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Title: True Christianity

Author: Johann Arndt

Release Date: December 23, 2010 [Ebook #34736]

Language: English

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***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK TRUE CHRISTIANITY***





True Christianity

A Treatise

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

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,

Together With A

General Introduction,

By Charles F. Schaeffer, D.D.,

Professor of Theology in the Theological Seminary of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church, at Philadelphia

Philadelphia

The Lutheran Book Store,

No. 807 Vine Street.

Smith, English & Co., No. 23 N. Sixth Street.

1868





CONTENTS


Introduction By The American Editor.
Book I.
   The Author’s Preface To The First Book.
   Chapter I.
   Chapter II.
   Chapter III.
   Chapter IV.
   Chapter V.
   Chapter VI.
   Chapter VII.
   Chapter VIII.
   Chapter IX.
   Chapter X.
   Chapter XI.
   Chapter XII.
   Chapter XIII.
   Chapter XIV.
   Chapter XV.
   Chapter XVI.
   Chapter XVII.
   Chapter XVIII.
   Chapter XIX.
   Chapter XX.
   Chapter XXI.
   Chapter XXII.
   Chapter XXIII.
   Chapter XXIV.
   Chapter XXV.
   Chapter XXVI.
   Chapter XXVII.
   Chapter XXVIII.
   Chapter XXIX.
   Chapter XXX.
   Chapter XXXI.
   Chapter XXXII.
   Chapter XXXIII.
   Chapter XXXIV.
   Chapter XXXV.
   Chapter XXXVI.
   Chapter XXXVII.
   Chapter XXXVIII.
   Chapter XXXIX.
   Chapter XL.
   Chapter XLI.
   Chapter XLII.
Book II.
   Preface To The Second Book.
   Chapter I.
   Chapter II.
   Chapter III.
   Chapter IV.
   Chapter V.
   Chapter VI.
   Chapter VII.
   Chapter VIII.
   Chapter IX.
   Chapter X.
   Chapter XI.
   Chapter XII.
   Chapter XIII.
   Chapter XIV.
   Chapter XV.
   Chapter XVI.
   Chapter XVII.
   Chapter XVIII.
   Chapter XIX.
   Chapter XX.
   Chapter XXI.
   Chapter XXII.
   Chapter XXIII.
   Chapter XXIV.
   Chapter XXV.
   Chapter XXVI.
   Chapter XXVII.
   Chapter XXVIII.
   Chapter XXIX.
   Chapter XXX.
   Chapter XXXI.
   Chapter XXXII.
   Chapter XXXIII.
   Chapter XXXIV.
   Chapter XXXV.
   Chapter XXXVI.
   Chapter XXXVII.
   Chapter XXXVIII.
   Chapter XXXIX.
   Chapter XL.
   Chapter XLI.
   Chapter XLII.
   Chapter XLIII.
   Chapter XLIV.
   Chapter XLV.
   Chapter XLVI.
   Chapter XLVII.
   Chapter XLVIII.
   Chapter XLIX.
   Chapter L.
   Chapter LI.
   Chapter LII.
   Chapter LIII.
   Chapter LIV.
   Chapter LV.
   Chapter LVI.
   Chapter LVII.
   Conclusion Of The Second Book.
Book III.
   Preface To The Third Book.
   Chapter I.
   Chapter II.
   Chapter III.
   Chapter IV.
   Chapter V.
   Chapter VI.
   Chapter VII.
   Chapter VIII.
   Chapter IX.
   Chapter X.
   Chapter XI.
   Chapter XII.
   Chapter XIII.
   Chapter XIV.
   Chapter XV.
   Chapter XVI.
   Chapter XVII.
   Chapter XVIII.
   Chapter XIX.
   Chapter XX.
   Chapter XXI.
   Chapter XXII.
   Chapter XXIII.
Book IV.
   Preface To The Fourth Book.
   Part I.
      Chapter I.
      Chapter II.
      Chapter III.
      Chapter IV.
      Chapter V.
      Chapter VI.
   Part II.
      Chapter I.
      Chapter II.
      Chapter III.
      Chapter IV.
      Chapter V.
      Chapter VI.
      Chapter VII.
      Chapter VIII.
      Chapter IX.
      Chapter X.
      Chapter XI.
      Chapter XII.
      Chapter XIII.
      Chapter XIV.
      Chapter XV.
      Chapter XVI.
      Chapter XVII.
      Chapter XVIII.
      Chapter XIX.
      Chapter XX.
      Chapter XXI.
      Chapter XXII.
      Chapter XXIII.
      Chapter XXIV.
      Chapter XXV.
      Chapter XXVI.
      Chapter XXVII.
      Chapter XXVIII.
      Chapter XXIX.
      Chapter XXX.
      Chapter XXXI.
      Chapter XXXII.
      Chapter XXXIII.
      Chapter XXXIV.
      Chapter XXXV.
      Chapter XXXVI.
      Chapter XXXVII.
      Chapter XXXVIII.
      Chapter XXXIX.
      Chapter XL.
      Conclusion.
Index.
Footnotes






INTRODUCTION BY THE AMERICAN EDITOR.


Both the general purpose of the venerable Johann Arndt in writing his
“TRUE CHRISTIANITY,” and also his own character and spirit, will be best
exhibited by submitting to the reader a statement referring to his
personal history. He was born, December 27th, 1555, in Ballenstädt, a town
in the Duchy of Anhalt, where his father, Rev. Jacob Arndt, long labored
as the chaplain of Duke Wolfgang, and the pastor of one of the Evangelical
Lutheran congregations of the place. The latter was a devout and faithful
minister of the Gospel, and a wise and affectionate father. He had, from
the earliest period, devoted much attention to the religious education of
his son, in the performance of which holy duty he was faithfully sustained
by his excellent wife. Their efforts were abundantly blessed. The son,
even in his early years, took great pleasure in reading the writings of
Luther, and also acquired a fondness for those of Thomas á Kempis, of
Tauler, and of others who breathed the same spirit of devotion. That this
feature of his religious character did not undergo any essential change in
his riper years, appears from the circumstance that he was one of the
first who collected, arranged, and republished the religious tracts of
Stephen Prætorius, a Lutheran divine of an eminently devout spirit. These
were subsequently re-edited by Martin Statius, who prefixed the title:
_Spiritual Treasury_ (Geistliche Schatzkammer), to the collection. This
book of devotion was highly prized by Spener, has often been reprinted, is
found in many German households, and well deserves to be translated, and
thus made accessible to the English religious public.

§ 2. In his tenth year Arndt lost his father, but the orphan soon found
friends who, in the good providence of God, enabled him to continue the
studies which he had commenced with distinguished success under the
guidance of his father. After completing his preparatory education in the
schools of Halberstadt and Magdeburg, he proceeded, in the year 1576, to
the university of Helmstedt, which had recently been established. In the
course of the following year, 1577, he went as a student to the university
of Wittenberg, soon after the official recognition of the principles
embodied in the Formula of Concord (published in 1580), by which that
institution received a strictly Lutheran character, and every tendency to
any other doctrinal system was successfully arrested. It was here that he
formed a very close union, first as a student, and then as a personal
friend, with the eminent Polycarp Leyser, the elder of that name, whose
firmness and devotion in sustaining the distinctive features of
Lutheranism have assigned to him a high position in the history of his
Church.—After Arndt had, even at this early age, acquired distinction as
an accomplished private lecturer on Natural Philosophy, etc., as well as
on the Epistle to the Romans, Leyser furnished him with an unusually
favorable recommendation to the professors in Strasburg. This city, the
government and population of which were exclusively Lutheran, had not yet
been subjected to that great calamity which afterwards befell it, when the
despot and bigot, Louis XIV., incorporated it with the French monarchy,
and by assigning undue privileges to papists, and adopting other
tyrannical measures, opened an avenue for the introduction, not merely of
an inferior Romanic language, but also of the errors and superstitions of
the Church of Rome.

§ 3. Arndt continued his theological studies in Strasburg, under the
direction of Prof. Pappus, who was also distinguished for his devotion to
the genuine Lutheran faith. In the year 1579 he proceeded to Basel, where,
under the gentle sway of Sulcer, the Lutheran faith had acquired influence
and authority. In this city he was temporarily engaged as the tutor of a
young Polish nobleman; the latter, on one of their excursions, when Arndt
had accidentally fallen into the Rhine, succeeded in seizing his sinking
preceptor by the hair of his head, and thus became the means, in the hands
of God, of saving a life of incalculable value, designed to prove an
ever-flowing source of blessings to the Church.

§ 4. During this whole period Arndt occupied himself with the study of
medicine, in connection with his strictly theological studies; it is
possible that he would have ultimately chosen the practice of medicine as
the business of his life, if a severe illness had not intervened. After
his recovery, he believed it to be his duty to renounce his personal
tastes, and he thenceforth consecrated himself entirely to the service of
the Church. His medical and chemical occupations, although not abandoned,
were afterwards regarded by him only as a recreation.

§ 5. He returned, in 1581 or 1582, to his native place, and labored for
some time as a teacher, until he was called by his prince, Joachim Ernest,
to be the pastor of the congregation in Badeborn, a village in the Duchy
of Anhalt; he was, accordingly, ordained in the month of October of the
same year. It was here, too, that he was married, October 31, 1583, to
Anna Wagner, the daughter of an eminent jurist, with whom he passed the
remaining thirty-eight years of his life in unclouded domestic happiness.
She was a devout Christian woman, who cheered and encouraged Arndt amid
his many cares, alleviated every burden to the extent of her ability, and
was always regarded by him with tenderness and gratitude. They were
childless; but many an orphan found that their hearts could overflow with
love towards the young and destitute—a love as full of warmth as beloved
children have ever experienced parental love to be.

§ 6. In this first pastoral charge of Arndt, the unhappy state of affairs
subjected him, particularly during the latter part of the seven years
which he spent in it, to a “Lutheran martyrdom,” as Tholuck expresses
himself (Herzog. Encyk. I., 536). The duke, John George, who now reigned
(a relative of the palsgrave, or count palatine, Casimir, a zealous
Calvinist), after various inward struggles, abandoned the Lutheran faith,
and, in the year 1596, publicly adopted the Reformed faith, a few years
after the transactions to which we now refer. Even Protestant rulers, who
had not yet learned the theory that a union of church and state can
operate only perniciously, perpetually interfered in the internal affairs
of the church.—At this period it was the custom of Lutheran pastors, when
they administered the rite of Baptism, to follow the liturgical form which
prescribed “exorcism.” This feature of the whole baptismal form, which was
introduced as early as the third century, or even earlier (before the days
of Tertullian and Origen), consisted simply in a sentence adjuring the
evil spirit to depart from the subject of Baptism. The early practice had,
like others, been gradually associated, after the rise and development of
popery, with superstitious ideas, such as was also the case with the
Lord’s Supper, until it assumed an absurd and even revolting form. At the
period of the Reformation, Zwingli and Calvin (Inst. IV., c. 15, 19; c.
19, 24) rejected the whole form of exorcism. Luther and Melanchthon, on
the other hand, after discarding the popish excrescences, believed that
the scriptural doctrine which the early form involved or suggested,
authorized the retention of the practice, when restricted to a very plain
and simple formula, expressive of a scriptural truth.—Now, at that period,
as it is well known, unfriendly feelings, engendered by various causes,
existed to a certain extent, between the heads respectively of the
Reformed and the Lutheran churches, in consequence of which even harmless
customs which none would, under ordinary circumstances, either advocate or
condemn with partisan feeling, assumed a confessional character. Such was
the case with the purified and simple Lutheran baptismal sentence
containing the “exorcism.”

