual Judgements upon your Soul, when temporal Plagues are removed from your Body. You may observe, that such that came to Christ with diseased bodies, Christ healed their bo­dies and their souls too; he took away their corporal sickness, blindness, distempers, and the guilt of their sins too, Mat. 9.1, 2. Many are delivered from a Corporal Plague, that yet are infected and in danger of eternal death by the Plague upon their hearts: That remain under spiritual Judgements, and Soul-sickness, when temporal Judgements and corporal sicknesses are cured and removed. When St. John wrote to Gaius, he desired that it might be as well with him as to his bodily health, as it was in respect of his soul, and spiritual health, 3 Ep. John v. 2. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayst prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospe­reth. But it may be matter of our desire con­cerning those that remain alive, and are well after this Visitation, that their souls may pro­sper [Page 143] and be in health even as their body prospe­reth. It is a greater mercy to have an healed soul in a sickly body, than to have spiritual sick­ness remain in an healthful body: It is not so great a Judgement to have the body full of Plague-sores, as to have the soul full of reigning sins. If your body be cured and not your soul, the cure is but half done: Therefore in speak­ing to this Direction. I shall shew these things:

  • 1. Wherein it appears that sin is the sickness of the soul?
  • 2. Wherein it appears that sin and spiritual Judgements upon the soul, are worse than sickness, and temporal Judgements upon the body?
  • 3. How we may know whether our souls are healed of spiritual sicknesses?
  • 4. What they must do that lye under soul-sick­ness, that they may be healed?
  • 5. What such should do, that are healed of their soul distempers, to improve the Cure to the glo­ry of God?

I. Wherein doth it appear that sin is the souls dis­ease, and the sickness thereof? In these par­ticulars.

1.Sin is the souls sick­ness. SIcknesses and diseases do abate and take away the Appetite. Sick men have not the Appetite to their food as men in health have. [Page 144] So sin takes away the spiritual appetite of the Soul, that it doth not hunger after Christ, nor thirst after righteousness, and hinders its feeding upon Christ, and the Word of God, which is the spiritual food for the souls nourishment and growth.

2. Sickness and diseases do abate the strength and activity of the body. So sin doth weaken the soul, and all the faculties thereof, and doth disable it in all its actings to, and for God.

3. Sickness and diseases often fill the body full of pain, aches, and sores, making men to cry out, Oh my head, and oh my heart, and oh my bowels, I am pained, I am pained: So sin doth fill the soul full of racking fears, and perplex­ing torments and doubts, and sometimes make some sinners cry out, I am undone, I am undone, I am damned, I am damned.

4. Some diseases do stupifie and make men insensible, and those are the worst. So sin some­times makes some sinners stupid and unsensible of their misery and danger.

5. Sickness and diseases do take away mens delight in those things which men in perfect health do take pleasure in. Sick men have no delight in the pleasures of the world, and in the riches of the world, which other men finde. So sin takes away that delight in God and spiritual duties, and in heavenly things, which those whose souls are cured do experience.

6. Sickness and diseases do spoyl the beauty of the body: They spoil the fairest complexion, and [Page 145] make the ruddy cheeks to become pale; and many diseases bring deformity in the room of beauty. So sin doth spoyl the soul of that spi­ritual beauty wherewith it was adorned in its first Creation, which did consist in likeness un­to God, so that now instead of the likeness of God, there is nothing but blackness and de­formity; that the soul that was comely and amiable in the sight of God, is now become loathsome and abominable.

II. Wherein doth it appear, that Soul sickness and spiritual Judgements upon mens hearts, are worse th [...]n sickness and temporal Judgments upon mens bodyes?

Sickness of the Soul more dreadfull than of the Body.THough most men in the World look upon bodily sickness and corporal Judgments to be more dreadful than sin upon their souls, yet if we take a right estimate, and make a true judgment of both: spiritual Judgements are the greater evils,

In respect of the
  • 1. Cause, or manner of conveyance.
  • 2. Signs of greater wrath.
  • 3. Subject, in which they do reside.
  • 4. Number, being many.
  • 5. Effect, that they do produce.
  • 6. Difficulty of cure.
  • 7. Want of sense.

[Page 146]1. Spiritual Judgements and soul-sicknesses are greater evils than temporal Judgements and sickness upon the body in respect of the cause, or manner of Conveyance, which is by natural pro­pagation, and so unavoidable. Sin is born with us, it is derived from Parents to Children, from one generation to another. There are some diseases that are conveyed from Parents to Children, but this is not general, nor per­petual to all generations. But the propagation of spiritual diseases is universal and general, it is constant and perpetual. The seed of all sin is derived from Adam to all his Posterity.

2. Soul-sicknesses and spiritual Judgements upon mens hearts are Signs of greater wrath than bodily sicknesses are. You may be sick of the Plague, and yet God may love you; you may have bodily afflictions, and God may be at peace with you, and because he loves you, he may afflict you. But spiritual Judgements, as judicial hardness, blindness, are signs of Gods anger, yea his sorest displeasure, yea (which is more) they are signs of Gods Hatred to such a man that lyeth under them. Now that which doth alwayes argue Hatred in God to a sinner, is worse than those things that might proceed barely from his Anger, and sometimes from his Love: God loathes and abhorres that man, the plague of whose heart is not at all cured.

3. Spiritual Judgements and soul-sicknesses [Page 147] are greater evils than temporal and corporal sicknesses are, because they be spiritual, and have the heart and soul for their seat and sub­ject: As mercies are better that are spiritual, and that are soul mercies, so Judgments and sicknesses spiritual are the greater evils, because they are the disease of the better and more no­ble part of man; that which doth corrupt the soul, must be worse than that which doth corrupt the body, by how much the soul is more excel­lent than the body.

4. They are worse, because they are more numerous; there is more diseases in the soul than in the body. If the body be diseased in one part, it may be well in all the rest; if in more, yet not in all; if in all, yet your case is not so bad: But there is no sinner but is dis­eased in every part; there are spiritual distem­pers in all the faculties and powers of the soul, in the Understanding, Will, Affections, Con­science, Memory, Phantasie: In the members of the body, no part free: Nay there are many spiritual diseases in every faculty: in the Un­derstanding, there are many; ignorance, errour, &c. in the Will many, stubbornness, choosing the Creature and sin, before God, &c. In eve­ry affection of the soul there are swarms of sin: In the heart there are innumerable distempers, evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, blasphemies, false witness, Ma [...]. 15.19. Spiritual diseases naturally be all in every man, and be in every part of every man.

[Page 148]5. They are worse in regard of the Effects. The effects of bodily sickness, at the utmost, and the greatest, is but the death of the body; it brings the body to the dust, and the grave, it doth but separate from friends, and betwixt the body and the soul. But the effects of spiri­tual soul-sicknesses (except they be healed) are dreadful, and inconceivably great; great and dreadful in this world, but greater and more dreadful in the world to come; they cause Gods anger, they deprive the sinner of com­munion with God, they will separate betwixt God and him for ever, they will bring the soul to the place of Devils, and the torments of the damned.

6. They are worse in regard of difficulty of Cure. Bodily distempers may be cured by the skill of man, in the use of natural means, but the sickness of the soul with nothing but the blood of Christ: Of which more afterwards.

7. They are worse in regard of the want of sense. Where one man cryes out of the hard­ness of his heart, and complains of the unbelief and earthliness of his heart, there are many cry out of the sickness of their bodyes. If their finger doth but ake, they are sensible of it; but though the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint, and exceedingly distempered, yet they are not sensible of it. Therefore, though God hath cured the Plague of thy body, and [Page 149] not the Plague of thy heart; if thy bodily disease is removed, but the sickness of thy soul remain without cure; thy case is deplorable: And while thou art rejoycing that thou hast escaped the Plague, thou hast more cause to goe unto thy Chamber, and be deeply humbled and mourn before God, for the Plagues and Judgements that remain upon thy Soul.

III. How may a man know whether he be healed of Soul-sickness?

THe cure of these distempers are but par­tial, yet so far are they healed, that they shall not be the death of the soul. The cure will not be perfect till we die. Death (we say) cures all distempers, and so it doth those of the soul. There is a double wound that sin doth make, there is the wound that doth certainly destroy the soul, by hindring it from salvati­on and eternal life, and there is the wound that destroyes the peace and comfort of the soul. So there is a double Cure, which Christ doth work, the one for the safety and happi­ness of the Soul, the other for the peace and comfort of the Soul. The first of these we en­quire after.

[Page 150]1. Signs of the cure of soul-sick­ness.Every man that is healed of Soul-sick­ness, hath been sensible of it: Sin hath been thy sorrow and thy grief, and the burden of thy heart; thou hast groaned under it as the greatest load, as the greatest evil in the world. Every man that is bodily sick, and is sensible of it, and is unfeignedly willing to be freed from his sickness, and desireth nothing more, is not cured; but it is so in spirituals: He that is sensible of sin, and is heartily, and unfeign­edly willing to part with his sin, as ever sick man was of sickness, is certainly healed by Jesus Christ: But such as never found so much sorrow for sin, nor sense thereof, as to make them willing to part with every sin, were ne­ver yet cured. How can a man that is woun­ded, have his sore dressed and lanced, in order to a Cure, and not be sensible of the smart and pain thereof? Or how can he be healed, while the sword that made the wound, abideth in it? It is as impossible that man should be healed of his spiritual sickness and wounds, that is not willing to part with sin, as for a man to be healed of his bodily wound, while he will not have the sword pulled out that did make it. Sin caused the wound and the sickness of thy soul, and if thou art not willing to part with every sin, thou art not hea­led: thy soul is sick, and if thou dost not feel it, that is the worse.

[Page 151]2. Where the soul is healed the sin is killed; the life of sin is the death of the soul, and that which is the life of the soul is the death of sin; if Christ heal the soul, he wounds sin, he never heals both; if sin be wounded to death, the soul is healed unto life; as in the body, the more health is repaired, the more the disease is weak­ned; so the more the soul is cured, the more sin is mortified.

3. Where the soul is healed, there grace is in­fused; sickness being removed, health is restor­ed. When Christ heals a sinners soul, he doth not onely mortifie the sin, but sanctifie the sinner; when a man is restored from sickness to health, that which made him sick is not onely removed, but that is introduced which maketh him well; so when Christ cures the soul, he doth not onely take down the power of sin, which did make him bad, but he infuseth that which doth make him good.

4. Where the soul is cured of the disease of sin, it is sick of love to Jesus Christ; it is not one­ly weary of sin, but exceedingly longeth after the presence of Christ, and communion with God, Cant. 5.8. I charge you, O daughters of Jeru­salem, if ye finde my beloved, that ye tell him, I am sick of love.

5. Where the soul is cured of the disease of sin, it doth receive Christ by faith, when the [Page 152] Israelites were stung with the fiery Serpents, and looked up to the brazen Serpent, they were certainly cured, Num. 21.8. Faith is an healing grace, because it eyeth Christ the soul-Physician, and fetches vertue of healing from him, Mat. 15.28. And Jesus answered and said unto her, O wo­man, great is thy faith, be it unto thee, even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Mat. 9.2. And they brought unto him a man sick of the Palsie lying on a hed, and Jesus see­ing their faith, said unto the sick of the Palsie, Son be of good cheer thy sins be forgiven thee. The blood of Christ is the healing plaister, and faith is the hand that takes it and applyeth it unto the sore.

6. Where the soul is cured of the disease of sin, it is getting strength for spiritual work, and employment, more and more; it is growing stronger and stronger in grace and goodness, as a man whose distemper is broke, and going a­way, he is recovering strength more and more to go about his calling and employment, he is stronger to walk and work; he can endure cold, and bear burdens more than before. A man that is spiritually cured is waxing in the fruits of the spi­rit, and growing in all the graces of the spirit of God, is more and more able to resist temptati­ons, to perform duties, to bear afflictions, and endure hardships for the sake of Christ. By these signs you may discern whether your soul is cured, so far of the diseases it lay under, that they shall not be its death and damnation.

IV. What should such do that are under soul-sick­nesses, that they may be healed?

1. How to be cured of soul-sick­ness.YOU must be sensible that you are sick; he that doth not feel himself sick, will take no care about the means of health; it is those that are sensible of sickness that will value the skill of the Physician, and send to him, and desire his direction, Mat. 9.12. But when Je­sus heard that, he said unto them, they that be whole need not the Physician, but they that are sick.

2. When you are sensible of your soul-sick­ness, you must apply your self to Christ, the great Physician of souls. It is Christ that cometh to those that feel themselves diseased, with healing under his wings, Mal. 4.2. It is he that healeth the broken-hearted, Luk. 4.18. Christ healeth us by his wounds, and cureth us by his stripes, Isa. 53.5. It is matter of admiration, and to many past belief, that applying of Medicines to a sword, should heal the wound made thereby; but this is above all reason, and beyond all dis­pute that the bleeding wounds of Christ will be healing, to the bleeding wounds of the sinner; Christs Golgotha, is our Gilead, and that you may [Page 154] be the more encouraged to come to Christ when you feel your self sick; consider

(1.) Christ the soul- [...]hy­sician.Christ can heal every disease, and cure every wound; he hath a salve for every sore. There are some Physicians that can cure some diseases but not all, but Christ when he was upon earth, did heal all manner of diseases, Mat. 4.23. whe­ther thy eyes be blinde, or thy heart hard, or thy minde earthly, he can open thy eyes, and soften thy heart, and make thee spiritual; yea though thy sickness hath been Chronical, of long dura­tion, yet he can heal thee; yea though thou art sick of a relapse (which is most dangerous) yet Christ can cure thee.

(2.) Christ will heal your souls without putting you to any charge; though you be poor and mean, and have nothing to bring to Christ, yet you may come for healing, he will give you his advise and counsel freely, he will give you your Physick (his own blood) freely, you have nothing and he ex­pecteth nothing. The woman that had been diseased twelve years, and suffered many things of many Physicians and spent all, and grew worse, came to Christ and was presently and freely healed, Mar. 5.25.

(3.) Christ will proceed in this cure with all compassion and tenderness; he will not deal more roughly with you than is needful, he exerciseth bowels of compassions while he is dres­sing his patient, or if he give you bitter po [...]ions, [Page 155] or sometimes useth corrosives, he will be exceed­ing tender over you all this while, Mat. 14.14. And Jesus went forth and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

(4.) Christ is a Physician that is always pre­sent with his Patients, to observe what operation his Medicines have upon their hearts; if you are ready to faint under the terror of a threatning, he is by you presently to administer a cordial from the promise to uphold your swooning souls. Other Physicians cannot be always present with all their Patients, but Christ is, Psal. 34.18. He is nigh to them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit: If your heart be broken, he is nigh to binde it up.

(5.) Christ can heal your soul-diseases through­ly and effectually, and he onely can do it; others will but skin over your wound, but Christ will heal to the bottom, Jer. 6.14. They have heal­ed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slight­ly, saying, peace, peace, when there is no peace. Thus if you consider what a Physician Christ is, you may be encouraged to come to him for healing.

3. If you say you are so sick you cannot go to Christ, Send for him by fervent prayer and he will come to you: Cry to him, O thou Physician of souls, [Page 156] I am sick, so sick that I cannot come unto thee, and except thou heal me I am a dead man▪ a damned soul. I beseech thee use thy skill, for that will save my soul alive, put forth thy power for the curing of my diseases, Oh stanch this bloody issue, else my soul will bleed to death; Christ never refused to come to any sick soul that was importunate with him to come with healing under his wings.

4. If you would be healed, you must come to Christs-Hospital, i. e. unto Christs Ordinances, and this you may do; if you cannot come to Christ, yet you may come unto his Ordinances, you may come and hear, you may attend at the pools side, and at length he might come, and put you into the healing waters, Mat. 21.14. And the blinde and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them, Psal. 107.20. He sent his word and healed them.

5. If you would be healed of your soul-sickness, you must follow the directions and prescriptions of Christ your spiritual Physici­an. If you be sick, and the Physician tell you what you must do, and prescribe you means, and you set them in your window, or let them stand upon your table, and do not do as he pre­scribes, you may dye of your disease; you must observe his advise, for the time, when, and for the [Page 157] quantity, how much you must take, or else your distemper will abide, yea and increase; Christ will tell you what you must do, and if you fol­low his directions, your soul shall recover and be saved.

6. If you would be healed of your soul-sick­ness; you must not let slip the time of healing; There is a time, a nick of time for healing, if you let that pass, you will dye of your disease. The Impotent people that lay at the Pool of Bethesda, were to observe the season when the Angel mo­ved upon the water, and he that stepped in at the very nick of time was healed, Joh. 5.4. There is a time to heal, Eccles. 3.3. I pray God, this healing-time might not be past and over to thee that readest these lines. Cloze then with the present motions of the spirit, if yet thou feel him working upon thy heart.

7. If you would be healed of your soul-sick­ness, you must take heed of those things that will continue your disease; If a man will eat those meats that feed his distemper, and is contrary to his health; he cannot rationally expect a cure. You must take heed of those sins, that if you do indulge, will not onely hinder your recovery, but will increase your misery.

[Page 158]8. If you would be healed of your soul-sick­ness, do not undertake to be a Physician to your self, nor go about to heal your souls, with any of your own Medicines; you may heal your own body, but not your soul, we are too apt to be Physicians to our selves, and to think to cure our soul-distempers by our duties, and by our own performances. But this will never be.

V. What must those do whom Christ hath cured of their soul-sickness, to improve this cure to the glory of God?

1. Directi­ons to give to God the glory of our souls cure.A Scribe the cure unto Christ, and not unto any means or instruments: if you are cured of any bodily disease, you are not to as­cribe it to your Physick, nor Physician, but to the goodness of your God; so if you are cured of your soul-diseases, you must not attribute this to praying, or to the Preacher, but to Jesus Christ, Hos. 11.3. I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their armes, but they knew not that I healed them. Thus David blessed the Lord, who healed all his diseases, Psal. 103.2, 3.

2. Encrease your love to Christ, who hath hea­led the distempers of your heart; will you not love that man that saved your life? and will you [Page 159] not love that Lord, that saved your souls? espe­cially when you consider the manner and means of your cure. That he did it freely, and that with a Medicine of his own blood, other Physicians make you Medicines of other things, but Christ of his own heart blood; he died that you might live, and he was peirced, that you may be spared.

3. If you are healed, take heed of falling into a relapse, take heed of wounding your soul after healing; if you are healed go away and sin no more, least a worse thing come unto you, Joh. 8.11.

4. If you are healed, direct others to the same Physician, you do so to your acquaintance, that are sick of the same disease that you have been, you tell them such a man is able and skilful, and he hath cured the same disease in you, and coun­sel and perswade them to go to him; do so in this case; you have a friend, a neighbor, a rela­tion in a sinful state: Oh speak to them to go to Christ. Dost thou hear any soul complaining, alas my wound it is incurable, and my sorrow it is intollerable, my heart is sick, my soul is full of running sores; and I pray, but have no help, and I hear, but have no cure; now direct such a distressed sinner unto Christ, and from your own experience encourage him to hasten unto Christ, from whom you have found such healing virtue.

[Page 160]And if God hath healed thy body of the loath­some disease, in which thou mightest have said with David, Psal. 38.2. Thine arrows stick fast in me (probable David was sick of the Plague, which is called the Arrow of God, Psal. 91.5.) and thy hand presseth me sore. 3. There is no sound­ness in my flesh, because of thine anger— 5. My wounds stink and are corrupt— 7. My loyns are filled with a loathsome disease, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 11. My lovers and my friends stand a loof off from my sore, and my kins­men stand afar off. This (it may be) hath been thy condition who readest these lines; thy body was full of loathsome sores, and God hath cu­red thee, and which was worse, thy soul was full of loathsome reigning sins, and God hath heal­ed thee; what now doth God expect at thy hand? but that since he hath given health unto thy body, and grace into thy soul, thou shouldest use both unto his glory; which if thou consci­entiously and sincerely endeavor and practise, ere long thou shalt be received into the Armes of thy Lord, where there shall be no more sickness in thy body, nor sin in thy soul for ever.


HAth God spared you in time of Pesti­lence, then, if you would Live in some measure answerable to so great a Mer­cy, Be Emi­nent in your place and Rela­tion. Be eminenth exemplary in the Place: Capacity, Calling, Station, or Relation wherein God hath set you. Every Rela [...]ion hath some Duties peculiar to that Relation; and every Calling and Capacity, wherein Divine Providence hath pl [...]ced you, hath something wherein you may be pecu­liarly eminent: and, who knowes but God hath preserved you for this end, that you may excell in the Capacity and Condition God hath called you unto: if your Condition be a Condition of Prosperity, be eminent in Humility, Self-denial, and Charity; if of Adversity, be eminent in Sub­mission and Patience, in undergoing the Will of God.

But, that I may speak more Comprehensively and Distinctly, I shall consider, that every one that is left alive (after this sore Judgment) stands in one or more of these following Capa­cities or Conditions; in every one of which every Man (whom God hath spared) should now labour to be eminently exemplary: This Capcity is, either

  • [Page 162]Political
    • Magistrates, or
    • Subjects.
  • Ecclesiastical.
    • Pastors,
    • Flock.
  • Oeconomical.
    • Conjugal
      • Husband,
      • Wife.
    • Parental, or Filial.
      • Parents,
      • Children.
    • Despotical, or Servile.
      • Masters,
      • Servants.

