True Christianity

A Treatise

On Sincere Repentance, True Faith, The Holy Walk of the True Christian.

By the Venerable

Johann Arndt

General Superintendant of Ecclesiastical Affairs in the Principality of Lüneberg

Originally Translated Into English By Rev. A. W. Boehm, German Chaplain at the Court of St. James, and Published in London, A.D. 1712.

A New American Edition,

Revised, Corrected, and Furnished with Additional Matter From The Original German,


Brought to you by


  • Book 1

  • Book 2

  • Book 3

  • Book 4

  • Contents - Book One

  • The Author's Preface To The First Book.

  • Ch 1. The Image Of God In Man
  • Ch 2. The Fall Of Adam
  • Ch 3. How Man Is Renewed In Christ
  • Ch 4. True Repentance
  • Ch 5. Wherein Does True Faith Consist?
  • Ch 6. The Vital Power Of The Word Of God
  • Ch 7. The Law Of God
  • Ch 8. Comfort In Christ And His Merits
  • Ch 9. The Unchristian Walk
  • Ch 10. The Children Of The World
  • Ch 11. He Does Not Truly Repent, Is Not A Christian
  • Ch 12. The True Christian.
  • Ch 13. Willingly To Die Unto Himself And The World.
  • Ch 14. Who Imitates Christ, Hates His Own Life
  • Ch 15. The “Old Man” And The “New Man”
  • Ch 16. Conflict Between The Spirit And The Flesh
  • Ch 17. Christians Are Not Of This World
  • Ch 18. Showing How Greatly God Is Offended
  • Ch 19. Being Conscious Of His Misery
  • Ch 20. True Christian Sorrow For Sin
  • Ch 21. The True Worship Of God
  • Ch 22. Known Primarily By Love
  • Ch 23. To Withdraw From Worldly Society
  • Ch 24. The Love Of God And Our Neighbor
  • Ch 25. Our Neighbor, More Particularly Considered
  • Ch 26. Wherefore Our Neighbor Is To Be Loved
  • Ch 27. Our Enemies Are To Be Loved
  • Ch 28. The Love Of The Creator Should Be Preferred
  • Ch 29. Reconciliation To Our Neighbor
  • Ch 30. The Fruits Of Love
  • Ch 31. Pride And Self-Love Corrupt
  • Ch 32. Faith That Works By Love
  • Ch 33. Works According To The Heart.
  • Ch 34. God Alone Is The Author Of Our Salvation
  • Ch 35. Everything Is Vain, Without A Holy And Christian Life
  • Ch 36. He Who Does Not Live In Christ
  • Ch 37. He Who Does Not Follow Christ In Faith, Holiness, And Repentance
  • Ch 38. An Unchristian Life Leads To False Doctrine
  • Ch 39. The Doctrine Of The Divine Word
  • Ch 40. Rules For Leading A Holy Life
  • Ch 41. The Restoration Of The Image Of God In Man
  • Ch 42. The Duty Of Guarding Against Spiritual Pride

  • [pg xxxix]

    Book I.

    Wherein True Christianity, Sincere Sorrow For Sin, Repentance, Faith, And The Holy Life Of The True Christian, Are Considered.

    The Author's Preface To The First Book.

    Christian Reader! That the holy Gospel is subjected, in our age, to a great and shameful abuse, is fully proved by the ungodly and impenitent life of those who loudly boast of Christ and of his word, while their unchristian life resembles that of persons who dwell in a land of heathens and not of Christians. Such an ungodly course of conduct furnished me with an occasion for writing this Treatise; it was my object to show to plain readers wherein true Christianity consists, namely, in the exhibition of a true, living, and active faith, which manifests itself in genuine godliness and the fruits of righteousness. I desired to show that we bear the name of Christians, not only because we ought to believe in Christ, but also because the name implies that we live in Christ, and that He lives in us. I further desired to show that true repentance proceeds from the inmost centre of the heart; that the heart, mind, and affections must be changed; that we must be conformed to Christ and His holy Gospel; and that we must be renewed by the word of God, and become new creatures. For even as every seed produces fruit of a like nature, so the word of God must daily produce in us new spiritual fruits. If we become new creatures by faith, we must live in accordance with our new birth. In a word, Adam must die, and Christ must live, in us. It is not sufficient to acquire a knowledge of the word of God; it is also our duty to obey it practically, with life and power.

    2. There are many who suppose that Theology is merely a science, or an art of words, whereas it is a living experience and practical exercise.—Every one now aims at acquiring eminence and distinction in the world; but no one is willing to learn how to be devout. Every one now seeks out men of great learning, who can teach arts, languages, and wisdom; but no one is willing to learn from our only Teacher, Jesus Christ, how to become meek and sincerely humble; and yet His holy and living example is the true rule for our life and conduct, and, indeed, constitutes the highest wisdom and knowledge; so that we can with truth declare, “The pure life of Christ opens all knowledge to us.”

    3. Every one is very willing to be a servant of Christ; but no one will consent to be His follower. And yet He says: “If any man serve me, let him follow me.” John 12:26. Hence, he who truly serves and loves Christ, will also follow him; and he who loves Christ, will also love the example of His holy life, His humility, meekness, patience, as well as the cross, shame, and contempt which He endured, although the flesh may thereby suffer pain. And although we cannot, in our present weakness, perfectly imitate the holy and exalted life of Christ (which, indeed, is not intended in my [pg xl] Book), nevertheless, we ought to love it, and long to imitate it more fully; for thus we live in Christ, and Christ lives in us, according to the words of St. John: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” 1 John 2:6. It is now the disposition of the world to acquire a knowledge of all things; but that which is better than all other knowledge, namely, “to know the love of Christ” (Eph. 3:19), no one desires to acquire. But no man can love Christ, who does not imitate his holy life. There are many—a majority, indeed, of men in this world—who are ashamed of the holy example of Christ, namely, of his humility and lowly condition; that is, they are ashamed of the Lord Jesus Christ; of them he says: “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed,” etc. Mark 8:38. Christians now desire a Christ of imposing appearance, who is magnificent, rich, and conformed to the world; but no one desires to receive, to confess, and to follow the poor, meek, despised, and lowly Christ. He will, therefore, hereafter say: “I never knew you” (Matt. 7:23); ye were not willing to know me in my humility, and therefore I do not know you in your pride.

    4. Not only, however, is ungodliness, in all its forms, at variance with Christ and true Christianity, but it is also the cause of the daily accumulation of the displeasure of God, and of the penalties which he inflicts; insomuch that he fits all creatures to be avengers, and that heaven and earth, fire and water, are made to contend against us; so that all nature is thereby sorely distressed, and well-nigh overwhelmed. Hence, a season of affliction must be expected; war, famine, and pestilence; yea, the last plagues are coming in with such violence, that we are exposed to the assaults of nearly every creature. For even as the terrible plagues of the Egyptians overtook them before the redemption and departure of the children of Israel from Egypt, so, too, before the redemption of the children of God occurs, dreadful and unheard-of plagues will overtake the ungodly and impenitent. It is therefore high time to repent, to begin another course of life, to turn from the world to Christ, to believe truly in him, and to lead a Christian life in him, so that we may securely “dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Ps. 91:1. Such is also the exhortation of the Lord: “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things.” Luke 21:36. The same is also testified in Ps. 112:7.

    5. Now, to this end, my Christian reader, this book may, to a certain extent, serve thee as a guide, showing thee not only how thou mayest, through faith in Christ, obtain the remission of thy sins, but also how thou mayest avail thyself of the grace of God, in order to lead a holy life; and how thou mayest demonstrate and adorn thy faith by a Christian walk and conversation. For true Christianity consists, not in words, nor in any external show, but in a living faith, from which proceed fruits meet for repentance, and all manner of Christian virtues, as from Christ himself. For as faith is hidden from human view, and is invisible, it must be manifested by its fruits; inasmuch as faith derives from Christ all that is good, righteous, and blessed.

    [pg xli]

    6. Now, when faith waits for the blessings which are promised to it, the offspring of this faith is hope. For what else is hope but a constant and persevering expectation, in faith, of the blessings which are promised? But when faith communicates to a neighbor the blessings which it has itself received, love is the offspring of such a faith, imparting to the neighbor that which it has itself received from God; and when faith endures the trial of the cross, and submits to the will of God, it brings forth patience. But when it sighs under the burden of the cross, or offers thanks to God for mercies which it has received, it gives birth to prayer. When it compares the power of God, on the one hand, with the misery of man, on the other, and submits unresistingly to the will of God, humility is the fruit. And when this faith diligently labors that it may not lose the grace of God, or, as St. Paul says: “worketh out salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12), then the fear of God is the result.

    7. Thus thou seest that all the Christian virtues are the offspring of faith, proceed from faith, and cannot be separated from faith, their common source, if they are indeed genuine, living, and Christian virtues, proceeding ultimately from God, from Christ, and from the Holy Spirit. Hence no work can be acceptable to God without faith in Christ. For how can true hope, sincere love, persevering patience, earnest prayer, Christian humility, and a childlike fear of God, exist without faith? All must be drawn from Christ, the well of salvation (Isa. 12:3), through faith, as well righteousness, as all the fruits of righteousness. But take great care, my reader, that thou do not connect thy works, the virtues which thou hast commenced to practise, or the gifts of the new life, with thy justification before God. For in this matter, man's works, merit, gifts, and virtue, however lovely these may appear to be, have no efficacy; our justification depends solely on the exalted and perfect merit of Jesus Christ, apprehended by faith, even as it is set forth in chap. V, XIX, XXXIV, and XLI, of this book, and in the first three chapters of Book II. Take great care, therefore, not to confound the righteousness of faith, on the one hand, and the righteousness of a Christian life, on the other; but rather to make a clear distinction between them; for here the whole foundation of our Christian religion is involved. Still, thy repentance must be the great concern of thy life, for otherwise thou hast no true faith, such as daily purifies, changes, and amends the heart. Thou must, moreover, know that the consolations of the Gospel cannot be effectually applied, unless they have been preceded by a genuine godly sorrow, the result of which is a bruised and contrite heart; for we read that “to the poor the gospel is preached.” Luke 7:22. How, indeed, can faith give life to the heart, unless that heart has been previously put to death by sincere sorrow and a thorough knowledge of sin? Do not, therefore, imagine that repentance is a slight and easy work. Remember the solemn and severe language of the Apostle Paul, when he commands us to mortify and crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts, to offer the body as a sacrifice, to die unto sin, to be crucified unto the world. Col. 3:5; Rom. 6:6; 12:1; 1 Pet. 2:24; Gal. 5:24; 6:14. Truly, none of these things can result, when we gratify the flesh. [pg xlii] Nor do the holy prophets employ cheerful terms when they call for a contrite and broken heart, and say: “Rend your heart—weep and lament.” Joel 2:13, 17; Jer. 4:8. But where is such repentance now exhibited? The Lord Jesus Christ, when alluding to it, demands that we should deny ourselves, and renounce all that we have, if we desire to be his disciples. Luke 9:23; Matt. 16:24. Verily, all this can never proceed from a gay, trifling, and light mind; of this the evidence may be found in the seven Penitential Psalms of David. The Scriptures abound in illustrations of the jealousy of God, who demands both repentance and its fruits, without which eternal salvation cannot be obtained. But afterwards the consolations of the Gospel manifest their power. And both such repentance, and such consolation, are solely the work of the Spirit of God, through the Word.

    8. Now this Book which I have written, specially treats of such sincere and earnest repentance of the heart, of the exhibition of faith in the life and conduct, and of the spirit of love which should animate all the acts of the Christian; for that which proceeds from Christian love, is, at the same time, the fruit of faith. It is true that I have referred to some earlier writers, such as Tauler, Thomas á Kempis, and others, who may seem to ascribe more than is due to human ability and works; but my whole Book is designed to counteract such an error. I would, therefore, kindly request the Christian reader to remember the great object for which I wrote this Book. He will find that its main purpose is this: To teach the reader how to perceive the hidden and connate abomination of Original Sin; to set forth distinctly our misery and helplessness; to teach us to put no trust in ourselves or our ability; to take away everything from ourselves, and to ascribe all to Christ, so that He alone may dwell in us, work all things in us, alone live in us, and create all things in us, because he is the beginning, middle, and end, of our conversion and salvation. All this has been plainly and abundantly explained in many passages of this Book; and, at the same time, the doctrines of the Papists, Synergists, and Majorists, have been expressly refuted and rejected. The doctrine, moreover, of justification by faith, has been set forth in this Book, and especially in Book II., in the most pointed and explicit manner. In order, however, to obviate all misapprehensions, I have subjected the present edition to a very careful revision, and I beg the reader to receive the editions which have appeared in Frankfort and other places, in the sense in which the present Magdeburg edition is to be received. I also affirm, that this Book, as well in all other articles and points, as also in the articles of Free Will, and of the Justification of a poor sinner before God, is not to be understood in any other manner than in accordance with the Symbolical Books of the churches of the Augsburg Confession, namely, the first Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the Apology, the Smalcald Articles, the Two Catechisms of Luther, and the Formula of Concord.

    May God enlighten us all by his Holy Spirit, so that we may be sincere and without offence, both in our faith and in our life, till the day of Christ (which is near at hand), being filled with the fruits of righteousness, unto the glory and praise of God! Amen.

    [pg 001]

    Chapter I.

    Showing What The Image Of God In Man Is.

    Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and ... put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.Eph. 4:23, 24.

    The image of God in man, is the conformity of the soul of man, of his spirit and mind, of his understanding and will, and of all his faculties and powers, both bodily and mental, to God and the Holy Trinity. For the decree of the Holy Trinity was thus expressed: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” etc. Gen., 1:26.

    2. It is evident, therefore, that, when man was created, the image of the Trinity was impressed on him, in order that the holiness, righteousness, and goodness of God, might shine forth in his soul; diffuse abundant light through his understanding, will, and affections; and visibly appear even in his life and conversation: that, consequently, all his actions, both inward and outward, might breathe nothing but divine love, purity, and power, and, in short, that the life of man upon earth might resemble that of the angels in heaven, who are always engaged in doing the will of their Heavenly Father. In thus impressing his image on man, God designed to delight and rejoice in him, just as a father rejoices in a child born after his own image: for as a parent, beholding himself, or another self, in his offspring, cannot but feel the greatest complacency and delight; so, when God beheld the express character of his own Person reflected in an image of himself, his “delights were with the sons of men.” Prov. 8:31. Thus it was God's chief pleasure to look on man, in whom he rejoiced, and rested, as it were, from all his labor; considering him as the great masterpiece of his creation, and knowing that in the perfect innocence and beauty of man, the excellency of his own glory would be fully set forth. And this blessed communion our first parents and their posterity were always [pg 002] to have enjoyed, had they continued in the likeness of God, and rested in him and in his will; who, as he was their author, was also to be their end.

    3. It undoubtedly is the essential property of every image, that it be a just representation of the object which it is intended to express; and as the reflection in a mirror is vivid in a degree proportioned to the clearness of the mirror itself, so the image of God becomes more or less visible, according to the purity of the soul in which it is beheld.

    4. Hence God originally created man perfectly pure and undefiled; that so the divine image might be beheld in him, not as an empty, lifeless shadow in a glass, but as a true and living image of the invisible God, and as the likeness of his inward, hidden, and unutterable beauty. There was an image of the wisdom of God, in the understanding of man; of his goodness, gentleness, and patience, in the spirit of man; of his divine love and mercy, in the affections of man's heart. There was an image of the righteousness and holiness, the justice and purity of God, in the will of man; of his kindness, clemency, and truth, in all the words and actions of man; of his almighty power, in man's dominion over the earth, and inferior creatures; and lastly, there was an image of God's eternity, in the immortality of the human soul.

    5. From the divine image thus implanted in him, man should have acquired the knowledge both of God and of himself. Hence he might have learned, that God, his Creator, is all in all, the Being of beings, and the chief and only BEING, from whom all created beings derive their existence, and in whom, and by whom, all things that are, subsist. Hence, also, he might have known, that God, as the Original of man's nature, is all that essentially, of which he himself was but the image and representation. For since man was to bear the image of the divine goodness, it follows that God is the sovereign and universal goodness essentially (Matt. 19:17); and, consequently, that God is essential love, essential life, and essential holiness, to whom alone (because he is all this essentially), worship and praise, honor and glory, might, majesty, dominion, and virtue, are to be ascribed: whereas these do not appertain to the creature, nor belong to anything but God alone.

    6. From this image of the Divine Being, man should further have acquired the knowledge of himself. He should have considered what a vast difference there was between God and himself. Man is not God, but God's image; and the image of God ought to represent nothing but God. He is a portraiture of the Divine Being; a character, an image, in which God alone should be seen and glorified. Nothing therefore ought to live in man, besides God. Nothing but the Divinity should stir, will, love, think, speak, act, or rejoice in him. For if anything besides God live or work in man, he ceases to be the image of God; and becomes the image of that which thus lives and acts within him. If therefore a man would become, and continue to be, the image of God, he must wholly surrender himself to the Divine Being, and submit entirely to his will; he must suffer God to work in him whatsoever he pleases; so that, by denying his own will, he may do the will of his Heavenly Father without reserve, being entirely resigned to God, and willing to become a holy instrument [pg 003] in his hands, to do his will and his work. Such a man follows not his own will, but the will of God; he loves not himself, but God; seeks not his own honor, but the honor of God. He covets no estates nor affluence for himself, but refers all to the Supreme Good; and so being contented to possess him, rises above the love of the creature and the world. And thus ought man to divest himself of all love of himself and the world, that God alone may be all in him, and work all in him, by his Holy Spirit. Herein consisted the perfect innocence, purity, and holiness of man. For, what greater innocence can there be, than that a man should do, not his own will, but the will of his Heavenly Father? Or what greater purity, than that man should suffer God to work in him, and to do everything according to His pleasure? Or, what greater holiness, than to become an instrument in the hands of the Spirit of God? To resemble a child, in whose breast self-love and self-honor do not yet prevail, is, in truth, the highest simplicity.

    7. Of this entire devotedness to the Divine will, our Lord Jesus Christ, while he sojourned in our world, was a perfect example. He sacrificed his own will to God his Father, in blameless obedience, humility, and meekness; readily depriving himself of all honor and esteem, of all self-interest and self-love, of all pleasure and joy; and leaving God alone, to think, speak, and act, in him, and by him. In short, he invariably made the will and pleasure of God his own, as the Father himself testified by a voice from Heaven: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matt. 3:17. The Lord Jesus Christ, blessed forever, is the true Image of God, in whom nothing appears but God himself, and such manifestations as are agreeable to his nature; namely, love, mercy, long-suffering, patience, meekness, gentleness, righteousness, holiness, consolation, life, and everlasting blessedness: for by him, the invisible God was willing to be discovered and made known to man. He is indeed the image of God in a more sublime sense; that is, according to his Divinity, by virtue of which, he is himself very God, the express and essential image of his Father's glory, in the infinite splendor of the uncreated light. Heb. 1:3. But of this point no more can at present be said: our design being to speak of him only as he lived and conversed in his holy humanity, while he tabernacled upon the earth.

    8. It was in such a holy innocence as this, that the image of God was, in the beginning, conferred on Adam, which he should have preserved in true humility and obedience. Sufficient it surely was for him, that he was made capable of all the benefits of the divine image; of sincere and unmixed love and delight; of undisturbed and solid tranquillity of mind; of power, fortitude, peace, light, and life. But not duly reflecting that he himself was not the chief good, but merely a mirror of the Godhead, formed purposely to receive the reflection of the divine nature, he erected himself into a God; and thus choosing to be the highest good to himself, he was precipitated into the greatest of all evils, being deprived of this inestimable image, and alienated from that communion with God, which, by virtue of it, he before enjoyed.

    9. Had self-will, self-love, and self-honor, been excluded, the image of God could not have departed from man; but the Divine Being would have continued to be his sole glory, [pg 004] honor, and praise. As everything is capable of its like and not of its contrary, and in its like acquiesces and delights, so man, being in the similitude of God, was thereby prepared to receive God into himself, who was also ready to communicate himself to man, with all the treasures of his goodness; goodness being of all things the most communicative of itself.

    10. Finally, man ought to have learned from the image of God, that by means of it he is united to God; and that in this union, his true and everlasting tranquillity, his rest, peace, joy, life, and happiness alone consist. He should have learned that all restlessness of mind and vexation of spirit, arise from nothing but a breach of this union, by which he ceases to be the image of God; for man no sooner turns to the creature, than he is deprived of that eternal good which is to be derived from God alone.

    Chapter II.

    Of The Fall Of Adam.

    As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.Rom. 5:19.

    The fall of Adam was disobedience to God, by which man turned away from the Divine Being to himself, and robbed God of the honor due to him alone, in that he himself thought to be as God. But while he thus labored to advance himself, he was stripped of that divine image, which the Creator had so freely conferred on him; divested of hereditary righteousness; and bereaved of that holiness with which he was originally adorned; becoming, as it regards his understanding, dark and blind; as to his will, stubborn and perverse; and as to all the powers and faculties of the soul, entirely alienated from God. This evil has infected the whole mass of mankind, by means of a fleshly generation; and has been inherited by all men. The obvious consequence arising from this is, that man is become spiritually dead and the child of wrath and damnation, until redeemed from this miserable state by Jesus Christ. Let not then any who are called Christians deceive themselves with regard to Adam's fall. Let them be cautious, how they attempt to extenuate or lessen the transgression of Adam, as though it were a small sin, a thing of little consequence, and, at the worst, but the eating of an apple. Let them rather be assured, that the guilt of Adam was that of Lucifer, namely, he would be as God: and that it was the same most grievous, heinous, and hateful sin in both.

    2. This apostasy (for it was nothing less), was, at first, generated in the heart, and then made manifest by the eating of the forbidden fruit. Though man was numbered with the sons of God; though he came forth from the hands of the Almighty spotless both in body and in soul, and was the most glorious object in the creation; though, to crown all, he was not only a son, but the delight of God; yet not knowing how to rest satisfied with these [pg 005] high privileges, he attempted to invade Heaven, that he might be yet higher; and nothing less would suffice him, than to exalt himself like unto God. Hence, he conceived in his heart enmity and hatred against the Divine Being, his Creator and Father, whom, had it been in his power, he was disposed utterly to undo. Who could commit a sin more detestable than this? or what greater abomination is there, that it was possible to meditate?

    3. Hence it was, that man became inwardly like Satan himself, bearing his likeness in the heart; since both had now committed the same sin, both having rebelled against the majesty of Heaven. Man no more exhibits an image of God, but rather that of the Devil; he no longer is an instrument in the hands of God, but is become an organ of Satan, and is thereby rendered capable of every species of diabolical wickedness: so that, having lost that image which was heavenly, spiritual, and divine, he is altogether earthly, sensual, and brutish. For the devil, designing to imprint his own image upon man, fascinated him so entirely by a train of enticing and deceitful words, that man permitted him to sow that hateful seed in his soul, which is hence termed the seed of the serpent; and by which is chiefly meant, self-love, self-will, and the ambition of being as God. On this account it is, that the Scriptures term those who are intoxicated with self-love, “a generation of vipers.” Matt. 3:7. And all those who are of a proud and devilish nature, “the seed (progeny) of the serpent.” So the Almighty, addressing the serpent, says, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.” Gen. 3:15.

    4. From this seed of the serpent nothing but deadly and horrible fruit can possibly proceed; namely, Satan's image, the children of Belial, the children of the devil. John 8:44. As in every natural seed, how minute soever it may be, are contained, in a most wonderful and hidden manner, the nature and properties of the future plant, all its parts and proportions, its branches, leaves, and flowers, in miniature; so in that seed of the serpent, Adam's self-love and disobedience (which has passed unto all his posterity by a fleshly generation), there lies, as it were in embryo, the tree of death, with its branches, leaves, and flowers, and those innumerable fruits of unrighteousness which grow upon it. In short, the whole image of Satan is secretly traced out there, with all its marks, characters, and properties.

    5. If we observe a little child with attention, we shall see how this natural corruption displays itself from its very birth; and how self-will and disobedience especially discover themselves, and break forth into actions that effectually witness to the hidden root from which they spring. Let us consider the child further, as it grows up to maturer years. Observe the natural selfishness of the youth, his inbred ambition, his thirst after worldly glory, his love of applause, his pursuit of revenge, and his proneness to deceit and falsehood. And now these evils multiply. Soon may be discovered in him vanity, arrogance, pride, blasphemy, vain oaths, awful curses, frauds, skepticism, infidelity, contempt of God and his holy Word, and disobedience to parents and magistrates: wrath and contentiousness; hatred and envy; revenge and murder, and all kinds of cruelty; especially if outward occasions offer themselves, and call forth [pg 006] into action this latent and deadly seed, and the various evils of Adam's depraved nature. In proportion as such occasions continue to present themselves, we shall observe the appearance of other vices; wantonness, adulterous thoughts, lewd imaginations, obscene discourses, lascivious gestures, and all “the works of the flesh:” we shall behold drunkenness, rioting, and every species of intemperance; fickleness, excessive wantonness, and all that can please the appetite, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. And besides these, there may soon be discovered, covetousness, extortion, chicanery, sophistry, imposture, and every description of sinister practice; together with knavery, overreaching in trade, and, in short, the whole troop, or rather army of sins, iniquities, and crimes, which are so various and so many, that it is impossible to recount or declare the number of them; according to the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Ch. 17:9. And if to those already enumerated there be added, in the last place, the seducing and false spirits; then may be observed schisms in the church, wicked and dangerous heresies, yea, the abjuring of God and Christ, idolatry, the denial of the faith, hatred and persecution of the truth, the sin against the Holy Ghost, with every kind of corruption in doctrine, perversion of the Scriptures, and strong delusion. Now, what are all these but the image of Satan, and the fruits of the serpent's seed sown in man?

    6. Who could ever have supposed that such a depth of wickedness and depravity could be found in such a weak and helpless child; that so venomous a principle, so corrupt a heart, lay hid in a babe apparently so harmless? Who could possibly have believed this, had not man himself, by his sinful and abominable life, by the imaginations of his thoughts (being “only evil continually,” and desperately bent on what is bad), of his own will brought it to light, and expressed, from his childhood, what was before concealed as in a seed? Gen. 6:5; 8:21.

    7. Oh! most vile and most accursed root! from which springs the poisonous tree that is so fruitful in the production of every kind of plague. Oh, seed of the serpent, most hateful, most dreadful! from which an image at once so deformed and foul is generated; and which continually enlarges itself, as it is excited by outward temptations and by the scandals of the world. Full well might the blessed Jesus so solemnly and strictly forbid, that any, by bad example, should offend little children; knowing that the seed of the serpent lurks in them, as the deadly poison in the venomous worm, ready to break forth into open acts of sin, whenever an occasion presents itself.

    8. Learn, then, O man! to know the fall of Adam, and the true nature of Original Sin. Learn, if thou art wise, to discern it in thyself. Examine it, not slightly and carelessly, but deeply, and as the importance of the matter deserves; for this infection is greater, this depravation deeper and more deadly, than can possibly be expressed by words, or even be conceived in idea. “Know thyself!” and deeply consider what thou art, O man! since the fall of thy first father; how thou, who wast in the image of God, art become the image of Satan, an epitome of all his wicked tendencies, and art conformed to Satan in all malice and ungodliness. [pg 007] For as in the image of God all the divine virtues and properties are contained, so in the image of the Devil, which man, by turning himself from God, has contracted, all the vices and properties are to be found, and the very nature of the Devil himself. For, as man, before the fall, bore the image of the heavenly Adam, that is, was altogether heavenly, spiritual, and divine; so, since the first apostasy, he carries about with him the image of the earthly Adam, being inwardly earthly, carnal, and corrupt.

    9. Lo! he is become as one of the beasts of the field. For what, O fallen man! is thy wrathfulness? and to whom does it more properly belong, to the lion, or to man? And do not thine envy and thy greediness betray in thee the nature of the dog and of the wolf? And with regard to thy uncleanness and gluttony, are not these evidences of a swinish nature? Didst thou, indeed, but rightly examine thine own breast, thou wouldst there discover a world of unclean and noxious beasts. Even in the tongue, that “little member,” there may be found, according to St. James, a lake of pestilential and creeping things, a hold of every foul spirit, the cage of every filthy and hateful bird (Isaiah 13:21; Rev. 18:2), and, in a word, a “world of iniquity.” James 3:6. Often, alas! do we make such progress in wickedness as to surpass in wrath and fury the beasts of prey; in ravenousness and violence, the wolf; in subtilty and cunning, the fox; in malice and virulence, the serpent; and in filthiness and obscenity, the swine. Hence it was, that our Lord termed Herod a fox, and the unholy, in general, dogs and swine; to whom that which is holy should not be given. Luke 13:32; Matt. 7:6.

    10. Whosoever, therefore, fails to correct this corruption of nature, by being truly converted and renewed in Christ Jesus, but dies in the state which has been described, must retain, forever, this bestial and Satanical nature. He must be arrogant, haughty, proud, and devilish, throughout eternity. And when he shall have neglected the time of his purification here, he shall bear about with him the image of Satan in the blackness of darkness forever; as a testimony, that while he was in the world, he did not live in Christ, nor was renewed after the image of God. “For without are dogs and sorcerers, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Rev. 21:8; 22:15.

    Chapter III.

    Showing How Man Is Renewed In Christ Unto Eternal Life.

    In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.Gal. 6:15.

    The New Birth is a work of the Holy Ghost, by which man, of a sinner, is made righteous; and from being a child of damnation and wrath, is made a child of grace and salvation. This change is effected through faith, the word of God and the Sacraments; and by it, the heart, and all the powers and faculties of the soul (more particularly the understanding, will, and [pg 008] affections), are renewed, enlightened, and sanctified in Christ Jesus, and are fashioned after his express likeness. The new birth comprehends two chief blessings, namely, justification, and sanctification, or the renewal of man. Tit. 3:5.

    2. The birth of every real Christian is twofold. The first is “after the flesh,” the second, “after the spirit;” the first is from beneath, the second from above; the first is earthly, but the second heavenly. The one is carnal, sinful, and accursed, as descending from the first Adam by the seed of the serpent, after the similitude and image of the Devil; and by this, the earthly and carnal nature is propagated. The other, on the contrary, is spiritual, holy, and blessed, as derived from the second Adam; after the likeness of the Son of God: and by this is propagated the heavenly and spiritual man, the seed and image of God.

    3. There is therefore in the Christian a twofold line of descent; and, consequently, two men, as it were, exist in one and the same person. The fleshly lineage is derived from Adam, and the spiritual lineage from Christ, through faith: for as the old birth of Adam is in man by nature, even so must the new birth of Christ be in him by grace. This is the old and new man, the old and new birth, the old and new Adam, the earthly and heavenly image, the flesh and the Spirit, Adam and Christ in us, and also, the outward and inward man.

    4. Let us now proceed to notice how we are regenerated by Christ. As the old birth is propagated carnally from Adam, so the new birth is spiritually propagated from Christ, through the word of God. This word is the seed of the new creature: for we are “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” 1 Peter 1:23. And, again, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.” James 1:18. The word of God produces faith; and faith again apprehends the word of God, and in that word embraces Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, by whose spiritual efficacy and virtue man is regenerated or born anew. In other words, regeneration is effected, in the first place, by the Holy Ghost; and this is what Christ means by being “born of the Spirit” (John 3:5); secondly, by faith; whence it is said,—“whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God” (1 John 5:1); and thirdly, by holy Baptism; according to that passage of Scripture, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5.

    5. In Adam, man has inherited the chief evils; as sin, divine wrath, death, Satan, hell, and damnation; but in Christ, he is restored to the possession of the chief blessings, as righteousness, grace, blessing, power, a heavenly life, and eternal salvation. From Adam, man inherits a carnal spirit, and is subjected to the rule and tyranny of the evil spirit; but from Christ, he obtains the Holy Spirit, with his gifts, together with his comforting guidance. From Adam, man has derived an arrogant, proud, and haughty spirit; but if he would be born again and renewed in his mind, he must receive from Christ, by faith, an humble, meek, and upright spirit. From Adam, man inherits an unbelieving, blasphemous, and most ungrateful spirit; and it is his duty to [pg 009] obtain from Christ a believing spirit, that will prove faithful, acceptable, and well-pleasing to God. From Adam, a disobedient, violent and rash spirit is inherited; but from Christ, we imbibe, through faith, the spirit of obedience, gentleness, and modesty, and the spirit of meekness and moderation. From Adam, we, by nature, inherit a spirit of wrath, enmity, revenge, and murder; but from Christ, we, by faith, acquire the spirit of long-suffering, love, mercy, forgiveness, and universal goodness and benignity. From Adam, man, by nature, inherits a covetous heart, a churlish, merciless spirit, that seeks only to profit self, and grasp at that which is the right of another; but from Christ, is obtained, by faith, the spirit of mercy, compassion, generosity, and mildness. From Adam proceeds an unchaste, unclean, and intemperate spirit; but from Christ, a spirit of chastity, purity, and temperance, may be obtained. From Adam, there is communicated to man a spirit full of calumny and falsehood; while on the other hand, he acquires from Christ the spirit of truth, of constancy, and of integrity. Lastly, we receive from Adam a brutish and earthly spirit; and from Christ, a spirit from above, which is altogether heavenly and divine.

    6. Hence, it behooved Christ to take upon himself our nature, and to be conceived and anointed by the Holy Ghost, in order that we might all receive of his fulness. It was requisite that “the Spirit of the Lord should rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:2), that so human nature might in him, and by him, be restored and renewed, and that we, in him, by him, and through him, might become new creatures. This is accomplished by receiving from Christ, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, for the spirit of folly; the spirit of counsel, for that of madness; the spirit of might, for that of cowardice and fear; the spirit of knowledge, instead of our natural blindness; and the spirit of the fear of the Lord, instead of the spirit of impiety and infidelity.

    7. It is in this heavenly change that the new life and the new creation within us consist. For as, in Adam we are all spiritually dead, and incapable of performing any works, except those of death and darkness; so, in Christ, we must be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22) and do the works of light and life. As, by a carnal generation, we have inherited sin from Adam; so, by faith, we must inherit righteousness from Christ. As, by a fleshly descent from Adam, pride, covetousness, lust, and all kinds of impurity, are entailed upon us; so by the spirit of Christ, our nature ought to be renewed, and all pride, covetousness, lust, and envy, be mortified within us. And thus is it necessary that we should, from Christ, derive a new spirit, heart, and mind; even as we derived from Adam our sinful flesh.

    8. With reference to this great work of regeneration, Christ is called “the everlasting Father” (Isa. 9:6), and we are renewed in him to life eternal, being here regenerated into his likeness, and made in him new creatures. And if our works ever prove acceptable in the sight of God, they must spring from this principle of the new birth; that is, from Christ, his Spirit, and an unfeigned faith.

    9. Henceforth we must live in the new birth, and the new birth in us; we must be in Christ, and Christ in [pg 010] us: we must live in the spirit of Christ, and the spirit of Christ in us. Gal. 2:20. This regeneration with its attendant fruits, is described by St. Paul, as the being “renewed in the spirit of our mind,” “putting off the old man,” and the being “transformed into the image of God.” He likewise considers it as the being “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created us,” and “the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Eph. 4:23; 2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 3:10; Tit. 3:5. It is termed by Ezekiel, “taking away the stony heart, and giving a heart of flesh.” Ch. 11:19. Hence it appears how the regeneration of man proceeds from the incarnation of Jesus Christ. As man, by ambition, pride, and disobedience, turned himself from God; so his apostasy could not be expiated and removed, except by the extreme humility, lowliness, and obedience of the Son of God. And as Christ, when upon earth, was most humble in his conversation among men, so it is necessary, O man! that he should be the same in thee; that he should dwell in thy soul, and restore the image of God in thee.

    10. And now, O man! contemplate the perfectly amiable, lowly, obedient, and patient Jesus, and learn of him; live as he lived, yea, live in him, and tread in his steps. For what was the cause of his living upon earth? It was that he might become thy example, thy mirror, and the rule of thy life. He, he only, is the rule of life, and the pattern which every Christian should strive to imitate. It is not the rule of any man whatsoever. There is but one example,—Christ; and him the Apostles have, with one consent, set before us for our imitation. And in the same manner are we called to view his passion, death, and resurrection: even that thou, O man! shouldest with him, die unto sin; and in him, with him, and by him, spiritually rise again, and walk in newness of life, “even as he also walked.” Rom. 6:4.

    11. Thus may we see, how our regeneration arises from the passion, death, and resurrection, of our gracious Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Hence, St. Peter saith, “God hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Pet. 1:3. And all the apostles will everywhere be found to lay the foundation of repentance and of a new life, in the passion of Christ. St. Peter, indeed, gives this express charge: “Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear; forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:17-19); in which we may observe, that the ransom paid for our redemption is urged as the motive to a holy conversation. The same apostle tells us, likewise, that “Christ his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24); and Jesus himself has said: “Thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name.” Luke 24:46, 47.

    12. It is evident, therefore, that from the passion and death of Christ, proceed both the satisfaction made for our sins, and the renewing of our nature by faith; and that they both are necessary to the restoration of fallen man. The latter, as well as the former, is the blessed effect of Christ's passion, [pg 011] which worketh our renewal and sanctification. 1 Cor. 1:30. Thus the new birth in us proceeds from Christ. And as a means to attain this end, holy Baptism has been instituted, wherein we are baptized into the death of Christ, in order that we might die with him unto sin by the power of his death, and rise again from sin by the power of his resurrection.

    Chapter IV.

    Of True Repentance, And The True Yoke And Cross Of Christ.

    They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.Gal. 5:24.

    Repentance, or true conversion, is the work of the Holy Spirit, under the influence of which, man, through the law, acknowledges his sin, and the wrath of God provoked against it; and earnestly mourns over his offences; and then, understanding, through the Gospel, the grace of God, by faith in Christ Jesus, he obtains the remission of his sins. By this repentance, the mortification or crucifying of the flesh, and of all carnal lusts and pleasures, is carried on; together with the quickening of the spirit, or the resurrection of the new man in Christ. Under the exercise of repentance, therefore, the old Adam, with his corruptions, dies within us; and Christ lives in us, by faith (Gal. 2:20); for we must be aware that these two are inseparably connected. The resurrection of the spirit follows the mortification of the flesh; and the quickening of the new man, destroys and annihilates the old man; the ruin of the one, is the life and resurrection of the other. “Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Cor. 4:16. We are, therefore, enjoined to “mortify our members which are upon the earth” (Col. 3:5); and to “reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:11.

    2. Let us, however, inquire why the flesh is thus to be mortified; and why the whole body of sin is at last to be destroyed. It has been remarked (Chap. II) that, by the fall of Adam, man became earthly, carnal, and devilish; without God, and without love: for being without God, he was also without love. Man was now turned from the love of God to the love of the world, and especially of himself; so that in every situation, and under all circumstances, he now studies, favors, flatters, counsels, and applauds himself; and provides only for his own interest, honor, and glory. All this is the consequence of Adam's fall; who, while meditating how he might erect himself, as it were, into a God, was involved, together with all his posterity, in the same awful sin and perdition. This depravation of human nature must of necessity be entirely removed; and this can be effected only by serious repentance; by godly sorrow; by a faith that apprehends the remission of sin; by the mortification of sensual pleasure; and by the crucifixion of pride and self-love. For true repentance consists not in putting away gross and open sins only; but [pg 012] it requires that a man should enter his heart, and search into its inmost recesses. The secret parts, the windings and the turnings of iniquity are to be laid open; in order that the returning sinner may be thoroughly renewed, and, at length, be converted from the love of himself, to the love of God; from the love of the world, to a life of spirituality; and from a participation of earthly pomps and pleasures, to a participation, through faith, of the merits of Christ.

    3. Hence it follows, that a man must deny himself (Luke 9:23); that is, he must mortify his own will, and suffer himself to be entirely led by the will of God. He must no longer love, seek, and esteem himself; but he must account himself to be the unworthiest and most miserable of all creatures. He must renounce all he has for the love of Christ; and trample on the world, its pomps, and its vanities. He must pass by his own wisdom and natural endowments, as though he beheld them not; he must confide in no creature, but in God alone; yea, he must “hate his own life” (Luke 14:26), that is, his carnal will and pleasures; his pride, covetousness, lust, wrath, and envy. He must not please, but rather displease himself; nor must he attribute anything to his own strength or ability. In a word, he must be crucified to the world (Gal. 6:14), to the lust of the eyes and the flesh, and to the pride of life. This, and this alone, is that true repentance and mortification of the flesh, without which no man can ever be a disciple of Jesus Christ. This only is conversion from self, the world, and the devil, unto God (Acts 26:18); without which no one can receive remission of sins, nor be saved.

    4. This is the true cross and yoke of Christ; that of which the Saviour spoke when he said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” Matt. 11:29. As if he had said, “Thy self-love and ambition must be removed by earnest and inward humility, of which thou hast an example in me; and by the example of my meekness, must thy wrath and desire of revenge be subdued.” This, to the new man, is an easy yoke and a light burden; though, to the flesh, it may seem to be a most bitter and afflictive cross. This is to crucify our own flesh, with the affections and lusts. Gal. 5:24.

    5. They, therefore, who are acquainted with no other cross than the tribulations and afflictions of this life, greatly err; being ignorant of that true cross, which we ought to bear after our Lord daily; namely, inward repentance, and the mortification of the flesh; submitting to our enemies with great patience; and overcoming the malice of slanderers by humility and mildness, after the pattern which the Lamb of God has left us. For it becomes us to follow the example of Christ, who renounced all worldly splendor and glory, and everything that is commonly esteemed great and noble.

    6. This yoke of Christ is the real cross, which when a man bears he truly dies to the world. It is not to retire into monasteries and cloisters, nor to adopt a set of rules and orders for the regulation of life; for while the heart remains disordered, and the love corrupt; while the man is puffed up with spiritual pride, and a pharisaical contempt of others; while he is devoted to lust, envy, hypocrisy, secret hatred and malice; he does not die to the world, but altogether lives to it. This is not the Christian yoke nor is [pg 013] it the cross of Christ; for these consist in mortifying the flesh, with its sinful propensities; in turning away from the world to God; in an inward and constant secret sorrow for our sins; in a daily dying to the world, and living to Christ by faith; in following his steps with sincere lowliness and humility; and in confiding only in the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

    7. To this unfeigned repentance, this true and inward conversion from the world unto God, hath our blessed Lord called us. The imputation of his righteousness and obedience, together with the remission of all our sins, apprehended by faith, is promised to it alone. If we are destitute of repentance, Christ profiteth us nothing; that is, we cannot then become partakers of his grace and favor, nor of the efficacy of his merits; because these can be applied only by a contrite, penitent, lowly, and believing heart. And truly this is the fruit of the passion of Christ in us, that we die to sin by a sincere repentance; as the fruit of his resurrection is, that Christ may live in us, and we in him.

    8. All this is necessary to render man that new creature in Christ Jesus, without which nothing availeth in the sight of God. 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15.

    9. Hence, therefore, let us be instructed in the nature of true repentance; lest we be led away into that common error, that the mere relinquishment of some gross enormity, as theft, fornication, profaneness, blasphemy, is the genuine and only repentance. It is certain, that this is a kind of external repentance; but it is no less so, that all the Scriptures alike inculcate the necessity of an inward repentance, which takes possession of the whole soul. A man under the influence of this repentance, not only supports a fair conversation in the world, but he also denies and hates himself. Renouncing the world and all he calls his own, and crucifying the flesh, he commits himself by faith to God alone; and offers up to him a broken and contrite heart, as the sacrifice most acceptable in his sight. This character of inward repentance is eminently set forth in the Psalms of David, and particularly in those termed Penitential.4

    10. This is, therefore, the only true repentance, when the heart of the sinner is inwardly torn with grief, and weighed down by heaviness; and when, on the other hand, it is healed by faith and the remission of sin, quickened by the infusion of divine joy, provoked to good works, and thoroughly transformed and changed. Such a frame of mind cannot fail to be attended also with an external reformation of life and manners.

    11. But, on the other hand, though a man be very serious in the performance of bodily penances, and, from a dread of punishment, abstain from the commission of notorious sins; yet if he continue unreformed and unregenerate in his heart, and enter not upon that new and inward life which it has been our object to describe, he will prove but a castaway (1 Cor. 9:27) at last, notwithstanding the whole train of his external acts. It will avail him nothing to cry, “Lord, Lord!” He will hear the tremendous declaration, “I never knew you!” For most certain it is, that not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but those only who do the will of their Heavenly Father. [pg 014] Matt. 7:21-23. And under this awful sentence of divine majesty, all men are comprised, of what rank or order so-ever, who do not truly and inwardly repent, and who are not new creatures in Christ, for “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Rom. 8:9.

    Chapter V.

    Wherein Does True Faith Consist?

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.—1 John 5:1.

    Faith is a sincere confidence, and a firm persuasion of the grace of God promised to us in Christ Jesus, for the remission of sin and eternal life; and it is enkindled in the heart, by the word of God and the Holy Spirit. Through this faith we obtain the forgiveness of our sins, without any merits of our own, of mere grace (Eph. 2:8), and for the sake of the merits of Christ alone; that so, our faith might rest on a firm and solid foundation, and remain unmoved by perplexity and doubts. This forgiveness of sin constitutes our justification before God, which is true, solid, and eternal; for this righteousness is purchased neither by men nor angels, but by the obedience, merit, and the blood of the Son of God himself. We appropriate and apply it to ourselves by faith; and hence the imperfections which still adhere to us cannot condemn us, since, for the sake of Christ, who now lives and works within us, they are covered with a veil of grace. Ps. 32:1.

    2. By this cordial and unshaken faith, man wholly dedicates his heart to the Almighty, in whom alone he seeks his rest. To him only is he now united, and with him alone he enters into delightful fellowship. He partakes of all things that are of God and of Christ, and is made one spirit with the Lord. From him he receives divine power and strength; together with a new life, attended with new joys, new pleasures, new consolations, in which are found peace, inward ease, and durable satisfaction, together with righteousness and holiness. And thus man is born anew of God by faith. For wherever there is true faith, there Christ is verily present with all his righteousness, holiness, and remission of sin; with all his merits, justification, grace, adoption, and inheritance of eternal life. This is the new birth and the new creature, springing from faith in Christ. Hence, the apostle calls faith a substance (Heb. 11:1); understanding by it, a sure, solid, and unshaken confidence in “things hoped for,” and a lively conviction of “things not seen.” For the consolation conveyed by a vital faith is so powerful, as to convince the heart of the divine truth by inward experience, and by the tasting of the heavenly goodness in the soul, and of the peace of God, that passes all understanding; yea, it is so mighty as to enable its possessors to die with a joyful heart. In this consist that strength of the spirit, that might of the inner man, that vigor of faith, that holy boldness; this is that confidence toward God, that [pg 015] exceeding and abounding assurance, which are so copiously set forth by the holy apostles. 2 Tim. 2:1; Eph. 3:12, 16; Phil. 1:14; 1 John 3:21; 1 Thess. 1:5; 2:2.

    3. That for which a man will dare to die, must be rooted in the soul, and, by the operation of the Spirit of God, afford an inward assurance. It must be a cordial, powerful, and eternal comfort, infusing heavenly and supernatural strength into the soul, by which the fear of death and the love of the world may both be subdued. Now all this begets so solid a trust in Christ, and so close a union with him, as neither death nor life is able to dissolve. Rom. 8:38; 2 Tim. 1:12. Hence St. John says: “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.” 1 John 5:4.

    4. To be born of God is in truth no vain figure, no empty name; it must necessarily be a lively and powerful change, worthy of the majesty of an omnipotent God. To believe that the living God could beget a dead offspring, that lifeless members and useless organs could proceed from him, were very wickedness. It is sure and undoubted that God, being a living God, cannot but beget a living man, even the new man in Christ Jesus. And our faith is the victory which overcomes the world. 1 John 5:4. Who can question whether it be endued with strength sufficient for the conquest? It is, it must be a lively, vigorous, potent, divine, and victorious principle; but all its power is derived from him who is embraced by it, even Christ. By means of faith, we return into God again, and become one with him; and from Adam, as from an accursed vine, we are transplanted into Christ, the living and blessed vine. John 15:4. In Christ, we possess everything that is good, and in him, are justified.

    5. As a scion, when grafted on a good tree, grows, flourishes, and bears fruit, but, without it, withers away; so man, when out of Christ, is as an accursed vine, whose grapes are bitterness and gall; and all his works are sin. Deut. 32:32, 33; Rom. 14:23. But when he is in Christ, he is righteous and blessed; because he was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Cor. 5:21.

