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Title: A Christian Directory - The Practical Works of Richard Baxter
Author: Richard, Baxter
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Christian Directory - The Practical Works of Richard Baxter" ***

Transcriber's Note:

The text of Part II of A Christian Directory (or, a sum of Practical
Theology and Cases of Conscience) has been transcribed from pages 394
to 547 of Volume I of Baxter's Practical Works, as lithographed from
the 1846 edition. Part II addresses family duties. A table of contents
has been inserted to assist the reader.

Small capitals have been rendered in full capitals. Italics are
indicated by _underscores_. Sidenotes refer to the following

Inconsistencies in hyphenation, and apparent typographical errors
(both English and Greek), have been corrected. The anchor for
footnote 34, in chapter XIII, has been inserted after consulting another
edition of the text.

The table in Chapter XXIII, that presents the structure of the
Lord's Prayer, contains numerous braces that extend over several lines
and cannot be reproduced here. Instead horizontal lines have been
inserted to clarify its structure.





Table of Contents


      I. Directions about marriage; for choice and contract.           394
     II. Directions for the right choice of servants and masters.      407
    III. A disputation, or arguments to prove the necessity of
         family worship and holiness, or directions against the
         cavils of the profane, and some sectaries, who deny it
         to be a thing required by God.                                409
     IV. General directions for the holy government of families.       422
      V. Special motives to persuade men to the holy governing of
         their families.                                               424
     VI. More special motives for a holy and careful education of
         children.                                                     427
    VII. The mutual duties of husbands and wives towards each other.   431
   VIII. The special duties of husbands to their wives.                438
     IX. The special duties of wives to husbands.                      440
      X. The duties of parents for their children.                     449
     XI. The special duties of children towards their parents.         454
    XII. The special duties of children and youth towards God.         457
   XIII. The duties of servants to their masters.                      458
    XIV. The duties of masters towards their servants.                 460
     XV. The duties of children and fellow-servants to one another.    463
    XVI. Directions for holy conference of fellow-servants or
         others.                                                       464
   XVII. Directions for each particular member of the family how to
         spend every ordinary day of the week.                         466
  XVIII. Directions for the order of holy duties.                      470
    XIX. Directions for profitable hearing the word preached.          473
     XX. Directions for profitable reading the holy scriptures.        477
    XXI. Directions for reading other books.                           478
   XXII. Directions for the right teaching of children and servants,
         so as may be most likely to have success.                     479
  XXIII. Directions for prayer in general.                             483
   XXIV. Brief directions for families, about the sacrament of
         the body and blood of Christ.                                 493
    XXV. Directions for fearful, troubled christians, that
         are perplexed with doubts of their sincerity and
         justification.                                                502
   XXVI. Directions for declining or backsliding christians:
         and about perseverance.                                       505
  XXVII. Directions for the poor.                                      514
 XXVIII. Directions for the rich.                                      517
   XXIX. Directions for the aged (and weak).                           519
    XXX. Directions for the sick.                                      522
   XXXI. Directions to the friends of the sick, that are about them.   534



AS the persons of christians in their privatest capacities are holy,
as being dedicated and separated unto God, so also must their families
be: HOLINESS TO THE LORD must be as it were written on their doors,
and on their relations, their possessions, and affairs. To which it is
requisite, 1. That there be a holy constitution of their families. 2.
And a holy government of them, and discharge of the several duties of
the members of the family. To the right constituting of a family,
belongeth, (1.) The right contracting of marriage, and, (2.) The
right choice and contract betwixt masters and their servants. For the

_Direct._ I. Take heed that neither lust nor rashness do thrust
you into a married condition, before you see such reasons to invite
you to it, as may assure you of the call and approbation of God. For,
1. It is God that you must serve in your married state, and therefore
it is meet that you take his counsel before you rush upon it; for he
knoweth best himself what belongeth to his service. 2. And it is God
that you must still depend upon, for the blessing and comforts of your
relation: and therefore there is very great reason that you take his
advice and consent, as the chief things requisite to the match: if the
consent of parents be necessary, much more is the consent of God.

_Quest._ But how shall a man know whether God call him to
marriage, or consent unto it? Hath he not here left all men to their
liberties, as in a thing indifferent?

[Sidenote: Whether marriage be indifferent.]

_Answ._ God hath not made any universal law commanding or
forbidding marriage; but in this regard hath left it indifferent to
mankind: yet not allowing all to marry (for undoubtedly to some it is
unlawful). But he hath by other general laws or rules directed men to
know, in what cases it is lawful, and in what cases it is a sin. As
every man is bound to choose that condition in which he may serve God
with the best advantages, and which tendeth most to his spiritual
welfare, and increase in holiness. Now there is nothing in marriage
itself which maketh it commonly inconsistent with these benefits, and
the fulfilling of these laws: and therefore it is said, that "he that
marrieth doth well,"[1] that is, he doth that which of itself is not
unlawful, and which to some is the most eligible state of life. But
there is something in a single life which maketh it, especially to
preachers and persecuted christians, to be more usually the most
advantageous state of life, to these ends of christianity; and
therefore it is said, that "he that marrieth not, doth better." And
yet to individual persons, it is hard to imagine how it can choose but
be either a duty or a sin; at least except in some unusual cases. For
it is a thing of so great moment as to the ordering of our hearts and
lives, that it is hard to imagine that it should ever be indifferent
as a means to our main end, but must either be a very great help or
hinderance. But yet if there be any persons whose case may be so
equally poised with accidents on both sides, that to the most
judicious man it is not discernible, whether a single or married state
of life is like to conduce more to their personal holiness or public
usefulness, or the good of others, to such persons marriage in the
individual circumstantiated act is a thing indifferent.

[Sidenote: Who are called to marry.]

By these conditions following you may know, what persons have a call
from God to marry, and who have not his call or approbation. 1. If
there be the peremptory will or command of parents to children that
are under their power and government, and no greater matter on the
contrary to hinder it, the command of parents signifieth the command
of God: but if parents do but persuade and not command, though their
desires must not be causelessly refused, yet a smaller impediment may
preponderate than in case of a peremptory command. 2. They are called
to marry who have not the gift of continence, and cannot by the use
of lawful means attain it, and have no impediment which maketh it
unlawful to them to marry. "But if they cannot contain, let them
marry; for it is better to marry than to burn," 1 Cor. vii. 9. But
here the divers degrees of the urgent and the hindering causes must be
compared, and the weightiest must prevail. For some that have very
strong lusts may yet have stronger impediments: and though they cannot
keep that chastity in their thoughts as they desire, yet in such a
case they must abstain. And there is no man but may keep his body in
chastity if he will do his part: yea, and thoughts themselves, may be
commonly, and for the most part, kept pure, and wanton imaginations
quickly checked, if men be godly, and will do what they can. But on
the other side, there are some that have a more tameable measure of
concupiscence, and yet have no considerable hinderance, whose duty it
may be to marry, as the most certain and successful means against that
small degree, as long as there is nothing to forbid it. 3. Another
cause that warranteth marriage is, when upon a wise casting up of all
accounts, it is apparently most probable that in a married state, one
may be most serviceable to God and the public good: that there will be
in it greater helps and fewer hinderances to the great ends of our
lives; the glorifying of God, and the saving of ourselves and others.
And whereas it must be expected that every condition should be more
helpful to us in one respect, and hinder us more in another respect;
and that in one we have most helps for a contemplative life, and in
another we are better furnished for an active, serviceable life, the
great skill therefore in the discerning of our duties, lieth in the
prudent pondering and comparing of the commodities and discommodities,
without the seduction of fantasy, lust, or passion, and in a true
discerning which side it is that hath the greatest weight.[2]

[Sidenote: Observations.]

Here it must be carefully observed, 1. That the two first reasons for
marriage, (concupiscence and the will of parents,) or any such like,
have their strength but in subordination to the third (the final
cause, or interest of God and our salvation). And that this last
reason (from the end) is of itself sufficient without any of the
other, but none of the other are sufficient without this. If it be
clear that in a married state you have better advantages for the
service of God, and doing good to others, and saving your own souls,
than you can have in a single state of life, then it is undoubtedly
your duty to marry; for our obligation to seek our ultimate end is the
most constant, indispensable obligation. Though parents command it
not, though you have no corporal necessity, yet it is a duty if it
certainly make most for your ultimate end. 2. But yet observe also,
that no pretence of your ultimate end itself will warrant you to
marry, when any other accident hath first made it a thing unlawful,
while that accident continueth. For we must not do evil that good may
come by it. Our salvation is not furthered by sin; and though we saw a
probability that we might do more good to others, if we did but commit
such a sin to accomplish it, yet it is not to be done. For our lives
and mercies being all in the hand of God, and the successes and
acceptance of all our endeavours depending wholly upon him, it can
never be a rational way to attain them, by wilful offending him by our
sin! It is a likely means to public good for able and good men to be
magistrates and ministers; and yet he that would lie, or be perjured,
or commit any known sin that he may be a magistrate, or that he may
preach the gospel, might better expect a curse on himself and his
endeavours, than God's acceptance, or his blessing and success; so he
that would sin to change his state for the better, would find that he
changed it for the worse: or if it do good to others, he may expect no
good but ruin to himself, if repentance prevent it not. 3. Observe
also, that if the question be only which state of life it is (married
or single) which best conduceth to this ultimate end, then any one of
the subordinate reasons will prove that we have a call, if there be
not greater reasons on the contrary side. As in case you have no
corporal necessity, the will of parents alone may oblige you, if there
be no greater thing against it: or if parents oblige you not, yet
corporal necessity alone may do it: or if neither of these invite you,
yet a clear probability of the attaining of such an estate or
opportunity, as may make you more fit to relieve many others, or be
serviceable to the church, or the blessing of children who may be
devoted to God, may warrant your marriage, if no greater reasons lie
against it; for when the scales are equal, any one of these may turn

[Sidenote: Who may not marry.]

By this also you may perceive who they be that have no call to marry,
and to whom it is a sin. As, 1. No man hath a call to marry, who
laying all the commodities and discommodities together, may clearly
discern that a married state is like to be a greater hinderance of his
salvation, or to his serving or honouring God in the world, and so to
disadvantage him as to his ultimate end.

_Quest._ But what if parents do command it? or will set against
me if I disobey?

_Answ._ Parents have no authority to command you any thing
against God or your salvation, or your ultimate end. Therefore here
you owe them no formal obedience: but yet the will of parents, with
all the consequents, must be put into the scales with all other
considerations, and if they make the discommodities of a single life
to become the greater, as to your end, then they may bring you under a
duty or obligation to marry; not _necessitate præcepti_, as
obedience to their command; but _necessitate medii_, as a means
to your ultimate end, and in obedience to that general command of God,
which requireth you to "seek first" your ultimate end, even "the
kingdom of God, and his righteousness," Matt. vi. 33.

_Quest._ But what if I have a corporal necessity, and yet I can
foresee that marriage will greatly disadvantage me as to the service
of God and my salvation?

_Answ._ 1. You must understand that no corporal necessity is
absolute: for there is no man so lustful but may possibly bridle his
lust by other lawful means; by diet, labour, sober company, diverting
business, solitude, watching the thoughts and senses, or at least by
the physician's help; so that the necessity is but _secundum
quid_, or an urgency rather than a simple necessity. And then, 2.
This measure of necessity must be itself laid in the balance with the
other accidents; and if this necessity will turn the scales by making
a single life more disadvantageous to your ultimate end, your lust
being a greater impediment to you than all the inconveniencies of
marriage will be, then the case is resolved, "it is better to marry
than to burn." But if the hinderances in a married state are like to
be greater, than the hinderances of your concupiscence, then you must
set yourself to the curbing and curing of that concupiscence; and in
the use of God's means expect his blessing.

[Sidenote: Of parents' wills.]

2. Children are not, ordinarily, called of God to marry, when their
parents do absolutely and peremptorily forbid it. For though parents'
commands cannot make it a duty, when we are sure it would hinder the
interest of God our ultimate end; yet parents' prohibitions may make
it a sin, when there is a clear probability that it would most conduce
to our ultimate end, were it not prohibited. Because, (1.)
Affirmatives bind not _semper et ad semper_, as negatives or
prohibitions do. (2.) Because the sin of disobedience to parents will
cross the tendency of it unto good, and do more against our ultimate
end, than all the advantages of marriage can do for it. A duty is then
to us no duty, when it cannot be performed without a chosen, wilful
sin. In many cases we are bound to forbear what a governor forbiddeth,
when we are not bound to do the contrary if he command it. It is
easier to make a duty to be no duty, than to make a sin to be no sin.
One bad ingredient may turn a duty into a sin, when one good
ingredient will not turn a sin into a duty, or into no sin.

_Quest._ But may not a governor's prohibition be overweighed by
some great degrees of incommodity? It is better to marry than to burn.
1. What if parents forbid children to marry absolutely until death,
and so deprive them of the lawful remedy against lust? 2. And if they
do not so, yet if they forbid it them when it is to them most
seasonable and necessary, it seemeth little better. 3. Or if they
forbid them to marry where their affections are so engaged, as that
they cannot be taken off without their mutual ruin? May not children
marry in such cases of necessity as these, without and against the
will of their parents?

_Answ._ I cannot deny but some cases may be imagined or fall out,
in which it is lawful to do what a governor forbiddeth, and to marry
against the will of parents: for they have their power to edification,
and not unto destruction. As if a son be qualified with eminent gifts
for the work of the ministry, in a time and place that needeth much
help; if a malignant parent, in hatred of that sacred office, should
never so peremptorily forbid him, yet may the son devote himself to
the blessed work of saving souls: even as a son may not forbear to
relieve the poor (with that which is his own) though his parents
should forbid him; nor forbear to put himself into a capacity to
relieve them for the future; nor forbear his own necessary food and
raiment though he be forbidden: as Daniel would not forbear praying
openly in his house, when he was forbidden by the king and law. When
any inseparable accident doth make a thing, of itself indifferent,
become a duty, a governor's prohibition will not discharge us from
that duty, unless the accident be smaller than the accident of the
ruler's prohibition, and then it may be overweighed by it; but to
determine what accidents are greater or less is a difficult task.

And as to the particular questions, to the first I answer, If parents
forbid their children to marry while they live, it is convenient and
safe to obey them until death, if no greater obligation to the
contrary forbid it: but it is necessary to obey them during the time
that the children live under the government of their parents, as in
their houses, in their younger years (except in some few extraordinary
cases). But when parents are dead, (though they leave commands in
their wills,) or when age or former marriage hath removed children
from under their government, a smaller matter will serve to justify
their disobedience here, than when the children in minority are less
fit to govern themselves. For though we owe parents a limited
obedience still, yet at full age the child is more at his own disposal
than he was before. Nature hath given us a hint of her intention in
the instinct of brutes, who are all taught to protect, and lead, and
provide for their young ones, while the young are insufficient for
themselves; but when they are grown to self-sufficiency, they drive
them away or neglect them. If a wise son that hath a wife and many
children, and great affairs to manage in the world, should he bound to
as absolute obedience to his aged parents, as he was in his childhood,
it would ruin their affairs, and parents' government would pull down
that in their old age, which they built up in their middle age.

And to the second question I answer, that, 1. Children that pretend to
unconquerable lust or love, must do all they can to subdue such
inordinate affections, and bring their lusts to stoop to reason and
their parents' wills. And if they do their best, there are either
none, or not one of many hundreds, but may maintain their chastity
together with their obedience. 2. And if any say, I have done my best,
and yet am under a necessity of marriage; and am I not then bound to
marry though my parents forbid me? I answer, it is not to be believed:
either you have not done your best, or else you are not under a
necessity. And your urgency being your own fault, (seeing you should
subdue it,) God still obligeth you both to subdue your vice, and to
obey your parents. 3. But if there should be any one that hath such an
(incredible) necessity of marriage, he is to procure some others to
solicit his parents for their consent, and if he cannot obtain it,
some say, it is his duty to marry without it: I should rather say that
it is _minus malum_, the lesser evil: and that having cast
himself into some necessity of sinning, it is still his duty to avoid
both, and to choose neither; but it is the smaller sin to choose to
disobey his parents, rather than to live in the flames of lust and the
filth of unchastity. And some divines say, that in such a case a son
should appeal to the magistrate, as a superior authority above the
father. But others think, 1. That this leaveth it as difficult to
resolve what he shall do, if the magistrate also consent not: and, 2.
That it doth but resolve one difficulty by a greater; it being very
doubtful whether in domestic cases the authority of the parent or the
magistrate be the greater.

3. The same answer serveth as to the third question, when parents
forbid you to marry the persons that you are most fond of. For such
fondness (whether you call it lust or love) as will not stoop to
reason and your parents' wills, is inordinate and sinful. And
therefore the thing that God bindeth you to, is by his appointed means
to subdue it, and to obey: but if you cannot, the accidents and
probable consequents must tell you which is the lesser evil.

_Quest._ But what if the child have promised marriage, and the
parents be against it? _Answ._ If the child was under the
parents' government, and short of years of discretion also, the
promise is void for want of capacity. And if the child was at age, yet
the promise was a sinful promise, as to the promising act, and also as
to the thing promised during the parents' dissent. If the _actus
promittendi_ only had been sinful, (the promise making,) the
promise might nevertheless oblige (unless it were null as well as
sinful). But the _materia promissa_ being sinful, (the matter
promised,) to marry while parents do dissent, such a child is bound to
forbear the fulfilling of that promise till the parents do consent or
die. And yet he is bound from marrying any other, (unless he be
disobliged by the person that he hath made the promise to,) because he
knoweth not but his parents may consent hereafter; and whenever they
consent or die, the promise then is obligatory, and must be performed.

The third chapter of Numbers enableth parents to disoblige a daughter
that is in their house, from a vow made to God, so be it they disallow
it at the first hearing. Hence there are two doubts arise: 1. Whether
this power extend not to the disobliging of a promise or contract of
matrimony. 2. Whether it extend not to a son as well as a daughter.
And most expositors are for the affirmative of both cases. But I have
showed you before that it is upon uncertain grounds: 1. It is
uncertain whether God, who would thus give up his own right in case of
vowing, will also give away the right of others, without their
consent, in case of promises or contracts. And, 2. It is uncertain
whether this be not an indulgence only of the weaker sex, seeing many
words in the text seem plainly to intimate so much. And it is
dangerous upon our own presumptions, to stretch God's laws to every
thing we imagine there is the same reason for; seeing our imaginations
may so easily be deceived; and God could have expressed such
particulars if he would. And therefore (when there is not clear ground
for our inferences in the text) it is but to say, Thus and thus should
God have said, when we cannot say, Thus he hath said. We must not make
laws under the pretence of expounding them: whatsoever God commandeth
thee, take heed that thou do it: thou shalt add nothing thereto, nor
take ought therefrom, Deut. xii. 32.

_Quest._ If the question therefore be not of the sinfulness, but
the nullity of such promises of children, because of the dissent of
parents, for my part I am not able to prove any such nullity. It is
said, that they are not _sui juris_, their own, and therefore
their promises are null: but if they have attained to years and use of
discretion, they are naturally so far _sui juris_ as to be
capable of disposing even of their souls, and therefore of their
fidelity. They can oblige themselves to God or man; though they are
not so far _sui juris_ as to be ungoverned: for so, no child, no
subject, no man is _sui juris_; seeing all are under the
government of God. And yet if a man promise to do a thing sinful, it
is not a nullity, but a sin; not no promise, but a sinful promise. A
nullity is, when the _actus promittendi_ is reputative _nullus
vel non actus_. And when no promise is made, then none can be

_Quest._ But if the question be only how far such promises must
be kept, I answer by summing up what I have said: 1. If the child had
not the use of reason, the want of natural capacity proveth the
promise null: here _ignorantis non est consensus_. 2. If he was
at age and use of reason, then, 1. If the promising act only was
sinful, (as before I said of vows,) the promise must be both repented
of and kept. It must be repented of because it was a sin; it must be
kept because it was a real promise, and the matter lawful. 2. If the
promising act was not only a sin but a nullity (by any other reason)
then it is no obligation. 3. If not only the promising act be sin, but
also the matter promised, (as is marrying without parents' consent,)
then it must be repented of, and not performed till it become lawful;
because an oath or promise cannot bind a man to violate the laws of

_Quest._ But what if the parties be actually married without the
parents' consent? must they live together, or be separated? _Answ._ 1.
If marriage be consummated _per carnalem concubitum_, by the carnal
knowledge of each other, I see no reason to imagine that parents can
dissolve it, or prohibit their cohabitation: for the marriage (for
aught I ever saw) is not proved a nullity, but only a sin, and their
_concubitus_ is not fornication; and parents cannot forbid husband and
wife to live together: and in marriage they do (really though
sinfully) forsake father and mother and cleave to each other, and so
are now from under their government (though not disobliged from all
obedience). 2. But if marriage be only by verbal conjunction, divines
are disagreed what is to be done. Some think that it is no perfect
marriage _ante concubitum_, and also that their conjunction hath but
the nature of a promise (to be faithful to each other as husband and
wife): and therefore the matter promised is unlawful till parents
consent, and so not to be done. But I rather think (as most do) that
it hath all that is essential to marriage _ante concubitum_; and that
this marriage is more than a promise of fidelity _de futuro_, even an
actual delivery of themselves to one another _de præsenti_ also; and
that the thing promised in marriage is lawful. For though it be a sin
to marry without parents' consent, yet when that is past, it is lawful
for married persons to come together though parents consent not; and
therefore that such marriage is valid, and to be continued, though it
was sinfully made.

[Sidenote: Of vows of chastity.]

3. A third sort that are not called of God to marry, are they that
have absolutely vowed not to marry. Such may not marry, unless
Providence disoblige them, by making it become an indispensable duty.
And I can remember but two ways by which this may be done. 1. In case
there be any of so strong lust, as no other lawful means but marriage
can suffice to maintain their chastity. To such marriage is as great a
duty, as to eat or drink, or cover one's nakedness, or to hinder
another from uncleanness, or lying, or stealing, or the like. And if
you should make a vow that you will never eat or drink, or that you
will go naked, or that you will never hinder any one from uncleanness,
lying, or stealing, it is unlawful to fulfil this vow. But all the
doubt is, whether there be any such persons that cannot overcome or
restrain their lust by any other lawful means. I suppose it is
possible there may be such; but I believe it is not one of a hundred.
If they will but practise the directions before given, part i. chap.
viii. part v. tit. 1 and 2, I suppose their lust may be restrained:
and if that prevail not, the help of a physician may: and if that
prevail not, some think the help of a surgeon may be lawful, to keep a
vow, in case it be not an apparent hazard of life. For Christ seemeth
to allow of it, in mentioning it without reproof, Matt. xix. 12, if
that text be to be understood of castration: but most expositors think
it is meant only of a confirmed resolution of chastity: and ordinarily
other means may make this needless: and if it be either needless or
perilous, it is unlawful without doubt.

2. The second way by which God may dispense with a vow of chastity is,
by making the marriage of a person become of apparent necessity to the
public safety. And I am able to discern but one instance that will
reach the case; and that is, if a king have vowed chastity, and in
case he marry not, his next heir being a professed enemy of
christianity, the religion, safety, and happiness of the whole nation,
is apparently in danger to be overthrown. I think the case of such a
king is like the case of a father that had vowed never to provide food
or raiment for his children: or as if Ahab had vowed that no well
should be digged in the land; and when the drought cometh, it is
become necessary to the saving of the people's lives: or as if the
ship-master should vow that the ship shall not be pumped; which when
it leaketh doth become necessary to save their lives. In these cases
God disobligeth you from your vow by a mutation of the matter; and a
pastor may dispense with it declaratively. But for the pope or any
mortal man to pretend to more, is impiety and deceit.

_Quest._ May the aged marry, that are frigid, impotent, and
uncapable of procreation? _Answ._ Yes, God hath not forbidden
them: and there are other lawful ends of marriage, as mutual help and
comfort, &c. which may make it lawful.[3]

_Direct._ II. To restrain your inordinate forwardness to
marriage, keep the ordinary inconveniencies of it in memory. Rush not
into a state of life, the inconveniencies of which you never thought
on. If you have a call to it, the knowledge of the difficulties and
duties will be necessary to your preparation, and faithful undergoing
them; if you have no call, this knowledge is necessary to keep you
off. I shall first name the inconveniencies common to all, and then
some that are proper to the ministers of the gospel, which have a
greater reason to avoid a married life than other men have.

1. Marriage ordinarily plungeth men into excess of worldly cares; it
multiplieth their business, and usually their wants. There are many
things to mind and do; there are many to provide for. And many persons
you will have to do with, who have all of them a selfish disposition
and interest, and will judge of you but according as you fit their
ends. And among many persons and businesses, some things will
frequently fall cross: you must look for many rubs and disappointments.
And your natures are not so strong, content, and patient, as to bear
all these without molestation.

2. Your wants in a married state are hardlier supplied, than in a
single life. You will want so many things which before you never
wanted, and have so many to provide for and content, that all will
seem little enough, if you had never so much. Then you will be often
at your wit's end, taking thought for the future, what you shall eat,
and what you shall drink, and wherewith shall you and yours be clothed.

3. Your wants in a married state are far hardlier borne than in a
single state. It is far easier to bear personal wants ourselves, than
to see the wants of wife and children: affection will make their
sufferings pinch you. And ingenuity will make it a trouble to your
mind, to need the help of servants, and to want that which is fit for
servants to expect. But especially the discontent and impatience of
your family will more discontent you than all their wants. You cannot
help your wife, and children, and servants to contented minds. Oh what
a heart-cutting trial is it to hear them repining, murmuring, and
complaining! to hear them call for that which you have not for them,
and grieve at their condition, and exclaim of you, or of the
providence of God, because they have it not! And think not that riches
will free you from these discontents; for as the rich are but few, so
they that have much have much to do with it. A great foot must have a
great shoe. When poor men want some small supplies, rich men may want
great sums, or larger provisions, which the poor can easily be
without. And their condition lifting them up to greater pride, doth
torment them with greater discontents. How few in all the world that
have families, are content with their estates!

4. Hereupon a married life containeth far more temptations to
worldliness or covetousness, than a single state doth. For when you
think you need more, you will desire more: and when you find all too
little to satisfy those that you provide for, you will measure your
estate by their desires, and be apt to think that you have never
enough. Birds and beasts that have young ones to provide for, are most
hungry and rapacious. You have so many now to scrape for, that you
will think you are still in want: it is not only till death that you
must now lay up; but you must provide for children that survive you.
And while you take them to be as yourselves, you have two generations
now to make provisions for: and most men are as covetous for their
posterity, as if it were for themselves.

5. And hereupon you are hindered from works of charity to others: wife
and children are the devouring gulf that swalloweth all. If you had
but yourselves to provide for, a little would serve; and you could
deny your own desires of unnecessary things; and so might have
plentiful provision for good works. But by that time wife and children
are provided for, and all their importunate desires satisfied, there
is nothing considerable left for pious or charitable uses. Lamentable
experience proclaimeth this.

6. And hereby it appeareth how much a married state doth ordinarily
hinder men from honouring their profession. It is their vows of single
life that hath occasioned the papists to do so many works of public
charity, as is boasted of for the honour of their sect. For when they
have no children to bequeath it to, and cannot keep it themselves, it
is easy to them to leave it to such uses as will pacify their
consciences most, and advance their names. And if it should prove as
good a work and as acceptable to God, to educate your own children
piously for his service, as to relieve the children of the poor, yet
it is not so much regarded in the world, nor bringeth so much honour
to religion. One hundred pounds given to the poor shall more advance
the reputation of your liberality and virtue, than a thousand pounds
given to your own children, though it be with as pious an end, to
train them up for the service of the church. And though this is
inconsiderable as your own honour is concerned in it, yet it is
considerable as the honour of religion and the good of souls are
concerned in it.

7. And it is no small patience which the natural imbecility of the
female sex requireth you to prepare. Except it be very few that are
patient and manlike, women are commonly of potent fantasies, and
tender, passionate, impatient spirits, easily cast into anger, or
jealousy, or discontent; and of weak understandings, and therefore
unable to reform themselves. They are betwixt a man and a child: some
few have more of the man, and many have more of the child; but most
are but in a middle state. Weakness naturally inclineth persons to be
froward and hard to please; as we see in children, old people, and
sick persons. They are like a sore, distempered body; you can scarce
touch them but you hurt them. With too many you can scarce tell how to
speak or look but you displease them. If you should be very well
versed in the art of pleasing, and set yourselves to it with all your
care, as if you made it your very business and had little else to do,
yet it would put you hard to it, to please some weak, impatient
persons, if not quite surpass your ability and skill. And the more you
love them, the more grievous it will be, to see them still in
discontents, weary of their condition, and to hear the clamorous
expressions of their disquiet minds. Nay, the very multitude of words
that very many are addicted to, doth make some men's lives a continual
burden to them. Mark what the Scripture saith: Prov. xxi. 9, "It is
better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling
woman in a wide house." Ver. 19, "It is better to dwell in the
wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman." So chap. xxv. 24,
and xxvii. 15, "A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a
contentious woman are alike." Eccles. vii. 28, "One man among a
thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found."

8. And there is such a meeting of faults and imperfections on both
sides, that maketh it much the harder to bear the infirmities of
others aright. If one party only were froward and impatient, the
stedfastness of the other might make it the more tolerable; but we are
all sick, in some measure, of the same disease. And when weakness
meeteth with weakness, and pride with pride, and passion with passion,
it exasperateth the disease and doubleth the suffering. And our
corruption is such, that though our intent be to help one another in
our duties, yet we are apter far to stir up one another's distempers.

9. The business, care, and trouble of a married life, is a great
temptation to call down our thoughts from God, and to divert them from
the "one thing necessary," Luke x. 42; and to distract the mind, and
make it undisposed to holy duty, and to serve God with a divided
heart, as if we served him not. How hard is it to pray or meditate
with any serious fervency, when you come out of a crowd of cares and
business! Hear what Saint Paul saith, 1 Cor. vii. 7, 8, "For I would
that all men were as I myself.--I say to the unmarried and the widows,
It is good for them if they abide even as I." Ver. 26-28, "I suppose
therefore that this is good for the present distress, that it is good
for a man so to be:--such shall have trouble in the flesh." Ver. 32, 33,
"But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth
for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord: but he that is
married careth for the things of the world, how he may please his
wife." Ver. 34, 35, "The unmarried woman careth for the things of the
Lord, that she may be holy in body and in spirit: but she that is
married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her
husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a
snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend
upon the Lord without distraction." Ver. 37, 38, "He that standeth
stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his
own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his
virgin, doth well. So then he that marrieth doth well, but he that
marrieth not doth better." And mark Christ's own words, Matt. xix. 11,
"His disciples say unto him, If the case of a man be so with his wife,
it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive
this saying, save they to whom it is given--He that is able to receive
it, let him receive it."

10. The business of a married state doth commonly devour almost all
your time, so that little is left for holy contemplations, or serious
thoughts of the life to come. All God's service is contracted and
thrust into a corner, and done as it were on the by: the world will
scarce allow you time to meditate, or pray, or read the Scripture; you
think yourselves (as Martha) under a greater necessity of despatching
your business, than of sitting at Christ's feet to hear his word. Oh
that single persons knew (for the most part) the preciousness of their
leisure, and how free they are to attend the service of God, and learn
his word, in comparison of the married!

11. There is so great a diversity of temperaments and degrees of
understanding, that there are scarce any two persons in the world, but
there is some unsuitableness between them. Like stones that have some
unevenness, that maketh them lie crooked in the building; some
crossness there will be of opinion, or disposition, or interest, or
will, by nature, or by custom and education, which will stir up
frequent discontents.

12. There is a great deal of duty which husband and wife do owe to one
another; as to instruct, admonish, pray, watch over one another, and
to be continual helpers to each other in order to their everlasting
happiness; and patiently to bear with the infirmities of each other:
and to the weak and backward heart of man, the addition of so much
duty doth add to their weariness, how good soever the work be in
itself: and men should feel their strength, before they undertake more

13. And the more they love each other, the more they participate in
each other's griefs; and one or other will be frequently under some
sort of suffering. If one be sick, or lame, or pained, or defamed, or
wronged, or disquieted in mind, or by temptation fall into any
wounding sin, the other beareth part of the distress. Therefore before
you undertake to bear all the burdens of another, and suffer in all
another's hurts, it concerneth you to observe your strength, how much
more you have than your own burdens do require.

14. And if you should marry one that proveth ungodly, how exceeding
great would the affliction be! If you loved them, your souls would be
in continual danger by them; they would be the powerfulest instruments
in the world to pervert your judgments, to deaden your hearts, to take
you off from a holy life, to kill your prayers, to corrupt your lives,
and to damn your souls. And if you should have the grace to escape the
snare, and save yourselves, it would be by so much the greater
difficulty and suffering, as the temptation is the greater. And what a
heart-breaking would it be to converse so nearly with a child of the
devil, that is like to lie for ever in hell! The daily thoughts of it
would be a daily death to you.

15. Women especially must expect so much suffering in a married life,
that if God had not put into them a natural inclination to it, and so
strong a love to their children, as maketh them patient under the most
annoying troubles, the world would ere this have been at an end,
through their refusal of so calamitous a life. Their sickness in
breeding, their pain in bringing forth, with the danger of their
lives, the tedious trouble night and day which they have with their
children in their nursing in their childhood; besides their subjection
to their husbands, and continual care of family affairs; being forced
to consume their lives in a multitude of low and troublesome
businesses: all this, and much more, would have utterly deterred that
sex from marriage, if nature itself had not inclined them to it.

16. And oh what abundance of duty is incumbent upon both the parents
towards every child for the saving of their souls![4] What uncessant
labour is necessary in teaching them the doctrine of salvation! which
made God twice over charge them to teach his word diligently (or
sharpen them) "unto their children, and to talk of them when they sit
in their houses, and when they walk by the way, and when they lie
down, and when they rise up," Deut. vi. 6, 7; xi. 19. What abundance
of obstinate, rooted corruptions are in the hearts of children, which
parents must by all possible diligence root up! Oh how great and hard
a work is it, to speak to them of their sins and Saviour, of their
God, their souls, and the life to come, with that reverence, gravity,
seriousness, and unwearied constancy, as the weight of the matter doth
require! and to suit all their actions and carriage to the same ends!
Little do most that have children know, what abundance of care and
labour God will require of them, for the sanctifying and saving of
their children's souls. Consider your fitness for so great a work
before you undertake it.

17. It is abundance of affliction that is ordinarily to be expected in
the miscarriages of children, when you have done your best, much more
if you neglect your duty, as even godly parents too often do. After
all your pains, and care, and labour, you must look that the
foolishness of some, and the obstinacy of others, and the
unthankfulness of those that you have loved best, should even pierce
your hearts. You must look that many vices should spring up and
trouble you; and be the more grievous by how much your children are
the more dear. And oh what a grief it is to breed up a child to be a
servant of the devil, and an enemy of God and godliness, and a
persecutor of the church of God! and to think of his lying in hell for
ever! And alas! how great is the number of such!

18. And it is not a little care and trouble that servants will put you
to; so difficult is it to get those that are good, much more to make
them good; so great is your duty, in teaching them, and minding them
of the matters of their salvation; so frequent will be the
displeasures about your work and worldly business, and every one of
those displeasures will hinder them for receiving your instructions;
that most families are houses of correction or affliction.

19. And these marriage crosses are not for a year, but during life;
they deprive you of all hope of relief while you live together. There
is no room for repentance, nor casting about for a way to escape them.
Death only must be your relief. And therefore such a change of your
condition should be seriously forethought on, and all the troubles be
foreseen and pondered.

20. And if love make you dear to one another, your parting at death
will be the more grievous. And when you first come together, you know
that such a parting you must have; through all the course of your
lives you may foresee it: one of you must see the body of your beloved
turned into a cold and ghastly clod; you must follow it weeping to the
grave, and leave it there in dust and darkness; there it must lie
rotting as a loathsome lump, whose sight or smell you cannot endure;
till you shortly follow it, and lie down yourself in the same
condition. All these are the ordinary concomitants and consequents of
marriage; easily and quickly spoken, but long and hard to be endured!
No fictions, but realities, and less than most have reason to expect.
And should such a life be rashly ventured on in a pang of lust? or
such a burden be undertaken without forethought?

[Sidenote: Of ministers' marriage.]

But especially the ministers of the gospel should think what they do,
and think again, before they enter upon a married life. Not that it is
simply unlawful for them, or that they are to be tied from it by a
law, as they are in the kingdom of Rome, for carnal ends and with
odious effects. But so great a hinderance ordinarily is this
troublesome state of life to the sacred ministration which they
undertake, that a very clear call should be expected for their
satisfaction. That I be not tedious, consider well but of these four
things: 1. How well will a life of so much care and business agree to
you, that have time little enough for the greater work which you have
undertaken? Do you know what you have to do in public and private? in
reading, meditating, praying, preaching, instructing personally, and
from house to house? And do you know of how great importance it is?
even for the saving of men's souls? And have you time to spare for so
much worldly cares and business? Are you not charged, "Meditate on
these things: give thyself wholly to them," 1 Tim. iv. 15. "No man
that warreth, entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that
he may please him that hath chosen him to be a soldier," 2 Tim. ii. 4.
Is not this plain? Soldiers use not to look to farms and servants. If
you are faithful ministers, I dare confidently say, you will find all
your time so little for your proper work, that many a time you will
groan and say, Oh how short and swift is time! and, Oh how great and
slow is my work and duty! 2. Consider how well a life of so great
diversions, avocations, and distractions, doth suit with a mind
devoted to God, that should be always free and ready for his service.
Your studies are on such great and mysterious subjects, that they
require the whole mind, and all too little. To resolve the many
difficulties that are before you, to prepare those suitable convincing
words, which may pierce and persuade the hearers' hearts, to get
within the bosom of a hypocrite, to follow on the word till it attain
its effect, and to deal with poor souls according to their great
necessity, and handle God's word according to its holiness and
majesty, these are things that require a whole man, and are not
employments for a divided or distracted mind. The talking of women,
and the crying of children, and the cares and business of the world,
are ill preparations or attendants on these studies.[5] 3. Consider
well whether a life of so great disturbance be agreeable to one whose
affections should be taken up for God; and whose work must be all
done, not formally and affectedly with the lips alone, but seriously
with all the heart. If your heart and warm affections be at any time
left behind, the life, and power, the beauty, and glory of your work
are lost. How dead will your studies, and praying, and preaching, and
conference be! And can you keep those affections warm and vigorous for
God, and taken up with heaven and heavenly things, which are disturbed
with the cares and the crosses of the world, and taken up with carnal
matters? 4. And consider also how well that indigent life will agree
to one that by charity and good works should second his doctrine, and
win men's souls to the love of holiness.[6] If you feed not the bodies
of the poor, they will less relish the food of the soul. Nay, if you
abound not above others in good works, the blind, malicious world will
see nothing that is good in you; but will say, You have good words,
but where are your good works? What abundance have I known hardened
against the gospel and religion, by a common fame, that these
preachers are as covetous, and worldly, and uncharitable as any
others! and it must be something extraordinary that must confute such
fame. And what abundance of success have I seen of the labours of
those ministers, who give all they have in works of charity! And
though a rich and resolved man may do some good in a married state,
yet commonly it is next to nothing, as to the ends now mentioned;
wife, and children, and family necessities devour all, if you have
never so much. And some provision must be made for them, when you are
dead: and the maintenance of the ministry is not so great as to
suffice well for all this, much less for any eminent works of charity
besides! Never reckon upon the doing of much good to the poor, if you
have wives and children of your own! Such instances are rarities and
wonders. All will be too little for yourselves. Whereas if all that
were given to the poor which goeth to the maintenance of your
families, you little know how much it would reconcile the minds of the
ungodly, and further the success of your ministerial work.

_Direct._ III. If God call you to a married life, expect all
these troubles, or most of them; and make particular preparation for
each temptation, cross, and duty which you must expect. Think not that
you are entering into a state of mere delight, lest it prove but a
fool's paradise to you. See that you be furnished with marriage
strength and patience, for the duties and sufferings of a married
state, before you venture on it. Especially, 1. Be well provided
against temptations to a worldly mind and life: for here you are like
to be most violently and dangerously assaulted. 2. See that you be
well provided with conjugal affections: for they are necessary both to
the duties and sufferings of a married life. And you should not enter
upon the state without the necessary preparations. 3. See that you be
well provided with marriage prudence and understanding, that you may
be able to instruct and edify your families, and may live with them as
men of knowledge, 1 Pet. iii. 7, and may manage all your business with
discretion, Psal. cxii. 15. 4. See that you be provided with
resolvedness and constancy, that you vex not yourself and relations by
too late repentings; and come not off with, had I wist, or _non
putaram_. Levity and mutability is no fit preparative for a state
that only death can change. Let the love and resolutions which brought
you into that state, continue with you to the last. 5. See that you be
provided with a diligence answerable to the greatness of your
undertaken duties. A slothful mind is unfit for one that entereth
himself voluntarily upon so much business; as a cowardly mind is unfit
for him that listeth himself a soldier for the wars. 6. See that you
are well provided with marriage patience; to bear with the infirmities
of others, and undergo the daily crosses of your life, which your
business and necessities, and your own infirmities, will unavoidably
infer. To marry without all this preparation, is as foolish as to go
to sea without the necessary preparations for your voyage, or to go to
war without armour or ammunition, or to go to work without tools or
strength, or to go to buy meat in the market when you have no money.

_Direct._ IV. Take special care, that fancy and passion overrule
not reason, and friends' advice, in the choice of your condition, or
of the person. I know you must have love to those that you match with;
but that love must be rational, and such as you can justify in the
severest trial, by the evidences of worth and fitness in the person
whom you love. To say you love, but you know not why, is more
beseeming children or mad folks, than those that are soberly entering
upon a change of life of so great importance to them. A blind love
which maketh you think a person excellent and amiable, who in the eyes
of the wisest that are impartial, is nothing so, or maketh you
overvalue the person whom you fancy, and be fond of one as some
admirable creature, that in the eyes of others is next to
contemptible, this is but the index and evidence of your folly. And
though you please yourselves in it, and honour it with the name of
love, there is none that is acquainted with it, that will give it any
better name than lust or fancy. And the marriage that is made by lust
or fancy will never tend to solid content or true felicity; but either
it will feed till death on the fuel that kindled it, and then go out
in everlasting shame; or else more ordinarily it proveth but a blaze,
and turneth into loathing and weariness of each other. And because
this passion of lust (called love) is such a besotting, blinding
thing, (like the longing of a woman with child,) it is the duty of all
that feel any touch of it to kindle upon their hearts, to call it
presently to the trial, and to quench it effectually; and till that be
done (if they have any relics of wit or reason) to suspect their own
apprehensions, and much more to trust the judgment and advice of

[Sidenote: How to cure lustful love.]

The means to quench this lust called love, I have largely opened
before. I shall now only remember you of these few. 1. Keep asunder,
and at a sufficient distance from the person that you dote upon. The
nearness of the fire and fuel causeth the combustion. Fancy and lust
are inflamed by the senses. Keep out of sight, and in time the fever
may abate. 2. Overvalue not vanity. Think not highly of a silken coat,
or of the great names of ancestors, or of money, or lands, or of a
painted or a spotted face, nor of that natural comeliness called
beauty: judge not of things as children, but as men: play not the
fools in magnifying trifles, and overlooking inward, real worth. Would
you fall in love with a flower or picture at this rate? Bethink you
what work the pox, or any other withering sickness, will make with
that silly beauty which you so admire: think what a spectacle death
will make it; and how many thousands once more beautiful, are turned
now to common earth! and how many thousand souls are now in hell, that
by a beautiful body were drowned in lust, and tempted to neglect
themselves! and how few in the world you can name that were ever much
the better for it! What a childish thing it is to dote on a book of
tales and lies, because it hath a beautiful, gilded cover! and to
undervalue the writings of the wise, because they have a plain and
homely outside! 3. Rule your thoughts, and let them not run masterless
as fancy shall command them. If reason cannot call off your thoughts
from following a lustful desire and imagination, no wonder if one that
rideth on such an unbridled colt be cast into the dirt. 4. Live not
idly, but let the business of your callings take up your time, and
employ your thoughts. An idle, fleshly mind is the carcass where the
vermin of lust doth crawl, and the nest where the devil hatcheth both
this and many other pernicious sins. 5. Lastly and chiefly, forget not
the concernments of your souls: remember how near you are to eternity,
and what work you have to do for your salvation: forget not the
presence of God, nor the approach of death. Look oft by faith into
heaven and hell, and keep conscience tender; and then I warrant you,
you will find something else to mind than lust, and greater matters
than a silly carcass to take up your thoughts; and you will feel that
heavenly love within you, which will extinguish earthly, carnal love.

_Direct._ V. Be not too hasty in your choice or resolution, but
deliberate well, and thoroughly know the person on whom so much of the
comfort or sorrow of your life will necessarily depend. Where
repentance hath no place, there is the greater care to be used to
prevent it. Reason requireth you to be well acquainted with those that
you trust but with an important secret, much more with all your honour
or estates; and most of all, with one whom you must trust with so much
of the comfort of your lives, and your advantages for a better life.
No care and caution can be too great in a matter of so great

_Direct._ VI. Let no carnal motives persuade you to join yourself
to an ungodly person; but let the holy fear of God be preferred in
your choice before all worldly excellency whatsoever. Marry not a
swine for a golden trough; nor an ugly soul for a comely body.
Consider, 1. You will else give cause of great suspicion that you are
yourselves ungodly: for they that know truly the misery of an
unrenewed soul, and the excellency of the image of God, can never be
indifferent whether they be joined to the godly or the ungodly. To
prefer things temporal before things spiritual habitually, and in the
predominant acts of heart and life, is the certain character of a
graceless soul! And he that in so near a case doth deliberately prefer
riches or comeliness in another, before the image and fear of God,
doth give a very dangerous sign of such a graceless heart and will. If
you set more by beauty or riches than by godliness, you have the
surest mark that you are ungodly. If you do not set more by them, how
come you deliberately to prefer them? How could you do a thing that
detecteth your ungodliness, and condemneth you more clearly? And do
you not show that you either believe not the word of God, or else that
you love him not, and regard not his interest? Otherwise you would
take his friends as your friends, and his enemies as your enemies.
Tell me, would you marry an enemy of your own, before any change and
reconciliation? I am confident you would not. And can you so easily
marry an enemy of God? If you know not that all the ungodly and
unsanctified are his enemies, you know not, or believe not, the word
of God; which telleth you that "the carnal mind is enmity against God;
for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be: so then
they that are in the flesh cannot please God," Rom. viii. 7, 8. 2. If
you fear God yourselves, your chief end in marriage will be to have
one that will be a helper to your soul, and further you in the way to
heaven: but if you marry with a person that is ungodly, either you
have no such end, or else you may easily know you have no wiselier
chosen the means, than if you had chosen water to kindle the fire, or
a bed of snow to keep you warm. Will an ignorant or ungodly person
assist you in prayer and holy watchfulness, and stir you up to the
love of God, and a heavenly mind? And can you so willingly lose all
the spiritual benefit, which you should principally desire and intend?
3. Nay, instead of a helper, you will have a continual hinderer: when
you should go to prayer, you will have one to pull you back, or to
fill your minds with diversions or disquietments! When you should keep
close to God in holy meditations, you will have one to cast in worldly
thoughts, or trouble your minds with vanity or vexation. When you
should discourse of God and heavenly things, you will have one to
stifle such discourse, and fill your ears with idle, impertinent, or
worldly talk. And one such a hinderance so near you, in your bosom,
will be worse than a thousand further off. As an ungodly heart which
is next of all to us, is our greatest hinderance, so an ungodly
husband or wife, which is next to that, is worse to us than many
ungodly neighbours. And if you think that you can well enough overcome
such hinderances, and your heart is so good, that no such clogs can
keep it down, you do but show that you have a proud, unhumbled heart,
that is prepared for a fall. If you know yourselves, and the badness
of your hearts, you will know that you have no need of hinderances in
any holy work, and that all the helps in the world are little enough,
and too little, to keep your souls in the love of God. 4. And such an
ungodly companion will be to you a continual temptation to sin.
Instead of stirring you up to good, you will have one to stir you up
to evil, to passion, or discontent, or covetousness, or pride, or
revenge, or sensuality. And can you not sin enough without such a
tempter? 5. And what a continual grief will it be to you, if you are
believers, to have a child of the devil in your bosom! and to think
how far you must be separated at death! and in what torments those
must lie for ever, that are so dear unto you now! 6. Yea, such
companions will be uncapable of the principal part of your love. You
may love them as husbands or wives, but you cannot love them as saints
and members of Christ. And how great a want this will be in your love,
those know that know what this holy love is.

_Quest._ But how can I tell who are godly, when there is so much
hypocrisy in the world. _Answ._ At least you may know who is
ungodly if it be palpably discovered. I take not a barren knowledge
for ungodliness, nor a nimble tongue for godliness: judge of them by
their love: such as a man's love is, such is the man. If they love the
word, and servants, and worship of God, and love a holy life, and hate
the contrary, you may close with such, though their knowledge be
small, and their parts be weak; but if they have no love to these, but
had rather live a common, careless, carnal life, you may well avoid
them as ungodly.

_Quest._ But if ungodly persons may marry, why may not I marry
with one that is ungodly? _Answ._ Though dogs and swine may join
in generating, it followeth not men or women may join with them.
Pardon the comparison, (while Christ calleth the wicked dogs and
swine, Matt. vii. 6,) it doth but show the badness of your
consequence. Unbelievers may marry, and yet we may not marry with
unbelievers. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for
what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what
communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with
Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what
agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of
the living God--Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye
separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing," &c. 2 Cor.
vi. 14-16.

_Quest._ But I make no doubt but they may be converted: God can
call them when he will: if there be but love, they will easily be won
to be of the mind as those they love are? _Answ._ 1. Then it
seems because you love an ungodly person, you will be easily turned to
be ungodly. If so, you are not much better already. If love will not
draw you to their mind to be ungodly, why should you think love will
draw them to your mind to be godly? Are you stronger in grace than
they are in sin? 2. If you know well what grace is, and what a sinful,
unrenewed soul is, you would not think it so easy a matter to convert
a soul. Why are there so few converted, if it be so easy a thing? You
cannot make yourselves better by adding higher degrees to the grace
you have: much less can you make another better, by giving them the
grace which they have not. 3. It is true that God is able to convert
them when he will; and it is true that for aught I know it may be
done. But what of that? Will you in so weighty a case take up with a
mere possibility? God can make a beggar rich, and for aught you know
to the contrary, he will do it; and yet you will not therefore marry a
beggar: nor will you marry a leper, because God can heal him; why then
should you marry an ungodly person, because God can convert him? See
it done first, if you love your peace and safety.

_Quest._ But what if my parents command me to marry an ungodly
person? _Answ._ God having forbidden it, no parent hath authority
to command you to do so great a mischief to yourself, no more than to
cut your own throats, or to dismember your bodies.

_Quest._ But what if I have a necessity of marrying, and can get
none but an ungodly person? _Answ._ If that be really your case,
that your necessity be real, and you can get no other, I think it is

_Quest._ But is it not better have a good-natured person that is
ungodly, than an ill-natured person that is religious, as many such
are? And may not a bad man be a good husband? _Answ._ 1. A bad
man may be a good tailor, or shoemaker, or carpenter, or seaman,
because there is no moral virtue necessary to the well-doing of their
work. But a bad man cannot be simply a good magistrate, or minister,
or husband, or parent, because there is much moral virtue necessary to
their duties. 2. A bad nature unmortified and untamed is inconsistent
with true godliness; such persons may talk and profess what they
please; but "if any man among you seem to be religious and bridleth
not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is
vain," James i. 26. 3. I did not say that godliness alone is all that
you must look after; though this be the first, yet more is necessary.

_Direct._ VII. Next to the fear of God, make choice of a nature
or temperament that is not too much unsuitable to you. A crossness of
dispositions will be a continual vexation; and you will have a
domestic war instead of love. Especially make sure of these following
qualities. 1. That there be a loving, and not a selfish nature, that
hath no regard to another but for their own end. 2. That there be a
nature competently quiet and patient, and not intolerably froward and
unpleasable. 3. That there be a competency of wit; for no one can live
lovingly and comfortably with a fool. 4. That there be a competent
humility; for there is no quietness to be expected with the proud. 5.
That there be a power to be silent, as well as to speak; for a
babbling tongue is a continual vexation.

_Direct._ VIII. Next to grace and nature, have a due and moderate
respect to person, education, and estate. 1. So far have respect to
the person as that there be no unhealthfulness to make your condition
over-burdensome; nor any such deformity as may hinder your affections.
2. And so far have respect to parentage and education, as that there
be no great unsuitableness of mind, nor any prejudicate opinions in
religion, which may make you too unequal. Differing opinions in
religion are much more tolerable in persons more distant, than in so
near relations. And those that are bred too high in idleness and
luxury, must have a thorough work of grace to make them fit for a low
condition, and cure the pride and sensuality which are taken for the
honourable badges of their gentility; and it is scarce considerable
how rich such are; for their pride and luxury will make even with all,
and be still in greater want, than honest, contented, temperate

_Direct._ IX. If God call you to marriage, take notice of the
helps and comforts of that condition, as well as of the hinderances
and troubles; that you may cheerfully serve God in it, in the
expectation of his blessing. Though man's corruption have filled that
and every state of life with snares and troubles, yet from the
beginning it was not so; God appointed it for mutual help, and as such
it may be used. As a married life hath its temptations and
afflictions, so it hath its peculiar benefits, which you are
thankfully to accept and acknowledge unto God. See Eccles. iv. 10-12.
1. It is a mercy in order to the propagating of a people on earth to
love and honour their Creator, and to serve God in the world and enjoy
him for ever. It is no small mercy to be the parents of a godly seed;
and this is the end of the institution of marriage, Mal. ii. 15. And
this parents may expect, if they be not wanting on their part; however
sometimes their children prove ungodly. 2. It is a mercy to have a
faithful friend, that loveth you entirely, and is as true to you as
yourself, to whom you may open your mind and communicate your affairs,
and who would be ready to strengthen you, and divide the cares of your
affairs and family with you, and help you to bear your burdens, and
comfort you in your sorrows, and be the daily companion of your lives,
and partaker of your joys and sorrows. 3. And it is a mercy to have so
near a friend to be a helper to your soul; to join with you in prayer
and other holy exercises; to watch over you and tell you of your sins
and dangers, and to stir up in you the grace of God, and remember you
of the life to come, and cheerfully accompany you in the ways of
holiness. Prov. xix. 14, "A prudent wife is from the Lord." Thus it is
said, Prov. xviii. 22, "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and
obtaineth favour of the Lord." See Prov. xxxi. 10-12, &c.

_Direct._ X. Let your marriage covenant be made understandingly,
deliberately, heartily, in the fear of God, with a fixed resolution
faithfully to perform it. Understand well all the duties of your
relation before you enter into it; and run not upon it as boys to a
play, but with the sense of your duty, as those that engage themselves
to a great deal of work of great importance towards God and towards
each other. Address yourselves therefore beforehand to God for
counsel, and earnestly beg his guidance and his blessing, and run not
without him, or before him. Reckon upon the worst, and foresee all
temptations which would diminish your affections, or make you
unfaithful to each other; and see that you be fortified against them

_Direct._ XI. Be sure that God be the ultimate end of your
marriage, and that you principally choose that state of life, that in
it you may be most serviceable to him; and that you heartily devote
yourselves and your families unto God; that so it may be to you a
sanctified condition. It is nothing but making God our guide and end
that can sanctify our state of life. They that unfeignedly follow
God's counsel, and aim at his glory, and do it to please him, will
find God owning and blessing their relation. But they that do it
principally to please the flesh, to satisfy lust, and to increase
their estates, and to have children surviving them to receive the
fruits of their pride and covetousness, can expect to reap no better
than they sow; and to have the flesh, the world, and the devil the
masters of their family, according to their own desire and choice.

_Direct._ XII. At your first conjunction (and through the rest of
your lives) remember the day of your separation. And think not that
you are settling yourselves in a state of rest, or felicity, or
continuance, but only assuming a companion in your travels. Whether
you live in a married or an unmarried life, remember that you are
hasting to the everlasting life, where there is neither "marrying nor
giving in marriage," 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30. You are going as fast to
another world in one state of life as in the other. You are but to
help each other in your way, that your journey may be the easier to
you, and that you may happily meet again in the heavenly Jerusalem.
When worldlings marry, they take it for a settling themselves in the
world; and as regenerate persons begin the world anew, by beginning to
lay up a treasure in heaven, so worldlings call their marriage their
beginning the world, because then, as engaged servants to the world,
they set themselves to seek it with greater diligence than ever
before. They do but in marriage begin (as seekers) that life of
foolery, which when he had found what he sought, that rich man ended,
Luke xii. 19, 20, with a "This I will do: I will pull down my barns,
and build greater, and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods;
and I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many
years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry: but God said unto
him, Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee: then
whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?" If you would
not die such fools, do not marry and live such worldlings.

_Tit. 2. Cases of Marriage._

_Quest._ I. What should one follow as a certain rule, about the
prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity? seeing, 1. The law of
Moses is not in force to us. 2. And if it were, it is very dark,
whether it may by parity of reason be extended to more degrees than
are named in the text. 3. And seeing the law of nature is so hardly
legible in this case.[7]

_Answ._ 1. It is certain that the prohibited degrees are not so
statedly and universally unlawful, as that such marriage may not be
made lawful by any necessity. For Adam's sons did lawfully marry their
own sisters.

2. But now the world is peopled, such necessities as will warrant such
marriages must needs be very rare, and such as we are never like to
meet with.

3. The law of nature is it which prohibiteth the degrees that are now
unlawful; and though this law be dark as to some degrees, it is not so
as to others.

4. The law of God to the Jews, Lev. xviii. doth not prohibit those
degrees there named, because of any reason proper to the Jews, but as
an exposition of the law of nature, and so on reasons common to all.

5. Therefore, though the Jewish law cease (yea, never bound other
nations) formally as that political national law; yet as it was God's
exposition of his own law of nature, it is of use, and consequential
obligation to all men, even to this day; for if God once had told but
one man, This is the sense of the law of nature, it remaineth true,
and all must believe it; and then the law of nature itself, so
expounded, will still oblige.

6. The world is so wide for choice, and a necessity of doubtful
marriage is so rare, and the trouble so great, that prudence telleth
every one that it is their sin, without flat necessity, to marry in a
doubtful degree; and therefore it is thus safest, to avoid all degrees
that seem to be equal to those named Lev. xviii. and to have the same
reason, though they be not named.

7. But because it is not certain that indeed the unnamed cases have
the same reason, (while God doth not acquaint us with all the reasons
of his law,) therefore when the thing is done, we must not censure
others too deeply, nor trouble ourselves too much about those unnamed,
doubtful cases. We must avoid them beforehand, because else we shall
cast ourselves into doubts and troubles unnecessarily; but when it is
past, the case must be considered of as I shall after open.

_Quest._ II. What if the law of the land forbid more or fewer
degrees than Lev. xviii. doth?

_Answ._ If it forbid fewer, the rest are nevertheless to be
avoided as forbidden by God. If it forbid more, the forbidden ones
must be avoided in obedience to our rulers.

_Quest._ III. Is the marriage of cousin-germans, that is, of
brothers' children, or sisters' children, or brothers' and sisters'
children, unlawful?

_Answ._ I think not; 1. Because not forbidden by God. 2. Because
none of that same rank are forbidden; that is, none that on both sides
are two degrees from the root. I refer the reader for my reasons to a
Latin Treatise of Charles Butler on this subject, for in those I rest.
As all the children of Noah's sons did marry their cousin-germans,
(for they could not marry in any remoter degree,) so have others since
without reproof, and none are forbidden. 3. But it is safest to do
otherwise, because there is choice enough beside, and because many
divines being of the contrary opinion, may make it matter of scruple
and trouble afterwards, to those that venture upon it without need.

_Quest._ IV. What would you have those do that have married
cousin-germans, and now doubt whether it be lawful so to do?

_Answ._ I would have them cast away such doubts, or at least
conclude that it is now their duty to live peaceably in the state in
which they are; and a great sin for them to be separated on such
scruples. The reason is, because, if it be not certain that the degree
is lawful, at least no man can be sure that it is unlawful. And for
husband and wife to break their covenants and part, without a
necessary cause, is a great sin; and that which no man can prove to be
a sin, is no necessary or lawful cause of a divorce. Marriage duties
are certainly commanded to the married, but the marriage of
cousin-germans is not certainly forbidden. Therefore if it were a sin
to marry so, to them that doubted; or if they are since fallen into
doubt whether it was not a sin; yet may they be sure that the
continuance of it is a duty, and that all they have to do is to repent
of doing a doubtful thing, but not to part, nor to forbear their
covenanted duties. No, nor to indulge or suffer those troublesome
scruples, which would hinder the cheerful discharge of their duties,
and the comfortable serving of God in their relations.

_Quest._ V. What should those do that are married in those
degrees which are not forbidden by name in Lev. xviii. and yet are at
the same distance from the root with those that are named, and seem to
have the same reason of unlawfulness?

_Answ._ If there be clearly a parity of degree, and also of the
reason of the prohibition, then no doubt but they must part as
incestuous, and not continue in a forbidden state. But because divines
are disagreed whether there be in all instances a parity of the reason
of the prohibition, where there is an equal distance as to degrees;
and so in those cases some think it a duty to be separated, and others
think it enough to repent of their conjunction and not to be
separated, because the case is doubtful, (as the controversy showeth,)
I shall not venture to cast in my judgment in a case, where so many
and such men are disagreed; but shall only advise all to prevent such
troublesome doubts beforehand, and not by rashness to run themselves
into perplexities, when there is no necessity; unless they will call
their carnal ends or sinful passions a necessity.

_Quest._ VI. But if a man do marry in a degree expressly there
forbidden, is it in all cases a sin to continue in that state? If
necessity made such marriage a duty to Adam's children, why may not
necessity make the continuance lawful to others? As suppose the king
or parents command it? suppose the woman will die or be distracted
with grief else? suppose one hath made a vow to marry no other, and
yet cannot live single, &c.? Here I shall suppose, that if a lustful
person marry a kinswoman that he may have change, as foreknowing that
he must be divorced, punishment, and not continuance in the sin, must
be his sentence; and if one that hath married a kinswoman be glad to
be divorced, because he hateth her or loveth change, punishment must
rebuke him, but he must not continue in incest.

_Answ._ 1. Natural necessity justified Adam's children, and such
would now justify you. Yea, the benediction "Increase and multiply,"
did not only allow, but oblige them then to marry, to replenish the
earth (when else mankind would soon have ceased); but so it doth not
us now when the earth is replenished. Yet I deny not, but if a man and
his sister were cast alone upon a foreign wilderness, where they
justly despaired of any other company, if God should bid them there
"increase and multiply," it would warrant them to marry. But else
there is no necessity of it, and therefore no lawfulness. For, 2. A
vicious necessity justifieth not the sin. If the man or woman that
should abstain will be mad or dead with passion, rather than obey God,
and deny and mortify their lust, it is not one sin that will justify
them in another. The thing that is necessary, is to conform their
wills to the law of God; and if they will not, and then say, They
cannot, they must bear what they get by it. 3. And it is no necessity
that is imposed by that command of king or parents, which is against
the law of God. 4. No, nor by a vow neither; for a vow to break God's
law is not an obligation to be kept, but to be repented of; nor is the
necessity remediless which such a one bringeth on himself, by vowing
never to marry any other; seeing chastity may be kept.

_Quest._ VII. Is it lawful for one to marry, that hath vowed
chastity during life, and not to marry, and afterward findeth a
necessity of marrying, for the avoiding of lust and fornication?

_Answ._ I know that many great divines have easily absolved
those, that under popery vowed chastity. The principal part of the
solution of the question, you must fetch from my solution of the Case
of Vows, part iii. chap. v. tit. 2. At the present this shall suffice
to be added to it. 1. Such vows of chastity that are absolute, without
any exceptions of after alterations or difficulties that may arise,
are sinfully made, or are unlawful _quoad actum jurandi_.[8]

2. If parents or others impose such oaths and vows on their children
or subjects, or induce them to it, it is sinfully done of them, and
the _actus imperantium_ is also unlawful.

3. Yet as long as the _materia jurata_, the matter vowed,
remaineth lawful, the vow doth bind, and it is perfidiousness to break
it. For the sinfulness of the imposer's act proveth no more, but that
such a command did not oblige you to vow. And a vow made arbitrarily
without any command, doth nevertheless bind. And the sinfulness of
the making of the vow, doth only call for repentance; (as if you made
it causelessly, rashly, upon ill motives, and to ill ends, or in ill
circumstances, &c.) But yet that vow which you repent that ever you
made, must be nevertheless kept, if the thing vowed be a lawful thing,
and the act of vowing be not made a nullity (though it was a sin). And
when it is a nullity, I have showed in the forecited place.

4. A vow of celibate or chastity during life, which hath this
condition or exception expressed or implied in the true intent of the
votary, (unless any thing fall out which shall make it a sin to me not
to marry,) may in some cases be a lawful vow; as to one that foreseeth
great inconveniences in marriage, and would by firm resolution fortify
himself against temptations and mutability.

5. If there were no such excepting thought in the person vowing, yet
when the thing becometh unlawful, the vow is not to be kept; though it
oblige us under guilt for sinful making it, yet God commandeth us not
to keep it, because we vowed that which he forbad us not only to vow
but to do.

6. Either the papists suppose such exceptions to be always implied by
their votaries, or at least that they are contained in the law of God,
or else sure they durst never pretend that the pope hath power to
dispense with such vows (as they have oft done for princes, men and
women, that they might be taken from a monastery to a crown). For if
they suppose, that the persons before the dispensation are under the
obligation of their vow, and bound by God to keep it, then it would be
too gross and odious blasphemy for the pope to claim a power of
disobliging them, and dissolving God's commands; and not only
antichristianity, but antitheistical, or a setting himself above God
Almighty, under pretence of his own commission. But if they only
pretend to dissolve such vows judicially or decisively, by judging
when the person is no longer obliged to keep them by God's law, then
they suppose, that the obligation of God's law is ceased, before they
judicially declare it to be ceased. And if that were all that the pope
undertook, he had no power to do it out of his own parish, nor more
than any lawful bishop hath in his proper charge.

7. The matter of a vow of celibate or chastity is then unlawful, when
it cannot be kept without greater sin than that life of chastity
escapeth, and which would be escaped if it were forsaken; or without
the omission of greater duty, and omission of greater good, than that
life of chastity containeth or attaineth. For the further opening of
this, let it be noted, that,

8. It is not every degree of sin which marriage would cure, that will
warrant the breach of a vow of chastity. As if I had some more lustful
thoughts or instigations and irritations in a single life than I
should have if I married. The reason is, because, 1. No man liveth
without some sin, and it is supposed that there are greater sins of
another kind, which by a life of chastity I avoid. And the breach of
the vow itself is a greater matter than a lustful thought.

9. So it is not every degree of good which by marriage I may attain or
do, that will warrant it against a vow of chastity. Because I may do
and get a greater good by chastity, and because the evil of perjury is
not to be done that good may be done by it; till I can prove, that it
is not only good in itself, but a duty _hic et nunc_ to me.

10. A man should rather break his vow of celibate, than once commit
fornication, if there were a necessity that he must do the one.
Because fornication is a sin which no vow will warrant any man to

11. A man should rather break his vow of celibate, than live in such
constant or ordinary lust, as unfitteth him for prayer, and a holy
life, and keepeth him in ordinary danger of fornication, if there were
a necessity that he must do the one. The reason is also because now
the matter vowed is become unlawful, and no vow can warrant a man to
live in so great sin (unless there were some greater sin on the other
side which could not be avoided in a married life, which is hardly to
be supposed, however popish priests think disobedience to the pope,
and the incommodity and disgrace of a married life, &c. to be a
greater sin than fornication itself).

12. If a prince vow chastity, when it is like to endanger the kingdom
for want of a safe and sure succession, he is bound to break that vow;
because he may not lawfully give away the people's right, nor do that
which is injurious to so many.

13. Whether the command of a parent or prince may dissolve the
obligation of a vow of celibate, I have answered already. I now say
but this, 1. When parents or princes may justly command it, we may
justly obey them. But this is not one of those accidental evils, which
may be lawfully done, though unlawfully commanded. 2. It is parents
that God hath committed more of this care and power to, about
children's marriage, than to princes. 3. Parents not princes may not
lawfully command the breach of such a vow, (not nullified at first,)
except in such cases as disoblige us, whether they do it or not; so
that the resolving of the main case doth suffice for all.

14. He that by lawful means can overcome his lust, to the measure
before mentioned, is under no necessity of violating his vow of single

15. I think that it is not one of twenty that have bodies so
unavoidably prone to lust, but that by due means it might be so far
(though not totally) overcome, without marriage, fornication, wilful
self-pollution, or violent, vexatious, lustful thoughts. That is, 1.
If they employ themselves constantly and diligently in a lawful
calling, and be not guilty of such idleness, as leaveth room in their
minds and imaginations for vain and filthy thoughts. If they follow
such a calling as shall lay a necessity upon them to keep their
thoughts close employed about it. 2. If they use such abstinence and
coarseness in their diet, as is meet to tame inordinate lusts, without
destroying health: and not only avoid fulness and gulosity, and vain
sports and pleasures, but also use convenient fasting, and tame the
body by necessary austerities. 3. If they sufficiently avoid all
tempting company and sights, and keep at a meet distance from them. 4.
If they set such a restraint upon their thoughts as they may do. 5. If
they use such a quality of diet and physic, as is aptest for the
altering of those bodily distempers, which are the cause. 6. And
lastly, If they are earnest in prayer to God, and live in mortifying
meditations, especially in a constant familiarity with a crucified
Christ, and with the grave, and with the heavenly society. He that
breaketh his vow to save himself the labour and suffering of these
ungrateful means, I take to be perfidious, though perhaps he sinfully
made that vow. And no greater number are excusable for continence
after such a vow, than these that have bodies so extraordinary
lustful, as no such other means can tame, and those forementioned that
have extraordinary accidents to make a single life unlawful.

16. It must not be forgotten here, that if men trust to marriage
itself alone as the cure of their lust, without other means, such
violent lusts as nothing else will cure, may possibly be much uncured
afterwards. For adulterers are as violent in their lusts as the
unmarried, and ofttimes find it as hard to restrain them. And
therefore the married, as well as others, have need to be careful to
overcome their lust. And the rather because it is in them a double

17. But yet when all other means do fail, marriage is God's appointed
means, to quench those flames from which men's vows cannot, in cases
of true necessity, disoblige them.

[1] 1 Cor. vii. 7, 38.

[2] Unmarried men are the best friends, the best masters, the best
servants; but not always the best subjects: for they are light to run
away, and therefore venturous, &c. Lord Bacon, Essay 8.

[3] Wives are young men's mistresses, companions for the middle age,
and old men's nurses. So that a man may have a quarrel to marry when
he will. Lord Bacon, Essay.

[4] Art thou discontented with thy childless state? Remember that of
all the Roman kings, not one of them left the crown to his son.
Plutarch. de Tranq. Anim.

[5] Non bene fit quod occupato animo fit. Hieron. Epist. 5. 3. ad

[6] A single life doth well with churchmen: for charity will hardly
water the ground, where it must fill a pool. Lord Bacon, Essay 8. The
greatest works and foundations have been from childless men, who have
sought to express the image of their minds that have none of their
body: so the care of posterity hath been most in them that had no
posterity. Lord Bacon, Essay 7. He that hath a wife and children hath
given hostages to fortune. For they are impediments to great
enterprises.--The best works, and of greatest merit, for the public,
have proceeded from unmarried and childless men. Id. ibid. Essay 8.

[7] The case of polygamy is so fully and plainly resolved by Christ,
that I take it not to be necessary to decide it, especially while the
law of the land doth make it death.

[8] By this you may see how to resolve the cases about vows and
covenants which are the grand controversies of this time among us.




_Directions for the right Choice of Servants._

SERVANTS being integral parts of the family, who contribute much to
the holiness or unholiness of it, and to the happiness or misery of
it, it much concerneth masters to be careful in their choice. And the
harder it is to find such as are indeed desirable, the more careful
and diligent in it should you be.

_Direct._ I. To bid you choose such as are fittest for your
service, is a direction which nature and interest will give you,
without any persuasions of mine. And indeed it is not mere honesty or
piety that will make a good servant, nor do your work. Three things
are necessary to make a servant fit for you: 1. Strength. 2. Skill. 3.
Willingness. And no two of these will serve without the third.
Strength and skill without willingness, will do nothing: skill and
willingness without strength, can do nothing: strength and willingness
without skill, will do as bad or worse than nothing. No less than all
will make you a good servant. Therefore choose one, 1. That is
healthful. 2. That hath been used to such work as you must employ him
in: and, 3. One that is not of a flesh-pleasing, or lazy, sluggish
disposition. For to exact labour from one that is sickly will seem
cruelty; and to expect labour from one that is unskilful and
unexercised will seem folly; and heavy, fleshly, slothful persons,
will do all with so much unwillingness, and pain, and weariness, that
they will think all too much, and their service will be a continual
toil and displeasure to them, and they will think you wrong them, or
deal hardly with them, if you will not allow them in their fleshliness
and idleness. Yea, though they should have grace, a phlegmatic,
sluggish, heavy body, will never be fit for diligent service, any more
than a tired horse for travel.

_Direct._ II. If it be possible, choose such as have the fear of
God, or at least such as are tractable and willing to be taught, and
not such as are ungodly, sensual, and profane. For, 1. "God hateth all
the workers of iniquity," Psal. v. 5. And it tendeth not to the
blessing or safety of your family, to have in it such as are enemies
to God, and hated by him. You cannot expect an equal blessing on their
labours, as you may on the service of those that fear him. The wicked
may bring a curse on the families where they are (if you wilfully
entertain them); when a Joseph may be a blessing even to the house of
an unbeliever. A wicked man will be renewing those crimes, which will
be the shame of your family, and a grief to your hearts, if you have
any love to God yourselves; when a godly servant will pray for a
blessing from God upon his labours, and is himself under a promise,
that "whatever he doth shall prosper," Psal. i. 3. 2. Ungodly servants
for the most part will be mere eye-servants; they will do little more
than they find necessary to escape reproof and blame: some few of
them, indeed, out of love to their masters, or out of a desire of
praise, or to make their places the better to themselves, will be
diligent and trusty: but ordinarily they are deceitful, and study more
to seem good servants, than to be such, and to hide their faults, than
to avoid them; for they make no great matter of conscience of it, nor
do they regard the eye of God: whereas a truly godly servant will do
all your service in obedience to God, as if God himself had bid him do
it, and as one that is always in the presence of that Master, whose
favour he preferreth before all the world. He is more careful to
please God, who commandeth him to be faithful, than to please you by
seeming better than he is: he is moved more to his duty by the reward
which God hath promised him, than by the wages which he expecteth from
you: he hath a tender, purified conscience, which will hold him to his
duty, as well when you know it not, as when you stand by. 3.
Ordinarily, ungodly servants will be false, if they have but
opportunity to enrich themselves by deceiving you; especially those
that are intrusted in laying out money, in buying and selling. As long
as I name no particular persons, I think it no untrustiness, but my
duty, to warn masters whom they trust, by my experience from the
confessions of those that have been guilty. Many servants whom God
hath converted to his love and fear, have told me how constantly they
deceived their masters in buying and selling before their conversion;
even of so great sums of money, that some of them were not able to
restore it (when I made them know it was their duty so far as they
were able): and some of them had so much unquietness of conscience
till it was restored, that I have been fain to give them money to
restore, when I have convinced them of it: so that I know by such
confessions, that such deceit and robbing of their masters is a very
ordinary thing among ungodly servants that have, opportunity, that yet
pass for very trusty servants, and are never discovered. 4. Also an
ungodly servant will be a tempter to the rest, and will be drawing
them to sin: especially to secret wantonness, and uncivil carriage, if
not to actual fornication; and to revellings, and merriments, and
fleshly courses: by swearing, and taking God's name in vain, and
cursing, and lying, they will teach your children and other servants
to do the like; and so be an infectious pestilence in your families.
5. And they will hinder any good which you would do on others. If
there be any in your family under convictions, and in a hopeful way to
a better condition, they will quench all, and discourage them, and
hinder their conversion; partly by their contradicting cavils, and
partly by their scorns, and partly by their diverting, idle talk, and
partly by their ill examples, and alluring them to accompany them in
their sin. Whereas, on the contrary, a godly servant will be drawing
the rest of your family to godliness, and hindering them from sin, and
persuading them to be faithful in their duty both to God and you.

_Direct._ III. Yet measure not the godliness of a servant by his
bare knowledge or words, but by his love and conscience. A great deal
of self-conceited talkativeness about religion may stand with an
unsanctified heart and life; and much weakness in knowledge and
utterance, may stand with sincerity. But you may safely judge those
to be truly godly, 1. Who love godliness, and love the word and
servants of God, and hate all wickedness. 2. And those that make
conscience to do their duty, and to avoid known sin both openly and in

_Direct._ IV. If necessity constrain you to take those that are unfit
and bad, remember that there is the greater duty incumbent on you, to
carry yourself towards them in a diligent, convincing manner, so as
tendeth most to make them better. Take them not as you buy a horse or
an ox, with a purpose only to use them for your work; but remember
they have immortal souls which you take charge of.


_Directions for the right Choice of Masters._

Seeing the happiness of a servant, the safety of his soul, and the
comfort of his life, depend very much upon the family and place which
he liveth in, it much concerneth every prudent servant to be very
careful in what place or family he take up his abode, and to make the
wisest choice he can.

_Direct._ I. Above all, be sure that you choose not for mere
fleshly ease and sensuality, and take not that for the best place for
you, where you may have most of your own carnal will and pleasure. I
know that fleshly, graceless servants, will hear this direction with
as ill a will, as a dog when he is forbidden his meat or carrion. I
know I speak against their very nature, and therefore against their
very hearts, and therefore they will think I speak against their
interest and good; and therefore I may persuade them to this course a
hundred times, before they will believe me, or obey my counsel. All
ungodly, fleshly servants, do make these the only signs of a good
place, or desirable service for them: 1. If they may do what work they
will, and avoid that which they dislike; if they may do that which is
easy, and not that which is hard; and that which is an honour to them,
and not that which seemeth inferior and base. 2. If they may work when
they will, and give over when they will. 3. If they may rise when they
will, and go to bed when they will. 4. If they may eat and drink what
they will, and fare well to the pleasing of their appetites. 5. If
they may speak when they will, and what they have a mind to speak. 6.
If they may have leave when they will to sport, and play, and be
wanton and vain, and waste their time, which they call being merry. 7.
If they may wear the best apparel and go fine. 8. If their masters
will be liberal to them, to maintain all this, and will give them what
they would have. 9. If their masters and fellow-servants carry it
respectfully to them, and praise them, and make somebody of them, and
do not dishonour them, nor give them any displeasing words. 10. And if
they are not troubled with the precepts of godliness, nor set to learn
the Scripture, or catechized, nor called to account about the state of
their souls, or the ground of their hopes for the life to come, nor
troubled with much praying, or repeating sermons, or religious
exercise or discourse, or any thing that tendeth to their salvation;
nor be restrained from any sin, which they have a mind to, nor
reproved for it when they have done it. These are an ungodly, carnal
person's conditions, or signs of a good service. Which is, in a word,
to have their own wills and fleshly desires, and not to be crossed by
their masters' wills, or the will of God: which in effect is, to have
the greatest helps to do the devil's will, and to be damned.

_Direct._ II. See that it be your first and principal care, to live
in such a place where you have the greatest helps and smallest
hinderances to the pleasing of God, and the saving of your souls; and
in such a place where you shall have no liberty to sin, nor have your
fleshly will fulfilled, but shall be best instructed to know and do
the will of God, and under him the will of your superiors. It is the
mark of those whom God forsaketh, to be given up to their own wills,
or "to their own hearts' lusts, to walk in their own counsels," Psal.
lxxxi. 12. "To live after the flesh," is the certain way to endless
misery, Rom. viii. 8, 13. To be most subject to the will of God, with
the greatest mortification and denial of our own wills, is the mark of
the most obedient, holy soul. Seeing then that holiness and
self-denial, the loving of God, and the mortifying of the flesh, are
the life of grace, and the health and rectitude of the soul, and the
only way (under Christ) to our salvation; you have great reason to
think that place the best for you, in which you have most helps for
holiness and self-denial: and not only to bear patiently the
strictness of your superiors, and the labour which they put you upon
for your souls, but also to desire and seek after such helps, as the
greatest mercies upon earth. "First seek the kingdom of God and his
righteousness: labour not (first) for the food that perisheth, but for
that which endureth to everlasting life," Matt. vi. 33; John vi. 27.
Take care first that your souls be provided for, and take that for the
best service which helpeth you most in the service of God, to your

_Direct._ III. If it be possible, live where there is a faithful,
powerful, convincing minister, whose public teaching and private
counsel you may make use of for your souls. Live not, if you can avoid
it, under an ignorant, dead, unprofitable teacher, that will never
afford you any considerable help to lift up your hearts to a heavenly
conversation. But seeing you must spend the six days in your labour,
live where you have the best helps to spend the Lord's day, for the
quickening and comfort of your souls; that in the strength of that
holy food, you may cheerfully perform your sanctified labours on the
week days following. Be not like those brutish persons, that live as
if there were no life but this; and therefore take care to get a
place, where their bodies may be well fed and clothed, and may have
ease, and pleasure, and preferment for the world; but care not much
what teacher there is, to be their guide to heaven; nor whether ever
they be seriously foretold of the world to come, or not.

_Direct._ IV. Live, if you can obtain so great a mercy, with
superiors that fear God, and will have a care of your souls, as well
as of your bodies, and will require you to do God's service as well as
their own: and not with worldly, ungodly masters, that will use you as
they do their beasts, to do their work, and never take care to further
your salvation. For, 1. The curse of God is in the families of the
ungodly; and who would willingly live in a house that God hath cursed,
any more than in a house that is haunted with evil spirits? But God
himself doth dwell with the godly, and by many promises hath assured
them of his love and blessing. "The curse of the Lord is in the house
of the wicked; but he blesseth the habitation of the just," Prov.
iii. 33. "The wicked are overthrown, and are not; but the house of the
righteous shall stand," Prov. xii. 7. "The house of the wicked shall
be overthrown; but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish,"
Prov. xiv. 11; so Prov. xv. 25. "The righteous man wisely considereth
the house of the wicked: God overthroweth the wicked for their
wickedness," Prov. xxi. 12. Go not into a falling house. 2. A master
that feareth God, will help to save you from sin and hell, and help
your souls to life eternal: he may do more for you, than if he made
you kings and rulers of the earth. He will hinder you from sin: he
will teach you to know God, and to prepare for your salvation. Whereas
ungodly masters will rather discourage you, and by mocks or
threatenings seek to drive you from a holy life, and use their wit,
and work, and authority, to hinder your salvation: or at best will
take little care of your souls, but think if they provide you food and
wages, they have done their parts. 3. A master that feareth God will
do you no wrong, but will love you as a christian, and his
fellow-servant of Christ, while he commandeth and employeth you as his
own servant, which cannot be expected from ignorant, ungodly, worldly

_Direct._ V. Yet choose such a service as you are fit to undergo,
with the least hinderance of the service of God, and of your souls.
Neither a life of idleness, nor of excess of business, should be
chosen, if you have your choice. For when the mind is overwhelmed with
the cares of your service, and your bodies tired with excessive
labour, you will have little time, or heart, or power, to mind the
matters of your souls with any seriousness. Yea, the Lord's day will
be spent with little comfort, when the toil of the week days hath left
the body fit for nothing but to sleep. A service which alloweth you no
time at all to pray, or read the Scripture, or mind your everlasting
state, is a life more fit for beasts than men.

_Direct._ VI. If you can attain it, live where your fellow-servants
fear God, as well as the master of the family. For fellow-servants
usually converse with one another more frequently and familiarly than
their masters do with any of them. And therefore if a master give you
the most heavenly instructions, the idle, frothy talk of fellow-servants
may blot out all from your memories and hearts. And their derision of
a holy life, or their bad examples, may do more hurt, than the
precepts of the governors can do good. Whereas when a master's
counsels are seconded by the good discourse and practice of
fellow-servants, it is a great encouragement to good, and keepeth the
heart in a continual warmth and resolution.

_Direct._ VII. If you want any one of these accommodations, be
the more diligent in such an improvement of the rest, as may make up
your want. If you have a good teacher and a bad master, improve the
helps of your teacher the more diligently. If you have a bad master
and good fellow-servants, or a good master and bad fellow-servants,
thank God for that which you have, and make the best of it.

_Direct._ VIII. If you would be accommodated yourselves with the
best masters and usage, labour to be the best servants; and then it is
two to one but you may have your choice. Good servants are so scarce,
and so much valued, that the best places would strive for you, if you
will strive to be such. Excel others in labour, and diligence, and
trustiness, and obedience, and gentleness, and patience, and then you
may have almost what places you desire. But if you will yourselves be
idle, and slothful, and deceitful, and false, and disobedient, and
unmannerly, and self-willed, and contentious, and impatient, and yet
think that you must be respected, and used as good and faithful
servants, it is but a foolish expectation. For what obligation is
there upon others, in point of justice, to give you that which you
deserve not? Indeed if any be bound to keep you in mere charity, then
you may plead charity with them and not desert; but if they take you
but as servants, they owe you nothing but what your work and virtues
shall deserve.



_Whether the solemn Worship of God, in and by Families as such, be
of Divine Appointment? Aff._

THAT excellent speech of Mirandula is oft in mind, _Veritatem
philosophia quærit, theologia invenit, religio possidet_. I do
therefore with greater alacrity and delight dispute these points that
are directly religious, that is, immediately practical, than those
that are only remotely such: and though I am loth we should see among
us any wider division _inter philosophum theologum et religiosum_,
than between the fantasy, the intellect, and the will, which never are
found disjunct in any act; or rather, than between the habits of
practical natural knowledge, and the habits of practical supernatural
knowledge, and the practical resolutions, affections, and endeavours,
into which both the former are devolved; yet may we safely and
profitably distinguish, where it would be mortal to divide. If
disputing in our present case, do but tend to, and end in, a religious
performance, we shall then be able to say, we disputed not in vain;
when by experience of the delight and profit of God's work, we
perceive that we do not worship him in vain: otherwise to evince by a
dispute, that God should be worshipped, and not to worship him when we
have done, is but to draw forth our learning, and sharpen our wits, to
plead for our condemnation; as if the accuser wanted our help, or the
Judge of all the world did want evidence or arguments against us,
unless he had it from our own mouth. Concerning the sense of the
terms, I shall say somewhat, both as to the subject, and the
predicate, that we contend not in the dark; and yet but little, lest I
trouble myself and you with needless labours.

1. By the worship of God we mean not only, nor principally, obedience
as such, or service in common things, called Δουλεία: but we mean a
religious performance of some sacred actions, with an intention of
honouring God as God; and that more directly than in common works of
obedience. This being commonly called Λατρεία, is by Austin, and
since him by all the orthodox, appropriated to God alone; and indeed
to give it to any other is contradictory to its definition.

This worship is of two sorts, whereof the first is by an excellency
called worship, viz. When the honouring of God is so directly the end
and whole business of the work, that our own advantage falls in but
impliedly, and in evident subordination: such are the blessed works of
praise and thanksgiving, which we here begin and shall in heaven
perpetuate. Yet see a more admirable mystery of true religion; we
indeed receive more largely from God, and enjoy more fully our own
felicity in him, in these acts of worship, that give all to God, than
in the other, wherein we more directly seek for somewhat from him. And
those are the second sort of worship actions, viz. When the substance
or matter of the work is a seeking or receiving somewhat from God, or
delivering something religiously in his name, and so is more directly
for ourselves; though yet it is God that should be our ultimate end in
this too. You may perceive I make this of three sorts. Whereof the
first consisteth in our religious addresses to God for something that
we want; and is called prayer. The second consisteth in our religious
addresses to God to receive somewhat from him; viz. 1. Instructions,
precepts, promises, threatenings, from his mouth, messengers, &c. 2.
The sacramental signs of his grace in baptism and the Lord's supper.
The third is, when the officers of Christ do in his name solemnly
deliver either his laws or sacraments. His laws either in general by
ordinary preaching, or by a more particular application in acts of

2. The word solemn signifies sometimes any thing usual, and so some
derive it, _Solenne est quod fieri solet_. Sometimes that which
is done but on one set day in the year; and so some make
_solenne_ to be _quasi solum semel in anno_. But vulgarly it
is taken, and so we take it here, for both _celebre et usitatum_,
that is, a thing that is not accidentally and seldom, but statedly and
ordinarily to be done, and that with such gravity and honourable
seriousness as beseems a business of such weight.

3. By family we mean, not a tribe or stock of kindred, dwelling in
many houses, as the word is taken oft in Scripture, but I mean a

_Domus et familia_, a household and family, are indeed in economics
somewhat different notions, but one thing. _Domus_ is to _familia_ as
_civitas_ to _respublica_, the former is made the subject of the
latter, the latter the _finis internus_ of the former. And so _Domus
est societas naturæ consentanea, e personis domesticis, vitæ in dies
omnes commode sustentandæ causa, collecta. Familia est ordo domus per
regimen patris-familias in personas sibi subjectas_.

Where note, that to a complete family must go four integral parts,
_Pater-familias_, _mater-familias_, _filius_, _servus_, A father,
mother, son, and servant. But to the essence of a family it sufficeth
if there be but the _pars imperans, et pars subdita_, one head or
governor, either father, mother, master, or mistress; and one or more
governed under this head.

Note therefore, that the governor is an essential part of the family,
and so are some of the governed, (viz. that such there be,) but not
each member. If therefore twenty children or servants shall worship
God without the father, or master of the family, either present
himself, or in some representative, it is not a family worship in
strict sense. But if the head of the family in himself (or delegate or
representative) be present, with any of his children or servants,
though all the rest be absent, it is yet a family duty; though the
family be incomplete and maimed (and so is the duty therefore, if
culpably so performed).

4. When I say in and by a family, I mean not that each must do the
same parts of the work, but that one (either the head, or some one
deputed by him, and representing him) be the mouth, and the rest
performing their parts by receiving instructions, or mentally
concurring in the prayers and praise by him put up. Lastly, By divine
appointment I mean any signification of God's will, that it is men's
duty to perform this; whether a signification by natural means or
supernatural, directly or by consequence, so we may be sure it is
God's will. The sum of the question then is, whether any sacred
actions religiously and ordinarily to be performed to God's honour by
the head of the family, with the rest, be by God's appointment made
our duty? My thoughts of this question I shall reduce to these heads,
and propound in this order. 1. I shall speak of family worship in
general. 2. Of the sorts of that worship in special. 3. Of the time.

I. Concerning the first, I lay down my thoughts in these propositions
following, for limitation and caution, and then prove the main

_Prop._ 1. It is not all sorts of God's worship which he hath
appointed to be performed by families as such; there being some proper
to more public assemblies.

2. More particularly the administration of the sacraments of baptism
and the Lord's supper, are proper to the ministerial or organized
churches, and not common to families: for as they are both of them
committed only to ministers of the gospel, and have been only used by
them for many hundred years in the church; (except that some permitted
others to baptize in case of necessity); so the Lord's supper was
appointed for a symbol and means of a more public communion than that
of families. And though some conjecture the contrary, from its first
institution, and think that as there is a family prayer and church
prayer, family teaching and church teaching, so there should be family
sacraments and church sacraments, yet it is a mistake. For though
Christ administered it to his family, yet it was not as a family, but
as a church. For that which is but one family may possibly be a church
also. This exposition we have from the doctrine and practice of the
apostles, and constant custom of all the churches, which have never
thought the Lord's supper to be a family duty, but proper to larger
assemblies, and administrable only by ordained ministers. Nor will the
reasons drawn from circumcision and the passover prove the contrary:
both because particular churches were not then instituted as now, and
therefore families had the more to do; and because there were some
duties proper to families in the very institution of those sacraments;
and because God gave them a power in those, which he hath not given to
masters of families now in our sacraments.

3. Many thousands do by their own viciousness and negligence disable
themselves, so that they cannot perform what God hath made their duty;
yet it remains their duty still: some disability may excuse them in
part, but not in whole.

I shall now prove, that the solemn worship of God in and by families
as such, is of divine appointment.

_Argument_ I. If families are societies of God's institution,
furnished with special advantages and opportunities for God's solemn
worship, having no prohibition so to use them; then the solemn worship
of God in and by families as such, is of divine appointment. But the
antecedent is true; therefore so is the consequent.

For the parts of the antecedent; 1. That families are societies of
God's institution, needeth no proof.

2. That they are furnished with special advantages and opportunities
may appear by an enumeration of particulars. (1.) There is the
advantage of authority in the ruler of the family, whereby he may
command all that are under him in God's worship, yea, and may inflict
penalties on children and servants that refuse; yea, may cast some out
of the family if they be obstinate. (2.) He hath the advantage of a
singular interest in wife and children, by which he may bring them to
it willingly, that so they may perform a right evangelical worship.
(3.) He hath the advantage of a singular dependence of all upon him
for daily provisions; and of his children for their portions for
livelihood in the world, whereby he may yet further prevail with them
for obedience; he having a power to reward, as well as to punish and
command. (4.) They have the opportunity of cohabitation, and so are
still at hand, and more together, and so in readiness for such
employments. (5.) Being nearest in relation, they are stronglier
obliged to further each other's salvation, and help each other in
serving God. (6.) They have hereby an advantage against all prejudices
and jealousies, which strangeness and mistakes may raise and cherish
among those that live at a greater distance, and so may close more
heartily in God's worship. And their nearness of relation and natural
affections do singularly advantage them for a more affectionate
conjunction, and so for a more forcible and acceptable worship of God,
when they are in it as of one heart and soul. (7.) If any
misunderstanding or other impediment arise, they being still at hand,
have opportunity to remove them, and to satisfy each other; and if any
distempers of understanding, heart, or life, be in the family, the
ruler, by familiarity and daily converse, is enabled more particularly
to fit his reproofs and exhortations, confessions and petitions,
accordingly, which even ministers in the congregations cannot so well
do. So that I have made it evident in this enumeration, that families
have advantages, yea, special and most excellent advantages and
opportunities for the solemn worship of God.

3. The last part of the antecedent was, that they have no prohibition
to use these advantages and opportunities to God's solemn worship. I
add this, lest any should say, though they have such advantages, yet
God may restrain them for the avoiding some greater inconveniencies
another way; as he hath restrained women from speaking in the
assemblies. But, (1.) God hath neither restrained them in the law of
nature, nor in the written law; therefore not at all. He that can show
it in either, let him do it. (2.) I never yet read or heard any
knowing christian once affirm that God hath forbidden families
solemnly to worship him, and therefore I think it needless to prove a
negative, when no man is known to hold the affirmative. Indeed for
some kinds of worship, as preaching and expounding Scripture, some
have prohibited them; but not reading, catechizing, all instructing,
praying, praises, singing psalms, much less all solemn worship wholly.
So much for the antecedent.

I now come to prove the consequence. The foresaid advantages and
opportunities are talents given by God, which they that receive, are
obliged faithfully to improve for God; therefore families having such
advantages and opportunities for God's solemn worship, are bound to
improve them faithfully for God, in the solemn worshipping of him. For
the antecedent, 1. It is unquestionable that these are talents, that
is, improvable mercies given by God. For as none dare deny them to be
mercies, so none dare (I hope) say that God is not the giver of them.
And then, 2. That such talents must be improved faithfully for God,
from whom they are received, is plain, from Matt. xxv. throughout,
especially ver. 14-31. And Luke xx. 10, he requireth the fruits of his
vineyard; and Matt. x. 42, if he intrust us with a cup of cold water,
he expecteth it for a prophet when he calleth for it. And if he
intrust us with outward riches, he expecteth that "we give to him that
asketh," Matt. v. 42; Luke vi. 30, 38; xi. 41; xii. 33. His stewards
must give an account of their stewardships, Luke xvi. 2. Christ
telleth us of all our talents in general, Luke xii. 48, that "Unto
whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom
men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." And of our
words in particular Christ tells us, Matt. xii. 36, that "of every
idle word men shall give an account at the day of judgment." Much more
for denying to use both our tongues and hearts in God's worship, when
he gives us such opportunities. "It is required in stewards, that a
man be found faithful," 1 Cor. iv. 2. "As every man hath received the
gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of
the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the
oracles of God," &c. 1 Pet. iv. 10, 11. Many more of the like
scriptures prove the antecedent of the enthymeme, and the consequent
needs no proof.

_Arg._ II. The solemn worship of God in and by families as such,
is required by the very law of nature, therefore it is of divine
institution. The consequence can be denied by no man that renounceth
not reason and nature itself; denying the law of nature to be God's
law, which is indeed partly presupposed in the law supernatural, and
partly rehearsed in it, but never subverted by it. Positives are more
mutable than naturals are.

The antecedent is thus manifested. 1. Natural reason (or the law of
nature) requireth that all men do faithfully improve all the talents
that God hath intrusted them with, to his honour; therefore natural
reason (or the law of nature) doth require, that God be solemnly
worshipped in families, he having given them such advantages as
aforesaid thereunto. 2. The law of nature requireth, that all
societies that have God for their founder or institutor, should, to
their utmost capacities, be devoted to him that founded and instituted
them: but that God is the founder and institutor of families, is known
by the light of nature itself; therefore the law of nature requireth,
that families be to the utmost of their capacities devoted to God; and
consequently, that they solemnly worship him, they being capable of so
doing. I need not prove the major, because I speak only to men that
are possessed of the law of nature mentioned in it; and therefore they
know it themselves to be true. Yet let me so far stay on the
illustration, as to tell you the grounds of it. And, 1. God is the
Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the principal efficient and
ultimate end of all; and therefore of families. And therefore they
should be for him, as well as they are from him: for "of him, and
through him, and to him are all things." This argument I draw from
nature, which can have no beginning but God, nor any end but God. The
2. I draw from the divine intention, in the fabrication and ordination
of all things. God made all things for himself, and can have no
ultimate end below himself. The 3. I draw from his _jus dominii_,
his right of propriety which he hath over all things, and so over
families as such; they are all absolutely his own alone. And that
which is solely or absolutely a man's own, should be for his use, and
employed to his honour and ends: much more that which is God's, seeing
man is not capable of such a plenary propriety of any thing in the
world, as God hath in all things. 4. I argue _a jure imperii_,
from God's right of government. If he have a full right of government
of families, as families, then families as families must honour and
worship him according to their utmost capacities. But he hath a full
right of absolute government over families as families; therefore--The
consequence of the major is grounded on these two things: 1. That God
himself is the end of his own government: this is proper to his
regimen. All human government is said by politicians to be terminated
ultimately in the public good of the society. But God's pleasure and
glory is the end of his government, and is, as it were, the public or
universal good. 2. In that nature teacheth us, that supreme honour is
due to all that are supreme governors; therefore they are to have the
most honourable titles, of majesty, highness, excellency, &c. and
actions answerable to those titles: Mal. i. 6, "If I be a father,
where is mine honour? if I be a master, where is my fear?" Fear is oft
put for all God's worship. If then there be no family whereof God is
not the Father or Founder, and the Master, or Owner and Governor, then
there is none but should honour and fear him, or worship him, and that
not only as single men, but as families; because he is not only the
Father and Master, the Lord and Ruler of them as men, but also as
families. Honour is as due to the rector, as protection to the
subjects, and in our case much more. God is not a mere titular but
real Governor. All powers on earth are derived from him, and are
indeed his power. All lawful governors are his officers, and hold
their places under him, and act by him. As God therefore is the proper
Sovereign of every commonwealth, and the Head of the church, so is he
the Head of every family. Therefore as every commonwealth should
perform such worship or honour to their earthly sovereign, as is due
to man; so each society should, according to their capacities, perform
divine worship and honour to God. And if any object, That by this rule
commonwealths, as such, must meet together to worship God, which is
impossible; I answer, They must worship him according to their natural
capacities; and so must families according to theirs. The same general
precept obligeth to a diverse manner of duty according to the divers
capacities of the subject. Commonwealths must, in their representatives
at least, engage themselves to God as commonwealths, and worship him
in the most convenient way that they are capable of. Families may meet
together for prayer, though a nation cannot. As an association of
churches, called a provincial or national church, is obliged to
worship God, as well as particular congregations, yet not in one
place; because it is impossible: nature limiteth and maketh the

And that the obligation of families to honour and worship God, may yet
appear more evidently, consider that God's right of propriety and rule
is twofold, yet each title plenary alone. 1. He is our Owner and Ruler
upon his title of creation. 2. So he is by his right of redemption. By
both these he is not only Lord and Ruler of persons, but families; all
societies being his; and the regimen of persons being chiefly
exercised over them in societies. "All power in heaven and earth is
given unto Christ," Matt. xviii. 18; "and all judgment committed unto
him," John v. 22; "and all things delivered into his hands," John
xiii. 3; "and therefore to him shall every knee bow, both of things in
heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;" (either with
a bowing of worship, or of forced acknowledgment;) and "every tongue
shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the
Father," Phil. ii. 10. Bowing to and confessing Christ voluntarily to
God's glory, is true worship; all must do this according to their
several capacities; and therefore families according to theirs.