One of these every Person is, that is preserved from the Grave: and, if every one would now endeavour in good earnest to do something singu­lar (but singularly good) for God, in his parti­cular Relation, to do the Duty which God pecu­liarly calls for, and excell therein, that you failed in, and came short of before; this would be a good Improvement of the Mercy, and this would be in some measure to walk up unto it.


I LEt us consider the Persons whom God hath in mercy spared from the Grave, in their Po­litical c [...]ci [...]y, and such are, either,

1. Magistrates and Governours for over us by God: Le [...]e, with humility and reverence, minde you of your duty, and tell you, That God expecteth, and requireth, that since he hath in­trusted you with Authority from himself, and gi­ven you Life, and preserved you from the Grave [Page 163] in the day of his sore Visitation in the City, that, though your Place and Office did oblige you to a less retired Life then many others, yet God hath kept you from Death by Infectious Diseases: Now, should you not inquire what you should do for God? and, how you may improve your time and Talent for his Honour? should not you pu­nish Sin (that is so indeed) and Countenanc [...] Holiness and Religion (that is so indeed?) should not you be zealous for God, in punishing of open-Prophaneness? and the horrid Oathes, that have cried aloud in the eares of God, Men prophanely Swearing by the Sacred Name of God; and Sabbath-bre [...]king, and violation of the Holy Day of God? did not Nehemiah do so? Nehem. 13.15. In those dayes saw I in Judah some treading wine-presses on the Sabbath, and bring­ing in sheaves, and lading Asses, as also wine, grapes and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold Victuals. Vers. 1 6. There dwelt Men of Tire also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of Ware, and sold on the Sabbath (as many did Fruit open­ly in some places of the Streets, and in Fields about London) unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Vers. 17. Then I contended with the Nobles of Judah, and said unto them, what evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath day? Ver. 18. Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this City? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by pro­faning the Sabbath. Vers. 19. And it came to pass [Page 164] when the Gates of Jerusalem began to be dark, be­fore the Sabbath. I commanded the Gates should be shut, and charged, that they should not be opened till after the Sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the Gates, that there should be no Burden brought in upon the Sabbath day. Vers. 20. So the Mer­chants and sellers of all kind of Ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice. Vers. 21. Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the Wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you; from that time [...]orth came they no more on the Sabbath. This Example is worthy your Imi­tion; and, oh how much good may you do, and how much Sin, and Dishonour to God thereby might you preven [...], if you do indeed obey the Laws of God, and Execute the good Laws of this Kingdom, in that Case made and provided? Should not you discourage Drunkeness, and Hou­ses notorious for uncleanness? That Taverns and Ale- [...] be not so much frequented? should you not be a Terror unto the Evil? why Drunkenness and prophane Swearings, and Bro­thel-houses are Evil: indeed, for which a Land is made to Mourn: and, should not you be a praise to them tha [...] do well? Rom. 13.3. Are not you Gods Ministers for good to them that are good; and revengers, to execute wrath upon him that doth evil? and, can you w [...]k worthy of so great preservati­on from the Plague, if you do not cut down Sin, and incourage Godliness?


2. Subjects Duties to Magi­strates. SUbjects, and People Governed: Many and strickt are the Pre [...]epts and Injunctions of God upon People to their Magistrates; and, no less then damnation is threatned, by God him­self, to such as oppose themselves against their Magistrates, Rom. 13.1. Let every Soul be sub­ject to the Higher Powers, for there is no Power but of God; the Powers that be are ordained of God. Vers. 2. Whosoever therefo [...]e resisteth the Power, resisteth the Ordinance of God; and, they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. Vers. 5. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for Wrath, but also for Conscience sake. True Reli­gion we see (from this Scripture) doth oblige People and Subject, in Duty and Obedience, to their Magistrates; and none will more Conscien­tiously obey, than those that are most Religious: Obedience to Magistrates (from this place) is required, because (1.) They are Ordained of God. (2.) They that resist them, resist an Ordi­nance of God. (3.) Such as do so, receive to themselves damnation. (4.) They are (appoint­ed of God) to be a terror to the evil, not to the good. (5.) Conscience is bound so to do. (6.) There is necessity we should obey; We must obey, not only for Wrath, but Conscience sake: Some might obey for favour, and some for fear, but true Religion teacheth Men to be obedient to Magistrates from Principles of Conscience. Strict­ness of Holiness is reproached when it is asserted [Page 166] to make Men disobedient: Once more, 1 Pet. 2.13. Submit your selves to every Ordinance of Man, for the Lords sake; whether it be to the King, as su­preme. Vers. 14. Or unto Governours that are sent by Him, for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. Vers. 15. For so is the will of God, you should put to silence the igno­rance of foolish Men. Vers. 17. Honour all Men. Religion doth not teach us to deny civil Respects to men: Love the Brother-hood, fear God, honour the King. Religion presses and obliges Subjects in duty to their Magistrate in these particulars.

1. Obedience to their Laws and Command­ments, Tit. 3.1. for their Laws and Commands are to be according to the Laws and Commands of God.

2. Honour to their Persons, Rom. 13.7. for they are Gods Vice oys, therefore called Gods, Psal. 82.6. For I have said ye are Gods, — but ye shall dye like men.

3. Loyalty, whereby we are bound to the ut­termost of our power, to maintain their Prero­gatives, and preserve their Persons.

4. Prayer on their behalf; if God be angry with them we must intercede for them, if they want any Blessings, we must make supplication for them; if they lye under evil, we must de­precate those evils; if they find mercy from God, we must give thanks for them; all this is in 1 Tim. 2.1, 2.

5. Tribute, Rom. 13.7. For, for this cause pay you tribute also, for they are Gods Ministers, attend­ing continually upon this very thing.

[Page 167]6. Subjection to their Penalties, Rom. 13.4, 5.

This is to live in this capacity, to be peace­able, and rather take a thousand wrongs, than offer one; and to live in that obedience as be­comes the Professours of the Gospel, that all may see that those that are obedient unto God, dare not be disobedient unto those to whom, and wherein, God commands them to yield obedi­ence.


II SUch as are spared from death by the Plague may be considered in their relation as Pastors and People; and the Protection of God over such, should engage them to discharge their mu­tual duties, as those that would testifie their thankfulness to God for continuing them in that Relation. God hath removed by the Plague some [...]inisters that the People shall never hear Preach more, and God hath taken some from every Congregation, of the People, to whom the surviving Ministers shall never offer Christ and Peace unto any more, who are now out of the reach of their reproofs, and exhortations: there­fore such Ministers as yet have time to preach unto the People, should improve that little time that God hath given them in so doing; and the People that yet have time to hear their Ministers, should diligently do it, and improve their Mini­stry for the saving of their souls. But more par­ticularly.

[Page 168] First, Ministers that have escaped the Plague should be eminently exemplary in a diligent per­formance of every work that God expecteth at their hands.

I. Ministers should be more in Studying.As in improving time, in giving themselves more unto serious, closer studying, that they may be more and more able for their Masters work, and more and more eminent in converting and building up the Elect of God; to be more in their Studies, than in the Streets; more at their Books, than at their pleasures; at this they should be early and l [...]te, according to Saint Pauls charge to Timothy, 1 Tim. 4.13. Till I come give atten­dance to reading. Ver. 14. Meditate upon these things, give thy self wholly to them, that thy profi­ting may appear to all. Such as are to work for God and the saving of souls should be given to Study and Medi [...]ation, that they may be more skilful and successful in their work; they should be as much in their Studies, as any Worldling in his Shop; Especially now such should study more (1.) the Word of God, which is to be the matter of their Preaching. Such are more apt to study the Writings of Men, more than the Word of God. (2.) Their own hearts, and the dealings of God with their own souls, that they may first experience the sweetness, and power, and efficacy of those truths they are to commend unto the People. (3.) The stare of their Flock, and the condition of their People, who of them need to be reproved, who of them need to be comfortes, and who of them be in doubts, and how they may by their Preaching be resolved. [Page 169] They should study their People more, that they may preach on such subjects, not that are easiest unto themselves to speak un [...]o, but that are most sutable to their people, and so most likely to be most profitable to them.


II Praying.SUch should be more in improving time in frequent, fervent Prayer. They should pray, (1.) That God would direct their thoughts to the choice of that subject which might be most useful to, and is most necessary for their peoples souls. (2.) That God would assist them in their Meditations upon that subject, that they may speak from thence those things that may be most convincing, piercing, that they may meet with the Sins and Doubts of those they are to Preach unto. (3.) That God would give them success in their Labours. (4.) That God would give them a Door of Utterance, and assist them in the delivering of their Message (which they have from God) unto the People: St. Paul was much in Praying for the Churches, Ephes. 3.14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. Phil. 1.4. Col. 1.3.9, 10, 11. 1 Thes. 1, 2. 2 Thes. 1.11, 12. And in blessing God for the Truth, and growth of Grace in the hearts of the People; as matter of his joy, to see them holy, and eminent in holiness; to see them em­brace the Gospel, and walk according to it, 1 Cor. 1.4, 5, 7. Phil. 1.3, 4, 5. Col. 1.3, 4, 5. [Page 170] 1 Thes. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. And looked upon such as his Crown and Joy, 1 Thes. 2.19, 20.


III Preaching.SUch should improve the time (that God hath given them from the Grave) in right Preach­ing of the Word, and Administration of the Sacra­ments unto the People: God hath not spared them to Eate and Drink, and Sleep, and live at Ease; but to be painful in their Work. God hath laid (in this time) some of his Ministers in the Dust; and, they are silent in the Grave, whilest others have opportunity to speak for God, in Preaching to the People: and, God doth ex­presly charge them so to do, 2 Tim. 4.1. I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appear­ing, and his kingdom. Vers. 2. Preach the Word, be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, re­buke, exhort with all long-suffering and Doctrine: and, there is a woe unto them, if they do not Preach the Gospel, 1 Cor. 9.16. and are descri­bed to be such as are apt (as well as able) to Teach, 1 Tim. 3.2. And if they do forbear to warn Men of their sins, those Men shall die, but God will require their blood at their hands, Ezek. 3.18. And though God (in Judgment to a Peo­ple) may make his Ministers dumb, and cause their Tongues to cleave to the roofe of their mouthes, that they should not be Reprovers to them, because of their sin, Ezek. 3.26. Yet, such [Page 171] as are dumb, through Ignorance, that they can­not, or through Negligence, that they will not speak to Men to save their Soules, is a great charge of God against them, Isa. 56.10. His Watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant, they are all dumb Dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Vers. 11. Yea, they are greedy Dogs, which can never have enough: and they are Shep­herds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain from his quarter. Vers. 12. Come ye, say they, I will fetch Wine, and we will fill our selves with strong Drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abun­dant. And God sharply reproveth such for this neglect, Ezek. 34.2. Son of Man, Prophesy against the Shepherds of Israel, Prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the Shepherds, Woe be to the Shepherds of Israel, that do feed themselves, should not the Shepherds feed the Flock? Vers. 3. Ye eate the Fat, and ye cloath you with the Wool; ye kill them that are fed, but ye feed not the Flock. Vers. 4. The Diseased have ye not streng [...]hened, neither have ye healed that which was sick; neither have ye bound up that which was broken; neither have ye brought again that which was driven away neither have you sought that which was l [...]st; but with force and cruelty have ye ruled them: Vers. 18. Seemeth it a small thing to you to have eaten up the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foule the residue with your feet? Vers. 19. And, as for my flock, they eat that which ye have troden with your feet, and [Page 172] they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.

Ministers diligence in Preaching the Word (which, such should be awakened to, much more by Gods late Providence) is pointed at by God, in those several Names, and Appellations; with which, they, and their Work, is Metaphorically set forth, as they are,

  • 10 Appel­lations, shewing the work of Mini­sters.
    1. Labourers. Mat. 9.38. Therefore must not loyter, but should work as day-labou­rers.
  • 2. Builders, 1 Cor. 3.10. Must repair Gods Buildings.
  • 3. Husbandmen, 1 Cor. 3.9. Must Plow up the fallow ground, that they sow not among thornes: they are Gods harvest-Men, and that is hard work.
  • 4. Watchmen, Ezek. 33.7. Must see the danger, and indure the cold, and give warning.
  • 5. Stewards, 1 Cor. 4.1, 2. Must deal to eve­ry one their portion.
  • 6. Fathers, 1 Cor. 4.15. 1 Thes. 2.11. In begeting, and bringing up Spiritual Chil­dren for God.
  • 7. Guides, Rom. 2.19. Must direct lost Men into their way.
  • 8. Nurses, 1 Thes. 2.7. Must seed the Babes in Christ.
  • 9. Physitians, Jer. 13.12, 13. Must heale the Spiritual Sickness of Mens Soules.
  • 10. Embassadours, 2 Cor. 5.20. Must Parley with Sinners, to make Peace betwixt God and them.

[Page 173]After such a Providence as this, those in this Office should labour to be more in the most ef­fectuall manner of Preaching; as,

1. In Preaching with more self-denial; not seeking themselves, nor their own Applause, but more the Glory of God, and the good of Soules: 2 Cor. 12.14. For, I seek not yours, but you. 1 Tim. 3.3. Not greedy of filthy lucre. 1 Thes. 2.5. For, neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness, God is wit­ness.

2. With more plainness to the capacity of the People; Not with enticing words of Mans Wis­dom, but in demonstration of the spirit, and of power, 1 Cor. 2.4. Lest such seem to Preach themselves, and not Christ; and to speak one word to shew the excellency of Christ, and ten to shew the excellency of their own Parts.

3. With more experience of the things they Preach upon their own hearts.

4. More particularly, coming down to the particular cases of the Peoples Soules: Dolus la­tet in universalibus.

5. More compassionately; if possible, shewing the greatest desire after the Soules of them they Preach unto: When you stand in your Pulpit, remember, many of them you Preached to the other day are now in their graves, and are entred into Eternity; and, those that are before you must shortly follow after▪ you have not long to Preach unto them; those that are now alive be­fore you must shortly die, and be damned or sa­ved; be received to Glory, or thrust down to [Page 174] Misery: such actu [...]l believing thoughts as these woul [...] move great compassion in Ministers hearts unto their People.

6. More Livelily; as those that believe the things themselves which they Preach unto others; remember you are Preaching to Men that must sho [...]ly die, and yet eternally Live: and, for ought you know, if you do not prev [...]il with them by this Sermon, they may perish for ever: and, will you be luke-warm in such a case of so great importance?

7. What is most necessary to the salvation of their Soules: Press more the misery of Man by Nature; the necessity of seeing the evil; and be sensible of the burden of their Sin; the necessity of Christ; of Regeneration; of Holiness of heart and Life; of Justification by Faith in the blood of Christ; of Judgment to come; of the happi­ness of Heaven; of the torments of Hell.


IV Living exempla­rily.MInisters, whom God hath spared from the Grave, in th [...] time of great Morrality, should improve this Mercy in the manner of their holy Conversation; i [...] [...] Mens Lives should be the Application of their Doctrine, should press to Holiness, and live sho [...]tly; press the People to Mortification of Sin, and Self-denial, and be Examples to the People in this, else the People will not believe that they think what they say, if they do not in some measure Live as they say: Drunkards will not believe that that Minister is [Page 175] in good earnest, in telling them, that Drunkards shall be damned, if he be one himself. Look therefore to your Life, and copy out that pressed upon you, 1 Tim. 4.12. Let no Man despise thy youth but be thou an example of believers, in Word, in Conversation, in Charity, in Spirit, in Faith, in Purity. 1 Tim. 3.2. For a Bishop must be blame­less, the Husband of one Wife▪ sober, vigilant, of good behaviour; a lover of Hospitality, apt to Teach. Vers. 3. Not given to wine, not a striker, not greedy of filthy lucre.


The Peo­ples Duty in hearing the word.THe People whom God hath kept alive should improve their Life, in attending upon their Ministers; in inquiring the Law of God at their Lips; in mingling the Word with Faith; in Conforming to the Truths of God, that are Taught by them; and being obedient to them, as those that watch for their souls, Heb. 13.17. But more Particularly.

1. Come to Hear the Word of God with more Preparation then you were wont to do; knowing it is the Word of God, and not the word of Men, 1 Thes. 2.13. as that which doth concern your Immortal Souls, and your eternal state in another World.

2. Come with a more teachable heart than you were wont to do, submitting your Reason to the Word that is Taught you; resolving to for­sake every thing which shall be proved to you to be [Page 176] a Sin, and to do every thing which shall be made appear to be your Duty: Hear, that you may obey, and Practise what you Hear: Be not Hear­ers only, but Doers of the Word.

3. Suffer not your M [...]ndes to be filled with so many distractions, in time of Hearing, as they were wont to be; when you sit under the Preach­ing of the Word, let not your Hearts go after your Covetousness, Ezek. 33.31.

4. Make particular Application of what doth most concern your Souls, more than you were wont to do: Hear for your selves.

5. Treasure up the Word (that you Hear) in your Hearts, and suffer not the Devil to steal the good Seed (of the Word) out of your Hearts, nor the Cares of the World to choak the Word of God.

6. Meditate more upon the Word of God af­ter you have heard it; work it upon your heart: Preparation before, diligent Attention in, and Me­ditation after Hearing, will make you thrive more, and be more fruitful, by the Word Preached, than you were for nerly, when you wholly omitted, or were more sl [...]ght in all these.


III Governo [...]s of families must set up Gods Worship in their hou­ses.SUch whom God hath spared alive (in this time of great Morrality) may be consi­dered in an Oeconomical capacity, as Persons con­stituting of Families; and these may be consider­ed as Governours, or those that are Governed: [Page 177] and surely all our Families are concerned to in­quire what Improvement those that are left in Fa­milies should make of Gods Signal preservation of them: Hath God swept away some Families wholly, not a person left, and spared yours? doth not this call for some return you should make to God? Hath not God visited your Family, and ta­ken away some of your Children, or some Ser­vant, or some Friend out of your house, and hath spared you; hath given life to so many whom he hath so eminently preserved: When God hath sent the Plague into your house, he gave it Com­mission to fetch such a one (in your house) to his or her eternal state; but, gave it a Charge, it should not seize upon you, or, if it did, it should not kill you: and, doth not this call aloud to you, in all your Families, for speedy thorough Re­formation? Consider the dismal devastations made in some Families; the total subvertion of others: and yet, that God should keep any Families in the midst of his burning wrath; should not this make every person inquire, What would the Lord have me to do? Now, the Governours should be­think themselves, What is our Duty? and, the Children whom God hath continued to their Pa­rents, What would God have us to do? &c. There is not a Member in a Family but is greatly concerned to study what is the Duty which he should excel in, according to the capacity and re­lation he standeth in, in that Family: And that, after such Family-Visitation there may be Family-Reformation, I shall consider,

[Page 178](1.) The Duties of the Family in general, in reference to their joynt-Worshipping of God.

(2.) Their Duties in particular, in the relation in which they are considered. For, when the Family in general, and every Mem­ber in particular Live up to the following Duties, they will live in some measure answerably to so great Preservation.

First, After your Families have been in such danger, and yet so many of them, and so many in them are preserved; it must be your care to set up the Worship of God in your Families; else you cannot [as a Family] walk answerably to so great Preservation: What, hath God not turned you out of your House by Death, and will you turn the Worship of God out of your House? hath God spared you (think you) for this end, that there should be eating and drinking in your Houses, and not Praying and Reading in your Fa­milies? That there should be Working, and La­bouring early and late, and no calling upon God? Is this to make a Family-return to God? is this to give to him the Praise of his safe-keeping of you in time of danger and distress? And, this is chiefly incumbent upon you that are the Go­vernours of Families, to call your Children and Servants together (every Morning and every Night) to Worship the God of your Salvation; the God that hath wrought so great Deliverance for you. I beseech you in the fear of God, nay, in the Name of the eternal God I charge you, that you carefully, constantly keep up the Worship of [Page 179] God in your Families. And, that I may follow this, I shall shew you

  • Why,
  • Wherein, and
  • How,

you must Worship God in your Families.


Why? FIrst, The Reasons why you should set up the Worship of God in your Families, are such as these;

1. From the example of the holy Men of God in Scripture, Josh. 24.15. And, if it seeme evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the Gods whom your Fathers served, that were on the other side of the Flood, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell; but, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Some will serve the God of this World, that is the Devil, 2 Cor. 4.4. some will serve their Bellies, which they make their God, Phil. 3.19. and some will serve their unrighteous Mammon, which they make their God; but, do you take up Joshua's Resolution, That you and your house will serve the Lord.