    6. It is most evident, from what has been advanced, that works cannot possibly justify a sinner; because, before we can perform any good work, we must be engrafted into Christ by faith: and it is equally clear, that justification is entirely the gift of God, freely conferred on man and preceding all human merit. How shall a dead man see, hear, stand, walk, or do any good thing, unless he be first raised from the dead, and endued with a new principle of life? So neither canst thou, O man, who art dead in sins, do any work that is good or acceptable, unless thou be first raised unto life by Jesus Christ. Thus righteousness proceeds only from faith in Christ. Faith is like a new-born babe, weak and naked, poor and destitute, and laid before the eyes of the Saviour; from whom, as from its author, it receives righteousness and sanctification, godliness, grace and the Holy Ghost.

    7. The naked child is thus clothed with the mercy of God. He lifts up his hands, receives all from God, and is made a partaker of grace and health, truth and holiness. It is, therefore, this receiving of Christ in the heart, that makes a man holy and happy.

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    8. Righteousness proceeds therefore solely from faith, and not from works. Indeed, faith receives the whole Christ, and accepts him, together with all that he has. Then sin and death, the devil and hell, must flee, and are unable any longer to preserve their ground. Nay, so effectually and so powerfully do the merits of Christ justify the sinner, that if the sins of the whole world were charged on one man, they would not avail to condemn him, if he believed in Christ.

    9. Inasmuch, therefore, as Christ lives and dwells in thy heart by faith (Eph. 3:17), never, O believer! indulge the thought, that his indwelling in thee, is a dead work unattended with any vital power. Rather believe that it is a quickening principle, a mighty work, and an effectual transforming of thy mind. Faith effects two things: it first engrafts thee into Christ, and gives him freely to thee, with all that he has; and then, it renews thee in Christ, that thou mayest grow, flourish, and live in him. The wild graft is introduced into the stock, for no other end than that it may flourish and bear fruit. As by the apostasy of Adam and the temptation of the devil, the seed of the serpent was sown in man, growing up into a tree and bearing the fruits of death; even so by the divine word and the Holy Spirit, is faith sown in man, as the seed of God. See Chap. II. In this seed all divine virtues and properties are, in a most wonderful manner, comprehended; which gradually expand themselves from day to day. This tree is adorned with a profusion of heavenly fruit; as love, patience, humility, meekness, peace, chastity, righteousness. And thus the whole kingdom of God descends into man. For true and saving faith renews the whole man, purifies the heart, sanctifies the soul, and delivers from the love of the world. It unites with God; it hungers and thirsts after righteousness; it works love; and it brings peace, joy, patience, and comfort in adversity: it overcomes the world; it makes us sons of God, and heirs of the treasures of heaven; and it constitutes us joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. But if any one should not be conscious of that joyfulness which faith imparts and does not experience its consoling influences, let him not, on that account, despair; but rather let him trust in the grace which is promised in Christ: for this promise ever remains sure, immovable, and everlasting. And though, through the infirmities incident to human nature, he should stumble and fall; yet, if the sinner return by unfeigned repentance, and more cautiously watch against the sin which so easily besets him, the grace of God will not be withdrawn. For Christ is and will ever be Christ and a Saviour, whether the faith that embraces him be strong or weak. A weak faith has an equal share in Christ with a strong faith, for faith, whether it be weak or strong, possesses the whole Christ. The grace which is promised is common to all Christians, and is eternal, and on this grace faith must rely, whether it be weak or strong. The Lord will revisit thy soul in his own time, with a sense of his gracious favor, and of his abundant consolations, although, at the present, he may think fit to put a veil over it in thy heart. Ps. 37:23, 24; 77:7-10. Upon this subject, see Book II.

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    Chapter VI.

    Showing How The Vital Power Of The Word Of God Should Be Manifested In Man Through Faith.

    Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.John 17:21.

    Inasmuch as man's whole welfare depends on his regeneration and renewal, it was the will of God that all those changes which ought to take place in man spiritually and by faith, should be also outwardly set forth in the words of Holy Scripture. Since the Word is the seed of God (Luke 8:11) within us, it is necessary that it should also spring up and spiritually bear fruit. That must be accomplished in us by faith, which is declared without us in the letter of Scripture; and if this effect be not produced, then the Word is evidently to us but a dead seed, destitute of life and energy. Hence, we ought in faith and in spirit to learn by our own happy experience the truth of that which the Scriptures have outwardly declared.

    2. When God revealed his will in his Word, he never designed that the latter should be a dead letter, but that it should grow up in us to a new and inward man; otherwise the Word is of no benefit to us. These truths may be explained more clearly by a reference to some example, as that of Cain and Abel. The nature, manners, and actions of these two persons, as they are recorded in Scripture, clearly explain the motions and workings of the old and the new man in the breast of the believer. Cain perpetually endeavors to oppress and destroy Abel. What else is this but the daily strife of the flesh and spirit, and the enmity subsisting between the serpent and the seed of the woman? With Abraham, the Christian is required to quit his own country, leaving all that he possesses, even life itself, in order that he may walk before God with a perfect heart, obtain the victory, and enter into the land of promise and kingdom of heaven. Such is the meaning of the Lord's words: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple;” that is, he must renounce all these rather than renounce Christ. Luke 14:26. With Lot, he must depart from Sodom and Gomorrah, forsaking the wicked course of the world; not looking back with Lot's wife, but obeying Christ's injunction (Luke 17:32), in order that his deliverance may be completed. Hither are all the wars and battles of Israel against the heathen and infidel nations to be referred; for what is represented under this history but the continual strife between the flesh and the spirit? Whatsoever is recorded of the Mosaical priesthood, the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, or the mercy-seat, with the sacrifices, etc.,—all has relation to the Christian believer. For unto him it appertains to pray in spirit and in truth; to burn spiritual incense; and to slay the sin-offering by presenting his body, through mortification, as a reasonable service and sacrifice, so that Christ may truly dwell in him by faith.

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    3. And if we advert to the New Testament itself, what is this but an outward expression of those truths, which are to be inwardly fulfilled by faith, in the experience of the believer? If I become a new creature in Christ, it is incumbent on me to live and walk in him; in him and with him, to flee into exile, and to be a stranger upon the earth. The virtues that resided in him I ought to practise; humility, contempt of the world, meekness, and patience; and I am bound to be fervent in acts of benignity, charity, and loving kindness. In and with Christ I should exercise mercy, and pardon and love my enemies, and, with him, do the Father's will. I must be tempted by Satan with him; and, with him, I must obtain the victory. I am to be derided, despised and vilified for the sake of the truth that is in me; and, if called to it, I ought to die for and with him, after the example of the saints, and in testimony that he, by faith, hath lived in me, and I in him.

    4. This is to be conformed to the image of Christ; this is to be born with and in Christ; to put on Christ; to grow up and be strong in Christ; to live with Christ in banishment; to be baptized with his baptism; to be scoffed and crucified with him; to die with him; to be buried with him; to rise with him from the dead; and to reign with him to all eternity.

    5. If ever thou desirest to live in a constant union and conformity with thy Head and Saviour, thou art in this manner to die daily with him, and to crucify the flesh. Rom. 6:5, 6. Should this divine harmony not exist, and another way be devised more consonant to thy fancy, then Christ will not be within but without thee; far from thy faith, thy heart, and thy spirit; and, in that case, he will profit thee nothing. But if thou permit him to dwell in thy heart by faith, he will be thy strength, thy comfort, and thy salvation.

    6. All this, O man! doth faith in Christ effect within the heart; and thus the Word of God becomes a living Word, and, as it were, a living witness in us of all those things which are externally declared in the Scriptures. Hence, faith is termed by the apostle a substance and an evidence, Heb. 11:1.

    7. It is therefore evident, that all the sermons, discourses, and epistles, contained in the Word of God, whether proceeding from Christ, or the prophets, or the apostles; and, in a word, that all the Scriptures, in general, as it regards their complete fulfilment, belong to man, and to every man individually. Not only do the plain doctrines appertain to us; but all the parables and miracles with which the history of Christ abounds, have their final reference to man.

    8. The purpose for which they were written was, that they might be spiritually fulfilled in our own experience. When, therefore, I read that Christ healed others, I promise myself the same relief; for we live in unity one with another, Christ with me, and I with Christ. When I read further, how he cured the blind, I am encouraged to believe that he will restore me to the enjoyment of spiritual sight, who am blind by nature: and so, with regard to all his other miracles. Only own thyself to be blind, lame, deaf, or leprous; to be dead in trespasses and sins; and then, he will surely heal thy maladies, and quicken that which is dead, that so thou mayest have part in the first resurrection.

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    9. The substance of all that has been advanced is this: the Holy Scripture bears outward testimony to those things, which are to be inwardly fulfilled in man, by faith. It points out that image externally, which, by faith, is to be formed within him. It describes the kingdom of God in the letter, which is to be established in the heart, by faith, after the spirit. It exhibits Christ outwardly, who is, by faith, to live within me; and it testifies of the new birth and of the new creature, which I must experience in myself. All this I am to be made by faith, or the Scripture will profit me nothing.

    Chapter VII.

    The Law Of God, Written In The Hearts Of All Men, Convinces Them That On The Day Of Judgment They Will Be Without Excuse.

    When the Gentiles ... do the things contained in the law ... they shew the work of the law written in their hearts.Rom. 2:14, 15.

    When God created man in his own image, in righteousness and holiness, and endowed him with exalted virtues and gifts, he impressed three qualities on the human conscience so deeply, that they can never be effaced: First, the natural testimony that there is a God. Secondly, a testimony that a day of Judgment will come. Rom. 2:15. Thirdly, the law of nature, or natural righteousness, by which man is enabled to distinguish between honor and shame, and to experience joy and sorrow.

    2. For no nation has ever been discovered so wild and barbarous, as to deny that a God exists, inasmuch as nature furnishes internal and external evidence of this fact. Indeed, men have not only acknowledged the being of a God, of which they were assured by their consciences; but they have also been affected with a sense of his justice, as an avenger of evil, and a rewarder of good; and this persuasion arose from the consciousness, that, on some occasions, they were harassed with fearful apprehensions; while, on others, they felt a certain measure of peace and joy. By this knowledge, they even proceeded farther, and discovered the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, as appears from Plato, who most amply discussed this subject. And, lastly, they gathered from this inward law, that God was the author and source of all that was good in nature, and therefore ought to be worshipped by an assiduous attention to virtue, and with a pure heart. Hence, they defined virtue to be man's chief good; and schools of moral virtue were accordingly instituted by Socrates, and by other heathen philosophers. This may be sufficient to convince us, that God, even since the fall, has allowed a spark of natural light to remain in men, in order that they might be admonished of their heavenly origin, and be assured, that [pg 020] it was only by following these footsteps of divinity, that they could be restored to their former perfection. Some of the heathens themselves, have not been unacquainted with this truth; among whom is Aratus, the poet, quoted by St. Paul, who declares that “we are God's offspring.” Acts 17:28.

    3. The Gentiles, however, stifling the testimony of conscience, ignored the light of nature, and “the work of the law written in their hearts” (Rom. 2:15); so that it cannot but be their own fault, that they are condemned and lost; and they are, as St. Paul argues, left altogether without excuse. Rom. 1:19, 20. And as the Gentiles knew, by nature, the justice of God, and that such as did evil were worthy of death; and yet not only committed evil but had pleasure in it; it follows, that they thereby condemned themselves, whilst “their thoughts accusing or excusing one another,” convinced them of the certainty of the day of judgment. Rom. 1:32; 2:15. But if the Gentiles shall be “inexcusable,” because, though endued with the natural knowledge of God, they sought him not, as was their duty; what shall they plead in their own behalf, to whom God hath given his Holy Word, and whom he hath so earnestly invited to repentance, by Jesus Christ his beloved Son; in order that, forsaking the corruptions of the world, they might, by faith, apprehend the merits of the Saviour, and obtain eternal life and salvation?

    4. Therefore, every false Christian shall, in the day of judgment, be condemned by two mighty witnesses: by his own conscience or the law of nature, and likewise by the revealed Word of God, which will then judge him. In that day, “it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom,” than for such false pretenders to religion. Matt. 11:24.

    5. Their anguish and torment shall be without end; since God has made the soul immortal and planted the conscience in it, to be both a witness and a judge. The conscience can never throw off the recollection of God, and yet cannot of itself approach him; which must be attended with unutterable pain to the soul, and expose it to the worm that dieth not, and to the fire that cannot be quenched. And the more the wicked have, through impenitence of heart, treasured up to themselves “wrath against the day of wrath” (Rom. 2:5), the more severe will this inward and eternal suffering be. For as God, in the exercise of his righteous judgment, gave up the Gentiles to a reprobate mind, because they sinned against their own consciences, and “the work of the law written in their hearts;” so that they became blind in their understandings, and rushed into every kind of filthy and abominable pollution; thus drawing down upon themselves the wrath of God, denounced against all crimes that are committed against the light of knowledge: so the same doom (yea, and a far heavier one) will be inflicted upon those who rest in the mere profession of the Christian faith, and deny the life and the power of godliness. The reason of this is obvious: such persons have ignored the inward as well as the outward word and testimony of God, and have not only persevered in a state of impenitence, but have resisted the Divine Spirit, and blasphemed Him who favored them with the light of his Gospel. On this account, God gives them up to a reprobate mind, so that they become worse than heathens and infidels. He sends [pg 021] them “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thess. 2:11, 12.

    6. This is the true reason why vices of so detestable a nature universally abound among Christians; many of which were not so much as known among the Pagan nations. What satanical pride, what insatiable covetousness, what unheard-of intemperance, what bestial lust; in a word, what inhuman wickedness, is not practised by those who call themselves Christians! And whence does all this arise, but from that blindness and hardness of heart, which they have contracted by confirmed habits of iniquity. When those who are called Christians disdain to imitate the meek and lowly Jesus in their manners and their conversation; when they are scandalized at him, and consider it disgraceful to look to him whom God has appointed to be the light of the world, and our great example (John 8:12); then the righteous God gives them up to follow Satan; to take upon them the life of the devil, his abominable impiety, wickedness, and lies; that they may execute with him all the works of darkness, inasmuch as they refuse to walk in the light. For thus saith the Lord, “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” John 12:35.

    7. Finally, if God gave up the heathen to so terrible a blindness and so reprobate a mind; and this because they proved disobedient to the glimmering light of nature; or, as St. Paul expresses it, “because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,” in order to be preserved by him (Rom. 1:28); how much more shall those be banished from life and salvation, to whom the truth of God has come not only by natural light, but by means of his revealed word, and the new covenant, and who yet haughtily despise these special tenders of divine mercy! Of which new covenant, God thus speaks: “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer. 31:33, 34; John 6:45.

    8. And here, let us also attend to that which the Apostle says, concerning those who offend wilfully. “If,” says he, “we sin wilfully, 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. He that despised Moses' law,” continues the Apostle, “died without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Heb. 10:26-31. These words, however, are not pronounced in reference to those who fall through natural infirmity, but against them who sin wilfully and against knowledge, and who persevere to the end in a state of impenitence.

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    Chapter VIII.

    No One Can Find Comfort In Christ And His Merits, Who Does Not Truly Repent.

    No unclean person was permitted to eat of the passover.Exod. 12:48.

    It was the declaration of the Lord Jesus Christ, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matt. 9:12, 13. By this declaration the Lord teaches us, that he indeed calls sinners, but that he calls them to repentance; whence it is evident, that no man can come to Christ without true repentance and conversion from sin, and without a true faith.

    2. Now repentance consists in dying unto sin through true sorrow for our sins, and in obtaining the remission of sins through faith and living unto righteousness in Christ. There is no real repentance unless a genuine godly sorrow is first experienced, by which the heart is broken and the flesh crucified. Hence it is termed “repentance from dead works” (Heb. 6:1); or the renunciation of such works as issue in death. To abstain from dead works is, therefore, one of the principal parts of true repentance.

    3. If we be not the subjects of this repentance, the merit of Christ profits us nothing; nor can we lay the smallest claim to the benefits which thence accrue; for Christ proffers his aid, as the physician of souls, and his blood, as the only effectual medicine for our spiritual maladies.

    4. But as not even the most precious remedy can effect a cure of a disorder unless the patient refrain from things that are hurtful in their tendency, and that resist the operation of the medicine, so the blood and death of Christ will be of no avail to him who does not fully resolve to forsake his sins, and to live up to the requirements of the gospel; for St. Paul says: “They who do such things (the works of the flesh), shall not inherit the kingdom of God,” and, of course, have not any part in the Lord Jesus Christ. Gal. 5:21.

    5. Again, if Christ, by his most precious blood, is to become our medicine, it cannot be doubted that we must be in a diseased state, and that we must, for ourselves, feel that we are so. The whole need not a physician, but the sick only (Matt. 9:12); and none is spiritually sick (at least so as to be conscious of it) who does not experience unfeigned contrition for the sins which he has committed, and who has not a sense of the indignation of God which is excited against them. He is no proper patient for the physician of souls who avoids not worldly lusts and vanities, honors and riches; but goes on in a state of spiritual unconcern, without any regard to his past life or his final salvation. Upon a man of this character, no cure can possibly be wrought. He does not see his distemper, and therefore needs no physician. In short, Christ profits him nothing, and his merits leave no saving effect upon his soul.

    6. Remember, therefore, O man! that Christ is come to call sinners to repentance; and that it is only such as [pg 023] are broken in heart and contrite in spirit; only such as fervently desire and thirst after this righteousness that are in a condition to receive the saving influence of the blood, death, and merits of the Lord Jesus.

    7. Happy is he who feels in his heart, and still more happy he who proves obedient to this holy calling, that is, the “godly sorrow for sin, which worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of,” and which is the work of the Holy Spirit himself. It arises, first, from the law, and from serious meditation on the passion of Christ, which abounds with loud invitations to unfeigned repentance. It exhibits, as in a mirror, both the wrath of God against sin, and also his infinite grace in saving the sinner. To make an atonement for our sins, Jesus shed his blood; and love induced him to die for us while we were yet sinners. Rom. 5:8. Here the divine justice and clemency combine for the salvation of souls.

    8. How is it possible that a man who believes in Christ, should continue in sins which the Lord expiated at no less a price than his own most precious blood? When, therefore, O man! thou art tempted to pride and ambition, reflect upon the contempt and humiliation to which Jesus submitted in order to atone for thy pride and thy ambition. When thou art covetous after this world, think of the poverty which he underwent that he might make satisfaction for thy cupidity; and, surely, this will extinguish in thee the love of money and of worldly estates. What anguish and agony did Christ suffer on account of thy lusts and sinful pleasures; and art thou yet in pursuit of these pleasures that will leave behind them a mortal sting? Alas! how great must be the corruption of our nature when we can delight in things for which our Redeemer and Lord was sorrowful even unto death! Christ died to expiate thy wrath, hatred, and enmity; to atone for thy bitterness and rancor, for thy love of revenge, and the implacableness of thy spirit. This he effected by his extreme mildness and patience, mercy and long-suffering. And wilt thou be angry on every trifling occasion, and esteem revenge to be sweet, when, to atone for it, thy Redeemer drank to the very dregs the cup of bitterness and affliction?

    9. Truly as many as assume to themselves the name of Christians, and yet do not forsake the pleasures of sin, “crucify Christ to themselves afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:6); and it is, therefore, utterly impossible that they should partake of that merit which they tread under foot. They pollute the blood of the everlasting covenant, and do not believe that their sins are expiated by it. They do “despite unto the Spirit of grace;” they despise and resist him; and, by their ungodly lives, scorn and condemn the grace of God offered in Christ Jesus. Heb. 10:29. Hence, the blood of the Saviour, which was shed for their sakes, cries aloud for vengeance against them; and this it does by the righteous judgment of God, which they thus draw down upon themselves,—a consideration that ought to strike a terror into every one that names the name of Christ. Indeed, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31); for he is a living God, and not a lifeless idol, incapable of punishing so scornful a contempt of his grace and mercy.

    10. With this divine wrath and vengeance, even their own consciences [pg 024] threaten them, as inevitably following those who (though they know that it was to atone for sin that the Son of God died so ignominious a death) are yet not careful to put away their sins.

    11. It was for this reason that, soon after the death of Christ, repentance was preached over all the world; namely, both because he died “for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2); and because in all places of the world men should repent. Acts 17:30. Thus it is said, “God now commandeth all men every where to repent,” and to receive with a contrite, penitent, and believing heart the sovereign medicine purchased by the death of Christ, in order that the grace of God be not frustrated, but answer the end designed.

    12. Remission of sins immediately follows true repentance; but how shall a man have his sins remitted when he does not repent of them, nay, when he still rejoices in them? Nothing surely could be more preposterous than to expect that sins should be pardoned which a man has no design to renounce; and nothing can be more absurd than to seek consolation in the sufferings of Christ, and yet continue in the mire of sin which caused Christ's death.

    13. But certain and obvious as these truths are in themselves, there are many that call themselves Christians who never repented, and who yet will presume to lay claim to a share in the merits of Christ, and in the remission of sins which he has purchased. They have not ceased to indulge their accustomed wrath, covetousness, pride, malice, envy, hypocrisy, and unrighteousness, but have rather become more and more enslaved by them; and yet, alas! they expect forgiveness of sin, and presumptuously apply to themselves the merits of Christ as a defence against the impending judgment of Almighty God. And though this is one of the grossest and most palpable of errors, yet they do not hesitate to bestow upon it the specious name of faith, by which they hope for salvation. These are they that flatter themselves to their own destruction; fondly supposing that they are true Christians because they have a speculative knowledge of the Gospel, and because they believe that Jesus died for their sins. This, alas! is not faith, but fancy; and thou art an unhappy, and most awfully infatuated false Christian, if thou canst suffer thyself to be deluded in this manner! Never did the Word of God teach such a doctrine; but the unvarying language of the inspired writers is: “If thou earnestly desirest the pardon of thy sins, repent of them, and firmly resolve to give up the practice of them; and thus, grieving from thy heart that thou hast so greatly offended God, and determining to lead a new life, believe on Jesus Christ, the great propitiation for the sins of the whole world.”

    14. But how should that man feel sorrow for his sins, who will not be induced to quit them? and how should he quit them, while he remains unconcerned about committing them? Christ, and all his apostles and prophets, unite in teaching thee, O man! that thou must die to the world and to thy sins; die to thy pride, thy covetousness, thy lust, and thy wrath; and that thou must return to the Lord with all thy heart, and implore his gracious pardon. And this being sincerely done, thou art absolved, and thy sins are forgiven. Then, the heavenly physician looks upon thee graciously; for he is come to revive those [pg 025] that are of a contrite spirit, and to bind up the broken in heart. Ps. 147:3. But if thou seekest for some other way to be saved, than that which is here pointed out, then Christ will profit thee nothing, and the boasting of thy faith is altogether vain. For true faith renews him who possesses it; it mortifies sin, and raises the soul, with Christ, into a new life; for such a man lives, by faith in Christ, in his love, his humility, his meekness, and his patience. It is thus, O man! that Jesus becomes unto thee the way of life, and thus thou becomest in him a “new creature.” But if thou continuest to commit thy favorite sins, and remainest unwilling to die to the corrupt bent of “the old man” (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22), how wilt thou pretend to be a new creature? How is it possible for thee to belong to Christ, when thou dost not “crucify the flesh, with its affections and lusts?” Gal. 5:24.

    15. Even if thou shouldst listen to ten sermons in one day, shouldst confess thy sins every month, and receive the Lord's Supper, thou wouldst derive no benefit from such exercises, nor obtain the remission of sins; the reason is, that thou hast not a penitent, contrite, and believing heart, which can be reached by the healing influences of the medicine. The Word of God and the Sacraments are, indeed, salutary remedies; but they are such to those alone who unfeignedly repent and believe. What would it profit, to anoint a stone with costly ointment? What harvest shalt thou reap, if thou sowest among briers and thorns? First pull up the thorns and thistles that choke the good seed, and, then, thou mayest reasonably expect the precious fruit. Luke 8:7. And, in fine, Christ will never profit thee at all, if thou continuest to love sin rather than Him. The birth of the Saviour is of no advantage to a man whose aim it is not to be born with him; nor shall his death avail for any, who are not disposed to die to sin, and to mortify the deeds of the flesh. Rom. 6:11. So, the resurrection of Christ will benefit none who will not rise from sin, and live unto righteousness; nor will his ascension prove a blessing to any who refuse to ascend with him, and to have their conversation in heaven.

    16. But when, on the contrary, a man, like the Prodigal Son, truly returns to his offended father, deploring, hating, and forsaking his sins; when he earnestly seeks forgiveness, and, with the eye of faith, beholds Christ and his bleeding wounds, as the Israelites beheld the serpent of brass, and lived (Numb. 21:9); when, at last, under a real sense of guilt, he cries out with the penitent publican, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13); then, then, the pardon is granted, the absolution is sealed, however great and many the sins be which he has committed against his God.

    17. Such is the efficacy of the redemption which the blood of Christ has effected, and of so extensive a nature is his merit, that it is fully imputed, through faith, to every penitent soul. Thus is brought to pass the scripture, “He giveth repentance and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31); that is, he pardons the repentant sinner freely and wholly, for Christ's sake. For it is a pleasure with God to exercise mercy, and to forgive a sinner. “My bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.” Jer. 31:20; Hosea 11:8. Then it is, that the death of Christ is rendered truly effectual; and then it is, that the angels of God rejoice in [pg 026] heaven (Luke 15:7), because the blood of Christ was not shed in vain for the poor sinner for whom He had died. 1 Cor. 8:11.

    Chapter IX.

    The Unchristian Walk Of Many Persons In Our Day, Is A Cause Of The Rejection Of Christ And Of The True Faith.

    Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.—2. Tim. 3:5.

    Every one calls himself by the Christian name, even though he do not perform the least part of what he thereby professes; and, by this means, the Saviour is denied, contemned, blasphemed, scourged, crucified, and, as it were, cast out of the sight of men, as dead. The Apostle expressly declares, that some persons “crucify the Son of God afresh.” Heb. 6:6.

    2. Would to God that Christ were not, even in our days, crucified again and again among those who call themselves after his name, and honor him with their lips; and yet, by their anti-christian lives and actions, utterly reject and deny him. His most holy, humble, and exemplary life is, at this day, to be found among but few; and wherever there is not the life of Christ, there Christ is not himself, however loudly the faith and the doctrine may be commended. For the Christian faith without a Christian life is a tree without fruit. True faith works by love (Gal. 5:6); and wherever it is found, there Christ dwells, with all his divine graces and virtues. Eph. 3:17.

    3. But when these are not expressed in the lives of those who profess his doctrine, there Christ himself is rooted up and denied; for it is only where true faith exists that Christ dwells.

    4. Now Christ hath said, “Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father and the angels.” Matt. 10:33; Luke 12:9. This denial of Christ is not only made in words (as by those who renounce Christ and Christianity), but it is also done when, by our lives and actions, we wilfully sin against the Saviour and resist the Holy Ghost. St. Paul speaks of some who “profess that they know God, but in works deny him (Tit. 1:16); and it is certain that Christ is no less denied by a wicked and satanic life, than he is by a verbal abjuration. It is with hypocrisy and an empty profession of the faith as it is with open wickedness; and this is strikingly illustrated by our Lord's parable of the two sons, who were commanded by their father to go and work in his vineyard. The one (openly denying) said, “I will not;” while the other (professing obedience) said, “I go, sir,” and went not. Matt. 21:28-30.

    5. This is a forcible representation of those Christians who make religion to consist in empty profession without obedience. They will cry “Yea, yea,” and “Lord, Lord!” (Matt. 7:21), and yet are worse than others, because they pretend to be children of the Father, and yet do not, in any respect, obey his will. Their character [pg 027] is thus given by St. Paul: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Tim. 3:5. Now, what is it to deny the power of godliness but to deny Christ himself, and to shake off allegiance to him, and thus to act the part of a heathen under the mask and name of a Christian? These are “the children of unbelief or disobedience,” in whom the spirit, not of Christ, but of this world, worketh. Eph. 2:2. They, therefore, who usurp a Christian's name, and yet do not a Christian's work, shall be denied, in their turn, by the Saviour when he shall pronounce the sentence: “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt. 7:23.

    Chapter X.

    The Children Of The World Are Against Christ, And, Consequently, Their Life And Their Christianity Are Both Alike False.

    He that is not with me is against me.Matt. 12:30.

    If the conduct of the generality of men in the present age be examined by the standard of life and doctrine left us by Christ, we must soon come to the conclusion that it is wholly unchristian, and totally repugnant to his example. The lives of men in our day are, in too many cases, made up of insatiable avarice, sordid and self-seeking manners, worldly-mindedness, worldly cares, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; disobedience, wrath, strife, hatred, malice, contentions, and a violent thirst after human applause, pomps, and dignities. Add to these the jealousies, the revenge, the secret feuds and envyings, the unforgiving spirit, the injustice and hypocrisy, the frauds and calumnies, the lies and perjuries, together with all the impurity and unrighteousness with which the world so exceedingly abounds. In short, the whole life of the children of this generation consists of the love of the world, self-love, self-honor, and self-seeking.

    2. To all this the life of Christ is entirely opposed; it can have no sort of communion with it. His life is nothing else but pure and sincere love to God and men. It is composed of humanity and kindness, of meekness and patience, of humility and obedience even unto death, of mercy and righteousness, of truth and simplicity, of purity and holiness, of contempt of the world, its honors, wealth, and pleasures; of self-denial; of the cross, tribulations, and afflictions; of fervent desires after the kingdom of God, and after the fulfilment of the divine will. This is the life of Christ, to which the false Christianity of the present age is so greatly opposed.

    3. If, then, it be the truth that he who is not with Christ is accounted as one that is against him; and he that standeth not in the will of God, as he that withstandeth it (and we know that this is the meaning of the language of our Lord himself), it is most evident that the generality of those who make a public profession of the Christian [pg 028] faith, not being with Christ, must be against him. They have no communion with him, but are contrary to him; they are not led by a Christian, but by an antichristian spirit. Scarcely any, indeed, are to be found who are of one soul, one will, one mind, and one spirit with him; and yet only these can be Christ's, or be accounted his disciples. It is in reference to the latter that the apostle speaks when he says, they have “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16); and, in another place, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 2:5. The children of the world have not this mind, and it is hence certain that they are not with but against Christ. Now whatever any man's profession and doctrine be, he who is thus against Christ in his life and actions, is most undoubtedly an antichrist. 1 John 2:18.

    4. Where, alas! shall we now find true Christians, in the midst of so many unchristian disorders that universally abound? How justly may they be termed “a little flock!” (Luke 12:32) as they were called by our Lord himself. How justly has the prophet Isaiah compared the church to a solitary cottage in a vineyard, and to a wasted city! Isa. 1:8. “Woe is me!” exclaims Micah, “I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grape-gleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desires the first ripe fruit. The good man is perished out of the earth; and there is none upright among men.” Micah 7:1, 2. See also Ps. 74:19; 102:7.

    5. God alone knows where and who these are: but be they where and who they may, assuredly Christ is with them, yea, in them, “alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matt. 28:20. Nor will he ever leave them without sufficient succor; “I will not leave you comfortless,” he says; “I will come unto you.” John 14:18. For he knoweth them that are his, and those whom he is said to know, he watches over with never-ceasing and distinguishing care. “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.” But who are his? The answer is immediately annexed: “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Tim. 2:19. But let those who are not disposed to obey this injunction, assume some other name that shall better accord with their conduct; and let them not name His name, until they conform to His life by a living faith.

    [pg 029]

    Chapter XI.

    Showing That He Does Not Truly Repent, Is Not A Christian, And Not A Child Of God, Who Does Not, In His Life And Conduct, Follow Christ; Also, Wherein The New Birth And The Yoke Of Christ Consist.

    Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.—1 Pet. 2:21.

    God has appointed our Lord Jesus Christ to be our prophet or teacher; and, by a voice from heaven, has commanded us to hear him; saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.” Matt. 17:5. This office was most faithfully executed by the Son of God, not only in words, but (as became a teacher engaged in so sacred a function) by a most holy and unblemished life. In allusion to this, St. Luke thus prefaces his account of the Acts of the Apostles: “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, etc.”; where, it is to be remarked, that he places doing before teaching; intimating that these ought never to be separated. It certainly is the duty of every true teacher, first, to practise himself the duties which he purposes to teach others. Such a teacher was our Lord Jesus; and his conduct is the pattern of teaching, and the book of life which we ought to study.

    2. It was for this cause, that the Son of God became man, and conversed with men upon earth, that he might give us a visible example of an innocent, perfect, and divine life; and that we might follow him as a light that shineth in darkness, to lead us in the way in which we should go. Hence he calls himself “the light of the world;” and promises that “he who followeth him shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12.

    3. Hence it clearly appears, that they who refuse to follow Christ in his life, and to tread by faith in his steps, remain in darkness, and are not in the way to obtain “the light of life.” But what is this darkness? It is an impenitent and depraved life, called by the apostle “works of darkness,” which are to be cast off, that so we may put on “the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12); and in genuine repentance both these duties are comprised.

    4. It has been abundantly proved above, that godly sorrow and true faith thoroughly change a man; that they crucify the flesh, effect an entire transformation in the soul, and beget, through the Holy Ghost, a new life. Lest, however, this should be a mere theoretical knowledge, devoid of life and practice, God has been pleased to set before us his own Son, not only as a ransom and a Mediator, but also as a mirror of perfect godliness, and as a most finished pattern of the new man, who is regenerated after the image of God. In him, the fleshly Adam, the corrupt nature, never reigned; but the blessed God alone. Him it hath pleased God to set forth before our [pg 030] eyes, that, contemplating him and his righteous life, we might be daily more and more renewed after his image. Let us explain this point more fully.

    5. Sad experience teaches us continually, that our whole nature, body and soul, is polluted with every kind of sin, vice, and corruption. These are the works of the devil appearing in the carnal man; and it is principally in the depraved and perverted will, that these diabolical operations are most visibly discerned. For the depraved will is the root of all sin: if that were removed, there would be sin no more. With regard to the power and natural bias of this will, it consists chiefly in turning man away from God and from His will. Now, whatever departs from that Being who is the sovereign and supreme Good, cannot but be in itself evil; for it partakes of the nature of the supreme evil, and is a violation of the original constitution of our nature, as derived from God himself. It was this turning away from God that produced the fall both of Satan and of man; whence sin entered into the world, and has, by fleshly generation, passed upon all men.

    6. The nature of man is then inoculated with the nature of the devil himself, and his will tainted with satanical wickedness, as with deadly poison. Hence Christ called the Pharisees “children of the devil” (John 8:44); and even to one of his own disciples gave the name of Satan (John 6:70); intimating as though the covetousness, lying, pride, and evil concupiscence, by which the nature of all men is defiled, were Satan himself.

    7. Hence it may, with all propriety, be affirmed, that they who lead a life void of repentance, a life of pride, avarice, lust, and envy, live in the devil, and partake of his nature. Such persons may assume the garb of honesty; they may veil their real characters under a fair show of morality and correct deportment; yet, inwardly, according to the saying of Christ to the Jews, they are, nevertheless, devils. John 8:44. Such a declaration is dreadful to be made; but the truth of it is confirmed, both by the Word of God and by continual experience.

    8. Our nature, as fallen creatures, being thus miserably depraved, thus desperately perverted, and vitiated in all its springs; there is an absolute necessity that it should be purified and renewed. There must be a total renovation of the soul, in all its powers and all its faculties. But how shall this be effected? We answer: As the chief evil has made a breach upon our nature, and has infused poison into its very springs; so must the chief Good revisit and renew our nature, that it may be assimilated to itself. That which the supreme evil has so radically corrupted, can be corrected only by a thorough and vital penetration of the supreme Good, even of God himself; and, therefore, it was necessary that the Word should be made flesh.

    9. The Son of God truly became man, not for his own sake, but for our sakes; that, by reconciling us to God by himself, he might make us partakers of the sovereign good, having cleansed and sanctified us, to that end; for whatever is to be sanctified, must be sanctified by God and with God. And as God is in Christ, so ought we to be united to him by faith, that we may live in God, and God in us; we in Christ, and Christ in us (2 Cor. 5:19, 21); that the will of God be in us, and we in the will of God, being made the righteousness of God in Christ. 2 Cor. 5:21. This is the only way in which Christ administers [pg 031] medicine to our corrupt nature; and the more powerfully he influences man, the more thoroughly will human nature be purified.

    10. Oh! how blessed is the man in whom Christ does all and is all; whose will, thoughts, mind, and words, are the will, thoughts, mind, and words of Christ! It was thus the apostle said, “We have the mind of Christ.” 1 Cor. 2:16. And so indeed it must be with the believer; because the life of Christ is the new life, yea, the new man in him; and whoever lives in Christ after the Spirit, hath really put on the new man, and all the graces with which he is adorned. His meekness and obedience are the meekness and obedience of Christ; his patience and humility are the patience and humility of Christ; and his life itself is the life of Christ, by whom and in whom he lives. This is the “new creature” which is created after God (2 Cor. 5:17); and that life of Christ in us, of which St. Paul experimentally says, “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Gal. 2:20. This is to follow Christ truly. This is to walk in the light of his life, and to bring forth “fruits meet for repentance;” for, by this means, the “old man” is destroyed, the carnal life gradually declines, and the new and divine life is established in the soul. He who has this life is not a nominal, but a real Christian; a Christian not in word and in appearance only, but in deed and in truth. He is a true child of God, begotten of Him, and quickened and renewed by faith after the image of Jesus Christ.

    11. Although we cannot attain to a state of perfection, while encompassed with so many infirmities that obstruct our progress in the divine life, we ought not, therefore, to be discouraged, but rather to be inspired with more fervor in seeking after a consummation so much to be desired. We ought ardently to wish and pray, to endeavor and study, that the kingdom of Christ be established within us, and the kingdom of Satan destroyed. 1 John 3:9; Eph. 2:5. The object of our cares and efforts, of our groans and prayers, should be—how we may more and more mortify the old man by daily repentance. For, the more a man dies to himself, the more Christ lives in him; the more corruptions are removed by the good Spirit of God, the more divine grace possesses the heart. In proportion as the flesh is crucified, the spirit is quickened; as the works of darkness are put off, the armor of light from above is put on; and in the same degree as the outward man perisheth, the inward man is strengthened and renewed. 2 Cor. 4:16; Col. 3:5. The decrease of the carnal life, is the increase of that which is spiritual and divine. As the affections of the former, self-love, ambition, wrath, covetousness, and voluptuousness, are weakened and subdued, so are opposite affections of the spiritual life invigorated and raised. The farther a man departs from the world, from “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16); the more do God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit enter into the heart and dwell there. And, on the other hand, the more nature, flesh, darkness, and the world, reign in man; the less of grace, light, the Holy Spirit, God, and Christ, is there to be found in him.

    12. This spiritual life is enmity to the flesh, because the latter is hereby restrained, subdued, and brought under the yoke, and crucified with its “affections and lusts.” In this, however, consist the power, efficacy, and fruit [pg 032] of true repentance. The nature of flesh and blood is to lead a lawless, dissolute, and voluptuous life, unshackled by restraint, and entirely agreeable to its own will and humor. It is this which it finds sweet, and in which it rejoices. To the flesh and the “old man,” the life of Christ is a most severe cross, and an intolerable burden; but to the new and spiritual man, “this yoke is easy and this burden light” (Matt. 11:30), and attended with divine serenity and peace of mind. For the true rest of the soul will be sought for in vain, unless in faith in Christ; in his meekness and humility, patience and love. Here he hath himself promised, “Ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Yea, he that really loves the Lord Jesus, will not deem it hard to suffer even death for his sake, but account it a joy and a happiness. Such is the yoke of the Saviour, which we are invited to take upon us, that we may find “rest unto our souls.”

    13. It is necessary, therefore, that every one who is resolved to take upon himself the yoke of Christ, and to imitate His holy example, should, in the first place, shake off the yoke of Satan, and repress the carnal, selfish, and unruly propensities of his fallen nature, in order that the flesh may vex the spirit no more. All must be subjugated to the obedience of Christ, to the wise and righteous discipline of his law; that is, the will, understanding, reason, and appetites, together with the sensual desires of the old Adam, that before reigned in the mortal body, must henceforth yield a free obedience to the government of the Lord. Rom. 6:12.

    14. True it is that the flesh is highly gratified when honored, courted, and praised, and when abounding in the riches and pleasures of this life; but the yoke of Christ, by which the flesh is mortified and subdued, requires us to prefer ignominy, contempt, and poverty, to affluence and honor; to account ourselves unworthy of these things, and freely to give up all that is great in the estimation of the world. It is here that the humility and life of Christ are most striking and apparent. This is the “yoke” and this the “burden,” which are easy and light to the spirit; this is the law of love, the commandments of which are not grievous but delightful. 1 John 5:3. What was the whole life of Christ but holy poverty, extreme contempt, and severe persecution? Is it not true that he “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many”? Matt. 20:28.

    15. It is the tendency of the natural man to desire to excel others, and to be thought of importance; but the spiritual man loves the humility of the Redeemer, and desires to be reputed as nothing in this world. The carnal man, that follows the propensities of corrupt nature, and has never learned of Christ's humility, meekness, and love, deems it folly to live as Jesus lived, and thinks those only are wise who indulge their appetites in security, and satiate themselves with every object which they desire; and when such a one most lives in the devil, he is so blinded by ignorance and darkness as to esteem his own life the happiest that can be desired, and to applaud himself in his own folly. And hence it is that these deluded wretches, following the false light of carnal wisdom, are not only deceived themselves, but are the means of involving others in the same ruin. They, on the contrary, whose minds have been enlightened by the true and eternal light, are struck with [pg 033] horror and surprise whenever they cast their eyes upon the pomps and vanities of this world, upon the ambition and pride, the wrath and revenge, the intemperance and voluptuousness, and the other fruits of the carnal life which universally abound. Their language is: “Alas! how far removed is all this from Christ! How far from true repentance and the knowledge of Jesus is the man that acts thus! How far from the nature and disposition of a child of God! Alas! he is still dead in sins, and a slave of the devil.” That man, therefore, who does not imitate the life of Christ, is an entire stranger to true repentance; he is not a Christian, nor a child of God; nay, he is wholly ignorant of Jesus Christ; for he who desires to know Christ savingly, both as the Saviour of the world and as the great exemplar of life, must know him to be pure meekness, gentleness, and love, and to be wholly composed of patience and humility. This living ensample of goodness and piety which the Lord hath set before him, he must carry in his heart, and must labor to be transformed into its image. The virtues that resided in Christ he must have within himself; and if he would ever effectually know him, he must love and admire them in his inward soul. As a plant discovers its nature by the fragrance which it diffuses around, so the knowledge of Christ discovers itself by the sweet and sacred odors which proceed from it. Then is acquired an experimental knowledge of the life, power, rest, and consolation which flow from the Saviour; which circulate through all the faculties of the soul, and quicken them by a kind of spiritual sweetness. Thus is man made to “taste how good the Lord is” (Ps. 34:8); thus is the truth known, and the supreme and eternal good apprehended and enjoyed. And thus is it certainly ascertained that the life of Christ is infinitely superior to every other life in goodness and sweetness, in dignity and in peace; yea, that it resembles life eternal itself, being indeed the foretaste of such a life upon earth.

    16. As there is nothing more excellent than the life of Christ, nothing more delightful, more peaceful, or more satisfying to the soul, it ought to have no rival in our affections, but to be endeared to us above all things else. He who is destitute of Christ and of his knowledge, can form no conception of the rest and quiet of eternal life; or of the sovereign good; or of the everlasting truth; or of the imperishable word; or of the joy of the soul; or of the true light of love; for all these centre in Christ, and he who has him has them; because Christ is all these to the man who truly believes in his holy name. “Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:7, 8.

    17. It is, therefore, most evident that the fruits and effect of the new birth do not consist in words, however sound, or in a form of godliness, however specious, but in an abiding substance, even in that love which is God himself. A son bears the image of him who begat him; and whoever is born of God should evidence it by love, for God is love; and hence it is clear that “he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16.

    18. The knowledge of God, in like manner, does not consist in words, nor in merely speculative and superficial knowledge, but in a vital, consolatory, [pg 034] and divine feeling, in a pure and unmixed pleasure, gently infusing itself into the heart by faith, and penetrating it with an unutterable and heavenly sweetness. This is a true, living, and efficacious knowledge of God; such as that which the Psalmist means when he says, “My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Ps. 84:2); and again, “Thy loving kindness (as experienced in the divine sensations of my soul) is better than life” (Ps. 63:3); that is, this divine life infinitely transcends every other life; in which it is evident that he means that unutterable joy which is produced by an experimental knowledge of God, and which is infused into a believing heart. Thus man liveth in God, and God in man; and thus man knoweth God in truth, and is known of God.

    Chapter XII.

    The True Christian Dies Unto Himself And The World, And Lives In Christ.

    Christ died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.—2 Cor. 5:15.

    “Christ,” says the apostle, “died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” Besides that this sentence is replete with divine consolation, declaring that Jesus died for all, it inculcates a lesson of the most salutary nature, namely, that we should live not unto ourselves, but unto him who died for us. To live to him, however, before we are dead to ourselves, is impossible. If, therefore, thy resolution be to live to Christ, thou must certainly die to the world and to thyself; but if thou rather inclinest to live to the world and to thyself, it follows that thou must renounce thy communion with the Saviour. For what communion hath light with darkness, Christ with the world, or the Spirit with the flesh? 2 Cor. 6:14, 15.

    2. There are three kinds of death: the one spiritual, the second natural, and the third eternal. The first occurs when a man dies daily to himself; that is, to his own carnal desires, to his avarice, pride, lust, and wrath, and such other sins and passions as have their rise in a corrupt nature.

    3. It is of the second kind of death that the apostle speaks, where he says, “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Phil. 1:21. As if he had said, Christ is the life and death, the gain and advantage of the believer, even when he passes through natural death, for, by it, he exchanges a short and miserable life for an eternal and blessed one; and earthly objects for possessions that are eternal and divine: an exchange which cannot but prove in the highest degree gainful to himself.

    4. If, however, any think that the apostle's language is also to be understood of the spiritual death of sin, they will not commit an error. For thrice happy is the soul to whom, in this [pg 035] sense, “to live is Christ:” thrice happy the soul in which Jesus lives by faith, and that imitates the graces which manifested themselves in him, especially those of humility and meekness. But alas! by far the greater part of men have put on the life of the devil rather than the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, by yielding to avarice, pride, anger, and other unholy passions.

    5. Awake, therefore, O man! and consider who it is that liveth in thee. If thou canst truly affirm, “to me, to live is Christ,” happy art thou, as it respects both this world and the world to come. Here, even on earth, let Christ be thy life, that he may be thy life to all eternity: and in order to this, account it the greatest of gain, when thou art enabled to die to the world and to thy own corruptions. Then, in both senses, for thee, to live is Christ, and to die, gain. What, indeed, can be more profitable or advantageous, than to die, in this respect, to all thy sinful desires and affections? Go on, then, in the Lord, and never faint, allowing Christ to live in thee now, that thou mayest also live with him hereafter.

    6. No man is capable of settled peace and tranquillity, who is distracted and disturbed with earthly desires and designs; therefore, before thou canst live unto Christ, thou must die to the flesh and to the world. This dying to self and living to Christ, may be illustrated by a reference to several types and histories in the Old Testament.

    7. Thus, as the promise relative to Christ, and the seal of it by circumcision, were not given to Abraham, until he had quitted his father's house and relinquished his earthly inheritance (Gen. 12:1, and 17:10), so man, as long as his affections cleave to the world, is unprepared to receive the promise which is by the Saviour; and as long as he refuses to die to it, and deny himself, so long it is impossible that he should enjoy Christ, or the things which are His.

    8. Jesus can never live in thy soul, until thou art dead to the affections of carnal nature. St. Paul was thus dead; and hence he could say, “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20); and writing to the church at Colosse, he says, “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Col. 3:3.

    9. A man may be considered as dead to sin, when sin dies in him, and he ceases from the commission of it. The same apostle says, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Gal. 5:25. If we live in Christ, we must walk even as he walked; for it is not sufficient to boast of the Spirit in words, while our words are not confirmed by our works; or of faith, while this is not evidenced by its fruits. Indeed it is said unto all,—“If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Rom. 8:13.