A third consideration, which I thought to have added but for
illustration, may well stand as an argument itself; and it is this:

_Arg._ III. If besides all the forementioned opportunities and
obligations, families do live in the presence of God, and ought by
faith to apprehend that presence, then is it God's will that families
as such should solemnly worship him. But the former is true, therefore
the latter.

The consequence of the major, which alone requires proof, I prove by
an argument _a fortiori_, from the honour due to all earthly
governors. Though when a king, a father, a master are absent, such
actual honour, to be presented to them, is not due, because they are
not capable of receiving it (further than _mediante aliqua persona,
vel re_, which beareth some representation of the superior, or
relation to him); yet when they stand by, it is a contemptuous
subject, a disobedient child, that will not perform actual honour or
human worship to them. Now God is ever present, not only with each
person as such, but also with every family as such. As he is said to
walk among the golden candlesticks in his churches, so doth he in the
families of all by his common presence, and of his servants by his
gracious presence. This they easily find by his directing them, and
blessing the affairs of their families. If any say, We see not God,
else we would daily worship him in our families. _Answ._ Faith seeth
him who to sense is invisible. If one of you had a son that were blind
and could not see his own father, would you think him therefore
excusable, if he would not honour his father, when he knew him to be
present? We know God to be present, though flesh be blind and cannot
see him.

_Arg._ IV. If christian families (besides all the forementioned
advantages and obligations) are also societies sanctified to God, then
is it God's will that families, as such, should solemnly worship him;
but christian families are societies sanctified to God; therefore, &c.

The reason of the consequence is, because things sanctified must in
the most eminent sort, that they are capable, be used for God. To
sanctify a person or thing, is to set it apart, and separate it from a
common or unclean use, and to devote it to God, to be employed in his
service. To alienate this from God, or not to use it for God, when it
is dedicated to him, or sanctified by his own election and separation
of it from common use, is sacrilege. God hath a double right (of
creation and redemption) to all persons. But a treble right to the
sanctified. Ananias his fearful judgment was a sad example of God's
wrath, on those that withhold from him what was devoted to him. If
christian families as such be sanctified to God, they must as such
worship him in their best capacity.

That christian families are sanctified to God I prove thus: 1. A
society of holy persons must needs be a holy society. But a family of
christians is a society of holy persons; therefore, 2. We find in
Scripture not only single persons, but the societies of such,
sanctified to God. Deut. vii. 6, "Thou art an holy people unto the
Lord thy God; he hath chosen thee to be a special people to himself
above all people that are upon the face of the earth." So Deut. xiv.
20, 21. So the body of that commonwealth did all jointly enter into
covenant with God, and God to them, Deut. xxix.; xxx.; and xxvi. 17-19,
"Thou hast vouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk
in his ways; and the Lord hath vouched thee this day to be his
peculiar people, that thou mayst be an holy people to the Lord." So
chap. xxviii. 9; Dan. viii. 24; xii. 7. Joshua, chap. xxiv. devoteth
himself and his house to the Lord; "I and my house will serve the
Lord." And Abraham by circumcision (the covenant, or seal of the
covenant of God) consecrated his whole household to God; and so were
all families after him to do (as to the males, in whom the whole was
consecrated). And whether besides the typifying intent, there were not
somewhat more in the sanctifying of all the first-born to God, who if
they lived, were to be the heads of the families, may be questioned.

The passover was a family duty, by which they were yet further
sanctified to God. Yea, it is especially to be observed how in the New
Testament, the Holy Ghost doth imitate the language of the Old, and
speak of God's people as of holy societies, as the Jews were. As in
many prophecies it was foretold that nations and kingdoms should serve
him (of which I have spoken more in my book of Baptism); and among
those who should "mourn over him whom they have pierced" in gospel
times, when the spirit of grace and supplication is poured forth, are
"the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the
family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; every
family, even all the families that remained, apart, and their wives
apart," Zech. xi. 12-14. So Christ sendeth his disciples to "baptize
nations," having discipled them; and "the kingdoms of the world shall
become the kingdoms of the Lord, and his Christ." And as, Exod. xix.
5, 6, God saith of the Jews, "Ye shall be a peculiar treasure to me
above all people; and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a
holy nation;" so doth Peter say of all christians, 1 Pet. ii. 5-7, 9,
"Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy
priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by
Jesus Christ. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an
holy nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises
of him that hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous
light." Mark how fully this text doth prove all that we are about. It
speaks of christians collectively, as in societies, and in societies
of all the most eminent sorts: "a generation;" which seems especially
to refer to tribes and families: "a priesthood, nation, people;" which
comprehendeth all the orders in the nation ofttimes. And in all these
respects they are holy, and peculiar, and chosen, to show, that God's
people are sanctified in these relations and societies. And then mark
the end of this sanctification; ver. 5, "to offer up spiritual
sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ;" ver. 9, "to show forth
the praises of him that hath called you," &c.

Yea, it seems that there was a special dedication of families to God.
And therefore we read so frequently of households converted and
baptized: though none at age were baptized, but such as seemed
believers; yet when they professed faith, they were all together
initiated as a household. And it seems, the master's interest and duty
were taken to be so great for the conversion of the rest, that as he
was not content himself with his own conversion, but to labour
presently, even before his baptism, that his household should join
with him, that so the whole family at once might be devoted to God; so
God did bless this his own order and ordinance to that end: and where
he imposed duty on masters, he usually gave success, so that commonly
the whole family was converted and baptized with the ruler of the
family. So Acts xviii. 8, "Crispus believed on the Lord with all his
house, and they were baptized;" and Acts xvi. 32, Paul promiseth the
jailer, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and
thy house; and he and all his were baptized straightway; for he
believed in God with all his house," ver. 33, 34. And Lydia is
described a "worshipper of God," Acts xvi. 14; and ver. 15, "she was
baptized and her household." And the angel told Cornelius, that Peter
should tell him "words whereby he and all his household should be
saved," who were baptized accordingly, Acts xi. 14. And 1 Cor. i. 16,
Paul baptized the household of Stephanas. And Christ told Zaccheus,
salvation was come that day unto his house, "and he and all his
household believed." So that nobleman, John iv. 53. Therefore when
Christ sent forth his disciples, he saith, "If the house be worthy,
let your peace come upon it, but if it be not worthy, let your peace
return to you." So that as it is apparently the duty of every
christian sovereign, to do what he is able to make all his people
God's people; and so to dedicate them to God as a holy nation, in
a national covenant, as the Israelites were: so is it the
unquestionable duty of every christian ruler of a family, to improve
his interest, power, and parts to the uttermost, to bring all his
family to be people of Christ in the baptismal covenant, and so to
dedicate all his family to Christ. Yet further I prove this, in that
believers themselves being all sanctified to God, it must needs
follow, that all their lawful relations, and especially all commanded
states of relation, are also sanctified to God; for when themselves
are dedicated to God, it is absolutely without reserve, to serve him
with all that they have, and in every relation and capacity that he
shall set them. It were a madness to think, that a christian totally
devoted unto God when he is a private man, if he were after made a
soldier, a minister, a magistrate, a king, were not bound by his
dedication now to serve God as a soldier, a minister, a magistrate, a
king. So he that is devoted to God in a single state, is bound to
serve him as a husband, a father, a master, when he comes into that
state: we do devote all that we have to God, when we devote ourselves
to him.

Moreover the Scripture tells us, that to "the pure all things are
pure," Tit. i. 15, 16. And "all things are sanctified to them by the
word and prayer," 1 Tim. iv. 5; which is in that they are made the
goods and enjoyments, actions and relations of a sanctified people,
who are themselves devoted or sanctified to God: so that all
sanctification referreth ultimately and principally to God; _Quod
sanctum Deo sanctum est_; though it may be said subordinately to be
sanctified to us. Seeing then it is past all doubt that every
christian is a man sanctified and devoted to God, and that whenever
any man is so devoted to God, he is devoted to serve him to the utmost
capacity in every state, relation, or condition that he is in, and
with all the faculties he possesseth, it followeth that those
relations are sanctified to God, and in them he ought to worship him
and honour him.

Yet further we find in Scripture, that the particular family relations
are expressly sanctified. The family complete consisteth of three
pairs of relations; husband and wife, parents and children, masters
and servants. Husbands must love their wives with a holy love in the
Lord, even as "the Lord loved the church, who gave himself for it, to
sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the word, that he
might present it to himself a glorious church," Eph. v. 25-27. "Wives
must submit themselves to their husbands as unto the Lord; and be
subject to them, as the church is to Christ," Eph. v. 22-24. "Children
must obey their parents in the Lord," Eph. vi. 1. "Parents must bring
up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," Eph. vi. 4.
"Servants must be obedient unto their masters as unto Christ, and
as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from their hearts
with good will, doing service as to the Lord, and not to man; knowing
that what good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the
Lord, whether he be bond or free: and masters must do the same to
them, knowing that their Master is in heaven," Eph. vi. 5-9. So that
it is evident that every distinct family relation is dedicated or holy
to God and to be used to the utmost for God. I shall have occasion to
make further use anon of these texts for the particular sorts of
worship, though I now make use of them as for worship in general.

_Arg._ V. The several sorts of solemn worship in and by christian
families, are found, appointed, used, and commanded in the Scripture,
therefore it may well be concluded of worship in the general; seeing
the genus is in each species. But this argument brings me to the
second part of my undertaking; viz. to prove the point as to some
special kinds of worship; which I the more hasten to, because in so
doing I prove the general also.

II. Concerning God's worship in special, I shall speak but to two or
three of the chief parts of it, which belong to families.

And, 1. of teaching, under which I comprise,

1. Teaching the letter of the Scripture, (1.) By reading it. (2.) By
teaching others to read it. (3.) Causing them to learn it by memory,
which is a kind of catechising.

2. Teaching the sense of it.

3. Applying what is so taught by familiar reproofs, admonitions, and

_Prop._ II. It is the will of God that the rulers of families
should teach those that are under them the doctrine of salvation, i.e.
the doctrine of God concerning salvation, and the terms on which it
is to be had, and the means to be used for attaining it, and all the
duties requisite on our parts in order thereunto.

Before I come to the proof, take these cautions: 1. Where I say men
must thus teach, I imply they must be able to teach, and not teach
before they are able; and if they be not able it is their own sin, God
having vouchsafed them means for enablement. 2. Men must measure their
teaching according to their abilities, and not pretend to more than
they have, nor attempt that which they cannot perform, thereby
incurring the guilt of proud self-conceitedness, profanation, or other
abuse of holy things. For example, men that are not able judiciously
to do it, must not presume to interpret the original, or to give the
sense of dark prophecies, and other obscure texts of Scripture, nor to
determine controversies beyond their reach. 3. Yet may such
conveniently study what more learned, able men say to such cases; and
tell their families, this is the judgment of fathers, or councils, or
such and such learned divines. 4. But ordinarily it is the safest,
humblest, wisest, and most orderly way for the master of the family to
let controversies and obscure Scriptures alone, and to teach the
plain, few necessary doctrines commonly contained in catechisms, and
to direct in matters of necessary practice. 5. Family teaching must
stand in a subordination to ministerial teaching, as families are
subordinate to churches; and therefore, (1.) Family teaching must give
place to ministerial teaching, and never be set against it; you must
not be hearing the master of a family, when you should be in a church
hearing the pastor; and if the pastor send for servants or children to
be catechised in any fit place or at any fit time, the master is not
then to be doing it himself, or to hinder them, but they must go first
to the pastor to be taught; also if a pastor come into a family, the
master is to give place, and the family to hear him first. (2.) And
therefore when any hard text or controversies fall in, the master
should consult with the pastor for their exposition, unless it fall
out that the master of the family be better learned in the Scripture
than the pastor is, which is rare, and rarer should be, seeing
unworthy ministers should be removed, and private men that are worthy
should be made ministers. And the pastors should be the ablest men in
the congregation. Now to the proof (remembering still that whatsoever
proves it the ruler's duty to teach, must needs prove it the family's
duty to learn, and to hearken to his teaching that they may learn).

_Arg._ I. From Deut. xi. 18-21, "Therefore shall you lay up these
my words in your hearts, and in your soul, and bind them for a sign
upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes; and
you shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou
sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou
liest down, and when thou risest up; and thou shalt write them upon
the door-posts of thy house, and upon your gates; that your days may
be multiplied, and the days of your children." The like words are in
Deut. vi. 6-8, where it is said, "And thou shalt teach them diligently
unto thy children." So Deut. iv. 9, "Teach them thy sons, and thy
sons' sons."

Here there is one part of family duty, viz. teaching children the laws
of God, as plainly commanded as words can express it.

_Arg._ II. From these texts which commend this. Gen. xviii. 18, 19,
"All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him, for I know
him that he will command his children and his household after him; and
they shall keep the way of the Lord;" and it was not only a command at
his death what they should do when he was dead; for, 1. It cannot be
imagined that so holy a man should neglect a duty all his lifetime,
and perform it but at death, and be commended for that. 2. He might
then have great cause to question the efficacy. 3. As God commandeth a
diligent inculcating precepts on children, so no doubt it is a
practice answerable to such precepts that is here commended; and it is
not bare teaching, but commanding, that is here mentioned, to show
that it must be an improvement of authority, as well as of knowledge
and elocution.

So 2 Tim. iii. 15. From a child Timothy knew the Scripture by the
teaching of his parents, as appeareth, 2 Tim. i. 5.

_Arg._ III. Eph. vi. 4, "Bring them up in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord;" παιδεία, translated nurture, signifieth
both instruction and correction, showing that parents must use both
doctrine and authority, or force, with their children for the matters
of the Lord; and νουθεσία, translated admonition, signifieth such
instruction as putteth doctrine into the mind, and chargeth it on
them, and fully storeth their minds therewith; and it also signifieth
chiding, and sometimes correction. And it is to be noted, that
children must be brought up in this; the word ἐκτρέφετε, signifying
carefully to nourish, importeth that as you feed them with milk and
bodily food, so you must as carefully and constantly feed and nourish
them with the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is called the
nurture and admonition of the Lord, because the Lord commandeth it,
and because it is the doctrine concerning the Lord, and the doctrine
of his teaching, and the doctrine that leadeth to him.

_Arg._ IV. Prov. xxii. 6, "Train up a child in the way where he
should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

_Arg._ V. From all those places that charge children to hearken
to the instructions of their parents, Prov. i. 8, "My son, hear the
instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother."
Prov. vi. 20 is the like; and iii. 22, with many the like. Yea, the
son that is stubborn and rebellious against the instruction and
correction of a father or mother in gluttony, drunkenness, &c. was to
be brought forth to the magistrate, and stoned to death, Deut. xxi.
18-20. Now all the scriptures that require children to hear their
parents, do imply that the parents must teach their children; for
there is no hearing and learning without teaching.

But lest you say that parents and children are not the whole family,
(though they may be, and in Abraham's ease before mentioned, the whole
household is mentioned,) the next shall speak to other relations.

_Arg._ VI. 1 Pet. iii. 7, "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them
(your wives) according to knowledge;" and Eph. v. 25, 26, "Love your
wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, that he
might sanctify and cleanse it." And this plainly implies that this
knowledge must be used for the instruction and sanctification of the
wife. 1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35, women must "keep silence in the church, for
it is not permitted unto them to speak, but they are to be under
obedience, as also saith the law. If they will learn any thing, let
them ask their husbands at home." Which shows that at home their
husbands must teach them.

_Arg._ VII. Col. iii. 22-25; Eph. vi. 5-8, "Servants must be
obedient unto their masters as unto Christ, and serve them as serving
the Lord Christ," and therefore ministers must command in Christ.

_Arg._ VIII. _A fortiori_, fellow-christians must "exhort
one another daily while it is called to-day, lest any be hardened by
the deceitfulness of sin;" much more must the rulers of families do so
to wives, children, and servants. 1 Pet. iv. 11, "If any speak, it
must be as the oracles of God;" much more to our own families. Col.
iii. 16, "Let the word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom,
teaching and admonishing one another;" and much more must a man do
this to wife, children, and servants, than to those more remote.

_Arg._ IX. Those that are to be chosen deacons or bishops, must
be such as rule their own children and their own household well,
1 Tim. iii. 4, 12. Now mark, 1. That this is one of those christian
virtues which they were to have before they were made officers,
therefore other christians must have and perform it as well as they.
2. It is a religious, holy governing, such as a minister is to
exercise over his flock, that is here mentioned, which is in the
things of God and salvation, or else the comparison or argument would
not suit; ver. 5, "For if a man know not how to rule his own house,
how shall he rule the church of God?" But of this more before. I would
say more on this point, but I think it so clear in Scripture as to
make it needless: I pass therefore to the next.

_Prop._ III. Family discipline is part of God's solemn worship or
service appointed in his word. This is not called worship in so near a
sense as some of the rest, but more remotely; yet so it may well be
called, in that, 1. It is an authoritative act done by commission from
God; 2. Upon such as disobey him, and as such; 3. And to his glory;
yea, and it should be done with as great solemnity and reverence, as
other parts of worship.

The acts of this discipline are, 1. Denying the ungodly entrance into
the family. 2. Correcting; 3. Or casting out those that are in. I
shall be but brief on these.

1. The first you have 2 John 10, "If there come any to you and bring
not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him
God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil

2. The duty of correcting, either by corporal, sensible punishment, or
by withdrawing some benefit, is so commonly required in Scripture,
especially towards children, that I will not stand on it, lest I speak
in vain what you all know already; and how Eli suffered for neglecting
it, you know.

3. The discipline of casting the wicked out of the family (servants I
mean, who are separable members) you may find Psal. ci. 2, 3, 7, 8, "I
will walk within my house with a perfect heart, I will set no wicked
thing before mine eyes. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within
my house; he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight."

_Prop._ IV. Solemn prayer and praises of God in and by christian
families is of divine appointment.

1. For proof of this, I must desire you to look back to all the
arguments which proved the dueness of worship in general, for they
will yet more especially prove this sort of worship, seeing prayer and
praise are most immediately and eminently called God's worship of any;
(under praises I comprehend psalms of praise, and under prayer, psalms
of prayer;) yet let us add some more.

_Arg._ I. It is God's will that christians who have fit occasions
and opportunities for prayer and praises should improve them, but
christian families have fit occasions and opportunities for prayer and
praise, therefore it is God's will they should improve them.

The major is evident in many Scripture precepts. 1 Tim. ii. 8, "I will
therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without
wrath and doubting." 1 Thess. v. 17, 18, "Pray without ceasing; in
every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God concerning you."
Col. iv. 2, "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with
thanksgiving." Col. iii. 16, 17, "Teaching and admonishing one another
in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your
hearts unto the Lord: and whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in
the name of the Lord Jesus; giving thanks unto God and the Father by
him." Rom. xii. 12, "Continuing instant in prayer." "Praying always
with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto
with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me that
utterance may be given me," Eph. vi. 18. Many the like texts might be
named, every one of which afford an argument for family praises most

1. If men must pray every where, (that is convenient,) then sure in
their families. But, &c. Erg. 2. If men must pray without ceasing,
then sure in their families. 3. If men must in every thing give
thanks, then sure in family mercies, and then, according to the nature
of them, together. 4. If men must continue in prayer and watch in it,
(for fit advantages and against impediments,) and in thanksgiving,
then doubtless they must not omit the singular advantages which are
administered in families. 5. If we must continue instant in prayer and
supplication, &c. then doubtless in family prayer, in our families,
unless that be no place and no prayer. _Object._ But this binds
us no more to prayer in our families than any where else. _Answ._
Yes, it binds us to take all fit opportunities; and we have more fit
opportunities in our own families than in other men's, or than in
occasional meetings, or than in any ordinary societies, except the

And here let me tell you, that it is ignorance to call for particular
express Scripture, to require praying in families, as if we thought
the general commands did not comprehend this particular, and were not
sufficient. God doth in much wisdom leave out of his written law the
express determination of some of those circumstantials, or the
application of general precepts to some of those subjects, to which
common reason and the light of nature sufficeth to determine and apply
them. The Scripture giveth us the general, "Pray alway with all manner
of prayer in all places," that is, omit no fit advantages and
opportunities for prayer. What if God had said no more than this about
prayer in Scripture? It seems some men would have said, God hath not
required us to pray at all, (when he requireth us to pray always,)
because he tells us not when and where, and how oft, and with whom,
and in what words, &c. And so they would have concluded God no where
bids us pray in secret, nor pray in families, nor pray in assemblies,
nor pray with the godly, nor with the wicked, nor pray every day, nor
once a week; nor with a book, nor without a book, and therefore not at
all. As if the general "Pray on all fit occasions" were nothing.

But these men must know that nature also and reason are God's light,
and Providence oft determineth of such subjects and adjuncts: and the
general law, and these together, do put all out of doubt. What if God
telleth you, He that provideth not for his own, especially those of
his household, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel,
and do not tell you either who are your families, and who not, nor
what provision you shall make for them, what food, what clothes, or
how oft they must feed, &c.; will you say God hath not bid you feed or
clothe this child, or that servant? It is enough that God chargeth you
to provide for your families, in the Scripture; and that in nature he
tell you which are your families, and what provision to make for them,
and how oft, and in what quantity, &c. And so if God bid you pray in
all places, and at all times, on all occasions, (that are fit for
prayer,) and experience and common reason tell you that families
afford most fit times, place, and occasions for prayer, is not this
enough, that there are such seasons, and opportunities, and occasions
for family prayer? I refer you to the particular discoveries of them
in the beginning, where I proved the dueness of worship in general to
be there performed. And I refer you also to common reason itself, not
fearing the contradiction of any man whose impiety hath not made him
unreasonable, and prevailed against the common light of nature. This
first general argument were enough, if men were not so averse to their
duty that they cannot know because they will not: but let us therefore
add some more.

_Arg._ II. If there be many blessings which the family needeth,
and which they do actually receive from God, then it is the will of
God that the family pray for these blessings when they need them, and
give thanks for them when they have received them: but there are many
blessings which the family (as conjunct) needeth and receiveth of God.
Therefore the family conjunct, and not only particular members
secretly, should pray for them and give thanks for them.

The antecedent is past question; 1. The continuance of the family as
such in being. 2. In well being. 3. And so the preservation and
direction of the essential members. 4. And the prospering of all
family affairs are evident instances: and to descend to mere
particulars would be needless tediousness. The consequence is proved
from many scriptures, which require those that want mercies to ask
them, and those that have received them to be thankful for them.
_Object._ So they may do singly. _Answ._ It is not only as
single persons, but as a society, that they receive the mercy;
therefore not only as single persons, but as a society, should they
pray and give thanks: therefore should they do it in that manner, as
may be most fit for a society to do it in, and that is, together
conjunctly, that it may be indeed a family sacrifice, and that each
part may see that the rest join with them. And especially that the
ruler may be satisfied in this, to whom the oversight of the rest is
committed: to see that they all join in prayer, which in secret he
cannot see, it being not fit that secret prayer should have spectators
or witness, that is, should not be secret. But this I intended to make
another argument by itself; which because we are fallen on it, I will
add next.

_Arg._ III. If God hath given charge to the ruler of the family
to see that the rest do worship him in that family, then ought the
ruler to cause them solemnly or openly to join in that worship. But
God hath given charge to the ruler of the family, to see that the rest
do worship him in that family; therefore, &c.

The reason of the consequence is, because otherwise he can with no
convenience see that they do it. For, 1. It is not fit that he should
stand by while they pray secretly. 2. Nor are they able vocally to do
it, in most families, but have need of a leader; it being not a thing
to be expected of every woman, and child, and servant, (that had
wanted good education,) that they should be able to pray without a
guide, so as is fit for others to hear. 3. It would take almost all
the time of the ruler of many families, to go to them one after
another, and stand by them while they pray, till all have done: what
man in his wits can think this to be so fit a course, as for the
family to join together, the ruler being the mouth?

The antecedent I prove thus: 1. The fourth commandment requireth the
ruler of the family not only to see that himself sanctify the sabbath
day, but also that his son and daughter, and man-servant, and
maid-servant, his cattle, (that is, so far as they are capable,) yea,
and the stranger that is within his gates, should do it. 2. It was
committed to Abraham's charge to see that all in his family were
circumcised: so was it afterwards to every ruler of a family; insomuch
as the angel threatened Moses, when his son was uncircumcised. 3. The
ruler of the family was to see that the "passover" was kept by every
one in his family, Exod. xii. 2,3, &c.; and so the "feast of weeks,"
Deut. xxvi. 11, 12. All that is said before tendeth to prove this, and
much more might be said, if I thought it would be denied.

_Arg._ IV. If God prefer, and would have us prefer, the prayers
and praises of many conjunct, before the prayers and praises of those
persons dividedly, then is it his will that the particular persons of
christian families should prefer conjunct prayer and praises before
disjunct: but the antecedent is true, therefore so is the consequent.
Or thus, take it for the same argument or another. If it be the duty
of neighbours, when they have occasion and opportunity, rather to join
together in praises of common concernment, than to do it dividedly,
then much more is this the duty of families: but it is the duty of
neighbours; therefore, &c.

In the former argument the reason of the consequence is, because that
way is to be taken that God is best pleased with. The reason of the
consequence in the latter is, because family members are more nearly
related than neighbours, and have much more advantage and opportunity
for conjunction, and more ordinary reasons to urge them to it, from
the conjunction of their interest and affairs.

There is nothing needs proof but the antecedent, which I shall put
past all doubt by these arguments. 1. Col. iii. 16, "Teaching and
admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in your hearts unto the Lord." Here is one duty of
praise required to be done together, and not apart only. I shall yet
make further use of this text anon. 2. Acts xii. 12, "Many were
gathered together praying in Mary's house, when Peter came to the
door." This was not an assembly of the whole church, but a small part:
they judged it better to pray together than alone. 3. Acts xx. 36,
Paul prayed together with all the elders of the church of Ephesus,
when he had them with him; and did not choose rather to let them pray
each man alone. 4. James v. 15, 16, James commands the sick to "send
for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, and the
prayer of the faithful shall save the sick," &c. He doth not bid send
to them to pray for you; but he would have them join together in doing
it. 5. Church prayers are preferred before private on this ground, and
we commanded not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, Heb.
x. 25. 6. Striving together in prayer is desired, Rom. xv. 30. 7.
Matt. xviii. 20, "For where two or three are gathered together in my
name, there am I in the midst of them." 8. Therefore Christ came among
the disciples when they were gathered together, after his
resurrection: and sent down the Holy Ghost when they were gathered
together, Acts ii. "And they continued with one accord in prayer and
supplication," Acts i. 14, 24; ii. 42. "And when they had prayed, the
place was shaken where they had assembled together, and they were all
filled with the Holy Ghost," &c. Acts iv. 31. 9. Is not this implied,
in Christ's directing his disciples to pray in the plural number, "Our
Father," &c. "Give us this day," &c. 10. The very necessity of the
persons proves it, in that few societies are such but that most are
unable to express their own wants so largely as to affect their
hearts, so much as when others do it that are better stored with
affection and expression. And this is one of God's ways for communion
and communication of grace; that those that have much may help to warm
and kindle those that have less. Experience telleth us the benefit of
this. As all the body is not an eye or hand, so not a tongue, and
therefore the tongue of the church and of the family must speak for
the whole body: not but that each one ought to pray in secret too:
but, (1.) There the heart without the tongue may better serve turn.
(2.) They still ought to prefer conjunct prayer. And, (3.) The
communion of saints is an article of our creed, which binds us to
acknowledge it fit to do as much of God's work as we can in communion
with the saints, not going beyond our callings, nor into confusion.

_Arg._ V. It is a duty to receive all the mercies that God
offereth us: but for a family to have access to God in joint prayers
and praises, is a mercy that God offereth them; therefore it is their
duty to accept it. The major is clear in nature and Scripture, Because
I have offered and ye refused, is God's great aggravation of the sin
of the rebellious. "How oft would I have gathered you together, and ye
would not! All the day long have I stretched out my hand," &c. To
refuse an offered kindness, is contempt and ingratitude. The minor is
undeniable by any christian, that ever knew what family prayers and
praises were. Who dare say that it is no mercy to have such a joint
access to God? Who feels not conjunction somewhat help his own
affections, who makes conscience of watching his heart?

_Arg._ VI. Part of the duties of families are such that they
apparently lose their chiefest life and excellency if they be not
performed jointly; therefore they are so to be performed.

I mean, singing of psalms, which I before proved an ordinary duty of
conjunct christians, therefore of families. The melody and harmony are
lost by our separation, and consequently the alacrity and quickening
which our affections should get by it. And if part of God's praises
must be performed together, it is easy to see that the rest must be so
too. (Not to speak of teaching, which cannot be done alone.)

_Arg._ VII. Family prayer and praises are a duty owned by the
teaching and sanctifying work of the Spirit; therefore they are of

I would not argue backwards from the Spirit's teaching to the word's
commanding, but on these two suppositions; 1. That the experiment is
very general, and undeniable. 2. That many texts of Scripture are
brought already for family prayer; and that this argument is but to
second them and prove them truly interpreted. The Spirit and the word
do always agree: if therefore I can prove that the Spirit of God doth
commonly work men's hearts to a love and savour of these duties,
doubtless they are of God. Sanctification is a transcript of the
precepts of the word on the heart, written out by the Spirit of God.
So much for the consequence.

The antecedent consisteth of two parts; 1. That the sanctified have in
them inclinations to these duties. 2. That these inclinations are from
the Spirit of God. The first needs no proof, being a matter of
experience. I appeal to the heart of every sound and stable christian,
whether he feel not a conviction of this duty and an inclination to
the performance of it. I never met with one such to my knowledge that
was otherwise minded. _Object._ Many in our times are quite
against family prayer, who are good christians. _Answ._ I know
none of them. I confess I once thought some very good christians that
now are against them, but now they appear otherwise, not only by this
but by other things. I know none that cast off these duties, but they
took up vile sins in their stead, and cast off other duties as well as
these: let others observe and judge as they find. 2. The power of
delusion may for a time make a christian forbear as unlawful, that
which his very new nature is inclined to. As some think it unlawful to
pray in our assemblies, and some to join in sacraments: and yet they
have a spirit within them that inclineth their hearts to it still, and
therefore they love it, and wish it were lawful, even when they
forbear it upon a conceit that it is unlawful. And so it is possible
for a time some may do by family duties: but as I expect that these
ere long recover, so for my part I take all the rest to be graceless:
prejudice and error as a temptation may prohibit the exercise of a
duty, when yet the Spirit of God doth work in the heart an inclination
to that duty in sanctifying it. 2. And that these inclinations are
indeed from the Spirit is evident, 1. In that they come in with all
other grace. 2. And by the same means. 3. And are preserved by the
same means, standing or falling, increasing or decreasing, with the
rest. 4. And are to the same end. 5. And are so generally in all the
saints. 6. And so resisted by flesh and blood. 7. And so agreeable to
the word, that a christian sins against his new nature, when he
neglects family duties. And God doth by his Spirit create a desire
after them, and an estimation of them in every gracious soul.

_Arg._ VIII. Family prayer and praises are a duty ordinarily
crowned with admirable, divine, and special blessings: therefore it is
of God; the consequence is evident. For though common, outward
prosperity may be given to the wicked, who have their portion in this
life, yet so is not prosperity of soul.

For the antecedent I willingly appeal to the experience of all the
holy families in the world. Who ever used these duties seriously, and
found not the benefits? What families be they, in which grace and
heavenly-mindedness prosper, but those that use these duties? Compare
in all your towns, cities, and villages, the families that read
Scriptures, pray, and praise God, with those that do not, and see the
difference: which of them abound more with impiety, with oaths, and
cursings, and railings, and drunkenness, and whoredoms, and
worldliness, &c.; and which abound most with faith, and patience, and
temperance, and charity, and repentance, and hope, &c. The controversy
is not hard to decide. Look to the nobility and gentry of England; see
you no difference between those that have been bred in praying
families and the rest? I mean, taking them (as we say) one with
another proportionably. Look to the ministers of England; is it
praying families or prayerless families that have done most to the
well furnishing of the universities.

_Arg._ IX. All churches ought solemnly to pray to God and praise
him: a christian family is a church; therefore, &c.

The major is past doubt; the minor I prove from the nature of a church
in general, which is a society of christians combined for the better
worshipping and serving of God. I say not that a family, formally as a
family, is a church; but every family of christians ought moreover, by
such a combination, to be a church: yea, as christians they are so
combined, seeing christianity tieth them to serve God conjunctly
together in their relations. 2. Scripture expresseth it; 1 Cor. xvi. 19,
"Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church
that is in their house." He saith not, which meeteth in their house,
but, which is in it. So Philemon 2, "And to the church in thy house."
Rom. xvi. 5, "Likewise greet the church that is in their house." Col.
iv. 15, "Salute the brethren that are at Laodicea, and Nymphas, and
the church which is in his house." Though some learned men take these
to be meant of part of the churches assembling in these houses, yet
Beza, Grotius, and many others, acknowledge it to be meant of a family
or domestic church, according to that of Tertullian, _ubi tres licet
laici ibi ecclesia_, yet I say not that such a family church is of
the same species with a particular organized church of many families.
But it could not (so much as analogically) be called a church if they
might not and must not pray together, and praise God together: for
these therefore it fully concludeth.

_Arg._ X. If rulers must teach their families the word of God,
then must they pray with them: but they must teach them; therefore,
&c. The antecedent is fully proved by express Scripture already; see
also Psal. lxxviii. 4-6. Ministers must teach from house to house;
therefore rulers themselves must do it, Acts v. 42; xx. 20.

The consequence is proved good: 1. The apostles prayed when they
preached or instructed christians in private assemblies, Acts xx. 36,
and other places. 2. We have special need of God's assistance in
reading the Scriptures, to know his mind in them, and to make them
profitable to us; therefore we must seek it. 3. The reverence due to
so holy a business requireth it. 4. We are commanded "in all things to
make our requests known to God with prayers, supplications, and
thanksgiving, and that with all manner of prayer, in all places,
without ceasing;" therefore especially on such occasions as the
reading of Scriptures and instructing others: and I think that few men
that are convinced of the duty of reading Scripture and solemn
instructing their families, will question the duty of praying for
God's blessing on it, when they set upon the work. Yea, a christian's
own conscience will provoke him reverently to begin all with God in
the imploring of his acceptance, and aid, and blessing.

_Arg._ XI. If rulers of families are bound to teach their
families to pray, then are they bound to pray with them: but they are
bound to teach them to pray; therefore, &c.

In the foregoing argument I speak of teaching in general: here I speak
of teaching to pray in special. The antecedent of the major I prove
thus: 1. They are bound to bring "them up in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord," Eph. vi. 44; therefore to teach them to pray
and praise God; for "the nurture and admonition of the Lord"
containeth that. 2. They are bound to "teach them the fear of the
Lord," and "train them up in the way that they should go," and that is
doubtless in the way of prayer and praising God.

The consequence appeareth here to be sound, in that men cannot be well
and effectually taught to pray, without praying with them, or in their
hearing; therefore they that must teach them to pray, must pray with
them. It is like music, which you cannot well teach any man, without
playing or singing to him; seeing teaching must be by practising: and
in most practical doctrines it is so in some degree.

If any question this, I appeal to experience. I never knew any man
that was well taught by man to pray, without practising it before
them. They that ever knew any such, may have the more colour to
object; but I did not: or if they did, yet so rare a thing is not to
be made the ordinary way of our endeavours, any more than we should
forbear teaching men the most curious artifices by ocular
demonstration, because some wits have learned them by few words, or of
their own invention: they are cruel to children and servants that
teach them not to pray by practice and example.

_Arg._ XII. From 1 Tim. iv. 3-5, "Meats which God hath created to
be received with thanksgiving--for it is sanctified by the word of God
and prayer."

Here mark, 1. That all our meat is to be received with thanksgiving;
not only with a disposition of thankfulness. 2. That this is twice
repeated here together expressly, yea, thrice in sense. 3. That God
created them so to be received. 4. That it is made a condition of the
goodness, that is, the blessing of the creature to our use. 5. That
the creature is said to be sanctified by God's word and prayer; and so
to be unsanctified to us before. 6. That the same thing which is
called thanksgiving in the two former verses, is called prayer in the
last; else the consequence of the apostle could not hold, when he thus
argues, It is good if it be received with thanksgiving, because it is
sanctified by prayer.

Hence I will draw these two arguments: 1. If families must with
thanksgiving receive their meat as from God, then is the thanksgiving
of families a duty of God's appointment: but the former is true,
therefore so is the latter. The antecedent is plain: all must receive
their meat with thanksgiving; therefore families must. They eat
together; therefore they must give thanks together: and that prayer is
included in thanksgiving in this text, I manifested before.

2. It is the duty of families to use means that all God's creatures
may be sanctified to them: prayer is the means to be used that all
God's creatures may be sanctified to them; therefore it is the duty of
families to use prayer.

_Arg._ XIII. From 1 Pet. iii. 7, "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell
with them according to knowledge, giving honour to the wife as to the
weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that
your prayers be not hindered." That prayer which is especially
hindered by ignorant and unkind converse it is, that is especially
meant here in this text: but it is conjunct prayer that is especially
so hindered; therefore, &c. I know that secret, personal prayer is
also hindered by the same causes; but not so directly and notably as
conjunct prayer is. With what hearts can husband and wife join
together as one soul in prayer to God, when they abuse and exasperate
each other, and come hot from chidings and dissensions? This seemeth
the true meaning of the text. And so, the conjunct prayer of husband
and wife being proved a duty, (who sometimes constitute a family,)
the same reasons will include the rest of the family also.

_Arg._ XIV. From Col. iii. 16, 17, to iv. 4, "Let the word of God
dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one
another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace
in your hearts to the Lord: and whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do
all in the name of the Lord Jesus; giving thanks to God and the Father
by him. Wives, submit yourselves," &c. Chap. iv. 2, "Continue in
prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving."

Hence I may fetch many arguments for family prayers. 1. It appeareth
to be family prayers principally that the apostle here speaketh of;
for it is families that he speaks to: for in ver. 16, 17, he speaketh
of prayer and thanksgiving; and in the next words he speaketh to each
family relation, wives, husbands, children, parents, servants,
masters; and in the next words, continuing his speech to the same
persons, he bids them "continue in prayer, and watch in the same," &c.
If neighbours are bound to speak together in psalms, and hymns, and
spiritual songs, with grace in their hearts to the Lord, and to
continue in prayer and thanksgiving; then families much more, who are
nearlier related, and have more necessities and opportunities, as is
said before. 3. If whatever we do in word or deed, we must do all in
the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks; then families must needs
join in giving thanks. For they have much daily business in word and
deed to be done together and asunder.

_Arg._ XV. From Dan. vi. 10, "When Daniel knew that the writing
was signed, he went into his house, and his window being open in his
chamber towards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a
day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making
supplication before his God." Here note, 1. The nature of the duty. 2.
The necessity of it. 1. If it had not been open, family prayer which
Daniel here performed, how could they have known what he said? It is
not probable that he would speak so loud in secret; nor is it like
they would have found him at it. So great a prince would have had some
servants in his outward rooms, to have stayed them before they had
come so near. 2. And the necessity of this prayer is such, that Daniel
would not omit it for a few days to save his life.

_Arg._ XVI. From Josh. xxiv. 15, "But as for me and my house, we
will serve the Lord." Here note, 1. That it is a household that is
here engaged: for if any would prove that it extendeth further, to all
Joshua's tribe, or inferior kindred, yet his household would be most
eminently included. 2. That it is the same thing which Joshua
promiseth for his house, which he would have all Israel do for theirs:
for he maketh himself an example to move them to it.

If households must serve the Lord, then households must pray to him
and praise him: but households must serve him; therefore, &c. The
consequence is proved, in that prayer and praise are so necessary
parts of God's service, that no family or person can be said in
general to be devoted to serve God, that are not devoted to them.
Calling upon God is oft put in Scripture for all God's worship, as
being a most eminent part; and atheists are described to be such as
"call not upon the Lord," Psal. xiv. &c.

_Arg._ XVII. The story of Cornelius, Acts x. proveth that he
performed family worship: for observe, 1. That, ver. 2, he is said to
be "a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which
gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always:" and ver. 30,
he saith, "At the ninth hour I prayed in my house:" and ver. 24, "he
called together his kindred and near friends:" so ver. 11, 14, "Thou
and all thy house shall he saved:" so that in ver. 2, fearing God
comprehendeth prayer, and is usually put for all God's worship;
therefore when he is said to fear God with all his house, it is
included that he worshipped God with all his house: and that he used
to do it conjunctly with them is implied, in his gathering together
his kindred and friends when Peter came, not mentioning the calling
together his household, as being usual and supposed. And when it is
said that he prayed ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ, in his house, it may signify his
household, as in Scripture the word is often taken. However, the
circumstances show that he did it.

_Arg._ XVIII. From 1 Tim. iii. 4, 5, 12, "One that ruleth well
his own house, having his children in subjection, with all gravity:
for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take
care of the church of God: let the deacons be the husbands of one
wife; ruling their children and their own houses well." Here mark,
that it is such a ruling of their houses, as is of the same nature as
the ruling of the church, _mutatis mutandis_, and that is, a
training them up in the worship of God, and guiding them therein; for
the apostle maketh the defect of the one, to be a sure discovery of
their unfitness for the other. Now to rule the church, is to teach and
guide them as their mouth in prayer and praises unto God, as well as
to oversee their lives; therefore it is such a ruling of their houses
as is prerequisite to prove them fit.

They that must so rule well over their own houses, as may partly prove
them not unfit to rule the church, must rule them by holy
instructions, and guiding them as their mouth in the worship of God.
But those mentioned 1 Tim. iii. must so rule their houses; therefore,

The pastors' ruling of the church doth most consist in going before
them, and guiding them in God's worship; therefore so doth the ruling
of their own houses, which is made a trying qualification of their
fitness hereunto. Though yet it reach not so high, nor to so many
things, and the conclusion be not affirmative, He that ruleth his own
house well is fit to rule the church of God; but negative, He that
ruleth not his own house well, is not fit to rule the church of God;
but that is because, 1. This is a lower degree of ruling, which will
not prove him fit for a higher. 2. And it is but one qualification of
many that are requisite. Yet it is apparent that some degree of
aptitude is proved hence, and that from a similitude of the things.
When Paul compareth ruling the house to ruling the church, he cannot
be thought to take them to be wholly heterogeneous: he would never
have said, He that cannot rule an army, or regiment, or a city, how
shall he rule the church of God? I conclude therefore that this text
doth show that it is the duty of masters of families, to rule well
their own families in the right worshipping of God, _mutatis
mutandis_, as ministers must rule the church.

_Arg._ XIX. If families have special necessity of family prayer
conjunctly, which cannot be supplied otherwise; then it is God's will
that family prayer should be in use: but families have such
necessities; therefore, &c. The consequent needs no proof; the
antecedent is proved by instance. Families have family necessities,
which are larger than to be confined to a closet, and yet more private
than to be brought still into the assemblies of the church. 1. There
are many worldly occasions about their callings and relations, which
it is fit for them to mention among themselves, but unfit to mention
before all the congregation. 2. There are many distempers in the
hearts and lives of the members of the families, and many
miscarriages, and disagreements, which must be taken up at home, and
which prayer must do much to cure, and yet are not fit to be brought
to the ears of the church assemblies. 3. And if it were fit to mention
them all in public, yet the number of such cases would be so great, as
would overwhelm the minister, and confound the public worship; nay,
one half of them in most churches could not be mentioned. 4. And such
cases are of ordinary occurrence, and therefore would ordinarily have
all these inconveniencies.

And yet there are many such cases that are not fit to be confined to
our secret prayers each one by himself; because, 1. They often so sin
together, as maketh it fit that they confess and lament it together.
2. And some mercies which they receive together, it is fit they seek
and give thanks for together. 3. And many works which they do
together, it is fit they seek a blessing on together. 4. And the
presence of one another in confession, petition, and thanksgiving,
doth tend to the increase of their fervour, and warming of their
hearts, and engaging them the more to duty, and against sin; and is
needful on the grounds laid down before. Nay, it is a kind of family
schism, in such cases, to separate from one another, and to pray in
secret only; as it is church schism to separate from the church
assemblies, and to pray in families only. Nature and grace delight in
unity, and abhor division. And the light of nature and grace engageth
us to do as much of the work of God in unity, and concord, and
communion as we can.

_Arg._ XX. If before the giving of the law to Moses, God was
worshipped in families by his own appointment, and this appointment be
not yet reversed, then God is to be worshipped in families still. But
the antecedent is certain; therefore so is the consequent.

I think no man denieth the first part of the antecedent; that before
the flood in the families of the righteous, and after till the
establishment of a priesthood, God was worshipped in families or
households: it is a greater doubt whether then he had any other public
worship. When there were few or no church assemblies that were larger
than families, no doubt God was ordinarily worshipped in families.
Every ruler of a family then was as a priest to his own family. Cain
and Abel offered their own sacrifices; so did Noah, Abraham, and Jacob.

If it be objected, that all this ceased, when the office of the priest
was instituted, and so deny the latter part of my antecedent, I reply,
1. Though some make a doubt of it, whether the office of the
priesthood was instituted before Aaron's time, I think there is no
great doubt to be made of it; seeing we find a priesthood then among
other nations, who had it either by the light of nature, or by
tradition from the church; and Melchizedec's priesthood (who was a
type of Christ) is expressly mentioned. So that though family worship
was then the most usual, yet some more public worship there was. 2.
After the institution of Aaron's priesthood family-worship continued,
as I have proved before; yea, the two sacraments of circumcision and
the passover, were celebrated in families by the master of the house;
therefore prayer was certainly continued in families. 3. If that part
of worship that was afterward performed in synagogues and public
assemblies was appropriated to them, that no whit proveth, that the
part which agreed to families as such, was transferred to those
assemblies. Nay, it is a certain proof that part was left to families
still, because we find that the public assemblies never undertook it.
We find among them no prayer but church prayer; and not that which was
fitted to families as such at all. Nor is there a word of Scripture
that speaketh of God's reversing of his command or order for family
prayer, or other proper family worship. Therefore it is proved to
continue obligatory still.

Had I not been too long already, I should have urged to this end the
example of Job, in sacrificing daily for his sons; and of Esther's
keeping a fast with her maids, Esth. iv. 16. And Jer. x. 25, "Pour out
thy fury on the heathen that know thee not, and on the families that
call not on thy name." It is true that by "families" here is meant
tribes of people, and by "calling on his name," is meant their
worshipping the true God. But yet this is spoken of all tribes without
exception, great and small: and tribes in the beginning (as Abraham's,
Isaac's, Jacob's, &c.) were confined to families. And the argument
holdeth from parity of reason to a proper family: and that calling on
God's name is put for his worship, doth more confirm us, because it
proveth it to be the most eminent part of worship, or else the whole
would not be signified by it; at least no reason can imagine it
excluded. So much for the proof of the fourth proposition.

_Objections answered._

_Object._ I. Had it been a duty under the gospel to pray in
families, we should certainly have found it more expressly required in
the Scripture.

_Answ._ 1. I have already showed you, that it is plainly required
in the Scripture: but men must not teach God how to speak, nor oblige
him to make all plain to blind, perverted minds. 2. Those things which
were plainly revealed in the Old Testament, and the church then held
without any contradiction, even from the persecutors of Christ
themselves, might well be passed over in the gospel, and taken as
supposed, acknowledged things. 3. The general precepts (to "pray
alway,--with all prayer,--in all places," &c.) being expressed in the
gospel, and the light of nature making particular application of them
to families, what need there any more? 4. This reason is apparent why
Scripture speaketh of it no more expressly. Before Christ's time the
worship of God was less spiritual, and more ceremonial, than afterward
it was; and therefore you find ofter mention of circumcision and
sacrificing, than of prayer; and yet prayer was still supposed to
concur. And after Christ's time on earth, most christian families were
disturbed by persecution, and christians sold up all and lived in
community: and also the Scripture history was to describe to us the
state of the churches, rather than of particular families.

_Object._ II. Christ himself did not use to pray with his family;
as appeareth by the disciples asking him to teach them to pray, and by
the silence of the Scripture in this point: therefore it is no duty to

_Answ._ 1. Scripture silence is no proof that Christ did not use
it. All things are not written which he did. 2. His teaching them the
Lord's prayer, and their desire of a common rule of prayer, might
consist with his usual praying with them: at least with his using to
pray with them after that, though at first he did not use it. 3. But
it is the consequence that I principally deny. (1.) Because Christ did
afterwards call his servants to many duties, which he put them not on
at first, as sacraments, discipline, preaching, frequenter praying,
&c. especially after the coming down of the Holy Ghost. As they
understood not many articles of the faith till then, so no wonder if
they understood not many duties till then; for Christ would have them
thus suddenly instructed and fullier sanctified by a miracle, that
their ministry might be more credible, their mission being evidently
divine, and they being past the suspicion of forgery and deceit. (2.)
And though it is evident that Christ did use to bless the meat, and
sing hymns to God with his disciples, Luke xxii. 17, 18; Mark xiv.
22, 23, 26; Matt. xxvi. 27, 28, 30, and therefore it is very probable,
prayed with them often, as John xvii.; yet it could not be expected,
that he should ordinarily be their mouth in such prayers as they daily
needed. His case and ours are exceedingly different. His disciples
must daily confess their sins, and be humbled for them, and ask
forgiveness; but Christ had none of this to do. They must pray for
mortifying grace, and help against sin; but he had no sin to mortify
or pray against. They must pray for the Spirit, and the increase of
their imperfect graces; but Christ had fulness and perfection. They
must pray for many means to these ends, and for help in using them,
and a blessing on them, which he had no use for. They must give thanks
for pardon and conversion, &c. which Christ had no occasion to give
thanks for. So that having a High Priest so much separate from
sinners, they had one that prayed for them; but not one fit to join
with them as their mouth to God, in ordinary family prayers, such as
they needed; as masters must do with their families.

_Object._ III. God doth not require either vain or abominable
prayers; but family prayers are ordinarily vain and abominable;
therefore, &c. The minor is proved thus:--The prayers of the wicked
are abominable: most families are wicked, or have wicked persons;
therefore, &c.

_Answ._ 1. This is confessedly nothing against the prayers of
godly families. 2. The prayers of a godly master are not abominable
nor vain, because of the presence of others that are ungodly. Else
Christ's prayers and blessings before mentioned should have been vain
or abominable, because Judas was there, who was a thief and hypocrite.
And the apostles' and all ministers' prayers should be so in all such
churches as those of Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus are described to have
been. 3. I refer you to my "Method for Peace of Conscience," how far
the prayers of the wicked are, or are not abominable. The prayers of
the wicked as wicked are abominable; but not as they express their
return to God, and repenting of their wickedness. It is not the
abominable prayer that God commandeth, but the faithful, penitent
prayer. You mistake it, as if the wicked man were not the person
commanded to pray; whereas you should rather say, It is not the
abominable prayer that is commanded him. He is commanded to pray such
prayers as are not abominable; even as Simon Magus, Acts viii. to
"repent" and "pray;" and "to seek the Lord while he may be found, and
call upon him while he is near, and to forsake his way," &c. Isa. lv.
6, 7. Let the wicked pray thus, and his prayer will not be abominable.
The command of praying implieth the command of repenting and departing
from his wickedness: for what is it to pray for grace, but to express
to God their desires of grace? (It is not to tell God a lie, by saying
they desire that which they hate.) Therefore when we exhort them to
pray we exhort them to such desires.

_Object._ IV. Many masters of families cannot pray in their
families without a book, and that is unlawful.

_Answ._ I. If their disability be natural, as an idiot's, they
are not fit to rule families; if it be moral and culpable, they are
bound to use the means to overcome it; and in the mean time to use a
book or form, rather than not to pray in their families at all.

_Of the Frequency and Seasons of Family worship._

The last part of my work is to speak of the fit time of family
worship. 1. Whether it should be every day? 2. Whether twice a day? 3.
Whether morning and evening? _Answ._ 1. Ordinarily it should be
every day and twice a day; and the morning and evening are ordinarily
the fittest seasons. 2. But extraordinarily some greater duty may
intervene, which may for that time disoblige us. And the occasions of
some families may make that hour fit to one, which is unfit to
another. For brevity I will join all together in the proof.

_Arg._ I. We are bound to take all fit occasions and opportunities to
worship God. Families have daily (morning and evening) such occasions
and opportunities; therefore they are bound to take them.

Both major and minor are proved before. Experience proveth that family
sins are daily committed, and family mercies daily received, and
family necessities daily do occur. And reason tells us, 1. That it is
seasonable every morning to give God thanks for the rest of the night
past. 2. And to beg direction, protection, and provisions, and
blessing for the following day. 3. And that then our minds are freest
from weariness and worldly care. And so reason telleth us that the
evening is a fit season to give God thanks for the mercies of the day,
and to confess the sins of the day, and ask forgiveness, and to pray
for rest and protection in the night. As nature and reason tell us how
oft a man should eat and drink, and how long he should sleep, and what
clothing he should wear; and Scripture need not tell you the
particulars: so if Scripture command your prayer in general, God may
by providence tell you when and how oft you must pray.

_Arg._ II. The Lord's prayer directeth us daily to put up such
prayers as belong to families; therefore, &c. "Give us this day our
daily bread." It runs all in the plural number. And the reason of it
will oblige families as well as individual persons.

_Arg._ III. From 1 Thess. v. 17, "Pray without ceasing; in all
things give thanks." Col. iv. 1, 2, "Masters, give to your servants
that which is just and equal, knowing that ye also have a Master in
heaven. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving."
Col. iii. 17, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of
the Lord Jesus; giving thanks to God and the Father by him." Phil.
iv. 6, "Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to
God." It is easy for a man that is willing to see that less than
twice a day doth not answer the command of praying "without
ceasing,--continually,--in every thing--whatsoever ye do," &c.; the
phrases seeming to go much higher.

_Arg._ IV. Daniel prayed in his house thrice a day; therefore less
than twice under the gospel is to us unreasonable.

_Arg._ V. 1 Tim. iv. 5, "She that is a widow indeed and desolate,
trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayer night and
day." Night and day can be no less than morning and evening. And if
you say, this is not family prayer, I answer, 1. It is all kind of
prayer belonging to her. 2. And if it commend the less, much more the

_Arg._ VI. From Luke vi. 14; ii. 37; xviii. 17; Acts xxvi. 7;
1 Thess. iii. 10; 2 Tim. i. 3: Rev. vii. 15; Neh. i. 6; Psal.
lxxxviii. 1; Josh. i. 8; Psal. i. 2; which show that night and day
Christ himself prayed, and his servants prayed, and meditated, and
read the Scripture.

_Arg._ VII. Deut. vi. 7; xi. 19, it is expressly commanded that
parents teach their children the word of God, when they "lie down, and
when they rise up;" and the parity of reason, and conjunction of the
word and prayer, will prove, that they should also pray with them
lying down and rising up.

_Arg._ VIII. For brevity sake I offer you together, Psal. cxix. 164,
David praised God seven times a day; and cxlv. 2, "Every day will
I bless thee." Psal. v. 3, "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O
Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer to thee, and will look
up:" lix. 16, "I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning:"
lxxxviii. 13, "In the morning shall my prayer prevent thee:" xcii. 12,
"It is good to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises to thy
name, O Most High: to show forth thy loving-kindness in the morning,
and thy faithfulness every night:" cxix. 147, 148, "I prevented the
dawning of the morning and cried, I hoped in thy word: mine eyes
prevent the night watches, that I might meditate on thy word:" cxxx. 6,
"My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the
morning, I say more than they that watch for the morning." The priests
were to offer "sacrifices" and "thanks to God every morning," 1 Chron.
xxiii. 30; Exod. xxx. 7; xxxvi. 3; Lev. vi. 12; 2 Chron. xiii. 11;
Ezek. xlvi. 13-15; Amos iv. 4. And christians are a "holy priesthood,
to offer up sacrifices to God, acceptable through Jesus Christ,"
1 Pet. ii. 5, 9. Expressly saith David, Psal. lv. 17, "Evening, and
morning, and at noon, will I pray and cry aloud, and he shall hear my
voice." So morning and evening were sacrifices and burnt offerings
offered to the Lord; and there is at least equal reason that gospel
worship should be as frequent: 1 Chron. xvi. 40; 2 Chron. ii. 4;
xiii. 11; xxxi. 3; Ezra iii. 3; 2 Kings xvi. 15; 1 Kings xviii.
29, 36; Ezra ix. 5. And no doubt but they prayed with the sacrifices.
Which David intimateth in comparing them, Psal. cxli. 2, "Let my
prayer be set forth before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my
hands as the evening sacrifice." And God calleth for prayer and praise
as better than sacrifice, Psal. l. 14, 15, 23.

All these I heap together for despatch, which fully show how
frequently God's servants have been wont to worship him, and how often
God expecteth it. And you will all confess that it is reason that in
gospel times of greater light and holiness, we should not come behind
them in the times of the law; especially when Christ himself doth pray
all night, that had so little need in comparison of us. And you may
observe that these scriptures speak of prayer in general, and limit it
not to secrecy; and therefore they extend to all prayer, according to
opportunity. No reason can limit all these examples to the most secret
and least noble sort of prayer. If but two or three are gathered
together in his name, Christ is especially among them.

If you say, that by this rule we must as frequently pray in the church
assemblies; I answer, the church cannot ordinarily so oft assemble;
but when it can be without a great inconvenience, I doubt not but it
would be a good work, for many to meet the minister daily for prayer,
as in some rich and populous cities they may do.

I have been more tedious on this subject than a holy, hungry christian
possibly may think necessary, who needeth not so many arguments to
persuade him to feast his soul with God, and to delight himself in the
frequent exercises of faith and love; and if I have said less than the
other sort of readers shall think necessary, let them know that if
they will open their eyes, and recover their appetites, and feel their
sins, and observe their daily wants and dangers, and get but a heart
that loveth God, these reasons then will seem sufficient to convince
them of so sweet, and profitable, and necessary a work; and if they
observe the difference between praying and prayerless families, and
care for their souls and communion with God, much fewer words than
these may serve their turn. It is a dead, and graceless, carnal heart,
that must be cured before these men will be well satisfied; a better
appetite would help their reason. If God should say in general to all
men, You shall eat as oft as will do you good; the sick stomach would
say, Once a day, and that but a little, is enough, and as much as God
requireth; when another would say, Thrice a day is little enough. A
good and healthful heart is a great help, in the expounding of God's
word, especially of his general commandments. That which men love not,
but are weary of, they will not easily believe to be their duty. The
new nature, and holy love, and desires, and experience of a sound
believer, do so far make all these reasonings needless to him, that I
must confess I have written them principally to convince the carnal
hypocrite, and stop the mouths of wrangling enemies.



THE principal thing requisite to the right governing of families, is
the fitness of the governors and the governed thereto, which is spoken
of before in the directions for the constitution. But if persons unfit
for their relations, have joined themselves together in a family,
their first duty is to repent of their former sin and rashness, and
presently to turn to God, and seek after that fitness which is
necessary to the right discharge of the duties of their several
places: and in the governors of families, these three things are of
greatest necessity hereunto: I. Authority. II. Skill. III. Holiness
and readiness of will.

[Sidenote: How to keep up authority.]

I. _Gen. Direct._ Let governors maintain their authority in their
families. For if once that be lost, and you are despised by those that
you should rule, your word will be of no effect with them; you do but
ride without a bridle; your power of governing is gone, when your
authority is lost. And here you must first understand the nature, use,
and extent of your authority; for as your relations are different, to
your wife, your children, and your servants, so also is your
authority. Your authority over your wife, is but such as is necessary
to the order of your family, the safe and prudent management of your
affairs, and your comfortable cohabitation. The power of love and
complicated interest must do more than magisterial commands. Your
authority over your children is much greater; but yet only such as,
conjunct with love, is needful to their good education and felicity.
Your authority over your servants is to be measured by your contract
with them (in these countries where there are no slaves) in order to
your service, and the honour of God. In other matters, or to other
ends, you have no authority over them. For the maintaining of this
your authority observe these following sub-directions.

_Direct._ I. Let your family understand that your authority is of
God, who is the God of order, and that in obedience to him they are
obliged to obey you. There is no power but of God; and there is none
that the intelligent creature can so much reverence as that which is
of God. All bonds are easily broken and cast away (by the soul at
least, if not by the body) which are not perceived to be divine. An
enlightened conscience will say to ambitious usurpers, God I know, and
his Son Jesus I know, but who are ye?

_Direct._ II. The more of God appeareth upon you, in your
knowledge, and holiness, and unblamableness of life, the greater will
your authority be in the eyes of all your inferiors that fear God. Sin
will make you contemptible and vile; and holiness, being the image of
God, will make you honourable. In the eyes of the faithful a "vile
person is contemned; but they honour them that fear the Lord," Psal.
xv. 4. "Righteousness exalteth a nation," (and a person,) "but sin is
a reproach to any people," Prov. xiv. 34. "Those that honour God he
will honour, and those that despise him shall be lightly esteemed,"
1 Sam. ii. 30. They that give up themselves to "vile affections" and
conversations, Rom. i. 26, will seem vile when they have made
themselves so. "Eli's sons made themselves vile by their sin," 1 Sam.
iii. 13. I know men should discern and honour a person placed in
authority by God, though they are morally and naturally vile: but this
is so hard that it is seldom well done. And God is so severe against
proud offenders, that he usually punisheth them by making them vile in
the eyes of others; at least when they are dead, and men dare freely
speak of them, their names will rot, Prov. x. 7. The instances of the
greatest emperors in the world, both Persian, Roman, and Turkish, do
tell us, that if (by whoredom, drunkenness, gluttony, pride, and
especially persecution) they will make themselves vile, God will
permit them, by uncovering their nakedness, to become the shame and
scorn of men; and shall a wicked master of a family think to maintain
his authority over others, while he rebelleth against the authority of

_Direct._ III. Show not your natural weakness by passions, or
imprudent words or deeds. For if they think contemptuously of your
persons, a little thing will draw them further, to despise your words.
There is naturally in man so high an esteem of reason, that men are
hardly persuaded that they should rebel against reason to be governed
(for order's sake) by folly. They are very apt to think that rightest
reason should bear rule. And therefore any silly, weak expressions, or
any inordinate passions, or any imprudent actions, are very apt to
make you contemptible in your inferiors' eyes.

_Direct._ IV. Lose not your authority by a neglect of using it.
If you suffer children and servants but a little while to have the
head, and to have, and say, and do what they will, your government
will be but a name or image. A moderate course between a lordly
rigour, and a soft subjection, or neglect of exercising the power of
your place, will best preserve you from your inferiors' contempt.

_Direct._ V. Lose not your authority by too much familiarity. If
you make your children and servants your play-fellows, or equals, and
talk to them, and suffer them to talk to you, as your companions, they
will quickly grow upon you, and hold their custom; and though another
may govern them, they will scarce ever endure to be governed by you,
but will scorn to be subject where they have once been as equal.

[Sidenote: Of skill in governing.]

II. _Gen. Direct._ Labour for prudence and skilfulness in governing.
He that undertaketh to be a master of a family, undertaketh to be
their governor; and it is no small sin or folly to undertake such a
place, as you are utterly unfit for, when it is a matter of so great
importance. You could discern this in a case that is not your own; as
if a man undertake to be a schoolmaster that cannot read or write; or
to be a physician, who knoweth neither diseases nor their remedies; or
to be a pilot, that cannot tell how to do a pilot's work; and why
cannot you much more discern it in your own case?

_Direct._ I. To get the skill of holy governing, it is needful
that you be well studied in the word of God; therefore God commandeth
kings themselves that "they read in the law all the days of their
lives," Deut. xvii. 18, 19; and that "it depart not out of their
mouths, but that they meditate in it day and night," Josh. i. 8. And
all parents must be able to "teach it their children, and talk of it
both at home and abroad, lying down and rising up," Deut. vi. 6, 7;
xi. 18, 19. All government of men is but subservient to the government
of God, to promote obedience to his laws. And it is necessary that we
understand the laws which all laws and precepts must give place to and

_Direct._ II. Understand well the different tempers of your
inferiors, and deal with them as they are, and as they can bear; and
not with all alike. Some are more intelligent and some more dull; some
are of tender, and some of hardened, impudent dispositions; some will
be best wrought upon by love and gentleness; and some have need of
sharpness and severity: prudence must fit your dealings to their

_Direct._ III. You must put much difference between their
different faults, and accordingly suit your reprehensions. Those must
be most severely rebuked that have most wilfulness, and those that are
faulty in matters of greatest weight. Some faults are so much through
mere disability and unavoidable frailty of the flesh, that there is
but little of the will appearing in them. These must be more gently
handled, as deserving more compassion than reproof. Some are habituate
vices, and the whole nature is more desperately depraved than in
others. These must have more than a particular correction. They must
be held to such a course of life, as may be most effectual to destroy
and change those habits. And some there are upright at the heart, and
in the main and most momentous things, are guilty but of some actual
faults; and of these, some more seldom, and some more frequent; and if
you do not prudently diversify your rebukes according to their faults,
you will but harden them, and miss of your ends; for there is a family
justice that must not be overthrown, unless you will overthrow your
families; as there is a more public justice necessary to the public

_Direct._ IV. Be a good husband to your wife, and a good father
to your children, and a good master to your servants, and let love
have dominion in all your government, that your inferiors may easily
find, that it is their interest to obey you. For interest and
self-love are the natural rulers of the world. And it is the most
effectual way to procure obedience or any good, to make men perceive
that it is for their own good, and to engage self-love for you; that
they may see that the benefit is like to be their own. If you do them
no good, but are sour, and uncourteous, and closehanded to them, few
will be ruled by you.

_Direct._ V. If you would be skilful in governing others, learn
first exactly to command yourselves. Can you ever expect to have
others more at your will and government than yourselves? Is he fit to
rule his family in the fear of God and a holy life, who is unholy and
feareth not God himself? Or is he fit to keep them from passion, or
drunkenness, or gluttony, or lust, or any way of sensuality, that
cannot keep himself from it? Will not inferiors despise such reproofs
which are by yourselves contradicted in your lives? You know this true
of wicked preachers; and is it not as true of other governors?

III. _Gen. Direct._ You must be holy persons, if you would be
holy governors of your families. Men's actions follow the bent of
their dispositions. They will do as they are. An enemy of God will not
govern a family for God; nor an enemy of holiness (nor a stranger to
it) set up a holy order in his house, and in a holy manner manage his
affairs. I know it is cheaper and easier to the flesh to call others
to mortification and holiness of life, than to bring ourselves to it;
but yet when it is not a bare command or wish that is necessary, but a
course of holy and industrious government, unholy persons (though some
of them may go far) have not the ends and principles which such a work

_Direct._ I. To this end, be sure that your own souls be entirely
subjected unto God, and that you more accurately obey his laws, than
you expect any inferior should obey your commands. If you dare disobey
God, why should they fear disobeying you? Can you more severely
revenge disobedience, or more bountifully reward obedience, than God
can do? Are you greater and better than God himself is?

_Direct._ II. Be sure that you lay up your treasure in heaven,
and make the enjoyment of God in glory to be the ultimate commanding
end, both of the affairs and government of your family, and all things
else with which you are intrusted. Devote yourselves and all to God,
and do all for him: do all as passengers to another world, whose
business on earth is but to provide for heaven, and promote their
everlasting interest. If thus you are separated unto God, you are
sanctified; and then you will separate all that you have to his use
and service, and this, with his acceptance, will sanctify all.

_Direct._ III. Maintain God's authority in your family more
carefully than your own. Your own is but for his. More sharply rebuke
or correct them that wrong and dishonour God, than those that wrong
and dishonour yourselves. Remember Eli's sad example; make not a small
matter of any of the sins, especially the great sins, of your children
or servants. It is an odious thing to slight God's cause, and put up
all with, It is not well done, when you are fiercely passionate for
the loss of some small commodity of your own. God's honour must be
greatest in your family; and his service must have the pre-eminence of
yours; and sin against him, must be the most intolerable offence.

_Direct._ IV. Let spiritual love to your family be predominant,
and let your care be greatest for the saving of their souls, and your
compassion greatest in their spiritual miseries. Be first careful to
provide them a portion in heaven, and to save them from whatsoever
would deprive them of it; and never prefer the transitory pelf of
earth, before their everlasting riches. Never be so cumbered about
many things, as to forget that one thing is necessary; but choose for
yourselves and them the better part, Luke x. 42.

_Direct._ V. Let your family neither be kept in idleness and
flesh-pleasing, nor yet overwhelmed with such a multitude of business,
as shall take up and distract their minds, diverting and unfitting
them for holy things. Where God layeth on you a necessity of excessive
labours, it must patiently and cheerfully be undergone; but when you
draw them unnecessarily on yourselves for the love of riches, you
do but become the tempters and tormentors of yourselves and others;
forgetting the terrible examples of them, that have this way fallen
off from Christ, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows,
1 Tim. vi. 10.

_Direct._ VI. As much as is possible, settle a constant order of
all your businesses, that every ordinary work may know its time, and
confusion may not shut out godliness. It is a great assistance in
every calling to do all in a set and constant order; it maketh it
easy; it removeth impediments, and promoteth success; distraction in
your business causeth a distraction in your minds in holy duty. Some
callings I know can hardly be cast into any order or method; but
others may, if prudence and diligence be used. God's service will thus
be better done, and your work will be better done, to the ease of your
servants, and quiet of your own minds. Foresight and skilfulness would
save you abundance of labour and vexation.



IF it were but well understood what benefits come by the holy
governing of families, and what mischiefs come by its neglect, there
would few that walk the streets among us, appear so odious as those
careless, ungodly governors that know not nor mind a duty of such
exceeding weight. While we lie all as overwhelmed with the calamitous
fruits of this neglect, I think meet to try if, with some, the cause
may be removed, by awakening sluggish souls to do their undertaken

_Motive_ I. Consider that the holy government of families, is a
considerable part of God's own government of the world, and the
contrary is a great part of the devil's government. It hath pleased
God to settle as a natural, so a political order in the world, and to
honour his creatures to be the instruments of his own operations; and
though he could have produced all effects without any inferior causes,
and could have governed the world by himself alone without any
instruments, (he being not as kings, constrained to make use of
deputies and officers, because of their own natural confinement and
insufficiency,) yet is he pleased to make inferior causes partakers in
such excellent effects, and taketh delight in the frame and order of
causes, by which his will among his creatures is accomplished. So that
as the several justices in the countries do govern as officers of the
king, so every magistrate and master of a family doth govern as an
officer of God. And if his government by his officers be put down or
neglected, it is a contempt of God himself, or rebellion against him.
What is all the practical atheism, and rebellion, and ungodliness of
the world, but a rejecting of the government of God? It is not against
the being of God in itself considered, that his enemies rise up with
malignant, rebellious opposition; but it is against God as the holy
and righteous Governor of the world, and especially of themselves. And
as in an army, if the corporals, sergeants, and lieutenants, do all
neglect their offices, the government of the general or colonels is
defeated and of little force; so if the rulers of families and other
officers of God will corrupt or neglect their part of government, they
do their worst to corrupt or cast out God's government from the
earth. And if God shall not govern in your families, who shall? The
devil is always the governor where God's government is refused; the
world and the flesh are the instruments of his government; worldliness
and fleshly living are his service: undoubtedly he is the ruler of the
family where these prevail, and where faith and godliness do not take
place. And what can you expect from such a master?

_Motive_ II. Consider also that an ungoverned, ungodly family is
a powerful means to the damnation of all the members of it: it is the
common boat or ship that hurrieth souls to hell; that is bound for the
devouring gulf: he that is in the devil's coach or boat is like to go
with the rest, as the driver or the boatman pleaseth. But a
well-governed family is an excellent help to the saving of all the
souls that are in it. As in an ungodly family there are continual
temptations to ungodliness, to swearing, and lying, and railing, and
wantonness, and contempt of God; so in a godly family there are
continual provocations to a holy life, to faith, and love, and
obedience, and heavenly-mindedness: temptations to sin are fewer
there, than in the devil's shops and workhouses of sin; the authority
of the governors, the conversation of the rest, the examples of all,
are great inducements to a holy life. As in a well-ordered army of
valiant men, every coward is so linked in by order, that he cannot
choose but fight and stand to it with the rest, and in a confused rout
the valiantest man is borne down by the disorder, and must perish with
the rest; even so in a well-ordered, holy family, a wicked man can
scarce tell how to live wickedly, but seemeth to be almost a saint,
while he is continually among saints, and heareth no words that are
profane or filthy, and is kept in to the constant exercises of
religion, by the authority and company of those he liveth with. Oh how
easy and clean is the way to heaven, in such a gracious, well-ordered
family, in comparison of what it is to them that dwell in the
distracted families of profane and sensual worldlings! As there is
greater probability of the salvation of souls in England where the
gospel is preached and professed, than in heathen or Mahometan
countries; so there is a greater probability of their salvation that
live in the houses and company of the godly, than of the ungodly. In
one the advantages of instruction, command, example, and credit, are
all on God's side; and in the other they are on the devil's side.

_Motive_ III. A holy, well-governed family tendeth not only to
the safety of the members, but also to the ease and pleasure of their
lives. To live where God's law is the principal rule, and where you
may be daily taught the mysteries of his kingdom, and have the
Scriptures opened to you, and be led as by the hand in the paths of
life; where the praises of God are daily celebrated, and his name is
called upon, and where all do speak the heavenly language, and where
God, and Christ, and heaven are both their daily work and recreation;
where it is the greatest honour to be most holy and heavenly, and the
greatest contention is, who shall be most humble, and godly, and
obedient to God and their superiors, and where there is no reviling
scorns at godliness, nor any profane and scurrilous talk; what a sweet
and happy life is this! Is it not likest to heaven of any thing upon
earth? But to live where worldliness, and profaneness, and wantonness,
and sensuality bear all the sway, and where God is unknown, and
holiness and all religious exercises are matter of contempt and scorn,
and where he that will not swear and live profanely doth make himself
the hatred and derision of the rest, and where men are known but
by their shape and speaking faculty to be men; nay, where men take not
themselves for men but for brutes, and live as if they had no rational
souls, nor any expectations of another life, nor any higher
employments or delights than the transitory concernments of the flesh;
what a sordid, loathsome, filthy, miserable life is this! made up by a
mixture of beastly and devilish. To live where there is no communion
with God, where the marks of death and damnation are written, as it
were, upon the doors, in the face of their impious, worldly lives, and
where no man understandeth the holy language; and where there is not
the least foretaste of the heavenly, everlasting joys; what is this
but to live as the serpent's seed, to feed on dust, and to be
excommunicated from the face and favour of God, and to be chained up
in the prison of concupiscence and malignity, among his enemies, till
the judgment come that is making haste, and will render to all men
according to their works.

_Motive_ IV. A holy and well-governed family doth tend to make a
holy posterity, and so to propagate the fear of God from generation to
generation. It is more comfortable to have no children, than to beget
and breed up children for the devil. Their natural corruption is
advantage enough to Satan, to engage them to himself, and use them for
his service: but when parents shall also take the devil's part, and
teach their children by precepts or example how to serve him, and
shall estrange them from God and a holy life, and fill their minds
with false conceits and prejudice against the means of their
salvation, as if they had sold their children to the devil; no wonder
then if they have a black posterity, that are trained up to be heirs
of hell. He that will train up children for God, must begin betimes,
before sensitive objects take too deep possession of their hearts, and
custom increase the pravity of their nature. Original sin is like the
arched Indian fig tree, whose branches turning downwards and taking
root, do all become as trees themselves: the acts which proceed from
this habitual viciousness, do turn again into vicious habits: and thus
sinful nature doth by its fruits increase itself: and when other
things consume themselves by breeding, all that sin breedeth is added
to itself, and its breeding is its feeding, and every act doth confirm
the habit. And therefore no means in all the world doth more
effectually tend to the happiness of souls, than wise and holy
education. This dealeth with sin before it hath taken the deepest
root, and boweth nature while it is but a twig: it preventeth the
increase of natural pravity, and keepeth out those deceits, corrupt
opinions, and carnal fantasies and lusts, which else would be
serviceable to sin and Satan ever after: it delivereth up the heart to
Christ betimes, or at least doth bring him a disciple to his school to
learn the way to life eternal; and to spend those years in acquainting
himself with the ways of God, which others spend in growing worse, and
learning that which must be again unlearned, and in fortifying Satan's
garrison in their hearts, and defending it against Christ and his
saving grace. But of this more anon.

_Motive_ V. A holy, well-governed family is the preparative to a
holy and well-governed church. If masters of families did their parts,
and sent such polished materials to the churches, as they ought to do,
the work and life of the pastors of the church would be unspeakably
more easy and delightful; it would do one good to preach to such an
auditory, and to catechise them, and instruct them, and examine them,
and watch over them, who are prepared by a wise and holy education,
and understand and love the doctrine which they hear. To lay such
polished stones in the building is an easy and delightful work; how
teachable and tractable will such be! and how prosperously will the
labours of their pastors be laid out upon them! and how comely and
beautiful the churches be, which are composed of such persons! and how
pure and comfortable will their communion be! But if the churches be
sties of unclean beasts; if they are made up of ignorant and ungodly
persons, that savour nothing but the things of the flesh, and use to
worship they know not what, we may thank ill-governed families for all
this. It is long of them that ministers preach as to idiots or
barbarians that cannot understand them; and that they must be always
feeding their auditors with milk, and teaching them the principles and
catechising them in the church, which should have been done at home:
yea, it is long of them that there are so many wolves and swine among
the sheep of Christ, and that holy things are administered to the
enemies of holiness, and the godly live in communion with the haters
of God and godliness; and that the christian religion is dishonoured
before the heathen world, by the worse than heathenish lives of the
professors; and the pollutions of the churches do hinder the
conversion of the unbelieving world; whilst they that can judge of our
religion no way but by the people that profess it, do judge of it by
the lives of them that are in heart the enemies of it. When the haters
of christianity and godliness are the christians by whose
conversations the infidel world must judge of christianity, you may
easily conjecture what judgment they are like to make. Thus pastors
are discouraged, the churches defiled, religion disgraced, and
infidels hardened through the impious disorder and negligence of
families! What universities were we like to have, if all the grammar
schools should neglect their duties, and send up their scholars
untaught as they received them! and if all tutors must teach their
pupils first to spell and read! Even such churches we are like to
have, when every pastor must first do the work, which all the masters
of families should have done, and the part of many score, or hundreds,
or thousands, must be performed by one.

_Motive_ VI. Well-governed families tend to make a happy state
and commonwealth; a good education is the first and greatest work to
make good magistrates and good subjects, because it tends to make good
men. Though a good man may be a bad magistrate, yet a bad man cannot
be a very good magistrate. The ignorance, or worldliness, or
sensuality, or enmity to godliness, which grew up with them in their
youth, will show itself in all the places and relations that ever they
shall come into. When an ungodly family hath once confirmed them in
wickedness, they will do wickedly in every state of life: when a
perfidious parent hath betrayed his children into the power and
service of the devil, they will serve him in all relations and
conditions. This is the school from whence come all the injustice, and
cruelties, and persecutions, and impieties of magistrates, and all the
murmurings and rebellions of subjects: this is the soil and seminary
where the seed of the devil is first sown, and where he nurseth up the
plants of covetousness, and pride, and ambition, and revenge,
malignity, and sensuality, till he transplant them for his service
into several offices in church and state, and into all places of
inferiority, where they may disperse their venom, and resist all that
is good, and contend for the interest of the flesh and hell, against
the interest of the Spirit and of Christ. But oh! what a blessing to
the world would they be, that shall come prepared by a holy education
to places of government and subjection! And how happy is that land
that is ruled by such superiors, and consisteth of such prepared
subjects, as have first learnt to be subject to God and to their

_Motive_ VII. If the governors of families did faithfully perform
their duties, it would be a great supply as to any defects in the
pastor's part, and a singular means to propagate and preserve religion
in times of public negligence or persecution. Therefore christian
families are called churches, because they consist of holy persons,
that worship God, and learn, and love, and obey his word. If you lived
among the enemies of religion, that forbad Christ's ministers to
preach his gospel, and forbad God's servants to meet in church
assemblies for his worship; the support of religion, and the comfort
and edification of believers, would then lie almost all upon the right
performance of family duties. There masters might teach the same truth
to their households, which ministers are forbidden to preach in the
assemblies: there you might pray together as fervently and spiritually
as you can: there you may keep up as holy converse and communion, and
as strict a discipline, as you please: there you may celebrate the
praises of your blessed Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, and observe
the Lord's day in as exact and spiritual a manner as you are able: you
may there provoke one another to love and to good works, and rebuke
every sin, and mind each other to prepare for death, and live together
as passengers to eternal life. Thus holy families may keep up
religion, and keep up the life and comfort of believers, and supply
the want of public preaching, in those countries where persecutors
prohibit and restrain it, or where unable or unfaithful pastors do
neglect it.

_Motive_ VIII. The duties of your families are such as you may
perform with greatest peace, and least exception or opposition from
others. When you go further, and would be instructing others, they
will think you go beyond your call, and many will be suspicious that
you take too much upon you; and if you do but gently admonish a rout
of such as the Sodomites, perhaps they will say, "This one fellow came
in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge," Gen. xix. 9. But your
own house is your castle; your family is your charge; you may teach
them as oft and as diligently as you will. If the ungodly rabble scorn
you for it, yet no sober person will condemn you, nor trouble you for
it (if you teach them no evil). All men must confess that nature and
Scripture oblige you to it as your unquestionable work. And therefore
you may do it (among sober people) with approbation and quietness.

_Motive_ IX. Well-governed families are honourable and exemplary
unto others. Even the worldly and ungodly use to bear a certain
reverence to them; for holiness and order have some witness that
commendeth them, in the consciences of many that never practised them.
A worldly, ungodly, disordered family, is a den of snakes, a place of
hissing, railing, folly, and confusion: it is like a wilderness
overgrown with briers and weeds; but a holy family is a garden of God;
it is beautified with his graces, and ordered by his government, and
fruitful by the showers of his heavenly blessing. And as the very
sluggard, that will not be at the cost and pains to make a garden of
his thorny wilderness, may yet confess that a garden is more
beautiful, and fruitful, and delightful, and if wishing would do it,
his wilderness should he such; even so the ungodly, that will not be
at the cost and pains to order their souls and families in holiness,
may yet see a beauty in those that are so ordered, and wish for the
happiness of such, if they could have it without the labour and cost
of self-denial. And, no doubt, the beauty of such holy and
well-governed families hath convinced many, and drawn them to a great
approbation of religion, and occasioned them at last to imitate them.

_Motive_ X. Lastly, consider, that holy, well-governed families
are blessed with the special presence and favour of God. They are his
churches where he is worshipped; his houses where he dwelleth: he is
engaged both by love and promise to bless, protect, and prosper them,
Psal. i. 3; cxxviii. It is safe to sail in that ship which is bound
for heaven, and where Christ is the pilot. But when you reject his
government, you refuse his company, and contemn his favour, and
forfeit his blessing, by despising his presence, his interest, and his

So that it is an evident truth, that most of the mischiefs that now
infest or seize upon mankind throughout the earth, consist in, or are
caused by, the disorders and ill-governedness of families. These are
the schools and shops of Satan, from whence proceed the beastly
ignorance, lust, and sensuality, the devilish pride, malignity, and
cruelty against the holy ways of God, which have so unmanned the
progeny of Adam. These are the nests in which the serpent doth hatch
the eggs of covetousness, envy, strife, revenge, of tyranny,
disobedience, wars, and bloodshed, and all the leprosy of sin that
hath so odiously contaminated human nature, and all the miseries by
which they make the world calamitous. Do you wonder that there can be
persons and nations so blind and barbarous as we read of the Turks,
Tartarians, Indians, and most of the inhabitants of the earth? A
wicked education is the cause of all, which finding nature depraved,
doth sublimate and increase the venom which should by education have
been cured; and from the wickedness of families doth national
wickedness arise. Do you wonder that so much ignorance, and voluntary
deceit, and obstinacy in errors, contrary to all men's common senses,
can be found among professed christians, as great and small, high and
low, through all the papal kingdoms, do discover? Though the pride,
and covetousness, and wickedness of a worldly, carnal clergy, is a
very great cause, yet the sinful negligence of parents and masters in
their families is as great, if not much greater than that. Do you
wonder that even in the reformed churches, there can be so many
unreformed sinners, of beastly lives, that hate the serious practice
of the religion which themselves profess? It is ill education in
ungodly families that is the cause of all this. Oh therefore how great
and necessary a work is it, to cast salt into these corrupted
fountains! Cleanse and cure these vitiated families, and you may cure
almost all the calamities of the earth. To tell what the emperors and
princes of the earth might do, if they were wise and good, to the
remedy of this common misery, is the idle talk of those negligent
persons, who condemn themselves in condemning others. Even those
rulers and princes that are the pillars and patrons of heathenism,
Mahometanism, popery, and ungodliness in the world, did themselves
receive that venom from their parents, in their birth and education,
which inclineth them to all this mischief. Family reformation is the
easiest and the most likely way to a common reformation; at least to
send many souls to heaven, and train up multitudes for God, if it
reach not to national reformation.



BECAUSE the chief part of family care and government consisteth in the
right education of children, I shall adjoin here some more special
motives to quicken considerate parents to this duty; and though most
that I have to say for it be already said in my "Saints' Rest," part
iii. chap. 14. sect. 11, &c. and therefore shall be here omitted, yet
something shall be inserted, lest the want here should appear too

_Motive_ I. Consider how deeply nature itself doth engage you to
the greatest care and diligence for the holy education of your
children. They are, as it were, parts of yourselves, and those that
nature teacheth you to love and provide for, and take most care for,
next yourselves; and will you be regardless of their chief
concernments? and neglective of their souls? Will you no other way
show your love to your children, than every beast or bird will to
their young, to cherish them till they can go abroad and shift for
themselves, for corporal sustenance? It is not dogs or beasts that you
bring into the world, but children that have immortal souls; and
therefore it is a care and education suitable to their natures which
you owe them; even such as conduceth most effectually to the happiness
of their souls. Nature teacheth them some natural things without you,
as it doth the bird to fly; but it hath committed it to your trust and
care to teach them the greatest and most necessary things: if you
should think that you have nothing to do but to feed them, and leave
all the rest to nature, then they would not learn to speak; and if
nature itself would condemn you, if you teach them not to speak, it
will much more condemn you, if you teach them not to understand both
what they ought to speak and do. They have an everlasting inheritance
of happiness to attain; and it is that which you must bring them up
for. They have an endless misery to escape; and it is that which you
must diligently teach them. If you teach them not to escape the flames
of hell, what thanks do they owe you for teaching them to speak and
go? If you teach them not the way to heaven, and how they may make
sure of their salvation, what thanks do they owe you for teaching them
how to get their livings a little while in a miserable world? If you
teach them not to know God, and how to serve him, and be saved, you
teach them nothing, or worse than nothing. It is in your hands to do
them the greatest kindness or cruelty in all the world: help them to
know God and to be saved, and you do more for them than if you helped
them to be lords or princes: if you neglect their souls, and breed
them in ignorance, worldliness, ungodliness, and sin, you betray them
to the devil, the enemy of souls, even as truly as if you sold them to
him; you sell them to be slaves to Satan; you betray them to him that
will deceive them and abuse them in this life, and torment them in the
next. If you saw but a burning furnace, much more the flames of hell,
would you not think that man or woman more fit to be called a devil
than a parent, that could find in their hearts to cast their child
into it, or to put him into the hands of one that would do it? What
monsters then of inhumanity are you, that read in Scripture which is
the way to hell, and who they be that God will deliver up to Satan, to
be tormented by him; and yet will bring up your children in that very
way, and will not take pains to save them from it! What a stir do you
make to provide them food and raiment, and a competent maintenance in
the world when you are dead! and how little pains take you to prepare
their souls for the heavenly inheritance! If you seriously believe
that there are such joys or torments for your children (and
yourselves) as soon as death removeth you hence, is it possible that
you should take this for the least of their concernments, and make it
the least and last of your cares, to assure them of an endless
happiness? If you love them, show it in those things on which their
everlasting welfare doth depend. Do not say you love them, and yet
lead them unto hell. If you love them not, yet be not so unmerciful to
them as to damn them: it is not your saying, God forbid, and we hope
better, that will make it better, or be any excuse to you. What can
you do more to damn them, if you studied to do it as maliciously as
the devil himself? You cannot possibly do more, than to bring them up
in ignorance, carelessness, worldliness, sensuality, and ungodliness.
The devil can do nothing else to damn either them or you, but by
tempting to sin, and drawing you from godliness. There is no other way
to hell. No man is damned for any thing but this. And yet will you
bring them up in such a life, and say, God forbid, we do not desire to
damn them? but it is no wonder; when you do by your children but as
you do by yourselves. Who can look that a man should be reasonable for
his child, that is so unreasonable for himself? or that those parents
should have any mercy on their children's souls, that have no mercy on
their own? You desire not to damn yourselves, but yet you do it, if
you live ungodly lives: and so you will do by your children, if you
train them up in ignorance of God, and in the service of the flesh and
world. You do like one that should set fire on his house and say, God
forbid, I intend not to burn it: or like one that casteth his child
into the sea, and saith, he intendeth not to drown him; or traineth
him up in robbing and thievery, and saith, he intendeth not to have
him hanged; but if you intend to make a thief of him, it is all one in
effect, as if you intended his hanging; for the law determineth it,
and the judge will intend it. So if you intend to train up your
children in ungodliness, as if they had no God nor souls to mind, you
may as well say, you intend to have them damned. And were not an
enemy, yea, is not the devil more excusable, for dealing thus cruelly
by your children, than you that are their parents, that are bound by
nature to love them, and prevent their misery? It is odious in
ministers that take the charge of souls, to betray them by their
negligence, and be guilty of their everlasting misery; but in parents
it is more unnatural, and therefore more inexcusable.

_Motive_ II. Consider that God is the Lord and Owner of your
children, both by the title of creation and redemption: therefore in
justice you must resign them to him, and educate them for him.
Otherwise you rob God of his own creatures, and rob Christ of those
for whom he died, and this to give them to the devil, the enemy of God
and them. It was not the world, the flesh, or the devil that created
them, or redeemed them, but God; and it is not possible for any right
to be built upon a fuller title, than to make them of nothing, and
redeem them from a state far worse than nothing. And after all this,
shall the very parents of such children steal them from their absolute
Lord and Father, and sell them to slavery and torment?

_Motive_ III. Remember that in their baptism you did dedicate
them to God; you entered them into a solemn vow and covenant, to be
wholly his, and to live to him. Therein they renounced the flesh, the
world, and the devil; therein you promised to bring them up
virtuously, to lead a godly and christian life, that they might
obediently keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same
all the days of their lives. And after all this, will you break so
solemn a promise, and cause them to break such a vow and covenant, by
bringing them up in ignorance and ungodliness? Did you understand and
consider what you then did? how solemnly you yourselves engaged them
in a vow to God, to live a mortified and a holy life? And will you so
solemnly do that in an hour, which all their life after with you, you
will endeavour to destroy?

_Motive_ IV. Consider how great power the education of children
hath upon all their following lives; except nature and grace, there is
nothing that usually doth prevail so much with them. Indeed the
obstinacy of natural viciousness doth often frustrate a good
education; but if any means be like to do good, it is this; but ill
education is more constantly successful, to make them evil. This
cherisheth those seeds of wickedness which spring up when they come to
age; this maketh so many to be proud, and idle, and flesh-pleasers,
and licentious, and lustful, and covetous, and all that is naught. And
he hath a hard task that cometh after to root out these vices, which
an ungodly education hath so deeply radicated. Ungodly parents do
serve the devil so effectually in the first impressions on their
children's minds, that it is more than magistrates and ministers and
all reforming means can afterwards do to recover them from that sin to
God. Whereas if you would first engage their hearts to God by a
religious education, piety would then have all those advantages that
sin hath now. Prov. xxii. 6, "Train up a child in the way he should
go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." The language which
you teach them to speak when they are children, they will use all
their life after, if they live with those that use it. And so the
opinions which they first receive, and the customs which they are used
to at first, are very hardly changed afterward. I doubt not to affirm,
that a godly education is God's first and ordinary appointed means,
for the begetting of actual faith, and other graces, in the children
of believers: many may have seminal grace before, but they cannot
sooner have actual faith, repentance, love, or any grace, than they
have reason itself in act and exercise. And the preaching of the word
by public ministers is not the first ordinary means of grace, to any
but those that were graceless till they come to hear such preaching;
that is, to those on whom the first appointed means hath been
neglected, or proved in vain: that is, it is but the second means, to
do that which was not done by the first. The proof is undeniable;
because God appointeth parents diligently to teach their children the
doctrine of his holy word, before they come to the public ministry:
parents' teaching is the first teaching; and parents' teaching is for
this end, as well as public teaching, even to beget faith, and love,
and holiness; and God appointeth no means to be used by us, on which
we may not expect his blessing. Therefore it is apparent, that the
ordinary appointed means for the first actual grace, is parents' godly
instruction and education of their children. And public preaching is
appointed for the conversion of those only that have missed the
blessing of the first appointed means. Therefore if you deny your
children religious education, you deny them the first appointed means
of their actual faith and sanctification; and then the second cometh
upon disadvantage.

_Motive_ V. Consider also how many and great are your advantages
above all others for your children's good. As, 1. Nothing doth take
so much with any one, as that which is known to come from love: the
greater love is discerned in your instruction, the greater success may
you expect. Now your children are more confident of their parents'
love, than of any others; whether ministers and strangers speak to
them in love, they cannot tell; but of their parents' love they make
no doubt. 2. And their love to you is as great a preparative to your
success. We all hearken to them that we dearly love, with greater
attention and willingness than to others. They love not the minister
as they do their parents. 3. You have them in hand betimes, before
they have received any false opinions or bad impressions; before they
have any sin but that which was born with them: you are to make the
first impressions upon them; you have them while they are most
teachable, and flexible, and tender, and make least resistance against
instruction; they rise not up at first against your teaching with
self-conceitedness and proud objections. But when they come to the
minister, they are as paper that is written on or printed before,
unapt to receive another impression; they have much to be untaught,
before they can be taught; and come with proud and stiff resistance,
to strive against instruction, rather than readily to receive it. 4.
Your children do wholly depend on you for their present maintenance,
and much for their future livelihood and portions; and therefore they
know that it is their interest to obey and please you; and as interest
is the common bias of the world, so is it with your children; you may
easilier rule them that have this handle to hold them by, than any
other can do that have not this advantage. They know they serve you
not for nought. 5. Your authority over your children is most
unquestionable. They will dispute the authority of ministers, yea, and
of magistrates, and ask them who gave them the power to teach them,
and to command them? But the parents' authority is beyond all dispute.
They will not call you tyrants or usurpers, nor bid you prove the
validity of your ordination, or the uninterruptedness of your
succession. Therefore father and mother, as the first natural power,
are mentioned rather than kings or queens in the fifth commandment. 6.
You have the power of the rod to force them. Prov. xxii. 15,
"Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of
correction shall drive it far from him." And your correction will be
better understood to come from love, than that of the magistrate or
any other. 7. You have best opportunity to know both the diseases and
temperature of your children; which is a great advantage for the
choosing and applying of the best remedy. 8. You have opportunity of
watching over them, and discerning all their faults in time; but if a
minister speak to them, he can know no more what fault to reprehend,
than others tell him, or the party will confess. You may also discern
what success your former exhortations had, and whether they amend or
still go on in sin, and whether you should proceed to more severe
remedies. 9. You have opportunity of speaking to them in the most
familiar manner; which is better understood than the set speech of a
minister in the pulpit, which few of them mark or understand. You can
quicken their attention by questions which put them upon answering
you, and so awaken them to a serious regard of what you say. 10. You
are so frequently with them, that you can repeat your instructions,
and drive them home, that what is not done at one time, may be done at
another; whereas other men can seldom speak to them, and what is so
seldom spoken is easily neglected or forgotten. 11. You have power to
place them under the best means, and to remove many impediments out
of their way which usually frustrate other men's endeavours. 12. Your
example is near them and continually in their sight, which is a
continual and powerful sermon. By all these advantages God hath
enabled you, above all others, to be instruments of your children's
good, and the first and greatest promoters of their salvation.

_Motive_ VI. Consider how great a comfort it would be to you, to
have your children such as you may confidently hope are the children
of God, being brought to know him, and love, and serve him, through
your own endeavours in a pious education of them. 1. You may love your
children upon a higher account than as they are yours; even as they
are God's, adorned with his image, and quickened with a divine
celestial life; and this is to love them with a higher kind of love,
than mere natural affection is. It would rejoice you to see your
children advanced to be lords or princes; but oh how much greater
cause of joy is it, to see them made the members of Christ, and
quickened by his Spirit, and sealed up for life eternal! 2. When once
your children are made the children of God, by the regeneration of the
Spirit, you may be much more free from care and trouble for them than
before. Now you may boldly trust them on the care of their heavenly
Father, who is able to do more for them than you are able to desire:
he loveth them better than you can love them; he is bound by promise
to protect them, and provide for them, and to see that all things work
together for their good. He that clotheth the lilies of the fields,
and suffereth not the young lions or ravens to be unprovided for, will
provide convenient food for his own children (though he will have you
also do your duty for them, as they are your children). While they are
the children of Satan, and the servants of sin, you have cause to
fear, not only lest they be exposed to miseries in this world, but
much more lest they be snatched away in their sin to hell: your
children, while they are ungodly, are worse than among wolves and
tigers. But when once they are renewed by the Spirit of Christ, they
are the charge of all the blessed Trinity, and under God the charge of
angels: living or dying they are safe; for the eternal God is their
portion and defence. 3. It may be a continual comfort to you to think
what a deal of drudgery and calamity your child is freed from: to
think how many oaths he would have sworn, and how many lies and curses
he would have uttered, and how beastly and fleshly a life he would
have lived, how much wrong he would have done to God and men, and how
much he would have pleased the devil, and what torments in hell he
must have endured as the reward of all; and then to think how
mercifully God hath prevented all this; and what service he may do God
in the world, and finally live with Christ in glory: what a joy is
this to a considering, believing parent, that taketh the mercies of
his children as his own! 4. Religion will teach your children to be
more dutiful to yourselves, than nature can teach them. It will teach
them to love you, even when you have no more to give them, as well as
if you had the wealth of all the world: it will teach them to honour
you, though you are poor and contemptible in the eyes of others. It
will teach them to obey you, and if you fall into want, to relieve you
according to their power: it will fit them to comfort you in the time
of your sickness and distress; when ungodly children will be as thorns
in your feet or eyes, and cut your hearts, and prove a greater grief
than any enemies to you. A gracious child will bear with your
weaknesses, when a Ham will not cover his father's nakedness: a
gracious child can pray for you, and pray with you, and be a blessing
to your house; when an ungodly child is fitter to curse, and prove a
curse, to those he lives with. 5. And is it not an exceeding joy to
think of the everlasting happiness of your child? and that you may
live together in heaven for ever? when the foreseen misery of a
graceless child may grieve you whenever you look him in the face. 6.
Lastly, it will be a great addition to your joy, to think that God
blessed your diligent instructions, and made you the instrument of all
that good that is done upon your children, and of all that good that
is done by them, and of all the happiness they have for ever. To think
that this was conveyed to them by your means, will give you a larger
share in the delights of it.

_Motive_ VII. Remember that your children's original sin and
misery is by you; and therefore, in justice, you that have undone
them, are bound to do your best to save them. If you had but conveyed
a leprosy, or some hereditary disease, to their bodies, would you have
not done your best to cure them? Oh that you could do them but as much
good as you do them hurt! It is more than Adam's sin that runneth down
into the natures of your children, yea, and that bringeth judgments on
them; and even Adam's sin cometh not to them but by you.

_Motive_ VIII. Lastly, Consider what exceeding great need they
have of the utmost help you can afford them. It is not a corporal
disease, an easy enemy, a tolerable misery, that we call unto you for
their help; but it is against sin, and Satan, and hell-fire. It is
against a body of sin; not one, but many; not small, but pernicious,
having seized on the heart; deep-rooted sins, that are not easily
plucked up. All the teaching, and diligence, and watchfulness that you
can use, is little enough, and may prove too little. They are
obstinate vices that have possessed them; they are not quickly nor
easily cast out; and the remnants and roots are apt to be still
springing up again, when you thought they had been quite destroyed: oh
then what wisdom and diligence is requisite to so great and necessary
a work!