2. From the Benefit that will come to you and your house, if you carefully and constantly Wor­ship God therein: God will take care of you and your family, if you take care of his Worship therein. Gen. 18.17. And the Lord said, shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do? Ver. 19. [Page 180] For I know him, that he will command his chil­dren, and his houshold after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do Justice and Judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

3. From the great evil that hangs over your family, if you should neglect the Worship of God therein; God will curse your family, and his wrath shall be the portion of you and your Children, if the worship of God be excluded from your House: though God hath spared you and your family in this late Contagion, yet his Wrath is still hovering over your house, if you call not upon him, Jer. 10.25. Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the Fa­milies that call not upon thy Name.— Fury is the utmost of Gods wrath: and, this shall not be dropped only, but poured out upon your family; God will poure down showres of wrath and fury upon those houses that neglect his Worship.

4. From equity; You would have all in your family disc [...]a [...]ge their duties which they owe to you; you would have your children be obedient to you, and your servants be dutiful to you, and do your work, and serve you; and, is it not then rea­sonable that you and they should discharge your du [...]ies unto God? and that you and they should serve the Lord? when you and they have more dependance upon God, then they have upon you.

5. If you neglect your duty herein, you will be guilty of the blood of the Soules of those that die in your family, and are damned for ever: you [Page 181] will be bloody Butchers to the soules of your Chil­dren and Servants: God hath committed the care of their soules (in great measure) unto you, and, can you discharge your trust that God hath reposed in you, in the total neglect of your duty herein? hath not God charged you in the fourth Commandment, that neither you your self should prophane his day, and that you should see that neither your sons nor daughters, neither your men-servants, nor maid-servants should prophane it; and, if they do, will not God require this at your hand?

6. The total neglect of Family-Worship will be [...] flat denying God to be the God of your fami­ly; that you take not God to be the Master of your family: would not you say, That your Ser­vants deny you to be their Master, if they deny their Service to you? and, can you say, That God is the God of your house, if you, in your house do not Worship him? Mal. 1.6. A son honou­reth his Father, and a servant his Master; if then I be a Father, where is mine honour? and▪ if I be a Master, where is my Fear? — if your Family disown God, God will disown your Family; and, if God disown and cast you off, will not your fa­mily be a miserable family?

7. If you neglect the worship of God in your Family, this will be a bad example to those that go out of your family to constitute other families; when your Children shall have families of their own, and your Servants shall have families of their own, will not they be too apt to neglect them, as they have seen you neglect yours? and so your [Page 182] sin will have an influence upon them, and you will be, in some respect, guilty of the neglect of Gods Worship in your Children and Ser­vants families; but, if you be conscientious in your family, you will be exemplary to them to do likewise.

8. God will punish your neglect of his Ser­vice to him with Family-Judgments: if you do not make your house a house of Prayer, God will make your house an house of Contention and Strife; an house of Railings and Quarrellings; and will punish you with undutiful Children, and disobedient servants: for, how can you expect that they should be good toward you, when you endeavour not to make them good towards God? if you would press your Children and Servants to love God, and obey and serve God, they would then obey you from a principle of Consci­ence, and serve you, out of fear to God; they would be more faithful to you, if you would call upon them to serve God: Might not God justly suffer your Servants to purloin, and steal from you, when you and they do steal from God that time for the World, which is due to God?


Wherein I SEcondly, The Duties wherein you should wor­ship God in your Families, are such as these;

In pray­ing.In Praying unto God, and that (1.) ordi­narily: And, your ordinary Praying unto God in your family should be daily, and, that at least twice [Page 183] every day; every Morning when you rise, and every Night, before you dismiss your Family to their rest and sleep. Exod. 29.38. Now, this is that which thou shalt offer upon the Altar; Two Lambs of the first year, day by day continually. Vers. 39. The one Lamb thou shalt offer in the morning, and the other Lamb thou shalt offer at even: Though the Ceremonial part of this be abolished, yet the Moral abideth, and is perpetual: and, the reasons for daily Prayer in your families are per­petual; as,

(1.) Four Rea­sons for daily pray­er in fami­lies.You have daily family sins, and therefore in your family you should daily confess them, and beg the Pardon of them; that you and your fa­mily might not go about your necessary occasi­ons all the day, nor to your necessary rest at night, with the guilt of sin upon your Soules. (2.) You have every day daily wants, therefore you should daily beg supplies for your family: and, Christ bids you pray, Give us this day our daily bread. (3.) You have family business every day, and you should pray to God daily for his blessing upon your endeavours, for the good of your family. (4.) You have every day family mercies, and should daily bless God for them: when you wake in the morning and find your house not fired in the night, is not this a family mercy? and, should not your family be called together to bless God for this mercy? in the morning you find your family all in health, none of them dead in their beds: and, should not you, since you all live, all come together, and bless God, that sleep was not turned into death, nor the darkness of [Page 184] the right into the darkness of Hell to any of you? And, have you not many mercies every day, you went out well about your imployment, and you returned well, and God hath blest your endea­vours with success; and, should not you give to God the praise of his Mercy before you sleep? or, if you have sustained some Losses, should not you pray to God to sanctifie them to you, and in­able you patiently to bear them, and submit to the will of God therein?

(2.) Or, family-Prayer is sometimes extraor­dinary, when your family lies under some extraor­dinary affliction, or wants some extraordinary mercy, or have had some extraordinary delive­rance from evil and danger, then should you in your family send up extraordinary Prayer and P [...]aises unto God: so did Esther and her Maidens fast and pray, Esther 4.16. And I could wish that families apart were more acquainted with, and more frequent in this du [...]y.

II R [...]adi [...]g the Word of God.In Reading the Word of God: This would be bet [...]er then Cards and Dice. But, in many Fa­m [...]l [...]es the Bible lies upon the shelfe all the week long, and scarce h [...]ve it in their hands but when they take it to go to Church, and many scarce then neither.

God hath commanded you to acquaint your fa­mily with [...]he wo [...]d of God, and, how will you do it, if you never Read it to them, nor Discourse of it with them? Deut. 11.18. Therefore shall you lay up these my words in your heart, and in your soul, [Page 185] and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontless between your eyes. Ver. 19. And ye shall teach them your Children, speaking of them, when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way; when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. View this Scripture well, (ye Masters of Families) and be ashamed of your neglect of reading the Scripture in your houses; you should talk of it at home and abroad, morning and night when your Familie should be with you. You should read the Scripture to your Family for these Reasons:

1.4 Rea­sons for reading Scripture in Fami­lies. Because the Word of God is the spiritual food of the souls in your Family. It is the bread of Life. It is milk for the nourishing of their souls, 1 Pet. 2.2. It is to be preferred above their necessary food, Job 23.12. Now will you give them bread for their bodies, and deny them bread for their souls? Their souls can no more live without spiritual food, than their bodies can without corporal. Take heed you deny not bread to your children and servants souls.

2. Because the Word of God is the spiritual Armour for the preserving your Family from be­ing robbed by your spiritual Enemies, the Devil, Sin, and the World; You will have some weapon in your house to defend your self f [...]om thieves. Why, the Devil will play the thief in your house, and will steal away the souls of your Children, and will steal away the souls of your Servants, and will you not put so much as a Weapon into their hands to defend themselves? Your Chil­dren and Servants will be stollen away by the [Page 186] Spirits, if you arm them not with the Word of God, which is the Sword of the Spirit, Eph. 6.17.

3. Because the more you read the Word of God to them, the better they will be to you, and the better perform the duties of their Relation: You complain of disobedient Children, why do not you read the Scripture to them more, to teach them that God requires them to be obedient to you? You complain of bad Servants, why do not you then read the Word of God to them more, that they may know their duty better by reading the Scripture to them? Make them but good Christians, and then they dare not, but be good Children, and good Servants.

4. Because the Word of God is able to make them wise unto Salvation; You would have your Children wise to live in the World; you would have them wise to get Riches, and a great Estate; You would have your Servants wise to do your work, and to go about your business: And would you not have them wise for their souls? Would you not have them wise for heaven and the Life to come? If you would, then acquaint them with the Word of God, 2 Tim. 3.15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. And he is wise in­deed, that is wise enough to save his soul.

III Repea­ting things delivered in pub­lick.In repeating what you hear in the publick Congre­gation, in discoursing to your Family what sin [Page 187] was reproved, and what duty was inforced, and what were the Arguments and Motives thereun­to. What Christ preached more publickly, he repeated to his Disciples (which were as his Fa­mily) more privately, Mar. 4.10. and 7.17. Mat. 13.36, 37. and the Apostle commanded Wives to ask their Husbands when they came home, the things that were delivered in the Con­gregation, 1 Cor. 14.34, 35. This would keep your Children and Servants better imployed on the Lords day, than to be standing Idle at your doors, or walking sinfully in the fields. This would make them profit more by the Word preached, if you would repeat it to them, and use them to give account of what they hear.

IV In Cate­chizing.In Catechizing of your Family, and teaching them the Principles and Fundamentals of Reli­gion: Mans Innocency by Creation, Mans mise­ry by the Fall, Mans Recovery by Christ, and the terms of the Covenant of Grace; the meaning of the ten Commandments, what sin in them is forbidden, what duties are required; this is Gods plain Injunction that you should do so, Deut. 6.6, 7, 8, 9. and the meaning of the Sacra­ments, Exod. 12.25, 26, 27. (1.4 Rea­sons for Catechi­zing in Families.) To Teach them while they are young is a good means to make them good when they are old, Prov. 32.6. Train up a child in the way he should go when he is young, and he will not depart from it when he is old: but if you let them alone till they be accustomed to do evil, it will be hard to reclaim them, Jer. 13.23. Quo [Page 188] semel est Imbuta recens, &c. (2.) This will be an effectual mean [...] to keep them from being seduced, and led away with E [...]ours and false Doctrine. (3.) It will be great cruelty to the souls of your Children and Servants to neglect it. Will you carry your self towards your little ones, as the Ostrich doth towards her young ones, Job 39.14. Which (speaking of the Ostrich) leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in the dust. Ver. 15. And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. Ver. 16. She is har­dened against her young ones, as though they were not hers.— (4.) It would be to break your Vow which you made when you brought your Children unto Baptism; Did you not promise they should for­sake the Pomps and Vanities of this World, and that you would bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and will you dedicate them to God in Baptism, and leave them to the devil all their life after?

Consider I beseech you, it may be God in mer­cy and pity to your Childrens and Servants souls hath spared you in this Late-great Mortality; and consider whether your conscience doth not ac­cuse you of great neglect towards some of your Children and Servants which are now lying in their Graves; it may be there hath dyed a poor servant out of your house, which you never spake to in good earnest about the matters of his soul; or doth not your heart wish that he were with you again, that you may instruct and teach him, and will you do so to those that do remain? it may be some of them that have died out of your house [Page 189] are gone to hell through your neglect, and will you have no more pi [...]y upon those that yet are with you? The other, now are out of the reach of your Counsells and Instructions, but these are not, what was wanting in you towards those that are dead and gone, make up to those that live and do remain.

V In sing­ing Psalms.In singing forth Gods praises, in Psalms, and spiritual Songs; this is an Ordinance of God, Eph. 6.19. Jam. 5.13. You must sing with grace, Col. 3.16. Exercise your grace of joy in God, in commemoration of Gods benefits, of holy de­sires, of Godly sorrow, as the occasion and the matter of the Psalm require; this is the sweetest Harmony in the ears of God. You must sing with understanding, with sense and feeling, and to the Lord, to his glory, as in his presence; this would be more sutable for your Family, than Ballads, prophane and lascivious filthy Rymes, which you should not suffer under your Roof.


How [...] THirdly, The manner how you should Wor­ship God in your Family is chiefly to be minded, for it is not any service that God will accept, you may keep up a course of praying in your Family, and yet live very unworthy of the great mercy of God in your wonderful preserva­tion. Therefore,

[Page 190]1. Really.In your Family worship God really and in­deed, with your heart, and mind, and all your strength; do not seem to pray, but pray indeed, in your Family.For five Reasons. For this end consider, (1.) The God whom you serve in your Families is God in­deed; he is a real God, therefore worship him in­deed, and in a real manner. (2.) The sins of your Families are real sins, your own sins are real sins, and your childrens sins are real sins, and have real guilt, therefore confess them really, and mourn and sorrow for them really. (3.) The wants of your Family are real wants; you do not seem to want outward mercies, but except God supply you, you will want them indeed. (4.) The supplies which God doth give you are real supplies: God giveth you real health, and real food, and re [...]l cloathing for your Family, therefore be real in your Family Worship. (5.) You and your Family are real in following of the World, you work in good earnest, and you buy and sell in good earnest: And will you be real in the things of the World that concern your Family, and will you not be real in your Family Worship?

2. Livelily.In your Family worship God Livelily; not only with a true and sincere heart, but with a lively heart, take heed of dulness and formality; take heed of sleeping at your prayers. And here I would advise that Masters of Families would not put off their duties too long in the Morning, till half the day be past, nor too late in the Evening, when the Family will be more dispo­sed [Page 191] and inclined to sleep than to pray.

3. Chear­fully.In your Family worship God chearfully, go not to Family Prayer as a task and burden, but as a great favour and priviledge that you and your Children might call upon God.

4. Con­stantly.In your Family worship God constantly: Some will pray on a Sabbath night, but it may be not all the Week after. Thus if you serve God in your Family it will be a great step to your walking in some measure answerably for so great preservation, and then it will be a good discove­ry that God hath spared you in mercy, to do him service in the Education of your Children, and not in judgment, to the encreasing of your sins only.

Thus far concerning the Duties of Families whom God hath spared in this time of Pestilence in general. Of the several Relations in a Fami­ly next.


SEcondly, If you will live in some measure an­swerably to so great a mercy, as Preservation from death in a time of great Mortalitie, is, then fill up the duties of your particular Relation wherein you stand. Relative sins are very offen­sive unto God, and a great scandal to Religion. [Page 192] The fi [...]st of these Relations in a Family is,

Duties of husbands & wives, whom God hath spared in this Plague.First, Conjugal, betwixt Husband and Wife; and the great duty incumbent upon them is mu­tu [...]l love, in which many are deficient, and many are excessive, it being hard for such to let out their affections one to another so much as God com­mands, and no more than God allows; and both these extreams will terrisie conscience when such come to dye. And this sin is more usually seen when death hath broken this Relation, than while God continueth them together; the Sur­viver then seeth he did not love his Wife, and the Wife, her Husband, with that degree of love as that Relation called for, or with a greater degree than was pleasing unto God, when the love of this Relation did diminish the love they should have to God: And how many breaches hath God made in this Relation to punish the sin of both extreams? It may be thy love was Immoderate, and therefore God hath taken thy Relation from thee: Or it may be thy love was deficient, and therefore God hath taken thy Re­lation from thee. When thou w [...]st sick, and thou thoughtest thou shouldest have died, did not thy Conscience then accuse▪ thee for one of these in thy Relation? And yet hath God spared thee and thy Wife, or thee and thy Husb [...]nd, then what conscience did reproach thee for in this particular, if thou wouldst answer Gods mercie in sparing of thee, let this be reformed. There are many this day may be lamenting not so much the loss of this Relation, as that they did not walk sutablie in this Relation while they were in [Page 193] it, this being the sting of their affliction. Oh! methinks such as God hath continued in a Con­jugal Relation in this time of great Mortality, should look upon themselves now more engaged to perform their mutual duties with more care and conscience than before. Such a one hath buried his Wife, and such a one hath buried her Husband, but God hath preserved you in your Relation, you cannot live answerablie for this mercie but in a better discharge of your mutual duties. How would you wish you had loved your Relation, Wife or Husband, if God had taken either away by death, so do now when God continueth you both in life.

Because this conduceth so much to an answe­rable return for so great a mercie I will a little insist upon it. And in the general, if you would improve this mercie, the direction is, that your love and affection be such one to another, as is the love betwixt Christ and the Church. Eph. 2.25. Husbands, love your Wives, even as Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it. And this love of the Husband must be requited with the love of the Wife, for it is reciprocal, Tit. 2.4. Teach the young women to be sober, to love their Hus­bands.


BUT more particularly I shall speak to three things:

  • [Page 194]What manner of love is this
  • Why they should have this
  • Wherein they should manifest this

love one to another.

I If you will improve this mercie God hath vouchsafed you, your love must have these pro­perties.

1. The pro­perties of their love Superla­tive.It must be a Superlative love, that is in re­spect of all sublunarie things; though your love to God and Christ must be more than your love one to another, else it doth sinfully exceed, for if any loveth Father or Mother, Husband or Wife, more than Christ, he is not worthie of him, yet in respect of all other persons and things in this world, it must be more, else it is sinfully deficient; A man must love his Wife above all other per­sons, above his Estate, or whatsoever is dear un­to him in this world, and so the Wife. Thus Christ loveth his Church, and a believing soul, above all other persons, and the Church recipro­callie loves Christ above all other things in the world.

2. ConstantIt must be a Constant love, it must last as long as life in both do [...]n last. The longer you live in this Relation, the more you should love. Length of time must not wear off the comman­ded and allowed strength of your mutual Affecti­on. Thus Christ alwaies love [...] his Church, and the Church alwaies loves Jesus Christ.

3. Holy,It must be Holy love; from an holy Principle, obedience to Gods command; in an holy manner, according to the Word of God; for holy ends, the glorie of God, &c. Carnal love, for carnal ends, is not the love that God requireth in this Relati­on, [Page 195] Thus Christ loves the Church, and the Church loves Christ with an holy love.

4. Tender.It must be a tender, compassionate, and sym­pathizing love; if God lay his afflicting hand up­on either, in sickness of bodie, in terrours of mind, the other is to be tender, and to sympa­thize in those afflictions. If God lay his hand upon both, in Povertie and want, they should not fret one against the other, (which is too usu­all) but should both with tenderness of com­passion endeavour to bear the same burden, and make up that which is wanting in outward en­joyments in the degree of their love. And this would lighten many burdens, and sweeten the bit­ter Cup of affliction which God may put into both their hands; as the want of Conjugal affe­ction in many doth make that heavie which is light, and that bitter which is sweet. Thus Christ loveth his Church, and sympathizeth with her in all her afflictions, Isa. 63.9. Acts 9.4.

5. Forgi­ving loveIt must be Forgiving love; that shall hide and cover the infirmities of each from the world, every miscarriage in this Relation should not abate the affection of one to the other. Sinful Infirmities must not be allowed of in one another, because they must be faithful to each others souls, and yet they should not be blazed unto others, because of the love to each others person. Thus Christ loveth his Church notwithstanding her sinful Infirmities; and because he loveth her, he is readie and willing to forgive her. But there is no such retaliation of this Propertie of love in the Church to Christ, because he hath no such [Page 196] sinful infirmities: but there is no such husband in the world besides Christ, and therefore in our case it is reciprocal.


II The Rea­sons of their loveTHe Reasons why there should be such love and mutual Affection betwixt those in a Conjugal Relation are such as these:

1. Because God commands it; and with gra­cious persons a command of God is instead of a thousand Reasons. Before this Relation be entred into, persons may lawfullie look after attractives and motives of love, but when once they are so rel [...]ted, this is sufficient reason (though there are others) why they should love, Eph. 5.25. Tit. 2.4.

2. Because they are one flesh; He that loveth his Wife loveth himself, and she that loves her Husband loveth her self, Eph, 5.28, 29. It is un­natural in any to h [...]te their own flesh.

3. Because the comfort of their life, and the sweetness of this Relation much depends upon their mutual affection.

4. Because the Gospel will be much hindered by the want of this love in those that make professi­on of it: The Gospel much suffers when wicked persons observe that Professors fill not up their relative duties, Tit. 2.4. Teach the young women to be sober, to love their Husbands, to love their Children. Ver. 5. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own Husbands, [Page 197] that the Word of God be not blasphemed.

5. Because else they will be more unfit for spiri­tual duties, either together, or apart. When there are differences betwixt Husband and Wife, it is an hinderance to them in their praying one with another, in their praying one for another; want of this Conjugal affection, and breaches in this relation, hath often straitened the heart of the party offending at the throne of grace, and this professing Husbands and Wives should be careful of, 1 Pet. 3.5, 6, 7. The Apostle had exhorted persons in a Conjugal relation to discharge their mutual duties, after the Example of Abraham and Sarah, and the reason he alledgeth is, That your Prayers be not hindred.

6. Because else they cannot comfortably dye. Breaches in the duties of this Relation, will make great breaches in our peace of conscience when we come to dye. When you are to part at death, conscience will be lashing of you: God hath set thee (saith Conscience) in such a relation, but thou hast not had the love of that Relation. God gave thee such a yoak-fellow, but thou di [...]st not live with that affection as he did require, and now thy relation must be broken. Oh the [...], saith the offendor, if God would continue me a little longer in this relation, how would I walk more sutably in performing the duties thereof better than hitherto I have done; but do it now before death doth part you.


III Wherein they should manifest this love.THe duties wherein those in a Conjugal Re­lation should manifest this mutual affection, and they are such as are, either

  • Proper to each.
  • Common to both.

The Husband manifests his love in

  • Direction in cases dubious.
  • Protection in cases dangerous, 1 Sam. 30.18.
  • Provision of things needful, 1 Tim. 5.8.

The Wife mani­fests her love in

  • Inward Reverence, Eph. 5.33.
  • Outward subjection, 1 Pet. 3.1.