    10. Multitudes, however, may be compared to Saul, who, instead of slaying Agag (1 Sam. 15:8), according to the commandment of God, only cast him into prison. They do not destroy their lusts and sinful desires; but are contented to conceal, and as it were imprison them, that at a future opportunity, they may indulge them with the greater secrecy. But let us carefully avoid this trifling; and instead of subjecting our corrupt propensities to a temporary restraint, let us lay the axe of mortification to the very root: for unless this be effected, [pg 036] we shall, like Saul, be cast out from the kingdom, and lose the crown of everlasting life.

    11. Some professed friends of religion resemble trees, the leaves of which fall off when winter approaches, but their foliage appears again when the season becomes more favorable and mild; for in the winter of adversity, they conceal their lusts, and restrain their sinful propensities; but when prosperity smiles upon them, they break out again, as at the first, and return to their evil ways. This is an evidence of hypocrisy; whereas a true Christian is in all circumstances, and under every vicissitude, whether public or private, always the same, and remains unalterably fixed in his God. He is the same both in prosperity and adversity, in poverty and in affluence, steadily cleaving to God, and meeting with resignation every affliction that Providence lays upon him.

    12. The history of Ahab (1 Kings 20:42) furnishes us with another instance, not much unlike the case of Saul; for, in opposition to the command of God, he spared the life of the king of Syria; and, in consequence, sentence went forth against him, and his life was required for that of the captive king. They who nourish in their breasts those lusts which are the enemies of God and of themselves, and which are appointed to destruction, voluntarily draw upon themselves everlasting death and damnation.

    13. Neither prayer nor a devout spirit can ever be perfected in man, without the mortification of the flesh. Thus God appointed that every beast which approached the holy mount of Sinai should be destroyed. Exod. 19:12, 13. How much more does it behoove us to slay our unholy lusts and affections, if we would ever ascend the mountain of the Lord's house (Isaiah 2:2, 3; Mic. 4:2), offer up the incense of prayer, or meditate upon the Word of God! If we neglect to do this, we are already judged, and shall be banished forever from the presence of the Lord.

    14. Jacob (Gen. ch. 29) served for his beloved Rachel twice seven years; and love so alleviated his toil, that the years seemed but as so many days: thus, for the salvation of our souls, did Christ Jesus undergo thirty and three years' service, and what Jacob said of himself is, in an eminent degree, applicable to Him: “In the day, the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes” (Gen. 31:40): “for the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:28. Shall we, then, scruple to love Christ again, and to fight under his banner against his enemy, the world?

    [pg 037]

    Chapter XIII.

    The Christian Ought Willingly To Die Unto Himself And The World, For The Sake Of The Love Of Christ, And For The Sake Of That Future And Eternal Glory, For Which We Were Created And Redeemed.

    Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.—2 Cor. 8:9.

    Thou art required, O man! to die to thyself, thy sin, and the world; and to lead a holy, harmless life, according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This thou art to do, not with a view to merit anything at the hands of God, but from a principle of love to him, who performed and merited all for thee, and died to save thee.

    2. Be not deceived: Jesus must be loved by thee, not in word and in tongue; but in deed and in truth. “If,” says he (John 14:23), “a man love me, he will keep my words;” and so St. John speaks: “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3. And, again, the Saviour says: “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:30. To him, indeed, who loves Christ with all his heart, it cannot but be easy to sacrifice the pleasure which earthly vanities afford, and to do that which is good, without constraint. Love renders every burden light that is laid upon us by Jesus; whereas to him that is devoid of this heavenly principle, every act which duty requires is grievous and oppressive. To such a one, every religious exercise is painful and laborious; whereas the man who sincerely loves the Lord Jesus Christ, esteems death itself to be in nowise terrible, when submitted to for his sake. And, therefore, the Apostle says: “Unto you it is given, in the the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Phil. 1:29); nay, to lay down life itself, whenever that sacrifice is required of us.

    3. In order to confirm thy faith, consider the example of Moses, who, “by faith, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” Heb. 11:24-26.

    4. Consider Daniel, who refused the luxuries of a court, and desired to be fed with pulse and water, resolving “that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank.” Dan. 1:8, 12. He contemned the pleasures of Babylon, that he might attain “the wisdom that is from above” (James 3:17), which dwells only in a heart preserved pure from the pollutions of an unholy world. So, if thou desirest that Christ, the eternal Wisdom, should enter into thy soul, thou must abhor the pleasures of sin. For as Daniel and his companions were made fairer by their sobriety and abstemious life, so be thou firmly assured, that thy soul will appear more beautiful and fair in the [pg 038] sight of God, even as “partaking of the divine nature,” if thou escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Pet. 1:4.

    5. Consider, further, the example of St. Paul, who says, “The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14); that is, I am dead to the world, and the world is dead to me. Thus are all true Christians in the world, yet not of it. Though they live in it, they do not love it; for they view it as a transient shadow; and its pomps, dignities, and lusts, as vanity and deceit, vexation and disappointment. Hence, they are crucified to the world, though they remain in it; and the world is crucified to them; that is, they desire no mere worldly honor, wealth or joy.

    6. How happy is the man who is dead to earthly vanities, and alive to God; separated from the world, and drawn into Christ! How blessed is he into whose heart divine grace is so infused, as wholly to wean it from inferior objects, and exalt it to the fruition of the light and glory of heaven. Such a state is the effect of daily prayer and supplication, without which a true Christian cannot possibly exist.

    7. Agur prayed to the Lord thus: “Two things, have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die. Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.” Prov. 30:7, 8. So let the Christian pray: “Two things I desire of thee, O Lord, even these two: that I may die to myself, and to the world.” For without this death, it is utterly impossible to be a true Christian. If thou, O Man! thinkest otherwise, thou certainly deceivest thyself, and shalt at last hear from the mouth of Christ that awful sentence, “I know you not.” Matt. 7:23; 25:12.

    8. Though to die thus to self and to the world, is, to flesh and blood, a grievous cross, yet will the spirit and the love of Christ eventually triumph over every difficulty. So powerful indeed are these aids, that they enable the true Christian to bear all things for the sake of the Beloved, as a pleasant yoke and easy burden. And although he who lives a life thus mortified, will be hated by the world, yet shall he be loved of God; for the enmity of the world is friendship with him (James 4:4). And the Lord hath himself declared, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:19.

    9. Those who are dead to the world for the testimony of Jesus, it casts out; but it honors and applauds them who, living in the enjoyment of its pomp and splendor, are its genuine offspring; because they live in the world, and the world liveth in them.

    10. In short, that man is not received and commended by the world, but is, on the contrary, cast out of it, in whose heart, pride, covetousness, lust, wrath, revenge, and the other corrupt passions of nature, are mortified and restrained. Unto him the world is dead; and he again is dead to the world: he begins to live in Christ, and Christ lives in him: and he will be confessed by the Saviour, as one of his peculiar people, in whom the great design of redemption has been effected. To others, on the contrary, it will be said, “I know you not, as ye, in like manner, knew me not.” You have not confessed me before men, but have been ashamed of my life, my meekness, humility, and patience; and I will not confess you: [pg 039] you have despised the shame of my cross; and you shall be with shame disowned by me. Mark 8:38. For whoever refuses to live with Christ in time, cannot expect to live with him in eternity: whoever has not the life of Christ here, shall never have it set forth in him hereafter: and whoever disdains to follow Jesus in the present world, shall never be glorified with him in the world to come.

    11. Therefore, O Man! strictly scrutinize thy life, and see whether thou bearest a greater conformity to the life of Christ, or to the life of the devil: for thou must inevitably be united to one or other of these throughout all eternity.

    12. If thou art dead to thyself and to thy depraved desires within thee, thou wilt find it no hard task to die to the world and its vain allurements which are without thee: and whoever is thus dead to the world, will not love it or the things which it contains; for, “if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. Again, how shall his desires any more go out after the world without him, when he is dead to it? Great indeed would be the loss sustained by a lover of the blessed God, were he, in any degree, to yield to the allurements of the world, and allow it to obtain a share in that affection which should be fixed solely on the Supreme Good. A soul so undecided would soon be entirely vanquished by the blandishments of sin, as was Samson by the charms of Delilah (Judg. 16:6); and would become subject to all that misery and vexation of heart, which invariably attend the love of this world.

    13. The love of the world appertains not to the new creature, but to the old: for the world has nothing to bestow but honor and vainglory, riches, pleasures, and carnal desires; in these the “old man” delights. The new man, on the other hand, has no peace except in Christ, who is his honor and glory, his riches and his heaven.

    14. And as nothing can be conceived of that is greater or more exalted than the image of God renewed in Christ Jesus, so it should be our only concern and care, to render ourselves partakers of this exalted honor; remembering the words of Tauler, “What man, who is possessed of reason, can doubt for a moment, that God can infinitely more rejoice and delight the heart, than the corrupt and indigent creature is capable of doing?”

    15. In addition to this, the Scriptures assure us that man was not created for the world's sake, but the world for man's. It was not to pamper his appetite, to heap up riches, or to extend his empire without limits, that man was formed; it was not that he might acquire large estates and possessions, erect palaces, or be gorgeously attired, that he was endued with a soul intelligent and immortal: man was made to be lord of the earth, and not its slave; to subdue, and not to be subdued. He was not to seek his pleasure and enjoyment on earth, however fair and fascinating it might be to a depraved taste: he was not destined to be an heir of this inferior world, nor the possessor of terrestrial, treasures, nor to be actuated by any worldly motive whatsoever. Man is to depart hence, as one that dwells on earth as a tenant at will. He was not made for it, and cannot remain in it; he entered it naked, and naked he must quit it again. Many, indeed, are [pg 040] born into the world at the same time; but an equal number, on the other hand, are daily taken out by death; nor can any carry with them even an atom of the treasures which they had accumulated upon earth.

    16. Man, then, is but a guest and a pilgrim below; and most obvious it is, that he was not created for this temporal life, and that this world was never designed to be the end of his being. That end is God, and the image of God in Christ Jesus, unto which we are renewed by the Spirit; and we are created for the kingdom of God and for eternal life. These our blessed Redeemer purchased for us, when they had been forfeited by us; and it is his Spirit that regenerates men who had been without God in the world.

    17. How unreasonable, therefore, is it in man to fix his affections on temporal objects, when we are assured that the soul is infinitely more noble and more precious than the whole world! How preposterous is it, that he should lavish his time in the pursuit of earthly things, when he is conscious that he was created to bear the image of God in Christ, through the Holy Spirit! Therefore, let us now solemnly repeat what has been before affirmed, namely, that man was not made for the world, but the world for man. The excellency of the image of God in Christ Jesus, is inconceivably great and glorious: so that were all mankind to unite their labor and might, their wealth, their honors, and their all, they could not succeed in restoring even one soul to the possession of this image. It became requisite that Christ himself should die, in order that this divine image which had been utterly defaced by sin, might, through His Spirit, be revived; and that man might again become the temple and house of God through all eternity.

    18. This being duly considered, as certainly it ought to be, how is it that man so thoroughly debases his soul as to seek after the things of this world, its honors, its pleasures, lusts, and wealth? He should surely reason with himself, and say: “Shall I, for the sake of a little gold, or for this fading world, or for all the honors and pleasures it can afford me,—shall I, for the sake of these, sacrifice my immortal soul, which Christ has redeemed at so infinite a price? God forbid.” “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matt. 16:26. Alas! the “whole world,” with all its power and glory, could not avail to rescue one soul from eternal destruction; for the soul is immortal, while the world passeth away with all that it contains. 1 Cor. 7:31; 1 John 2:17.

    [pg 041]

    Chapter XIV.

    The True Christian, Who Imitates Christ, Hates His Own Life In This World, And Forsakes The World.

    If any man come to me, and hate not ... his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.-Luke 14:26. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.John 12:25.

    In order that a man may hate himself, he must, in the first place, cease to love himself; secondly, he must daily die to sin; and, thirdly, maintain a continual warfare with his corrupt nature, or the flesh.

    2. There is nothing that more obstructs the everlasting salvation of mankind than self-love. This is not to be understood of that natural love which excites to a due regard to self-preservation, but of that carnal and inordinate affection which influences man to be wholly concerned about himself, without any reference to the Supreme Being, the great Author of life. In this sense the term is used in the present Book. Man was created to love God alone; and since God only is to be loved, it follows that he who loves himself is an idolater, and makes of himself a god. The heart of man rejoices and rests in the object of his affection; and, whatever this be, he is brought by it into bondage, and is devoted to it. Man, in this state, is become a servant, and is deprived of that genuine liberty in the enjoyment of which he was originally created; and in this lapsed and divided state he must serve as many masters as there are objects upon which his affections are placed. But if thy love, O man! be sincerely and simply fixed on God, then thou art subject to no lord but Him; and thou preservest thy liberty with all the privileges appertaining to it. It becometh thee, therefore, to be very circumspect in thy life and conduct, lest thou shouldst in any degree obstruct the progress of divine love in thy soul. If ever thou desirest to possess God alone, thou must make a surrender of thyself solely to him. If thou lovest and pleasest thyself, instead of loving and pleasing God, then sorrow and fear, sadness and anxiety, will inevitably attend thee; whereas, if thou wholly yieldest thyself unto God, cleaving to him and delighting thyself in him alone, then he will never leave thee nor forsake thee, but remove by his gracious presence all fear and anxiety from thy mind. He, on the other hand, who seeks himself in all situations and in every circumstance, and who incessantly pursues after profit, praise, and lust, can never attain to serenity and peace of mind; for some circumstance there always will be to cross his desires and to disturb his rest. Never, therefore, yield to the belief that an accession of fame, wealth, or honor in this world, is always good and profitable for thee; when, on the contrary, a righteous contempt of all such transient objects, nay, an utter extirpation of our love of them, would be attended with an infinite blessing and advantage.

    3. As then, on the one hand, the things of this life, such as praise, [pg 042] riches, and pleasure, are frail, and pass away with the world that supplies them, while, on the other, the love of God endureth forever, it is evident that no satisfaction can be durable that is founded upon the love of self and of earthly objects. Such peace would be interrupted by every trivial circumstance that occurred; whereas, when the mind is firmly set upon God and upon his love, it cannot fail to be preserved in perfect peace and perpetual serenity amid all the changes of this life. Forsake thou, therefore, all things, and thou shalt, by faith, recover all things again; for never can the lover of himself and of the world find the blessed God.

    4. Inordinate self-love is begotten of the world, and not of God; it is earthly, and the chief enemy to “the wisdom which is from above.” James 3:17. This wisdom does not seek the praise and applause of men; and though in itself “a pearl of great price” (Matt. 13:46), yet appearing with no other recommendation than its own native simplicity, it is but little valued in the world, and, with but few exceptions, is entirely neglected and forgotten; and though there are many who make a boast of this wisdom, yet the gem conceals itself from all who do not desire to apply it in their practice. If, therefore, thou desirest to be possessed of it, O man! lay aside all that human wisdom which “puffeth up” (1 Cor. 8:1), together with thy self-love and self-applause, and then shalt thou exchange thy earthly wisdom, which the world admires, for that which is heavenly and divine. Then, instead of the wisdom of this world, which in its nature is elevated and seeks the applause of men, thou shalt be put in possession of a wisdom which, far from attracting the notice of the world, is despised and rejected by it, but which is, nevertheless, of a divine origin, and of everlasting continuance.

    5. It is impossible to love God, until thou abhorrest thyself; that is, until thou art heartily displeased with thyself and with thy sins; until thy own carnal nature is crucified, together with the evil propensities of thy self-will. For the more a man strives to love God, the more he labors to subdue the lusts of the flesh and his sensual appetites; and the more he departs from self and from self-love, by the power of the Spirit of God, the more nearly he approaches, by faith, unto God, and to his divine love. For as inward peace depends on a freedom from desires after the things of this world; so when this peace is once settled in the soul, and the heart has disengaged itself from the ties which bound it to the creature, it returns freely into God, and rests in him alone.

    6. Now he who is sincerely disposed to deny himself, must follow, not his own will, but the will of Christ, who has declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:6. As though he had said: “Without the way, no man walketh; without the truth, nothing is known; and without life, no man liveth: therefore, look upon me, who am the way in which it is thy duty to walk, the truth in which thou art called to believe, and the life in which thou art bound to live. I am the unerring way, the infallible truth, and the everlasting life: the way to immortality is through my merit; the truth itself is in my word; and life is through the efficacy of my death; and, therefore, if thou continuest in the way, the truth will guide thee unto eternal life. If thou desirest [pg 043] not to go astray, follow me; if thou wilt know the truth, believe in me; and if thou wouldst possess life everlasting, put thy whole trust in me, who for thy sake have endured the death of the cross.”

    7. What, indeed, is the safe way, the infallible truth, and the endless life? What, the way, truth, and life, that are more excellent than every other? Surely there is no way, but the holy and precious merits of Christ; no truth, but his eternal word; no life, but a blissful immortality in heaven. If, therefore, O Christian! thou desirest to be raised up into heaven with Christ Jesus, believe in him here, and tread in the footsteps of his humility; this is the safe Way to everlasting glory. If thou wouldst escape the snares of the world, take hold of his Word by faith, and follow the example which he has left for thy imitation; because this is the infallible Truth. And if it be thy wish to live with Christ, then die thou with him and in him unto sin, and become a new creature; for this is Life. Thus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life; and he is so, both by his example and by his merit.

    8. “Be ye followers of God as dear children.” Eph. 5:1. Let us labor and strive after this one thing; that our lives may resemble the life of Christ. Were there nothing else to confound the false Christian, the example of Christ might effectually and abundantly do it. When we consider that Christ our Lord passed his life in grief and pain, we ought to be ashamed to spend our lives in ease and pleasures. If the soldier forgets his own ease and comfort when he beholds his captain fighting unto death, shalt thou pursue after worldly pleasures and honors, when thy Prince was so ignominiously treated, and, for thy sake, nailed to the cross? Is it not a sign that then thou dost not, in fact, fight under his banner?

    9. It is true that, in our day, every one desires to be considered a Christian; but how few are they who imitate the life and deportment of Christ! Had it been the character of a follower of Christ, to aim at the acquisition of honors and possessions, our Lord would never have taught that these are not worthy to be compared with heavenly treasures. Contemplate the life and doctrine of the blessed Jesus, and thou shalt own that nothing can be more opposed than he and the world. Behold that manger and that stable! do they not forcibly evidence a contempt of worldly things? And will the example of Christ lead thee to err from the right way? No! he is the way, and he is the truth; and his life, compared with his doctrine, is the only means to preserve thee from mistake, and to guard thee from the delusions and errors of the world. Since then the Lord hath chosen to enter into his glory by the way of suffering and reproach, why shouldst thou labor to make thy way to hell, through the pomps and vanities of the world? Return, then, O deluded soul! escape from the broad way that leadeth unto death, and in which thy only enjoyment is “the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25); enter into this safe Way, in which the wayfaring man shall not stray: cordially embrace that Truth which never can deceive: and live in Him who is Life itself. This way is the truth, and this truth is the way. Awful blindness! a worm of the earth would make himself great in the world, when the Lord of glory abased himself to the very dust. O faithful soul! when thy bridegroom moves to [pg 044] meet thee, clothed with humility, come down from the elevation of thy pride and ambition, and descend into the vale of humiliation to meet him, and he will embrace and receive thee with joy.

    10. As Abraham quitted his father's house, to go into a land which the Lord was to show him (Gen. 12:1), so quit thou, as a true child of Abraham, the pleasure-house of self-will and self-love, that thou mayest obtain the divine blessing. Self-love biases the judgment, blinds the understanding, disturbs the reason, seduces the will, corrupts the conscience, closes the gates of life, and acknowledges neither God nor neighbor. It banishes virtue; seeks after honors, riches, and pleasures; and, in a word, prefers earth to heaven. He, therefore, who thus “loveth his life, shall lose it; but he that hateth his life” (that is, resists this principle of self-love), “shall keep it unto life eternal.” John 12:25. Self-love is the root of impenitence, and the cause of damnation. They who are controlled by self-love and self-honor are destitute of humility and a knowledge of sin; consequently, they never can obtain the remission of sin, though they seek it with tears; their tears not being shed because they have offended God, but merely on account of the personal loss which they have sustained.

    11. The kingdom of heaven is compared in Scripture to “a pearl of great price;” in order to obtain which, a man sold all that he had. Matt. 13:45, 46. This pearl is God himself, and that eternal life which he has promised, and for the attainment of which every other object must be forsaken. We have an example of this in our Lord Jesus Christ, who descended from heaven not for his own sake, but for thy sake; not for his own profit and advantage, but for thine. Luke 19:10. And wilt thou yet delay to love him who gave himself up unto death for thee?

    12. It doubtless is the part of a faithful spouse, to please her husband alone: and art thou desirous of pleasing the world, when thou mayest be espoused unto Christ, the great lover of souls? Forsake therefore and sincerely despise all that is in the world, in order that thou mayest become worthy of the eminent dignity of this spiritual marriage: for if thy love cleave not solely to Christ, it is a corrupt and adulterous love, and not that which a Christian should bear to the Redeemer. For the Christian's love to the Redeemer must possess virgin purity.

    13. The law of Moses required that the priest should marry a virgin (Levit. 21:13, 14); and Christ, our High Priest, will espouse only a virgin-soul; one that is attached to nothing that the world can offer, but solely to himself; nay, one that loves not even herself, in comparison with Christ. “If any man come to me,” he says, “and hate not his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26.

    14. In order to understand what is meant by hating ourselves, we are to remember that we carry about with us “the old man,” and are indeed the old man himself; whose nature is to hasten from one sin to another, to love himself, to pursue his own profit and honor, and to indulge his own will and carnal appetite. For the flesh is at all times the same; always considering itself, easily grieved, envious, bitter, covetous, and revengeful. This, O Man! is what thou doest: these sinful motions proceed from thy heart; this is thy very life, even the [pg 045] life of the old man in thee: and therefore thou must of necessity hate thyself, and thine own natural life, if ever thou desirest to be a disciple of Christ. Whoever loves himself, must love his own pride and avarice, his own wrath and hatred, envy and lying, perfidiousness and unrighteousness; and, in short, he must love all the progeny of unholy desires, and a corrupt heart. But if thou desirest to be a Christian indeed, thou must not love, nor excuse, nor palliate thy sins, but thou must hate them, forsake them, and subdue them.

    Chapter XV.

    Showing How The Old Man Daily Dies, And The New Man Is Daily Renewed, In A True Christian; Also, Wherein Self-Denial Consists, And What Is Meant By The Christian's Cross.

    If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.Luke 9:23.

    It is the charge of the apostle Paul, “Put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Eph. 4:22-24. And in another of his Epistles, he gives us a reason for doing so: “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” 1 Cor. 6:19, 20.

    2. We have already noticed what is meant by the old man; namely, pride, covetousness, lasciviousness, unrighteousness, wrath, enmity, hatred, etc.; all of which must die in the Christian, if ever the new man arise in him again, and is day by day renewed.

    3. In proportion as the old man dies, the new man is quickened. As pride loses its influence, humility, by the grace of God the Holy Spirit, succeeds; as wrath yields, meekness advances; as covetousness is done away, trust in God is increased; and as the love of the world is removed, the love of God takes its place in the soul, and becomes more and more vigorous and ardent. In this consists the renovation of the new man. This is the fruit of the Spirit; this is practical and living faith (Gal. 5:22); this is Christ in us; this is the new command of Christ and new obedience; this is the result of the new birth in us, in which thou must live if thou desirest to be a child of God; for those only who so live have a right to be so called.

    4. This is the reason why a man ought now to deny himself; to renounce his own honor and will, his own love and pleasure, and all his profit and interest in the world; and why he ought freely to give up his own right and life, and consider himself unworthy of everything that Providence bestows upon him. A real Christian, who is endued with the humility of Christ, readily owns that no man [pg 046] can lay claim to even the least of those benefits that descend from above, because they are all gifts, and freely proceed from the goodness of God. On this account he uses all as being really the property of God, with fear and trembling; not to promote his own pleasure and satisfaction, his own profit and praise, but from necessity alone, and because he cannot otherwise subsist.

    5. Let a true Christian who denies himself, and a false Christian who is filled with inordinate self-love, be compared together. If an affront be offered to the latter, you may soon behold his anger rising, and visible marks of passion and discontent; and these are, not unfrequently, followed up by reproachful language and actions, by a spirit of revenge, and sometimes by imprecations and curses. All this proceeds from the old man, whose proper character it is to be angry and bitter, and to exhibit rancor and asperity. On the contrary, he that is a Christian indeed, and has sincerely begun to practice self-denial, is gentle, patient, and ready to forgive; free from a revengeful spirit; full of compassion and tenderness; and esteems himself worthy of all the sufferings which Providence may be pleased to allot to him. These qualities are all included in self-denial.

    6. In the exercise of this patience, meekness, and lowliness of mind, our Lord Jesus Christ has set us an example by willingly denying himself. “The Son of man,” he says, “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Matt. 20:28); and again, “I am among you as he that serveth” (Luke 22:27); and in another place, “The Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Luke 9:58. David, when reviled by Shimei, practised the duty of self-denial, for his words were: “The Lord hath said unto him, Curse David.” 2 Sam. 16:10. As if he had said: “I am a worm in the sight of God, and deserve to suffer far worse things.” And thus have all the saints and prophets of God freely denied their own will, and esteemed themselves unworthy of every blessing. They bore the burden of their day with patience (Acts 5:40, 41); they cursed not when they were cursed; they blessed their persecutors, and prayed for them by whom they were slaughtered (Acts 7:60); and thus, “through much tribulation, entered into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22.

    7. This was true when they acknowledged themselves unworthy of any favor, but worthy of all the evils that could befall them.

    8. Now, this self-denial is the cross of Christ, which he has encouraged us to bear, saying: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23. This self-denying life is a severe cross to the flesh; the natural man desires a life free from restraint and contradiction, and would follow the inclination of his own will, and seek after his own ease and pleasure, rather than the humility, patience, and meekness of Christ, with the other graces of his life and example.

    9. But whatever opposition the old man may raise for a time, he has received the sentence of death, and if thy soul be ever saved, he must surely die. For never canst thou be clothed with the humility of Christ unless thy natural pride be first subdued; nor canst thou feel a love of his poverty unless thy avarice and thy love of the world be first overcome. Thou wilt not be able to follow Christ in the contempt of vainglory, nor to endure [pg 047] the reproach of his cross, until thine ambition be rooted out; nor wilt thou ever express in thy life the meekness and patience of Jesus until thy revengeful spirit be inwardly mortified.

    10. These are the spiritual exercises which the Scriptures mean when they speak of denying ourselves, of bearing the cross of Christ, and of following him,—exercises that are submitted to, not with any expectation of profit, merit, reward, interest, or praise, but from pure love to the Saviour, and because Christ hath passed through all this before us, and “hath left us an example that we should follow his steps.” Since the image of God is the greatest dignity of man, we ought the more earnestly to practise the duty of self-denial, by which that image, effaced by sin, is revived within us. And as this is the highest honor of which our nature is susceptible, so is it the strongest inducement that can possibly be suggested to endear to us the practice of self-denial.

    11. Why, then, should man so eagerly desire the fading honors of this world, which, however they may raise him in the estimation of his fellow-mortals, render him in no degree more acceptable in the sight of God. The great and the wise have bodies composed of flesh and blood as the meanest and the most despised; so that, in this respect, no man has the slightest superiority over another. One is born even as the other, and dies even as the other; for the beginning and end of all men, as to this world, is alike. What folly then is it to covet worldly honors and the praise of men! Such desires spring from the root of self-love, that bane of the soul, that seed of all spiritual diseases, by which the heart of man is turned from God to the world, and from Christ to self. How incapable and how backward is the lover of himself to obey the words of the blessed Redeemer, and to lose his life for His sake that he may save it. This is a paradox hostile to the inclinations of the “old nature,” and therefore but little considered by the bulk of mankind.

    12. Alas! how small is the number of those who have a thorough knowledge of the depraved life of the old Adam, or who heartily strive against it! And yet, if ever we would rescue our souls from perdition, we must die to it and to all its restless workings. Whatever corruptions have been entailed on us by Adam, must be removed in Christ. In his humility, our pride and ambition must expire; in beholding his poverty, our thirst after earthly things must die away. The contemplation of his bitter sufferings should subdue our sensual lusts; the reproaches which he endured, and the entire resignation with which he submitted to the contempt of the world, should restrain us from the pursuit of worldly honors, and from the indulgence of anger and passion.

    13. He who is thus dead to himself, will also readily die to the world, its pomps, and wealth, and honors, and pleasures, solacing himself with those higher riches, dignities, and enjoyments, to which he is admitted by faith in Christ. He becomes, indeed, “a stranger upon the earth” (Ps. 39:12), but he is the friend of Christ, and Christ will comfort his heart with the light of his countenance here, and with joy everlasting and unutterable in the world to come.

    [pg 048]

    Chapter XVI.

    A Conflict Is Constantly Maintained In The Christian Between The Spirit And The Flesh.

    I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind.Rom. 7:23.

    The two opposite principles in the heart of the real Christian, are spoken of by the apostle under different names, viz.: the inward and outward man (2 Cor. 4:16), the law of the mind and the law of the members (Rom. 7:23), and the flesh and spirit. “The flesh,” says he, “lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” Gal. 5:17.

    2. When the Spirit conquers the flesh, then man lives in the new nature and is in God and in Christ: but when the flesh vanquishes the Spirit, and thus gains the ascendency, then man lives in the devil and in the old nature; he is under the dominion of the world, and without the kingdom of God, and, consequently, is called carnal. And “to be carnally minded is death.” Rom. 8:6.

    3. It is according to the predominance of either of these principles (the flesh and the Spirit), that a man obtains his name in Scripture, and is called carnal or spiritual. When the flesh and its sensual lusts are subdued, it is an indication of the strength of the spirit, and of a man's proficiency in the inward life; but if a man be vanquished by the flesh, it betrays the weakness both of his faith and spirit.

    4. Solomon says, “He that ruleth his spirit (his mind), is better than he that taketh a city.” Prov. 16:32. If, then, thou desirest to be a valiant conqueror, and to gain an immortal victory, conquer thyself; subdue thy passions, mortify thy pride, quell thine ambition, and destroy every inordinate lust with which thou art assailed; and thus shalt thou overthrow the kingdom of Satan, who, by means of such sins, ruleth in the world. Many have signalized themselves by the capture of towns and cities; but, alas! how few are they who, in a higher sense, may be denominated conquerors of the world!

    5. If thou yieldest too far to the flesh, thou destroyest thy soul. It is surely better that the soul overcome, and that the body also be preserved, than that, the body overcoming, both body and soul should be destroyed together.

    6. This contest, though attended with various trials and difficulties, will, however, issue in a glorious victory and a heavenly crown: “Be thou faithful unto death,” saith the Captain of our salvation, “and I will give thee a crown of life.” Rev. 2:10. And the disciple that lay in his bosom tells us, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4. Thou wilt say, What is it to overcome the world? We answer, It is the world within us, which is here principally meant. Overcome thy self, and then the victory over the world is thine.

    7. Some may, perhaps, be here ready to inquire, “What, if sin sometimes closely beset me, and bear me away against my will; must I be excluded [pg 049] from the number of God's children, according to that saying of St. John, ‘He that committeth sin is of the devil’?” 1 John 3:8. To this it must be replied: If thou feelest the conflict of the Spirit against the flesh, and art grieved that thou sometimes doest things which thou wouldst not, it is an evidence that, amidst the infirmities which encompass thee, thy faith and thy spirit struggle against the flesh, and are opposed to it. St. Paul himself teaches us that this warfare has place even in godly and believing souls, when he says, “I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind (that is, against the new, inward man), and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom. 7:23); thus causing him sometimes to do the things which he would not. To will, was present with him; but to perform the good which he would, he was not always able; inasmuch as he could not do of himself the good which he would, while to do the evil which he would not, was always easy to him. Hence he exclaims, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Rom. 7:24. And to this agrees what Christ himself says: “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matt. 26:41; Mark 14:38.

    8. As long, therefore, as this conflict is felt in man, sin cannot be said to rule in him; for he who is continually fighting against sin, resists its struggles for dominion; and sin cannot destroy the man who opposes the attempts which it makes upon the soul.

    9. It is the experience of all the saints, that they alike have sin, according to the word of St. John: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” 1 John 1:8. It is not, however, the indwelling sin that condemns a man, but the reigning sin. The sin with which we contend, and to the commission of which we do not consent, is not imputed to us; as St. Paul says: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1); that is, who do not permit the flesh to rule. But as for those who are altogether strangers to this spiritual strife, this combat of the flesh and Spirit, they are not born again, but are under the reigning influence of sin; they remain the servants of sin and Satan, and are, consequently, damned; for “the law of the Spirit of life” hath not made them “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2), so long as they thus suffer sin to rule over them, and to “reign in their mortal body.”

    10. All this is illustrated in Josh. 16:10. The remnant of the Canaanites were permitted to dwell amongst the children of Israel, but not to have dominion over them; and thus the Israel of God feel their remaining imperfections, but do not allow them to gain the pre-eminence. To preserve this pre-eminence is the duty of the new man in Christ, whose name is Israel (that is, a prince of God) (Gen. 32:28); and who, as a prince, hath power with God, and shall at last prevail.

    11. This daily strife with the old man, is an encouraging evidence of the existence of the new man; for it plainly indicates that there are two contending principles in him who is the subject of it. The strength of the spirit and the victory succeeding it, demonstrate the true Israelite; and the warfare of the spirit indicates the real Christian. The land of Canaan [pg 050] cannot indeed be gained without war: but when the flesh, like the Canaanite of old, invades the territories of the spirit, it then becomes the part of the spiritual and true Israel not to submit to such a master; but, after true repentance and remission of sin, to collect new strength in Christ, and by the grace of God to rise again from his fall, and earnestly implore Jesus, our true Joshua, to vanquish for him and in him, the spiritual Canaanite, the enemy of his soul. When this is accomplished, the sinner is not only forgiven and restored to favor, but he is likewise refreshed and strengthened in Christ, his great Captain in this spiritual combat. With regard, therefore, to such as continue to feel many infirmities in the flesh, and who cannot do the things which they would, I exhort them to cleave to Jesus as sincere penitents, and to cover their blemishes with his perfect obedience. It is in this order, and in this order alone, that the imputation of Christ's merits becomes salutary and effectual; that is, when a man forsakes his sin, and by daily repentance strives against it; repairs his former losses, and guards against future temptations. But while the sinner remains a stranger to brokenness of heart on account of transgression; while he continues to gratify the unholy propensities of the flesh, nothing can be more absurd than for him to suppose that the merits of Christ are imputed to him; for how can the blood of Christ benefit him who treads it under foot? Heb. 10:29.

    Chapter XVII.

    The Inheritance And Possessions Of Christians Are Not Of This World; They Should, Therefore, Regard Themselves As Strangers In It, While They Make Use Of Earthly Things.

    We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.—1 Tim. 6:7, 8.

    The design of the blessed God in creating temporal things, was that they might supply man's bodily wants; and it is right that they should be used for such a purpose, and be received at the hands of God with gratitude, attended with fear and trembling. In regard to those things which are not absolutely necessary, whether gold and silver, food and raiment, etc., they are left to man in order to prove him; so that from the manner in which he employs these objects, it may be discovered how he stands affected towards God, while possessed of the goods of this world: whether, on the one hand, he will still cleave to God, and in the midst of earthly possessions, keep his eye constantly fixed on those which are to come; or whether, withdrawing his love from God, he will attach himself to this fleeting world, and prefer a fading earthly paradise, to that which is permanent and heavenly.

    2. Man is therefore left to his own [pg 051] liberty and choice, in order that he may be judged hereafter according to that which he has chosen here, and thus be without excuse in that day. Agreeably to this principle, it was the solemn declaration of Moses to the people of Israel: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” Deut. 30:19.

    3. The things of this world are then designed, not to fill us with earthly delight and pleasures, but to be tests and trials of our fidelity. In these trials the fall is very easy, when once we begin to withdraw from God. The pleasures of this world are the fruits of a forbidden tree; of which we are warned by God not to eat, lest our minds going out after them should eventually take delight in them, after the manner of those who know no other pleasures, but such as are derived from earthly objects. These persons, by indulging the flesh, convert meat, drink, and apparel into snares by which they are turned away from God.

    4. It certainly is the duty of every true Christian, to esteem himself a stranger and pilgrim in this world; and as bound to use earthly blessings, not as means of satiating lust or gratifying wantonness, but of supplying his absolute wants and necessities. We ought not to set our affections on these inferior objects, but on Him alone who is able to satisfy them. To do otherwise, is to expose ourselves to dangerous temptations, and with Eve, to eat daily of the forbidden tree. The real Christian is not intent upon worldly concerns, or delicious fare; for his interior eye is directed to that bread which endureth unto eternal life. Nor is he solicitous about fine and fashionable apparel; aspiring rather after robes of divine light, and the raiment of glorified bodies. In short, all things that please the natural man in this world, are, to a true Christian, only so many crosses and temptations, allurements of sin and snares of death, that continually exercise his virtue. Whatever man uses without the fear of God, whatever he applies to the mere gratifying of his flesh, cannot fail to operate as a poison to the soul, however pleasant and salutary it may appear to be to the body. Yet, so far from laboring to know the forbidden tree of worldly pleasures and its various fruits, man gives himself up to a careless and thoughtless state of life, and yields to the lust of the flesh, not considering that this lust is really the forbidden tree.

    5. The Christian, on the other hand, uses all things in the fear of God, and as a stranger and pilgrim on the earth; avoiding every kind of excess in meat, drink, apparel, houses, and the other things of this life, lest, by an improper use of them, he should offend both his Father in heaven, and his fellow-Christians upon earth. He will not so much as gaze on the forbidden tree, in order that he may not be ensnared; but with the eye of faith, he steadfastly beholds the future felicity of the soul, and for the sake of this felicity, refuses to yield to the cravings of corrupt nature. What does it profit the body that in this world it swims in lusts and pleasures, when, after a short period, it must be devoured by worms, and stripped of all its enjoyments! “Naked,” says Job, “came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither.” Job 1:21. We bring into the world [pg 052] a naked and infirm, a poor and indigent body; and even this is the spoil of death; for when we pass out of this world we leave it behind us forever.

    6. Whatever we enjoy from the time of our birth to the period of our dissolution, is all the bread of mercy and affliction, and designed to supply the bare wants of this mortal life. At the approach of death all is taken from us again, and we depart out of the world poorer than when we entered it. When man enters the world, he brings with him life and a body, and finds the necessary shelter, meat, and drink provided for him; but, after existing a short time, he is, in a moment, bereft of all, and leaves behind him even his body and his life. Consider then, O man! whether there can be anything more wretched and poor, more naked and miserable, than man when he dies, if he be not clothed with Christ's righteousness, and enriched in his God.

    7. As, therefore, we are confessedly strangers and pilgrims here, and at the hour of dissolution must leave behind us every earthly enjoyment, let us, at least, cease to encumber our souls with things which we cannot carry out of this world, and the use of which is restricted to this life only. Is it not a species of madness to heap up riches for a frail body, for a body which we must leave behind us, and which cannot possibly enjoy wealth hereafter? Luke 12:20, 21. Are we ignorant that there is another and a better world, another body and another life, and that, whatever we may appear in the sight of men, we are in the eye of God only strangers and sojourners on the earth? Ps. 39:12; Lev. 25:23. “Ye are,” saith the Lord, “strangers and sojourners with me,” that is, before my eyes, although ye may not remember it.”

    8. If, then, we are strangers and sojourners, it follows that our country and our home must be elsewhere. This will be most evident to us, if we compare time with eternity, the visible with the invisible world, the earthly tabernacle with the heavenly, and things that are frail and perishing, with those that are lasting and eternal. Such a comparison will afford us a due insight into time and eternity, and lead us to behold with the eye of faith, such things as remain altogether unknown to the unthinking multitude. It is from the want of this consideration, that so many become lax and disorderly in their manners, wallow in the mire of earthly pleasures, and drown themselves in avarice and worldly cares. It is from the want of this reflection, that the major part of mankind, however keen and shrewd in the pursuits of this world, are blind and insensible to the concerns of the immortal soul. They addict themselves so much to this life, as to esteem it to be the most delightful, the best and noblest of all; while the true Christian, on the contrary, accounts it an exile, a vale of tears, a place of misery, a deep and dark prison.

    9. Hence it is that those who love this world, and seek their happiness in it, do not excel even the brute creation in wisdom or understanding; and as they live, so they die like beasts. Ps. 49:12, 20. They are totally blind as it respects the inward man; they do not even think of heavenly and eternal things; they never rejoice in God, but only in the low and sordid pleasures afforded by this world. It is in earthly things that they seek their rest and their enjoyment; and having obtained their object after much labor and toil, they sit quietly down and congratulate themselves [pg 053] on their possessions. Wretched, miserable men! blind and insensible to the tremendous concerns of their eternal salvation! here, they lie contentedly in the darkness of ignorance, soon to remove hence to that of death and damnation. Luke 1:79.

    10. In order to our better acquaintance with the nature of our pilgrimage here, we should unceasingly consider the example left us by the Redeemer, and earnestly follow him both in his life and doctrine. He hath set us an unerring pattern of universal holiness. He is our captain and our guide; and to his life and manners, our lives and our manners should be conformed. Go thou, therefore, and look unto him; unto him who, when the greatest of all men, voluntarily chose that life in which nothing of greatness appeared; a life of meanness, poverty, and contempt of honor, wealth, and pleasure, the threefold deity of this world. All these things, to which the world offers sacrifice, the Lord contemned; for he himself said, “He had not where to lay his head.” Matt. 8:20.

    11. Such, likewise, was the character of David; who, before his exaltation to the throne, was poor and despised; and who, when created king, accounted all his regal splendor as nothing compared with eternal life, and the kingdom of God, to which he was called. “How amiable,” says he, “are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”“A day in thy courts is better than a thousand.” Ps. 84. As if he had said, I possess indeed a kingdom, and have people subject to my sway; I possess kingly palaces, and the strong hold of Zion; but what are all these in comparison of thy tabernacle, O Lord of hosts? So, too, Job found comfort in his Redeemer. Job. 19:25.

    12. Neither Peter, nor Paul, nor any of the apostles, sought the riches of this life, but directed their attention to those which were laid up in another and better world. Hence they freely espoused the despised life of Christ, walking in his charity, lowliness, and patience; contemning the earth, and triumphing over the world, its snares, and its allurements. They prayed for those who cursed them; they thanked those who reproached them; they blessed those who reviled them. 1 Cor. 4:12; Acts 5:41. When they were persecuted, they glorified God; when scourged, they were immovably patient, professing that “through much tribulation they must enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22); and when slaughtered, they prayed (with Christ their Head), “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34); “lay not this sin to their charge.” Acts 7:60. Thus were they, on the one hand, dead to all wrath and revenge; to bitterness, ambition, and pride; to the love of the world, and of their own life also; while, on the other, they lived in Christ and in his love, in his meekness and humility, his patience and his resignation. They are, indeed, made alive in Christ by faith, who thus live.

    13. To a lover of the world, this excellent way of life is unknown; for with regard to those who do not live in Christ, nor know that the truth is in him, these are still dead in their sins; dead in wrath and hatred, in envy and avarice, in pride and revenge; and as long as they so continue, they are in a state of impenitence, and have not been quickened by faith in Jesus, be their boasting [pg 054] what it may. But the genuine disciples of Christ know it to be a duty to follow the steps of their divine Master (1 Pet. 2:21), and to be conformed to his life, as the supreme and original pattern of all virtue and goodness. In a word, the life of Christ is their exemplar; he himself is their book, whence they derive all solid and substantial learning, as it respects both life and doctrine. Such persons declare with the apostle, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:8. And with holy men of old they unite in saying, “Here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” Heb. 13:14.

    14. If, then, from a review of all these considerations, it evidently appear, as it surely does, that in this world we are strangers and have no abiding place, it follows that we were not created for the sake of earthly things as the ultimate end of our being; but that there remain for us another country and other dwellings, to gain which we ought not to hesitate to sacrifice a hundred worlds, or even life itself. These are subjects upon which the true Christian continually meditates with pleasure; and it is his joy that here he has no continuing city, but is created for life eternal. But how sad is the state of those who, occupied wholly in pursuing the things of this life, lade their souls with a crushing weight of worldly vanities, and thereby expose them to endless perdition.

    Chapter XVIII.

    Showing How Greatly God Is Offended, When Man Prefers Things That Are Temporal To Those That Are Eternal; And How Great The Evil Is, When Our Affections Cleave To The Creature And Not To The Creator.

    And the anger of the Lord was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them, etc.Numb. 11:1.

    Many there are, in our day, who, under cover of religion, seek after earthly and carnal things; who use more diligence to become great and affluent by the gospel, than to be good and happy. They love “the praise of men, more than the praise of God.” John 12:43. They choose rather to gratify the flesh in its sinful propensities, than to bring it down into true repentance and brokenness of spirit. But the character of the true Christian is of an opposite kind. He is more concerned about eternal than temporal things; he seeks the glory that endureth, more than that which passeth away; he thirsts after heavenly and invisible riches, and not after those that are earthly and visible. In short, he mortifies and crucifies the flesh, in order that the spirit may live.

    2. The sum of Christianity is to follow Christ. Hence, it should be our chief care to imitate the example [pg 055] which he has left us. Our thoughts and actions, our desires and labors, should all terminate in the attainment of this one thing needful, how we may come to Christ; how be saved by, and united with him to all eternity.

    3. Never should we cease to consider that endless felicity to which we are called; but cheerfully await the dissolution of our earthly bodies, and a translation to that inheritance which is reserved in heaven for us.

    4. By these means, which habituate the soul more and more to the presence of God, there is begotten in man a holy thirst after eternal things; while a desire after earthly objects, which is insatiable in its nature, is at the same time powerfully restrained. This is taught by St. Paul in that precious saying: “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.” Col. 3:17.

    5. The name of God, in which all things are to be done, is the honor, praise, and glory of God. Ps. 48:10. To this great end of human life, all our works should tend; for then it is that they are wrought in God (John 3:21), and will follow us into a blessed eternity. Rev. 14:13.

    6. In a word, Almighty God, our chief and sovereign Good should be the principle and end of all our designs, if we would not fail of eternal salvation. Hence St. Paul says, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things” (1 Tim. 6:11); namely, covetousness and the love of the world. He calls the Christian, “a man of God,” because he is born of God, and lives in God, and therefore is the son and heir of God; as, on the other hand, a man of the world, is one who lives in conformity to the world, who “has his portion in this life, and whose belly is filled with the hid treasure” of the earth. Psal. 17:14. From these snares the Christian is required carefully to flee, and to follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness; and to lay hold on eternal life, whereunto he is called.

    7. When a man refuses to be guided by these salutary maxims, he falls of necessity into every kind of enormous and presumptuous sin, and will at last be punished with eternal fire. See, for an illustration, Numb. 11:1.

    8. Inundations and war, famine, pestilence, and conflagrations, are, it should be remembered, punishments inflicted by God, on account of our preferring things temporal to things eternal; and because we are more careful of a weak and perishing body, than we are of an imperishable, immortal soul. All this betrays the highest ingratitude, and an open contempt of the blessed God, deserving to be visited with punishments, both here and hereafter. For, does not man by such conduct set aside an almighty, eternal Being, from whom he derives both his body and his soul; and convert an impotent creature into an idol, to which he surrenders his love and affection? He who loves the creature more than the Creator, and things transitory more than those which are eternal, offers surely the highest possible affront to his Maker, and opposes the great design of the Christian religion.

    9. It is no doubt true, that all the creatures of God are good in themselves; but when men begin to set their affections on them, and by their irregular love to convert them, as it were, into idols, they then become an abomination in the sight of God, and are justly ranked among the most odious images of gold and silver.

    10. What else can result from a [pg 056] carnal love of the world but hell and damnation! Consider the case of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24), and the one in Numb. 11:1, already mentioned. These are illustrations of the eternal fire and damnation which must follow a rejection of God.

    11. The love and joy, the wealth and honors of the true Christian, are circumscribed only by eternity itself; for, “where his treasure is, there will his heart be also.” Luke 12:34. From the lust and love of the world, on the contrary, nothing can result but eternal damnation. “The world passeth away and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:17): and hence, St. John calls upon the faithful entirely to withdraw their affections from the world; saying, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” 1 John 2:15. These and similar considerations powerfully convince us, that God will not permit us to fix our affections on any creature whatsoever.