And now let me seriously speak to the hearts of those careless and
ungodly parents, that neglect the holy education of their children:
yea, and to those professors of godliness, that slubber over so great
a work with a few customary formal duties and words, that are next to
a total omission of it. Oh be not so unmerciful to the souls that you
have helped to bring into the world! Think not so basely of them, as
if they were not worth your labour. Make not your children so like
your beasts, as to make no provision but only for their flesh.
Remember still that it is not beasts, but men, that you have begotten
and brought forth: educate them then and use them as men, for the love
and obedience of their Maker: oh pity and help the souls that you have
defiled and undone! Have mercy on the souls that must perish in hell,
if they be not saved in this day of salvation! Oh help them that have
so many enemies to assault them! Help them that have so many
temptations to pass through; and so many difficulties to overcome; and
so severe a judgment to undergo! Help them that are so weak, and so
easily deceived and overthrown! Help them speedily while your
advantages continue; before sin have hardened them, and grace have
forsaken them, and Satan place a stronger garrison in their hearts.
Help them while they are tractable, before they are grown up to
despise your help; before you and they are separated asunder, and your
opportunities be at an end. You think not your pains from year to year
too much to make provision for their bodies: oh be not cruel to their
souls! Sell them not to Satan, and that for nought! Betray them not by
your ungodly negligence to hell. Or if any of them will perish, let it
not be by you, that are so much bound to do them good: the undoing of
your children's souls is a work much fitter for Satan, than for their
parents. Remember how comfortable a thing it is, to work with Christ
for the saving of souls. You think the calling of ministers honourable
and happy; and so it is, because they serve Christ in so high a work:
but if you will not neglect it, you may do for your children more than
any minister can do. This is your preaching place; here God calleth
you to exercise your parts, even in the holy instruction of your
families: your charge is small in comparison of the minister's, he
hath many hundred souls to watch over, that are scattered all abroad
the parish; and will you think it much to instruct and watch over
those few of your own that are under your roof? You can speak odiously
of unfaithful, soul-betraying ministers; and do you not consider how
odious a soul-betraying parent is? If God intrust you but with earthly
talents, take heed how you use them, for you must be accountable for
your trust; and when he hath intrusted you with souls, even your
children's souls, will you betray them? If any rulers should but
forbid you the instructing and well-governing of your families, and
restrain you by a law, as they would have restrained Daniel from
praying in his house, Dan. vi. then you would think them monsters of
impiety and inhumanity; and you would cry out of a satanical
persecution, that would make men traitors to their children's souls,
and drive away all religion from the earth. And yet how easily can you
neglect such duties, when none forbid them you, and never accuse
yourselves of any such horrid impiety or inhumanity? What hypocrisy
and blind partiality is this! Like a lazy minister that would cry out
of persecution, if he were silenced by others, and yet will not be
provoked to be laborious, but ordinarily by his slothfulness silence
himself, and make no such matter of it. Would it be so heinous a sin
in another to restrain you? and is it not as heinous for you, that are
so much obliged to it, voluntarily to restrain yourselves? O then deny
not this necessary diligence to your necessitous children, as you love
their souls, as you love the happiness of the church or commonwealth,
as you love the honour and interest of Christ, and as you love your
present and everlasting peace. Do not see your children the slaves of
Satan here, and the firebrands of hell for ever, if any diligence of
yours may contribute to prevent it. Do not give conscience such matter
of accusation against you, as to say, All this was long of thee! If
thou hadst instructed them diligently, and watched over them, and
corrected them, and done thy part, it is like they had never come to
this. You till your fields; you weed your gardens; what pains take you
about your grounds and cattle! and will you not take more for your
children's souls? Alas, what creatures will they be if you leave them
to themselves! how ignorant, careless, rude, and beastly! Oh what a
lamentable case have ungodly parents brought the world into! Ignorance
and selfishness, beastly sensuality, and devilish malignity, have
covered the face of the earth as a deluge, and driven away wisdom, and
self-denial, and piety, and charity, and justice, and temperance
almost out of the world, confining them to the breasts of a few
obscure, humble souls, that love virtue for virtue's sake, and look
for their reward from God alone, and expect that by abstaining from
iniquity they make themselves a prey to wolves, Isa. lix. 15. Wicked
education hath unmanned the world, and subdued it to Satan, and make
it almost like to hell. O do not join with the sons of Belial in this
unnatural, horrid wickedness!



IT is the pernicious subversion of all societies, and so of the world,
that selfish, ungodly persons enter into all relations with a desire
to serve themselves there, and fish out all that gratifieth their
flesh, but without any sense of the duty of their relation. They
bethink them what honour, or profit, or pleasure their relation will
afford them, but not what God and man require or expect from them.[9]
All their thought is, what they shall have, but not what they shall be
and do. They are very sensible what others should be and do to them;
but not what they should be and do to others. Thus it is with
magistrates, and with people, with too many pastors and their flocks,
with husbands and wives, with parents and children, with masters and
servants, and all other relations. Whereas our first care should be to
know and perform the duties of our relations, and please God in them,
and then look for his blessing by way of encouraging reward. Study and
do your parts, and God will certainly do his.

_Direct._ I. The first duty of husbands is to love their wives
(and wives their husbands) with a true, entire, conjugal love. Eph. v.
25, 28, 29, 33, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved
the church, and gave himself for it.--So ought men to love their wives
as their own bodies; he that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no
man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it,
even as the Lord the church.--Let every one of you in particular so
love his wife, even as himself." See Gen. ii. 24. It is a relation of
love that you have entered. God hath made it your duty for your mutual
help and comfort; that you may be as willing and ready to succour one
another, as the hand is to help the eye or other fellow-member, and
that your converse may be sweet, and your burdens easy, and your lives
may be comfortable. If love be removed but for an hour between husband
and wife, they are so long as a bone out of joint; there is no ease,
no order, no work well done, till they are restored and set in joint
again. Therefore be sure that conjugal love be constantly maintained.

[Sidenote: Sub-directions to maintain conjugal love.]

The sub-directions for maintaining conjugal love are such as these.
_Direct_. I. Choose one at first that is truly amiable, especially in
the virtues of the mind. 2. Marry not till you are sure that you can
love entirely. Be not drawn for sordid ends, to join with one that you
have but ordinary affections for. 3. Be not too hasty, but know
beforehand all the imperfections, which may tempt you afterwards to
loathing. But if these duties have been sinfully neglected, yet, 4.
Remember that justice commandeth you to love one that hath, as it
were, forsaken all the world for you, and is contented to be the
companion of your labours and sufferings, and be an equal sharer in
all conditions with you, and that must be your companion until death.
It is worse than barbarous inhumanity to entice such a one into a bond
of love, and society with you, and then to say, you cannot love her.
This was by perfidiousness to draw her into a snare to her undoing.
What comfort can she have in her converse with you, and care, and
labour, and necessary sufferings, if you deny her conjugal love?
Especially, if she deny not love to you, the inhumanity is the
greater. 5. Remember that women are ordinarily affectionate,
passionate creatures, and as they love much themselves, so they expect
much love from you. And when you joined yourself to such a nature, you
obliged yourself to answerable duty: and if love cause not love, it is
ungrateful and unjust contempt. 6. Remember that you are under God's
command; and to deny conjugal love to your wives, is to deny a duty
which God hath urgently imposed on you. Obedience therefore should
command your love. 7. Remember that you are relatively, as it were,
one flesh; you have drawn her to forsake father and mother, to cleave
to you; you are conjoined for procreation of such children as must
bear the image and nature of you both; your possessions and interests
are in a manner the same. And therefore such nearness should command
affection; they that are as yourselves, should be most easily loved as
yourselves. 8. Take more notice of the good, that is in your wives,
than of the evil. Let not the observation of their faults make you
forget or overlook their virtues. Love is kindled by the sight of love
or goodness. 9. Make not infirmities to seem odious faults, but excuse
them as far as lawfully you may, by considering the frailty of the
sex, and of their tempers, and considering also your own infirmities,
and how much your wives must bear with you. 10. Stir up that most in
them into exercise which is best, and stir not up that which is evil;
and then the good will most appear, and the evil will be as buried,
and you will easilier maintain your love. There is some uncleanness in
the best on earth; yet if you will be daily stirring in the filth, no
wonder if you have the annoyance; and for that you may thank
yourselves: draw out the fragrancy of that which is good and
delectable in them, and do not by your own imprudence or peevishness
stir up the worst, and then you shall find that even your faulty wives
will appear more amiable to you. 11. Overcome them with love; and then
whatever they are in themselves, they will be loving to you, and
consequently lovely. Love will cause love, as fire kindleth fire. A
good husband is the best means to make a good and loving wife. Make
them not froward by your froward carriage, and then say, we cannot
love them. 12. Give them examples of amiableness in yourselves; set
them the pattern of a prudent, lowly, loving, meek, self-denying,
patient, harmless, holy, heavenly life. Try this a while, and see
whether it will not shame them from their faults, and make them walk
more amiably themselves.

_Direct._ II. Another duty of husbands and wives is, cohabitation
and (where age prohibiteth not) a sober and modest conjunction for
procreation: avoiding lasciviousness, unseasonableness, and whatever
tendeth to corrupt the mind, and make it vain and filthy, and hinder
it from holy employment. And therefore lust must not be cherished in
the married; but the mind be brought to a moderate, chaste, and sober
frame; and the remedy must not be turned into an increase of the
disease, but used to extinguish it. For if the mind be left to the
power of lust, and only marriage trusted to for the cure, with many it
will be found an insufficient cure; and lust will rage still as it did
before, and will be so much the more desperate and your case the more
miserable, as your sin prevaileth against the remedy. Yet marriage
being appointed for a remedy against lust, for the avoiding all
unlawful congress, the apostle hath plainly described your duty;
1 Cor. vii. 2-5, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman:
nevertheless to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife,
and let every woman have her own husband; let the husband render unto
the wife due benevolence; and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband; and likewise
also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud
you not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that you
may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and come together again,
that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." Therefore those
persons live contrary to the nature of their relation, who live a
great part of their lives asunder, as many do for worldly respects;
when they have several houses, possessions, or trades, and the husband
must live at one, and the wife at another, for their commodity sake;
and only come together once in a week, or in many weeks: when this is
done without great necessity, it is a constant violation of their
duties. And so it is for men to go trade or live beyond sea, or in
another land, and leave their wives behind them; yea, though they have
their wives' consent; it is an unlawful course, except in a case of
mere necessity, or public service, or when they are able on good
grounds to say, that the benefits are like to be greater to soul and
body than the loss; and that they are confirmed against the danger of
incontinence. The offices which husband and wife are bound to perform
for one another are such as, for the most part, suppose their
cohabitation, like the offices of the members of the body for each
other, which they cannot perform if they be dismembered and divided.

_Direct._ III. Abhor not only adultery itself, but all that
tendeth to unchasteness and the violation of your marriage-covenant.[10]
Adultery is so contrary to the conjugal bond and state of life, that
though _de facto_ it do not actually dissolve the bond, and
nullify the marriage; yet it so far disobligeth the wronged innocent
party, that _de jure_ it is to such a sufficient ground to
warrant a divorce. And God required that it be punished by death, Lev.
xx. 10. When lust is the chiefest cause of marriage, and when married
persons live not in the fear of God, but pamper the flesh and live
licentiously, no wonder if marriage prove an insufficient remedy
against such cherished lust. Such carnal, beastly persons are still
casting fuel on the fire; by wanton, unbridled thoughts and speeches,
by gluttony, drinking, sports, and idleness, by vain, enticing
company, and not avoiding occasions, opportunities, and temptations,
they burn as much when they are married as they did before. And the
devil that bloweth up this fire in their flesh, doth conduct and
accommodate them in the satisfying of their lusts; so that their
brutish concupiscence is like a fire burning in the sea; water itself
will not quench it. One woman will not satisfy their bestiality; and
perhaps they loathe their own wives, and run after others, though
their own (in the eye of any impartial man) be the more comely and
amiable, and their whores be never so deformed, or impudent, filthy
lumps of dirt. So that one would think that they had no other reason
to love and follow such unlovely things, but only because that God
forbiddeth it; as if the devil did it to show his power over them,
that he can make them do that, as in despite of God, which else they
would abhor themselves. When once their sensuality and their forsaking
of God, hath provoked God to forsake them, and give them up to the
rage of that sensuality, an unclean spirit sometimes takes possession
of them, and wholly inclineth them to wallow in uncleanness: they can
scarce look a comely person in the face, that is of the other sex, but
unclean thoughts are rising in their hearts; they think of filthiness
when they are alone; they dream of filthiness in the night; they talk
of filthiness with others: the tongues of the dogs that licked Lazarus
his sores, were not used in such a filthy employment as theirs are.
"They are as fed horses in the morning; every one neigheth after his
neighbour's wife," Jer. v. 8. "They declare their sin as Sodom, and
hide it not," Isa. iii. 9. And usually when they are given over to
this filthy sin, it utterly debaucheth their consciences, and maketh
them like blocks or beasts, insensible of their misery and the wrath
of God, and given over to all other villanies, and even to hate and
persecute godliness, if not civility itself.[11] Some few adulterers I
have known, that sin so much against their consciences, that they live
in continual despair; tormented in the sense of their own unhappiness,
and yet sinning still, as if the devil would make them a derision: and
yet these are the better sort, because there is some testimony for a
better life remaining in their minds; but others of them "being past
feeling, have given themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all
uncleanness with greediness," Eph. iv. 19. "They have eyes full of
adultery that cannot cease from sin--as natural brute beasts that are
made to be taken and destroyed," 2 Pet. ii. 10-12. Take heed therefore
of the causes of this odious sin, and of all appearance of it; suffer
not your eye or thought to go after a stranger, nor to begin a breach
in your covenant and conjugal fidelity.

_Direct._ IV. Husband and wife must take delight in the love, and
company, and converse of each other. There is nothing that man's heart
is so inordinately set upon as delight; and yet the lawful delight
allowed them by God, they can turn into loathing and disdain. The
delight which would entangle you in sin, and turn you from your duty
and from God, is it that is forbidden you: but this is a delight that
is helpful to you in your duty, and would keep you from sin. When
husband and wife take pleasure in each other, it uniteth them in duty,
it helpeth them with ease to do their work, and bear their burdens;
and is not the least part of the comfort of the married state.
"Rejoice with the wife of thy youth, as the loving hind and pleasant
roe: let her breasts satisfy thee at all times, and be thou ravished
always with her love," Prov. v. 18, 19. Therefore a wife is called
"The desire of the eyes," Ezek. xxiv. 16. Avoid therefore all things
that may represent you unpleasant or unlovely to each other; and use
all lawful means to cherish complacency and delight: not by foolish,
ridiculous, or proud attire, or immodest actions; but by cleanness,
and decency, and kind deportment. Nastiness, and uncleanness, and
unseemly carriage, and foolish speech, and whatever is loathsome in
body or mind, must be shunned as temptations which would hinder you
from that love, and pleasure, and content, which husband and wife
should have in one another. And yet it is a foolish fleshly person,
that will continue love no longer than it is cherished with all this
care. If there be any deformity of the body, or any thing unseemly in
behaviour, or if God should visit them with any loathsome sores or
sickness, they must for all that love each other, yea, and take
pleasure in their converse. It is not a true friend that leaveth you
in adversity; nor is it true conjugal affection which is blasted by a
loathsome sickness. The love of mothers to their children will make
them take pleasure in them, notwithstanding their sickness or
uncleanness; and so should their love do between a husband and his
wife. He that considereth that his own flesh is liable to the same
diseases, and like ere long to be as loathsome, will do as he would be
done by, and not turn away in time of her affliction, from her that is
become his flesh. Much less excusable is the crime of them that when
they have nothing extraordinary to distaste or disaffect them, are
weary of the company of one another, and had rather be in their
neighbour's houses, than in their own, and find more pleasure in the
company of a stranger, than of one another.

_Direct._ V. It is a great duty of husbands and wives to live in
quietness and peace, and avoid all occasions of wrath and discord.
Because this is a duty of so great importance, I shall first open to
you the great necessity of it, and then give you more particular
directions to perform it.

[Sidenote: Against dissension.]

1. It is a duty which your union or near relation doth especially
require. Will you fall out with yourselves? Cannot you agree with your
own flesh? 2. Your discord will be your pain, and the vexation of your
lives. Like a bile, or wound, or fracture in your own bodies, which
will pain you till it is cured; you will hardly keep peace in your
minds, when peace is broken so near you in your family. As you would
take heed of hurting yourselves, and as you would hasten the cure when
you are hurt; so should you take heed of any breach of peace, and
quickly seek to heal it when it is broken. 3. Dissension tends to cool
your love; oft falling out doth tend to leave a habit of distaste and
averseness on the mind. Wounding is separating; and to be tied
together by any outward bonds, when your hearts are separated, is but
to be tormented; and to have the insides of adversaries, while you
have conjugal outsides. As the difference between my house and my
prison is that I willingly and with delight dwell in the one, but am
unwillingly confined to the other, such will be the difference between
a quiet and an unquiet life, in your married state; it turneth your
dwelling and delight into a prison, where you are chained to those
calamities, which in a free condition you might overrun. 4. Dissension
between the husband and the wife, do disorder all their family
affairs; they are like oxen unequally yoked, that can rid no work for
striving with one another. Nothing is well done because of the
variance of those that should do it, or oversee it. 5. It exceedingly
unfitteth you for the worship of God; you are not fit to pray
together, nor to confer together of heavenly things, nor to be helpers
to each other's souls: I need not tell you this, you feel it by
experience. Wrath and bitterness will not allow you so much exercise
of love and holy composedness of mind, as every one of those duties do
require. 6. Dissension disableth you to govern your families aright.
Your children and servants will take example by you; or think they are
at liberty to do what they list, when they find you taken up with such
work between yourselves; and they will think you unfit to reprove them
for their faults, when they see you guilty of such faults and folly of
your own; nay, you will become the shame and secret derision of your
family, and bring yourselves into contempt. 7. Your dissensions will
expose you to the malice of Satan, and give him advantage for manifold
temptations. A house divided cannot stand; an army divided is easily
conquered, and made a prey to the enemy. You cannot foresee what
abundance of sin you put yourselves in danger of. By all this you may
see what dissensions between husband and wife do tend to, and how they
should be avoided.

[Sidenote: Directions against dissension.]

II. For the avoiding of them observe these sub-directions. 1. Keep up
your conjugal love in a constant heat and vigour. Love will suppress
wrath; you cannot have a bitter mind upon small provocations, against
those that you dearly love; much less can you proceed to reviling
words, or to averseness and estrangedness, or any abuse of one
another. Or if a breach and wound be unhappily made, the balsamic
quality of love will heal it. But when love once cooleth, small
matters exasperate and breed distaste.

2. Both husband and wife must mortify their pride and passion, which
are the causes of impatiency; and must pray and labour for a humble,
meek, and quiet spirit. For it is the diseased temper of the heart,
that causeth dissensions, more than the occasions or matter of offence
do. A proud heart is troubled and provoked by every word or carriage
that seemeth to tend to their undervaluing. A peevish, froward mind is
like a sore and ulcerated member, that will be hurt if it be touched.
He that must live near such a sore, diseased, impatient mind, must
live even as the nurse doth with the child, that maketh it her
business to rock it, and lull, and sing it quiet when it crieth; for
to be angry with it, will do no good; and if you have married one of
such a sick or childish temper, you must resolve to bear and use them
accordingly. But no christian should bear with such a vexatious malady
in themselves; nor be patient with such impatiency of mind. Once get
the victory over yourselves, and get the cure of your own impatience,
and you will easily keep peace with one another.

3. Remember still that you are both diseased persons, full of
infirmities; and therefore expect the fruit of those infirmities in
each other; and make not a strange matter of it, as if you had never
known of it before. If you had married one that is lame, would you be
angry with her for halting? Or if you had married one that had a
putrid ulcer, would you fall out with her because it stinketh? Did you
not know beforehand, that you married a person of such weaknesses, as
would yield you some matter of daily trial and offence? If you could
not bear this, you should not have married her; if you resolved that
you could bear it then, you are obliged to bear it now. Resolve
therefore to bear with one another; as remembering that you took one
another as sinful, frail, imperfect persons, and not as angels, or as
blameless and perfect.

4. Remember still that you are one flesh; and therefore be no more
offended with the words or failings of each other, than you would be
if they were your own. Fall out no more with your wife for her faults,
than you do with yourself for your own faults; and than you would do,
if hers had been your own. This will allow you such an anger and
displeasure against a fault, as tendeth to heal it; but not such as
tendeth but to fester and vex the diseased part. This will turn anger
into compassion, and speedy, tender diligence for the cure.

5. Agree together beforehand, that when one is in the diseased, angry
fit, the other shall silently and gently bear, till it be past and you
are come to yourselves again. Be not angry both at once; when the fire
is kindled, quench it with gentle words and carriage, and do not cast
on oil or fuel, by answering provokingly and sharply, or by
multiplying words, and by answering wrath with wrath. But remember
that now the work that you are called to is to mollify, and not to
exasperate, to help, and not to hurt, to cure another rather than to
right yourself; as if another fall and hurt him, your business is to
help him up, and not to tread upon him.

6. Look before you, and remember that you must live together until
death, and must be the companions of each other's fortunes, and the
comforts of each other's lives, and then you will see how absurd it is
for you to disagree and vex each other. Anger is the principle of
revenge, and falling out doth tend to separation. Therefore those that
must not revenge, should not give way to anger; and those that know
they must not part, should not fall out.

7. As far as you are able, avoid all occasions of wrath and falling
out, about the matters of your families. Some by their slothfulness
bring themselves into want; and then being unable to bear it, they
contract a discontented, peevish habit, and in their impatiency they
wrangle and disquiet one another. Some plunge themselves into a
multitude of business, and have to do with so many things and persons,
that one or other is still offending them, and then they are impatient
with one another. Some have neither skill nor diligence to manage
their businesses aright; and so things fall cross, and go out of
order, and then their impatiency turneth itself against each other.
Avoid these occasions, if you would avoid the sin, and see that you be
not unfurnished of patience, to bear that which cannot be avoided.

8. If you cannot quickly quench your passion, yet at least refrain
your tongues; speak not reproachful or provoking words: talking it out
hotly doth blow the fire, and increase the flame; be but silent, and
you will the sooner return to your serenity and peace. Foul words tend
to more displeasure. As Socrates said when his wife first railed at
him, and next threw a vessel of foul water upon him, "I thought when I
heard the thunder, there would come rain;" so you may portend worse
following, when foul, unseemly words begin. If you cannot easily allay
your wrath, you may hold your tongues, if you are truly willing.

9. Let the sober party condescend to speak fair and to entreat the
other (unless it be with a person so insolent as will be the worse).
Usually a few sober, grave admonitions, will prove as water to the
boiling pot. Say to your angry wife or husband, You know this should
not be betwixt us; love must allay it, and it must be repented of. God
doth not approve it, and we shall not approve it when this heat is
over. This frame of mind is contrary to a praying frame, and this
language contrary to a praying language; we must pray together anon;
let us do nothing contrary to prayer now: sweet water and bitter come
not from one spring, &c. Some calm and condescending words of reason,
may stop the torrent, and revive the reason which passion had overcome.

10. Confess your fault to one another, when passion hath prevailed
against you; and ask forgiveness of each other, and join in prayer to
God for pardon; and this will lay a greater engagement on you the next
time to forbear: you will sure be ashamed to do that which you have so
confessed and asked forgiveness for of God and man. If you will but
practise these ten directions, your conjugal and family peace may be

_Direct._ VI. A principal duty between husband and wife, is, with
special care, and skill, and diligence, to help each other in the
knowledge, and worship, and obedience of God, in order to their
salvation. Because this is a duty in which you are the greatest helps
and blessings to each other, if you perform it, I shall, 1. Endeavour
to quicken you to make conscience of it; and then, 2. Direct you how
to do it.

I. Consider, 1. How little it can stand with rational love, to neglect
the souls of one another. I suppose you believe that you have immortal
souls, and an endless life of joy or misery to live; and then you
cannot choose but know that your great concernment and business is, to
make sure provision for those souls, and for the endless life.
Therefore if your love do not help one another in this which is your
main concernment, it is little worth, and of little use. Every thing
in this world is valuable as it is useful. A useless or unprofitable
love, is a worthless love. It is a trifling, or a childish, or a
beastly love, which helpeth you but in trifling, childish, or beastly
things. Do you love your wife, and yet will leave her in the power of
Satan, or will not help to save her soul? What! love her, and yet let
her go to hell? and rather let her be damned than you will be at the
pains to endeavour her salvation? If she were but in bodily pain or
misery, and you refused to do your part to succour her, she would take
it but for cold, unprofitable love, though you were never so kind to
her in compliments and trifles. The devil himself maketh show of such
a love as that; he can vouchsafe men pleasures, and wealth, and
honour, so he may but see the perdition of their souls. And if your
love to your wife or husband, do tend to no greater matters than the
pleasures of this life, while the soul is left to perish in sin,
bethink yourselves seriously how little more kindness you show them
than the devil doth. O can you see the danger of one that you love so
dearly, and do no more to save them from it? Can you think of the
damnation of so dear a friend, and not do all that you are able to
prevent it? Would you be separated from them in the world that you are
going to? Would you not live with them in heaven for ever? Never say
you love them, if you will not labour for their salvation. If ever
they come to hell, or if ever you see them there, both they and you
will then confess, that you behaved not yourselves like such as loved
them. It doth not deserve the name of love, which can leave a soul to
endless misery.

What then shall we say of them that do not only deny their help, but
are hinderers of the holiness and salvation of each other![12] And yet
(the Lord have mercy on the poor miserable world!) how common a thing
is this among us! If the wife be ignorant and ungodly, she will do her
worst to make or keep her husband such as she is herself; and if God
put any holy inclinations into his heart, she will be to it as water
to the fire, to quench it or to keep it under; and if he will not be
as sinful and miserable as herself, he shall have little quietness or
rest. And if God open the eyes of the wife of a bad man, and show her
the amiableness and necessity of a holy life, and she do but resolve
to obey the Lord, and save her soul, what an enemy and tyrant will her
husband prove to her (if God restrain him not); so that the devil
himself doth scarce do more against the saving of their souls, than
ungodly husbands and wives do against each other.

2. Consider also that you live not up to the ends of marriage, nor of
humanity, if you are not helpers to each other's souls. To help each
other only for your bellies, is to live together but like beasts. You
are appointed to live together as "heirs of the grace of life," 1 Pet.
iii. 7. "And husbands must love their wives as Christ loved his
church, who gave himself for it that he might sanctify it and cleanse
it, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, without
spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish," Eph. v. 25-27. That which
is the end of your very life and being, must be the end of your
relations, and your daily converse.

3. Consider also, if you neglect each other's souls, what enemies you
are to one another, and how you prepare for your everlasting sorrows:
when you should be preparing for your joyful meeting in heaven, you
are laying up for yourselves everlasting horror. What a dreadful
meeting and greeting will you have at the bar of Christ, or in the
flames of hell, when you shall find there how perversely you have
done![13] Is it not better to be praising God together in glory, than
to be raging against each other in the horror of your consciences, and
flying in the faces of one another with such accusations as these?--"O
cruel husband! O merciless, deceitful wife! It was long of you that I
came to this miserable, woeful end! I might have lived with Christ and
his saints in joy, and now I am tormented in these flames in
desperation! You were commanded by God to have given me warning, and
told me of my sin and misery, and never to let me rest in it, but to
have instructed and entreated me, till I had come home by Christ, that
I might not have come to this place of torment; but you never so much
as spake to me of God, and my salvation, unless it were lightly in
jest or in your common talk! If the house had been on fire, you would
have been more earnest to have quenched it, than you were to save my
soul from hell! You never told me seriously of the misery of a
natural, unrenewed state! nor of the great necessity of regeneration
and a holy life! nor ever talked to me of heaven and hell, as matters
of such consequence should have been mentioned; but morning and night
your talk was nothing but about the world and the things of the
world.[14] Your idle talk, and jesting, and froward, and carnal, and
unprofitable discourse, was it that filled up all the time; and we had
not one sober word of our salvation. You never seriously foretold me
of this day; you never prayed with me, nor read the Scripture and good
books to me. You took no pains to help me to knowledge, nor to humble
my hardened heart for my sins, nor to save me from them, nor to draw
me to the love of God and holiness by faith in Christ: you did not go
before me with the good example of a holy and heavenly conversation;
but with the evil example of an ungodly, fleshly, worldly life. You
neither cared for your own soul, nor mine; nor I for yours or mine
own. And now we are justly condemned together, that would not live in
holiness together!" O foolish, miserable souls, that by your
ungodliness and negligence in this life, will prepare each other for
such a life of endless woe and horror!

[Sidenote: Directions to help each other to salvation.]

O therefore resolve without delay, to live together as heirs of
heaven, and to be helpers to each other's souls. To which end I will
give you these following sub-directions, which if you will faithfully
practise, may make you to be special blessings to each other.

_Direct._ I. If you would help to save each other's souls, you
must each of you be sure that you have a care of your own; and retain
a deep and lively apprehension of those great and everlasting matters,
of which you are to speak to others.[15] It cannot be reasonably
expected that he should have a due compassion to another's soul, that
hath none to his own; and that he should be at the pains that is
needful to help another to salvation, that setteth so little by his
own, as to sell it for the base and momentary ease and pleasure of the
flesh. Nor is it to be expected that a man should speak with any
suitable weight and seriousness about those matters whose weight his
heart did never feel, and about which he was never serious himself.
First see that you feel thoroughly, that which you would speak
profitably; and that you be what you persuade another to be; and that
all your counsel may be perceived to arise from the bottom of your
hearts, and that you speak of things which by experience you are well
acquainted with.

_Direct._ II. Take those opportunities which your ordinary
nearness and familiarity affordeth you, to be speaking seriously to
each other about the matters of God, and your salvation. When you lie
down and rise together, let not your worldly business have all your
talk; but let God and your souls have the first and the last, and at
least the freest and sweetest of your speech, if not the most. When
you have said so much of your common business as the nature and
despatch of it requireth, lay it by, and talk together of the state
and duty of your souls towards God, and of your hopes of heaven, as
those that take these for their greatest business. And speak not
lightly, or unreverently, or in a rude and wrangling manner; but with
gravity and sobriety, as those that are advising together about the
greatest matter that ever they had to do in the world.

_Direct._ III. When either husband or wife is speaking seriously
about holy things, let the other be careful to cherish, and not to
extinguish and put an end to the discourse. There are two ways to
cherish such discourse: the first is, by taking your turn, and bearing
a due proportion in the discourse with wisdom and gravity; but all
cannot do this; some are but learners, and those must take the second
way, which is, to ask for resolution in matters of which they doubt,
or are uninstructed, and to draw on more by pertinent questions. The
two ways by which such discourse is silenced are these: the first is,
by the constant silence of the hearer; when a man talketh as to a
post, that giveth him no answer, nor putteth any pertinent question,
he will be wearied out at last, and will give over: the second is, by
a cross, contradicting, cavilling, wrangling against what is spoken,
or by interruptions and diversions; when you come in presently with
some worldly or impertinent talk, and wind about from sober conference
to something that is unedifying; and some that will not seem merely
profane, and vain, and worldly, will destroy all holy, fruitful
conference, even by a kind of religious talk; presently carrying you
away from heart-searching and heavenly discourse, to some controversy,
or doctrinal, or formal, or historical matter, that is sufficiently
distant from the heart and heaven. Take heed of these courses, if you
would help each other.

_Direct._ IV. Watch over the hearts and lives of one another, and
labour to discern the state of one another's souls, and the strength
or weakness of each other's sins and graces, and the failings of each
other's lives, that so you may be able to apply to one another the
most suitable help. What you are unacquainted with, you cannot be very
helpful in;[16] you cannot cure unknown diseases; you cannot give wise
and safe advice, about the state of one another's souls, if you are
mistaken in them. God hath placed you nearest to each other, that you
might have so much interest in each other, as to quicken you to a
loving care, and so much acquaintance with each other, as to keep you
from misunderstanding, and so from neglecting or deceiving one
another. And you should be always provided of those fit remedies, that
are most needful and suitable to each other's case. If that preacher
be like to be dull and unsuccessful that is all upon mere doctrine,
and little or nothing in close and lively application, you may
conceive that it will be so also with your familiar conference.

_Direct._ V. See that you neither flatter one another through
fond and foolish love, nor exasperate one another by a passionate or
contemptuous kind of reprehension. Some persons are so blinded with
fond affection, that they can scarce see in husband, wife, or children
any aggravated sin or misery; but they think all is well that they do,
or not so ill as in another they would perceive it; but this is the
same course that self-loving sinners take with their own souls, to
their delusion and perdition. This flattering of yourselves or others,
is but the devil's charm to keep you from effectual repentance and
salvation; and the ease of such anodynes and narcotics doth endure but
a little while. On the other side, some cannot speak to one another of
their faults, without such bitterness of passion, or contempt, as
tendeth to make the stomach of the receiver to loathe the medicine,
and so to refuse it, or to cast it up. If common reproofs to strangers
must all be offered in love, much more between the nearest relations.

_Direct._ VI. Be sure that you keep up true conjugal love to one
another, and that you grow not to disaffect the persons of each other.
For if you do, you will despise each other's counsels and reproofs.
They that slight, or loathe, or are weary of each other, will disdain
reproofs, and scorn advice from one another; when entire affection
greatly disposeth to the right entertainment of instruction.

_Direct._ VII. Discourage not each other from instruction or
reproof by taking it ill, or by churlish reflections, or by obstinate
unreformedness. When you will not learn, or will not amend, you
discourage your instructor and reprover. Men will be apt to give over,
when they are requited with ingratitude, and snappish retortions, or
when they perceive that their labour is all in vain. And as it is the
heaviest judgment of God that befalleth any upon earth, when he
withdraweth his advice and help, and leaveth sinners wholly to
themselves; so it is the saddest condition in your relations, when the
ignorant and sinning party is forsaken by the other, and left to their
own opinions and ways; though indeed it should not be so, because
while there is life there is hope.

_Direct._ VIII. So far as you are able to instruct or quicken one
another, call in for better helps: engage each other in the reading of
the most convincing, quickening books, and in attendance on the most
powerful ministry, and in profitable converse with the holiest
persons. Not so as to neglect your duty to one another ever the more,
but that all helps concurring may be the more effectual. When they
find you speak to them but the same things which ministers and other
christians speak, it will be the more easily received.

_Direct._ IX. Conceal not the state of your souls, nor hide your
faults from one another. You are as one flesh, and should have one
heart: and as it is most dangerous for a man to be unknown to himself,
so it is very hurtful to husband or wife to be unknown to one another,
in those cases wherein they have need of help. It is foolish
tenderness of yourselves, when you conceal your disease from your
physician, or your helpful friend; and who should be so tender of you,
and helpful to you, as you should be to one another? Indeed in some
few cases, where the opening of a fault or secret will but tend to
quench affection, and not to get assistance from another, it is wisdom
to conceal it; but that is not the ordinary case. The opening your
hearts to each other is necessary to your mutual help.

_Direct._ X. Avoid as much as may be contrariety of opinions in
religion: for if once you be of different judgments in matters which
you take to be of great concernment, you will be tempted to disaffect,
contemn, or undervalue one another; and so to despise the help which
you might receive: and if you fall into several sects, and follow
several teachers, you will hardly avoid that contention and confusion,
which will prove a great advantage to the devil, and a great
impediment to your spiritual good.

_Direct._ XI. If difference in judgment in matters of religion do
fall out between you, be sure that it be managed with holiness,
humility, love, and peace, and not with carnality, pride,
uncharitableness, or contention. 1. To manage your differences holily,
is to take God for the judge, and to refer the matter to his word, and
to aim at his glory, and the pleasing of his will, and to use his
means for the concord of your judgments; which is, to search the
Scripture, and consult with the faithful, able pastors of the church,
and soberly and patiently to debate the case, and pray together for
the illumination of the Spirit. On the contrary your differences are
carnally managed, when carnal reasons breed or feed them; and when you
run after this or that sect or party, through admiration of the
persons; and value not the persons for the sake of truth, but measure
truth by the opinion and estimate of the persons; and when you end
your differences by selfish, carnal principles and respects: and hence
it comes to pass, that if the husband be a papist or otherwise
erroneous, it is two to one that the wife becometh of his erroneous
religion, not because of any cogent evidence, but because he is of the
stronger parts, and hath constant opportunity to persuade, and because
love prepareth and inclineth her to be of his opinion: and thus man,
instead of God, is the master of the faith of many. 2. Your
differences are managed in humility, when you have a just and modest
suspicion of your own understandings, and debate and practise your
differences with meekness and submission; and do not proudly overvalue
all your own apprehensions, and despise another's reasons as if they
were not worthy of your consideration. 3. Your differences must be so
far managed in love, not that mere love should make you turn to
another's opinion be it true or false, but that you must be very
desirous to be of the same mind, and if you cannot, must take it for a
sore affliction, and must bear with the tolerable mistakes of one
another, as you bear with your own infirmities; that they cool not
love, nor alienate your hearts from one another, but only provoke you
to a tender, healing, compassionate care, and endeavour to do each
other good. 4. And you must manage your differences in quietness,
without any passionate wranglings and dissensions, that no bitter
fruits may be bred by it in your families, among yourselves. Thus all
true christians must manage their differences in matters of religion;
but married persons above all.

_Direct._ XII. Be not either blindly indulgent to each other's
faults, nor yet too censorious of each other's state, lest Satan
thereby get advantage to alienate your affections from one another. To
make nothing of the faults of those whom you love, is to love them
foolishly, to their hurt, and to show that it is not for their virtues
that you love them. And to make too great a matter of one another's
faults, is but to help the tempter to quench your love, and turn your
hearts from one another. Thus many good women that have husbands that
are guilty of too much coldness in religion, or worldly-mindedness, or
falling into ill company, and mispending their time, are first apt to
overlook all possibility of any seed of grace that may be in them, and
then looking on them as ungodly persons, to abate too much their love
and duty to them. There is great wisdom and watchfulness requisite in
this case, to keep you from being carried into either of the extremes.

_Direct._ XIII. If you are married to one that is indeed an
infidel, or an ungodly person, yet keep up all the conjugal love which
is due for the relation's sake. Though you cannot love them as true
christians, yet love them as husband or wife. Even heathens are bound
to love those that are thus related to them. The apostle hath
determined the case, 1 Cor. vii. that christians must perform their
duties to husbands or wives that are unbelievers. The faults of
another discharge you not from your duty. As Satan hath deceived some
by separating principles about church communion, to deny almost all
God's ordinances to many, to whom they are due; so doth he thus
deceive some persons in family relations, and draw them from the
duties which they owe for one another's good.

_Direct._ XIV. Join together in frequent and fervent prayer.
Prayer doth force the mind into some composedness and sobriety, and
affecteth the heart with the presence and majesty of God. Pray also
for each other when you are in secret, that God may do that work which
you most desire, upon each other's hearts.

_Direct._ XV. Lastly, Help each other by an exemplary life. Be
that yourselves which you desire your husband or wife should be; excel
in meekness, and humility, and charity, and dutifulness, and
diligence, and self-denial, and patience, as far as you do excel in
profession of religion. St. Peter saith, that even those that will not
be won by the word, may be won without it by the conversation of their
wives, 1 Pet. iii. 1; that is, the excellency of religion may so far
appear to them, by the fruits of it in their wives' conversations, as
may first incline them to think well and honourably of it, and so to
inquire into the nature and reason of it, and to hearken to their
wives; and all this without the public ministry. A life of
undissembled holiness, and heavenliness, and self-denial, and
meekness, and love, and mortification, is a powerful sermon; which, if
you be constantly preaching before those that are still near you, will
hardly miss of a good effect. Works are more palpably significant and
persuasive, than words alone.

_Direct._ VII. Another great conjugal duty is, to be helpful to
each other for the health and comfort of their bodies.[17] Not to
pamper each other's flesh, or cherish the vices of pride, or sloth, or
gluttony, or voluptuousness in each other; but to further the health
and cheerfulness of the body, to fit it for the service of the soul
and God. Such cherishing or pleasing of the flesh, which is unlawful
in each person to himself, is also unlawful (ordinarily) to use to
another. But such as you may use for yourself, you may use also for
your wife or husband. Not to live above your estates, nor as servants
to your guts, to serve the appetites of one another by delicious fare;
but to be careful of that health, without which your lives will be
made unserviceable or uncomfortable; and this must proceed from such a
love to one another as you have to yourselves; and that both in time
of health and sickness.

1. In health, you must be careful to provide for each other (not so
much pleasing as) wholesome food, and to keep each other from that
which is hurtful to your health; dissuading each other from gluttony
and idleness, the two great murderers of mankind. If the bodies of the
poor, in hunger, and cold, and nakedness must be relieved, much more
those that are become as your own flesh.

2. Also in sickness, you are to be tenderly regardful of each other;
and not to be sparing of any costs or pains, by which the health of
each other may be restored, or your souls confirmed, and your comforts
cherished.[18] You must not loathe the bodies of each other in the
most loathsome sickness, nor shun them through loathing; no more than
you would do your own.[19] "A friend loveth at all times, and a
brother is born for adversity," Prov. xvii. 17; much more those that
are so nearly bound for sickness and health, till death shall separate
them. It is an odious sin to be weary of a sick or suffering friend,
and desirous that God would take them, merely that you may be eased of
the trouble. And usually such persons do meet with such measure as
they measured to others; and those that they look for help and comfort
from, will perhaps be as weary of them, and as glad to be rid of them.

_Direct._ VIII. Another duty of husbands and wives is, to be
helpful to each other in their worldly business and estates.[20] Not
for worldly ends, nor with a worldly mind; but in obedience to God,
who will have them labour, as well as pray, for their daily bread, and
hath determined that in the sweat of their brows they shall eat their
bread; and that six days they shall labour and do all that they have
to do; and that he that will not work must not eat. The care of their
affairs doth lie upon them both, and neither of them must cast it off
and live in idleness (unless one of them be an idiot, or so witless,
as to be unfit for care, or so sick or lame, as to be unfit for

_Direct._ IX. Also you must be careful of the lawful honour and
good names of one another.[21] You must not divulge, but conceal, the
dishonourable failings of each other; (as Abigail, except in any case
compassion or justice require you to open them to any one for a cure,
or to clear the truth). The reputation of each other must be as dear
to you as your own. It is a sinful and unfaithful practice of many,
both husbands and wives, who among their companions are opening the
faults and infirmities of each other, which they are bound in
tenderness to cover. As if they perceived not that by dishonouring one
another, they dishonour themselves. Love will cover a multitude of
faults, 1 Pet. iv. 8. Nay, many disaffected, peevish persons will
aggravate all the faults of one another behind their backs to
strangers; and sometimes slander them, and speak more than is truth.
Many a man hath been put to clear his good name from the slanders of a
jealous or a passionate wife: and an open enemy is not capable of
doing one so much wrong as she that is in his bosom, because she will
easily be believed, as being supposed to know him better than any

_Direct._ X. It is also a great part of the duty of husbands and
wives, to be helpful to one another in the education of their
children, and in the government of the inferiors of the family.[22]
Some men cast all the care of the children while they are young upon
their wives; and many women by their passion and indiscretion do make
themselves unfit to help their husbands in the government either of
their children or servants: but this is one of the greatest parts of
their employment. As to the man's part, to govern his house well, it
is a duty unquestionable. And it is not to be denied of the wife.
1 Tim. v. 14, "I will that the younger women marry, bear children,
guide the house." Bathsheba taught Solomon, Prov. xxxi. 1. Abigail
took better care of Nabal's house than he did himself. They that have
a joint interest, and are one flesh, must have a joint part in
government; although their power be not equal, and one may better
oversee some business, and the other, other business; yet in their
places, they must divide the care, and help each other; and not as it
is with many wicked persons, who are the most unruly part of the
family themselves, and the chiefest cause that it is ungoverned and
ungodly, or one party hindereth the other from keeping order, or doing
any good.

_Direct._ XI. Another part of their duty is, to help each other
in works of charity and hospitality.[23] While they have opportunity
to do good to all, but especially to them of the household of faith;
and to sow to the Spirit, that of the Spirit they may reap everlasting
life: yea, to sow plentifully that they may reap plentifully, Gal. vi.
that if they are able their houses may afford relief and entertainment
for the needy; especially for Christ's servants for their Master's
sake; who hath promised that "He that receiveth a prophet in the name
of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward: and he that receiveth a
righteous man in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a
righteous man's reward: and whosoever shall give to drink unto one of
these little ones, a cup of cold water, in the name of a disciple,
verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward," Matt. x.
41, 42. The woman of Shunem lost nothing by the entertainment of
Elisha, when she said to her husband, "Behold, now I perceive that
this is an holy man of God which passeth by us continually: let us
make him a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall, and let us set
for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and
it shall be when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither,"
2 Kings iv. 9, 10. But now how common is it for the people to think all
too little for themselves; and if one of them be addicted to works of
charity, the other is covetous and is always hindering them.

_Direct._ XII. Lastly, it is a great part of the duty of husbands
and wives, to be helpers and comforters of each other in order to a
safe and happy death. 1. In the time of health, you must often and
seriously remember each other of the time when death will make the
separation; and live together in your daily converse, as those that
are still expecting the parting hour. Help to awaken each other's
souls, to make ready all those graces which then will prove necessary,
and to live in a constant preparation for your change. Reprove all
that in one another, which wilt be unsavoury and ungrateful to your
review at death. If you see each other dull and slow in your
preparations, or to live in vanity, worldliness, or sloth, as if you
had forgotten that you must shortly die, stir up one another to do all
that without delay which the approach of such a day requireth. 2. And
when death is at hand, oh then what abundance of tenderness, and
seriousness, and skill, and diligence, is needful for one, that hath
the last office of love to perform, to the departing soul of so near a
friend! Oh then what need will there be of your most wise, and
faithful, and diligent help! When nature faileth, and the pains of
flesh divert the mind, and temptations are strongest while the body is
weakest; when a languishing body, and a doubting, fearful, troubled
mind, do call for your compassion and help, oh then what skill and
holy seriousness will be necessary! Oh what a calamity is it to have a
carnal, unsanctified husband or wife, which will neither help you to
prepare for death, nor can speak a serious word of counsel or comfort
to you at a dying hour: that can do nothing but stand by and weep over
you; but have not a sensible word to say, about the life that you are
going to, nor about the duty of a departing soul, nor against the
temptations and fears which then may be ready to overwhelm you. They
that are utterly unprepared and unfit to die themselves, can do little
to prepare or help another. But they that live together as the heirs
of heaven, and converse on earth as fellow-travellers to the land of
promise, may help and encourage the souls of one another, and joyfully
part at death, as expecting quickly to meet again in life eternal.

Were it not lest I be over-tedious, I should next speak of the manner
how husbands and wives must perform their duties to each other: as, 1.
That it should be all done in such entire love, as maketh the case of
one another to you as your own. 2. That therefore all must be done in
patience and mutual forbearance. 3. And in familiarity, and not with
strangeness, distance, sourness, nor affected compliment. 4. And in
secrecy; where I should have showed you in what cases secrecy may be
broken, and in what not. 5. And in confidence of each other's
fidelity, and not in suspicion, jealousy, and distrust. 6. And in
prudence, to manage things aright, and to foresee and avoid
impediments and inconveniencies. 7. And in holiness, that God may be
the first and last, and all in all. 8. And in constancy, that you
cease not your duties for one another until death. But necessary
abbreviation alloweth me to say no more of these.

[9] Gen. ii. 18; Prov. xviii. 22.

[10] Matt. v. 31, 32; xix. 9; John viii. 4, 5, of adultery; Heb.
xiii. 4; Prov. xxii. 14; Hos. iv. 2, 3; Prov. ii. 17; 1 Cor. vi. 15, 19;
Mal. ii. 15; Prov. vi. 32, 35; Deut. xxiii. 2; Lev. xxi. 9; xviii. 28;
Numb. xxv. 9; Jer. v. 7-9; Gen. vi. 2, 3, &c.; xxxiv. 27; 2 Sam. xiii.
22; xii. 10; Judg. xx. 10; Jer. xxiii. 14.

[11] Rev. xxi. 8; Prov. v. 20; 2 Pet. ii. 10, 12, 14. Read before part
i. ch. 8. part 5. tit. 1.

[12] 1 Kings xi. 4; Acts v. 2. Eve is Adam's tempter. Job ii. 9.

[13] 1 Thess. v. 11; Heb. xii. 15; Col. ii. 19; Eph. iv. 16; 1 Cor.
vii. 5; Gen. xxxv. 2, 4; Lev. xix. 17.

[14] Numb. xvi. 27, 32.

[15] Gen. ii. 18.

[16] Matt. xxvii. 19.

[17] Rom. xiii. 13, 14; Eph. v. 29, 31; Gen. ii. 18.

[18] Gen. xxvii. 14.

[19] Eph. v. 29, 31; Job xix. 17; ii. 9.

[20] See Prov. xxxi; Gen. xxxi. 40; Tit. ii. 5; 1 Tim. v. 14; v. 8.

[21] 1 Sam. xxv. 25; Matt. xviii. 16; i. 19; 2 Sam. xi. 7; Prov. xxxi.
28; Eccl. vii. 3; Prov. xxii. 1; 2 Sam. vi. 20; Gen. ix. 22, 25.

[22] 1 Tim. ii. 4, 12; Gen. xviii. 19; xxxv. 2, &c.; Josh. xxiv. 14;
Psal. ci.

[23] Heb. xiii. 2; Gen. xviii. 6, &c.; Rom. xii. 13; 2 Cor. ix. 6;
Luke xvi. 9; 1 Tim. iii. 2; v. 10; Prov. xi. 20, 28; Neh. viii. 1;
Prov. xix. 17; Job xxix. 13; xxxi. 20; Acts xx. 35.



HE that will expect duty or comfort from his wife, must be faithful in
doing the duty of a husband. The failing of yourselves in your own
duty, may cause the failing of another to you, or at least will some
other way as much afflict you, and will be bitterer to you in the end,
than if a hundred failed of their duty to you. A good husband will
either make a good wife, or easily and profitably endure a bad one. I
shall therefore give you directions for your own part of duty, as that
which your happiness is most concerned in.

_Direct._ I. The husband must undertake the principal part of the
government of the whole family, even of the wife herself. And
therefore, 1. He must labour to be fit and able for that government
which he undertaketh. This ability consisteth, 1. In holiness and
spiritual wisdom, that he may be acquainted with the end to which he
is to conduct them, and the rule by which he is to guide them, and
the principal works which they are to do. An ungodly, irreligious man
is both a stranger and an enemy to the chiefest part of family
government. 2. His ability consisteth in a due acquaintance with the
works of his calling, and the labours in which his servants are to be
employed. For he that is utterly unacquainted with their business,
will be very unfit to govern them in it: unless he commit that part of
their government to his wife, or a steward that is acquainted with it.
3. And he must be acquainted both with the common temper and
infirmities of mankind, that he may know how much is to be borne with,
and also with the particular temper, and faults, and virtues of those
whom he is to govern. 4. And he must have prudence, to direct himself
in all his carriage to them; and justice, to deal with every one as
they deserve: and love, to do them all the good he can, for soul and
body. II. And being thus able, he must make it his daily work, and
especially be sure that he govern himself well, that his example may
be part of his government of others.

_Direct._ II. The husband must so unite authority and love, that
neither of them may be omitted or concealed, but both be exercised and
maintained. Love must not be exercised so imprudently as to destroy
the exercise of authority; and authority must not be exercised over a
wife so magisterially and imperiously, as to destroy the exercise of
love. As your love must be a governing love, so your commands must all
be loving commands. Lose not your authority; for that will but disable
you from doing the office of a husband to your wife, or of a master to
your servants. Yet must it be maintained by no means inconsistent with
conjugal love; and therefore not by fierceness or cruelty, by
threatenings or stripes (unless by distraction or loss of reason, they
cease to be uncapable of the carriage otherwise due to a wife). There
are many cases of equality in which authority is not to be exercised;
but there is no case of inequality or unworthiness so great, in which
conjugal love is not to be exercised; and therefore nothing must
exclude it.

_Direct._ III. It is the duty of husbands to preserve the
authority of their wives, over the children and servants of the
family. For they are joint governors with them over all the inferiors.
And the infirmities of women are apt many times to expose them to
contempt: so that servants and children will be apt to slight them,
and disobey them, if the husband interpose not to preserve their
honour and authority. Yet this must be done with such cautions as
these: 1. Justify not any error, vice, or weakness of your wives. They
may be concealed and excused as far as may be, but never owned or
defended. 2. Urge not obedience to any unlawful command of theirs. No
one hath authority to contradict the law of God, or disoblige any from
his government. You will but diminish your own authority with persons
of any understanding, if you justify any thing that is against God's
authority. But if the thing commanded be lawful, though it may have
some inconveniences, you must rebuke the disobedience of inferiors,
and not suffer them to slight the commands of your wives, nor to set
their own reason and wills against them, and say, We will not do it.
How can they help you in government, if you suffer them to be

_Direct._ IV. Also you must preserve the honour as well as the
authority of your wives. If they have any dishonourable infirmities,
they are not to be mentioned by children and servants. As in the
natural body we cover most carefully the most dishonourable parts,
(for our comely parts have no need,) 1 Cor. xii. 23, 24, so must it
be here. Children or servants must not be suffered to carry themselves
contemptuously or rudely towards them, nor to despise them, or speak
unmannerly, proud, or disdainful words to them. The husband must
vindicate them from all such injury and contempt.

_Direct._ V. The husband is to excel the wife in knowledge, and
be her teacher in the matters that belong to her salvation. He must
instruct her in the word of God, and direct her in particular duties,
and help her to subdue her own corruptions, and labour to confirm her
against temptations; if she doubt of any thing that he can resolve her
in, she is to ask his resolution, and he to open to her at home the
things which she understood not in the congregation, 1 Cor. xiv. 35.
But if the husband be indeed an ignorant sot, or have made himself
unable to instruct his wife, she is not bound to ask him in vain, to
teach her that which he understandeth not himself. Those husbands that
despise the word of God, and live in wilful ignorance, do not only
despise their own souls, but their families also; and making
themselves unable for their duties, they are usually themselves
despised by their inferiors: for God hath told such in his message to
Eli, 1 Sam. ii. 30, "Them that honour me, I will honour; and they that
despise me, shall be lightly esteemed."

_Direct._ VI. The husband must be the principal teacher of the
family. He must instruct them, and examine them, and rule them about
the matters of God, as well as his own service, and see that the
Lord's day and worship be observed by all that are within his gates.
And therefore he must labour for such understanding and ability as is
necessary hereunto. And if he be unable or negligent, it is his sin,
and will be his shame. If the wife be wiser and abler, and it be cast
upon her, it is his dishonour; but if neither of them do it, the sin,
and shame, and suffering, will be common to them both.

_Direct._ VII. The husband is to be the mouth of the family, in
their daily conjunct prayers unto God. Therefore he must be able to
pray, and also have a praying heart. He must be as it were the priest
of the household; and therefore should be the most holy, that he may
be fit to stand between them and God, and to offer up their prayers to
him. If this be cast on the wife, it will be his dishonour.

_Direct._ VIII. The husband is to be the chief provider for the
family (ordinarily). It is supposed that he is most able for mind and
body, and is the chief disposer of the estate. Therefore he must be
specially careful, that wife and children want nothing that is fit for
them, so far as he can procure it.

_Direct._ IX. The husband must be strongest in family patience;
bearing with the weakness and passions of the wife; not so as to make
light of any sin against God, but so as not to make a great matter of
any frailty as against himself, and so as to preserve the love and
peace which is to be as the natural temper of their relation.

_Direct._ X. The manner of all these duties must also be
carefully regarded. As, 1. That they be done in prudence, and not with
folly, rashness, or inconsiderateness. 2. That all be done in conjugal
love and tenderness, as over one that is tender, and the weaker
vessel; and that he do not teach, or command, or reprove a wife, in
the same imperious manner as a child or servant. 3. That due
familiarity be maintained, and that he keep not at a distance and
strangeness from his wife. 4. That love be confident, without base
suspicions, and causeless jealousies. 5. That all be done in
gentleness, and not in passion, roughness, and sourness. 6. That there
be no unjust and causeless concealment of secrets, which should be
common to them both. 7. That there be no foolish opening of such
secrets to her as may become her snare, and she is not able to bear or
keep. 8. That none of their own matters, which should be kept secret,
be made known to others. His teaching and reproving her, should be for
the most part secret. 9. That he be constant, and not weary of his
love or duty. This briefly of the manner.



THE wife that expecteth comfort in a husband, must make conscience of
all her own duty to her husband: for though it be his duty to be kind
and faithful to her, though she prove unkind and froward, yet, 1. Men
are frail, and apt to fail in such difficult duties as well as women.
2. And it is so ordered by God, that comfort and duty shall go
together, and you shall miss of comfort, if you cast off duty.

_Direct._ I. Be specially loving to your husbands: your natures
give you the advantage in this; and love feedeth love. This is your
special requital for all the troubles that your infirmities put them

_Direct._ II. Live in a voluntary subjection and obedience to
them. If their softness or yieldingness cause them to relinquish their
authority; and for peace they are fain to let you have your wills; yet
remember that it is God that hath appointed them to be your heads and
governors. If they are so silly as to be unable, you should not have
chosen such to rule you as are unfit; but having chosen them, you must
assist them with your better understanding, in a submissive, and not a
ruling, masterly way. A servant that hath a foolish master, may help
him without becoming master. And do not deceive yourselves by giving
the bare titles of government to your husbands, when you must needs in
all things have your own wills; for this is but mockery, and not
obedience. To be subject and obedient, is to take the understanding
and will of another to govern you, before (though not without) your
own; and to make your understandings and wills to follow the conduct
of his that governeth you. Self-willedness is contrary to subjection
and obedience.

_Direct._ III. Learn of your husbands as your appointed teachers,
and be not self-conceited and wise in your own eyes, but ask of them
such instructions as your case requireth. 1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35, "Let
your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted to
them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also
saith the law: and if they will learn any thing, let them ask their
husbands at home." (Unless when the husband is so ignorant as to be
utterly unable: which is his sin and shame. For it is vain to ask that
of them which they know not.)

_Direct._ IV. Set yourselves seriously to amend all those faults
which they reprove in you. Do not take it ill to be reproved: swell
not against it, as if they did you harm or wrong: it is a very ill
sign to "hate reproof," Prov. xii. 1; x. 17; xv. 10, 31, 32; xvii. 10.
And what doth their government of you signify, if you will not amend
the faults that are reproved in you, but continue impenitent and
grudge at the reproof? It is a miserable folly to desire to be
flattered and soothed by any, but especially by one that is bound to
be faithful to you, and whose intimacy should make you as ready to
hear of your faults from him, as to be acquainted with them
yourselves; and especially when it concerneth the safety or benefit of
your souls.

_Direct._ V. Honour your husbands according to their superiority.
Behave not yourselves towards them with unreverence and contempt, in
titles, speeches, or any behaviour: if the worth of their persons
deserve not honour, yet their place deserveth it. Speak not of their
infirmities to others behind their backs; as some twattling gossips
use to do, that know not that their husbands' dishonour is their own,
and that to open it causelessly to others, is their double shame.
Those that silently hear you, will tell others behind your back, how
foolishly and shamefully you spake to them against your husbands. If
God have made your nearest friend an affliction to you, why should you
complain to one that is farther off? (Unless it be to some special,
prudent friend, in case of true necessity, for advice.)

_Direct._ VI. Live in a cheerful contentedness with your
condition; and take heed of an impatient, murmuring spirit. It is a
continual burden to a man to have an impatient, discontented wife.
Many a poor man can easily bear his poverty himself, that yet is not
able to bear his wife's impatience under it. To hear her night and day
complaining, and speaking distrustfully, and see her live
disquietedly, is far heavier than his poverty itself. If his wife
could bear it as patiently as he, it would be but light to him. Yea,
in case of suffering for righteousness' sake, the impatience of a wife
is a greater trial to a man than all the suffering itself; and many a
man that could easily have suffered the loss of his estate, or
banishment, or imprisonment for Christ, hath betrayed his conscience,
and yielded to sin, because his wife hath grieved him with impatiency,
and could not bear what he could bear. Whereas a contented, cheerful
wife doth help to make a man cheerful and contented in every state.

_Direct._ VII. In a special manner strive to subdue your
passions, and to speak and do all in meekness and sobriety. The rather
because that the weakness of your sex doth usually subject you more to
passions than men; and it is the common cause of the husband's
disquietness, and the calamity of your relation. It is the vexation
and sickness of your own minds; you find not yourselves at ease within
as long as you are passionate. And then it is the grief and
disquietness of your husbands: and being provoked by you, they provoke
you more; and so your disquietness increaseth, and your lives are made
a weary burden to you. By all means therefore keep down passion, and
keep a composed, patient mind.

_Direct._ VIII. Take heed of a proud and contentious disposition;
and maintain a humble, peaceable temper. Pride will make you turbulent
and unquiet with your husbands, and contentious with your neighbours:
it will make you foolish and ridiculous, in striving for honour and
precedency, and envying those that exceed you, or go before you. In a
word, it is the devil's sin, and would make you a shame and trouble to
the world. But humility is the health, the peace, and the ornament of
the soul. 1 Pet. iii. 4, "A meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of
God of great price." (Write those words in your bedchamber on the
walls where they may be daily before your eyes.) Col. iii. 12, "Put on
as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy, kindness,
humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another,
and forgiving one another." If this be the duty of all to one another;
much more of wives to husbands. 1 Pet. v. 5, "Yea, all of you be
subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for God
resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." Proud women oft
ruin their husbands' estates, and quietness, and their own souls.

_Direct._ IX. Affect not a childish gaudiness of apparel, nor a
vain, or costly, or troublesome curiosity in any thing about you.
Uncleanness and nastiness is a fault, but very small in comparison of
this pride and curiosity. It dishonoureth your sex and selves to be so
childish, as to over-mind such toyish things. If you will needs be
proud, be proud of somewhat that is of worth and proper to a man: to
be proud of reason, or wisdom, or learning, or goodness, is bad
enough; but this is to be proud of something. But to be proud of
fashions and fine clothes, of spots and nakedness, of sumptuous
entertainments and neat rooms, is to be proud of your shame, and not
your virtue; and of that which you are not so much as commendable for.
And the cost, the time (oh precious time!) which themselves and their
servants must lay out, upon their dressings, entertainments, and other
curiosities, will be the shame and sorrow of their souls, whenever God
shall open their eyes, and make them know what time was worth, and
what greater matters they had to mind. If vain and empty persons like
yourselves, commend you for your bravery or curiosity, so will not any
judicious, sober person whose commendation is much worth. And yet I
must here with grief take notice, that when some few that in other
matters seem wise and religious, are themselves a little tainted with
this childish curiosity and pride, and let fall words of disparagement
against those whose dress, and dwellings, and entertainments, are not
so curious as their own; this proves the greatest maintainer of this
sin, and the most notable service to the devil: for then abundance
will plead this for this sinful curiosity and pride, and say, I shall
else be accounted base or sordid; even such and such will speak
against me. Take heed, if you will needs be such yourselves, that you
prate not against others that are not as vain and curious as you: for
the nature of man is more prone to pride and vanity, than to humility,
and the improvement of their time and cost in greater matters; and
while you think that you speak but against indecency, you become the
devil's preachers, and do him more service than you consider of. You
may as wisely speak against people for using to eat or drink too
little, when there is not one of a multitude that liveth not
ordinarily in excess; and so excess will get advantage by it.

_Direct._ X. Be specially careful in the government of your
tongues; and let your words be few, and well considered before you
speak them. A double diligence is needful in this, because it is the
most common miscarriage of your sex: a laxative, running tongue, is so
great a dishonour to you, that I never knew a woman very full of
words, but she was the pity of her friends, and the contempt of
others; who behind her back will make a scorn of her, and talk of her
as some crack-brained or half-witted person; yea, though your talk be
good, it will be tedious and contemptible, if it be thus poured out,
and be too cheap. Prov. x. 19, "In the multitude of words there
wanteth not sin, but he that refraineth his lips is wise." You must
answer in judgment for your "idle words," Matt. xii. 36. You will take
it ill to be accounted fools, and made the derision of those that talk
of you: judge by the Scripture what occasion you give them. Eccles. v.
3, 7, "A dream cometh by the multitude of business, and a fool's voice
is known by a multitude of words: in the multitude of dreams, and many
words, there are divers vanities." Eccles. x. 12-14, "The words of a
wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up
himself. The beginnings of the words of his mouth is foolishness; and
the end of his talk is mischievous madness: a fool also is full of
words." Whereas a woman that is cautelous and sparing of her words, is
commonly reverenced and supposed to be wise. So that if you had no
higher design in it, but merely to be well thought of, and honoured by
men, you can scarcely take a surer way, than to let your words be few
and weighty; though the avoiding of sin, and unquietness, should
prevail with you much more.

_Direct._ XI. Be willing and diligent in your proper part, of the
care and labour of the family. As the primary provision of maintenance
belongeth most to the husband, so the secondary provision within doors
belongeth specially to the wife. Read over and over the thirty-first
chapter of Proverbs. Especially the care of nursing your own children,
and teaching them, and watching over them when they are young; and
also watching over the family at home, when your husbands are abroad,
is your proper work.

[Sidenote: May a wife give without the husband's consent.]

_Direct._ XII. Dispose not of your husband's estate, without his
knowledge and consent. You are not only to consider, whether the work
be good that you lay it out upon, but what power you have to do it.
_Quest._ But may a woman give nothing, nor lay out nothing in the
house, without her husband's consent? _Answ._ 1. If she have his
general or implicit consent, it may suffice; that is, if he allow her
to follow her judgment; or, if he commit such a proportion to her
power, to do what she will with it. Or, if she know that, if he knew
it, he would not be against it. 2. Or, if the law, or his consent, do
give her any propriety in any part of his estate, or make her a
joint-proprietor, she may proportionably dispose of it in a necessary
case.[24] The husband is considerable, either as a proprietor, or as
her governor. As a proprietor, he only may dispose of the estate,
where he is the sole proprietor: but where consent or the law of the
land doth make the woman joint-proprietor, she is not disabled from
giving for want of a propriety. But then no law exempteth her from his
government; and therefore she is not to give any thing in a way of
disobedience, though it be her own: except when he forbiddeth that
which is her duty, or which he hath no power to forbid. So that in
case of joint-propriety she may give without him, so be it she exceed
not her proportion; and also if it be in a case of duty, where he may
not hinder her; as to save the lives of the poor in extreme necessity,
famine, or imprisonment, or the like. 3. But if the thing be wholly
her own, excepted from his propriety, and she be sole proprietor, then
she need not ask his consent at all, any other way than as he is her
guide, to direct her to the best way of disposing of it: which, if he
forbid her instead of directing her to it, she is not thereby
excusable before God, for the abusing of her trust and talents. 4. I
conceive that _ad aliquid_ as to certain absolutely necessary
uses, the very relation maketh the woman as a joint-proprietor:[25] as
if her husband will not allow her such food and raiment as is
necessary to preserve the lives and health of herself, and all her
children; she is bound to do it without or against his will, (if she
can, and if it be not to a greater hurt, and the estate be his own,
and he be able,) rather than let her children contract such diseases,
as apparently will follow to the hazard of their lives; yea, and to
save the life of another that in famine is ready to perish: for she
is not as a stranger to his estate. But out of these cases, if a wife
shall secretly waste or give, or lay it out on bravery, or vanity, or
set her wit against her husband's; and because she thinks him too
strait or penurious, therefore she will dispose of it without his
consent; this is thievery, disobedience, and injustice.

_Quest._ I. But as the case standeth with us in England, hath the
wife a joint-propriety, or not?

_Answ._ Three ways (at least) she may have a propriety. 1. By a
reserve of what was her own before; which (however some question it)
may in some cases be done in their agreement at marriage. 2. By the
law of the land. 3. By the husband's consent or donation. What the law
of the land saith in case, I leave to the lawyers; but it seemeth to
me, that his words at marriage, "With all my worldly goods I thee
endow," do signify his consent to make her a joint-proprietor: and his
consent is sufficient to the collation of a title to that which was
his own. Unless any can prove, that law or custom doth otherwise
expound the words, (as an empty formality,) and that at the contract,
this was or should be known to her to be the sense. And the laws
allowing the wife the third part upon death or separation, doth
intimate a joint-propriety before.

_Quest._ II. If the husband live upon unlawful gain, as cheating,
stealing, robbing by the high-way, &c. is not the wife guilty as a
joint-proprietor, in retaining such ill-gotten goods, if she know it?
And is she bound to accuse her husband, or to restore such goods?

_Answ._ Her duty is first to admonish her husband of his sin and
danger, and endeavour his repentance, in the mean time disclaiming all
consent and reception of the goods. And if she cannot prevail for his
repentance, restitution, and reformation, she hath a double duty to
perform; the one is to help them to their goods whom he hath injured
and robbed (by prudent and just means); the other is to prevent his
robbing of others for the time to come. But how these must be done is
the great difficulty.

1. If she foresee (or may do) that either by her husband's displeasure,
or by the cruel revenge of the injured party, the hurt of discovering
the fraud or robbery will be greater than the good, then I think that
she is not bound to discover it. But by some secret, indirect way, to
help the owner to his own; if it may be done without a greater hurt.

2. To prevent his sin and other men's future suffering by him, she
seemeth to me to be bound to reveal her husband's sinful purposes to
the magistrate, if she can no other way prevail with him to forbear.
My reasons are, because the keeping of God's law, and the law of the
land, and the public order and good, and the preventing of our
neighbours' hurt by robbery or fraud, and so the interest of honesty
and right, is of greater importance than any duty to her husband, or
preservation of her own peace, which seemeth to be against it. But
then I must suppose that she liveth under a magistrate, who will take
but a just revenge. For if she know the laws and magistrate to be so
unjust, as to punish a fault with death, which deserveth it not, she
is not to tell such a magistrate, but to preserve her neighbours'
safety by some other way of intimation.

If any one think that a wife may in no case accuse a husband, to the
hazard of his life or estate, let them, 1. Remember what God obliged
parents to do against the lives of incorrigible children, Deut. xxi. 2.
And that the honour of God, and the lives of our neighbours, should
be preferred before the life of one offender, and their estates before
his estate alone. 3. And that the light of reason telleth us, that a
wife is to reveal a treason against the king, which is plotted by a
husband; and therefore also the robbing of the king's treasury, or
deceiving him in any matter of great concernment. And therefore in due
proportion, the laws and common good, and our neighbours' welfare, are
to be preserved by us, though against the nearest relation; only all
due tenderness of the life and reputation of the husband is to be
preserved, in the manner of proceedings, as far as will stand with the
interest of justice, and the common good.

_Quest._ III. May the wife go hear sermons when the husband
forbiddeth her?

_Answ._ There are some sermons which must not be heard; there are
some sermons which may be heard, and must, when no greater matter doth
divert us; and there are some sermons which must be heard, whoever
shall forbid it. Those which must not be heard are such as are
heretical, (ordinarily,) and such as are superfluous, and at such
times when greater duties call us another way. Those which may be
heard, are either occasional sermons, or such lectures as are neither
of necessity to ourselves, nor yet to the owning of God and his public
worship. One that liveth where there are daily or hourly sermons, may
hear them as oft as suiteth with their condition, and their other
duties; but in this case, the command of a husband, with the
inconveniences that will follow disobeying him, may make it a duty to
forbear. But that we do sometimes publicly own God's worship and
church ordinances, and receive ministerial teaching for our
edification, is of double necessity; that we deny not God, and that we
betray not, or desert not, our own souls. And this is especially
necessary (ordinarily) on the Lord's days, which are appointed for
these necessary uses. And here the husband hath no power to forbid the
wife, nor should she (formally) obey his prohibition. But yet as
affirmatives bind not _ad semper_, and no duty is a duty at every
season; so it is possible that on the Lord's day it may extraordinarily
become a duty to forbear sermons or sacraments, or other public
worship. And when any greater duty calleth us away; as to quench a
fire; and to save men's lives; and to save our country from an enemy
in the time of war; and to save our own lives, (if we knew the
assembly would be assaulted,) or to preserve our liberty for greater
service. Christ set us to learn the meaning of this lesson, I will
have mercy and not sacrifice. In such a case also a mischief may be
avoided, even from a husband, by the omission of a duty at that time,
(when it would be no duty,) for this is but a transposition of it. But
this is but an act of prudent self-preservation, and not an act of
formal obedience.

_Quest._ IV. If a woman have a husband so incorrigible in vice,
as that by long trial she findeth that speaking against it maketh him
worse, and causeth him to abuse her, is she bound to continue her
dissuasion, or to forbear?

_Answ._ That is not here a duty which is not a means to do some
good; and that is no means which we know beforehand is like, if not
certain, to do no good, or to do more harm. We must not by weariness,
laziness, or censoriousness, take a case to be desperate, which is
not; nor must we so easily desist with so near a relation, as with a
stranger or a neighbour. But yet Christ's indulgence of not exposing
ourselves to be torn by dogs, and his word trodden in the dirt by
swine, doth extend to relations as well as others. But then you must
observe that she that is justly discouraged from sharp reproofs, may
yet have hope that gentle and humble persuasions may succeed. And she
that is discouraged from open, or frequent, or plain reproofs; may yet
have hope that secret, or more seldom, or more distant and general
admonitions may not be lost. And she that is discouraged from one way
of doing him good, may yet have many other ways (as to set some
minister whom he reverenceth to speak to him; to put some suitable
book into his hand, &c.) And she that is discouraged at the present,
ought not totally to despair, but may make some more attempts
hereafter; either in some sickness, or time of mortality, or danger,
or affliction, or when possibly time and consideration may have better
prepared him to hear. And in the mean time she is to continue all
conjugal affection and duty, and a convincing, winning course of life;
which may prove the most effectual reproof.

_Quest._ V. What should a woman do in controverted cases of
religion, when her judgment and her husband's differ?

_Answ._ 1. Some make a controversy of that which with all good
christians or sober persons should be past controversy; and some
controversies are indeed of real, if not insuperable difficulty. 2.
Some controversies are about important, necessary things, and some
about things of lesser moment. 3. Some are about mere opinion, or
other men's practice, and some about our own practice.

(1.) In all differences of judgment the wife must exercise such
self-suspicion, and modesty, and submission, as may signify her due
sense, both of the weakness of her sex, and of her subjection to her
husband. (2.) In things indifferent she must in practice obey her
husband; unless when any superior powers do forbid it, and that in
cases where their authority is greater. (3.) She may modestly give her
reasons of dissent. (4.) She must not turn it to an unpeaceable
quarrel, or matter of disaffection, or pretend any differences against
her conjugal duties. (5.) In dark and difficult cases she should not
be peremptory, and self-conceited, nor importunate; but if she have
faith (that is, some more knowledge than he) have it to herself, in
quietness and silence; and seek further information lest she err. (6.)
She must speak no untruth, nor commit any known sin, in obedience to
her husband's judgment. (7.) When she strongly suspecteth it to be
sin, she must not do it merely in obedience to him, but seek for
better satisfaction. For she is sure that he hath no power to force
her to sin; and therefore hath no more assurance of his power in that
point than she hath of the lawfulness of the thing. (8.) But if she
prove to be in the error, she will sin on either side, till she
recover. (9.) If a husband be in dangerous error, she must wisely, but
unweariedly, seek his reformation, by herself or others.

_Cases about Divorce and Separation._

_Quest._ I. Is it lawful for husband and wife to be long absent
from each other? and how long, and in what cases?

_Answ._ It is lawful to be absent either in the case of prayer,
which Paul mentioneth, or in case of the needful affairs of their
estates, so long as may be no danger to either of them as to mental or
corporal incontinency, nor to any other hurt, which will be greater
than the benefits of their absence, nor cause them to be guilty of the
neglect of any real duty. Therefore the cases of several persons do
much differ according to the different tempers of their minds, and
bodies, and affairs. He that hath a wife of a chaste, contented,
prudent temper, may stay many months or years in some cases, when, all
things considered, it tendeth to more good than hurt: as lawyers by
their callings are often necessitated to follow their callings at
terms and assizes; and merchants may he some years absent in some
weighty cases. But if you ask, whether the getting of money be a
sufficient cause? I answer, that it is sufficient to those whose
families must be so maintained, and their wives are easily continent,
and so the good of their gain is greater than any loss or danger that
cometh by it. But when covetousness puts them upon it needlessly, and
their wives cannot bear it, or in any case when the hurt that is like
to follow is greater than the good, it is unlawful.

_Quest._ II. May husband and wife be separated by the bare
command of princes, if they make a law that in certain cases they
shall part: as suppose it to ministers, judges, or soldiers?

_Answ._ You must distinguish between the bare command or law, and
the reasons and ends of that command: and so between a lawful command
and an unlawful. In some cases a prince may justly command a
separation for a time, or such as is like to prove for perpetuity, and
in some cases he may not. If a king command a separation without
sufficient cause, so that you have no motive but his authority, and
the question is, whether formally you are bound to obedience: I
answer, No; because what God hath joined no man hath power to put
asunder. Nor can either prince, pope, or prelate dispense with your
marriage covenant. In such a case it is as a private act, because God
hath given them no authority for it; and therefore their commands or
laws are nullities: only if a prince say, he that will be a judge or a
justice shall part with his wife, it is lawful to leave the office,
and so obey the law. But if he say to all ministers of the gospel, you
shall forsake your wives or your ministry, they should do neither,
because they are divinely obliged to both, and he hath no power to
forbid them, or to dispense with that obligation.

But it may fall out, that the ends of the command may be so great as
to make it lawful, and then it must be obeyed both formally for the
authority of the prince, and finally for the reasons of the thing. As
if the safety of the commonwealth should require, that married persons
be soldiers, and that they go far off; yea, though there be no
likelihood of returning to their families, and withal they cannot take
their wives with them, without detriment or danger to their service;
in this case men must obey the magistrate, and are called by God to
forsake their wives, as if it were by death. Nor is it any violation
of their marriage covenant, because that was intended or meant to
suppose the exception of any such call of God, which cannot be
resisted when it will make a separation.

_Quest._ III. May ministers leave their wives to go abroad to
preach the gospel?

_Answ._ If they can neither do God's work as well at home, nor
yet take their wives with them, nor be excused from doing that part of
service, by other men's doing it who have no such impediment; they may
and must leave their wives to do it. In this case, the interest of the
church, and of the souls of many, must overrule the interest of wife
and family. Those pastors who have fixed stations, must neither leave
flock nor family without necessity, or a clear call from God. But in
several cases a preacher may be necessitated to go abroad; as in case
of persecution at home, or of some necessity of foreign or remote
parts, which cannot be otherwise supplied; or when some door is opened
for the conversion of infidels, heretics, or idolaters, and none else
so fit to do that work, or none that will. In any such case, when the
cause of God in any part of the world _consideratis considerandis_
doth require his help, a minister must leave wife and family, yea,
and a particular flock, to do it. For our obligations are greatest to
the catholic church, and public good; and the greatest good must be
preferred. If a king command a subject to be an ambassador in the
remotest part of the world, and the public good withal requireth it,
if wife and children cannot be taken with him, they must be left
behind, and he must go. So must a consecrated minister of Christ for
the service of the church refuse all entanglements, which would more
hinder his work than the contrary benefits will countervail. And this
exception also was supposed in the marriage contract, that family
interests and comforts must give way to the public interest, and to
God's disposals.

And therefore it is, that ministers should not rashly venture upon
marriage, nor any woman that is wise venture to marry a minister, till
she is first well prepared for such accidents as may separate them for
a shorter or a longer time.

_Quest._ IV. May one leave a wife to save his life, in case of
personal persecution or danger?

_Answ._ Yes, if she cannot be taken with him; for the means which
are for the helps of life, do suppose the preservation of life itself:
if he live, he may further serve God, and possibly return to his wife
and family; but if he die, he is removed from them all.

_Quest._ V. May husband and wife part by mutual consent, if they
find it be for the good of both?

_Answ._ If you speak not of dissolving the bond of their
relations, but withdrawing as to cohabitation, I answer, 1. It is not
to be done upon passions and discontents, to feed and gratify each
other's vicious distempers or interest; for then both the consent and
the separation are their sins: but if really such an uncurable
unsuitableness be between them, as that their lives must needs be
miserable by their cohabitation, I know not but they may live asunder;
so be it, that (after all other means used in vain) they do it by
deliberate, free consent. But if one of them should by craft or
cruelty constrain the other to consent, it is unlawful to the
constrainer. Nor must impatience make either of them ungroundedly
despair of the cure of any unsuitableness which is really curable. But
many sad instances might be given, in which cohabitation may be a
constant calamity to both, and distance may be their relief, and
further them both in God's service, and in their corporal concernments.
Yet I say not that this is no sin; for their unsuitableness is their
sin: and God still obligeth them to lay down that sin which maketh
them unsuitable; and therefore doth not allow them to live asunder, it
being still their duty to live together in love and peace: and saying
they cannot, freeth them not from the duty. But yet that moral
impotency may make such a separation as aforesaid, to be a lesser sin
than their unpeaceable cohabitation.

_Quest._ VI. May not the relation itself be dissolved by mutual,
free consent, so that they may marry others?

_Answ._ As to the relation, they will still be related as those
that did covenant to live in conjugal society, and are still allowed
it and obliged to it, if the impediments were but removed; and it is
but the exercise which is hindered. And they may not consent to marry
others: 1. Because the contracted relation was for life, Rom. vii. 2,
and God's law accordingly obligeth them. Marriages _pro tempore_,
dissoluble by consent, are not of God's institution, but contrary to
it. 2. They know not but their impediments of cohabitation may be
removed. 3. If he that marrieth an innocent divorced woman commit
adultery, by parity of reason (with advantage) it will be so here. If
you say, what if either of them cannot contain? I answer, he that
will not take heed before, must be patient afterwards, and not make
advantage of his own folly, to the fulfilling of his lusts. If he will
do what he ought to do in the use of all means, he may live chastely.
And, 4. The public interest must overrule the private, and that which
would be unjust in private respects, may for public good become a
duty: it seemeth unjust here with us, that the innocent country should
repay every man his money, who between sun and sun is robbed on the
road; and yet because it will engage the country to watchfulness, it
is just, as for the common good: and he that consenteth to be a member
of a commonwealth, doth thereby consent to submit his own right to the
common interest. So here, if all should have leave to marry others
when they consent to part, it would bring utter confusion, and it
would encourage wicked men to abuse their wives, till they forced them
to consent. Therefore some must bear the trouble which their folly
hath brought on themselves, rather than the common order should be

_Quest._ VII. Doth adultery dissolve the bond of marriage, or
not? Amesius saith it doth: Mr. Whateley having said so, afterward
recanted it by the persuasion of other divines.

_Answ._ The difference is only about the name, and not about the
matter itself. The reason which moved Dr. Ames is, because the injured
person is free; therefore not bound: therefore the bond is dissolved.
The reason which Mr. Whateley could not answer is, because it is not
fornication, but lawful, if they continue their conjugal familiarity
after adultery: therefore that bond is not dissolved. In all which it
is easy to perceive, that one of them taketh the word _vinculum_
or bond in one sense, that is, "for their covenant obligation to
continue their relation and mutual duties." And the other taketh it in
another sense, that is, "for the relation itself as by it they are
allowed conjugal familiarity, if the injured person will continue it."
The first _vinculum_ or bond is dissolved, the second is not. In
the matter we are agreed, that the injured man may put away an
adulterous wife (in a regular way) if he please; but withal that he
may continue the relation if he please. So that his continued consent
shall suffice to continue it a lawful relation and exercise; and his
will, on the contrary, shall suffice to dissolve the relation, and
disoblige him. (Saving the public order.)

_Quest._ VIII. But is not the injured party at all obliged to
separate, but left free?

_Answ._ Considering the thing simply in itself, he is wholly free
to do as he please. But for all that accidents or circumstances may
make it one man's duty to divorce, and another's duty to continue the
relation; according as it is like to do more good or hurt. Sometimes
it may be a duty to expose the sin to public shame, for the prevention
of it in others; and also to deliver oneself from a calamity. And
sometimes there may be so great repentance, and hope of better effects
by forgiving, that it may be a duty to forgive: and prudence must lay
one thing with another, to discern on which side the duty lieth.

_Quest._ IX. Is it only the privilege of the man, that he may put
away an adulterous wife? or also of the woman, to depart from an
adulterous husband? The reason of the doubt is, because Christ
mentioneth the man's power only, Matt. v. and xix.

_Answ._ 1. The reason why Christ speaketh only of the man's case
is, because he was occasioned only to restrain the vicious custom of
men's causeless putting away their wives; having no occasion to
restrain women from leaving their husbands. Men having the rule did
abuse it to the woman's injury; which Christ forbiddeth. And as it is
an act of power, it concerneth the man alone; but as it is an act of
liberty, it seemeth to me to be supposed, that the woman hath the same
freedom; seeing the covenant is violated to her wrong. And the apostle
in 1 Cor. vii. doth make the case of the man and of the woman to be
equal in the point of infidelity and desertion. I confess that it is
unsafe extending the sense of Scripture beyond the importance of the
words upon pretence of a parity of reason (as many of the perjured do
by Lev. xxx. in case of vows); lest man's deceitful wit should make a
law to itself as divine, upon pretence of interpreting God's laws: but
yet when the plain text doth speak but of one case, (that is, of men's
putting away their wives,) he that will thence gather an exclusion of
the woman's liberty, doth seem by addition to be the corrupter of the
law. And where the context plainly showeth a parity of reason, and
that reason is made the ground of the determination in the text, there
it is safe to expound the law extensively accordingly. Surely the
covenant of marriage hath its conditions on both parts: and some of
those conditions are necessary to the very being of the obligations,
though others are but needful to the well-being of the parties in that
state. And therefore though putting away be only the part of the
husband, as being the ruler, and usually the owner of the habitation,
yet departing may be the liberty of the wife. And I know no reason to
blame those countries, whose laws allow the wife to sue out a divorce,
as well as the husband.

_Quest._ X. May the husband put away the wife without the
magistrate, or the wife depart from the husband, without a public
legal divorce or license?

_Answ._ Where the laws of the land do take care for the prevention of
injuries, and make any determination in the case, (not contrary to the
law of God,) there it is a christian's duty to obey those laws:
therefore if you live under a law which forbiddeth any putting away or
departing, without public sentence or allowance, you may not do it
privately upon your own will. For the civil governors are to provide
against the private injuries of any of the subjects. And if persons
might put away or depart at pleasure, it would introduce both injury
and much weakness into the world. But where the laws of men do leave
persons to their liberty in this case, they need then to look no
further than to the laws of God alone. But usually the sentence of the
civil power is necessary only in case of appeal, or complaint of the
party injured; and a separation may be made without such a public
divorce, so that each party may make use of the magistrate to right
themselves if wronged. As, if the adultery be not openly known, and
the injuring party desire rather to be put away privily than publicly,
(as Joseph purposed to do by Mary,) I see not but it is lawful so to
do, in case that the law, or the necessity of making the offender an
example, require not the contrary, nor scandal or other accidents
forbid it not. See Grotius's learned notes on Matt. v. 31, 32, and on
Matt. xix. and 1 Cor. vii. about these questions.

_Quest._ XI. Is not the case of sodomy or buggery a ground for
warrantable divorce as well as adultery?

_Answ._ Yes, and seemeth to be included in the very word itself
in the text, Matt. v. 31, 32, which signifieth uncleanness; or at
least is fully implied in the reason of it. See Grotius ibid. also of

_Quest._ XII. What if both parties commit adultery? may either of
them put away the other, or depart; or rather must they forgive each

_Answ._ If they do it both at once, they do both forfeit the
liberty of seeking any compensation for the injury; because the injury
is equal (however some would give the advantage to the man): but if
one commit adultery first, and the other after; then either the last
offender knew of the first, or not. If not, then it seemeth all one as
if it had been done at once. But if yea, then they did it either on a
supposition of the dissolution of the matrimonial obligation, as being
loosed from the first adulterer, or else upon a purpose of continuing
in the first relation: in the latter case, it is still all one as if
it had been done by them at once, and it is a forfeiture of any
satisfaction: but in the former case, though the last adulterer did
sin, yet being before set at liberty, it doth not renew the
matrimonial obligation: but yet, if the first offender desire the
continuance of it, and the return of the first injured party; shame
and conscience of their own sin, will much rebuke them, if they plead
that injury for continuance of the separation.

_Quest._ XIII. But what if one do purposely commit adultery, to
be separated from the other?

_Answ._ It is in the other's power and choice, whether to be
divorced and depart, or not, as they find the good or evil consequents

_Quest._ XIV. Doth not infidelity dissolve the relation or
obligation; seeing there is no communion between light and darkness, a
believer and an infidel?

_Answ._ It maketh it unlawful for a believer to marry an infidel
(except in case of true necessity); because they can have no communion
in religion. But it nullifieth not a marriage already made, nor maketh
it lawful to depart or divorce; because they may have mere conjugal
communion still. As the apostle purposely determineth the case, in
1 Cor. vii.

_Quest._ XV. Doth not the desertion of one party disoblige the

_Answ._ 1. It must be considered what is true desertion. 2.
Whether it be a desertion of the relation itself for continuance, or
only a temporary desertion of cohabitation, or congress. 3. What the
temper and state of the deserted party is. 1. It is sometimes easy,
and sometimes hard to discern which is the deserting party. If the
wife go away from the husband unwarrantably, though she require him to
follow her, and say that she doth not desert him, yet it may be taken
for a desertion, because it is the man who is to rule and choose the
habitation. But if the man go away, and the woman refuse to follow
him, it is not he that is therefore the deserter.

_Quest._ But what if the man have not sufficient cause to go
away, and the woman hath great and urgent reasons not to go? As
suppose that the man will go away in hatred of an able preacher, and
good company, and the woman if she follow him, must leave all those
helps, and go among ignorant, profane, heretical persons, or infidels;
which is the deserter then?

_Answ._ If she be one that is either like to do good to the
infidels, heretics, or bad persons whom they must converse with, she
may suppose that God calleth her to receive good by doing good; or if
she be a confirmed, well-settled christian, and not very like, either
by infection, or by want of helps, to be unsettled and miscarry, it
seemeth to me the safest way to follow her husband. She must lose
indeed God's public ordinances by following him: but it is not
imputable to her, as being out of her choice; and she must lose the
benefits and neglect the duties of the conjugal ordinance, if she do
not follow him. But if she be a person under such weaknesses, as make
her removal apparently dangerous as to her perseverance and salvation,
and her husband will by no means be prevailed with to change his mind,
the case then is very difficult, what is her duty, and who is the
deserter. Nay, if he did but lead her into a country where her life
were like to be taken away, (as under the Spanish Inquisition,) unless
her suffering were like to be as serviceable to Christ as her life.
Indeed these cases are so difficult, that I will not decide them; the
inconveniencies (or mischiefs rather) are great which way soever she
take: but I most incline to judge as followeth: viz. It is
considerable first, what marriage obligeth her to, simply of its own
nature; and what it may do next, by any superadded contract, or by the
law or custom of the land, or any other accident. As to the first, it
seemeth to me, that every one's obligation is so much first to God,
and then to their own souls and lives; that marriage as such, which is
for mutual help, as a means to higher ends, doth not oblige her to
forsake all the communion of saints, and the place or country where
God is lawfully worshipped, and to lose all the helps of public
worship, and to expose her soul both to spiritual famine and
infection, to the apparent hazard of her salvation (and perhaps bring
her children into the same misery); nor hath God given her husband any
power to do her so much wrong, nor is the marriage covenant to be
interpreted to intend it. But what any human law or contract, or other
accident which is of greater public consequence, may do more than
marriage of itself, is a distinct case which must have a particular

_Quest._ But what if the husband would only have her follow him,
to the forsaking of her estate, and undoing herself and children in
the world (as in the case of Galeacius Carracciolus, Marquis of
Vicum); yea, and if it were without just cause?

_Answ._ If it be for greater spiritual gain, (as in his case,)
she is bound to follow him; but if it be apparently foolish, to the
undoing of her and her children without any cause, I see not that
marriage simply obligeth a woman so to follow a fool in beggary, or
out of a calling, or to her ruin. But if it be at all a controvertible
case, whether the cause be just or not, then the husband being
governor must be judge. The laws of the land are supposed to be just,
which allow a woman by trustees to secure some part of her former
estate from her husband's disposal; much more may she beforehand
secure herself and children from being ruined by his wilful folly: but
she can by no contract except herself from his true government.

Yet still she must consider, whether she can live continently in his
absence; otherwise the greatest sufferings must be endured, to avoid

2. Moreover, in all these cases, a temporary removal may be further
followed, than a perpetual transmigration, because it hath fewer evil

And if either party renounce the relation itself, it is a fuller
desertion, and clearer discharge of the other party, than a mere
removal is.

_Quest._ XVI. What if a man or wife know that the other in hatred
doth really intend by poison, or other murder, to take away their
life? May they not depart?

_Answ._ They may not do it upon a groundless or rash surmise; nor
upon a danger which by other lawful means may be avoided (as by
vigilancy, or the magistrate, or especially by love and duty). But in
plain danger, which is not otherwise like to be avoided, I doubt not,
but it may be done, and ought. For it is a duty to preserve our own
lives as well as our neighbours'. And when marriage is contracted for
mutual help, it is naturally implied, that they shall have no power to
deprive one another of life (however some barbarous nations have given
men power of the lives of their wives). And killing is the grossest
kind of desertion, and a greater injury and violation of the marriage
covenant than adultery; and may be prevented by avoiding the
murderer's presence, if that way be necessary. None of the ends of
marriage can be attained, where the hatred is so great.

_Quest._ XVII. If there be but a fixed hatred of each other, is
it inconsistent with the ends of marriage? And is parting lawful in
such a case?

_Answ._ The injuring party is bound to love, and not to separate;
and can have no liberty by his or her sin. And to say, I cannot love,
or my wife or husband is not amiable, is no sufficient excuse; because
every person hath somewhat that is amiable, if it be but human nature;
and that should have been foreseen before your choice. And as it is no
excuse to a drunkard to say, I cannot leave my drink; so it is none to
an adulterer, or hater of another, to say, I cannot love them: for
that is but to say, I am so wicked that my heart or will is against my
duty. But the innocent party's case is harder (though commonly both
parties are faulty, and therefore both are obliged to return to love,
and not to separate). But if hatred proceed not to adultery, or
murder, or intolerable injuries, you must remember that marriage is
not a contract for years, but for life, and that it is possible that
hatred may be cured (how unlikely soever it may be). And therefore you
must do your duty, and wait, and pray, and strive by love and goodness
to recover love, and then stay to see what God will do; for mistakes
in your choice will not warrant a separation.

_Quest._ XVIII. What if a woman have a husband that will not
suffer her to read the Scriptures, nor go to God's worship public or
private, or that so beateth or abuseth her, as that it cannot be
expected that human nature should be in such a case kept fit for any
holy action; or if a man have a wife that will scold at him when he is
praying or instructing his family, and make it impossible to him to
serve God with freedom, or peace and comfort.

_Answ._ The woman must (at necessary seasons, though not when she
would) both read the Scriptures, and worship God, and suffer patiently
what is inflicted on her. Martyrdom may be as comfortably suffered
from a husband, as from a prince. But yet if neither her own love, and
duty, and patience, nor friends' persuasion, nor the magistrate's
justice, can free her from such inhuman cruelty, as quite disableth
her for her duty to God and man, I see not but she may depart from
such a tyrant. But the man hath more means to restrain his wife from
beating him, or doing such intolerable things; either by the
magistrate, or by denying her what else she might have, or by his own
violent restraining her, as belongeth to a conjugal ruler, and as
circumstances shall direct a prudent man. But yet in case that
unsuitableness or sin be so great, that after long trial there is no
likelihood of any other cohabitation, but what will tend to their
spiritual hurt and calamity, it is their lesser sin to live asunder by
mutual consent.

_Quest._ XIX. May one part from a husband or wife that hath the
leprosy, or that hath the French pox by their adulterous practices,
when the innocent person's life is endangered by it?

_Answ._ If it be an innocent person's disease, the other must
cohabit, and tenderly cherish and comfort the diseased; yea, so as
somewhat to hazard their own lives; but not so as apparently to cast
them away, upon a danger not like to be avoided, unless the other's
life or some greater good be like to be purchased by it.

But if it be the pox of an adulterer, the innocent party is at liberty
by the other's adultery; and the saving of their own lives, doth add
thereto. But without adultery, the disease alone will not excuse them
from cohabitation, though it may from congress.

_Quest._ XX. Who be they that may or may not marry again when
they are parted?

_Answ._ 1. They that are released by divorce upon the others'
adultery, sodomy, &c. may marry again. 2. The case of all the rest is
harder. They that part by consent, to avoid mutual hurt, may not marry
again; nor the party that departeth for self-preservation, or for the
preservation of estate, or children, or comforts, or for liberty of
worship, as aforesaid; because it is but an intermission of conjugal
fruition, and not a total dissolution of the relation; and the
innocent party must wait to see whether there be any hope of a return.
Yea, Christ seemeth to resolve it, Matt. v. 31, 32, that he is an
adulterer that marrieth the innocent party that is put away; because
the other living in adultery, their first contracted relation seemeth
to be still in being. But Grotius and some others think, that Christ
meaneth this only of the man that over-hastily marrieth the innocent
divorced woman, before it be seen whether he will repent and reassume
her; but how can that hold, if the husband after adultery free her?
May it not therefore be meant, that the woman must stay unmarried in
hope of his reconciliation, till such time as his adultery with his
next married wife doth disoblige her. But then it must be taken as a
law for christians; for the Jew that might have many wives,
disobligeth not one by taking another.

A short desertion must be endured in hope; but in case of a very long,
or total desertion or rejection, if the injured party should have an
untamable lust, the case is difficult. I think there are few but by
just means may abstain. But if there be any that cannot, (after all
means,) without such trouble as overthroweth their peace, and plainly
hazardeth their continence, I dare not say that marriage in that case
is unlawful to the innocent.

_Quest._ I. Is it lawful to suffer or tolerate, yea, or contribute to
the matter of known sin in a family, ordinarily, in wife, child, or
servant; and consequently in any other relations?

_Answ._ In this some lukewarm men are apt to run into the extreme
of remissness; and some unexperienced young men, that never had
families, into the extreme of censorious rigour, as not knowing what
they talk of.

1. It is not lawful either in family, commonwealth, church, or any
where, to allow of sin, nor to tolerate it, or leave it uncured, when
it is truly in our power to cure it. 2. So that all the question is,
when it is or is not in our power? Concerning which, I shall answer by
some instances.

I. It is not in our power to do that which we are naturally unable to
do. No law of God bindeth us to impossibilities. And natural impotency
here is found in these several cases. 1. When we are overmatched in
strength; when wife, children, or servants are too strong for the
master of the house, so that he cannot correct them, nor remove them.
A king is not bound to punish rebellious or offending subjects, when
they are too strong for him, and he is unable, either by their numbers
or other advantages. If a pastor censure an offender, and all the
church be against the censure, he cannot procure it executed, but must
acquiesce in having done his part, and leave their guilt upon

2. When the thing to be done is an impossibility, at least moral. As
to hinder all the persons of a family, church, or kingdom from ever
sinning: it is not in their own power so far to reform themselves;
much less in a ruler so far to reform them: even as to ourselves,
perfection is but desired in this life, but not attained; much less
for others.

3. When the principal causes co-operate not with us, and we are but
subservient moral causes; we can but persuade men to repent, believe,
and love God and goodness. We cannot save men without and against
themselves. Their hearts are out of our reach; therefore in all these
cases we are naturally unable to hinder sin.

II. It is not in our power to do any thing which God forbiddeth us.
That which is sinful is to be accounted out of our power in this
sense. To cure the sin of a wife, by such cruelty or harshness as is
contrary to our conjugal relation and to the office of necessary love,
is out of our power, because forbidden, as contrary to our duty; and
so of other.

III. Those actions are out of our power, which are acts of higher
authority than we have. A subject cannot reform by such actions as are
proper to the sovereign, nor a layman by actions proper to the pastor,
for want of authority. So a schoolmaster cannot do that which is
proper to a patient; nor the master of a family that which is proper
to the magistrate (as to punish with death, &c.)

IV. We have not power to do that which a superior power forbiddeth us
(unless it be that which God indispensably commandeth us). The wife
may not correct a child or servant, or turn him away, when the husband
forbiddeth it. Nor the master of a family so punish a sin, as the king
and laws forbid on the account of the public interest.