The duties that are common to both do either concern.

  • The body, or things tem­poral.
  • The soul, or things Spiri­tual.

1. In the affairs of this life they should mani­fest their mutual love one to another, In

  • Procreation of Children.
  • Education of Children.
  • Administration of houshold affairs
  • Times of affliction and sickness.

2. In the concernments of each others souls, or things spiritual, their love should be especially manifested; Love to the soul is the Noblest love, because the soul is the nobler part; to love the body and hate the soul, (as too many do) is but cruel love. Their love is highest love, that love each others souls, and this love is manifested,

  • 1. In Reproving one another for sin; this [Page 199] is greatest love; not to reprove is to hate, Lev. 19.17. So Job his Wife, Job 1.9, 10. So Abigail her Husband, 1 Sam. 25.36, 37. where you may observe both Abigails Piety, she re­proved Nabal: And her Prudence, when the wine was out of his head.
  • 2. In comforting one another under in­ward terrours; So Manoahs Wife comforted him, Jud. 13.22, 23.
  • 3. In Provoking one another to good works of Piety, and Charity. This is the only al­lowed contention betwixt Husband and Wife, who shall be best, and love God most, and do most good: but not to provoke to wrath and wicked works, as Jezabel did Ahab, 1 Kings 21.7, 8, 9. Wicked Husbands are usually very wicked,
    when wicked Wives stir them up to do wickedly, ver. 25.
  • 4. In Praying one with another, and praying one for another. It is great love in such to im­prove their interest at the throne of grace one for another.

Thus if you whom God hath spared, and con­tinued life unto, after thi [...] Contagion, would re­solve to live together, you would so far as con­cerns you in this respect, live in force measure an­swerably to so great a mercy, else you cannot. Hath God spared you to be more unkind one to another? To be bitter one against another? To grieve one another? Or do you think this is the Improvement you should make of this mercy? God forbid.


SEcondly, The next Relation I consider in a Family, is between Parents and Children, whom God hath continued after this great Mor­tality. God hath taken away Parents from others, and they are lest Orphans, but God hath conti­nued thy Parents, Both, or one to thee. What doth God require from thee in answer to a sutable return for this mercy? God hath taken away Children from others, and bereaved them of those that were dear to them, but God hath con­tinued thine, all, or some to thee, what doth God require at thy hands in answer to a sutable return for so great a mercy? It is that Parents and Children should fill up the duties of this relation, else you can never walk worthy of this mercy. But more particularly,

Duties of Parents whom God hath continu­ed to children, viz. In­struction. First, Parents, if they would live answerable to his mercy of Children continued to them, must be careful,

First, In instructing of them in the things of God: and training them up in the waies of God, this is the duty of both Parents, Pro. 1.8. My son hear the instruction of thy Father, and for­sake not the Law of thy mother, Prov. 31.1. The words of King Lemuel, the P [...]ophesie that his mother taught him. This mothers might do when they are dressing of their Children. Do not think you do enough if you make provision for your chil­dren, and get a portion for them: Let me tell you, that is the le [...]st part of your duty, as hard as you [Page 201] think it is; but, you must give them instructions, and that

1. Timelily, before they are accustomed to evil; they are born in natural hardness, and, by frequent acts of wickedness they will contract habitual hardness; and then, if God clap upon their hearts judicial hardness, your Children are undone for ever: Children before they can goe, can run from God; and, before they can speak plainly, can speak wickedly: Teach them not to be proud of their fine Clothes; teach them not Revenge, by giving you a stroak to beat others; these be the buddings of Pride and Revenge in little Infants.

2. Instruct them frequently; They are apt to learn evil, but backward to learn any thing that is good: There must be Line upon Line, Deut. 6. 6, 7. You must whet the things you speak unto them, that they may pierce their hearts; fre­quently inculcate the same things upon them, and instil the knowledg of God into them by little and little.

3. Instruct them affectionately; Let them perceive (when more grown up) that they are matters of Weight and Moment, that you speak to them about: When you speak of Heaven and Hell, of God and Sin, let them see that your hearts are affected with what you say.

Correcti­on. Secondly, In Correcting of them for the evil of Sin: He that spares the Rod spoiles the Childe: better you correct them here, than God damne them [Page 202] hereafter: The Rod is as needful for your Chil­dren as their Food; Prov. 22.15. Folly is bound in the heart of a Childe, the Rod of Correction shall drive it far from him. Do this,

1. Timelily; a young Twigg is flexible, and easie to be bent; break them of wicked Words and W [...]ies betimes, or else they may break your heart when they are bigger. Adonijah was Da­vids D [...]ling, an [...]he was wanting in correcting of him, and he Rebelled before he died, and usurped the Kingdom before his Fathers death: 1 King. 1.5. Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be King; and he prepared his Horsmen and Chariots, and fifty Men to run before him. Vers. 6. And his Father had not displeased him at any time, in saying, Why hast thou done so? — Too much indulgence will make unduti­ful and disobedient Children.

2. Proportionably to their fault; Do not Cor­rect a small offence over sharply, nor an hainous sin too slightly; if you are too severe for a small offence, they will hate you: if you are too indul­gent in a great offence, they will despise you. This was Elyes sin, that he did not correct the hainous sin, and reprove the abominable practise of his Sons with greater severity: 1 Sam. 2.23. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for, I hear of your evil dealings by all this People. Vers. 24. Nay, my Sons, for it is no good report that I hear, ye make the Lords People to transgress. It is no good report! that was too good a word for so hainous wicked Works: it was an abominable thing that was reported by others, and commit­ted [Page 203] by his Sons: But, see what God saith to Ely, Vers. 29. Thou honourest thy Sons above me: and, God severely punished his Children for their vile offence; and the Father for his so cold reproof, as you may read in the following Verses.

3. Compassionately; do not Correct your Chil­dren in the heate of Passion, but with bowels of compasion: when the Rod is in your hand, let there be tender love in your heart.

4. Discreetly; Observing the temper and dis­position of your Childe which you correct; if you Scourge, and frown upon one, as much as is needful for another, you will discourage him; if you scourge not another, more than this, that is more tender spirited, you will not break him: Correction is like a Medicine, in which the Phy­sitian hath respect to the constitution of the Pati­ent. Children are like Herbs, some, if you cut and tread will grow again; but, if you do as much to other Herbes, you kill them.

5. Seasonably; There is much wisdom in Pa­rents, in timeing their Correcting of their Chil­dren; if you correct them for some faults before others, you will discourage them; take the fit­test season.

6. Penitently; When you correct your Chil­dren, judge your self first, and repent for your own sin, or else you do but beat your self.

7. Believingly; When you exercise your child with the Rod, do you exercise faith upon the Promise.

Prayer. Thirdly, In Praying much for them; many pray for Children before they have them, but ne­glect [Page 204] to pray for them when God hath given them; as though their being were a greater bles­sing than their well-being: you must add Prayer to Instruction and Correction; for, it is not one­ly your Instruction, nor Correction, but Gods blessing given in to servent Prayer, that will make your Children good. When you look upon your little Infants as they are sucking at your breasts, or laughing in your faces, or playing in your armes; oh consider the seed of sin that they have in their hearts! that they, by Nature, are the children of wrath; and, when you go to pray for them, use such considerations that might make your heart to mourn over them, and for them: When you con­sider they are enemies to God, can you not mourn for them upon your knees? when you consider they are lost children, except mercy find them; that they are damned children except free grace save them: Can you not mourn abundantly, and pray servently for them? Can you consider they are by Nature, without the Image and Like­ness of God, and not be grieved at the heart? that your child is a little Traitor against the King of Heaven; a little Rebel against the glorious God; and, will you not pray that his heart may be changed? Could you weep and grieve if your Child were a Monster, if it had a body of one kind, and an head of another; if it had an Arme too much, or a Leg too much, or little; why, its misery is more by Nature then all this, and yet, can you not mourn in your Prayers for him?

[Page 205] Choosing them a Calling. Fourthly, In Choosing for them some lawful Cal­ling and putting them forth unto some Religious familie: Choose not a Calling that hath more snares and temptations attending it, then usually others have; and place them in such families, where they may learn the way to Heaven, as well as the way to be rich in the World: If you put them forth to an ungodly family, you may loose all your former labour in Instruction, Correction, and Prayer: for, will you give your Childe an An­tidote, and then care not if he run into a Pest-house, among persons that have running Plague Sores; or, would you not judge it presumption in any so to do, without a special call? but, the former is greater, and higher, and more dange­rous presumption than the latter; in as much as the death of the Body of your Child is endan­gered by the one; but the damnation of his Soul is endangered by the other.

Disposing them in Marriage Fifthly, In careful disposing of them in Marri­age▪ That you Match them to godly Persons, and, if you can, into a godly family; or, to one that hath Religious Relations: Take heed of Marrying them to the children of the Devil, though their out­ward advantage be never so much: Thus Abra­ham took care that his son Isaac should not take a Wife of the Daughters of the Canaanites, amongst whom he dwelt, Gen. 24.3. If you thus take care for your children, whom God hath continued to you in this great Mortality, you act, in this re­spect, [Page 206] in some measure answerably to so great a Mercy.


Duties of Children, whom God hath continued to their Parents. Secondly, Children, if they would live an­swerably in their Relation, to so great a Mer­cy, as is, Gods sparing their Parents, and conti­nuing them unto them, must be careful of filling up the Duties of their Relation: and, the Duty of Children is set down in Col. 3.20. Children, obey your Parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord: In which observe,

  • 1. The Charge, Obedience.
  • 2. The Persons charged; Children, younger, elder, poor or rich.
  • 3. The Persons to whom this obedience is to be given.


    • Father,
    • Mother.


    • Poor, or
    • Rich.
  • 4. The extent of this obedience; In all things.
  • 5. The limitting and enforcing Reason, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord; there­fore the all things are to be limitted to things lawful, else it would not please the Lord; but, they must in those things, be­cause it pleaseth God.

Now, if you that are Children would walk worthy of Gods Mercy, in sparing your Parents [Page 207] to you in this contagious times, you must obey them in these Particulars.

1. In receiving Instructions from them, in hearkning to their wholsome Counsel and Advice, Prov. 3.1. My son forget not my Law, but let thine heart keep my Commandments, Prov. 4.1, 2, 3, 4. and 5.1, 2, 7. and 6.20. &c. and 7.1, 2, 3.

2. In submitting to their Correction, without murmuring and repining.

3. In being content with your Diet and Appa­rel that your Parents provide for you.

4. In yeilding them sustenance and Mainte­nance if they come to Poverty, if you be able to supply them; they gave you maintenance when you could not provide for your selves, do you so for them, if they need, though you work hard to help them, 1 Tim. 5.4. But, if any Widow have Children, or Nephews, let them first learn to shew piety at home, and to requite their Parents, for that is good and acceptable before God. Though Children can never (fully) requite their Parents, for they had their being by them; and, what if they have help by you in outward things, you had your being by them, and that is more: Take heed of being ashamed of your Parents, if they be poor, and you are raised to an higher degree in the World than ever they were, but, to disown them would be impious.

5. In submitting to their choise of a Calling for you.

6. In disposing of you in Marriage: Change not your Condition without their Consent, as Isaac, Gen. 24. and Sampson, Judg. 14.1, 2. Nay, [Page 208] Ishmael obeyed his Mother in his Marriage, Gen. 21.21. and, will you be worse than Ish­mael?

7. In all things, though they be cross to your humour, though it might not please you, yet, if it please your Parents you must do it. But, that I may not lay a snare for Childrens Consciences, and put a Staff into ungodly Parents hands, to drive their Children to Hell, you must take this distinction of [things,] viz.

Things are ei­ther,
  • Simply good and necessary, and these must be done, though your Parents for­bid you; as Praying, Reading Scrip­ture, &c.
  • Simply evil and unlawful, and these must not be done, though your Parents command you; as to play, or work upon the Lords day, to lie and de­fraud in dealing.
  • Neither good nor evil in their own na­ture (though every thing is good or evil, considered in all circumstances) and, in all these you must obey your Parents.

And, the reasons of this obedience to your Pa­rents, are such as these.

1. Reasons for these Duties. Gods command, Ephes. 6.1. Children, obey your Parents in the Lord. V. 2. Honour thy Fa­ther and Mother, which is the first Commandment with Promise; That is the first Command with Promise in the second Table; for, there is a [Page 209] Promise in the second Command of the First Ta­ble, of shewing Mercy unto thousands, &c.

2. This is right, or justice; Ephes. 6.1. Thou hadst thy being and thy education by thy Parents, therefore it is justice thou shouldest obey them.

3. Christs Example; He was obedient to his Parents, Luke 2.51. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.

4. Gods Judgments upon disobedient Children: Absalom Rebelled against his Father, and God cut him off in the very act of his Rebellion.

5. It is pleasing to God: If it were in any thing that would displease God, you must not do it; for you must please your Heavenly Father rather than your Earthly, but, if it be pleasing unto God, you must not deny it; you please God, when you please your Parents in things lawful.

6. God might punish you with disobedient Chil­dren hereafter, if you are disobedient to your Pa­rents now: Thus Children also will walk so farr answerably to so great a Mercy, as Gods sparing their Parents to them, if they thus obey them.


THirdly, The next Relation I consider in a Family, is, the Relation of Masters and Servants, whom God hath spared in this great Mortality; and, if you would live in some mea­sure answerably to this Mercy (as, it is a Mercy to some to have Servants; and, it is a Mercy to [Page 210] others to have Masters) then you must fill up the duties of your Relation.

Duties of Masters whom God hath continued to Ser­vants. First, Masters Duties are set down, Col. 4.1. Masters, give unto your Servants that which is just and equal, knowing, that ye also have a Master in Heaven: where you have,

  • 1. The Charge that is given, to do that which is just and equal.
  • 2. The Persons to whom this Charge is gi­ven: Masters.
  • 3. The Persons unto whom this justice and equity must be shown: Servants.
  • 4. The Reason to enforce it; knowing that ye have a Master in heaven. There is no Man, that is a Master, but he hath a Master, and that is God.

1. Masters must not impose upon their Ser­vants any thing simply unlawful, that is not just; to Work, or carry Burdens upon the Lords day, without necessity, &c.

2. Masters must not impose upon their Ser­vants things above their strength, though they be lawful, this is not just.

3. Masters must not deny their Servants con­venient Food, nor their due Wages, this is not just.

4. Masters must not turn away their Servants when they are sick, who served them when they were in health and strength, without their con­sent; this is not just.

5. Masters must not deny them necessary time [Page 211] for the performance of their necessary duties unto God, this is neither just nor equal: It is but equity if Servants spend their time in your ser­vice, that you should allow them some time for the Service of God, and the saving of their souls: for, to wear out their Bodies in serving you now, and, for want of time to Read and Pray, to have their Soules damned hereafter, would be a very unequal, unjust, and unreasonable thing.


Duties of Servants whom God hath continued to Ma­sters. Secondly, Servants, if you would live answera­bly for the Mercy of God, in sparing you, then performe the Duties God requireth at your hands towards your Masters. The Duty of Ser­vants is set down, Eph. 6.5. Servants, be obedient to them that are your Masters, according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ. Vers. 6. Not with eye-service, as Men-pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Vers. 7. With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to Men. Vers. 8. Knowing, that whatsoever good thing any Man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. To this the Apo­stle addeth; Servants, obey in all things your Ma­sters, knowing, that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ, Col. 3.22, 23, 24, 25. in both which places the Apostle meets with the usual defects of Servants in their Relation; which are

  • [Page 212]1. Half Service.
  • 2. Eye Service.
  • 3. Hypocritical Service.
  • 4. Prophane­ness in Service.
  • 5. Irreverence in Service.
  • 6. Grudging in Service.
  • 7. Baseness of mind in Service.

To these are opposed Service

  • 1. In all things.
  • 2. Not eye-ser­vice.
  • 3. In singleness of heart.
  • 4. In the fear of God.
  • 5. Trembling.
  • 6. From the heart, and with good will.
  • 7. A glorious re­ward.

1. Servants must do all the service they owe un­to their Masters; not to do one thing, and leave another undone, but, you must obey in all things, i. e. lawful.

2. Servants must not give eye service; That is, onely in their Masters sight and presence, but must be as careful of their Masters business in his absence, as if he were looking on them: they must not do their work as those that are serving Men, who cannot alwaies see them, but as the ser­vants of Christ, serve him, who believe, that he alwaies sees them: and, let Servants remember, that though Masters do not alwaies see them, yet God doth.

3. Servants must performe the Works of their Masters service in singleness of heart, with upright­ness, and without dissimulation; they must not be hypocrites in Mens service, as they must not in the [Page 213] Service of God: Servants must do all from obe­dience to Gods Commands, and yield therefore obedience to wicked Masters in lawful things, 1 Pet. 2.18. Servants, be subject to your Masters with all fear; not onely to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. So, to poor Masters, though they can give them but mean wages.

4. They must do it in the fear of God: As the servants of God must pray in the fear of God, and hear in the fear of God; so they that are servants to Men, must do their work in the fear of God: then, they must not Curse and Swear at their work, nor talk sinfully, nor speak or sing ob­scenely.

5. Wi [...]h reverence to their Masters, 1 Tim. 6.1. Let as many servants as are under the yoke, count their own Masters worthy of all Honour, that the Name of God and his Doctrine be not blasphemed: If thou serve a poor Master, yet, being thy Ma­ster, thou art bound to honour him; else, thou will be a reproach to the Name of God, and his Doctrine.

6. They must not grudge the Service they do, but do it from the heart, and with good will: Ser­vants hearts must not be set upon their Masters business, they cannot give away their heart from God: but, they must do their Work from the heart, i. e. willingly, cheerfully.

7. They must not onely aime at the wages they have from their Masters; that is poor, and low, and sordid to work and labour for such a reward; but, as those that know, if they do their service, (be it never so mean and servile) in obedience to Gods [Page 214] command, and for his glory, they shall have a reward in Heaven: God will reward the mean service of a poor servant with an eternal Crown.

8. They must be faithful in their Masters busi­ness; they must not purloin, steal, and secretly convey away any thing of their Masters Estate, Money or Goods; or sell it at under-rate to his Masters real prejudice and dammage, by private contract between himself and the buyer, to con­sider him for his cheap Bargain. Tit. 2.9. Ex­hort servants to be obedient unto their own Masters, and to please them well in all things, not answering again. Vers. 10. Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the Doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. When thy hand is in thy Masters Box, and thou art pilfring away his Money, to Game, to keep Compa­ny, or spend any way without his knowledge, this is Theft; and, God seeth thee, though he do not: and, if thou hast purloined, or stole any thing, thou art bound to restore it, if thou canst, and, to confess thy fault and be humbled, and do so no more.

9. They must be frugal for their Masters; that, though they steal nothing from them, yet they may sin, by suffering their Masters Goods to be wasted; as Food to be cast away, and many things to be spent and consumed when there is no need: this is not to shew all fide­lity to your Masters. So Jacob, Gen. 31.36, 37.38, 39, 40. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it: of my hands [Page 215] didst thou require it, whether stollen by day, or stollen by night.

10. They must not answer again out of a murmuring spirit, nor give word for word; that, if their Master rebukes them for their sin, they must not speak as fast as he: nay, though a Master should speak Wrathfully, and in unjust Anger, yet they must not Answer Perversely to them again, but with meekness and silence (except they require, or give leave) go about their Imployment, committing their cause to God, who will right them, if their Masters wrong them, Col. 3.25. But, he that doth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and, there is no respect of Persons. God regards not Mens outward con­ditions; he regards not the Mistriss more than the Maid: nor the Master more than the Man; but judgeth righteously betwixt the greatest and the meanest.

11. They must remember, when they are obedient in their Masters Service, they are ser­ving the Lord Christ: What a poor servant doth in servile Labour, in the meanest, lowest im­ployment, he is serving of God: and, this might sweeten to him more difficult and un­pleasing Work.

Thus I have done with this direction, in which all Men, in one capacity or other, here­in considered, are concerned to make im­provement of Gods Preserving of them in [Page 216] time of so great Contagion; by being eminent­ly exemplary in the Conditions, Capacity, Rela­tions, wherein they stand; which, if they do (cae­teris paribus) they live in some measure answe­rable to so great a Mercy.


Watch a­gainst se­cret sins.HAth God spared you in a time of Pesti­lence, then if you would live answerable, diligently watch against secret sins, and let your special care be about the hidden and secret things in Religious Duties. God hath kept you in his Chambers, Isa. 26.20. Come my people, enter thou into thy Chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thy self as it were for a little moment un­till the indignation be overpast. God hath hid you from Judgment in the secret Chambers of his Protection, and will you hide your sins in the secret corners of your hearts? Or will you allow your self to sin because you are in your secret Chambers? Or will this be to live worthy of Gods secret Protection of you, to commit secret sins against God? That you are preserved this is visi­ble; all that see you walking in the streets know this: But Gods way of preserving you was not only by visible means, as Antidotes and Cordials, but by the invisible Guard of holy Angels, Psal. 91.10. There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any Plague come nigh thy dwelling. Ver. 11. For he shall give his Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy waies. Ver. 12. They shall bear thee up in their hands: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. [Page 218] The reason why you have been preserved is, be­cause God hath caused you to dwell in the secret place of the most high, and hath made you to abide under the shadow of the Almightie, Psal. 91.1. When the Pestilence was walking in darkness, and the Arrows of the Almightie were secretly shot and flying abroad, He kept you in the secret of his Pavilion, Psal. 37.5. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his Pavilion: in the secret of his Tabernacle he shall hide me, he shall set me upon a rock. As all visible means would not have been effectual for your preservation, without Gods secret and invisible watching over you: So abstaining only from visible sins, and performing only that of duty, which is visible, will not be a sutable, nor answerable return for this great mercie: Therefore my advice unto you is, that as Gods goodness to you hath been in a secret way of preservation, so your care should especially be about secret things, and that in two respects.