    12. But this will more fully appear from the following reflections:

    I. Love is the very heart of a man, and the noblest of all his affections; hence, it is due to God only, as the supreme object, and sovereign Good.

    II. It is absolute folly to love temporal things, which cannot love us; whereas the infinitely blessed God deserves to be loved alone, since from a pure principle of love, he created us unto eternal life, and hath, to the same purpose, redeemed and sanctified us.

    III. Like things are naturally loved by their like. Hence, God made us after his own image, in order that we might love Him; and that, next to himself, we might love our neighbor, created after the same image.

    IV. The human soul resembles a mirror, representing every object indifferently that is placed before it, whether it be of heaven or of earth. Therefore turn thy soul wholly and only to God, that this image may be fully expressed in it.

    V. The patriarch Jacob, when dwelling in Mesopotamia, far removed from his native soil, never abandoned his purpose to return, and, at length, after twenty years' service, demanded his wives and wages; and, cheered by the recollection of the place of his nativity, returned thither. So should thy soul, amidst the various engagements of this life, and the hurry of outward employments, long without ceasing after thy heavenly fatherland.

    VI. Man is made either better or worse by that which he loves. He that loves God, partakes freely of the divine virtue and goodness that reside in Him; but he that loves the world, is defiled with all those sins and evils which attend it.

    VII. When King Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:33) was too much controlled by the love of the world, he lost the very form of a man, and degenerated into that of a beast. So all men, blotting from their hearts the image and love of God, are transformed, as it respects their inward man, into the nature of brutes. For surely those who wholly surrender themselves to the love of this world, are no better.

    VIII. Lastly, that which a man has loved here, and carried about in his heart, shall be manifested in him hereafter; and with this he shall associate himself forever, whether it be God or the world. If the world have been the object of his love in this life, it will never leave him hereafter, but will prove his death and his tormentor to all eternity.

    [pg 057]

    Chapter XIX.

    He Who Is Most Of All Conscious Of His Misery, Is Most Of All Acceptable To God; And His Christian Knowledge Of His Misery, Urges Him To Seek The Grace Of God.

    To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.Isaiah 66:2.

    These comfortable words, our gracious and merciful God hath spoken by the prophet, in order to cheer our hearts, when they are most oppressed with misery and sorrow. Be not thou therefore ashamed to be bruised in spirit, and abased in thine own eyes. Humble thyself in the dust, and deem thyself unworthy of all grace and favor; so shalt thou be raised out of thine own vileness, and obtain, in Christ, acceptance with Almighty God.

    2. He who is still something in his own estimation, is not duly humbled and depressed in his heart; nor can he expect to be regarded by that Being who looks upon the poor and contrite ones only. “If,” says the apostle, “a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” (Gal. 6:3): and the reason of this is, that God is all in all, alone; and the creature must consequently become a bare and empty nothing. So great and so practical is this truth, that man is not only to believe it in his heart, but to express it in his life and conduct.

    3. If ever thou designest, then, to give all the glory and honor to God, that He may be all, alone, thou must surely thyself become nothing in thine own eyes; and entertain a very low opinion of thyself, and of thy profiting in spiritual things. For how is it possible that God should be all in all, whilst thou thyself continuest to be something? By this self-exaltation thou invadest the sovereignty of God, and appropriatest that to thyself, which is his proper due and prerogative. “It was before the Lord,” said David to Michal, who had reproached him, “and I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight.” 2 Sam. 6:21, 22.

    4. A man that will be something, is the matter out of which God is wont to make nothing; but he, on the contrary, who loves to be reputed as nothing, and who, in his own judgment, is so, is the matter out of which the Almighty maketh something. He that will be wise in his own opinion, is the matter out of which God maketh a fool; and he who is truly sensible of his own folly and nothingness, is that of which God forms a wise and great man. He who, before the Lord, sincerely confesses himself to be the greatest and most miserable of sinners, is, in the sight of God, the first and greatest of all men. He who believes himself to be the chief of sinners, shall be honored by the Lord as the chief of saints. Matt. 23:12; Luke 1:52.

    5. This is that humility which God exalts; that misery which he regards; that nothing from which he createth something. And as, at the creation, the glorious frame of heaven and earth was [pg 058] brought forth out of nothing, so must man be reduced to a deep sense of his vileness and nothingness, if ever he be exalted to glory and to dignity.

    6. Reflect upon the example of David, whose misery God beheld, and to whom he granted the richest gifts of his grace. Consider, again, the example of Jacob, who confessed, “I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies.” Gen. 32:10.

    7. But above all, lay to heart the example of Christ, the grand and blameless pattern of a Christian. He was abased below the meanest of men; was made a worm and a curse for our sake (Ps. 22:6), despised and rejected of men. Isaiah 53:3. But the lower he sunk, the higher did he afterwards rise, when he received a name which is above every name.

    8. But who is that blessed and lowly one who is nothing in his own eyes? It is he who inwardly and in his heart esteems himself worthy of no divine benefit, whether bodily or spiritual. For he that arrogates anything to himself, esteems himself to be something; and is, therefore, the farthest removed from divine grace and from this new creation. So destructive is the spirit of self, that it renders even grace of no effect, and shuts out that which contains all things in it. For if a man judge himself worthy of anything, he then does not take all things as a free gift from the hands of God. Whatever we are, however, is of grace and not merit; nor can we call anything our own, except our sins, our helplessness, and our misery. All else belongs to God.

    9. A man considered in himself, that is, independently of God, by whom he subsists, is no more than a shadow. And as the shadow of a tree constantly conforms to the tree on which it depends, so should man conform to the will of God from whom he has his very life and being; as the apostle says: “In him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:28. It is true, the fruit will sometimes appear in the shadow of the tree; yet it does not therefore belong to the shadow, but to the tree: so all the good fruits that may appear in thy life and conduct, are not the produce of thy own self and thy ability, but of God alone, who is the original source whence all good fruits proceed. And as the apple grows not from that gross substance the wood, which is seen by the eye, but from the seminal virtue which the tree contains, and which is made active from above; so the new man, and the fruit he bears, spring not up from anything that is gross and visible to the eye, but from a supernatural and invisible seed.

    10. Now, man is by nature a dry tree; but God is his strength, whereby life is renewed in him, and he himself is made fat and green in the house of God. God is the “strength of our life” (Psal. 27:1), says the Psalmist: and hence we “shall bring forth much fruit whilst we abide in Christ.” John 15:5.

    11. When a man is thus wretched and poor in his own eyes, and has nothing in the world in which to trust but the pure grace of God, manifested in Christ Jesus, then God graciously “looks upon him.” This divine regard must be understood in a divine sense. The look or countenance of God, is not as the countenance of men, destitute of life and virtue: but it is accompanied with a living power and influence that supports and revives the faint and penitent sinner. And as none but the humble and contrite are capable of [pg 059] this heavenly regard; so the more fully they receive the consolation which God grants, the less do they think themselves worthy of it. Such a one deems himself unworthy of all blessings divine and temporal. He says with Jacob, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth which thou hast shewed unto thy servant:” for behold, since thou gavest me thy Son Jesus Christ, I come with two bands, with the blessings of grace and of glory. Gen. 32:10. And truly, if a man should weep a sea of tears, it were by no means sufficient to purchase or deserve the least part of heavenly comfort: the grace of God cannot be merited by men, who deserve nothing but wrath and eternal damnation.

    12. Whoever thus acquaints himself in faith with his own misery, is truly one of those poor and contrite men, to whom the Lord graciously looks. Without this previous brokenness of heart, man cannot expect to enjoy this blessed aspect of God, nor indeed that grace and kindness which is promised to the poor in spirit only. In this weakness and poverty the apostle glories, when he says: “If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities” (2 Cor. 11:30): and he adds the reason: “that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor. 12:9. For so great indeed is the mercy of God, that he will not see the work of his hands destroyed: but the weaker the creature is in itself, the more is it sustained by the power of an Almighty Being. For in the weakness of the creature, the power of God is exalted, as the Lord declared unto Paul: “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

    13. The more vile and miserable therefore a Christian is in his own opinion, the more freely God looks upon him, to the greater manifestation of the riches of his glory. And in bestowing this heavenly consolation, he does not look at all on man's merit, but barely on his want and poverty. And this comfort can in no degree be compared with any human comfort, all which it infinitely exceeds. In such a sense, then, God looks to the contrite man and comforts his spirit.

    14. By “the poor and contrite man,” is not to be understood, a man that is poor in the outward sense of the word, or who is altogether destitute of human help and relief; but he is the poor man, who labors under the load of his sins, and is grieved for them. If sin were not in the world, there could be no misery: but now so much misery cannot befall a man, but that he is still worthy of much more. Ps. 103:10. Far be it therefore from us to grieve, because we have not many temporal benefits conferred upon us; since we are not worthy even of the least of them, no, not of life itself. Our flesh and blood may think this a hard saying; yet every penitent sinner ought to be a severe judge in his own case, and ought not to make the least allowance to his carnal propensities. This is the order in which we are to obtain God's favor and mercy.

    15. And what has man now left to boast of, or what language shall he employ when he opens his mouth? The best course he can take will be to say simply, “Lord, I have sinned; have thou mercy upon me!” And, truly, God himself requires no more from a man than that he humbly deplore his sin, and in the unfeigned language of repentance pray for pardon. Whoever neglects this, may be [pg 060] said to have slighted the best and most needful part of his being, Weep not therefore, O Man! on account of thy body, that it is naked and sick, pinched with hunger and cold, insulted and persecuted; or because it is confined by bonds and a prison: but humble thyself before the Lord, and bewail the woful condition of thy soul, which is constrained to dwell in so wretched a house as thy body is, a house of sin and death. “O wretched man,” says the apostle, “who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Rom. 7:24. This free and Christian acknowledgment of thine own inward misery, this godly sorrow, this thirst after divine grace, this faith leaning on Christ alone, open, in Christ, the door of grace, by which God enters into thy soul. “Be zealous, therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand,” saith the Lord, “at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20): which supper is nothing else than the remission of sin, attended with heavenly comfort, with life and blessedness. This is the door of faith (Acts 14:27), through which the Lord, at the right time, enters into the soul; and after the day of toil and sorrow is over, refreshes her with the light of his countenance. Then it is, that “mercy and truth meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other; that truth springs out of the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.” Ps. 85:10, 11. Then it is that the woman, that poor sinner, but now a penitent, anoints the feet of her Lord, washes them with tears, and wipes them with the hairs of her head, expressing thereby all the marks of an unfeigned and deep humility. Luke 7:37. Then it is, that the spiritual priest (Rev. 1:6), in the holy ornaments of faith, offers up the true sacrifice, even a broken and lowly spirit, with the incense of true contrition and prayer. Ps. 51:19. Then it is that the true sanctified water of purifying (Numb. 8:7) is applied,—the tears which grief for sin caused to flow; and now, through faith and by the power of the blood of Christ, the spiritual Israelite is washed and cleansed.

    16. And thus, O Christian! is seen how by the sense of thy own misery, and by faith in Christ attending it, thou mayest attain the grace and favor of God. To conclude, the more wretched and miserable any one is in his own judgment, the more dearly he is beloved of God, and the more gracious is the regard which the Lord will bestow upon him.

    [pg 061]

    Chapter XX.

    A Truly Christian Sorrow For Sin Promotes The Daily Amendment Of The Life Of Man, Makes Him Meet For The Kingdom Of God, And Fits Him, In An Increasing Degree, For Eternal Life.

    Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.—2 Cor. 7:10.

    True Christianity consists solely in pure faith, love, and a holy life. This holiness of life springs from true repentance, sorrow, and self-knowledge; so that a man not only more and more feels his failings and imperfections, but amends them also, and, in this order, partakes of the righteousness and holiness of Christ by faith. 1 Cor. 1:30.

    2. But in order to regulate the grand work of salvation with the better order and care, thou oughtest now to walk in a submissive and filial fear of God, guarding against all that would gratify the flesh. “All things are lawful,” says the apostle, “but all things are not expedient” (1 Cor. 6:12); that is, “all things edify not.” 1 Cor. 10:23. As a dutiful child, confined to the father's house, does not so much as attempt to follow his own humor in everything; but, unwilling to offend his parent, observes his will and pleasure: so a true Christian and child of God will behave himself in his Father's house, in so careful a manner, as not to allow his senses any unlawful liberty. He will neither do nor speak anything without consulting first his Father in heaven, under whose eye he constantly lives, knowing that He is everywhere present.

    3. Most men live without any fear of God, freely indulging themselves in worldly pleasures and satisfaction. They will not consider that it is far better to have a constant fear of God fixed in the heart, than a constant joy of the world. For as the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and begets a serious frame of mind; so the joy of this world extinguishes all good impressions, and banishes true wisdom out of the heart, together with all godly fear and devotion.

    4. By daily repentance and mortification of the flesh, man is daily renewed in God's image; for “though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16); and often, in the midst of his sorrows, is he visited with a taste of heavenly joy and sweetness. Whereas, the pleasure and joy of the world are always attended with heaviness of heart, and an inward sting of a wounded conscience. If the people were but more sensible of the melancholy effects resulting from worldly pleasure, and particularly of that damp which it puts upon heavenly comfort, they would certainly dread all loose and worldly enjoyments: since thereby the grace of devotion is quenched, and the soul diverted from those purer pleasures which the Gospel of Christ affords.

    5. There are two things which prevent those who seriously consider them from being influenced either by worldly pleasures or outward calamities. [pg 062] The one is, the eternal pain of the damned; whoever earnestly ponders it, will almost find it impossible to be thoroughly merry after the way of the world. The other is, the eternal joy of the blessed in heaven. Whoever has a sound apprehension of so happy a state, will never be greatly moved with the calamities of the present life; and this arises from the consideration of the eternity of those divine enjoyments. But so great is the levity of our hearts, that it hinders us from any serious reflection on so important a subject. And hence it is no wonder that we are both without this wholesome contrition and sorrow, and ignorant of all celestial joys and comforts.

    6. It is the prerogative of a true Christian to be, on the one hand, but sparingly, if at all, moved with earthly things, or temporal advantages; and, on the other, to be the more deeply impressed with the joys of God, and of life eternal. Neither is he immoderately dejected in the present adversities that may befall him; but the loss of the soul grieves him to his very heart, and he counts it worthy of long lamentation. As for the perishing comfort of this life, he knows it cannot be called a loss, since he shall receive a thousand-fold for it in the world to come. But when a soul is once cast away, it can never be restored.

    7. Blessed is the man who is affected with godly sorrow, and tastes that celestial consolation which succeeds it. But, alas! how much of our time do we spend in worldly joy and merriment, when we have greater reason to bewail our own misery and that of others! There is no true liberty, no solid delight, no substantial satisfaction, but in the fear of God, and in a quiet, serene conscience. But this blessing can never exist without faith, and without a holy life and conversation. This faith, attended with godly sorrow, daily proceeds more and more to correct our faults and imperfections. Whoever neglects this daily reform of his life and manners, wastes the most precious part of his time, which he should employ to secure the interest of his immortal soul. He is an adversary to the new life; he hinders the kingdom of God in himself; and he can never be cured of the blindness and hardness of his heart, so long as he remains in that state.

    8. It follows, therefore, that he only deserves the name of a prudent and wise man, who carefully avoids whatever he understands to be an obstacle to the reforming of his life, and to the improving of himself in heavenly gifts and graces. Happy is he who not only avoids such things as are detrimental to his body and estate, but also detests those which hinder the soul in her spiritual progress.

    9. Be therefore courageous, O Man, and endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ! 2 Tim. 2:3. An evil habit of mind must be overcome with a good one. It is the apostle's exhortation: “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom. 12:21. The cure of thy soul is not impossible. View, in the first place, thy own corruptions, and judge them severely, before thou presumest to censure the faults of thy neighbor. Be not too forward in admonishing and correcting others; but endeavor to heal first thy evils at home, before thou enterest upon the reforming of those that are abroad.

    10. Go on, therefore, O Christian, and learn the lesson of daily repentance, sorrow, and contrition of heart. If the world despise thee upon that account, and decry this wholesome [pg 063] exercise as error and as melancholy, be not concerned at such poor and empty reflections. Grieve rather that thou art called indeed a Christian, but that thou hast not yet arrived at that strictness of life and purity of manners, which the Gospel requires. Bear the contempt of the world with Christian constancy, and consider the singular benefit which thence accrues to the whole practice of true religion. For, if thou be scorned by the world, then God is ready to support thee by fresh supplies of life and comfort, according to his own declaration: “I dwell in the high and holy place; with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isa. 57:15.

    11. It is impossible that divine and worldly joy should, at one and the same time, reside in the heart of man; so very contrary are they to each other, and so inconsistent in their natures, causes, and effects. The joy of the world is begotten in prosperity; but that which is from heaven, springs up in the midst of crosses and adversities.

    12. It is true that it is against the bent of nature to rejoice in the time of adversity, as the apostle himself seems to intimate: “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” 2 Cor. 6:10. But then it is no less true, that the grace of God cleanses our nature, and qualifies it for such spiritual exercises. And it was after this change that the apostles rejoiced, because they were “counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ.” Acts 5:41.

    13. A Christian is become by the grace of God, a new creature, and hence the tribulations of this life are made easy to him. The apostle declared, that he even “gloried in tribulations.” Rom. 5:3. As affliction is a grievous burden to the old man, so it gives ease and joy to the new man in Christ. Again, that joy which is from above, infinitely surpasses that which is from below. Nay, the very reproach and contempt which a Christian undergoes for the sake of Christ, is attended with a secret satisfaction: and the reason we are so little affected with these heavenly visitations, is on account of the joy of the world, to which we are still too much addicted.

    14. A truly humble man thinks himself worthy of all manner of sufferings, and unworthy of any divine comfort: but the more unworthy he thinks himself in true brokenness of spirit, the more is he visited with the goodness of God. And the more he weeps over his sin, the more is he weaned from worldly enjoyments; for the whole world gradually becomes to him a burden and a bitter affliction.

    15. A man that seriously views himself and his inward condition, finds more reason to mourn than to rejoice. And when he takes a survey of the lives of others, he will undoubtedly meet with abundance of objects worthy of pity, or of compassion, rather than of hatred and envy. Why did Christ weep over Jerusalem, even over that Jerusalem which persecuted and slew him? Luke 19:41. Truly their sin and blindness was the evident cause of it. And in this he has also left us a pattern, and with deep feeling taught us, that nothing in the world should more powerfully melt us into tears and compassion, than our own sins, and the impenitence and carnal security which everywhere abound.

    [pg 064]

    16. Did a man as often revolve in his mind, that he must certainly die, and appear before the judgment-seat of God, as he thinks on the concerns of this life, and how to provide for them, surely he would be abundantly more serious in his conversation, more diligent in the reformation of his life, and more fervent in all the duties of repentance. Did he moreover call to mind the unspeakable and eternal torments of hell, succeeding, as they do, a short enjoyment of sin; this consideration would embitter to him the sweets of this world, and in comparison, render all the afflictions of this life, pleasant and easy to him. But alas! the enticements of the flesh are so strong and prevalent, and our compliances in their favor, so forward, that we seldom yield to such serious reflections as these.

    17. Upon the whole, this should be a Christian's daily consideration: if his body be pampered in lust and luxury; if the flesh be humored and gratified in its inordinate cravings; then the life of the spirit loses its vigor, and if not seasonably supported, will pine away into death and destruction. Whereas, if the flesh be crucified with its lusts and desires, the spirit lives and gathers strength. One is the death of the other. If, therefore, the spirit shall live in thee, then thy body must be certainly made a spiritual sacrifice (Rom. 12:1), and must spiritually die to the world, and to all conformity with it.

    18. This has been the constant practice of all the saints, from the beginning of the world until now. They have with thanksgiving eaten and drunk the bread and cup of tears, according to that declaration of David: “Thou feedest us with the bread of tears, and thou givest us tears to drink in great measure.” Ps. 80:5. And in another Psalm: “My tears have been my meat day and night.” Ps. 42:3. Again, “I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.” Ps. 102:9.

    19. This has been the “daily bread” of all the saints to this day; yet it has, however, been sweetened to them, faith being mixed with it. This is that godly “sorrow which worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of.” 2 Cor. 7:10.

    20. But as this godly sorrow is attended with life and happiness, so the “sorrow of the world worketh death” itself. 2 Cor. 7:10. This kind of sorrow arises from the loss of honor, of temporal goods and estates, and other things of that nature. This sorrow has proved so fatal to many, that they have laid violent hands on themselves, and procured their own ruin and death by various contrivances. Of this there are not wanting many examples in the history both of Pagans and Christians: though, indeed, the latter ought better to understand the maxims and doctrines of Christ, who has abundantly taught us, not to set our hearts on objects so frail and perishing. For what is the loss of a handful of fading things, to the life of a man, with which all the goods of this world cannot be compared?

    21. Be not, therefore, cast down by the loss of temporal goods, which, by the very laws of nature, we can enjoy but a little while: but lay the more to heart those incorruptible riches, that are laid up in the world to come; and do whatever thou canst to prevent the loss of them. Death will strip thee at last of all worldly possessions. Here shall be an end of pomp and greatness. This law of death is equally given to all, and the penalty of it attaches [pg 065] to all alike. The greatest king is seized on the throne, and the meanest beggar on the dunghill (1 Sam. 2:8; Ps. 113:7); for as the body of the one is, so is also the body of the other: both putrefy and turn alike to corruption. Nevertheless, the Lord will remove at length the veil of the shadow of death, which is spread over all nations, and will “swallow up death in victory” (Isa. 25:8), and “wipe away all tears from our eyes.” Rev. 7:17; Isa. 25:8.

    22. Let these and the like considerations, induce thee patiently to bear the loss of earthly things; remembering that the whole world does not come up to the price of one soul, for which Christ vouchsafed to die. The more thou withdrawest thy heart from temporal goods and estates, the less will it affect thee, when thou shalt be obliged one way or other to leave them. Thy grief will undoubtedly be the greater, the more thy love has been wrapped up with them. Thus does the “labor of the foolish weary every one of them” (Eccl. 10:15); as the wise man expresseth it.

    23. This is the unhappy state into which the children of this world plunge themselves. They hoard and amass their goods with assiduous pain and labor; they possess them with fear and anxiety of mind; and quit them at last with grief and groans, when they can no longer enjoy them. This is the “sorrow of this world,” which begets no less an evil than death itself.

    24. We read, that such as adored the beast “had no rest” (Rev. 14:11): so they that adore the great and toilsome beast of sordid and earthly Mammon, may be said to have no rest, day nor night. This description of men, most wretched and most unquiet as they are, may be fitly compared to camels, or mules. These animals, traversing rocks and hills, and carrying gold and silver, silken garments and pearls, spices and wines, draw many attendants with them for their better security: but at night, when they are stabled, all their precious ornaments, their embroidered garments and vestments, are taken from them, and they, being weary and stripped, appear to be what indeed they are, poor and miserable beasts of burden. Nothing is now seen upon them but the prints of their stripes, and the marks of the blows which they received upon the road. So, in like manner, that man who in this world shone in gold and silks, in “purple and fine linen” (Luke 16:19), when the day of his death is come, has nothing left but the prints and scars of a wounded conscience, contracted by the abuse of such riches as were committed to his trust.

    25. Therefore, O man! learn to relinquish this world, before it relinquishes thee. If thou break not with the world, the world will break with thee, and leave horror and anguish behind it. He who withdraws his soul from the world, before he quits the world with his body, can joyfully die: since he is loosed from the ties which bound him to these inferior objects. As the Israelites, when they were about to leave the land of Egypt, were daily afflicted with greater burdens by Pharaoh, who designed to destroy them, and, if possible, utterly to extirpate their progeny (Exod. 5:9); so the infernal Pharaoh, who desires to hinder our eternal salvation, when we are now upon the very borders of life everlasting, still attempts to load us with more of the concerns of this life, and thereby to obstruct our passage into a better world.

    26. It is certain that we cannot [pg 066] carry with us the least dust of all our earthly possessions into the kingdom of heaven. Nay, our very body must be left behind us until the day of resurrection. If we know anything, we know that the way leading to life is so very strait, as to strip the soul entirely of anything that will hinder her passage. “Narrow is the way which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it.” Matt. 7:14. As the husbandman separates the wheat from the chaff, so death frees the soul from all the chaff and dross of this world, from all riches, and greatness, and worldly attire, which now, like the chaff, are driven away.

    27. Go therefore, O man, and seriously ponder in thy mind what the apostle declares: “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” 2 Cor. 7:10.

    Chapter XXI.

    Of The True Worship Of God.

    The sons of Aaron offered strange fire before the Lord, and there went out fire from the Lord and devoured them.Lev. 10:1, 2.

    This fire is called strange, because it was different from that which continually burned upon the altar, and with which, according to the command of God, the burnt-offerings were consumed. It is, therefore, a type of false worship; and the sons of Aaron were destroyed with avenging flames, because they violated the divine precept.

    2. This marked displeasure of the jealous and righteous God, is in like manner provoked by those who, from the motion of their own unregenerate mind, and from a singular presumption of devotion or religious sanctity, introduce a new and peculiar worship of God; which, not being enjoined by himself, provokes his indignation, anger, and vengeance; because “God is a consuming fire.” Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29.

    3. In order that we may not incur the wrath of the divine majesty, let us consider wherein the true worship of God consists; for the punishment of temporal fire, inflicted on false worship under the Old Testament, is to us a proof, that the Lord will also, under the New dispensation, take the severest vengeance on all strange worship, not only with everlasting, but also with temporal fire, wars, desolations, and effusion of blood.

    4. Now, we can learn wherein the true worship of God consists, when we compare the Old Testament with the New. The ceremonies which the former prescribed, referred typically to the Messiah. Devout Jews saw, as it were, the Messiah from afar, believed on him, and, according to the promise, obtained deliverance from sin and death through him. But our worship, according to the New Testament, does [pg 067] not consist in external ceremonies; we are taught to worship God in spirit and in truth, that is, to believe in Christ, who fulfilled the Law. Thus he redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13), and made us free from all Jewish ceremonies (Gal. 5:1); so that now, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we serve God with a willing heart and mind (Jerem. 31:33; Rom. 8:14), and our conscience and faith are not bound by human ordinances.

    5. To true, spiritual, internal Christian worship, three things belong. 1. The true knowledge of God. 2. The knowledge of sin, accompanied with unfeigned repentance. And 3. The knowledge of grace, attended with remission of sin.

    6. The knowledge of God consists in faith, which apprehends Christ, and in him, and through him, knows God, his omnipotence, love, mercy, righteousness, truth, wisdom; all which are God himself. For what is God? Surely no other than pure omnipotence, pure love and mercy, pure justice, truth, and wisdom. And the same is to be said of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit.

    7. But whatever God is, he is not to himself only, but also to me, by his gracious will, made manifest in Christ Jesus. Thus to me is God omnipotent; to me he is merciful; to me eternal righteousness, through faith and remission of sins. To me, also, he is everlasting truth and wisdom. Thus it is, also, with Christ. He is made to me eternal omnipotence, the almighty Head, and Prince of my life, my most merciful Saviour, everlasting love, unchangeable righteousness, truth, and wisdom; according to the words of the apostle: “Christ is of God made unto us, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Cor. 1:30. All of which is also true of the Holy Spirit, who is my eternal love, righteousness, truth, and wisdom.

    8. This is the true knowledge of God, which consists in faith. It is not some empty and speculative science, as people imagine; but a cheerful, lively, and effectual reliance on God, in which I feel the rays and influences of the divine Omnipotence really descending upon me, so that I perceive how I am upheld and preserved by him; how “in him I live, and move, and have my being.” Acts 17:28. I must also taste the riches of his goodness and mercy. Is not that which the Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, have done for thee, for me, and for us all, the effect of pure love? What more perfect and complete righteousness can there be than that, by which he rescues us from sin, hell, death, and the devil? And do not his truth and wisdom most conspicuously appear in all that he has accomplished for us?

    9. This, therefore, is the true and substantial faith, which consists in a living and effectual reliance on God, and not in empty words. In this knowledge of God, or faith, we must, as becomes the children of God, make daily advances, and abound more and more. 1 Thess. 4:1. Hence the apostle pours out most fervent prayers, “that we may know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” Eph. 3:19. As if he had said, “Though it were the sole care of our lives to learn the depth of the love of Christ, yet would there still remain continual and never-failing matter for further inquiry.” Neither is it to be supposed, that this knowledge consists in a barren acquaintance with the universal love of Christ, extending itself over the whole world; but we must also [pg 068] taste it in our own hearts; we must experience the sweetness and delight, the power and vital influx of this immense kindness displayed in the Word, and embraced by faith. Can he say that he knows the love of Christ, who never tasted its sweetness? Hence it is said of some that were endued with this experimental sense, that they had “tasted of the heavenly gift, and the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.” Heb. 6:4. All this is effected by faith through the Word. The same experience of the divine love is also intimated by the “shedding abroad of the love of God in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.” Rom. 5:5. In this consist the fruit and efficacy of the Word of God. And this only is the true knowledge of God, proceeding from experience, and founded on a living faith. For this reason the Epistle to the Hebrews calls our faith a substance, and a certain and well-grounded evidence. Heb. 11:1. And this knowledge of God, that arises from a living faith, is one part of the inward and spiritual worship of God. In a word, faith is a spiritual, living, and heavenly gift; yea, the very light and power of God.

    10. When, therefore, this true knowledge of God is attained, by which God offers himself, as it were, to be touched and tasted by the soul, according to that Psalm, “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8); it is impossible that a sincere repentance should not immediately ensue; that is, a real renovation of the mind, and reformation of the life. For, from a sense and knowledge of the divine Omnipotence, proceeds humility; since he must necessarily submit himself unto the mighty hand of God, who has perceived its irresistible power and energy. From the experience of the divine mercy arises charity to our neighbor; for no man can be uncharitable who has ever been affected by a sense of the divine compassion. Who can refuse to lend to his neighbor, that considers that God, from pure mercy, has bestowed himself upon us? From the long-suffering of God, proceeds great patience towards our neighbor; so that were it possible that a true Christian could be killed seven times a day, and as many times be restored to life again, yet would he always freely forgive his murderer, and this on account of the boundless mercy of God conferred upon himself. From the divine justice flows the knowledge of sin, as the prophet teaches us: “Righteousness belongeth unto thee, O Lord, but unto us confusion of faces.” Dan. 9:7. “Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.” Ps. 143:2. “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” Ps. 130:3. From the knowledge of the truth of God, flow fidelity and candor towards our neighbor; and all fraud, deceit, lying, and other such sinister practices, are, in consequence, freely abandoned. The sincere Christian reasons thus with himself: “God forbid that I should deal deceitfully with my neighbor; for then I should offend the truth of God, which is God himself; since he has dealt so faithfully with me, it would be the blackest impiety were I to act otherwise by my neighbor.” The consideration of the eternal divine wisdom produces the fear of God. For whoever knows God to be the Searcher of hearts, viewing the most secret recesses, must necessarily dread the eyes of the divine majesty. “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?” Ps. 94:9. [pg 069] Therefore, “Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? Or shall the thing framed, say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” Isa. 29:15, 16; see also Jer. 23:24, and 32:19.

    11. From the true knowledge of God, arise the knowledge of sin, and consequent repentance. This repentance brings renovation of mind, and renovation of mind is accompanied with amendment of life. And this knowledge, together with those things that attend it, makes up the other part of the inward worship of God; and it is that sacred fire which, by the appointment of God, is to be used with the sacrifices, lest his wrath should be kindled against us, and we be consumed by the fire of his vengeance.

    12. The injunction of God to the priests, not to drink wine or strong drink when they were about to enter the tabernacle (Lev. 10:9), is an illustration of this repentance; and in a spiritual sense, it extends itself to all Christians. For if we would enter into the tabernacle of God, even into life everlasting, it is necessary that we should abstain from the lusts of the world and of the flesh, and from all that tends to bring the spirit in bondage to the body. For the love of the world, the love of pleasure, pride, and other vices, are like palatable wine, by which the power of the soul and spirit is clouded, and at last brought under subjection to the flesh. Man, so subjected, is restrained from entering into the tabernacle of God; that is, he cannot arrive at the knowledge and the sanctuary of God; consequently he is deprived of that discerning faculty, which distinguishes between things sacred and profane, clean and unclean; so that he understands nothing of divine and heavenly operations, and therefore is unfit to instruct those in sound doctrine who are committed to his care. His understanding and thoughts are not enlightened from above; but being overcome with the wine of worldly lust, are eventually involved in gross darkness. This repentance, contrition, and grief for sin, and this true faith in Christ, are followed by the knowledge of grace and remission of sin; which, as it proceeds from the merit of Christ only, so the benefit of this merit can be claimed by no man without repentance. Repentance was therefore necessary, even to the thief upon the cross, that his sin being first remitted, he might accompany Christ into paradise. And that his repentance proceeded from a heart affected with a holy contrition, appears from the reproof which he gave his companion: “Dost not thou fear God? We receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done nothing amiss” (Luke 23:40), and from the request he addressed to Christ: “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Verse 24. These are most undeniable proofs of a contrite heart, embracing Christ and his merits by faith.

    13. This gracious absolution from sin, which is apprehended in faith by a penitent heart, supplies all those defects under which we labor: but it is entirely the effect of the death and blood of Christ. All our offences are as completely annulled by his abundant satisfaction, as if they had never been committed. The merit of Christ [pg 070] is of that extent and power, that David exclaims: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be (not only as white, but even) whiter than snow.” Psal. 51:7.

    14. Hence also it is, that God is said to mention the sin no more when the sinner returns to his duty. Ezek. 18:22; 33:16. For whatever is fully and completely paid for, yea, blotted out too, must of necessity be buried in eternal oblivion. Isa. 43:25. But conversion must go before remission, according to the order proposed by the prophet himself: “Wash ye, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil. Come now and let us reason together: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isa. 1:16. As if he had said: “Ye who require your sins to be forgiven, according to my covenant and promise, come forward and call me to an account. I do not indeed deny, that I promised you remission of sins; but it was on no other terms than that you should first repent. Where is your repentance? where is your true and living faith? If you have these, all is well! It shall not be my fault, if your sins (though as crimson in grain, though so deeply dyed, that neither heaven nor earth can blot them out), be not wholly pardoned and made whiter than snow.” Repentance, therefore, is the true confession of sin; and if you have this in yourself, namely, sorrow for sin mixed with faith, be assured, that Christ, by virtue of his death and blood, will entirely forgive you your sins. This blood, as it is shed for us, so it cries to God in heaven, and procures a full remission of sin.

    15. When a man is thoroughly affected with this sense of sin, he hastens in spirit to those cities of refuge, of which three, Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan, were set apart on this side Jordan, by Moses, being appointed by him, in order that he who had inadvertently killed his neighbor, might flee unto them and be preserved. Deut. 4:41-43.

    16. And, alas! O Lord, how often have we inadvertently slain our neighbor with thoughts, words, hatred, envy, anger, revenge, and unmercifulness! Let us, therefore, fly upon the wings of faith and repentance, to the sanctuary of the grace of God, and to the merit and cross of Christ. No sooner do we arrive there, but we are safe; nor will the avenger measure to us again with that measure with which we served our neighbor. For by those cities of refuge, Christ Jesus is signified and represented. He is the true Bezer, that is, a fenced tower, according to that saying of Solomon: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Prov. 18:10. He also is the true Ramoth, which signifies exalted: for Christ is the Most High (Isa. 52:13; 57:15), “And at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” Phil. 2:10. Nor have we any other Golan besides him; which, as the word imports, is a heap or multitude, a storehouse of all manner of celestial gifts. Hence, we read in the Psalms: “With the Lord there is mercy; and with him is plenteous redemption.” Psal. 130:7. And in the epistle to the Romans: “The Lord is rich unto all that call upon him.” Rom. 10:12.

    17. And this is the third part of inward, spiritual, and true worship, arising from the knowledge of God. This [pg 071] knowledge is also the source of repentance, as repentance is of remission of sins, and each rests on an experimental knowledge of God, as on a proper foundation to sustain it.

    18. Thus is the letter of the law of Moses changed into spirit, or into an inward, holy, and new life; and its sacrifices are converted into unfeigned repentance. Hereby we offer up unto God our body and soul, together with the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. Hereby we ascribe unto him alone, our knowledge, conversion, justification and remission of sin, that God alone may be all in all, and his grace be worthily acknowledged, and celebrated with thankful hearts and tongues unto all eternity. This, then, as hath been already mentioned, is the true worship of God, of which the prophet says: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Mic. 6:8. O when, therefore, shall we wretched mortals become truly penitent, that we may obtain this gracious pardon of sin? For without penitence it is impossible we should secure unto ourselves so incomparable a mercy. For how can sin be remitted, when there is no sense of sin, no sorrow affecting the mind, no hunger after divine grace? And how can he grieve for sins, who utterly refuses to abandon them, and to change his life for a better? May God, for Christ's sake, turn us, that so we may be truly turned! Lam. 5:21.

    19. From these considerations it abundantly appears, that the true worship of God is seated in the heart, and consists in the knowledge of God, and in true repentance, which mortifies the flesh; and, through grace, renews man after the divine image. In this order, man is made the holy temple of the Lord, where, through the good Spirit of God, internal worship is performed, in the exercise of faith, charity, hope, humility, patience, prayer, thanksgiving, and the praise of God.

    20. But though this worship has regard to God himself, and is offered to him alone; yet far be it from us to believe, that God has any need of our adoration or service, or that he receives any advantage from it, or any addition to his perfection. Let us rather think, that such is the mercy of God to miserable men, that he is willing to impart himself wholly to us with all his benefits, to live, to operate, and to dwell in us, provided we be but ready, by true knowledge, by faith and repentance, to entertain him in the heart, that as in the school of the Spirit, he may teach us true wisdom, and carry on the work which he has so happily begun.

    21. For there is no work approved and accepted of God, but that of which he himself is the author. Therefore has he commanded us to repent and to believe, to pray and to fast; not that the benefit in any way might return to him, but belong to us alone. For to God no man can give, and from him no man can take away; him none can profit, and none can injure. If we be found devout and sincere in his sight, we shall reap the advantage of it ourselves; but if we be found false and corrupt, the evil will return upon our own heads. But what harm, O man, canst thou do to God, if even thou shouldst wilfully persist in impiety and a dissolute course of life?

    22. God, therefore, commands that he should be served on thy account, not on his own. He being Love itself, [pg 072] it pleases him that many be found in his service, to whom he may freely impart the streams of his love, yea, even himself too. For as a mother cannot but love the infant that reposes on her breast, so God takes a singular pleasure in a free and unconfined communication of his love and kindness.

    Chapter XXII.

    A True Christian Is Known Primarily By Love, And By A Daily Amendment Of Life.

    The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to shew that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.Ps. 92:12-15.

    Not a Christian name, but a Christian life, evidences a true Christian: let this therefore be the care of the Christian, that in him Christ may be seen: and visibly appear unto others, in love, humility, and kindness! for he in whom Christ does not live, cannot be a Christian. And this holy life, having its roots within, in the spirit and heart of a man, must of necessity proceed from this inward principle—just as the fruit proceeds from the inherent virtue of the tree. For it is necessary that our life should be influenced by the Spirit of Christ, and fashioned after his example; according to that saying of the apostle: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Rom. 8:14. “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9): for all life proceeds from spirit; and as is the spirit which inwardly acts, moves, and governs in a man, so will the man outwardly appear. Whence it is evident, how necessary the Spirit of God is to a truly Christian life; and, therefore, Christ has not only commanded us to pray for the Spirit, but has also promised unto us this gift. Luke 11:13. This Spirit is the Spirit of regeneration (Tit. 3:5), by which we are quickened in Christ, into a new, spiritual, and heavenly life, and from the life and never-dying power of this Spirit of God, every Christian virtue must be derived. It is then that “the righteous man flourisheth as the palm tree, and groweth like a cedar in Lebanon.” Ps. 92:12.

    2. Hence it follows, that a man must be first internally renewed in the spirit of his mind after the image of God; and that his inward desires and affections must first be conformed to Christ (which the Apostle terms “the new man created after the image of God”) (Eph. 4:24), before a suitable life can proceed from the heart. But as soon as the heart is inwardly renewed, the outward life proceeding from it is but a constant expression of that vital principle which prevails within the mind. Yea, since “God trieth the heart and the reins” (Ps. 7:9), it is [pg 073] reasonable that a man should possess, in the more secret recesses of his heart, even much more than outwardly appears in his life.

    3. Though, in our inward part, we attain not unto the purity of angels, it is but just that we should fervently sigh after it. And, indeed, God approves the desires of our spirit when it thirsts after a further purification: “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities, and maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Rom. 8:26. Yea, the blood of Christ purifies us by faith (Acts 15:9), so that we are “without spot or wrinkle” (Eph. 5:27); and in this respect we possess, not the purity, holiness, and righteousness of any angel, but that of Christ; yea, and Christ himself. 1 Cor. 1:30.

    4. This undeserved righteousness, freely applied to us, must renew our body, soul, and spirit, and produce a true holiness of life and manners. And this life, though it is at first like a tender palm tree, must daily become more and more vigorous in us, and gather strength in Christ Jesus. And our growth in Christ will be in proportion as we advance in faith, in virtue, and the practice of a Christian life and holiness. This is to “flourish like a palm tree.”

    5. As the palm tree, when depressed, mounts the higher, so ought a Christian to be renewed continually in his spiritual desires and exercises. Eph. 4:23; Col. 3:10. He is to strengthen himself every day with fresh purposes to walk suitably to his new name, and with unwearied endeavors to avoid the danger of being a false Christian. He is to proceed with vigor and earnestness, as if he had but this day been initiated into the principles of true religion. For as one that enters upon a new office should have nothing more at heart than worthily to acquit himself in his post; so also should we act, who are called unto Christ, “with a holy calling.” 2 Tim. 1:9. If this holy purpose be not firmly rooted within, no amendment of life will ensue, no vigor in piety, no increase in Christ; yea, the very quickening Spirit of Christ must be wanting. For such a resolution and holy firmness of doing good is the work of the Spirit of God, and of that preventing or anticipating grace which allures, invites, and moves all men. Happy is the man, who with his ears and heart proves obedient to it, and hearkens to that heavenly wisdom which “utters her voice in the streets.” Prov. 1:20. In a word, whatever a man views with his eyes, is a manifestation of the Creator, by which he calls upon man, and endeavors to draw him to the love of himself.

    6. Whenever, therefore, we feel this heavenly call or impulse upon our minds, we should immediately set our hand to work, and take care that a moment so invaluable do not slip away in a light and careless manner. This is an hour free from such obstacles as at other times closely beset us. If this be slothfully neglected, other days and times may possibly succeed, in which we cannot think, hear, speak, or do any good. This being foreseen by eternal Wisdom, she everywhere lifts up her voice, and calls upon us, lest we should neglect the opportunity which is so freely offered.

    7. As a tree planted in the open air readily admits the light of the sun, and the benign influences of heaven; so the grace of God, with other celestial influences, shines upon thee, O man, and would revive and nourish thee by its presence, if the affairs of this world [pg 074] did not hinder thee from receiving the benefit.

    8. Call to mind the shortness of the time appointed for life! Seriously consider how many opportunities of doing good, and of reducing the Christian virtues into practice, thou hast already neglected. One half of thy life has possibly been consumed in sleeping, and the other in eating and drinking, and in other natural actions; so that when thou now comest to the grave, thou hast but just begun to enter upon a better life.

    9. If thou art afraid to die in wickedness, O lead a holy life whilst thou art in good health! If thou desirest to leave the world as a Christian, endeavor to be a good Christian whilst thou art in it. Now, he only lives as a Christian, who demeans himself as if he were every day to die; well knowing that a good servant will at all times be ready at the call of his master. And God, by death, as by his messenger, summons us all before his tribunal.

    10. “Blessed,” therefore, “is that servant, whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching. Of a truth, I say unto thee, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.” Luke 12:37, 44. And who is it that watches, but he who does not suffer himself to be carried away by the world, or its unhappy votaries? Let us, therefore, flee from both; knowing that the manners of this corrupt age are like baneful excrescences, which consume the vital sap of a tree, and, in a short time, cause it to wither.

    Chapter XXIII.

    He Who, In Christ, Desires To Grow In Grace, Is Often Compelled To Withdraw From Worldly Society.

    How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!—My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.Ps. 84:1, 2.

    Thou actest wisely, if thou avoidest too frequent an intercourse with worldly men. For as it is never better for our bodies than when they are at home; so it is ever best with the soul, when it is at rest in its own habitation, which is God himself; from whom it derives life and being. To him, therefore, the soul must return again, if ever she is to enjoy rest, and find safety.

    2. It is observed of all creatures, that they nowhere thrive so well, as where they drew their first life and origin. Thus the sea to the fishes, the air to the birds, the earth to the plants, and God to the soul, is the place of rest, according to the Psalmist, “The sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young.” Ps. 84:2. As that man will bring trouble upon himself, who gives young people too much liberty to go abroad; so shall he suffer much, who yields up the reins of his tongue and thoughts, [pg 075] allowing them to wander through the affairs of the world, as so many circles of vanity. Be assured, that you will escape many faults, if you study to confine your thoughts within the limits of your heart.

    3. “Those that are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” Ps. 92:13. What are these courts? They are the internal and spiritual sabbaths of the heart; which, as Lebanon in the desert, flourish best in a retirement of mind, and abstraction of spirit. Labor to attain this solitude of soul, and thou shalt become fit to search thine own heart, and to contemplate that variety of wonders and mercies which God has bestowed upon us.

    4. Nor are we to imitate those who admire subtle disputes and inventions, who take pleasure in reading fine, pleasant, and witty productions; which, if rightly considered, deprave, rather than improve the mind of the reader. Whatever does not promote the repose of the heart, and the continual renovation of the mind, should neither be heard, spoken, read, nor even be entertained in thought, by a disciple of Jesus. True Christians are like the trees of God, which should daily grow stronger, and take deeper root in Christ. St. Paul testifies of himself, that besides “Christ and him crucified,” he desired to know nothing. 1 Cor. 2:2. And this has been the practice of all the saints of God, who have endeavored, to the utmost of their power, by carefully cherishing this blessed tranquillity of heart, to approach nearer and nearer to a life raised above the world, and to emulate those elevated minds that entirely rest in God, as the centre of all their happiness. One of them once said: “As often as I converse with men, I return less a man in some part or other.” For since the dignity of human nature principally consists in the similitude of God, and therefore God hath described man to be the image and likeness of himself (Gen. 1:26); it follows, that the more unlike any man is to God, the less a man he is: and the more closely he unites himself to God, the more conformed to Him does he become. None can, however, turn himself to God, who does not first withdraw himself from the world. It is the nature of every seed, to bring forth a plant of its own kind; so if the seed of God, the Holy Spirit and Word, be in thee, thou shalt become a “tree of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” Isa. 61:3.

    5. Nothing is more common, than that some word or other is dropped in the conversation of men, which being idle and vain, grievously wounds and pollutes the soul. No man, therefore, has more security and peace, than he who keeps at home, in the house of his heart, and restrains his thoughts, his words, and his senses, from straying beyond their bounds.

    6. He that will speak well, must first learn to be silent; for to talk much is not eloquence, but prating. He who desires to command well, must first learn to obey; since it is impossible that he should be a good ruler over others, who knows not how to be subject and obedient to God. He that desires peace and serenity of mind, must set a watch over his tongue, and maintain a good conscience; for an evil conscience is like the troubled sea; yet shall it find rest if it return unto Christ in true repentance. The dove which Noah sent out of the ark, not finding any place of rest, returned to it. Gen. 8:9. [pg 076] This ark is Christ and the Church, having only one door or window, which is that of repentance, through which we are to come to Christ. And as the dove retired into the ark immediately when she found no rest for her foot; so when thou art floating in a sea of worldly affairs, and art in danger of suffering shipwreck, retire immediately into thy heart to Christ; lest, being too much tossed on the floods of the world, thy rest be broken, and the tranquillity of thy mind entirely destroyed.

    7. While thou conversest with men, and art engaged in the affairs of this world, be careful to manage everything with fear and humility. Avoid all self-confidence and rashness in acting. Remember that thou art as a tender shoot tied to a prop, in order that it may grow up with the more safety: so do thou constantly lean on the staff of humility, and the fear of God, lest a sudden tempest should arise, and lay thee level with the ground. Alas! how many a man is deceived when he, too unadvisedly, rushes into worldly affairs. Persuade thyself, therefore, that it is as unsafe to trust to the world, as to the sea. The external joy of the world, though for a time it soothe a man in his carnal security, and promise prosperous things, yet may soon be disturbed by an unexpected tempest, leaving nothing behind but the sting of an evil conscience.