§ 7. Arndt’s course in this matter has often been misunderstood; as it,
however, demonstrates him to have been alike a very firm and conscientious
man, and also an uncompromising supporter of the distinctive doctrines and
usages of the Lutheran Church, the following details may be appropriately
furnished.—The language which Luther retained in his form for Baptism
(_Taufbüchlein_), after omitting all popish and superstitious practices,
was the following. Between the prayer and the reading of Mark 10:13-16,
the pastor says: “I adjure thee, thou unclean spirit, in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that thou go out and depart
from this servant of Jesus Christ, Amen.”—Luther understood the form to be
a declaration or distinct confession of the doctrine of Original Sin, and
a renunciation of Satan. Still, the Lutheran Church, as such, never
recognized the _necessity_ of this ancient form, and its confessional
writings never allude to it. After the excitement of feeling peculiar to
Arndt’s age, had been allayed by time, the Lutheran Church regarded the
whole as a mere _adiaphoron_, that is, a “thing indifferent,” not
essentially involving any principle whatever, inasmuch as the doctrine of
Original Sin had already been very explicitly set forth and confessed in
her Symbolical Books. Such was the opinion of the eminent Lutheran
dogmatical writers, Gerhard, Quenstedt, Hollaz, etc.; and men like Baier
and Baumgarten even advocated the discontinuance of the practice. It is no
longer retained in any prominent manner in the Lutheran Church.—But in the
age in which Arndt lived, who was not a man that would obstinately cling
to a mere form, the _rejection_ of the formula of Exorcism _did_ involve a
principle; for, under the peculiar circumstances, that rejection might be
understood to be, first, a rejection of the doctrine of Original Sin, and,
secondly, an affirmation that the children of believing parents were in
the kingdom of heaven, even before they had received Baptism. But all this
seemed to conflict with the Pauline doctrine that all are “by nature the
children of wrath.” Eph. 2:3. While, then, J. Ben. Carpzov, the
distinguished interpreter of the Symbolical Books, who died in 1557,
decides that the “Exorcism” is in itself a matter of indifference, and may
without scruple be dropped, he nevertheless holds that if the omission of
it should be understood as a denial of the Scripture doctrine of the
corruption of human nature (Original Sin), it becomes, in such a case, a
matter of principle to retain the formula. (_Isagoge_, etc., p. 1122
_ff._; 1608.) Walch, the other eminent interpreter of the Symbolical Books
(_Introductio_, etc.), does not refer to the matter at all, as it is no
essential part of the Lutheran Creed. But Arndt, who was a calm,
sagacious, and conscientious observer, and who may justly be considered as
claiming that, in forming a judgment respecting him, we should not
overlook the spirit of his times, apprehended that the suppression of the
“exorcism” was secretly designed to be the forerunner of the suppression
of the entire Lutheran faith, which constituted the life of his soul; he
could not, under such circumstances, consent to endanger his most precious
treasure.

§ 8. Now the duke, John George, after his virtual adoption of the Reformed
faith and practice, issued a peremptory order that the formula of Exorcism
should no longer be employed in his dominions at the baptism of any
infant. Arndt, who was characterized by a childlike submission to those in
authority, as long as matters of principle were not involved, could not
renounce his faith in God’s word, and, especially, his personal conviction
of the natural depravity of the human heart. He might have consented to
drop a mere form; but he saw here an entering wedge, which justly alarmed
him. His apprehensions were subsequently proved to have been only too well
founded, when, soon afterwards, Luther’s Catechism was suppressed, and
another substituted in its place. Hence, as he could not renounce a
prominent feature of the Lutheran creed, he firmly and positively refused
to obey the ducal command. He remarked, in the written statement which
embodied his reasons for refusing to obey, and which was submitted to the
civil authorities, that his conscience would not allow him to comply with
such a demand of the secular authority—that the orthodox fathers, who had,
during thirteen centuries, connected “exorcism” with Baptism, understood
it in accordance with the mind and true sense of the Scriptures (_ex mente
et vero sensu Scripturæ_)—that it was, therefore, by no means “an impious
ceremony” (as the civil ruler, a layman, had thought proper to designate
it),—that he must necessarily abide by the decision of his conscience—and,
that he would humbly submit to any sentence which his prince might
pronounce in the case. The date which he affixed to the document, is Sept.
10, 1590. That sentence, which was soon afterwards proclaimed, deposed
Arndt from his office, and banished him from the ducal territories. The
reader of Book I. of the “True Christianity,” will now understand, after
observing the earnestness with which the author insists on the doctrine of
Original Sin, or the depravity of human nature, that he could not
conscientiously take any step which would, even indirectly, involve a
denial of that sad truth of the Bible,—a truth to which his knowledge of
his own heart daily testified.

§ 9. But the Divine Head of the Church did not depose this faithful
minister. At the very time when Arndt seemed to be homeless and
friendless, two important posts were offered to him—one in Mansfeld, the
other in Quedlinburg, an important city, which, after belonging to various
rulers, has at last been incorporated with the monarchy of Prussia. The
city adopted the Lutheran faith in 1539. Arndt decided to make this place
his home, and he labored here with eminent success, during a period of
seven years, as the pastor of the church of St. Nicholas. However, he also
endured much affliction in this new charge, and his holy zeal and devout
spirit, while fully appreciated by intelligent and enlightened believers,
were misunderstood and even hated by others, so that he longed to be
transferred to another field of labor.

§ 10. He was at length permitted to depart, and removed to the city of
Brunswick, situated in the territory of the duke of Brunswick; it aspired
at that time to become a “free city,” subject directly to the German
emperor. The warfare between the duke and the city, during Arndt’s
residence in the latter, subjected him to many sore trials. His abode in
it, extending from 1590 to 1608, is specially interesting, as he then
presented to the religious community Book I. of his “True Christianity.”
Dr. A. Wildenhahn, who has, in recent times, furnished us with various
charming volumes, descriptive of the times, respectively, of Luther,
Spener, Paul Gerhardt, etc., in which he combines “fiction and truth,” has
selected this period of Arndt’s history, as the one to which he dedicates
his two delightful volumes, entitled “Johannes Arndt” (Leipzig, 1861).
This author complains that he found it a difficult task to collect full
and authentic accounts of Arndt’s life. Still, he obtained access to
various documents in the archives of the city of Brunswick, and in the
royal library in Dresden, which had not been previously examined even by
Arndt’s best biographer, the Rev. Frederick Arndt, of Berlin; and these
materially assisted him in preparing his own work.(1)

§ 11. During the earlier years of Arndt’s residence in Brunswick, as a
co-pastor of the church of St. Martin, his life was comparatively peaceful
and happy. The purity of his character, the soundness and power of his
doctrine, and the diligence and fidelity manifested in his pastoral
labors, could not fail to command the respect, and attract the love of all
candid persons. But he was at length subjected to trials of a new and
painful character, and became the victim of the hostile and persecuting
spirit of men from whom a very different course of conduct might have
reasonably been expected. The origin of these new difficulties has not
always been clearly understood; while some have regarded Arndt as worthy
of the censures of those who assailed him, others are disposed to condemn
those assailants in unqualified terms. It is strange that, even at this
comparatively remote period, such judgments are sometimes expressed in
language which betrays personal feeling rather than it announces the calm
judgment of a later and disinterested generation.

§ 12. It is here necessary to cast a glance at the history of the times
which preceded and followed the eventful year 1555, in which Arndt was
born, a year ever memorable as the one in which the signing of the
articles of the Peace of Augsburg secured a temporary external repose for
the Lutheran Church. This “Peace” terminated at least the horrors which
had followed the introduction, in 1548, of the _Augsburg Interim_, by
which the newly-established Protestant doctrine was seriously endangered.
The provisions of this _Interim_ were enforced with such merciless tyranny
by popish authorities, that in South Germany alone about four hundred
faithful Lutheran pastors, who could not conscientiously accede to an
arrangement which might possibly restore the full authority of the errors
and superstitions of Rome, were driven, as exiles, with their families,
from their homes. The spirit of the Christian martyrs of the early ages of
the Church revived in these heroic men, and they clung with undying
tenacity to their holy faith.

§ 13. That faith now encountered new enemies, who did not resort to fire
and the sword, but who adopted more insidious means for corrupting divine
truth; and again, assaults like theirs, only increased the jealousy with
which the genuine Lutherans guarded the purity of their doctrinal system.
It was the only gift of heaven, which sin and Satan could not touch, and
which retained all its unsullied holiness. The soul of man had become
corrupt; the body was subject to disease and death; the world, fair as it
was, and rich in the gifts of God, had nevertheless been made by sin to
bring forth thorns and thistles. But the Gospel truth, which conducted men
to Christ and heaven, remained in all its purity and power. These men were
willing to suffer and die, but while they did live, they could not relax
the grasp with which they held fast to evangelical truth. Now, amid the
political and religious commotions of that stormy age, could we expect
that devout men should say, “Peace, peace;” when there was no peace?
(Jerem. 6:14.)

§ 14. Let us illustrate this subject. Schwenkfeldt, for instance (born in
1490; died, 1561), an opponent of both the Lutherans and the Reformed, as
well as of the Papists, and, accordingly, constantly engaged in
controversies with all parties, declared that Luther’s uncompromising
determination to maintain the authority of the written word of revelation,
the Bible, was equivalent to a worship of the letter. He assigned, in his
fanaticism and morbid mysticism, a rank to an inner and direct word of the
Divine Spirit, which he asserted that he received, far above that of the
written word of God. He refused to make any distinction between the divine
act of the justification of the believer, on the one hand, and the
progressive sanctification of the believer, on the other. He taught that
the two natures of Christ, the divine and the human, were so fused
together, or, rather, that the flesh of Christ was so absolutely deified
or converted into God himself, that no distinction between them
remained,—that the regenerate could live without sin, etc. He succeeded,
in spite of the crudeness, one-sidedness, and unsoundness of his
doctrines, in attracting many disciples. His death, which occurred in
1561, a few years after Arndt’s birth, did not terminate the widespread
confusion which he had created in the Protestant Church; the dread of that
sickly form of mysticism which he attempted to establish, long remained.
The fear was naturally entertained that it might lead many astray, who,
while they did not otherwise fraternize with Schwenkfeldt in his wild and
absurd course, might be deluded by his claims to superior religious
intelligence and holiness.

§ 15. The disastrous influences of the demagogue Thomas Münzer (born in
1490), and of his fanatical party, the Zwickau prophets, on sound doctrine
and sound morals, as well as the blood which they had shed, were still
vividly remembered.—Servetus, the Unitarian, had perished, but he left a
seed behind; the doctrine of Christ’s deity still remained a point of
attack. And besides these false teachers, several others, who were
originally connected in various modes with the Lutheran Church,
promulgated at various times opinions which seemed to be subversive of all
Scripture doctrine.—Agricola, who had originally been an active adherent
of Luther, gradually departed from the faith. He unquestionably betrayed
the interests of Protestantism by sanctioning the Augsburg Interim of
1548. He engaged in a controversy, at first with Melanchthon, and then
with Luther himself, on the subject of the proper “Use of the law”—the
Antinomistic controversy—maintaining that the law was no longer of
importance to the believer, and that the Gospel alone should be preached.
He died in 1566, when Arndt was about eleven years old. The confusion in
the church, which he created by his dangerous sentiments on several
points, was long painfully felt.—The Osiandrian controversy, respecting
Justification, and its relation to Sanctification, began in 1549, and
closed only when Arndt was already a student.—The Majoristic controversy
originated in the public declaration made by G. Major, that “good works
are _necessary to salvation_.” The fears which such a doctrine, that
savored of popery, produced among orthodox and devout Lutherans, were
excessive. Those who opposed Major, were alarmed by his unguarded
expressions, and apprehended that the Gospel doctrine of _Justification by
faith in Christ alone, without human works or merit_, would be endangered,
unless they silenced him. The controversy, in its most energetic form,
terminated about seven years after Arndt’s birth, but the indirect effects
of the misconceptions connected with the great topic of this controversy,
were deeply felt by him.—The Synergistic controversy, relating to the
question whether man could co-operate with the Holy Spirit in the work of
his conversion, began in the year in which Arndt was born, and was
maintained with great energy during several years.—The so-called
Cryptocalvinistic controversy, referring mainly to the doctrine of the
Lord’s Supper, and involving certain important questions respecting the
Person of Christ, commenced about three years before Arndt’s birth, and
agitated the church during many years.—These, and other subjects on which
also controversies had arisen, were, in the good providence of God, at
length calmly considered by learned and devout Lutheran theologians,
conscientiously examined in the light of the divine Word, impartially
decided, and set forth, in the year 1580, in the FORMULA OF CONCORD, the
last of the special Lutheran creeds, all the doctrines of which Arndt
cordially received, as he repeatedly declared in an official manner on
various occasions, in his writings, in his last will and testament, and on
his death-bed. (See below §§ 24, 25.) The very great reverence with which
he regarded this noble creed, and his attachment to it, are to be ascribed
not only to the spotless purity of the doctrines which it sets forth, but
also to the good work which it performed in successfully and permanently
deciding several very important questions which had latterly arisen, and
on which the preceding creeds had not authoritatively and fully
pronounced. It is, however, obvious, that even after these storms
subsided, the waves would long remain in commotion, and it was precisely
in these troublous times that Arndt labored in the ministry.

§ 16. The catalogue of the difficulties which awaited him, is not yet
exhausted. We have to add, as a part of the history of the times, when an
extraordinary number of political and ecclesiastical contentions
prevailed, the excitement of feeling which certain differences of doctrine
between the Lutherans and the Reformed engendered, and which would never
have risen to the fearful height in which history now exhibits it to us,
if political power, controlled alternately by the two religious parties in
some of the German principalities, had not been invoked by them. The awful
death by fire, which terminated the career of Servetus (Oct. 27, 1553, two
years before the birth of Arndt, and more than six years after the death
of Luther), was decreed by the civil authorities of Geneva, but was
sanctioned by Calvin and even the gentle Melanchthon—a sad example of the
clouded views of men at that time respecting religious liberty and the
right of civil rulers to punish men for their errors in the faith.