V. We have not power to do that for the cure of sin, which is like to
do more hurt than good; yea, perhaps, to prove a pernicious mischief.
If my correcting a servant would make him kill me, or set my house on
fire, I may not do it. If my sharp reproof is like to do more hurt, or
less good, than milder dealing, if I have reason to believe that
correction will make a servant worse, I am not to use it; because we
have our power to edification, and not to destruction. God hath not
tied us just to speak such and such words, or to use this or that
correction, but to use reproofs and corrections only in that time,
measure, and manner as true reason telleth us is likest to attain
their end. To do it, if it would do never so much hurt, with a _fiat
justitia etsi peruit mundus_, is to be righteous over-much.

Yea, great and heinous sins may be endured in families sometimes, to
avoid a greater hurt, and because there is no other means to cure
them. For instance, a wife maybe guilty of notorious pride, and of
malignant deriding the exercises of religion, and of railing, lying,
slandering, backbiting, covetousness, swearing, cursing, &c. and the
husband be necessitated to bear it; not so far as not to reprove it,
but so far as not to correct her, much less cure her. Divines use to
say, that it is unlawful for a man to beat his wife: but the reason is
not, that he wanteth authority to do it; but, 1. Because he is by his
relation obliged to a life of love with her; and therefore must so
rule, as tendeth not to destroy love: and, 2. Because it may often do
otherwise more hurt to herself and the family, than good. It may make
her furious and desperate, and make her contemptible in the family,
and diminish the reverence of inferiors, both to wife and husband, for
living so uncomely a life.

_Quest._ But is there any case in which a man may silently bear
the sins of a wife, or other inferior, without reproof, or urging them
to amend?

_Answ._ Yes: in case, 1. That reproof hath been tried to the
utmost: 2. And it is most evident by full experience, that it is like
to do a great deal more hurt than good.

The rule given by Christ, extendeth as well to families, as to others;
not to cast pearls before swine, nor to give that which is holy to
dogs; because it is more to the discomposure of a man's own peace, to
have a wife turn again, and all to rend him, than a stranger. As the
church may cease admonishing a sinner, after a certain time of
obstinacy, when experience hath ended their present hopes of bringing
the person to repentance, and thereupon may excommunicate him; so a
husband may be brought to the same despair with a wife, and may be
disobliged from ordinary reproof, though the nearness of the relation
forbid him to eject her. And in such a case where the family and
neighbourhood know the intractableness and obstinacy of the wife, it
is no scandal, nor sign of approbation, or neglect of duty, for a man
to be silent at her sin; because they look upon her as at present
incorrigible by that means: and it is the sharpest reproof to such a
one, to be unreproved, and to be let alone in her sin; as it is God's
greatest judgment on a sinner, to leave him to himself, and say, Be
filthy still.

And there are some women whose fantasies and passions are naturally so
strong, as that it seemeth to me that in many cases they have not so
much as natural free will or power to restrain them; but if in all
other cases they acted as in some, I should take them for mere brutes,
that had no true reason; they seem naturally necessitated to do as
they do. I have known the long profession of piety, which in other
respects hath seemed sincere, to consist in a wife, with such
unmastered, furious passion, that she could not before strangers
forbear throwing what was in her hand in her husband's face, or
thrusting the burning candle into his face; and slandering him of the
filthiest sins; and when the passion was over, confess all to be
false, and her rage to be the reason of her speech and actions; and
the man, though a minister, of more than ordinary wit and strength,
yet fain to endure all without returns of violence till her death.
They that never knew such a case by trial, can tell how all might be
cured easily; but so cannot they that are put upon the cure.

And there are some other women of the same uncurable strength of
imagination and passion, who in other respects are very pious and
prudent too, and too wise and conscionable to wrong their husbands
with their hands or tongues, who yet are utterly unable to forbear any
injury of the highest nature to themselves; but are so utterly
impatient of being crossed of their wills, that it would in all
likelihood cast them into melancholy or madness, or some mortal
sickness: and no reason signifieth any thing to debate such passions.
In case of pride, or some sinful custom, they are not able to bear
reproof, and to be hindered in the sin, without apparent danger of
distraction or death. I suppose these cases are but few; but what to
do in such cases when they come, is the present question.

Nay, the question is yet harder, Whether to avoid such inconvenience,
one may contribute towards another's sin, by affording them the means
of committing it?

_Answ._ 1. No man may contribute to sin as sin, formally
considered. 2. No man may contribute to another's sin, for sinful
ends, nor in a manner forbidden and sinful in himself. 3. No man may
contribute to another's sin, when he is not naturally or morally
necessitated to it, but might forbear it.

But as it is consistent with the holiness of God to contribute those
natural and providential mercies, which he knoweth men will abuse to
sin, so is it in some cases with us his creatures to one another. God
giveth all men their lives and time, their reason and free will,
which he knoweth they will abuse to sin: he giveth them that meat, and
drink, and riches, and health, and vigour of senses, which are the
usual means of the sin and undoing of the world.

_Object._ But God is not under any law or obligation as we are.

_Answ._ His own perfection is above all law, and will not consist
with a consent or acting of any thing that is contrary to holiness and
perfection. But this I confess, that many things are contrary to the
order and duty of the creature, which are not contrary to the place
and perfection of the Creator.

1. When man doth generate man, he knowingly contributeth to a sinful
nature and life; for he knoweth that it is unavoidable, and that which
is born of the flesh is flesh.[26] And yet he sinneth not by so doing,
because he is not bound to prevent sin by the forbearance of

2. When one advanceth another to the office of magistracy, ministry,
&c. knowing that he will sin in it, he contributeth accidentally to
his sin; but so as he is not culpable for so doing.

3. A physician hath to do with a froward and intemperate patient, who
will please his appetite, or else if he be denied, his passion will
increase his disease and kill him. In this case he may lawfully say,
let him take a little, rather than kill him, though by so doing he
contribute to his sin; because it is but a not hindering that which he
cannot hinder without a greater evil. The sin is only his that
chooseth it.

And it is specially to be noted, that that which physically is a
positive act, and contributing to the matter of the sin, yet morally
is but a not hindering the sin by such a withholding of materials as
we are not obliged to withhold (which is the case also of God's
contributing to the matter of sin). If the physician in such a case,
or the parent of a sick and froward child, do actually give them that
which they sin in desiring, that giving is indeed such a furthering of
the sin as cannot be lawfully forborne, lest we do hurt; and therefore
is morally but a not hindering it, when we cannot hinder it.

4. If a man have a wife so proud that she will go mad, or disturb him
and his family by rage, if her pride be not gratified by some sinful
fashions, curiosities, or excesses, if he give her money or materials
to do it with, to prevent her distraction, it is but like the foresaid
case of the physician, or parents of a sick child.

In these cases I will give you a rule to walk by for yourselves, and a
caution how to judge of others.

1. Be sure that you leave nothing undone that you can lawfully do, for
the cure and prevention of others' sins; and that it be not for want
of zeal against sin, through indifference or slothfulness, that you
forbear to hinder it, but merely through disability. 2. See that in
comparing the evil that is like to follow the impedition, you do not
mistake, but be sure that it be indeed a greater evil which you avoid
by not hindering that particular sin. 3. See therefore that your own
carnal interest weigh not with you more than there is cause; and that
you account not mere fleshly suffering a greater evil than sin. 4. But
yet that dishonour which may be cast upon religion, and the good of
souls, which may be hindered by a bodily suffering, may come into the
comparison. 5. And your own duties to men's bodies (as to save men's
lives, or health, or peace) are to be numbered with spiritual things,
and the materials of a sin may in some cases be administered for the
discharge of such a duty. If you knew a man would die if you give him
not hot water, and he will be drunk if you do give it him; in this
case you do but your duty, and he commits the sin: you do that which
is good, and are not bound to forbear it, because he will turn it to
sin, unless you see that the hurt by that sin is like to be so great
(besides the sin itself) as to discharge you from the duty of doing

2. As to others, (1.) Put them on to their duty and spare not. (2.)
But censure them not for the sins of their families, till you are
acquainted with all the case. It is usual with rash and carnal
censurers, to cry out of some godly ministers or gentlemen, that their
wives are as proud, and their children and servants as bad as others.
But are you sure that it is in their power to remedy it? Malice and
rashness judge at a distance of things which men understand not, and
sin in speaking against sin.

_Quest._ II. If a gentleman, e.g. of £500, or £1000, or £2000, or
£3000, per annum, could spare honestly half his yearly rents, for his
children and for charitable uses, and his wife be so proud and
prodigal, that she will waste it all in housekeeping and excesses, and
will rage, be unquiet, or go mad, if she be hindered, what is a man's
duty in such a case?

_Answ._ It is but an instance of the forementioned case, and
must thence be answered. 1. It is supposed that she is uncurable by
all wise and rational means of persuasion. 2. He is wisely to compare
the greatness of the evil that will come by crossing her, with the
good that may come by the improvement of his estate, and the
forbearance of those excesses. If her rage, or distraction, or
unquietness were like by any accident to do more hurt than his estate
may do good, he might take himself disabled from hindering the sin;
and though he give her the money which she mispendeth, it is not
sinning, but only not hindering sin when he is unable. 3. Ordinarily
some small or tolerable degree of sinful waste and excess may be
tolerated to avoid such mischiefs as else would follow; but not too
much. And though no just measure can be assigned, at what rate a man
may lawfully purchase his own peace, and consequently his liberty to
serve God, or at what rate he may save his wife from madness, or some
mortal mischiefs of her discontent, yet the case must be resolved by
such considerations; and a prudent man, that knoweth what is like to
be the consequent on both sides, may and must accordingly determine
it. 4. But ordinarily the life, health, or preservation of so proud,
luxurious, and passionate a woman, is not worth the saving at so dear
a rate, as the wasting of a considerable estate, which might be used
to relieve a multitude of the poor, and perhaps to save the lives of
many that are worthier to live. And, (1.) A man's duty to relieve the
poor and provide for his family is so great, (2.) And the account that
all men must give of the use of their talents is so strict, that it
must be a great reason indeed, that must allow him to give way to very
great wastefulness. And unless there be somewhat extraordinary in the
case, it were better deal with such a woman as a bedlam, and if she
will be mad, to use her as the mad are used, than for a steward of God
to suffer the devil to be served with his Master's goods.

Lastly, I must charge the reader to remember, that both these cases
are very rare; and it is but few women that are so liable to so great
mischiefs, which may not be prevented at cheaper rates; and therefore
that the indulgence given in these decisions, is nothing to the
greater part of men, nor is to be extended to ordinary cases. But
commonly men every where sin by omission of a stricter government of
their families, and by Eli's sinful indulgence and remissness; and
though a wife must be governed as a wife, and a child as a child, yet
all must be governed as well as servants. And though it may be truly
said, that a man cannot hinder that sin, which he cannot hinder but by
sin, or by contributing to a greater hurt, yet it is to be concluded,
that every man is bound to hinder sin whenever he is able lawfully to
hinder it.

And by the same measures, tolerations, or not hindering errors and
sins about religion in church and commonwealth, is to be judged of:
none must commit them or approve them; nor forbear any duty of their
own to cure them; but that is not a duty which is destructive, which
would be a duty when it were a means of edifying.

[24] See Dr. Gouge on Family Relations, who saith the most against
women's giving.

[25] 2 Sam. xxv. 18, 29, 30; Prov. xxxi. 11-13, 20; Hos. vi. 6; Matt.
ix. 13; xii. 7; 2 Kings iv. 9, 22.

[26] John iii. 6; Eph. ii. 2, 3.



OF how great importance the wise and holy education of children is, to
the saving of their souls, and the comfort of their parents, and the
good of church and state, and the happiness of the world, I have
partly told you before; but no man is able fully to express. And how
great that calamity is, which the world is fallen into through the
neglect of that duty, no heart can conceive; but they that think what
a case the heathen, infidel, and ungodly nations are in, and how rare
true piety is grown, and how many millions must lie in hell for ever,
will know so much of this inhuman negligence, as to abhor it.

_Direct._ I. Understand and lament the corrupted and miserable
state of your children, which they have derived from you, and
thankfully accept the offers of a Saviour for yourselves and them, and
absolutely resign, and dedicate them to God in Christ in the sacred
covenant, and solemnize this dedication and covenant by their
baptism.[27] And to this end understand the command of God for
entering your children solemnly into covenant with him, and the
covenant mercies belonging to them thereupon. Rom. v. 12, 16-18; Eph.
ii. 1, 3; Gen. xvii. 4, 13, 14; Deut. xxix. 10-12; Rom. xi. 17, 20;
John iii. 3, 5; Matt. xix. 13, 14.

You cannot sincerely dedicate yourselves to God, but you must dedicate
to him all that is yours, and in your power; and therefore your
children, as far as they are in your power. And as nature hath taught
you your power and your duty to enter them in their infancy into any
covenant with man, which is certainly for their good; (and if they
refuse the conditions when they come to age, they forfeit the
benefit;) so nature teacheth you much more to oblige them to God for
their far greater good, in case he will admit them into covenant with
him. And that he will admit them into his covenant, (and that you
ought to enter them into it,) is past doubt, in the evidence which the
Scripture giveth us, that from Abraham's time till Christ it was so
with all the children of his people; nay, no man can prove that before
Abraham's time, or since, God had ever a church on earth, of which the
infants of his servants (if they had any) were not members dedicated
in covenant to God, till of late times that a few began to scruple the
lawfulness of this. As it is a comfort to you, if the king would
bestow upon your infant children, (who were tainted by their father's
treason,) not only a full discharge from the blot of the offence, but
also the titles and estates of lords, though they understand none of
this till they come to age; so is it much more matter of comfort to
you, on their behalf, that God in Christ will pardon their original
sin, and take them as his children, and give them title to everlasting
life; which are the mercies of his covenant.

_Direct._ II. As soon as they are capable, teach them what a
covenant they are in, and what are the benefits, and what the
conditions, that their souls may gladly consent to it when they
understand it; and you may bring them seriously to renew their
covenant with God in their own persons. But the whole order of
teaching both children and servants, I shall give you after by itself;
and therefore shall here pass by all that, except that which is to be
done more by your familiar converse, than by more solemn teaching.

_Direct._ III. Train them up in exact obedience to yourselves,
and break them of their own wills. To that end, suffer them not to
carry themselves unreverently or contemptuously towards you; but to
keep their distance. For too much familiarity breedeth contempt, and
imboldeneth to disobedience. The common course of parents is to please
their children so long, by letting them have what they crave, and what
they will, till their wills are so used to be fulfilled, that they
cannot endure to have them denied; and so can endure no government,
because they endure no crossing of their wills. To be obedient, is to
renounce their own wills, and be ruled by their parents' or governor's
wills; to use them therefore to have their own wills, is to teach them
disobedience, and harden and use them to a kind of impossibility of
obeying. Tell them oft familiarly and lovingly of the excellency of
obedience, and how it pleaseth God, and what need they have of
government, and how unfit they are to govern themselves, and how
dangerous it is to children to have their own wills; speak often with
great disgrace of self-willedness and stubbornness, and tell others in
their hearing what hath befallen self-willed children.

_Direct._ IV. Make them neither too bold with you, nor too
strange or fearful; and govern them not as servants, but as children,
making them perceive that you dearly love them, and that all your
commands, restraints, and corrections are for their good, and not
merely because you will have it so. They must be ruled as rational
creatures, that love themselves, and those that love them. If they
perceive that you dearly love them, they will obey you the more
willingly, and the easier be brought to repent of their disobedience,
and they will as well obey you in heart as in outward actions, and
behind your back as before your face. And the love of you (which must
be caused by your love to them) must be one of the chiefest means to
bring them to the love of all that good which you commend to them; and
so to form their wills sincerely to the will of God, and make them
holy. For if you are too strange to them, and too terrible, they will
fear you only, and not much love you; and then they will love no
books, no practices, that you commend to them, but like hypocrites
they will seek to please you to your face, and care not what they are
in secret and behind your backs. Nay, it will tempt them to loathe
your government, and all that good which you persuade them to, and
make them like birds in a cage, that watch for an opportunity to get
away and get their liberty. They will be the more in the company of
servants and idle children, because your terror and strangeness maketh
them take no delight in yours. And fear will make them liars, as oft
as a lie seemeth necessary to their escape. Parents that show much
love to their children, may safely show severity when they commit a
fault. For then they will see, that it is their fault only that
displeaseth you, and not their persons; and your love reconcileth them
to you when they are corrected; when less correction from parents that
are always strange or angry, and show no tender love to their
children, will alienate them, and do no good. Too much boldness of
children leadeth them, before you are aware, to contempt of parents
and all disobedience; and too much fear and strangeness depriveth them
of most of the benefits of your care and government: but tender love,
with severity only when they do amiss, and this at a reverent,
convenient distance, is the only way to do them good.

_Direct._ V. Labour much to possess their hearts with the fear of
God, and a reverence of the holy Scriptures; and then whatsoever duty
you command them, or whatsoever sin you forbid them, show them some
plain and urgent texts of Scripture for it; and cause them to learn
them and oft repeat them; that so they may find reason and divine
authority in your commands: till their obedience begin to be rational
and divine, it will be but formal and hypocritical. It is conscience
that must watch them in private, when you see them not; and conscience
is God's officer and not yours; and will say nothing to them, till it
speak in the name of God. This is the way to bring the heart itself
into subjection; and also to reconcile them to all your commands, when
they see that they are first the commands of God (of which more anon).

_Direct._ VI. In all your speeches of God and of Jesus Christ,
and of the holy Scripture, or the life to come, or of any holy duty,
speak always with gravity, seriousness, and reverence, as of the most
great and dreadful and most sacred things: for before children come to
have any distinct understanding of particulars, it is a hopeful
beginning to have their hearts possessed with a general reverence and
high esteem of holy matters; for that will continually awe their
consciences, and help their judgments, and settle them against
prejudice and profane contempt, and be as a seed of holiness in them.
For the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, Psal. cxi. 10; Prov.
ix. 10; i. 7. And the very manner of the parents' speech and carriage,
expressing great reverence to the things of God, hath a very great
power to leave the like impression on a child: most children of godly
parents that ever came to good, I am persuaded, can tell you this by
experience, (if their parents did their duty in this point,) that the
first good that ever they felt upon their hearts, was a reverence to
holy things, which the speech and carriage of their parents taught

_Direct._ VII. Speak always before them with great honour and
praise of holy ministers and people, and with dispraise and loathing
of every sin, and of ungodly men.[28] For this also is a thing that
children will quickly and easily receive from their parents. Before
they can understand particular doctrines, they can learn in general
what kind of persons are most happy or most miserable, and they are
very apt to receive such a liking or disliking from their parents'
judgment, which hath a great hand in all the following good or evil of
their lives. If you possess them with good and honourable thoughts of
them that fear God, they will ever after be inclined to think well of
them, and to dislike those that speak evil of them, and to hear such
preachers, and to wish themselves such christians; so that in this and
the foregoing point it is that the first stirrings of grace in
children are ordinarily felt. And therefore on the other side, it is a
most pernicious thing to children, when they hear their parents speak
contemptuously or lightly of holy things and persons, and irreverently
talk of God, and Scripture, and the life to come, or speak
dispraisingly or scornfully of godly ministers or people, or make a
jest of the particular duties of a religious life: these children are
like to receive that prejudice or profane contempt into their hearts
betimes, which may bolt the doors against the love of God and
holiness, and make their salvation a work of much greater difficulty,
and much smaller hope. And therefore still I say, that wicked parents
are the most notable servants of the devil in all the world, and the
bloodiest enemies to their children's souls. More souls are damned by
ungodly parents (and next them by ungodly ministers and magistrates)
than by any instruments in the world besides. And hence it is also,
that whole nations are so generally carried away with enmity against
the ways of God; the heathen nations against the true God, and the
infidel nations against Christ, and the papist nations against
reformation and spiritual worshippers: because the parents speak evil
to the children of all that they themselves dislike; and so possess
them with the same dislike from generation to generation. "Woe to them
that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and
light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter,"
Isa. v. 20.

_Direct._ VIII. Let it be the principal part of your care and
labour in all their education, to make holiness appear to them the
most necessary, honourable, gainful, pleasant, delightful, amiable
state of life; and to keep them from apprehending it either as
needless, dishonourable, hurtful, or uncomfortable. Especially draw
them to the love of it, by representing it as lovely. And therefore
begin with that which is easiest and most grateful to them (as the
history of the Scripture, and the lives of the martyrs, and other good
men, and some short, familiar lessons). For though in restraining them
from sin, you must go to the highest step at first, and not think to
draw them from it by allowing them the least degree; (for every degree
disposeth to more, and none is to be allowed, and a general
reformation is the easiest as well as absolutely necessary;) yet in
putting them upon the practice of religious duties, you must carry
them on by degrees, and put them at first upon no more than they can
bear; either upon the learning of doctrines too high and spiritual for
them, or upon such duty for quality or quantity as is over-burdensome
to them; for if you once turn their hearts against religion, and make
it seem a slavery and a tedious life to them, you take the course to
harden them against it. And therefore all children must not be used
alike; as all stomachs must not be forced to eat alike. If you force
some to take so much as to become a surfeit, they will loathe that
sort of meat as long as they live. I know that nature itself, as
corrupt, hath already an enmity to holiness, and I know that this
enmity is not to be indulged in children at all; but withal I know
that misrepresentations of religion, and imprudent education, is the
way to increase it, and that the enmity being in the heart, it is the
change of the mind and love that is the overcoming of it, and not any
such constraint as tendeth not to reconcile the mind by love. The
whole skill of parents for the holy education of their children, doth
consist in this, to make them conceive of holiness as the most amiable
and desirable life; which is by representing it to them in words and
practice, not only as most necessary, but also as most profitable,
honourable, and delightful. Prov. iii. 17, "Her ways are ways of
pleasantness, and all her paths are peace," &c.

_Direct._ IX. Speak often to them of the brutish baseness and
sinfulness of flesh-pleasing sensuality, and of the greater excellency
of the pleasures of the mind which consist in wisdom, and in doing
good. For your chiefest care must be to save them from flesh-pleasing;
which is not only in general the sum of all iniquity whatsoever, but
that which in special children are most prone to. For their flesh and
sense is as quick as others; and they want not only faith, but clear
reason to resist it; and so (besides their natural pravity) the custom
of obeying sense (which is in strength) without reason (which is in
infancy and almost useless) doth much increase this pernicious sin.
And therefore still labour to imprint in their minds an odious conceit
of a flesh-pleasing life; speak bitterly to them against gluttony, and
drunkenness, and excess of sport; and let them often hear or read the
parable of the glutton and Lazarus in the sixteenth of Luke; and let
them learn without book, Rom. viii. 1, 5-9, 13; xiii. 13, 14, and oft
repeat them.

_Direct._ X. To this end, and also for the health of their
bodies, keep a strict guard upon their appetites (which they are not
able to guard themselves): keep them as exactly as you can to the
rules of reason, both in the quantity and quality of their food. Yet
tell them the reason of your restraint, or else they will secretly
strive the more to break their bounds. Most parents that ever I knew,
or had any good account of in that point, are guilty of the great hurt
and danger of their children's health and souls, by pleasing and
glutting them with meat and drink. If I should call them devils and
murderers to their own children, they would think I spake too harshly;
but I would not have them give so great occasion for it, as by
destroying (as far as lieth in them) the souls and bodies of their
children. They destroy their souls by accustoming them to gluttony,
and to be ruled by their appetites; which all the teaching in the
world will hardly ever after overcome, without the special grace of
God. What is all the vice and villany in the world, but the pleasing
of the desires of the flesh? And when they are habituated to this,
they are rooted in their sin and misery. And they destroy their
bodies, by suffering them to please their appetites, with raw fruits
and other hurtful things; but especially by drowning and overwhelming
nature by excess; and all this is through that beastly ignorance,
joined with self-conceitedness, which maketh them also overthrow
themselves. They think that their appetite is the measure of their
eating and drinking, and that if they drink but when they are thirsty,
(as some drunkards are continually,) and eat but when they are hungry,
it is no excess; and because they are not presently sick, or vomit it
not up again, the beasts think it doth them no harm, but good. You
shall hear them like mad people say, I warrant them, it will do them
no harm to eat and drink when they have list, it will make them strong
and healthful; I see not that those that are dieted so strictly are
any healthfuller than others. Whenas all this while they are burdening
nature, and destroying digestion, and vitiating all the humours of the
body, and turning them into a dunghill of phlegm and filth; which is
the fuel that breedeth and feedeth almost all the diseases that after
seize upon them while they live; and usually bringeth them to an
untimely end (as I have fullier opened before, part i. in the
directions against gluttony). If therefore you love either the souls
or bodies of your children, use them to temperance from their
infancy, and let not their appetites or craving wills, but your own
reason, be the chooser and the measure of their diet. Use them to eat
sparingly, and (so it moderately please their appetite, or be not such
as nature loatheth) let it be rather of the coarser than the finer
sort of diet; see it measured to them yourselves, and suffer no
servant to give them more, nor to let them eat or drink between meals
and out of season; and so you will help to overcome their sensual
inclinations, and give reason the mastery of their lives; and you
will, under God, do as much as any one thing can do to help them to a
healthful temper of body, which will be a very great mercy to them,
and fit them for their duty all their lives.

_Direct._ XI. For sports and recreations, let them be such, and
so much, as may be needful to their health and cheerfulness; but not
so much as may carry away their minds from better things, and draw
them from their books or other duties, nor such as may tempt them to
gaming or covetousness. Children must have convenient sport for the
health of the body and alacrity of the mind; such as well exerciseth
their bodies is best, and not such as little stirreth them. Cards and
dice, and such idle sports, are every way most unfit, as tending to
hurt both body and mind. Their time also must be limited them, that
their play may not be their work; as soon as ever they have the use of
any reason and speech, they should be taught some better things, and
not left till they are five or six years of age, to do nothing, but
get a custom of wasting all their time in play. Children are very
early capable of learning something which may prepare them for more.

_Direct._ XII. Use all your wisdom and diligence to root out the
sin of pride. And to that end, do not (as is usual with foolish
parents, that) please them with making them fine, and then by telling
them how fine they are; but use to commend humility and plainness to
them, and speak disgracefully of pride and fineness, to breed an
averseness to it in their minds. Cause them to learn such texts of
Scripture as speak of God's abhorring and resisting the proud, and of
his loving and honouring the humble: when they see other children that
are finely clothed, speak of it to them as their shame, that they may
not desire to be like them. Speak against boasting, and every other
way of pride which they are liable to: and yet give them the praise of
all that is well, for that is but their due encouragement.

_Direct._ XIII. Speak to them disgracefully of the gallantry, and
pomp, and riches of the world, and of the sin of selfishness and
covetousness, and diligently watch against it, and all that may tempt
them to it. When they see great houses, and attendance, and gallantry,
tell them that these are the devil's baits, to entice poor sinners to
love this world, that they may lose their souls, and the world to
come. Tell them how much heaven excelleth all this; and that the
lovers of the world must never come thither, but the humble, and meek,
and poor in spirit. Tell them of the rich glutton in Luke xvi. that
was thus clothed in purple and silk, and fared deliciously every day;
but when he came to hell, could not get a drop of water to cool his
tongue, when Lazarus was in the joys of paradise. Do not as the
wicked, that entice their children to worldliness and covetousness, by
giving them money, and letting them game and play for money, and
promising them to make them fine or rich, and speaking highly of all
that are rich and great in the world; but tell them how much happier a
poor believer is, and withdraw all that may tempt their minds to
covetousness. Teach them how good it is to love their brethren as
themselves, and to give them part of what they have, and praise them
for it; and dispraise them when they are greedy to keep or heap up all
to themselves: and all will be little enough to cure this pernicious
sin. Teach them such texts as Psal. x. 3, "They bless the covetous
whom the Lord abhorreth."

_Direct._ XIV. Narrowly watch their tongues, especially against
lying, railing, ribald talk, and taking the name of God in vain. And
pardon them many lighter faults about common matters, sooner than one
such sin against God. Tell them of the odiousness of all these sins,
and teach them such texts as most expressly condemn them; and never
pass it by or make light of it, when you find them guilty.

_Direct._ XV. Keep them as much as may be from ill company,
especially of ungodly play-fellows. It is one of the greatest dangers
for the undoing of children in the world; especially when they are
sent to common schools: for there is scarce any of those schools so
good, but hath many rude and ungodly ill-taught children in it; that
will speak profanely, and filthily, and make their ribald and railing
speeches a matter of boasting; besides fighting, and gaming, and
scorning, and neglecting their lessons; and they will make a scorn of
him that will not do as they, if not beat and abuse him. And there is
such tinder in nature for these sparks to catch upon, that there are
very few children, but when they hear others take God's name in vain,
or sing wanton songs, or talk filthy words, or call one another by
reproachful names, do quickly imitate them: and when you have watched
over them at home as narrowly as you can, they are infected abroad
with such beastly vices, as they are hardly ever after cured of.
Therefore let those that are able, either educate their children most
at home, or in private and well ordered schools; and those that cannot
do so, must be the more exceeding watchful over them, and charge them
to associate with the best; and speak to them of the odiousness of
these practices, and the wickedness of those that use them; and speak
very disgracefully of such ungodly children: and when all is done, it
is a great mercy of God, if they be not undone by the force of the
contagion, notwithstanding all your antidotes. Those therefore that
venture their children into the rudest schools and company, and after
that to Rome, and other profane or popish countries, to learn the
fashions and customs of the world, upon pretence, that else they will
be ignorant of the course of the world, and ill-bred, and not like
others of their rank, may think of themselves and their own reasonings
as well as they please: for my part, I had rather make a
chimney-sweeper of my son, (if I had any,) than be guilty of doing so
much to sell or betray him to the devil.

_Quest._ But is it not lawful for a man to send his son to travel?

_Answ._ Yes, in these cases: 1. In case he be a ripe, confirmed
christian, that is, not in danger of being perverted, but able to
resist the enemies of the truth, and to preach the gospel, or to do
good to others; and withal have sufficient business to invite him. 2.
Or if he go in the company of wise and godly persons, and such be his
companions, and the probability of his gain be greater, than of his
loss and danger. 3. Or if he go only into religious countries, among
more wise and learned men than he converseth with at home, and have
sufficient motives for his course. But to send young, raw, unsettled
persons among papists, and profane, licentious people, (though perhaps
some sober person be in company with them,) and this only to see the
countries and fashions of the world, is an action unbeseeming any
christian that knoweth the pravity of human nature, and the mutability
of young, unfurnished heads, and the subtlety of deceivers, and the
contagiousness of sin and error, and the worth of a soul, and will not
do as some conjurers or witches, even sell a soul to the devil, on
condition he may see and know the fashions of the world; which alas, I
can quickly know enough of to grieve my heart, without travelling so
far to see them. If another country have more of Christ, and be nearer
heaven, the invitation is great; but if it have more of sin and hell,
I had rather know hell, and the suburbs of it too, by the map of the
word of God, than by going thither. And if such children return not
the confirmed children of the devil, and prove not the calamity of
their country and the church, let them thank special grace, and not
their parents or themselves. They overvalue that vanity which they
call breeding, who will hazard the substance, (even heavenly wisdom,
holiness, and salvation,) to go so far for so vain a shadow.

_Direct._ XVI. Teach your children to know the preciousness of
time, and suffer them not to mispend an hour. Be often speaking to
them how precious a thing time is, and how short man's life is, and
how great his work, and how our endless life of joy or misery
dependeth on this little time: speak odiously to them of the sin of
those that play and idle away their time; and keep account of all
their hours, and suffer them not to lose any by excess of sleep, or
excess of play, or any other way; but engage them still in some
employment that is worth their time.

Train up your children in a life of diligence and labour, and use them
not to ease and idleness when they are young.[29] Our wandering
beggars, and too many of the gentry, utterly undo their children by
this means, especially the female sex. They are taught no calling, nor
exercised in any employment, but only such as is meet for nothing but
ornament and recreation at the best; and therefore should have but
recreation hours, which is but a small proportion of their time. So
that by the sin of their parents, they are betimes engaged in a life
of idleness, which afterward it is wondrous hard for them to overcome;
and they are taught to live like swine or vermin, that live only to
live, and do small good in the world by living: to rise, and dress,
and adorn themselves, and take a walk, and so to dinner, and thence to
cards or dice, or chat and idle talk, or some play, or visit, or
recreation, and so to supper, and to chat again, and to bed, is the
lamentable life of too many that have great obligations to God, and
greater matters to do, if they were acquainted with them. And if they
do but interpose a few hypocritical, heartless words of prayer, they
think they have piously spent the day; yea, the health of many is
utterly ruined, by such idle, fleshly education. So that disuse doth
disable them from any considerable motion or exercise, which is
necessary to preserve their health. It would move one's heart with
pity, to see how the houses of some of the higher sort are like
hospitals; and education hath made, especially, the females like the
lame, or sick, or bedrid; so that one part of the day that should be
spent in some profitable employment, is spent in bed, and the rest in
doing nothing, or worse than nothing; and most of their life is made
miserable by diseases, so that if their legs be but used to carry them
about, they are presently out of breath, and are a burden to
themselves, and few of them live out little more than half their
days. Whereas, poor creatures, if their own parents had not betrayed
them into the sins of Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of
idleness, they might have been in health, and lived like honest
christian people, and their legs and arms might have served them for
use, as well as for integrality and ornament.

_Direct._ XVII. Let necessary correction be used with discretion,
according to these following rules. 1. Let it not be so seldom (if
necessary) as to leave them fearless, and so make it uneffectual; and
let it not be so frequent as to discourage them, or breed in them a
hatred of their parents. 2. Let it be different according to the
different tempers of your children; some are so tender and timorous,
and apt to be discouraged, that little or no correction may be best;
and some are so hardened and obstinate, that it must be much and sharp
correction that must keep them from dissoluteness and contempt. 3. Let
it be more for sin against God (as lying, railing, filthy speaking,
profaneness, &c.) than for faults about your worldly business. 4.
Correct them not in passion, but stay till they perceive that you are
calmed; for they will think else, that your anger rather than your
reason is the cause. 5. Always show them the tenderness of your love,
and how unwilling you are to correct them, if they could be reformed
any easier way; and convince them that you do it for their good. 6.
Make them read those texts of Scripture which condemn their sin, and
then those which command you to correct them. As for example, if lying
be their sin, turn them first to Prov. xii. 22, "Lying lips are
abomination to the Lord, but they that deal truly are his delight."
And xiii. 5, "A righteous man hateth lying." John viii. 44, "Ye are of
your father the devil,--when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his
own; for he is a liar, and the father of it." Rev. xxii. 15, "For
without are dogs--and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." And next
turn him to Prov. xiii. 24, "He that spareth his rod, hateth his son;
but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." Prov. xxix. 15, "The
rod and reproof give wisdom; but a child left to himself bringeth his
mother to shame." Prov. xxii. 15, "Foolishness is bound in the heart
of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."
Prov. xxiii. 13, 14, "Withhold not correction from the child; for if
thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die; thou shalt beat him
with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." Prov. xix. 18,
"Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for
his crying." Ask him whether he would have you by sparing him, to
disobey God, and hate him, and destroy his soul. And when his reason
is convinced of the reasonableness of correcting him, it will be the
more successful.

_Direct._ XVIII. Let your own example teach your children that
holiness, and heavenliness, and blamelessness of tongue and life,
which you desire them to learn and practise. The example of parents is
most powerful with children, both for good and evil. If they see you
live in the fear of God, it will do much to persuade them, that it is
the most necessary and excellent course of life, and that they must do
so too; and if they see you live a carnal, voluptuous, and ungodly
life, and hear you curse or swear, or talk filthily or railingly, it
will greatly imbolden them to imitate you. If you speak never so well
to them, they will sooner believe your bad lives, than your good words.

_Direct._ XIX. Choose such a calling and course of life for your
children, as tendeth most to the saving of their souls, and to their
public usefulness for church or state. Choose not a calling that is
most liable to temptations and hinderances to their salvation, though
it may make them rich; but a calling which alloweth them some leisure
for the remembering the things of everlasting consequence, and fit
opportunities to get good, and to do good. If you bind them
apprentices, or servants, if it be possible, place them with men
fearing God; and not with such as will harden them in their sin.

_Direct._ XX. When they are marriageable, and you find it needful,
look out such for them as are suitable betimes. When parents stay too
long, and do not their duties in this, their children often choose for
themselves to their own undoing; for they choose not by judgment, but
blind affection.

Having thus told you the common duties of parents for their children,
I should next have told you what specially belongeth to each parent;
but to avoid prolixity, I shall only desire you to remember especially
these two directions. 1. That the mother who is still present with
children when they are young, be very diligent in teaching them, and
minding them of good things. When the fathers are abroad, the mothers
have more frequent opportunities to instruct them, and be still
speaking to them of that which is most necessary, and watching over
them. This is the greatest service that most women can do for God in
the world: many a church that hath been blessed with a good minister,
may thank the pious education of mothers; and many a thousand souls in
heaven may thank the holy care and diligence of mothers, as the first
effectual means. Good women this way (by the good education of their
children) are ordinarily great blessings both to church and state.
(And so some understand 1 Tim. ii. 15, by "child-bearing," meaning
bringing up children for God; but I rather think it is by Mary's
bearing Christ, the promised seed.)

2. By all means let children be taught to read, if you are never so
poor, and whatever shift you make; or else you deprive them of a
singular help to their instruction and salvation. It is a thousand
pities that a Bible should signify no more than a chip to a rational
creature, as to their reading it themselves: and that so many
excellent books as be in the world, should be as sealed or
insignificant to them.

But if God deny you children, and save you all this care and labour,
repine not, but be thankful, believing it is best for you. Remember
what a deal of duty, and pains, and heart's grief he hath freed you
from, and how few speed well, when parents have done their best: what
a life of misery children must here pass through, and how sad the fear
of their sin and damnation would have been to you.

[27] See my Treatise for Infant Baptism.

[28] Isa. iii. 7-9, 11; Psal. xv. 4; ci.; x. 2-4.

[29] It was one of the Roman laws of the twelve tables, Filius arte
carens, patris incuria, eidem vitæ necessaria ne præstato. Alioqui
parentes nutrire cogitor. A son that is taught no trade to live by,
shall not be bound to keep his parents in want, but others shall.
Ezek. xvi. 49.



THOUGH precepts to children are not of so much force as to them of
riper age, because of their natural incapacity, and their childish
passions and pleasures which bear down their weak degree of reason;
yet somewhat is to be said to them, because that measure of reason
which they have is to be exercised, and by exercise to be improved:
and because even those of riper years, while they have parents, must
know and do their duty to them; and because God useth to bless even
children as they perform their duties.

_Direct._ I. Be sure that you dearly love your parents; delight
to be in their company; be not like those unnatural children, that
love the company of their idle play-fellows better than their parents,
and had rather be abroad about their sports, than in their parents'
sight. Remember that you have your being from them, and come out of
their loins: remember what sorrow you have cost them, and what care
they are at for your education and provision; and remember how
tenderly they have loved you, and what grief it will be to their
hearts if you miscarry, and how much your happiness will make them
glad: remember what love you owe them both by nature and in justice,
for all their love to you, and all that they have done for you: they
take your happiness or misery to be one of the greatest parts of the
happiness or misery of their own lives. Deprive them not then of their
happiness, by depriving yourselves of your own; make not their lives
miserable, by undoing yourselves. Though they chide you, and restrain
you, and correct you, do not therefore abate your love to them. For
this is their duty, which God requireth of them, and they do it for
your good. It is a sign of a wicked child, that loveth his parents the
less because they correct him, and will not let him have his own will.
Yea, though your parents have many faults themselves, yet you must
love them as your parents still.

_Direct._ II. Honour your parents both in your thoughts, and
speeches, and behaviour. Think not dishonourably or contemptuously of
them in your hearts. Speak not dishonourably, rudely, unreverently, or
saucily, either to them or of them. Behave not yourselves rudely and
unreverently before them. Yea, though your parents be never so poor in
the world, or weak of understanding, yea, though they were ungodly,
you must honour them notwithstanding all this; though you cannot
honour them as rich, or wise, or godly, you must honour them as your
parents. Remember that the fifth commandment hath a special promise of
temporal blessing; "Honour thy father and mother that thy days may be
long in the land," &c. And consequently the dishonourers of parents
have a special curse even in this life: and the justice of God is
ordinarily seen in the execution of it; the despisers and dishonourers
of their parents seldom prosper in the world. There are five sorts of
sinners that God useth to overtake with vengeance even in this life.
1. Perjured persons and false witnesses. 2. Murderers. 3. Persecutors.
4. Sacrilegious persons. And, 5. The abusers and dishonourers of their
parents. Remember the curse on Ham, Gen. ix. 22, 25. It is a fearful
thing to see and hear how some ill-bred ungodly children will talk
contemptuously and rudely to their parents, and wrangle and contend
with them, and contradict them, and speak to them as if they were
their equals: (and it is commonly long of the parents themselves that
breed them to it:) and at last they will grow even to abuse and vilify
them. Read Prov. xxx. 17, "The eye that mocketh at his father, and
despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it
out, and the young eagles shall eat it."

_Direct._ III. Obey your parents in all things (which God forbiddeth
not). Remember that as nature hath made you unfit to govern yourselves,
so God in nature hath mercifully provided governors for you. Here I
shall first tell you what obedience is, and then tell you why you must
be thus obedient. I. To obey your parents is to do that which they
command you, and forbear that which they forbid you, because it is
their will you should do so. You must, 1. Have in your minds a desire
to please them, and be glad when you can please them, and sorry when
you offend them; and then, 2. You must not set your wit or your will
against theirs, but readily obey their commands, without
unwillingness, murmuring, or disputing: though you think your own way
is best, and your own desires are but reasonable, yet your own wit and
will must be subjected unto theirs, or else how do you obey them? II.
And for the reasons of your obedience, 1. Consider it is the will of
God that it should be so, and he hath made them as his officers to
govern you; and in disobeying them, you disobey him. Read Eph. vi.
1-3, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.
Honour thy father and mother, (which is the first commandment with
promise,) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayst live long on
the earth." Col. iii. 20, "Children, obey your parents in all things,
for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord." Prov. xxiii. 22, "Hearken to
thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is
old." Prov. xiii. 1, "A wise son heareth his father's instruction."
Prov. i. 8, 9, "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and
forsake not the law of thy mother; for they shall be an ornament of
grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." 2. Consider also,
that your parents' government is necessary to your own good; and it is
a government of love: as your bodies would have perished, if your
parents or some others had not taken care for you, when you could not
help yourselves; so your minds would be untaught and ignorant, even
like to brutes, if you had not others to teach and govern you. Nature
teacheth the chickens to follow the hen, and all things when they are
young, to be led and guided by their dams; or else what would become
of them? 3. Consider also, that they must be accountable to God for
you; and if they leave you to yourselves, it may be their destruction
as well as yours, as the sad example of Eli telleth you. Rebel not
therefore against those that God by nature and Scripture hath set over
you; though the fifth commandment require obedience to princes, and
masters, and pastors, and other superiors, yet it nameth your father
and mother only, because they are the first of all your governors, to
whom by nature you are most obliged.

But perhaps you will say, that though little children must be ruled by
their parents, yet you are grown up to riper age, and are wise enough
to rule yourselves. I answer, God doth not think so; or else he would
not have set governors over you. And are you wiser than he? It is but
few in the world that are wise enough to rule themselves; else God
would not have set princes, and magistrates, and pastors, and teachers
over them, as he hath done. The servants of the family are as old as
you, and yet are unfit to be rulers of themselves. God loveth you
better than to leave you masterless, as knowing that youth is rash and

_Quest._ But how long are children under the command and government of
their parents?

_Answ._ There are several acts and degrees of parents' government,
according to the several ends and uses of it. Some acts of their
government are but to teach you to go and speak, and some to teach you
your labour and calling, and some to teach you good manners, and the
fear of God, or the knowledge of the Scriptures, and some are to
settle you in such a course of living, in which you shall need their
nearer oversight no more. When any one of these ends are fully
attained, and you have all that your parents' government can help you
to, then you are past that part of their government. But still you owe
them, not only love, and honour, and reverence; but obedience also in
all things in which they are still appointed for your help and
guidance: even when you are married from them, though you have a
propriety in your own estates, and they have not so strict a charge of
you as before; yet if they command you your duty to God or them, you
are still obliged to obey them.

_Direct._ IV. Be contented with your parents' provision for you,
and disposal of you. Do not rebelliously murmur against them, and
complain of their usage of you; much less take any thing against their
wills. It is the part of a fleshly rebel, and not of an obedient
child, to be discontent and murmur because they fare not better, or
because they are kept from sports and play, or because they have not
better clothes, or because they have not money allowed them, to spend
or use at their own discretion. Are not you under government? and the
government of parents, and not of enemies? Are your lusts and
pleasures fitter to govern you, than your parents' discretion? Be
thankful for what you have, and remember that you deserve it not, but
have it freely: it is your pride or your fleshly sensuality that
maketh you thus to murmur, and not any wisdom or virtue that is in
you. Get down that pride and fleshly mind, and then you will not be so
eager to have your wills. What if your parents did deal too hardly
with you, in your food, or raiment, or expenses? What harm doth it do
you? Nothing but a selfish, sensual mind would make so great a matter
of it. It is a hundred times more dangerous to your souls and bodies
to be bred too high, and fed too full and daintily, than to be bred
too low, and fed too hardly. One tendeth to pride, and gluttony, and
wantonness, and the overthrow of health and life; and the other
tendeth to a humble, mortified, self-denying life, and to the health
and soundness of the body. Remember how the earth opened, and
swallowed all those rebellious murmurers that grudged, against Moses
and Aaron, Num. xvi.; read it, and apply it to your case; and remember
the story of rebellious Absalom; and the folly of the prodigal, Luke
xv.; and desire not to be at your own disposal; nor be eager to have
the vain desire of your hearts fulfilled. While you contentedly submit
to your parents, you are in God's way, and may expect his blessing;
but when you will needs be carvers for yourselves, you may expect the
punishment of rebels.

_Direct._ V. Humble yourselves and submit to any labour that your
parents shall appoint you to. Take heed, as you love your souls, lest
either a proud heart make you murmur and say, This work is too low and
base a drudgery for me; or lest a lazy mind and body make you say,
This work is too hard and toilsome for me; or lest a foolish, playful
mind do make you weary of your book or labour, that you may be at your
sports, and say, This is too tedious for me. It is little or no hurt
that is like to befall you by your labour and diligence; but it is a
dangerous thing to get a habit or custom of idleness and
voluptuousness in your youth.

_Direct._ VI. Be willing and thankful to be instructed by your
parents, or any of your teachers, but especially about the fear of
God, and the matters of your salvation. These are the matters that you
are born and live for; these are the things that your parents have
first in charge to teach you. Without knowledge and holiness all the
riches and honours of the world are nothing worth; and all your
pleasures will but undo you.[30] Oh what a comfort is it to
understanding parents to see their children willing to learn, and to
love the word of God, and lay it up in their hearts, and talk of it,
and obey it, and prepare betimes for everlasting life! If such
children die before their parents, how joyfully may they part with
them as into the arms of Christ, who hath said, "That of such is the
kingdom of heaven," Matt. xix. 14. And if the parents die first, how
joyfully may they leave behind them a holy seed, that is like to serve
God in their generation, and to follow them to heaven, and live with
them for ever. But, whether they live or die, what a heart-breaking to
the parents are ungodly children, that love not the word and way of
God, and love not to be taught or restrained from their own licentious

_Direct._ VII. Patiently submit to the correction which your
parents lay upon you. Consider, that God hath commanded them to do it,
and that to save your souls from hell; and that they hate you, if they
correct you not when there is cause; and that they must not spare for
your crying, Prov. xiii. 24; xxii. 15; xxix. 15; xxiii. 13, 14; xix. 18.
It is not their delight, but for your own necessity. Avoid the fault,
and you may escape the correction. How much rather had your parents
see you obedient, than hear you cry! It is not long of them, but of
yourselves, that you are corrected. Be angry with yourselves, and not
with them. It is a wicked child, that instead of being better by
correction, will hate his parents for it, and so grow worse.
Correction is a means of God's appointment; and therefore go to God on
your knees in prayer, and entreat him to bless and sanctify it to you,
that it may do you good.

_Direct._ VIII. Choose not your own company, but use such company
as by your parents is appointed you. Bad company is the first undoing
of a child. When for the love of sport you choose such play-fellows as
are idle, and licentious, and disobedient, and will teach you to
curse, and swear, and lie, and talk filthily, and draw you from your
book or duty, this is the devil's high-way to hell. Your parents are
fittest to choose your company.

_Direct._ IX. Choose not your own calling or trade of life,
without the choice or consent of your parents. You may tell them what
you are most inclined to, but it belongeth more to them than to you to
make the choice; and it is your part to bring your wills to theirs.
Unless your parents choose a calling for you that is unlawful; and
then you may (with humble submissiveness) refuse it. But if it be only
inconvenient, you have liberty afterward to change it for a better, if
you can, when you are from under their disposal and government.

_Direct._ X. Marry not without your parents' consent. Nay, if it
may be, let their choice determine first of the person, and not your
own: unexperienced youth doth choose by fancy and passion, when your
experienced parents will choose by judgment. But if they would force
you to join yourselves to such as are ungodly, and like to make your
lives either sinful or miserable, you may humbly refuse them. But you
must remain unmarried, while by the use of right means you can live in
chastity, till your parents are in a better mind. But if indeed you
have a flat necessity of marrying, and your parents will consent to
none but one of a false religion, or one that is utterly unfit for
you, in such a case they forfeit their authority in that point, which
is given them for their edification, and not for your destruction; and
then you should advise with other friends that are more wise and
faithful: but if you suffer your fond affections to contradict your
parents' wills, and pretend a necessity, (that you cannot change your
affections,) as if your folly were uncurable; this is but to enter
sinfully into that state of life, which should have been sanctified to
God, that he might have blessed it to you.

_Direct._ XI. If your parents be in want, it is your duty to
relieve them according to your ability; yea, and wholly to maintain
them, if there be need. For it is not possible by all that you can do,
that ever you can be on even terms with them; or ever requite them for
what you have received of them. It is base inhumanity, when parents
come to poverty, for children to put them off with some short
allowance, and to make them live almost like their servants, when you
have riches and plenty for yourselves. Your parents should still be
maintained by you as your superiors, and not as inferiors. See that
they fare as well as yourselves; yea, though you got not your riches
by their means, yet even for your being you are their debtors for more
than that.

_Direct._ XII. Imitate your parents in all that is good, both
when they are living, and when they are dead. If they were lovers of
God, and of his word and service, and of those that fear him, let
their example provoke you, and let the love that you have to them,
engage you in this imitation. A wicked child of godly parents is one
of the most miserable wretches in the world. With what horror do I
look on such a person! How near is such a wretch to hell! When father
or mother were eminent for godliness, and daily instructed them in the
matters of their salvation, and prayed with them, and warned them, and
prayed for them, and after all this the children shall prove covetous
or drunkards, or whoremongers, or profane, and enemies to the servants
of God, and deride or neglect the way of their religious parents, it
would make one tremble to look such wretches in the face. For though
yet there is some hope of them, alas, it is so little, that they are
next to desperate; when they are hardened under the most excellent
means, and the light hath blinded them, and their acquaintance with
the ways of God hath but turned their hearts more against them, what
means is left to do good to such resisters of the grace of God as
these? The likeliest is some heavy dreadful judgment. Oh what a woeful
day will it be to them, when all the prayers, and tears, and
teachings, and good examples of their religious parents shall witness
against them! How will they be confounded before the Lord! And how sad
a thought is it to the heart of holy, diligent parents, to think that
all their prayers and pains must witness against their graceless
children, and sink them deeper into hell! And yet, alas, how many such
woeful spectacles are there before our eyes! and how deeply doth the
church of God suffer by the malice and wickedness of the children of
those parents that taught them better, and walked before them in a
holy, exemplary life! But if parents be ignorant, superstitious,
idolatrous, popish, or profane, their children are forward enough to
imitate them. Then they can say, Our forefathers were of this mind,
and we hope they are saved; and we will rather imitate them, than such
innovating reformers as you. As they said to Jeremiah, chap. xliv.
16-18, "As for the word that thou hast spoken to us in the name of the
Lord, we will not hearken to thee. But we will--burn incense to the
queen of heaven--as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings, and
our princes in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem;
for then we had plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil:
but since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven,--we have
wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the
famine." Thus they walk "after the imagination of their hearts, and
after Baalim (the false worship) which their fathers taught them,"
Jer. ix. 14. "And they forget God's name as their fathers did forget
it," Jer. xxiii. 27. "They and their fathers have transgressed to this
day," Ezek. ii. 3. Yea, "They harden their necks, and do worse than
their fathers," Jer. vii. 26. Thus in error and sin they can imitate
their forefathers, when they should rather remember, 1 Pet. i. 18, 19,
that it cost Christ his blood "to redeem men from their vain
conversation received by tradition from their fathers." And they
should penitently confess, as Dan. ix. 8, "O Lord, to us belong
confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers,
because we have sinned against thee," ver. 16. And as Psal. cvi. 6,
"We have sinned with our fathers," &c. Saith God, Jer. xvi. 11-13,
"Behold, your fathers have forsaken me--and have not kept my law; and
ye have done worse than your fathers: therefore I will cast you out,"
&c. Jer. xliv. 9, 10, "Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your
fathers, and the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and your own
wickedness? They are not humbled even unto this day." See ver. 21.
Zech. i. 4, "Be not as your fathers, to whom the former prophets have
cried, saying, Turn ye now from your evil ways, but they did not
hear." Mal. iii. 7, "Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone
away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and
I will return unto you." Ezek. xx. 18, "Walk ye not in the statutes of
your fathers." So ver. 27, 30, 36. Follow not your fathers in their
sin and error, but follow them where they follow Christ, 1 Cor. xi. 1.

[30] Read Mr. Tho. White's little book for little children. Mark ix. 36;
x. 14, 16.



THOUGH I put your duty to your parents first, because it is first
learned, yet your duty to God immediately is your greatest and most
necessary duty. Learn these following precepts well.

_Direct._ I. Learn to understand the covenant and vow which in
your baptism you made with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Ghost, your Creator, Redeemer, and Regenerator: and when you well
understand it, renew that covenant with God in your own persons, and
absolutely deliver up yourselves to God, as your Creator, Redeemer,
and Sanctifier, your Owner, your Ruler, and your Father and felicity.
Baptism is not an idle ceremony, but the solemn entering into covenant
with God, in which you receive the greatest mercies, and bind
yourselves to the greatest duties. It is but the entering into that
way which you must walk in all your lives, and avowing that to God
which you must be still performing. And though your parents had
authority to promise for you, it is you that must perform it; for it
was you that they obliged. If you ask by what authority they obliged
you in covenant to God, I answer, by the authority which God hath
given them in nature, and in Scripture; as they oblige you to be
subjects of the king, or as they enter your names into any covenant,
by lease or other contract, which is for your benefit; and they do it
for good, that you may have part in the blessings of the covenant; and
if you grudge at it, and refuse your own consent when you come to age,
you lose the benefits. If you think they did you wrong, you may be out
of covenant when you will, if you will renounce the kingdom of heaven.
But it is much wiser to be thankful to God, that your parents were
the means of so great a blessing to you, and to do that again more
expressly by yourselves which they did for you; and openly with
thankfulness to own the covenant in which you are engaged, and live in
the performance and in the comforts of it all your days.

_Direct._ II. Remember that you are entering into the way to
everlasting life, and not into a place of happiness or continuance.
Presently therefore set your hearts on heaven, and make it the design
of all your lives, to live in heaven with Christ for ever. O happy
you, if God betimes will thoroughly teach you to know what it is that
must make you happy; and if at your first setting out, your end be
right, and your faces be heavenward! Remember that as soon as you
begin to live, you are hasting towards the end of your lives: even as
a candle as soon as it beginneth to burn, and the hour-glass as soon
as it is turned, is wasting, and hasting to its end; so as soon as you
begin to live, your lives are in a consumption, and posting towards
your final hour. As a runner, as soon as he beginneth his race, is
hasting to the end of it; so are your lives, even in your youngest
time. It is another kind of life that you must live for ever, than
this trifling, pitiful, fleshly life. Prepare therefore speedily for
that which God sent you hither to prepare for. O happy you, if you
begin betimes, and go on with cheerful resolution to the end! It is
blessed wisdom to be wise betimes, and to know the worth of time in
childhood, before any of it be wasted and lost upon the fooleries of
the world. Then you may grow wise indeed, and be treasuring up
understanding, and growing up in sweet acquaintance with the Lord,
when others are going backwards, and daily making work for sad
repentance or final desperation. Eccl. xxi. 1, "Remember now thy
Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor
the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, (of all things here below,)
I have no pleasure in them."

_Direct._ III. Remember that you have corrupted natures to be
cured, and that Christ is the Physician that must cure them; and the
Spirit of Christ must dwell within you, and make you holy, and give
you a new heart and nature, which shall love God and heaven above all
the honour and pleasures of the world: rest not therefore till you
find that you are born anew, and that the Holy Ghost hath made you
holy, and quickened your hearts with the love of God, and of your dear
Redeemer.[31] The old nature loveth the things of this world, and the
pleasures of this flesh; but the new nature loveth the Lord that made
you, and redeemed and renewed you, and the endless joys of the world
to come, and that holy life which is the way thereto.

_Direct._ IV. Take heed of loving the pleasures of the flesh, in
over-much eating, or drinking, or play. Set not your hearts upon your
belly or your sport; let your meat, and sleep, and play be moderate.
Meddle not with cards or dice, or any bewitching or riotous sports:
play not for money, lest it stir up covetous desires, and tempt you to
be over-eager in it, and to lie, and wrangle, and fall out with
others. Use neither food or sports which are not for your health; a
greedy appetite enticeth children to devour raw fruits, and to rob
their neighbours' orchards, and at once to undo both soul and body.
And an excessive love of play doth cause them to run among bad
companions, and lose their time, and destroy the love of their books,
and their duty, and their parents themselves, and all that is good.
You must eat, and sleep, and play for health, and not for useless,
hurtful pleasure.[32]

_Direct._ V. Subdue your own wills and desires to the will of God
and your superiors, and be not eagerly set upon any thing which God or
your parents do deny you. Be not like those self-willed, fleshly
children, that are importunate for any thing which their fancy or
appetite would have, and cry or are discontent if they have it not.
Say not that I must have this or that, but be contented with any thing
which is the will of God and your superiors. It is the greatest misery
and danger in the world, to have all your own wills, and to be given
up to your hearts' desire.[33]

_Direct._ VI. Take heed of a custom of foolish, filthy railing,
lying, or any other sinful words. You think it is a small matter, but
God thinketh not so; it is not a jesting matter to sin against the God
that made you: it is fools that make a sport with sin, Prov. xiv. 9;
x. 23; xxvi. 19. One lie, one curse, one oath, one ribald, or railing,
or deriding word, is worse than all the pain that ever your flesh

_Direct._ VII. Take heed of such company and play-fellows, as
would entice and tempt you to any of these sins, and choose such
company as will help you in the fear of God. And if others mock at
you, care no more for it, than for the shaking of a leaf, or the
barking of a dog. Take heed of lewd and wicked company, as ever you
care for the saving of your souls. If you hear them rail, or lie, or
swear, or talk filthily, be not ashamed to tell them, that God
forbiddeth you to keep company with such as they, Psal. cxix. 63;
Prov. xiii. 20; xviii. 7; 1 Cor. v. 12; Eph. v. 11.

_Direct._ VIII. Take heed of pride and covetousness. Desire not
to be fine, nor to get all to yourselves; but be humble, and meek, and
love one another, and be as glad that others are pleased as

_Direct._ IX. Love the word of God, and all good books which
would make you wiser and better; and read not play-books, nor
tale-books, nor love-books, nor any idle stories. When idle children
are at play and fooleries, let it be your pleasure to read and learn
the mysteries of your salvation.

_Direct._ X. Remember that you keep holy the Lord's day. Spend
not any of it in play or idleness: reverence the ministers of Christ,
and mark what they teach you, and remember it is a message from God
about the saving of your souls. Ask your parents when you come home,
to help your understandings and memories in any thing which you
understood not or forgot. Love all the holy exercises of the Lord's
day, and let them be pleasanter to you than your meat or play.

_Direct._ XI. Be as careful to practise all, as to hear and read
it. Remember all is but to make you holy, to love God, and obey him:
take heed of sinning against your knowledge, and against the warnings
that are given you.

_Direct._ XII. When you grow up, by the direction of your parents
choose such a trade or calling, as alloweth you the greatest helps for
heaven, and hath the fewest hinderances, and in which you may be most
serviceable to God before you die. If you will but practise these few
directions, (which your own hearts must say have no harm in any of
them,) what happy persons will you be for ever!

[31] 2 Cor. v. 17; Rom. viii. 9, 13; John iii. 3, 5, 6.

[32] 1 Cor. x. 31.

[33] Psal. lxxxi. 10-12.



IF servants would have comfortable lives, they must approve themselves
and their service unto God, because from him they must have their
comforts; which may be done by following these directions.

_Direct._ I. Reverence the providence of God which calleth you to
a servant's life, and murmur not at your labour, or your low
condition; but know your mercies, and be thankful for them. Though
perhaps you have more labour than your masters, yet, have you not less
care than they? Most servants may have quieter lives, if it were not
for their unthankful, discontented hearts. You are not troubled with
the care of providing your landlord's rent, or meat, and drink, and
wages for your servants, nor with the wants and desires of wives and
children, nor with the faults and naughtiness of such as you must use
or trust; nor with the losses and crosses which your masters are
liable to. Be thankful to God, who for a little bodily labour, doth
free you from the burden of all these cares.

_Direct._ II. Take your condition as chosen for you by God, and
take yourselves as his servants, and your work as his, and do all as
to the Lord, and not only for man; and expect from God your chief
reward. You will be else but eye-servants and hypocrites, if the fear
of God do not awe your consciences: and if you were the best servants
to your masters in the world, and did not all in obedience to God, it
were but a low, unprofitable service; if you believe that there is an
infinite distance between God and man, you may conceive what a
difference there is between serving God and man: your wages is all
your reward from man, but eternal life is God's reward: and the very
same work and labour which one man hath but his year's wages for,
another hath everlasting life for, (though not of merit, yet of the
bounty of our Lord,) Rom. vi. 23; because he doth it in love and
obedience to that God who hath promised this reward. "Servants, obey
in all things your masters according to the flesh: not with
eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men;
knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the
inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ: but he that doeth wrong,
shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no
respect of persons," Col. iii. 22-25. The like is in Eph. vi. 5-8. So
much doth God respect the heart, that the very same action hath such
different successes and rewards, as it is done to different ends, and
from different principles: your lowest service may be thus sanctified
and acceptable to God.

_Direct._ III. Be conscionable and faithful in performing all the
labour and duty of a servant. Neglect not such business as you are to
do; nor do it lazily, and deceitfully, and by the halves. As it is
thievery or deceit for a man in the market to sell another the whole
of his commodity, and when he hath done, to keep back and defraud him
of a part; so is it no less for a servant that selleth his time and
labour to another, to defraud him of part of that time and service
which you sold him. Think not therefore that it is no sin, to idle
away an hour which is not your own, or to slubber over the work which
you undertake to do. Slothfulness and unconscionableness make servants
deceitful: such care not how they do their work, if they can but make
their masters believe that it is done well: they are hypocrites in
their service, that take more care to seem painful, trusty servants,
than to be so; and to hide their faults and slothfulness, than to
avoid them; as if it were as easy to hide them also from God, who hath
resolved to punish all the wrong they do their masters, Col. iii. 25.
If they can but loiter and take their ease, and their masters know it
not, they are never troubled at it as a sin against God: laziness and
fleshly-mindedness doth so blind them, that they think it is no sin to
take as much ease as they can, so they carry it fair and smoothly with
their masters, and to slubber over their business any how, so that it
will but serve the turn: whereas if their masters should keep back any
of their wages, or put more work upon them than is meet, they would
easily be persuaded that this were a sin. If your labour be such as
would hurt your health, (as by wet or cold, &c.) you may foresee it,
and avoid it in your choice of places: but if it be only the labour
that you grudge at, it is a sign of a fleshly and unfaithful person;
as long as it is not excessive to wrong your health, nor hurt your
souls, by denying you leisure for your duty to God. The Lord himself
commandeth you to be obedient in singleness of heart, as unto Christ,
not as eye-servants; and whatever you do, to do it heartily, knowing
that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of
the Lord, Eph. vi. 5, 6, 8; Col. iii. 23.

_Direct._ IV. Be more careful about your duty to your masters,
than about their duty or carriage to you. Be much more careful what to
do, than what to receive; and to be good servants, than to be used as
good servants. Not but you may modestly expect your due, and to be
used as servants should be used; but your duty is much more to be
regarded; for if your master wrong you, that is his sin, and none of
yours: God will not be offended with you for another's faults, but for
your own; not for being wronged, but for doing wrong: and it is better
suffer the greatest wrong, than offend God by committing the smallest

_Direct._ V. Be true and faithful in all that is committed to
your trust: dispose not of any thing that is your master's without his
consent; though you may think it never so reasonable, or well done,
yet remember that it is none of your own: if you would relieve the
poor, or please a fellow-servant, or do a kindness to a neighbour, do
it of your own, and not of another's, unless you have his allowance.
Be as thrifty for your master, as you would be for yourselves. Waste
no more of his goods, than you would do if it were your own. Say not
as false servants do, My master is rich enough, and it will do him no
harm, and therefore we may make bold, and not be so sparing and
niggardly. The question is not, what he should do, but what you should
do. If you take any of your rich neighbour's goods or money, to give
to the poor, you may be hanged as thieves, as well as if you stole it
for yourselves. To take any thing of another's against his will, is to
rob or steal: let the value be never so small, if it be but the worth
of a penny that you steal or defraud another of, the sin is not small:
nay, it aggravateth the sin, that you will presume to break God's law
for such a trifle, and venture your soul for so small a thing: though
it be taken from one that may never so well spare it, that is no
excuse to you; it is none of yours. Especially let those servants
think of this, that are trusted with buying and selling, or with
provisions. If you defraud your masters because you can conceal it,
believe it, God that knoweth it will reveal it; and if you repent of
it, you must make restitution of all that ever you thus robbed them
of, if you have any thing to do it with; and if you have nothing, you
must with sorrow and shame confess it to them, and ask forgiveness:
but if you repent not, you must pay dearer for it in hell, than this
comes to. _Object._ But did not the Lord commend the unjust steward?
Luke xvi. 8. _Answ._ Yes, for his wit in providing for himself, but
not for his unjustness. He only teacheth you there, that if the wicked
worldlings have wit to provide for this life, much more should you
have the wit to make provision for the life to come. It is
faithfulness that is a steward's duty, 1 Cor. iv. 2.

_Direct._ VI. Honour your masters, and behave yourselves towards
them with that respect and reverence as your place requireth.[34] Behave
not yourselves rudely or contemptuously towards them, in word or deed.
Be not so proud as to disdain to keep the distance and reverence which
is due. You should scorn to be servants, if you scorn to behave
yourselves as servants. Give them not saucy, provoking, or
contemptuous language; not wording it out with them in bold
contending, and justifying yourselves when your faults are
reprehended. Mark the apostle's words, Tit. ii. 9, 10, "Exhort
servants to be obedient to their own masters, and to please them well
in all things, not answering again; not purloining, but showing all
good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in
all things." And 1 Tim. vi. 1-4, "Let as many servants as are under
the yoke, count their own masters worthy of all honour;" (yea, though
they were infidels or poor,) "that the name of God and his doctrine be
not blasphemed." (For wicked men will say, Is this your religion? when
servants professing religion, are disobedient, unreverent, and
unfaithful.) "And they that have believing masters, let them not
despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service,
because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These
things teach and exhort: if any man teach otherwise, and consent not
to wholesome words--he is proud, knowing nothing."

_Direct._ VII. Go not unwillingly or murmuringly about your
business, but take it as your delight. An unwilling mind doth lose
God's reward, and man's acceptance. Grudging and unwillingness maketh
your work of little value, be it never so well done. "Do service
heartily, and with good will as to the Lord," Eph. vi. 7; Col. iii. 23.

_Direct._ VIII. Obey your masters in all things (which God
forbiddeth not, and which their place enableth them to command you);
and set not your own conceits and wills against their commands.[35] It
is not obedience, if you will do no more of their commands, than what
agreeth with your own opinions and wills. What if you think another
way best, or another work best, or another time best; are you to
govern or obey? If the work be not yours, but another's, let his will
and not yours be fulfilled, and do his service in his own way. It is
God's command, "Servants, obey your masters in all things," Col. iii. 22.

_Direct._ IX. Reveal not any of the secrets of your masters, or
of the family.[36] Talk not to others of what is said or done at home;
be not over-familiar at other men's houses, where you may be tempted
to talk of your masters' businesses; many words may have mischievous
effects, which were well intended. That servant is unfit for a wise
man's family, that hath some familiar abroad, to whom he must tell all
that he heareth or seeth at home; for his familiar hath another
familiar, and so a man shall be betrayed by those of his own
household, Mic. vii. 6, as Christ by Judas.

_Direct._ X. Grudge not at the meanness of the provisions of the
family. If you have not that which is needful to your health, remove
to another place as soon as you can, without reproaching the place
where you are. But if you have your daily bread, that is, your
necessary, wholesome food, how coarse soever, your murmuring for want
of more delicious fare, is but your shame, and showeth that your
hearts are sunk into your bellies, and that you are fleshly-minded

_Direct._ XI. Pray daily for a blessing on your labours and on
the family, both privately and with the rest. A praying servant may
prevail with God, for more than all their labour cometh to; and their
labours are liker to be blessed, than the labours of a prayerless,
ungodly person. You are not worthy to partake of the mercies of the
family, if you will not join in prayers for those mercies.

_Direct._ XII. Willingly submit to the teaching and government of
your masters about the right worshipping of God, and for the good of
your own souls. Bless God, if you live with religious masters that
will instruct you and catechise you, and pray with you, and restrain
you from breaking the Lord's day, and other sins, and will examine you
of your profiting, and watch over your souls, and sharply rebuke you
when you do that which is evil. Be glad of their instructions, and
murmur not at them, as ignorant, ungodly servants do. These few
directions carefully followed will make your service better to you,
than lordships and kingdoms are to the ungodly.

[34] Exod. xx. 12; Rom. xiii. 7.

[35] Acts x. 7.

[36] Prov. xxv. 9; xi. 13; xx. 19.

[37] Phil. iii. 18, 19.



IF you would have good servants, see that you be good masters, and do
your own duty, and then either your servants will do theirs, or else
all their failings shall turn to your greater good.[38]

_Direct._ I. Remember that in Christ they are your brethren and
fellow-servants; and therefore rule them not tyrannically, but in
tenderness and love; and command them nothing that is against the laws
of God, or the good of their souls. Use not wrath and unmanlike fury
with them; nor any over-severe or unnecessary rebukes or
chastisements. Find fault in season, with prudence and sobriety, when
your passions are down, and when it is most likely to do good. If it
be too little, it will imbolden them in doing ill; if it be too much,
or frequent, or passionate, it will make them slight it and despise
it, and utterly hinder their repentance: they will be taken up in
blaming you for your rashness and violence, instead of blaming
themselves for the fault.

_Direct._ II. Provide them work convenient for them, and such as
they are fit for; not such or so much as to wrong them in their
health, or hinder them from the necessary means of their salvation;
nor yet so little as may cherish their idleness, or occasion them to
lose their precious time. It is cruelty to lay more on your horse than
he can carry; or to work your oxen to skin and bones. Prov. xii. 10,
"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast;" much more of his
servant. Especially put not your servants on any labour which hazardeth
their health or life, without true necessity to some greater end. Pity
and spare them more in their health than in their bare labour. Labour
maketh the body sound; but to take deep colds, or go wet of their
feet, do tend to their sickness and death. And should another man's
life be cast away for your commodity? Do as you would be done by, if
you were servants yourselves and in their case; and let not their
labours be so great, as shall allow them no time to pray before they
go about it, or as shall so tire them as to unfit them for prayer, or
instruction, or the worship of the Lord's day, and shall lay them like
blocks, as fitter to lie to sleep or rest themselves, than to pray, or
hear, or mind any thing that is good. And yet take heed that you
suffer them not to be idle, as many great men use their serving men,
to the undoing of their souls and bodies. Idleness is no small sin
itself, and it breedeth and cherisheth many others: their time is lost
by it; and they are made unfit for any honest employment or course of
life, to help themselves or any others.

_Direct._ III. Provide them such wholesome food and lodging, and
such wages as their service doth deserve, or as you have promised
them.[39] Whether it be pleasant or unpleasant, let their food and
lodging be healthful. It is so odious an oppression and injustice to
defraud a servant or labourer of his wages, (yea, or to give him less
than he deserveth,) that methinks I should not need to speak much
against it among christians. Read James v. 1-5, and I hope it will be

_Direct._ IV. Use not your servants to be so bold and familiar
with you, as may tempt them to despise you; nor yet so strange and
distant, as may deprive you of opportunity of speaking to them for
their spiritual good, or justly lay you open to be censured as too
magisterial and proud. Both these extremes have ill effects; but the
first is the commonest, and is the disquiet of many families.

_Direct._ V. Remember that you have a charge of the souls in your
family, and are as a priest and teacher in your own house; and
therefore see that you keep them to the constant worshipping of God,
especially on the Lord's day, in public and private; and that you
teach them the things that concern their salvation (as is afterward
directed). And pray for them daily, as well as for yourselves.

_Direct._ VI. Watch over them that they offend not God: bear not
with ungodliness or gross sin in your family. Read Psal. ci. Be not
like those ungodly masters, that look only that their own work be
done, and bid God look after his work himself, and care not for their
servants' souls, because they care not for their own; and mind not
whether God be served by others, because they serve him not (unless
with hypocritical lip-service) themselves.

_Direct._ VII. Keep your servants from evil company, and from
being temptations to each other, as far as you can. If you suffer them
to frequent alehouses, or riotous assemblies, or wanton or malignant
company, when they are infected themselves, they will bring home the
infection, and all the house may fare the worse for it. And when Judas
groweth familiar with the Pharisees, he will be seduced by them to
betray his Master. You cannot be accountable for your servants if you
suffer them to be much abroad.

_Direct._ VIII. Go before them as examples of holiness and
wisdom, and all those virtues and duties which you would teach them.
An ignorant or a swearing, cursing, railing, ungodly master, doth
actually teach his servants to be such; and if his words teach them
the contrary, he can expect but little reverence or success.

_Direct._ IX. Patiently bear with those tolerable frailties which
their unskilfulness, or bodily temperature, or other infirmity, make
them liable to against their wills. A willing mind is an excuse for
many frailties; much must be put up with, when it is not from
wilfulness or gross neglect: make not a greater matter of every
infirmity or fault, than there is cause. Look not that any should be
perfect upon earth; reckon upon it, that you must have servants of the
progeny of Adam, that have corrupted natures, and bodily weaknesses,
and many things that must be borne with. Consider how faultily you
serve your heavenly Master, and how much he daily beareth with that
which is amiss in you, and how many faults and oversights you are
guilty of in your own employment, and how many you should be overtaken
with if you were in their stead. Eph. vi. 9, "And ye masters, do the
same things to them, forbearing threatening, knowing that your Master
also is in heaven, neither is there respect of persons with him." Col.
iv. 1, "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and
equal," &c.

_Direct._ X. See that they behave themselves well to their
fellow-servants: of which I shall speak anon.

_Tit. 2. Directions to those Masters in foreign Plantations who have
Negroes and other Slaves; being a solution of several cases about

_Direct._ I. Understand well how far your power over your slaves
extendeth, and what limits God hath set thereto.

As, 1. Sufficiently difference between men and brutes. Remember that
they are of as good a kind as you; that is, they are reasonable
creatures as well as you, and born to as much natural liberty. If
their sin have enslaved them to you, yet nature made them your equals.
Remember that they have immortal souls, and are equally capable of
salvation with yourselves. And therefore you have no power to do any
thing which shall hinder their salvation. No pretence of your
business, necessity, commodity, or power, can warrant you to hold them
so hard to work, as not to allow them due time and seasons for that
which God hath made their duty.

2. Remember that God is their absolute Owner, and that you have none
but a derived and limited propriety in them. They can be no further
yours, than you have God's consent, who is the Lord of them and you;
and therefore God's interest in them and by them must be served first.

3. Remember that they and you are equally under the government and
laws of God. And therefore all God's laws must be first obeyed by
them, and you have no power to command them to omit any duty which God
commandeth them, nor to commit any sin which God forbiddeth them; nor
can you, without rebellion or impiety, expect that your work or
commands should be preferred before God's.

4. Remember that God is their reconciled, tender Father, and if they
be as good, doth love them as well as you. And therefore you must use
the meanest of them no otherwise, than beseemeth the beloved of God to
be used; and no otherwise than may stand with the due signification of
your love to God, by loving those that are his.

5. Remember that they are the redeemed ones of Christ, and that he
hath not sold you his title to them. As he bought their souls at a
price invaluable, so he hath not given the purchase of his blood to be
absolutely at your disposal. Therefore so use them, as to preserve
Christ's right and interest in them.

_Direct._ II. Remember that you are Christ's trustees, or the
guardians of their souls; and that the greater your power is over
them, the greater your charge is of them, and your duty for them. As
you owe more to a child than to a day-labourer, or a hired servant,
because, being more your own, he is more intrusted to your care; so
also by the same reason, you owe more to a slave, because he is more
your own; and power and obligation go together. As Abraham was to
circumcise all his servants that were bought with money, and the
fourth commandment requireth masters to see that all within their
gates observe the sabbath day; so must you exercise both your power
and love to bring them to the knowledge and faith of Christ, and to
the just obedience of God's commands.

Those therefore that keep their negroes and slaves from hearing God's
word, and from becoming christians, because by the law they shall then
be either made free, or they shall lose part of their service, do
openly profess rebellion against God, and contempt of Christ the
Redeemer of souls, and a contempt of the souls of men; and indeed they
declare, that their worldly profit is their treasure and their god.

If this come to the hands of any of our natives in Barbadoes, or other
islands or plantations, who are said to be commonly guilty of this
most heinous sin, yea, and to live upon it, I entreat them further to
consider as followeth: 1. How cursed a crime is it to equal men and
beasts! Is not this your practice? Do you not buy them and use them
merely to the same end, as you do your horses? to labour for your
commodity, as if they were baser than you, and made to serve you?

2. Do you not see how you reproach and condemn yourselves, while you
vilify them as savages and barbarous wretches? Did they ever do any
thing more savage, than to use not only men's bodies as beasts, but
their souls as if they were made for nothing but to actuate their
bodies in your worldly drudgery? Did the veriest cannibals ever do any
thing more cruel or odious, than to sell so many souls to the devil
for a little worldly gain? Did ever the cursedest miscreants on earth,
do any thing more rebellious, and contrary to the will of the most
merciful God, than to keep those souls from Christ, and holiness, and
heaven, for a little money, who were made and redeemed for the same
ends, and at the same precious price as yours? Did your poor slaves
ever commit such villanies as these? Is not he the basest wretch and
the most barbarous savage, who committeth the greatest and most
inhuman wickedness? And are theirs comparable to these of yours?

3. Doth not the very example of such cruelty, besides your keeping
them from christianity, directly tend to teach them and all others, to
hate christianity, as if it taught men to be so much worse than dogs
and tigers?

4. Do you not mark how God hath followed you with plagues? and may not
conscience tell you that it is for your inhumanity to the souls and
bodies of so many? Remember the late fire at the bridge in Barbadoes:
remember the drowning of your governor and ships at sea, and the many
judgments that have overtaken you; and at the present the terrible
mortality that is among you.

5. Will not the example and warning of neighbour countries rise up in
judgment against you and condemn you? You cannot but hear how odious
the Spanish name is made (and thereby, alas! the christian name also,
among the West Indians) for their most inhuman cruelties in
Hispaniola, Jamaica, Cuba, Peru, Mexico, and other places, which
is described by Josep. a Costa, a Jesuit of their own; and though I
know that their cruelty who murdered millions, exceedeth yours, who
kill not men's bodies, yet yours is of the same kind, in the
merchandise which you make with the devil for their souls, whilst you
that should help them with all your power, do hinder them from the
means of their salvation. And on the contrary, what an honour is it to
those of New England, that they take not so much as the native soil
from them, but by purchase! that they enslave none of them, nor use
them cruelly, but show them mercy, and are at a great deal of care,
and cost, and labour for their salvation! Oh how much difference
between holy Mr. Elliot's life and yours! His, who hath laboured so
many years to save them, and hath translated the holy Bible into their
language, with other books; and those good men's in London who are a
corporation for the furtherance of his work; and theirs that have
contributed so largely towards it; and yours that sell men's souls for
your commodity!

6. And what comfort are you like to have at last, in that money that
is purchased at such a price? Will not your money and you perish
together? will you not have worse than Gehazi's leprosy with it; yea,
worse than Achan's death by stoning; and as bad as Judas his hanging
himself, unless repentance shall prevent it? Do you not remember the
terrible words in Jude 11, "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the
way of Cain, and ran greedily after the errors of Balaam." And 2 Pet.
ii. 3, 14, 15, "Through covetousness--they make merchandise of
you.--An heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed
children (or children of a curse) which have forsaken the right way,
and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam, the son of Bosor,
who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but was rebuked for his
iniquity; the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of
the prophet." When you shall every one hear, "Thou fool, this night
shall thy soul be required of thee, and then whose shall those things
be which thou hast provided?" Luke xii. 19-21; will it not then cut
deep in your perpetual torments, to remember that you got that little
pelf by betraying so many souls to hell? What men in the world doth
James speak to, if not to you? Jam. v. 1-4, "Go to now, ye rich men,
weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches
are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten: your gold and silver
are cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and
shall eat your flesh as it were fire: ye have heaped treasure together
for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers which have reaped
down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the
cries of them which have reaped, are entered into the ears of the Lord
of sabaoth." How much more the cry of betrayed souls!

And here we may seasonably answer these cases. _Quest._ 1. Is it
lawful for a christian to buy and use a man as a slave? _Quest._
2. Is it lawful to use a christian as a slave? _Quest._ 3. What
difference must we make between a free servant and a slave?

To _Quest._ 1. I answer, There is a slavery to which some men may
be lawfully put; and there is a slavery to which none may be put; and
there is a slavery to which only the criminal may be put, by way of

1. No man may be put to such a slavery as under the first direction is
denied, that is, such as shall injure God's interest and service, or
the man's salvation. 2. No man, but as a just punishment for his
crimes, may be so enslaved, as to be deprived of those liberties,
benefits, and comforts, which brotherly love obligeth every man to
grant to another for his good, as far as is within our power, all
things considered. That is, the same man is a servant and a brother,
and therefore must at once be used as both. 3. Though poverty or
necessity do make a man consent to sell himself to a life of lesser
misery to escape a greater, or death itself; yet is it not lawful for
any other so to take advantage by his necessity, as to bring him into
a condition that shall make him miserable, or in which we shall not
exercise so much love, as may tend to his sanctification, comfort, and
salvation: because no justice is beseeming a christian or a man, which
is not conjoined with a due measure of charity.

But, 1. He that deserveth it by way of penalty may be penally used. 2.
He that stole and cannot restore may be forced to work it out as a
servant; and in both these cases more may be done against another's
ease or liberty, than by mere contract or consent. He that may hang a
flagitious offender doth him no wrong if he put him to a slavery,
which is less penal than death. 3. More also may be done against
enemies taken in a lawful war, than could be done against the innocent
by necessitated consent. 4. A certain degree of servitude or slavery
is lawful by the necessitated consent of the innocent. That is, so
much, (1.) As wrongeth no interest of God. (2.) Nor of mankind by
breaking the laws of nations. (3.) Nor the person himself, by
hindering his salvation, or the needful means thereof; nor those
comforts of life, which nature giveth to man as man. (4.) Nor the
commonwealth or society where we live.

_Quest._ 2. To the second question I answer, 1. As men must be
variously loved according to the various degrees of amiableness in
them, so various degrees of love must be exercised towards them;
therefore good and real christians must be used with more love and
brotherly tenderness than others. 2. It is meet also, that infidels
have so much mercy showed them in order to the saving of their souls,
as that they should be invited to christianity by fit encouragements;
and so, that they should know that if they will turn christians, they
shall have more privileges and emoluments than the enemies of truth
and piety shall have. It is therefore well done of princes who make
laws that infidel slaves shall be free-men, when they are duly
christened. 3. But yet a nominal christian, who by wickedness
forfeiteth his life or freedom, may penally be made a slave as well as
infidels. 4. And a poor and needy christian may sell himself into a
harder state of servitude than he would choose, or we could otherwise
put him into. But, 5. To go as pirates and catch up poor negroes or
people of another land, that never forfeited life or liberty, and to
make them slaves, and sell them, is one of the worst kinds of thievery
in the world; and such persons are to be taken for the common enemies
of mankind; and they that buy them and use them as beasts, for their
mere commodity, and betray, or destroy, or neglect their souls, are
fitter to be called incarnate devils than christians, though they be
no christians whom they so abuse.

_Quest._ 3. To the third question, I answer, That the solution of
this case is to be gathered from what is said already. A servant and a
voluntary slave were both free-men, till they sold or hired
themselves; and a criminal person was a free-man till he forfeited his
life or liberty. But afterwards the difference is this; that, 1. A
free servant is my servant, no further than his own covenant made him
so; which is supposed to be, (1.) To a certain kind and measure of
labour, according to the meaning of his contract. (2.) For a limited
time, expressed in the contract, whether a year, or two, or three, or

2. A slave by mere contract is one that, (1.) Usually selleth himself
absolutely to the will of another as to his labour both for kind and
measure; where yet the limitations of God and nature after (and
before) named, are supposed among christians to take place. (2.) He is
one that selleth himself to such labour, during life.

3. A slave by just penalty, is liable to so much servitude as the
magistrate doth judge him to, which may be, (1.) Not only such labour,
as aforesaid, as pleaseth his master to impose. (2.) And that for
life. (3.) But it may be also to stripes and severities which might
not lawfully be inflicted on another.

1. The limitations of a necessitated slavery by contract or consent
through poverty are these: (1.) Such a one's soul must be cared for
and preserved, though he should consent to the contrary. He must have
time to learn the word of God, and time to pray, and he must rest on
the Lord's day, and employ it in God's service; he must be instructed,
and exhorted, and kept from sin. (2.) He may not be forced to commit
any sin against God. (3.) He may not (though he forcedly consent) be
denied such comforts of this life, as are needful to his cheerful
serving of God in love and thankfulness, according to the peace of the
gospel state; and which are called by the name of our daily bread. No
man may deny a slave any of this, that is not a criminal, punished

2. And the most criminal slave may not be forced to sin, nor denied
necessary helps to his salvation. But he may penally be beaten and
denied part of his daily bread; so it be not done more rigorously than
true justice doth require.

_Quest._ But what if men buy negroes or other slaves of such as
we have just cause to believe did steal them by piracy, or buy them of
those that have no power to sell them, and not hire or buy them by
their own consent, or by the consent of those that had power to sell
them, nor take them captives in a lawful war, what must they do with
them afterward?

_Answ._ 1. It is their heinous sin to buy them, unless it be in
charity to deliver them. 2. Having done it, undoubtedly they are
presently bound to deliver them; because by right the man is his own,
and therefore no man else can have just title to him.

_Quest._ But may I not sell him again and make my money of him,
seeing I leave him but as I found him?

_Answ._ No; because when you have taken possession of him, and a
pretended propriety, then the injury that is done him is by you; which
before was only by another. And though the wrong be no greater than
the other did him, yet being now done by you it is your sin.

_Quest._ But may I not return him to him that I bought him of?

_Answ._ No; for that is but injuring him by delivering him to
another to continue the injury. To say as Pilate, "I am innocent of
the blood of this just man," will be no proof of your innocency; yea,
God's law bindeth you to love, and works of love, and therefore you
should do your best to free him. He that is bound to help to save a
man, that is fallen into the hand of thieves by the high-way, if he
should buy that man as a slave of the thieves, may not after give him
up to the thieves again. But to proceed in the directions.

_Direct._ III. So serve your own necessities by your slaves as to
prefer God's interest, and their spiritual and everlasting happiness.
Teach them the way to heaven, and do all for their souls which I have
before directed you to do for all your other servants. Though you may
make some difference in their labour, and diet, and clothing, yet none
as to the furthering of their salvation. If they be infidels, use them
so as tendeth to win them to Christ, and the love of religion, by
showing them that christians are less worldly, less cruel and
passionate, and more wise, and charitable, and holy, and meek, than
any other persons are. Woe to them that by their cruelty and
covetousness, do scandalize even slaves, and hinder their conversion
and salvation!

_Direct._ IV. By how much the hardness of their condition doth
make their lives uncomfortable, and God hath cast them lower than
yourselves, by so much the more let your charity pity them, and labour
to abate their burden, and sweeten their lives to them, as much as
your condition will allow. And remember that even a slave may be one
of those neighbours that you are bound to love as yourselves, and to
do to as you would be done by, if your case were his. Which if you do,
you will need no more direction for his relief.

_Direct._ V. Remember that you may require no more of an innocent
slave, than you would or might do of an ordinary servant, if he were
at your will, and did not by contract except something as to labour or
usage which else you would think just and meet to have required of

_Direct._ VI. If they are infidels, neither be too hasty in
baptizing them, when they desire it, nor too slow. Not so hasty as to
put them on it, before they understand what the baptismal covenant is;
or before you see any likelihood that they should be serious in making
such a covenant. Nor yet so slow as to let them alone to linger out
their lives in the state of those without the church. But hasten them
to learn, and stir up their desires, and look after them, as the
ancient churches did after their catechumens; and when you see them
fit by knowledge, belief, desire, and resolution, to vow themselves to
God on the terms of the holy covenant, then put them on to be
baptized. But if you should feel an abatement of your desires of their
conversion, because you shall lose their service, (much more if ever
you had a wish that they might not be converted, which is plain
devilism,) let it be the matter of your deep humiliation and

_Direct._ VII. Make it your chief end in buying and using slaves,
to win them to Christ, and save their souls. Do not only endeavour it
on the by, when you have first consulted your own commodity; but make
this more of your end, than your commodity itself; and let their
salvation be far more valued by you than their service: and carry
yourselves to them, as those that are sensible that they are redeemed
with them by Christ from the slavery of Satan, and may live with them
in the liberty of the saints in glory.

[38] Rom. viii. 28.

[39] Col. iv. 1.



IT is not easy to resolve, whether good governors, or good
fellow-servants, in a family, be the greater help and benefit, to each
of the inferiors. For servants are so much together, and so free and
familiar with each other, that they have the more opportunity to be
useful to each other, if they have but abilities and hearts. It is
needful, therefore, that you know your duty to one another, both for
doing and getting that good which otherwise will be lost.

_Direct._ I. Love one another unfeignedly as yourselves; avoid
all contention and falling out with one another, or any thing that
would weaken your love to one another; especially differences about
your personal interests, in point of profit, provision, or reputation.
Take heed of the spirit of envy, which will make your hearts rise
against those that are preferred before you, or that are used better
than you. Remember the sin and misery of Cain, and take warning by
him. Give place to others, and in honour prefer others, and seek not
to be preferred before them, Rom. xii. 10, 16. God delighteth to exalt
the humble that abase themselves, and to cast down those that exalt
themselves. When the interest of your flesh can make you hate or fall
out with each other, what a fearful sign is it of a fleshly mind! Rom.
viii. 6, 13.

_Direct._ II. Take heed of using provoking words against each
other. For these are the bellows to blow up that which the apostle
calleth "the fire of hell," James iii. 6. A foul tongue setteth on
fire the course of nature; and therefore it may set a family on fire,
James iii. 5, 6. "Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and
every evil work," ver. 16. If ye be angry, refrain your tongues "and
sin not, and let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give
place to the devil," Eph. iv. 26, 27. "Let all bitterness, and wrath,
and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with
all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving
one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you," ver.
31, 32. 1 Cor. vi. 10, "Revilers shall not inherit the kingdom of

_Direct._ III. Help one another with love and willingness in your
labours; and do not grudge at one another, and say such a one doth
less than I; but be as ready to help another, as you would be helped
yourselves. It is very amiable to see a family of such children and
servants, that all take one another's concernments as their own, and
are not selfish against each other. Psal. cxxxiii. 1, "Behold, how
good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"

_Direct._ IV. Take heed that you prove not tempters to draw each
other to sin and misery. Either by joining together in riotousness, or
wronging your masters, or secret revelling, and then in lying to
conceal it; or lest immodest familiarity draw those of different sexes
into a snare. Abundance of sin and misery hath followed such tempting
familiarity of men and maids that were fellow-servants. Their nearness
giveth them opportunity, and the devil provoketh them to take their
opportunity; and from immodest, wanton dalliance, and unchaste words,
they proceed at last to more lasciviousness, to their own undoing.
Bring not the straw to the fire, if you would not have it burn.

_Direct._ V. Watch over one another for mutual preservation
against the sin and temptations which you are most in danger of. Agree
to tell each other of your faults, not proudly or passionately, but in
love; and resolve to take it thankfully from each other. If any one
talk foolishly and idly, or wantonly and immodestly, or tell a lie, or
take God's name in vain, or neglect their duty to God or man, or deal
unfaithfully in their trust or labour, let the other seriously tell
him of his sin, and call him to repentance. And let not him that is
guilty take it ill, and angrily snap at the reprover, or justify or
excuse the fault, or hit him presently in the teeth with his own;
but humbly thank him and promise amendment. Oh how happy might
servants be, if they would faithfully watch over one another!

_Direct._ VI. When you are together, and your work will allow it,
let your discourse be such as tendeth to edification, and to the
spiritual good of the speaker or the hearers. Some work there is that
must be thought on, and talked of, while it is doing, and will not
allow you leisure to think or speak of other things, till it is done;
but very much of the work of most servants may be as well done, though
they think and speak together of heavenly things; besides all other
times when their work is over. O take this time to be speaking of good
to one another. It is like, that some one of you hath more knowledge
than the rest; let the rest be asking his counsel and instructions,
and let him bend himself to do them good: or if you are equal in
knowledge, yet stir up the grace that is in you, if you have any; or
stir up your desires after it, if you have none. Waste not your
precious time in vanity; multiply not the sin of idle words. Oh what a
load doth lie on many a soul that feeleth it not, in the guilt of
these two sins, loss of time, and idle words! To be guilty of the same
sins over and over, every day, and make a constant practice of them,
and this against your own knowledge and conscience, is a more grievous
case than many think of; whereas, if you would live together as the
heirs of heaven, and provoke one another to the love of God, and holy
duty, and delightfully talk of the word of God, and the life to come,
what blessings might you be to one another! and your service and
labour would be a sanctified and comfortable life to you all. Eph. iv.
29, 30, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but
that which is good to the use of edifying, and may minister grace to
the hearers: and grieve not the holy Spirit of God." And chap. v. 3, 4,
"But fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, (or rather,
inordinate, fleshly desire,) let it not be once named among you, as
becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting,
which are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks." Of this more

_Direct._ VII. Patiently bear with the failings of one another
towards yourselves, and hide those faults, the opening of which will
do no good, but stir up strife; but conceal not those faults which
will be cherished by concealment, or whose concealment tendeth to the
wrong of your master, or any other. For it is in your power to forgive
a fault against yourselves, but not against God, or another. And to
know when you should reveal it, and when not, you must wisely foreknow
which way is like to do more good or harm. And if yet you be in doubt,
open it first to some secret friend, that is wise to advise you,
whether it should be further opened or not.

_Direct._ VIII. If weakness, or sickness, or want afflict a
brother, or sister, or fellow-servant, be kind and helpful to them
according to your power. "Love not in word only, but in deed and
truth," 1 John iii. 18; James ii.



BECAUSE this is a duty so frequently to be performed; and therefore
the peace and edification of christians is very much concerned in it,
I shall give a few brief directions about it.

_Direct._ 1. Labour most for a full and lively heart, which hath
the feeling of those things which your tongues should speak of. For,
1. Such a heart will be like a spring which is always running, and
will continually feed the streams. Forced and feigned things are of
short continuance; the hypocrite's affected, forced speech, is
exercised but among those where it may serve his pride and carnal
ends; at other times, and in other company, he hath another tongue
like other men. It is like a land-flood that is quickly gone; or like
the bending of a bow, which returneth to its place as soon as it is
loosed. 2. And that which cometh from your hearts, will be serious and
hearty, and likeliest to do good to others; for words do their work
upon us, not only by signifying the matter which is spoken, but also
by signifying the affections of the speaker. And that which will work
affections, must express affection ordinarily. If it come not from the
heart of the speaker, it is not so like to go to the hearts of the
hearers. A hearty preacher, and a hearty, feeling discourse of holy
things, do pierce heart-deep, and do that good, which better composed
words that are heartless do not.

_Direct._ II. Yet for all that, when your hearts are cold, and
dull, and barren, do not think that your tongues must therefore
neglect their duty, and be silent from all good, till your hearts be
better, but force your tongues to do their duty, if they will not do
it freely without constraint. For, 1. Duty is duty, whether you be
well-disposed to it or not: if all duty should cease when men are
ill-disposed to it, no wicked man would be bound to any thing that is
truly holy. 2. And if heart and tongue be both obliged, it is worse to
omit both than one. 3. And there may be sincerity in a duty, when the
heart is cold and dull. 4. And beginning to do your duty as well as
you can, is the way to overcome your dulness and unfitness; when you
force your tongues at first to speak of that which is good, the words
which you speak or hear, may help to bring you into a better frame.
Many a man hath begun to pray with coldness, that hath got him heat
before he had done; and many a man hath gone unwillingly to hear a
sermon, that hath come home a converted soul. 5. And when you set
yourselves in the way of duty, you are in the way of promised grace.

_Object._ But is not this to play the hypocrite, to let my tongue
go before my heart; and speak the things which my heart is not
affected with?

_Answ._ If you speak falsely and dissemblingly, you play the
hypocrite; but you may force yourselves to speak of good, without any
falsehood or hypocrisy. Words signify, as I told you, the matter
spoken, and the speaker's mind. Now your speaking of the things of God
doth tell no more of your mind but this, that you take them to be
true, and that you desire those that you speak to, to regard them: and
all this is so; and therefore there is no hypocrisy in it. Indeed if
you told the hearers, that you are deeply affected with these things
yourselves, when it is not so, this were hypocrisy. But a man may
exhort another to be good, without professing himself to be good; yea,
though he confess himself to be bad. Therefore all the good discourses
of a wicked man are not hypocrisy; much less the good discourse of a
sincere christian, that is dull and cold in that discourse. And if a
duty had some hypocrisy in it, it is not the duty, but the hypocrisy,
that God disliketh, and you must forsake: as if there be coldness in a
duty, it is the coldness, and not the duty, that is to be blamed and
forborne. And wholly to omit the duty, is worse than to do it with
some coldness or hypocrisy, which is not the predominant complexion of
the duty.

_Object._ But if it be not the fruit of the Spirit, it is not
acceptable to God; and that which I force my tongue to, is none of the
fruits of the Spirit. Therefore I must stay till the Spirit move me.

_Answ._ 1. There are many duties done by reason, and the common
assistances of God, that are better than the total omission of them
is. Else no unsanctified man should hear the word, or pray, or relieve
the poor, or obey his prince or governors, or do any duty towards
children or neighbours, because whatsoever is not the fruit of the
special grace of the Spirit, is sin; and without faith it is
impossible to please God; and all men have not faith, Heb. xi. 6;
2 Thess. iii. 2. 2. It is a distracted conceit of the quakers, and
other fanatics, to think that reason and the Spirit of God are not
conjunct principles in the same act. Doth the Spirit work on a man as
on a beast or stone? and cause you to speak as a clock that striketh
it knoweth not what? or play on man's soul, as on an instrument of
music that hath neither knowledge of the melody, nor any pleasure in
it? No, the Spirit of God supposeth nature, and worketh on man as man,
by exciting your own understanding and will to do their parts. So that
when, against all the remnant of dulness and backwardness that is in
you, you can force yourselves to do your duty, it is because the
Spirit of God assisteth you to take that resolution, and use that
force. For thus the Spirit striveth against the flesh, Gal. v. 17;
Rom. vii. 16-18. Though it is confessed, that there is more of the
Spirit, where there is no backwardness or resistance, or need of

_Direct._ III. By all means labour to be furnished with understanding
in the matters of God. For, 1. An understanding person hath a mine of
holy matter in himself, and never is quite void of matter for good
discourse. He is the good scribe, that is instructed to the kingdom of
God, that bringeth out of his treasury things new and old, Matt.
xiii. 52. 2. And an understanding person will speak discreetly, and so
will much further the success of his discourse, and not make it
ridiculous, contemptuous, or uneffectual through his indiscretion. But
yet if you are ignorant and wanting in understanding, do not therefore
be silent; for though your ability is least, your necessity is
greatest. Let necessity therefore constrain you to ask instruction, as
it constraineth the needy to beg for what they want. But spare no
pains to increase your knowledge.