    8. If a man would, on the one hand, seek no pleasure in what is frail or perishing; and if, on the other, with a mind freed from secular joys and affairs, he would give himself up to those more heavenly concerns that become a true Christian, he would often be visited with a fervent devotion, a profound peace, a sweet tranquillity, a serene conscience, and other divine comforts. But, alas! we will not be persuaded of these things; and hence it follows, that our conversion, amendment, and devotion are, by our too free conversation with men, rather hindered than improved. We may find within us, what we easily lose in an inconsiderate pursuit of things without us. And as a tree nowhere prospers better than in its natural soil; so the inward man grows nowhere more happily, than in the inward ground of the soul, where Christ resides.

    9. The conscience of man is possessed either with joy or sorrow. If the conscience be conversant with things internal and heavenly, it will refresh us with inward delight and comfort; but if it be polluted with an excessive cleaving to worldly concerns, it will be of necessity attended with inward sorrow and perplexity. 2 Cor. 7:10.

    10. As often as the soul is affected with hearty remorse for sin, she bewails herself, and sends up secret groans to the throne of mercy. This penitential exercise is a wholesome fountain of tears, in which the soul, night after night, cleanses and washes herself by the Spirit and by faith, through the name of Jesus (1 Cor. 6:11), that so she may be duly prepared to enter into the inward sanctuary, and holy of holies, and there enjoy a secret intercourse with the Lord.

    11. And because the Lord is “a God that hideth himself” (Isa. 45:15), the soul must approach him in a way remote from the noise of the world, that she may the more freely partake of his divine communications. Hence the Psalmist says: “I will hear what God the Lord will speak.” Ps. 85:8. [pg 077] And “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34:4, 6. “Unto thee will I pray: my voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:2, 3. Thus the farther the soul retires from the world, the more intimately she converses with God; just as the patriarch Jacob conversed most familiarly with God and angels when he was farthest removed from friends and children. Gen. 32:24-29. It cannot, indeed, be expressed in words, how much a soul sequestered from the friendship and fellowship of the world, is loved by God and by angels.

    Chapter XXIV.

    Of The Love Of God And Our Neighbor.

    Now the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.—1 Tim. 1:5.

    In this verse, the apostle sets before us love, the highest and noblest virtue; and acquaints us at the same time, with four particulars concerning it. First, that Love is the summary of all the commandments: for “love,” says the apostle, “is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10); in which all the precepts are comprehended, and without which, all gifts and virtues are unprofitable and fruitless.

    2. What he says in the second place, namely, that Charity must arise from a pure heart, relates to the love of God, which requires a heart void of worldly love and affection, according to that saying of St. John: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” 1 John 2:15-17. Whosoever, therefore, has a heart purified from all love to the creature, so as to depend or acquiesce in no transient good whatsoever, can cleave most intimately to God, saying with David, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” Psal. 73:25, 26. The love of such a one, proceeds out of a pure heart.” Of the same character also, is that love which is attended with great delight, pleasure and joy in God; of which we have an illustration in David: “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Psal. 18:1, 2.

    3. The apostle, in the third place, teaches us, that love must be “out of a good conscience.” This properly concerns the love of our neighbor, who [pg 078] is to be loved, not for the sake of interest or worldly advantage (which would be a false love out of a bad conscience); but for the sake of God only, and of his commandments. Nor ought we to afflict our neighbor either by word or deed, either secretly or openly; nor on any account, bear envy, wrath, hatred, malice or rancor against him; that so our conscience may not accuse us when we address ourselves in prayer to God Almighty.

    4. The fourth requisite of Love is, a “faith unfeigned;” so that nothing be done that is contrary to the rule of faith, and to our Christian profession, and that God be not denied publicly or privately, in prosperity or adversity. This is the substance of what is contained in that sentence of the apostle. We shall now speak more particularly, with respect to each of the several parts.

    5. In the first place, then, Love, according to the apostle, “is the end of the commandment;” for that love which arises from a pure faith, is the noblest among the fruits and effects of faith; than which a man can do nothing better or more acceptable to God. For God does not require at our hands great and difficult enterprises, no high performances that exceed our capacities; but he has changed the yoke of the Old Testament service, and its many commandments and ordinances into faith and love, and has given us for this end the Holy Ghost, who, “shedding abroad in our hearts the love of God” (Rom. 5:5), renders everything sweet and easy, and proves the original spring of this heavenly virtue.

    6. Love, therefore, is not a hard work, a labor attended with toil and difficulty; on the contrary, it makes everything easy to a good man. “His commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3), that is to say, they are not so to an enlightened Christian; for wherever the Spirit of God comes, he creates a free, willing and ready heart in the discharge of Christian virtues. Nor does God require of his children great skill or learning: it is only love which he regards. If this be sincere and fervent, free from disguise and dissimulation, God takes more pleasure and delight in it, than in all the knowledge and wisdom, in all the art and talent that any man upon earth, in his best works, can possibly exhibit. Wherever this divine love is wanting, there all wisdom and knowledge, all works and gifts, are altogether unprofitable. They are accounted vain and dead, as a mere body without life. 1 Cor. 13:1, 2.

    7. As for human learning and great abilities, they are common to heathens as well as to Christians; and great actions are performed as well by infidels as by believers. It is love only which proves the sure test of a sound Christian, distinguishing between the false and the true. For wherever Charity is wanting, there can be no good thing, however it may claim the admiration of men by its specious appearances. The reason is, because God is not there; for “God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16.

    8. Love is also pleasant, not only to God who gives it, but also to man, who exercises it: whereas, all arts and sciences, all the knowledge and wisdom which man grasps, are not attained but with great labor and study, with much care and application, and even at the expense of bodily health. But this heaven-born love cheers both the body and the mind. It invigorates the spirits, confers new strength, and [pg 079] wonderfully improves and exalts the mind. Nor is it attended with any loss whatever, but on the contrary, produces many good and noble effects in the soul. Love is itself the reward of the lover, and virtue always carries its own recompense with it: as, on the contrary, the vicious man is punished by his own excesses, and vice is the constant tormentor of him that commits it.

    9. Again, when the other faculties of the body and mind are faint and wearied, love faints not. Love is never weary, never ceases. Prophecy may pass away, tongues may cease, and sciences may be destroyed; arts may be lost, the knowledge of mysteries may vanish; yea, faith itself at last may fail also: but yet “love never faileth,” nor can fail: for when all that is imperfect is happily removed, then love alone abides forever, and attains its full perfection. 1 Cor. 13:8.

    10. To render anything pleasing to Almighty God, it is necessary that it proceed from him; since he approves of nothing but what he himself works in us. Now, God is love; it therefore follows, that all that we do, ought to proceed from a divine faith, in order that it may be pleasing to God; and from pure love, that it may prove profitable to men. This love must be pure, without any regard to self-honor, self-interest, and those mean designs which sometimes intrude into a Christian's actions. In like manner our prayers should spring from a principle of love, that they may have the more ready admittance to the God of love. Consider, therefore, how that man's prayer can be acceptable to God, who is full of wrath and rancor, hatred and malice? Were such a one to repeat the whole Psalter every day, it would be but an abomination before the Lord. True worship consists in spirit (John 4:23, 24), in faith, in love, not in a long recital of words. Remember the example of Christ, who, from a merciful heart, cried, “Father, forgive them.” Luke 33:34. A man that does not love God, is also unwilling to pour out his heart in prayer and supplication: but to him who is affected with a sense of divine love, the duty of prayer is easy and delightful. A man that has a cordial love to God, readily serves him; but he that is void of this love, does not serve him at all, though he may submit to much toil and drudgery, and even heap one mountain upon another.

    11. Upon the whole, then, nothing is more agreeable to human nature, nothing better and more profitable, than this divine love, which, therefore, should be stirred up in the heart of man, and when once raised into a flame, should be carefully preserved from being ever quenched.

    12. Faith should work all things in a Christian through love; and love should be the agent of faith, as the body is the agent of the soul. The soul sees and hears, speaks and acts, through the body, to which she is united; so, O man! should the love of God, springing from faith, do all things in and through thee. Whether thou eat or drink, hear or speak, commend or reprove, let all be done in love, after the example of Christ, in whom resided nothing but pure love. If thou beholdest thy neighbor, behold him with the eyes of a compassionate friend; if thou hearest him, hear him with love and tenderness; and if thou speakest with him, let thy speech be seasoned with love and Christian affection.

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    13. Carefully preserve the root of Christian love by faith, in order that nothing but that which is good may grow up in thy heart, and issue thence, as from its genuine centre. 1 Cor. 16:14. Thou shalt then be enabled to fulfil the commandments of God; since they are all comprehended in love. Hence, a holy man has expressed himself after this manner: “O love of God in the Holy Ghost! thou art the highest joy of souls, and the only divine life of men. Whosoever enjoys not thee, is dead even while he lives; and whosoever possesses thee, never dies in the sight of God. Where thou art not, there the life of men is a continual death; but where thou art, there life is made a foretaste of eternal happiness.” Whence it appears that this divine love is the sum and fulfilling of all the commandments of God.

    14. We consider now, in the second place, that our love to God ought to proceed “out of a pure heart.” The heart of a man who is desirous to love God, ought first to be cleansed from all worldly love and attachment to the creature. It is then that God becomes the chief and sovereign Good to the soul. She can then say, “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.” Ps. 16:5. “The Lord knoweth the days of the upright,” that is, those that love him out of a disinterested heart; “and their inheritance shall be forever.” Ps. 37:18. “Delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Ps. 37:4. In a word, God is the only fountain whence all our joy ought constantly to spring.

    15. God, therefore, should be the most beloved object of our souls, and our hearts should rest in him alone, because he is the highest good. He is nothing else than mercy and goodness, love and kindness, clemency and patience, truth, comfort, peace, joy, life, and happiness. All this he has laid up in Jesus Christ. Whoever, therefore, has Christ, is thereby put into the possession of all these heavenly virtues. And whoever loves God, must also of necessity love God's truth and mercy, his goodness and kindness, and the whole train of divine virtues.

    16. For, a true lover of God has a love to all that God loves, and an aversion to all that God hates. If any man loves God, he must love truth, mercy, and righteousness, because God is all this himself. He must also delight in humility and meekness, since thereby he is rendered conformable to that meekness and lowly-mindedness which resided in Jesus. On the other hand, a true lover of God cannot but abhor all ungodliness, with all the works of iniquity; because all manner of impiety is enmity against God, and is the work of the devil himself. A lover of God hates a lie, because the devil is the father of lies, and was a liar from the beginning. And this is the reason that every one who loves lies, injustice, and other vicious workings of nature, must needs, in that sense, be the offspring of the devil (see John 8:44); and again, whoever loves Christ, his Lord and Saviour, loves also the example of his pure and holy life, his humility and meekness, his patience, and the other heavenly virtues that appeared in his conduct. And such a one must of necessity be adopted into the number of the children of God.

    17. This love, proceeding out of a “pure heart,” must be obtained from God by prayer and supplication. And truly, God is willing to enkindle in us this heavenly flame through the love [pg 081] of Christ, if he be but earnestly solicited, and if the heart be every day and every moment laid open to his divine influence. If thy love should grow cold and weak at any time, arouse thy heart, faint not, but stir up the grace of God within thee, and be not too much discouraged at it. In the name of God arise again, set to work, and renew the acts of thy first love. As thou art sensible of thy coldness in love, thou mayest be assured from that circumstance, that the eternal light of divine love is not wholly extinguished, although it be eclipsed, and at present give but little heat. Doubt not that thy Saviour will enlighten thee again, and fire thy heart with his love; so that thou mayest sit once more under his shadow, and rejoice in the light of his countenance. At the same time be earnest in prayer and supplications, lest hereafter the flame of this heavenly love should be again deadened in thy heart. Such is love “out of a pure heart,” unmixed with love of the world.

    18. Let us now consider, in the third place, Love, as arising from a “good conscience,” and as it respects our neighbor. The love of God and the love of our neighbor are so closely united, that they can never be separated. The true touchstone of our love to God, is the love which we bear to our neighbor. “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God, love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20, 21. For the love of God cannot dwell in a man who is filled with hatred or malice, or divested of all bowels of love and compassion. If thou hast no pity on thy brother, who stands in need of thy help, how canst thou love God, who needs not anything that is thine, and has commanded thee to express thy love towards him, by bestowing marks of it upon thy brother?

    19. As faith unites to God, so love unites to our neighbor; and as a man is made up of body and soul, so faith and love (that is, the love both of God and of our neighbor) make up a true Christian. Thus he that “dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God.” 1 John 4:16. And since God effectually desires the good of all men, it follows, that he who loves in like manner is of one heart with God; and that he who is otherwise affected is against God, and has not the mind of the Lord, but is the enemy of God as well as of his neighbor. He is, unquestionably, an adversary to God who is an enemy to men.

    20. It is the property of this love to bewail and compassionate the infirmities of others. Gal. 6:1. Indeed, the failings and weaknesses of our fellow-creatures represent to us, as in a mirror, our own imperfections, and remind us of the various defects that encumber our nature. Therefore, when thou seest another overtaken in a fault, consider that thou also thyself art but a man; and learn from thy own infirmities, to bear those of others with patience, meekness, and humility. Rom. 15:7.

    21. Such especially as sin, not from, malice or determined wickedness, but who are surprised into a fault by weakness and inadvertency; and who, coming soon to themselves again, repent of that which they have done, and firmly resolve to watch the more against the snares of Satan for the future; such souls as these are surely [pg 082] to be pitied and assisted. He that does otherwise, shows that he has nothing in him of the merciful and forbearing spirit of Christ. When a man hastily condemns the faults of his neighbor, without feeling any love or compassion, it is an evident sign that he is altogether void of God, and of his merciful spirit. On the contrary, a true Christian, being anointed with the spirit of Christ, treats all men as one that has a fellow-feeling with them, and bears with them in a sympathizing Christian love and tenderness, according to the example of Christ, which he has left us to follow. Therefore, if any man, upon serious search into his inward condition, finds that he has not the love of his neighbor abiding in him, let him know, assuredly, that the love of God remains not in his soul, and that he himself is without God. This should strike him with horror and indignation against himself; it should influence him the more speedily (after repenting of his sin from the bottom of his heart) to reconcile himself to his neighbor, that, in this order, the love of God may also return to him again. Then all his actions, while he continues in this love and faith, are good, holy, and divine; and this love, dwelling in his heart, will actuate him freely and willingly to embrace all men, and with great affection and joy to do them all manner of kindnesses; so that he will “rejoice over them to do them good,” even as God himself. Jer. 32:41.

    22. Without this love, whatever is in man, is diabolical and altogether evil. Nor is there, indeed, any other cause why the devil can do no good, but because he is utterly destitute of love both towards God and man. Hence, all which he does is radically evil, and deprived of all intrinsic goodness. In all that he sets about, he designs nothing but God's dishonor, and man's destruction. He cunningly contrives ways to vent his enmity both upon God and man; and, therefore, he seeks for such hearts as he can fill with spite and envy, and then discharges through them his malice and wrath. “And hereby it is manifest who are the children of God, and the children of the devil.” 1 John 3:10.

    23. Lastly, Love must be “out of faith unfeigned,” that is, we must love God equally in prosperity and adversity. Whoever loves God sincerely, accepts with joy all the dispensations of his Providence, after the example of Christ; who, with a cheerful and ready mind, took up the cross, which he knew that the will of his Father imposed on him. “I have,” says he, “a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened (and in pain) till it be accomplished!” Luke 12:50. In the same manner have all the holy martyrs carried with joy their cross after him.

    24. To those that unfeignedly love God, the cross, which Christ enjoins us to bear, does not prove grievous or burdensome; and this for no other reason, than because it is the yoke of Christ. Matt. 11:29. If the magnet attracts the heavy iron, why should not that heavenly loadstone, the love of God, attract the burden of our cross, and render it light and agreeable; especially after the heart is affected with a touch of the divine love? If the sugar sweeten such herbs as are bitter by nature, why should not the sweetness of the love of God make that pleasant and easy, which to the flesh is nothing but a cross and affliction? And truly it was from the fulness of this love, that the blessed martyrs bore the most exquisite pain [pg 083] with patience and joy; being transported with it to such a degree, as to be almost insensible of their very torments.

    Chapter XXV.

    The Love Of Our Neighbor, More Particularly Considered.

    Of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.—2 Peter 2:19.

    There is no bondage more hard and grievous, than to be under the yoke of the passions: but of all these, none is so cruel as hatred, which so weakens and depresses all the powers both of body and mind, as not to leave to the man one free thought. On the contrary, he who lives in love is free. He is no slave to anger, envy, covetousness, pride, lying, or calumny; and being delivered from these by love, he suffers not himself to be subdued by evil desires, but continues Christ's freeman (1 Cor. 7:22) in the liberty of the Spirit: for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Cor. 3:17. Whosoever, therefore, walks in the love of Christ, is no longer a slave to sin, or a servant to carnal affections; for the Spirit of God's love has freed and purified him from carnal concupiscence. And we see that the love of God extends over all men; of which we not only find sufficient proofs in Scripture, but the footsteps of his universal benignity are also everywhere displayed in nature. We are all equally covered with the heavens, and have all the use of the sun, the air, the earth, and the water; as well they who are of high degree, as they who are of the meanest condition. And the very same mind that is in God towards us, ought also to be in us towards men; God himself having set us a pattern of universal kindness for our imitation. He regards not one more than another, but loves all with an equal affection. With him there is no respect of persons, of dignity, or merit; but he beholds all alike in Christ. This is for our instruction. Now, as God acts towards us, so ought we to act towards our neighbor. And truly, after the same manner as we deal with man, so God will deal with us again. We need not go far to inquire what favor we have with God Almighty. If we but enter into our own conscience, it will impartially tell us, what mind and affection we bear to our neighbor; and as we have done to him, so will God certainly do to us again, and return our works into our own bosom. And in this sense it is said of God, that “with the pure he shews himself pure; and with the froward, shews himself froward” (Ps. 18:26); that is, if thou bearest an evil mind to thy neighbor, God will be thine adversary also.

    2. Since, therefore, God has no need of our service, he has substituted our neighbor in his place, to receive our charity, and has commanded us to pay it as to himself. He has made this love of our neighbor the very touch-stone by which we are to examine the sincerity of our love to God.

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    3. And it is for this reason that he has enjoined the love of our neighbor with so great earnestness, requiring us to show constantly the same love to him which God shows to us. For unless a man be fully reconciled to, and be in perfect charity with his neighbor, he cannot have the favor or grace of God. And although all the sins of the world are atoned for by the death of Christ, and a full pardon obtained, yet all mankind may in some sense be said to be in the same circumstances with the servant in the parable, who had not wherewithal to pay; the king freely remitted him all his debts: but when he afterwards behaved himself cruelly towards his fellow-servant, the king revoked his pardon, and condemned the servant, on account of the hard usage with which he treated his neighbor. Matt. 18:23, etc. This parable Christ concludes with the remarkable expression: “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother, their trespasses.” Verse 35. And, “With the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38.

    4. Hence, it plainly appears, that man was not created for himself alone, but for his neighbor's sake also. So strict is the commandment of loving our neighbor, that when it is broken, the very end of our creation is destroyed, and the love of God is immediately withdrawn from the soul. Nothing is left but the severest justice, judging and condemning all that are void of this charity.

    5. If we duly considered these things, we should never be angry with one another; neither would “the sun ever go down upon our wrath.” Eph. 4:26. It is true, on the one hand, that Christ by his death on the cross has offered a full and complete atonement for all our trespasses, and in this respect, has remitted all our sins at once; yet is it, on the other hand, an awful consideration, that the whole extent of the merits of Christ will be of no avail at all to us, if we continue to hate our brother, and will neither pardon nor love him. We shall be entirely cut off from all the benefits that flow from the atonement.

    6. Hence it appears how important the love of our neighbor must be in the sight of God, binding us even to such a degree, that God refuses to be loved by us, unless we love our neighbor also; so that if we fail in our benevolence toward the latter, we fall at the same time from grace and divine charity. And for this reason, we were created all equal and of the same nature, that we might not despise one other; but, like children of one common parent, live in peace and love, and endeavor to maintain a good and serene conscience.

    7. Now, whoever hates and despises his brother, hates and despises God also, who has forbidden all such animosities in the severest terms. If thou contemnest thy brother, God also contemns thee; which hastens thy judgment and condemnation, and deprives thee of all interest in the merit and redemption of Christ, by which sin is forgiven.

    8. For it cannot be possible that a heart filled with wrath and bitterness, should in any degree reap a saving fruit from the blood of Christ, which was shed from a motive of pure love. Yea, the above parable (Matt. 18:35) plainly convinces us, that God was less offended at the debt of ten thousand talents, than at the barbarous cruelty of which the servant was [pg 085] guilty; he can overlook the debt, but he cannot overlook the want of love. Let us, therefore, ponder the words with which the Lord concludes the parable: “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you.”

    Chapter XXVI.

    Wherefore Our Neighbor Is To Be Loved.

    Owe no man any thing, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.Rom. 13:8.

    “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord? Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?—He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” Micah 6:6-8.

    2. By this question, and the answer to it, the prophet teaches us, wherein the true worship of God properly consists; not in ceremonies and sacrifices, since we are not able to give anything to God, because all is his own already; not in offering up human sacrifices, which he does not require at our hands, but detests and abhors, because they are injurious to Jesus Christ, the great propitiatory oblation which God appointed to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29): but the true worship of God consists in pure faith, which, from the visible effect of it, the prophet here describes, by “doing justly,” that is by the exercise of faith in righteousness, in charity and mercy, (which is more pleasing than all sacrifices); and in true humility and contrition, as it is said: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Ps. 51:17.

    3. To this divine worship, founded within the heart, and proceeding from faith, love, and humility, St. Paul powerfully exhorts us in Rom. 13:8-10. His admonition contains in it both the praise of Christian love, and the perpetual duty in which we stand engaged to our neighbor, and without which it is impossible to serve God aright. For truly there is no other way of serving God, except by that which he himself works in our hearts: so that to serve God, is nothing else but to serve our neighbor, and to do him all the offices of Christian love and humanity which we are able to perform.

    4. The apostle calls love a summary of all virtues, and the “fulfilling of the law.” Rom. 13:10. Not that we are able by any acts of charity, to fulfil perfectly the divine law, or that consequently we can merit eternal life thereby; (which cannot possibly be, except our love were complete in every respect, and arrived to a consummate [pg 086] perfection): but the apostle desires to suggest thereby the wonderful excellency of this virtue, and to incline us, at the same time, to an unfeigned love. As to our righteousness, it is not grounded on any work of ours, but only on the merits of Christ applied to us by faith.

    5. From this righteousness of Christ, apprehended by faith, springs love to our neighbor, together with the whole train of Christian virtues, called by the apostle “fruits of righteousness, which are to the glory and praise of God.” Phil. 1:11. But since the dignity of this virtue is so very eminent, it will be proper to set forth further motives by which the practice of it may be endeared to us.

    6. The first and strongest of all motives, is that which St. John uses: “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16). For who would not wish to be in God, and to remain in Him; and that God should be and remain in him? And who, on the contrary, would not abhor to be in Satan, and to have Satan dwelling in him? And yet this is the ordinary consequence, as often as charity is repulsed, and unnatural animosities are admitted into the heart. For as God is a lover of men, ready to save them from eternal destruction, so the devil is a hater of men. This is further explained by St. John: “He that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1 John 4:7. And again: “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” 1 John 3:10. Now, can there be anything more desirable than to be ranked among the children of God, to be begotten of God, and to know God truly and experimentally? But whoever has his heart void of this love, and has never felt its force and energy, nor tasted its goodness and gentleness, long suffering and patience, this man knows not God, who is pure love. For the knowledge of God must proceed from enjoyment and experience. And how is it possible that a man should know Christ, whilst he is a stranger to love, and to that loving intercourse which subsists betwixt Christ and the soul? Hence it follows, that he that is without love, is without Christ also. But he who is earnest in the exercise of love, shall not be left barren in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ: “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Pet. 1:8.

    7. The second motive is found in what our Lord himself says: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35. Now, in order to be a disciple of Christ, it is not enough to be a Christian in name, or by a mere verbal profession; but to be a disciple of Christ implies much more. Such a one must believe in his name; must love him, imitate him, live in him. He must, in a peculiar manner, adhere to him; must feel the love of Christ infused into his soul, and freely partake of all the gifts and benefits purchased by him. Whoever has not this love of Christ abiding in him, is not Christ's disciple, nor can he pretend to have any share in his merits. For how is it possible that Christ should know a man who has neither faith in, nor any love to him? As a flower is known by its fragrance, and fruit by its flavor, so a true disciple of Christ is known by his love.

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    8. Hence, St. Paul does not hesitate to affirm, that “all gifts without charity are nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2); which is a third motive why we should desire this excellent gift. In truth, neither the knowledge of divers tongues, nor the gift of miracles, nor the understanding of high and sublime mysteries, nor any extraordinary endowments, are sufficient marks by which to know a Christian; this prerogative being entirely reserved to “faith, which worketh by love.” Gal. 5:6. Nor does God require any hard things at our hand (such as the working of miracles), but to exercise love and humility; virtues that may be apprehended by the meanest capacity. Nor will it be demanded of thee in the day of judgment, whether thou hast been versed in arts, tongues, and sciences, or what great parts thou hast possessed in this world; but whether thou hast exercised thyself in faith and love. “I was a hungered,” saith our Saviour, “and ye gave me meat, etc.” Matt. 25:35, etc. And St. Paul says to the Galatians: “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision (no gifts, no parts, no endowments, no respect of persons); but faith which worketh by love.” Gal. 5:6.

    9. Add to these, as a fourth motive, that passage of St. John: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God, love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20, 21. This all the inspired writers teach, that love towards God cannot possibly exist in the soul without love to our neighbor. For he that hates his neighbor must be an enemy to God; because God is a lover of men, and requires us to be of the same mind.

    10. A fifth motive is, that love is the great law of nature, and attended with many things beneficial to mankind, without which we would not be able to live. When any good thing happens to man, it certainly proceeds from divine love. Hence, St. Paul calls love, the “bond of perfectness” (Col. 3:14); and describes, in Rom. 12:9, 10, the excellent fruits that grow upon this stock. And our Saviour himself teaches to the same effect: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matt. 7:12. And this is so universal a truth, that the heathens themselves were, by the very law of nature written in their hearts, convinced of it. Hence they said: “That which you would not should be done to yourself, do not the same to another.” This excellent sentence, the Emperor Severus, a prince adorned with many virtues, had daily in his mouth, and enacted it into a law for the good of the country.

    11. A sixth motive is, that love is a beautiful image and a foretaste of eternal life; when the saints shall love each other sincerely; when they shall delight in one another, and converse together with wonderful and ineffable concord, in an inexpressible sweetness, in unfeigned affection, cheerfulness, and joy. Whoever, therefore, would conceive to himself an image of that marvellous love and harmony, and obtain some foretaste of the exquisite pleasures of the eternal beatitude, let him study this love, in which he will find a singular pleasure, with much peace and tranquillity of mind.

    12. The more pure and fervent our [pg 088] charity is, the nearer it approaches to the divine nature. This is a seventh motive. In God, in Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, there resides the most pure, fervent, and transcendent love. It is then that our love becomes pure, when we love one another, not for the sake of private interest, but for the sake of the love of God, which is the great and unerring pattern which we ought carefully to follow. For God loves us with a disinterested love: but if any man loves his neighbor for his own private profit and interest, his love is not pure at all, nor does it, in any degree, come up to that sublime example which is set us by God Almighty. This makes also the difference betwixt heathen and Christian charity. A Christian loves his neighbor in God and in Christ, disinterestedly and generously, without debasing himself by any ignoble or selfish design. Thus is his love preserved pure and sincere, free from dissimulation, falsehood, and any counterfeit. Whereas the heathens polluted their deeds with self-honor and interest, and other sinister ends, which mingled with the best of their actions. This Christian love, when it becomes a habit in the mind, produces a true fervency of spirit, to perform still greater acts of love and benignity. And it is then that love is truly fervent, when it inspires the lover with great mercy and tenderness towards his fellow-creatures, and prompts to vigorous efforts to relieve their necessity. When he has the affairs of his neighbor as much at heart as his own, then he is ready even to “lay down his very life for the brethren” (1 John 3:16), if need be, or, after the example of Moses and Paul, to be “accursed” for the brethren, and to be “blotted out of the book of God,” if this possibly could be done. Exod. 32:32; Rom. 9:3.

    13. Hence it follows (which is the eighth motive), that we ought also to love our enemies, according to the Lord's precept: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not the publicans the same?” Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:32, etc. Herein consist the excellency and prerogative of a true Christian; namely, to subject nature to this divine principle, to tame flesh and blood, and to overcome the world, and the evil therein with goodness. Rom. 12:21. “If thine enemy hunger, feed him.” Rom. 12:20. It is not enough for a Christian not to hurt his neighbor or enemy; but he is commanded to do him good, and to support him with such aids, as are convenient for him (Exod. 23:4, etc.); whoever refuses to comply with these terms, cannot be a child of God, or a disciple of Christ.

    14. The ninth motive is, that whoever does not practise Christian love and charity, separates himself from the spiritual body of Christ, that is, the Church; and forfeits all the privileges of this body, and even the merits of Christ; there being but “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Eph. 4:5. For as the members when cut off from the body, no longer partake of the life and power of the head, but are dead; so those that do not live in the practice of love and charity, are separate from Christ, the sole Head of the Church, and can receive no power and vital influence out of his fulness. Therefore, St. John says, [pg 089] “He that loveth not his brother, abideth in death.” 1 John 3:14.

    15. Lastly, we ought to love one another, because on the wings of this love the prayer of a Christian ascends to heaven. By prayer, all good gifts are to be obtained; and without prayer, all helps and consolations are expected in vain. But then our prayer must spring from the evangelical principle of love; since God gives ear to no prayers, but to those that are grounded on faith and Christian charity: “If two of you agree on earth, as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 18:19.

    16. Come then, O man! let this sweet agreement and harmony be established among us upon earth. Let us live in the spirit of love, that peace and union may dwell among us; for where peace is, there is the God of peace (2 Cor. 13:11; Rom. 15:33); and where He is, there “he hath also commanded his blessing and life for evermore.” Ps. 133:3.

    Chapter XXVII.

    Wherefore Our Enemies Are To Be Loved.

    Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.Matt. 5:44, 45.

    The first cause why enemies ought to be loved, is the express commandment of God by his Son; for which he gives this reason, “that we may be the children of our Father in heaven,” that is, “of him that loved us when we were yet his enemies.” Rom. 5:10. As if he had said, “Unless you love your enemies, you cannot be the children of the heavenly Father: and he that is not God's son, what father shall he have?” This commandment of the Lord is little practised; alas! how backward we are in bringing forth such fruits as become the children of God! If we be his children, truly we ought to study the great lesson of loving our enemies, that so, in some degree, we may express the character of our Father in heaven.

    2. The Scripture says, “He that loveth not his brother, abideth in death.” 1 John 3:14. And why does he abide in death? Because he has not yet received that vital principle which is to be derived from Christ. The spiritual and heavenly life consists in faith towards God, and in love to our neighbor. Thus, St. John says, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” 1 John 3:14. Whence it is manifest, that love is an undoubted sign and effect of spiritual life or restoration to life in Christ; as hatred to men is an infallible proof of spiritual death and separation from God. And this spiritual death here, will end in eternal death hereafter; of which our Lord faithfully warns us.

    3. Whoever, therefore, suffers his [pg 090] heart to be filled with wrath and bitterness against his neighbor, ought to know assuredly, that even his best performances, his prayer and attendance on divine worship, and other works of that nature, are altogether vain, and of no account before God. St. Paul says, “Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1 Cor. 13:3.

    4. It is, on the other hand, the property of a noble and divine mind, to pardon injuries. Behold how long-suffering God is, and how easily he is reconciled. Ps. 103:8. Consider the example of Christ, the Son of God, who, in the midst of his exquisite torments, like a patient lamb, did not so much as “open his mouth.” Isa. 53:7. Contemplate the nature of the divine Spirit, who appeared in the form of a dove (Matt. 3:16), with a view that by such a representation he might teach us a dove-like meekness of mind, and recommend to us that tender simplicity of manners, which becomes a true Christian. With what patience did Moses bear the reproaches of the people, thus deserving to be called “very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Numb. 12:3. Remember also the conduct of David, and with what lenity of mind he heard the curses of Shimei. 2 Sam. 16:10.

    5. True love teaches us to be angry with none but ourselves. True peace consists not in having much wealth, but in bearing patiently whatever goes against our nature. Should a madman rail at the sun, and curse it for being nothing but darkness, the sun would never be darkened by his reproachful language, but continue his course, and enlighten the world as before. So do thou also, and remember that there is no sweeter or better revenge than to forgive. Such wise and excellent rules were practised by many of the heathens themselves. Pericles, the Grecian orator, having patiently heard a man revile him for the space of a whole day, when night came on, kindly invited him to his house, and entertained him in a friendly manner, saying, “It is easier to speak evil of virtue than to possess it.” Thus Phocion, general of the Athenians, when he had deserved well of his country, but through envy was adjudged to death, and was now about to undergo the sentence, being asked if he had any commands for his son, generously made answer: “None, except that he never take measures to revenge this injury, which I suffer of my country.” The Emperor Titus being told that two brothers had conspired to cause his death, scrupled not to invite them both to sup with him; and in the morning went with them to the theatre, and placed himself betwixt them, to behold the play. Thus with marvellous clemency he overcame, at last, their baseness. And when Cato had committed suicide, Julius Cæsar said: “I have lost a glorious victory; for I had intended to forgive Cato all the evil that he has done to me.”

    6. But after all, as to the man who cannot be influenced by the unspeakable patience and meekness of the Son of God himself, to forgive and to love his enemies, him neither the example of the saints, nor of heathens, will ever be able to melt into love and forbearance. For what greater injustice and barbarity can be conceived, than that the Son of God should be so shamefully treated by the children of men, be scourged with stripes, crowned with thorns, spit upon, and loaded with all [pg 091] the marks of scorn and derision; and lastly, be nailed on the cross? Nevertheless, he was able to bear, with an unshaken firmness, all the affronts and indignities which the malice of men was able to contrive; nay, and freely to pardon all this barbarous usage, and to pray, “Father, forgive them!” Luke 23:34.

    7. And, truly, it was to this very end that our blessed Redeemer set his example before our eyes, that it might be an all-healing medicine for such spiritual diseases as have seized upon us; particularly, that it might abase all pride and loftiness, strengthen what is weak, supply what is defective, and correct what is evil and out of order. Can the distemper of pride be so violent, as not to be healed by the profound humility and lowliness of Christ? Heb. 5:8. Can avarice and covetousness prove so stubborn, as to baffle a remedy derived from that sacred poverty which appeared in Jesus Christ? What wrath is so fierce and vehement, that his meekness and lenity cannot mollify it? What desire of revenge so bitter and barbarous, which his patience cannot assuage and compose? What inhumanity so great and cruel, which the love of Christ cannot warm into a sweet and compassionate temper? And what heart can be so hard and obdurate, as not to be melted with the tears of Jesus Christ himself?

    8. Who would not heartily wish to be made like God the Father, his Son, and the Holy Ghost, and to carry within him the excellent image of the sacred Trinity, which chiefly consists in love and forgiveness? For it is the highest of all the divine properties, to show compassion and mercy, to spare and to pardon, to be kind and gracious: and that must be undoubtedly one of the sublimest virtues, which makes us bear the nearest resemblance to the Most High God, and to all such persons as are the most conspicuous for goodness and virtue.

    9. Lastly, the highest degree of virtue is, when a man, overcoming himself, is ready at any time to forget injuries, to pardon offences, and to show acts of favor and clemency. “He that is slow to anger,” says Solomon, “is better than the mighty: and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.” Prov. 16:32. This is the highest step of the soul's ascension in her spiritual exercise; and when she has attained it, she rests in God, and is perfect in him.

    Chapter XXVIII.

    Showing How The Love Of The Creator Should Be Preferred To That Of All Creatures; And How Our Neighbor Is To Be Loved In God.

    If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.—1 John 2:15.

    The heart of man is so constituted, that it cannot exist without love; it must love God, or the world, or self. If, therefore, man be under so strong a compulsion to love, let him direct his love to God, the supreme Good, and give up that affection to Him, who originally planted it in man, and [pg 092] kindled it by his good Spirit; and who is still ready, at our fervent request, to rekindle this flame in the soul. His love to us is still the great principle that produces our love to him: and if his love to us meet with a suitable return on our side, then his love will, day by day, more ardently embrace us. For love begets love, according to the words of the Lord: “He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father.” John 14:21.

    2. Wherever the love of God resides, it disposes the soul freely to love all men, and not only to wish them well, but to do them all proper acts of love and beneficence; this being the property of that love which is grounded in God, and derived from him. Such a lover of God and of his neighbor, will never hurt or defraud any man in word or deed.

    3. But the generality of the people are engrossed so much with the love of the world, that they never even admit the love of God into their hearts. This is plain from that false love with which they treat their neighbor, and which, under a show of friendship, seeks nothing but temporal advantage. Nothing in the world should be loved to such a degree, as to injure the love of God, or to come in competition with it; especially since there is so great a vanity and vileness in the world, and so great a worth and majesty in God, as that no comparison can ever be made betwixt them. As God infinitely excels all his creatures, so the love of God infinitely excels in holiness and dignity all the love we can bear to the creature, and is in no wise to be compared with it. No love to the creature ought to have sufficient weight with us, to make us offend the love of God, or to act in opposition to the same.

    4. St. Paul says: “Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof?” 1 Cor. 9:7. These words may not improperly be applied to this case. Who is more worthy of our love, than he that hath planted it in our hearts, and to whose love we owe our life and being? And as we all live by the love of God in Christ, so we should all adhere to this love, and make it our constant support even in the time of adversity. As a pilot in tempestuous weather, does not leave the ship to the mercy of the billows, but secures it by the anchor as well as he can, and stays its unruly motions; so in like manner, when the ship of our faith is tossed about in the sea of this world, and beset on all sides with the temptations of sin and vanity, of wrath and pride, of lust and avarice, we should hold to the love of Christ, and not suffer our hearts to be removed from that spiritual steadfastness, which is to carry us safe through all the tempests of this perverse and boisterous world. Romans 8:38, 39. Thus, when sin and death, the devil and hell, tribulation and persecution, and other miseries, threaten to overwhelm us, we are then to hold fast the love of God manifested in Christ Jesus. This divine love is like that mountain of salvation which was showed to Lot when he went out of Sodom, to escape the fire of that accursed place. Gen. 19:17.

    5. The fire of lust, attended with everlasting flames and torments, is worse than that of Sodom. But the love and fear of God are a sovereign remedy against this profane love, and against any motion contrary to its pure and heavenly nature. It was this divine fear and love which preserved Joseph from the enticements of Potiphar's wife, and it still guards [pg 093] us against the snares of an evil world. Gen. 39:9.

    6. No man can love the world, but he who has never tasted the love of God; nor can any man hate, defraud, or circumvent his neighbor in anything, but he that does not love God from his heart. Whence arise all the anxious cares of this life, that grief and vexation of spirit with which poor mortals are disturbed? Surely, from nothing but from a want of the love of God. For the sweetness of divine love is so strong and effectual, that it mitigates the sense of all the miseries that are incident to this life. This love renders a man happy even in death itself.

    7. Again, such is the nature of love, that it influences a man to lay aside all thoughts about anything else, and to fix his attention entirely on the beloved object, in order to possess and enjoy that alone. Why then are the children of men so much besotted with the things of this world? Why do they not entirely forget all wealth and honor, lust and riches, that they may enjoy him alone, whom they profess to love? This was in former times the constant practice of the holy men of God; whom the exquisite sweetness of this divine love had so much overpowered, as to make them forget the whole world, and even themselves also. Hence they were accounted fools in the world, when at the same time they were the wisest of all men; and their despisers most deserved the name of fools and madmen, as preferring a handful of frail and transient things, to everlasting and never-fading prosperity. Those are the greatest fools, who call the godly by that name, who, setting their love on things above, are deeply concerned to obtain and eternally enjoy them. 1 Cor. 3:19; 4:10.

    8. A true lover of God, loves God as if there were nothing in the whole universe to love but God alone. And for this reason, he finds all that in God, which he sought before in the world. For God hath in himself all things essentially, whatever we can desire. He is true honor and joy; he is peace and pleasure; he is wealth and magnificence. With him are light and life, glory and majesty, and all those delights that the heart of man can desire. All is found in a more substantial and transcendent manner in God, than it is in the world. If, therefore, thou lovest any creature, for the sake of beauty, transfer thy love to God, who is the fountain of all beauty. If thou wouldst love that which is good, fix thy love upon God, who is the eternal source of all goodness, nay, the essential Good itself, and without whom there is no goodness at all. Matt. 19:17. For whatever goodness the creature may seem to possess, it is but an inconsiderable drop derived out of the ocean of the infinite goodness of God, and which is besides impaired by many frailties and imperfections that adhere to it.

    9. To conclude—is it not far better to set thy love and affections on God alone, the unexhausted fountain and well-spring of all perfection and goodness? The less a thing has of earthly gravity in it, the lighter it is, and the more easily is it carried upwards. So it is with the soul; the more it cleaves to earthly things, and is pressed down by them to the ground, the less ability has it to raise itself to God, and rejoice in its Maker. In a word, the less a man loves this world, the more will the love of God and of his neighbor prevail in the soul.

    10. Hence it follows that he that [pg 094] loveth God, cannot but love his neighbor also, and he that dares to offend God, will not forbear to offend his neighbor.

    Chapter XXIX.

    Of That Reconciliation To Our Neighbor, Without Which God Withdraws His Grace.

    First be reconciled to thy brother.Matt. 5:24.

    Every one who desires to be reconciled to God, must of necessity endeavor to reconcile himself to his neighbor; because God takes the injury which is offered to man, as offered to himself, and the evil done to man, as done to himself.

    2. When, therefore, any one offends both God and man, he cannot be restored to the favor of God before he is reconciled to man his neighbor; for having offended them both, he must also be reconciled to both, which is expressly attested by Christ himself: “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Matt. 5:23, 24.

    3. It will be needful, therefore, to say something further of the love of God and of our neighbor, and to show how impossible it is to separate the one from the other: and again, that this reconciliation, so joined together, proves the true source of brotherly love and affection.

    4. This the beloved disciple has expressed as follows: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he that loveth God love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20, 21. So utterly impossible is it, that the love of God should subsist without the love of our neighbor. Hence, also, it follows, that he who truly and unfeignedly loves God, will also embrace his neighbor with the same sincere affection. And again, if the love which we profess to bear to God be hypocritical and false, then the love with which we seem to love our neighbor, will rise no higher than its principle, but prove false likewise. Therefore, the love of our neighbor is the test of our love of God, by the right application of which, the truth or falsehood of that love will easily be discovered.

    5. This consideration gives us a true insight into the love of our neighbor, and that brotherly reconciliation which ought to attend it. There is a twofold object given by God to man, to which all the actions of his life are constantly to tend; namely, the love of God, and of our neighbor. Into this, all our endeavors ought finally to be resolved, and we ought to make a daily progress in this holy exercise; since we are to this very end, created, redeemed, and sanctified. In a word, Christ himself is the one and only scope in which all our actions ought to centre. Now, the more we approach to love, the more [pg 095] we approach to Christ, and the better we imitate his unblamable life.

    6. For this end God was made man, or, the Word was made flesh, that he might set before our eyes a most lovely and living image of his infinite love and kindness, and that from hence it might appear, that God was Love itself; love in His own immense, incomprehensible, and unsearchable essence; and that man, by viewing so amiable an object of love as is displayed in Christ Jesus, might be transformed into the same image day by day.

    7. Furthermore, as, in Christ, God and man are united together by an indissoluble tie, so the love of God is so closely connected with the love of our neighbor, that the former cannot exist without the latter. Nay, the love of God and of our neighbor can be no more disjoined or put asunder, than the divine and human natures in Christ. And as he who injures the humanity of Christ cannot but affront his divinity also; so he who offends man, is in like manner guilty of offending the infinite God himself. We cannot be angry with our neighbor, without being, at the same time, angry with God!

    8. We will illustrate what has been said, by the following comparison. When a circle is made, and from its centre a number of lines are drawn to the circumference, all these lines, though ever so distant in the circumference, meet together in the point, which is in the middle. Here they are all united in one, and all flow into one, be they ever so wide asunder, yea, even directly opposite one to the other. Not one of all the lines, let their number be ever so great, can be broken from the rest, without losing its communication with the centre itself, wherein they all meet. So God is a point, or a centre, whose circumference is everywhere, extending in a manner, to all men upon earth. Whoever presumes to break off the lines of his love from his neighbor, must, in like manner, disjoin and break them off from God at the same time. And as all these lines cohere and concur in the centre, and therein mutually affect one another, so is there a sort of central sympathy, and a fellow-feeling, as it were, of the sufferings of our neighbor, provided we be but all united in God, the great centre of all good Christians.

    9. The truth of what has been said, is forcibly illustrated in the history of Job. When the tidings were brought him, that his temporal goods were destroyed, it appears that he quietly bore the loss of them, without giving any great sign of discontent at the appointments of Providence. He still continued to bless the Lord, and freely to own, that he who had given him his property, had also a right to take it away whenever he pleased. But when he was told, that he had also lost his children, then indeed it went to his heart: then he “arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground.” Job. 1:20. So let every true Christian act when he hears of the calamity of his neighbor (here represented by the children of Job); knowing that he ought more to be affected with the misery of his neighbor, than with the loss of all his worldly substance. For it is the property of true love, to be moved with the miseries of other men more than with our own losses. O, happy men! if they would live together in mutual love and affection! Then frauds would cease; then injuries would be known no more, nor would there be any complaint [pg 096] of unjust ways, or of underhand dealings.

    10. In order that this might be the more deeply impressed on the heart, God was pleased to create but one man in the beginning, together with Eve, who was soon afterwards made. Gen. 2:21, 22. This was done, that all mankind, springing up from one original stock, and, as it were, from one root, might all unite in mutual kindness and brotherly affection with one another. This is the reason why God did not create a multitude of men in the beginning, but one only; whereas he created many beasts, trees and herbs at once.

    11. The love which God commands us to pursue, is of that agreeable nature, and of that incomparable sweetness, that it does not in the least burden either a man's soul or body. Nay, it renders the mind easy under every event, is most agreeable to our very nature, and in every respect attended with a quiet and blessed life. But if the same God who has enjoined thee to love thy neighbor, had commanded thee to hate him, thou wouldest then have had cause to complain of hard usage, and of a far heavier burden than that which love can possibly impose upon thee. For the spirit of hatred and revenge is a tormentor of the soul, and a daily grief and vexation to those that are enslaved by it. On the contrary, love refreshes the whole man; and is so far from weakening or destroying body or soul (which is the common effect of hatred and envy), that it is a great preserver of both, and exhilarates them by the healing influence which it carries with it. In a word, to those that love God, it is a pleasure to love their neighbor also; but those who do not love God think it a hard and difficult task to embrace their neighbor with brotherly love.

    12. But if thy depraved nature should still find it a hard task to love thy neighbor, then consider how much harder it will be to be banished forever from the presence of God, and to endure the pangs of hell to all eternity. Wretched is the man, who makes so sad a choice as to prefer hell-torments to a friendly reconciliation. Our own experience would soon convince us, if we made the trial, that as by faith we enjoy solid peace with God (as the apostle assures us, Rom. 5:1); so by Christian love and reconciliation we enjoy peace with men, together with much ease and tranquillity of heart: whereas, on the contrary, a mind full of rancor and malice frets itself, and has no other reward to expect than the lashes of an unruly conscience.

    13. The sum of all this is: Every virtue rewards its followers with peace of conscience; and every vice punishes those that commit it with the recompense which they deserve. Every virtue exalts those that practise it; and every vice covers its slaves with shame.

    14. With regard to the order and method by which we are to proceed in working out a sound reconciliation with our offended neighbor, the Scripture is explicit. The terms of reconciliation are these: 1. The offender is to confess his sin to his neighbor whom he has offended. 2. He is faithfully to restore that of which he has defrauded his neighbor; that is, he ought to return not only the principal, but also the fifth part over and above it. 3. If there be none to receive it, he is then to offer it unto the Lord himself. Numb. 5:7, 8.