  • In abstaining from secret sins.
  • In maintaining secret duties.

Abstain from se­cret sins.First, Be careful to abstain from secret sins. Do not cherish sins in your hearts and thoughts, though they should never proceed to outward act: For a man whom God hath kept in time of Plague, might be no open Swearer, no visible Drunkard, nor live in open wickedness, and yet might walk unworthy of Gods mercy to him. And here I shall answer these two Questi­ons.

  • 1. What are those Considerations whereby a man [Page 219] should urge his heart to abstaine from heart and secret sins?
  • 2. What are the helps and means for inabling of a man to abstain from heart and secret sins?

Quest. 1. What are those Considerations where­by a Christian should urge his heart to abstain from heart sins, and secret sins; not to let into the secrets of his heart what he can, by watch­fulness prevent, and not to allow that which not­withstanding all his diligence he cannot prevent. For there is great difference betwixt having sin in the heart, and regarding or allowing sin in the heart, Psal. 66.18. If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me. A Christian may have, yea, cannot in this life but have sin in his heart, but this (not allowed, but groaned under, and lamented for,) shall not hinder the audi­ence of his prayers, nor the salvation of his soul. But the regarding and allowing of it will prevent both.

I Conside­rations to watch a­gainst se­cret sins. God set­teth se­cret sins in the light of his coun­tenance.SECT. I.
Considerations to keep you from secret sins.

GOD sets your secret sins in the light of his countenance, Psal. 90.8. You can never sin so secretlie, as to hide your sins from God. Study well these Scriptures, Psal. 139.1, to 17, vers. Jer. 23.24. Heb. 4.13. Prov. 5.21. For the waies of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pon­dereth all his goings. Whether your waies are [Page 220] good or evil, open or secret, they are before the eyes of the Lord, [...] rectà è regione, right over Gods eyes. He pondereth, [...] He weigheth them in scales; and many of our actions he findeth to be too light. There are some sins so secret that other men might not know them; and some are so secret that a man might not know them himself; as sins of Ignorance, Psal. 19.12. Who can understand his errours? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. But no sin can be said to be se­cret in respect of God; Others see some sin in you, you may see more in your self; But God seeth all: because he is omniscient.

But there [...]re many sins which are so secret that we our selves see them not: The causes of this are

  • 1. Imperfection of self-knowledge.
  • 2. Excess of self-love.
  • 3. Decei [...]fulness of sin.
  • 4. Closeness of sin.
  • 5. Want of watchfulness.

But there is no sin can be hid from God, for God seeth the Nature, Number, and Aggravations of secret sins.

Many indeed have vailes for their sins that they may not be discerned by men, but God looks through them: Let me instance in these following sins, that appear to men in the shape of grace, but in the sight of God are manifest sins: Or sins vailed and masked with plausible preten­ces of good, yet are naked to the sight of God.

[Page 221]1. Masked sins dete­cted. Pride covered with humility; A proud per­son often appears in the shape of an humble man. In abasing of himself, discommending himself, that another may commend him, crying down himself, that another may cry him up; by dispraising himself he would force and wrest a com­mendation from other men: But if he discom­mend himself, do you discommend him too; if he say such a thing was meanly done, if you say, you think so too, a proud man cannot bear it; he cannot hear another say of him what he saith of himself: But this secret pride God seeth.

2. Hypocrisie masked with Zeal; Many seem to be forward in good waies, and zealous in good works; but Self is the end, 2 Kings 10.16. Come see my Zeal, &c.

3. Secret love of the World, covered with pretence of care for their Family; Many have a cloak for the hiding of their covetousness; of which you read, 1 Thes. 2.5. For neither at any time used we flattering words, nor a cloak of covetousness, God is witness; this is seen by God.

4. Secret hatred against mens persons, covered with pretended zeal against mens sins, or covered with plausible expressions of love and amitie. Judas had murdered Christ in his heart, and yet calls him Master with his mouth, and kisseth him, Mat. 26.49. Many have words smoother than oyl, yet have hatred sharper than swords, Psal. 55.21.

5. Vain-glory hidden from men by pretended cha­rity; Many will do good, relieve the poor, help those that be in distress, but they aime at [Page 222] esteem amongst men. Matth. 6.1, 2, 3, 4.

6. Self-interest hidden from men by pretence of the good of mens souls, and the glory of God; so a preaching hypocrite may pretend to lay out him­self for the good of mens souls, and yet may use his Ministry only as a trade to get a living by it.

7. Blasphemous hard thoughts of God, might be hid from men by speaking good words of God.

8. Inward murmurings repinings against Gods Providences, may be hid from men by words of great submission to the will of God.

9. Inward fleshy lustings of heart, and contem­plative uncleanness, may be kept secret from men by chaste discourse. He may love the presence of a person that is occasion of such secret unclean­ness, and commit adultery in his heart, and the person not know of it, and the offender speaking chastly all this while: But I warn you in the name of God to strive against these sins, for though they are secret to men, yet God sets them in the light of his countenance. There are three eyes upon you when you are in se­cret, viz.

1. The eyes of Angels good and bad, and they may see much of your secret wicked­ness.

2. The eye of Conscience, and this may see more secret sin, than the Angels see in you, the very thoughts of your heart.

3. The eye of God, and his eye seeth more than the Conscience, 1 Joh. 3.20. And this view that God hath of thy secret sins when he sets them [Page 223] in the light of his countenance hath these four properties.

4 Proper­ties of Gods view of secret sins. First, It is a clear and distinct view; God seeth all the evil there is in thy secret sin. We have a confused sight of sin, and a dim sight of sin: we see not so much evil in the greatest sin as there is in the least: We see not so much evil in open Prophaneness as indeed there is in a vain thought: But God seeth all distinctly. What a man hath before his eyes, that is a sutable object, at an equal distance, and having a necessary me­dium he seeth distinctly.

Secondly, It is a full view; As God seeth all the evil in any one secret sin, so he seeth all thy secret sins. Man may know none of them; thou knowest some of them, but God knoweth all. When thou turnest thy back to go into secret to commit sin, Remember then, thou art before Gods face.

Thirdly, It is a constant view; What we have seen with our eyes might be quite razed out of our me­mories, but not out of Gods knowledge; and when God is said to remember our iniquities no more, it is not to be understood of real Oblivion, but gracious remission.

Fourthly, It is a judicial view; If we speak of the secret sins of an hypocrite or a wicked man, then God sets them in his sight, as a Judge sets before him the crimes of a Malefactor, that they may be read; he accused, convicted, and execu­ted. If we speak of the secret sins of Gods [Page 224] people, God sets them before him as a Father doth the miscarriages of his child, not to disin­herite him for it, but to correct him and cha­stise him.

These are the properties of Gods viewing our secret sins, and shall not this move thee to watch against them, and abstain from them? Or hast thou not done that in secret in the sight of God, which thou wouldst have been ashamed to do openly in the sight of men? There are six com­fortable expressions (among others) which the Scripture useth, to set forth Gods free pardon of our sins, viz. That he

  • Casts them behind his back, Isa. 38.17.
  • Blots them out, Isa. 43.25.
  • Casts them into the depths of the Sea, Mic. 7.19
  • Remembers them no more, Heb. 8.12.
  • Will be merciful to our unrighte­ousness, Heb. 8.12.
  • Hides his face from our sins, Psal. 51.9.

There are also six terrible expressions (among others) which the Scripture useth to set forth Gods displeasure against men for sin, viz. That he

  • Writes them in a book, Rev. 20.12.
  • Seals them in a bag, Job 14.17.
  • Remembers them, Hos. 7.2.
  • Marks them, Psal. 130.3.
  • Will visit them, Jer. 14.10. and 5.9.
  • Sets them in the light of his countenance, Psal. 90.8.

If therefore there be any thing in the belie­ving thoughts of Gods viewing your secret sins, (as doubtless there is very much) be careful that [Page 225] you abstain from them, and not allow your self in them.


II Secresie is no se­curity.TO keep you from secret sins consider, That secrecy in sinning is no security to the sinner; This is a consequent of the former, because God seeth you in secret, therefore you are not safe, though your sin be secret. You may secure your credit and reputation awhile, by keeping your sin secret from men, but not your happiness and sal­vation. While your sin is secret you may not be reproached for it by men, but you shall be dam­ned for it by God, if it be allowed and not sin­cerely repented of. Many shall be openly damned for secret sins. Read Psal. 64. through­out.

III It is a sign of sincerity.This will be a notable discovery of the sincerity of thy heart, if thou darest not allow thy self in secret sins. An Hypocrites greatest care is conversant about things visible and manifest, viz. His Con­versation, Profession, or Open transgressions, these are visible.

But the things that are secret and hid from the eyes of men, in those he is careless and negli­gent. But a true child of God, though he is not careless of his conversation, yet he is espe­cially mindful of his affections, and of the secret [Page 226] frame of his heart, and of the sins that lye lurk­ing within him.

IV God judgeth not by outward appea­rances.Consider, God doth not esteem of men by what they seem to be to others, but by what they really are. God doth not judge as man judgeth; Men judge of the heart by the actions of the life but God judgeth of the actions by the heart. Men judge of that which is secret and invisible by that which is open and visible, but God judgeth of that which is open and visible, by that which is secret and in­visible, Mat. 23.27. Woe unto you Scribes, Pha­risees, Hypocrites, for ye are like unto whited Se­pulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead mens bones, and of all unclean­ness. Ver. 28. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within are full of Hypocrisie and Iniquity. Luk. 16▪15. And he said unto them, ye are they which justifie your selves before men, but God knoweth your hearts: For that which is highly esteemed amongst men, is abomination in the sight of God. A man might be applauded for that by men, for which he shall be condemned by God. That which might set a m [...]n high in the estima­tions of men, might be an abomination unto God.

V To allow secret sin is great [...]mp [...]iety.It is hainous Impiety for a man to encourage him­self to sin because he is in secret. 2 Kings 17.9. And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God.[Page 227] There are many great sins wrapped up in this, As,

  • 1. Damnable Infidelity; They believe not God seeth them, Psal. 94.7, 8, 9.
  • 2. Desperate Security; They hide God from their eyes, and then think they are safe.
  • 3. Deep Stupidity; A degree further than the former.
  • 4. Daring Insolency; It is bold presumption to sin before Gods face.

VI Secret sins pro­voke God Secret sins do provoke God as well as open sins; God is not like the sinner that hath better thoughts of sin, because it is secret: The open­ness of sin might add something to the eclipsing of Gods glory, and to Gods dishonour, but it addeth nothing to Gods hatred of sin, because Gods hatred to sin, as sin, is infinite.

VII And grieve the Spirit. Secret sins will grieve the Spirit of God; And causeth him to withhold his influences from thy heart, and to withdraw his presence from thy soul. As,

  • 1. Secret sins will cause the Spirit of God to withdraw his witnessing presence, and to suspend his testimony.
  • 2. They will cause him to withdraw his com­forting presence, that thou shalt not have those joyes that thou wast use to find when thou wast more careful to watch against secret sins.
  • 3. They will cause him to withdraw his [Page 228] quickning presence, that thy heart will be left more dead, and more dull, and thy affections will be more flat and cold.
  • 4. They will cause him to withdraw his Assi­sting presence; that thou shalt not be so able to perform duty, to resist temptation, to bear affli­ction. Thus secret sins will make you great losers by gr [...]eving and quenching the Spirit of God.

VIII And de­stroy your peace. Secret sins will exceedingly disturb the peace of thy Conscience, They will make great gashes in thy soul; they will wound surely, they will wound s [...]ely and deeply; They may make thee go with a sorrowful heart unto thy grave; They may cost thee many a groan, and sigh and tear, many a prayer and strong cry to God before thy peace may be restored, and thy Conscience healed, and thy heart bound up. They may be the breaking of thy bones, and thy heart too, that thou mayst think God is thine enemy.

IX H [...]nder grace. Secret sins will hinder the growth of thy grace; A constant cours [...] of allowed secret sinning, ar­gues the Nullity of grace; and secret sins, through carelessness [...] by Gods people, will hinder much the encrease of grace. They will be like a frost to the blossom; Like a Worm and Caterpiller to the fruits of the Earth. Secret sins by experience you will find will much hin­der your,

  • [Page 229]1. Faith; That you shall not believe so sted­fastly.
  • 2. Desire; You shall not thirst after God and Christ so strongly.
  • 3. Love; You will not love God and Christ so Ardently.
  • 4. Delight; You will not delight in God so frequently.
  • 5. Hope; You will not hope for Heaven so livelily.
  • 6. Evidences; You will not lay claim to hea­ven so confidently.

X And fer­vent prayer, and pre­vent au­dience. Secret sins will hinder your fervent praying, and will stop the Audience of your prayers. They will exceedingly damp your affections at the throne of grace, and make you sneak in the presence of God, that you cannot have that liberty and con­fidence in prayer, because Conscience will be in­terlining thy prayers, and say, Thou prayest against this sin, and yet thou didst not watch against it, but didst knowingly commit it. They will stop thy mouth that thou canst not speak, and they will stop Gods ears, that he will not hear, Psal. 66.18. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.

XI Do har­den. Secret sins will harden thy heart, and make thee more prone to commit open sins. They will strengthen the evil habit of sin, and make thee more incline to visible transgressions, and increase the pro­pensity [Page 230] of thy heart to greater evils. Thus Judas giving way to secret covetousness did ripen the Inclination of his heart more and more to betray his Master.

XII Stop commu­nications of Gods secrets▪ Secret sins will stop the Communications of Gods secrets to thee; There are some secrets of God, which he doth not communicate to any man in this life, Deut. 29.29. Secret things belong to the Lord our God: but things revealed belong to us, and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this Law. But there are some secrets of God that he doth reveal unto his people, and to those that make conscience of secret sins, Prov. 3.32. But his secret is with the righteous. Psal. 25.14. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his Covenant. The Revealed things of the Gospel are secret things to wicked men; the Gospel is hid to them, 2 Cor. 4.4. Regeneration is a secret to them. Faith in Christ is [...] secret to them. The joyes of the Spirit, and the comforts of the Holy Ghost are things hid­den from them. But if you dare not allow your self in secret sinning, you shall have many secret Intimations of the love of God unto your soul; many secret illapses of his Spirit into your heart.

XIII If you make consci­ence of secret sin, you shall have an open re­ward. If you make conscience of secret sins you shall have an open reward. What Christ saith concerning secret duties, Mat. 6.6. But thou when thou prayest [Page 231] enter into thy Closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. This is true also of abstaining from secret sin­nings, God will reward you openly.

XIV In these you have least help from o­thers. Be most careful against secret sins because in these thou hast least help, and least assistance from others. If thy sin be visible, thy friend may reprove thee, and he may help to recover thee. If thy sin be visible, thy enemy may reproach thee for it, and that may occasion thy repentance. But if thy sin be secret, thou wilt not have these helps nor occasions of repentance; and therefore where thou art least capable of advantages and helps from others, therein be the greatest friend unto thy self.

Thus if you would walk answerably for Gods hiding of you in the secret of his. Tabernacle in time of danger live not in a course of secret sins; and for your help herein I shall next proceed to the second Question. viz.


WHat are the helps and means for the enabling of a Christian to abstain from heart-sins, and secret sins.Que. 2. Helps a­gainst se­cret sins. God his eye.

1. Fill your mind with actual, believing thoughts of Gods all-seeing eye. When you are tempted to sin in secret, consider God seeth you: [Page 232] All the thoughts of your heart, and all the mo­tions of your affections are known to him, 2 Cor. 4.2. But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth, commending our selves to every mans con­science in the sight of God. Psal. 139.11. If I say the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me. Ver. 12. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. It is the Atheism and Infidelity of mens hearts that en­courageth them to sin, because it is secret.

2. E [...]e judg­ment to come.Firmly believe, and often think of the judgement to come. Then will God make manifest every secret thing; The thoughts of the heart shall then be revealed. If thou wouldst not have thy secret sin produced at the last day, and published befo [...]e all the world, do not commit i [...], [...] 12.14. For God shall bring every work i [...]to [...]dgmen [...], with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Rom. 2.16. In the day w [...] God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Ch [...]ist, according to my Gospel. 1 Cor. 4.5. There­fore [...]udge working before the time, untill the Lord come, who both shall bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the cou [...]sels of the hearts, and then shall every man have praise of God.

3. Deep ha­tred.Get a deep ro [...]ted hatred in thy heart to sin. He that hateth sin truly will not indulge himself in committing sin secretly: For true hatred of sin will set the soul with strongest opposition against [Page 233] it, at all times, and all places: Hatred to sin as sin, will be to all sin, whether open or secret. He that hates a Toade, will hate it in his Chamber or Closet, as well as in the Field; yea, the nearer it is to him (if in his Bed) his hatred is raised so much the more: and, the nearer sin is to your heart, the more you should hate it. He that can sin secretly, when he will not openly, it is not be­cause he hates the sin, but because he hates the disgrace, which that sin would expose him to be­fore Men.

4. True fear.Possess thy heart with the true fear of God: Fear of shame, and lessening our esteem among Men, might keep from open sins; but the fear of God doth steel and Antidote the heart against all sins: When our restraint from sin is termina­ted in God, it will be a general preservative against all sorts of sin.

5. Upright­ness of heart.Get, and increase in uprightness of heart; the more of sincerity, the less in secret sinning. Hypo­crisie is consistent with a constant course of secret sin, but sincerity of heart doth diminish the acts and habits of sin.

6.Design Gods ap­probati­on. Make it your great design to have the appro­bation of God: He that doth hunt after the com­mendation of Men, will be good when Men do see him; but, he that seekes for the approbation of God, endeavours to be good at all times, and in all places: Rom. 2.29. But, he is a Jew, which is one inwardly, and Circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the Letter, whose praise is not of Men, but of God. 2 Tim. 2.15. Study to shew thy self approved unto God.

[Page 234]7. Be watch­ful. Be very watchful over your heart when you are alone: and over your outward Senses when you are in Company. He that doth not diligently watch, will frequently sin: there will be many secret stirrings of Unbelief in your heart, and of Pride, and of Vain-Thoughts, either injected by the De­vil, or arising from the Corruption in your own heart: A secret enemy must be watched more narrowly, and so must secret sins.

8. Suppress first moti­ons of sin. Suppress the first motions of sin: crush this Cockatrice in the Egge: do not dally with secret Temptations unto Sin: abstain from every ap­pearance of secret sins: If you are too much given to contemplative Uncleanness, avoid such things as may occasion it, as beholding of Objects, &c.

9. Sense of Gods love. Get a deep Impression of Gods kindness and mercy into thy soul: Many of Gods Mercies to thee are secret Mercies, which none can infallibly see in thee, but thy self: as Grace, and the love of God shed abroad in thy heart: and, let the sense of Gods secret love to thee keep thee from secret sinnings against God, then wilt thou say with Jo­seph, when he was tempted to secret uncleanness, Gen. 39.7, 9, 10. How can I do this great wicked­ness and sin against God?

10. Secret du­ties.If you would be kept from secret sins, be much in secret duties: He that hath all his duties abroad, will have a nest of secret sins at home: And this brings me to the second general Head about secret Good.


Secret du­ties. SEcondly, Maintain secret Duties, and espe­cially mind the secret things of Publick Du­ties: this part consisteth of two Branches,

  • Maintain secret Duties.
  • Minde Secret things in Publick Duties.

I. Keep up a constant course of secret Duties: Be much with God when you are alone: Let not all your Religion lie without doores: especially be much in the Practise of these four Duties in se­cret.

1. Be much in secret Prayer: This hath been the practice of the holy Men of God, so Jacob, Gen. 32.24. And Jacob was left alone: and there wrastled a Man with him, while the breaking of the day. In this you have the Example of Christ himself, who was much in secret Prayer, Ma [...]. 14.23. And when he had sent the Multitudes away, he went up into a Mountain apart to Pray, and when the evening w [...]s come he was there alone. You have some secret burdens upon your heart, you have some secret and hidden workings of sin in your soul, which is not convenient for you to express in the hearing of others; take time then to do this when you are alone in secret: You have the com­mand of Christ also for this secret duty, as well as his practise and example, Mat. 6.6.