_Direct._ IV. If your own understandings and hearts do not
furnish you with matter, have recourse to those manifold helps that
God vouchsafeth you. As, 1. You may discourse of the last sermon that
you heard, or some one lately preached that nearly touched you. 2. Or
of something in the last book you read. 3. Or of some text of
Scripture obvious to your thoughts. 4. Or of some notable (yea, or
ordinary) providence which did lately occur. 5. Or of some examples of
good or evil that are fresh before you. 6. Or of the right doing of
the duty that you are about, or any such like helps.

_Direct._ V. Talk not of vain, unprofitable controversies, nor
often of small, circumstantial matters that make but little to
edification. For there may be idle talking about matters of religion,
as well as about other smaller things. Especially see that the
quarrels of the times engage not your thoughts and speeches too far,
into a course of unprofitableness or contention.

_Direct._ VI. Furnish yourselves beforehand with matter for the most
edifying discourse, and never go abroad empty. And let the matter be
usually, 1. Things of weight, and not small matters. 2. Things of
certainty, and not uncertain things. Particularly the fittest subjects
for your ordinary discourse are these: 1. God himself, with his
attributes, relations, and works. 2. The great mystery of man's
redemption by Christ; his person, office, sufferings, doctrine,
example, and work; his resurrection, ascension, glory, intercession,
and all the privileges of his saints. 3. The covenant of grace, the
promises, the duties, the conditions, and the threatenings. 4. The
workings of the Spirit of Christ upon the soul, and every grace of the
Spirit in us; with all the signs, and helps, and hinderances of it. 5.
The ways and wiles of Satan, and all our spiritual enemies; the
particular temptations which we are in danger of; what they are and
how to avoid them, and what are the most powerful helps against them.
6. The corruption and deceitfulness of the heart; the nature and
workings, effects, and signs of ignorance, unbelief, hypocrisy, pride,
sensuality, worldliness, impiety, injustice, intemperance,
uncharitableness, and every other sin; with all the helps against them
all. 7. The many duties to God and man which we have to perform, both
internal and external, and how to do them, and what are the chiefest
hinderances and helps. (As in reading, hearing, meditating, prayer,
giving alms, &c.) And the duties of our relations, and several places,
with the contrary sins. 8. The vanity of the world, and deceitfulness
of all earthly things. 9. The powerful reasons used by Christ to draw
us to holiness, and the unreasonable madness of all that is brought
against it, by the devil or by wicked men. 10. Of the sufferings which
we must expect and be prepared for. 11. Of death, and the preparations
that will then be found necessary; and how to make ready for so great
a change. 12. Of the day of judgment, and who will then be justified,
and who condemned. 13. Of the joys of heaven, the employment, the
company, the nature, and duration. 14. Of the miseries of the damned,
and the thoughts that they then will have of their former life on
earth. 15. Of the state of the church on earth, and what we ought to
do in our places for its welfare. Is there not matter enough in all
these great and weighty points, for your hourly meditation and

_Direct._ VII. Take heed of proud self-conceitedness in your
conference. Speak not with supercilious, censorious confidence. Let
not the weak take on them to be wiser than they are. Be readier to
speak by way of question as learners, than as teachers of others,
unless you are sure that they have much more need to be taught by you,
than you by them. It is ordinary for novices in religion to cast all
their discourse into a teaching strain, or to make themselves
preachers before they understand. It is a most loathsome and pitiful
hearing (and yet too ordinary) to hear a raw, self-conceited,
ungrounded, unexperienced person to prate magisterially, and censure
confidently the doctrine, or practices, or persons of those that are
much better and wiser than themselves. If you meet with this proud,
censorious spirit, rebuke it first, and read to them James iii.; and
if they go on, turn away from them, and avoid them, for they know not
what manner of spirit they are of: they serve not the Lord Jesus,
whatever they pretend or think themselves, but are proud, knowing
nothing, but doting about questions, and making divisions in the
church of God, and ready to fall into the condemnation of the devil,
1 Tim. iii. 6; vi. 3-5; Rom. xvi. 17; Luke ix. 55.

_Direct._ VIII. Let the wisest in the company, and not the weakest,
have most of the discourse: but yet if any one that is of an abler
tongue than the rest, do make any determinations in doubtful,
controverted points, take heed of a hasty receiving his judgment, let
his reasons seem never so plausible or probable; but put down all such
opinions as doubts, and move them to your teachers, or some other
impartial, able men, before you entertain them. Otherwise, he that
hath most wit and tongue in the company, might carry away all the rest
into what error or heresy he please, and subvert their faith when he
stops their mouths.

_Direct._ IX. Let the matter of your speech be suitable to your
end, even to the good of yourselves or others, which you seek. The
same subject that is fit for one company is very unfit for others.
Learned men and ignorant men, pious men and profane men, are not fit
for the same kind of discourse. The medicine must be carefully fitted
to the disease.

_Direct._ X. Let your speech be seasonable, when prudence telleth
you it is not like to do more harm than good. There is a season for
the prudent to be silent, and refrain even from good talk, Amos v. 17;
Psal. xxxix. 1, 2. "Cast not pearls before swine, and give not holy
things to dogs, that you know will turn again and rend you," Matt.
vii. 6. Yea, and among good people themselves, there is a time to
speak, and a time to be silent, Eccles. iii. 7. There may possibly be
such excess as tendeth to the tiring of the hearers; and more may be
crammed in than they can digest; and surfeiting may make them loathe
it afterwards. You must give none more than they can bear; and also
the matters of your business and callings, must be talked of in their
time and place.

_Direct._ XI. Let all your speech of holy things be with the
greatest seriousness and reverence that you are able. Let the words be
never so good, yet levity and rudeness may make them to be profane.
God and holy things should not be talked of in a common manner; but
the gravity of your speech should tell the hearers, that you take them
not for small or common matters. If servants and others that live near
together would converse and speak as the oracles of God, how holy, and
heavenly, and happy would such families or societies be!



IT somewhat tendeth to make a holy life more easy to us, when we know
the ordinary course and method of our duties, and every thing falleth
into its proper place; as it helpeth the husbandman or tradesman to
know the ordinary course of his work, that he need not go out of it,
unless in extraordinary cases. Therefore I shall here give you some
brief directions for the holy spending of every day.

_Direct._ I. Proportion the time of your sleep aright, (if it be
in your power,) that you waste not your precious morning hours
sluggishly in your bed. Let the time of your sleep be rationally
fitted to your health and labour, and not sensually to your slothful
pleasure. About six hours is meet for healthful people, and seven
hours for the less healthful, and eight for the more weak and aged,
ordinarily. The morning hours are to most the preciousest of all
the day, for all our duties; especially servants that are scanted of
time, must take it then for prayer, if possible, lest they have none
at all.

_Direct._ II. Let God have your first awaking thoughts: lift up
your hearts to him reverently and thankfully for the rest of the night
past, and briefly cast yourselves upon him for the following day; and
use yourselves so constantly to this, that your consciences may check
you, when common thoughts shall first intrude. And if you have a
bed-fellow to speak to, let your first speech be agreeable to your
thoughts. It will be a great help against the temptations that may
else surprise you, and a holy engagement of your hearts to God, for
all the day.

_Direct._ III. Resolve, that pride and the fashions of the times
shall never tempt you into such a garb of attire, as will make you
long in dressing you in the morning; but wear such clothing as is soon
put on. It is dear-bought bravery (or decency as they will needs call
it) which must cost every day an hour's or a quarter of an hour's time
extraordinary: I had rather go as the wild Indians, than have those
morning hours to answer for, as too many ladies and other gallants

_Direct._ IV. If you are persons of quality you may employ a
child or servant to read a chapter in the Bible, while you are
dressing you, and eating your breakfast (if you eat any). Else you may
employ that time in some fruitful meditation, or conference with those
about you, as far as your necessary occasions do give leave: as, to
think or speak of the mercy of a night's rest, and of your renewed
time, and how many spent that night in hell, and how many in prison,
and how many in a colder, harder lodging, and how many in grievous
pain and sickness, weary of their beds and of their lives, and how
many in distracting terrors of their minds; and how many souls that
night were called from their bodies, to appear before the dreadful
God: and think how fast days and nights roll on! and how speedily your
last night and day will come! and observe what is wanting in the
readiness of your soul for such a time, and seek it presently without

_Direct._ V. If more necessary duties call you not away, let
secret prayer by yourself alone, or with your chamber-fellow, or both,
go before the common prayers of the family; and delay it not
causelessly, but if it may be, let it be first, before any other work
of the day. Yet be not formal and superstitious to your hours, as if
God had absolutely tied you to such a time: nor think it your duty to
pray once in secret, and once with your chamber-fellow, and once with
the family every morning, when more necessary duties call you off.
That hour is best for one, which is worst for another: to most,
private prayer is most seasonable as soon as they are up and clothed;
to others some other hour may be more free and fit. And those persons
that have not more necessary duties, may do well to pray at all the
opportunities before mentioned; but reading and meditation must be
allowed their time also; and the labours of your callings must be
painfully followed; and servants and poor people that are not at
liberty, or that have a necessity of providing for their families, may
not lawfully take so much time for prayer, as some others may;
especially the aged and weak that cannot follow a calling, may take
longer time. And ministers, that have many souls to look after, and
public work to do, must take heed of neglecting any of this, that they
may be longer and oftener in private prayer. Always remember that when
two duties are at once before you, and one must be omitted, that you
prefer that which, all things considered, is the greatest; and
understand what maketh a duty greatest. Usually that is greatest
which tendeth to the greatest good; yet sometimes that is greatest at
that time which cannot be done at another time, when others may.
Praying, in itself considered, is better than ploughing, or marketing,
or conference; and yet these may be greater than it in their proper
seasons; because prayer may be done at another time, when these

_Direct._ VI. Let family worship be performed constantly and
seasonably, twice a day, at that hour which is freest in regard of
interruptions; not delaying it without just cause. But whenever it is
performed, be sure it be reverently, seriously, and spiritually done.
If greater duty hinder not, begin with a brief invocation of God's
name, and craving of his help and blessing through Christ; and then
read some part of the holy Scripture in order; and either help the
hearers to understand it and apply it, or if you are unable for that,
then read some profitable book to them for such ends; and sing a
psalm, (if there be enough to do it fitly,) and earnestly pour out
your souls in prayer. But if unavoidable occasions will not give way
to all this, do what you can, especially in prayer, and do the rest
another time; but pretend not necessity against any duty, when it is
but unwillingness or negligence. The lively performance of family
duties, is a principal means to keep up the power and interest of
godliness in the world; which all decays when these grow dead, and
slight, and formal.

_Direct._ VII. Renew the actual intention and remembrance of your
ultimate end, when you set yourselves to your day's work, or set upon
any notable business in the world. Let HOLINESS TO THE LORD be written
upon your hearts in all that you do. Do no work which you cannot
entitle God to, and truly say he set you about; and do nothing in the
world for any other ultimate end, than to please, and glorify, and
enjoy him. And remember that whatever you do, must be done as a means
to these, and as by one that is that way going on to heaven. All your
labour must be as the labour of a traveller, which is all for his
journey's end; and all your respect or affection to any place or thing
in your way, must be in respect to your attainment of the end; as a
traveller loveth a good way, a good horse, a good inn, a dry cloak, or
good company; but nothing must be loved here as your end or home. Lift
up your hearts to heaven and say, If this work and way did not tend
thither directly or indirectly, it were no work or way for me.
Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God, 1 Cor. x. 31.

_Direct._ VIII. Follow the labours of your calling painfully and
diligently. From hence will follow many commodities. 1. You will show
that you are not sluggish, and servants to your flesh, as those that
cannot deny its ease; and you will further the mortification of all
fleshly lusts and desires, which are fed by ease and idleness. 2. You
will keep out idle thoughts from your mind, which swarm in the minds
of idle persons. 3. You will escape the loss of precious time, which
idle persons are daily guilty of. 4. You will be in a course of
obedience to God, when the slothful are in a constant sin of omission.
5. You may have the more time to spare for holy exercises, if you
follow your labour close when you are at it; when idle persons can
have no time for prayer or reading, because they lose it by loitering
at their work, and leave their business still behind-hand. 6. You may
expect God's blessing for the comfortable provision for yourselves and
families, and to have to give to them that need, when the slothful are
in want themselves, and cast by their want into abundance of
temptations, and have nothing to do good with. 7. And it will also
tend to the health of your bodies, which will make them the fitter for
the service of your souls. When slothfulness wasteth time, and health,
and estate, and wit, and grace, and all.[40]

_Direct._ IX. Be thoroughly acquainted with your corruptions and
temptations, and watch against them all the day; especially the most
dangerous sort of your corruptions, and those temptations which your
company or business will unavoidably lay before you.[41] Be still
watching and working against the master, radical sins of unbelief,
hypocrisy, selfishness, pride, sensuality, or flesh-pleasing, and the
inordinate love of earthly things. Take heed lest, under pretence of
diligence in your calling, you be drawn to earthly-mindedness, and
excessive cares or covetous designs for rising in the world. If you
are to trade or deal with others, take heed of selfishness, which
desireth to draw or save from others, as much as you can for
yourselves and your own advantage; take heed of all that savoureth of
injustice or uncharitableness in all your dealings with others. If you
converse with vain talkers, be still provided against the temptation
of vanity of talk. If you converse with angry persons, be still
fortified against their provocations. If you converse with wanton
persons, or such as are tempting those of the other sex, maintain that
modesty and necessary distance and cleanness of speech which the laws
of chastity require. If you have servants that are still faulty, be so
provided against the temptation, that their faults may not make you
faulty, and you may do nothing that is unseemly or unjust, but only
that which tendeth to their amendment. If you are poor, be still
provided against the temptations of poverty, that it bring not upon
you an evil far greater than itself. If you are rich, be most diligent
in fortifying your hearts against those more dangerous temptations of
riches, which very few escape. If you converse with flatterers or
those that much admire you, be fortified against swelling pride. If
you converse with those that despise and injure you, be fortified
against impatient, revengeful pride. These works at first will be very
difficult, while sin is in any strength; but when you have got an
habitual apprehension of the poisonous danger of every one of these
sins, and of the tendency of all temptations, your hearts will readily
and easily avoid them, without much tiring, thoughtfulness, and care;
even as a man will pass by a house infected with the plague, or go out
of the way, if he meet a cart or any thing that would hurt him.

_Direct._ X. When you are alone in your labours, improve the time
in practical, fruitful (not speculative and barren) meditations;
especially in heart work and heaven work: let your chiefest
meditations be on the infinite goodness and perfections of God, and
the life of glory, which in the love and praise of him you must live
for ever; and next let Christ, and the mysteries of grace in man's
redemption, be the matter of your thoughts; and next that your own
hearts and lives, and the rest before expressed, chap. xvi. direct.
vi. If you are able to manage meditations methodically it will be
best; but if you cannot do that, without so much striving as will
confound you, and distract you, and cast you into melancholy, it is
better let your meditations be more short and easy, like ejaculatory
prayers; but let them usually be operative to do some good upon your

_Direct._ XI. If you labour in company with others, be provided with
matter, skill, resolution, and zeal, to improve the time in profitable
conference, and to avoid diversions, as is directed, chap. xvi.

_Direct._ XII. Whatever you are doing, in company or alone, let
the day be spent in the inward excitation and exercise of the graces
of the soul, as well as in external bodily duties. And to that end
know, that there is no external duty, but must have some internal
grace to animate it, or else it is but an image or carcass, and
unacceptable to God. When you are praying and reading, there are the
graces of faith, desire, love, repentance, &c. to be exercised there:
when you are alone, meditation may help to actuate any grace as you
find most needful: when you are conferring with others, you must
exercise love to them, and love to that truth about which you do
confer, and other graces as the subject shall require: when you are
provoked or under suffering you have patience to exercise. But
especially it must be your principal daily business, by the exercise
of faith, to keep your hearts warm in the love of God and your dear
Redeemer, and in the hopes and delightful thoughts of heaven. As the
means are various and admit of deliberation and choice, because they
are to be used but as means, and not all at once, but sometimes one,
and sometimes another, when the end is still the same and past
deliberation or choice; so all those graces which are but means, must
be used thus variously, and with deliberation and choice; when the
love of God and of eternal life must be the constant tenor and
constitution of the mind, as being the final grace, which consisteth
with the exercise of every other mediate grace. Never take up with
lip-labour or bodily exercise alone, nor barren thoughts, unless your
hearts be also employed in a course of duty, and holy breathings after
God, or motion towards him, or in the sincere internal part of the
duty which you perform to men: justice and love are graces which you
must still exercise towards all that you have to deal with in the
world. Love is called the fulfilling of the law, Rom. xiii. 10;
because the love of God and man is the soul of every outward duty, and
a cause that will bring forth these as its effects.

_Direct._ XIII. Keep up a high esteem of time; and be every day
more careful that you lose none of your time, than you are that you
lose none of your gold or silver; and if vain recreations, dressings,
feastings, idle talk, unprofitable company, or sleep, be any of them
temptations to rob you of any of your time, accordingly heighten your
watchfulness and firm resolutions against them. Be not more careful to
escape thieves and robbers, than to escape that person, or action, or
course of life, that would rob you of any of your time. And for the
redeeming of time, especially see, not only that you be never idle,
but also that you be doing the greatest good that you can do, and
prefer not a less before a greater.

_Direct._ XIV. Eat and drink with temperance and thankfulness;
for health, and not for unprofitable pleasure. For quantity, most
carefully avoid excess; for many exceed, for one that taketh too
little. Never please your appetite in meat or drink, when it tendeth
to the detriment of your health. Prov. xxxi. 4, 6, "It is not for
kings to drink wine, nor for princes strong drink.--Give strong drink
to him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy
hearts." Eccles. x. 16, 17, "Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a
child, and thy princes eat in the morning! Blessed art thou, O land,
when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season,
for strength and not for drunkenness!" Then must poorer men also take
heed of intemperance and excess. Let your diet incline rather to the
coarser than the finer sort, and to the cheaper than the costly sort,
and to sparing abstinence than to fulness. I would advise rich men
especially, to write in great letters on the walls of their
dining-rooms or parlours these two sentences: Ezek. xvi. 49, "BEHOLD,
OF IDLENESS WAS IN HER, neither did she strengthen the hand of the
poor and needy." Luke xvi. 19, 25, "There was a certain rich man which
remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things." Paul
wept when he mentioned them, "whose end is destruction, whose god is
their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly
things, being enemies to the cross," Phil. iii. 18, 19.[42] O live not
after the flesh, lest ye die, Rom. viii. 13; Gal. vi. 8; v. 21, 23, 24.

_Direct._ XV. If any temptation prevail against you, and you fall
into any sins besides common infirmities, presently lament it, and
confess not only to God, but to men, when confession conduceth more to
good than harm; and rise by a true and thorough repentance,
immediately without delay. Spare not the flesh, and daub not over the
breach, and do not by excuses palliate the sore, but speedily rise,
whatever it cost; for it will certainly cost you more to go on or to
remain impenitent. And for your ordinary infirmities, make not too
light of them, but confess them, and daily strive against them; and
examine what strength you get against them, and do not aggravate them
by impenitence and contempt.

_Direct._ XVI. Every day look to the special duties of your
several relations: whether you are husbands, wives, parents, children,
masters, servants, pastors, people, magistrates, subjects, remember
that every relation hath its special duty, and its advantage for the
doing of some good; and that God requireth your faithfulness in these,
as well as in any other duty. And that in these a man's sincerity or
hypocrisy is usually more tried, than in any other parts of our lives.

_Direct._ XVII. In the evening return to the worshipping of God,
in the family and in secret, as was directed for the morning. And do
all with seriousness, as in the sight of God, and in the sense of your
necessities; and make it your delight to receive instructions from the
holy Scripture, and praise God, and call upon his name through Christ.

_Direct._ XVIII. If you have any extraordinary impediments one
day to hinder you in your duty to God and man, make it up by diligence
the next; and if you have any extraordinary helps, make use of them,
and let them not overslip you. As, if it be a lecture-day, or a
funeral sermon, or you have opportunity of converse with men of
extraordinary worth; or if it be a day of humiliation or thanksgiving;
it may be expected that you gather a double measure of strength by
such extraordinary helps.

_Direct._ XIX. Before you betake yourselves to sleep, it is
ordinarily a safe and needful course, to take a review of the actions
and mercies of the past day; that you may be specially thankful for
all special mercies, and humbled for your sins, and may renew your
repentance and resolutions for obedience, and may examine yourselves,
whether your souls grow better or worse, and whether sin go down and
grace increase, and whether you are any better prepared for
sufferings and death. But yet waste not too much time in the ordinary
accounts of your life, as those that neglect their duty while they are
examining themselves how they perform it, and perplexing themselves
with the long perusal of their ordinary infirmities. But by a general
(yet sincere) repentance, bewail your unavoidable daily failings, and
have recourse to Christ for a daily pardon and renewed grace; and in
case of extraordinary sins or mercies, be sure to be extraordinarily
humbled or thankful. Some think it best to keep a daily catalogue or
diurnal of their sins and mercies. If you do so, be not too particular
in the enumeration of those that are the matter of every day's return;
for it will be but a temptation to waste your time, and neglect
greater duty, and to make you grow customary and senseless of such
sins and mercies, when the same come to be recited over and over from
day to day. But let the common mercies be more generally recorded, and
the common sins generally confessed (yet neither of them therefore
slighted); and let the extraordinary mercies, and greater sins, have a
more particular observation. And yet remember, that sins and mercies,
which it is not fit that others be acquainted with, are safelier
committed to memory than to writing: and methinks, a well humbled and
a thankful heart should not easily let the memory of them slip.

_Direct._ XX. When you compose yourselves to sleep, again commit
yourselves to God through Christ, and crave his protection, and close
up the day with some holy exercise of faith and love. And if you are
persons that must needs lie waking in the night, let your meditations
be holy, and exercised upon that subject that is profitablest to your
souls. But I cannot give this as an ordinary direction, because that
the body must have sleep, or else it will be unfit for labour, and all
thoughts of holy things must be serious; and all serious thoughts will
hinder sleep, and those that wake in the night, do wake unwillingly,
and would not put themselves out of hopes of sleep; which such serious
meditations would do. Nor can I advise you (ordinarily) to rise in the
night to prayer, as the papists' votaries do. For this is but to serve
God with irrational and hurtful ceremony; and it is a wonder how far
such men will go in ceremony, that will not be drawn to a life of love
and spiritual worship. Unless men did irrationally place the service
of God in praying this hour rather than another, they might see how
improvidently and sinfully they lose their time, in twice dressing and
undressing, and in the intervals of their sleep, when they might spare
all that time, by sitting up the longer, or rising the earlier, for
the same employment. Besides what tendency it hath to the destruction
of health, by cold and interruption of necessary rest; when God
approveth not of the disabling of the body, or destroying our health,
or shortening life (no more than of murder or cruelty to others); but
only calleth us to deny our unnecessary, sensual delights, and use the
body so as it may be most serviceable to the soul and him.

I have briefly laid together these twenty directions for the right
spending of every day, that those that need them, and cannot remember
the larger more particular directions, may at least get these few
engraven on their minds, and make them the daily practice of their
lives; which if you will sincerely do, you cannot conceive how much it
will conduce to the holiness, fruitfulness, and quietness of your
lives, and to your peaceful and comfortable death.

[40] Eph. iv. 28; Prov. x. 4; xii. 24, 27; xiii. 4; xxi. 5; xxii. 29;
xviii. 9; xxi. 25; xxiv. 30.

[41] Antequam domo quis exeat, quid acturus sit, apud se pertractet.
Rursus cum redierit, quid egerit, recogitet. Cleobulus in Laert. p. 59.

[42] See Dr. Hammond's Annotat.



_Tit. 1. Directions for the holy spending of the Lord's Day in

_Direct._ I. Be well resolved against the cavils of those carnal
men, that would make you believe that the holy spending of the Lord's
day is a needless thing.[43] For the name, whether it shall be called
the christian sabbath, is not much worth contending about: undoubtedly
the name of The Lord's Day, is that which was given it by the Spirit
of God, Rev. i. 10, and the ancient christians, who sometimes called
it, The Sabbath, by allusion, as they used the names, sacrifice, and
altar: the question is not so much of the name as the thing; whether
we ought to spend the day in holy exercises, without unnecessary
divertisements? And to settle your consciences in this, you have all
these evidences at hand.

1. By the confession of all, you have the law of nature to tell you,
that God must be openly worshipped, and that some set time should be
appointed for his worship. And, whether the fourth commandment be
formally in force or abrogated, yet it is commonly agreed on that the
parity of reason, and general equity of it, serveth to acquaint us,
that it is the will of God, that one day in seven be the least that we
destinate to this use: this being then judged a meet proportion by God
himself, (even from the creation, and on the account of commemorating
the creation,) and christians being no less obliged to take as large a
space of time, who have both the creation and redemption to
commemorate, and a more excellent manner of worship to perform.

2. It is confessed by all christians that Christ rose on the first day
of the week, and appeared to his congregated disciples on that day,
and poured out the Holy Ghost upon them on that day; and that the
apostles appointed, and the christian churches observed, their
assemblies and communion ordinarily on that day; and that these
apostles were filled with the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost,
that they might infallibly acquaint the church with the doctrine and
will of Jesus Christ, and leave it on record for succeeding ages;[44]
and so were intrusted by office, and enabled by gifts, to settle the
orders of the gospel church, as Moses did the matters of the
tabernacle and worship then; and so that their laws or orders thus
settled, were the laws or orders of the Holy Ghost, John xx. 1, 19, 26;
Acts ii. 1; xx. 7; 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2; Rev. i. 10; Matt. xxviii. 19, 20;
John xvi. 13-15; Rom. xvi. 16; 2 Thess. ii. 15.

3. It is also confessed, that the universal church, from the days of
the apostles down till now, hath constantly kept holy the Lord's day
in the memorial of Christ's resurrection, and that as by the will of
Christ delivered to them by or from the apostles; insomuch that I
remember not either any orthodox christian, or heretic, that ever
opposed, questioned, or scrupled it, till of late ages. And as an
historical discovery of the matter of fact, this is a good evidence
that indeed it was settled by the apostles; and consequently by
Christ, who gave them their commission, and inspired them by the Holy

4. It is confessed, that it is still the practice of the universal
church; and those that take it to be but of ecclesiastical
appointment, some of them mean it of such extraordinary ecclesiastics
as inspired apostles, and all of them take the appointment as
obligatory to all the members of the church.

5. The laws of the land where we live command it, and the king by
proclamation urgeth the execution: and the canons, and homilies, and
liturgy show that the holy observation of the Lord's day, is the
judgment and will of the governors of the church. Read the homilies
for the time and place of worship. Yea, they require the people to say
when the fourth commandment is read, "Lord, have mercy upon us, and
incline our hearts to keep this law." And the command of authority is
not a contemptible obligation.

6. It is granted by all, that more than this is due to God; and the
life that is in every christian telleth him, that it is a very great
mercy to us, not only to servants, but even to all men, that one day
in seven they may disburden themselves of all the cares and business
of the world, which may hinder their holy communion with God and one
another, and wholly apply themselves to learn the will of God. And
nature teacheth us to accept of mercy when it is offered to us, and
not dispute against our happiness.

7. Common experience telleth us, that where the Lord's day is more
holily and carefully observed, knowledge and religion prosper best;
and that more souls are converted on those days, than on all the other
days besides; and that the people are accordingly more edified; and
that wherever the Lord's day is ordinarily neglected or mispent,
religion and civility decay, and there is a visible, lamentable
difference between those places and families, and the other.

8. Reason and experience tell us, that if men were left to themselves,
what time they should appoint for God's public worship, in most places
it would be so little, and disordered, and uncertain, that religion
would be for the most part banished out of the now christian world.
Therefore there being need of a universal law for it, it is probable
that such a law there is; and if so, it can be by none but God, the
Creator, Redeemer, and Holy Ghost, there being no other universal
governor and lawgiver to impose it.

9. All must confess, that it is more desirable for unity and concord
sake, that all christians hold their holy assemblies on one and the
same day, and that all at once, through all the world, do worship God
and seek his grace, than that they do it some on one day and some on

10. And all that ever I have conversed with, confess that if the holy
spending of the Lord's day be not necessary it is lawful; and
therefore when there is so much to be said for the necessity of it
too, to keep it holy is the safest way, seeing this cannot be a sin,
but the contrary may; and licence is encouragement enough to accept so
great a mercy. All this set together will satisfy a man, that hath any
spiritual sense of the concernments of his own and others' souls.

_Object._ But you will say, That besides the name, it is yet a
controversy whether the whole day should be spent in holy exercises,
or only so much as is meet for the public communion, it being not
found in antiquity, that the churches used any further to observe it.

_Answ._ No sober man denieth that works of necessity for the
preservation of our own or other men's lives, or health, or goods, may
be done on the Lord's day: so that when we say, that the whole day is
to be spent holily, we exclude not eating, and sleeping, nor the
necessary actions about worship; as the priests in the temple are said
to break the sabbath, (that is, the external rest,) and to be
blameless. But otherwise, that it is the whole day, is evident in the
arguments produced: the ancient histories and canons of the church
speak not of one part of the day only, but the whole: all confess,
that when labour or sinful sports are forbidden, it is on the whole
day, and not only on a part. And for what is alleged of the custom of
the ancient church, I answer, 1. The ancientest churches spent almost
all the day in public worship and communion: they begun in the
morning, and continued without parting till the evening. The first
part of the day being spent in teaching the catechumens, they were
then dismissed, and the church continued together in preaching and
praying, but especially in those laudatory, eucharistical offices,
which accompany the celebration of the sacrament of the body and blood
of Christ. They did not then (as gluttons do now) account it fasting
to forbear a dinner, when they supped, yea, feasted at night; it being
not usual among the Romans to eat any dinners at all. And they that
spent all the day together in public worship and communion, you may be
sure spent not part of it in dancing, nor stage-plays, nor worldly
businesses. 2. And church history giveth us but little account what
particular persons did in private, nor can it be expected. 3. Who hath
brought us any proof that ever the church approved of spending any
part of the day in sports, or idleness, or unnecessary, worldly
business? or that any churches (or persons regardable) did actually so
spend it? 4. Unless their proof be from those many canons of our own
and other churches, that command the holy observation of it, and
forbid these plays and labours on it; which I confess doth intimate,
that some there were that needed laws to restrain them from the
violation of it. 5. Again I say, that seeing few men will have the
face to say that plays and games, or idleness, are a duty on that day,
it will suffice a holy, thankful christian, if he have but leave to
spend all the day for the good of his soul and those about him; and if
he may be reading and meditating on the word of God, and praying and
praising him, and instructing his family, while others waste that time
in vanity; especially to servants and poor men, that have but little
other leisure all the year, to seek for knowledge, or use any such
helps for their salvation. As to a poor man that is kept hungry all
the week, a bare liberty of feasting with his landlord on the Lord's
day, would satisfy him without a law to constrain him to it; so is it
here with a hungry soul.

_Direct._ II. Remember that the work of the day is, in general, to
keep up knowledge and religion in the world, and to own and honour our
Creator, Redeemer, and Regenerator openly before all; and to have
communion with God through Christ in the Spirit, by receiving and
exercising his grace, in order to our communion with him in glory. Let
these therefore (well understood) be your ends, and in these be you
exercised all the day, and stick not hypocritically in bodily rest and
outward duties. Remember that it is a day for heart work, as well as
for the exercise of the tongue, and ear, and knees; and that your
principal business is with heaven; follow your hearts therefore all
the day, and see that they be not idle while your bodies are
exercised: nothing is done if the heart do nothing.

_Direct._ III. Remember that the special work of the day is to
celebrate the memorial of Christ's resurrection, and of the whole work
of man's redemption by him. Labour therefore with all diligence in the
sense of your natural sin and misery, to stir up the lively sense of
the wonderful love of God and our Redeemer, and to spend all the day
in the special exercises of faith and love. And seeing it is the
christian weekly festival, or day of thanksgiving for the greatest
mercy in the world, spend it as a day of thanksgiving should be spent,
especially in joyful praises of our Lord; and let the humbling and
instructing exercises of the day, be all subordinate to these
laudatory exercises. I know that much time must be spent in teaching
and warning the ignorant and ungodly, because their poverty and
labours hinder them from other such opportunities, and we must speak
to them then or not at all. But if it were not for their mere
necessity, and if we could as well speak to them other days of the
week, the churches should spend all the Lord's day in such praises and
thanksgivings as are suitable to the ends of the institution. But
seeing that cannot be expected, methinks it is desirable that the
ancient custom of the churches were more imitated, and the morning
sermon being suited to the state of the more ignorant and unconverted,
that the rest of the day were spent in the exercises of thanksgiving
to the joy and encouragement of believers, and in doctrine suited to
their state. And yet I must add, that a skilful preacher will do both
together, and so declare the love and grace of our Redeemer, as by a
meet application may both draw in the ungodly, and comfort those that
are already sanctified, and raise their hearts in praise to God.

_Direct._ IV. Remember that the Lord's day is appointed specially
for public worship and personal communion of the churches therein: see
therefore that you spend as much of the day as you can in this public
worship and church communion; especially in the celebration of that
sacrament which is appointed for the memorial of the death of Christ
until his coming, 1 Cor. xi. 25, 26. This sacrament in the primitive
church was celebrated every Lord's day; yea, and oftener, even
ordinarily on every other day of the week when the churches assembled
for communion. And it might be so now without any hinderance to
preaching or prayer, if all things were ordered as they should be; for
those prayers, and instructions, and exhortations which are most
suited to this eucharistical action, would be the most suitable
prayers and sermons for the church on the Lord's days. In the mean
time see that so much of the day as is spent in church communion and
public worship, be accordingly improved by you; and be not at that
time about your secret or family services, but take only those hours
for such private duties, in which the church is not assembled; and
remember how much the love of saints is to be exercised in this
communion, and therefore labour to keep alive that love, without which
no man can celebrate the Lord's day according to the end of the

_Direct._ V. Understand how great a mercy it is, that you have
leave thus to wait upon God for the receiving and exercise of grace,
and to cast off the distracting thoughts and businesses of the world,
and what an opportunity is put into your hand, to get more in one day,
than this world can afford you all your lives. And therefore come with
gladness as to the receiving of so great a mercy, and with desire
after it, and with hope to speed, and not with unwillingness, as to an
unpleasant task, as carnal hearts that love not God, or his grace or
service, and are weary of all they do, and glad when it is done, as
the ox that is unyoked. Isa. lviii. 13, 14, "If thou turn away thy
foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and
call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and
shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own
pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, then shalt thou delight
thyself in the Lord." The affection that you have to the Lord's day,
much showeth the temper of the heart: a holy person is glad when it
cometh, as loving it for the holy exercises of the day; a wicked,
carnal heart is glad of it only for his carnal ease, but weary of the
spiritual duties.

_Direct._ VI. Avoid both the extremes of profaneness and
superstition in the point of your external rest: and to that end
observe, 1. That the work is not for the day, but the day for the holy
work; as Christ saith, Mark ii. 27, "The sabbath was made for man, and
not man for the sabbath." It is appointed for our good, and not for
our hurt. 2. The outward rest is not appointed for itself, but as a
means to the freedom of the mind for inward and spiritual employments;
and therefore all those outward and common labours and discourses are
unlawful, which any way distract the mind, and hinder either our
outward or inward attendance upon God, and our edification. 3. And
(whatever it was to the Jews) no common words or actions are unlawful,
which are no hinderance to this communion and worship and spiritual
edification. 4. Yea, those things that are necessary to the support of
nature, and the saving of the life or health, or estate and goods of
ourselves or our neighbours, are needful duties on that day: not all
those works which are truly charitable, (for it may be a work of mercy
to build hospitals, or make garments for the poor, or till their
ground,) but such works of mercy as cannot be put off to another day,
and such as hinder not the duties of the day. 5. The same word or
action on the Lord's day which is unlawful to one man, may be lawful
to another; as being no hinderance, yea, a duty to him: as Christ
saith, "The priests in the temple break or profane the sabbath, (that
is, the outward rest, but not the command,) and are blameless," Matt.
xii. 15. And the cook may lawfully be employed in dressing meat, when
it were a sin in another to do it voluntarily without need. 6. The
Lord's day being to be kept as a day of thanksgiving, the dressing of
such meat as is fit for a day of thanksgiving is not to be scrupled:
the primitive christians in the apostles' time, had their love-feasts
constantly (with the Lord's supper or after) on the evening of the
day; and they could not feast without dressing meat. 7. Yet that which
is lawful in itself, must be so done as consisteth with care and
compassion of the souls of servants that are employed about it, that
they may be deprived of no more of their spiritual benefit than needs.
8. Also that which is lawful must sometimes be forborne, when it may
by scandal tempt others that are loose or weak to do that which is
unlawful: not that the mere displeasing of the erroneous should put us
out of the right way, but the scandal which is spoken against in
Scripture, is the laying a temptation before men that are weak to make
them sin. 9. Take heed of that hypocritical and censorious temper
which turneth the holy observation of the day into a ceremonious
abstinence from lawful things; and censureth those as ungodly that are
not of the same mind, and forbear not such things as well as they.
Mark the difference between Christ and the Pharisees in this point:
much of their contention with him was about the outward observation of
the sabbath; because his disciples rubbed out corn to eat on the
sabbath day, and because he healed on the sabbath, and bid the healed
man "take up his bed and walk:" and they said, "There are six days in
which men ought to work; they might come and be healed on them," Luke
vi. 1, 5, 6; xiii. 12, 14-16; John v. 17, 18; Mark i. 21, 24; ii.
23-28; iii. 2, 3, 5; vi. 2, 5; Luke xiv. 1, 3, 5, 6; John v. 9, 10, 16;
vii. 22-24; ix. 14, 16. And a man that is of their spirit will think
that the Pharisees were in the right. No doubt Christ might have
chosen another day to heal on; but he knew that the works which most
declared the power of God, and honoured him before all, and confirmed
the gospel, were fittest for the sabbath day. Take heed therefore of
the Pharisees' ceremoniousness and censoriousness. If you see a man
walking abroad on the Lord's day, censure him not till you know that
he doth it from profaneness or negligence: you know not but it may be
necessary to his health, and he may improve it in holy meditation? If
you hear some speak a word more than you think needful, of common
things, or do more about meat and clothing than you think meet,
censure them not till you hear their reason. A scrupulousness about
such outward observances, when the holy duties of the day are no whit
hindered by that thing; and a censoriousness towards those that are
not as scrupulous, is too pharisaical and ceremonious a religion for
spiritual, charitable christians. And the extremes of some godly
people in this kind, have occasioned the quakers and seekers to take
and use all days alike, and the profane to contemn the sanctifying of
the Lord's day.

_Tit. 2. More Particular Directions for the Order of Holy Duties._

_Direct._ I. Remember the Lord's day before it cometh, and
prepare for it, and prevent those disturbances that would hinder you,
and deprive you of the benefit. For preparation: 1. "Six days you must
labour, and do all that you have to do." Despatch all your business,
that you may not have it then to hinder and disturb you; and see that
your servants do the same. 2. Shake off the thoughts of worldly
things, and clear your minds of worldly delights and cares. 3. Call to
mind the doctrine taught you the last Lord's day, (and if you have
servants, cause them to remember it,) that you may be prepared to
receive the next. 4. Go seasonably to bed, that you and your servants
may not be constrained to lie long the next morning, or be sleepy on
the Lord's day. 5. Let your meditations be preparatory for the day.
Repent of the sins of the week past as particularly and seriously as
you can; and seek for pardon and peace through Christ, that you come
not with guilt or trouble upon your consciences before the Lord.

_Direct._ II. Let your first thoughts be not only holy, but
suitable to the occasions of the day. With gladness remember what a
day of mercies you awake to, and how early your Redeemer rose from the
dead that day, and what excellent work you are to be employed in.

_Direct._ III. Rise full as early that day as you do on other
days. Be not like the carnal generation, that sanctify the Lord's day
but as a swine doth, by sleeping, and idleness, and fulness. Think not
your worldly business more worthy of your early rising, than your
spiritual employment is.

_Direct._ IV. Let your dressing time be spent in some fruitful
meditation, or conference, or hearing some one read a chapter: and let
it not be long, to detain you from your duty.

_Direct._ V. If you can have leisure, go first to secret prayer:
and if you are servants, and have any necessary business to do,
despatch it quickly, that you may he free for better work.

_Direct._ VI. Let family worship come next, and not be slubbered
over slightly, but be serious and reverent, and suit all to the nature
or end of the day. Especially awaken yourselves and servants to
consider what you have to do in public, and to go with prepared,
sanctified hearts.

_Direct._ VII. Enter the holy assembly with reverence and joy, and
compose yourselves as those that come thither to treat with the living
God, about the matters of eternal life. And watch your hearts that
they wander not, nor sleep not, nor slight the sacred matters which
you are about. And guard your eyes, that they carry not away your
hearts; and let not your hearts be a moment idle, but seriously
employed all the time: and when hypocrites and distempered christians
are quarrelling with the imperfections of the speaker, or
congregation, or mode of worship, do you rather make it your diligent
endeavour, to watch your hearts, and improve what you hear.

_Direct._ VIII. As soon as you come home, while dinner is
preparing, it will be a seasonable time either for secret prayer or
meditation; to call over what you heard, and urge it on your hearts,
and beg God's help for the improvement of it, and pardon for your
public failings.

_Direct._ IX. Let your time at meat be spent in the cheerful
remembrance or mention of the love of your Redeemer; or somewhat
suitable to the company and the day.

_Direct._ X. After dinner call your families together, and sing a
psalm of praise, and by examination or repetition, or both, cause them
to remember what was publicly taught them.

_Direct._ XI. Then go again to the congregation (to the beginning) and
behave yourselves as before.

_Direct._ XII. When you come home call your families together, and
first crave God's assistance and acceptance; and then sing a psalm of
praise; and then repeat the sermon which you heard; or if there was
none, read one out of some lively, profitable book; and then pray and
praise God: and all with the holy seriousness and joy which is
suitable to the work and day.

_Direct._ XIII. Then while supper is preparing, betake yourselves
to secret prayer and meditation; either in your chambers or walking,
as you find most profitable: and let your servants have no more to
hinder them from the same privilege, than what is of necessity.

_Direct._ XIV. At supper spend the time as is aforesaid (at
dinner): always remembering that though it be a day of thanksgiving,
it is not a day of gluttony, and that you must not use too full a
diet, lest it make you heavy, and drowsy, and unfit for holy duty.

_Direct._ XV. After supper examine your children and servants
what they have learnt all day, and sing a psalm of praise, and
conclude with prayer and thanksgiving.

_Direct._ XVI. If there be time after, both you and they may in
secret review the duties, and mercies, and failings of the day, and
recommend yourselves by prayer into the hands of God for the night
following: and so betake yourselves to your rest.

_Direct._ XVII. And to shut up all, let your last thoughts be
holy, in the thankful sense of the mercy you have received, and the
goodness of God revealed by our Mediator, and comfortably trusting
your souls and bodies into his hands, and longing for your nearer
approach unto his glory, and the beholding and full enjoying of him
for ever.

I have briefly named this order of duties, for the memory of those
that have opportunity to observe it: but if any man's place and
condition deny him opportunity for some of these, he must do what he
can: but see, that carnal negligence cause not his omission. And now I
appeal to reason, conscience, and experience, whether this employment
be not more suitable to the principles, ends, and hopes of a
christian, than idleness, or vain talk, or cards, or dice, or
dancing, or ale-house haunting, or worldly business or discourse? And
whether this would not exceedingly conduce to the increase of
knowledge, holiness, and honesty? And whether there be ever a
worldling or voluptuous sensualist of them all, that had not rather be
found thus at death; or look back when time is past and gone, upon the
Lord's day thus spent, than as the idle, fleshly, and ungodly spend

[43] Since the writing of this, I have published a Treatise of the
Lord's day.

[44] Mark xvi. 2, 9; Luke xxiv. 1.



OMITTING those directions which concern the external modes of worship,
(for the reasons mentioned part. iii. and known to all that know me
and the time and place I live in,) I shall give you such directions
about the personal, internal management of your duty, as I think most
necessary to your edification. And seeing that your duty and benefit
lieth in these four general points: 1. That you hear with
understanding. 2. That you remember what you hear. 3. That you be duly
affected with it. 4. And that you sincerely practise it: I shall more
particularly direct you in order to all these ends and duties.

_Tit. 1. Directions for the Understanding the Word which you hear._

_Direct._ I. Read and meditate on the holy Scriptures much in
private, and then you will be the better able to understand what is
preached on it in public, and to try the doctrine, whether it be of
God. Whereas if you are unacquainted with the Scriptures, all that is
treated of or alleged from them, will be so strange to you, that you
will be but little edified by it, Psal. i. 2; cxix.; Deut. vi. 11, 12.

_Direct._ II. Live under the clearest, distinct, convincing
teaching that possibly you can procure. There is an unspeakable
difference as to the edification of the hearers, between a judicious,
clear, distinct, and skilful preacher, and one that is ignorant,
confused, general, dry, and only scrapeth together a cento or
mingle-mangle of some undigested sayings to fill up the hour with. If
in philosophy, physics, grammar, law, and every art and science, there
be so great a difference between one teacher and another, it must
needs be so in divinity also. Ignorant teachers, that understand not
what they say themselves, are unlike to make you men of understanding;
as erroneous teachers are unlike to make you orthodox and sound.

_Direct._ III. Come not to hear with a careless heart, as if you
were to hear a matter that little concerned you, but come with a sense
of the unspeakable weight, necessity, and consequence of the holy word
which you are to hear: and when you understand how much you are
concerned in it, and truly love it, as the word of life, it will
greatly help your understanding of every particular truth. That which
a man loveth not, and perceiveth no necessity of, he will hear with so
little regard and heed, that it will make no considerable impression
on his mind. But a good understanding of the excellency and necessity,
exciting love and serious attention, would make the particulars easy
to be understood; when else you will be like a stopped or
narrow-mouthed bottle, that keepeth out that which you desire to put
in. I know that understanding must go before affections; but yet the
understanding of the concernments and worth of your own souls, must
first procure such a serious care of your salvation, and a general
regard to the word of God, as is needful to your further understanding
of the particular instructions, which you shall after hear.

_Direct._ IV. Suffer not vain thoughts or drowsy negligence to
hinder your attention. If you mark not what is taught you, how should
you understand and learn? Set yourselves to it, as for your lives: be
as earnest and diligent in attending and learning, as you would have
the preacher be in teaching.[45] If a drowsy, careless preacher be
bad, a drowsy, careless hearer is not good. Saith Moses, Deut. xxxii.
46, 47, "Set your hearts to all the words which I testify among you
this day.--For it is not a vain thing for you, because it is your
life." You would have God attentive to your prayers in your
distresses; and why will you not then be attentive to his words, when
"the prayers of him are abominable to God, that turneth away his ear
from hearing the law?" Luke xix. 48, "All the people were very
attentive to hear Christ." Neh. viii. 3, when Ezra read the law "from
morning till mid-day, the ears of all the people were attentive to
it." When Paul continued his Lord's-day exercise and speech until
midnight, one young man that fell asleep, did fall down dead as a
warning to them that will sleep, when they should hear the message of
Christ, Acts xx. 9. Therefore you are excused that day from worldly
business, "that you may attend on the Lord without distraction,"
1 Cor. vii. 35. Lydia's attending to the words of Paul, accompanied
the opening of her heart and her conversion, Acts xvi. 14.

_Direct._ V. Mark especially the design and drift, and principal
doctrine of the sermon. Both because that is the chief thing that the
preacher would have marked; and because the understanding of that will
much help you to understand all the rest, which dependeth on it, and
relateth to it.

_Direct._ VI. Mark most those things which are of greatest weight
and concernment to your souls. And do not fix upon some little
sayings, and by-discourses, or witty sentences; like children that
bring home some scraps and words which they do but play with.

_Direct._ VII. Learn first your catechisms at home, and the great
essential points of religion, contained in the creed, the Lord's
prayer, and the ten commandments. And in your hearing, first labour to
get a clearer understanding of these; and then the lesser branches
which grow out of these will be the better understood. You can scarce
bestow too much care and pains in learning these great essential
points. It is the fruitfullest of all your studies. Two things further
I here advise you to avoid. 1. The hasty climbing up to smaller points
(which some call higher) before you have well received these; and the
receiving of those higher points, independently, without their due
respect, to these which they depend upon. 2. The feeding upon dry and
barren controversies, and delighting in the chaff of jingling words,
and impertinent, unedifying things, or discourses about formalities
and circumstances.

_Direct._ VIII. Meditate on what you hear when you come home,
till you better understand it, Psal. i. 2.

_Direct._ IX. Inquire, where you doubt, of those that can resolve
and teach you. It showeth a careless mind, and a contempt of the word
of God, in most people and servants, that never come to ask the
resolution of one doubt, from one week's or year's end to another,
though they have pastors or masters that have ability, and leisure,
and willingness to help them. "When Christ was alone, they that were
about him with the twelve, asked him the meaning of his parable,"
Matt. xiii.; Mark iv. 10.

_Direct._ X. Read much those holy books which treat best of the
doctrine which you would understand.

_Direct._ XI. Pray earnestly for wisdom, and the illumination of
the Spirit, Eph. i. 18; Acts xxvi. 18; James i. 5.

_Direct._ XII. Conscionable practising what you know, is an
excellent help to understanding, John xii. 7, 17.

_Tit. 2. Directions for Remembering what you Hear._

That want of memory, which cometh from age and decay of nature, is not
to be cured; nor should any servant of Christ be over-much troubled at
it; seeing Christ will no more cast off his servants for that, than he
will for age or any sickness: but for that want of memory which is
curable, and is a fault, I shall give you these Directions following.

_Direct._ I. It greatly helpeth memory to have a full understanding of
the matter spoken which you would remember. And ignorance is one of
the greatest hinderances to memory. Common experience telleth you
this, how easily you can remember any discourse which you thoroughly
understand (for your very knowledge by invention will revive your
memory); and how hard it is to remember any words which are
insignificant, or which we understand not. Therefore labour most for a
clear understanding according to the last directions.

_Direct._ II. A deep, awakened affection is a very powerful help
to memory. We easily remember any thing which our estates or lives lie
on, when trifles are neglected and soon forgotten. Therefore labour to
get all to your hearts, according to the next following directions.

_Direct._ III. Method is a very great help to memory. Therefore
be acquainted with the preacher's method; and then you are put into a
path or tract, which you cannot easily go out of. And therefore it is,
that ministers must not only be methodical, and avoid prolix,
confused, and involved discourses, and that malicious pride of hiding
their method, but must be as oft in the use of the same method, as the
subject will bear, and choose that method which is most easy to the
hearers to understand and remember, and labour to make them perceive
your tract.

_Direct._ IV. Numbers are a great help to memory. As if the
reasons, the uses, the motives, the signs, the directions, be six, or
seven, or eight; when you know just the number, it helpeth you much to
remember, which was the first, second, third, &c.

_Direct._ V. Names also and signal words are a great help to
memory. He may remember one word, that cannot remember all the
sentence; and that one word may help him to remember much of the rest.
Therefore preachers should contrive the force of every reason, use,
direction, &c. as much as may be, into some one emphatical word. (And
some do very profitably contrive each of those words to begin with the
same letter, which is good for memory, so it be not too much strained,
and put them not upon greater inconveniences.) As if I were to direct
you to the chiefest helps to your salvation, and should name, 1.
Powerful preaching. 2. Prayer. 3. Prudence. 4. Piety. 5. Painfulness.
6. Patience. 7. Perseverance. Though I opened every one of these at
large, the very names would help the hearers' memory. It is this that
maketh ministers, that care more for their people's souls, than the
pleasing of curious ears, to go in the common road of doctrine,
reasons, uses, motives, helps, &c. and to give their uses the same
titles of information, reproof, exhortation, &c. And yet when the
subject shall direct us to some other method, the hearers must not be
offended with us: for one method will not serve exactly for every
subject, and we must be loth to wrong the text or matter.

_Direct._ VI. It is a great help to memory, often in the time of
hearing to call over and repeat to yourselves the names or heads that
have been spoken. The mind of man can do two things at once: you may
both hear what is said, and recall and repeat to yourselves what is
past: not to stand long upon it, but oft and quickly to name over, e.g.
The reasons, uses, motives, &c. To me, this hath been (next to
understanding and affection) the greatest help of any that I have
used; for otherwise to hear a head but once, and think of it no more
till the sermon is done, would never serve my turn to keep it.

_Direct._ VII. Grasp not at more than you are able to hold, lest
thereby you lose all. If there be more particulars than you can
possibly remember, lay hold on some which most concern you, and let go
the rest; perhaps another may rather take up those, which you leave
behind. Yet say not that it is the preacher's fault to name more than
you can carry away: for, 1. Then he must leave out his enlargement
much more, and the most of his sermon; for it is like you leave the
most behind. 2. Another may remember more than you. 3. All is not lost
when the words are forgotten: for it may breed a habit of
understanding, and promote resolution, affection, and practice.

_Direct._ VIII. Writing is an easy help for memory, to those that
can use it. Some question whether they should use it, because it
hindereth their affection. But that must be differently determined
according to the difference of subjects, and of hearers. Some sermons
are all to work upon the affections at present, and the present
advantage is to be preferred before the after perusal: but some must
more profit us in after digestion and review. And some hearers can
write much with ease, and little hinder their affection; and some
write so little and are hindered so much, that it recompenseth not
their loss. Some know so fully all that is said, that they need no
notes; and some that are ignorant need them for perusal.

_Direct._ IX. Peruse what you remember, or write down, when you
come home: and fix it speedily before it is lost; and hear others that
can repeat it better. Pray it over, and confer of it with others.

_Direct._ X. If you forget the very words, yet remember the main
drift of all; and get those resolutions and affections which they
drive at. And then you have not lost the sermon, though you have lost
the words; as he hath not lost his food, that hath digested it, and
turned it into flesh and blood.

_Tit. 3. Directions for holy Resolutions and Affections in

The understanding and memory are but the passage to the heart, and the
practice is but the expression of the heart: therefore how to work
upon the heart is the principal business.

_Direct._ I. Live under the most convincing, lively, serious preacher
that possibly you can. It is a matter of great concernment to all, but
especially to dull and senseless hearts. Hearken not to that earthly
generation, that tell you, because God can bless the weakest, and
because it is your own fault if you profit not by the weakest; that
therefore you should make no difference, but sit down under an
ignorant, dumb, or senseless man. Try first whether they had as
willingly have a bad servant, or a bad physician, as a good one,
because God can bless the labours of the weakest? Try whether they
would not have their children duly reproved or corrected, because it
is their own faults that they need it? and whether they would not take
physic after a surfeit, though it be their own fault that made them
sick? It is true, that all our sin is our own fault; but the question
is, What is the most effectual cure? What man that is alive and awake,
doth not feel a very great difference between a dead and a lively

_Direct._ II. Remember that ministers are the messengers of
Christ, and come to you on his business and in his name. Hear them
therefore as his officers, and as men that have more to do with God
himself, than with the speaker.[46] It is the phrase of the Holy
Ghost, Heb. iv. 13, "All things are naked and opened to the eyes of
him with whom we have to do." It is God with whom you have to do, and
therefore accordingly behave yourselves. See Luke x. 16; 1 Thess.
iv. 8; 1 Cor. iv. 1.

_Direct._ III. Remember that this God is instructing you, and
warning you, and treating with you, about no less than the saving of
your souls. Come therefore to hear as for your salvation. Can that
heart be dull that well considereth, that it is heaven and hell that
is the matter that God is treating with him about?

_Direct._ IV. Remember that you have but a little time to hear
in; and you know not whether ever you shall hear again. Hear therefore
as if it were your last. Think when you hear the calls of God, and the
offers of grace, I know not but this may be my last: how would I hear
if I were sure to die tomorrow? I am sure it will be ere long, and may
be to-day for aught I know.

_Direct._ V. Remember that all these days and sermons must be
reviewed, and you must answer for all that you have heard, whether you
heard it with love, or with unwillingness and weariness, with diligent
attention or with carelessness; and the word which you hear shall
judge you at the last day. Hear therefore as those that are going to
judgment to give account of their hearing and obeying, John xii. 48.

_Direct._ VI. Make it your work with diligence to apply the word
as you are hearing it, and to work your own hearts to those suitable
resolutions and affections which it bespeaketh. Cast not all upon the
minister, as those that will go no further than they are carried as by
force: this is fitter for the dead than for the living. You have work
to do as well as the preacher, and should all the while be as busy as
he: as helpless as the infant is, he must suck when the mother
offereth him the breast; if you must be fed, yet you must open your
mouths, and digest it, for another cannot digest it for you; nor can
the holiest, wisest, powerful minister, convert or save you without
yourselves, nor deliver a people from sin and hell, that will not stir
for their own deliverance. Therefore be all the while at work, and
abhor an idle heart in hearing, as well as an idle minister.

_Direct._ VII. Chew the cud, and call up all when you come home
in secret, and by meditation preach it over to yourselves. If it were
coldly delivered by the preacher, do you consider of the great weight
of the matter, and preach it more earnestly over to your own hearts.
You should love yourselves best, and best be acquainted with your own
condition and necessities.

_Direct._ VIII. Pray it over all to God, and there lament a stupid
heart, and put up your complaints to Heaven against it. The name and
presence of God hath a quickening and awaking power.

_Direct._ IX. Go to Christ by faith, for the quickening of his
Spirit. Your life is hid in him, your Root and Head; and from him all
must be conveyed: he that hath the Son hath life; and because he
liveth, we shall live also. Entreat him to glorify the power of his
resurrection, by raising the dead; and to open your hearts, and speak
to you by his Spirit, that you may be taught of God, and your hearts
may be his epistles, and the tables where the everlasting law is
written, Col. iii. 3, 4; John xv. 1-5; xi. 25; xiv. 19; Phil. iii. 7, 8;
Acts xvi. 14; John vi. 45; 2 Cor. iii. 3, 6, 17, 18; Heb. viii. 10;
x. 16; Jer. xxxi. 33.

_Direct._ X. Make conscience of teaching and provoking others.
Pity the souls of the ignorant about you. God often blesseth the grace
that is most improved in doing him service; and our stock is like the
woman's oil, which increased as long as she poured out, and was gone
when she stopped, 1 Kings xvii. 12, 14, 16. Doing good is the best way
for receiving good: he that in pity to a poor man that is almost
starved, will but fall to rubbing him, shall get himself heat, and
both be gainers.

_Tit. 4. Directions to bring what we hear into Practice._

Without this the rest is vain or counterfeit, and therefore somewhat
must be said to this.

_Direct._ I. Be acquainted with the failings of your hearts and
lives, and come on purpose to get directions and help against those
particular failings. You will not know what medicine you need, much
less how to use it, if you know not what aileth you. Know what duties
you omit or carelessly perform, and know what sins you are most guilty
of, and say when you go out of doors, I go to Christ for physic for my
own disease. I hope to hear something before I come back, which may
help me more against this sin, and fit me better for my duty, or
provoke me more effectually. Are those men like to practise Christ's
directions, that either know not their disease, or love it and would
not have it cured?

_Direct._ II. The three forementioned are still presupposed, viz.
That the word have first done its part upon your understandings,
memory, and hearts. For that word cannot be practised, which is not
understood, nor at all remembered, nor hath procured resolutions and
affections. It is the due work upon the heart that must prevail for
the reformation of the life.

_Direct._ III. When you understand what it is in point of
practice that the preacher driveth at, observe especially the uses and
the moving reasons, and plead them with your own hearts; and let
conscience be preaching over all that the minister preacheth to you.
You take them to be soul-murderers, that silence able, faithful
preachers, and also those preachers that silence themselves, and feed
not the flock committed to their care; and do you think it a small
matter to silence your own conscience, which must be the preacher that
must set home all, before it can come to resolution or practice? Keep
conscience all the while at work, preaching over all that to your
hearts, which you hear with your ears; and urge yourselves to a speedy
resolution. Remember that the whole body of divinity is practical in
its end and tendency, and therefore be not a mere notional hearer; but
consider of every word you hear, what practice it is that it tendeth
to, and place that deepest in your memory. If you forget all the words
of the reasons and motives which you hear, be sure to remember what
practice they were brought to urge you to. As if you heard a sermon
against uncharitableness, censoriousness, or hurting others, though
you should forget all the reasons and motives in particular, yet still
remember that you were convinced in the hearing, that censorious and
hurtful uncharitableness is a great sin, and that you heard reason
enough to make you resolve it. And let conscience preach out the
sermon to the end, and not let it die in bare conviction; but resolve,
and be past wavering, before you stir: and above all the sermon,
remember the directions and helps for practice, with which the truest
method usually shuts up the sermon.

_Direct._ IV. When you come home, let conscience in secret also
repeat the sermon to you. Between God and yourselves, consider what
there was delivered to you in the Lord's message, that your souls were
most concerned in? what sin reproved which you are guilty of? what
duty pressed which you omit? And there meditate seriously on the
weight and reasons of the thing; and resist not the light, but yet
bring all to a fixed resolution, if till then you were unresolved: not
insnaring yourselves with dangerous vows about things doubtful, or
peremptory vows without dependence on Christ for strength; but firmly
resolving and cautelously engaging yourselves to duty; not with carnal
evasions and reserves, but with humble dependence upon grace, without
which of yourselves you are able to do nothing.

_Direct._ V. Hear the most practical preachers you can well get.
Not those that have the finest notions, or the cleanest style, or
neatest words; but those that are still urging you to holiness of
heart and life, and driving home every truth to practice: not that
false doctrine will at all bear up a holy life, but true doctrine must
not be left in the porch, or at the doors, but be brought home and
used to its proper end, and seated in the heart, and placed as the
poise upon the clock, where it may set all the wheels in motion.

_Direct._ VI. Take heed especially of two sorts of false
teachers; antinomian libertines, and autonomian Pharisees. The first
would build their sins on Christ; not pleading for sin itself, but
taking down many of the chief helps against it, and disarming us of
the weapons by which it should be destroyed, and reproaching the true
preachers of obedience as legalists, that preach up works and call men
to doing, when they preach up obedience to Christ their King, upon the
terms and by the motives which are used by Christ himself, and his
apostles. Not understanding aright the true doctrine of faith in
Christ, and justification, and free grace, (which they think none else
understand but they,) they pervert it and make it an enemy to the
kingly office of Christ, and to sanctification, and the necessary
duties of obedience.

The other sort do make void the commandments of God by their
traditions, and instead of the holy practice of the laws of Christ,
they would drive the world with fire and sword to practise all their
superstitious fopperies; so that the few plain and necessary precepts
of the law of the universal King, are drowned in the greater body of
their canon law; and the ceremonies of the pope's imposing are so many
in comparison of the institutions of Christ, that the worship of God,
and work of christianity, is corrupted by it, and made as another
thing. The wheat is lost in a heap of chaff, by them that will be
lawgivers to themselves, and all the church of Christ.

_Direct._ VII. Associate yourselves with the most holy, serious,
practical christians. Not with the ungodly, nor with barren
opinionists, that talk of nothing but their controversies, and the way
or interest of their sects, (which they call the church,) nor with
outside, formal, ceremonious Pharisees, that are pleading for the
washing of cups, and tithing of mint, and the tradition of their
fathers, while they hate and persecute Christ and his disciples: but
walk with the most holy, and blameless, and charitable, that live upon
that truth which others talk of, and are seeking to please God by the
"wisdom which is first pure, and then peaceable and gentle," James
iii. 17, 18, when others are contending for their several sects, or
seeking to please Christ, by killing him, or censuring him, or
slandering him in his servants, John xvi. 2, 3; Matt. xxv. 40, 45.

_Direct._ VIII. Keep a just account of your practice; examine
yourselves in the end of every day and week, how you have spent your
time, and practised what you were taught; and judge yourselves before
God according as you find it. Yea, you must call yourselves to account
every hour, what you are doing, and how you do it; whether you are
upon God's work, or not: and your hearts must be watched and followed
like unfaithful servants, and like loitering scholars, and driven on
to every duty, like a dull or tired horse.

_Direct._ IX. Above all set your hearts to the deepest contemplations
of the wonderful love of God in Christ, and the sweetness and
excellency of a holy life, and the certain incomprehensible glory
which it tendeth to, that your souls may be in love with your dear
Redeemer, and all that is holy, and love and obedience may be as
natural to you. And then the practice of holy doctrine will be easy to
you, when it is your delight.

_Direct._ X. Take heed that you receive not ungrounded or
unnecessary prejudices against the person of the preacher. For that
will turn away your heart, and lock it up against his doctrine. And
therefore abhor the spirit of uncharitableness, cruelty, and faction,
which always bendeth to the suppressing, or vilifying and disgracing
all those, that are not of their way and for their interest; and be
not so blind as not to observe, that the very design of the devil, in
raising up divisions among christians, is, that he may use the tongues
or hands of one another to vilify them all, and make them odious to
one another, and to disable one another from hindering his kingdom and
doing any considerable service to Christ. So that when a minister of
Christ should be winning souls, either he is forbidden, or he is
despised, and the hearers are saying, O, he is such or such a one,
according to the names of reproach which the enemy of Christ and love
hath taught them.

[45] Prov. iv. 1, 20; v. 1; vii. 24; Neh. i. 6, 11; Psal. cxxx. 2;
Prov. xxviii. 9.

[46] 2 Cor. vi. 1.



SEEING the diversity of men's tempers and understandings is so
exceedingly great, that it is impossible that any thing should be
pleasing and suitable to some, which shall not be disliked and
quarrelled with by others; and seeing in the Scriptures there are many
things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest
to their own destruction, 2 Pet. iii. 16; and the word is to some the
savour of death unto death, 2 Cor. ii. 16.;[47] you have therefore
need to be careful in reading it. And as Christ saith, "Take heed how
you hear," Luke viii. 18; so I say, Take heed how you read.

_Direct._ I. Bring not an evil heart of unbelief. Open the Bible
with holy reverence as the book of God, indited by the Holy Ghost.
Remember that the doctrine of the New Testament was revealed by the
Son of God, who was purposely sent from heaven to be the light of the
world, and to make known to men the will of God, and the matters of
their salvation.[48] Bethink you well, if God should but send a book
or letter to you by an angel, how reverently you would receive it! How
carefully you would peruse it; and regard it above all the books in
the world! And how much rather should you do so, by that book which is
indited by the Holy Ghost, and recordeth the doctrine of Christ
himself, whose authority is greater than all the angels! Read it not
therefore as a common book, with a common and unreverent heart; but in
the dread and love of God the author.

_Direct._ II. Remember that it is the very law of God which you
must live by, and be judged by at last. And therefore read with a full
resolution to obey whatever it commandeth, though flesh, and men, and
devils contradict it. Let there be no secret exceptions in your heart,
to balk out any of its precepts, and shift off that part of obedience
which the flesh accounteth difficult or dear.

_Direct._ III. Remember that it is the will and testament of your
Lord, and the covenant of most full and gracious promises; which all
your comforts, and all your hopes of pardon and everlasting life, are
built upon. Read it therefore with love and great delight. Value it a
thousandfold more than you would do the letters of your dearest
friend, or the deeds by which you hold your lands, or any thing else
of low concernment. If the law was sweeter to David than honey, and
better than thousands of gold and silver, and was his delight and
meditation all the day, oh what should the sweet and precious gospel
be to us!

_Direct._ IV. Remember that it is a doctrine of unseen things,
and of the greatest mysteries; and therefore come not to it with
arrogance as a judge, but with humility as a learner or disciple; and
if any thing seem difficult or improbable to you, suspect your own
unfurnished understanding, and not the sacred word of God. If a
learner in any art or science, will suspect his teacher and his books,
whenever he is stalled, or meeteth with that which seemeth unlikely to
him, his pride would keep possession for his ignorance, and his folly
were like to be uncurable.

_Direct._ V. Remember that it is a universal law and doctrine,
written for the most ignorant as well as for the curious; and
therefore must be suited in plainness to the capacity of the simple,
and yet have matter to exercise the most subtle wits; and that God
would have the style to savour more of the innocent weakness of the
instruments, than the matter. Therefore be not offended or troubled
when the style doth seem less polite than you might think beseemed the
Holy Ghost; nor at the plainness of some parts, or the mysteriousness
of others; but adore the wisdom and tender condescension of God to his
poor creatures.

_Direct._ VI. Bring not a carnal mind, which savoureth only fleshly
things, and is enslaved to those sins which the Scripture doth
condemn: "For the carnal mind is enmity against God, and neither is
nor can be subject to his law," Rom. viii. 7, 8. "And the things of
God are not discerned by the mere natural man, for they are
foolishness to him, and they must be spiritually discerned," 2 Cor.
ii. 14: and enmity is an ill expositor. It will be quarrelling with
all, and making faults in the word which findeth so many faults in
you. It will hate that word which cometh to deprive you of your most
sweet and dearly beloved sin. Or, if you have such a carnal mind and
enmity, believe it not, any more than a partial and wicked enemy
should be believed against God himself; who better understandeth what
he hath written, than any of his foolish enemies.

_Direct._ VII. Compare one place of Scripture with another, and
expound the darkest by the help of the plainest, and the fewer
expressions by the more frequent and ordinary, and the doubtfuler
points by those which are most certain; and not on the contrary.

_Direct._ VIII. Presume not on the strength of your own understanding,
but humbly pray to God for light; and before and after you read the
Scripture, pray earnestly that the Spirit which did indite it, may
expound it to you, and keep you from unbelief and error, and lead you
into the truth.[49]

_Direct._ IX. Read some of the best annotations or expositors;
who being better acquainted with the phrase of the Scripture than
yourselves, may help to clear your understanding. When Philip asked
the eunuch that read Isa. liii. "Understandest thou what thou readest?
he said, How can I except some man should guide me?" Acts viii. 30, 31.
Make use of your guides, if you would not err.

_Direct._ X. When you are stalled by any difficulty which
over-matcheth you, note it down, and propound it to your pastor, and
crave his help, or (if the minister of that place be ignorant and
unable) go to some one that God hath furnished for such work. And if,
after all, some things remain still dark and difficult, remember your
imperfection, and wait on God for further light, and thankfully make
use of all the rest of the Scripture which is plain. And do not think
as the papists, that men must forbear reading it for fear of erring,
no more than that men must forbear eating for fear of poison, or than
subjects must be kept ignorant of the laws of the king, for fear of
misunderstanding or abusing them.

[47] Mark iv. 24.

[48] Read chap. iii. direct. i. And against unbelief, part. i.

[49] 1 Cor. ii. 10, 12; xii. 8-10.



BECAUSE God hath made the excellent, holy writings of his servants,
the singular blessing of this land and age; and many a one may have a
good book, even any day or hour of the week, that cannot at all have a
good preacher;[50] I advise all God's servants to be thankful for so
great a mercy, and to make use of it, and be much in reading: for
reading, with most, doth more conduce to knowledge than hearing doth,
because you may choose what subjects and the excellentest treatises
you please; and may be often at it, and may peruse again and again
what you forget, and may take time as you go to fix it on your mind:
and with very many it doth more than hearing also to move the heart,
though hearing of itself in this hath the advantage; because lively
books may be easilier had than lively preachers. Especially these
sorts of men should be much in reading: 1. Masters of families, that
have more souls to care for than their own. 2. People that live where
there is no preaching, or as bad or worse than none. 3. Poor people,
and servants, and children, that are forced on many Lord's days to
stay at home, whilst others have the opportunity to hear. 4. And
vacant persons that have more leisure than others have. To all these,
but especially masters of families, I shall here give a few

_Direct._ I. I presuppose that you keep the devil's books out of
your hands and house. I mean cards, and idle tales, and play-books,
and romances or love-books, and false, bewitching stories, and the
seducing books of all false teachers, and the railing or scorning
books which the men of several sects and factions write against each
other, on purpose to teach men to hate one another, and banish love:
for where these are suffered to corrupt the mind, all grave and useful
writings are forestalled; and it is a wonder to see how powerfully
these poison the minds of children, and many other empty heads. Also
books that are written by the sons of Korah, to breed distastes and
discontents in the minds of the people against their governors, both
magistrates and ministers. For there is something in the best rulers,
for the tongues of seditious men to fasten on, and to aggravate in the
people's ears; and there is something even in godly people, which
tempteth them too easily to take fire and be distempered before they
are aware; and they foresee not the evil to which it tendeth.

_Direct._ II. When you read to your family, or others, let it be
seasonably and gravely, when silence and attendance encourage you to
expect success; and not when children are crying or talking, or
servants bustling to disturb you. Distraction is worst in the greatest

_Direct._ III. Choose such hooks as are most suitable to your
state, or to those you read to.[51] It is worse than unprofitable to
read books for comforting troubled minds, to those that are blockishly
secure, and have hardened, obstinate, unhumbled hearts. It is as bad
as to give medicines or plasters contrary to the patient's need, and
such as cherish the disease. So is it to read books of too high a
style or subject, to dull and ignorant hearers. We use to say, That
which is one man's meat, is another man's poison. It is not enough
that the matter be good, but it must be agreeable to the case for
which it is used.

_Direct._ IV. To a common family begin with those books, which at
once inform the judgment about the fundamentals, and awaken the
affections to entertain them and improve them. Such as are treatises
of regeneration, conversion, or repentance: to which purpose I have
written myself, The Call to the Unconverted;--The Treatise of
Conversion;--Directions for a Sound Conversion;--A Treatise of
Judgment;--A Sermon against making Light of Christ;--True
Christianity;--A Sermon of Repentance;--Now or Never;--A Saint or a
Brute; with others; which I mention, not as equalling them with
others, but as those which I am more accountable for. On this subject
these are very excellent: Mr. R. Allen's Works;--Mr. Whateley on the
New Birth;--Mr. Swinnock of Regeneration;--Mr. Pinks's five
Sermons;--most of Mr. Hooker's Sermons;--Mr. J. Rogers's Doctrine of
Faith;--Mr. Dent's Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven;--most of Mr.
Perkins's and Mr. Bolton's Works, and many the like.

_Direct._ V. Next these, read over those books which are most suited
to the state of young christians for their growth in grace, and for
their exercise of faith, and love, and obedience, and for the
mortifying of selfishness, pride, sensuality, worldliness, and other
the most dangerous sins. My own on this subject are, my Directions for
Weak Christians;--my Saints' Rest;--A Treatise of Self-denial;--another
of The Mischiefs of Self-ignorance;--Life of Faith;--Of Crucifying the
World;--The Unreasonableness of Infidelity;--Of Right Rejoicing, &c.
To this use these are excellent: Mr. Hildersham's Works;--Dr.
Preston's;--Mr. Perkins's;--Mr. Bolton's--Mr. Fenner's;--Mr.
Gurnall's;--Mr. Anthony Burgess's Sermons;--Mr. Lockier on the
Colossians; with abundance more that God hath blessed us with.

_Direct._ VI. At the same time labour to methodize your knowledge; and
to that end read first and learn some short catechism, and then some
larger (as Mr. Ball's, or the Assembly's, larger); and next some body
of divinity (as Amesius's Marrow of Divinity and Cases of Conscience,
which are Englished). And let the catechism be kept in memory while
you live, and the rest be thoroughly understood.

_Direct._ VII. Next read (to yourselves or families) the larger
expositions of the Creed, Lord's Prayer, and Ten Commandments; such as
Perkins, Bishop Andrews on the Commandments, and Dod, &c.; that your
understanding may be more full, particular, and distinct, and your
families may not stop in generals, which are not understood.

_Direct._ VIII. Read much those books which direct you in a
course of daily communion with God, and ordering all your
conversations. As Mr. Reyner's Directions;--The Practice of
Piety;--Mr. Palmer's; Mr. Scudder's;--Mr. Bolton's Directions;--and my
Divine Life.

_Direct._ IX. For peace, and comfort, and increase of the love of
God, read Mr. Symmond's Deserted Soul, &c.;--and his Life of
Faith;--all Dr. Sibbs's Works;--Mr. Harsnet's Cordials;--Bishop Hall's
Works, &c.:--my Method for Peace, and Saints' Rest, &c.

_Direct._ X. For the understanding of the text of Scripture, keep
at hand either Deodate's, or the Assembly of Divines, or the Dutch
Annotations; with Dr. Hammond's, or Dickson's and Hutchinson's Brief

_Direct._ XI. For securing you against the fever of uncharitable
zeal and schism, and contentious wranglings and cruelties for
religion's sake, read diligently Bishop Hall's Peacemaker (and other
of his books);--Mr. Burrough's Irenicon;--Acontius's Stratagems of
Satan;--and my Catholic Unity;--Catholic Church;--Universal Concord,

_Direct._ XII. For establishing you against popery, on the
soundest grounds, not running in the contrary extreme, read Dr.
Challoner's Credo Ecclesiam, &c.;--Chillingworth;--Dr. Field of the
Church, &c.;--and my True Catholic;--and my Key for Catholics;--and my
Safe Religion;--and Windingsheet for Popery;--and Disputation with Mr.

_Direct._ XIII. For especial preparation for affliction,
sufferings, sickness, death, read Mr. Hughes's Rod;--Mr. Lawrence's
Christ's Power over Sicknesses;--Mr. S. Rutherford's Letters, &c.;--my
Treatise of Self-denial;--the Believer's Last Work;--the Last Enemy
Death;--and the Fourth Part of my Saints' Rest. I will add no more,
lest they seem too many.

[50] Xenophon primus omnium quae dicebantur, notis excepta in
publicium edidit. Laert. in Xenoph.

[51] Saith Aristippus, (in Laert.) As they are not the health-fullest
that eat most, so are they not the learnedest that read most, but they
that read that which is most necessary and profitable.



I HERE suppose them utterly untaught that you have to do with; and
therefore shall direct you what to do, from the very first beginning
of your teaching, and their learning. And I beseech you study this
chapter more than many of the rest; for it is an unspeakable loss that
befalls the church, and the souls of men, for want of skill, and will,
and diligence, in parents and masters in this matter.

_Direct._ I. Cause your younger children to learn the words,
though they be not yet capable of understanding the matter. And do not
think as some do, that this is but to make them hypocrites, and to
teach them to take God's name in vain: for it is neither vanity nor
hypocrisy to help them first to understand the words and signs, in
order to their early understanding of the matter and signification.
Otherwise no man might teach them any language, nor teach them to read
any words that be good, because they must first understand the words
before the meaning. If a child learn to read in a Bible, it is not
taking God's name or word in vain, though he understand it not; for it
is in order to his learning to understand it; and it is not vain which
is to so good a use: if you leave them untaught till they come to be
twenty years of age, they must then learn the words before they can
understand the matter. Do not therefore leave them the children of
darkness, for fear of making them hypocrites. It will be an excellent
way to redeem their time, to teach them first that which they are
capable of learning: a child of five or six years old can learn the
words of a catechism or Scripture, before they are capable of
understanding them. And then when they come to years of understanding,
that part of their work is done, and they have nothing to do but to
study the meaning and use of those words which they have learned
already. Whereas if you leave them utterly untaught till then, they
must then be wasting a long time to learn the same words which they
might have learned before; and the loss of so much time is no small
loss or sin.

_Direct._ II. The most natural way of teaching children the
meaning of God's word, and the matters of their salvation, is by
familiar talk with them suited to their capacities: begin this betimes
with them while they are on their mother's laps, and use it
frequently. For they are quickly capable of some understanding about
greater matters as well as about less; and knowledge must come in by
slow degrees: stay not till their minds are prepossessed with vanity
and toys, Prov. xxii. 6.

_Direct._ III. By all means let your children learn to read,
though you be never so poor, whatever shift you make. And if you have
servants that cannot read, let them learn yet, (at spare hours,) if
they be of any capacity and willingness. For it is a very great mercy
to be able to read the holy Scripture, and any good books themselves,
and a very great misery to know nothing but what they hear from
others. They may read almost at any time, when they cannot hear.

_Direct._ IV. Let your children when they are little ones read much
the history of the Scriptures. For though this, of itself, is not
sufficient to breed in them any saving knowledge, yet it enticeth them
to delight in reading the Bible, and then they will be often at it
when they love it; so that all these benefits will follow. 1. It will
make them love the book (though it be but with a common love). 2. It
will make them spend their time in it, when else they would rather be
at play. 3. It will acquaint them with Scripture history, which will
afterwards be very useful to them. 4. It will lead them up by degrees
to the knowledge of the doctrine, which is all along interwoven with
the history.

_Direct._ V. Take heed that you turn not all your family
instructions into a customary, formal course, by bare readings and
repeating sermons from day to day, without familiar personal
application. For it is ordinarily seen that they will grow as sleepy,
and senseless, and customary, under such a dull and distant course of
duty, (though the matter be good,) almost as if you had said nothing
to them. Your business therefore must be to get within them, and
awaken their consciences to know that the matter doth most nearly
concern them, and to force them to make application of it to

_Direct._ VI. Let none affect a formal, preaching way to their
families, except they be preachers themselves, or men that are able
for the ministry: but rather spend the time in reading to them the
powerfullest books, and speaking to them more familiarly about the
state and matters of their souls. Not that I think it unlawful for a
man to preach to his family, in the same method that a minister doth
to his people; for no doubt he may teach them in the profitablest
manner he can; and that which is the best method for a set speech in
the pulpit, is usually the best method in a family. But my reasons
against this preaching way ordinarily, are these:--1. Because it is
very few masters of families that are able for it (even among them
that think they are); and then they ignorantly abuse the Scripture, so
as tends much to God's dishonour. 2. Because there is scarce any of
them all, but may read at the same time, such lively, profitable books
to their families, as handle those things which they have most need to
hear of, in a far more edifying manner than they themselves are able
(except they be so poor that they can get no such books). 3. Because
the familiar way is most edifying; and to talk seriously with children
and servants about the great concernments of their souls, doth
commonly more move them than sermons or set speeches. Yet because
there is a season for both, you may sometimes read some powerful book
to them, and sometimes talk familiarly to them. 4. Because it often
comes from pride, when men put their speech into a preaching method to
show their parts, and as often nourisheth pride.

_Direct._ VII. Let the manner of your teaching them be very often
interlocutory, or by way of questions. Though when you have so many or
such persons present, as that such familiarity is not seasonable, then
reading, repeating, or set speeches may do best; but at other times,
when the number or quality of the company hindereth not, you will find
that questions and familiar discourse are best. For, 1. It keepeth
them awake and attentive, when they know they must make some answer to
your questions; which set speeches, with the dull and sluggish, will
hardly do. 2. And it mightily helpeth them in the application; so that
they much more easily take it home, and perceive themselves concerned
in it.

_Direct._ VIII. Yet prudently take heed that you speak nothing to
any in the presence of others, that tends to open their ignorance or
sin, or the secrets of their hearts, or that any way tendeth to shame
them (except in the necessary reproof of the obstinate). If it be
their common ignorance that will be opened by questioning them, you
may do it before your servants or children themselves, that are
familiar with each other, but not when any strangers are present. But
if it be about the secret state of their souls that you examine them,
you must do it singly, when the person is alone. Lest shaming and
troubling them make them hate instruction, and deprive them of all the
benefit of it.

_Direct._ IX. When you come to teach them the doctrine of
religion, begin with the baptismal covenant, as the sum of all that is
essential to christianity; and here teach them briefly all the
substance of this at once. For though such general knowledge will be
obscure, and not distinct and satisfactory, yet it is necessary at
first; because they must see truths set together: for they will
understand nothing truly, if they understand it but independently by
broken parts. Therefore open to them the sum of the covenant or
christian religion all at once, though you say but little at first of
the several parts. Help them to understand what it is to be baptized
into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And here you must
open it to them in this order. You must help them to know who are the
covenanters, God and man: and first the nature of man is to be opened,
because he is first known, and God in him who is his image. Familiarly
tell them, "That man is not like a beast that hath no reason, nor
free-will, nor any knowledge of another world, nor any other life to
live but this: but he hath an understanding to know God, and a will to
choose good and refuse evil, and an immortal soul that must live for
ever: and that all inferior creatures were made for his service, as he
was made for the service of his Creator. Tell them that neither man,
nor any thing that we see, could make itself; but God is the Maker,
Preserver, and Disposer of all the world. That this God is infinite in
power, and wisdom, and goodness, and is the Owner, and Ruler, and
Benefactor, Felicity, and End of man. That man was made to be wholly
devoted and resigned to God as his Owner, and to be wholly ruled by
him as his Governor, and to be wholly given up to his love and praise
as his Father, his Felicity, and End. That the tempter having drawn
man from this blessed state of life, in Adam's fall the world fell
under the wrath of God, and had been lost for ever, but that God of
his mercy provided us a Redeemer, even the eternal Son of God; who
being one with the Father, was pleased to take the nature of man, and
so is both God and man in one person; who being born of a virgin,
lived among men, and fulfilled the law of God, and overcame the
tempter and the world, and died as a sacrifice for our sins, to
reconcile us unto God. That all men being born with corrupted natures,
and living in sin till Christ recover them, there is now no hope of
salvation but by him. That he hath paid our debt, and made
satisfaction for our sins, and risen from the dead, and conquered
death and Satan, and is ascended and glorified in heaven; and that he
is the King, and Teacher, and High Priest of the church. That he hath
made a new covenant of grace and pardon, and offered it in the
Scriptures and by his ministers to the world; and that those that are
sincere and faithful in this covenant shall be saved, and those that
are not shall remedilessly be damned, because they reject this Christ
and grace, which is the last and only remedy. And here open to them
the nature of this covenant: that God doth offer to be our reconciled
God, and Father, and Felicity; and Christ to be our Saviour, to
forgive our sins, and reconcile us to God, and renew us by his Spirit;
and the Holy Spirit to be our Sanctifier, to illuminate, and
regenerate, and confirm us; and that all that is required on our
part, is such an unfeigned consent, as will appear in the performance
in our serious endeavours. Even that we wholly give up ourselves to be
renewed by the Holy Spirit, to be justified, taught, and governed by
Christ, and by him to be brought again to the Father, to love him as
our God and End, and to live to him, and with him for ever. But
whereas the temptations of the devil, and the allurements of this
deceitful world, and the desires of the flesh, are the great enemies
and hinderances in our way, we must also consent to renounce all
these, and let them go, and deny ourselves, and take up with God
alone, and what he seeth meet to give us, and to take him in heaven
for all our portion. And he that consenteth unfeignedly to this
covenant, is a member of Christ, a justified, reconciled child of God,
and an heir of heaven, and so continuing, shall be saved; and he that
doth not shall be damned. This is the covenant, that in baptism we
solemnly entered into with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as our
Father and Felicity, our Saviour, and our Sanctifier." This in some
such brief explication, you must familiarly open to them again and

_Direct._ X. When you have opened the baptismal covenant to them,
and the essentials of christianity, cause them to learn the creed, the
Lord's prayer, and the ten commandments. And tell them the uses of
them; that man having three powers of soul, his understanding, his
will, and his obediential or executive power, all these must be
sanctified, and therefore there must be a rule for each; and that
accordingly the creed is the summary rule to tell us what our
understandings must believe; and the Lord's prayer is the summary rule
to direct us what our wills must desire and our tongues must ask; and
the ten commandments are the summary rules of our practice: and that
the holy Scripture, in general, is the more large and perfect rule of
all; and that all that will be taken for true christians, must have a
general, implicit belief of all the holy Scriptures, and a particular,
explicit belief, desire, and sincere practice, according to the
creeds, Lord's prayer, and ten commandments.

_Direct._ XI. Next teach them a short catechism (by memory) which
openeth these a little more fully, and then a larger catechism. The
shorter and larger catechisms of the Assembly are very well fitted to
this use. I have published a very brief one myself, which in eight
articles or answers containeth all the essential points of belief, and
in one answer, the covenant consent, and in four articles or answers
more, containeth all the substantial parts of christian duty; the
answers are some of them long for children;[52] but if I knew of any
other that had so much in so few words, I would not offer this to you,
because I am conscious of its imperfections. But there are very few
catechisms that differ in the substance; whichever they learn, let
them as they go have your help to understand it, and let them keep it
in memory to the last.

_Direct._ XII. Next open to them more distinctly the particular
part of the covenant and catechism. And here I think this method most
profitable for a family: 1. Read over to them the best expositions
that you can get on the creed, the Lord's prayer, the ten
commandments, which are not too large to confound them, nor too brief,
so as to be hardly understood. For a summary, "Mr. Brinsley's True
Watch" is good; but thus to read to them, such as "Mr. Perkins on the
Creed," and "Dr. King on the Lord's Prayer," and "Dodd on the
Commandments," are fit; so that you may read one article, one
petition, and one commandment at a time; and read these over to them
divers times. 2. Besides this, in your familiar discourse with them,
open to them plainly one head or article of religion at a time, and
another the next time, and so on till you come to the end. And here,
(1.) Open in one discourse the nature of man and the creation. (2.) In
another, (or before it,) the nature and attributes of God. (3.) In
another, the fall of man, and especially the corruption of our nature,
as it consisteth in an inordinate inclination to earthly and fleshly
things, and a backwardness, or averseness, or enmity to God and
holiness, and the life to come; and the nature of sin; and the
impossibility of being saved till this sin be pardoned, and these
natures renewed, and restored to the love of God and holiness, from
this love of the world and fleshly pleasures. (4.) In the next
discourse, open to them the doctrine of redemption in general, and the
incarnation, and natures, and person of Christ, particularly. (5.) In
the next, open the life of Christ, his fulfilling the law, and his
overcoming the tempter, his humble life, and contempt of the world,
and the end of all, and how he is exemplary and imitable unto us. (6.)
In the next, open the whole humiliation and suffering of Christ, and
the pretences of his persecutors, and the ends and uses of his
suffering, death, and burial. (7.) In the next, open his resurrection,
the proofs, and the uses of it. (8.) In the next, open his ascension,
glory, and intercession for us, and the uses of all. (9.) In the next,
open his kingly and prophetical offices in general, and his making the
covenant of grace with man, and the nature of that covenant, and its
effects. (10.) In the next, open the works or office of the Holy Ghost
in general, as given by Christ to be his agent in men on earth, and
his great witness to the world; and particularly open the
extraordinary gift of the Spirit to the prophets and apostles, to
plant the churches, and indite and seal the Holy Scriptures; and show
them the authority and use of the Holy Scriptures. (11.) In the next,
open to them the ordinary works of the Holy Ghost, as the illuminator,
renewer, and sanctifier of souls, and in what order he doth all this,
by the ministry of the word. (12.) In the next, open to them the
office, and use, and duty of the ordinary ministry, and their duty
toward them, especially as hearers, and the nature and use of public
worship, and the nature and communion of saints and churches. (13.) In
the next, open to them the nature and use of baptism and the Lord's
supper. (14.) In the next, open to them the shortness of life, and the
state of souls at death, and after death, and the day of judgment, and
the justification of the righteous, and the condemnation of the wicked
at that day. (15.) In the next, open to them the joys of heaven, and
the miseries of the damned. (16.) In the next, open to them the vanity
of all the pleasure, and profits, and honour of this world, and the
method of temptations, and how to overcome them. (17.) In the next,
open to them the reason and use of suffering for Christ, and of
self-denial, and how to prepare for sickness and death. And after
this, go over also the Lord's prayer, and the ten commandments.

_Direct._ XIII. After all your instructions make them briefly
give you an account in their own words of what they understand and
remember of all; or else the next time to give account of the former.
And encourage them for all that is well done in their endeavours.

_Direct._ XIV. Labour in all to keep up a wakened, serious attention,
and still to print upon their hearts the greatest things. And to that
end, for the matter of your teaching and discourse, let nothing be so
much in your mouths, as, 1. The nature and relations of God. 2. A
crucified and a glorified Christ, with all his grace and privileges.
3. The operations of the Spirit on the soul. 4. The madness of
sinners, and the vanity of the world. 5. And endless glory and joy of
saints, and misery of the ungodly after death. Let these five points
be frequently urged, and be the life of all the rest of your
discourse. And then for the manner of your speaking to them, let it be
always with such a mixture of familiarity and seriousness that may
carry along their serious attentions, whether they will or no. Speak
to them as if they or you were dying, and as if you saw God, and
heaven, and hell.

_Direct._ XV. Take each of them sometimes by themselves, and
there describe to them the work of renovation, and ask them, whether
ever such a work was wrought upon them. Show them the true marks of
grace, and help them to try themselves; urge them to tell you truly,
whether their love to God or the creature, to heaven or earth, to
holiness or flesh-pleasing, be more; and what it is that hath their
hearts, and care, and chief endeavour: and if you find them
regenerate, help to strengthen them; if you find them too much
dejected, help to comfort them; and if you find them unregenerate,
help to convince them, and then to humble them, and then to show them
the remedy in Christ, and then show them their duty that they may have
part in Christ, and drive all home to the end that you desire to see;
but do all this with love, and gentleness, and privacy.

_Direct._ XVI. Some pertinent questions which by the answer will
engage them to teach themselves, or to judge themselves, will be
sometimes of very great use. As such as these; "Do you not know that
you must shortly die? Do you not believe that immediately your souls
must enter upon an endless life of joy or misery? Will worldly wealth
and honours, or fleshly pleasures, be pleasant to you then? Had you
then rather be a saint, or an ungodly sinner? Had you not then rather
be one of the holiest that the world despised and abused, than one of
the greatest and richest of the wicked? When time is past, and you
must give account of it, had you not then rather it had been spent in
holiness, and obedience, and diligent preparation for the life to
come, than in pride, and pleasure, and pampering the flesh? How could
you make shift to forget your endless life so long? or to sleep
quietly in an unregenerate state? What if you had died before
conversion, what think you had become of you, and where had you now
been? Do you think that any of those in hell are glad that they were
ungodly? or have now any pleasure in their former merriments and sin?
What think you would they do, if it were all to do again? Do you
think, if an angel or saint from heaven should come to decide the
controversy between the godly and the wicked, that he would speak
against a holy and heavenly life, or plead for a loose and fleshly
life? or which side think you he would take? Did not God know what he
did when he made the Scriptures? Is he, or an ungodly scorner, to be
more regarded? Do you think every man in the world will not wish at
last that he had been a saint, whatever it had cost him?" Such kind of
questions urge the conscience, and much convince.

_Direct._ XVII. Cause them to learn some one most plain and pertinent
text, for every great and necessary duty, and against every great and
dangerous sin; and often to repeat them to you. As Luke xiii. 3, 5,
"Except ye repent, ye shall all perish." John iii. 5, "Except a man
be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of
heaven." So Matt. xviii. 3; Rom. viii. 9; Heb. xii. 14; John iii. 16;
Luke xviii. 1, &c. So against lying, swearing, taking God's name in
vain, flesh-pleasing, gluttony, pride, and the rest.

_Direct._ XVIII. Drive all your convictions to a resolution of
endeavour and amendment, and make them sometimes promise you to do
that which you convinced them of; and sometimes before witnesses. But
let it be done with these necessary cautions: 1. That you urge not a
promise in any doubtful point, or such as you have not first convinced
them of. 2. That you urge not a promise in things beyond their present
strength; as you must not bid them promise you to believe, or to love
God, or to be tender-hearted, or heavenly-minded; but to do those
duties which tend to these, as to hear the word, or read, or pray, or
meditate, or keep good company, or avoid temptations, &c. 3. That you
be not too often upon this, (or upon one and the same strain in the
other methods,) lest they take them but for words of course, and
custom teach them to contemn them. But seasonably and prudently done,
their promises will lay a great engagement on them.

_Direct._ XIX. Teach them how to pray, by forms or without, as is
most suitable to their ease and parts; and either yourself, or some
that may inform you, should hear them pray sometimes, that you may
know their spirit, and how they profit.

_Direct._ XX. Put such books into their hands as are meetest for
them, and engage them to read them when they are alone; and ask them
what they understand and remember of them. And hold them not without
necessity so hard to work, as to allow them no time for reading by
themselves; but drive them on to work the harder, that they may have
some time when their work is done.

_Direct._ XXI. Cause them to teach one another when they are
together. Let their talk be profitable. Let those that read best, be
reading sometimes to the rest, and instructing them, and furthering
their edification. Their familiarity might make them very useful to
one another.

_Direct._ XXII. Tire them not out with too much at once; but give
it them as they can receive it. Narrow-mouthed bottles must not be
filled as wider vessels.

_Direct._ XXIII. Labour to make all sweet and pleasant to them;
and to that end sometimes mix the reading of some profitable history;
as the "Book of Martyrs," and "Clarke's Martyrology," and his "Lives."

_Direct._ XXIV. Lastly, entice them with kindnesses and rewards.
Be kind to your children when they do well, and be as liberal to your
servants as your condition will allow you. For this maketh your
persons acceptable first, and then your instructions will be much more
acceptable. Nature teacheth them to love those that love them, and do
them good, and to hearken willingly to those they love. A small gift
now and then, might signify much to the further benefit of their

_Direct._ XXV. If any shall say, that here is so much ado about
these directions, as that few can follow them; I entreat them to
consult with Christ that died for them, whether souls be not precious,
and worth all this ado? And to consider how small a labour all this
is, in comparison of the everlasting end; and to remember, that all is
gain and pleasure, and a delight to those that have holy hearts; and
to remember, that the effects to the church and kingdom, of such holy
government of families, would quite over-compensate all the pains.

[52] It is in my Universal Concord, and by itself.



_Tit. 1. Directions for Prayer in General._

HE that handleth this duty of prayer as it deserveth,[53] must make it
the second part in the body of divinity, and allow it a larger and
exacter tractate than I here intend: for I have before told you, that
as we have three natural faculties, an understanding, will, and
executive power, so these are qualified in the godly, with faith,
love, and obedience; and have three particular rules: the creed, to
show us what we must believe, and in what order: the Lord's prayer, to
show us what, and in what order, we must desire and love: and the
decalogue, to tell us what, and in what order, we must do (though yet
these are so near kin to one another, that the same actions in several
respects belong to each of the rules). As the commandments must be
believed and loved, as well as obeyed; and the matter of the Lord's
prayer must be believed to be good and necessary, as well as loved and
desired; and belief, and love, and desire, are commanded, and are part
of our obedience; yet for all this, they are not formally the same,
but divers. And as we say, that the heart or will is the man, as being
the commanding faculty; so morally the will, the love or desire, is
the christian; and therefore the rule of desire or prayer, is a
principal part of true religion. The internal part of this duty I
partly touched before, part i. chap. iii. And the church part I told
you, why I passed by, part ii. it being not left by the government
where we live, to private ministers' discussion (save only to persuade
men to obey what is established and commanded). Therefore because I
have omitted the latter, and but a little touched upon the former, I
shall be the larger on it in this place, to which (for several
reasons) I have reserved it.

_Direct._ I. See that you understand what prayer is; even the
expressing or acting of our desires before another, to move or some
way procure him to grant them. True christian prayer is, the believing
and serious expressing or acting of our lawful desires before God,
through Jesus our Mediator, by the help of the Holy Spirit, as a means
to procure of him the grant of these desires. Here note, 1. That
inward desire is the soul of prayer. 2. The expressions or inward
actings of them, is as the body of prayer. 3. To men it must be desire
so expressed, as they may understand it; but to God the inward acting
of desires is a prayer, because he understandeth it.[54] 4. But it is
not the acting of desire, simply in itself, that is any prayer; for he
may have desires, that offereth them not up to God with heart or
voice; but it is desires, as some way offered up to God, or
represented, or acted towards him, as a means to procure his blessing,
that is prayer indeed.

_Direct._ II. See that you understand the ends and use of prayer. Some
think that it is of no use, but only to move God to be willing of that
which he was before unwilling of; and therefore because that God is
immutable, they think that prayer is a useless thing. But prayer is
useful, 1. As an act of obedience to God's command. 2. As the
performance of a condition, without which he hath not promised us his
mercy, and to which he hath promised it. 3. As a means to actuate, and
express, and increase our own humility, dependence, desire, trust, and
hope in God, and so to make us capable and fit for mercy, who else
should be uncapable and unfit. 4. And so, though God be not changed by
it in himself, yet the real change that is made by it on ourselves,
doth infer a change in God by mere relation or extrinsical
denomination; he being one that is, according to the tenor of his own
established law and covenant, engaged to disown or punish the
unbelieving, prayerless, and disobedient, and after engaged to own or
pardon them that are faithfully desirous and obedient: and so this is
a relative, or at least a denominative change. So that in prayer,
faith and fervency are so far from being useless, that they as much
prevail for the thing desired by qualifying ourselves for it, as if
indeed they moved the mind of God to a real change: even as he that is
in a boat, and by his hook layeth hold of the bank, doth as truly by
his labour get nearer the bank, as if he drew the bank to him.