    15. This restitution of things unlawfully taken away, is commanded [pg 097] in such strong and expressive words, as to show that it is absolutely a necessary part of unfeigned repentance. St. Augustine has thus expressed his mind on this subject: “The sin is not remitted, unless the thing unlawfully taken away be restored.”“When the thing that is taken away may be restored, and is not restored, there is no true, but a feigned repentance.”

    16. And truly it is the property of unfeigned repentance to contemn all earthly things, and count them as loss (Phil. 3:8), in respect of that abounding grace which is bestowed upon a penitent sinner. Of this we have a glorious instance in Zaccheus, and in his conversion to God (Luke 19:8); who has had, however, comparatively few followers in this age. Sound conversion to God cleanses the heart, and purifies the conscience, by faith in Christ; it breaks the power of sin, and by influencing a man to restore such things as are wrongfully detained, not only clears the heart before God, but also the outward conduct in the eye of the world. For in the heart and conscience a man is a thief before God, as long as he keeps any thing back that is taken away, however he may cease to steal hereafter. Therefore, in order that repentance may prove true, and the conscience be freed from guilt, all possible restitution is to be made: or if a man be not able to make full restitution, he ought fervently to implore the Lord, that he himself, in his stead, would restore the things taken from his neighbor, and thus do justice.

    17. Since a sinner is thus bound in a twofold respect to God and to his neighbor, in order that his repentance may be full and efficacious, it is required that both be satisfied. God does not accept any man's repentance, unless he be first reconciled to his neighbor. Therefore, it is to no purpose if thou shouldest say unto God: “Merciful God, I confess that I have offended and injured my neighbor; I have damaged him by wicked usury and fraud; and have dealt so with him, as I would not that another should deal with me: which iniquity I humbly entreat thee, O Lord, to pardon for thy dear Son's sake.” Be not deceived; God will not be mocked! He repels thy prayer, and saith: “Restore first that which with fraud and usury thou hast taken from thy neighbor, and then thy pardon shall be ready.” Not as if a man merited the pardon of God by this restitution; this is a debt due to his neighbor, and how can he pretend to merit any thing by that restitution which he is so engaged to make, and which the law of God expressly enjoins? For thus hath the Lord commanded: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Matt. 7:12. “For with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38.

    18. The same truth is confirmed by the following Scriptures: “Leave thy gift (oblation or sacrifice) before the altar and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Matt. 5:24. “Cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isa. 1:16-18. And again, by the same prophet the Lord thus reasons: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, [pg 098] and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.” Isa. 58:6-8.

    19. All these Scriptures, with one consent, proclaim this great truth,—that God will not accept the repentance of any man, or hear his prayer, or regard his alms and oblations, unless he be first reconciled to his neighbor, and make him all the restitution that is in his power.

    Chapter XXX.

    Of The Fruits Of Love.

    Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.—1 Cor. 13:4-7.

    Even as the tree of life stood in the midst of Paradise (Gen. 2:9); so Jesus Christ stands in the Paradise of the Christian Church, in order that all believers might derive life and strength from him. The whole substance of the Christian religion consists in faith and love. As by faith in Christ, the life of a Christian is rendered acceptable to God (the life which he lives being not so much his own, as the life of Christ in him); so Love proves the fruitful principle of all such charitable acts as relate to his neighbor. And so true is it, that all virtues, how shining soever they may be, are of no account without charity; that even faith itself is counted dead if it be without love. James 2:17. For although faith, as it respects justification, has no regard to works, either preceding, accompanying, or following it, but to Jesus Christ only, on whom it lays hold; yet is that faith but mere show and pretence which is not attended with love, though it should even work miracles. For as a body destitute of a soul is dead; so the inward spiritual man, if he have not love, is dead in all his members. Therefore hath the apostle declared, that faith should work by love. Gal. 5:6. It is true that faith justifies a sinner without works (Rom. 4:6); yet when it performs the functions of mutual love among men, it will necessarily be accompanied with a train of good works; this being the true test by which genuine faith can be distinguished from all counterfeits. This is that faith which works by love; this is the tree which bears abundance of fruits, as from the following considerations will farther appear.

    2. The first of these fruits is long-suffering. “Charity suffereth long.” [pg 099] The nature and constitution of this virtue no one ever more fully expressed than Christ himself, the true tree of life, whose goodly and salutary fruits we ought to eat, and to convert into our own substance and nature. As he by his wonderful long-suffering bore the malice of the world, that thereby sinners might be brought to repentance (Rom. 2:4); so do thou also, O man, order thy life and manners, that it may appear evident, that the meek and gentle Christ lives in thee, and that thou mayest continue in him, as a member firmly united to its head.

    3. The second fruit is kindness. “Charity is kind.” This virtue was also most eminently seen in Christ Jesus, and in that example which he hath set us. David says: “Grace is poured into thy lips.” Ps. 45:2. And the Evangelist tells us, that “they wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.” Luke 4:22. To these words do thou give attention, O man, and follow this great pattern of love and benignity, that so Christ may also speak by thy mouth, and that thou mayest remain united to him in perpetual charity.

    4. The third fruit is, not to be envious and revengeful, but to be ready to remit any offence whatsoever. “Charity envieth not.” Nothing is more agreeable to the nature of God, than to forgive. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide, neither will he keep his anger forever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” Ps. 103:8-10. “If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him; in his righteousness that he hath done, he shall live.” Ezek. 18:21, 22. “Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still; therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.” Jer. 31:20. And lastly, this divine goodness is most clearly expressed by Isaiah, and represented as the very character of God: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, for my own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isa. 43:25. Therefore be thou in this respect also like unto the merciful God. Forgive, I say, and forget the trespasses of thy neighbor, that so, in like manner, Christ may also forgive thine offences and transgressions. It is then that the same mind is in thee which was also in Christ. And in this order alone thou shalt obtain fellowship with him.

    5. The fourth fruit is candor. “Charity vaunteth not itself.” A kind and charitable man does not misjudge his neighbor, vaunt it over him, rashly censure him, or disingenuously deride him before others. True love is altogether averse to these unfair proceedings. Whoever sincerely loves his neighbor, shows his heart in his countenance, and does all things ingenuously, and without guile. A visible example hereof Christ himself hath left us, whose deportment was equal both to friends and enemies, and who from the bottom of his heart endeavored most earnestly to promote the salvation of mankind. Let this be an example to thee, O man, and follow in thy Master's footsteps, that so the candor which was in Christ, may also [pg 100] shine forth in thy life and conduct. As the Lord has most heartily espoused our good and interest, so ought we in like manner, to do the same among ourselves also; if we wish to partake of the nature of Christ, and to be united to him, as living members to their Head and Saviour.

    6. The fifth fruit is, not to be “puffed up.” Charity is not of a haughty and supercilious temper. It is not swelled with high conceit on account of its own deeds and performances. Behold again thy Lord Jesus! When a woman, in a great concourse of people, lifted up her voice and said: “Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked,” “Yea,” replied he, “rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:27, 28); humbly removing from himself that praise which was entirely due to him, and resigning it to those that truly loved the Lord. If thou also resolvest to do this, then verily the humble Jesus lives in thee, and thou livest in him; it being the constant character of true charity, to transfer the praises of men to another whom it esteems more worthy of them.

    7. The sixth effect of charity is, “not to behave itself unseemly.” A man endued with love, is not easily soured with discontent, or with any morose humor. His conversation is easy, obliging, and so concordant with all the offices of love and humanity, that the kindness residing within may even be read in his countenance. Of this sweetness of temper, the Lord Jesus hath left us a most bright and holy pattern. He did all with a spirit of mildness; and when he conversed with sinners, then pity and compassion visibly appeared in his very mien and aspect. This sweet temper of Christ ought also to be transfused into our souls, so that our life may prove a transcript of this most blessed original.

    8. The seventh fruit of true love is, “not to seek her own.” A true Christian has by love obtained such enlargement and liberty of soul, as to serve his fellow-creatures freely, without any view to self-interest. Nothing is more pleasing to him than to do good to all without the least expectation of gain. This pure and disinterested love originally dwells in God Almighty. He gives all things freely, without receiving any profit at all. He commands us to fear and worship him, for no other reason than to make us proper objects of his divine love and benignity. And, lo! what a glorious pattern of disinterested love Christ has set before us! Matt. 20:28. As a tree, without respect of persons, imparts its fruit to all in the most ample and universal manner; so has Christ, and God in Christ, given himself unto us as the greatest and most excellent Good. Go now, O man! and practise the same virtue; that so Christ, the ever-living vine, may bud in thee, and that thou mayest become a fruitful plantation of the Lord. Isaiah 61:3.

    9. The eighth fruit of true love is, “not to be easily provoked.” A man that has tasted of true love, is not apt to entertain any bitterness, much less to vent it by cursing and railing words. Contemplate again the life of Jesus, who did not so much as open his mouth against his enemies, nor pour forth any bitter and vehement speeches, but gave blessing and life to those that hated him. Isaiah 11:3; 42:2. And though he, indeed, denounced wrath against Chorazin, Capernaum, and Bethsaida, and uttered many woes against the Pharisees (Luke 10:13; [pg 101] 11:42); yet this did not proceed from a bitter or revengeful temper; but was no more than a serious and earnest exhortation to true and unfeigned repentance, that so the offenders might at last be saved. Therefore, let us be cautious, lest any root of bitterness should at any time spring up in us, and so hinder our charity, and thus many be offended. Heb. 12:15.

    10. The ninth fruit of charity is, “to think no evil.” This is also the property of God Almighty, as he himself testifies: “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:11, 13. Whence it follows that whosoever has thoughts of peace towards his neighbor, has the mind of Christ, and is animated and influenced by his Spirit.

    11. The tenth fruit is, “Love rejoiceth not in iniquity,” nor has it pleasure in the injury or oppression of good men, as Shimei had when David fled before Absalom. 2 Sam. 16:5, 6. On the contrary, true love imitates Christ Jesus, who, with a tender compassion, beholding with a mournful countenance, the fall of Peter (Luke 22:61), raised and reclaimed him, and thereby fulfilled the words of the Psalmist: “God raises them that are bowed down.” Ps. 146:8. And how did he deplore the evil which was hanging over the men of Judea, and the destruction of their temple and city! Luke 19:41; 15:4. With what fervency, with what a hearty desire, did he bring his wandering sheep into the right way; and with what a sweet and gentle voice did he allure them home! Let us imitate so great a master of love; and if any one be overtaken in a fault, let us bewail his case, instruct him in the spirit of meekness, and bear his burden, that so we may fulfil the law of Christ. Gal. 6:2. For he did first bear himself the burden of our sins, that we, being made his living members, might be formed to the same temper by him, who is the Head of the Church.

    12. The eleventh property of charity is, that it “rejoiceth in the truth,” and is exceedingly pleased with a Christian order of things. Of this we have an example in Christ Jesus, who, at the return of the seventy disciples, rejoiced in spirit and praised his Father for the success which had attended their function. Luke 10:21. Thus also the angels in heaven rejoice (as Christ himself teaches us), over the conversion of a sinner. Luke 15:10. Whoever, therefore, seriously lays to heart the practice of so Christian a virtue, manifests thereby an angelical temper of mind: nay, it is a proof that the very mind of Christ, yea, of God himself, resides in that soul.

    13. The twelfth fruit of charity is, to “bear all things,” in order to preserve the bond of peace and of mutual friendship. Love patiently bears the infirmities of others, after the example of St. Paul, who was made weak with the weak, that he might profit the weak: nay, he was made all things, if by any means he might be an instrument to save some. 1 Cor. 9:22. The same heavenly love believeth all things, and suspects no evil of its neighbor; hopeth all things, praying and desiring that peace and happiness may constantly accompany our fellow-creatures. And, lastly, true love endureth all things for the sake of benefiting a neighbor; all which our blessed Redeemer, by his own example, has most feelingly taught us. He bore all manner of reproaches [pg 102] and injuries for our sins; he underwent most inhuman scourgings and buffetings, with extreme poverty, that in him, and by him, we might obtain everlasting joy and honor.

    14. The thirteenth fruit of love is, “not to faint or be weary,” in doing good. Herein it is like God, whose mercy is from everlasting to everlasting upon those that fear him. Ps. 103:17; Luke 1:50. God expects and waits that he may be gracious unto us. Isa. 30:18. In order that he might have mercy on us, he rose up to spare us, and he loves to be exalted in showing mercy. His love is stronger than death, which many waters are not able to quench, and from which nothing can ever separate us. Cant. 8:7. He hath mercy on us with everlasting mercies. And though he declares, on a certain occasion, that he is “weary with repenting” (Jer. 15:6); yet is this confined to those only who wilfully reject the tender of his mercy, who despise his grace, and abuse his goodness: and in no wise affects those that heartily fear him. “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isa. 54:10. After this standard of divine mercy, we ought also to regulate the love we bear to our neighbor, so that it may never fail or faint in acts of humanity and kindness; no, not even in those which we are bound to bestow on our very enemies. As Christ did, so ought we, from a compassionate and never-failing love, to pray, “Father, forgive them.” Luke 23:34.

    15. In a word, Love is the greatest, the best, and the noblest of all virtues. First, because God himself is love. 1 John 4:16. Secondly, because it is the fulfilling and the summary or comprehension of the whole law. Rom. 13:10. Thirdly, because it is eternal and never-failing, so that it is not like faith and hope, which vanish away when that happiness appears which is the end of faith. 1 Cor. 13:8. Fourthly, because all good works and services done to our neighbor without it, are vain and of no account before God. And lastly, because love gives us an assurance here, that by faith in Christ we shall inherit life eternal hereafter. Hence it follows, that Christian love must excel all other gifts and graces whatsoever, and that our main concern ought to centre in so divine a virtue. Nothing, certainly, can be greater than experimentally to know that love of Christ which “passeth all knowledge,” that we may be filled with all the fulness of God, and the fruits of love. Eph. 3:19.

    [pg 103]

    Chapter XXXI.

    Pride And Self-Love Corrupt And Destroy Even The Best And Noblest Gifts.

    Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal, etc.—1 Cor. 13:1, etc.

    Lest any should wonder why St. Paul sets forth the virtue of charity with so many high and eminent praises; we are to consider that God is love; and that, consequently, the same praise belongs to both: nor can there be a greater virtue in God or man, than love.

    2. But our love is twofold: the one true, living, sincere, and undefiled; the other false, polluted, hypocritical, and selfish. The former of these St. Paul has most amply described, and exhibited all the fruits and properties that attend it, of which we have already spoken. The latter kind, which is false and polluted, may sometimes seem, indeed, to promote the glory of God, and the profit of mankind; yet inwardly, and in the heart, it seeks nothing either in word or deed, but private honor and interest only. Now whatever flows from this fountain of false love, proceeds not from God, but from the devil; for it is a poison infecting the very best of works, and the most excellent gifts conferred on man.

    3. As a flower, that in sight, taste, and smell, is sweet and beautiful, is rejected with disgust, if it contain secret venom, because it is hurtful to man; so, though a man be adorned with the most exquisite parts, and the very gifts of angels themselves, if he be void of charity, and full of avarice, pride, self-love, and self-honor, then all those gifts not only prove of no value, but become pernicious to him that possesses them. For whatever is really good, always proceeds from God himself, so as to begin and end in him. Whatever deviates from this beginning and end, can never be really good, nor acceptable to the Lord. That which this good God works in thy heart, is truly good, and only good: but it is quite otherwise if self-love, self-honor, and self-interest, bear the sway in thy soul, and influence the actions of thy life. All that springs from so depraved a principle, must be of the same nature with the principle whence it flows, corrupt and defiled, since it does not proceed from God as from its original cause and moving principle; God alone is good. Matt. 19:17.

    4. It is said that it was the wish of a certain saint of old, that he might be of no other use to God, than his own right hand was to himself; an instrument, ready to give and to receive what was fit, and this in the manner directed by the soul; arrogating neither honor nor profit to itself. And, indeed, it is right that we all should be of the same temper. For as all things come freely from God to us, so we should return all things freely to our neighbor, from a principle of pure love, and in true singleness of heart, without any desire of glory or self-interest. For as God alone is the author of all that is good; so it is but just that all honor and glory should be given to him alone. Man is but an instrument, [pg 104] made fit to receive and to deliver what God bestows upon him.

    5. Now if a man be without this sincere and pure love, he is, notwithstanding all his gifts and endowments, a mere nothing, and of no account in the sight of God. Though he speak with the tongues of angels; though he prophesy, and know all mysteries, and have such faith as even to remove mountains; and though he should moreover bestow all that he has among the poor, and give his body to be burned; all this will avail him nothing at last, and stand him in no stead when he is to have his trial. 1 Cor. 13:1-3.

    6. The reason is plain. Self-love, self-honor, and self-interest, are of the devil, who thereby procured his own downfall from heaven. For after God had created Lucifer a most glorious angel, and adorned him with the most excellent gifts of wisdom, light, and glory, he began to pride himself in his gifts, and to love, honor, and exalt himself. This self-complacency proved the very first step to his ruin. He turned his love from God to himself, and was deservedly driven from his principality, together with all such as adhered to him, and whom he had infected with the same pride and self-love. Not contented with his estate or principality, he aspired too high, and lost all which the Creator had conferred upon him, according to St. Jude: “The angels kept not their first estate.” Jude 6. See also Col. 2:15.

    7. By the same sin which had effected his own ruin, Satan attempted the ruin of man, namely, by diverting him from the love of God to the love of himself. Hereby self-love and self-honor began to act in man, and influenced him to seek equality with God himself. Hence he was cast out of Paradise, as Lucifer had been before cast out of heaven, leaving to us all the heritage of pride and self-love. And this is the fall of Adam, which all men in themselves repeat; and which is transmitted through flesh and blood, from one generation to another.

    8. The remedy by which a thorough cure may be wrought in fallen man, is wholly to be sought in the precious merit of Christ apprehended by faith. By this we are renewed in Christ, and the flesh is crucified, with its sinful desires. Then we love ourselves no more, but on the contrary, even hate ourselves. Luke 14:26. We do not honor or extol, but deny and mortify ourselves. We no more seek our own glory and interest; but, denying all we have, we withdraw our pleasure and trust from everything whatsoever it be (Luke 14:33), and manfully fight with our own flesh and blood. Whosoever refuses to comply with these terms, can in no case be a disciple of Christ; since this is the only means by which the natural degeneracy of our heart is to be subdued, and a sound conversion is to be effected.

    9. Since it was utterly impossible that man, by his own natural strength, should restore himself (for of himself, he can do nothing but love himself, boast of himself, and seek his own ends and interest; or, to sum up all in a word, commit sin); God, in his infinite mercy, was moved to commiserate man's fallen condition, and to make the very beginning of the work of man's restoration. In order to this, the Son of God took the form of a man upon him, thereby to renew our nature, that, being regenerated by him, in him, and from him, we might become new creatures. For as in Adam we are dead both bodily and spiritually, so we ought to rise again in Christ, and [pg 105] be renewed both in spirit and body. 1 Cor. 15:22. And as by a carnal descent from Adam, sin, self-love and pride cleave to our nature; so in Christ, by a spiritual birth, we must be justified, and inherit by faith his righteousness. And, as by our carnal birth, we draw our sin from Adam, especially self-love, pride, and ambition; so from Christ, by faith, and by the Holy Ghost, our nature is to be renewed, cleansed, and sanctified. All self-love, pride, and ambition, are to die in us, in order that we may attain a new heart and a new spirit from Christ, even as we received our sinful flesh from Adam. And with reference to this new birth in us, Christ is called the everlasting Father. Isaiah 9:6.

    10. Hence it follows, that all the works of a Christian, together with his gifts and talents, ought to proceed purely from the new birth, if ever they be acceptable to God; and that they ought to spring from faith, from Christ, and from the Holy Ghost. Wherever this principle is wanting, there the most excellent parts, and even miracles themselves, are of no account at all before God. So with respect to our neighbor, all things ought to be done in Christian charity (1 Cor. 16:14), without any view to private gain, or honor; as a pattern of which God has set his Son before us (John 13:15), in whom there was no spot of self-love or arrogance; no desire of profit or praise; nay, in whom nothing resided but pure and undefiled love and humility. He is inwardly to live in our hearts by faith, and outwardly to be expressed in our whole life and conduct. It is then, that all our works, words, and knowledge, wholly proceed from Christ, as from their original source. Without this divine principle settled within the mind, all our gifts and works, be they ever so high and angelical, are insignificant, and of no worth. For wherever self-love sways the soul, there must be a hatred of God; where pride rules, it engenders a contempt of God; and how can works springing from so vitiated a principle, ever be acceptable to the Lord?

    11. Let us, therefore, most fervently beseech the Lord, to give us true faith and sincere love; a love not defiled with any desire of vain honor, profit, and glory. Whenever this divine temper is obtained and established in the heart, it is followed with this happy effect, that thereby not only great and illustrious endowments and works are made acceptable to God, but also the least and meanest of all, even the gift of a cup of cold water. Matt. 10:42. For a small work proceeding from sincere love and humility, is far more excellent than all the splendid works that are raised on no other foundation than pride and self-love.

    [pg 106]

    Chapter XXXII.

    Great Gifts Do Not Demonstrate A Man To Be A Christian, But Faith That Works By Love.

    The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.—1 Cor. 4:20.

    St. Paul, intending to describe a Christian in a few words, says: “The end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” 1 Tim. 1:5. As if he had said: To be a Christian, and to render ourselves acceptable in the sight of God, requires nothing hard and lofty; no worldly wisdom, no human learning, no great parts, no gift of prophesying, no eloquence, no knowledge of tongues, no miracles: but only that a man have faith in Christ; that he do all things in love, and with a mind wholly resigned to God; and that he suffer himself to be led and governed by the good Spirit of God.

    2. We should not, therefore, regard how many languages a man speaks, or how eloquent he is in his delivery; but how he shows forth his faith by love, and by the mortification of the flesh. “For they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24): under which are included self-esteem, self-love, covetousness, vain-boasting, ambition, self-interest, and all else that is carnal. To which purpose also St. Paul says, that “the kingdom of God is not in word,” or in great gifts and endowments, “but in power” (1 Cor. 4:20); that is, in a living exercise of Christian virtues, of faith, love, meekness, patience, and humility.

    3. Therefore, no man is in favor with God, or is saved, because he is endued with brighter gifts than others; but because he is found in Christ Jesus by faith, and lives in him as a new creature. 2 Cor. 5:17. Great gifts do not make us happy. If a man had attained to gifts so extraordinary and marvellous as never any possessed before, yet would he be certainly cast away, unless he lived at the same time in the exercise of daily repentance in Christ, in a ready abnegation of the world, and in a denial of himself, and of all his selfish desires. Nay, if he did not hate and forsake himself, so as to place his whole confidence in God alone, and to cleave to his grace, as an infant to the breast of the mother, he would be forever banished from the presence of God, notwithstanding all his gifts and all his endowments.

    4. It is certain that gifts and parts are not bestowed upon us in order to make us great here, and happy hereafter; but they are wholly dispensed for the edification of the Church. When the seventy disciples, at their return, said with joy, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name” (Luke 10:17, 20); our Lord replied: “In this rejoice not (for neither miracles nor gifts shall save you), but rejoice rather because your names are written in heaven.” By faith Moses was saved, not by his miracles. Aaron's eloquence did not the more endear him to God. And Miriam, the sister of Moses, who was [pg 107] endued with the gift of prophecy, and by whom the Spirit of the Lord spoke, was struck with the leprosy. Numb. 12:10.

    5. The apostles themselves did not enter into the kingdom of heaven because of the miracles which they performed, nor on account of the gift of tongues conferred upon them, but because they believed in Christ, the Saviour of the world. Those of the first rank, and those of the meanest condition, must tread in the same way of faith and humility, of repentance and mortification, and become new creatures in Christ through faith and love; in whom Christ also may live again by this faith. Whoever neglects this order, cannot expect to be accounted one of the family of Christ.

    6. Christian love is that new vital principle by which a man is actuated to do good. This is attended with the life of Christ, and the powerful indwelling of the divine Spirit. To this purpose the apostle desires, that we may be filled with all the fulness of God (Eph. 3:19): and St. John tells us, that “God is love, and that he who dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16. Whoever, therefore, feels the love of God shed abroad in his heart, feels no less than God himself there. However, in order that we might not deceive ourselves with a false and hypocritical, instead of a true and divine love, the apostle has drawn up the character thereof, and represented it as a tree adorned with numerous branches: “Love,” says he, “is patient, kind,” etc. 1 Cor. 13. All which are the essential properties of Christians, and consequently the life of the new man.

    7. To sum up all in a few words, God the Father is love, God the Son is love, God the Holy Ghost is love. The whole spiritual body of Christ, which is the Church, is also knit together by the bond of love; so that there is but one God, one Christ, one Spirit, one baptism, one faith (Eph. 4:5, 6); and lastly, eternal life itself shall be nothing else but eternal love.

    8. Whoever, therefore, does not live in love, is certainly a dead member of the body of Christ. As a dead member is not supported by that natural heat which nourishes the body and every living member thereof, nor is sustained with proper food for its daily growth and increase; so a man who does not live in Christian love is destitute of spiritual life, and is dead to God and to Christ. He is without faith, a withered, lifeless branch; he has no part in God, in Christ, and the Holy Ghost, in the holy Christian Church, and in life eternal; and will be excluded from the presence of that God, who has declared himself to be Love.

    [pg 108]

    Chapter XXXIII.

    God Has No Respect To The Works Of Any One; But Judges Of Works According To The Heart.

    Every way of a man is right in his own eyes; but the Lord pondereth the hearts.—Prov. 21:2.

    When the prophet Samuel, by the commandment of God, went to anoint David king, he entered the house of Jesse, and offered to anoint his first-born: but the Lord said to him: “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him. For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7.

    2. By this example God declares, on the one hand, that he has no regard to any man's person, be he ever so great and eminent, when his heart is destitute of piety, love, faith, and humility; and on the other, that he esteems persons and works according to the inward spirit and intention of the mind, and thence allows or disallows them, according to Prov. 21:2. Moreover, all gifts and endowments, how considerable soever they be, and how admirable, great, and glorious they may appear in the eyes of men, in nowise please the Lord, unless they be accompanied with a pure heart, a heart that has a steady respect to the honor of God and the profit and edification of our neighbor; and which, at the same time, is freed from pride and arrogance, from self-love, and self-interest, and any of those sinister views which are apt to mingle with the works of a Christian.

    3. Consider the example of Lucifer, the fairest and most glorious angel which heaven contained. No sooner did he stain the gifts of God with self-love and self-honor (not considering that he was bound to advance thereby the glory of God, who had conferred them upon him), than he was transformed into a devil, and, being cast down from heaven, was shut out from the glorious presence of God.

    4. If ever, therefore, our works shall be acceptable to God, they ought to proceed from pure faith towards God, and sincere love to our neighbor, being cleared from the spots of self-love, self-honor, and self-interest, as much as possibly can be in this state of infirmity. To this end St. Paul says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1): that is, I am altogether vain and unprofitable. In truth, God regards not fluency of speech, but an humble heart; not arts, learning, wit, or ability, but he weighs the spirit of a man, whether it be bent upon promoting its own honor and interest, or the glory of God and the profit of men. Nor does God regard a faith by which mountains might be removed, and the eyes of the beholders be attracted from all sides, if a man seek thereby his own honor and glory. But the Lord looks with the greater affection upon him who “is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at his word.” Isaiah 66:2. In short, if a man distribute [pg 109] all that he has to the poor, or give up his body to be burned, it will be all to no purpose, if the act be sullied with self-honor and self-complacency. It is the heart only and the inward intention of the mind, which the Lord regards. This fully appears from many instances recorded in Scripture.

    5. Both David and Saul attended the service of God, but with a different effect. 1 Sam. 15:9; 2 Sam. 24:25. David, Manasseh (2 Chron. 33:13), Nebuchadnezzar, and Peter, after repentance, obtained mercy; Saul, Pharaoh, and Judas, on the contrary, fell short of it, on account of the different principle which swayed their minds. Pharaoh (Exod. 9:27) and Saul (1 Sam. 15:24), no less than Manasseh, used the same prayer, “Lord, I have sinned!” but they received different rewards. The prayer of Hezekiah, Joshua, and Gideon (Isa. 38:7; Josh. 10:12; Judg. 6:37), by which they required a sign from heaven, is approved and praised; the Pharisees doing the same are rejected and reproved. Matt. 12:38; 16:4. The Publican and the Pharisee prayed both in the temple; but both are not approved. Luke 18:14. The Ninevites fasted (Jonah 3:5, 10); the Jews and Pharisees did the same (Matt. 6:16): but the former were received, and the latter rejected. “Wherefore (say they) have we fasted, and thou seest not?” Isa. 58:3. The poor widow, who cast into the treasury but two mites, is praised by Christ; whereas, he that gave more is not. Luke 21:3. Herod and Zaccheus both rejoice at the sight of Christ; but they had most different rewards. Luke 19:6; 23:8.

    6. All this proceeds from no other cause than the heart, and that moving principle by which it is swayed, and which God chiefly regards. He accepts those works only which flow from unfeigned faith, sincere love, and true humility; for whatever our gifts or works may be, if pride, self-love, and the contagion of filthy lucre, infect them, they are at once rejected by the Lord.

    Chapter XXXIV.

    Showing That God Alone, Without Any Human Aid, Is The Author Of Our Salvation, And That We Are To Submit Unreservedly To His Grace; Also, That Christ's Merit Is Not Imputed To The Impenitent.

    But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.—1 Cor. 1:30.

    In this impressive sentence, St. Paul teaches us that all things necessary for our salvation are merited by Christ Jesus our Lord. When we were ignorant of the way of life, he was made wisdom unto us; when we were sinners, he was made our righteousness; when we were an abomination before God, he was made our sanctification; and when we were in a state of damnation, he became our redemption.

    2. It is therefore most certain, that [pg 110] man does not contribute so much as one jot to his salvation. Sin, indeed, man could commit of himself, but he was not able to justify himself again; he could lose, but not recover himself; kill, but not restore to life; he could submit himself to the devil, but could not shake off his spiritual fetters. As a dead body cannot quicken itself again, so men “being dead in sins” (Eph. 2:1, 5), as the Apostle declares, cannot raise themselves again to life.

    3. We did not contribute anything towards our creation, neither do we perform anything towards our redemption, regeneration, and sanctification, which are far greater transactions than the creation itself.

    4. Hence it was necessary, that the Son of God should take human nature upon him, to recover all that was lost in Adam, and to revive those that were dead in sins and trespasses.

    5. That this may be the better understood, we ought to represent to ourselves the traveller in the Gospel, who, falling among thieves, was cruelly wounded and bruised by them, and at last utterly disabled from helping himself again. Luke 10:30. Him, therefore, the good Samaritan receives into his arms, binds up his wounds, sets him on his beast, takes him to an inn, and omits nothing that a faithful physician could administer to a sick and wounded person. And as the traveller showed himself obedient to his physician, and strictly followed the directions prescribed by him; so we ought to act if we desire to be healed of our disease. We ought to suffer the healing hand of the Lord, and not to resist, when he attempts the cleansing of our wounds; and when, after having poured in wine and oil, he binds them up. To obtain the blessed effect of these spiritual operations, we must wholly resign ourselves to him, who alone is able to save us; and then we may trust to the goodness of God, that on his side he will not fail to restore us to health and soundness.

    6. No sooner does a sinner repent than he begins his happy return towards the Lord, grieving for his former transgressions, and suffering that his wounds be washed with the sharp wine of the law, and the oil of consolation. Whoever complies with these terms, in him, Christ, by his grace, works an unfeigned faith, attended with all the fruits it produces,—righteousness, life, peace, joy, comfort, and salvation, and thus “worketh in him both to will and to do, of his good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13.

    7. But it is not in the power of man by nature to forsake sin. The Scripture calls the natural man a “servant of sin” (John 8:34), and one that is “sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14), who can do nothing but sin; and the prophet says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil.” Jer. 13:23. But “the grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men (by the Gospel), teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Tit. 2:11, 12. This is offered us by the word of God; and it is this grace which excites, teaches, and allures fallen man; which urges and influences him to renounce sin, and to submit to the discipline of grace. And these divine admonitions, furnished through the Word, fully agree with the inward testimony of the conscience; so that a man is convinced both from without and from within of his sinful life, and of the necessity of quitting it, in order to [pg 111] preserve his soul from everlasting destruction, for whoever lives in sin, lives in opposition to God and his own conscience.

    8. When a man yields to the suggestions and exhortations of divine grace, and, proving obedient to the Word, begins to withdraw from his vicious life, then the grace of God endows him with all those virtues which the Gospel requires. It is then that faith springs up in the soul, the original principle of all other virtues. This is followed by love, and all Christian graces, which grow as so many fruits on the tree of faith. It is then, also, that light begins to shine in the midst of darkness. But as it is impossible that darkness should be able to enlighten itself; so it is also impossible for fallen man to raise himself from darkness to light. Hence the Psalmist says, “For thou wilt light my candle; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” Ps. 18:28. Let a man open his eyes ever so much, he will never be enlightened whilst the light of the sun is withdrawn from his sight. Thus the grace of God, that is, of Christ himself, is that clear and serene light, risen on all men “that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.” Luke 1:79. “He enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9): that is, he manifests himself to all, and offers his grace to all. He is the light of the whole world; he shows the way of life to all men; and leaving us his own example for imitation, he goes before us like a good shepherd (John 10:4), and guides his flock into the path in which they are to walk. He sought us out as his lost sheep, and even now daily seeks and allures us. Luke 15:4. Nay, more; he still follows us closely, calls after us, and wooes us to his love, in as endearing a manner as a bridegroom does his bride. O that men did not love sin and darkness rather than light and grace!

    9. Now, as a physician, addressing his patient, says: “Beware of this, lest you die; you hinder the workings of the medicine by an irregular life, so that you cannot be made whole;” so Jesus Christ, the true physician of souls, says: “My beloved, I beseech thee, incline thy mind to true repentance; utterly forsake all thy sins; shake off thy pride, thy covetousness, thy carnal propensities, thy wrath, and thirst of revenge, with other sins. If this change be not wrought in thee, thou must surely die; and the precious medicine of my blood and merit can profit thee nothing, whilst thy disorderly life hinders their healing effect.”

    10. It was for this cause that Christ gave it in charge to his apostles, before all things, to preach repentance (Luke 24:47); and he himself called sinners to it while he conversed with them upon earth; because an impenitent heart never can partake of his merits.

    11. Whoever hears that either sin must be forsaken, or eternal condemnation be endured, must, of necessity, be brought to some serious consideration about the state of his soul. He is struck with a double conviction; the truth of the Word of God, and the power of his own conscience, leaving so strong an impression upon him, as to set him beyond all doubts about the truth of this matter. It is true, God hath freely promised remission of sin to all men; but it is on this condition, that they repent, and turn themselves unfeignedly to the Lord. Thus the prophet says, “If the wicked shall turn from his wickedness, he shall live thereby. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned [pg 112] unto him” (Ezek. 33:14, 16): where we see that repentance and remission of sin are linked together.

    12. Christ, the Son of God, in no other sense promises life eternal to those that believe in his name. The nature of faith must, however, be more fully inquired into. This faith is a very active principle in the soul. It daily strives against the old man; it tames the flesh, and subjects it to the Spirit; it converts the whole man; it subdues and vanquishes sin; it purifies the heart. He is a true believer who turns from the world, from sin and the devil, to God, and seeks rest and comfort wholly and entirely in the blood, death, and merit of Christ, without the works of himself, or of any other man whatsoever; the blood of Christ being a perfect ransom for all the debts which the soul has contracted. Whoever, therefore, imagines that his sins may be pardoned, although he desist not from them, is most miserably deluded. He deceives himself with a false faith, which he has assumed to himself, and the dreadful effects of which he must hereafter feel. He can never be saved without true repentance.

    13. Consider the case of Zaccheus the publican, who, having a sound apprehension of the doctrine of faith and conversion, freely acknowledged that to be true faith by which a man is turned from sin to God, and in this order hopes to obtain a gracious pardon from Christ, and an interest in his merit, so as to rely upon it with a filial trust and an unshaken firmness of mind. In this manner did he understand the word of our Lord, “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15): that is, Desist from sin, trust in my merits, and expect forgiveness of sin from me alone. Hence Zaccheus says to Christ, “Behold, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” Luke 19:8. In these words he does not commend his own works at all, but extols the grace of God, which had taught him the way of true repentance. As if he had said: “O Lord, I am so thoroughly grieved at the fraudulent practices which I have committed against my neighbor, that I will not only restore fourfold unto him, but will also bestow half of my goods on the poor. Wherefore, Lord, since I confess my sin, and fully resolve to leave it, I now embrace thy promises with faith, and beseech thee to receive me into thy grace and favor.” And no sooner is this resolution taken, than the Physician declares, “This day is salvation come to this house. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

    14. This is true repentance and conversion, carried on by a faith which is the work of God within us. God himself will begin, advance, and finish at last, the great work of our salvation, if we only yield to his Spirit, and do not resist him wilfully, as did the refractory Jews of old; to whom the apostle says: “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Acts 13:46. It is, therefore, our duty to take the advice of the physician, after the manner of the sick, and to obey his precepts and prescriptions. As the physician first explains the nature of the disease, so the Lord lays open the spiritual disease of the heart, and then, as a faithful physician, warns us [pg 113] against hurtful things, lest the healing virtue of the precious blood of Christ be obstructed, and at last rendered ineffectual.

    15. No sooner does man, by the assistance of the Holy Ghost, withdraw from sin, than the grace of God begins to operate in him, and to endue him with new gifts. Without this, he is not sufficient to think any good thought of himself, much less to do any good work. Whenever such a person discovers any good motions arising in his mind, he attributes every good desire to divine grace, even as St. Paul says, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” 1 Cor. 15:10. Whoever, therefore, complies with this order of salvation, to him the merit of Christ and his perfect obedience, are fully imputed, as if he himself had made a complete atonement for all his transgressions; but no wicked person, and no contemner of this dispensation, has a share in the imputation of the merit of Christ.

    16. God, when he works in us and through us, crowns and commends those things as our own, of which he himself is the chief author. “Without me,” saith Christ, “ye can do nothing” (John 15:5); that is, no good; for by nature we are ready enough to do evil without him. The doing of evil is our own property; as the doing of good is entirely the property of God. Therefore let no flesh glory in anything; all is of and through grace. Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8, 9.

    17. Happy is the man that refrains from sin, and gives up his will to the Lord. Christ uses all his endeavors to gain our love and affections, and to wean us more and more from the profane love of the world. He applies the most endearing expressions, in his word, and in his addresses, to our hearts. He seeks and allures us; and even before we remember him, he bestows upon us tokens of his love and kindness; and this for no other end, than that we might at last forsake our beloved sin, and partake of the blessed effect of his blood and merits.

    Chapter XXXV.

    All Wisdom, Arts, And Sciences, Yea, Even The Knowledge Of The Whole Scripture, Are Vain, Without A Holy And Christian Life.

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.Matth. 7:21.

    Since in Love are contained all the duties of a Christian, and since the whole life of Christ was nothing but the purest and most cordial love, therefore St. Paul, under the name of charity or love, has comprehended the whole life of a Christian. 1 Cor. 13:1.

    2. It is the property of true love, to respect God alone in everything, and not self. It refers all to God; it does not love or honor self; it is not intent upon personal glory or interest; but it undertakes everything with a free and disinterested regard to God and man. He who is endued with Christian love, loves God and his neighbor [pg 114] with pure affection, because God is the sovereign Good, to which we ought to adhere.

    3. Whoever, therefore, is destitute of this love, must of necessity prove a hypocrite amidst all his pretences and boasts. In whatever he undertakes, he seeks himself, and not purely God, as he ought to do. For this reason, his love is false, be his boasts what they may. If such a man had all the Scriptures committed to memory, and could speak of them with the tongue of angels, yet would he still prove as sounding brass, without life and motion. For as no natural food can nourish the body, unless it be converted into the juices and the blood; so also the Word and the Sacraments are unavailing, if they be not converted into a man's life; and if a new, spiritual, and holy man, be not begotten thereby.

    4. Hence St. Paul says, “Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” 1 Cor. 13:2. As if he had said, If I pursue mine own honor by those gifts and attainments, and seek anything besides the honor of God, and the good of my neighbor, then I am an abomination before the Lord, and not at all acceptable in his sight.

    5. This is intimated by that saying of our Lord: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:22, 23): for you have not respected me alone in what you have done, but rather your own selves.

    6. This is again attested by St. Paul: “Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 2 Cor. 13:3. But can it be possible (some may say), to give all to the poor, and yet be destitute at the same time of love or charity? Yes; there may be a love which is not altogether single in what it performs, but biased by impure designs, and by some temporal interest, or the applause of men, or any such selfish objects, whereby the best of actions are too often corrupted. Of this nature was the charity of the Pharisees of old, who offered abundance of sacrifices, and persuaded others to adorn the temple with magnificent gifts, and to bring sacrifices of great price. But whilst they suffered themselves to be led away by pride and ambition, which mingled with their very worship, they forgot to show mercy to the poor, and to practise that “undefiled religion,” whereby the fatherless and the widows are to be supported and visited. James 1:27. For this preposterous charity, the Lord reproved them, saying: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” Matt. 23:14. In this perverse religion they have many followers, even at this time. Such are those who bequeath large legacies to temples and monasteries, that priests and friars who enjoy them, may make long prayers for such as bestow them. This truly is a false and deceitful love; for those who perform these acts, do not so much regard the honor of God as their own.

    7. He that is justified, shall live by his faith (Habak. 2:4); and whosoever is thus justified, lives in true repentance, [pg 115] and by daily mortification of his flesh, becomes himself a sacrifice unto the Lord. Rom. 12:1. He spends his time in continual acts of love and charity; flowing from a disinterested principle, free from self-honor and self-love, and entirely directed to advancing the glory of God. Therefore, O man, if thou even yieldest thy body to be burnt, and yet art void at the same time of this pure and sincere love, thou doest nothing in all such performances. And what do they profit themselves, who torture their bodies? They generally are puffed up with a conceit of their singular sanctity, and, thus setting forth their own pompous religion and will-worship, they do not regard God in what they do, so much as catch at the applause of men. Isa. 58:3; Zech. 7:5, 6. Nay, some are blinded to such a degree by the spirit of delusion and error, as to suffer themselves to be burnt in defence of conceits such as these. They expect thereby to be enrolled in the list of such martyrs as were slain for the sake of Christ and the Gospel; when in truth they seek not Christ, but themselves, and rise not to defend his honor, but their own erroneous opinions. This is called by St. Paul, a strong delusion, and a working of Satan. 2 Thess. 2:9, 11. It is not the punishment, but the cause, which makes a martyr.

    8. Such martyrs as these the devil has had even amongst the heathens themselves; many of whom were so far blinded in their understandings, as contentedly to die for the defence of their idols, and false, heathenish religion. And is not the same done at this day amongst those who call themselves Christians? Even as the heathens, to gain an immortal name, persuaded themselves that they did well in what they endured, so self-love and vainglory have so far besotted some monks, and other persons even in our age, as that they have murdered kings and princes, to support the better their church, or the Catholic cause, as they call it, which they supposed to be in danger. If such men are made to suffer again, it is manifest that they do not suffer for the sake of Christ, nor are they to be accounted his martyrs. They are martyrs to the pope of Rome, to their own conceit, and to a thirst after vainglory, with which they are carried away. Thus much concerning false love, to which man is seduced by a false and deceitful light.

    9. It remains, therefore, that without a sincere love to God and our neighbor, and a holy and Christian life attending it, all arts and sciences, gifts and attainments, profit nothing. Wisdom, how great soever it may be, yea, though it be as great, or greater than that of Solomon, is nothing; and the knowledge of the whole Scripture, if it be without love, must necessarily degenerate into a poor, empty speculation. All works whatsoever, and martyrdom itself (if so it be called), are to no purpose without this essential character of love. For to know the will of God and his word, and not to live up to them as a rule, only increases our condemnation, as the Lord plainly affirms: “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin.” John 15:22.

    [pg 116]

    Chapter XXXVI.

    He Who Does Not Live In Christ, But Gives His Heart To The World, Has Only The Outward Letter Of The Scriptures, But He Does Not Experience Their Power, Or Eat Of The Hidden Manna.

    To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.Rev. 2:17.

    By this Scripture we are taught, that no man can taste the inward sweetness of heavenly joy and comfort hidden in the Word, who does not first vanquish his own flesh and the world, with all the pomps and lusts thereof, and the devil himself. But those that crucify their flesh daily, with all its desires and lusts, by serious contrition and repentance, who die daily to themselves and to the world, and to whom this life is a cross and affliction; these are divinely fed with the heavenly manna, and drink the wine of the joy of paradise. Those, on the other hand, that love the pleasures of this world rather than those of heaven, render themselves altogether unfit to taste the hidden manna, preserved for him alone that overcometh. The reason is, because like things (according to the proverb) rejoice in their like; and things of a contrary nature do not unite one with another. Since, therefore, the word of God is spiritual, it is no wonder that worldly minds take no pleasure in it. For as the body receives no strength from the food which the stomach does not digest; so the soul receives no strength from the divine word, unless it be entirely converted into itself, that is, into its own life and nature.

    2. Yea, as a man that is sick of a fever acquires a distempered appetite, and deems the coarsest trash more pleasant than wholesome food; so those that are sick of a spiritual fever, that is, of the love of the world, of pride and covetousness, loathe the good word of God as bitter and insipid food. Those, on the other hand, that have the Spirit of God, find in it a hidden manna, and a secret sweetness, which transcends all other delights; but then it is not to be tasted by such as are carried away with the pleasures of a profane world.

    3. Many hear the glad tidings of the Gospel repeatedly, and yet are but little affected with what they hear. They do not feel any fervency of spirit, any sense of spiritual joy. The cause is plain; they are not led by the good Spirit of God, but by the corrupt spirit of the world; nor have they heavenly, but earthly minds, which cannot receive the things of God. Whoever, therefore, wishes to obtain a sound understanding in spiritual matters, to feel the power of the word of God, and to eat of the hidden manna, ought by all means to conform his life to the word which he reads, and to the life of Christ which is set before him. It is then that the Lord feeds the humble with grace (1 Pet. 5:5), satisfies the meek with his love, and supports the patient with his comfort; rendering his yoke pleasant, and his burden light [pg 117] unto them. For the sweetness of this heavenly manna cannot be tasted except under the yoke of Christ, according to the promise of the Lord: “He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away.” Luke 1:53.

    4. “The words that I speak unto you,” saith the Lord, “they are spirit and they are life.” John 6:63. Whence it follows, that a carnal and voluptuous man, who has no spiritual understanding or taste, cannot possibly perceive or relish the words of Christ. These must be apprehended in spirit, and in an inward tranquillity of mind, attended with great humility and fervent desires after God. In this order, the Word of God must be received and digested, if ever it is to afford a vital nourishment to the soul; which, if it be neglected, then truly the Word is no more than an empty sound, and an external letter. As a man that hears the sound of a harp, and understands not its melody, receives no pleasure from it; so no man can perceive the virtue hidden in the Word, unless he endeavor to express it in his life, and thoroughly to conform himself to it in his spirit.

    5. For this reason, the Lord says: “I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it.”

    6. This is the testimony of the hidden Spirit, who witnesses to the divine Word: and in like manner, the Spirit of the Word gives testimony to our spirit (Rom. 8:16), whence both unite, and so become one spirit. 1 Cor. 6:17. This is that new name, which no man knoweth but he that hath it. As no man perceives the sweetness of honey, but he that tastes it; so the name of this divine testimony, written in the hearts of good souls, no man knoweth but he that possesses it. He only understands the nature of heavenly comfort, and of divine visitations, who really tastes them. This name and testimony are called new, because they are the blessed effect of the new birth, and come from above.

    7. Blessed is the man to whom God thus gives himself to be tasted! Thus were the prophets of old fed with this heavenly bread, and sustained by the eternal Word proceeding from God, and communicating itself unto them. This made their tongues so free and so ready in the delivery of the divine oracles. And from this inward sense, with which they were so powerfully affected, the Holy Scripture has been derived, and handed down to us for our edification.