2. Be freqent in self-examination in secret: When you are alone, be much in conversing [Page 236] with your self, and often in looking down into your own heart, enquiring after the truth of grace, and your growth therein: after the Mortification of sin, and your growth therein: Psal. 4.4. Stand in awe and sin not: commune with your own hearts upon your bed, and be still. Commune with your self, whether you set a due valuation upon the meanes of Grace: whether you thrive in holi­ness, according to the time and meanes that you have had: Commune with your self, whether your Conversation be suitable to your Profession, and, as becomes the Gospel: whether you are fit to die, and prepared for another World: in your secret Chamber commune with your own hearts about such things as these.

3. Be much in secret Reading of the Word of God: A Worldling, when he is alone, will spend much time in Reading over his Wri­tings, his Bonds and Bills, his Leases and Ac­quittances: and, will not you take as much pains in secret reading of the Word of God, which are the Writings upon which you must both build your Evidences for Heaven, and try them by.

4. Be much in secret meditation: When you are alone, let your thoughts be dwelling upon the Life to come, in thinking of your future happiness; Oh, what Inward warmth may you have, when you are alone, if you would but fill your minde with some believing fore-thoughts of the Life to come.


II. Secret things in Publick duties. MInde secret things in Publick Duties: As your preservation is visible, but (as I have noted before) the most effectual meanes of your preservation were secret and invisible: you have not seen the way that God hath taken in keeping you; he hath secretly kept you by his Power; he hath given a secret Charge to his An­gels over you; So, let your Duties (that God requires should be Publick and Visible) be so: But then, let your principal care be about the se­cret and invisible things of publick and visible du­ties.

The secret and invisible things in publick du­ties, which we are to mind, are

  • Good,
  • Bad.

I will instance in six of each of them.

Six things in a gr [...]cious heart in publick Duties, are secret and invisible.

1. The communion that a gracious heart hath with God in publick duties, is secret and invisible: You may hear a Mans Expressions, and you may see his Tea [...]es, and he [...]r his Groanes, but, whe­ther he have true communion with God, is such a secret, that none can know but himself.

2. The joyes that a Christian hath in publick duties, are secret and invisible joyes: expressions of joy and praise may be heard, and outward dis­coveries of joy there may be▪ but this joy it self is a secret thing: Whether you have indeed true spiritual joy in publick duties, none can know but your self.

[Page 238]3. The principle that puts a Man upon publick duties, is a secret and invisible thing: Whether you Pray or Pre [...]ch, or do any publick duty, out of a Principle of love and fear of God, is such a se­cret, that none can tell but your self.

4. The manner, in which publick duties are performed, is a secret and invisible thing: Whe­ther there be the exercise of Faith, and Repen­tance for Sin, and love to God, and desire after Spiritual things, is such a secret, that by-standers cannot know.

5. The end a Man propounds unto himself in publick duties, is secret and invisible: Whether a Duty be done for the glory of God, for the good of others, for the enjoying more communion with God, for more strength against sin, or whether it be for self-interest, and carnal ends, is onely known to a Mans own Conscience: Your duties Men may see, but your end they cannot see.

6. The peculiar aim and design of a gracious soul, in publick duties, against some peculiar sin, and se­cret corruption, is a secret and invisible thing: a Man may be heard to pray against a bosome, dar­ling lust, but, whether his design is to get down the power of this sin, is onely known unto him­self. These be the six things in publick duties that are secret, which you must especially labour after in all such duties.


Secret e­vils in publick duties to be avoid­ed.SIx things in publick duties, that are evil, but yet secret and invisible: as there hath been some secret danger which you have been in, when you have not discerned it, and, some secret in­fection God hath kept you from; so in publick du­ties (the same may be in secret duties also) there are some secret evils you are to watch against.

1. There may be secret unbeliefe lurking in the heart, when a Man in Prayer is pleading particu­lar Promises with his mouth: you may hear a man urge the Promises of God for removal of evil, for obtaining of good; but, whether he act faith upon these Promises, or whether there be not in the mean while secret unbelief, doubting of the truth of this Promise, or especially of the appli­cation of it to himself, is known onely to himself, it is a secret to those that joyn with him.

2. Hypocrisie in publick duties is a secret thing: Whether your heart be upright and sincere with God, or false and hypocritical, is a secret unto others; yea, sometimes it is such a secret that might not be known by a Man himself.

3. Inward-heart-Pride in publick duties is a se­cret thing: A Man may be full of self-loathing-expressions, and of humble gestures, and yet his heart might be lifted up with spiritual pride, and self admirations, and towring thoughts of his own worth and excellency, and suitableness and free­dom of expression, and a by-stander cannot per­ceive it.

[Page 240]4. Dulness and deadness of heart in duty is a se­cret thing: A Man might h [...]ve lively expressions in publick Prayers, and seeming warmth of affe­ction, and such things that might affect and warm the hearts of others; and yet his own heart be dull and lukewarm, yea qui [...]e cold in that duty.

5. Wandring thoughts, in publick duties, are se­cret things: A man may use the Name of God, and the Attributes of God, and yet his thoughts may be upon something else: others may see you engaged in the duty, and see your outward ge­stures, but are strangers to the secret wandrings of your mind.

6. The inclination of the heart to sin, in pub­lick duties, is a secret thing: A Man may con­fess sin, and bewaile it with Tears, and beg for power against it, and yet he may have a secret in­clination of heart to this very sin, and secret pur­poses of heart to keep it, and a secret fear, least God should hear his Prayers, which he makes against this sin; Whether you hate that sin in your heart, which you bewaile with your Tongue, is known onely to your self: and, if indeed you know it your self, it is a good degree of self-know­ledge. Thus, as God hath kept you in an invisi­ble manner, and most by invisible and secret means, and preserved you from secret and invisible dan­ger that you have been in: If you would live in some measure answerably to so great a Mercy, you must have a special care of minding the secret and invisible things in Christianity, and abstain from secret and invisible sins.


Since you live after the Plague, be dead to the World.HAth God spared you in time of Pesti­lence; Then be dead unto the World, and to things below: Take heed that you do not returne with too great an eagerness after the Affairs of this world; as if you had not seen such sights, as you have seen, of Death, and the vanity of the World: You are not dead in your Grave; let this Mercy move you to be dead to the World, and sinful Affections: You are li­ving in the World, but, you must be dead to the World. It is to be feared, that there are many will be as eagerly bent after the things of this World, as they were before; notwithstanding the Course that God hath taken by smarting Judgments, to weane them from the World: That will be like unto a Stream stopped and dammed up; when it gets over the Bankes, and the obstruction is removed, runneth down with greater force. God hath put many by their way of Trade, for some Moneths; Now take heed, that through over-much eagerness, to regain what loss you have sustained by the forbearance of your Calling, you do not let out too much of your heart and affections upon these things; nor give them more of your time, than you can well al­low [Page 242] from the necessary Duties of Gods imme­diate Worship, and the things that do concerne the state of your Soules in the life to come. Be dead to the

  • Profits,
  • Honours,
  • Pleasures,
  • Wisdom,

of this World.


1. To the Profits of the world.SHould not you be dead to, and take heed of re­turning, in your love, back again unto the Riches of the World, after such a Judgment as this hath been? To prevent an over-eager pursuit of the Riches and Profits of this World, when (by the removal of this Judgment) you have oppor­tunity of returning to your Callings; consider.

1. Are cor­rupt [...]ble. Hurtful.The Riches of this world are corruptible riches; they are perishing treasures: Silver and Gold are things corrupting others, and are corrup­tible in themselves, 1 Pet. 1.18, 19. But, you have an incorruptible Kingdom and Crown be­fore you to strive after, reserved in Heaven for believers, and for those that are so vehemently set for Heaven, that they will take it by force.

2. Unprofi­table.The riches of this world are unprofitable riches; therefore be not too eager in your pursuit of unprofitable profits: They cannot profit you in tim [...] of g [...]eatest need. Have not you had the ex­perience of the unprofitableness of riches? that they are unprofitable (1.) For diverting of Judg­ments, [Page 243] or removing evils that come upon you; whether temporal, as Sickness, Plague, Death; or spiritual, as Hardness of Heart, Blindness of Minde, Terrors of Conscience; none of all these can be removed by worldly riches. (2.) For the procuring of good; whether temporal, for the Bo­dy, as Health in time of Sickness, or Ease in time of Pain; or spiritual, for the Soul, either Grace, or Comfort, or Glory; if Conscience be wounded, they cannot heale your Consciences, nor comfort your Hearts.

3.Hurtful The riches of this world are oftentimes hurtful to the owner and possessor of them, Eccles. 5.13. There is a sore evil which I have seen under the Sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. Grace and Christ can never hurt you: but, your riches may, by being clogs to your affe­ctions in holy duties; by being snares and temp­tations to you in your converse in the world; by increasing your account, when you have not well improved them.

4.Uncer­tain. The riches of this world are uncertain riches, 1 Tim. 6.17. after you have got them, you may presently lose them: The loss of outward riches may arise,

  • 1. By Men; by Force and Power; by fraud and deceit.
  • 2. By Casualty; your Houses may be consumed with flames of Fire.
  • 3. By Gods secret Curse, Hag. 1.6. —He that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

5. Easily va­lued.The riches that Men get in this world, are [Page 244] easily valued: A Mans Estate is easily computed; But there are riches in Christ, which are unsearch­able: seek and search after more of them, Ephes. 3.8.

6. Unsatis­fying.When you have got them they will not sa­tisfie your desires, Eccles. 5.10.

II.To the Honours of the World. Should not you be dead to the honours of this World, which will be a bait to many after such a Judgment? Should not you, who are yet alive to behold the Graves of some Honourable Persons, now in the dust, call off your heart from seeking after them? Have you not seen, that Death re­spects not the Honourable more than the Igno­ble? the Reverend and Esteemed no more than the Mean and Contemptible? Those that have Honourable Names and Titles, Honourable Friends and Relations, Honourable Callings and Imployments, Honourable Preferments and En­joyments, are equalized in the Grave with others: And, have not you seen some fall? and, heard of others in this Judgment, and yet, after all this, set your heart upon the Honours of this world?

III. To the pleasures of the World. Should not you be dead to the pleasures of this World, which will be snares for others? Should you, after such a Judgment as this, give your self to live a sensual flesh-pleasing life? and spend your time in needless delights and recreations? when you have heard so many dying Men complain of the loss of time, when they were well, and the [Page 245] want of time when they came to die? Consider what these Pleasures be, that you are so much ad­dicted to; that such sadning sorrowful sights, that you have seen, will not we [...]n you from them: Nay, when Gods smarting Rod upon your own body, by the Plague, will not imbitte [...] your worldly pleasures and delights; but, you will go out of such a dreadful Judgment of God, to your Gamings and Sports; to the pleasing of the flesh, in satisfying the lusts and desires thereof, in acts of uncleanness.

Consider these (1.) are short pleasures, they are but for a little while; they are passing away while you are at them: But, these short pleasures may bring you to eternal torments and endless woe, Heb. 11.25. Choosing rather to suf­fer afflictions with the People of God, then to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. (2.) By giving up your selves unto these Pleasures, you deprive your selves of the Pleasures of Gods House in his Ordinances, which others drink of, Psal. 36.8. (3.) You deprive your self of the Pleasures of Gods House above in Heaven; of the Rivers of Pleasures which are at Gods right hand for ever­more, Psal. 16.11. (4.) These pleasures are more brutish pleasures, and do but delight the more bru­tish, i. e. sensitive part in Man: The rational Soul, as such, is not delighted in the pleasures of the Flesh, in eating and drinking, a Horse doth find pleasure in this as much as you; and some unreasonable Creatures herein do excel you. (5.) They are empty, and unsatisfying pleasures: they do not fill, content, nor satiate them [Page 246] that give themselves most to follow after them.

IV. To the wisdom of the World. Should not you be dead to, and take heed of resting in the wisdom of the World; in the attain­ment onely of Humane Learning; after you have seen the Learned die as the Ignorant; and the Wise Man as the Fool: Humane Learning is more desirable than Riches and Honours, and the Pleas [...]res of this World; but, yet it is not to be acquiesced in, without the knowledg of God in Christ. Notions in Learning will never deliver from the Torments of Hell: many learned sin­ners have gone to eternal Misery, and their tor­ments there are greater than the torments of the Ignorant, and unlearned: the vanity of the wisdom of this World, compared with the know­ledge of Christ, appeares, in that

1. It cannot redress the sinfulness of the thoughts, nor help against the vanity of the mind: The wise and learned Heathens became vain in their imaginations, Rom. 1.21.

2. It doth not prevent sinful elections, and choise of the will: Men of great knowledge choose the World, and Honours, and Ease, and Preferments before Christ.

3. It doth not remedy a sinful Conversation: M [...]ny know things to be evil, and yet do them; and so is an aggravation of their sin, and will be of their misery.

4. It doth not season Mens communications, nor prevent corrupt Discourses; but makes them [Page 247] more witty, and able to scorn Godl [...]ness; jest with Scripture, and deride the Professors of the Gos­spel: But, the knowledge of Christ, i [...] is (1.) the sweetest knowledge. (2.) It is the surest knowledg; being by the Revelation of the Spirit of God: (3.) It is saving knowledge: Thus take a true ac­count of all the things; the best, the most excel­lent, the most desirable things in this world; and you will see no reason why you should wholly spend the residue of that time, which God hath [...]ent you from the Grave, in such an eager pursuit of any thing of this life.


BUt, that you may know, whether you (yet living) are dead to the things of this world, I shall give you this general Character, viz.

If you carry your self towards the world, as those that are dead to God, do carry themselves towards God, then are you dead unto the world: and, this general is resolved into these particu­lars.

1. Signes of a Man that is dead to the world▪ Those that are dead to God, they see no real ex­cellency in God and Christ; but they see something more in the things of the world: they see more excellency in their Gold and Silver; in their Pro­fits and Preferments; in their Pleasures and De­lights: so, if you are dead to the world, you do not admire the Choisest and the Chiefest things that are therein; but, do see more real worth in God and Christ, and one dram of Grace; then [Page 248] in all the Mines of the most precious things in Na­ture: and, in your practical judgment do account them but dung and dross in comparison of the ex­cellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.

2. Those that are dead to God, do make choice of the World, and the things thereof, before God: The will, following the ultimate comparative, practi­cal dictate of the understanding, in wicked Men, doth choose Earthly things before God and Christ: For, though their absolute judgment might be for God, yet the comparat judgment (all cir­cumstances considered) is for the world; and their will doth make choice of it accordingly: So, if you are dead to the world, you make choice of God for your chiefest good, and greatest happi­ness. For, though you may, in your absolute judg­ment, look upon the Things of the world, used with moderation, and kept in their proper place, as good; yet, in your comparative judgment (all circumstances considered) you do ultimately con­clude, That God is better in himself and for you, yea, in both respects, and your will doth choose him accordingly.

3. Those that are dead to God, though they may Pray to God, and talk of God, yet they do this as though they did it not: and Pray, as if they Prayed not: God hath their Tongues, but, the world hath their Hearts. So, if you are dead to the world, though you may talk of the world, and Trade in the world, yet you do all this as if you did it not: You buy as if you possessed not; and you use this world as if you used it not: and, though the [Page 249] world may have your hands, yet God hath your heart.

4. Those that are dead to God, they are not trou­bled at the loss of God, nor rejoyce at the tidings how they may have the enjoyment of him; So if you are dead to the World, you are not chiefly troubled at the loss of these things, nor count it so great matter of joy, if you have them and enjoy them. A man that is dead to God desireth the world, and let who will look after God: So a man dead to the world, desireth God, and let who will look after the World as his portion, and his chiefest happiness, he will not.

5. A man that is dead towards God, is not restrai­ned from sin by Gods most terrible threatnings; though God threaten him with eternal death and everlasting damnation, with the loss of heaven and eternal happiness, if he persist in his wicked­ness, and continue in sin, yet fear of the pu­nishment of loss, nor of the punishment of sense, will not awaken him to Conversion and through Reformation. So a man that is dead towards the World, all the threatnings of men, that he shall have inflicted upon him, divers penalties, loss of goods, liberty, life, yet all this is not cogent to bring him in to a course of sin, and to do wickedly.

6. A man that is dead towards God, is not drawn nor allured with the precious and most glorious promi­ses of God to do that which is good; Though God promise him heaven and eternal happiness, the pardon of sin, and his favour, yet all this moves him not to come to Christ, nor forsake his sins: [Page 250] So a man that is dead to the world, all the offers, preferments, enticements of the world to allure him into sin will not prevail, he is dead to these things; and offers and over [...]ures of the greatest things move not a dead man. Thus you may try whether you are dead to the world or no. You live in the world, even after such a devouring Pestilence, you cannot live answerably to this great mercy, except you be dead to the World.


Since you live, after this Plague, be dead to sin, and be buried with Christ.HAth God spared you in time of Pestilence, then now be dead to sin, kill your sin, and so­lemnize the funeral of your lusts; because you live after such a judgment, such a mercy doth oblige to the death and burial of sin. You are not buried with others in their graves, but you should be buried with Christ, Rom. 6.4. Therefore we are buried with him by Baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Ver. 6. Knowing this that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. In which Scripture are set down these things. viz▪

  • [Page 251]1. The parts of Sanctification,
    • Mortification,
    • Vivification.
  • 2. The cause of our Sanctification, viz. com­munion with Christ in his Death, Burial, and Re­surrection.
  • 3. The Testimony and Pledge of it, our Bap­tism.
  • 4. The growth and progress of Mortification; we should aime at the total destruction of the body of sin, by the Crucifying, Destroying, and Burial of sin.

You have seen the death of thousands, and you have seen the Burial of thousands, to all these add one more Funeral, and that is the Funeral of your sins. Do you out-live this Judgment, and shall your sins do so too? God forbid. This would be to live altogether unanswerably to so great a mercy. You live, but your sins should be dead in you, and you unto your sins, Rom. 6.11. Likewise reckon ye also your selves to be dead indeed unto sin: but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Though you live, yet must you be buried.

Now Believers are buried in three respects:Believers are buri­ed in 3. respects.

1. In respect of their good names, as they are reproached by the wicked; The throats of the wicked are the Sepulchres, or burial places of the good names of Gods people; this is part of a Believers sufferings.

2. In respect of Self-denial. Believers must be no more taken with the things of this World (so [Page 252] far as to draw them from God) than a person dead and buried and lying in his grave.

3. In respect of the Mortification of sin, and these two last are our duty; and of this last I would speak a little, following the Metaphor, in which there is some difference, and some agree­ment in the burial of our sin, and in common burial.

2 Differ­ences be­tween the buri­al of our friends and our sins.The difference in these Respects.

First, We bury our friends weeping for their death, desirous of their life, wishing, o [...] that this my Friend had not died; oh that I could have kept him in life: But we must bury our sin re­joycing, as those that are glad of its death; Not weeping because sin is dead, but that it once did live.

Secondly, We bury our Friends with hopes that they shall rise again, and live again: But we must bury our sins with hopes they shall never live more; never return to them more.

The resemblance holds in these particulars:

1. 5 Resem­blances.The Burial of sin supposeth the death of sin; Never any man yet buried his sins alive: For while sin doth live, it is in the heart as in a Throne, and not as in a Grave.

2. The Burial of sin supposeth the ceasing of the love of sin, that we see not that beauty and com­liness in sin, as we did when it was alive. A man that loves his Relation, while he lived, put [Page 253] him in his bosome, yet will not do so when he is dead; a man while he loves his sin, will never bury it.

3. The Burial of sin includeth the removal of it out of our sight, and as much as may be out of our thoughts. We love not to look upon dead friends, nor many times to think or talk of them, who while they lived were pleasing objects to our eyes, and the delightful matter of our discourse. While Sarah lived she was beautiful in Abra­hams eyes, but when dead, he desired to have her removed out of his sight, Gen. 23.4. I am a stranger and a sojourner with you, give me possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. The presence of sin is a trou­ble to you when it is dead, and you would have it out of your sight; and this removal of sin, when dead and buried hath these three proper­ties.

First, It is a total removal, the whole body of sin, and all the members of it are buried; Death might arise from the disease of some par­ticular part, but burial covers all. He that makes a shew of the burial of sin, and yet keeps any in his heart as his love and delight, hath indeed bu­ried no sin: For who doth so bury his friend as to keep any of his members in his house?

Secondly, It is a voluntary removal; when one is dead, we make it matter of our choice to have him buried: Yea, we look upon it as a sore evil and great annoyance to have burial denied to our dead friends: So it is your choice to bury your sins, and the thoughts of not having them buried is a great trouble to you.

[Page 254] Thirdly, It is a perpetual removal; we bury our friends so, that we would not have them ta­ken up again and brought into our house: So you bury sin, never to have it brought back to live again in your heart. One that hath buried his sin doth earnestly desire it might be removed out of the sight of God, by free pardon; out of the sight of his own eyes, by the evidence of the pardon; and out of the sight of others, by leading a contrary Conversation.

4. The Burial of sin includes the rotting of the old man in its grave, the mouldring of it, and the daily wasting of it, as dead Corps buried in the earth do consume and wast daily. Though a body buried doth not presently totally consume: Many years after the burial, if the grave be opened, you may find the bones and the skull; the re­liques of sin in the heart of a Child of God, are but as the bones and the skull, but the body of sin is destroyed.