_Direct._ III. Labour above all to know that God to whom you
pray. To know him as your Maker, your Redeemer, and your Regenerator;
as your Owner, your Ruler, and your Father, Felicity, and End; as
all-sufficient for your relief, in the infiniteness of his power, his
wisdom, and his goodness; and to know your own dependence on him; and
to understand his covenant or promises, upon what terms he is engaged
and resolved either to give his mercies, or to deny them. "He that
cometh to God, must believe that He is, and that he is the rewarder of
them that diligently seek him," Heb. xi. 6. "He that calleth on the
name of the Lord shall be saved: but how shall they call on him, on
whom they have not believed?" Rom. x. 13, 14.

_Direct._ IV. Labour when you are about to pray, to stir up in
your souls the most lively and serious belief of those unseen things
that your prayers have respect to; and to pray as if you saw them all
the while; even as if you saw God in his glory, and saw heaven and
hell, the glorified and the damned, and Jesus Christ your Mediator
interceding for you in the heavens. As you would pray if your eyes
beheld all these, so strive to pray while you believe them: and say to
yourselves, Are they not as sure as if I saw them? Are they not made
known by the Son and Spirit of God?

_Direct._ V. Labour for a constant acquaintance with yourselves,
your sins and manifold wants and necessities; and also to take an
actual, special notice of your case, when you go to prayer. If you get
not a former constant acquaintance with your own case, you cannot
expect to know it aright upon a sudden as you go to pray: and yet if
you do not actually survey your hearts and lives when you go to
prayer, your souls will be unhumbled, and want that lively sense of
your necessities, which must put life into your prayers. Know well
what sin is, and what God's wrath, and hell, and judgment are, and
what sin you have committed, and what duty you have omitted, and
failed in, and what wants and corruptions are yet within you, and what
mercy and grace you stand in need of, and then all this will make you
pray, and pray to purpose with all your hearts. But when men are
wilful strangers to themselves, and never seriously look backwards or
inwards, to see what is amiss and wanting, nor look forwards, to see
the danger that is before them, no wonder if their hearts be dead and
dull, and if they are as unfit to pray, as a sleeping man to work.[55]

_Direct._ VI. See that you hate hypocrisy, and let not your lips
go against or without your hearts; but that your hearts be the spring
of all your words: that you love not sin, and be not loth to leave it,
when you seem to pray against it; and that you truly desire the grace
which you ask, and ask not for that which you would not have: and that
you be ready to use the lawful means to get the mercies which you ask;
and be not like those lazy wishers, that will pray God to give them
increase at harvest, when they lie in bed, and will neither plough or
sow; or that pray him to save them from fire, or water, or danger,
while they run into it, or will not be at the pains to go out of the
way. Oh what abundance of wretches do offer up hypocritical, mock
prayers to God! blaspheming him thereby, as if he were an idol, and
knew not their hypocrisy, and searched not the hearts! Alas, how
commonly do men pray in public, "that the rest of their lives
hereafter may be pure and holy," that hate purity and holiness at the
heart, and deride and oppose that which they seem to pray for! As
Austin confesseth of himself before he was converted, that he prayed
against his filthy sin, and yet was afraid lest God should grant his
prayers. So many pray against the sins which they would not be
delivered from, or would not use the means that is necessary to their
conquest and deliverance. "Let him that nameth the name of Christ,
depart from iniquity," 2 Tim. ii. 19. "If I regard iniquity in my
heart, the Lord will not hear me," Psal. lxvi. 18; see Ezek. xiv.
3, 4, 14. Alas, how easy is it for an ungodly person to learn to say a
few words by rote, and to run them over, without any sense of what he
speaketh; while the tongue is a stranger to the heart, and speaketh
not according to its desires!

_Direct._ VII. Search your hearts and watch them carefully, lest
some beloved vanity alienate them from the work in hand, and turn away
your thoughts, or prepossess your affections, so that you want them
when you should use them. If the mind be set on other matters, prayer
will be a heartless, lifeless thing; alas, what a dead and pitiful
work is the prayer of one that hath his heart insnared in the love of
money, or in any ambitious or covetous design! The thoughts will
easily follow the affections.

_Direct._ VIII. Be sure that you pray for nothing that is
disagreeable to the will of God, and that is not for the good of
yourselves or others, or for the honour of God; and therefore take
heed, lest an erring judgment, or carnal desires, or passions, should
corrupt your prayers, and turn them into sin. If men will ignorantly
pray to God to do them hurt, it is a mercy to them if God will but
pardon and deny such prayers, and a judgment to grant them. And it is
an easy thing for fleshly interest, or partiality, or passion, to
blind the judgment, and consequently to corrupt men's prayers. An
ambitious or covetous man will easily be drawn to pray for the grant
of his sinful desires, and think it would be for his good. And there
is scarce an heretical or erroneous person, but thinketh that it would
be good that the world were all reduced to his opinion, and all the
opposers of it were borne down: there are few zealous antinomians,
anabaptists, or any other dividers of the church, but they put their
opinions usually into their prayers, and plead with God for the
interest of their sects and errors; and it is like that the Jews, that
had a persecuting zeal for God, Rom. x. 2, did pray according to that
zeal, as well as persecute; as it is like that Paul himself prayed
against the christians, while he ignorantly persecuted them. And they
that think they do God service by killing his servants, no doubt would
pray against them, as the papists and others do at this day. Be
especially careful therefore that your judgments and desires be sound
and holy, before you offer them up to God in prayer. For it is a most
vile abuse of God, to beg of him to do the devil's work; and, as most
malicious and erroneous persons do, to call him to their help against
himself, his servants, and his cause.

_Direct._ IX. Come always to God in the humility that beseemeth a
condemned sinner, and in the faith and boldness that beseemeth a son,
and a member of Christ: do nothing in the least conceit and confidence
of a worthiness in yourselves; but be as confident in every lawful
request, as if you saw your glorified Mediator interceding for you
with his Father. Hope is the life of prayer and all endeavour, and
Christ is the life of hope. If you pray and think you shall be never
the better for it, your prayers will have little life. And there is no
hope of success, but through our powerful Intercessor. Therefore let
both a crucified and glorified Christ be always before your eyes in
prayer; not in a picture, but in the thoughts of a believing mind.
Instead of a crucifix, let some such sentence of holy Scripture be
written before you, where you use to pray, as John xx. 17, "Go to my
brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God." Or Heb. iv. 14, "We have a great High Priest
that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God;" ver. 15, 16,
"that was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin: let us
therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain
mercy," &c. Heb. vi. 9, 20, "Which hope we have as an anchor of the
soul, both sure and stedfast, and that entereth into that within the
vail; whither the forerunner is for us entered." Heb. vii. 25, "He is
able to save to the uttermost them that come to God by him, seeing he
ever liveth to make intercession for them." John xiv. 13, 14, "If ye
ask any thing in my name, I will do it." Christ and the promise must
be the ground of all your confidence and hope.

_Direct._ X. Labour hard with your hearts all the while to keep
them in a reverent, serious, fervent frame, and suffer them not to
grow remiss and cold, to turn prayer into lip-labour, and lifeless
formality, or into hypocritical, affected, seeming fervency, when the
heart is senseless, though the voice be earnest. The heart will easily
grow dull, and customary, and hypocritical, if it be not carefully
watched, and diligently followed and stirred up. "The effectual,
fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much," James v. 16. A cold
prayer showeth a heart that is cold in desiring that which is prayed
for, and therefore is unfit to receive the mercy: God will make you
know that his mercy is not contemptible, but worthy your most earnest

_Direct._ XI. For the matter and order of your desires and
prayers, take the Lord's prayer as your special rule; and labour to
understand it well.[56] For those that can make use of so brief an
explication, I shall give a little help.

_A Brief Explication of the Method of the Lord's Prayer._

The Lord's Prayer containeth,

 I. The    I. To    1. Who he is: God: not Creatures, Saints or Angels.
 address,  whom the ------------------------------------------------------
 or        prayer   2. How related 1. Our      And       1. Our Owner, or
 preface;  is made. to us, he is   Creator.    therefore Absolute Lord.
 in which           OUR FATHER,                          Owner,
 are                which          2. Our
 described          comprehendeth, Redeemer.             2. Our Ruler, or
 or                 fundamentally,                       Supreme King.
 implied,           that he is,    3. Our                Lord.
                                   (to the               3. Our Benefactor
                                   regenerate)           and chief Good,
                                                         and so our
                                                         Felicity and our
                    3. What he  1. Almighty; and able  In this one word is
                    is in his   to grant all that we   not only implied
                    attributes: ask, and to relieve    all these
                    WHICH ART   and help us in every   attributes of God,
                    IN HEAVEN.  strait.                but also our hearts
                    Which                              are directed
                    signifieth  2. All-knowing: our    whither to look for
                    that        hearts, and wants, and their relief and
                    therefore   all things being open  direction now, and
                    he is,      to his sight.          their felicity
                                                       forever; and
                                3. Most good: from     called off from
                                whom, and by whom, and earthly
                                to whom are all        dependences, and
                                things; the Fountain,  expectations of
                                the Disposer, and the  happiness and rest;
                                End of all, on whose   and to look for all
                                bounty and influence   from heaven, and at
                                all subsist. And the   last in heaven.
                                present tense "ART"
                                doth intimate his
           II. Who are the 1. Man: as to his Being.
           petitioners--   -----------------------------------------------
           Who are         2. By     1. By                1. His Own;
                           Relation, Creation: so
                           God's     all are: and         2. His Subjects;
                           children, therefore all
                                     may thus far         3. His Beloved
                                     call him             and
                                     Father.              Beneficiaries,
                                                          that live upon
                                     2. By                Him, and to Him,
                                     Redemption:          as to their End.
                                     as all are as
                                     to the
                                     price and

                                     3. By
                                     and so only
                                     the regenerate
                                     are children.
                           3. By    1.           Yet 1. Loving   All which
                           Quality. Dependent        God as      is
                                    on God.          their       signified
                                                     Father.     in the
                                    2.                           word
                                    Necessitous.     2. Loving   OUR--
                                    3. Sinners.      as men.

                                                     3. Loving
                                                     others, as
 II. The Prayer,  I. The      1. For the end simply, which is GOD; in the
 or Petitions,    first part  word "THY" repeated in every petition.
 in two parts:    is
 of which,        according   2. For the   I. The highest or ultimate,
                  to the      end          that is, the glory of God;
                  order of    respectively "HALLOWED BE THY NAME."
                  estimation, in the
                  intention,  interest of  II. The highest means of his
                  and desire; God, and     glory, "THY KINGDOM COME;" that
                  and is,     that is in   is, let the world be subject to
                                           thee their Creator and
                                           Redeemer; the universal King.

                                           III. The next means, being the
                                           effect of this: "THY WILL BE
                                           DONE," that is, let thy laws be
                                           fulfilled, and thy disposals
                                           submitted to.

                              3. For the lower end, even the subject of
                              these means; which is the public good of
                              mankind, the world and church: "IN EARTH,"
                              that is, let the world be subjected to thee,
                              and the church obey thee; which will be the
                              greatest blessing to them: ourselves being
                              included in the world. And the measure and
                              pattern is added, "AS IT IS IN HEAVEN," that
                              is, let the earth be conformed as near as
                              may be to the heavenly pattern. So that this
                              part of the Lord's Prayer, proceeding in the
                              order of excellency and intention, directeth
                              us, I. To make God our ultimate, highest,
                              end; and to desire his interest first, and
                              in this order, (1.) His glory, (2.) His
                              kingdom, (3.) Obedience to his laws. II. To
                              make the public good of the world and the
                              church our next end, as being the noblest
                              means. III. To include our own interest in
                              and under this, as the least of all;
                              professing first our own consent to that
                              which we desire first for others.
                  II. The second  1. For the support of our nature by
                  part is         necessary means: "GIVE US THIS DAY OUR
                  according to    DAILY BREAD:" this being God's first
                  the order of    gift, presupposed both to grace and
                  execution, and  glory. "GIVE," signifieth our dependence
                  is for          on God for all. "US," our charity, that
                  ourselves,      we desire relief for ourselves and
                  beginning at    others. "DAILY" (or substantial)
                  the lowest, and "BREAD," our moderation; that we desire
                  ascending, till not unnecessaries or superfluities.
                  the end first   "THIS DAY," the constancy of our
                  intended, be    dependence, and that we desire not, or
                  last attained:  care not too much for the future, and
                  and it is,      promise not ourselves long life.

                                  2. For clearing us from the guilt of all
                                  sin past (repentance and faith being
                                  here presupposed); where is (1.) The
                                  Petition: "AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS:
                                  (trespasses or sins). (2.) The motive
                                  from our qualification for forgiveness:
                                  "AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS:" without
                                  which God will not forgive us.

                                  3. For future preservation: (1.) From
                                  the means, "LEAD US NOT INTO
                                  TEMPTATION:" that is, though thou mayst
                                  justly try us, yet pity our frailty, and
                                  neither cause nor permit us so to be
                                  tried, as may tempt us to sin and ruin.
                                  (2.) From the end, "BUT DELIVER US FROM
                                  THE EVIL:" that is, 1. The Evil One,
                                  Satan (and his instruments). 2. The evil
                                  thing: 1. Sin; 2. Misery; which are
                                  Satan's end. He that would be saved from
                                  hell and misery, must be saved from sin;
                                  and he that would be saved from both,
                                  must be saved from Satan and from
                                  temptation. Quest. But where are the
                                  requests for positive holiness, grace,
                                  and heaven? Answ. 1. Repentance and
                                  faith are supposed in the petitioner.
                                  2. What he wanteth is asked in the three
                                  petitions of the first part, that we
                                  with others may sanctify God's name, and
                                  be the subjects of his kingdom, and do
                                  his will, &c. Christ and a state of
                                  grace, are finally in the first
                                  petition, formally in the second, and
                                  expressly in the third.
 III. The conclusion: I. What we  1. His universal reign, "FOR THINE IS
 the reason and       praise; or  THE KINGDOM," administered variously,
 termination of our   the matter; agreeably to the subjects: all owe this
 desires in their     or interest absolute obedience: who commandest and
 ultimate end; here   of God,     executest what thou wilt.
 praised: beginning
 at the lowest, and               2. His own perfections, "THE POWER:"
 ascending to the                 both right and all sufficiency:
 highest: containing,             including his omniscience and goodness,
                                  as well as omnipotence.

                                  3. His incomprehensible excellency and
                                  blessedness, as he is the ultimate end
                                  of us and all things; "AND THE GLORY,"
                                  Rom. xi. 36; 1 Cor. x. 31.
                      II. Whom    GOD, in the word "THINE:" in him, the
                      we praise:  first efficient cause of all things, we
                                  begin: his help, as the dirigent cause,
                                  we seek: and in him, as the final cause,
                                  we terminate.

                      III. The    "FOR EVER AND EVER," to eternity: and
                      duration.   "AMEN" is the expression of our consent.
                                  For of Him, and through Him, and to Him
                                  are all things: to Him be glory for ever,
                                  Amen, Rom. ix. 36.

So that it is apparent that the method of the Lord's prayer is
circular, partly analytical, and partly synthetical; beginning with
God, and ending in God: beginning with such acknowledgments as are
prerequisite to petition, and ending in those praises which petition
and grace bestowed tend to: beginning our petitions for God's interest
and the public good, according to the order of estimation and
intention, till we come to the mere means, and then beginning at the
lowest, and ascending according to the order of execution. As the
blood passing from the greater to the smaller numerous vessels, is
there received by the like, and repasseth to its fountain; such a
circular method hath mercy and duty, and consequently our desires.

_Tit. 2. Some Questions about Prayer answered._

The rest of the general directions about prayer, I think will be best
contrived into the resolving of these following doubts.

_Quest._ I. Is the Lord's prayer a directory only, or a form of
words to be used by us in prayer?

_Answ._ 1. It is principally the rule to guide our inward
desires, and outward expressions of them; both for the matter, what we
must desire, and for the order which we must desire first and most. 2.
But this rule is given in a form of words, most apt to express the
said matter and order. 3. And this form may fitly be used in due
season by all, and more necessarily by some. 4. But it was never
intended to be the only words which we must use, no more than the
creed is the only words that we must use to express the doctrine of
faith, or the decalogue the only words to express our duty by.[57]

_Quest._ II. What need is there of any other words of prayer, if
the Lord's prayer be perfect?

_Answ._ Because it is only a perfect summary, containing but the
general heads: and it is needful to be more particular in our desires;
for universals exist in particulars; and he that only nameth the
general, and then another and another general, doth remember but few
of the particulars. He that shall say, "I have sinned, and broken all
thy commandments," doth generally confess every sin; but it is not
true repentance, if it be not particular, for this, and that, and the
other sin; at least as to the greater which may be remembered. He that
shall say, "I believe all the word of God, or I believe in God the
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," may know little what is in the word of
God, or what these generals signify, and therefore our faith must be
more particular. So must desires after grace be particular also:
otherwise it were enough to ask for mercy in the general. If you say,
that God knoweth what those general words signify, though we do not; I
answer, this is the papists' silly argument for Latin prayers, God
knoweth our desires without any expressions or prayers at all, and he
knoweth our wants without our desires. But it followeth not that
prayers or desires are unnecessary. The exercise of our own repentance
and desire doth make us persons fit to receive forgiveness, and the
grace desired; when the impenitent, and those that desire it not, are
unfit. And it is no true repentance, when you say, "I am sorry that I
have sinned," but you know not, or remember not, wherein you have
sinned, nor what your sin is; and so repent not indeed of any one sin
at all. And so it is no true desire, that reacheth not to the
particular, necessary graces, which we must desire; though I know some
few very quick, comprehensive minds can in a moment think of many
particulars, when they use but general words; and I know that some
smaller, less necessary things, may be generally passed over; and
greater matters in a time of haste, or when we, besides those
generals, do also use particular requests.

_Quest._ III. Is it lawful to pray in a set form of words?

_Answ._ Nothing but very great ignorance can make you really
doubt of it.[58] Hath God any where forbid it? You will say, that it
is enough that he hath not commanded it. I answer, that in general he
hath commanded it to all whose edification it tendeth to, when he
commandeth you, that all be done to edification; but he hath given no
particular command, nor prohibition. No more hath he commanded you to
pray in English, French, or Latin; nor to sing psalms in this tune or
that, nor after this or that version or translation; nor to preach in
this method particularly or that; nor always to preach upon a text;
nor to use written notes; nor to compose a form of words, and learn
them, and preach them after they are composed, with a hundred such
like, which are undoubtedly lawful; yea, and needful to some, though
not to others. If you make up all your prayer of Scripture sentences,
this is to pray in a form of prescribed words, and yet as lawful and
fit as any of your own. The psalms are most of them forms of prayer or
praise, which the Spirit of God indited for the use of the church, and
of particular persons. It would be easy to fill many pages with larger
reasonings, and answers to all the fallacious objections that are
brought against this; but I will not so far weary the reader and

_Quest._ IV. But are those forms lawful which are prescribed by
others, and not by God?

_Answ._ Yea; or else it would be unlawful for a child or scholar
to use a form prescribed by his parents or master. And to think that a
thing lawful doth presently become unlawful, because a parent, master,
pastor, or prince doth prescribe it or command it, is a conceit that I
will not wrong my reader so far as to suppose him guilty of. Indeed if
an usurper, that hath no authority over us in such matters, do
prescribe it, we are not bound to formal obedience, that is, to do it
therefore because he commandeth it; but yet I may be bound to it on
some other accounts; and though his command do not bind me, yet it
maketh not the thing itself unlawful.

_Quest._ V. But is it lawful to pray extempore without a
premeditated form of words?

_Answ._ No christian of competent understanding doubteth of it.
We must premeditate on our wants, and sins, and the graces and mercies
we desire, and the God we speak to; and we must be able to express
these things without any loathsome and unfit expressions. But whether
the words are fore-contrived or not, is a thing that God hath no more
bound you to by any law, than whether the speaker or hearers shall use
sermon-notes, or whether your Bibles shall be written or in print.

_Quest._ VI. If both ways be lawful, which is better?

_Answ._ If you are to join with others in the church, that is
better to you which the pastor then useth: for it is his office and
not yours to word the prayers which he puts up to God. And if he
choose a form, (whether it be as most agreeable to his parts, or to
his people, or for concord with other churches, or for obedience to
governors, or to avoid some greater inconvenience,) you must join with
him, or not join there at all.[59] But if it be in private, where you
are the speaker yourself, you must take that way that is most to your
own edification (and to others, if you have auditors joining with
you). One man is so unused to prayer, (being ignorantly bred,) or of
such unready memory or expression, that he cannot remember the tenth
part so much of his particular wants, without the help of a form, as
with it; nor can he express it so affectingly for himself or others;
nay, perhaps not in tolerable words. And a form to such a man may be a
duty; as to a dim-sighted man to read by spectacles, or to an unready
preacher to use prepared words and notes. And another man may have
need of no such helps; nay, when he is habituated in the understanding
and feeling of his sins and wants, and hath a tongue that is used to
express his mind even in these matters, with readiness and facility,
it will greatly hinder the fervour of such a man's affections, to tie
himself to premeditated words: to say the contrary, is to speak
against the common sense and experience of such speakers and their
hearers. And let them that yet deride this as uncertain and
inconsiderate praying, but mark themselves, whether they cannot if
they be hungry beg for bread, or ask help of their physician, or
lawyer, or landlord, or any other, as well without a learned or
studied form as with it? Who knoweth not that it is true which the new
philosopher saith: Cartes. de Passion. part i. art. 44. _Et cum
inter loquendum solum cogitamus de sensu illius rei, quam dicere
volumus, id facit ut moveamus linguam et labra celerius et melius,
quam si cogitaremus ea movere omnibus modis requisitis ad proferenda
eadem verba; quia habitus quem acquisivimus cum disceremus loqui,
&c._ Turning the thoughts too solicitously from the matter to the
words, doth not only mortify the prayers of many, and turn them into a
dead form, but also maketh them more dry and barren even as to the
words themselves. The heavy charge, and bitter, scornful words which
have been too common in this age, against praying without a set form
by some, and against praying with a book or form by others, is so
dishonourable a symptom or diagnostic of the church's sickness, as
must needs be matter of shame and sorrow to the sounder, understanding
part. For it cannot be denied, but it proves men's understandings and
charity to be both exceedingly low.

_Quest._ VII. Must we always pray according to the method of the
Lord's prayer, and is it a sin to do otherwise?

_Answ._ 1. The Lord's prayer is first a rule for your desires;
and it is a sin, if your desires follow not that method. If you do not
begin in your desires with God, as your ultimate end, and if you first
desire not his glory, and then the flourishing of his kingdom, and
then the obeying of his laws, and herein the public welfare of the
world, before and above your particular benefit. And it is a sin if
you desire not your daily bread, (or necessary support of nature,) as
a lower mercy in order to your higher spiritual mercies; and if you
desire not pardon of sin, as a means to your future sanctity, duty,
and felicity; and if you desire not these, as a means to the glory of
God, and take not his praises as the highest part of your prayers. But
for the expressing of these desires, particular occasions may warrant
you ofttimes to begin in another order: as when you pray for the sick,
or pray for directions, or a blessing before a sermon or some
particular work, you may begin and end with the subject that is
before you, as the prayers of holy men in all ages have done. 2. You
must distinguish also, as between desires and expressions, so between
a universal and a particular prayer. The one containeth all the parts
of prayer, and the other is but about some one subject or part, or but
some few; this last being but one or few, particular petitions cannot
possibly be uttered in the method of a universal prayer which hath all
the parts. There is no one petition in the Lord's prayer, but may be
made a prayer itself; and then it cannot have the other petitions as
parts. 3. And you must distinguish between the even and ordinary case
of a christian, and his extraordinary case, when some special reason,
affection, or accident calleth him to look most to some one
particular. In his even and ordinary case, every universal prayer
should be expressed in the method of the Lord's prayer; but in cases
of special reason and inducement it may be otherwise.

_Quest._ VIII. Must we pray always when the Spirit moveth us, and
only then, or as reason guideth us?

_Answ._ There are two sorts of the Spirit's motions; the one is
by extraordinary inspiration or impulse, as he moved the prophets and
apostles, to reveal new laws, or precepts, or events, or to do some
actions without respect to any other command than the inspiration
itself. This christians are not now to expect, because experience
telleth us that it is ceased; or if any should pretend to it as not
yet ceased, in the prediction of events, and direction in some things
otherwise indifferent, yet it is most certain that it is ceased as to
legislation; for the Spirit itself hath already given us those laws,
which he hath declared to be perfect, and unchangeable till the end of
the world: the other sort of the Spirit's working, is not to make new
laws or duties, but to guide and quicken us in the doing of that which
is our duty before by the laws already made. And these are the motions
that all true christians must now expect. By which you may see, that
the Spirit and reason are not to be here disjoined, much less opposed.
As reason sufficeth not without the Spirit, being dark and asleep; so
the Spirit worketh not on the will but by the reason: he moveth not a
man as a beast or stone, to do a thing he knoweth not why; but by
illumination giveth him the soundest reason for the doing of it: and
duty is first duty before we do it; and when by our own sin we forfeit
the special motions or help of the Spirit, duty doth not thereby cease
to be duty, nor our omission to be sin. If the Spirit of God teach you
to discern the meetest season for prayer, by considering your affairs,
and when you are most free, this is not to be denied to be the work of
the Spirit, because it is rational (as fanatic enthusiasts imagine).
And if you are moved to pray in a crowd of business, or at any time
when reason can prove that it is not your duty but your sin, the same
reason proveth that it was not the Spirit of God that moved you to it:
for the Spirit in the heart is not contrary to the Spirit in the
Scripture. Set upon the duty which the Spirit in the Scripture
commandeth you, and then you may be sure that you obey the Spirit;
otherwise you disobey it. Yea, if your hearts be cold, prayer is a
likelier means to warm them, than the omission of it. To ask whether
you may pray while your hearts are cold and backward, is as to ask
whether you may labour or come to the fire before you are warm. God's
Spirit is likelier to help you in duty, than in the neglect of it.

_Quest._ IX. May a man pray that hath no desire at all of the
grace which he prayeth for?

_Answ._ No; because it is no prayer, but dissembling; and
dissembling is no duty. He that asketh for that which he would not
have, doth lie to God in his hypocrisy. But if a man have but cold and
common desires, (though they reach not to that which will prove them
evidences of true grace), he may pray and express those desires which
he hath.

_Quest._ X. May a man pray that doubteth of his interest in God,
and dare not call him Father as his child?

_Answ._ 1. There is a common interest in God, which all mankind
have, as he is good to all: and as his mercy through Christ is offered
to all; and thus those that are not regenerate are his children by
creation, and by participation of his mercy; and they may both call
him Father and pray to himself, though yet they are unregenerate.[60]
2. God hath an interest in you, when you have no special interest in
him: therefore his command must be obeyed which bids you pray. 3.
Groundless doubts will not disoblige you from your duty; else men
might free themselves from almost all their obedience.

_Quest._ XI. May a wicked or unregenerate man pray, and is he
accepted? Or is not his prayer abominable to God?

_Answ._ 1. A wicked man as a wicked man, can pray no how but
wickedly, that is, he asketh only for things unlawful to be asked, or
for lawful things to unlawful ends; and this is still abominable to
God.[61] 2. A wicked man may have in him some good that proceedeth
from common grace; and this he may be obliged to exercise, and so by
prayer to express his desires so far as they are good. 3. A wicked
man's wicked prayers are never accepted, but a wicked man's prayers
which are for good things, from common grace, are so far accepted as
that they are some means conducing to his reformation; and though his
person be still unjustified, and these prayers sinful, yet the total
omission of them is a greater sin. 4. A wicked man is bound at once to
repent and pray, Acts viii. 22; Isa. lv. 6, 7. And whenever God bids
him ask for grace, he bids him desire grace; and to bid him pray, is
to bid him repent and be of a better mind: therefore those that
reprove ministers for persuading wicked men to pray, reprove them for
persuading them to repentance and good desires. But if they pray
without that repentance which God and man exhort them to, the sin is
theirs: but all their labour is not lost if their desires fall short
of saving sincerity; they are under obligations to many duties, which
tend to bring them nearer Christ, and which they may do without
special, saving grace.

_Quest._ XII. May a wicked man pray the Lord's prayer, or be
exhorted to use it?

_Answ._ 1. The Lord's prayer in its full and proper sense, must
be spoken by a penitent, believing, justified person;[62] for in the
full sense no one else can call him our Father (though in a limited
sense the wicked may): and they cannot desire the glory of God, and
the coming of his kingdom, nor the doing of his will on earth as it is
in heaven, and this sincerely, without true grace (especially those
enemies of holiness, that think it too much strictness to do God's
will on earth, ten thousand degrees lower than it is done in heaven).
Nor can they put up one petition of that prayer sincerely according to
the proper sense; no, not to pray for their daily bread, as a means of
their support while they are doing the will of God, and seeking first
his glory and his kingdom. But yet it is possible for them to speak
these words from such common desires as are not so bad as none at all.

_Quest._ XIII. Is it idolatry to pray to saints or angels? or is
it always sinful?

_Answ._ I love not to be too quarrelsome with other men's
devotions; but, 1. I see not how praying to an angel or a departed
saint can be excused from sin.[63] Because it supposeth them to be
every where present, or to be omniscient, and to know the heart, yea,
to know at once the hearts of all men; or else the speaker pretendeth
to know when the saint or angel is present and heareth him, and when
not: and because the Scripture doth no where signify that God would
have us pray to any such saints or angels; but signifieth enough to
satisfy us of the contrary. 2. But all prayer to them is not idolatry,
but some is, and therefore we must distinguish, if we will judge
righteously. (1.) To pray to saints or angels as supposed omnipresent,
omniscient, or omnipotent, is flat idolatry. (2.) To pray to them to
forgive us our sins against God, or to justify, or sanctify, or
redeem, or save us from hell, or any thing which belongeth to God only
to do, is no better than idolatry. (3.) But to pray to them only to do
that which belongeth to the guardian, or charitable office that is
committed to them, and to think that though they are not omnipresent
nor omniscient, nor you know not whether they hear you at this time or
not, yet you will venture your prayers at uncertainty, it being but so
much labour lost; this I take to be sinfully superstitious, but not
idolatry.[64] (4.) But to pray to living saints or sinners, for that
which belongeth to them to give, is no sin at all.

_Quest._ XIV. Is a man bound to pray ordinarily in his family?

_Answ._ I have answered this affirmatively before, and proved it;
one grain of grace would answer it better than arguments can do.

_Quest._ XV. Must the same man pray secretly that hath prayed in
his family or with others?

_Answ._ 1. Distinguish between those that were the speakers, and
those that were not; and, 2. Between those that have leisure from
greater or more urgent duties, and those that have not. And so, (1.)
Those that are free from the urgency of all other duties, which at
that time are greater, should pray both in the family and in secret;
especially if they were not themselves the speakers, usually they will
have the more need of secret prayer; because their hearts in public
may easilier flag, and much of their case may be omitted. (2.) But
those that have more urgent, greater duties, may take up at that
time[65] with family prayer alone (with secret ejaculations,
especially if they were the speakers); having there put up the same
requests as they would do in secret.

_Quest._ XVI. Is it best to keep set hours for prayer, or to take
the time which is fittest at present?

_Answ._ Ordinarily set times will prove the fittest times; and to
leave the time undetermined and uncertain, will put all out of order,
and multiply impediments, and hinder duty. But yet when extraordinary
cases make the ordinary time unfit, a fitter time must be taken.

_Quest._ XVII. Is it lawful to join in family (or church) prayers
with ungodly men?

_Answ._ I join both together, because the cases little differ; for the
pastor hath the government of the people in church worship, as the
master of the family hath in family worship. You may choose at first
whether you will be a member of the church or family (if you were not
born to it as your privilege); but when you are a member of either,
you must be governed as members. And to the case, 1. You must
distinguish between professed wicked men, and those that sin against
their profession. 2. And between a family (or church) that is totally
wicked, and that which is mixed of good and bad. 3. And between those
wicked men whose presence is your sin, because you have power to
remove them, and those whose presence is not your sin, nor the matter
in your power. 4. And between one that may yet choose of what family
he will be, and one that may not. And so I answer, (1.) If it be the
fault of the master of the family (or the pastors of the church) that
such wicked men are there, and not cast out, then it is their sin to
join with them, because it is their duty to remove them; but that is
not the case of the fellow-servants, (or people,) that have no power.
(2.) If that wicked men profess their wickedness, after sufficient
admonition, you must professedly disown communion with them; and then
you are morally separated and discharged, when you have no power
locally to separate. (3.) It is your sin to fly from your duty,
because a wicked man is there, whom you have no power to remove. (4.)
There are many prayers that a wicked man is bound to put up to God;
and you must not omit your duty, because he performeth his, though
faultily; methinks you should more scruple joining or conversing with
one that forsaketh prayer (which is the greater sin) than with one
that prayeth. (5.) But if you are free to choose, you are to be blamed
if you will not choose a better family (or church) (other things being
equal): especially if all the company be wicked.

_Quest._ XVIII. But what if the master of a family (or pastor) be
a heretic or ungodly?

_Answ._ You must distinguish between his personal faults, and the
faults of his performance or worship. His personal faults (such as
swearing or drunkenness, &c.) you must disown, and must not choose a
master (or pastor) that is such, while you have your choice, and may
have better; but otherwise it is lawful to join with him in doing
good, though not in evil. But if the fault of his duty itself be
intolerable you must not join with him. Now it is intolerable in these
cases: 1. In case he be utterly unable to express a prayer, and so
make it no prayer. 2. In case he bend his prayers against godliness,
and known truth, and charity, and peace, and so make his prayers but
the instruments of mischief, to vent heresy, or malice, and do more
hurt than good to others.

_Quest._ XIX. May we pray absolutely for outward mercies, or only

_Answ._ You must distinguish, 1. Between a condition spoken of
the subject, when we are uncertain whether it be a mercy or not, and
an extrinsic condition of the grant. 2. Between a condition of prayer,
and a condition of expectation. 3. Between submission to God's will,
and a conditional desire or prayer. And so I answer, (1.) It is
necessary when we are uncertain whether the thing itself be good or
not, that we pray with a subjective conditionality: Grant this if it
be good; or, If it be not good I do not pray for it. For it is
presupposed in prayer that we know the thing prayed for to be good.
(2.) But when we know the thing to be a mercy and good, we may pray
for it absolutely. (3.) But we may not believe that we shall receive
all with an absolute expectation, which we absolutely pray for. For
prayer being the expression of desire, that which may be absolutely
desired, though not absolutely promised, may be absolutely prayed for.
(As our increase or strength of grace, or the conversion of our
relations, &c.) (4.) But yet all such must be asked with a submission
to the will of God: but that maketh it not properly a conditional form
of praying; for when the nature of prayer is as it were to move the
will of God, it is not so proper to say, Lord, do this if it be thy
will already; or, Lord, be pleased to do this if it be thy pleasure;
as to say, Lord, grant this mercy; but if thou deny it, it is my duty
to submit. So Christ mentioned both the subjective conditionality and
the submission of his will. Matt. xxvi. 39, "If it be possible, let
this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
As if he had said, Nature requireth me with a simple nolition to be
unwilling of the suffering, and if it be consistent with the desired
ends of my mediatorship, to be desirous to avoid it; but seeing that
cannot be, my comparing will commandeth this simple will of
self-preservation to submit to thy most perfect will. But if any call
this (submission) a condition, the matter is not great.

_Quest._ XX. May we pray for all that we may lawfully desire?

_Answ._ No: for prayer is not only an expression of desire, but
also a means to attain the thing desired. And some things may be
lawfully desired, (at least with a simple velleity,) which may not be
sought, because they must not be hoped for, where God hath said that
he will not grant them. For it is vain to seek that which you have no
hope to find: as to desire to see the conversion of the whole world,
or to pass to heaven as Enoch without dying, are lawful (by a simple
velleity); but all things compared, it is not lawful peremptorily to
desire it, without submission; and therefore not to ask it. It is the
expression of a comparate, determinate desire, which is properly
called prayer, being the use of means for the obtaining of that
desire; and whatsoever I may so desire, I may pray for; for if there
be no hope of it, I may not so desire it. But the desire by way of
simple velleity may not be put into a proper prayer, when there is no
hope. I must have a simple desire (with submission) to attain a
sinless perfection here, even this hour; but because there is no hope,
I may not let it proceed to a determinate peremptory desire upon a
comparing judgment, nor into a proper prayer. And yet these velleities
may be expressed in prayer, though they have not the full nature of a
prayer. _Object._ But was not Christ's a prayer? Matt. xxvi. 39.
_Answ._ Either Christ as man was certain that the cup must not
pass from him, or uncertain. If you could prove him uncertain, then it
is a proper prayer (with submission to his Father's will); but if he
was certain that it was not to pass from him, then it was analogically
only a prayer, it being but a representing of his velleity to his
Father, and not of his determinate will, nor was any means to attain
that end: and indeed such it was, as if he had said, Father, if it had
stood with the ends of my office and thy will, I would have asked this
of thee; but because it doth not, I submit. And this much we may do.

_Quest._ XXI. How then can we pray for the salvation of all the
world? must it be for all men collectively? or only for some, excluding
no numerical denominate person?

_Answ._ Just as Christ prayed here in this text, we must express
our simple velleity of it to God, as a thing that in itself is most
desirable (as the passing of the cup was unto Christ): but we cannot
express a determinate volition, by a full prayer, such as has any
tendency as a means to attain that end; because we are certain that
God's will is against it, or that it will not be.

_Quest._ XXII. May we pray for the conversion of all the nations
of the world to christianity, with a hopeful prayer?

_Answ._ Yes: For we are not certain that every nation shall not
be so converted, though it be improbable.

_Quest._ XXIII. May we pray in hope with a proper prayer (as a
means to obtain it) that a whole kingdom may be all truly converted
and saved?

_Answ._ Yes: for God hath no way told us that it shall not be;
though it be a thing improbable, it is not impossible; and therefore
being greatly desirable may be prayed for. Though Christ has told us
that his flock is little, and few find the way of life, yet that may
stand with the salvation of a kingdom.

_Quest._ XXIV. May we pray for the destruction of the enemies of
Christ, or of the gospel, or of the king?

_Answ._ Not with respect to that which is called God's antecedent
will, for so we ought first to pray for their conversion (and
restraint till then); but with respect to that called his consequent
will we may; that is, we must first pray that they may be restrained
and converted, and secondly, that if not, they may be destroyed.

_Quest._ XXV. What is to be thought of that which some call a
particular faith in prayer? If I can firmly believe that a lawful
prayer shall be granted in kind, may I not be sure by a divine faith
that it shall be so?

_Answ._ Belief hath relation to a testimony or revelation. Prayer
may be warranted as lawful, if the thing be desirable, and there be
any possibility of obtaining it, though there be no certainty, or flat
promise; but faith or expectation must be warranted by the promise. If
God have promised you the thing prayed for, you may believe that you
shall receive it: otherwise your particular faith is a fancy, or a
believing of yourselves, and not a believing God that never promised
you the thing. _Object._ Matt. xxi. 22, "And all things whatsoever you
ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."[66] _Answ._ There are two
sorts of faith: the one a belief that is ordinary, having respect to
ordinary promises and mercies: the text can be understood of this in
no other sense than this: All things which I have promised you, you
shall receive, if you ask them believingly. But this is nothing to
that which is not promised. The other faith was extraordinary, in
order to the working of miracles: and this faith was a potent inward
confidence, which was not in the power of the person when he pleased,
but was given like an inspiration by the Spirit of God, when a miracle
was to be wrought; and this seemeth to be it that is spoken of in the
text. And this was built on this extraordinary promise, which was made
not to all men in all ages, but to those times when the gospel was to
be sealed and delivered by miracles; and especially to the apostles.
So that in these times, there is neither such a promise of our working
miracles as they had to believe, nor yet a power to exercise that sort
of extraordinary faith. Therefore a strong conceit (though it come in
a fervent prayer) that any thing shall come to pass, which we cannot
prove by any promise or prophecy, is not to be called any act of
divine faith at all, nor to be trusted to.

_Quest._ XXVI. But must we not believe that every lawful prayer
is accepted and heard of God?

_Answ._ Yes: but not that it should be granted in the very thing,
unless so promised: but you may believe that your prayer is not lost,
and that it shall be a means of that which tendeth to your good, Rom.
viii. 28; Isa. xlv. 19.

_Quest._ XXVII. With what faith must I pray for the souls or
bodies of other men; for their conversion or their lives?

_Answ._ A godly man may pray for wicked relations or others, with
more hope than they can pray for themselves, while they remain
ungodly: but yet not with any certainty of prevailing for the thing he
asketh; for it is not peremptorily promised him. Otherwise Samuel had
prevailed for Saul, and Isaac for Esau, and David for Absalom, and the
good people for all the wicked; and then no godly parents would have
their children lost; no, nor any in the world would perish, for godly
persons pray for them all. But those prayers are not lost to him that
puts them up.

_Quest._ XXVIII. With what faith may we pray for the continuance
of the church and gospel to any nation?

_Answ._ The former answer serveth to this; our hope may be
according to the degrees of probability: but we cannot believe it as a
certainty by divine faith, because it is not promised by God.

_Quest._ XXIX. How may we know when our prayers are heard of God,
and when not?

_Answ._ Two ways: sometimes by experience, when the thing itself
is actually given us; and always by the promise; when we ask for that
which God commandeth us to ask, or promiseth to grant; for we are sure
God's promises are all fulfilled. If we ask for the objects of sense
(as food or raiment, or health, &c.) sense will tell us whether our
prayers be granted in the same kind that we asked for; but if the
questions be of the objects of faith, it is faith that must tell you
that your prayers are granted; but yet faith and reason make use of
evidences or signs. As if I pray for pardon of sin, and salvation, the
promise assureth me, that this prayer is granted, if I be a penitent,
believing, regenerate person, otherwise not; therefore faith only
assureth me that such prayers are granted, supposing that I discern
the evidence of my regeneration, repentance, and faith in Christ. So
if the question be whether my prayer for others, or for temporal
mercies, be answered in some other kind, and conduce to my good some
other way, faith only must tell you this from the promise, by the help
of evidences. There are millions of prayers that will all be found
answered at death and judgment, which we knew not to be answered any
way but by believing it.

_Quest._ XXX. What should a christian of weak parts do, that is
dry and barren of matter, and can scarce tell what to say in prayer,
but is ready to rise off his knees almost as soon as he hath begun?

[Sidenote: How to have constant supply of matter.]

_Answ._ 1. He must not be a stranger to himself, but study well
his heart and life: and then he will find such a multitude of inward
corruptions to lament, and such a multitude of wants to be supplied,
and weaknesses to be strengthened, and disorders to be rectified, and
actual sins to be forgiven, that may find him work enough for
confessions, complaints, and petitions many days together, if
expression be but as ready as matter. 2. Let him study God, and get
the knowledge of his nature, attributes, and works: and then he will
find matter enough to aggravate his sin, and to furnish him with the
holy praise of God from day to day. As he that is acquainted with all
that is in any book, can copiously discourse of it, when he that
knoweth not what is in it, hath little to say of it; so he that
knoweth God and his works (and himself, and his sins and wants) is
acquainted with the best prayer book, and hath always a full heap of
matter before him, whenever he cometh to speak to God. 3. Let him
study the mystery of man's redemption, and the person, and office, and
covenant, and grace of Christ; and he need not want matter for prayer
or praise. A very child, if he sees but a pedlar's pack opened, where
there are abundance of things which he desireth, will learn without
book to say, O father, buy me this, and give me that, &c. So will the
soul that seeth the treasures and riches of Christ.[67] 4. Let him
know the extent of the law of God, and the meaning of the ten
commandments: if he know but what sins are forbidden in each
commandment, and what duties are required, he may find matter enough
for confession and petition: and therefore the view of such a brief
exposition of the commandments, as you may find in Mr. Brinsley's
"True Watch," and in Dr. Downam's and Mr. Whateley's "Tables," will be
a present furniture for such a use, especially in days of humiliation.
So it will also to have a particular understanding of the creed and
the Lord's prayer, which will furnish you with much matter. 5. Study
well the temptations which you carry about you in your flesh, and meet
with in the world, and are suggested by the tempter; and think of the
many duties you have to do, and the many dangers and sufferings to
undergo, and you will never be unfurnished for matter for your
prayers. 6. Observe the daily passages of providence, to yourselves
and others; mark how things go with your souls every day, and hearken
how it goeth with the church of God, and mark also how it goeth with
your neighbours, and sure you will find matter enough for prayer. 7.
Think of the heavenly joys that you are going to, and the streets of
the New Jerusalem will be large enough for faith to walk in. 8. For
words, be acquainted with the phrase of Scripture, and you will find
provisions for all occasions. Read Dr. Wilkins's book, called "The
gift of Prayer," or Mr. Brinsley's "Watch," or Mr. E. Parr's "Abba,
Father." 9. Keep up the heart in a reverent, serious, lively frame,
and it will be a continual spring to furnish you with matter; when a
dead and barren heart hath a dry and sleepy tongue. 10. Join as often
as you can with those that are full and copious in prayer; for example
and use will be very great helps. 11. Quench not the Spirit of God
that must assist you. 12. In case of necessity, use those books or
forms which are more full than you can be yourselves till you come to
ability to do better without them. Read further the directions part i.
chap. vi. tit. 2, for more.

_Quest._ XXXI. How should a christian keep up an ordinary
fervency in prayer?

[Sidenote: How to keep up fervency in prayer.]

_Answ._ 1. See that knowledge and faith provide you matter; for as the
fire will go out if there be not fuel, so fervency will decay when you
are dry, and scarce know what to say, or do not well believe what you
understand. 2. Clog not the body either with over-much eating and
drinking, or over-tiring labours; for an active body helpeth much the
activity of the mind; and the holiest person will be able but poorly
to exercise his fervency, under a dull or languishing body. 3. Rush
not suddenly upon prayer, out of a crowd of other businesses, or
before your last worldly cares or discourses be washed clean out of
your minds. In study and prayer how certain a truth is it, that _Non
bene fit quod occupato animo fit_. Hieron. Epist. 143. ad Paulin. That
work is not well done, which is done with a mind that is prepossessed,
or busied about other matters: that mind must be wholly free from all
other present thoughts or business, that will either pray or study
well. 4. Keep a tender heart and conscience that is not senseless of
your own concernments; for all your prayers must needs be sleepy, if
the heart and conscience be once hardened, seared, or fallen asleep.
5. Take more pains with your hearts than with your tongues. Remember
that the success of your work lieth most on them. Bear not with their
sluggishness; do by them as you would do by your child or servant that
sleepeth by you at prayer; you will not let them snort on, but jog
them till you have awakened them. So do by your hearts when you find
them dull. 6. Live as in the continual presence of God; but labour to
apprehend his special presence when you are about to speak to him: ask
your hearts how they would behave themselves, if they saw the Lord, or
but the lowest of his holy angels? 7. Let faith be called up to see
heaven and hell as open all the while before you; and such a sight
will surely keep you serious. 8. Keep death and judgment in your
continual remembrance and expectation: remember how all your prayers
will be looked back upon. Look not for long life: remember that this
prayer for aught you know may be your last; but certainly you have not
long to pray: pray therefore as a dying man should do. 9. Study well
the unspeakable necessity of your souls. If you prevail not for
pardon, and grace, and preservation, you are undone and lost for ever.
Remember that necessity is upon you, and heaven or hell are at the
end, and you are praying for more than a thousand lives. 10. Study
well the unspeakable excellency of those mercies which you pray for: O
think how blessed a life it would be, if you could know God more, and
love him more, and live a blameless, heavenly life, and then live with
Christ in heaven for ever! Study these mercies till the flames of love
put life into your prayers. 11. Study well the exceeding
encouragements that you have to pray and hope; if your hope decay your
fervour will decay. Think of the unconceivable love of God, the
astonishing mercy showed to you in your Redeemer, and in the helps of
the Holy Spirit, and how Christ is now interceding for you. Think of
these till faith make glad your heart; and in this gladness, let
praise and thanksgiving have ordinarily no small share in your
prayers; for it will tire out the heart to be always poring on its own
distempers, and discourage it to look on nothing but its infirmities;
and then, a sad, discouraged temper will not be so lively a temper, as
a thankful, praiseful, joyful temper is: for _lætitia loquax res est,
atque ostentatrix sui_; Gladness is a very expressive thing, and apt
to show itself.[68] But _tristes non eloquentes sunt: maxime si ad
ægritudinem animi accedat corporis ægritudo_. Hieron. Epist. 31. ad
Theoph. Alexand. Sad men are seldom eloquent; especially if the body
be sick as well as the mind. 12. Let the image of a praying and a
bleeding Christ, and of his praying saints, be (not on a wall before
your eyes, but) engraven on your minds. Is it not desirable to be
conformed to them? Had they more need to pray importunately than you?
13. Be very cautelous in the use of forms, lest you grow dull and
customary, and before you are aware your tongues use to go without
your hearts. The heart is apt to take its ease when it feeleth not
some urgent instigation. And though the presence of God should serve
the turn without the regard of man, yet with imperfect men the heart
is best held to its duty when both concur. And therefore most are more
cautelous of their words, than of their thoughts; as children will
learn their lesson better, when they know their masters will hear them
it, than when they think he will not. Now in the use of a form of
prayer, a sleepy heart is not at all discerned by man, but by God
only; for the words are all brought to your hand, and may be said by
the most dull and careless mind; but when you are put to express your
own desire, without such helps, you are necessitated to be so mindful
of what you do, as to form your desires into apt expressions, or else
your dulness or inattentiveness will be observed even by men; and you
will be like one that hath his coach, or horse, or crutches taken off
him, that if he have legs must use them, or else lie still. And to
them that are able, it is often a great benefit to be necessitated to
use the ability they have; though to others it is a loss to be
deprived of their helps.[69] I speak not this against the lawfulness
of a form of prayer; but to warn you of the temptations which are in
that way. 14. Join oft with the most serious, fervent christians; for
their fervour will help your hearts to burn, and carry you along with
them. 15. Destroy not fervency by adulterating it, and turning it into
an affected earnestness of speech, and loudness of voice, when it is
but a hypocritical cover for a frozen, empty heart.

_Quest._ XXXII. May we look to speed ever the better for any
thing in ourselves, or in our prayers? Is not that to trust in them,
when we should trust on Christ alone?

_Answ._ We must not trust in them for any thing that is Christ's
part and not theirs; but for their own part it is a duty to trust in
them (however quarrelsome persons may abuse or cavil at the words):
and he that distrusteth prayer in that which is its proper office,
will pray to little purpose: and he that thinks that faithful,
fervent, importunate, understanding prayer, is no more effectual with
God for mercy, than the babbling of the hypocrite, or the ignorant,
careless, unbelieving, sleepy prayers of the negligent, will either
not care how he prayeth, or whether he prayeth at all or not. Though
our persons and prayers have nothing that is meritorious with God, in
point of commutative justice, nor as is co-ordinate with the merits of
Christ, yet have they conditions without which God will not accept
them, and are meritorious in subordination to the merit of Christ, in
point of paternal governing justice according to the covenant of
grace; as an obedient child deserveth more love, and praise, and
reward from his father than the disobedient: as the ancient fathers
commonly used the word merit.[70]

_Quest._ XXXIII. How must that person and prayer be qualified that
shall be accepted of God?

_Answ._ There are several degrees of God's acceptance. I. That
which is but from common grace, may be accepted as better than none at
all. II. That which hath a promise of some success, especially as to
pardon and salvation, must be, 1. From a penitent, believing, holy
person. 2. It must proceed from true desire, and be sincere; and have
renewed faith and repentance in some measure. 3. It must be put up in
confidence on the merit and intercession of Christ. 4. It must be only
for things lawful. 5. And to a lawful end. III. That which is
extraordinarily accepted and successful, must be extraordinary in all
these respects; in the person's holiness, and in renewed faith and
fervent importunity, and holy love.

_Tit. 3. Special Directions for Family Prayer._

_Direct._ I. Let it be done rather by the master of the family
himself than any other, if he be competently able, though others be
more able; but if he be utterly unfit, let it rather be done by
another than not at all; and by such an one as is most acceptable to
the rest, and like to do most good.

_Direct._ II. Let prayer be suited to the case of those that join
in it, and to the condition of the family; and not a few general words
spoken by rote, that serve all times and persons alike.

_Direct._ III. Let it neither be so short as to end before their
hearts can be warm and their wants expressed (as if you had an
unwilling task to slubber over, and would fain have done); nor yet so
tedious as to make it an ungrateful burden to the family.

_Direct._ IV. Let not the coldness and dulness of the speaker
rock the family asleep; but keep awake your own heart, that you may
keep the rest awake, and force them to attention.

_Direct._ V. Pray at such hours as the family may be least
distracted, sleepy, tired, or out of the way.

_Direct._ VI. Let other duties concur, as oft as may be, to
assist in prayer: as reading, and singing psalms.

_Direct._ VII. Do all with the greatest reverence of God that
possibly you can; not seeming reverence, but real; that so more of God
than of man may appear in every word you speak.

_Direct._ VIII. The more the hearers are concerned in it, the
more regard you must have to the fitness of your expressions; for
before others, words must be regarded, lest they be scandalized, and
God and prayer be dishonoured. And if you cannot do it competently
without, use a well-composed form.

_Direct._ IX. Let not family prayer be used at the time of public
prayer in the church, nor preferred before it, but prefer public
prayer, though the manner were more imperfect than your own.

_Direct._ X. Teach your children and servants how to pray
themselves, that they may not be prayerless when they come among those
that cannot pray. John and Christ taught their disciples to pray.

_Tit. 4. Special Directions for Secret Prayer._

_Direct._ I. Let it be in as secret a place as conveniently you
can; that you may not be disturbed. Let it be done so that others may
not be witnesses of it, if you can avoid it; and yet take it not for
your duty, to keep it unknown that you pray secretly at all: for that
will be a snare and scandal to them.

_Direct._ II. Let your voice be suited to your own help and
benefit, if none else hear you. If it be needful to the orderly
proceeding of your own thoughts, or to the warming of your own
affections, you may use a voice; but if others be within hearing, it
is very unfit.

_Direct._ III. In secret let the matter of your prayers be that
which is most peculiarly your own concernment, or those secret things
that are not fit for public prayer, or are there passed by; yet never
forgetting the highest interest of Christ, and the gospel, and the
world and church.

_Direct._ IV. Be less solicitous about words in secret than with
others, and lay out your care about the heart; for that is it that God
most esteemeth in your prayers.

_Direct._ V. Do not through carnal unwillingness grow into a neglect
of secret prayer, when you have time; nor yet do you superstitiously
tie yourselves to just so long time, whether you are fit, or at
leisure from greater duties, or not. But be the longer when you are
most fit and vacant, and the shorter when you are not. To give way to
every carnal backwardness, is the sin on one side; and to resolve to
spend so long time, when you do but tire yourselves, and sleep, or
business, or distemper maketh it a lifeless thing, is a sin on the
other side. Avoid them both.

_Direct._ VI. A melancholy person who is unfit for much solitariness
and heart-searchings, must be much shorter, if not also seldomer in
secret prayers, than other christians that are capable of bearing it:
and they must, instead of that which they cannot do, be the more in
that which they can do; as in joining with others, and in shorter
ejaculations, besides other duties; but not abating their piety in the
main upon any pretence of curing melancholy.

[53] The Stoics say, Orabit sapiens ac vota faciet bona à diis
postulans. Laert. in Zenone. So that when Seneca saith, Cur Deos
precibus fatigatis, &c. he only intendeth to reprove the slothful,
that think to have all done by prayer alone, while they are idle and
neglect the means.

[54] Plerumque hoc negotium plus genscibus quam sermonibus agitur.
August. Epist. 121.

[55] Bias navigabat aliquando cum impiis, et quum navis tempestate,
quateretur, illique Deos invocarent; silete, inquit, ne vos hic illi
navigare sentiant. Laert. p. 55.

[56] Of the method of the Lord's Prayer, see Ramus de Relig. Christ.
lib. iii. cap. 3. et Ludolphus de Vita Christi, part i. cap. 37. et
Perkins in Orat. Dom. and Dr. Boys on the Liturgy, p. 5-7.

[57] Selden in Eutychii Alexandr. Orig. p. 42, 43, showeth that before
Ezra the Jews prayed without forms, and that Ezra and the elders with
him, composed them a form which had eighteen benedictions and
petitions, that is, the three first and the three last for the
glorifying God, and the rest intermediate for personal and public
benefits. And, pag. 48, that they might omit none of these, but might
add others.

[58] See Selden ubi supra, proving that the Jews had a form of prayer
since Ezra's time; therefore it was in Christ's time. Yet he and his
apostles joined with them, and never contradicted or blamed them for

[59] Three or four of these cases as to church prayers are largelier
answered afterward, part iii. Socrates alius Cous deorum precationes,
invocationesque conscripsit. Laert. in Socrate.

[60] Psal. xlii. 9; xxii. 1; John ii. 14; Jer. xxxi. 9; Luke xv.
12, 17, 19; Mal. ii. 10.

[61] Acts xv. 17; xvii. 27; viii. 22; Isa. lv. 6; Psal. xiv. 4.

[62] Heb. xi. 6; Rom. x. 14.

[63] Psal. lxv. 2; Isa. lxiii. 16; Psal. cxlv. 18; 1 Kings viii. 39;
Acts i. 24; Rom. viii. 27; x. 14; Psal. lxii. 8; Matt. iv. 9.

[64] Rev. xxii. 8, 9; Col. ii. 18.

[65] Mark that I say but "at that time."

[66] Mark xi. 23, 24.

[67] Rev. iii. 17, 18.

[68] Symmach. Epist. 31. 1. 1. ad Auson.

[69] See Mr. Mayo's Directions on this case.

[70] See my "Confession" of this at large.



OMITTING those things which concern the public administration of this
sacrament, (for the reasons before intimated part ii.) I shall here
only give you some brief directions for your private duty herein.

[Sidenote: What are the ends of the sacrament?]

_Direct._ I. Understand well the proper ends to which this
sacrament was instituted by Christ; and take heed that you use it not
to ends for which it never was appointed. The true ends are these: 1.
To be a solemn commemoration of the death and passion of Jesus Christ,
to keep it, as it were, in the eye of the church, in his bodily
absence till he come, 1 Cor. xi. 24-26. 2. To be a solemn renewing of
the holy covenant which was first entered in baptism, between Christ
and the receiver; and in that covenant it is, on Christ's part, a
solemn delivery of himself first, and with himself the benefits of
pardon, reconciliation, adoption, and right to life eternal. And on
man's part, it is our solemn acceptance of Christ with his benefits,
upon his terms, and a delivering up of ourselves to him, as his
redeemed ones, even to the Father as our reconciled Father, and to the
Son as our Lord and Saviour, and to the Holy Spirit as our Sanctifier,
with professed thankfulness for so great a benefit. 3. It is appointed
to be a lively objective means, by which the Spirit of Christ should
work to stir up, and exercise, and increase the repentance, faith,
desire, love, hope, joy, thankfulness, and new obedience of believers;
by a lively representation of the evil of sin, the infinite love of
God in Christ, the firmness of the covenant or promise, the greatness
and sureness of the mercy given, and the blessedness purchased and
promised to us, and the great obligations that are laid upon us.[71]
And that herein believers might be solemnly called out to the most
serious exercise of all these graces, and might be provoked and
assisted to stir up themselves to this communion with God in Christ,
and to pray for more as through a sacrificed Christ.[72] 4. It is
appointed to be the solemn profession of believers, of their faith,
and love, and gratitude, and obedience to God the Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost, and of continuing firm in the christian religion. And a
badge of the church before the world. 5. And it is appointed to be a
sign and means of the unity, love, and communion of saints, and their
readiness to communicate to each other.

The false, mistaken ends which you must avoid are these: 1. You must
not, with the papists, think that the end of it is to turn bread into
no bread, and wine into no wine, and to make them really the true body
and blood of Jesus Christ. For if sense (which telleth all men that it
is still bread and wine) be not to be believed, then we cannot believe
that ever there was a gospel, or an apostle, or a pope, or a man, or
any thing in the world. And the apostle expressly calleth it bread
three times, in three verses together, after the consecration, 1 Cor.
xi. 26-28. And he telleth us, that the use of it is (not to make the
Lord's body really present, but) "to show the Lord's death till he
come;" that is, as a visible representing and commemorating sign, to
be instead of his bodily presence till he come.

2. Nor must you with the papists use this sacrament to sacrifice
Christ again really unto the Father, to propitiate him for the quick
and dead, and ease souls in purgatory, and deliver them out of it. For
Christ having died once dieth no more, and without killing him there
is no sacrificing him. By once offering up himself, he hath perfected
for ever them that are sanctified, and now there remaineth no more
sacrifice for sin: having finished the sacrificing work on earth, he
is now passed into the heavens, to appear before God for his redeemed

3. Nor is it any better than odious impiety to receive the sacrament,
to confirm some confederacies or oaths of secrecy, for rebellions or
other unlawful designs; as the powder-plotters in England did.

4. Nor is it any other than impious profanation of these sacred
mysteries, for the priest to constrain or suffer notoriously ignorant
and ungodly persons to receive them;[74] either to make themselves
believe that they are indeed the children of God, or to be a means
which ungodly men should use to make them godly, or which infidels or
impenitent persons must use to help them to repentance and faith in
Christ. For though there is that in it which may become a means of
their conversion, (as a thief that stealeth a Bible or sermon book,
may be converted by it,) yet is it not to be used by the receiver to
that end. For that were to tell God a lie, as the means of their
conversion; for whosoever cometh to receive a sealed pardon, doth
thereby profess repentance, as also by the words adjoined he must do;
and whosoever taketh, and eateth, and drinketh the bread and wine,
doth actually profess thereby, that he taketh and applieth Christ
himself by faith: and therefore, if he do neither of these, he lieth
openly to God: and lies and false covenants are not the appointed
means of conversion. Not that the minister is a liar in his delivery
of it: for he doth but conditionally seal and deliver God's covenant
and benefits to the receiver, to be his, if he truly repent and
believe: but the receiver himself lieth, if he do not actually repent
and believe, as he there professeth to do.

5. Also it is an impious profanation of the sacrament, if any priest,
for the love of filthy lucre, shall give it to those that ought not to
receive it, that he may have his fees or offerings; or, that the
priest may have so much money that is bequeathed for saying a mass for
such or such a soul.

6. And it is an odious profanation of the sacrament, to use it as a
league or bond of faction, to gather persons into the party, and tie
them fast to it, that they may depend upon the priest, and his faction
and interest may thereby be strengthened, and he may seem to have many

7. And it is a dangerous abuse of it, to receive it, that you may be
pardoned, or sanctified, or saved, barely by the work done, or by the
outward exercise alone. As if God were there obliged to give you
grace, while you strive not with your own hearts, to stir them up to
love, or desire, or faith, or obedience, by the means that are before
you; or, as if God would pardon and save you for eating so much bread
and drinking so much wine, when the canon biddeth you; or, as if the
sacrament conveyed grace, like as charms are supposed to work, by
saying over so many words.

8. Lastly, It is no appointed end of this sacrament, that the receiver
thereby profess himself certain of the sincerity of his own repentance
and faith (for it is not managed on the ground of such certainty only
by the receiver; much less by the minister that delivereth it). But
only he professeth, that as far as he can discern by observing his own
heart, he is truly willing to have Christ and his benefits, on the
terms that they are offered; and that he doth consent to the covenant
which he is there to renew. Think not therefore that the sacrament is
instituted for any of these (mistaken) ends.

[Sidenote: What are the parts of the sacraments?]

_Direct._ II. Distinctly understand the parts of the sacrament,
that you may distinctly use them, and not do you know not what. This
sacrament containeth these three parts. 1. The consecration of the
bread and wine, which maketh it the representative body and blood of
Christ. 2. The representation and commemoration of the sacrifice of
Christ. 3. The communion: or, communication by Christ, and reception
by the people.

1. In the consecration, the church doth first offer the creatures of
bread and wine, to be accepted of God, to this sacred use. And God
accepteth them, and blesseth them to this use; which he signifieth
both by the words of his own institution, and by the action of his
ministers, and their benediction. They being the agents of God to the
people in this accepting and blessing, as they are the agents of the
people to God, in offering or dedicating the creatures to this use.

This consecration having a special respect to God the Father, in it we
acknowledge his three grand relations. 1. That he is the Creator, and
so the Owner of all the creatures; for we offer them to him as his
own. 2. That he is our righteous Governor, whose law it was that Adam
and we have broken, and who required satisfaction, and hath received
the sacrifice and atonement, and hath dispensed with the strict and
proper execution of that law, and will rule us hereafter by the law of
grace. 3. That he is our Father or Benefactor, who hath freely given
us a Redeemer, and the covenant of grace, whose love and favour we
have forfeited by sin, but desire and hope to be reconciled by Christ.

As Christ himself was incarnate and true Christ, before he was
sacrificed to God, and was sacrificed to God before that sacrifice be
communicated for life and nourishment to souls; so in the sacrament,
consecration must first make the creature to be the flesh and blood of
Christ representative; and then the sacrificing of that flesh and
blood must be represented and commemorated; and then the sacrificed
flesh and blood communicated to the receivers for their spiritual

II. The commemoration chiefly (but not only) respecteth God the Son.
For he hath ordained, that these consecrated representations should in
their manner and measure, supply the room of his bodily presence,
while his body is in heaven; and that thus, as it were, in effigy, in
representation, he might be still crucified before the church's eyes;
and they might be affected, as if they had seen him on the cross. And
that by faith and prayer, they might, as it were, offer him up to God;
that is, might show the Father that sacrifice, once made for sin, in
which they trust, and for which it is that they expect all the
acceptance of their persons with God, and hope for audience, when they
beg for mercy, and offer up prayer or praises to him.

III. In the communication, though the sacrament have respect to the
Father, as the principal Giver, and to the Son, as both the Gift and
Giver, yet hath it a special respect to the Holy Ghost, as being that
Spirit given in the flesh and blood, which quickeneth souls; without
which, the flesh will profit nothing; and whose operations must convey
and apply Christ's saving benefits to us, John vi. 63; vii. 39.[75]

These three being the parts of the sacrament in whole, as
comprehending that sacred action and participation which is essential
to it; the material parts, called the relate and correlate, are, 1.
Substantial and qualitative. 2. Active and passive. 1. The first, are
the bread and wine as signs, and the body and blood of Christ, with
his graces and benefits, as the things signified and given. 2. The
second, are the actions of breaking, pouring out, and delivering on
the minister's part, (after the consecration,) and the taking, eating,
and drinking, by the receivers as the sign. And the thing signified is
the crucifying or sacrificing of Christ, and the delivering himself
with his benefits to the believer, and the receiver's thankful
accepting and using the said gift. To these add the relative form, and
the ends, and you have the definition of this sacrament. Of which see
more in my "Universal Concord," p. 46, &c.

_Direct._ III. Look upon the minister as the agent or officer of
Christ, who is commissioned by him to seal and deliver to you the
covenant and its benefits: and take the bread and wine, as if you
heard Christ himself saying to you, Take my body and blood, and the
pardon and grace which is thereby purchased. It is a great help in the
application, to have mercy and pardon brought us by the hand of a
commissioned officer of Christ.

_Direct._ IV. In your preparation beforehand, take heed of these
two extremes: 1. That you come not profanely and carelessly, with
common hearts, as to a common work.[76] For God will be sanctified in
them that draw near him, Lev. x. 3; and they that eat and drink
unworthily, not discerning the Lord's body from common bread, but
eating as if it were a common meal, do eat death to themselves,
instead of life. 2. Take heed lest your mistakes of the nature of this
sacrament, should possess you with such fears of unworthy receiving,
and the following dangers, as may quite discompose and unfit your
souls for the joyful exercises of faith, and love, and praise, and
thanksgiving, to which you are invited. Many that are scrupulous of
receiving it in any save a feasting gesture, are too little careful
and scrupulous of receiving it in any save a feasting frame of mind.

The first extreme is caused by profaneness and negligence, or by gross
ignorance of the nature of the sacramental work. The latter extreme is
frequently caused as followeth: 1. By setting this sacrament at a
greater distance from other parts of God's worship, than there is
cause; so that the excess of reverence doth overwhelm the minds of
some with terrors. 2. By studying more the terrible words of eating
and drinking damnation to themselves, if they do it unworthily, than
all the expressions of love and mercy, which that blessed feast is
furnished with. So that when the views of infinite love should ravish
them, they are studying wrath and vengeance to terrify them, as if
they came to Moses, and not to Christ. 3. By not understanding what
maketh a receiver worthy or unworthy, but taking their unwilling
infirmities for condemning unworthiness. 4. By receiving it so seldom,
as to make it strange to them, and increase their fear, whereas if it
were administered every Lord's day, as it was in the primitive
churches, it would better acquaint them with it, and cure that fear
that cometh from strangeness. 5. By imagining, that none that want
assurance of their own sincerity can receive in faith. 6. By
contracting an ill habit of mistaken religiousness, placing it all in
poring on themselves and mourning for their corruptions, and not in
studying the love of God in Christ, and living in the daily praises of
his name, and joyful thanksgiving for his exceeding mercies. 7. And
if, besides all these, the body contract a weak or timorous,
melancholy distemper, it will leave the mind capable of almost
nothing, but fear and trouble, even in the sweetest works. From many
such cases it cometh to pass, that the sacrament of the Lord's supper
is become more terrible and uncomfortable to abundance of such
distempered christians, than any other ordinance of God; and that
which should most comfort them, doth trouble them most.

_Quest._ I. But is not this sacrament more holy and dreadful, and
should it not have more preparation, than other parts of worship?

_Answ._ For the degree, indeed, it should have very careful
preparation: and we cannot well compare it with other parts of
worship; as praise, thanksgiving, covenanting with God, prayer, &c.
because that all these other parts are here comprised and performed.
But doubtless, God must also be sanctified in all his other worship,
and his name must not be taken in vain. And when this sacrament was
received every Lord's day, and often in the week besides, christians
were supposed to live continually in a state of general preparation,
and not to be so far from a due particular preparation, as many poor
christians think they are.

_Quest._ II. How often should the sacrament be now administered,
that it neither grow into contempt nor strangeness?

_Answ._ Ordinarily in well disciplined churches it should be still
every Lord's day: for, 1. We have no reason to prove, that the
apostles' example and appointment in this case, was proper to those
times, any more than that praise and thanksgiving daily is proper to
them: and we may as well deny the obligation of other institutions, or
apostolical orders, as that. 2. It is a part of the settled order for
the Lord's-day worship; and omitting it, maimeth and altereth the
worship of the day; and occasioneth the omission of the thanksgiving
and praise, and lively commemorations of Christ, which should be then
most performed; and so christians by use, grow habituated to sadness,
and a mourning, melancholy religion, and grow unacquainted with much
of the worship and spirit of the gospel. 3. Hereby the papists'
lamentable corruptions of this ordinance have grown up, even by an
excess of reverence and fear, which seldom receiving doth increase,
till they are come to worship bread as their God. 4. By seldom
communicating, men are seduced to think all proper communion of
churches lieth in that sacrament, and to be more profanely bold in
abusing many other parts of worship. 5. There are better means (by
teaching and discipline) to keep the sacrament from contempt, than the
omitting or displacing of it. 6. Every Lord's day is no oftener than
christians need it. 7. The frequency will teach them to live prepared,
and not only to make much ado once a month or quarter, when the same
work is neglected all the year besides: even as one that liveth in
continual expectation of death, will live in continual preparation;
when he that expecteth it but in some grievous sickness, will then be
frightened into some seeming preparations, which are not the habit of
his soul, but laid by again when the disease is over.

2. But yet I must add, that in some undisciplined churches, and upon
some occasions, it may be longer omitted or seldomer used: no duty is
a duty at all times; and therefore extraordinary eases may raise such
impediments, as may hinder us a long time from this, and many other
privileges. But the ordinary faultiness of our imperfect hearts, that
are apt to grow customary and dull, is no good reason why it should be
seldom; any more than why other special duties of worship and church
communion should be seldom. Read well the epistles of Paul to the
Corinthians, and you will find that they were then as bad as the true
christians are now, and that even in this sacrament they were very
culpable; and yet Paul seeketh not to cure them by their seldomer

_Quest._ III. Are all the members of the visible church to be
admitted to this sacrament, or communicate?

_Answ._ All are not to seek it, or to take it, because many may
know their own unfitness, when the church or pastors know it not; but
all that come and seek it, are to be admitted by the pastors, except
such children, idiots, ignorant persons, or heretics, as know not what
they are to receive and do, and such as are notoriously wicked or
scandalous, and have not manifested their repentance. But then it is
presupposed, that none should be numbered with the adult members of
the church, but those that have personally owned their baptismal
covenant, by a credible profession of true christianity.

_Quest._ IV. May a man that hath knowledge, and civility, and
common gifts, come and take this sacrament, if he know that he is yet
void of true repentance, and other saving grace?

_Answ._ No; for he then knoweth himself to be one that is
uncapable of it in his present state.

_Quest._ V. May an ungodly man receive this sacrament, who
knoweth not himself to be ungodly?

_Answ._ No; for he ought to know it, and his sinful ignorance of
his own condition, will not make his sin to be his duty, nor excuse
his other faults before God.

_Quest._ VI. Must a sincere christian receive, that is uncertain
of his sincerity, and in continual doubting?

_Answ._ Two preparations are necessary to this sacrament: the
general preparation, which is a state of grace, and this the doubting
christian hath; and the particular preparation, which consisteth in
his present actual fitness; and all the question is of this. And to
know this, you must further distinguish, between immediate duty and
more remote, and between the degrees of doubtfulness in christians. 1.
The nearest immediate duty of the doubting christian is, to use the
means to have his doubts resolved, till he know his case, and then his
next duty is, to receive the sacrament; and both these still remain
his duty, to be performed in this order: and if he say, I cannot be
resolved, when I have done my best; yet certainly it is some sin of
his own that keepeth him in the dark, and hindereth his assurance; and
therefore duty ceaseth not to be duty. The law of Christ still
obligeth him, both to get assurance, and to receive; and the want both
of the knowledge of his state, and of receiving the sacrament, are his
continual sin, if he lie in it never so long through these scruples,
though it be an infirmity that God will not condemn him for. (For he
is supposed to be in a state of grace.) But you will say, What if
still he cannot be resolved whether he have true faith and repentance,
or not? what should he do while he is in doubt? I answer, it is one
thing to ask, what is his duty in this case? and another thing to ask,
which is the smaller or less dangerous sin? Still his duty is both to
get the knowledge of his heart, and to communicate: but while he
sinneth (through infirmity) in failing of the first, were he better
also omit the other or not? To be well resolved of that, you must
discern, 1. Whether his judgment of himself do rather incline to think
and hope that he is sincere in his repentance and faith, or that he is
not. 2. And whether the consequents are like to be good or bad to him.
If his hopes that he is sincere, be as great or greater than his fears
of the contrary, then there is no such ill consequent to be feared as
may hinder his communicating; but it is his best way to do it, and
wait on God in the use of his ordinance. But if the persuasion of his
gracelessness be greater than the hopes of his sincerity, then he must
observe how he is like to be affected, if he do communicate. If he
find that it is like to clear up his mind, and increase his hopes by
the actuating of his grace, he is yet best to go: but if he find that
his heart is like to be overwhelmed with horror, and sunk into
despair, by running into the supposed guilt of unworthy receiving,
then it will be worse to do it, than to omit it. Many such fearful
christians I have known, that are fain many years to absent themselves
from the sacrament; because if they should receive it while they are
persuaded of their utter unworthiness, they would be swallowed up of
desperation, and think that they had taken their own damnation (as the
twenty-fifth article of the church of England saith the unworthy
receivers do). So that the chief sin of such a doubting receiver, is
not that he receiveth, though he doubt; for doubting will not excuse
us for the sinful omission of a duty (no more of this than of prayer
or thanksgiving): but only prudence requireth such a one to forbear
that, which through his own distemper would be a means of his despair
and ruin; as that physic or food, how good soever, is not to be taken,
which would kill the taker: God's ordinances are not appointed for our
destruction, but for our edification; and so must be used as tendeth
thereunto. Yet to those christians, who are in this case, and dare not
communicate, I must put this question, How dare you so long refuse it?
He that consenteth to the covenant, may boldly come and signify his
consent, and receive the sealed covenant of God; for consent is your
preparation, or the necessary condition of your right: if you consent
not, you refuse all the mercy of the covenant. And dare you live in
such a state? Suppose a pardon be offered to a condemned thief, but
so, that if he after cast it in the dirt, or turn traitor, he shall
die a sorer death; will he rather choose to die than take it, and
say, I am afraid I shall abuse it? To refuse God's covenant is certain
death; but to consent is your preparation and your life.

_Quest._ VII. But what if superiors compel such a christian to
communicate, or else they will excommunicate and imprison him; what
then should he choose?

_Answ._ If he could do it without his own soul's hurt, he should
obey them (supposing that it is nothing but that which in itself is
good that they command him).[77] But they have their power to
edification, and not to destruction, and he must value his soul above
his body; and therefore it is past question, that it is a smaller hurt
to be excommunicated, and lie and die in prison, than to cast his soul
into despair, by doing that which he thinketh is a grievous sin, and
would be his damnation. But all means must be used to cure the mistake
of his own understanding.

_Quest._ VIII. Is not the case of a hypocrite that knoweth not
himself to be a hypocrite, and of a sincere christian that knoweth not
himself to be sincere, all one as to communicating; when both are
equally in doubt?

_Answ._ No: for being and seeing are things that must be
distinguished. The one hath grace in being, though he see it not; and
therefore hath a right to the blessings of the covenant; and therefore
at once remaineth obliged both to discern his title, and to come and
take it: and therefore if become doubtingly, his sin is not that he
receiveth, but in the manner of receiving, that he doth it doubtingly;
and therefore it will be a greater sin not to receive at all, unless
in the last mentioned case, wherein the consequents are like to be
worse to him. But the other hath no true repentance, or faith, or love
in being; and therefore hath no right to the blessings of the
covenant; and therefore, at present, is obliged to discern that he is
graceless, and to repent of it: and it is not his sin that he doubteth
of his title, but that he demandeth and taketh what he hath no title
to; and therefore it is a greater sin in him to take it, than to delay
in order to his recovery and preparation. Yea, even in point of
comfort, there is some disparity: for though the true christian hath
far greater terrors than hypocrites, when he taketh himself to be an
unworthy receiver, (as being more sensible and regardful of the weight
of the matter,) yet usually, in the midst of all his fears, there are
some secret testimonies in his heart of the love of God, which are a
cordial of hope that keep him from sinking into despair, and have more
life and power in them, than all the hypocrite's false persuasions of
his own sincerity.

_Quest._ IX. Wherein lieth the sin of a hypocrite, and ungodly
person, if he do receive?

_Answ._ His sin is, 1. In lying and hypocrisy; in that he professeth
to repent unfeignedly of his sin, and to be resolved for a holy life,
and to believe in Christ, and to accept him on his covenant terms, and
to give up himself to God, as his Father, his Saviour, and his
Sanctifier, and to forsake the flesh, the world, and the devil; when,
indeed, he never did any of this, but secretly abhorreth it at his
heart, and will not be persuaded to it: and so all this profession,
and his very covenanting itself, and his receiving, as it is a
professing-covenanting sign, is nothing but a very lie. And what it is
to lie to the Holy Ghost, the case of Ananias and Sapphira telleth us.
2. It is usurpation to come and lay claim to those benefits, which he
hath no title to. 3. It is a profanation of these holy mysteries, to
be thus used; and it is a taking of God's name in vain, who is a
jealous God, and will be sanctified of all that draw near unto
him.[78] 4. And it is a wrong to the church of God, and the communion
of saints, and the honour of the christian religion, that such ungodly
hypocrites intrude as members: as it is to the king's army, when the
enemies' spies creep in amongst them; or to his marriage-feast to have
a guest in rags, Matt. xxii. 11, 12.

_Object._ But it is no lie, because they think they say true in
their profession.

_Answ._ That is through their sinful negligence and self-deceit:
and he is a liar that speaks a falsehood, which he may and ought to
know to be a falsehood, though he do not know it. There is a liar in
rashness and negligence, as well as of set purpose.

_Quest._ X. Doth all unworthy receiving make a man liable to
damnation? Or, what worthiness is it that is so threatened.[79]

_Answ._ There are three sorts of unworthiness, (or unfitness,)
and three sorts of judgment answerably to be feared. 1. There is the
utter unworthiness of an infidel, or impenitent, ungodly hypocrite.
And damnation to hell fire, is the punishment that such must expect,
if conversion prevent it not. 2. There is an unworthiness through some
great and scandalous crime, which a regenerate person falleth into;
and this should stop him from the sacrament for a time, till he have
repented and cast away his sin. And if he come before he rise from his
fall by a particular repentance, (as the Corinthians that sinned in
the very use of the sacrament itself,) they may expect some notable
temporal judgment at the present;[80] and if repentance did not
prevent it, they might fear eternal punishment. 3. There is that
measure of unworthiness which consisteth in the ordinary infirmities
of a saint; and this should not at all deter them from the sacrament,
because it is accompanied with a greater worthiness; yea, though their
weakness appear in the time and manner of their receiving: but yet
ordinary corrections may follow these ordinary infirmities. (The
grosser abuse of the sacrament itself, I join under the second rank.)

_Quest._ XI. What is the particular preparation needful to a fit

_Answ._ This bringeth me up to the next direction.

_Direct._ V. Let your preparation to this sacrament consist of
these particulars following. 1. In your duty with your own consciences
and hearts. 2. In your duty towards God. 3. And in your duty towards
your neighbour.

[Sidenote: Marks of sincerity.]

I. Your duty with your hearts consisteth in these particulars. 1. That
you do your best in the close examination of your hearts about your
states, and the sincerity of your faith, repentance, and obedience; to
know whether your hearts are true to God, in the covenant which you
are to renew and seal. Which may be done by these inquiries, and
discerned by these signs: (1.) Whether you truly loathe yourselves for
all the sins of your hearts and lives, and are a greater offence and
burden to yourselves, because of your imperfections and corruptions,
than all the world besides is, Ezek. vi. 9; xx. 43; xxxvi. 31; Rom.
vii. 24. (2.) Whether you have no sin but what you are truly desirous
to know; and no known sin, but what you are truly desirous to be rid
of; and so desirous, as that you had rather he perfectly freed from
sin, than from any affliction in the world, Rom. vii. 18, 22, 24;
viii. 18. (3.) Whether you love the searching and reforming light,
even the most searching parts of the word of God, and the most
searching books, and searching sermons, that by them you may be
brought to know yourselves, in order to your settled peace and
reformation, John iii. 19-21. (4.) Whether you truly love that degree
of holiness in others which you have not yet attained yourselves, and
love Christ in his children, with such an unfeigned love, as will
cause you to relieve them according to your abilities, and suffer for
their sakes, when it is your duty, 1 John iii. 14, 16; 1 Pet. i. 22;
iii. 8; James ii. 12-15; Matt. xxv. 40, &c. (5.) Whether you can truly
say, that there is no degree of holiness so high, but you desire it,
and had rather be perfect in the love of God, and the obedience of his
will, than have all the riches and pleasures of this world, Rom. vii.
18, 21, 24; Psal. cxix. 5; Matt. v. 6. And had rather be one of the
holiest saints, than of the most renowned, prosperous princes upon
earth, Psal. xv. 4; xvi. 2; Psal. lxxxiv. 10; lxv. 4. (6.) Whether you
have so far laid up your treasure and your hopes in heaven, as that
you are resolved to take that only for your portion; and that the
hopes of heaven, and interest of your souls, hath the pre-eminence in
your hearts against all that stands in competition with it, Col. iii.
1, 3, 4; Matt. vi. 20, 21. (7.) Whether the chiefest care of your
hearts, and endeavour of your lives, be to serve and please God, and
to enjoy him for ever, rather than for any worldly thing, Matt. vi. 23;
John v. 26; 2 Cor. v. 1, 6-9. (8.) Whether it be your daily desire
and endeavour to mortify the flesh, and master its rebellious
opposition to the Spirit; and you so far prevail, as not to live, and
walk, and be led by the flesh, but that the course and drift of your
life is spiritual, Rom. viii. 1, 6-10, 13; Gal. v. 17, 21, 22. (9.)
Whether the world, and all its honour, wealth, and pleasure appear to
you so small and contemptible a thing, as that you esteem it as dung,
and nothing in comparison of Christ, and the love of God and glory?
and are resolved, that you will rather let go all, than your part in
Christ? and, which useth to carry it in the time of trial, in your
deliberate choice? Phil. iii. 7-9, 13, 14, 18-20; 1 John ii. 15; Luke
xiv. 26, 30, 33; Matt. xiii. 19, 21. (10.) Whether you are resolved
upon a course of holiness and obedience, and to use those means which
God doth make known to you, to be the way to please him, and to subdue
your corruption; and yet feeling the frailties of your hearts, and the
burden of your sins, do trust in Christ as your righteousness before
God, and in the Holy Ghost, whose grace alone can illuminate,
sanctify, and confirm you, Acts xi. 23; Psal. cxix. 57, 63, 69, 106;
1 Cor. i. 30; Rom. viii. 9; John xv. 5; 2 Cor. xii. 9. By these signs
you may safely try your states.

2. When this is done, you are also to try the strength and measure of
your grace; that you may perceive your weakness, and know for what
help you should seek to Christ. And to find out what inward
corruptions and sinful inclinations are yet strongest in you, that you
may know what to lament, and to ask forgiveness of, and help against.
My book called "Directions for weak Christians," will give you fuller
advice in this.

3. You are also to take a strict account of your lives;[81] and to
look over your dealings with God and men, in secret and in public,
especially of late, since the last renewal of your covenant with God;
and to hear what God and conscience have to say about your sins, and
all their aggravations, Psal. cxxxix. 23; 1 Cor. xi. 28.

4. And you must labour to get your hearts affected with your
condition, as you do discover it; to be humbled for what is sinful,
and to be desirous of help against your weakness, and thankful for the
grace which you discern.

5. Lastly, you must consider of all the work that you are to do, and
all the mercies which you are going to receive, and what graces are
necessary to all this, and how they must be used; and accordingly look
up all those graces, and prepare them for the exercise to which they
are to be called out. I shall name you the particulars anon.

II. Your duty towards God in your preparation for this sacrament, is,
1. To cast down yourselves before him in humble, penitent confession,
and lamentation of all the sins which you discover; and to beg his
pardon in secret, before you come to have it publicly sealed and
delivered. 2. To look up to him with that thankfulness, love, and joy,
as becomes one that is going to receive so great a mercy from him; and
humbly to beg that grace which may prepare you, and quicken you to and
in the work.

III. Your duty towards others in this your preparation, is, 1. To
forgive those that have done you wrong, and to confess your fault to
those whom you have wronged, and ask them forgiveness, and make them
amends and restitution so far as is in your power; and to be
reconciled to those with whom you are fallen out; and to see that you
love your neighbours as yourselves, Matt. v. 23-26, 44; Jam. v. 16. 2.
That you seek advice of your pastors, or some fit persons, in cases
that are too hard for yourselves to resolve, and where you need their
special help. 3. That you lovingly admonish them that you know do
intend to communicate unworthily, and to come thither in their
ungodliness, and gross sin unrepented of: that you show not such
hatred of your brother, as to suffer sin upon him, Lev. xix. 17; but
tell him his faults, as Christ hath directed you, Matt. xviii. 15-17.
And do your parts to promote Christ's discipline, and keep pure the
church. See 1 Cor. v. throughout.

_Direct._ VI. When you come to the holy communion, let not the
over-scrupulous regard of the person of the minister, or the company,
or the imperfections of the ministration, disturb your meditations,
nor call away your minds from the high and serious employment of the
day. Hypocrites who place their religion in bodily exercises, have
taught many weak christians to take up unnecessary scruples, and to
turn their eye and observation too much to things without them.

_Quest._ But should we have no regard to the due celebration of
these sacred mysteries, and to the minister, and communicants, and
manner of administration?

_Answ._ Yes: you should have so much regard to them, 1. As to see
that nothing be amiss through your default, which is in your power to
amend. 2. And that you join not in the committing of any known sin.
But, 1. Take not every sin of another for your sin, and think not that
you are guilty of that in others, which you cannot amend; or, that you
must forsake the church and worship of God, for these corruptions
which you are not guilty of, or deny your own mercies, because others
usurp them or abuse them. 2. If you suspect any thing imposed upon you
to be sinful to you, try it before you come thither; and leave not
your minds open to disturbance, when they should be wholly employed
with Christ.

[Sidenote: May we receive from an unworthy minister?]

_Quest._ 1. May we lawfully receive this sacrament from an
ungodly and unworthy minister?

_Answ._ Whoever you may lawfully commit the guidance of your
souls to, as your pastor, you may lawfully receive the sacrament from,
yea, and in some cases from some others: for in case you come into a
church that you are no member of, you may lawfully join in communion
with that church, for that present, as a stranger, though they have a
pastor so faulty, as you might not lawfully commit the ordinary
conduct of your soul to. For it is their fault, and not yours, that
they chose no better; and (in some cases) such a fault as will not
warrant you to avoid communion with them. But you may not receive, if
you know it, from a heretic, that teacheth any error against the
essence of christianity. 2. Nor from a man so utterly ignorant of the
christian faith or duty, or so utterly unable to teach it to others,
as to be notoriously uncapable of the ministry. 3. Nor from a man
professedly ungodly, or that setteth himself to preach down godliness
itself. These you must never own as ministers of Christ, that are
utterly uncapable of it. But see that you take none for such that are
not such. And there are three sorts more, which you may not receive
from, when you have your choice, nor take them for your pastors: but
in case of necessity imposed on you by others, it is lawful, and your
duty. And that is, 1. Usurpers that make themselves your pastors
without a lawful call, and perhaps do forcibly thrust out the lawful
pastors of the church. 2. Weak, ignorant, cold, and lifeless
preachers, that are tolerable in case of necessity, but not to be
compared with worthier men. 3. Ministers of scandalous, vicious lives.
It is a sin in you to prefer any one of these before a better, and to
choose them when you have your choice; but it is a sin on the other
side, if you rather submit not to one of these, than be quite without,
and have none at all. You own not their faults in such a case, by
submitting to their ministry.

_Quest._ 2. May we communicate with unworthy persons, or in an
undisciplined church?

_Answ._ You must here distinguish if you will not err:[82] and
that, 1. Between persons so unworthy as to be no christians, and those
that are culpable, scandalous christians. 2. Between a few members,
and the whole society, or the denominating part. 3. Between sin
professed and owned, and sin disowned by a seeming penitence. 4. And
between a case of liberty, when I have my choice of a better society;
and a case of necessity, when I must communicate with the worser
society, or with none: and so I answer,

1. You ought not to communicate at all in this sacrament with a
society that professeth not christianity, if the whole body, or
denominating part, be such: that is, 1. With such as never made
profession of christianity at all. 2. Or have apostatized from it. 3.
Or that openly own any heresy inconsistent with the essential faith or
duty of a christian. 4. Or that are notoriously ignorant what
christianity is.

2. It is the duty of the pastors and governors of the church, to keep
away notorious, scandalous offenders, till they show repentance; and
the people's duty to assist them by private reproof, and informing the
church when there is cause. Therefore, if it be through the neglect of
your duty, that the church is corrupted and undisciplined, the sin is
yours, whether you receive with them or not.

3. If you rather choose a corrupted, undisciplined church to
communicate with, when you have your choice of a better, _cæteris
paribus_, it is your fault.

But on the contrary, it is not your sin, but your duty, to communicate
with that church which hath a true pastor, and where the denominating
part of the members are capable of church communion, though there may
some infidels, or heathens, or uncapable persons violently intrude, or
scandalous persons are admitted through the neglect of discipline; in
case you have not your choice to hold personal communion with a better
church, and in case also you be not guilty of the corruption, but by
seasonable and modest professing your dissent, do clear yourself of
the guilt of such intrusion and corruption. For here the reasons and
ends of a lawful separation are removed; because it tendeth not to
God's honour, or their reformation, or your benefit; for all these are
more crossed by holding communion with no church, than with such a
corrupted church. And this is to be preferred before none, as much as
a better before this.

_Quest._ III. But what if I cannot communicate unless I conform
to an imposed gesture, as kneeling or sitting?

_Answ._ 1. For sitting or standing, no doubt it is lawful in
itself: for else authority were not to be obeyed, if they should
command it; and else the church had sinned in forbearing kneeling in
the act of receiving, so many hundred years after Christ; as is plain
they did, by the canons of general councils (Nic. i. and Trull.) that
universally forbade to adore kneeling, any Lord's day in the year, and
any week day between Easter and Whitsuntide; and by the fathers,
Tertullian, Epiphanius, &c. that make this an apostolic or universal
tradition. 2. And for kneeling, I never yet heard any thing to prove
it unlawful; if there be any thing, it must be either some word of
God, or the nature of the ordinance, which is supposed to be
contradicted.[83] But, 1. There is no word of God for any gesture, nor
against any gesture: Christ's example can never be proved to be
intended to oblige us more in this, than in many other circumstances
that are confessed not obligatory; as that he delivered it but to
ministers, and but to a family, to twelve, and after supper, and on a
Thursday night, and in an upper room, &c.: and his gesture was not
such a sitting as ours. 2. And for the nature of the ordinance, it is
mixed: and if it be lawful to take a pardon from the king upon our
knees, I know not what can make it unlawful to take a sealed pardon
from Christ (by his ambassador) upon our knees.

_Quest._ IV. But what if I cannot receive it, but according to
the administration of the Common Prayer-book, or some other imposed
form of prayer? Is it lawful so to take it?

_Answ._ If it be unlawful to receive it when it is administered
with the Common Prayer-book, it is either, 1. Because it is a form of
prayer. 2. Or because that form hath some forbidden matter in it. 3.
Or because that form is imposed. 4. Or because it is imposed to some
evil end and consequent. 1. That it is not unlawful, because a form,
is proved before, and indeed needs no proof with any that is
judicious. 2. Nor yet for any evil in this particular form; for in
this part the Common Prayer is generally approved. 3. Nor yet, because
it is imposed: for a command maketh not that unlawful to us, which is
lawful before; but it maketh many things lawful and duties, that else
would have been unlawful accidentally. 4. And the intentions of the
commanders we have little to do with; and for the consequents they
must be weighed on both sides; and the consequents of our refusal will
not be found light.

In the general, I must here tell all the people of God, in the bitter
sorrow of my soul, that at last it is time for them to discern that
temptation, that hath in all ages of the church almost, made this
sacrament of our union to be the grand occasion or instrument of our
divisions; and that true humility, and acquaintance with ourselves,
and sincere love to Christ and one another, would show some men, that
it was but their pride, and prejudice, and ignorance, that made them
think so heinously of other men's manner of worship; and that on all
sides among true christians, the manner of their worship is not so
odious, as prejudice, and faction, and partiality representeth it; and
that God accepteth that which they reject. And they should see how the
devil hath undone the common people by this means; by teaching them
every one to expect salvation for being of that party which he taketh
to be the right church, and for worshipping in that manner which he
and his party thinketh best: and so wonderful a thing is prejudice,
that every party by this is brought to account that ridiculous and
vile, which the other party accounteth best.

_Quest._ V. But what if my conscience be not satisfied, but I am
still in doubt, must I not forbear? Seeing "he that doubteth is
condemned if he eat, because he eateth not in faith; for whatsoever is
not of faith is sin," Rom. xiv. 23.

_Answ._ The apostle there speaketh not of eating in the sacrament, but
of eating meats which he doubteth of whether they are lawful, but is
sure that it is lawful to forbear them. And in case of doubting about
things indifferent, the surer side is to forbear them, because there
may be sin in doing; but there can be none on the other side, in
forbearing. But in case of duties, your doubting will not disoblige
you; else men might give over praying, and hearing God's word, and
believing, and obeying their rulers, and maintaining their families,
when they are but blind enough to doubt of it. 2. Your erring
conscience is not a law-maker, and cannot make it your duty to obey
it: for God is your King, and the office of conscience is to discern
his law, and urge you to obedience, and not to make you laws of its
own; so that if it speak falsely, it doth not oblige you, but deceive
you; it doth only _ligare_, or insnare you, but not _obligare_, or
make a sin a duty: it casteth you into a necessity of sinning more or
less, till you relinquish the error; but in the case of such duties as
these, it is a sin to do them with a doubting conscience, but
(ordinarily) it is a greater sin to forbear.

_Object._ But some divines write, that conscience being God's
officer, when it erreth, God himself doth bind me by it to follow that
error, and the evil which it requireth becometh my duty.

_Answ._ A dangerous error, tending to the subversion of souls and
kingdoms, and highly dishonourable to God. God hath made it your duty
to know his will, and do it; and if you ignorantly mistake him, will
you lay the blame on him, and draw him into participation of your sin,
when he forbiddeth you both the error and the sin? And doth he at once
forbid and command the same thing? At that very moment, God is so far
from obliging you to follow your error, that he still obligeth you to
lay it by, and do the contrary. If you say, you cannot, I answer, your
impotency is a sinful impotency; and you can use the means, in which
his grace can help you: and he will not change his law, nor make you
kings and rulers of yourselves instead of him, because you are
ignorant or impotent.

_Direct._ VII. In the time of the administration, go along with
the minister throughout the work, and keep your hearts close to Jesus
Christ, in the exercise of all those graces which are suited to the
several parts of the administration. Think not that all the work must
be the minister's: it should be a busy day with you, and your hearts
should be taken up with as much diligence, as your hands be in your
common labour; but not in a toilsome, weary diligence, but in such
delightful business as becometh the guests of the God of heaven, at so
sweet a feast, and in the receiving of such unvaluable gifts.

Here I should distinctly show you, I. What graces they be that you
must there exercise. II. What there is objectively presented before
you in the sacrament, to exercise all these graces. III. At what
seasons in the administration each of these inward works are to be

I. The graces to be exercised are these (besides that holy fear and
reverence common to all worship): 1. A humble sense of the odiousness
of sin, and of our undone condition as in ourselves, and a displeasure
against ourselves, and loathing of ourselves, and melting repentance
for the sins we have committed; as against our Creator, and as against
the love and mercy of a Redeemer, and against the Holy Spirit of
grace. 2. A hungering and thirsting desire after the Lord Jesus, and
his grace, and the favour of God and communion with him, which are
there represented and offered to the soul. 3. A lively faith in our
Redeemer, his death, resurrection, and intercession; and a trusting
our miserable souls upon him, as our sufficient Saviour and help; and
a hearty acceptance of him and his benefits upon his offered terms. 4.
A joy and gladness in the sense of that unspeakable mercy which is
here offered us. 5. A thankful heart towards him from whom we do
receive it. 6. A fervent love to him that by such love doth seek our
love. 7. A triumphant hope of life eternal, which is purchased for us,
and sealed to us. 8. A willingness and resolution to deny ourselves,
and all this world, and suffer for him that hath suffered for our
redemption. 9. A love to our brethren, our neighbours, and our
enemies, with a readiness to relieve them, and to forgive them when
they do us wrong. 10. And a firm resolution for future obedience, to
our Creator, and Redeemer, and Sanctifier, according to our covenant.

II. In the naming of these graces, I have named their objects, which
you should observe as distinctly as you can, that they may be
operative. 1. To help your humiliation and repentance, you bring
thither a loaden, miserable soul, to receive a pardon and relief; and
you see before you the sacrificed Son of God, who made his soul an
offering for sin, and became a curse for us to save us who were
accursed. 2. To draw out your desires, you have the most excellent
gifts and the most needful mercies presented to you that this world is
capable of; even the pardon of sin, the love of God, the Spirit of
grace, and the hopes of glory, and Christ himself with whom all this
is given. 3. To exercise your faith, you have Christ here first
represented as crucified before your eyes; and then, with his
benefits, freely given you, and offered to your acceptance, with a
command that you refuse him not. 4. To exercise your delight and
gladness, you have this Saviour and this salvation tendered to you;
and all that your souls can well desire set before you. 5. To exercise
your thankfulness, what could do more than so great a gift, so dearly
purchased, so surely sealed, and so freely offered? 6. To exercise
your love to God in Christ, you have the fullest manifestation of his
attractive love, even offered to your eyes, and taste, and heart,
that a soul on earth can reasonably expect; in such wonderful
condescension, that the greatness and strangeness of it surpasseth a
natural man's belief. 7. To exercise your hopes of life eternal, you
have the price of it here set before you; you have the gift of it here
sealed to you; and you have that Saviour represented to you in his
suffering, who is now there reigning, that you may remember him as
expectants of his glorious coming to judge the world, and glorify you
with himself. 8. To exercise your self-denial and resolution for
suffering, and contempt of the world and fleshly pleasures, you have
before you both the greatest example and obligation, that ever could
be offered to the world; when you see and receive a crucified Christ,
that so strangely denied himself for you, and set so little by the
world and flesh. 9. To exercise your love to brethren, yea, and
enemies, you have his example before your eyes, that loved you to the
death when you were enemies; and you have his holy servants before
your eyes, who are amiable in him through the workings of his Spirit,
and on whom he will have you show your love to himself. 10. And to
excite your resolution for future obedience, you see his double title
to the government of you, as Creator and as Redeemer; and you feel the
obligations of mercy and gratitude; and you are to renew a covenant
with him to that end; even openly where all the church are witnesses.
So that you see here are powerful objects before you to draw out all
these graces, and that they are all but such as the work requireth you
then to exercise.