§ 17. In the Palatinate (the ancient _Pfalz_, the territories of which are
now distributed among Bavaria, Prussia, etc.) the Lutheran Church had been
established, and popery ceased to exist. But in 1560, a few years after
Arndt’s birth, the Elector, Frederick III., withdrew from the church, and
adopted the Reformed faith and usages. His successor, Lewis VI.,
endeavored to restore the ascendency of Lutheranism; but after his brief
reign, the authorities which succeeded, established “Calvinism” (the term
employed in Church History) on a permanent basis. A similar
ecclesiastico-civil revolution occurred in Bremen in 1562; fourteen
Lutheran pastors and the Lutheran members of the City Council were
expelled, and the city became Reformed. Such changes occurred elsewhere.
Both parties were undoubtedly more or less honest in adhering to their
doctrinal views; and both claimed the right to depose and exile those of
an opposite faith, whenever the civil and political power was, in either
case, directed by them.

§ 18. Let it now be remembered that these contending Protestants, Lutheran
and Reformed or Calvinistic, were led by men respectively, who were
confessedly intelligent, learned, and endowed with great abilities, many
of whom were not only honest in expressing their convictions, but also
conscientious in their conduct, whether they were governed by an erring or
an enlightened conscience. That the latter is historically true, is
demonstrated by their readiness, when they lost power, to submit to
imprisonment or exile, rather than to renounce their respective creeds.
They were all too well acquainted with Bible truth to look with other
feelings than with horror on the popish creed. But while their own
Protestant creed was very precious to their souls, they could not tolerate
any departure from it, even if that departure was _not_ in the direction
“towards Rome.” That departure must, as they judged, necessarily be
equivalent to a denial of God’s truth, as they believed that they had
found it in the Bible. Thus all were alike sensitive—all seemed to feel
that if they tolerated any error, _that_ error could not be trivial—it
was, as far as it extended, a denial of God’s truth. Could they safely
assume the shame and guilt of such a sin? We may add, that we are here
speaking only of the _honest_ leaders of the Lutherans and the Reformed,
of whom each man judged and acted for himself, as one who was accountable
to God. No honest Reformed theologian would have screened a Reformed
heretic from condemnation; and no honest Lutheran would, for a moment,
have tolerated a nominal Lutheran, who rejected any part of the creed of
the church.

§ 19. At the same time, all these men were fallible creatures, subject to
all the errors of judgment, and to all the passions and infirmities
incident to fallen man. They often supposed that their intentions were
pure, when selfish motives governed them, and their jealous guardianship
of God’s truth was combined with a jealous love for their personal
opinions. It was under these circumstances, when each party watched with
extreme jealousy over the purity of the faith, as adopted by it, and when,
besides, many private interests—personal, political, and
pecuniary—exercised vast influence, that Arndt entered on his labors.—We
have introduced the above details, in order to explain his declarations in
the preface to Book I. § 8, that he rejects the Synergistic, Majoristic,
etc., errors, and entertains no other views except those which are set
forth in the Lutheran Symbolical Books.

§ 20. When he commenced his labors in Brunswick, he was the youngest
member of the “ministerium” of the city, that is, of the college composed
of the pastors of the several city churches, all of which at that time
strictly adhered to the Lutheran creed. He had long lamented that, in
consequence of the infelicity of the times, which caused endless doctrinal
controversies, the parties of which were many, Papists, Mystics,
Unitarians, Reformed, Lutherans, etc., the attention of many persons was
diverted from the practical duties of a Christian life, and directed
exclusively to controversies on points of doctrine; the result was, that
the understanding was actively exercised, but the heart was not properly
affected. Such considerations induced him to write Book I. of his “True
Christianity.” It was his object to show that God demands a holy life,
proceeding from faith in Christ, and that no jealousy concerning the
purity of the creed will atone for the absence of the fruits of the
Spirit, as exhibited in the life and conduct of the individual. Hence he
insists with a warmth unusual in that excited and controversial age, on
repentance, on faith in Christ, and on a holy life. Possibly, the
apparently sweeping assertions which occasionally occur in his writings,
to the effect that the majority of his contemporaries lacked a heavenly
spirit, acquired their sombre hue in consequence of the publicity given to
human frailties, and the retirement and shade in which vast numbers of
holy men preferred to dwell. His Book I., which constitutes the principal
part of the work, was first published in Jena, in the year 1605; a second
and improved edition appeared in 1607.

§ 21. It consisted principally of the matter which he had introduced in a
course of practical sermons previously delivered by him on week-days. It
attracted great attention, and was rapidly circulated throughout Germany.
The modest and retiring author, without expecting such a result, at once
became a celebrity. Nevertheless, new trials now commenced. An envious
feeling seems to have been engendered in the hearts of several of his
colleagues in the “ministerium” of the city, when they noticed the honor
which the author had undesignedly gained. Perhaps, too, the controversial
spirit of the times, and the jealousy of good men respecting the faith,
which was assailed on all sides—by Papists, Calvinists, Unitarians,
fanatics, etc.,—may have led them to scrutinize the book with too
suspicious eyes. All held firmly to the Gospel doctrine of Justification
by faith alone, without works. Now, when they found that Arndt insisted
with such earnestness on the evidences of faith, as furnished by a holy
life, they were morbidly affected, and apprehended that the doctrine of
justification by faith _alone_, which their bitter enemies, the Papists,
denounced, had not been guarded with sufficient care by Arndt. Other
expressions, again, which they did not interpret impartially, led them to
fear that he was introducing mysticism and other morbid religious systems
into the Church. The reproaches which he was compelled to hear, deterred
him for some time from fulfilling his promise of adding three other
“Books” to Book I. The complete work may be regarded as consisting of
_Four_ Books, as published in 1609. At a considerably later period a
fifth, and then a sixth book, were added. The former was designed as an
explanation and recapitulation of the Four Books, and the latter,
consisting in part of letters addressed to various eminent theologians,
besides having the same object in view, was intended also to defend the
doctrinal and ethical positions assumed in the Four Books. As they partake
of the nature of an appendix, and refer, to some extent, to
misunderstandings belonging to an earlier age, the Latin versions omit
them, and this example was followed by the English translator.

§ 22. Arndt was freed from the unpleasant relations in which he stood to
his colleagues in Brunswick, in which city he had spent about ten years,
by a call which he received in 1608 to enter a new field of labor in
Eisleben. This city, which, as in the days of Luther (who was born and
baptized, and who also died there), still belonged to the territory of the
Counts of Mansfeld, is at present incorporated with the kingdom of Prussia
(Province of Saxony). It was here that Arndt ventured to publish the whole
of the Four Books of his “True Christianity.” In this new position, his
admirable character and spirit were justly appreciated alike by his
patrons, the Counts of Mansfeld, by his colleagues, and by the people. The
fidelity with which he remained at his post during the prevalence of an
epidemic that carried off many of the inhabitants, his self-sacrificing
spirit in the discharge of his pastoral duties, and his judicious course
as an assessor of the local consistory, demonstrated the true nobility of
his soul—the spirit of the divine Redeemer. However, even though his
relations with all who surrounded him were of the most friendly character,
he did not remain longer than about two years and a half in Eisleben. He
had been repeatedly invited to assume important charges, which he declined
to accept; for while he had often found opponents, his great personal
merit, his eminent services, both as a preacher of the Gospel and as an
author of devotional works, and his godly spirit, had secured for him the
respect, confidence, and love of the whole religious public. Duke George
of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who at that time resided in Celle (Zelle), invited
him, in the year 1611, to accept the two offices of court-preacher and of
General Superintendent of ecclesiastical affairs in the principalities of
Brunswick and Lüneburg. (Celle was subsequently attached to the kingdom of
Hanover, but has, in the most recent times, been absorbed, with the
contiguous territories, by Prussia.) The Count of Mansfeld very
reluctantly consented to Arndt’s removal; the latter, however, believed
that it had become his duty to enter the wide and inviting field of labor
which Providence had opened to him. The reigning duke, who was deeply
interested in the welfare of the Lutheran Church, judiciously and
vigorously sustained his new court-preacher in all his labors. The latter,
in addition to his ordinary pastoral duties, visited the congregations of
the whole territory, introduced various ecclesiastical reforms, and
continued till his death, which occurred May 11, 1621, to enjoy the divine
blessing himself, and to be a blessing to all whom his influence reached.
If he was born during a stormy period, and lived in an age of
controversies which wounded his soul, he was, nevertheless, like Luther,
very happy in being permitted to terminate his labors precisely at the
time when he was called away. For, as Luther closed his eyes in peace
during the year which preceded the disastrous battle of Mühlberg (April
24, 1547), so Arndt fell asleep soon after the Thirty Years’ War began,
before the world saw those horrors which language fails to describe in
their awful extent. He had contracted a disease of the throat, which was
subsequently aggravated by a violent fever; and his exhausted frame at
length yielded to the assault of disease. He sent for his friend and
brother, the Rev. William Storch, early in the morning of May 9. After
being placed on a chair, he humbly made a general confession of his sins,
declared once more that he adhered as heretofore to the pure doctrine of
God’s word and rejected every error, and then, with all the cheerfulness
of Christian faith, received the Lord’s Supper. Dr. Morris, in the work
referred to, in a note above, quotes from his authorities the following:
“Mr. Storch then addressed him (in language similar to that which Dr.
Jonas used in speaking to the dying Luther) as follows: ‘I do not doubt,
that as you have never entertained any doctrine contrary to God’s word,
but have always continued firm and steadfast in the pure, unadulterated
word, the Scriptures of the prophets and apostles, the Augsburg
Confession, and other Symbolical Books of the Lutheran Church, and most
heartily and sincerely despised and rejected all contrary doctrines, so
you will also by God’s grace maintain to the end the same doctrines and
faith which you have publicly preached and professed.’ Arndt replied
several times, in a weak but intelligible voice, most decisively, ‘Yes,
yes, that I will, even to the end.’ ” On the 11th of May he began to sink
rapidly, but was still able to repeat many of his favorite texts, such as
Ps. 143:2, and John 5:24. After having slept a short time, he awoke,
looked upward, and exclaimed with a comparatively loud voice: “We beheld
his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace
and truth.” John 1:14. His wife asked him when he had seen that “glory.”
He replied: “I saw it just now. O what a glory it is! It is the glory
which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the
heart of man to conceive of. This is the glory which I saw.”—When he heard
the clock striking at eight in the evening, he asked what the hour was.
When it struck again, he repeated the question. On being told that it was
striking nine, he said: “Now I have overcome all.” These were the last
words of this “good soldier of Jesus Christ.” 2 Tim. 2:3. He lay perfectly
still until after midnight, when he breathed his last. God had given him a
peaceful death. The serenity of his soul in his last hours seemed to
linger on his features, even after the spirit had departed.

§ 23. Two dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg followed him to the grave (May
15th), as a testimony of their sense of the great worth of their revered
spiritual guide. The text of the funeral sermon, delivered by Rev. Mr.
Storch, consisted of the words, “I have fought a good fight,” etc. 2 Tim.
4:7, 8. His remains were deposited in the church at Celle. The tomb
exhibits the following inscription:


    Qui Jesum vidit, qui mundum et daemona vicit,
        Arndius in scriptis vivit ovatque suis.


(That is: _Arndt, who saw Jesus, and conquered the world and the devil,
lives and triumphs in his writings_.)