5. The Burial of sin includes, the loss of the power and authority that sin had in the heart while it was alive. Though a man were never so potent while he lived, yet when he is dead and buried, he hath no more power nor jurisdiction. Though thy sin did sit as a Lord, and rule in thy soul while it lived, yet being dead and buried, its do­minion ceaseth.

Now if you are buried with Christ, these things will be a comfort to you, viz,

1. Those that are buried with Christ are most [Page 255] comely in the sight of God;Comfort to those that are buried with Christ. A man that is natu­rally dead and buried, is not so with us, but he that is spiritually dead to sin, is beautiful in the eyes of God.

2. Those that are buried with Christ have con­verse and Communion with God; those that are na­turally dead have no more converse with us, but a man hath no Communion with God, till he is bu­ried with Christ.

3. Those that are buried with Christ are past the hurt of death; As those that are naturally dead have past through all that death can do unto them; if you are buried with Christ, though you must come under the stroke of death, yet the sting of death is taken out.

4. Those that are buried with Christ shall be raised at the last day, and shall for ever live with God and Christ, and with holy Angels and Saints in the Kingdom of God, Rom. 6.8: Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. Thus if you would live in some measure answerably to Gods mercy in preserving of you from death and the grave, that you are not buri­ed yet with others, you must die to sin, and be buried with Christ.


Since you live after this Plague, walk in newness of life.HAth God spared you in the time of Plague, that you yet remain among the Living? If you would improve this mercie, then Live to God, and walk in newness of Life. God hath not spared you that you should live to your self, or to the flesh, or that you should walk in your old courses: But your duty is now to live to God, and to lead a new Conversation. God hath brought you to the borders of the grave, and to the very confines of another world, and sha­ked you over the grave, and hath recovered and restored you, and hath as it were given you a new life, by reprieving you from the gates of death when you were so near unto it, Rom. 6.4. That like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we should walk in newness of life; and the equipollent phrases of this new life are,

  • To walk with, before, and after God.
  • To walk after the Spirit, Rom. 8.1.
  • To serve God in newness of spirit, Rom. 7.6.
  • To walk as children of light, Eph. 5.8.
  • To walk in the waies of God, Psal. 119.3.
  • To walk circumspectly, Eph. 5.16.

[Page 257]That you may, being spared from the grave, lead a new life, I shall shew you

  • The signs or nature of it.
  • The excellencies or dignities of it.
  • The Impediments and hinderances of it.


THe nature of, or that which is included in, newness of life, doth not consist in these things.

1. What newness of life doth not consist in.It doth not consist in some new notions, or new speculations, which you had not before, a new light might be made in an old house. New speculations may consist with an old Conversa­tion.

2. It doth not consist in a newness of a bare re­solution to lead a new life; this is but in order to it, though, if it be real, it is a good step towards this walking.

3. It doth not consist in a bare performance of some new duties which you did not before; an old course of sin may consist with the external per­formance of some New Duties, as Praying, Reading, &c.

4. Nor in a bare keeping of some new Company; though this is to be desired, that many would for­sake their old wicked Company; or if God hath taken thy wicked Companions away by death, thou wouldst not make choice of those that be as bad.

5. Nor in New discoursing of spiritual things; [Page 258] A man that was wont to swear, and reproach, and blaspheme the name of God, might now talk of God with others, and yet not lead a new life.

6. Nor in forbearing of many old sins, which before you lived in; you were drunkards before, but not now, I would more were so changed, but yet this comes short of this newness of life; which doth include these things following.

I In what consisteth newness of life.To walk in newness of life, supposeth a new saving knowledge, a new sight, and a new judge­ment of things. No man can lead this new life with his old judgment which was corrupt, judging that good which was evil, and that evil which was good, 1 Pet. 1.14. As obedient children, not fashioning your selves according to the former lusts, in your Ignorance. There must be a new sight and new discoverie of these things:

  • 1. Of God, and his Excellency.
  • 2. Of Christ and his Sufficiency.
  • 3. Of [...]in, and it [...] Deformity.
  • 4. Of the World, and its Vanity.
  • 5. Of Grace, and its Necessity.
  • 6. Of Heaven, and its Felicity.
  • 7. Of Hell, and its extremity of Woe.

Till a man hath new eyes, and hath his un­derstanding opened to see the nature of all these things, otherwise than he did before, he will not walk contrary to what he did before; if he see no more of Christ, nor in the Attributes of God, nor in Grace, he will still flight all these and un­dervalue them; if he have the same admiring [Page 259] apprehensions of the World, and seeth as much beauty in (deformed) sin, he will love it still, and delight in it still. There must be new light, and new saving knowledge before there can be a new life.

II To walk in newness of life, includes newness of Principle; a man with his old Principle can never lead a new life. A man in old courses may live according to the Dictates of a natural conscience, according to old customes, but he that leads a new life must have a new Principle of love to God, a new Principle of true fear of God, he must have new strength from Christ, a new heart and new affections.

III To walk in newness of life, includes the vigo­rous actings of this new Principle, and living in the exercise of these new graces infused into the heart, in the exercise of new love to God, of new desires after Christ, of new sorrow for his sin, of new hatred to his sin. To walk is to exert a principle of motion into act.

IV To walk in newness of life, is to have a Con­versation filled with new works, and to have all things done according to the Rule of new obe­dience. His old work was to please the flesh, but his new work is to please God. His old work was chiefly to get riches and encrease therein, his new work is to get grace and more of it. His old work was to obey the commands of sin, his new work is to obey the commands of God.

V To walk in newness of life▪ is to walk accord­ing to the new Rule, not according to the practi­ses and examples of wicked men, but according [Page 260] to the rule of Gods Word, according to the ex­ample of Christ.

VI To walk in newness of life is to live for new ends; his end is not now self-interest in the world, not his own estimation amongst men, not his preferment in this world; old ends are in­consistent with a new life: But this mans end is the glory of God; all the actions of his life are ultimately resolved into this, and all is, in subor­dination unto this: He trades for this end, that God may be glorified; he praies, and preacheth, he reads and studies, that God may be glori­fied.

VII To walk in newness of life includes a newness of objects, about which he is conversant; such as keep their old course of life look no higher than worldly objects, the honours, and the pleasures and the profits of this world: But such as are ri­sen with Christ, to walk in newness of life, have proposed to themselves new objects, things that are above; God, and Grace, and Heaven, things that are invisible to the eyes of carnal men.

VIII To w [...]lk in newness of life, it is to walk as Christ did after he was risen from the dead, i. e. in our measure. Christ did not incumber himself with the things of this world, after his resurrection, he did not converse with the men of this world, neither must we use their company out of choice. Christ aft [...]r his Resurrection waited for his Ascen­sion into glory: So if we will walk in newness of life, we must have our conversation in heaven, and be continually expecting our dissolution and our translation into glory.

[Page 261] IX To walk in newness of life, it is to do all the actions of out life in a new manner; to do al [...] re­ligious duties, to pray, and to hear in a new man­ner. Before he prayed lukewarmly, and with a dull, and hard, and unbelieving heart, but now more fervently, more livelily; Though the mat­ter of his duties might be the same, yet the man­ner is new.

X To walk in newness of life, is to be making progress in all these, walking is a progressive mo­tion; it is to continue, and to persevere in the waies of holiness: Not to decline nor to go backwards, not to return or walk back again to old wickedness.


The ex­cellen [...]ies of a new life.THe excellency and dignity of a new life is very great, and for your greater encourage­ment to walk therein I shall instance in some of them.

1. A new life is a life according to the New Covenant which God hath made with fallen man. Men that walk in old sinful courses, continue the Covenant they have made with sin and Satan: But a man that walketh in newness of life, is a man that hath entred into a New Covenant with God, Ezek. 36.26. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put into you; I will take away the stony heart [...] of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Ve [...] 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statu [...]es, and [Page 262] ye shall keep my judgments, and do them; And to walk thus in Gods Statutes is to walk in newness of life.

2. A new life it is the most rational life. When the Prodigal left his old waies, and took up a new course, he is said to come to himself, Luk. 15.17. Men act most unreasonably when they act wickedly.

3. A new life is the sweetest and most comfor­table life; There are sensual, carnal, brutish de­lights in the waies of sin, but there is much ter­rour and bitterness in a wicked course, alwaies at the end of it. Such as lead a new life, they have experience of the comforts of the Spirit, of the joyes of the Holy Ghost. All these new waies (so called as opposed to his former waies, else the best way is the oldest way) are waies of plea­san [...]ness, and all these paths are p [...]ce.

4. A new life it is the noblest life, we then live according to the highest elevation that we are capable of in this life. Nay, it is a life nearest to the life of glory.

5. A new life is an evidencing life; it is an evi­dence of the great and glorious things that are brought to light by the Gospel, all full of de­lighting comfort. A new l [...]fe (t [...]king in all the particulars before set down, shewing the things included in it) is an evidence,

First, Of our Election; his new life is a fruit of Gods ancient love, Eph. 1.4.

Secondly, Of a new robe of righteousness put upon us for our justific [...]tion.

Thirdly, Of P [...]r [...]on of old sins.

Fourthly, Of our Union with Christ; we could not le [...]d a new life, were we not engrafted into a new stock.

[Page 263] Fifthly, Of the sincerity of our hearts, and the truth of grace.

Sixthly, Of our sure title to heaven, to the new Jerusalem that is above.

6. A new life is [...]n encouraging life; it will be an encouragement to a man to go [...]o God in his greatest straits; it will encourage a man with boldness to look death in the face when it comes.

7. It is the most profitable life to our selves and to others; we shall be giving to others a good ex­ample, if we lead new lives, whereby they may be drawn to an holy Imitation. A new he [...]rt you may have, and that may profit your self, but a new life will be profitable to others as well as to your self.

8. A new life is the only life that honours God, and that doth credit the Gospel, and the Pro­fession that we make. To live in an old course of swearing, and lying, and Sabbath-breaking, is to dishonour God: but if you walk in newness of life, you will promote the great end for which you live, i. e. the glory of God; and the excel­lency of any thing is according to its sutableness and tendency to the attaining of a mans ultimate end, it is a new life that only glorifieth God, therefore a new life is the only ex [...]ellent life.

9. He that leads a new life hath a new guide to di­rect him in his holy walk; the Spirit of God will be your guide to shew you the way that you ought to go: Though (to you) it may be a new way, yet you shall not lose your way, because the Spirit is your guide.

10. He that leads a new life is taken into new relations. God is now his Father, and the Son of [Page 264] God is now his Lord, Head, Redeemer, Brother and all the people of God are now related to him in the bonds of grace. These things and many more may be said in commendation of the ex­cellency of a new life: which appears to be so in the eyes of carnal men (who have walked after their old hearts) when they come to dye, that they then resolve if God would spare them, they would lead a new life.


Hindran­ces of walking in new­ness of life.THe hinderances of walking in newness of life are many, and very great, that it is not an easie thing for any man to lead this life.

1. The Old Serpent is a great enemy to this New li [...]e; he hath old stratagems, and old de­vices and snares to divert them out of this way.

2. The Old Principle of corruption remaining in our hearts is a great Impediment to this new life. It is working still in us, to walk in the old waies of pleasures and delights; the Old man within will still strive hard to hinder this New life without.

3. Old sinful Company will hinder you in your new manner of life; they will be tempting, and enticing, and perswading you, to come to your old games, and your old delights; It will be hard to live a new life amongst old sinful Compa­nions.

4. Slavish fear of men is a great impediment [Page 265] of walking in newness of life; it may be thou mightest displease thy Father, thy Master, the Friend upon whom thou dost much depend, if thou shouldest forsake thy old wicked life, and become a new Creature, and lead a new life, thou wouldest meet with new troubles; but, fear God, and his Vengeance more if thou walk in thy old course of sin, and keep thy old heart, then be filled with slavish fear of men, if they should deny their old favour, and friend­ship to thee, because thou walkest in newness of life.

5. Flesh-pleasing; and being too much over-powred by the sensitive appetite.

6. Spiritual sloth: For, a New Life hath ma­ny new difficult duties.

Thus, if you would improve this Mercy, that God hath spared you; you must live to God, and walk in newness of life.


Since you live after this Plague, keep upon your heart a sense of this Mer­cy.HAth God spared you in time of so great Contagion; Then keep upon your heart a con­stant sense of Gods distinguishing Providence, in his preservation of you. Let not length of time (if God give it you) wear off the greatness of this his Mercy towards you; if you forget Gods [Page 266] goodness, you will not walk worthy of it: This was the sin of the People of Israel, for whom God did such great things, Psal. 78.10. They kept not the Covenant of God: and refused to walk in his Law. Vers. 11. And forgot his Works, and his Wonders that he had shewed them. Psal. 106.21. They forgot God their Saviour, which had done great things in Egypt. God hath done great wonders for you, in preserving of you in the valley of the sha­dow of death: God hath not given you over un­to death; God hath not laid you in the Grave, where you would soon have been forgotten: do not you lay Gods Mercy, towards you, in the grave of oblivion; nor bury his mercy (of sa­ving you alive) in forgetfulness: David laid a charge upon his Soul, that he should not forget the benefits of the Lord towards him, Psal. 103.2.

Set down therefore, and Record your danger, what it was; Such a Moneth in such a Year the Plague was nigh my dwelling; it came into my house, it took away so many of my Children and Servants, but God spared me: he took away the Wife, the Husband of my bosome, but God spa­red me; yea, it was upon my Body, so many Plague-Sores were running at once, and God de­livered me from the Grave, and from the very jawes of death: and, will you forget this while you live?

That you may have, and keep a sense of Gods mercy to you, in preserving of you, consider these few particulars.

[Page 267]1. Helpes to be sensi­ble of the Mercy of life.Consider you had deserved the Plague, and death by the Plague, as well as those that have fal­len into their Graves thereby (and it may be more too) do not think that those that have died were greater sinners than you, Luke 13.2. And Jesus answered and said unto them, suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, be­cause they suffered such things. Vers. 3. I tell you, nay, but except you repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Vers. 4. Or, those eighteen, upon whom the Tower of Siloam fell and slew them; think ye that they were sinners above all Men that dwelt in Jerusa­lem, Vers. 5. I tell you, nay, but extept ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish: Do you think, that those, whom the Plague hath slaughtered, that they were greater sinners then all that dwelt in London? Take heed of such conceptions: Or, if many have fallen in this judgment, that were of worser Lives than you; yet, none have f [...]llen that had worser Hearts than you naturally h [...]ve: Nay, have not your sins been capable of greater [...]ggra­vations than the sins of many D [...]unkards, and Swearers, and prophane Pe [...]sons, that did never sin against a God that pardoned their sins; that did never sin against such love ▪ nor after such ex­periences of the working of Gods Spirit upon their hear [...]s as you have had? Nay, consider, that you are not likely [...]o do God that service, nor bring to God that Glory, that some of them might have done, that are now in their Gr [...]ves, if God had spared them; and yet God hath lengthened out your life: Oh, what an Obligation should this be to you to remember Gods Mercy, that you [Page 268] had Plague-deserving-sins, but yet you had not the Plague! that you have death-deserving-sins, and yet you are not dead!

2. Consider you had a Body as liable to Infection as many others had; There were such natural causes in your Body, that might have laid you in your Grave, if God had not prevented it: and, did not you suck in the same Aire as others did, yea, as others breathed out, and yet God hath kept you?

3. Consider you had no better Preservatives, nor Cordials, then many others had, that yet by the Plague are laid silent in the Grave, and are now resting in the dust; and others, that now are dead, used the same meanes as you did, and it may be more, and better too, and yet God denyed his blessing to the use of those meanes that were more probable to prevent Infection then yours were; by this you may be convinced, that it was the hand of God that hath preserved you: and therefore by this, you should be obliged to remem­ber, and keep upon your heart a sense of Gods mercy towards you.

4. Consider you have been in more visible dan­ger; and, when you were called, did venture fur­ther then many others did: some were more re­served, [Page 269] and kept from Company more than you have done; being called to Duty, where Visited Persons have been, as to help them that were sick of this Distemper, &c. and yet some that lived more retiredly, and kept themselves more close, were Visited, and are dead, and yet you have es­caped, this is the finger of Divine Providence, and will you let the sense of this weare off from your heart?

5. Consider that you have been more weakly, and more infirme of Body then many of them that the Plague hath removed: Many that were more likely to out-live you, are cut down before you: Many that were strong, and of healthful consti­tutions, are laid in the Dust; while you, (that have been waiting for your dissolution many Moneths, or Years, because of the infirmity of your Body, and the frequent distempers that have been upon you) are preserved.

6. Consider how great a Mercy your praserva­tion is, not onely to your self, but to those to whom you are related; You have many little Children, that are not able to help themselves, nor to pro­vide for themselves; that in all likelihood would have been exposed to hardships and to want, if God had taken you from them: They are sharers in this Mercy of your Preservation; and, the more are concerned in it, the greater the Mer­cy is; and, the deeper and more lasting sense it [Page 270] should make upon your heart: The thoughts of your Children did increase your feares and trou­ble, when you were in danger; and, should not the consideration of this, advance the great­ness of the Mercy, of being continued to them.


If you have few­er objects of love left you, love God so much the more.HAth God spared you in time of Pestilence; when he hath taken away many of your own Relations, then, the fewer objects you have for your love now, the stronger let your love be towards God then it was before: In ste [...]d of mur­muring against God, that you have lost those whom you did love; the greater let your love be to God, since you h [...]ve not so many for to love. Love l [...]id out upon many objects, is the weaker; bu [...], love united, and spent upon one object, is t [...]e stronger: As those, that have but one only Son, love that more, then those that have more do love any; because their love is divided amongst them all: It may be God had too little of your love, and it was [...]n offence, and griefe unto your God, that the Crea [...]ure should have that love which w [...]s due unto himself; and therefore he hath cut off the S [...]re [...]es, that you may get near­er to the Fountain. Thy Relation had more of [Page 271] thy affection then came unto his share; and therefore, in stead of Murmuring, be more in lo­ving of thy God; and this will be to live answe­rably to Gods Correcting, and Afflicting of thee, in the loss of thy Relation, and to his Mercy in sparing of thy self: And, look what Relation it is that is taken from thee▪ while thou survivest; and get clearer evidences that God will be in stead of that Relation to thee, and be better to thee than that was: Hast thou thy Husband removed by this Contagious Disease, now make out more to God, that he would be an Husband to thee? Hast thou lost thy Children, or thy onely Son; see more diligently, that God hath bestowed his onely Son upon thee, and this will much satisfie, and quiet thy heart? Hath God done thee any wrong, if he hath taken thy onely Son from thee, and hath given his onely Son to thee. Thus, since you did survive others that are taken from you, improve your Affliction, and your Mercy, in being advan­taged in Spirituals; and, this will be to live in some measure answerably to Gods dealing with you.


Since you live, re­member what were the act­ings of consci­ence in time of danger, and live accor­dingly.HAth God spared thee in time of Plague, then see what it was that thy Conscience did most accuse thee, or commend thee for, when the Plague was nigh thy dwelling, or thou wast in [Page 272] fear and danger, and order thy life accordingly: What sin was it that thy Conscience did reproach thee for, in a time of danger, and in feares of death? whether of omission or commission; pub­lick or secret; of what nature soever it was: and let it be the design of thy heart, in the course of thy life, to mortifie that sin, and keep it under; that thou carefully avoid the occasions thereof: that, when death shall certainly come, and con­science shall have no more occasion, or just ground to reproach thee, thou mayest see, that God in mercy did prolong thy dayes, till thou hadst got the victory over, and the pardon, and the evidence of the pardon of that sin. What was it in thy feares, and when thou wast in expectation of death, that Conscience did approve in thee? it did then approve thy diligence in thy Family, go on in this still; it did approve of thy strickt and holy walking with God, go on in that which was good, and thy rightly inlightned Conscience did commend in thee; and, this will be to live in some measure answerably to so great a mercy, as is Gods preserving of you in a time of such a wa­sting Plague.


Since you live, after you have been in such dan­ger, trust God for the future.HAth God spared you in such a time of so great Mortality and Contagion, then learn to trust your self, and all your Affairs with God for the time to come: You have lived in time of danger, and have been in hazard of your life▪ and yet God hath preserved and kept you: God hath called some to abide in the City, because they could not remove their habitation without neglect of duty; for, where our duty lies and where our work is, that God calleth us unto; there we may trust God, though our danger be never so great; because, while we are in our duty, we are in our way, and God hath promised to keep us in all our wayes in time of Plague, Psal. 91.11. Ma­ny had opportunity of retiring into the Country, without neglect of duty, without running away from duty (those that went from their duty and work, which God expected they should there have done, have cause to be humbled for their slavish feares of death, and great distrust in God) and, the use of meanes, for preservation, is not incon­sistent with trusting in God, but is supposed and included in it, else it is not trusting in God, but presumption; but many were obliged to abide up­on the place, and God hath preserved you amongst them: Oh, what an obligation and encourage­ment [Page 274] is this for you, for the time to come, to put your trust in God, in the use of meanes, in a way of duty; and, the more you are able to commit your self to God in future dangers, the more you do improve this Providence of God in preserving of you.