III. But that you may be the readier when it cometh to practice, I
shall as it were lead you by the hand, through all the parts of the
administration, and tell you when and how to exercise every grace; and
those that are to be joined together I shall take together, that
needless distinctness do not trouble you.

1. When you are called up and going to the table of the Lord, exercise
your humility, desire, and thankfulness, and say in your hearts,
"What! Lord, dost thou call such a wretch as I? What! me, that have so
oft despised thy mercy, and wilfully offended thee, and preferred the
filth of this world, and the pleasures of the flesh before thee? Alas,
it is thy wrath in hell that is my due: but if love will choose such
an unworthy guest, and mercy will be honoured upon such sin and
misery, I come, Lord, at thy call: I gladly come: let thy will be
done; and let that mercy which inviteth me, make me acceptable, and
graciously entertain me; and let me not come without the wedding
garment, nor unreverently rush on holy things, nor turn thy mercies to
my bane."

2. When the minister is confessing sin, prostrate your very souls in
the sense of your unworthiness, and let your particular sins be in
your eye, with their heinous aggravations. The whole need not the
physician, but the sick. But here I need not put words into your
mouths or minds, because the minister goeth before you, and your
hearts must concur with his confessions, and put in also the secret
sins which he omitteth.

3. When you look on the bread and wine which is provided and offered
for this holy use, remember that it is the Creator of all things, on
whom you live, whose laws you did offend; and say in your hearts, "O
Lord, how great is my offence! who have broken the laws of him that
made me, and on whom the whole creation doth depend! I had my being
from thee, and my daily bread; and should I have requited thee with
disobedience? Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee,
and am no more worthy to be called thy son."

4. When the words of the institution are read, and the bread and wine
are solemnly consecrated, by separating them to that sacred use, and
the acceptance and blessing of God is desired, admire the mercy that
prepared us a Redeemer, and say, "O God, how wonderful is thy wisdom
and thy love! How strangely dost thou glorify thy mercy over those
sins that gave thee advantage to glorify thy justice! Even thou our
God whom we have offended, hast out of thy own treasury satisfied thy
own justice, and given us a Saviour by such a miracle of wisdom, love,
and condescension, as men or angels shall never be able fully to
comprehend; so didst thou love the sinful world, as to give thy Son,
that whosoever believeth on him, should not perish, but have
everlasting life. O thou that hast prepared us so full a remedy, and
so precious a gift, sanctify these creatures to be the representative
body and blood of Christ, and prepare my heart for so great a gift,
and so high, and holy, and honourable a work."

5. When you behold the consecrated bread and wine, discern the Lord's
body, and reverence it as the representative body and blood of Jesus
Christ; and take heed of profaning it, by looking on it as common
bread and wine: though it be not transubstantiate, but still is very
bread and wine in its natural being, yet it is Christ's body and blood
in representation and effect. Look on it as the consecrated bread of
life, which with the quickening Spirit must nourish you to life

6. When you see the breaking of the bread, and the pouring out of the
wine, let repentance, and love, and desire, and thankfulness, thus
work within you: "O wondrous love! O hateful sin! How merciful, Lord,
hast thou been to sinners! and how cruel have we been to ourselves and
thee! Could love stoop lower? Could God be merciful at a dearer rate?
Could my sin have done a more horrid deed, than put to death the Son
of God? How small a matter hath tempted me to that, which must cost so
dear before it was forgiven! How dear paid my Saviour for that which I
might have avoided at a very cheap rate! At how low a price have I
valued his blood, when I have sinned and sinned again for nothing!
This is my doing! My sins were the thorns, the nails, the spear! Can a
murderer of Christ be a small offender? O dreadful justice! It was I
and such other sinners that deserved to bear the punishment, who were
guilty of the sin; and to have been fuel for the unquenchable flames
for ever. O precious sacrifice! O hateful sin! O gracious Saviour! How
can man's dull and narrow heart be duly affected with such
transcendent things? or heaven make its due impression upon an inch of
flesh? Shall I ever again have a dull apprehension of such love? or
ever have a favourable thought of sin? or ever have a fearless thought
of justice? O break or melt this hardened heart, that it may be
somewhat conformed to my crucified Lord! The tears of love and true
repentance are easier than the flames from which I am redeemed. O hide
me in these wounds, and wash me in this precious blood! This is the
sacrifice in which I trust; this is the righteousness by which I must
be justified, and saved from the curse of thy violated law! As thou
hast accepted this, O Father, for the world, upon the cross, behold it
still on the behalf of sinners; and hear his blood that crieth unto
thee for mercy to the miserable, and pardon us, and accept us as thy
reconciled children, for the sake of this crucified Christ alone! We
can offer thee no other sacrifice for sin; and we need no other."

7. When the minister applieth himself to God by prayer, for the
efficacy of this sacrament, that in it he will give us Christ and his
benefits, and pardon, and justify us, and accept us as his reconciled
children, join heartily and earnestly in these requests, as one that
knoweth the need and worth of such a mercy.

8. When the minister delivereth you the consecrated bread and wine,
look upon him as the messenger of Christ, and hear him as if Christ by
him said to you, "Take this my broken body and blood, and feed on it
to everlasting life; and take with it my sealed covenant, and therein
the sealed testimony of my love, and the sealed pardon of your sins,
and a sealed gift of life eternal: so be it, you unfeignedly consent
unto my covenant, and give up yourselves to me as my redeemed ones."
Even as in delivering the possession of house or lands, the deliverer
giveth a key, and a twig, and a turf, and saith, "I deliver you this
house, and I deliver you this land;" so doth the minister by Christ's
authority deliver you Christ, and pardon, and title to eternal life.
Here is an image of a sacrificed Christ of God's own appointing, which
you may lawfully use; and more than an image; even an investing
instrument, by which these highest mercies are solemnly delivered to
you in the name of Christ. Let your hearts therefore say with joy and
thankfulness, with faith and love, "O matchless bounty of the eternal
God! what a gift is this! and unto what unworthy sinners! And will God
stoop so low to man? and come so near him? and thus reconcile his
worthless enemies? Will he freely pardon all that I have done? and
take me into his family and love, and feed me with the flesh and blood
of Christ? I believe; Lord, help mine unbelief. I humbly and
thankfully accept thy gifts! Open thou my heart, that I may yet more
joyfully and thankfully accept them. Seeing God will glorify his love
and mercy by such incomprehensible gifts as these, behold, Lord, a
wretch that needeth all this mercy! And seeing it is the offer of thy
grace and covenant, my soul doth gladly take thee for my God and
Father, for my Saviour and my Sanctifier. And here I give up myself
unto thee, as thy created, redeemed, and (I hope) regenerate one; as
thy own, thy subject, and thy child, to be saved and sanctified by
thee, to be beloved by thee, and to love thee to everlasting. O seal
up this covenant and pardon, by thy Spirit, which thou sealest and
deliverest to me in thy sacrament; that without reserve I may be
entirely and for ever thine!"

9. When you see the communicants receiving with you, let your very
hearts be united to the saints in love, and say, "How goodly are thy
tents, O Jacob! How amiable is the family of the Lord! How good and
pleasant is the unity of brethren! How dear to me are the precious
members of my Lord! though they have yet all their spots and
weaknesses, which he pardoneth, and so must we. My goodness, O Lord,
extendeth not unto thee; but unto thy saints, the excellent ones on
earth, in whom is my delight. What portion of my estate thou
requirest, I willingly give unto the poor, and if I have wronged any
man, I am willing to restore it. And seeing thou hast loved me an
enemy, and forgiven me so great a debt, I heartily forgive those that
have done me wrong, and love my enemies. O keep me in thy family all
my days, for a day in thy courts is better than a thousand, and the
door-keepers in thy house are happier than the most prosperous of the

10. When the minister returneth thanks and praise to God, stir up your
souls to the greatest alacrity; and suppose you saw the heavenly hosts
of saints and angels praising the same God in the presence of his
glory; and think with yourselves, that you belong to the same family
and society as they, and are learning their work, and must shortly
arrive at their perfection: strive therefore to imitate them in love
and joy; and let your very souls be poured out in praises and
thanksgiving. And when you have the next leisure for your private
thoughts, (as when the minister is exhorting you to your duty,)
exercise your love, and thanks, and faith, and hope, and self-denial,
and resolution for future obedience, in some such breathings of your
souls as these: "O my gracious God, thou hast surpassed all human
comprehension in thy love! Is this thy usage of unworthy prodigals? I
feared lest thy wrath as a consuming fire would have devoured such a
guilty soul; and thou wouldst have charged upon me all my folly. But
while I condemned myself, thou hast forgiven and justified me; and
surprised me with the sweetest embracements of thy love! I see now
that thy thoughts are above our thoughts, and thy ways above our ways,
and thy love excelleth the love of man, even more than the heavens are
above the earth. With how dear a price hast thou redeemed a wretch
that deserved thy everlasting vengeance! with how precious and sweet a
feast hast thou entertained me, who deserved to be cast out with the
workers of iniquity! Shall I ever more slight such love as this? shall
it not overcome my rebelliousness, and melt down my cold and hardened
heart? shall I be saved from hell, and not be thankful? Angels are
admiring these miracles of love; and shall not I admire them? Their
love to us doth cause them to rejoice, while they stand by and see our
heavenly feast; and should it not be sweeter to us that are the guests
that feed upon it? My God, how dearly hast thou purchased my love! how
strangely hast thou deserved and sought it! Nothing is so much my
grief and shame, as that I can answer such love with no more fervent,
fruitful love. Oh what an addition would it be to all this precious
mercy, if thou wouldst give me a heart to answer these thine
invitations, that thy love, thus poured out, might draw forth mine,
and my soul might flame by its approaching unto these thy flames! and
that love, drawn out by the sense of love, might be all my life! Oh
that I could love thee as much as I would love thee! yea, as much as
thou wouldst have me love thee! But this is too great a happiness for
earth! But thou hast showed me the place where I may attain it! My
Lord is there in full possession; who hath left me these pledges, till
he come and fetch us to himself, and feast us there in our Master's
joy. O blessed place! O happy company that see his glory, and are
filled with the streams of those rivers of consolation! yea, happy we
whom thou hast called from our dark and miserable state, and made us
heirs of that felicity, and passengers to it, and expectants of it,
under the conduct of so sure a guide! O then we shall love thee
without these sinful pauses and defects, in another measure and in
another manner than now we do; when thou shalt reveal and communicate
thy attractive love, in another measure and manner than now! Till
then, my God, I am devoted to thee; by right and covenant I am thine!
My soul here beareth witness against myself, that my defects of love
have no excuse: thou deservest all, if I had the love of all the
saints in heaven and earth to give thee. What hath this world to do
with my affections? And what is this sordid, corruptible flesh, that
its desires and pleasures should call down my soul, and tempt it to
neglect my God? What is there in all the sufferings that man can lay
upon me, that I should not joyfully accept them for his sake, that
hath redeemed me from hell, by such unmatched, voluntary sufferings?
Lord, seeing thou regardest, and so regardest so vile a worm, my
heart, my tongue, my hand confess, that I am wholly thine. O let me
live to none but thee, and to thy service, and thy saints on earth!
And O let me no more return unto iniquity! nor venture on that sin
that killed my Lord! And now thou hast chosen so low a dwelling, O be
not strange to the heart that thou hast so freely chosen! O make it
the daily residence of thy Spirit! Quicken it by thy grace; adorn it
with thy gifts; employ it in thy love; delight it in its attendance on
thee; refresh it with thy joys and the light of thy countenance; and
destroy this carnality, selfishness, and unbelief: and let the world
see that God will make a palace of the lowest heart, when he chooseth
it for the place of his own abode."

_Direct._ VIII. When you come home review the mercy which you
have received, and the duty which you have done, and the covenant you
have made: and, 1. Betake yourselves to God in praise and prayer, for
the perfecting of his work. And, 2. Take heed to your hearts that they
grow not cold, and that worldly things, or diverting trifles, do not
blot out the sacred impressions which Christ hath made, and that they
cool not quickly into their former dull and sleepy frame. 3. And see
that your lives be actuated by the grace that you have here received,
that even they that you converse with may perceive that you have been
with God. Especially when temptations would draw you again to sin; and
when the injuries of friends or enemies would provoke you, and when
you are called to testify your love to Christ, by any costly work or
suffering; remember then what was so lately before your eyes, and upon
your heart, and what you resolved on, and what a covenant you made
with God. Yet judge not of the fruit of your receiving, so much by
feeling, as by faith; for more is promised than you yet possess.

[71] Matt. xxvi. 28; Mark xiv. 24; Luke xxii. 20; 1 Cor. xi. 25; Heb.
ix. 15-18; 1 Cor. x. 16, 24; John vi. 32, 35, 51, 58.

[72] 1 Cor. xi. 27-29, 31; x. 16, 17, 21; xi. 25, 26; vi. 14; Acts ii.
42, 46; xx. 7.

[73] Rom. vi. 9; 1 Cor. xv. 3; 2 Cor. v. 14, 15; Heb. ix. 16; x. 12, 16;
ix. 24.

[74] Non absque probatione et examine panem illum præbendum esse neque
novis neque veteribus Christianis. Quod siquis est fornicator, aut
ebriosus, aut idolis serviens, cum ejusmodi etiam communem cibum
capere vetat apostolus, nedum cœlesti mensa communicare, saith a
Jesuit, Acosta, l. vi. c. 10. And after, Neque enim ubi perspecta est
superstitionis antiquæ aut ebriositatis, aut fœdæ consuetudinis
macula, ad altare Indus debet admitti, nisi contraria opera illam
manifeste et diligenter eluerint.--Christianis concedatur; sed
Non-Christiano, dignis moribus subtrahatur. Pag. 549.

[75] John iii. 5; 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13; xv. 45; Gal. iii. 14: iv. 6;
Eph. ii. 22.

[76] Quinam autem indigni, ineptive sint, quibus Angelorum panis
præbetur, sacerdotum ipso audita confessione, cæterisque perspectis
judicium esto. Acosta, lib. vi. c. 10. pag. 519.

[77] 2 Cor. xiii. 13; Matt. x. 28.

[78] Commandment ii. & iii.; Lev. x. 2, 3.

[79] 1 Cor. xi. 28, 29.

[80] Vide Synod Dortdract. suffrag. Theol. Brit. in Artic. 5.

[81] Psal. iv. 4-6.

[82] Gildas de Excid. Britt. speaketh thus to the better sort of
pastors then; Quis perosus est consilium malignantium? et cum impiis
non sedit? Quis eorum salutari in area hoc est, nunc ecclesia, nullum
Deo adversantem, ut Noe diluvii tempore, non admisit? ut perspicue
monstraretur non nisi innoxios vel poenitentes egregios, in dominica
domo esse debere.

[83] Mr. Paybodie's book, I think unanswerable.

[84] Numb. xxiv. 5; Psal. cxxxiii.; xv. 4; xvi. 2, 3; Luke xix. 8;
Psal. lxxxiv. 10.



HAVING directed families in the duties of their relations, and in
the right worshipping of God, I shall speak something of the special
duties of some christians, who in regard of their state of soul and
body, have special need of help and counsel. As, 1. The doubting,
troubled christian. 2. The declining, or backsliding christian. 3. The
poor. 4. The aged. 5. The sick. 6. And those that are about the sick
and dying. Though these might seem to belong rather to the first
part,[85] yet because I would have those directions lie here together,
which the several sorts of persons in families most need, I have
chosen to reserve them rather to this place. The special duties of the
strong, the rich, and the youthful and healthful, I omit, because I
find the book grow big, and you may gather them from what is said
before, on several such subjects. And the directions which I shall
first give to doubting christians, shall be but a few brief memorials,
because I have done that work already, in my "Directions or Method for
Peace of Conscience and Spiritual Comfort;" and much is here said
before, in the directions against melancholy and despair.

_Direct._ I. Find out the special cause of your doubts and
troubles, and bend most of your endeavours to remove that cause. The
same cure will not serve for every doubting soul, no nor for every one
that hath the very same doubts; for the causes may be various, though
the doubts should be the same; and the doubts will be continued while
the cause remaineth.

1. In some persons the chief cause is a timorous, weak, and passionate
temper of body and mind; which in some (especially of the weaker sex)
is so natural a disease, that there is no hope of a total cure; though
yet we must direct and support such as well as we are able. These
persons have so weak a head, and such powerful passions, that passion
is their life; and according to passion they judge of themselves, and
of all their duties. They are ordinarily very high or very low; full
of joy, or sinking in despair; but usually fear is their predominant
passion. And what an enemy to quietness and peace strong fears are, is
easily observed in all that have them. Assuring evidence will not
quiet such fearful minds, nor any reason satisfy them. The directions
for these persons must be the same which I have before given against
melancholy and despair. Especially that the preaching and books and
means which they make use of, be rather such as tend to inform the
judgment, and settle the will, and guide the life, than such as by the
greatest fervency tend to awaken them to such passions or affections
which they are unable to manage.

2. With others the cause of their troubles is melancholy, which I have
long observed to be the commonest cause, with those godly people that
remain in long and grievous doubts; where this is the cause, till it
be removed, other remedies do but little; but of this I have spoken at
large before.

3. In others the cause is a habit of discontent, and peevishness, and
impatiency; because of some wants or crosses in the world: because
they have not what they would have, their minds grow ulcerated, like a
body that is sick or sore, that carrieth about with them the pain and
smart; and they are still complaining of the pain which they feel; but
not of that which maketh the sore, and causeth the pain. The cure of
these is either in pleasing them that they may have their will in all
things, (as you rock children and give them that which they cry for to
quiet them,) or rather to help to cure their impatiency, and settle
their minds against their childish, sinful discontents (of which

4. In others the cause is error or great ignorance about the tenor of
the covenant of grace, and the redemption wrought by Jesus Christ, and
the work of sanctification, and evidences thereof; they know not on
what terms Christ dealeth with sinners in the pardoning of sin, nor
what are the infallible signs of sanctification: it is sound teaching,
and diligent learning, that must be the cure of these.

5. In others the cause is a careless life or frequent sinning, and
keeping the wounds of conscience still bleeding; they are still
fretting the sore, and will not suffer it to skin: either they live in
railing and contention, or malice, or some secret lust, or fraud, or
some way stretch and wrong their consciences; and God will not give
his peace and comfort to them till they reform. It is a mercy that
they are disquieted, and not given over to a seared conscience, which
is past feeling.

6. In others the cause of their doubts is, placing their religion too
much in humiliation, and in a continual poring on their hearts, and
overlooking or neglecting the high and chiefest parts of religion,
even the daily studies of the love of God, and the riches of grace in
Jesus Christ, and hereby stirring up the soul to love and delight in
God. When they make this more of their religion and business, it will
bring their souls into a sweeter relish.

7. In others the cause is, such weakness of parts, and confusion of
thoughts, and darkness of mind, that they are not able to examine
themselves, nor to know what is in them; when they ask themselves any
question about their repentance or love to God, or any grace, they are
fain to answer like strangers, and say, they cannot tell whether they
do it or not. These persons must make more use than others of the
judgment of some able, faithful guide.

8. But of all others, the commonest cause of uncertainty, is the
weakness or littleness of grace: when it is so little as to be next to
none at all, no wonder if it be hardly and seldom discerned:

_Direct._ II. Be not neglecters of self-examination, but labour
for skill to manage aright so great a work; but yet let your care and
diligence be much greater to get grace and use it, and increase it,
than to try whether you have it already or not. For, in examination,
when you have once taken a right course to be resolved, and yet are in
doubt as much as before, your over-much poring upon these trying
questions, will do you but little good, and make you but little the
better, but the time and labour may be almost lost: whereas all the
labour which you bestow in getting, and using, and increasing grace,
is bestowed profitably to good purpose; and tendeth first to your
safety and salvation, and next that, to your easier certainty and
comfort. There is no such way in the world to be certain that you have
grace, as to get so much as is easily discerned and will show itself,
and to exercise it much that it may come forth into observation: when
you have a strong belief you will easily be sure that you believe:
when you have a fervent love to Christ and holiness, and to the word
and ways and servants of God, you will easily be assured that you love
them. When you strongly hate sin, and live in universal constant
obedience, you will easily discern your repentance and obedience. But
weak grace will have but weak assurance and little consolation.

_Direct._ III. Set yourselves with all your skill and diligence
to destroy every sin of heart and life, and make it your principal
care and business to do your duty, and please and honour God in your
place, and to do all the good you can in the world: and trust God with
your souls, as long as you wait upon him in his way. If you live in
wilful sin and negligence, be not unwilling to be reproved and
delivered! If you cherish your sensual, fleshly lusts, and set your
hearts too eagerly on the world, or defend your unpeaceableness and
passion, or neglect your own duty to God or man, and make no
conscience of a true reformation, it is not any inquiries after signs
of grace, that will help you to assurance. You may complain long
enough before you have ease, while such a thorn is in your foot.
Conscience must be better used before it will speak a word of sound,
well-grounded peace to you. But when you set yourselves with all your
care and skill to do your duties, and please your Lord, he will not
let your labour be in vain: he will take care of your peace and
comfort, while you take care of your duty: and in this way you may
boldly trust him: only think not hardly and falsely of the goodness of
that God whom you study to serve and please.

_Direct._ IV. Be sure whatever condition you are in, that you
understand, and hold fast, and improve the general grounds of comfort,
which are common to mankind, so far as they are made known to them:
and they are three, which are the foundation of all our comfort. 1.
The goodness and mercifulness of God in his very nature. 2. The
sufficiency of the satisfaction or sacrifice of Christ. 3. The
universality, and freeness, and sureness of the covenant or promise of
pardon and salvation to all, that by final impenitence and unbelief do
not continue obstinately to reject it (or to all that unfeignedly
repent and believe). (1.) Think not meanly and poorly of the infinite
goodness of God:[86] even to Moses he proclaimed his name at the
second delivery of the law, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and
gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping
mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin,"
Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. His mercy is over all his works; it is great and
reacheth to the heavens; it is firm and endureth for ever; "and he
hath pleasure in those that hope in his mercy," Psal. cxlvii. 11; c. 5;
xxxiii. 18; lvii. 10; cviii. 4. (2.) Extenuate not the merits and
sacrifice of Christ; but know that never man was damned for want of a
Christ to die and be a sacrifice for his sin, but only for want of
repentance and faith in him, John iii. 16. (3.) Deny not the
universality of the conditional promise of pardon and salvation, to
all that it is offered to, and will accept it on the offerer's terms.
And if you do but feel these three foundations firm and stedfast under
you, it will encourage every willing soul. The love of God was the
cause of our redemption by Christ; redemption was the foundation of
the promise or new covenant: and he that buildeth on this threefold
foundation is safe.

_Direct._ V. When you come to try your particular title to the
blessings of the covenant, be sure that you well understand the
condition of the covenant; and look for the performance of that
condition in yourselves, as the infallible evidence of your title: and
know that the condition is nothing but an unfeigned consent unto the
covenant; or such a belief of the gospel, as maketh you truly willing
of all the mercies offered in the gospel, and of the duties required
in order to those mercies; and that nothing depriveth any man that
heareth the gospel of Christ, and pardon, and salvation, but obstinate
unwillingness or refusal of the mercy, and the necessary annexed
duties.[87] Understand this well, and then peruse the covenant of
grace (which is but to take God for your God and happiness, your
Father, your Saviour, and your Sanctifier): and then ask your hearts,
whether here be any thing that you are unwilling of; and unwilling of
in a prevailing degree, when it is greater than your willingness: and
if truly you are willing to be in covenant with your God, and Saviour,
and Sanctifier upon these terms, know that your consent, or
willingness, or acceptance of the mercy offered you, is your true
performance of the condition of your title, and consequently the
infallible evidence of your title; even as marriage consent is a
title-condition to the person and privileges: and therefore if you
find this, your doubts are answered; you have found as good an
evidence as Scripture doth acquaint us with; and if this will not
quiet and satisfy you, you understand not the business; nor is it
reason or evidence that can satisfy you till you are better prepared
to understand them. But if really you are unwilling, and will not
consent to the terms of the covenant, then instead of doubting, be
past doubt that you are yet unsanctified; and your work is presently
to consider better of the terms and benefits, and of those unreasonable
reasons that make you unwilling; till you see that your happiness
lieth upon the business, and that you have all the reason in the world
to make you willing, and no true reason for the withholding of your
consent; and when the light of these considerations hath prevailed for
your consent, the match is made, and your evidence is sure.

_Direct._ VI. Judge not of your hearts and evidences upon every
sudden glance or feeling, but upon a sober, deliberate examination,
when your minds are in a clear, composed frame; and as then you find
yourselves, record the judgment or discovery, and believe not every
sudden, inconsiderate appearance, or passionate fear, against that
record. Otherwise you will never be quiet or resolved; but carried up
and down by present sense. The case is weighty, and not to be decided
by a sudden aspect, nor by a scattered or a discomposed mind; if you
call your unprovided or your distempered understandings suddenly to so
great a work, no wonder if you are deceived. You must not judge of
colours when your eye is blood-shotten, or when you look through a
coloured glass, or when the object is far off. It is like casting up a
long and difficult account, which must be done deliberately as a work
of time; and when it is so done, and the sums subscribed, if
afterwards you will question that account again, you must take as full
a time to do it, and that when you are as calm and vacant as before,
and not unsettle an exact account upon a sudden view, or a thought of
some one particular. Thus must you trust to no examinations and
decisions about the state of your souls, but those that in long and
calm deliberation have brought it to an issue.

_Direct._ VII. And in doing this, neglect not to make use of the
assistance of an able, faithful guide, so far as your own weakness
makes it necessary. Your doubting showeth that you are not sufficient
to despatch it satisfactorily yourselves; the question then is, what
help a wiser man can give you? Why, he can clearlier open to you the
true nature of grace, and the marks that are infallible, and the
extent of the grace and tenor of the covenant; and he can help you how
to trace your hearts, and observe the discoveries of good or evil in
them; he can show you your mistakes, and help you in the application,
and tell you much of his own and others' experiences; and he can pass
a strong conjecture upon your own case in particular, if he be one
that knoweth the course of your lives, and is intimately acquainted
with you; for sin and grace are both expressive, operative things,
like life, that ordinarily will stir, or fire, that will be seen:
though their judgment cannot be infallible of you, and though for a
while hypocrisy may hide you from the knowledge of another, yet
_ficta non diu_, &c. ordinarily nature will be seen, and that
which is within you will show itself; so that your familiar
acquaintance, that see your lives in private and in public, may pass a
very strong conjecture at your state, whether you set yourselves
indeed to please God in sincerity or no. Therefore, if possible,
choose such a man to help you, as is, 1. Able; 2. Faithful; and 3.
Well acquainted with you; and undervalue not his judgment.

_Direct._ VIII. When you cannot attain to a certainty of your
case, undervalue not and neglect not the comforts which a bare
probability may afford you. I know that a certainty in so weighty a
case, should be earnestly desired, and endeavoured to the uttermost.
But yet it is no small comfort which a likelihood or hopefulness may
yield you. Husband and wife are uncertain every day, whether one of
them may kill the other; and yet they can live comfortably together,
because it is an unlikely thing; and though it be possible, it is not
much to be feared. All the comforts of christians dependeth not on
their assurance; it is but few christians in the world that reach to
clear assurance; for all the papists, Lutherans, and Arminians are
without any certainty of their salvation; because they think it cannot
be had; and all those Jansenists, or protestants that are of
Augustine's judgment, are without assurance of salvation, though they
may have assurance of their justification and sanctification; because
their judgment is that the justified and sanctified (though not the
elect) may fall away. And of those that hold the doctrine of
perseverance, how few do we find, that can say, they are certain of
their sincerity and salvation. Alas, not one of very many. And yet
many thousands of these do live in some peace of conscience, and
quietness, and comfort, in the hopefulness and probabilities to which
they have attained.

_Direct._ IX. Resolve to be much in the great, delightful duties
of thanksgiving and the praise of God; and to spend a considerable
part (ordinarily) of all your prayers herein; especially to spend the
Lord's day principally in these. And thus you will have three great
advantages: 1. The very actings of love, and thanks, and joy, will
help you to comfort in a nearer way, than arguments and self-examination
will do; even in a way of feeling, as the fire maketh you warm. 2. The
custom of exercising those sweetest graces, will habituate your souls
to it, and in time wear out the sadder impression. 3. God will most
own you in those highest duties.

_Direct._ X. Mark well now far your doubtings do help or hinder
you in your sanctification. So far as they turn your heart from God,
and from the love and sweetness of a holy life, and unfit you for
thankfulness and cheerful obedience; so far you may be sure that Satan
is gratified by them, and God displeased, and therefore they should be
resisted: but so far as they keep you humble and obedient, and make
you more tenderly afraid of sin, and quicken your desires of Christ
and grace, so far God useth them for your benefit. And therefore be
not too impatient under them, but wait on God in the use of his means,
and he will give his comforts in the fittest season. Many a one hath
sweet assurance at his death, or in his sufferings, for Christ when he
needed it most, that was fain to live long before without it.
Especially take care, 1. That you miss not of assurance through your
own neglect. 2. And that your doubtings work no ill effects, in
turning away your hearts from God, or discouraging you in his service;
and then you may take them as a trial of your patience, and they will
certainly have a happy end.

[85] See part i. chap. vii. tit. 10. Of despair.

[86] Psalm ciii. 8, 11, 17; lxxxix. 2; lxxxvi. 5, 15; xxv. 10;
cxix. 64; cxxxviii. 8; cxxvi. 5.

[87] For more particular marks, see those before mentioned
in preparation for the sacrament.



THE case of backsliders is so terrible, and yet the mistakes of many
christians so common in thinking unjustly that they are backsliders,
that this subject must be handled with the greater care. And when I
have first given some directions for the cure, I shall next give some
to others for prevention, of so sad a state.

_Direct._ I. Understand well wherein backsliding doth consist,
the sorts, and the degrees of it, that so you may the more certainly
and exactly discern, whether it be indeed your case, or not. To this
end, I shall here open to you, I. The several sorts of backsliders.
II. The several steps or degrees of backsliding. III. The signs of it.

I. There are in general three sorts of backsliders. 1. Such as decline
from the truth by the error of their understanding. 2. Such as turn
from the goodness of God and holiness, by the corruption of their will
and affections. 3. Such as turn from the obedience of God, and an
upright conversation, by the sinfulness of their lives.

The first sort containeth in it, 1. Such as decline to infidelity from
faith; and doubt of the truth of the word of God. 2. Such as decline
only to error, about the meaning of the Scriptures, though they doubt
not of the truth of them. This corrupted judgment will presently
corrupt both heart and life.

The second sort (backsliders in heart) containeth, 1. Such as only
lose their affections to good; their complacency and desire; and lose
their averseness and zeal against sin. 2. And such as lose the very
resolution of the will also, and grow unresolved what to do, if not
resolved to do evil, and to omit that which is good.

The third sort (backsliders in life) comprehendeth, 1. Those that fall
from duty, towards God or man. 2. And those that fall into positive
sins, and turn to sensuality, in voluptuousness, worldliness, or

II. 1. Backsliders in judgment, do sometimes fall by slow degrees, and
sometimes suddenly at once. Those that fall by degrees, do some of
them begin in the failing of the understanding; but most of them begin
at the failing or falseness of the heart, and the corrupted will
corrupteth the understanding.

[Sidenote: The method of falling into heresy or sects.]

I. Those that fall by degrees through the failing of the
understanding, are those simple souls that never were well grounded in
the truth: and some of them reason themselves into error or unbelief;
and others of them (which is most usual) are led into it by the
cunning and diligence of seducers. And for the degrees, they grow
first to doubt of some arguments which formerly seemed valid to them;
and then they doubt of the truth itself; or else they hear some
argument from a seducer, which, through their own weakness, they are
unable to answer; and then they yield to it, as thinking that it is
right, because they see not what is to be said against it, and know
not what others know to the contrary, nor how easily another can
confute it. And when once they are brought into a suspicion of one
point, which they formerly held, they quickly suspect all the rest;
grow into a suspicion and disaffection to the persons whom they did
before most highly value. And then they grow into a high esteem of the
persons and party that seduced them; and think that they that are
wiser in one thing, are wiser in the rest: and so are prepared to
receive all the errors which follow that one, which they first
received. And next they embody with the sect that seduced them; and
separate from the sober, united part of the church: and so they grow
to a zealous importunity for the increase of their party, and to lose
their charity to those that are against their way; and to corrupt
their morals, in thinking all dishonesty lawful, which seemeth
necessary to promote the interest of their sect, which they think is
the interest of the truth and of God. And at last, it is like they
will grow weary of that sect, and hearken to another, and another;
till in the end, they come to one of these periods; either to settle
in popery, as the easiest religion; and being taken with their
pretence of antiquity, stability, unity, and universality; or else to
turn to atheism or infidelity, and take all religion for a mere
deceit; or else if (they retained an honest heart in their former
wanderings) God showeth them their folly, and bringeth them back to
unity and charity, and maketh them see the vanity of those reasonings
which before seduced them, and which once they thought were some
spiritual, celestial light. This is the common course of error; when
the understanding is the most notable cause. But sometimes a deceiver
prevaileth with them on a sudden, by such false appearances of truth
which they are unable to confute. But still an ill-prepared,
unfurnished mind is the chiefest cause.

(2.) But those whose judgments are conquered by the perverse
inclination of their wills, are usually carnal, worldly hypocrites,
who never conquered the fleshly mind and interest, nor overcame the
world, nor ever were acquainted with the heavenly nature and life, nor
with the power of divine love; and these having made a change of their
profession, through the mere conviction of their understandings, and
benefit of education or government, or the advantages of religion in
the country where they live, without a renewed, holy heart, the bias
of their hearts doth easily prevail against the light of their
understandings; and because they would fain have those doctrines to be
true, which save them from sufferings, or give them liberty for a
fleshly, ambitious, worldly life, therefore they do by degrees prevail
with their understandings to receive them.

2. Backsliders in heart do fall by divers degrees and means; for
Satan's methods are not always the same. Some of them fall through the
corruption of their judgments; for every error hath much influence on
the heart. Some are tempted suddenly into some gross or sensual sin;
and so the errors of their lives call away their hearts from God. Not
but that some sin of the heart or will doth still go first, but yet
the extraordinary declension and pravity of the heart, may sometimes
be caused by the errors of the judgment, or the life. But sometimes
the beginning and progress is almost observable in the appetite and
will itself: and here the inclining to evil, (that is, to sensual or
carnal good,) and the declining from true, spiritual good, do almost
always go together. And it is most usually by this method, and by
these degrees.

1. The devil usually beginneth with the fantasy and appetite, and
representeth some worldly, fleshly thing, as very pleasant and
desirable. 2. Next that, he causeth this complacency to entice the
thoughts; so that they are much and oft in thinking on this pleasure.
3. Next that, the will is drawn into a liking of it, and he wisheth he
might enjoy it (whether it be riches, or pleasant dwellings, or
pleasant company, or pleasant meats or drinks, or fleshly
accommodations, or apparel, or honour, or command, or ease, or lust,
or sports and recreations, or whatever else). 4. Next that, the
understanding is drawn into the design, and is casting and contriving
how it may be obtained, and all lawful means are first considered of,
that, if possible, the business might be accomplished without the
hazard of the soul. Next to that, endeavours are used to that end, by
such means as are supposed lawful, and the conscience quieted with the
conceit of the harmlessness and security. 6. By this time the man is
engaged in his carnal cause and course, and so the difficulty of
returning is increased; and the inclination of the heart groweth
stronger to the sensual pleasure than before. 7. And then he is drawn
to prosecute his design by any means, how sinful soever; if it be
possible, making himself believe by some reasonings or other, that all
is lawful still; or if the case be too palpable to be so cloaked,
conscience, at last, is cast asleep, and seared, and stupified, that
it may be silent under all; till either grace or vengeance awake the
sinner, and make him amazed at his madness and stupidity. This is the
most usual method of the heart's relapse to positive evil.

And by such degrees doth the heart decline from the love of God and
goodness: as, 1. The thoughts are diverted to some carnal vanity that
is over-loved; and the thoughts of God are seldomer and shorter, than
they were wont to be. 2. And at the same time, the thoughts of God do
grow less serious and pleasing, and more dead and lifeless. 3. And
then the means which should kindle love, are used with more dulness,
and remissness, and indifferency. 4. And then conscience being galled
with the guilt of wilful omissions and commissions, (being acquainted
with the fleshly designs of the heart,) doth raise a secret fear of
God's displeasure. And this being not strong enough to restrain the
man from sin, doth make his sin greater, and maketh him very backward
to draw near to God, or seriously to think of him, or call upon him;
and turneth love into terror and aversation. 5. And if God do not stop
and recover the sinner, he will next grow quite weary of God, and out
of love with a holy life, and change him for his worldly, fleshly
pleasures. 6. And next that, he will entertain some infidel, or
atheistical, or libertine doctrine, which may quiet him in his course
of sin, by justifying it, and will conform his judgment to his heart.
7. And next that, he will hate God, and his ways, and servants, and
turn a persecutor of them; till vengeance lay him in hell, where pain
and desperation will increase his hatred; but his fleshly pleasure,
and malicious persecution, shall be for ever at an end.

3. Backsliders in life and practice, do receive the first infection at
the heart; and the life declineth no further than the heart declineth:
but yet I distinguish this sort from the other, as the effect from the
cause; and the rather, because some few do much decline in heart, that
yet seem to keep much blamelessness of life in the eye of men: and it
is usually done by these degrees.

(1.) In the man's backsliding into positive sin, (as sensuality or
worldliness,) the heart being prepared as before. 1. The judgment doth
reason more remissly against sin, than it did before; and the will
doth oppose it with less resolution, and with greater faintness and
indifferency. 2. Then the sinner tasteth of the bait, and first
draweth as near to sin as he dare, and embraceth the occasions and
opportunities of sinning, while yet he thinketh to yield no further.
And in this case, he is so long disputing with the tempter, and
hearkening to him, and gazing on the bait, till at last he yieldeth;
and having long been playing at the pit's brink, his violent lust or
appetite doth thrust him in. 3. When he hath once sinned (against
knowledge) he is troubled awhile, and this he taketh for true
repentance: and when he is grown into some hope that the first sin is
forgiven him, he is the bolder to venture on the like again; and
thinketh, that the second may be as well forgiven as the first. 4. In
the same order he falleth into it again and again, till it come to a
custom. 5. And by this time he loveth it more, and wisheth it were
lawful, and there were no danger by it. 6. And then he thinketh
himself concerned to prove it lawful to quiet conscience, that it may
not torment him; and therefore he gladly heareth what the justifiers
of his sin can say for it, and he maketh himself believe that the
reasons are of weight. 7. And then he sinneth without remorse.

(2.) So in men's backsliding from the practice of religion: 1. The
heart is alienated and undisposed as aforesaid. 2. And then the life
of the duty doth decay, and it dwindleth towards a dead formality;
like a body in a consumption, the vivid complexion, and strength, and
activity decay. 3. Next this, he can frequently omit a duty,
especially in secret where no man knoweth it; till by degrees he grow
more seldom in it. 4. All this he taketh for a pardoned infirmity,
which consisteth with a state of grace; and therefore he is little
troubled about it. 5. Next this, he loseth all the life and comfort of
religion, and misseth not any duty when he hath omitted it, but is
glad that he escapeth it, and when it is at an end, as an ox is when
he is out of the yoke. 6. Next, he beginneth to hearken to them that
speak against so much ado in religion, as if it were a needless,
unprofitable thing. 7. And if God forsake him, he next repenteth of
his former diligence, and settleth himself, either in a dead course of
such customary lip-service as doth cost him nothing, or else in utter
worldliness and ungodliness, and perhaps at last in malignity and

[Sidenote: Signs of declining.]

III. Though the signs or symptoms of declining may be gathered from
what is said already, I shall add some more. 1. You are declining when
you grow bolder with sin, or with the occasions of it, and temptations
to it, than you were in your more watchful state.[88] 2. When you make
a small matter of those inward corruptions and infirmities, which once
seemed grievous to you, and almost intolerable. 3. When you settle in
a course of profession or religiousness, that putteth your flesh to
little cost, in labour, reproach, or suffering from the ungodly, but
leave out the hard and costly part, and seem to be very religious in
the rest. 4. When you are quiet and contented in the daily, customary
use of ordinances, though you find no profit or increase in grace by
it, or communion with God. 5. When you grow strange to God and Jesus
Christ, and have little converse with him in the Spirit: and your
thoughts of him are few, and cold, and lifeless; and your religion
lieth all in conversing with good men, and good books, and outward
duties. 6. When you grow neglecters of your hearts, and strangers to
them, and find little work about them from day to day, either in
trying them, or watching them, or stirring them up, or mortifying
their corruptions; but your business in religion is most abroad, and
in outward exercises. 7. Yea, though your own hearts and duties be
much of your care and thoughts, you are on the losing hand, if the
wonders of love and grace in Christ have not more of your thoughts, or
if you set not yourselves more to the study of a crucified and
glorified Christ, than of your own distempered hearts. 8. All is not
well with you, when spiritual helps and advantages are less relished
and valued, and you grow more indifferent to the sermons, and prayers,
and sacraments, which once you could not live without; and use them
but as bare duties for necessity, and not as means, with any great
hope of benefit and success. 9. When you grow too regardful of the eye
of man, and too regardless of the eye of God; and are much more
careful about the words and outside of your prayers and discourses,
than the spirit and inward part and manner of them; and dress
yourselves accurately when you appear abroad, as those that would seem
very good to men, but go at home in the sordidest garb of a cold and
careless heart and life. 10. When you grow hottest about some
controverted, smaller matters in religion, or studious of the interest
of some private opinion and party which you have chosen, more than of
the interest of the common truths and cause of Christ. 11. When in
joining with others, you relish more the fineness of the speech, than
the spirit, and weight, and excellency of the matter; and are
impatient of hearing of the wholesomest truths, if the speaker
manifest any personal infirmity in the delivery of them; and are weary
and tired, if you be not drawn on with novelty, variety, or elegancy
of speech. 12. When you grow more indifferent for your company, and
set less by the company of serious, godly christians than you did, and
are almost as well pleased with common company and discourse. 13. When
you grow more impatient of reproof for sin, and love not to be told of
any thing in you that is amiss; but love those best that highliest
applaud you. 14. When the renewing of your repentance is grown a
lifeless, cursory work; when in preparation for the Lord's day, or
sacrament, or other occasions, you call yourselves to no considerable
account, or make no greater a matter of the sins which you find on
your account, than if you were almost reconciled to them. 15. When you
grow more uncharitable and censorious to brethren that differ from you
in tolerable points; and less tender of the names or welfare of
others, and love not your neighbour as yourselves, and do not as you
would be done by. 16. When you grow less compassionate to the ungodly
world, and less regardful of the common interest of the universal
church, and of Jesus Christ, throughout the earth, and grow more
narrow, private spirited, and confine your care to yourselves, or to
your party. 17. When the hopes of heaven, and the love of God, cannot
content you, but you are thirsty after some worldly contentment, and
grow eager in your desires, and the world groweth more sweet to you,
and more amiable in your eyes. 18. When sense, and appetite, and
fleshly pleasure are grown more powerful with you, and you make a
great matter of them, and cannot deny them, without a great deal of
striving and regret, as if you had done some great exploit, if you
live not like a beast.[89] 19. When you are more proud and impatient,
and are less able to bear disesteem, and slighting, and injuries from
men, or poverty, or sufferings for Christ; and make a greater matter
of your losses, or crosses, or wrongs, than beseemeth one that is dead
to the flesh and to the world. 20. Lastly, when you had rather dwell
on earth than be in heaven; and are more unwilling to think of death,
or to prepare for it, and expect it, and are less in love with the
coming of Christ, and are ready to say of this sinful life in flesh,
it is good to be here. All these are signs of a declining state,
though yet you are not come to apostasy.

[Sidenote: Signs of a graceless state.]

But the signs of a mortal, damnable state indeed, are found in these
following degrees: 1. When a man had rather have worldly prosperity,
than the favour and fruition of God in heaven. 2. When the interest of
the flesh can do more with him, than the interest of God and his soul,
and doth more rule and dispose of his heart and life. 3. When he had
rather live in sensuality, than in holiness; and had rather have leave
to live as he list, than have a Christ and Holy Spirit to sanctify and
cure him; or, at least, will not be cured on the terms proposed in the
gospel. 4. When he loveth not the means that would recover him (as
such). The nearer you come to this, the more dangerous is your case.

[Sidenote: Dangerous signs of impenitency.]

And these following signs are therefore of a very dangerous
signification. 1. When the pleasure of sinful prosperity and delights
doth so far overtop the pleasures of holiness, that you are under
trouble and weariness in holy duties, and at ease and merry when you
have your sinful delights. 2. When no persuasion of a minister or
friend, can bring you so thoroughly to repent of your open, scandalous
sins, as to take shame to yourselves in a free confession of them,
(even in the open assembly, if you are justly called to it), to
condemn yourselves, and give warning to others, and glorify the most
holy God: but you will not believe that any such disgraceful
confession is your duty, because you will not do it. 3. When you
cannot bring your hearts to a full resolution to let go your sin; but
though conscience worry and condemn you for it, you do but slightly
purpose hereafter to amend, but will not presently resolve. 4. When
you will not be persuaded to consent to the necessary, effectual means
of your recovery; as to abstain from the bait, and temptation, and
occasion of sin. Many a drunkard hath told me, he was willing to be
reformed; but when I have desired them then to consent to drink no
wine or ale for so many months, and to keep out of the place, and to
commit the government of themselves for so many months to their wives,
or some other friend that liveth with them, and to drink nothing but
what they give them; they would not consent to any of this, and so
showed the hypocrisy of their professed willingness to amend. 5. When
sin becometh easy, and the conscience groweth patient with it, and
quiet under it. 6. When the judgment taketh part with it, and the
tongue will plead for it, and justify or extenuate it, instead of
repenting of it.

These are dangerous signs of an impenitent, unpardoned, miserable
soul. And the man is in a dangerous way to this, 1. When he hath
plunged himself into such engagements to sin that he cannot leave it,
but it will cost him very dear: as it will be his shame to confess it,
or his undoing in the world to forsake it, or a great deal of cost and
labour must be lost, which his ambitious or covetous projects have
cost him: it will be hard breaking over so great difficulties. 2. When
God letteth him alone in sin, and prospereth him in it, or doth not
much disturb him or afflict him. This also is a dangerous case.

[Sidenote: False signs of declining.]

By all this you may perceive, that those are no signs of a backsliding
state, which some poor christians are afraid are such. As, 1. When
poverty necessitateth them to lay out more of their time, and
thoughts, and words about the labours of their callings, than some
richer persons do. 2. When age or sickness causeth their memories to
decay; so that they cannot remember a sermon so well as heretofore. 3.
When age or sickness taketh off the quickness and vigour of their
spirits; so that they have not the lively affections in prayer, or
holy conference, or meditation, or reading, or hearing, as formerly
they had. But (though they are as much as ever resolved for God,
against sin and vanity, yet) they are colder and duller, and have less
zeal, and fervency, and delight in holy exercises. 4. When age, or
weakness, or melancholy, hath decayed or confounded their
imaginations, and ravelled their thoughts, so that they cannot order
them, and command them, as formerly they could. 5. And when age or
melancholy hath weakened their parts and gifts; so that they are of
slower understandings, and unabler in prayer, or preaching, or
conference to express themselves than heretofore. All these are but
bodily changes, and such hinderances of the soul as depend thereon,
and not to be taken for signs of a soul that declineth in holiness,
and is less accepted of God.

_Direct._ II. When you know the marks of a backslider, come into
the light, and be willing to know yourselves, whether this be your
condition, or not, and do not foolishly cover your disease. Inquire
whether it be with you as in former times, when the light of God did
shine upon you, and you delighted in his ways: when you hated sin, and
loved holiness; and were glad of the company of the heirs of life:
when the word of God was pleasant to you; and when you poured out your
souls to him in prayer and thanksgivings: when you were glad of the
Lord's day, and were quickened and confirmed under the teaching and
exhortation of his ministers: when you took worldly wealth and
pleasures, as childish toys and fooleries, in comparison of the
content of holy souls: when you hungered and thirsted after Christ and
righteousness; and had rather have been in heaven to enjoy your God,
and be free from sinning, than to enjoy all the pleasures and
prosperity of this world. And when it was your daily business to
prepare for death, and to live in expectation of the everlasting rest,
which Christ hath promised. If this were once your case, inquire
whether it be so still? or, what alterations are made upon your hearts
and lives?

_Direct._ III. If you find yourselves in a backsliding case, by
all means endeavour the awakening of your souls, by the serious
consideration of the danger and misery of such a state. To which end I
shall here set some such awakening thoughts before you (for security
is your greatest danger).

1. Consider that to fall back from God, was the sin of the devils.
"They are angels that kept not their first estate, but left their own
habitations, and are now reserved in chains under darkness, to the
judgment of the great day," Jude 6. And shall they entice you into
their own condemnation?

2. It was the sin of our first parents Adam and Eve, to revolt from
God, and lose their holiness. And is there any sin that we should more
carefully avoid, than that which all the world hath so much suffered
by? Every one of the creatures that you look on, and every pain and
misery you feel, doth mind you of that sin, and call to you to take
heed by the warning of your first parents, that you suffer not your
hearts to be drawn from God.

3. It is a part of hell that you are choosing upon earth. "Depart from
me, ye cursed," is the sentence on the damned, Matt. xxv. 41; vii. 23.
And will you damn yourselves by departing from God, and that when he
calleth you and obligeth you to him? To be separated from God, is one
half of the misery of the damned.

4. You are drawing back towards the case that you were in, in the days
of your unconverted state. And what a state of darkness, and folly,
and delusion, and sin, and misery, was that! If it were good or
tolerable, why turned you from it? and, why did you so lament it? and,
why did you so earnestly cry out for deliverance? But if it were as
bad as you then apprehended it to be, why do you again turn towards
it? Would you be again in the case you were? Would you perish in it?
Or, would you have all those heart-breakings and terrors to pass
through again? May I not say to you, as Paul to the Galatians, "O
foolish sinners! who hath bewitched you, that you are so soon turned
back?" Gal. iii. 1-4. Who have seen that of sin, and of God, and of
Christ, and of heaven, and of hell, as you have done?

5. Yea, it is a far more doleful state that you are drawing towards,
than that which you were in before. For the guilt of an apostate is
much greater than if he had never known the truth. And his recovery is
more difficult, and of smaller hope: because he is "twice dead and
plucked up by the root," Jude 12. "For if after they have escaped the
pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the
latter end is worse with them than the beginning: for it had been
better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after
they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto
them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The
dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to
her wallowing in the mire," 2 Pet. ii. 20-22. "For if we sin wilfully
(by apostasy) after that we have received the knowledge of the truth,
there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful
looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the
adversaries," Heb. x. 26, 27. I know this speaketh only of total
apostasy from Christ, (such being worthy "of far sorer punishment,
than he that despiseth Moses's law," ver. 28, 29,) but it is a
terrible thing to draw towards so desperate a state. A habit is easier
introduced upon a negation than a privation; in him that never had it,
than in him that hath totally lost it.

6. What abundance of experience do you sin against in your
backsliding! You have had experience of the evil of sin, and of the
smart of repentance, and of the deceitfulness of all that can be said
for sinning; and of the goodness of God, and of the safety and
sweetness of religion: and will you sin against so great experience?
If your horse fall once into a quicksand, he will scarce be forced
into it again; and will you be less wise?

7. What abundance of promises and covenants, which you have made to
God, do you violate in your backsliding? How often in your fears, and
dangers, and sicknesses, at sacraments and days of humiliation, have
you bound yourselves afresh to God! And will you forget all these, and
sin against them?

8. By what multitudes of mercies hath God obliged you! mercies before
your repentance, and mercies that drew you to repent, and mercies
since! How mercifully hath he kept you out of hell! How mercifully
hath he borne with you in all your sins! and maintained you while you
provoked him! and pardoned all that you have done against him (if you
were truly penitent believers)![90] How mercifully hath he taught you,
and sanctified you, and comforted you; and plentifully provided for
you! And yet do you forsake him, and return to folly? For which of all
his mercies is it, that you thus unworthily requite him? Can you
remember how he hath dealt with you, and not be ashamed of your
backslidings? Doth it not melt your heart to look back on his love,
and to think of your ungrateful dealing?

9. Nay, what a multitude of present mercies dost thou run away from!
Doth not thy conscience tell thee, that it is safer and better for
thee to be true to Christ, than to return to sin? Wilt thou take thy
leave of thy God, and thy Redeemer, and thy Comforter? Wilt thou quit
thy title to pardon and protection, and all the promises of grace?
Wilt thou bid farewell to all the comforts of a saint? Dost thou not
tremble to think of such a day? Thou forsakest all these when thou
forsakest God.

10. Yea, look before thee, man, and consider what greater things are
promised thee, than yet thou ever didst enjoy. Christ is conducting
thee to eternal happiness in the sight of God. And wilt thou forsake
thy Guide, and break away from him, and quit all thy hopes of
everlasting life?

11. Consider for what it is, that thou art about to run so great a
hazard? Is it not for some worldly gain or honour, or some fleshly
pleasure, sport, or ease? And hast thou not known long ago what all
these are? What have they done for thee? or what will they ever do?
Can any thing in the world be more causeless and unreasonable, than
thy forsaking God, and turning back from the way of holiness? Will the
world or sin give more for thee, than God will? or be better to thee
here and hereafter? What wouldst thou have in God, or in thy Saviour,
that thou thinkest wanting in him? Is it any thing that the world can
make up, which hath nothing in itself but what is from him? What wrong
hath God, or his service, done thee, that thou shouldst now forsake
him and turn back? For thy soul's sake, man, think of some reasonable
answer to such questions, before thou venture thyself upon a course
which thou hast found so bad and perilous heretofore! Let all the
malice of earth or hell say the worst it can against God and holiness,
it shall never justify thy revolt!

12. Consider what abundance of labour and suffering is all lost, if
thou fall away from Christ. Is all thy hearing, and meditation, and
prayer, come to this? Is all thy self-denial and sufferings for Christ
and godliness come to this? Heb. x. 32-34, "Call to remembrance the
former days, in which after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great
fight of afflictions; partly, while ye were made a gazing-stock both
by reproaches and afflictions, and partly, whilst ye became companions
of them that were so used.--Cast not away therefore your confidence,
which hath great recompence of reward." You should have let Christ
alone, if you would not follow him to the end: he is less foolish that
sitteth still, than he that first tireth himself, and then turneth
again. The idle beggar is not so foolish, as the husbandman that will
plough and sow, and at last lose his crop for want of the labour to
reap it, and carry it home. Shall all thy pains and sufferings be lost
at last, for nothing?

13. God is not so forward to cast you off, who hath just cause; and
why then should you be forward to turn from him? If he had, what had
become of you long ago? Yea, what abundant occasion have you given
him, when he never gave you any at all! Thy sins have testified and
cried against thee! abused mercies have witnessed against thee! and
yet he hath not cast thee off! Satan hath stood up before God to
accuse thee, and glad he would be to see thee utterly forsaken of God,
and yet he hath not utterly forsaken thee: even while thou art
forsaking him, he is protecting and supporting thee, and providing for
thee! Did he forsake thee when thou wast in sickness, want, and
danger? If he had, thou hadst not now been here. And wilt thou begin
and run away from him? What if Christ should offer thee a bill of
divorce, and say, Seeing thou hast so little mind of me, or of my
service, take thy course, and seek another master; I discharge thee
from all thy relations to me, follow thy own way, and take what thou
gettest by it. Would this be welcome tidings to thee? Or durst thou
accept of it, and be gone?

14. If thou do turn back for the pleasures of the flesh, or the
preferments or profits of the world, thou wilt have less pleasure in
them now, than thou hadst heretofore, or than the unconverted have.
For they that sin in the dark, do not know their danger, and therefore
sin not with so much terror, as thou wilt hereafter. Thou hast known
the danger, thou hast confessed the folly; the reasons of God's word
will never be forgotten, nor thy convictions ever totally blotted out:
thou wilt be remembering the ancient kindnesses of Christ, and thy
former purposes, and promises, and ways; and thou wilt be thinking
both of the days that are past, and the days that are to come, and
foreseeing thy terrible account: so that thou wilt sin in such
terrors, that thou wilt have a taste of hell in the very exercise of
thy sin, and be tormented before the time. And will the world and sin
be worth the enjoying on such terms as these?[91]

15. Either thou hopest to recover from thy backsliding by a second
repentance, or else thou purposest to go on. If thou shouldst be so
happy as to be recovered, dost thou know with how much pain and terror
it is like to be accomplished? When thou thinkest of thy backslidings,
and what thou hast done in revolting after such convictions, and
promises, and mercies, and experiences, thou wilt be very hardly kept
from desperation. Thou wilt read such passages, as Heb. vi. 4-6; x.
26-29, with so much horror, that thou wilt hardly be persuaded that
there is any hope: thou wilt be ready to think that thou hast sinned
against the Holy Ghost, and that thou hast trampled under foot the
blood of the covenant, and done despite to the Spirit of grace. And
thou wilt think, that there is no being twice born again! Or, if thou
be restored to life, thou wilt hardly ever be restored to thy comforts
here; if thy backsliding should be very great. But indeed, the danger
is exceeding great, lest thou never be recovered at all, if once thou
be "twice dead, and plucked up by the roots," Jude 6; and lest God do
finally forsake thee! And then how desperate will be thy case!

16. Is not the example of backsliders very terrible, which God hath
set up for the warning of his servants, as monuments of his wrath?
Luke xvii. 32, "Remember Lot's wife," saith Christ, to them that are
about to lose their estates, or goods, or lives, by saving them! How
frightful is the remembrance of a Cain, a Judas, a Saul, a Joash,
2 Chron. xxiv. 2, a Julian! How sad is it to hear but such a one as
Spira, especially at his death, crying out of his backsliding in the
horror of his soul! and to see such ready to make away with

17. Consider, that there is none that so much dishonoureth God as a
backslider. Others are supposed to sin in ignorance; but you do by
your lives as bad as speak such blasphemy as this against the Lord; as
if you should say, I thought once that God had been the best master,
and his servants the wisest and happiest men, and godliness the best
and safest life; but now I have tried both, and I find by experience
that the devil is a better master, and his servants are the happiest
men, and the world and the flesh do give the truest contentment of the
mind. This is the plain blasphemy of your lives. And bethink thee how
God should bear with this!

18. There is none that so much hardeneth the wicked in his sin, and
furthereth the damnation of souls, as the backslider. If you would but
drive your sheep or cattle into a house, those that go in first, do
draw the rest after them; but those that run out again, make all the
rest afraid, and run away. One apostate that hath been noted for
religion, and afterwards turneth off again, doth discourage many that
would come in: for he doth, as it were, say to them by his practice,
Keep off, and meddle not with a religious life; for I have tried it,
and found that a life of worldliness and fleshliness is better. And
people will think with themselves, Such a man hath tried a religious
life, and he hath forsaken it again; and therefore he had some reason
for it, and knew what he did. "Woe to the world, because of offences!
and woe to him, by whom the offence shall come!" Matt. xvii. 7; Luke
xvii. 1. How dreadful a thing is it to think that men's souls should
lie in hell, and you be the cause of it! "It were good for that man,
that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in
the depth of the sea," Matt. xviii. 6, 7; Luke xvii. 2.

19. There is none that are so great a terror to weak christians, as
these backsliders. For they are thinking how far such went before they
fell away; and those that think that true grace may be lost, are
saying, Alas, how shall I stand, when such that were better and
stronger than I have fallen away? And those that think that true grace
cannot be lost, are as much perplexed, and say, How far may a
hypocrite go, that after falleth away! How piously did this man live!
How sorrowfully did he repent! How blamelessly did he walk! How
fervently and constantly did he pray! How savourily did he speak! How
charitably and usefully did he live! And I that come far short of him,
as far as I can discern, can have no assurance that I am sincere, till
I am sure that I go further than ever he did. Woe to thee, that thus
perplexest the consciences of the weak, and hinderest the comforts of

20. Thou art the greatest grief to the faithful ministers of Christ.
Thou canst not conceive what a wound it giveth to the heart and
comforts of a minister, when he hath taken a great deal of pains for
thy conversion, and after that rejoiced when he saw thee come to the
flock of Christ; and after that, laboured many a year to build thee
up, and suffered many a frown from the ungodly, for thy sake; to see
all his labour at last come to nought, and all his glorying of thee
turned to his shame, and all his hopes of thee disappointed! I tell
thee, this is more doleful to his heart, than any outward loss or
cross that could have befallen him: it is not persecution that is his
greatest grief, as long as it hindereth not the good of souls: it is
such as thou that are his sorest persecutors, that frustrate his
labours, and rob him of his joys; and his sorrows shall one day cost
thee dear. The life and comforts of your faithful pastors, is much in
your hands, 2 Cor. vii. 3. 1 Thess. iii. 8, "Now we live, if ye stand
fast in the Lord."

21. Thou art more treacherous to Christ, than thou wouldst be to a
common friend. Wouldst thou forsake thy friend without a cause?
especially an old and tried friend? and especially, when in forsaking
him thou dost forsake thyself? Prov. xxvii. 10, "Thy own friend, and
thy father's friend, forsake not." Prov. xvii. 17, "A friend loveth at
all times; and a brother is born for adversity." If thy friend were in
distress, wouldst thou forsake him? And wilt thou forsake thy God,
that needs thee not, but supplieth thy needs? Ruth was more faithful to
Naomi, Ruth i. 16, 17, that resolved, "Whither thou goest I will go;
and where thou lodgest I will lodge; where thou diest I will die--."
And hath God deserved worse of thee?

22. Nay, thou dealest worse with God, than the devil's servants do
with him: alas, they are too constant to him. Reason will not change
them, nor the commands of God, nor the offers of everlasting life, nor
the fears of hell; nothing will change them, till the Spirit of God do
it. And wilt thou be less constant to thy God?

23. Consider also that thy end is so near, that thou hadst but a
little while longer to have held out; and thou mightst have known that
thou couldst keep thy worldly pleasures but a little while. And it is
a pitiful thing to see a man that hath borne the sorest brunt of the
battle, and run till he is almost at the end of the race, to lose all
for want of a little more; and to see a man sell his God, and soul,
and heaven for fleshly pleasure, when perhaps he hath not a year or
month, or, for aught he knoweth, a day more to enjoy it. For a man to
be weary and give over prayer, just when the mercy is at hand! and to
be weary and give over a holy life, when his labour and sufferings are
almost at an end! How sad will this day be to thee, if death this
night be sent to fetch away thy soul! Then whose will all those
pleasures be that thou soldest thy soul for? Luke. xii. 19-21. If thou
knewest that thou hadst but a month or a year to live, wouldst thou
not have held out that one year? Thou knowest not that it shall be one
week. This is like the sad story of a student in one of our universities,
who wanting money, and his father delaying to send it him, he staid so
long, till at last he resolved to stay no longer, but steal for it
rather than be without; and so went out, and robbed and murdered the
first man he met, who proved to be his father's messenger, that was
bringing him the money that he robbed and killed him for; which when
he perceived by a letter which he found in his pocket, he confessed it
through remorse of conscience, and was hanged; when a few hours'
patience more might have saved his innocency and his life. And so is
it with many a backsliding wretch, that is cut off, not like Zimri and
Cozbi in the act of their sin, yet quickly after; and enjoy the
pleasure which they forsook their God for but a little while.

_Direct._ IV. When you are awakened to see the terribleness of a
relapsed state, presently return and fly to Christ to reconcile your
guilty souls to God; and make a stop and go not one step further in
your sin, nor make any delays in returning to your fidelity. It is too
sad a case to be continued in. If thou darest delay yet longer, and
wilfully sin again, thou art yet impenitent, and thy heart is
hardened; and if the Lord have not mercy on thee, to recall thee
speedily, thou art lost for ever.

_Direct._ V. Make haste away from the occasions of thy sin, and
the company which insnareth thee in it. If thou knewest that they were
robbers that intended to murder thee, thou wouldst be gone; if thou
knewest that they had plague-sores running on them, thou wouldst be
gone. And wilt thou not be gone, when thou knowest that they are the
servants of the devil, that would infect thee with this sin, and cheat
thee of thy salvation? Say not, Is not this company lawful, and that
pleasure lawful? &c. If it be like to entice thy heart to sin, it is
unlawful to thee, whatever it is to others; it is not lawful to undo
thy soul.

_Direct._ VI. Come off by sound and deep repentance, and shame thyself
by free confession, and mince not the matter, and deal not gently
with thy sin, and be not tender of thy fleshly interest, and skin not
over the sore, but go to the bottom, and deceive not thyself with a
seeming cure.[92] Many a one is undone, by repenting by the halves,
and refusing to take shame to themselves by a free confession, and to
engage themselves to a thorough reformation by an openly professed
resolution. Favouring themselves and sparing the flesh, when the sore
should be lanced and searched to the bottom, doth cause many to
perish, while they supposed that they had been cured.

_Direct._ VII. Command thy senses, and at least forbear the
outward acts of sin, while thy conscience considereth further of the
matter. The drunkard cannot say, that he hath not power to shut his
mouth: let the forbidden cup alone; no one compelleth you; you can
forbear it if you will. The same I may say of other such sins of
sensuality. Command thy hand, thy mouth, thy eye, and guard these
entrances and instruments of sin.

_Direct._ VIII. Engage some faithful friend to assist thee in thy
watch. Open all thy case to some one, that is fit to be thy guide or
helper; and resolve that whenever thou art tempted to the sin, thou
wilt go presently and tell them before thou do commit it; and entreat
them to deal plainly with you; and give them power to use any
advantages that may be for your good.

_Direct._ IX. Do your first works, and set yourselves seriously
to all the duties of a holy life; and incorporate yourselves into the
society of the saints: for holy employment and holy company are very
great preservatives against every sin.

_Direct._ X. Go presently to your companions in sin, and lament
that you have joined with them, and earnestly warn and entreat them to
repent; and if they will not, renounce their course and company, and
tell them what God hath showed you of the sin and danger.[93] If
really you will return, as with Peter you have fallen, so with Peter
go out and weep bitterly; and when you are converted, strengthen your
brethren, and help to recover those that you have sinned with, Luke
xxii. 32.

I have suited most of these directions to those that relapse into sins
of sensuality, rather than to them that fall into atheism, infidelity,
or heresy; because I have spoken against these sins already; and the
directions there given, show the way for the recovery of such.

_Tit. 2. Directions for preventing Backsliding, or for Perseverance._

Apostasy and backsliding is a state that is more easily prevented than
cured; and therefore I shall desire those that stand, to use these
following directions, lest they fall.

_Direct._ I. Be well grounded in the nature and reasons of your
religion. For it is not the highest zeal and resolution that will
cause you to persevere, if your judgments be not furnished with
sufficient reasons to confute gainsayers, and evidence the truth, and
tell you why you should persevere. I speak that with grief and shame
which cannot be concealed; the number of christians is so small that
are well seen in the reasons and methods of christianity, and are able
to prove what they hold to be true, and to confute opposers, that it
greatly afflicteth me to think, what work the atheists and infidels
would make, if they once openly play their game, and be turned loose
to do their worst! If they deride and oppose the immortality of the
soul, and the life to come, and the truth of the Scriptures, and the
work of redemption, and office of Christ; alas, how few are able to
withstand them, by giving any sufficient reason of their hope! We have
learnt of the papists, that he hath the strongest faith that believeth
with least reason; and we have been (truly) taught that to deny our
foundations is the horrid crime of infidelity; and therefore because
it is so horrid a crime to deny or question them, we thought we need
not study to prove them: and so most have taken their foundation upon
trust, (and indeed are scarce able to bear the trial of it,) and have
spent their days about the superstructure, and in learning to prove
the controverted, less necessary points. Insomuch, that I fear there
are more that are able to prove the points which an antinomian or an
anabaptist do deny, than to prove the immortality of the soul, or the
truth of Scripture, or christianity; and to dispute about a ceremony,
or form of prayer, or church government, than to dispute for Christ
against an infidel. So that their work is prepared to their hands, and
it is no great victory to overcome such raw, unsettled souls.

_Direct._ II. Get every sacred truth which you believe, into your
very hearts and lives; and see that all be digested into holy love and
practice. When your food is turned into vital nutriment, into flesh
and blood, it is not cast up by every thing that maketh you sick, and
turneth your stomachs; as it may be before it is concocted,
distributed, and incorporated. Truth that is but barely known, is but
like meat that is undigested in the stomach: but truth which is turned
into the love of God, and of a holy life, is turned into a new nature,
and will not so easily be let go.

_Direct._ III. Take heed of doctrines of presumption and
security, and take heed lest you fall away, by thinking it so
impossible to fall away, that you are past all danger.[94] The
covenant of grace doth sufficiently encourage you to obey and hope,
against temptations to despair and casting off the means: but it
encourageth no man to presume or sin, or to cast off means as needless
things. Remember that if ever you will stand, the fear of falling must
help you to stand; and if ever you will persevere, it must be by
seeing the danger of backsliding, so far as to make you afraid, and
quicken you in the means which are necessary to prevent it. It is no
more certain that you shall persevere, than it is certain that you
shall use the means of persevering: and one means is, by seeing your
danger, to be stirred up to fear and caution to escape it. Because it
is my meaning in this direction, to save men from perishing by
security upon the abuse of the doctrine of perseverance, I hope none
will be offended that I lay down these antidotes.

1. Consider, that the doctrine of perseverance hath nothing in it to
encourage security. The very controversies about it, may cause you to
conclude, that a certain sin is not to be built upon a controverted
doctrine. Till Augustine's time, it is hard to find any ancient
writers, that clearly asserted the certain perseverance of any at all.
Augustine and Prosper maintain the certain perseverance of all the
elect, but deny the certain perseverance of all that are regenerated,
justified, or sanctified; for they thought that more were regenerate
and justified than were elect, of whom some stood (even all the elect)
and the rest fell away: so that I confess, I never read one ancient
father, or christian writer, that ever maintained the certainty of
the perseverance of all the justified, of many hundred, if not a
thousand years after Christ. And a doctrine, that to the church was so
long unknown, hath not that certainty, or that necessity, as to
encourage you to any presumption or security. The churches were saved
many hundred years without believing it.

2. The doctrine of perseverance is against security, because it
uniteth together the end and the means: for they that teach that the
justified shall never totally fall from grace, do also teach that they
shall never totally fall into security, or to any reigning sin; for
this is to fall away from grace. And they teach that they shall never
totally fall from the use of the necessary means of their
preservation; nor from the cautelous avoiding of the danger of their
souls: God doth not simply decree that you shall persevere; but that
you shall be kept in perseverance by the fear of your danger, and the
careful use of means; and that you shall persevere in these, as well
as in other graces. Therefore if you fall to security and sin, you
fall away from grace, and show that God never decreed or promised that
you should never fall away.

3. Consider how far many have gone that have fallen away: the
instances of our times are much higher than any I can name to you out
of history. Men that have seemed to walk humbly and holily, fearing
all sin, blameless in their lives, zealous in religion, twenty or
thirty years together, have fallen to deny the truth or certainty of
the Scriptures, the Godhead of Christ, if not christianity itself. And
many that have not quite fallen away, have yet fallen into such
grievous sins, as make them a terrible warning to us all, to take heed
of presumption and carnal security.

4. Grace is not, in the nature of it, a thing that cannot perish or be
lost. For, 1. It is a separable quality. 2. Adam did lose it. 3. We
lose a great degree of it too oft; and the remaining degrees are of
the same nature. It is not only possible in itself to lose it, but too
easy; and not possible without cooperating grace to keep it.

5. Grace is not natural to us: to love our ease, and honour, and
friends, is natural; but to love Christ, and his holy ways and
servants, is not natural to us: indeed when we do it, it is our
natural powers that do it, but not as naturally disposed to it, but as
inclined by the cure of supernatural grace. Eating, and drinking, and
sleeping we forget not, because nature itself remembereth us of them;
but learning and acquired habits may be lost, if not very deeply
radicated, and it is commonly concluded as to the nature of them, that
_habitus infusi habent se ad modum acquisitorum_: infused habits
are like to acquired ones.[95]

6. Grace is, as it were, a stranger, or new comer in us. It hath been
there but a little while, and therefore we are but raw and too
unacquainted with the right usage and improvement of it, and are the
apter to forget our duty, or to neglect it, or ignorantly to do that
which tendeth to its destruction.

7. Grace dwelleth in a heart which is not wholly dispossessed of those
objects which are against its work, nor delivered from those
principles which have an enmity against it. The love of the world and
flesh was in the heart, before the love of God and holiness, and
ignorance was before knowledge, and pride before humility, and
selfishness before self-denial. And these are not wholly rooted out;
we have dealt so gently with them, (as the Israelites with the
Canaanites, Jebusites, and other inhabitants of the land,) that they
are left to try us, and to be thorns in our sides. And the garrison is
not free from danger, that hath an enemy always lodged within. Our
enemies are in the house with us, they lie down and rise up with us,
and are as near us as our flesh and bones: we can never be where they
are not, nor leave them behind us, whithersoever we go, or whatever we
do. No marvel, if brother be against brother, and the father against
the son, when we are so much against ourselves.[96] And are we yet

8. And the number of the snares that are still before us, and of the
subtle malicious enemies of our souls, may easily convince us, that we
are wholly free from danger. How subtle and diligent is the devil! How
much do his servants imitate him! Every creature or person that we
have to do with, and every common mercy which we receive, hath matter
of danger in it, which calleth us to fear and watch.

9. Perseverance is nothing else but our continuance in the grace which
we received: and this grace consisteth in act as well as in habit: and
the habit is for action; and the act is it that increaseth and
continueth the habit. And the fear of God, and the belief of his
threatenings, and repentance, and watchfulness, and diligent
obedience, are a great part of this grace. And the acts are ours,
performed by ourselves, by the help of God: God doth not believe, and
repent, and obey in us, but causeth us ourselves to do it. Therefore
to grow cold, and secure, and sinful, upon pretence that we are sure
to persevere, this is to cease persevering, and to fall away, because
we are sure to persevere, and not to fall away: which is a mere

10. Lastly, bethink you well what is the meaning of all these texts of
Scripture, and the reason that the Holy Ghost doth speak to us in this
manner. Col. i. 21-23, "And you--hath he reconciled,--to present you
holy:--if ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not
moved away from the hope of the gospel." John xv. 4-6, "Abide in me,
and I in you. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch
and withered. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall
ask what ye will." Heb. iv. 1, "Let us therefore fear, lest a promise
being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to
come short of it." Jude 21, "Keep yourselves in the love of God."
1 Cor. x. 4, 5, 12, "They drank of that spiritual rock that followed
them, and that rock was Christ; but with many of them God was not well
pleased: wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he
fall." Rom. xi. 20, 21, "Be not highminded, but fear; for if God
spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he spare not thee."
Gal. v. 4, "Ye are fallen from grace." Matt. x. 22, "He that endureth
to the end shall be saved;" Matt. xxiv. 13. Heb. iii. 6, 14, "Whose
house are we, if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the
hope firm unto the end. For we are partakers of Christ, if we hold the
beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end." Heb. iv. 11, "Let
us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after
the same example of unbelief." Rev. ii. 25, 26, "Hold fast till I
come. And he that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him
will I give power over the nations;" Rev. iii. 2, 3; ii. 4.

Take heed therefore of that doctrine which telleth you, that sins to
come are all pardoned to you before they are committed, and that you
are justified from them, and that it is unlawful to be afraid of
falling away, because it is impossible, &c. For no sin is pardoned
before it is committed, (though the remedy be provided,) for it is
then no sin; and you are justified from no sin any further than it is
pardoned. Suppose God either to decree, or but to foreknow the freest,
most contingent act, and there will be a logical impossibility in
order of consequence, that it should be otherwise than he so decreeth
or foreseeth. But that inferreth no natural impossibility in the thing
itself; for God doth not decree or foresee that such a man's fall
shall be impossible, but only _non futurum_.

_Direct._ IV. In a special manner take heed of the company and
doctrine of deceivers; yea, though they seem most religious men, and
are themselves first deceived, and think they are in the right. And
take heed of falling into a dividing party, which separateth from the
generality of the truly wise and godly people.[97] For this hath been
an ordinary introduction to backsliding: false doctrine hath a mighty
power on the heart. And he that can separate one of the sheep from the
rest of the flock, hath a fair advantage to carry him away. See Rom.
xvi. 16, 17.

_Direct._ V. Be very watchful against the sin of pride, especially
pride of gifts, or knowledge, or holiness, which some call spiritual
pride; for God is engaged to cast down the proud. Prov. xvi. 18,
"Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."
Satan assaulted our first parents by that way that he fell himself;
and his success encourageth him to try the same way with their
posterity. And, alas, how greatly hath he succeeded through all ages
of the world till now!

_Direct._ VI. Take heed of a divided, hypocritical heart, which
never was firmly resolved for God, upon expectation of the worst, and
upon terms of self-denial, nor was ever well loosed from the love of
this present world, nor firmly believed the life to come. For it is no
wonder that he falleth from grace, who never had any grace but common,
which never renewed his soul. It is no wonder that false-hearted
friends forsake us, when their interest requireth it; nor that the
seed which never had depth of earth, doth bring forth no fruit, but
what will wither when persecution shall arise, or that which is sown
among thorns be choked, Matt. xiii.[98] Sit down and count what it
will cost you to be christians, and receive not Christ upon mistakes,
or with reserves.

_Direct._ VII. Take heed lest the world, or any thing in it,
steal again into your hearts, and seem too sweet to you. If your
friends, or dwellings, or lands and wealth, or honours, begin to grow
too pleasant, and be over-loved, your thoughts will presently be
carried after them, and turned away from God, and all holy affection
will be damped and decay, and grace will fall into a consumption. It
is the love of money that is the root of all evil; and the love of
this world which is the mortal enemy of the love of God. Keep the
world from your hearts, if you would keep your graces.

_Direct._ VIII. Keep a strict government and watch over your
fleshly appetite and sense.[99] For the loosing of the reins to carnal
lusts, and yielding to the importunity of sensual desires, is the most
ordinary way of wasting grace, and falling off from God.

_Direct._ IX. Keep as far as you can from temptations, and all
occasions and opportunities of sinning. Trust not to your own
strength; and be not so foolhardy as to thrust yourselves into
needless danger. No man is long safe that standeth at the brink of
ruin: if the fire and straw be long near together, some spark is like
to catch at last.

_Direct._ X. Incorporate yourselves into the communion of saints,
and go along with them that go towards heaven, and engage yourselves
in the constant use of all those means which God hath appointed you to
use for your perseverance; especially take heed of an idle, slothful,
unprofitable life: and keep your graces in the most lively exercise;
for the slothful is brother to the waster; and idleness consumeth or
corrupteth our spiritual health and strength, as well as our bodily.
Set yourselves diligently to work while it is day, and do all the good
in your places that you are able: for it is acts that preserve and
increase the habits; and a religion which consisteth only in doing no
hurt, is so lifeless and corrupt, that it will quickly perish.

_Direct._ XI. Keep always in thine eye the doleful case of a
backslider (which I opened before). Oh what horror is waiting to seize
on their consciences! How many of them have we known, that on their
death-beds have lain roaring in the anguish of their souls, crying
out, "I am utterly forsaken of God, because I have forsaken him! There
is no mercy for such an apostate wretch: oh that I had never been
born, or had been any thing rather than a man! Cursed be the day that
ever I hearkened to the counsel of the wicked, and that ever I pleased
this corruptible flesh, to the utter undoing of my soul! Oh that it
were all to do again! Take warning by a mad, besotted sinner, that
have lost my soul for that which I knew would never make me
satisfaction, and have turned from God when I had found him to be good
and gracious." O prepare not for such pangs as these, or worse than
these, in endless desperation.

_Direct._ XII. Make not a small matter of the beginnings of your
backsliding. There are very few that fall quite away at once, the
misery creepeth on by insensible degrees. You think it a small matter
to cut short one duty, and omit another, and be negligent at another;
and to entertain some pleasing thoughts of the world; or first to look
on the forbidden fruit, and then to touch it, and then to taste it;
but these are the ways to that which is not small. A thought, or a
look, or a taste, or a delight hath begun that with many, which never
stopped, till it had shamed them here, and damned them for ever.

[88] 1 Tim. i. 19.

[89] 1 Cor. vii. 31.

[90] Mic. vi. 5-7.

[91] In the Vandals' persecution, Epidophorus, an apostate, was the
most cruel persecutor; at last it came to his turn to torment Mirita,
that had baptized him, who spread before them all the linens in which
he was baptized, saying, Hæc te accusabunt dum majestas venerit
judicantis. Custodientur diligentia mea ad testimonium tuæ
perditiones, ad margendum te in abyssum putei sulphurantis. Hæc te
acrius per-sequentur flammantem gehennam cum cæteris possidentem--Quod
facturus es miser cum servi patris familias ad cœnam regiam
congregare cœperint invitatos? Ligate eum manibus pedibusque, &c.
Hæc et alia Merita dicente, igne conscientiæ ante ignem æternum
obmutescens Epidophorus torrebatur. Victor Utic. p. 466.

[92] Jam. v. 16; Neh. ix. 2, 3; Matt. iii. 6; Acts xix. 18.

[93] Matt. xxvi. 75; Luke xxii. 62.

[94] Virlutem Chrysippus amitti posse, Cleanthes vero non posse ait:
ille posse amitti per ebrietatem et atram bilem; ille non posse ob
firmas ac stabiles comprehensiones, &c. Laert. in Zenone.

[95] Nature as not lapsed and nature as restored, incline the soul to
the love of God; but not nature as corrupt; nor is it an act performed
per modum naturæ, i.e. necessario.

[96] Matt. xiii. 12; x. 21.

[97] Eph. iv. 14; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13.

[98] Luke xiv. 26, 29, 33.

[99] Rom. viii. 13; xiii. 13, 14.



THERE is no condition of life so low or poor, but may be sanctified,
and fruitful, and comfortable to us, if our own misunderstanding, or
sin and negligence, do not pollute it or imbitter it to us: if we do
the duty of our condition faithfully, we shall have no cause to murmur
at it. Therefore I shall here direct the poor in the special duties of
their condition; and if they will but conscionably perform them, it
will prove a greater kindness to them, than if I could deliver them
from their poverty, and give them as much riches as they desire.
Though I doubt this would be more pleasing to the most, and they would
give me more thanks for money, than for teaching them how to want it.

_Direct._ I. Understand first the use and estimate of all earthly
things: that they were never made to be your portion and felicity,
but your provision and helps in the way to heaven.[100] And therefore
they are neither to be estimated nor desired simply for themselves,
(for so there is nothing good but God,) but only as they are means to
the greatest good. Therefore neither poverty nor riches are simply to
be rejoiced in for themselves, as any part of our happiness; but that
condition is to be desired and rejoiced in, which affordeth us the
greatest helps for heaven, and that condition only is to be lamented
and disliked, which hindereth us most from heaven, and from our duty.

_Direct._ II. See therefore that you really take all these
things, as matters in themselves indifferent, and of small concernment
to you; and as not worthy of much love, or care, or sorrow, further
than they conduce to greater things. We are like runners in a race,
and heaven or hell will be our end; and therefore woe to us, if by
looking aside, or turning back, or stopping, or trifling about these
matters, or burdening ourselves with worldly trash, we should lose the
race, and lose our souls. O sirs, what greater matters than poverty or
riches have we to mind! Can those souls that must shortly be in heaven
or hell, have time to bestow any serious thoughts upon these
impertinencies? Shall we so much as "look at the temporal things which
are seen, instead of the things eternal that are unseen?" 2 Cor. iv. 18.
Or shall we whine under those light afflictions, which may be so
improved, as to "work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight
of glory?" ver. 17. Our present "life is not in the abundance of the
things which we possess," Luke xii. 15; much less is our eternal life.

_Direct._ III. Therefore take heed that you judge not of God's
love, or of your happiness or misery, by your riches or poverty,
prosperity or adversity, as knowing that they come alike to all,[101]
and love or hatred is not to be discerned by them; except only God's
common love, as they are common mercies to the body. If a surgeon is
not to be taken for a hater of you, because he letteth you blood, nor
a physician because he purgeth his patient, nor a father because he
correcteth his child; much less is God to be judged an enemy to you,
or unmerciful, because his wisdom and not your folly disposeth of you,
and proportioneth your estates. A carnal mind will judge of its own
happiness and the love of God by carnal things, because it savoureth
not spiritual mercies: but grace giveth a christian another judgment,
relish, and desire; as nature setteth a man above the food and
pleasures of a beast.

_Direct._ IV. Stedfastly believe that God is every way fitter
than you to dispose of your estate and you.[102] He is infinitely
wise, and knoweth what is best and fittest for you: he knoweth
beforehand what good or hurt any state of plenty or want will do you:
he knoweth all your corruptions, and what condition will most conduce
to strengthen them or destroy them, and which will be your greatest
temptations and snares, and which will prove your safest state; much
better than any physician or parent knoweth how to diet his patient or
his child. And his love and kindness are much greater to you, than
yours are to yourself; and therefore he will not be wanting in
willingness to do you good: and his authority over you is absolute,
and therefore his disposal of you must be unquestionable. "It is the
Lord: let him do what seemeth him good," 1 Sam. iii. 18. The will of
God should be the rest and satisfaction of your wills, Acts xxi. 14.

_Direct._ V. Stedfastly believe that, ordinarily, riches are far more
dangerous to the soul than poverty, and a greater hinderance to men's
salvation. Believe experience; how few of the rich and rulers of the
earth are holy, heavenly, self-denying, mortified men! Believe our
Saviour, "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the
kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's
eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they
that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things
which are impossible with men, are possible with God," Luke xviii.
24, 25, 27. So that you see the difficulty is so great of saving such
as are rich, that to men it is a thing impossible, but to God's
omnipotency only it is possible. So 1 Cor. i. 26, "For ye see your
calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not
many mighty, not many noble are called." Believe this, and it will
prevent many dangerous mistakes.

_Direct._ VI. Hence you may perceive, that though no man must
pray absolutely either for riches or poverty, yet of the two it is
more rational ordinarily to pray against riches than for them, and to
be rather troubled when God maketh us rich, than when he maketh us
poor. (I mean it, in respect to ourselves, as either of them seemeth
to conduce to our own good or hurt; though to do good to others,
riches are more desirable.) This cannot be denied by any man that
believeth Christ: for no wise man will long for the hinderance of his
salvation, or pray to God to make it as hard a thing for him to be
saved, as for a camel to go through a needle's eye; when salvation is
a matter of such unspeakable moment, and our strength is so small, and
the difficulties so many and great already.

_Object._ But Christ doth not deny but the difficulties to the
poor may be as great. _Answ._ To some particular persons upon
other accounts it may be so; but it is clear in the text, that Christ
speaketh comparatively of such difficulties as the rich had more than
the poor.

_Object._ But then how are we obliged to be thankful to God for
giving us riches, or blessing our labours?[103] _Answ._ 1. You
must be thankful for them, because in their own nature they are good,
and it is by accident, through your own corruption, that they become
so dangerous. 2. Because you may do good with them to others, if you
have hearts to use them well. 3. Because God in giving them to you
rather than to others, doth signify (if you are his children) that
they are fitter for you than for others. In Bedlam and among foolish
children, it is a kindness to keep fire, and swords, and knives out of
their way; but yet they are useful to people that have the use of
reason. But our folly in spiritual matters is so great, that we have
little cause to be too eager for that which we are inclined so
dangerously to abuse, and which proves the bane of most that have it.

_Direct._ VII. See that your poverty be not the fruit of your
idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, pride, or any other flesh-pleasing
sin.[104] For if you bring it thus upon yourselves, you can never look
that it should be sanctified to your good, till sound repentance have
turned you from the sin: nor are you objects worthy of much pity from
man (except as you are miserable sinners). He that rather chooseth to
have his ease and pleasure, though with want, than to have plenty, and
to want his ease and pleasure, it is pity that he should have any
better than he chooseth.

1. Slothfulness and idleness are sins that naturally tend to want, and
God hath caused them to be punished with poverty; as you may see,
Prov. xii. 24, 27; xviii. 9; xxi. 25; xxiv. 34; xxvi. 14, 15; vi. 11;
xx. 13. Yea, he commandeth that if any (that is able) "will not work,
neither should he eat," 2 Thess. iii. 10. In the sweat of their face
must they eat their bread, Gen. iii. 19; and "six days must they
labour and do all that they have to do." To maintain your idleness is
a sin in others. If you will please your flesh with ease, it must be
displeased with want; and you must suffer what you choose.

2. Gluttony and drunkenness are such beastly devourers of mercy, and
abusers of mankind, that shame and poverty are their punishment and
cure. Prov. xxiii. 20, 21, "Be not among wine-bibbers, amongst riotous
eaters of flesh: for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to
poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags." It is not
lawful for any man to feed the greedy appetites of such: if they
choose a short excess before a longer competency, let them have their

3. Pride also is a most consuming, wasteful sin: it sacrificeth God's
mercies to the devil, in serving him by them, in his first-born sin.
Proud persons must lay it out in pomp and gaudiness, to set forth
themselves to the eyes of others; in buildings, and entertainments,
and fine clothes, and curiosities: and poverty is also both the proper
punishment and cure of this sin: and it is cruelty for any to save
them from it, and resist God, that by abasing them takes the way to do
them good, Prov. xi. 2; xxix. 23; xvi. 18.

4. Falsehood also, and deceit, and unjust getting, tend to poverty;
for God doth often, even in this present life, thus enter into
judgment with the unjust. Ill-gotten wealth is like fire in the
thatch, and bringeth ofttimes a secret curse and destruction upon all
the rest. The same may be said of unmercifulness to the poor; which is
oft cursed with poverty, when the liberal are blest with plenty, Prov.
xi. 24, 25; Isa. xxxii. 8; Psal. lxxiii. 21, 22, 25, 26, 34, 35.

_Direct._ VIII. Be acquainted with the special temptations of the
poor, that you may be furnished to resist them. Every condition hath
its own temptations, which persons in that condition must specially be
fortified and watch against; and this is much of the wisdom and safety
of a christian.

_Tempt._ I. One temptation of poverty will be to draw you to
think highlier of riches and honours than you ought; to make you think
that the rich are much happier than they are. For the world is like
all other deceivers; it is most esteemed where it is least known. They
that never tried a life of wealth, and plenty, and prosperity, are apt
to admire it, and think it braver and better than it is. And so you
may be drawn as much to over-love the world by want, as other men by
plenty. Against this remember, that it is folly to admire that which
you never tried and knew; and mark whether all men do not vilify it,
that have tried it to the last: dying men call it no better than
vanity and deceit. And it is rebellious pride in you so far to
contradict the wisdom of God, as to think most highly of that
condition which he hath judged worst for you; and to fall in love with
that which he denieth you.

_Tempt._ II. The poor will also be tempted to over-much care about
their wants and worldly matters;[105] they will think that necessity
requireth it in them, and will excuse them. So much care is your duty,
as is needful to the right doing of your work. Take care how to
discharge your own duties; but be not too careful about the event,
which belongs to God. If you will care what you should be and do, God
will care sufficiently what you shall have.[106] And so be it you
faithfully do your business, your other care will add nothing to the
success, nor make you any richer, but only vex and disquiet your
minds. It is the poor as well as the rich, that God hath commanded to
be careful for nothing, and to cast all their care on him.

_Tempt._ III. Poverty also will tempt you to repining, impatience, and
discontent, and to fall out with others; which because it is one of
the chief temptations, I will speak to by itself anon.

_Tempt._ IV. Also you will be tempted to be coveting after
more:[107] Satan maketh poverty a snare to draw many needy creatures
to greater covetousness than many of the rich are guilty of; none
thirst more eagerly after more; and yet their poverty blindeth them,
so that they cannot see that they are covetous, or else excuse it as a
justifiable thing. They think that they desire no more but
necessaries, and that it is not covetousness, if they desire not
superfluities. But do you not covet more than God allotteth you? and
are you not discontent with his allowance? And doth not he know best
what is necessary for you, and what superfluous? What then is
covetousness, if this be not?

_Tempt._ V. Also you will be tempted to envy the rich, and to
censure them in matters where you are incompetent judges. It is usual
with the poor to speak of the rich with envy and censoriousness; they
call them covetous, merely because they are rich, especially if they
give them nothing; when they know not what ways of necessary expense
they have, nor know how many others they are liberal to, that they are
unacquainted with. Till you see their accounts you are unfit to
censure them.

_Tempt._ VI. The poor also will be tempted to use unlawful means
to supply their wants.[108] How many by the temptation of necessity
have been tempted to comply with sinners, and wound their consciences,
and lie and flatter for favour or preferment, or to cheat, or steal,
or over-reach! A dear price! to buy the food that perisheth, with the
loss or hazard of everlasting life; and lose their souls to provide
for their flesh!

_Tempt._ VII. Also you will be tempted to neglect your souls, and
omit your spiritual duties, and, as Martha, to be troubled about many
things, while the one thing needful is forgotten; and you will think
that necessity will excuse all this; yea, some think to be saved
because they are poor, and say, God will not punish them in this life
and another too. But alas, you are more unexcusable than the rich, if
you are ungodly and mindless of the life to come. For he that will
love a life of poverty and misery better than heaven, deserveth indeed
to go without it, much more than he that preferreth a life of plenty
and prosperity before it. God hath taught you by his providence to
know, that you must either be happy in heaven, or no where;--if you
would be worldlings, and part with heaven for your part on earth, how
poor a bargain are you like to make! To love rags, and toil, and want,
and sorrow, better than eternal joy and happiness, is the most
unreasonable kind of ungodliness in the world. It is true, that you
are not called to spend so many hours of the week days in reading and
meditation, as some that have greater leisure are; but you have reason
to seek heaven, and set your hearts upon it, as much as they; and you
must think of it when you are about your labour, and take those
opportunities for your spiritual duties which are allowed you.
Poverty will excuse ungodliness in none! Nothing is so necessary as
the service of God and your salvation; and therefore no necessity can
excuse you from it. Read the case of Mary and Martha, Luke x. 41, 42.
One would think that your hearts should be wholly set upon heaven, who
have nothing else but it to trust to. The poor have fewer hinderances
than the rich, in the way to life eternal! And God will save no man
because he is poor; but condemn poor and rich that are ungodly.

_Tempt._ VIII. Another great temptation of the poor, is to
neglect the holy education of their children; so that in most places,
there are none so ignorant, and rude, and heathenish, and unwilling to
learn, as the poorest people and their children: they never teach them
to read, nor teach them any thing for the saving of their souls; and
they think that their poverty will be an excuse for all; when reason
telleth them, that none should be more careful to help their children
to heaven, than they that can give them nothing upon earth.

_Direct._ IX. Be acquainted with the special duties of the poor;
and carefully perform them. They are these:

1. Let your sufferings teach you to contemn the world; it will be a
happy poverty if it do but help to wean your affections from all
things below; that you set as little by the world as it deserveth.

2. Be eminently heavenly-minded; the less you have or hope for in this
life, the more fervently seek a better.[109] You are at least as
capable of the heavenly treasures as the greatest princes; God
purposely straiteneth your condition in the world, that he may force
up your hearts unto himself, and teach you to seek first for that
which indeed is worth your seeking, Matt. vi. 33, 19-21.

3. Learn to live upon God alone; study his goodness, and faithfulness,
and all-sufficiency; when you have not a place nor a friend in the
world, that you can comfortably betake yourselves to for relief,
retire unto God, and trust him, and dwell the more with him.[110] If
your poverty have but this effect, it will be better to you than all
the riches in the world.

4. Be laborious and diligent in your callings: both precept and
necessity call you unto this; and if you cheerfully serve him in the
labour of your hands, with a heavenly and obedient mind, it will be as
acceptable to him, as if you had spent all that time in more spiritual
exercises; for he had rather have obedience than sacrifice; and all
things are pure and sanctified to the pure; if you cheerfully serve
God in the meanest work, it is the more acceptable to him, by how much
the more subjection and submission there is in your obedience.[111]

5. Be humble and submissive unto all. A poor man proud is doubly
hateful; and if poverty cure your pride, and help you to be truly
humble, it will be no small mercy to you.[112]

6. You are specially obliged to mortify the flesh, and keep your
senses and appetites in subjection; because you have greater helps for
it than the rich; you have not so many baits of lust, and wantonness,
and gluttony, and voluptuousness as they.

7. Your corporal wants must make you more sensibly remember your
spiritual wants; and teach you to value spiritual blessings: think
with yourselves, if a hungry, cold, and naked body, be so great a
calamity, how much greater is a guilty, graceless soul, a dead or
diseased heart! If bodily food and necessaries are so desirable, oh
how desirable is Christ and his Spirit, and the love of God and life

8. You must above all men be careful redeemers of your time;
especially of the Lord's day; your labours take up so much of your
time, that you must be the more careful to catch every opportunity for
your souls! Rise earlier to get half an hour for holy duty; and
meditate on holy things in your labours, and spend the Lord's day in
special diligence, and be glad of such seasons; and let scarcity
preserve your appetites.

9. Be willing to die; seeing the world giveth you so cold entertainment,
be the more content to let it go, when God shall call you; for what is
here to detain your hearts?

10. Above all men, you should be most fearless of sufferings from men,
and therefore true to God and conscience; for you have no great matter
of honour, or riches, or pleasure to lose: as you fear not a thief,
when you have nothing for him to rob you of.

11. Be specially careful to fit your children also for heaven: provide
them a portion which is better than a kingdom; for you can provide but
little for them in the world.

12. Be exemplary in patience and contentedness with your state: for
that grace should be the strongest in us which is most exercised; and
poverty calleth you to the frequent exercise of this.

_Direct._ X. Be specially furnished with those reasons which
should keep you in a cheerful contentedness with your state; and may
suppress every thought of anxiety and discontent.[113] As, 1. Consider
as aforesaid, that that is the best condition for you which helpeth
you best to heaven; and God best knoweth what will do you good, or
hurt. 2. That it is rebellion to grudge at the will of God; which must
dispose of us, and should be our rest. 3. Look over the life of
Christ, who chose a life of poverty for your sakes; and had not a
place to lay his head. He was not one of the rich and voluptuous in
the world; and are you grieved to be conformed to him? Phil. iii. 7-9.
4. Look to all his apostles, and most holy servants and martyrs. Were
not they as great sufferers as you? 5. Consider that the rich will
shortly be all as poor as you: naked they came into the world, and
naked they must go out; and a little time makes little difference. 6.
It is no more comfort to die rich than poor; but usually much less;
because the pleasanter the world is to them, the more it grieveth them
to leave it. 7. All men cry out, that the world is vanity at last. How
little is it valued by a dying man! and how sadly will it cast him
off! 8. The time is very short and uncertain, in which you must enjoy
it; we have but a few days more to walk about, and we are gone. Alas,
of how small concernment is it, whether a man be rich or poor, that is
ready to step into another world! 9. The love of this world drawing
the heart from God, is the common cause of men's damnation; and is not
the world liker to be over-loved, when it entertaineth you with
prosperity, than when it useth you like an enemy? Are you displeased,
that God thus helpeth to save you from the most damning sin? and that
he maketh not your way to heaven more dangerous? 10. You little know
the troubles of the rich. He that hath much, hath much to do with it,
and much to care for; and many persons to deal with, and more
vexations than you imagine. 11. It is but the flesh that suffereth;
and it furthereth your mortification of it. 12. You pray but for your
daily bread, and therefore should be contented with it. 13. Is not
God, and Christ, and heaven, enough for you? should that man be
discontent that must live in heaven? 14. Is it not your lust, rather
than your well-informed reason, that repineth? I do but name all these
reasons for brevity: you may enlarge them in your meditations.

[100] Prov. xxviii. 6; Jam. ii. 5.

[101] Eccles. ii 14; ix. 2, 3.