§ 24. Nothing could be more unjust than any charge affecting the purity of
the faith of Arndt as a Lutheran Christian. His general orthodoxy was
always readily admitted; a few unreasonable and prejudiced men, however,
who suspected that mysticism and other errors were concealed in the “True
Christianity,” although the existence of such matter could not be
established, nevertheless alleged, with a certain morbid feeling, that
Arndt did not adopt the entire creed of the Lutheran Church, as set forth
in “all her symbolical books.” This circumstance accounts for the
frequency and earnestness with which he declares his _unconditional_
acceptance of, and hearty belief in, _all_ the details of the Lutheran
faith. Thus the reader will find, at the close of the Preface to Book I.,
an emphatic declaration of his recognition of the doctrines of _all the
Symbolical Books_, the names of which he enumerates in full. See, also,
the conclusion of Book II., and the conclusion of the Preface to Book IV.,
where similar declarations occur. He repeats them in his Preface to Book
VI., where he employs the following language: “My dear reader, inasmuch as
our holy Christian faith, the pure evangelical doctrine, has, for about
one hundred years, been elucidated, purified, and sufficiently explained,
in accordance with the rule of the holy Word of God, and also been
cleansed from many errors through the means of two glorious and
praiseworthy confessions of faith, namely, the Augsburg Confession, and
the Formula of Concord, which have hitherto been, and still continue to
be, my own confession of faith; and, inasmuch as some have, at the same
time, uttered complaints respecting the ungodly manner of life of the
present world, with which the Christian faith cannot coexist; therefore, I
wrote, some years ago, Four Books on TRUE CHRISTIANITY, in which I have
depicted the internal, and, also, the external Christian life. For
although the pure _doctrine is the foremost point of true Christianity_, I
have, nevertheless, not wished to treat of it in a special manner, as this
has been copiously and superabundantly done by others, and is still daily
done; and I have taken only the Christian _life_ as my subject.” This Book
VI. appeared somewhat less than a year before his death, and gives special
prominence to the last of the Lutheran confessions of faith—the FORMULA OF
CONCORD—in which the doctrines concerning the Person of Christ, the Lord’s
Supper, etc., are set forth in all their details; he thus repeats anew his
cordial acceptance of the doctrines contained therein. In a letter of
thanks addressed to Dr. Mentzer, of Giessen (Book VI., Part II., Letter
7), he expressly rejects the serious doctrinal errors of Schwenkfeldt
respecting the Scriptures, the Person of Christ, the two Sacraments, etc.,
and adds: “These errors have been publicly condemned and rejected, partly
in the Augsburg Confession, and partly in the Formula of Concord, after
the pure doctrine was firmly established.” He concurs, of course, in the
condemnation of such errors.—In Letter 8, of the same Book, addressed to
Dr. Piscator, of Jena, he says: “I call on the great God, the Searcher of
hearts, as my witness, that it was not in my mind, in anything which I
have written, to depart from the true religion of the Augsburg Confession
and the Formula of Concord, and that I had no intention to disseminate
erroneous opinions, much less to defend any which conflicted with the
Symbolical Books of our Church.”

§ 25. On his death-bed he repeated anew, as we have seen, that he
continued, as heretofore, to adhere faithfully to the pure evangelical
doctrine. In the two copies of his last will and testament, of the years
1610 and 1616, he solemnly declares that he had always held with full
consciousness and understanding the doctrines of the Augsburg Confession
and the Formula of Concord, and never departed from their contents either
in his public teaching or his private views, that he never would adopt any
other faith, and that he prayed that the grace of God might sustain him in
this frame of mind until his last hour should come. The singularly
emphatic manner in which, on every appropriate occasion—and many of such
occurred—he declared his sincere belief in the peculiar and distinctive
doctrines of the Lutheran Church, in all their details, as set forth in
her SYMBOLICAL BOOKS, by no means proceeded from a narrow-minded sectarian
feeling. “Christ is all, and in all” (Col. 3:11)—these apostolic words
indicate the spirit of Arndt’s religion. He could not sympathize with the
Papist, who robs Christ of the glory which belongs exclusively to his
atoning work—not with the Unitarian, who attempts to dethrone Him—not with
the fanatic, who, even when honest, is misguided by passion and spiritual
pride—not with the unbeliever, who flees from the shame of the cross—not
even with his Reformed fellow-Christians, whose merits he readily
acknowledged, but whose rejection of the Lutheran doctrine respecting the
Person of Christ and the Lord’s Supper, as set forth especially in the
Formula of Concord, grieved his soul. He had found the precious Gospel
truth, which constituted his life, to be identical with the creed of his
Church, and with _that_ creed alone, in all its glorious fulness. He could
not consent to sacrifice one jot or one tittle of the Augsburg Confession,
nor could he assign to it an isolated position, even though Zwingli and
his associates readily adopted it, with the single exception of Article X.
Nor did his heart or his conscience allow him to ignore the other Lutheran
Symbols. The _Augsburg Confession_ undoubtedly contained the pure truth of
the Gospel, without any admixture of errors; but, owing to the
circumstances and the times in which it originated, when it was the great
object of Luther and his associates to justify their course in withdrawing
from antichristian Rome, it confined itself to those principles which were
then specially debated. Hence Calvin, who differed so widely on some
points from the fully developed Lutheran creed, readily adopted and
subscribed it at Strasburg.—The _Apology_, or Vindication of the Augsburg
Confession, set forth, among others, the cardinal doctrine of the Lutheran
faith, namely, Justification by faith alone, with extraordinary power and
purity. Its full, lucid, and strictly scriptural character has never been
successfully controverted. For this very reason the Apology was rejected
by Papists, as it now is practically by Rationalists and others who depend
on human merit, and are unwilling to give all honor to the Saviour
alone.—The _Smalcald Articles_, which Luther prepared in order to set
forth the points on which no Protestant or Bible Christian could make any
concession to Popery, are also offensive to Papists, to Rationalists, and
to the unbelieving and impenitent generally, as they contain the pure
evangelical truth, which humbles man, while it exalts God.—_The Two
Catechisms (the Large and the Small)_ furnish materials for popular
instruction in revealed truth, which have never been equalled by other
manuals, in their adaptation to the object, their fulness, and their
purity. Hence, a friend of divine truth, like Arndt, who took so deep an
interest in the religious education of the young, could not do otherwise
than regard them as of inestimable value. An enemy of the truth would
naturally disavow them.—The _Formula of Concord_—the last of the series of
Lutheran Confessions of Faith, and the one which Arndt appears to have
prized most highly—was intended, as we have shown above, to determine
various important points involved in the controversies which had arisen in
the bosom of the Lutheran Church before or at the time when he was born.
The very circumstance that this Symbol was demanded by the exigencies of
the Church, demonstrates that the Augsburg Confession was _not originally
designed to be a full and complete confession of faith_, but only a
statement of points discussed during the infancy of the Reformation. While
it excludes every error which might dishonor God, and confirm the
impenitent sinner in his evil course, it completes the previous Symbols,
and forms with them an undivided and harmonious whole, exhibiting with
brilliancy, power, and spotless purity the Person of the God-Man, Jesus
Christ, and glorifies God alone. A confession of faith which so
unreservedly unveils the fearful character of Original Sin, while it so
fully explains and establishes the true doctrine of the Lord’s Supper,
would naturally be unwelcome to an impenitent heart; whereas, the devout
Arndt found nothing in it but animating and heavenly truth. Hence he
desired to be regarded as simply an Evangelical Lutheran Christian,—an
adherent of the Formula of Concord.

§ 26. Religion assumed an unusually attractive and beautiful form in
Arndt, and is strikingly shadowed forth in his “True Christianity;” this
work is an admirable portraiture of his inner man. He was naturally of a
grave, but not by any means of an unsocial or gloomy disposition; he would
not otherwise have been styled “the Fenelon of Protestantism.” Dr.
Wildenhahn, whose charming work (entitled _Johannes Arndt_) embodies
strictly accurate historical notices, and derives only subordinate matter,
such as incidents in domestic life, conversations, etc., from analogy and
a fruitful imagination, exhibits him in the true light, as an affectionate
husband, a cheerful companion, a generous and self-sacrificing friend of
the sick and the poor—in short, as a model in all the relations of life.
There is no exaggeration in this language. He possessed great firmness of
character; indeed, a truly heroic spirit dwelt in him. He manifested this
trait on many trying occasions—not only when he preferred poverty and
exile to a denial of a single Gospel truth or Lutheran usage, but also in
many other scenes of conflict. The ravages of the pestilence could not
alarm his heroic soul; the open and violent denunciations of enemies he
always encountered in the spirit of Him who said: “If I have spoken evil,
bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?” (John 18:23.)
There was a certain calmness or gentleness in his manner of treating his
enemies, which, combined with his earnestness and candor in repelling
their calumnies, invariably subdued them. Love—love, not to the amiable
and good, or to the poor and sorrowing alone, but also to his enemies—was
too often and too variously manifested, to leave the spectator in doubt
respecting its true source—a genuine faith in Christ, and deep, ardent
love to Him. In truth, it is here that the peculiar type of his religion
is seen; he lived more in heaven than on earth. The sacerdotal prayer of
Christ (John, Chap. 17) was an unfailing source of light, of hope, of
peace and joy to his soul. Expressions like these, “As thou, Father, art
in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (ver. 21)—“I in
them, and thou in me, etc.” (ver. 23), and language like that of Paul:
“Christ in you, etc.” (Col. 1:27), furnished him virtually with the
formula: “Christ in me, and I in Christ.” Such was his faith in Christ,
and such was his love to Him, that he was always calm and hopeful. Hence
features appeared in his religious character which his worldly-minded
contemporaries could not fully appreciate; they were formed by two
different series of Gospel doctrines, which cannot come in conflict, but
which relate to two entirely different objects—Christ, the Saviour, and
fallen man. No one more sincerely embraced the doctrine of Original Sin,
as held by the Lutheran Church, than Arndt did; of this his writings
furnish the evidence. His own searching self-examination, constantly
maintained in the light of Scripture, revealed to him the utter corruption
of his own heart by nature; he found nothing in himself but sin. He was
conscious that he could do nothing without Christ, and deeply felt that
grace—nothing but grace—could renew his nature, and save him. These
convictions induced him to insist with such earnestness, in his Four
Books, on the true and genuine repentance of the sinner. At the same time,
there was nothing like sternness, gloom, or despondency connected with his
sincere and profound self-abasement. For he received with equal strength
of faith another series of truths—he believed with all his heart that
“after the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not
by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy
he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to
the hope of eternal life.” Tit. 3:4-7. Here a new tide of emotions flowed
through his soul. Wonder, joy, gratitude, love, took possession of him.
His large heart was full of happiness that the lost could be found and
saved—that “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Rom. 5:20.
And now, when these two distinct principles appear in him in their
practical union, the type of his religion is clearly developed. He was
grave and earnest, humble, and free from all confidence in himself, for he
was “by nature a child of wrath.” Eph. 2:3. But, on the other hand, God
had, in pity and in love, given him a Saviour, engrafted him in that
Saviour through Holy Baptism, bestowed on him the fulness of grace, and
invited him, as a repentant, believing, pardoned child of Adam, to enter
heaven. If sin abounded through the first Adam, grace did, through the
second Adam (1 Cor. 15:45), much more abound. His writings, therefore, now
assume a very cheerful character—_love_ is the prevailing theme. Nothing
morose appears in them—sorrow for sin and repentance—faith in Christ and
love to him, are his soul-inspiring themes, and a cheerful spirit, a sense
of fervent, joyful gratitude to God, a heavenly calm, pervade alike his
heart and its language as uttered in the “True Christianity.”

§ 27. The essential features of vital godliness are always the same; yet
“there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” 1 Cor. 12:4. Paul
insists on faith; John, on love. Luther’s religion was, like that of
Arndt, earnest, and yet cheerful. Both were enabled by their personal
experience to understand the nature of these Christian virtues, and also
the distinction between them. Luther dwells with wonderful power on
_faith_. Arndt delights to speak of God’s _love_. There is something very
beautiful in these different developments of true godliness in the
servants of Christ, while the influences of the same divine Spirit
controls them alike.

§ 28. It would be an error to suppose that the whole world had risen up in
arms against Arndt, after he had assumed his position as an humble and
devout Christian. Vast numbers received his First Book on True
Christianity with gratitude and joy. It enlightened their minds; it
controlled the conscience; it diffused the warmth of life through their
souls; and they thanked God that such a book, so full of love, had been
given to the world. A comparatively small number of men rose up against
him. Certain individuals, such as his colleague, Denecke, a co-pastor of
the same congregation in Brunswick, were, no doubt, influenced by envy and
personal dislike. But others who opposed him, were by no means governed
solely by unworthy personal considerations. Some of them were so much
concerned about “questions and strifes of words” (1 Tim. 6:4), that they
overlooked and misconceived the heavenly-mindedness of Arndt. Others, who
did him injustice, were led astray by the infelicity of the times. We have
already referred to the disastrous influences of the mysticism and
fanaticism which, in addition to other corruptions of the true faith, had
appeared about, and after, the period of the birth of Arndt. For instance,
the Swiss physician, Paracelsus (who died as a Roman Catholic in 1541),
had published various fantastic and mystical writings, in which he
professed that he understood both mundane and supermundane mysteries. Now
a certain Lutheran pastor in Saxony, named Weigel, who died in 1588, and
who had been confessedly a man of an upright walk and conversation, had
yielded to a tendency to the mysticism and theosophy of Paracelsus. He was
thus led theoretically to undervalue the doctrines of the church, and to
represent them as merely allegorical forms, involving truths not known to
ordinary men. The natural results of his theory, if its folly had not been
exposed, would unquestionably have seriously affected the authority of the
written Word. Before his writings were published, a friend had
communicated to Arndt a short extract from them, which contained none of
his errors; the author’s name had been withheld. Arndt, in his innocence,
inserted the passage in his book, and was thus burdened with the odium of
all the Weigelian errors; but he was subsequently released from all
censure, and his freedom from anything like the mysticism of Weigel was
generally conceded.