But, because we need all helps and supports for putting our trust in God, I shall lay down some considerations to help you more and more to trust in God; premising first the nature of it, that you may perceive what it is, that you are ex­horted to, when perswaded to trust in God.

Descrip­tion of trust.Trusting in God is a special fruit of faith and hope, whereby the soul looking upon God in Christ, through a Promise, is in some good measure freed from fretting feares, and cutting cares, about the re­moving or preventing of some evil, or the enjoying or procuring of that which is good.

1. It is a fruit of faith; for therefore a Man trusteth in God, because he believeth, and is per­swaded of the truth of what God saith, and be­lieveth the performance of his promise, and so it is called fiducia fidei.

2. It is a fruit of hope; for therefore I trust in God, because I hope it shall be with me according to his Word: If I had no hope of this, I could not trust in God, and so it is called fiducia spei.

3. This trust hath God in Christ, through a Promise, for its object; We trust in God, through Christ, eying the Promise: For, the Promise of [Page 275] God, is the foundation of our trust in God, and the Promise of God draws forth the hearts of his People to trust in him, Psal. 119.42. — I trust in thy Word.

4. The effect of this trusting in God is the quietation of the heart, and a freeing of the Soul (proportionably to the degree of his trust) from fretting feares, and cutting cares about good and evil, to be avoided or procured, Psal. 56.3. What time I am afraid I will trust in thee. Vers. 4. In God will I praise his Word; in God I have put my trust, I will not fear what Flesh can do unto me.

The Arguments for the moving you to trust in God, for the future, are such as these.

1.8 Argu­ments to trust in God.Will not you trust in God after such rich and full experience that you have had of Gods ta­king care for you? Hath God cared for your life, and will not you trust him for Food and Raiment? experience is a great support for confidence in God, 2 Cor. 1.10. Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver, in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us. When David had had experi­ence of Gods delivering him from the Lion and the Bear, he trusted in God to deliver him from the hands of the uncircumcised Philistine, 1 Sam. 17.37. When thou hast been in danger, God hath kept thee; and when thou hast been in sickness, God hath restored thee: and, if it be good for thee, he will do so again.

2. Will not you trust in God that is All suffici­ent and Allmighty, able to deliver you from any [Page 276] evil, able to bestow upon you any thing that is good? He can remove your feares, and he can fill your desires: According to your perswasions of a Mans ability to help you (caeteris paribus) will your trust be in him, 2 Cor. 1.9. For we had the sentence of death in our selves, that we should not trust in our selves, but in God which raiseth the dead. That God that can raise the dead, may be trusted in any case or condition: You have found him able.

3. Will not you trust in God, that is so willing to do you good? you may acknowledge Gods all-sufficiency to be a support for your trusting in him, but, the doubts that you find in your Soul, whe­ther God be willing to do you good, is a cause of your (too frequent) distrust in him: You must believe that God is a God of mercy, and ready to do for his People, whatsoever he seeth conduceth to his glory and their good: and, you may know his willingness by his promises, which are vari­ous, according to the condition that you are, or may be in: You have found him willing, and yet will you not trust him?

4. Will not you trust in a God, that is faithfull in all he saith? He declares his willingness to do you good, to supply your wants, to preserve you in dangers, by his promise: for, a Promise of God is a declaration of his will, for the bestowing of some good thing upon his People through Christ, and his will and purpose he will never change, and his Pro­mise he will not suffer to faile: Will you trust a Man that is faithful to his word, and not God? especially after you have found him faithful in per­forming promise unto you.

[Page 277]5. Will not you trust in God that is infinite in Wis­dom, and knowes how to order all your affaires? when your condition is altogether intricate, and you know not how to winde your self out of diffi­culties, then your wise God can do it, 2 Pet. 2.9. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation. —And, will you not trust a God that is able and willing, and faithful and wise? es­pecially after you have experienced all these in God, in the late dangers and feares of death that you have been in? or, shall these qualifications of power, willingness, faithfulness, and wisdom in Men (in their measure) be a ground of your put­ting civill trust in them; and, shall not all these, that be in God without measure, be a ground of your putting Religious trust in him?

6. Will not you put your trust in God, since it is his due, it belongs to him of right? it is a part of your Spiritual Homage which you owe to God: Religious trust doth so belong to God, that it will be Idolatry to place it in any thing besides, Psal. 115.7, 8, 9, 10, 11. It doth so properly and solely belong to God, that it is a Periphrasis of God to be the confidence of all the ends of the earth, Psal. 65.5. Give to God the things of God, and give to the Creatures no more than belongs unto them: You have nothing else to trust to, you must not place Religious trust in men; not in great Men and Nobles, Psal. 118.8, 9. nor in Riches, 1 Tim. 6.17. not in Horses and Chariots, Psal. 207. not in your own Righteousness and Reli­gious duties, Ezek. 33.13.

7. Will not you trust in God who is so nearly [Page 278] related to you? Men are apt to trust too much in th [...]ir e [...]rthly Friends and Relations: We put ci­vil trust and confidence in our neer Relations, because of the affection that they bear unto us: Thus Children trust to their Parents, and Wives in their Husbands, and one Friend in another; God is your Father, your Husband, and your Friend, and yet will you not put your trust in him?

8. Will not you put your trust in God for smaller things, since you trust him for the great­est? you trust in God to deliver you from the torments of Hell; and, will not you trust him to deliver you from farr lesser evils? you trust in him for Pardon, and for eternal life; and, will you not trust in him for smaller matters? Will you trust him wi [...]h your Soul, and not with your Body? for Eternal Life, and, not for Temporal? would you trust a Man for thousands, and not for Pence? especially, when the Providence of God extends to the smallest concernments of his chil­dren, even to an hair of their heads, Mat. 10.30.

When must we put our trust in Go [...]? In gene­ral I answer; At all times, Psal. 62.8. Trust in him at all times, ye People; pour out your hearts be­fore him: God is a refuge for us. In Particular, trust in God,

  • 1.
    Six speci­al times to trust in God.
    In time of Sickness and Affliction upon your Body, Job 13.15. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.
  • [Page 279]2. In time of outward Wants; in the losse of all things, 1 Sam. 30.3, to 7. Hag. 3.17.
  • 3. In time of Desertion; when you have not the smiles of his Face, Isa. 50.10.
  • 4. At the hour of death commit your Soules to him; trust him with your Soul, Psal. 31.5, 6.
  • 5. In times of greatest inconstancy, Psal. 46.1, 2, 3.
  • 6. In times of Evil Tidings, Psal. 112.7. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings, his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. Thus, if you trust God more because of the experience you have had in Gods keeping of you, you do, in this, improve this Mercy.


Since you live after this Plague, give thanks to God.HAth God spared you in time of so great Mortality; Then give thankes to God, and the Praises that are due unto him for so great Preservation: Every Person should be very thankful unto God, that hath kept him alive; and every Family should sound forth his Praises: You spent time extraordinary, in seeking God by Prayer, in your Closet, in your Family, that he would preserve you; and, hath God done so, in answer to your Prayers? and, will you not spend some time extraordinary in, [Page 280] and with your own Family in thankful acknow­ledgments of Gods love unto you, and his care over you? Oh set some time apart, every Family whom God hath preserved, or so many that are left in every Family, in solemn praisings of God for his signal preservation vouchsafed unto you. In the time of your trouble, you called upon God, he hath delivered you, and now you should glorifie him, Psal. 50.15. and God is glorified by you when you offer praises to him, Ver. 23.

In the pressing you to the practice of this Di­rection, I shall do three things:

  • 1. How, or with what, must those that are preserved from death in time of Plague give thanks to God, or glorifie God for this mer­cy?
  • 2. With what Arguments should the people of God that are spared press themselves to give praises to God?
  • 3. What course must such take to get a thank­ful heart for so great a mercy?


3 Wayes you must Pra [...]se God with your Tongue. HOw, or with what, must those that are pre­ [...]erved give thanks to God?

This must be done three waies:

1. You must praise God with your tongues: Your lips must shew forth his praises, Psal. 51.15. Your tongue must sing aloud of Gods righteous­ness and mercy. For this end God hath preserved you, Psal. 30.11. Thou hast turned for me my [Page 281] mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sack­cloath, and girded me with gladness. Ver. 12. To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent: O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. By [glory] David means his tongue: The Tongue is the glory of a man, it being his priviledge above all Creatures, with the tongue to form articulate words, having distinction of sound, for the communicating of the conceptions of his mind unto others. Thus we should praise God by speaking of his excellencies and per­fections of his nature, of his works and waies, of his dealings with us, of the danger he hath delivered us from, of the good he hath given to us, of the salvation he hath wrought for us.

2.Heart.You must praise God with your heart as well as with your tongue; for as prayer for mer­cy with the tongue, without the heart will not be profitable to us, so praises with the tongue for mercy received, without the heart, will not be acceptable unto God. To praise God with the heart, is the very heart of our praises. Thus David, that before called upon his tongue to bless God, doth also elsewhere call upon his soul to do it, Psal. 103.1. Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. God blesseth us, by giving good things unto us, Eph. 1.3. We bless God, when we do thankfully acknowledge the good things we receive from God. You must then stir up your soul, and all that is within you unto this great work of praise for so great Pre­servation.

3. Life.You must praise God in your lives, and by [Page 282] your works and conversations; You must not on­ly speak Gods praises, but you must live to his praise; you must do it with life, and in and by your life. Life is the mercy I call upon you to praise God for, and you must do it by your life. You may praise God with your lips, and not with your hearts, but if you do indeed praise God with your heart, you will also do it by your life. If you will give thanks indeed, you must live thanks. The best thanks-giving is thanks-doing. Thus if you would be thankful for the life of your children, shew it by your religious care in their holy Education; That God might not say of you, I spared such a mans Children in time of Plague, and afterwards he brought them up to dishonour me, and to sin against me; if you would be thankful for your own life, then lay it out in holy walking with God.


12 Argu­ments to thankful­ness for life.WIth what Arguments should the people of God urge their own hearts thus in tongue, in heart and life, to praise and glorifie God for his preserving of them? Work your heart hereunto with these following Arguments. Consider,

1. Should not you thus praise God for your preservation from danger by the Plague, Who did make this one of your Arguments to prevail with God by prayer in time of danger to preserve you? Did not you reason thus with God in time of sickness? [Page 283] Lord lengthen out the life of thy servant, Psal. 6.4, 5. O Lord deliver my soul, O save me for thy mercies sake, for in death there is no remembrance of thee; in the grave who shall give thee thanks? What profit is there in my bloud, when I go down into the pit? Psal. 30.9. Shall the dust praise thee? Shall it declare thy truth? The grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: Isa. 3 [...].18, 19. They that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living he shall praise thee. Were not these your pleadings at the throne of grace? And did not you promise to God, and purpose in your heart, that if God would spare you, you would celebrate his praises? And shall not there be a correspondence betwixt your actions when you were in fears, and your actions, when your great danger (by the Plague) is over?

2. Should not you thus praise God for your preservation, Who have such examples for your practice, recorded in the Scripture. When Hezekiah had been sick and was recovered he sang forth the praises of the Lord, Isa. 38.19, 20. When David had been in danger of death and was de­livered, he deliberates with himself what he should return and render to the Lord, Psal. 116.12, 13 &c. What shall I render to the Lord, for all his benefits towards me? I will take the cup of Sal­vation, and will call upon the name of the Lord. Ver. 17. I will offer unto thee the sacrifice of thanks-giving — For your imitation consider Davids practice, (1.) He propounds a case of consci­ence. Since I was brought low and the Lord hath helped me; since the sorrows of death have compassed me about, and God hath delivered me, [Page 284] what shall I render? What must I do? What re­turn must I make? And he presseth himself to this by four forcible Arguments, in these words, for all his benefits towards me. He considered,

First, Benefits received. Kindnesses call for ac­knowledgments; favours are obliging. We must give thanks in, and for afflictions, much more when we are delivered. I deserved judgments, but benefits have been my receipt.

Secondly, The Author of them, [His] bene­fits; The kindnesses of men should not be for­gotten, much less the benefits of God. Your life is a benefit, and God is the Author of it.

Thirdly, The Number of them; [All] his benefits; they were many, not a few. Three things are innumerable:

  • Gods mercies to us,
  • Our sins against God,
  • The evils that good men suffer,

Psal. 40.5, 12.

Fourthly, The Person to whom they were given: For all his benefits to [me.] Hath God indeed given such mercy to me? Hath God continued life to me, so vile, so unworthy, Oh what shall I render? (2.) He resolves this case propoun­ded; I will take the Cup of salvation; I will offer the sacrifice of praise. God hath taken from you (for the present) the Cup of death, which was to so many a Cup of trembling;Mat. 20.22, 23. Jer. 16.7. he hath removed your Cup of affliction, and instead thereof hath given you a Cup of Consolation, and a cup running over with variety of mercies, and will not you take the Cup of Salvation, Psal. 16.5. and offer the Sacrifice of [Page 285] praise? Do you see David (in the like case) so diligent and inquisitive what to render, and so peremptory and resolute, to offer praise to God, and will not you go and do likewise?

3. Is not this the noblest work you can engage in, to praise God, and to celebrate with thankfulness the greatness of his mercy and goodness? It is the work of Angels to be praising God; and when you take your flight into heaven, and are perfectly removed from sin, sorrow, suffering, temptation, wants, you shall do nothing else but love, and praise, and admire God? And will you not in the mean while accustome your self to that work on earth, which shall be your imploy­ment in heaven? And will you not take occasion hereunto, by so great a mercy as God at such a time as this hath vouchsafed you?

4. Is not God most worthy of your highest and your heartiest praises? You were not worthy of Gods mercies, you were not worthy of life, but God is worthy of the best of your praises, were they as perfect as the Hallelujahs of the Saints in hea­ven. God indeed is above all praise, Neh. 9.5. But yet he is pleased with his peoples praising of him.

5. Will you praise the efficacy of your Antidotes, and the skill of your able Physitian, by whose help you have been (under God) preserved: And will you not be much more in praising of God, for your safety, when without his blessing all had been ineffectual? Will you praise the Instrument and means, and say, I had an able Doctor, and not the principal cause of your preservation, and say, I had a good God.

[Page 286]6. Will not you praise God for his mercy to­wards you, no, not for your life, when this is all that God requireth at your hands, that you should be th [...]nkful for your life, and thankfully improve it for his glory? You cannot make a requital, but God expecteth some return; you cannot make a retaltation, but God looketh for some retribution: And will not you think an alms ill bestowed up­on that beggar, that will not give you thanks? And will not life be continued to the aggravation of your sin, if you are not thankful for it?

7. Is not this a duty that will well become you? A Christian doth then act most like a Christian when he is praising God, in tongue, in heart, and life, Psal. 33.1, 2. and 147.1. Praise is comely for the upright. Three things are very comely, To weep as a Sinner, to walk as a Saint, to rejoyce as a Son.

8. Will not you give to God the glory of his preserving providence, when if you do not, (that are Gods people) none else will? The wicked that are spared, they will not, they cannot praise God; they will dishonour him, they will speak to Gods dishonour, and act to Gods dishonour, so that if you do not praise God for his sparing so many alive, none else will: And shall God be with­out all thankful acknowledgments of his remem­bring mercy, in the midst of judgment? God forbid: That amongst all the thousands that are spared, there should be none found, making some thankful return to God. This number will be but small; amongst the Ten Lepers that were cleansed there was but one found thankful. If you [Page 287] would not have God to lose the glory of his pro­vidence, then you must be the men that must ho­nour him for it. Many wicked men were not found praying to be preserved, much less will they be found praising, when they are preserved.

9. Have you more cause to bless God for life than others have, and yet will not you do it? Your life is more sweet and comfortable to you, than the lives of wicked men are, or can be, forasmuch as you have those comforts with life, and that Com­munion with God in life, that wicked men have not: They live only a natural life, and have only the sweetness of natural life, but you with this life have also the comforts of an higher life, and yet will not you bless God for it? They are de­livered from the Grave for a while, but not from the wrath of God too; from the Grave, but not from the danger of hell too, but so are you: And have you so much cause to bless God for life, and will you want an heart to bless him?

10. Is this the most effectual way to have life continued to you, and yet will not you do it? To have life continued will be, to be thankful for it; else God (finding you unthankful) when the Plague is over, might commission death by some other distemper, to take that from you, which you would not be thankful for.

11. Is not life the sweetest of all earthly mercies, and more to be prized, and yet will not you be thank­full to God for it that hath so signally continued it unto you? Skin for skin, and all that a man hath [Page 288] he will give for his life: And yet will not you give thanks to God for life? What earthly thing will you be thankful for, [...]nd what mercy upon earth will you make returns to God for, if not for life?

12. Do you finde unthankful Men placed a­mongst the greatest rank of sinners, and yet will you be unthankful? Unthankful Persons are numbred among Blasphemers, Covetous, Disobedient to Parents, such as are without Natural affection; false Accusers, Despisers of those that are good, &c. 2 Tim. 3.2, 3, 4. and, will you yet be un­thankful, and that for your Life? Thus, by these considerations you should press your heart to give Praises to God for this so great Preservation.


III. 6 Helpes to thank­fulness for life.WHat is the course that those that remain, after this Judgment, should take, to be thankful to God, and to render Prai­ses to him for the Preservation of themselves, and those of their Relations continued to them?

Take these Rules.

1. If you would render Thankes to God in Tongue, in He [...]rt and L [...]fe, for this Mercy, then get a right judgment of the worth and great­ness of the Mercy, that you, and some of yours are continued after this Visitation. Those that do not prize a Mercy, will never be thankful for it: What a Mercy is life to you, that are not [Page 289] yet assured of the love of God? What a Mercy is life to you, that are not yet certain of the Salvation of your Soules? or, if you are sure of Heaven, yet is life to you a great Mercy; that you have time to do the Works that God hath appointed you to do. Consider also what a Mer­cy it is to have your Children continued, that you may yet Instruct them, and Pray for them; that you may see Christ formed in them before you or they do die.

2. If you would be thankful for life, and have an heart to render Praises to the Lord, for your own, and your Relations; consider, how un­comfortable your Life had been, had God continued you, and taken away your neerest Relations; and, how uncomfortable your Life would have been, had God continued them onely, and taken you away from them: You may consider while you live, the Discomforts of your Relations, and the sor­row of their hearts, if God had removed you by death; What an uncomfortable Widow would your Wife (now) have been? what uncom­fortable Orphans would your Children [now] have been! You have enough before you, and amongst you, that are sad Instances of this: Oh, consider this, and it will be a meanes to make you thankful, and to give to God the Glory of your Preservation.

3. Retain in your memory the greatness of this Mercy, when you have apprehended how great it is; a forgetfull person will be an unthankful per­son: When David would have his Soul to bless God for his Mercy, he layes a charge upon him­self [Page 290] not to forget the Benefits he had received, Psal. 103.2. Bless the Lord, oh my Soul, and forget not all his benefits: Record Gods Mercy to you herein, and get it imprinted on the Table of your heart: forgetfulness is a great hinde­rance to every duty; as, some Men forget their sins, and they will not be humbled for them: Some Men forget Gods Mercies, and they will not be thankful for them: some forget both, and are neither penitent nor thankful. So, to remem­ber some things, and forget others, is very inju­rious to Mens Soules; as, Some remember Gods Mercy, and forget their sins: and these presume. Some remember their sins, and forget Gods Mercy: and these despaire. But, it is best to remember both our sins and Gods Mercy: the one will make us humble, and the other thank­full.

4. Let the Relations that God hath continued unto you, have a roome in your heart and affection, according to the measure that God commands: He that hath Children spared, and hath not suta­ble affections for them, will not, cannot be thankful unto God for the continuance of their lives, and so Husbands and Wives: but, then you must love them, and your own life, but ac­cording to the measure that God allowes: For, to love any of these, your Relations, or your Life immoderately, will not be to be thankful for them, but to abuse them, and make Idols of them: Let your own Life and your Relations have their allowance of your love, but no [...]re.

[Page 291]5. Pray to God for a Praising Thankful heart for this Mercy. God gives us all our Mercies, and God must give us a Thankful heart for these Mercies, else we cannot give to God the glory of them: When you were in your danger you were afraid, least God should deny you life, when you Prayed unto him for it: but, are you as afraid, least you should not have an heart thankfully to improve it, when he hath granted it unto you? You Prayed for life, now Pray to God to make you thankful, and thankfully to improve it:

6. Labour to keep your Graces lively and vi­gorous: To Praise God is a lively Work, and a dull heart cannot do it: You must love God for his Mercy, if you would Praise him for his Mer­cy: You must delight in God, if you would Praise him: the more lively your graces are, the more sweet and comfortable your Life will be; and, the more comfort you have in life, the more your heart will be engaged to give God the glory of it: and so shall you be found amongst those few that do endeavour to live in some measure answerably to so great a Mercy, as Pre­servation from the grave, in a time of Plague.


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