    8. Even at this day, God does not cease still to speak unto all men, and inwardly to feed them with his Word: but alas! most men have shut their ears against his voice, and will rather hear the world than God, and follow their own lusts, than the motions of the good Spirit of God. They cannot eat of the hidden manna, because they greedily adhere to their carnal propensities, and contemn the tree of life, with the fruit thereof.

    9. But surely such men are awfully blinded, since they will not understand that God can afford infinitely greater pleasures than this world is capable of imparting. He that has once tasted the goodness of God, will esteem the whole world, together with its most exquisite pleasures, to be nothing but gall and bitterness. Our first parents were beguiled by the world; and by eating of the forbidden tree, they brought no less an evil upon themselves than death itself: and yet we are so much besotted with the pleasures [pg 118] of this world, as to follow freely their steps, and to obey the forbidden lusts of the flesh, which cause our death. Rom. 8:13.

    10. Christ says: “If any shall eat of me,” the true tree, and the true bread of life, “he shall live for ever.” John 6:51. And what is it to eat of him, but to believe in him, to rejoice in him, to delight in him, and to rest and to take pleasure in nothing but him alone? The world bestows poor and inconsiderable wages, and yet it is served with great labor and earnestness; whereas God grants an eternal and never-fading reward; and yet with what sluggishness, coldness, and backwardness is his service performed! How few there are, who adhere to God with as much care and faith, devotion and obedience, as profane worldlings do to mammon, and the world! We see them often take long and tedious journeys for a little money; but for the sake of heaven, it grieves them to move even a foot.

    11. In all classes men seek and love the world more than they regard God. Many a scholar studies day and night to attain preferment and honor, who will hardly take time to say the Lord's Prayer for the good of his soul. The men who avoid no labor to get the bread that perishes, will undergo none to procure that which is incorruptible. There are many who fear no difficulty, flee from no danger, and, in an earthly warfare, stare even death in the face; influenced by no other motive than to gain a little fleeting fame, or at best, to be ranked among nobles and heroes: whereas there is hardly one to be found that will enter into a combat with the corrupt propensities of his flesh, although this is the way to obtain a kingdom in heaven. We see the victors of many nations, and the subduers of vast kingdoms, who little care to overcome themselves. There are large numbers who do not regard the loss of their immortal souls, if they can but gain the perishing goods of this world. All these, certainly, have not tasted the hidden manna of the divine Word; for they do not overcome the world, but are themselves overcome by it. Whosoever will taste the sweetness of this heavenly manna, must, for the sake of the love of God, despise the world, and overcome it. When he complies with these terms, he is refreshed again with that comfort of the Holy Ghost, which no man knows save he that receives it.

    12. This, therefore, must be done. The tree of life must first be planted in us, before we can eat of its fruit: and the heart that wishes to be quickened with heavenly comforts, ought first to be truly converted from the world to God. But we, being intoxicated with worldly pleasures, do not see that the joys of heaven are far more excellent than all that this world affords. That which God gives, is infinitely more true and more substantial than all which the creature can bestow. And that teaching which comes from above, through the inspiration of the divine Spirit, is far more noble and solid than that which is conveyed to us by man's understanding, and imprinted on the mind with much toil and labor. The flowers and fruits which are the productions of nature are nobler and better than those which are fashioned of the finest gold by the hand of art; even so, one drop of divine consolation is more satisfactory, and incomparably better, than a whole ocean of worldly lust and pleasure.

    13. Whenever, therefore, thou desirest to taste any heavenly comfort, withdraw thy heart from the joys of [pg 119] this world. As if the Lord were to say, “If any will understand me, let him seriously attend to what I say; if any will see me, it surely behooves him to fix his eye upon me alone.” Who can doubt but that our heart and senses, and all the faculties of our souls ought to be converted to God, and fixed on him alone, if ever we desire to see, hear, and understand God; nay, to taste him and his goodness? For thus he expresses himself in the Prophet: “When ye shall search for me with your whole heart, ye shall find me.” Jer. 29:13.

    14. Many at this day are held in great admiration on a very light account. Oh! a learned man! (they say), a rich man! a great man! a wise man! But scarcely any regard how meek, how humble, how patient, or how devout any man is. Of this perverse judgment, there is no other cause, than that the people of this world only admire the exterior of a man, and pass by what is within the mind, which alone is worthy to be esteemed and valued. Let him that praises a man because he is a great traveller, and has seen many cities and countries, consider whether it be not far better to have seen God. Let him that admires another, because he has served several monarchs, and attended on emperors, kings, and princes, tell us whether it be not far more excellent to be the servant of God, to wait on the King of Heaven, to hear Him speak in the heart, and to serve Him faithfully? Many who enjoy nothing but the things of this world, will say, “We have abundance of learned men and great scholars in this age; arts and sciences are greatly advanced among us.” But such men as these, do not know the art of arts, the science of sciences, which is divine Love; a benefit preferable to all other knowledge and learning, but which seems to be almost wholly extinct in this degenerate age, together with faith itself, that produces it. The number of those that are in truth divinely “taught of God,” is apparently but small (Isa. 54:13); and so of those that care to be instructed in the humble and meek life of Christ. Matt. 11:29. Yea, to speak plainly, there are among the most learned at this day, some who are, perhaps, the most alienated from the life of God, and know but little of that truth which is in Jesus. They are those who confine knowledge to words and terms artfully contrived; when indeed solid erudition and learning consist not in words, but in things, and in a real and eternal wisdom. Upon the whole, whoever calls this world a wicked world, is not mistaken in his judgment.

    15. Others will praise a man, because he keeps a rich and plentiful table, and fares sumptuously every day; but they do not consider that the very crumbs dropping from God's table, are transcendently better than the choicest dishes of the wealthy and greedy; and that the hidden manna, and the incorruptible bread, descending from heaven, and prepared by the Lord himself, afford the most savory and most delicious food for nourishing the soul. Ps. 23:5.

    16. Whoever enjoys God and his Word, is disgusted at nothing, and nothing can displease him; for he enjoys God in all. But what can delight him, who does not taste the sweetness of God, and the goodness of his Word? God alone is the joy of the soul. He infinitely surpasses all earthly joy and transient mirth. He is the eternal Light, which incomparably exceeds all created lights. May he be pleased to [pg 120] influence our hearts with his hidden pleasure! May he purify our spirits, and all the faculties of our souls! May he enlighten and quicken, correct and revive all that is within us! And, O! when shall that glorious hour appear, in which the Lord will satiate us with his presence, and replenish us with all that he himself is! Isa. 55:12.

    17. But as we are not yet prepared for so transcendent a joy, so we cannot partake of it, while we are confined to this state of imperfection. Let us, therefore, be content with the crumbs of comfort which fall from the Lord's table, and patiently wait for that time, wherein we shall be refreshed with his joy for evermore!

    18. Hear the words of our blessed Saviour: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Rev. 3:20. Is it not, then, a foolish thing to slight so great a favor, and to treat contemptuously the King of kings, who, like a heavenly guest, comes to see thee? Is it not disgraceful to let a friend stand knocking without, and refuse to admit a man to thy presence, who has nothing at heart but thy welfare? How unaccountable then must it be to debar the great God from thy heart, who stands in no need of thy presents; but, after the manner of princes, brings his own royal dainties with him when he approaches the house of a poor subject! He will feed thee with heavenly bread, and with that hidden manna which is preserved for those that overcome.

    19. When the Lord says, “Hear my voice, and open the door,” he compares, as it were, the heart of a man to a house full of noise and clamor, where music, though ever so sweet and melodious, cannot be heard. So the voice of the divine Visitor cannot enter a profane heart, whilst it is hurried about with the cares and desires of this world. Such a heart closes the door against this Visitor, and consequently cannot taste the sweetness of the celestial manna. But when this noise and tumult cease, it is then that these secret whispers are best perceived in men. And O! that thou, with Samuel, couldest answer: “Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.” 1 Sam. 3:10.

    20. The truth of this internal, spiritual, and heavenly supper is also attested elsewhere. The apostle speaks of some, that “have been once enlightened, and tasted of the heavenly gift, and have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.” Heb. 6:4. By this we are taught, that in whomsoever the Holy Ghost freely resides, there the virtues and powers of the world to come are also tasted. It is then that the soul feeds on that manna, which is hid in the gracious Word proceeding out of the mouth of God, and by which all the saints live.

    21. The efficacy of this living Word was also tasted by the royal prophet, through the Holy Ghost, when he burst forth into these words: “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Ps. 16:11. From this lively sense, he also invited others to an enjoyment of the same sweetness, saying, “O taste and see that the Lord is good. There is no want to them that fear him.” Ps. 34:8, 9. Of the plenty and dignity of this heavenly banquet, he hath thus expressed himself: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my [pg 121] cup runneth over.” Ps. 23:5. “Thy loving kindness is better than life.” Ps. 63:3. “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.” Ps. 36:8. And lastly, “Let all those that seek thee, rejoice and be glad in thee; and let such as love thy salvation, say continually, Let God be magnified. But I am poor and needy; make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O Lord, make no tarrying.” Ps. 70:4, 5.

    22. From all these, and many other places besides, it may abundantly be known who those are that are inwardly fed with the good Word of God, and with the hidden manna of the world to come; even those that are poor in spirit, who entirely rely on divine comfort. These only are worthy to taste of this heavenly manna, and of the divine gift, of which David speaks at large: “How amiable,” says he, “are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” Ps. 84:1, 2. By this Scripture we may understand, that the least pleasure of the world to come, infinitely exceeds all the joys of this world; and that one day passed there, is far more excellent than a thousand years here. Whoever has tasted these exquisite pleasures, will discard the things of this life, as empty and insipid. The whole world becomes a burden, a trouble and vexation of spirit, to such a person. He is like one that is accustomed to delicious fare, and consequently cannot partake of what is coarse.

    23. This is so sacred a hunger and thirst, that none but God alone can satisfy it, and he only, by his love. This is that spiritual fulness with which the saints are satiated, according to the words: “Eat, O friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.” Song of Sol. 5:1. These spiritual enjoyments the Lord bestows on his friends, in order to unite them the more closely to himself, and to make them the sooner forget the perishing things of this world. A few crumbs of this bread, a few drops pressed from this heavenly vine, ought to excite our desires after that plentiful and abounding fountain, which shall flow for us hereafter.

    24. In order that the Lord might excite in us so sacred a thirst, and that he might make us long the more earnestly after such heavenly objects as these, it was expedient that he should first himself thirst upon the cross for our sakes. John 19:28. As he himself satisfies and quenches our hunger and thirst, so ought we again to satiate his thirst and ardent desire of loving. He more fervently thirsts after us, than we do after him; according to that which he hath himself declared: “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34): and the will of God was, to save men from everlasting destruction. If we but thirsted after him as he thirsts after us, we should then drink so plentifully of his Spirit, that even “rivers of living water would flow from our bodies” (John 7:38): that is, nothing should be seen in us, but what is spiritual, lovely, and consolatory. Nay, he would make us overflow, as it were, with a torrent of divine goodness and consolation, so that soul and body, and all that is within us, should triumphantly rejoice in the living God. For nothing is of so great and so divine an amplitude as a man's soul, after it has gained true [pg 122] freedom and liberty. Such a soul comprehends God, heaven, and earth. And again, nothing is less than a man's soul in its nothingness and humiliation, when it humbles itself under God and all his creatures.

    Chapter XXXVII.

    He Who Does Not Follow Christ In Faith, Holiness, And Continued Repentance, Cannot Be Delivered From The Blindness Of His Heart, But Must Abide In Eternal Darkness; And He Cannot Have A True Knowledge Of Christ, Or Fellowship With Him.

    God is light, and in him is no darkness at all: if we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.—1 John 1:5-7.

    That we may the better understand the nature of light and darkness, it is necessary first to give heed to the description of the light, as it is originally.

    2. “God is light,” saith St. John. But what is God? God is a spiritual, eternal, and infinite Being; God is almighty, merciful, gracious, righteous, holy, true, and the only wise God. God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is unspeakable love and faithfulness; He is one in three Persons; He is the Sovereign Good, and good essentially. And this is the true and everlasting light. Whence every one that departs from God, from his love, his mercy, his righteousness, and his truth, departs also from light itself, and must consequently fall into darkness; for without God there is nothing but everlasting darkness. O how dark, therefore, is that soul in which God doth not dwell! Now if God be light, then the devil must certainly be darkness; and if God be love, then the devil must be nothing but hatred and wrath, enmity and envy, malice and uncharitableness, sin and wickedness. Whoever, therefore, turns himself to sin, turns himself to darkness and to the devil. Neither can he be delivered, till he turn back again, from darkness to light, from sin to righteousness, from vice to virtue, from the devil to God. Acts 26:18. And this is the work of a true and living faith which purifies the heart. Acts 15:9. For he who believes in Christ, daily repents and turns from sin and the devil to Christ Jesus. For even as Adam by sin turned himself from God to the devil, so we ought to withdraw again, by true repentance and faith, from the devil to God.

    3. Hence it follows that man, without being converted from sin to God, can never be truly enlightened. “For what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Cor. 6:14. Impiety and impenitence are wholly darkness, and, consequently, can have no fellowship with the light of the knowledge of Christ. So that it is absolutely impossible that those should be enlightened by the Spirit, and the light of eternal truth, who live in darkness and impenitence. To this purpose, [pg 123] St. Paul says concerning the Jews: “When they shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away” (2 Cor. 3:16); that is, their darkness, blindness, and ignorance shall be removed, and Christ shall give them light.

    4. The greatest blindness, or thickest darkness that covers the minds of men, is the sin of unbelief, with the fruits resulting from it; such as pride, avarice, wrath, and the whole train of sensual lusts and pleasures. Wherever these take possession of a man, it is impossible that he should know Christ, the true Light of the world; much less can he savingly believe in him, trust in him, and obtain by him everlasting life.

    5. For how should that man know the humility of the heart of Christ, whose own heart abounds with pride and high-mindedness? How should he be acquainted with the meekness of the heart of Christ, who is full of bitter wrath and envy? How should he understand his marvellous patience, who delights in revenge, and is hurried about with a multitude of unruly passions? But he who does not understand the humility, meekness, and patience of Christ, does not know Christ himself, nor believe in his holy name. For truly, if ever thou desirest to attain a sound knowledge of Christ, thou must obtain, by faith, the same heart which is in Christ; thou must experimentally perceive in thy heart, his meekness, his patience, and his humility. It is then that thy knowledge becomes solid and substantial. As a fruit is known by the taste, so Christ, the tree of life, is known by tasting. Whenever thou tastest by faith the humility of Christ, his meekness and his patience, thou then eatest of his fruit, and shalt find rest for thy soul. Thou enjoyest in Christ the favor and consolation of God. This is the only way to true rest and tranquillity of mind. For the grace and comfort of God cannot enter into a heart that is void of faith, and destitute of the meekness and humility of Christ. It is to the humble that God gives grace. 1 Pet. 5:5.

    6. But how is it possible that Christ should profit a man who does not desire to have the least fellowship with him? For, in truth, all those that live in the darkness of sin, have no fellowship with Christ, be their pretences what they will. For thus says St. John: “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.” 1 John 1:6, 7. And in the following chapter he explains it more fully: “The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother, abideth in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother, is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” 1 John 2:8-11.

    7. As long, then, as a man continues in that dark and terrible cloud of sin, it is impossible that he should be enlightened by Christ, the true Light of the world, and be thereby brought to a saving knowledge of God. Whoever will attain to a true knowledge of God and Christ, must firmly believe that God is nothing but grace and love. Now, no man can know what love is, but he that has, and practises it, the knowledge of a thing being the result of a man's experience, [pg 124] of his feelings, and of the works of truth which he performs. Whoever, therefore, does not exercise love (whatever words he may use about it), continues an utter stranger to the nature of love; and what he is pleased to call love, is nothing but show and pretence. And as Christ himself is nothing but love and humility, meekness and patience, and every true virtue, so a man that is not frequent in the performance of these and the like virtues, is altogether ignorant of Christ and of the truth. He is but a superficial pretender to, and a vain usurper of, His holy name, let his boasts be what they may. The Word of God is nothing but spirit. Whoever, therefore, does not live and walk in the Spirit, in no wise understands what the Word of God is, though he may dispute and argue copiously about it. How shall a man tell us what love is, who never performed any act of love? How shall a man give an account of the nature of light, who, having been constantly confined to a dark dungeon, has never seen the light himself? Now, the light in man is faith and charity, according to the saying of Christ: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16.

    8. In a word, the holy life of Christ is nothing but love and charity. No sooner do we, by faith, learn from him true love and humility, meekness and patience, as he himself has engaged us to do, than we are transformed into his image, and enlightened with that true and eternal light, which he himself is; according to that exhortation of St. Paul: “Awake thou that sleepest (namely, in sins and the lust of the flesh), and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Eph. 5:14.

    9. From all this it follows, that in the case of as many as do not awake from their spiritual lethargy, that is, from the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, and other pleasures that attend them, their souls cannot be enlightened by Christ, since they love darkness rather than light, and thereby unfit themselves for a reception of the divine light.

    10. It also hence appears that those, on the other hand, who truly embrace the life of Christ, and follow him in faith, are by him graciously enlightened, according to his promise: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me (in faith and love, hope and patience, meekness and humility, fear of God, and in prayer, etc.) shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. Therefore, the true followers of Christ, and these only, freely enjoy the light of life, and are alone endued with true illumination and sound knowledge of Christ. And it is on account of this Christian faith and life, that true believers are called by the Apostle, a light in the Lord. “Ye were,” saith he, “sometime darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8): here he means the principle of faith, and those Christian virtues that attend it. And again, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness,”“putting on the breast-plate of faith and love, and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.” 1 Thess. 5:5, 8. Christ denies that the world (that is, carnal and unregenerate minds), can ever “receive the Spirit of Truth.” John 14:17.

    11. That there might be a perfect [pg 125] and absolute example given to men, and a complete idea of virtue and goodness, the Son of God became also Man, and by his unspotted and holy life was made the public Light of the world, that so all men might follow him, believe in him, and receive light from him. Since, however, false Christians own with their lips that Christ is the safe and great exemplar of virtue, and yet do not follow him in their life and actions, it is manifest, that the heathens who esteemed virtue, put the Christians to shame. The most eminent of them, such as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, have highly recommended the study of virtue, and freely confessed, that “if virtue could be seen with bodily eyes, it would appear fairer, and with a more glorious lustre than even the morning star.” But, truly, none have had a fuller view of the beauty of virtue, than those who by faith have seen Jesus Christ, that unerring pattern of righteousness. These are those that have “handled the Word of life” (1 John 1:1), as St. John tells us. And, surely, if heathens have been so much absorbed by the love of virtue, how much more should a Christian love the transcendent beauty of Jesus Christ, who is virtue itself, and composed of nothing but pure love, and unspotted meekness; nay, who is God himself?

    12. It was not without cause, therefore, that St. Paul preferred the love of Christ to all other knowledge or science: and with him we ought to pray that we may experimentally “know this love of Christ which passeth knowledge” (Eph. 3:19), that so we may thereby be “filled with all the fulness of God.” Now there is no man that has the love of Christ in him, but he must necessarily also love the humility and meekness of Christ, and from sincere love to him readily embrace them. By this means he is still more and more enlightened, and day by day transformed into the image of Christ, “as from glory to glory.” 2 Cor. 3:18. And the reason of this is evident; for God delights to give grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5), as the Scripture tells us: agreeably to what St. Bernard says, “The rivers of grace flow downwards, not upwards.” They visit and refresh the valley, but will not rest upon mountains, or upon anything that is high and lifted up. How should then the grace of the light and knowledge of God come to a man that walks not in the humble and holy light of Christ, but in the way of Lucifer? For if there be any faith in us, and if this be attended with suitable fruits and practice, it will not leave us “barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:8. In an humble soul Christ lives, and then also his Spirit rests upon it (the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord), as truly as it rested upon Christ himself. For in whomsoever the light and the life of Christ dwell, in him is also Christ himself, who is the very light and life of a Christian. And this also is the reason that the gifts and graces of the divine Spirit rest upon a true Christian, as well as upon Christ himself, according to the prophecy of Isaiah. Ch. 11:1-3.

    13. Hence St. Peter, speaking to the Jews, exhorts them to repent (or to be renewed in their minds): “and ye shall,” says he, “receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38. Whence it plainly appears, that those who are in a state of faith and repentance, are the only men duly prepared for receiving [pg 126] the divine Spirit, the true enlightener of hearts.

    14. Whoever, therefore, desires to be delivered from the blindness of his heart, and from eternal darkness, yea, from the devil himself, let him faithfully follow Christ in true faith, in unfeigned conversion, and in a thorough newness of life. The nearer we are to Christ, the nearer we are to the eternal light; the more closely we adhere to unbelief, the more we adhere to darkness and to the devil himself. For even as Christ, faith, and all the virtues, are nearly allied and belong together, so in like manner, are the devil, unbelief, and all the vices, and works of darkness, so nearly combined, as to render it impossible to conceive of one without the other.

    15. Consider the apostles of the Lord. They followed their Master in faith, in contempt of the world, denying themselves, in renouncing their possessions, and in living together in unity of the Spirit. By this means they were enlightened from above, and filled with the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:1, etc. With these terms the rich young man in the Gospel being unwilling to comply, he continued shut up in the darkness of the world, and was not enlightened unto eternal life. Luke 18:23. For “if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. And “he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth: because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” 1 John 2:11.

    16. All the sermons of Tauler refer to this subject. He makes it appear, that without the sincere exercise of faith, without a serious course of mortification, without self-denial, without a narrow search into one's own heart, and without the inward, calm sabbath of the soul, no man can obtain or enjoy the divine light.

    17. In short, in proportion as the works of darkness are destroyed in a man by the Spirit of God, in that proportion is he illuminated; and again, in the same degree as the corrupt nature, the flesh, and the world, pride, and the lust of the eyes, domineer in a man, in that degree darkness is left in him, and the less of grace, of light, of the Spirit of God and of Christ, is he possessed of. Therefore it remains, that without unfeigned repentance, and a daily repentance, no man can be truly enlightened from above.

    18. Whoever yields too much to one sin, undoubtedly opens a door to many others. Sin never comes alone, but, like a noxious weed, spreads itself on every side, and gains more ground every day. And as the darkness becomes greater accordingly as the sun retires, so as the holy life of Christ departs from us, the darkness and sin increase, till at length the man is swallowed up in eternal darkness. On the contrary, if a man devote himself to the practice of one virtue, he gains thereby an opportunity of practising all the rest in time, and cannot but daily proceed from one to another. This admirable connection is represented by St. Peter as a chain, in which all the rings are linked together, and none is suffered to separate from another. “Add,” he says, “to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity;” superadding one virtue continually to another, and crowning all at last with this promise: “If these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither [pg 127] be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8. To sum up all in a few words: Whoever is not earnestly bent on the exercise of such heavenly virtues as these, certainly knows not Christ, and is void of all saving knowledge: whereas, if a man by faith grow in virtue, he also grows in Christ himself. On the contrary, the wrathful, the covetous, the proud, the impatient, do not grow in Christ, but in the devil.

    19. It is the apostle's command, that we should grow up “unto a perfect man.” Eph. 4:13. As a child gradually grows up to the stature of a perfect man, so a Christian ought daily to grow in the practice of faith and virtue, till he become a perfect man in Christ. But “he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” 2 Pet. 1:9. As if the apostle had said: Christ by his death has indeed taken away our sins, and blotted them out; not that we should continue in the service of sin, but that, dying to sin, and living to Christ, we should show forth the fructifying power of the death of Christ. Without this order practically applied to the mind, it is manifest, that the purging away of our old sins, and the atonement made for them, can profit us nothing. Our sin is never forgiven until we entirely quit it, repent of it, and embrace Christ with an unfeigned belief. If we preserve but one sin alive, the mortifying of all the rest, if that were possible, would avail nothing; but we should be condemned to eternal death, without any hope of expiation or forgiveness. Thus, a man may be damned for the sin of wrath alone; whereas, if he had seriously corrected and quitted it, he would have obtained pardon not only for that, but even for other sins of which he stood guilty. But neglecting to do this, he is one of those that are “blind,” and “he forgets that he was purged from his old sins!” 2 Pet. 1:9.

    20. By this we are given to understand the necessity of repentance, and a thorough change of life: for although Christ died for our sins, and abolished them with the price of his blood, yet can we never partake of that merit, unless we repent. Without repentance this precious blood profits nothing. And though every man has a promise of pardon for his sin through the merit of Christ, yet that promise belongs not to the unbeliever, nor to the impenitent, but to those only who truly repent and reform their lives. Those sins shall not be remitted, which a man will not leave; but those only which he is willing to quit, and for which he heartily grieves. And here the word of the Lord is verified, “The poor have the Gospel preached to them;” that is, remission of sin, and life everlasting consequent upon it. Matt. 11:5. Let us suppose a man, who, for many years, has been the servant of covetousness, after the example of Zaccheus; or of lust, as Mary Magdalene; or of wrath and revenge, as Esau. Let us also suppose that this man, as soon as he heard that either these sins were to be entirely left, or that the death and blood of Christ would else profit him nothing, becomes a true suppliant to God, and cries out to him: “Oh God! how am I grieved for this! O Lord, be merciful, be merciful!” and then forms a new resolution, desists from his sin, craves pardon and grace, and believes in Christ. Then all his former offences are, of grace, freely remitted [pg 128] to him. No merit of his own is regarded, but solely the death and the blood of Christ shed for him. This is the only way in which a returning sinner is to obtain mercy. Whereas, he that does not fully resolve to abandon his former sins, his covetousness, wrath, usury, pride, lust, etc., will hope forever in vain for a remission of sin, being condemned to everlasting confusion and anguish. He shall be obliged to satisfy for himself the justice of God, and yet will never be able to perform it. On earth he was destitute of that faith which purifies the heart (Acts 15:9); and so his sin and lust, which have not been mortified here, shall forever torment him there. It is for this reason, that St. Paul so earnestly inculcates, “that they which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal. 5:21. And therefore either the loss of this heavenly kingdom must certainly follow, or the narrow way of self-denial must be heartily chosen.

    21. Wherever this unfeigned conversion to, and faith in, God, are wrought in the soul, there pardon and divine grace are freely bestowed. And where these are, there is Christ also; without whom no grace can be obtained. Where Christ is, there are likewise his precious merit, and the full ransom which he has paid for our sins, and which is appropriated to the penitent soul. Again, where these are, there is righteousness; and with righteousness, is peace; and with peace, sweet serenity of conscience. It is then, that righteousness and peace kiss each other in the soul. Ps. 85:10. This clearness of conscience is attended with the Spirit of God himself; who being a Spirit of joy, will surely pour forth the “oil of gladness” (Heb. 1:9), and quicken the soul with a foretaste of life eternal itself, which shall be joy and glory without end.

    22. This is that light of eternal life, that eternally triumphant joy, with which those only are crowned that live in Christ, and exercise daily repentance. This is the beginning of a spiritual life, as the death of Christ is the basis and foundation on which it is raised. On the contrary, where there is no repentance, there is no pardon of sin; where there is no inward remorse or spiritual sorrow, there grace cannot have a place. Where these are wanting, there Christ himself is wanting, together with the whole extent of his merits and satisfaction, be the pretences of the false Christian ever so fair and specious. Where this satisfaction is not thoroughly applied to the soul, there is no righteousness, and consequently no peace, no good conscience, no comfort. Where there is no comfort of heart, there is no Holy Ghost, no joy, no calmness of mind, and no life eternal; but death, hell, condemnation, and everlasting darkness.

    23. Behold, O man! how true it is, that none of those who refuse to follow Christ in their lives, by an unfeigned repentance, can ever get rid of the blindness of their hearts, and of everlasting darkness.

    [pg 129]

    Chapter XXXVIII.

    Showing That An Unchristian Life Leads To False Doctrine, Hardness Of Heart, And Blindness; Also, Treating Of The Eternal Election Of Grace.

    Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.—John 12:35.

    Since Christ, and faith in him are denied, and almost wholly extirpated by an ungodly life, what shall his doctrine profit us? For his doctrine, with the Word and Sacraments, is delivered to us for no other end, than that it be inwardly digested, and converted, as it were, into our very life and spirit. As from a good seed springs up good fruit, so from the Word and Sacraments should spring up within us the noble life of regeneration, or the new birth; the new, holy, and spiritual man; or, to speak all in one word, a true and real Christian. For he that is a Christian, must needs be born again of the Spirit, the Word, and the Sacraments, and believe and live in Christ, as in the primary principle of the life of grace. As certainly as a child is begotten by his father, so truly must the Christian be begotten of God and of Christ, through faith. James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23; John 3:3, 5; Titus 3:5.

    2. When, therefore, we do not resolve to strive against the depraved bent of our flesh, and to digest the doctrine of Christ into our life and nature; nay, when we contradict the Christian doctrine by an anti-Christian life, by irreligion and profaneness; is it not plain that we are not begotten of God, nor born of Christ? What will Christ's doctrine profit us, when we are sure that our life does not correspond with it at all? Will our vain boasts of the light of the Gospel do any good, when we evidently walk in darkness? It is on this account that the light deservedly retires from us, and the world begins to be overspread with darkness and false doctrines, with errors and with seducing spirits. And that we might beware of these, our blessed Saviour hath left us this warning: “While ye have the light, walk in the light, lest darkness come upon you” (John 12:35); that is, lest ye be led away into all kinds of errors and delusions, into blindness and hardness of heart, into darkness and prejudices, which indispose the mind for the very reception of the light of the Gospel. This was the case with Pharaoh, the Jews, and also of Julian the Apostate; who, being in the end convicted by the reproaches of his own conscience, exclaimed openly, and to his own confusion, that Christ both lived and reigned, and was both Lord and God; saying, “Thou hast overcome, O Galilean; thou hast overcome.” It would have been better for him to have said, “Lord, have mercy upon me!” But, alas! this was entirely out of his reach, in consequence of the hardness of his heart, contracted by an uninterrupted course of sinning, and by having rejected and despised the mercy of Christ.

    3. This hardness of heart, is that [pg 130] terrible darkness which, in the end, overtakes all such as refuse to walk in the light whilst they have it. It is the just punishment inflicted on those that blaspheme the truth, as Pharaoh did, when he asked: “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice, to let Israel go? I know not the Lord.” Exodus 5:2. Therefore it was but just that he should the more grievously feel the overruling power of God, by being made an example to the whole world, and a lasting monument of the indignation of the Lord, and of the weakness of men who vainly presume to oppose him.

    4. In like manner were the Jews of old struck with blindness and hardness of heart, when they refused to hearken to the voice of the Lord, having been warned by Moses long before, that this would certainly come to pass. “The Lord,” says he, “shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart.” Deut. 28:28. This actually did befall them, as may be seen, Isaiah, chap. 6:9-12. Whereby it is manifest, that such hardness of heart is the most righteous punishment of unbelief, of contempt of God, and the heavenly truth declared by him; according to the words of St. Paul: “With all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause, God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” 2 Thess. 2:10, 11. Whence it plainly appears, why God is used to strike men with such terrible blindness and hardness of heart; namely, because they “receive not the love of the truth.”

    5. And, indeed, the man from whom God takes away his offered grace, is surely most wretched and miserable; neither can he of himself at any time return into the right way. As a proof of this, we have the examples of Pharaoh and Julian. He from whom the Lord removes his light, must of necessity live in darkness. God removes it, however, from those only who refuse to walk in it; neither does he take his grace from any, but from those that boldly reject it.

    6. It is in this sense that the words of St. Paul are to be taken: “?‘I will have mercy (saith he) on whom I will have mercy.’ Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy; and whom he will he hardeneth.” Rom. 9:15, 18. But truly the Lord hath pity on all them who freely receive his mercy; as, on the contrary, he hardeneth those that reject and blaspheme the offer of his grace. And it is this wilful resistance for which St. Paul reproves the Jews: “It was necessary,” says he, “that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed” (Acts 13:46, 48): that is, as many as did not resist and obstinately cast away the word of grace, as the means of faith. It was because the Jews were guilty of this, that they could not believe: for the Lord hath not ordained any one to eternal salvation, who disdainfully rejects his word, and proves disobedient to the offer of his grace.

    7. The ordination to life eternal, or the election of grace (Rom. 11:5), is fully brought to pass in Jesus Christ, with this promise annexed, that God [pg 131] offers his grace to all by the Gospel; those who receive it are ordained to eternal life; and whosoever reject it thereby “judge themselves unworthy of eternal life,” as St. Paul expresses it. That is, by their own fault they make themselves unworthy of that blessing, and debar themselves from that universal grace which is displayed in the Gospel; and so putting their own names out of the book of life, which is Christ, they resist the good work of God by their own contumacy, and, consequently, cannot obtain that true saving faith, which the Word begets.

    8. And here let us not deceive ourselves, by vainly supposing that they only reject the word of God, who do not outwardly embrace the faith and doctrine of Christ (such as Mahometans and Jews); and that those who profess the Christian faith, and adhere to the doctrine of the Gospel, cannot possibly be deemed wilful despisers of the offer of mercy. Certain it is, that all who will not follow the footsteps of Christ, nor take his life upon them, nor walk in the light, fall under this heavy charge. And for this cause God is moved to take from them the light of his word, and of pure doctrine. “I,” saith Christ, “am the light of the world: he that followeth me, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12.

    9. Hence we learn that whoever follows the example of Christ, and lives his life, shall be in no danger of being misled by any delusion and error. He shall also escape that blindness and hardness of heart, which an empty confessor of the Christian faith draws upon himself. Consider here, on the one hand, the many proud, noble, learned, ingenious, and mighty men of this world; and, on the other, the errors, blindness, and delusions, into which they are plunged. Truly, those delusions arise from no other source, than because men do not live in Christ, but are averse to the imitation of his holy life; and therefore cannot have the light of life.

    10. From the same source also proceed those “workings of Satan,” and those “strong delusions,” together with all the “lying wonders” mentioned by St. Paul (2 Thess. 2:9-11), and which more and more increase upon us, because the world is not willing to follow Christ, and by this means, to be preserved from delusion and error. “For what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord (therefore) hath Christ with Belial?” 2 Cor. 6:14, 15. That is to say, Purity of doctrine, and divine knowledge, cannot remain with those that live in the devil, in darkness, in pride, in covetousness, and filthy pleasure. How should the pure doctrine dwell with those who exhibit impurity of life and manners? Nothing, certainly, can be more irreconcilable, than purity of doctrine and an impure life.

    11. If, therefore, we would preserve pure doctrine, we must be wholly changed in our minds, and have no part with the world, and with unchristian actions. We must “awake” (Eph. 5:14) from the lethargy of sin, and shake off the works of darkness, that so Christ may enlighten us again with the light of true faith. Whence it is plain, that whosoever does not follow the footsteps of Christ, nor imitate him in his love, humility, meekness, patience, and obedience, he must necessarily be deceived, and stray from the knowledge of God; since he does not walk in the way which leads to truth.

    [pg 132]

    12. On the contrary, if we but lived in Christ, if we walked in his love and humility, and directed all our endeavors and studies purely to this one object, that the flesh be mortified, and the life of Christ raised within us; that through him we might overcome ourselves, and triumph over the flesh, the world, and the devil; if this were but once effected, there would then remain very little contention and strife about the doctrine, and heresies would of themselves fall to the ground.

    13. We have an example of most strange delusion in Ahab, who, on account of his wicked and tyrannical life, was seduced by four hundred false prophets. 1 Kings 22. It was by their encouragement that he undertook that fatal expedition against the Syrians, in contempt of the true prophet Micaiah, who positively foretold his death in that battle. But being led by a false light, he rejected the truth, and gave credit to lying prophets, who prophesied nothing but peace and prosperity to him. Hence the justice of God met him, according to the word of the true prophet, and by due desert the dogs licked his blood.

    14. In this is verified the word of St. Paul: “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them.” 2 Cor. 4:4. And is not the same judgment threatened against all hypocrites, who boast of Christ and his doctrine, but deny him in their life and actions? For thus saith the Lord through the prophet: “Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me; therefore the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” Isa. 29:13, 14. Concerning the prophets in particular, the Lord has plainly declared, that he has “covered the prophets, the rulers, and seers.” Hence the vision shall become as a “sealed book,” etc. Verse 10, 11. And as for the Jews themselves, the apostle has told us, that there is a “vail upon their heart,” preventing their eyes from beholding the true Messiah; which, however, shall be “taken away when they turn to the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:15, 16.

    Chapter XXXIX.

    Showing That The Purity Of The Doctrine Of The Divine Word Is Maintained Not Only By Discussions And Publications, But Also By True Repentance And Holiness Of Life.

    Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee, keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.—2 Tim. 1:13, 14.

    It is very necessary, that the purity of doctrine, and the truth of the holy Christian faith, should be maintained and defended against all false teachers. For this we have the example of the holy prophets, who, with great zeal, preached against false and idolatrous prophets under the old law; [pg 133] of the Son of God, who sharply disputed against the Pharisees and scribes at Jerusalem; of St. John, the Evangelist, who wrote his Gospel against the heretical Ebionites and Cerinthus, and the Revelation (chap. 2:6, 15), against the false church of the Nicolaitans and others.

    2. Thus, too, St. Paul vigorously defended the doctrine of justification by faith (Rom. 3:20, etc.), of good works (2 Cor. 9:8, etc.), of the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:1, etc.), of Christian liberty (1 Cor. 9; 10—Gal. 5:1, etc.), etc., against certain false apostles who had intruded into the Church. We have, further, the example of the holy bishops and fathers of the primitive church, who, following the example set them by the apostles, strenuously opposed in their public controversial writings, the Pagan superstitions, and the heresies of those times. Nay, for the same purpose General Councils were gathered by the Christian emperors, who condemned the chief heretics that infested the church at that time; such as the Arians, Macedonians, Nestorians, and Eutychians; not to mention the example of Martin Luther, by whose polemical books and writings, the papacy, and other sects, have in these latter days been successfully assailed.

    3. It remains, therefore, that preaching, writing, and disputation against heretics, must be continued, to the preserving of the purity of doctrine, and of true religion. For this reason, the apostle will also have “a bishop to be able both to exhort and convince the gainsayers.” Titus 1:9. Though this in itself is both lawful and commendable, yet it has so fallen out by the abuse of it, that disputations and controversies are increased to such an extent in these days, that the Christian life, true repentance, love, and godliness, are, as it were forgotten; as if the sum and substance of the Christian religion consisted in arguing, and writing books of controversy, rather than in that unfeigned holiness of life, and purity of manners, which the Gospel requires.

    4. For consider the examples of the holy Prophets and Apostles, as also of the Son of God himself. They did not barely dispute against false prophets and apostles, and the superstitions maintained by them; but also with great zeal and vigor exhorted to true repentance, and a holy life. Their sermons were accompanied with power and energy; and they made it appear, that by wickedness and impenitence, true religion and worship were destroyed, the Church laid waste, and kingdoms and countries visited with the plague, war, and famine. And all this exactly came to pass even as they said. Of this complexion is that declaration of the Prophet, where he denounces to the Jews, “that because the vineyard of the Lord did not bring forth grapes, but wild grapes, the Lord had decreed to lay it waste.” Isaiah 5:4, 6. Whence it appears, that impiety is the cause, why God takes away his Word from us. And does not the Lord speak to the same effect, in the words recorded by St. John? “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” John 12:35. But what is it to walk in the light, except it be to imitate Christ in his life, and to have the same mind which was in him? And what does the Lord intimate by the “darkness coming upon us,” but the loss of the Gospel, and of the purity of the Christian doctrine? All this may abundantly convince us, that without repentance and holiness of life, no soul can be illuminated [pg 134] with the saving light of the Gospel. For the Holy Ghost, who is the true enlightener of hearts, flees from the ungodly, and chooses holy souls only, to make them friends of God. And if the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God (Ps. 111:10), who can doubt that impiety and carnal security are the beginning of folly, ignorance, and blindness?

    5. The true knowledge of Christ, and profession of his doctrine, consist not in words only, but in deeds and a holy life, as St. Paul says: “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Titus 1:16. And again; “They have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.” 2 Tim. 3:5. By this we are taught, that Christ and his Gospel are denied by a wicked life, as well as by words; and that he has not the true knowledge of Christ, who puts it not into practice. A man who never tasted in his heart the humility, meekness, patience, and love of Christ, cannot know Christ himself; and, consequently, in the time of trouble, cannot freely confess him. Whoever confesses the doctrine of Christ, and rejects him in his life, confesses him only in part; and whoever preaches the doctrine of Christ without his life, preaches Christ only in part. The world abounds with books of controversy, written in defence of the doctrine, but very few living books are extant concerning a Christian life. Now what is doctrine without life, but a tree without fruit? Or how should he follow the doctrine of Christ, who refuses to follow him in his life? For the sum and substance of the doctrine of Jesus Christ is “charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” 1 Tim. 1:5. But we live in an age, wherein there is so vast a number of disputants and reasoners in matters of doctrine, that one would think they had nothing more at heart than the promotion of religion and piety: whereas, upon a closer search, they are found to be inwardly full of malice and pride, envy and avarice. For this reason the apostle hath joined together faith and love, when he commands us to “hold fast the form of sound words.” 2 Tim. 1:13. Life and doctrine, as he intends to show, must go hand in hand together, and never be put asunder in the great work of salvation.

    6. Though we do not in the slightest degree affirm, that by our own efforts and piety, eternal life is obtained (for “we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation,” 1 Pet. 1:5): yet it is certain, that by an ungodly life, the Spirit of God, with all his gifts, is banished; amongst which gifts, faith, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, are not the least. Therefore it follows again, that without a holy life, purity of doctrine cannot be preserved; and that the wicked who will not follow Christ in his life, cannot be enlightened with the true light of the Gospel. On the contrary, those that walk in the light, that is, who persevere in the blessed footsteps of Christ, are illuminated by the true light (John 1:9), which is Christ, and are hereby preserved from the danger of delusions and errors. To this effect, that holy and enlightened writer, Tauler, has said: “As soon as a man dedicates and yields himself up to God, and denies his own will and flesh, then immediately the good Spirit of God begins to illuminate him, and to endue him with solid and sound knowledge; because this man truly keeps in his [pg 135] heart the true spiritual sabbath, and rests from all sinful lusts, and from his own will and works.” This sentence is to be understood of the state after conversion, and of daily illumination and growth in divine gifts and graces.

    7. Not without cause, then, doth the Lord say, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:6. He calls himself the way, as showing the way unto us. And how did he show it? Truly, not in his doctrine only, but also in his most holy life. This life of our blessed Redeemer consisted in a true and unfeigned devotedness to God, leading us in the way to truth and to life, as the substance of our whole religion, and the summary of all the commandments of God. This book of life contains in it many great and arduous lessons, to learn which were sufficient to take up our whole time. Here is inculcated the exercise of true repentance, and of that living practical faith which attends it; here the practice of love, hope, meekness, patience, and humility, are to be studied; here the duty of prayer, and of the fear of God, is explained: all which taken together, make up the whole life of Christ, set us as a pattern to follow. This is that “strait gate,” and that “narrow way,” which few can find. Matt. 7:14. This is the book of life, which but few read, though all things are comprised in it which a Christian ought to know and to practise; so that we shall need no other book in order to our eternal salvation. Here is the reason why also the Holy Scripture is contained in a few books, that it might appear that Christianity does not consist in a multitude of volumes, but in a living faith, and in a serious imitation of Christ. For the wise man says: “Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Wherefore, let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: “Fear God, and keep his commandments.” Eccles. 12:12, 13.

    8. We are told in the parable, that the devil, when men are asleep, cometh and soweth tares among the wheat, and goeth his way. Matt. 13:25. This teaches us, that when men lay aside the works of repentance, and indulge themselves in the sleep of sin, of carnal security, of love of the world, and of temporal care and concerns; then the devil gradually scatters his seed of false doctrine in the field of pride (Gen. 3:5): whence arise various sects, schisms, and heresies. For by the sin of pride both angels and men lost the true light with which they were at first endued. Pride is the original source of all delusions and errors, which have been most unhappily brought into the world. If Satan, and Adam, the first man, had continued in a state of humility, as did Christ when he conversed among men, then never had any error or temptation invaded this world. But now there is no other means for our recovery left, except that which is taught by St. Paul: “Awake, thou that sleepest, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14): convincing us thereby, that no man can be divinely enlightened, who has not shaken off his sinful lethargy; that is, his carnal security, profaneness, and impiety. The same is attested by St. Peter: “Repent, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38); and by the Lord himself, in that saying: “The world cannot receive the Spirit of truth, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.” John 14:17. And what is the world, but a life passed without God?

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    9. Again, when the Lord says: “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt. 7:20); does he not signify the fruits of a good and holy life, as the proper marks whereby true and false Christians may be discerned? A naked, empty profession of the Christian faith, will be no safe foundation upon which to rely. Any false Christian may cover himself with the sheep's clothing of a verbal profession of the Christian faith; when inwardly and in his heart he is anything but a true Christian. However, be the lives of the professors of Christianity ever so vain and wicked, it does not follow hence, that the whole doctrine is also false and corrupted, as some would insinuate, vainly condemning our doctrine on account of the wickedness of some of its professed adherents. If this were true, the doctrine of Christ and of his apostles would not escape the charge of error and falsehood; because even in their days many impious characters intruded into the church, and made a fair profession of the Christian faith. A profane life is no sufficient proof of false doctrine in general, though it may give us an insight into the individual himself, whether he be a true or a false Christian. Truly, he cannot believe aright, who leads a life opposed to the nature and properties of a divine faith. Such a man is no more a believer, or a Christian, than a dead body is a man. As many, therefore, as are of the number of such corrupt and unfruitful trees, are fit for nothing but to be hewn down and cast into the fire. Matt. 7:19.

    10. In order to understand this the better, we ought to inquire into the nature of a sound and saving faith, and the peculiar properties that attend it. And in the first place, a true, saving faith, works by love. Gal. 5:6. By faith man is made “a new creature” (Gal. 6:15); he is thereby born again, and united with God. By faith, “Christ dwells” and operates “in his heart.” Eph. 3:17. By faith the whole kingdom of God is established in the soul, and the divine Spirit “purifies and enlightens the heart.” Acts 15:9. And truly, the Scripture copiously sets forth these and similar properties that accompany true faith. Thus the apostle says: “He that is joined unto the Lord (by faith) is one spirit.” 1 Cor. 6:17. And what is it to be one spirit with Christ, but to have the same mind, the same heart and will, which are in him? And this oneness of spirit must needs suppose that new, holy, and heavenly life of Christ which is to be raised within us. To the same purpose it is said: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17); where to be in Christ, is not only to believe in him, but also to live in him. Again, “I will betroth thee unto me forever; I will even betroth thee to me in faithfulness.” Hos. 2:19, 20. This sentence can signify no less, than that a man by faith is wholly and spiritually united to Christ: so that where faith is, there Christ is; where Christ is, there a holy life abides in man; where the life of Christ is, there also is his love; and where love is, there is God himself, who “is love” (1 John 4:8), and there is also the Holy Ghost. And in this divine order all these heavenly transactions combine; even as the head is one with the members, and as the cause is linked with the effect. And this connection of faith and life, St. Peter admirably enforces, when he bids us to “give all diligence to add to faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to [pg 137] patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity.” “For if these things,” says he, “be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” 2 Pet. 1:5-9. Here the apostle evidently declares, that in whomsoever this union of faith and of life is not to be found, he is destitute of all saving knowledge of Christ, and walks in darkness. For it is the property of true faith to change a man wholly, to renew, and to quicken him in Christ; so that henceforth man may live and dwell in Christ, and Christ again may live and dwell in man.

    Chapter XL.

    Sundry Rules For Leading A Holy Life.

    Exercise thyself unto godliness. For godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.—1 Tim. 4:7, 8.

    In this apostolical sentence is contained a brief description of a Christian's life, and of the main study about which he is employed, namely, the study of godliness, or of Christian piety, which comprehends in it the whole train of Christian virtues. The apostle makes use of two motives to recommend this heavenly study, and the constant practice of it. First, says he, “Godliness is profitable unto all things.” Godliness is of most admirable service, as soon as our words and actions are influenced by it. It renders the whole life acceptable to God, and useful to our neighbor. The second motive is, because godliness is accompanied with a gracious reward both in this life, as appears from the examples of Joseph, of Daniel, and of others, as well as in that which is to come; where we shall reap without ceasing, provided we do not faint while we dwell here. Gal. 6:9. For our better encouragement in the practice of piety, let us endeavor to keep in remembrance the following rules and considerations.