§ 29. Another ground of the charge of mysticism which his opponents
advanced, was found in his repeated references in the “True Christianity”
to Tauler. Here, too, Arndt made a brilliant defence, by quoting the great
Luther as his authority. The latter had obtained possession of a
manuscript without a title or an author’s name, which deeply interested
him. It dwelt entirely on the communion of the soul with God, and on
kindred topics. Luther, whose godliness was healthy and sound, was so much
charmed with the work, that he published a part of it at Wittenberg in
1516, and prefixed the title: “A spiritual, noble little work, explaining
the distinction between the old and the new man; showing, also, who are
the children of Adam and the children of God, and how Adam must die in us,
and Christ live in us.” During the course of the next year he published
the whole work, with an extended Preface of his own, and adopted the
title: “A German Theology”; this general title it has since retained. It
was received with unbounded favor, and circulated rapidly throughout
Europe, for instance, in three English, seven Latin, four French, etc.,
translations, besides numerous editions of the original German. It was
supposed to have been written by Tauler, a very devout man, who was born
in the year 1290. His religious tendencies led him, like Luther, to enter
a monastery. The sermons and other writings which he left behind, while
their general character assign to him a place among those who are
denominated “Mystics,” nevertheless abound in holy and devout aspirations,
and were dictated by a spirit that sought and found peace in the grace of
God alone.—Arndt entertained the opinion that the “German Theology” was a
production of his pen, and so represents the case in his “True
Christianity.” It is now, however, generally conceded, in consequence of
an allusion in the work itself to Tauler as a religious teacher of an
earlier day, that another person, belonging to a later period, was the
writer; his name is still involved in impenetrable darkness.—So, too, it
is by no means certain that Thomas á Kempis (born in 1380), was the author
of the popular book “On the Imitation of Christ,” of which more than two
thousand editions in the original language, more than one thousand in
French, besides innumerable others in German, English, etc., have been
published. The historical arguments, adduced chiefly by French writers,
intended to support the claims of the eminent Gerson (born in 1363), as
the author, although not entirely conclusive, are still possessed of great
weight.—Arndt incidentally remarks in a brief statement respecting the
“German Theology,” that his copy, printed at Wittenberg in 1520, contained
simply the remark that the book had been written by a devout priest of the
city of Frankfort, for devotional purposes, but the author’s name was
withheld. If Luther sanctioned the publication of the “German Theology,”
Arndt could calmly listen to those who censured him for adopting a similar
course. Those extracts at least, which he furnishes in the “True
Christianity,” are, unquestionably, evangelical and truly edifying.

§ 30. It will, perhaps, gratify the reader to observe the skill with which
Wildenhahn, to whom we have already referred, illustrates the childlike
simplicity of Arndt’s character, by combining fiction with truth. During
his Brunswick pastorate, the City Council of Halberstadt sent him an
urgent call to become the successor of the deceased Rev. D. Sachse, as
pastor of the church of St. Martin in that city. After he had consulted
with his intelligent wife, who, like himself, was anxious to withdraw to
any spot where peace could be found, he resolved to accept the call; and,
in accordance with custom and law, applied to the Brunswick City Council
for letters of honorable dismission. When the question was to be decided,
Arndt appeared in the presence of the burgomaster, Kale, the syndic, Dr.
Roerhand, and other members of the Council, and renewed his request. These
details are historically true. Wildenhahn now subjoins the following:
“Tell me honestly,” said the syndic to him, “have you really, as you
allege, taken no steps whatever, in order to obtain this call from
Halberstadt?” “Not a single step,” said Arndt, in a solemn manner, with
his right hand on his heart, “the whole is altogether and exclusively a
work of God.” But at the moment when he pronounced this solemn
declaration, it became evident to those who were present, that a sudden
thought had startled him; he changed color; he began to tremble; he
suddenly covered his eyes with his left hand. Then, with a voice betraying
deep emotion, he added: “Gentlemen, I have borne false witness! I really
did do something to obtain this call.” “Ah!” said Kale quickly, delighted,
as it seemed, to find an opportunity for displaying his official dignity,
“You did? Pray, tell us what it was.” “I prayed to the blessed Lord with
tears, that he would assign to me some other spot in his vineyard, no
matter how insignificant, if I could only there preach his word in peace.”
“And was _that_ all?” inquired the burgomaster, much surprised, and
speaking in more gentle tones. “That was all,” replied Arndt, “and this is
true, as God lives! But, doubtless, I erred here, in impatiently
attempting to dictate to God, etc.” Such simplicity of character, such
perfect ingenuousness, such a wonderful freedom from artifice and
disguise, completely disarmed the members of the Council. They now
understood better than previously the artlessness and spirituality of the
man before them, and, after that scene, they accorded to him entire esteem
and confidence.

§ 31. The great work of Arndt—the “True Christianity,” has probably never
had its equal as a popular book of devotion. Tholuck relates the following
anecdote as an illustration of the manner in which even Papists could
appreciate the merits of the work. When Prof. Anton, of Halle, visited
Madrid in 1687, he examined the library of the Jesuits, and incidentally
inquired of the librarian respecting the ascetic writer whom they esteemed
more than other authors of devotional works. The latter exhibited a Latin
book, the title-page and last leaves of which were wanting, and declared
that it was the most edifying work which they possessed. When Anton
examined it, he discovered that it was a translation of Arndt’s “_True
Christianity_”! It is only common justice to allow the author to state the
objects which he had in view, in preparing the work. The following passage
occurs in a letter which he addressed in the last year of his life to Duke
Augustus the Younger, of Brunswick: “In the first place, I wished to
withdraw the minds of students and preachers from an inordinate
controversial and polemic theology, which has well-nigh assumed the form
of an earlier scholastic theology. Secondly, I purposed to conduct
Christian believers from lifeless thoughts to such as might bring forth
fruit. Thirdly, I wished to guide them onward from mere science and
theory, to the actual practice of faith and godliness; and, fourthly, to
show them wherein a truly Christian life consists, which accords with the
true faith, as well as to explain the apostle’s meaning when he says: ‘I
live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,’ etc.” (Gal. 2:20.)

§ 32. The Rev. Dr. Seiss, the author of “Ecclesia Lutherana, etc.,” to
whose endeavors the religious public is mainly indebted for the appearance
of the present edition, remarks in a recent notice of the work: “This is
one of the very greatest and most useful practical books produced by
Protestantism. Though written more than two hundred and fifty years ago,
it is still unsurpassed in its department. It stands out with marked and
superior distinction in the modern ages. Next to the Bible and Luther’s
Small Catechism, it has been more frequently printed, more widely read,
and more influential for good, than any other book, perhaps, that has ever
been written. Boehm has not exaggerated, when he says that its effects, in
the conversion of souls, has been such, that an account of them would make
a history in itself. Nor can any one candidly read it, without finding on
every page, scintillations of the sunlike splendors of a mind bathed in
the purity, wisdom, and love of heaven.” Mr. Boehm, in the Preface to his
translation (which is the basis both of the revision of Mr. Jacques, and
of the present edition), remarks, that among the learned men in Great
Britain, who had read the Latin translation, the distinguished Dr.
Worthington had assigned the first rank among devotional writers to Arndt,
and quotes the enthusiastic terms in which he extols that “faithful
servant of God, John Arndt.” And Mr. Jacques closes the Preface to his
revision with the following words: “Divines of all communions and
persuasions, have united in their admiration of this delightful
production. The late learned Dr. Edward Williams has inserted it in his
valuable Appendix to the Christian Preacher: and the Rev. John Wesley made
a most copious extract from it, comprised in Vol. I. and II. of his
Christian Library.”

§ 33. And truly God did not design this great work solely for the comfort
and aid of the German nation during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), but
for all nations and all times. It has been translated into the Latin,
Danish, Swedish, Bohemian, Polish, Low Dutch, English, French, Turkish,
Russian, Malabar, Tamul, etc., languages. At least two editions of the
work in a Latin translation were published in England; the last appeared
in 1708, with the following title: “Joannis Arndtii, Theologici, etc.: De
vero Christianismo. Libri IV. Cura et studio A. W. Boemi. Lond. 1708.” 2
vols. 8vo.—Another Latin edition was published in Germany in 1624. The
Tamul translation had the following Latin title: “De vero Christianismo,
in Tamulicum convertit Benjamin Schulzius, Missionarius Evangelicus.”(2)

§ 34. The work had made so deep an impression on learned British
Christians, who read it in Latin, that the wish was repeatedly and
earnestly expressed that it might be made accessible to English readers.
At this period, that is, during the reign of Queen Anne of England (who
died in 1714), large numbers of German emigrants from the Palatinate
passed through England on their way to the provinces of New York and
Pennsylvania. The Rev. Anthony William Boehm, a German Lutheran clergyman,
had previously been appointed as the court chaplain of Prince George of
Denmark, the consort of Queen Anne. His enlightened zeal and devout heart
led him to take a deep interest, not only in the temporal, but also in the
spiritual welfare of these pilgrims, who were on their way to the wilds of
North America. He accordingly supplied them, by the aid of certain
like-minded friends, with German Bibles and Hymn Books, and also with
German copies of Arndt’s “True Christianity,” as well as with other books
of devotion. This interesting fact is mentioned in the letters of Dr.
Muhlenberg, published in the well-known _Halle Reports_ (_Hallische
Nachrichten_, pp. 665, 793). But Mr. Boehm also resolved to furnish the
people, in the midst of whom he lived, with the great work of his favorite
author, in their own language, and accordingly prepared an English
translation, which was first printed in London in 1712.

§ 35. It would be unjust to the memory of this excellent man, if we should
fail to refer to his literary labors. His high office at the royal court
of England, is an evidence of his personal merit. He was not only a devout
and faithful preacher of the Gospel, but also an author who acquired
distinction. In 1734 he published a very valuable work in the German
language, entitled: “Eight Books, on the Reformation of the Church in
England, extending from the year 1526, under Henry VIII., to the reign of
Charles II.” In a very beautiful eulogy, in manuscript, found in the
volume before us, the writer refers to the successful efforts of Mr. Boehm
to provide for the education of the children of the poor in his vicinity.
He died May 27, 1722, in his fiftieth year, after having faithfully
labored in the service of Christ. He sustained, with eminent success, the
Danish Lutheran missionaries in Tranquebar, by sending pecuniary aid
obtained in London, as well as religious publications. Besides his great
German historical work, which is the complement of Burnet’s “History of
the Reformation of the Church of England,” he also published several
English compositions, such as a “Sermon on the doctrine of Original Sin,
Eph. 4:22,” printed in London, 1711, and a “Sermon on the Duty of the
Reformation (Jubilee), Rev. 18:4,” London, 1718, besides various religious
works in the German language.

§ 36. About the beginning of the present century, the Rev. Calvin
Chaddock, who resided in Hanover, Massachusetts, obtained a copy of Mr.
Boehm’s translation, “accidentally,” as he says, and found it to be so
valuable, that he resolved to issue an American edition, which accordingly
appeared in 1809, Boston. In his short Preface he remarks, with great
truth, that the language of the translation “appears to be somewhat
ancient, and the sentiments in some few instances obscure.” He adds, in
reference to his own agency: “The only alterations which have been made,
are such as respect redundant and obsolete words, orthography, the
addition of some words, and the transposition of some sentences; that the
ideas of the translator might appear more conspicuous.” He might have,
with great advantage, been even more liberal than he was, in correcting
the style; it still remained in numerous passages heavy and obscure. As
the style, even of the original German, is somewhat antiquated, and as,
besides, occasional obscurities and repetitions occur, a later successor
in one of Arndt’s pastoral charges, the Rev. J. F. Fedderson, assumed the
task of revising and abridging the whole of the original German, improving
or modernizing the style, and occasionally adding new matter. The result
of his labors does not appear to have received the entire approbation of
the German religious world; the original and unaltered work continues so
popular, that no permanent place has been secured for the substitute. A
portion of Fedderson’s production was translated and published in
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in 1834, by the Rev. John N. Hoffman, Pastor
of the Evangelical Lutheran congregation of that place. The translation
was never completed. The part which was given, consisting mainly of Book
I., has long since been out of print.

§ 37. In the year 1815, a new edition of Mr. Boehm’s English translation
was issued in London (evidently without any reference to Mr. Chaddock’s
American edition), by William Jacques, A.M., who had already distinguished
himself by his translation, from the Latin, of A. H. Francke’s “Guide to
the Reading and Study of the Holy Scriptures,” of which a reprint, in a
very unattractive form, and with omissions, appeared in Philadelphia, in
1823. He took Mr. Boehm’s translation as the “ground-work,” which, as he
states in his Preface, he did not “edit either hastily or negligently.
There is not a single page, nor a single paragraph,” he continues, “which
has not been subjected to scrutiny,” etc. Nevertheless, Mr. Jacques, who
does not appear to have compared the translation with the original German,
made only verbal changes, which, as it is evident, materially improve the
style. But he allowed all the additions of Mr. Boehm, which are generally
quite tautological, and various inaccuracies in thought and expression to
remain. So many antiquated expressions were retained, that it would have
been inexpedient to reprint the work precisely as Mr. Jacques allowed the
text to remain. Besides, he curtailed the full titles of the several
chapters, and, with very few exceptions, omitted the important and
appropriate texts which Arndt had prefixed respectively to the latter.
These circumstances, in connection with others, such as numerous
typographical errors, especially in the Scripture references, plainly
indicated that a revision of the whole was necessary, before the present
edition could be presented to the public.