[102] Psal. x. 15; 1 Sam. ii. 7.

[103] Saith Aristippus to Dionysius, Quando sapientia egebam, adii
Socratem? nunc pecuniarum egens, ad te veni. Laert. in Aristip.

[104] 1 Cor. vii. 35.

[105] Luke x. 41.

[106] Matt. vi.; 1 Pet. v. 7; Phil. iv. 6.

[107] Prov. xxiii. 4.

[108] Prov. xxx. 8, 9; John vi. 27.

[109] Phil. iii. 18, 20, 21; 2 Cor. v. 7, 8.

[110] Gal. ii. 20; Psal. lxxiii. 25-28; 2 Cor. i. 10.

[111] Eph. iv. 28; Prov. xxi. 25; 1 Sam. xv. 22; 2 Thess. iii. 8, 10.

[112] Prov. xviii. 23.

[113] Phil. iv. 11-13; Matt. v. 3; 1 Sam. ii. 7; Matt. vi. 25, &c;
Psal. lxxviii. 20; Numb. xiv. 11; Matt. xvi. 9; Job xiii. 15; Eccl. v.
12; 1 Cor. vii. 29-31; Psal. lxxxiv. 11; xxxvii. 25; x. 14; lv. 22;
Rom. ix. 20; Psal. xxxiv. 9, 10; Rom. viii. 28; Heb. xiii. 5.



I HAVE said so much of this already, part i. about covetousness
or worldliness, and about good works, and in my book of "Self-denial,"
and that of "Crucifying the World;" that my reason commandeth me
brevity in this place.[114]

_Direct._ I. Remember that riches are no part of your felicity;
or that if you have no better, you are undone men. Dare you say that
they are fit to make you happy? Dare you say, that you will take them
for your part? and be content to be turned off when they forsake you?
They reconcile not God; they save not from his wrath; they heal not a
wounded conscience: they may please your flesh, and adorn your
funeral, but they neither delay, nor sanctify, nor sweeten death, nor
make you either better or happier than the poor. Riches are nothing
but plentiful provision for tempting, corruptible flesh. When the
flesh is in the dust, it is rich no more. All that abounded in wealth,
since Adam's days till now, are levelled with the lowest in the dust.

_Direct._ II. Yea, remember that riches are not the smallest
temptation and danger to your souls. Do they delight and please you?
By that way they may destroy you. If they be but loved above God, and
make earth seem better for you than heaven, they have undone you. And
if God recover you not, it had been better for you to have been worms
or brutes, than such deceived, miserable souls. It is not for nothing,
that Christ giveth you so many terrible warnings about riches, and so
describeth the folly, the danger, and the misery of the worldly rich,
Luke xii. 17-20; xvi. 19-21, &c; xviii. 21-23, &c.; and telleth you
how hardly the rich are saved. Fire burneth most, when it hath most
fuel; and riches are the fuel of worldly love and fleshly lust, 1 John
ii. 15, 16; Rom. xiii. 13, 14.

_Direct._ III. Understand what it is to love and trust in worldly
prosperity and wealth. Many here deceive themselves to their
destruction. They persuade themselves, that they desire and use their
riches but for necessity: but that they do not love them, nor trust in
them, because they can say that heaven is better, and wealth will
leave us to a grave! But do you not love that ease, that greatness,
that domination, that fulness, that satisfaction of your appetite,
eye, and fancy, which you cannot have without your wealth? It is
fleshly lust, and will, and pleasure, which carnal worldlings love for
itself; and then they love their wealth for these. And to trust in
riches, is not to trust that they will never leave you; for every fool
doth know the contrary. But it is to rest, and quiet, and comfort your
minds in them, as that which most pleaseth you, and maketh you well,
or to be as you would be. Like him in Luke xii. 18, 19, that said,
"Soul, take thy ease, eat, drink, and be merry, thou hast enough laid
up for many years." This is to love and trust in riches.

_Direct._ IV. Above all the deceits and dangers of this world,
take heed of a secret, hypocritical hope of reconciling the world to
heaven, so as to make you a felicity of both; and dreaming of a
compounded portion, or of serving God and mammon.[115] The true state
of the hypocrite's heart and hope is, to love his worldly prosperity
best, and desire to keep it as long as he can, for the enjoyment of
his fleshly pleasures; and when he must leave this world against his
will, he hopeth then to have heaven as his reserve; because he
thinketh it better than hell, and his tongue can say, It is better
than earth, though his will and affections say the contrary. If this
be your case, the Lord have mercy upon you, and give you a more
believing, spiritual mind, or else you are lost, and you and your
treasure will perish together.

_Direct._ V. Accordingly take heed, lest when you seem to resign
yourselves, and all that you have, to God, there should be a secret
purpose at the heart, that you will never be undone in the world for
Christ, nor for the hopes of a better world. A knowing hypocrite is
not ignorant, that the terms of Christ, proposed in the gospel, Luke
xiv. 26, 27, 33, are no lower than forsaking all; and that in baptism,
and our covenant with Christ, all must be designed and devoted to him,
and the cross taken up instead of all, or else we are no christians,
as being not in covenant with Christ. But the hypocrite's hope is,
that though Christ put him upon these promises, he will never put him
to the trial for performance, nor ever call him to forsake all indeed:
and therefore, if ever he be put to it, he will not perform the
promise which he hath made. He is like a patient that promiseth to be
wholly ruled by his physician, as hoping that he will put him upon
nothing which he cannot bear. But when the bitter potion or the vomit
cometh, he saith, I cannot take it, I had hoped you would have given
me gentler physic.

_Direct._ VI. And accordingly take heed lest while you pretend to
live to God, and to use all that you have as his stewards for his
service, you should deceitfully put him off with the leavings of your
lusts, and give him only so much as your flesh can spare. It is not
likely that the damned gentleman, Luke xvi. was never used to give any
thing to the poor; else what did beggars use his doors for? When
Christ promiseth to reward men for a cup of cold water, the meaning
is, when they would give better if they had it. There are few rich men
of all that go to hell, that were so void of human compassion, or of
the sense of their own reputation, as to give nothing at all to the
poor; but God will have all, though not all for the poor, yet all
employed as he commandeth; and will not be put off with your tithes or
scraps. His stewards confess that they have nothing of their own.

_Direct._ VII. Let the use of your riches in prosperity show, that you
do not dissemble when you promise to forsake all for Christ in trial,
rather than forsake him. You may know whether you are true or false in
your covenant with Christ, and what you would do in a day of trial, by
what you do in your daily course of life. How can that man leave all
at once for Christ, that cannot daily serve him with his riches, nor
leave that little which God requireth, in the discharge of his duty in
pious and charitable works? What is it to leave all for God, but to
leave all rather than to sin against God? And will he do that, who
daily sinneth against God by omission of good works, because he
cannot leave some part? Study, as faithful stewards, to serve God to
the utmost with what you have now, and then you may expect that his
grace should enable you to leave all in trial, and not prove withering
hypocrites and apostates.

_Direct._ VIII. Be not rich to yourselves, or to your fleshly
wills and lusts;[116] but remember that the rich are bound to be
spiritual, and to mortify the flesh, as well as the poor. Let lust
fare never the better for all the fulness of your estates. Fast and
humble your souls never the less; please an inordinate appetite never
the more in meat and drink; live never the more in unprofitable
idleness. The rich must labour as constantly as the poor, though not
in the same kind of work. The rich must live soberly, temperately, and
heavenly, and must as much mortify all fleshly desires, as the poor.
You have the same law and Master, and have no more liberty to indulge
your lusts; but if you live after the flesh, you shall die as well as
any other. Oh the partiality of carnal minds! They can see the fault
of a poor man, that goeth sometimes to an ale-house, who perhaps
drinketh water (or that which is next to it) all the week; when they
never blame themselves, who scarce miss a meal without wine and strong
drink, and eating that which their appetite desireth. They think it a
crime in a poor man, to spend but one day in many in such idleness, as
they themselves spend most of their lives in. Gentlemen think that
their riches allow them to live without any profitable labour, and to
gratify their flesh, and fare deliciously every day; as if it were
their privilege to be sensual, and to be damned, Rom. viii. 1, 5-9, 13.

_Direct._ IX. Nay, remember that you are called to far greater
self-denial, and fear, and watchfulness against sensuality, and
wealthy vices, than the poor are. Mortification is as necessary to
your salvation, as to theirs, but much more difficult. If you live
after the flesh, you shall die as well as they. And how much stronger
are your temptations! Is not he easilier drawn to gluttony or excess
in quality or quantity, who hath daily a table of plenty, and
enticing, delicious food before him, than he that never seeth such a
temptation once in half a year? Is it not harder for him to deny his
appetite who hath the baits of pleasant meats and drinks daily set
upon his table, than for him that is seldom in sight of them, and
perhaps in no possibility of procuring them; and therefore hath
nothing to solicit his appetite or thoughts? Doubtless the rich, if
ever they will be saved, must watch more constantly, and set a more
resolute guard upon the flesh, and live more in fear of sensuality,
than the poor, as they live in greater temptations and dangers.

_Direct._ X. Know therefore particularly what are the temptations
of prosperity, that you may make a particular, prosperous resistance.
And they are especially these:

1. Pride. The foolish heart of man is apt to swell upon the accession
of so poor a matter as wealth; and men think they are got above their
neighbours, and more honour and obeisance is their due, if they be but

2. Fulness of bread.[118] If they do not eat till they are sick, they
think the constant and costly pleasing of their appetite in meats and
drinks, is lawful.

3. Idleness. They think he is not bound to labour, that can live
without it, and hath enough.

4. Time-wasting sports and recreations. They think their hours may be
devoted to the flesh, when all their lives are devoted to it; they
think their wealth alloweth them to play, and court, and compliment
away that precious time, which no men have more need to redeem; they
tell God that he hath given them more time than they have need of; and
God will shortly cut it off, and tell them that they shall have no

5. Lust and wantonness, fulness and idleness, cherish both the
cogitations and inclinations unto filthiness; they that live in
gluttony and drunkenness, are like to live in chambering and

6. Curiosity, and wasting their lives in a multitude of little,
ceremonious, unprofitable things, to the exclusion of the great
businesses of life.[120] Well may we say, that men's lusts are their
jailors, and their fetters, when we see to what a wretched kind of
life a multitude of the rich (especially ladies and gentlewomen) do
condemn themselves. I should pity one in bridewell, that were but tied
so to spend their time; when they have poor, ignorant, proud, worldly,
peevish, hypocritical, ungodly souls to be healed, and a life of great
and weighty business to do for eternity, they have so many little
things all day to do, that leave them little time to converse with
God, or with their consciences, or to do any thing that is really
worth the living for: they have so many fine clothes and ornaments to
get, and use; and so many rooms to beautify and adorn, and so many
servants to talk with, that attend them, and so many dishes and sauces
to bespeak, and so many flowers to plant, and dress, and walks, and
places of pleasure to mind; and so many visitors to entertain with
whole hours of unprofitable talk; and so many great persons
accordingly to visit; and so many laws of ceremony and compliment to
observe; and so many games to play, (perhaps,) and so many hours to
sleep, that the day, the year, their lives are gone, before they could
have while to know what they lived for. And if God had but damned them
to spend their days in picking straws or filling a bottomless vessel,
or to spend their days as they choose themselves to spend them, it
would have tempted us to think him unmerciful to his creatures.

7. Tyranny and oppression: when men are above others, how commonly do
they think that their wills must be fulfilled by all men, and none
must cross them, and they live as if all others below them were as
their beasts, that are made for them, to serve and please them.

_Direct._ XI. Let your fruitfulness to God, and the public good,
be proportionable to your possessions.[121] Do as much more good in
the world than the poor, as you are better furnished with it than
they. Let your servants have more time for the learning of God's word,
and let your families be the more religiously instructed and governed.
To whom God giveth much, from them he doth expect much.

_Direct._ XII. Do not only take occasions of doing good, when they are
thrust upon you; but study how to do all the good you can, as those
"that are zealous of good works," Tit. ii. 14.[122] Zeal of good works
will make you, 1. Plot and contrive for them. 2. Consult and ask
advice for them. 3. It will make you glad when you meet with a hopeful
opportunity. 4. It will make you do it largely, and not sparingly, and
by the halves. 5. It will make you do it speedily, without unwilling
backwardness and delay. 6. It will make you do it constantly to your
lives' end. 7. It will make you pinch your own flesh, and suffer
somewhat yourselves to do good to others. 8. It will make you labour
in it as your trade, and not only consent that others do good at your
charge. 9. It will make you glad when good is done, and not to grudge
at what it cost you. 10. In a word, it will make your neighbours to be
to you as yourselves, and the pleasing of God to be above yourselves,
and therefore to be as glad to do good, as to receive it.

_Direct._ XIII. Do good both to men's souls and bodies; but
always let bodily benefits be conferred in order to those of the soul,
and in due subordination, and not for the body alone. And observe the
many other rules of good works, more largely laid down, part i. chap.
iii. direct. 10.

_Direct. XIV._ Ask yourselves often, how you shall wish at death
and judgment your estates had been laid out; and accordingly now use
them. Why should not a man of reason do that which he knoweth
beforehand he shall vehemently wish that he had done?

_Direct._ XV. As your care must be in a special manner for your
children and families; so take heed of the common error of worldlings,
who think their children must have so much, as that God and their own
souls have very little. When selfish men can keep their wealth no
longer to themselves, they leave it to their children, who are as
their surviving selves. And all is cast into this gulf, except some
inconsiderable parcels.

_Direct._ XVI. Keep daily account of your use and improvement of
your Master's talents.[123] Not that you should too much remember your
own good works, but remember to do them; and therefore ask yourselves,
What good have I done with all that I have, this day or week?

_Direct._ XVII. Look not for long life; for then you will think
that a long journey needeth great provisions; but die daily, and live
as those that are going to give up their account: and then conscience
will force you to ask, whether you have been faithful stewards, and to
lay up a treasure in heaven, and to make you friends of the mammon
that others use to unrighteousness, and to lay up a good foundation
for the time to come, and to be glad that God hath given you that, the
improvement of which may further the good of others, and your
salvation.[124] Living and dying, let it be your care and business to
do good.

[114] See more in my "Life of Faith."

[115] Heb. x. 34; Luke xviii. 22; Matt. xiii. 20-22; Acts v. 1, &c;
ii. 45; Luke xiv. 33.

[116] Luke xii. 21; Acts x. 1-3.

[117] Jam. v. 1-6.

[118] Ezek. xvi.

[119] Rom. xiii. 13, 14.

[120] Luke x. 40-42.

[121] John xv. 5; Mark xii. 41; Luke xii. 48.

[122] Matt. v. 16; Gal. 6-10; 1 Pet. ii. 12; Heb. x. 24; Tit. iii.
8, 14; ii. 7; Eph. ii. 10; 1 Tim. ii. 10; v. 10; Acts ix. 36.

[123] Matt. xxv. 14, 15.

[124] 1 Tim. vi. 18; 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2; Luke xvi. 10; 1 Tim. v. 25.



HAVING before opened the duties of children to God, and to
their parents, I shall give no other particular directions to the
young, but shall next open the special duties of the aged.

_Direct._ I. The old and weak have a louder call from God than
others, to be accurate in examining the state of their souls, and
making their calling and election sure.[125] Whether they are yet
regenerate and sanctified or not, is a most important question
for every man to get resolved; but especially for them that are
nearest to their end. Ask counsel, therefore, of some able, faithful
minister or friend, and set yourselves diligently to try your title to
eternal life, and to cast up your accounts, and see how all things
stand between God and you; and if you should find yourselves in an
unrenewed state, as you love your souls, delay no longer, but
presently be humbled for your so long and sottish neglect of so
necessary and great a work. Go, open your case to some able minister,
and lament your sin, and fly to Christ, and set your hearts on God, as
your felicity, and change your company and course, and rest not any
longer in so dangerous and miserable a case: the more full directions
for your conversion I have given before, in the beginning of the book,
and in divers others; and therefore shall say no more to such, it
being others that I am here especially to direct.

_Direct._ II. Cast back your eyes upon the sins of all your life,
that you may perceive how humble those souls should be, that have
sinned so long as you have done; and may feel what need you have of
Christ, to pardon so long a life of sin. Though you have repented and
been justified long ago, yet you have daily sinned since you were
justified; and though all be forgiven that is repented of, yet must it
be still before your eyes, both to keep you humble, and continue the
exercise of that repentance, and drive you to Christ, and make you
thankful. Yea, your forgiveness and justification are yet short of
perfection, (whatever some may tell you to the contrary,) as well as
your sanctification. For, 1. Your justification is yet given you, but
conditionally as to its continuance, even upon condition of your
perseverance. 2. And the temporal chastisement, and the pains of
death, and the long absence of the body from heaven, and the present
wants of grace, and comfort, and communion with God, are punishments
which are not yet forgiven executively. 3. And the final sentence of
justification at the day of judgment, (which is the perfectest sort,)
is yet to come: and therefore you have still reason enough to review
and repent of all that is past, and still pray for the pardon of all
the sins that ever you committed, which were forgiven you before. So
many years' sinning should have a very serious repentance, and lay you
low before the Lord.

_Direct._ III. Cleave closer now to Christ than ever. Remembering
that you have a life of sin, for him to answer for, and save you from.
And that the time is near, when you shall have more sensible need of
him, than ever you have had. You must shortly be cast upon him as your
Saviour, Advocate, and Judge, to determine the question, what shall
become of you unto all eternity, and to perfect all that ever he hath
done for you, and accomplish all that you have sought and hoped for.
And now your natural life decayeth, it is time to retire to him that
is your Root, and to look to the "life that is hid with Christ in
God," Col. iii. 4; and to him that is preparing you a mansion with
himself; and whose office it is to receive the departing souls of true
believers. Live therefore in the daily thoughts of Christ, and comfort
your souls in the belief of that full supply and safety which you have
in him.

_Direct._ IV. Let the ancient mercies and experiences of God's love,
through all your lives, be still before you, and fresh upon your
minds, that they may kindle your love and thankfulness to God, and may
feed your own delight and comfort, and help you the easier to submit
to future weaknesses and death. Eaten bread must not be forgotten: a
thankful remembrance preserveth all your former mercies still fresh
and green; the sweetness and benefit may remain, though the thing
itself be past and gone. This is the great privilege of an aged
christian; that he hath many years' mercy more to think on, than
others have. Every one of those mercies was sweet to you by itself, at
the time of your receiving it; (except afflictions, and misunderstood
and unobserved mercies;) and then how sweet should all together be! If
unthankfulness have buried any of them, let thankfulness give them now
a resurrection. What delightful work is it for your thoughts, to look
back to your childhood, and remember how mercy brought you up, and
conducted you to every place that you have lived in; and provided for
you, and preserved you, and heard your prayers, and disposed of all
things for your good; how it brought you under the means of grace, and
blessed them to you; and how the Spirit of God began and carried on
the work of grace upon your hearts! I hope you have recorded the
wonders of mercy ever upon your hearts, with which God hath filled up
all your lives. And is it not a pleasant work in old age to ruminate
upon them? If a traveller delight to talk of his travels, and a
soldier or seaman upon his adventures, how sweet should it be to a
christian to peruse all the conduct of mercy through his life, and all
the operations of the Spirit upon his heart. Thankfulness taught men
heretofore, to make their mercies, as it were, attributes of their
God. As "the God that brought them out of the land of Egypt," was the
name of the God of Israel. And, Gen. xlviii. 15, Jacob delighteth
himself in his old age, in such reviews of mercy: "The God which fed
me all my life long unto this day. The angel which redeemed me from
all evil, bless the lads." Yea, such thankful reviews of ancient
mercies, will force an ingenuous soul to a quieter submission to
infirmities, sufferings, and death; and make us say as Job, "Shall we
receive good at the hands of God, and not evil?" and as old Simeon,
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace." It is a powerful
rebuke of all discontents, and maketh death itself more welcome, to
think how large a share of mercy we have had already in the world.

_Direct._ V. Draw forth the treasure of wisdom and experience,
which you have been so long in laying up, to instruct the ignorant,
and warn the unexperienced and ungodly that are about you. Job xxxii. 7,
"Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom."
Tit. ii. 3-5, "The aged women must teach the young women to be sober,
to love their husbands and children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers
at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be
not blasphemed." It is supposed that time and experience hath taught
you more than is known to raw and ignorant youth. Tell them what you
have suffered by the deceits of sin: tell them the method and danger
of temptations: tell them what you lost by delaying your repentance;
and how God recovered you; and how the Spirit wrought upon your souls:
tell them what comforts you have found in God; what safety and
sweetness in a holy life; how sweet the holy Scriptures have been to
you; how prayers have prevailed, how the promises of God have been
fulfilled; and what mercies and great deliverances you have had. Tell
them how good you have found God; and how bad you have found sin; and
how vain you have found the world. Warn them to resist their fleshly
lusts, and to take heed of the insnaring flatteries of sin: acquaint
them truly with the history of public sins, and judgments, and mercies
in the times which you have lived in. God hath made this the duty of
the aged, that the "fathers should tell the wonders of his works and
mercies to their children, that the ages to come may praise the Lord,"
Deut. iv. 10; Psal. lxxviii. 4-6.

_Direct._ VI. The aged must be examples of wisdom, gravity, and
holiness unto the younger. Where should they find any virtues in
eminence, if not in you, that have so much time, and helps, and
experiences? It may well be expected that nothing but savoury, wise,
and holy, come from your mouths; and nothing unbeseeming wisdom and
godliness, be seen in your lives. Such as you would have your children
after you to be, such show yourselves to them in all your

_Direct._ VII. Especially it belongeth to you, to repress the
heats, and dividing, contentious, and censorious disposition of the
younger sorts of professors of godliness. They are in the heat of
their blood, and want the knowledge and experience of the aged to
guide their zeal: they have not their senses yet exercised in
discerning good and evil, Heb. v. 12: they are not able to try the
spirits: they are yet but as children, apt to be tossed to and fro,
and "carried up and down with every wind of doctrine, after the craft
and subtlety of deceivers," Eph. iv. 14. The novices are apt to be
puffed up with pride, and "fall into the condemnation of the devil,"
1 Tim. iii. 6. They never saw the issue of errors, and sects, and
parties, and what divisions and contentions tend to, as you have done.
And therefore it belongeth to your gravity and experience to call them
unto unity, charity, and peace, and to keep them from proving
firebrands in the church, and rashly overrunning their understandings
and the truth.

_Direct._ VIII. Of all men you must live in the greatest contempt
of earthly things, and least entangle yourselves in the love or
needless troubles of the world: you are like to need it and use it but
a little while; a little may serve one that is so near his journey's
end: you have had the greatest experience of its vanity: you are so
near the great things of another world, that methinks you should have
no leisure to remember this, or room for any unnecessary thoughts or
speeches of it. As your bodies are less able for worldly employment
than others, so accordingly you are allowed to retire from it more
than others, for your more serious thoughts of the life to come. It is
a sign of the bewitching power of the world, and of the folly and
unreasonableness of sin, to see the aged usually as covetous as the
young; and men that are going out of the world, to love it as fondly,
and scrape for it as eagerly, as if they never looked to leave it. You
should rather give warning to the younger sort, to take heed of
covetousness, and of being insnared by the world, and while they
labour in it faithfully with their hands, to keep their hearts
entirely for God.

_Direct._ IX. You should highly esteem every minute of your time,
and lose none in idleness or unnecessary things; but be always doing
or getting some good; and do what you do with all your might. For you
are sure now that your time will not be long: how little have you left
to make all the rest of your preparation in for eternity! The young
may die quickly, but the old know that their time will be but short.
Though nature decay, yet grace can grow in life and strength; and when
"your outward man perisheth, the inner man may be renewed day by day,"
2 Cor. iv. 16. Time is a most precious commodity to all; but
especially to them that have but a little more to determine the
question in, Whether they must live in heaven or hell for ever. Though
you cannot do your worldly businesses as heretofore, yet you have
variety of holy exercises to be employed in; bodily ease may beseem
you, but idleness is worse in you than in any.

_Direct._ X. When the decay of your strength, or memory, or
parts, doth make you unable to read, or pray, or meditate by
yourselves, so much or so well as heretofore, make the more use of the
more lively gifts and help of others. Be the more in hearing others,
and in joining with them in prayer; that their memory, and zeal, and
utterance may help to lift you up and carry you on.

_Direct._ XI. Take not a decay of nature, and of those gifts and
works which depend thereon, for a decay of grace. Though your memory,
and utterance, and fervour of affection, abate as your natural heat
abateth, yet be not discouraged; but remember, that you may for all
this grow in grace. If you do but grow in holy wisdom and judgment,
and a higher esteem of God and holiness, and a greater disesteem of
all the vanities of the world, and a firmer resolution to cleave to
God and trust on Christ, and never to turn to the world and sin; this
is your growth in grace.

_Direct._ XII. Be patient under all the infirmities and inconveniencies
of old age. Be not discontented at them, repine not, nor grow peevish
and froward to those about you. This is a common temptation which the
aged should carefully resist. You knew at first that you had a body
that must decay: if you would not have had it till a decaying age, why
were you so unwilling to die? If you would, why do you repine? Bless
God for the days of youth, and strength, and health, and ease which
you have had already! and grudge not that corruptible flesh decayeth.

_Direct._ XIII. Understand well that passive obedience is that
which God calleth you to in your age and weakness, and in which you
must serve and honour him in the conclusion of your labour. When you
are unfit for any great or public works, and active obedience hath not
opportunity to exercise itself as heretofore, it is then as acceptable
to God that you honour him by patient suffering. And therefore it is a
great error of them that wish for the death of all that are impotent,
decrepit, and bedrid, as if they were utterly unserviceable to God. I
tell you, it is no small service that they may do, not only by their
prayers, and their secret love to God, but by being examples of faith,
and patience, and heavenly-mindedness, and confidence and joy in God,
to all about them. Grudge not then if God will thus employ you.

_Direct._ XIV. Let your thoughts of death, and preparations for
it, be as serious as if death were just at hand. Though all your life
be little enough to prepare for death, and it be a work that should be
done as soon as you have the use of reason, yet age and weakness call
louder to you, presently to prepare without delay. Do therefore all
that you would fain find done, when your last sickness cometh; that
unreadiness to die may not make death terrible, nor your age

_Direct._ XV. Live in the joyful expectation of your change, as
becometh one that is so near to heaven, and looketh to live with
Christ for ever. Let all the high and glorious things, which faith
apprehendeth, now show their power in the love, and joy, and longings
of your soul. There is nothing in which the weak and aged can more
honour Christ and do good to others, than in joyful expectation of
their change, and an earnest desire to be with Christ. This will do
much to convince unbelievers, that the promises are true, and that
heaven is real, and that a holy life is indeed the best, which hath so
happy an end. When they see you highest in your joys, at the time
when others are deepest in distress: and when you rejoice as one that
is entering upon his happiness, when all the happiness of the ungodly
is at an end; this will do more than many sermons, to persuade a
sinner to a holy life. I know that this is not easily attained; but a
thing so sweet and profitable to yourselves, and so useful to the good
of others, and so much tending to the honour of God, should be
laboured after with all your diligence: and then you may expect God's
blessing on your labours. Read to this use the fourth part of my
"Saints' Rest."

[125] In Augustine's speech to the people of Hippo, for Eradius his
succession, he saith, In infantia speratur pueritia, et in pueritia
speratur adolescentia, in adolescentia speratur juventus, in juventute
speratur gravitas, et in gravitate speratur senectus: utrum contingat
incertum est; est tamen quod speretur. Senectus autem aliam ætatem
quam speret, non habet. Vid. Papor. Massor. in vita Cœlesti. fol. 58.



THOUGH the chief part of our preparation for death be in the time of
health, and it is a work for which the longest life is not too long;
yet because the folly of unconverted sinners is so great, as to forget
what they were born for till they see death at hand, and because there
is a special preparation necessary for the best, I shall here lay down
some directions for the sick. And I shall reduce them to these four
heads: 1. What must be done to make death safe to us, that it may be
our passage to heaven and not to hell. 2. What must be done to make
sickness profitable to us. 3. What must be done to make death
comfortable to us, that we may die in peace and joy. 4. What must be
done to make our sickness profitable to others about us.

_Tit. 1. Directions for a Safe Death, to secure our Salvation._

The directions of this sort are especially necessary to the
unconverted, impenitent sinner; yet needful also to the godly
themselves; and therefore I shall distinctly speak to both.

I. _Directions for an Unconverted Sinner in his Sickness._

It is a very dreadful case to be found by sickness in an unconverted
state. There is so great a work to be done, and so little time to do
it in, and soul and body so unfit and undisposed for it, and the
misery so great (even everlasting torment) that will follow so
certainly and so quickly if it be undone, that one would think it
should overwhelm the understanding and heart of any man with
astonishment and horror, to foresee such a condition in the time of
his health; much more to find himself in it in his sickness. And
though one would think that the near approach of death, and the
nearness of another world, should be irresistibly powerful to convert
a sinner, so that few or none should die unconverted, however they
lived; yet Scripture and sad experience declare the contrary, that
most men die, as well as live, in an unsanctified and miserable state.
For, 1. A life of sin doth usually settle a man in ignorance or
unbelief, or both; so that sickness findeth him in such a dungeon of
darkness, that he is but lost and confounded in his fears, and knoweth
not whither he is going, nor what he hath to do. 2. And also sin
woefully hardeneth the heart, and the long-resisted Spirit of God
forsaketh them, and giveth them over to themselves in sickness, who
would not be ruled and sanctified by him in their health: and such
remain like blocks or beasts even to the last. 3. And the nature of
sickness and approaching death doth tend more to affright than to
renew the soul; and rather to breed fear and trouble than love. And
though grief and fear be good preparatives and helps, yet it is the
love of God and holiness in which the soul's regeneration and
renovation doth consist; and there is no more holiness than there is
love and willingness. And many a one that is affrighted into strong
repentings, and cries, and prayers, and promises, and seem to
themselves and others to be converted, do yet either die in their sins
and misery, or return to their unholy lives when they recover, being
utter strangers to that true repentance which reneweth the heart, as
sad experience doth too often testify. 4. And many poor sinners
finding that they have so short a time, do end it in mere amazement
and terror, not knowing how to compose their thoughts, to examine
their hearts and lives, nor to exercise faith in Christ, nor to follow
any directions that are given them; but lie in trembling and
astonishment, wholly taken up with the fears of death, much worse than
a beast that is going to be butchered. 5. And the very pains of the
body do so divert or hinder the thoughts of many, that they can scarce
mind any spiritual things, with such a composedness as is necessary to
so great a work. 6. And the greatest number being partly confounded in
ignorance, and partly withheld by backwardness and undisposedness, and
partly disheartened by thinking it impossible to become new creatures,
and get a regenerate, heavenly heart on such a sudden, do force
themselves to hope that they shall be saved without it, and that
though they are sinners, yet that kind of repentance which they have,
will serve the turn and be accepted, and God will be more merciful
than to damn them. And this false hope they think they are
necessitated to take up. For there is but two other ways to be taken:
the one is, utterly to despair; and both Scripture, and reason, and
nature itself are against that: the other way is, to be truly
converted and won to the love of God and heaven by a lively faith in
Jesus Christ; and they have no such faith; and to this they are
strange and undisposed, and think it impossible to be done. And if
they must have no hopes but upon such terms as these, they think they
shall have none at all. Or else if they hear that there is no other
hope, and that none but the holy can be saved, they will force
themselves to hope that they have all this, and that they are truly
converted, and become new creatures, and do love God and holiness
above all: not because indeed it is so, but because they would have it
so, for fear of being damned. And instead of finding that they are
void of faith, and love, and holiness, and labouring to get a renewed
soul, they think it a nearer way to make themselves believe that it is
so already: and thus in their presumption, self-deceiving, and false
hopes, they linger out that little time that is left them to be
converted in, till death open their eyes, and hell do undeceive them.
7. And the same devil, and wicked men his instruments, that kept them
in health from true repentance, will be as diligent to keep them from
it in their sickness; and will be loth to lose all at the last cast,
which they had been winning all the time before. And if the devil can
but keep them in his power, till sickness come and take them up with
pain and fear, he will hope to keep them a few days longer, till he
have finished that which he had begun and carried on so far. And if
there be here and there one, that will be held no longer by false
hopes and presumption, he will at last think to take them off by
desperation, and make them believe that there is no remedy.

And indeed it is a thing so difficult, and unlikely, to convert a
sinner in all his pain and weakness at the last, that even the godly
friends of such do many times even let them alone, as thinking that
there is little or no hope. But this is a very sinful course: as long
as there is life, there is some hope. And as long as there is hope, we
must use the means. A physician will try the best remedies he hath, in
the most dangerous disease which is not desperate: for when it is
certain that there is no hope without them, if they do no good, they
do no harm. So must we try the saving of a poor soul, while there is
life and any hope; for if once death end their time and hopes, it will
be then too late; and they will be out of our reach and help for ever.
To those that sickness findeth in so sad a case, I shall give here but
a few brief directions, because I have done it more at large in the
first part and first chapter, whither I refer them.

[Sidenote: For examination.]

_Direct._ I. Set speedily and seriously to the judging of
yourselves, as those that are going to be judged of God. And do it in
the manner following. 1. Do it willingly and resolvedly, as knowing
that it is now no time to remain uncertain of your everlasting state,
if you can possibly get acquainted with it. Is it not time for a man
to know himself, whether he be a sanctified believer or not, when he
is just going to appear before his Maker, and there be judged as he is

2. Do it impartially; as one that is not willing to find himself
deceived, as soon as death hath acquainted him with the truth. O take
heed, as you love your souls, of being foolishly tender of yourselves,
and resolving for fear of being troubled at your misery, to believe
that you are safe, whether it be true or false. This is the way that
thousands are undone by. Thinking that you are sanctified will neither
prove you so, nor make you so; no more than thinking that you are
well, will prove or make you well. And what good will it do you to
think you are pardoned and shall be saved, for a few days longer, and
then to find too late in hell that you were mistaken? Is the ease of
so short a deceit worth all the pain and loss that it will cost you?
Alas, poor soul! God knoweth it is not needlessly to affright thee,
that we desire to convince thee of thy misery! We do not cruelly
insult over thee, or desire to torment thee. But we pity thee in so
sad a case: to see an unsanctified person ready to pass into another
world, and to be doomed unto endless misery, and will not know it till
he is there. Our principal reason of opening your danger is, because
it is necessary to your escaping it: if soul diseases were like bodily
diseases, which may sometimes be cured without the patient's knowing
them, and the danger of them, we would never trouble you at such a
time as this. But it will not be so done; you must understand your
danger, if you will be saved from it: therefore be impartial with
yourself if you are wise, and be truly willing to know the worst. 3.
In judging yourselves, proceed by the same rule or law that God will
judge you by; that is, by the word of God revealed in the gospel. For
your work now is not to steal a little short-lived quiet to your
consciences, but to know how God will judge your souls, and whether he
will doom you to endless joy or misery: and how can you know this, but
by that law or rule that God will judge you by? And certainly God will
judge you by the same law or rule by which he governed you, or which
he gave you to live by in the world. It will go never the better or
worse there with any man, for his good or bad conceits of himself, if
they were his mistakes; but just what God has said in his word that he
will do with any man, that will he do with him in the day of judgment.
All shall be justified whom the gospel justifieth; and all shall be
condemned that it condemneth: and therefore judge yourself by it: by
what signs you may know an unsanctified man, I have told you before,
part i. chap. i. direct. 8. And by what signs true grace may be known,
I told you before, in preparation for the sacrament. 4. If you cannot
satisfy yourself about your own condition, advise with some godly,
able minister, or other christian that is best acquainted with you;
that knoweth how you have lived towards God and man: or at least, open
all your heart and life to him that he may know it; and if he tell you
that he feareth you are yet unsanctified, you have the more reason to
fear the worst. But then be sure that he be not a carnal, ungodly,
worldly man himself; for they that flatter and deceive themselves, are
not unlike to do so by others. Such blind deceivers will daub over
all, and bid you never trouble yourself; but even comfort you as they
comfort themselves, and bid you believe that all is well, and it will
be well; or will make you believe that some forced confession and
unsound repentance will serve instead of true conversion. But a man
that is going to the bar of God, should be loth to be deceived by
himself, or others.

[Sidenote: For humiliation and repentance.]

_Direct._ II. If by a due examination you find yourself unsanctified,
bethink you seriously of your case, both what you have done, and what
a condition you are in, till you are truly humbled, and willing of any
conditions that God shall offer you for your deliverance. Consider how
foolishly you have done, how rebelliously, how unthankfully, to
forsake your God, and forget your souls, and lose all your time, and
abuse all God's mercies, and leave undone the work that you were made,
and preserved, and redeemed for! Alas, did you never know till now
that you must die? and that you had all your time to make preparation
for an endless life which followeth death? Were you never warned by
minister, or friend? Were you never told of the necessity of a holy,
heavenly life; and of a regenerate, sanctified state, till now? O what
could you have done more unwisely, or wickedly, than to cast away a
life that eternal life so much depended on; and to refuse your
Saviour, and his grace and mercies, till your last extremity? Is this
the time to look after a new birth, and to begin your life, when you
are at the end of it? O what have you done to delay so great a work
till now! And now if you die before you are regenerate, you are lost
for ever. O humble your souls before the Lord! Lament your folly; and
presently condemn yourselves before him, and make out to him for mercy
while there is hope.

[Sidenote: For faith in Christ.]

_Direct._ III. When you are humbled for your sin and misery, and
willing of mercy upon any terms, believe that yet your case is not
remediless, but that Jesus Christ hath given himself to God, a
sacrifice for your sins, and is so sure and all-sufficient a Saviour,
that yet nothing can hinder you from pardon and salvation, but your
own impenitence and unbelief. Come to him therefore as the Saviour of
souls, that he may teach you the will of God, and reconcile you to his
Father, and pardon your sins, and renew you by his Spirit, and
acquaint you with his Father's love, and save you from damnation, and
make you heirs of life eternal. For all this may yet possibly be done,
as short as your time is like to be: and it will yet be long of you,
if it be not done. The covenant of grace doth promise pardon and
salvation to every penitent believer whenever they truly turn to God,
without excepting any hour, or any person, in all the world. Nothing
but an unbelieving, hardened heart, resisting his grace, and unwilling
to be holy, can deprive you of pardon and salvation, even at the
last. It was a most foolish wickedness of you to put it off till now:
but yet for all that, if you are not yet saved, it shall not be long
of Christ, but you: yet he doth freely offer you his mercy, and he
will be your Lord and Saviour if you will not refuse him: yet the
match shall not break on his part: see that it break not on your part,
and you shall be saved. Know therefore what he is, as God and man, and
what a blessed work he hath undertaken, to redeem a sinful, miserable
world; and what he hath already done for us, in his life and doctrine,
in his death and sufferings, by his resurrection and his covenant of
grace, and what he is now doing at his Father's right hand, in making
intercession for penitent believers, and what an endless glory he is
preparing for them, and how he will save to the uttermost all that
come to God by him. O yet let your heart even leap for joy, that you
have an all-sufficient, willing, gracious Saviour, whose grace
aboundeth more than sin aboundeth. If the devils and poor damned souls
in hell were yet but in your case, and had your offers and your hopes,
how glad do you imagine they would be! Cast yourselves therefore in
faith and confidence upon this Saviour; trust your souls upon his
sacrifice and merit, for the pardon of your sins, and peace with God;
beg of him yet the renewing grace of his Spirit; be willing to be made
holy, and a new creature, and to live a holy life if you should
survive; resolve to be wholly ruled by him; and give up yourself
absolutely to him as your Saviour, to be justified, and sanctified,
and saved by him, and then trust in him for everlasting happiness! O
happy soul, if yet you can do thus, without deceit.

[Sidenote: For a new heart, and the love of God, and a resolution for
a holy, obedient life.]

_Direct._ IV. Believe now and consider what God is and will be to
your soul, and what love he hath showed to you by Christ, and what
endless joy and glory you may have with him in heaven for ever,
notwithstanding all the sins that you have done: and think what the
world and the flesh have done for you, in comparison of God: think of
this till you fall in love with God, and till your hearts and hopes
are set on heaven, and turned from this world and flesh, and till you
feel yourself in love with holiness, and till you are firmly resolved
in the strength of Christ to live a holy life, if God recover you: and
then you are truly sanctified, and shall be saved if you die in this
condition. Take heed that you take not a repentance and good purposes
which come from nothing but fear, to be sufficient; if you recover,
all this may die again, when your fear is over: you are not
sanctified, nor hath God your hearts, till your love be to him: that
which you do through fear alone, you had rather not do if you might be
excused; and therefore your hearts are still against it. When the
feeling of God's unspeakable love in Christ, doth melt and overcome
your hearts; when the infinite goodness of God himself, and his
mercies to your souls and bodies, do make you take him as more lovely
and desirable than all the world; when you so believe the heavenly
joys above, as to desire them more than earthly pleasures; when you
love God better than worldly prosperity, and when a life of such love
and holiness seemeth better to you, than all the merriments of
sinners, and you had rather be a saint, than the most prosperous of
the ungodly, and are firmly resolved for a holy life, if God recover
you, then are you indeed in a state of grace, and not till then: this
must be your case, or you are undone for ever. And therefore meditate
on the love of Christ, and the goodness of God, and the joys of
heaven, and the happiness of saints, and the misery of worldlings and
ungodly men; meditate on these till your eyes be opened, and your
hearts be touched with a holy love, and heaven and holiness be the
very things that you desire above all; and then you may boldly go to
God, and believe that all your sins are pardoned; and it is not bare
terror, but these believing thoughts of God, and heaven, and Christ,
and love, that must change your hearts and do the work.

These four directions truly practised, will yet set you on safe
ground, as sad and dangerous as your condition is; but it is not the
hearing of them, or the bare approbation of them, that will serve the
turn. To find out your sinful, miserable state, and to be truly
humbled for it, and to discern the remedy which you have in Christ,
and penitently and believingly to enter into his covenant, and to see
that your happiness is wholly in the love and fruition of God, and to
believe the glory prepared for the saints, and to prefer it before all
the prosperity of the world, and love it, and set your hearts upon it,
and to resolve on a holy life if you should recover, forsaking this
deceitful world and flesh; all this is a work that is not so easily
done as mentioned, and requireth your more serious, fixed thoughts;
and indeed had been fitter for your youthful vigour, than for a
painful, weak, distempered state. But necessity is upon you; it must
needs be yet done, and thoroughly and sincerely done, or you are lost
for ever. And therefore do it as well as you can, and see that your
hearts do not trifle and deceive you. In some respect you have greater
helps than ever you had before; you cannot now keep up your
hard-heartedness and security, by looking at death as a great way off.
You have now fuller experience, than ever you had before, what the
flesh and all its pleasures will come to, and what good your sinful
sports, and recreations, and merriments will do you; and what all the
riches, and greatness, and gallantry, and honours of the world are
worth, and what they will do for you in the day of your necessity. You
stand so near another world, and must so quickly appear before the
Lord, that methinks a dead and senseless heart should no longer be
able to make you slight your God, your Saviour, and your endless life:
and one would think that the flesh, and world, should never be able to
deceive you any more. O happy soul, if yet at last you are not only
frightened into an unsound repentance, but can hate all sin, and love
the Lord, and trust in Christ, and give up yourself entirely to him,
and set your heart upon that blessed life, where you may see and love
him perfectly for ever!

[Sidenote: Of late repentance.]

_Quest._ But will so late repentance serve the turn, for one that
hath been so long ungodly?

_Answ._ Yes, if it be sincere: but there is all the doubt; and
that is it that your salvation now dependeth on.

_Quest._ But how may I know whether it be sincere?

_Answ._ 1. If you be not only frighted into it, but your very heart,
and will, and love are changed. 2. If it extend both to the end, and
the necessary means: so that you love God and the joys of heaven,
above all earthly prosperity and pleasure; and also you had rather be
perfectly holy, than live in all the delights of sin. And if you hate
every known sin, and love the holy ways and servants of God, and this
unfeignedly: this is a true change. 3. And if this repentance and
change be such as will hold, if God should recover you, and would show
itself in a new, and holy, and self-denying life; which certainly it
will do, if it come not only from fear, but from love: but if you
renounce the world, and the flesh, against your wills, because you
know there is no remedy; and if you bid farewell to your worldly,
sinful pleasures, not because you love God better, but because you
cannot keep them, though you would; and if you take not God and heaven
as your best, but only for better than hell; but not as better than
worldly prosperity, which yet you would choose, if you had your
choice; this kind of repentance will never save you; and if you should
recover, it would vanish away, and come to nothing, as soon as your
fears of death are over, and you are returned to your worldly delights
again. Though now in your extremity you cry out never so confidently,
Oh I had rather have heaven than earth, and I had rather have Christ
and holiness, than all the pleasures and prosperity of sinners; yet if
it be not from a renewed, sanctified heart, that had rather be such
indeed, but from mere necessity and fear and against the habit of your
hearts and wills; this is but such a repentance as Judas had, that is
neither sincere at present, nor if you recover, will hold you to a
holy life.

II. _Directions to the Sanctified, for a safe Departure._

When the soul is truly converted and sanctified, the principal
business is despatched, that is necessary to a safe departure: but yet
I cannot say that there is no more to be done. They were godly persons
that were exhorted, 2 Pet. i. 10, "to give diligence to make their
calling and election sure;" which being (as the Greek importeth) not
only to make it known or certain, but to make it firm, doth signify
more than barely to discern it. These following duties are yet further

_Direct._ I. Satisfy not yourselves that once you found yourselves
sincere; but if your understandings be clear and free, renew the
trial; and if you are insufficient for it of yourself, make use of the
help of a faithful, judicious minister or friend. For when a man is
going to the bar of God, it concerneth him to make all as sure as
possibly he can.

_Direct._ II. Review your lives, and renew your universal
repentance, for all the sins that ever you committed; and also let
your particular repentance extend to every particular sin which you
remember, but especially repent of your most aggravated, soul-wounding
sins. For if your repentance be universal and true, it will also be
particular; and you will be specially humbled for your special sins:
and search deep, and see that none escape you. And think not that you
are not called to repent of them, or ask forgiveness, because you have
repented of them long ago, and received a pardon: for this is a thing
to be done even to the last.

_Direct._ III. Renew your faith in Jesus Christ, and cast your
souls upon his merits and mediation. Satisfy not yourselves that you
have a habit of faith, and that formerly you did believe; but fly to
your trusty rock and refuge, and continue the exercise of your faith,
and again give up your souls to Christ.

_Direct._ IV. Make it your chief work to stir up in your hearts
the love of God, and a desire to live with Christ in glory. Let those
comforting and encouraging objects which are the instruments of this,
be still in your thoughts: and if you can do this, it will be the
surest proof of your title to the crown.

_Direct._ V. If you have wronged any by word or deed, be sure that you
do your best to right them, and make them satisfaction; and if you
have fallen out with any, be reconciled to them. Leave not other men's
goods to your heirs or executors: restore what you have wrongfully
gotten, before you leave your legacies to any. Confess your faults
where you can do no more; and ask those forgiveness whom you have
injured; and leave not men's names, or estates, or souls, under the
effects of your former wrongs, so far as you are able to make them

_Direct._ VI. Be still taken up in your duty to God, even that
which he now calleth you to, that you may not be found idle, or in the
sins of omission; but may be most holy and fruitful at the last.
Though sickness call you not to all the same duties, which were
incumbent on you in your health; yet think not therefore, that there
is no duty at all expected from the sick. Every season and state hath
its peculiar duties, (and its peculiar mercies,) which it much
concerneth us to know. I shall anon tell you more particularly what
they are.

_Direct._ VII. Be specially fortified and vigilant against the
most dangerous temptations of Satan, by which he useth to assault the
sick. Pray now especially, that God would not lead you into
temptation, but deliver you from the evil one: for in your weakness
you may be less fit to wrestle with them, than at another time. O beg
of God, that as he hath upheld you, and preserved you till now, he
would not forsake you at last in your extremity.[126] Particularly,

_Tempt._ I. One of the most dangerous temptations of the enemy
is, To take the advantage of a christian's bodily weakness, to shake
his faith, and question his foundations, and call him to dispute over
his principles again, Whether the soul be immortal? and there be a
heaven, and a hell? and whether Christ be the Son of God, and the
Scriptures be God's word? &c. As if this had never been questioned,
and scanned, and resolved before! It is a great deal of advantage that
Satan expecteth by this malicious course. If he could, he would draw
you from Christ to infidelity; but Christ prayeth for you, that your
faith may not fail: if he cannot do this, he would at least weaken
your faith, and hereby weaken every grace: and he would hereby divert
you from the more needful thoughts, which are suitable to your present
state; and he would hereby distract you, and destroy your comforts,
and draw you in your perplexities to dishonour God. Away therefore
with these blasphemous and unseasonable motions; cast them from you,
with abhorrence and disdain: it is no time now to be questioning your
foundations; you have done this more seasonably, when you were in a
fitter case. A pained, languishing body, and a disturbed, discomposed
mind, is unfit upon a surprise, to go back and dispute over all our
principles. Tell Satan, you owe him not so much service, nor will you
so cast away those few hours and thoughts, for which you have so much
better work. You have the witness in yourselves, even the Spirit, and
image, and seal of God. You have been converted and renewed by the
power of that word, which he would have you question; and you have
found it to be owned by the Spirit of grace, who hath made it mighty
to pull down the strongest holds of sin. Tell Satan, you will not
gratify him so much, as to turn your holy, heavenly desires, into a
wrangling with him about those truths which you have so often proved.
You will not question now, the being of that God who hath maintained
you so long, and witnessed his being and goodness to you by a life of
mercies; nor will you now question the being or truth of him that hath
redeemed you, or of the Spirit or word that hath sanctified, guided,
comforted, and confirmed you. If he tell you, that you must prove all
things, tell him, that this is not now to do; you have long proved the
truth and goodness of your God, the mercy of your Saviour, and the
power of his holy Spirit and word. It is now your work to live upon
that word, and fetch your hopes and comforts from it, and not to
question it.

_Tempt._ II. Another dangerous temptation of Satan is, When he
would persuade you to despair, by causing you to misunderstand the
tenor of the gospel, or by thinking too narrowly and unworthily of
God's mercy, or of the satisfaction of Christ. But because this
temptation doth usually tend more to discomfort the soul, than to damn
it, I shall speak more to it under tit. 3.

_Tempt._ III. Another dangerous temptation is, When Satan would
draw you to overlook your sins, and overvalue your graces, and be
proud of your good works; and so lay too much of your comfort upon
yourselves, and lose the sense of your need of Christ, or usurp any
part of his office or his honour. I shall afterward show you how far
you must look at any thing in yourselves: but certainly, that which
lifteth you up in pride, or encroacheth on Christ's office, or would
draw you to undervalue him, is not of God. Therefore keep humble, in
the sense of your sinfulness and unworthiness, and cast away every
motion which would carry you away from Christ, and make yourselves,
and your works, and righteousness, as a saviour to yourselves.

_Tempt._ IV. Another perilous temptation is, By causing the
thoughts of death and the grave, and your doubts and fears about the
world to come, to overcome the love of God, and (not only the
comforts, but also) the desires and willingness of your hearts, to be
with Christ. It will abate your love to God and heaven, to think on
them with too much estrangedness and terror. The directions under tit.
3. will help you against this temptation.

_Tempt._ V. Another dangerous temptation is fetched from the
remnants of your worldly-mindedness; when your dignity, or honour,
your house, or lands, your relations and friends, or your pleasures
and contentments, are so sweet to you, that you are loth to leave
them; and the thoughts of death are grievous to you, because it taketh
you from that which you over-love; and God and heaven are the less
desired, because you are loth to leave the world. Watch carefully
against this great temptation; observe how it seeketh the very
destruction of your grace and souls; and how it fighteth against your
love to God and heaven, and would undo all that Christ and his Spirit
have been doing so long. Observe what a root of matter it findeth in
yourselves; and therefore be the more humbled under it. Learn now what
the world is, and how little the accommodations of the flesh are
worth, when you perceive what the end of all must be. Would you never
die? would you enjoy your worldly things for ever? Had you rather have
them, than to live with Christ in the heavenly glory of the New
Jerusalem? If you had, it is your grievous sin and folly; and yet you
know that it is a desire that you can never hope to attain. Die you
must, whether you will or not! What is it, then, that you would stay
for? Is it till the world be grown less pleasant to you, and your love
and minds be weaned from it? When should that rather be than now? And
what should more effectually do it, than this dying condition that you
are in? It is time for you to spit out these unwholesome pleasures;
and now to look up to the true, the holy, the unmeasurable, everlasting

_Tit. 2. Directions how to Profit by our Sickness._

Whether it shall please God to recover you or not, it is no small
benefit which you may get by his visitation, if you do your part, and
faithfully improve it, according to these directions following.

_Direct._ I. If you hear God's call to a closer trial of your
hearts, concerning the sincerity of your conversion, and thereby are
brought to a more exact examination, and come to a truer acquaintance
with your state, (be it good or bad,) the benefit may be exceeding
great. For if it be good, you may be much comforted, and confirmed,
and fitted to give thanks and praise to God; and if it be bad, you may
be awakened speedily to look about you, and seek for a recovery.

_Direct._ II. If in the review of your lives, you find out those
sins which before you overlooked, or perceive the greatness of those
sins which you before accounted small, the benefit may be very great;
for it helps to a more deep and sound repentance, and to a stronger
resolution against all sins, if you recover. And affliction is a very
great help to us in this: many a man hath been ashamed and deeply
humbled for that same sin, when sickness did awake him, which he could
make his play-fellow before, as if there had been neither hurt nor
danger in it.

_Direct._ III. There is many a deep corruption in the heart,
which affliction openeth and discovereth, which deceitfulness hid in
the time of prosperity; and the detecting of these is no small benefit
to the soul. When you come to part with wealth and honour, you shall
better know how much you loved them, than you could before. Mark
therefore what corruptions appear in your affliction, and how the
heart discloseth its deceits, that you may know what to repent of, and

_Direct._ IV. When affliction calleth you to the use and exercise
of your graces, you have a great help to be better acquainted with the
strength or weakness of them. When you are called so loudly to the use
of faith, and love, and patience, and heavenly-mindedness, you may
better know what measure of every one of these you have, than you
could when you had no such help. Mark therefore what your hearts prove
in the trial, and what each grace doth show itself to be in the

_Direct._ V. You have a very great help now to be thoroughly
acquainted with the vanity of the world, and so to mortify all
affections unto the things below. Now judge of the value of wealth,
and honour, of plenty, and high places. Are they a comfort to a dying
man that is parting with them? Or is it any grief to a poor man when
he is dying, that he did not enjoy them? Is it not easy now to rectify
your errors, if ever you thought highly of these transitory things? O
settle it now in your firm resolution, that if God should restore you,
you would value this world at a lower rate, and set by it, and seek
it, but as it deserveth.

_Direct._ VI. Also you have now a special help to raise your
estimation of the happiness of the saints in heaven, and of the
necessity and excellency of a holy life, and of the wisdom of the
saints on earth; and to know who maketh the wisest choice.[127] Now
you may see that it is nothing but heaven that is worth our seeking,
and that is finally to be trusted to, and will not fail us in the hour
of our distress; now you may discern between the righteous and the
wicked; between those that serve God and those that serve him not,
Mal. iii. 17, 18. Now judge whether a loose and worldly life, or a
holy, heavenly life be better? And resolve accordingly.

_Direct._ VII. You have also now a very great help to discern the
folly of a voluptuous life, and to mortify the deeds and desires of
the flesh: when God is mortifying its natural desires, it may help
you in mortifying its sinful desires. Now judge what lust, and plays,
and gaming, and feasting, and drunkenness, and swaggering, are worth?
You see now the end of all such pleasures. Do you think them better
than the joys of heaven, and worthy the loss of a man's salvation to
attain them? Or better than the pleasures of a holy life?

_Direct._ VIII. Also now you have a great advantage, for the
quickening of your hearts that have lost their zeal, and are cold in
prayer, and dull in meditation, and regardless of holy conference. If
ever you will pray earnestly, sure it will be now; if ever you will
talk seriously of the matters of salvation, sure it will be now. Now
you do better understand the reason of fervent prayer, and serious
religion, and circumspect walking, than you did before; and you can
easily now confute the scorns, or railings of the loose, ungodly
enemies of holiness; even as you confute the dotage of a fool, or the
ravings of a man beside himself.

_Direct._ IX. You have a great advantage more sensibly to
perceive your dependence upon God alone; and what reason you have to
please him before all the world, and to regard his favour or
displeasure more, than all the things or persons upon earth. Now you
see how vain a thing is man; and how little the favour of all the
world can stand you in stead in your greatest necessity: now you see
that it is God, and God alone, that is to be trusted to at last; and
therefore it is God that is to be obeyed and pleased, whatever become
of all things in the world.

_Direct._ X. You have now a great advantage to discern the
preciousness of time, and to see how carefully it should be redeemed,
and to perceive the distractedness of those men, that can waste it in
pastimes, and curiosity of dressings, and needless compliments and
visits, and a multitude of such vanities, as rob the world of that
which is more precious than gold or treasure. Now what think you of
idling and playing away your time? Now do you not think that it is
wiser to spend it in a holy preparation for the life to come, than to
cast it away upon childish fooleries, or any unnecessary worldly

_Direct._ XI. Also you have now a special help to be more serious
than ever in your preparations for death, and in your thoughts of
heaven; and so to be readier than you were before; and if sickness
help you to be readier to die, and more to set your hearts above,
whether you live or die, it will be a profitable sickness to you.

_Direct._ XII. Let your friends about you be the witnesses of
your open confessions and resolutions, and engage them, if God should
restore you to your health, to remember you of all the promises which
you made, and to watch over you, and tell you of them whenever there
is need. By these means sickness may be improved, and be a mercy to

[Sidenote: Directions to them that recover.]

I might next have given some special directions to them that are
recovered from sickness; but because I would not be needlessly
tedious, I refer such to what is here said already. 1. Let them but
look over these twelve directions, and see whether these benefits
remain upon their hearts. 2. Let them call to their lively
remembrance, the sense which they had, and the frame they were in,
when they made these resolutions. 3. Let them remember that sickness
will come again, even a sickness which will have no cure. And, 4. Let
them bethink themselves, how terribly conscience will be wounded, and
their souls dismayed, when the next sickness cometh, to remember that
they were unthankful for their last recovery, and how falsely they
dealt with God in the breaking of their promises. Foresee this, that
you may prevent it.

_Tit. 3. Directions for a Comfortable or Peaceable Death._

Comfort is not desirable only as it pleaseth us, but also as it
strengtheneth us, and helpeth us in our greatest duties. And when is
it more needful than in sickness, and the approach of death? I shall
therefore add such directions as are necessary to make our departure
comfortable or peaceful at the least, as well as safe.

_Direct._ I. Because I would make this treatise no longer than I
needs must; in order to overcome the fears of death, and get a
cheerful willingness to die, I desire the sick to read over those
twenty considerations, and the following directions, which I have laid
down in my book of "Self-denial." And when the fears of death are
overcome, the great impediment of their comfort is removed.

_Direct._ II. Misunderstand not sickness, as if it were a greater
evil than it is; but observe how great a mercy it is, that death hath
so suitable a harbinger or forerunner: that God should do so much
before he taketh us hence, to wean us from the world, and make us
willing to be gone; that the unwilling flesh hath the help of pain;
and that the senses and appetite languish and decay, which did draw
the mind to earthly things: and that we have so loud a call, and so
great a help to true repentance and serious preparation! I know to
those that have walked very close with God, and are always ready, a
sudden death may be a mercy; as we have lately known divers holy
ministers and others, that have died either after a sacrament, or in
the evening of the Lord's day, or in the midst of some holy exercise,
with so little pain, that none about them perceived when they
died.[128] But ordinarily it is a mercy to have the flesh brought down
and weakened by painful sickness, to help to conquer our natural
unwillingness to die.

_Direct._ III. Remember whose messenger sickness is, and who it
is that calleth you to die. It is he, that is the Lord of all the
world, and gave us the lives which he taketh from us; and it is he,
that must dispose of angels and men, of princes and kingdoms, of
heaven and earth; and therefore there is no reason that such worms as
we should desire to be excepted. You cannot deny him to be the
disposer of all things, without denying him to be God: it is he that
loveth us, and never meant us any harm in any thing that he hath done
to us; that gave the life of his Son to redeem us; and therefore
thinketh not life too good for us. Our sickness and death are sent by
the same love that sent us a Saviour, and sent us the powerful
preachers of his word, and sent us his Spirit, and secretly and
sweetly changed our hearts, and knit them to himself in love; which
gave us a life of precious mercies for our souls and bodies, and hath
promised to give us life eternal; and shall we think, that he now
intendeth us any harm? Cannot he turn this also to our good, as he
hath done many an affliction which we have repined at?

_Direct._ IV. Look by faith to your dying, buried, risen, ascended,
glorified Lord. Nothing will more powerfully overcome both the poison
and the fears of death, than the believing thoughts of him that hath
triumphed over it. Is it terrible as it separateth the soul from the
body? So it did by our Lord, who yet overcame it. Is it terrible as it
layeth the body in the grave? So it did by our Saviour; though he saw
not corruption, but quickly rose by the power of his Godhead. He died
to teach us believingly and boldly to submit to death. He was buried,
to teach us not over-much to fear a grave. He rose again to conquer
death for us, and to assure those that rise to newness of life, that
they shall be raised at last by his power unto glory; and being made
partakers of the first resurrection, the second death shall have no
power over them. He liveth as our head, that we might live by him; and
that he might assure all those that are here risen with him, and seek
first the things that are above, that though in themselves they are
dead, "yet their life is hid with Christ in God; and when Christ who
is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in
glory," Col. iii. 1, 2, 4, 5. What a comfortable word is that, John
xiv. 19, "Because I live, ye shall live also." Death could not hold
the Lord of life; nor can it hold us against his will, who hath the
"keys of death and hell," Rev. i. 18. He loveth every one of his
sanctified ones much better than you love an eye, or a hand, or any
other member of your body, which you will not lose if you are able to
save it. When he ascended, he left us that message full of comfort for
his followers, John xx. 17, "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I
ascend unto my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God."
Which, with these two following, I would have written before me on my
sick bed. "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am,
there also shall my servant be," John xii. 26. And, "Verily, I say
unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in paradise," Luke xxiii. 43.
Oh what a joyful thought should it be to a believer, to think when he
is a dying, that he is going to his Saviour, and that our Lord is
risen and gone before us, to prepare a place for us, and take us in
season to himself, John xiv. 2-4. "As you believe in God, believe thus
in Christ; and then your hearts will be less troubled," ver. 1. It is
not a stranger that we talk of to you; but your Head and Saviour, that
loveth you better than you love yourselves, whose office it is there
to appear continually for you before God, and at last to receive your
departing souls; and into his hand it is, that you must then commend
them, as Stephen did, Acts vii. 59.

_Direct._ V. Choose out some promises most suitable to your
condition, and roll them over and over in your mind, and feed and live
on them by faith. A sick man is not (usually) fit to think of very
many things; and therefore two or three comfortable promises, to be
still before his eyes, may be the most profitable matter of his
thoughts; such as those three which I named before. If he be most
troubled with the greatness of his sin, let it be such as these: "God
so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," John
iii. 16. "And by him all that believe are justified from all things,
from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses," Acts
xiii. 39. "For I will be merciful unto their unrighteousness, and
their sins and iniquities will I remember no more," Heb. viii. 12. If
it be the weakness of his grace that troubleth him, let him choose
such passages as these: "He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and
carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with
young," Isa. xl. 11. "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the
Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary one to the other; so
that ye cannot do the things that ye would," Gal. v. 17. "The spirit
is willing, but the flesh is weak," Matt. xxvi. 41. "All that the
Father giveth me, shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will
in no wise cast out," John vi. 37. "The apostles said unto the Lord,
Increase our faith," Luke xvii. 5. If it be the fear of death, and
strangeness to the other world, that troubleth you, remember the words
of Christ before cited, and 2 Cor. v. 1-6, 8, "For we know, that if
our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a
building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our
house which is from heaven. For we that are in this tabernacle do
groan being burdened, not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed
upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.--We are confident,
and willing rather to be absent from the body, and present with the
Lord." "For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart,
and to be with Christ, which is far better," Phil. i. 23. "Blessed are
the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth: yea, saith the
Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do
follow them," Rev. xiv. 13. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave,
where is thy victory?" 1 Cor. xv. 55. "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,"
Acts vii. 59. Fix upon some such word or promise, which may support
you in your extremity.

_Direct._ VI. Look up to God, who is the glory of heaven, and the
light, and life, and joy of souls, and believe that you are going to
see his face, and to live in the perfect, everlasting fruition of his
fullest love among the glorified. If it be delectable here to know his
works, what will it be to see the cause of all? All creatures in
heaven and earth conjoined, can never afford such content and joy to
holy souls, as God alone! Oh if we knew him whom we must there behold,
how weary should we be of this dungeon of mortality! and how fervently
should we long to see his face! The chicken that cometh out of the
shell, or the infant that newly cometh out of the womb, into this
illuminated world of human converse, receiveth not such a joyful
change, as the soul that is newly loosed from the flesh, and passeth
from this mortal life to God. One sight of God by a blessed soul, is
worth more than all the kingdoms of the earth. It is pleasant to the
eyes to behold the sun; but the sun is as darkness and useless in his
glory. "And the city had no need of the sun, nor of the moon to shine
in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light
thereof," Rev. xxi. 23. "And there shall be no more curse: but the
throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall
serve him: and they shall see his face, and his name shall be in their
foreheads: and there shall be no night there: and they need no candle,
nor light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light, and they
shall reign for ever and ever," Rev. xxii. 3-5. If David in the
wilderness so impatiently thirsted to appear before God, the living
God, in his sanctuary at Jerusalem, Psal. xlii. how earnestly should
we long to see his glory in the heavenly Jerusalem! The glimpse of his
back parts, was as much as Moses might behold, Exod. xxxiv. yet that
much put a shining glory upon his face, ver. 29, 30. The sight that
Stephen had when men were ready to stone him, was a delectable sight,
Acts vii. 55, 56. The glimpse of Christ in his transfiguration
ravished the three apostles that beheld it, Matt. xvii. 2, 6. Paul's
vision which rapt him up into the third heavens, did advance him above
the rest of mankind! But our beatifical sight of the glory of God,
will very far excel all this. When our perfected bodies shall have the
perfect glorious body of Christ to see, and our perfected souls shall
have the God of truth, the most perfect uncreated light to know, what
more is a created understanding capable of? And yet this is not the
top of our felicity; for the understanding is but the passage to the
heart or will, and truth is but subservient to goodness: and
therefore though the understanding be capable of no more than the
beatifical vision, yet the man is capable of more; even of receiving
the fullest communications of God's love, and feeling it poured out
upon the heart, and living in the returns of perfect love; and in this
intercourse of love will be our highest joys, and this is the top of
our heavenly felicity. Oh that God would make us foreknow by a lively
faith, what it is to behold him in his glory, and to dwell in perfect
love and joy, and then death would no more be able to dismay us, nor
should we be unwilling of such a blessed change! But having spoken of
this so largely in my "Saints' Rest," I must stop here, and refer you

_Direct._ VII. Look up to the blessed society of angels and
saints with Christ, and remember their blessedness and joy, and that
you also belong to the same society, and are going to be numbered with
them. It will greatly overcome the fears of death, to see by faith the
joys of them that have gone before us; and withal to think of their
relation to us; as it will encourage a man that is to go beyond sea,
if the far greatest part of his dearest friends be gone before him,
and he heareth of their safe arrival, and of their joy and happiness.
Those angels that now see the face of God are our special friends and
guardians, and entirely love us, better than any of our friends on
earth do! They rejoiced at our conversion, and will rejoice at our
glorification; and as they are better, and love us better, so
therefore our love should be greater to them, than to any upon earth,
and we should more desire to be with them. Those blessed souls that
are now with Christ, were once as we are here on earth; they were
compassed with temptations, and clogged with flesh, and burdened with
sin, and persecuted by the world, and they went out of the world by
sickness and death, as we must do; and yet now their tears are wiped
away, their pains, and groans, and fears are turned into inexpressible
blessedness and joy: and would we not be with them? is not their
company desirable? and their felicity more desirable? The glory of the
New Jerusalem is not described to us in vain, Rev. xxi. xxii. God will
be all in all there to us, as the only sun and glory of that world;
and yet we shall have pleasure, not only to see our glorified
Redeemer, but also to converse with the heavenly society, and to sit
down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God, and to love
and praise him in consort and harmony with all those holy, blessed
spirits. And shall we be afraid to follow, where the saints of all
generations have gone before us? And shall the company of our best,
and most, and happiest friends, be no inducement to us? Though it must
be our highest joy to think that we shall dwell with God, and next
that we shall see the glory of Christ, yet is it no small part of my
comfort to consider, that I shall follow all those holy persons, whom
I once conversed with, that are gone before me; and that I shall dwell
with such as Enoch and Elias, and Abraham and Moses, and Job and
David, and Peter and John, and Paul and Timothy, and Ignatius and
Polycarp, and Cyprian and Nazianzen, and Augustine and Chrysostom, and
Bernard and Gerson, and Savonarola and Mirandula, and Taulerus and
Kempisius, and Melancthon and Alasco, and Calvin and Bucholtzer, and
Bullinger and Musculus, and Zanchy and Bucer, and Paræus and Grynæus,
and Chemnitius and Gerhard, and Chamier and Capellus, and Blondel and
Rivet, and Rogers and Bradford, and Hooper and Latimer, and Hildersham
and Amesius, and Langley and Nicolls, and Whitaker and Cartwright,
and Hooker and Bayne, and Preston and Sibbes, and Perkins and Dod, and
Parker and Ball, and Usher and Hall, and Gataker and Bradshaw, and
Vines and Ash, and millions more of the family of God.[129] I name
these for my own delight and comfort; it being pleasant to me to
remember what companions I shall have in the heavenly joys and praises
of my Lord. How few are all the saints on earth, in comparison of
those that are now with Christ! And, alas, how weak, and ignorant, and
corrupt, how selfish, and contentious, and froward, are God's poor
infants here in flesh, when above there is nothing but holiness and
perfection! If knowledge, or goodness, or any excellency do make the
creatures truly amiable, all this is there in the highest degree; but
here, alas, how little have we! If the love of God, or the love of us,
do make others lovely to us, it is there and not here that these and
all perfections flourish. Oh how much now do I find the company of the
wise and learned, the godly and sincere, to differ from the company of
the ignorant, brutish, the proud and malicious, the false-hearted and
ungodly rabble! How sweet is the converse of a holy, wise, experienced
christian! Oh then what a place is the New Jerusalem; and how pleasant
will it be with saints and angels to see and love and praise the Lord.

_Direct._ VIII. That sickness and death may be comfortable to
you, as your passage to eternity, take notice of the seal and earnest
of God, even the Spirit of grace which he hath put into your hearts.
That which imboldened Paul and such others to groan after immortality,
and to "be most willing to be absent from the body and present with
the Lord," was because God himself "had wrought or made them for it,
and given them the earnest or pledge of his Spirit," 2 Cor. v. 4, 5, 8.
For this is God's mark upon his chosen and justified ones, by which
they are "sealed up to the day of their redemption," Eph. iv. 33;
i. 13, "In whom also after ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy
Spirit of promise." 2 Cor. i. 21, 22, "God hath anointed us, and
sealed us, and given us the pledge or earnest of his Spirit into our
hearts." "This is the pledge or earnest of our inheritance," Eph. i. 14.
And what a comfort should it be to us, when we look towards heaven, to
find such a pledge of God within us! If you say, I fear I have not
this earnest of the Spirit; whence then did your desires of holiness
arise? what weaned you from the world, and made you place your hopes
and happiness above? whence came your enmity to sin, and opposition to
it, and your earnest desires after the glory of God, the prosperity of
the gospel, and the good of souls? The very love of holiness and holy
persons, and your desires to know God and perfectly love him, do show
that heavenly nature or spirit within you, which is your surest
evidence for eternal life: for that spirit was sent from heaven, to
draw up your hearts, and fit you for it; and God doth not give you
such natures, and desires, and preparations in vain. This also is
called "The witness of the Spirit with (or to) our spirit, that we are
the children of God; and if children then heirs; heirs of God, and
joint heirs with Christ," Rom. viii. 15-17. It witnesseth our
adoption, by evidencing it; as a seal or pledge doth witness our title
to that which is so confirmed to us. The nature of every thing is
suited to its use and end; God would not have given us a heavenly
nature or desire, if he had not intended us for heaven.

[Sidenote: So Hezekiah.]

_Direct._ IX. Look also to the testimony of a holy life, since grace
hath employed you in seeking after the heavenly inheritance. It is
unlawful and perilous to look after any works or righteousness of your
own, so as to set it in whole or in part instead of Christ, or to
ascribe to it any honour that is proper to him; as to imagine that you
are innocent, or have fulfilled the law, or have made God a
compensation by your merits or sufferings, for the sin you have
committed; but yet you must judge yourselves on your sick beds as near
as you can as God will judge you. And "he will judge every man
according to his work;" and will recompense and reward men according
to their works. Matt. xxv. 21, 34, &c. "Well done, good and faithful
servant! thou hast been faithful over a little, I will make thee ruler
over much. Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared
for you--for I was hungry and ye fed me," &c.--Heb. v. 9, "He is the
author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him." Matt. vii.
24, 25, "Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will
liken him to a wise man that built his house upon a rock--." Rev. xxii.
"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right
to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gate into the city, for
without are dogs," &c. "Thus must you rejoice in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ," not only as he was crucified on it for you, but also
as you are "crucified by it to the world, and the world to you," Gal.
vi. 14. He that as a benefactor will give you that glory which you
could never deserve of him, on terms of commutative justice, (for so
no creature can deserve any thing of God,) will yet, as a righteous
governor and judge, deliver it you only on the terms of his paternal,
governing, distributive justice; and all shall receive according to
what they have done in the body. And therefore you may take comfort in
that evangelical righteousness, which consisteth in your fulfilling
the conditions of the new covenant, though you have no legal
righteousness, (which consisteth in innocency, or freedom from the
curse of the law,) but only in the merits and sacrifice of Christ. If
you are accused as being impenitent, unbelievers, or hypocrites,
Christ's righteousness will not justify you from that accusation; but
only your repentance, faith, and sincerity (wrought in you by the
Spirit of Christ). But if you can but show the evidence of this
evangelical righteousness, Christ then will justify you against all
the other accusations of guilt that can be charged on you. (Of which
more anon.) Seeing therefore the Spirit hath given you these
evidences, to difference you from the wretched world, and prove your
title to eternal life, if you overlook these, you resist your
Comforter, and can see no other ground of comfort, than every
graceless hypocrite may see. Imitate holy Paul: 2 Cor. i. 12, "For our
rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity
and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God,
we have had our conversation in the world--." 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, "I have
fought a good fight; I have finished my course, I have kept the faith;
henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the
Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day: and not to me
only, but to all them also that love his appearing." To look back and
see that in sincerity you have gone the way to heaven, is a just and
necessary ground of assurance, that you shall attain it. If you say,
But I have been a grievous sinner! I answer, so was Paul that yet
rejoiced after in this evidence! Are not those sins repented of and
pardoned? If you say, But I cannot look back upon a holy life with
comfort, it hath been so blotted and uneven! I answer, hath it not
been sincere, though it was imperfect? Did you not "first seek the
kingdom of God and his righteousness?" Matt. vi. 33. If you say, My
whole life hath been ungodly, till now at last that God hath humbled
me; I answer, it is not the length of time, but the sincerity of your
hearts and service, that is your evidence. If you came in at the last
hour, if now you are faithfully devoted to God, you may look with
comfort on this change at last, though you must look with repentance
on your sinful lives.

_Direct._ X. When you see any of this evidence of your interest
in Christ, appeal to him to acquit you from all the sin that can be
charged on you; for all that believe in him are justified from all
things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses.
"There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, that walk
not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," Rom. viii. 1. Whatever sin
a penitent believer hath committed, he is not chargeable with it;
Christ hath undertaken to answer for it, and justify him from it; and
therefore look not on it with terror, but with penitent shame, and
believing thankfulness, as that which shall tend to the honour of the
Redeemer, and not to the condemnation of the sinner. He hath borne our
transgressions and we are healed by his stripes.[130]

_Direct._ XI. Look back upon all the mercies of your lives, and
think whence they came and what they signify. Love tokens are to draw
your hearts to him that sent them; these are dropped from heaven, to
entice you thither! If God have been so good to you on earth, what
will he be in glory! If he so blessed you in this wilderness, what
will he do in the land of promise! It greatly imboldeneth my soul to
go to that God, that hath so tenderly loved me, and so graciously
preserved me, and so much abounded in all sorts of mercies to me
through all my life. Surely he is good that so delighteth to do good!
And his presence must be sweet, when his distant mercies have been so
sweet! What love shall I enjoy when perfection hath fitted me for his
love, who have tasted of so much in this state of sin and imperfection!
The sense of mercy will banish the fears and misgivings of the heart.

_Direct._ XII. Remember (if you have attained to a declining age)
what a competent time you have had already in the world. If you are
grieved that you are mortal, you might on that account have grieved
all your days; but if it be only that you die so soon, if you have
lived well, you have lived long. When I think how many years of mercy
I have had, since I was near to death, and since many younger than I
are gone, and when I think what abundance of mercy I have had in all
that time, ingenuity forbiddeth me to grudge at the season of my
death, and maketh me almost ashamed to ask for longer life. How long
would you stay, before, you would be willing to come to God? If he
desired our company no more than we do his, and desired our happiness
in heaven no more than we desire it ourselves, we should linger here
as Lot in Sodom! Must we be snatched away against our wills, and
carried by force to our Father's presence?

_Direct._ XIII. Remember that all mankind are mortal, and you are
to go no other way than all that ever came into the world have gone
before you (except Enoch and Elias). Yea, the poor brute creatures
must die at your pleasure, to satisfy your hunger or delight. Beasts,
and birds, and fishes, even many to make one meal, must die for you.
And why then should you shrink at the entrance of such a trodden path,
which leadeth you not to hell, as it doth the wicked, nor merely to
corruption, as it doth the brutes, but to live in joy with Christ and
his church triumphant?

_Direct._ XIV. Remember both how vile your body is, and how great
an enemy it hath proved to your soul; and then you will the more
patiently bear its dissolution. It is not your dwelling-house, but
your tent or prison, that God is pulling down. And yet even this vile
body, when it is corrupted, shall at last be changed "into the
likeness of Christ's glorious body, by the working of his irresistible
power," Phil. iii. 20, 21. And it is a flesh that hath so rebelled
against the spirit, and made your way to heaven so difficult, and put
the soul to so many conflicts, that we should the easilier submit it
to the will of justice, and let it perish for a time, when we are
assured that mercy will at last recover it.

_Direct._ XV. Remember what a world it is that you are to leave,
and compare it with that which you are going to; and compare the life
which is near an end, with that which you are next to enter upon. Was
it not Enoch's reward when he had walked with God, to be taken to him
from a polluted world? 1. While you are here, you are yourselves
defiled; sin is in your natures, and your graces are all imperfect;
sin is in your lives, and your duties are all imperfect; you cannot be
free from it one day or hour. And is it not a mercy to be delivered
from it? Is it not desirable to you to sin no more? and to be perfect
in holiness? to know God and love him as much and more than you can
now desire? You are here every day lamenting your darkness, and
unbelief, and estrangedness from God and want of love to him. How oft
have you prayed for a cure of all this! And now would you not have it,
when God would give it you? Why hath God put that spark of heavenly
life into you, but to fight against sin, and make you weary of it? And
yet had you rather continue sinning, than have the victory and be with
Christ? 2. It is a life of grief as well as sin; and a life of cares,
and doubts, and fears! When you are at the worst, you are fearing
worse! If it were nothing but the fears of death itself, it should
make you the willinger to submit to it, that you might be past those
fears. 3. You are daily afflicted with the infirmities of that flesh,
which you are so loth should be dissolved. To satisfy its hunger and
thirst, to cover its nakedness, to provide it a habitation, and supply
all its wants, what care and labour doth it cost you! Its infirmities,
sicknesses, and pains, do make you oft weary of yourselves, so that
you "groan, being burdened," as Paul speaketh, 2 Cor. v. 3, 4, 6. And
yet is it not desirable to be with Christ? 4. You are compassed with
temptations, and are in continual danger through your weakness: and
yet would you not be past the danger? Would you have more of those
horrid and odious temptations? 5. You are purposely turned here into a
wilderness, among wild beasts; you are as lambs among wolves, and
through many tribulations you must enter into heaven. You must deny
yourselves, and take up your cross, and forsake all that you have; and
all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, must suffer persecution; in
the world you must have trouble: the seed of the serpent must bruise
your heel, before God bruise Satan under your feet! And is such a life
as this more desirable than to be with Christ? Are we afraid to land
after such storms and tempests? Is a wicked world, a malicious world,
a cruel world, an implacable world, more pleasing to us than the joy
of angels, and the sight of Christ, and God himself in the majesty of
his glory? Hath God on purpose made the world so bitter to us, and
permitted it to use us unjustly and cruelly, and all to make us love
it less, and to drive home our hearts unto himself? and yet are we so
unwilling to be gone?

_Direct._ XVI. Settle your estates betimes, that worldly matters
may not distract or discompose you. And if God have endowed you with
riches, dispose of a due proportion to such pious or charitable uses,
in which they may be most serviceable to him that gave them you.
Though we should give what we can in the time of life and health, yet
many that have but so much as will serve to their necessary
maintenance, may well part with that to good uses at their death,
which they could not spare in the time of their health: especially
they that have no children, or such wicked children, as are like to do
hurt with all that is given them above their daily bread.

_Direct._ XVII. If it may be, get some able, faithful guide and
comforter to be with you in your sickness, to counsel you, and resolve
your doubts, and pray with you, and discourse of heavenly things, when
you are disabled by weakness for such exercises yourselves. Let not
carnal persons disturb you with their vain babblings. Though the
difference between good company and bad, be very great in the time of
health, yet now in sickness it will be more discernible. And though a
faithful friend and spiritual pastor be always a great mercy, yet now
especially in your last necessity. Therefore make use of them as far
as your pain and weakness will permit.

_Direct._ XVIII. Be fortified against all the temptations of
Satan by which he useth to assault men in their extremity: stand it
out in the last conflict, and the crown is yours. I shall instance in

_Directions for resisting the Temptations of Satan, in the time of

_Tempt._ I. The most ordinary temptation against the comfort of
believers, (for I have already spoken of those that are against their
safety,) is to doubt of their own sincerity, and consequently of their
part in Christ. Saith the tempter, All that thou hast done, hath been
but in hypocrisy; thou wast never a true believer, nor ever didst
truly repent of sin, nor truly love God; and therefore thou are
unjustified, and shalt speedily be condemned.

Against this temptation a believer hath two remedies. The first is, to
confute the tempter by those evidences which will prove that he hath
been sincere (such as I have often mentioned before); and by repelling
these reasonings, by which the tempter would prove him to have been a
hypocrite. As when it is objected, Thou hast repented and been humbled
but slightly and by the halves; _Answ._ Yet was it sincerely; and
weak grace is not no grace. _Object._ Thou hast been a lover of
the world, and a neglecter of thy soul, and cold in all that thou
didst for thy salvation. _Answ._ Yet did I set more by heaven
than earth; and I first sought the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
as esteeming it above all the riches of the world. _Object._ Thou
hast kept thy sins while thou wentest on in a profession of religion.
_Answ._ I had no sin but what in the habitual, ordinary temper of
my soul, I hated more than I loved it, and had rather have been
delivered from it, than have kept it, and none but what I unfeignedly
repented of. _Object._ Thou didst not truly believe the promises
of God, and the life to come; or else thou wouldst never have doubted
as thou hast done, nor sought such a kingdom with such weak desires.
_Answ._ Though my faith was weak, it overcame the world: I so far
believed the promise of another life, as that I preferred it before
this life, and was resolved rather to forsake all the world, than to
part with my hopes of that promised blessedness: and that faith is
sincere (how weak soever) that can do this. _Object._ But thou
hast done thy works to be seen of men, and been troubled when men
have not approved thee, nor honoured thee; and what was this but mere
hypocrisy? _Answ._ Though I had some hypocrisy, yet was I not a
hypocrite, because it was not in a reigning and prevalent degree:
though I too much regarded the esteem of men, yet I did more regard
the esteem of God. Thus if a christian discern his evidences, the
false reasonings of Satan are to be refuted.

2. But ordinarily it is a readier way to take the second course, which
is, at present, to believe, and repent, and so confute Satan that
saith you are not penitent believers.[131] But then you must truly
understand what believing and repenting are; or else you may think
that you do not believe and repent when you do. Believing in Christ,
is a believing that he is the Saviour of the world, and a consent of
will that he be your Saviour, to justify you by his blood, and
sanctify you by his Spirit. To repent, is to be so sorry that you have
sinned, that if it were to do again, you would not do it (as to gross
sin and a state of sin); and the smallest infirmities, your will is so
far set against, that you desire to be delivered from them. Believing
to justification, is not the believing that you are already justified,
and your sins forgiven you; and repenting consisteth not in such
degrees of sorrow as some expect; but in the change of the mind and
will, from a life of sensuality to a life of holiness. When you know
this, then answer the tempter thus: If I should suffer thee to deprive
me of the comfort of all my former uprightness, yet shalt thou not so
deprive me of the comfort of my present sincerity, and of my hopes; I
am now too weak and distempered to try all that is past and gone. Past
actions are now known but by remembering them; and they are seldom
judged of, as indeed they then were, but according to the temper and
apprehension of the mind when it revieweth them; and I am now so
changed and weakened myself, that I cannot tell whether I truly
remember the just temper and thoughts of my heart in all that is past
or not. Nor doth it most concern me now, to know what I have been, but
to know what I am. Christ will not judge according to what I was, but
according to what he findeth me; never did he refuse a penitent,
believing soul, because he repented and believed late; I do now
unfeignedly repent of all my sins, and am heartily willing to be both
pardoned, and cleansed, and sanctified by Christ, and here I give up
myself to him as my Saviour, and to this covenant I will stand; and
this is true repenting and believing. Thus a poor christian in the
time of sickness, may ofttimes much easier clear up to himself, that
he repenteth now, than that he repented formerly; and it is his surest

_Tempt._ II. And yet sometimes he cometh with the quite contrary
temptation, and must be resisted by the contrary way. When he findeth
a christian so perplexed, and distempered with sickness, that his
understanding is disabled from any composed thoughts, then he asketh
him, Now where is thy faith and repentance? If thou hast any, or ever
hadst any, let it now appear. In this case a christian is to take up
with the remembrance of his former sincerity, and tell the tempter, I
am sure that once I gave up myself unfeignedly to my Lord; and those
that come to him, he will in no wise cast out; and if now I be
disabled from a composed exercise of grace, he will not impute my
sickness to me as my sin.

_Tempt._ III. Another ordinary temptation is, that it is now too late;
God will not now accept repentance; the day of grace is past and
gone; or at least, a death-bed repentance is not sincere. To this the
tempted soul must reply, 1. That if faith and repentance were not
accepted at any time in this life, then God's promise were not true,
which saith, that "whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but
have everlasting life," John iii. 16. So Luke xxiv. 47; Acts v. 31;
xi. 18; xx. 21; 2 Tim. ii. 25; 2 Pet. iii. 9. There is a time in this
life, in which some resisters of the truth are given up to their own
lusts, to the love of sin, and hatred of holiness, so that they will
not repent; but there was never a time in this life, in which God
refused to justify a true repenting sinner upon his belief in Christ.
2. That if a death-bed repentance do truly turn the heart from the
world to God, and from sin to holiness, so that the penitent person,
if he should recover, would lead a new and holy life, then that
repentance hath as sure a promise of pardon and salvation, as if it
had been sooner; and yet delay must be confessed to be dangerous to
all, and casteth men under very great difficulties, and their loss is
exceeding great, though at last they repent and are forgiven.

_Tempt._ IV. Sometimes the tempter saith, Thou art not elected to
salvation; and God saveth none but his elect; and so puzzleth the
ignorant by setting them on doubting of their election. To this we
must answer, That every soul that is chosen to faith, and repentance,
and perseverance, is certainly chosen to salvation; and I know that
God hath chosen me to faith and repentance, because he hath given them
me; and I have reason enough to trust on him for that upholding grace,
which will cause me to persevere.

_Tempt._ V. But, saith the tempter, Christ did not die for thee;
and no one can be saved that Christ did not die for. To this it must
be answered, That Christ died for all men, so far as to be a
sufficient sacrifice for their sins, and to make a promise of pardon
and salvation to all that will accept him and his gift; and he
entreateth all that hear the gospel to accept it; and accordingly he
will save all that consent unto his covenant. I am a sinful child of
Adam, and therefore am one that Christ became a sacrifice for; and I
consent unto his covenant, and therefore I am one that Christ by that
covenant doth justify, and will save.

_Tempt._ VI. Sometimes the tempter troubleth the soul with
temptations to blasphemy and infidelity; and asketh him, How knowest
thou, that there is a God, or a life to come, or that souls are
immortal, or that the Scripture is true? Of this I spake before. To
this we must then answer, I abhor thy suggestions; these things I have
seen proved long ago, and I will not so far gratify thee in my
weakness and extremity, as to question and dispute these sealed
fundamental truths, no more than I will dispute whether there be a sun
or earth.

_Tempt._ VII. Sometimes the tempter will say, At best, thou hast
no assurance of salvation, and how canst thou choose but tremble to
think of dying, when thou knowest not whether thou shalt go to heaven
or hell? To this the soul, that hath not assurance, must answer, It is
my own mistake or weakness that keepeth me unassured; and I will
neither take part with my infirmities, nor increase them by their
effects: my hopes are such as should draw up my desires, though I want
full assurance: the child delighteth in the company of the mother, and
every man of his friend; though he is not certain, that the mother or
friend will not hurt him, or take away his life. Why should I trouble
myself with improbabilities? or fear that which I have no sound reason
to fear? Rather I should be glad to die, that death may perfect my
assurance, and put an end to all my doubts and fears.

_Tempt._ VIII. But, saith the tempter, How strange art thou to
God, and the life to come! Thou never sawest it: is it not dreadful to
enter upon an unchangeable life, in a world which thou art so great a
stranger to? _Answ._ But Christ is not a stranger to it; he seeth
it for me, and I will implicitly trust him. Where should my eyes be,
but in my head? I shall never see it till I come thither. When I have
been there a while, this darkness, and fear, and strangeness will be
gone. I was as strange to this world before I came into it, and more;
and all those holy souls in heaven, were strange to it once, as well
as I. I should therefore long to be with Christ, that I may be strange
to him no more.

_Tempt._ IX. But, saith the tempter, thy fear and unwillingness
is a sign that thou hast no love to God, nor heavenly mind; and how
then canst thou hope to come to heaven? _Answ._ My fears come
from strangeness, and weakness of faith, and a natural enmity to
death. If I could come to Christ in joy and glory, and be perfected in
holiness, without dying, I should not be unwilling of it. God looketh
not that my nature should be willing to die; but that grace make me
willing to be with Christ; and patiently submit to so dark a passage.
Even Christ himself prayed, "that if it were possible, that cup might
pass from him."

_Tempt._ X. But what will thy wife and children do, when thou art
gone? _Answ._ God hath more interest in them than I have; he will
look to his own without any care: doth all the world depend upon him,
and is he not to be trusted with my wife and children?

_Tempt._ XI. But thou wilt never more be serviceable to the
church: all thy work will for ever be at an end; and there are many
things which thou mightst have done before thou diest, which will all
be lost. _Answ._ 1. I shall have higher, and holier, and sweeter
work: whether it will any thing conduce to the good of those on earth,
I know not; but I know it will more conduce to the highest, most
desirable ends. 2. As my work will be done, so my trouble, and
weariness, and fears, and sufferings from a malignant, unthankful
world will all be done. 3. And when my work is done, my reward and
everlasting rest begin. 4. And God needeth not such a worm as I! the
work is his, and it is reason that he should choose his workmen.

_Tempt._ XII. But when thou hast said all, death will be death,
the king of terrors. _Answ._ And when thou hast said all, God
will be God, and heaven will be heaven, and Christ will be Christ,
that hath conquered death, and hath the keys or power of death and
hell: and the promise will be sure; and those that trust on him shall
never be ashamed or confounded. And therefore "the spirit is willing,
though the flesh be weak."[132]

_Tit. 4. Directions for doing good to others in our Sickness._

The whole life of a christian should be a serving of his God; and
though his body in sickness seem to be unserviceable, yet it is not
the least or lowest of his services, which he is then at last to do:
partly by his holy example, and partly by his speeches; which are both
more observed in dying men, than in any others. For now all suppose,
that if there were before any mask of hypocrisy, it is laid aside, and
the soul that is going to the bar of God will deal sincerely. And now
it is supposed, that we are delivered much from all the befooling
delusions of prosperity, and therefore fitter to be counsellors to
others. And every christian should be very desirous to do good to the
last, and be found so doing.

_Direct._ I. Show not a distempered, impatient mind. Though pain
will be pain, and flesh will be flesh, yet show men that you have also
reason and spirit: and that it calmeth your soul, though it ease not
your body. Speak good of God, as beseemeth one that indeed believeth
that it is good for us when we are afflicted by him, and that all
shall work together for good to us.[133] Speak not a repining word
against him. Job i. 22, "In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God
foolishly." And speak not too peevishly and impatiently to those about
you; though weakness incline you to it, yet let the power of grace

_Direct._ II. Let those that are about you see, that you take the
life to come for a reality, and that you verily expect to live with
Christ in joys for ever. Let them see this in your holy joy and
confidence, and your thankfulness to God for the grace and hopes which
he hath given through Christ. I know that a pained, languishing body,
is undisposed to express the comforts of the soul: but yet as long as
the soul is the commander, they may be expressed in some good measure,
though not with such vivacity and alacrity as in health. Behave
yourselves before all, as those that are going to dwell with Christ.
If you show them that you take heaven for a real felicity, it will do
much to draw them to do so too; show them the difference between the
death of the righteous and of the wicked; and that may so draw them to
desire to die the death of the righteous, that it may draw them also
to resolve to live their lives. How many souls might it win to God, if
they saw in his dying servants such confidence and joy as beseemeth
men that are entering into a world of joy, and peace, and blessedness!
If we went out of the body, as from a prison into liberty, and from a
tedious journey to our desired home, it would invite sinners to seek
after the same felicity, and be a powerful sermon to convert the

_Direct._ III. Now tell poor sinners of the vanity of the world,
and of all its glory, wealth, and pleasure; and of the mischief and
deceitfulness of sin. Say to them, O sirs, you may see in me what the
world is worth: if you had all the wealth and pleasure that you
desire, thus it would turn you off, and forsake you in the end: it
will ease no pain: it will bring no peace to a troubled soul: it will
not lengthen your lives an hour: it will not save you from the wrath
of God: it maketh your death the sadder, because you must be taken
from it: your account will be the more dreadful. O love not such a
vain, deceitful world! sell not your souls for so poor a price!
Forsake it before you are forsaken by it! O make not light of any sin!
Though the wanton flesh would have you take it for a harmless thing,
you cannot imagine, when the pleasure is gone, how sharp a sting is
left behind. Sin will then be no jesting matter, when your souls are
going hence into the dreadful presence of the most holy God.

_Direct._ IV. Now tell those about you of the excellency and
necessity of the love of God, of heaven, of Christ, and of a holy
life. Though these may be made light of at a distance, yet a soul that
is drawing near them, will be more awakened to understand their worth.
Say to them, O friends, I find now more than ever I did before, that
it is only God, that is the end and happiness of souls: nothing but
his favour through Jesus Christ, can comfort and content a dying man;
and none but Christ can reconcile us to God, and answer for our sins,
and make us acceptable; and no way but that of faith and holiness will
end in happiness. Opinions and customary forms in religion will not
serve the turn; to be of this or that party, or church, or communion,
will not save you. It is only the soul that is justified by Christ,
and sanctified by his Spirit, and brought up to the love of God and
holiness, that shall be saved. Whatever opinion or church you are of,
without holiness you shall never see God to your comfort, as without
faith it is impossible to please him, Heb. xii. 14; xi. 6; Rom. viii.
6, 7, 9. O now what a miserable case were I in, if I had all the
wealth and honour in the world, and had not the favour of God, and a
Christ to purchase it, and his Spirit to witness it, and prepare me
for a better life. Now I see the difference between spending time in
holiness, and in sin; between a godly, and a worldly, fleshly,
careless life. Now I would not for a thousand worlds, that I had spent
my life in sensuality and ungodliness, and continued a stranger to the
life of faith. Now, if I had a world, I would give it to be more holy!
O sirs, believe it, when you come to die, sin will be then sin indeed,
and Christ, and grace, will be better than riches, and to die in an
unregenerate, unsanctified state, will be a greater misery than any
heart can now conceive.

_Direct._ V. Endeavour also to make men know the difference
between the godly and the wicked. Tell them, I now see who maketh the
wisest choice. O happy men, that choose the joys which have no end,
and "lay up their treasure in heaven, where rust and moths do not
corrupt, and thieves do not break through and steal, and labour for
the food that never perisheth," Matt. vi. 19, 20; John vi. 27. O
foolish sinners, that for an inch of fleshly, filthy pleasure, do lose
everlasting rest and joy! "What shall it profit them that win all the
world and lose their souls?"

_Direct._ VI. Labour also to convince men of the preciousness of
time, and the folly of putting off repentance, and a holy life, till
the last. Say to them, O friends, it is hard for you in the time of
health and prosperity, to judge of time according to its worth: but
when time is gone, or near an end, how precious doth it then appear!
Now if I had all the time again, which ever I spent in unnecessary
sleep, or sports, or curiosities, or idleness, or any needless thing,
how highly should I value it, and spend it in another manner than I
have done! Of all my life that is past and gone, I have no comfort now
in the remembrance of one hour, but what was spent in obedience to
God. O take time to make sure of your salvation, before it is gone,
and you are left under the tormenting feeling of your loss.

_Direct._ VII. Labour also to make them understand the sinfulness
of sloth, and of loitering in the matters of God and their salvation;
and stir them up to do it with all their might. Say to them, I have
often heard ungodly people deride or blame the diligence, and zeal,
and strictness of the godly; but if they saw and felt what I see and
feel they could not do it. Can a man that is going into another world,
imagine that any thing is so worthy of his greatest zeal and labour,
as his God and his salvation? or blame men for being loth to burn in
hell? or for taking more pains for their souls than for their bodies?
O friends, let fools talk what they will, in their sleep and phrensy,
as you love your souls, do not think any care, or cost, or pains too
great for your salvation! If they think not their labour too good for
this world, do not you think yours too good for a better world. Let
them now say what they will, when they come to die, there is none of
them all, that is not quite forsaken of sense and reason, but will
wish that they had loved God, and sought and served him, not formally,
in hypocritical compliment, but with all their heart, and soul, and

_Direct._ VIII. Labour also to fortify the minds of your friends,
against all fears of suffering for Christ, and all impatience in any
of their afflictions. Say to them, The sufferings as well as the
pleasures of this life are so short, that they are not worthy once to
be compared with the durable things of the life to come. If I have
passed through a life of want and toil, if my body hath endured
painful sickness, if I have suffered never so much from men, and been
used cruelly for the sake of Christ, what the worse am I now, when all
is past? Would an easy, honourable, plentiful life, have made my death
either the safer or the sweeter? O no! it is the things eternal that
are indeed significant and regardable. Neither pleasure nor pain that
is short, is of any great regard. Make sure of the everlasting
pleasures, and you have done your work. O live by faith, and not by
sense; look not at the temporal things which are seen. It is not your
concernment, whether you are rich or poor, in honour or dishonour, in
health or sickness, but whether you be justified, and sanctified, and
shall live with God in heaven for ever. Such serious counsels of dying
men, may make their sickness more fruitful than their health.

[126] Hic labor extremus, longarum hæc meta viarum est. Virgil.

[127] Luke x. 42; Phil. i. 19, 23.

[128] Mr. Vines, Mr. Capel, Mr. Hollingworth, Mr. Ashurst, Mr.
Ambrose, Mrs. Burnel, &c.

[129] Reader, bear with this mixture: for God will own his image when
peevish contenders do deny it, or blaspheme it; and will receive those
whom faction and proud domination would cast out, and vilify with
scorn and slanders.

[130] Isa. liii. 10-12.

[131] John i. 10-12: iii. 16, 19, 20; Rom. vii. 20-25, 9; Psal. xi.

[132] Matt. xxviii. 19, 20, 2; John xvii.; Rev. i. 18; Rom. x. 9-12.

[133] Heb. xii. 7-9; Ro