    I. If thou even canst not live up to that degree of holiness which the word of God requires, and which thou thyself desirest, yet thou must never cease ardently to wish for it; for such holy breathings are always acceptable to God. God does not so much regard the outward action of a man, as the heart whence the action proceeds. But after all, never neglect to crucify thy flesh, and never permit it to rule over thee.

    II. In all that thou thinkest and doest, be careful to preserve the purity of thy heart. Set a watch over it, lest thou be defiled with proud thoughts, words, or actions; with wrath, or other such works of the flesh, and of the devil. Sin opens the door to the devil, and shuts the heart against God.

    III. Study continually to maintain the Christian liberty of thy soul, and [pg 138] do not suffer thyself to be enslaved, or brought into bondage, by any inordinate love of the creature, or of the things of this world, whose lord and master thou oughtest to be. Consider the value of thy soul, which certainly is of a more noble nature than this present perishing world. Why shouldest thou degrade it so far, as to subject it to the frail, base, and frivolous things of this life?

    IV. Beware of the care and sorrow of this world, because it worketh death. 2 Cor. 7:10. As worldly sorrow begetteth death, so godly sorrow begetteth life, and lays up an eternal treasure! Worldly sorrow springs from avarice and envy; from excessive care; from unbelief and impatience; and other temporal sources. Godly sorrow proceeds from a knowledge of thy sins, and those eternal punishments which follow them. This sorrow produces many salutary effects in a penitent soul, and “worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of;” being attended with spiritual joy, and solid peace or tranquillity of mind. No loss of a temporal kind ought to afflict thee so much as the remembrance of thy sins, by which thou hast offended the infinite goodness of God.

    V. If thou canst not bear thy cross with joy and cheerfulness, yet take it at least with patience and humility, and acquiesce calmly in the divine will and providence. For, truly, the will of God is always good; nor does it intend anything but thy benefit and salvation. Whatsoever, therefore, God shall be pleased to appoint thee in his wisdom, do thou gratefully accept it, and be either joyful or sorrowful, poor or rich, high or low, vile or excellent, as He orders thy lot. Let this saying always be in thy mind: “Thus it seemeth good unto God, and so it must needs be expedient and useful for me also. His will, not mine, be done.” Let not that, therefore, which pleases God, displease thee; but rather rejoice that all things are ordered according to His pleasure and thy salvation. Remember that “the Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” Ps. 145:17. Hence it is but just that the will of God should be done, because it is always good and profitable; and that thy own will should be subdued and unaccomplished, because it is always evil and hurtful.

    VI. Whenever the Lord visits thy soul with heavenly joy, accept the same with gratitude and humility. But when he is pleased to withdraw the comfortable light of his presence, then consider that the mortification of the flesh must needs be of greater profit to thee than exalted joy in the spirit. Through overmuch spiritual joy, many fall into spiritual pride. But whatever causes mortification and sorrow, is far more useful in subduing the flesh, than that which is delightful and pleasing to nature. The Lord best knows whom to lead in a pleasant and agreeable path, and who are to be brought through an unpleasant, stony, and difficult way. Always esteem it best to arrive at thy journey's end by that way which divine Wisdom has chosen for thee, however different it may be from thine own choice, or from the devices of thine own heart. Remember, that “sorrow is better than laughter;” and that “by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” And if thou wilt be wise, trust to the experience of the wise man, who tells thee furthermore, that “the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Eccl. 7:3, 4.

    [pg 139]

    VII. Make an offering to God of all that thou hast, and undertakest. If thou canst not bring offerings of a high and exalted devotion, of prayer, of thanksgiving, and of other similar acts of religion, offer at least what thou hast, with a good will, and a fervent desire. Wish, at least, that it may prove acceptable unto the Lord; for to have such a desire, or to be willing to have it, is no contemptible offering, but is very agreeable to the kindness of God. In what measure thou desirest to offer up thy devotion, thy prayer, and praise; in that measure God accepts the same. He requires no more at thy hands than he himself works in thee by his grace: nor canst thou return him more than he has first conferred on thee. In the meantime, entreat the Lord Jesus, that he would graciously please to supply what is defective in thee, by his own more perfect oblation and sacrifice: because he, and he only, is the perfection of our imperfect worship and service. Say, therefore, in faith: “O my God, and my Father, I beseech thee, let my devotion, my prayer, and thanksgiving, together with all the acts of my faith and worship, be graciously accepted by thee in thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Esteem them, not according to what they are in themselves, but according to what they are made by the merit of the all-sufficient sacrifice offered up by thy Son. O look upon that, and upon all that he has wrought for me in the flesh; and as his most perfect works must needs be pleasing to thee, so let mine also be acceptable to thee for his sake. He, O my God, shall abundantly make up whatsoever is defective in me.” By this means, our devotion, our prayer, and thanksgiving, how imperfect, weak, and obscure soever they may be in themselves, acquire a certain lustre, worth, and dignity derived from the merit of Christ, whereby our works are rendered acceptable to the Lord. As a naked and unclean infant is offensive to every one that sees it, but becomes sweet and lovely when it is thoroughly cleansed, and covered with fine linen: in like manner, all the works which thou doest in thy natural state, are polluted with sin, and of no account before God; but no sooner art thou covered with the perfection of Christ (Isa. 61:10), than thy works are acceptable to God. As fruit, which is not valuable in itself, surprises the spectator into a love of it, when served up in vessels of precious gold: so our prayers and acts of devotion, though of no account in themselves, are exalted in Jesus Christ, in whom, as in the beloved, we are made accepted with God. Eph. 1:6.

    VIII. If thy sins and manifold frailties (as they should do), make thee sad, yet let them not lead thee to despair. If they be many in number, remember that there is yet more mercy with Christ, and “plenteous redemption with him.” Ps. 130:7. If thy imperfections be ever so great, remember that Christ's merits are yet greater, and say with the royal penitent: “Have mercy upon me, O Lord, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies!” Ps. 51:1. And when, by the grace of God, thou truly repentest, and beholdest Christ Jesus, that great sacrifice for sin, then God himself repents of the evil which was to be inflicted upon thee; and absolution and remission of sin instantly follow so good and salutary a sorrow. Ezek. 18:23; 33:11. As the leper, upon his application to Christ, was immediately delivered from his evil, so is also the penitent sinner. No sooner did he [pg 140] say, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean;” than Christ freely replied: “I will; be thou clean.” Matt. 8:2, 3. So also the merciful God, inwardly and in the spirit, makes thee clean, comforts thee, and says: “Be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven thee.” Matt. 9:2. This wonderful mercy of the Lord in cleansing and absolving thee of thy sins, as it is forcibly represented by the example of that leper, so it ought by no means to give thee an occasion to sin the more; but to love God the more, and to say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless his holy name.” Ps. 103:1.

    IX. Let not injuries, reproaches, and revilings, provoke thee at any time to wrath, indignation, or revenge; but rather take them as so many trials of thy heart, and of the inward state of thy soul. Hereby God designs to prove thee, that it may appear what is hidden within thee, and whether meekness and humility, or wrath and pride, sway thy mind. For that which lies concealed in a man, is stirred up and made manifest by reproaches and provocations. If, therefore, thy heart be endued with meekness and lowliness, thou wilt easily bear contempt and injuries; nay, thou wilt accept them as so many paternal chastisements designed for the good of thy soul. Moreover, thou must consider, that contempt and reproaches are part of the chastisements which the Almighty sends, and thou shouldst patiently bear whatever the Lord shall be pleased to allot to thee. “Let us go forth,” says the apostle, “unto him, bearing his reproach.” Heb. 13:13. Behold with what lowliness of heart did he undergo the affronts of a profane world! And should not we submit to the same with meekness, and with an unshaken evenness of mind? Say not then, “Should I suffer these things from so contemptible a fellow as this?” but rather submit, in consideration of that patient and meek spirit which was in Christ, and displayed itself in his whole life and conduct. Lastly, consider the kindness of God towards those that suffer for his sake. So faithful is he, and so kind to those that bear any disgrace on his account, that he confers the greater marks of honor and favor upon them. Thus David, when Shimei vented his malice upon him, took it for a pledge that God would bestow a token of great honor upon him; and this accordingly came to pass. “It may be,” says he, “that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day,” and turn his curse into a blessing. 2 Sam. 16:12. Be not, therefore, at all disturbed at the evil report that wicked men may raise against thee; but rejoice rather, since the Spirit of glory rests on those that are reproached for the name of Christ. 1 Peter 4:14.

    X. Study to overcome and to pacify thine enemies, by bestowing upon them tokens of love and kindness. No man will ever be reconciled by wrath, or revenge, or returning evil for evil, for victory consists in virtue, not in vice. And as one devil does not drive out another, so it cannot be expected that one evil should be subdued by another; or that enmity against thee should be extinguished by affronts and provocations offered by thee. A man that is full of sores and bruises, is not likely to be healed by the addition of more blows; and if he be so mad as to beat and to cut himself, he is to be pitied, and to be treated with the greater kindness and lenity. In like manner, if a man be full of spiritual [pg 141] distemper, and of hatred, he is to be handled with the more love and gentleness; if, perhaps, by such lenient means as these, he may be softened into a better temper. Consider the method which God himself uses for overcoming our natural obstinacy. Does he not conquer our malice with his goodness, and our wrath with his love? And does he not invite us to repentance by many endearing marks of love and benignity? Rom. 2:4. This method is prescribed by St. Paul: “Be not,” says he, “overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom. 12:21. This is victory indeed.

    XI. When thou observest that God has adorned thy neighbor with gifts above thee, take heed not to envy him on that account; but rather rejoice and give thanks to God for the same. Consider, that since all true believers make up together but one body, it must needs follow, that the beauty of every member is communicated to the whole body, and to every member thereof. On the other hand, when thou perceivest the misery of thy neighbor, lament over it as if it were thine own; considering that the condition of all men is equally subject to evil, and that misery and affliction are the lot of mankind. Christ hath also set thee here an example. And, truly, whoever does not commiserate and sympathize with the misery of his neighbor, let him pretend to be what he may, he is no living member of the body of Christ. For did not Christ look upon our misery as his own, and by compassionating our deplorable state, deliver us from all our miseries? This mutual love and sympathy, are inculcated by St. Paul: “Bear ye one another's burdens,” says he, “and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Gal. 6:2.

    XII. As for love and hatred in relation to thy neighbor, make the following distinction. It is but fit that thou shouldest hate his vices and crimes as the very works of the devil; but then, beware of hating the person whilst thou abhorrest his sin. On the contrary, it is thy duty to bewail the case of thy neighbor, who, being carried away by so many irregular passions, enjoys no solid rest in his soul. Offer up his cause to God, and pray for him, as Christ did for his enemies, when he was nailed to the cross. Luke 23:34. Do not, therefore, hate any man, but hate his vices only; for whosoever hates a man, and seeks his ruin, can in no wise be pleasing to God; since it is the very nature of God to be kind, and to desire that “all men should be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim. 2:4. This was also the end for which Christ took our flesh upon him. He came into the world, “not to destroy men's lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:56.

    XIII. Consider all men as being frail and imperfect, but none as more frail and imperfect than thyself; for before God, all men stand equally guilty, and there is no difference. We have all sinned, and have thereby been deprived of the image of God, and of all the glory which attended it. Rom. 3:23. How great a sinner, therefore, thy neighbor may be, never fondly persuade thyself, that thou art better before God. Remember this warning of the apostle: “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor. 10:12. He that makes himself the lowest of all men, is in the fairest way of being preserved, by the grace of God, unto salvation. And certain it is, that thou standest no less in need of the grace and mercy of God, than the greatest [pg 142] of sinners. Where there is a great measure of humility, there is also a great measure of grace. Wherefore St. Paul accounted himself the “chief of sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15); and it was in this order he obtained mercy, and had so much long-suffering bestowed upon him. And in another place he declares that he will glory in nothing but in “his infirmities, that the power of Christ might rest upon him.” 2 Cor. 12:9.

    XIV. True illumination is always accompanied with a contempt of the things of the world. As the children of the world have their inheritance here upon earth; so the children of God have theirs laid up above in heaven. The treasures which the children of this world have chiefly at heart, are temporal honors, perishing riches, earthly splendor and glory. But the treasures of the children of God are poverty and contempt, persecution and reproach, the cross and death, trouble and sorrow. Thus did Moses prefer “the reproach of Christ before the treasures in Egypt;” and the affliction of the people of God, before the pleasures of sin. Heb. 11:25, 26.

    XV. Remember, that by the name of a Christian written in heaven, is intimated that solid, practical knowledge of Christ which is grounded in faith, and by which we are transplanted into Christ. From this knowledge flow all the living virtues which the Lord will praise in the great day of retribution. Matt. 25:34, etc. He will then also bring to light all those treasures which we have laid up in heaven (1 Tim. 6:19), together with all such works as have been wrought in God. John 3:21. Never has a saint lived upon earth, but he has been particularly eminent in one virtue or other; and this virtue shall never be forgotten. Ps. 112:6. Whether it be faith, love, mercy, patience, or any other virtue in the practice of which he has been so conspicuous, it shall make up that eternal name which is written in heaven. Rev. 2:17; 3:12. This will be the note and character of the saints, and their eternal memorial before God. But of this, more shall be said in Book II.

    Chapter XLI.

    The Whole Of Christianity Consists In The Restoration Of The Image Of God In Man, And The Destruction Of The Image Of Satan.

    But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.—2 Cor. 3:18.

    In the true knowledge of Christ, wherein is comprehended that of his Person, offices, benefits, and heavenly and eternal gifts, consists life everlasting. John 17:3. This knowledge is kindled in our hearts by the Divine Spirit, and is a new light shining forth with increasing brightness, and passing on from glory to glory. It is like a metallic body, which, by constant polishing, becomes every day more brilliant; or [pg 143] like a tender infant, which, by a daily supply of food, grows up in vigor and strength. No sooner is the righteousness of Christ, through faith, conferred upon a returning sinner, than he is also really born again, and the image of God is daily renewed within him. His spiritual growth, or the renovation of his mind, goes on, however, in a successive manner, from one degree to another, for he has not yet become a “perfect man in Christ.” Eph. 4:13. He is a child for some time; but is continually nourished by the Divine Spirit, and daily brought to a greater conformity with the Lord Jesus Christ.

    2. For the whole life of a Christian upon earth, is properly nothing else than a continual renewing of the image of God in his soul: so that he may constantly live in the new birth, and daily mortify that which is old and corrupt, till the body of sin be eventually destroyed. Rom. 6:4. This life must be begun in this world, that so it may be perfected in that which is to come. Whereas, in whomsoever the renewal of this divine life shall not be begun before his departure from this world, in him it never shall be accomplished. Wherefore I have thought it might be well briefly to repeat what is here meant by the image of God, which is to be revived; and what by the image of the devil, which is to be obliterated and destroyed in man's soul: for in the right knowledge of these two, the substance of our whole religion consists. It is the main point upon which all turns, and from which many other articles (as that of Original Sin, free-will, repentance, conversion, faith, justification, prayer, the new birth, sanctification, and lastly, obedience, and the whole practice of a religious life), borrow no small light. Of this, the following remarks will give an account.

    3. The soul of man is an immortal spirit, endowed of God with excellent faculties; as the understanding, will, memory, and other powers and affections.

    4. See that thou turn all these towards thy God, in order to behold him therein as in a mirror; and, by beholding him, to have his image gradually formed in thy soul. In this sense the apostle speaks of “the glory of the Lord,” which we behold “with an open face,” without vail and shadows. 2. Cor. 3:18.

    5. As God is a truly good and holy Being; so also were the substance of the soul, and its true nature and essence, originally good and holy. And as in God there is nothing of evil; even so was the soul of man, in the beginning, free from all manner of evil. As in God there is nothing but what is right; so in the soul there was nothing at first but what was right also. For He is the rock, whose “work is perfect;” even “a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Deut. 32:4; Ps. 92:15. As God is wise, so was also the human soul full of divine and spiritual knowledge, of heavenly and eternal wisdom. And as the divine wisdom ordered all things in number, weight, and measure, and knew the powers of all creatures, as well in heaven as in earth: so also was the mind of man possessed of the same light and knowledge.

    6. And as it was with the understanding, so it was with the will: for as the one was the image and reflection of the divine understanding, so was the other of the divine will, in everything. It was holy as the pattern was holy, and conformed to the will of God. Hence, as God himself [pg 144] is, so was the human soul; righteous, loving, merciful, long-suffering, patient, meek, gentle, true, and pure. Exod. 34:6; Ps. 103:8; Joel 2:13. Yea, all the passions or affections, all the appetites, and motions of the heart, being made most perfectly conformable to the motions and affections of the divine mind, partook of this conformity of the will of man to that of God. As, therefore, God is love, so all the affections and motions of man, in his first state, breathed nothing but pure love. As God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are one in an unspeakable and eternal bond of love; so all the affections and desires of man, burned with a most perfect and ardent love, and he cleaved unto God fully with all the powers and faculties which he had; “with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might” (Deut. 6:5); so that man verily loved God more than himself, and preferred God and His honor, to himself and his own.

    7. But as the image of God shone forth in the soul, so the image of the soul again shone forth in and from the body. This, therefore, was holy, chaste, and pure throughout, not subject to any unclean motion or lust. It was undefiled and without blemish. It was in every respect, beautiful, well proportioned, and graceful; of vigorous health, and possessed of a constitution even out of the very danger of sickness. It was such as death itself had no power over, and it was perfectly free from pain, listlessness, passion, grief, and old age, now the common attendants and warnings of man's mortality. In a word, the whole man, both in soul and body, was pure, holy, righteous, and every way acceptable to God. For, in order that man might be the image of God, it was necessary that his body should be holy, and conformable to God, as well as his soul. Accordingly, St. Paul both exhorts and prays, that the body, together with the spirit and soul, be sanctified wholly; and be preserved holy and blameless unto the coming of our Lord. 1 Thess. 5:23. For since man is made up of soul and body, and exercises both bodily and spiritual functions, there was a necessity that the instrument through which the soul was to act, should be pliable and obedient, adapted to the nature of the soul, and holy as the soul was holy; to the end that the holy and righteous soul, might finish her work through the body without any obstacle or resistance. As, therefore, the soul burned with the pure love of God: so did all the powers of the body manifest and exert themselves in the love of God and man. As the soul was altogether merciful; so also the body was, with its whole might, and all its faculties, impelled to tenderness and compassion. As chastity shone forth from the soul, which was altogether pure; so the whole body, in like manner, with all the inward and outward senses and powers thereof, visibly set forth the most perfect purity and chastity. To conclude, the virtues no less gloriously shone in the body, than in the soul itself; so that the body was the holy instrument of the soul, in everything suited to it, and worked together with it. And hence man in the state of innocency, was able to love God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his strength, and with all his mind, and to love his neighbor as himself: which is the very substance both of the old and new law given to man. Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37, 39; Luke 10:27. Hence, as often as God calls for the heart of man, we are to understand [pg 145] the whole man, both as to body and soul, and the powers, faculties, and operations of both. In this sense, the word heart is frequently taken in Scripture; so that under it are comprehended all the powers of the soul, as the understanding, will, and memory, together with all the desires and affections attendant on them. So when God demands a man's soul, he, under that name, requires not a part, but the whole of a man. He must, in all his powers, be conformed to God, and renewed in Christ Jesus: and thus man, having put off the old nature, and being renewed in the spirit of his mind, must also walk in newness of life, and in the spirit by which he was begotten again. Gal. 5:16; Eph. 4:23.

    8. Moreover, there was a perfect joy in God, which accompanied this perfection of holiness, righteousness, and divine love, in man. By this, all the faculties and springs, both of soul and body, were most powerfully affected: for wherever divine holiness resides, there also divine joy must be present. These two are knit together with an everlasting bond, and make up the very image of God. Yet, as in this life, the divine righteousness and holiness are but imperfect in us, so we but taste, while here, only the first fruits of that joy which shall be fully revealed hereafter. However, as the righteousness of Christ is verily begun in sincere believers, so it follows that they also enjoy a real beginning and foretaste of divine joy and comfort; as those Christians can abundantly attest, that have learned religion by experience. John 16:22; 2 Cor. 1:5; Phil. 4:4. Whatever progress, therefore, any one makes in the love of God, be it more or less, so much of divine joy does he also perceive in his soul. And this holy and divine love, as it shall in the next life attain its full perfection, so in that day the Christian's joy (arising from love) shall also be full, as the Lord himself declares. John 15:11; 16:22. For divine love is the only true life, and the only true joy: but where this love of God is wanting, there is neither joy nor life; but death itself, and the everlasting portion of wicked men and devils. Whence has a father joy? Is it not from the love of his children? Whence has a bridegroom joy? Is it not from the love of the bride? Isaiah 61:10; 62:5. But infinitely sweeter must that joy be, which is derived from the love of our Creator! He not only embraces us as a father does his children, but he rejoices over us as over his bride; nay, most tenderly kisses us “with the kisses of his mouth” (Cant. 1:2.), (that is, in Christ, who is his mouth and word), and coming to us, through Christ with the Holy Ghost, makes his abode with us. John 14:23. Take heed, however, concerning this image of God, which consists in a conformity with God, that you do not therefore think, as if man were made equal with God in holiness. Not by any means. For God is infinite as to his essence, virtues, and properties; he is incomprehensible, and without bounds; so that nothing in the world can be compared with him. Man therefore, even in his first state, could not properly be said to bear God in him; being designed only to bear his image, as it has been already explained in Chapter I. of this Book.

    9. That which has now been stated concerning the image of God, is plain, true, and beyond all doubt. It cannot be denied, that God created man, to be a bright mirror of himself: so that if man had been desirous to know the [pg 146] nature of God, he might, by looking into himself, have beheld God there, as in a glass, and clearly perceived the image of the Deity within his own breast.

    10. This image was the life and blessedness of man; but the devil, looking with envious eyes upon this image of God in man, exerted all his art and cunning to efface it, by raising in man a spirit of disobedience and enmity against God. Gen. 3:1, etc. This he accordingly effected with a subtility and haste, that never were since seen. He was not ignorant, that if man had continued in that state, he would have been the master: but that if he could be induced to fall from it, that the devil would thereby become the lord (or rather the tyrant) of fallen man. When, therefore, with all the powers of his cunning and malice, he could devise nothing more likely to accomplish his design than that by which he himself lost his first state or principality, he began, in a seductive manner, to insinuate into the imagination of the woman, no less than an affectation of the Divine Majesty. What can appear more divine, or what is there more noble to be wished for, than to “be as God”? Gen. 3:5. By this cunningly contrived method, man being therefore circumvented, he lost the divine image at once; and the image of Satan, consisting in an affectation of the Divine Majesty, was impressed upon him.

    11. This aspiring thought, by which man threw off all his dependence on God, being thus begotten in the mind; and this haughty arrogance having once seized the imagination, there followed immediately apostasy from God, disobedience, and transgression of the commandment concerning the forbidden tree. Hereupon the image of God was extinguished, the Holy Spirit departed from man, and the image of Satan was imprinted instead of that which was effaced. Hence now there are so many men, so many slaves of the devil. The devil having thus gained his object in subjecting man to his dominion, most cruelly tyrannized over him; just as a giant may be supposed to do over a little infant. Hence the understanding in man is darkened and blinded; the will is, by a complete disobedience, turned from God; and all the springs and powers of the heart are stirred up against God in utter malice. In a word, the whole image of God lieth now slain in man, and the whole race of mankind, being swayed by the satanical nature, have a seed sown in them full of the deepest malignity. Hence men became the offspring of Satan, and his living likeness, being poisoned with all manner of sin and enmity against God. Thus died man! Thus died he the death everlasting! For as the image of God is the life and salvation of man, so the departure of this image is the death of man, even death eternal, and his damnation, which is also called a death “in trespasses and sins.” Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13.

    12. They best understand this death, who, having been cast into deep spiritual temptations, sensibly feel the devil's rage and tyranny over them. By this he torments the soul beyond what it is in the ordinary power of sin to effect. Now, unless the Holy Ghost shine in upon the soul under this terrible affliction, and by darting in some ray of his light comfort it; the devil slays the man with this death, and racks the soul with the very anguish of hell itself. Hence all the natural force of the body sinks, the strength fails, the heart withers and pants, and [pg 147] the very marrow in the bones consumes away, so that there is no soundness left in the body. This state is described at large, in Psalms 6 and 38. The word of God itself, to such a one, seems dead and lifeless: he finds in it no manner of devotion, no savor of spiritual life. This is the spiritual death, into which the soul is fallen: and while the soul remains thus spiritually dead, all human holiness, righteousness, excellency, might, power, glory, honor, arts, and wisdom, can avail nothing. And, truly, man would undoubtedly perish in this grievous condition, if he were not supported by divine grace: for nothing but this is able to succor him.

    13. Learn, therefore, O man, duly to look into, and rightly to consider the abominable filthiness of Original Sin, as the sink of all abomination. For by this the hereditary righteousness of God was lost, and the hereditary unrighteousness of the devil transplanted into men. Hence the sinner was cast away from God, and doomed to an eternal death: and this he must certainly undergo, except he obtain forgiveness of sin for Christ's sake through faith.

    14. But to set the state of fallen man, both as to soul and body, in as clear a light as possibly I can, I think it well to give a fuller description thereof in this place; most earnestly entreating every one, for the sake of God and of his own eternal salvation, to ponder again and again, and seriously to revolve in his mind that original depravity which has corrupted our nature. The consequence of this will be, that as a man beholds his bodily face in a glass, and knows it, so he may also behold in himself his own wretchedness, and original sin. This will daily influence him to lament his own distressed condition, and to sigh after Him, who alone is able to heal us.

    15. For the whole Christian life is indeed nothing else, than a constant wrestling with original sin, and a continual purging away of the same by the aid of the Holy Ghost, and by true repentance. For, in proportion as any one mortifies his natural propensity to evil, in that degree is he renewed after the image of God, even day by day; and they who are not inwardly mortified by the Holy Ghost, are at best no more than hypocrites, let them make ever so great a show with an external profession of the Christian faith. Neither can they expect to enter into the kingdom of God, since they are not renewed into his image: for whatsoever is not dead to itself, nor renewed into the image of God by his Spirit, is altogether unfit for that glorious state.

    16. From all this, there may evidently be inferred the absolute necessity of the new birth, and of the daily renovation of our mind into the image of God. This necessity will yet more fully appear, when we consider the image of the devil according as the law describes it. For as the devil not only does not love God, but rather hates him with his whole heart; so he has infected man's soul with the same contagion, and transfused into it malice against God; so that now man by nature neither loves, honors, believes, calls upon, nor trusts in God; but as he is filled with enmity against him, so he flees from him, and shuns him. As the devil is hurried on with a blind fury, and lives without God and his will; so in like manner, the soul of man being corrupted by him, leads a godless life, unmindful of God and of his will. This inward darkness of the [pg 148] mind, is attended with a frightful destruction of the divine light and image; and brings forth that abominable sin, in which man, left to himself, saith: “There is no God.” Ps. 14:1. And by reason of this blindness of heart, all mankind are become an abomination before God, in all their ways.

    17. But notwithstanding so dreadful a night of apostasy, there still remains a spark of natural light in man's understanding, by which he might come to know that there is a God (Rom. 1:20); as also, that this God must be just, according as all the heathen philosophers teach: but as for the spiritual life, which is after God and his righteousness, it was wholly extinguished in man. For conscience, which is the law of God written in every man's heart when it was first formed by him, teaches every one what is good and right. Thus if you look, for instance, upon a person that is unchaste, there is not one that so much wallows in the filth of the flesh, but he now and then thinks with himself, “Surely there is a God, and this God is most pure and undefiled; and so not like to me by any means.” He cannot but reflect further: “This holy and pure God, must abhor every sort of pollution and uncleanness; and, therefore, if I would be acceptable to him, I ought to live chastely, and to abstain from all impurity.” But this spark of light is soon put out by the filthy lusts of the flesh which crowd in upon the mind; these overwhelm all good impressions, just as a spark of fire is swallowed up by a flood of water. The lust of the flesh is kept within the heart, and the conviction, which began to reprove it, is soon stifled.

    18. From this it plainly appears, that the spiritual life, consisting in holy love and truth, is in the carnal or natural man utterly abolished. And thus the wiser sort of heathens, however they might sometimes by the light of nature maintain both the being of a God, and his providence over human affairs, were soon carried away with the darkness of their own hearts, and again called in question that providence which they had before asserted: so that very little is to be made of what they say on this head. This their books sufficiently declare. From this hereditary blindness of heart, and this natural inbred darkness, spring unbelief and doubts. And because all men are by nature in this degenerate state, they are an abomination in the sight of God; since there is no faith in them, nor any filial reliance upon the paternal goodness of God. To this spiritual life, and to the various operations that proceed from it, the natural man is an utter stranger; consequently he does not call upon God, but trusts to his own wisdom, power, and strength. This is the greatest blindness and darkness of mind possible.

    19. From this blindness of heart, further arise both a contempt of God, and a state of carnal security. As the devil does not humble himself before God, but is hardened in pride; so has he infected the soul of man with the same vice, and poisoned it with contempt of God, security, and presumption. Hence he, like his father the devil (John 8:44), will not humble himself before God; but is stout and insolent, haughty and self-willed, and would do everything after his own will, without the least fear of the Lord to keep him awe. As the devil relies on his own strength and wisdom, and thereby entirely governs himself; so [pg 149] fallen man, being infected with the contagion of Satan, acts in conformity with him; and will always be his own counsellor and master. Moreover, as the devil seeks his own honor, so does the natural man, who bears his image. He is in pursuit of self-honor, without any regard to his Maker, whose honor he was designed to promote. As the devil blasphemes the name of God, and is ungrateful to his Creator; so it is with man, transformed into his image. As the devil is unmerciful, wrathful, and revengeful, so is the soul of man, which he has soured with the same leaven of malice. As the devil delights to lord it over men, and to please himself with vainglory, so man, tainted with the same tyrannical ambition, haughtily lifts himself up above others. He laughs at his neighbor, and shuns his company, as if he were a worthless, pitiful person, and too great a sinner to be conversed with. But, O man! thou art to consider over and over again, that in these, and all other cases, the method of God is not to charge or accuse the outward members of a man, but the heart only. The heart is the murderer and the liar, not the hand nor the mouth. It is the soul that is guilty; and this is therefore everywhere arraigned in Scripture. So when God commands men to call upon him in the time of trouble (Ps. 50:15), he gives this command to the soul, not to the lips. And it is the very same in every other case. Whosoever does not observe this necessary rule in reading the Scriptures, is blind indeed. He can never have a right apprehension of original sin, repentance, or regeneration: nay, he cannot attain to a sound knowledge of any one article of the Christian religion.

    20. We have daily before our eyes the extreme wickedness of men, their horrid pride, savage hatred, barbarous enviousness, and other impious qualities, with which they tear one another, after the manner of wild beasts. Many are transported to such a degree of malice, as to be unconcerned about their own lives, provided they can but hurt or destroy another. Their neighbor must submit to their pleasure, or expect to have a snare laid for his ruin. Thus, as the devil himself is a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44); so he stirs up the soul of man to thirst after the blood of others. For all these inhuman qualities of the heart, this envy and wrath, this bitterness of mind, this rancor and malice, what are they but the seed of the devil sown in man, and his express image engraven upon the soul? Alas! how the devil has portrayed himself in man!

    21. God had implanted in man a conjugal affection, that was pure and honorable; that thence children might be begotten after the divine image. Nor could there have been a love more holy and heavenly, than that by which man, in his blessed estate, would have thus propagated the image of God and mankind at the same time. All would have been for the glory of his Creator, and the salvation of man. Nay, if man in the state of innocency could have begotten a vast multitude of children, and have thus propagated the honor and image of God; nothing, certainly, could have been more grateful to him than this; nothing more delightful, more full of holy joy and satisfaction. For these acts would then have proceeded from pure love to God and to men, as so many images of the Supreme Good. As God found in the creation of man, a holy pleasure, and delighted in him, as in his image; so also man would, in like [pg 150] manner, have been sensible of a most pure and exquisite joy in the procreation of his like, for it would have been the propagation of God's image. But, alas! Satan has polluted this chaste flame of conjugal love with all uncleanness. Men and women, actuated with a blind transport of lust, begot children in their own, not in God's likeness. Gen. 5:3. How is the holy bond of matrimony trampled upon and profaned! How wholly defiled is it with spots of the flesh, and what a multitude of vices and impurities now shelter themselves under the sacred name of matrimony!

    22. As God is just, the devil is unjust. The devil is therefore a thief, a plunderer; and being so in himself, has instilled into man's soul the same unjust disposition, the same ravenous nature. The devil is a false accuser (Rev. 12:10), a fallacious reasoner (2 Cor. 11:3), and a treacherous informer (Job 1:9, 10), as well as a scornful mocker of God and man. Job 2:3, 4, 5. He misrepresents both words and actions, and wrests them to a wrong sense. Of this artful contrivance he gave a striking instance when he beguiled our first parents by his craft and subtlety. Gen. 3:5-7. Thus the soul of man, corrupted by Satan, has received from him, as by inheritance, a perverse and lying nature. John 8:44. This poison, conveyed into the soul, is so horrible and so manifold, as to render it altogether impossible to declare at large the subtile contrivances, and the different kinds of diabolical art and cunning that proceed from it. Eph. 6:11. Read Psalm 5:9, Romans 3:13, and James 3:5, 6; and thou shalt find described therein in the most lively terms, that world of wickedness, which by a deceitful tongue is drawn forth from the diabolical venom that lurks within, and that thence spreads itself through the whole man. For God does not blame the tongue, or the hands alone, but in his law, charges the fault upon the whole man, yea, upon the heart, as the chief cause of all the evils committed. See the Commandments, in Exodus 20:16, 17. This ought to be particularly observed in the whole course of a religious life.

    23. And this is that image of the devil, which now, instead of the image of God, is so deeply engraven on the soul. Hereby man is made to delight in sinning, and in slandering another, even as the devil's name imports. Rev. 12:10. How many, alas! are there, that reckon themselves very good Christians, and yet will not hesitate to slander their neighbor upon any occasion that offers; and after they have discharged their venom against him, will applaud themselves for what they have done. Such a man will say: “This is just what I have sought for a long while; I am now eased of a great burden; I seem to be alive again, as I have so finely treated such a one.” Ah! poor man, thou art to be pitied! How great is thy blindness, that thou dost not discern who it is that has transformed thee into such a devil and slanderer; and whose image it is thou carriest about thee! Seest thou not that this is the very nature of the devil, the unhappy seed of Satan? Discernest thou not this to be his true temper, which he has implanted in the soul of man, that it might there display itself, in all sorts of vices, but more particularly in pride, covetousness, lust, and slander; even as daily experience abundantly witnesses? Alas, is this thy wit, and cunning, and wisdom?

    24. Behold, O man! the foul, the [pg 151] horrible, the profound corruption of Original Sin! O how filthy, how unsearchable it is! Consider this again and again; and descending into thyself, learn there to know the image and nature of Satan, which, like a gangrene, is spread through thy whole soul, together with all the dangerous symptoms that attend it. And learn how thy soul is hence become an abomination before God, and is laid waste in so dreadful a manner, that no creature is able thoroughly to search out the malignity of the heart of man. Neither art thou thyself able sufficiently to explore it, or to explain in words, that detestable venom which is as rottenness in thy innermost parts. Wherefore, I earnestly beseech and entreat every one, that he ponder with himself, and seriously reflect on those things that have been said concerning the depravity and corruption of man's heart; even as if they had been inculcated a thousand and thousand times, over and over again. For so great is this virulence, so malignant and pestilential, as to put it beyond the power of any creature, either angel or man, ever to root it out, or to cleanse or free our nature from it. All the powers of men come short of so great a performance. For how should any one be able to work out his salvation with his own natural powers, since they all without exception are utterly depraved, and dead to spiritual things? Man, therefore, must be forever miserable, and eternally lost in this corruption, unless there come to his help one that is able to succor, and to apply a healing medicine to so dreadful a disease. This must be a lord over sin and death, able to subdue so obstinate an evil, and by his divine virtue, to renew, transform, and purify again the defiled nature of man. All this is a convincing proof, that justification cannot be the work of man, but is the work of God only; and likewise that regeneration, or the being born again by the Spirit, is indispensably needful to the restoring of fallen nature. For in conformity to the inward principle of corruption, there is now a sort of necessity that the soul should live a perverse and impious life. Man does not now hesitate openly to transgress all the commandments of God; and this is enmity against God. The understanding and will are now so dead, and so much enslaved by sin, that according to their natural bent, they are incapable of any love, fear, or reverence for God. They cannot call upon him, honor him, praise, or worship him; they cannot put the least trust in him, or turn themselves towards him. Many of the heathens have, indeed, been illustrious for their good and virtuous deeds, and gained no small credit by their morality. But it is utterly impossible for nature to change the heart, to turn it to God, and to cleanse it from those sinful affections that lurk within. This work is to be accomplished only by a divine power. For notwithstanding all this glittering show of morality which some make, there still remains the inward root of the tree of evil, whose fibres stick so fast in the soul, that no human power can ever destroy them. The utmost that a man can do in so sad a case, is to prevent the fire from breaking out into flames, so as to consume all that comes near it; but notwithstanding this damp which is cast upon it, the evil fire still keeps in, and secretly burns as much as ever.

    25. Were not human life, and the management of civil and social affairs under some check, the whole race of [pg 152] mankind would be destroyed at once, and rooted up from off the face of the earth. But though the devil has exercised an exceedingly great cruelty over man, yet God has not suffered him to pluck up all the natural powers and affections from man's soul, or to extinguish the spark of free will which remains in the soul. There still remain the law of nature and the natural love subsisting betwixt husband and wife, parents and children. Without this it would have been impossible for mankind to have long subsisted upon earth. For he who obeys the unbridled lusts and desires of his corrupt nature, must be looked upon as the very bane of all society. He entirely ruins, as much as in him lies, all commerce and dealings betwixt men. It is, therefore, an effect both of God's mercy and wisdom, that he has preserved in fallen man this little flame of natural love: the design of which is, that by the sense of this love, we might know in some degree the excellency of that spiritual and divine love which we have lost by the fall of man; and that from feeling the one, we might be brought to consider the worth of the other, and to breathe after the recovery of the same. But as to spiritual matters, and such things as more immediately concern the happiness of the soul, and the kingdom of God, nothing can be more true than that saying of the apostle, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2:14. That is, man in his natural state, has not so much as one spark of spiritual and divine light; but is wholly blind in the things that appertain to the heavenly life, and that constitute the image of God in the new creature. Man, nevertheless, was created for this only end, that by means of this spiritual light, he might, with the inward eye of the soul, contemplate the gracious presence of God, and his sincere love towards him; and, continually walking with and before the Lord, absolutely depend upon Him, and submit himself to be governed by His will and pleasure.

    26. The natural man not having so much as one spark left of this spiritual light, it cannot but be that all men must abide in their natural blindness, unless they be enlightened by God himself. This is that hereditary spiritual blindness, which utterly incapacitates us for the knowledge of such concerns as relate to the kingdom of God. But if it happen, as too often it does, that a man besides this, indulge in evil practices, then that spiritual blindness is followed still by another, even natural blindness, which produces mournful effects in the fallen soul. For by so prevailing a wickedness, that weak glimmering light which yet sparkles in man, and would reason him into outward honesty of life, is at last totally extinguished; and the soul is struck with utter blindness and darkness of heart, and must forever continue so, unless Christ enlightens it.

    27. What art thou, then, O man, unless Christ by his Spirit regenerate thee, make thee a new creature, and transform thee into the image of God? This new creation, necessary as it is, is, however, only begun in this life, and must struggle under the weight of many infirmities. If thou dost but look into thyself, even after thou art become a new creature through the Holy Ghost, it will plainly appear that the image of God is but slightly [pg 153] delineated, and, as it were, shadowed out in thee. Dost thou not see, that faith, hope, charity, and the fear of the Lord, are as yet but weak, and hardly able to advance beyond the first principles of the Christian life? Dost thou not see how slender thy humility is, and how deeply the sin of distrust, pride, and impatience, is rooted in thy breast? Dost thou not find thy devotion weak and languid; and thy charity towards thy neighbor comparatively cold? How tender a spark of pure chastity remains in the heart; and how vast a fire of carnal desire burns within! How faint the one, how violent the other! How great still are thy self-love, self-honor, and interest, sins that lurk within, and do not always outwardly appear! And how fierce is the tide of evil concupiscence which flows in upon thee, and disturbs thy inward repose! Whence it follows, that to the very last moment of our lives, we must, by the Spirit of God, continually wrestle with the old Adam, and with the image of Satan. All this urges us incessantly to pray, sigh, and seek, till the Divine Spirit be bestowed upon us, in order to destroy the image of Satan daily, and to restore the image of God to us.

    28. From all this, thou canst easily understand, O man! that thou art never to rely on thine own strength; but entirely to cleave to the grace of God, which alone is able to work all this in thy soul. All things are to be sought and obtained from and by Christ through faith. From Him thou art to receive divine knowledge and wisdom, against thy own blindness; his righteousness, against all thy unrighteousness; his holiness against all thy impurity; a full redemption, power, and victory, against death, hell, and the devil. From Christ thou must obtain remission of all thy sins, against the kingdom of sin and Satan, and against all the combined powers thereof; and, lastly, everlasting happiness, against all spiritual and bodily adversities and troubles. In this order, life eternal is to be derived from Christ. But of this, more shall be said in the Second Book of this volume.

    Chapter XLII.

    In This Concluding Chapter The Reasons For Adopting The Method Observed In Book I. Are Explained; The Duty Of Guarding Against Spiritual Pride Is Described, And The Truth Is Set Forth That True Spiritual Gifts Cannot Be Obtained Without Prayer.

    What hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?—1 Cor. 4:7.

    I regard it as necessary, before I conclude this Book, to call the reader's attention to several points.

    2. In this Book, repentance and its fruits, have, for various reasons, been explained at large, and in different ways. Most of the Chapters in this Book, accordingly, treat upon the fruits of true repentance; such as our renovation in Christ, the daily mortification [pg 154] of the flesh, the practice of self-denial, contempt of the world, the exercise of charity, etc. For therein we find the beginning and foundation of true Christianity, of a holy life, and of salvation itself, through true faith. So, too, no solid comfort can ever be tasted in the heart of man, unless he be thoroughly acquainted with the nature of Original Sin, that dreadful, mortal, and diabolical evil, which is like an infernal poison (ah, it is impossible sufficiently to describe and deplore it!) and has proved the seed of a multitude of fatal and pernicious fruits. All the books of comfort, and all the promises with which the Gospel abounds, afford no substantial consolation to a man, except he be first thoroughly humbled by a sense of his misery, and of that awful evil, Original Sin. Man, in this fallen state, is too apt to flatter himself, and to look for comfort, before a thorough search has been made into his own sinful condition, degeneracy, and apostasy from God. Nature is concerned for comfort more than for a cure.

    3. But this is very preposterous, and altogether against the tenor of Scripture, and the method of salvation therein explained. Our Lord says, “The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” Matt. 9:12. No cure can be expected, no medicine can be prescribed, no comfort can be applied, nor can Christ himself, the great Physician of souls, be of any benefit at all, so long as a man, thinking himself well, is not sensible of those deep distempers that rage in his soul. Hence a true Christian's life consists in a daily crucifixion of the flesh, and of all its sinful propensities. O that every one might lay this earnestly to heart! No man can belong to Christ, or have a share in his merits, but he that regulates his life according to this rule. Now, such a soul shall not be left comfortless in the end; but, shall be refreshed with divine consolation. No sooner is a soul thoroughly humbled by a lively sense of inbred corruption, and the infectious influence it hath on all the actions, than it is raised again by those suitable grounds of comfort which the Gospel affords. In all this, the operation of the Divine Spirit, and man's meditation on the word of promise, concur, and bring over the soul to Christ, who is both willing and able to heal her, and to turn her mourning into permanent gladness. He who will enter upon this course of true and sincere repentance, must be careful, at the same time, not to be shaken by the foolish judgment which this impious world will be apt to pass upon the whole design of true Christianity. Let the profane worldling think ever so much of his own natural parts and wisdom, it is certain that he is altogether blind in the things of the Spirit of God, and most ignorant. And though he may exercise his reasoning faculty on things that are far above his reach and capacity, yet while he has no knowledge of the wretchedness of his own nature, and of those spiritual diseases that spring from it, he continues an utter stranger to spiritual concerns. He does not understand what Adam and Christ are, or how Adam is to die, and Christ to live in us again. And as he disdains to learn what he knows not, he must forever remain in darkness and ignorance. Nor will he ever be able in that state to obtain any insight into the grounds and properties of true repentance, faith in Christ, and the new birth, wherein true Christianity consists, and whereby he might be rescued from everlasting ruin.

    [pg 155]

    4. The next thing which I would mention at the close of this Book, and which thou art carefully to avoid, is the sin of spiritual pride, after God has begun to implant in thee, by his grace, spiritual gifts, new virtues, new habits of mind, and new knowledge. See that thou ascribe these attainments not to thy own power, wisdom, or industry, but to the grace of God. Carefully avoid taking up thy rest in those virtues and good dispositions that are formed within thee; and never confide in them as means of thy justification before God. For as they are yet marked by various defects and imperfections, so they can never pass for the perfect righteousness of God. Never seek thy own honor and glory by the gifts which God has been pleased to bestow upon thee. On the contrary, use them with humility and fear, divesting thyself of all selfish designs, and returning all thou hast unto Him, who is the true Disposer and Author thereof. Do not say in thy heart: “I have now a strong faith, fervent charity, much knowledge, many gifts;” for these suggestions are the tares, which the enemy of thy soul sows among the wheat while thou sleepest.

    For, (a) none of these gifts are thine, but God's only, without whose illumination and all-quickening power, thou art but a lifeless lump of clay. These gifts are no more thine, than the light and heat of the sun are the earth's, which is warmed and penetrated by them. Thou art, at the best, but the casket to hold the jewels; and the glory of these no more belongs to thee, than the lustre of a precious stone belongs to the box in which it is kept. Is it not, therefore, great folly to boast of the goods of another, which are laid up in thee?

    (b) Thou art to consider, that, as the lord of a treasure may lodge his treasure wherever he pleases, and remove it as he thinks fit; so God, in like manner, may deposit his heavenly treasure in thee, and take it away again, as he sees proper. Him, therefore, thou oughtest to fear with holy reverence, and at the same time carefully beware of spiritual pride and presumption: for this would issue in the inevitable loss of the celestial jewel committed to thy trust. “Be not high-minded, but fear.” Rom. 11:20.

    (c) Thou art, further, to consider, that the righteous God will call thee to an exact account of all he has intrusted to thy care. The more thou hast received, the more will he require at thy hands.

    (d) In the midst of all thy gifts, do not think that thou hast received all that the Lord has in store for his children. Ah! beloved Christian! be thy attainments ever so high and excellent, they are hardly the beginning; there is yet much which thou lackest.

    (e) Seriously consider, that no good and perfect gifts are obtained or preserved except by prayer: for every good and perfect gift descendeth from God. James 1:17. Whatever thou seemest to possess without this, is but a lifeless shadow, a seed bearing no fruit, but withering away. For without prayer, no heavenly gift can descend into the heart of man. The reader is desired to peruse what is said on the subject of Prayer in the Second Book of this Work. There are two things which thou must chiefly regard in thy prayers and application to the Lord: first, That the Image of Satan be destroyed in thee; as unbelief, pride, covetousness, lust, wrath, etc.; secondly, That the Image of God be restored [pg 156] in thee; in which are contained faith, love, hope, humility, patience, meekness, and the fear of the Lord. These two, that is, the destruction of the satanic, and the restoration of the divine image, are illustrated in the Lord's Prayer. This prayer makes both against thee, and for thee. If the name of God alone is to be hallowed, then thy name must be debased and thy haughtiness be pulled down. If the kingdom of God shall come, then certainly the devil's kingdom must be overthrown in thee. If thou desirest that the will of God should be done, then truly thine own must be renounced.

    These are the two parts into which any useful prayer-book or method of prayer may be fitly digested; an order which is clearly exhibited in the prayer of our Lord, so far as it respects those heavenly and eternal benefits and gifts which we are directed to seek. Nay, in the Lord's Prayer, all the treasures both for soul and body, and all the things which we need both for this life and that which is to come, are summed up. And there is no question, but that the Father in heaven, according to his paternal compassion, will readily grant, what the Son of his love has so strongly commanded us to ask.