§ 38. The editor of the present American edition took that of Mr. Jacques
as the basis of the translation, but compared every sentence with the
original German. He found some cases in which valuable matter had been
omitted, and was occasionally required to supply sentences that had been
mutilated or suppressed. But he erased all the verbal additions, and the
clauses, or sentences, inserted by Mr. Boehm, where it seemed to have been
the object of the latter only to explain remarks that were already
perfectly lucid, or to add emphasis by the insertion of adjectives, etc.,
or else to impart beauty by the adoption of poetical terms or phrases,
which were inconsistent with the severe simplicity of Arndt’s style. He
even represents the author, on one occasion, as quoting from the
“Homilies” of the Church of England, which Arndt undoubtedly never read,
and certainly does not mention in the original. The American editor has,
also, at the request of several friends, who took an interest in securing
the publication of the present edition, prepared a somewhat copious INDEX.
One of the Latin editions (London, 1708) contains an index, adapted only
to its own pages. Another, in German, is found in some of the German
editions, for instance, in that of Nuremberg, 1762, also adapted to the
pages of the particular edition only. As the American editor found none in
English, and preferred to adapt the new Index, prepared by him, to the
work itself (specifying the Book, Chapter, and Section), he accordingly
completed his task on this plan, after a considerable expenditure of time
and labor. It is somewhat difficult to prepare an Index for a work which
is so exclusively devotional in its character as the present, and in which
the author does not intend to discuss subjects in a strictly scientific
manner. Arndt, for instance, employs terms which, when defined with
precision, indicate different shades of thought, almost as if they were
synonymous (_e. g._, the _grace_, _mercy_, _goodness_, _love_, etc., of
God), and often repeats the same thought in different language. For this
we can easily account, when we recollect that the materials of the work
were taken from a series of popular sermons of the author, delivered at
intervals. The editor allows himself to hope that the Index which he has
prepared, may occasionally be of service to the reader.

§ 39. But even after having made numerous changes on _every page_ of the
old translation before him, the American editor is conscious that a
critical eye will discover many imperfections in the style. It is often
antiquated and heavy, and sometimes even quaint. Nevertheless, in all
these instances he allowed the English text to remain as he found it,
contenting himself with the correction of orthographical and syntactical
inaccuracies, the rectification of Scripture references, the errors in
which he found to be unusually numerous, the correction of quotations in
accordance with the authorized English version of the Bible, in the many
cases in which Mr. Boehm, or one of his assistants, translated from
Luther’s German version, or quoted the English version from memory, etc.,
etc.

§ 40. It is eminently proper that a new edition of Arndt’s “True
Christianity” should appear during the present Jubilee year of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church, and that it should be undertaken and
conducted to a successful issue by members of the Evangelical Lutheran
Synod of Pennsylvania. The deep spirituality of Arndt, and his active and
pure faith, can be fully understood and appreciated only when we reflect
on the doctrinal system to which he had given his heart, and to which we
have referred above. This orthodox system found no favor, at a later
period, among the Rationalists; they rejected the doctrines of the Bible
respecting the depravity of human nature, the divinity of Christ, the
efficacy of the divinely appointed means of grace, and similar truths, and
grievously complained of the violence which, as they treacherously
alleged, was offered to their conscience, when the demand was made, that
if they claimed to belong to the Lutheran Church, to occupy its pulpits,
and to receive their support from it, they ought also to adopt its faith.
Their influence is happily decaying in Europe, and the restoration of the
doctrines of the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church to
authority, is coincident with the new and healthy religious life of the
Lutheran Church in Germany, Hungary, Scandinavia, and Russia. The sincere
Christian, John Arndt, whom we heard protesting before God, with his last
breath, as described above, that he believed only the doctrines of the
Symbolical Books of the Lutheran Church, and _all_ those doctrines, little
thought that more than two centuries afterwards, in the remote Western
continent of America, men would arise who would not only reject with scorn
“all the other Symbolical Books,” which he revered, but also speak
contemptuously of the Augsburg Confession and its holy doctrines.

§ 41. The doctrinal system which Arndt so sincerely revered, was brought
to this country by the Lutheran pastors who visited our shores at a very
early period. Dr. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, an eminently enlightened and
holy man, was enabled, by his well-disciplined mind and great
administrative powers, to create order among the scattered Lutherans whom
he found in this country. He was exceedingly zealous in maintaining the
purity of the Lutheran faith, to which he owed all his peace and his
hopes. He gave unusual prominence to the Symbolical Books—to _all_ of
them, mentioned by name—in the various constitutions of congregations
organized or influenced by him, and very properly claimed that none who
rejected them could honestly bear the name of _Lutherans_. We will give
only one illustration, of many which might be adduced, to show the
fidelity with which he held to the Lutheran Symbolical Books, as
enumerated by Arndt in the last paragraph of his Preface to Book I., in
this volume. Dr. Muhlenberg states in an official Report for the year
1747, which he transmitted to Halle (_Hall. Nachr._, pp. 234, 235), that
he had visited a congregation in Maryland, in which great dissensions
prevailed at the time, occasioned by efforts made by certain individuals
to alienate the Lutherans from their faith and church. He says, “Before we
commenced public worship, I asked for the Church Record, and wrote certain
propositions and articles in it in the English language, and among other
statements, made the following: That our German Lutherans held to the holy
Word of God, in the prophetic and apostolical writings; further, to the
unaltered Augsburg Confession, and the other Symbolical Books, etc.(3) I
then read the same publicly to the congregation, and explained it to them
in the German language, and added, that every one who desired to be, and
to remain, _such_ a Lutheran, should subscribe his name.” He informs us
that the genuine Lutherans readily subscribed; the rest, who had
unlutheran sympathies, withheld their names.

§ 42. An unhappy change occurred after Dr. Muhlenberg’s day. The
Symbolical Books, which he and his contemporaries received, believed, and
sustained in their whole extent, with religious veneration, existed at
that time only in Latin and German. They gradually receded from the view
of many pastors of the church; individuals were received into the ranks of
the ministry, who had never studied them; doctrines and usages, hitherto
unknown to the church, were introduced into many Lutheran congregations.
At one period several of the most intelligent pastors yielded, to a
certain extent, to rationalistic influences; then, the opposite extreme,
of fanaticism, gained adherents; both rationalism and fanaticism were
alike hostile to “the unaltered Augsburg Confession and the other
Symbolical Books,” and a strange combination of elements, derived partly
from rationalism, and partly from fanaticism, temporarily held sway.
Dependence was now placed on human measures and inventions, designed for
the conversion of sinners and the edification of believers, rather than on
the divinely appointed means of grace, which men like Arndt and Muhlenberg
recognized as the only channels through which the Divine Spirit exercises
his influence. If they had lived among us during the second, third, and
fourth decades of this century, when their doctrines, and their mode of
preaching, were regarded by many as antiquated, or unsuited to a supposed
higher grade of religious development, they would have readily predicted
the results—fanaticism, latitudinarianism in doctrine, an evanescent
emotional religion, and, by consequence, the rejection, in whole or in
part, of the Augsburg Confession and the other Symbolical Books.

§ 43. God, in his mercy, has interposed. The doctrines which Arndt,
Muhlenberg, and men of the old faith, regarded as the life-blood of a
healthy, scriptural religion, are regaining their authority. Many still
reject them; the old faith of the church—Bible truth, is unwelcome to an
ignorant, rationalistic, and unconverted heart. But others have been
taught by observation and experience that mere human measures and
inventions cannot conduct to a healthy and permanent religion, and that
divine truth, as taught in the Scriptures, and set forth in our Symbolical
Books, and the other means of grace given to the Church by its divine
Head, are the only sources from which such a healthy religion can proceed.
In this spirit Arndt wrote the “True Christianity,” and by this spirit the
Synod of Pennsylvania is animated. This ecclesiastical body desires to
take away all glory from man, and to give it all to Christ. One of the
results of its attachment to our ancient and holy faith, is the
publication of the present volume, in which the author so eloquently and
affectionately urges all men to repent, to believe in Christ, and to lead
a holy life.

§ 44. The divine blessing has so remarkably attended the use of Arndt’s
“True Christianity,” in the original language, and in its various
translations, that the present editor humbly entertains the hope that the
time and labor expended by him in preparing this new edition, may also be
of avail. And he prays that the “True Christianity” may continue the work
which it has already performed, and instruct, guide, and comfort anew the
souls of its readers, to the praise and glory of God.

C. F. S.

PHILADELPHIA, August, 1868.





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 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.

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. 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.




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 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 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, 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 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 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. 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
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 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 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, 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 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 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. 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 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.

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.




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.

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.

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 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, contemned
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 contemned 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 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.




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 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
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 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 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 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 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.




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 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 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 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 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, 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 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, 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?




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 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: 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 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.




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,
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 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
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 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 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 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.




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
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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.




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 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 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 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.




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.
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 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.

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 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 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 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 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. 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 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 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, 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 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 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, 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. 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. 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 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 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.

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 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 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 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.

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 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 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.

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 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, “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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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.” 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
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; 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 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.




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,
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 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.




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 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.




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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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.




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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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, 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 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 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 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 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.




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 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 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.

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; 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 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 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?

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 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
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.

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 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_
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 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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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 __ 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.





BOOK II.




Preface To The Second Book.


As in nature, my dear Christian reader, the destruction of one thing is
the production of another; even so is it in a true Christian life. The
old, carnal man must be destroyed and pass away, that so the new spiritual
man may be produced in his place. And as our carnal life is directly
contrary to the holy life of Christ (which in the preceding Book is
sufficiently declared); it is absolutely needful that we renounce this
carnal life, before we can attain the spiritual life of Christ, or follow
him in those steps which he has been pleased to leave us. Thus, for
instance, thou must put an end to thy pride, before thou canst be truly
humble; thou must cease from wrath, before thou canst possess the virtue
of meekness. And this is the reason why the spiritual Christian’s life
ought to proceed from true _repentance_. This is also the design and
substance of the preceding Book, as plainly appears both from the order in
which the chapters are arranged, and from the _Conclusion_ appended to the
whole Book.

2. Since, however, there will be occasion to treat of the doctrine of
repentance in some chapters of this Second Book, I shall now give some
account of the whole method into which this Book is digested. As the main
design of the First Book was to lay open the nature of Original Sin, and
the deadly influence which it has upon all our actions; so it is but fit
that the Second Book should begin with JESUS CHRIST, that everlasting
wellspring of man’s salvation, in whom alone we find help and a remedy
against the destructive poison of Original Sin, and against that flood of
calamities and miseries which thence proceeds. All this on man’s side, is
effected by FAITH, apprehending that salvation which is merited by Christ.
This matter is explained in the first three chapters of this Book. As,
however, that _faith_ which leads the soul to this fountain, and draws
thence effects so excellent and good, also brings forth living and sound
_fruits_; the next three chapters (IV-VI), are spent in describing the
same more at large. But, even as the fruits of righteousness and of the
Spirit are to grow up in us and wax strong, so must the fruits of the
flesh, in proportion, decay and decrease. And this is the daily,
effectual, and unfeigned repentance, wherein a Christian ought constantly
to be employed, if ever the flesh be mortified, and the Spirit be restored
to dominion. It was, therefore, judged expedient, to give here a clear
description of the difference betwixt the flesh and the Spirit, and of the
properties of a daily repentance. Here consult Chapters VII-X. But
inasmuch as from this habitual repentance, and the mortification of the
_old_ man (the life of a true Christian being nothing else but a constant
crucifixion of the flesh), the _new_ man is daily to come forth, it is
impossible to find a more perfect pattern, than that which our Lord Jesus
Christ himself has left us. And for this reason, the life of Christ ought
to be a mirror unto us, in which to view ourselves and him; and by
beholding him, to embrace the more freely his poverty and reproach, his
contempt and sorrow, his cross and passion, his agony and death. And this
holy life of Christ is the death of the flesh, and is accompanied with the
exercise of prayer, love, and humility. This is set forth at large in
Chapters XI-XXV.

3. Thus are the humility and lowliness of Christ a true ladder of
ascension for a penitent soul; by means of which we ascend into the heart
of God, as of a loving Father, and calmly repose in his paternal
affection. It is the _human_ nature of Christ with which we begin our
spiritual life, and rising up higher and higher, arrive at last at his
_divine_ nature. It is then that we contemplate in Christ the heart of our
Father in heaven. It is then that we behold him as the sublime, the
everlasting, essential, and infinite Good; we behold him as the
immeasurable omnipotence, as the unfathomable mercy, the unsearchable
wisdom, the purest holiness, the unspotted and endless righteousness, the
most perfect goodness, the noblest beauty, the most perfect graciousness,
and, at last, as the most joyful salvation. These points, as they chiefly
make up Christian contemplation, so they are explained in Chapters
XXVI-XXXIII. But because no one can ever arrive at this state without
prayer, hence the ensuing ten Chapters (XXXIV-XLIII), treat upon the
nature of _prayer_, and the exercise of divine _praise_. And since this
life, grounded on maxims of sound and unfeigned religion, will soon be
attended with _crosses_ and _tribulations_, there follow fifteen Chapters
(XLIV-LVIII), wherein are considered the _cross_ of Christians, and the
virtue of _patience_, the practice of which is thereby exceedingly
promoted. To all this, something is added of the nature and conquest of
those deep _spiritual temptations_, with which Satan harasses those that
adhere to the Lord, and who endeavor to be faithful to the end.

God grant that we may all be true followers of Christ, not ashamed of his
holy life; but follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, and be led at last
to the living fountains of waters, where the Lord will wipe away all tears
from our eyes! Amen.

JOHN ARNDT,
General Superintendent in the Principality of Lüneburg.




Chapter I.


Jesus Christ, The Son Of God, Is Given To Us By Our Heavenly Father As Our
   Help Against The Damnable And Deadly Poison Of Original Sin, And The
    Pernicious Fruits Thereof, As Well As A Protector Against All The
           Calamities And Evils Both Of The Body And The Soul.


    _With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation._—ISA.
    12:3.


As our distemper is exceedingly great, mortal, damnable, and out of the
power of any creature to remove; therefore it is needful that we should
have a remedy proportioned to the disease; a high, a divine, an
everlasting, remedy and help, entirely derived from the pure mercy of God.
As our original disease was caused by the wrath, hatred, and envy of the
devil (Gen. 3:1): so God, in tender compassion, was moved to heal the
mortal wound of our sin by his infinite mercy. And as Satan had used his
utmost endeavors and subtlety, in order to infect, slay, and condemn us,
God was pleased, in his infinite wisdom, to give us his beloved Son, in
order to restore us to that life, happiness, and salvation which we had
lost. Hence he has made the precious blood of Christ to be the grand
restorative of our nature, and the cleanser from all the contagion of sin.
He hath given us his quickening flesh, to be our bread of life; his holy
wounds, as a sovereign balsam to heal our wounded condition; and his
precious death, to be an abolition of our death, both temporal and
eternal. 1 John 1:7; Acts 20:28; John 6:32, etc.; Isa. 53:5; 25:8.

2. But so disabled, so weak, and undone, is fallen man, that he cannot so
much as apply this precious medicine even when it is freely offered: so
little health, so much weakness is there in him. Nay, we even, by nature,
strive against our cure, and reject the remedy which should help
us.—Wherefore, O Lord, unless thou shouldst draw me after thee (Cant.
1:4), and, as a faithful physician, administer to me what thou hast
ordered, the best prescriptions will avail me nothing. Take me, therefore,
entirely into thine own hands, and trust me not to myself. If I be left to
myself, the eternal ruin of my soul will be my lot. Therefore “turn thou
me, and I shall be turned: heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; for
thou art my praise.” Jer. 31:18; 17:14. As long as thou keepest back thy
mercy, and hidest thy face from my sorrow, I shall remain in a diseased
condition. Ps. 30:3. Whilst thou forbearest to quicken me, I am tied down
by the chains of death. Therefore I cry with David, “I am poor and needy;
make haste unto me, O God. Thou art my help, and my deliverer; O Lord,
make no tarrying.” Ps. 70:5.

3. O blessed Lord! shall not thy mercy be strong enough to raise a sick
soul from her languishing illness? a soul that is not able to raise
herself? Wilt thou not condescend to come to me, since it is not possible
that I should come to thee? Didst thou not love me, even before I had so
much as a thought of loving thee again? Thy mercy is so prevailing and so
strong, that it has even overcome thyself. Was it not mercy that nailed
thee to the cross, and gave thee up to death? What is so strong as to
encounter and conquer thee, if it be not the strength of thy own mercy?
What has might sufficient to apprehend thee, and to bind and conduct thee
to death, but thy love only, wherewith thou hast loved and quickened us,
when we were dead in trespasses and sins? Eph. 2:1. For thou wouldst
thyself undergo the pangs of death, rather than suffer us to be forever
bound over to death and eternal damnation!

4. Thy mercy, O Lord, has made thee all our own, and put a title to all
thy merits into our hands. When thou becamest a tender infant, it was
wholly for our sakes, unto whom thou art “born a child.” Isa. 9:6. When
thou wast made an offering for our sins, and when thou wast slain as an
innocent lamb on the cross, it was to give up thyself unto us, and freely
to impart unto us all things beside. O excellent gift of God! a good
wholly appropriated to us, even our own peculiar good and treasure!

(_a_) Behold! beloved Christian, the wisdom of God! God has by means of
this everlasting good made himself our own property, that he might thereby
in return make us _his own_. For having purchased us “with a price,” we
are no longer our own, but his who hath bought us. 1 Cor. 6:19, 20. For
whosoever receives so excellent a gift, receives also the Giver himself,
from whom it proceeds. And again, whosoever possesses any good as his own,
he makes it his own to all intents and purposes, and to the best advantage
he can. Thus, likewise, is CHRIST become thy own and proper GOOD. Thou
canst apply him in such a manner, as to obtain by him everlasting life and
salvation.

(_b_) CHRIST is become the true medicine of thy soul, to restore thee—thy
meat and thy drink, to refresh thee—thy fountain of life, to quench thy
thirst—thy light, in darkness—thy joy, in sadness—thine advocate, against
thy accusers—wisdom, against thy folly—righteousness, against thy
sin—sanctification, against thy unworthiness—redemption, against thy
bondage—the mercy-seat, against the judgment-seat—the throne of grace,
against thy condemnation—thy absolution, against thy fearful sentence—thy
peace and rest, against an evil conscience—thy victory, against all thine
enemies—thy champion, against all thy persecutors—the bridegroom of thy
soul, against all rivals—thy mediator, against the wrath of God—thy
propitiation, against all thy trespasses—thy strength, against thy
weakness—thy way, against thy wandering—thy truth, against lying and
vanity—thy life, against death. He is thy counsel, when thou hast none to
advise thee—thy power, in the midst of thine infirmities—thy Everlasting
Father, when thou art forsaken and fatherless—thy Prince of Peace, against
the adversary—thy ransom, against thy debt—thy crown of glory, against thy
reproach—thy teacher, against thy ignorance—thy Judge, against thy
oppressor—thy King, to destroy the kingdom of Satan—thine everlasting High
Priest, to intercede for thee.

5. (_a_) Consider now, O Christian, what an excellent gift the Lord JESUS
CHRIST is. Let it be thy daily prayer and supplication to make a true
saving use of all those heavenly benefits, and to improve all the
_offices_ of Christ to the end for which they are designed. If he be thy
Medicine (Matt. 9:12), fear not but thou shalt be healed: since he is thy
Bread (John 6:51), thy soul shall be filled. Is he to thee a Fountain of
Life (Isai. 12:3), then truly thou shalt thirst no more. Is he to thee a
Light (John 8:12), then thou shalt remain no longer in darkness. Is he thy
Joy (Luke 2:10), what then shall afflict thee? Is he the Advocate (1 John
2:1) that pleads thy cause, what adversary shall cast thee? Is he thy
Truth, who shall deceive thee? Is he thy Way, who shall make thee to err?
Is he thy Life (John 14:6), who shall slay thee? Is he thy Wisdom, who
shall seduce thee? Is he thy Righteousness, who shall condemn thee? Is he
thy Sanctification, who shall reject thee? Is he thy Redemption, who shall
imprison thee? 1 Cor. 1:30. Is he thy Peace (Eph. 2:14), who can disturb
thee? Is he thy Mercy-Seat (Rom. 3:25), who can arraign thee? Is he thy
Throne of Grace (Heb. 4:16), who can give sentence against thee? Is he thy
Discharge and Absolution (Colos. 2:14), who then dares impeach thee? Is he
the Champion and the Captain of thy Salvation (Heb. 2:10), who shall be
able to stand against thee? Is he thy Bridegroom (John 3:29), who then
shall snatch thee from him? Is he thy Ransom (1 Tim. 2:6), who will arrest
thee? Is he thy Crown of Glory (Heb. 2:7), who then shall reproach thee?
Is he thy Master (John 13:13), and Teacher, who then shall correct thee?
If he be thy Judge (2 Thess. 1:9), who shall oppress thee? If he be thy
Propitiation (1 John 2:2), who shall accuse thee? If he be thy Mediator (1
Tim. 2:5), who shall set God against thee? If he be thy Advocate (1 John
2:1), who shall prosecute thee? Is he thy Immanuel (Isai. 7:14), who shall
be against thee? Is he thy King (John 12:15), who shall expel thee out of
his kingdom? Is he thy High Priest (Heb. 7:25), who can refuse his
intercession and sacrifice? Is he thy Saviour (Matt. 1:21), who shall
destroy thee?

(_b_) How canst thou have a more excellent, a more valuable present? It is
a present of greater worth than thou thyself, than all mankind, and all
the world besides. It is a present that infinitely surpasses all the sins,
miseries, and calamities of the whole world. Christ hereby is all our own,
both as to his divine and his human nature. It was by sin we had forfeited
the richest of all treasures, the Sovereign Good, even God himself: and it
is by Christ, that all is made up again, and God himself given to us as
our property. And for this reason, Christ is called Immanuel (Isai. 7:14),
(which being interpreted is, _God with us_), that in him we might have
both a God and a Brother.

6. (_a_) Consider now, O Christian! what an immense, what an infinite good
thou hast in Christ thy Redeemer, and to what spiritual benefits thou art
entitled by him. If people were but better acquainted with the sources of
this heavenly comfort, then no cross, no affliction, would seem any longer
insupportable to them; because Christ would be all in all, and by his
presence alleviate the miseries of this life. Christ himself is ours not
only as a crucified Christ, but also as he is glorified, together with all
the majesty that resides in him. “All things are yours, whether Paul, or
Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or
things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.”
1 Cor. 3:21-23.

(_b_) Alas! poor, miserable, accursed, and condemned sinners, that we by
nature all are! How came we to be favored and honored with so high and
inestimable a gift? For thou, O Lord Jesus, art to us—Jehovah our
Righteousness—a Mediator between God and man—our everlasting Priest—the
Christ of God—a Lamb without spot—our propitiatory oblation—the fulfilment
of the law—the Desire of the patriarchs—the Inspirer of the prophets—the
Master of the apostles—the teacher of the evangelists—the light of the
confessors—the crown of the martyrs—the Praise of all the saints—the
resurrection of the dead—the first-born from the dead—the glory of the
blessed—the consolation of the mourners—the righteousness of sinners—the
hope of the afflicted—the refuge of the miserable—the entertainer of
strangers—the fellow-traveller of pilgrims—the way of them that were
mistaken—the help to them who were forsaken—the strength of the weak—the
health of the sick—the protector of the simple—the reward of the just—the
flaming fire of charity—the Author of faith—the anchor of hope—the flower
of humility—the rose of meekness—the root of all the virtues—the exemplar
of patience—the enkindler of devotion—the incense of prayer—the tree of
health—the fountain of blessedness—the bread of life—the Head of the
church—the bridegroom of the soul—the precious pearl—the rock of
salvation—the living stone—the heir of all things—the redemption of the
world—the triumphant Conqueror of Hell—the Prince of Peace—the mighty lion
of Judah—the father of the world to come—the guide to our heavenly
country—the sun of righteousness—the morning star—the inextinguishable
light of the celestial Jerusalem—the brightness of the everlasting
glory—the unspotted mirror—the splendor of the divine majesty—the image of
the paternal goodness—the treasure of wisdom—the abyss of eternity—the
beginning without beginning—the word upholding all things—the life
quickening all things—the light enlightening all things—the truth judging
all things—the counsel moderating all things—the rule directing all
things—the love sustaining all things—the whole comprehension of all that
is good.

(_c_) This is the great and infinite gift, which God has so freely
bestowed upon mortal men.




Chapter II.


The Manner In Which The Christian Should Apply And Appropriate To Himself
                  The Consolation Noticed In Chapter I.


    _The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was
    lost._—LUKE 19:10.


The _first_ or chief foundation on which the Christian depends, when he
derives consolation from the doctrines of the remission of sin, and of the
merit of Christ, consists in the _universal_ extent of the divine
_promises_; of which that mentioned above is not the least considerable.
For if Christ came to save those that are lost, who can possibly doubt,
that he will also seek and save _thee_, since thou art of the number of
the lost. It is also said, that God, “commandeth all men everywhere to
repent; because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the
world in righteousness.” Acts 17:30, 31. This argument is full of
consolation. As if the apostle had said, Christ will judge the world; and
_therefore_ God commandeth _all_ to repent, that all may escape the
dreadful sentence of eternal damnation. This is confirmed by St. Peter,
who tells us, that God “is not willing that any should perish, but that
all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. All which passages plainly
assert the universal grace of God, extending itself to _all_ men.

2. The _second_ foundation is the divine _oath_. In order that no room
might be left to doubts and scruples in this grand article, God has
confirmed the universal promise of grace with an _oath_. “As I live, saith
the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he
turn from his way and live: none of the sins that he hath committed, shall
be mentioned unto him.” Ezek. 33:11, 16. As if he had said, How can I
delight in the death of a sinner, who am Life itself? Let but the wicked
be converted, and he shall certainly live.—Behold! God desires sinners to
be converted! And dost thou doubt, that thou, who art a sinner, art by God
solicited to conversion? When the apostle explains this oath, he says,
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 1 Tim. 1:15. But if Christ
came into the world with an intent to save sinners, thou art undoubtedly
one of the number of those whom he came to save.

3. In order to show that the Lord will not retain the remembrance of sin,
he hath no less than three times engaged his word. First, by the prophet
Isaiah, “I, even I,” says he, “am he that blotteth out thy transgressions
for my own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isa. 43:25. Secondly, by
Jeremiah he hath thus expressed his mind: “This shall be the covenant: I
will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer.
31:33, 34. And, thirdly, by the prophet Ezekiel, “If the wicked,” says he,
“will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, he shall surely live,
he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they
shall not be mentioned unto him.” Ezek. 18:21, 22. This is the divine act
of oblivion, solemnly declared in favor of all returning sinners, without
exception.

4. Now the cause or reason why God promises that he will not remember sin
any more, is no other than the all-sufficient satisfaction and
reconciliation wrought by Christ. For whatever is entirely paid, yea, over
and above paid, should be altogether buried in an everlasting oblivion.
Now, God being once perfectly reconciled and satisfied by the most holy
and most complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ, he can no longer be angry,
nor perpetuate the remembrance of our transgressions.

5. The same oath is repeated in the prophet Isaiah, “Look unto me,” says
the Lord, “and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: I have sworn by
myself; the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not
return.” Isa. 45:22, 23. Which oath, the Epistle to the Hebrews explains
in this manner: “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the
heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie,
we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold
upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
both sure and steadfast.” Heb. 6:17-19. That is, God, by his counsel and
promise, having confirmed them with an oath, hath more than sufficiently
sealed and established his gracious will; that so none might be
discouraged.

6. The _third_ foundation is the eternal covenant of grace, which consists
in the pardon of sin: “This shall be the covenant: I will forgive their
iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer. 31:33, 34. And this
covenant or testament, because confirmed by the death of Christ, is
therefore everlasting. To the same purpose the Lord says by the prophet:
“Neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that
hath mercy on thee.” Isa. 54:10. And again, “I will make an everlasting
covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David” (i. e., Christ). Isa.
55:3. And Moses declares the same: “The Lord thy God is a merciful God: he
will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of
thy fathers which he sware unto them.” Deut. 4:31. And again we read: “He
will ever be mindful of his covenant.” Ps. 111:5. On which eternal
covenant, that we might the more firmly rely, he hath renewed and
established it with every one by Holy Baptism, which therefore is called
“The answer (or covenant) of a good conscience towards God.” 1 Peter 3:21.
For this end, Christ himself was baptized in Jordan, and thereby entered
with us into this covenant. Matt. 3:13.

7. The _fourth_ foundation is the death of Christ, by which the covenant
or testament of God was ratified. But if any ask, For whom did he die? St.
Paul answers, that “he died for ALL.” 2 Cor. 5:14, 15. And St. John says,
“He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2. So
John the Baptist said: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin
of the world.” John 1:29. This, the apostle explains in the following
comforting manner: “As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men
to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came
upon ALL men unto justification of life” (Rom. 5:18): where a comparison
is made betwixt Christ and Adam. As if he had said, “Since the offence of
Adam hath been so strong, as to make all men sinners; shall not the
righteousness of Christ be far more powerful to make them righteous? If
sin hath abounded, shall not grace much more abound?” The same apostle,
having occasion to show that the merit of Christ is universal, and extends
itself to all, thus reasons: “For there is one God, and one mediator
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for
all.” But if this be true, it also follows, “that God will have all men to
be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim. 2:4-6. On
all this Paul remarks, that God, by “Christ hath reconciled all things to
himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Col. 1:20.
And again: “God spared not his own SON, but delivered him up for us ALL.”
Rom. 8:32. In this number, reckon also thyself, because “God is no
respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34. Since, therefore, Christ died for
sinners, thou, who acknowledgest thyself to be one, must necessarily have
an interest in his death, and in all the benefits purchased by it.

8. The _fifth_ foundation is the universal call, grounded upon the
universal merit of Christ. The latter was exhibited for the sins of the
whole world, and it was proper that it should be preached to all
creatures. Matt. 9:13. Now since Christ declares: “I came not to call the
righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 16:15), it follows, that thou
also, because thou art a sinner, art called. But called to what? To
repentance. And why? That thou mayest obtain remission of sin, through
faith. “It behooved,” says the Lord, “that repentance and remission of
sins should be preached in the name of Christ among all nations.” Luke
24:46, 47. And the apostle affirms, that “the gospel was preached to every
creature which is under heaven.” Col. 1:23. But to what end did God cause
it to be preached? Surely for no other end than that thereby faith might
be kindled and established among men, according to that saying of the same
apostle: “How shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? and
how shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard?” Rom. 10:14.
Whenever, therefore, God calls us to repentance, far be it from us to
think that God calls us in vain, or without a real design to save us.
Surely God does not deceive us: but in this serious affair he seriously
calls upon us, that we may embrace his mercy, and accept the offer of
grace. Hence he is also angry with those who make light of his supper, and
disdain to come to his feast. Matt. 22:7. Whereas, to those who obey his
call, through faith, he hath given his promise, full of heavenly comfort
that “whosoever believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting
life.” John 3:16. Nay, he hath graciously promised to preserve the same
faith unto the end, even till the salvation of the soul, which is the end
of faith, be secured. Phil. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:9.

9. The _sixth_ foundation is the inward testimony of the divine Spirit in
us, who seeks after righteousness, and seals us unto the day of
redemption. Rom. 8:16; Eph. 4:30. This Spirit incessantly rouses and
awakens the conscience. He reproves without intermission, convinces of
sins, and sets them before thine eyes. He summons thee to repentance,
calls thee inwardly in thy heart, strives with thee, and leaves nothing
untried, in order to keep thee from every sin, and lead to thy conversion.
John 16:8. These things thou canst not conceal, though ever so desirous to
do it. This witness of Christ in thee, is never silent: and though thou
shouldst stop thine ears against him, yet shalt thou be compelled to hear
him _inwardly_. And if thou shouldst desire to reject his summons, yet
must thou feel the internal energy of his correction. All this is a
convincing, strong, and unquestionable proof, that “God would have thee to
be saved.”

10. The _seventh_ foundation consists of the examples of sinners, whom
God, upon their conversion, hath received into favor. Surely “there is
none righteous,” of himself, “no, not one.” Rom. 3:10, 23. Not only David,
Manasseh (2 Chron. 33:11-13), Peter, Paul, Mary Magdalene, and Zaccheus;
but “ALL of us are sinners, and come short of the glory of God.” There is
none innocent in his sight. Whatever favor God shows to one, the same he
offers to all the rest; since he “is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34.
We all are saved by grace, without any merit of our own, and all stand in
need of a gracious pardon of sin: for, “if thou, Lord, shouldest mark
iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” (Ps. 130:3), and if thou enterest
into judgment, “in thy sight shall no man living be justified.” Ps. 143:2.

11. The _eighth_ foundation is, that the merit of Christ is not only
sufficient, but even more than sufficient for the sins of all men, how
numerous, great and heinous soever they may be. Why then shouldst thou
exclude thyself, and refuse to share in the benefits of the ransom which
Christ paid? Is it not infinitely greater than the sins of the whole
world? For as thou art of the race of men, so thou canst apply to thyself
that word of the Lord, “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives,
but to save them” (Luke 9:56): and that of St. Paul, “God was in Christ,
reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Cor. 5:19): and again, that of St.
John, “He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world” (1 John
2:2); that is, for all the sins of every man in particular.

12. A _ninth_ foundation is this, that the merit of Christ is an
_infinite_ satisfaction, beyond all number, measure, and end; and it is so
on account of the exalted Person that suffered, who is both God and man.
Why shouldst thou then limit the extent, number, measure, and bounds of
merit so ample, and exclude thyself from it? So great, so high, and so
extensive are the power and efficacy of that merit, that it would still
prove a sufficient ransom if every man were guilty of the sins of the
whole world. Nay, if there were as many worlds drowned in sin, as there
are men that live on this earth, yet would the merit of Christ and his
righteousness be large enough to cover all their sins. Cast not therefore
away a mercy so universal, so full and every way abounding. This surely is
that “depth of the sea, into which God hath cast all our sins.” Mic. 7:19.
Hence the Psalmist says: “As the heaven is high above the earth, so great
is his mercy towards them that fear him. As far as the east is from the
west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Ps. 103:11, 12.
This is that “eternal redemption which is obtained for us.” Heb. 9:12. The
benefit of this complete redemption, is summed up by St. Paul: “It is God
that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died,” etc.
Rom. 8:33, 34.

13. The _tenth_ foundation is this, that the obedience of Christ is
perfect: because he fulfilled the will and law of his Father in all
things, thereby to give satisfaction for all the disobedience which all
the men in the world had committed against God’s law. For if the sin and
transgression of any one man were not expiated by him, then surely, his
obedience would not prove perfect, and the disobedience of Adam would be
more effectual to condemnation, than the obedience of Christ to
justification. This cannot be, since the apostle in plain terms affirms
the contrary, in Rom. 5:18. What reason is there then, that any one should
exclude himself from this perfect obedience, or be backward to assert his
own interest in it? Let us rather consider, that Christ for this very end
humbled himself, “and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
cross” (Phil. 2:8), “that he might redeem them that were under the law.”
Gal. 4:5. In the number of these, we all surely are comprised. For, as our
first parents aspired after and affected the majesty of God, so it
behooved Christ, the repairer of our breaches, by a most profound
humility, to atone for this heinous offence, and to be “made a curse for
us” (Gal. 3:13), in order that the blessing might come upon all, who were
cursed in Adam.

14. The _eleventh_ foundation is, that since the royal victory and triumph
of Christ surpass all the multitude, weight, and heinousness of sin,
together with all the power of death, hell, and Satan, what cause canst
thou assign, O sinner, why the same victorious Christ should not triumph
over _thy_ sin as well as over all the rest? What! canst thou believe that
_thy_ transgressions _alone_ are more powerful than Christ, the omnipotent
king? When he shall make all his enemies his footstool (Ps. 110:1), cannot
he subdue under him also thy sins? Dost thou think that _thy_ crimes only
shall prove too hard for him? God forbid, therefore, that thou shouldest
call in question thy interest in so universal a conquest, in so glorious a
triumph.

15. The _twelfth_ foundation is the everlasting priesthood of Christ. Ps.
110:4; Heb. 4:14. He freely grants pardon to all them that ask it; and
gives the Holy Spirit to those that earnestly pray for that gift. Nor will
he, or can he refuse to any what belongs to his office (Heb. 5:6; 7:17);
for he is the Saviour of the world, and the High Priest and Mediator
between God and man. 1 Tim. 2:5. If he refuse his office to any one that
implores it, he would verily cease to be a Mediator. But so far is he from
this, that he freely offers to sinners the benefit of his mediatorial
office. “Come unto me,” saith he, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden.”
Matt. 11:28. And again: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the
waters” (Isa. 55:1) of life. And does he not by his apostles and
messengers, seriously invite us to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20), and
at the same time offer us his help and assistance for that end? He seeks
the lost sheep (Ezek. 34:16), and receives into favor the Prodigal son as
soon as he returns. Luke 15:20. Take heed, therefore, O man, that thou
reject not the office of Christ the Mediator, and that thou deprive not
thyself of the benefit of a sacerdotal intercessor, every way full of
divine consolation and comfort.




Chapter III.


Our Righteousness Before God, Consists Solely In The Perfect Obedience And
 Merit Of Christ Jesus, And In The Remission Of Sin Apprehended By Faith.


    _As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the
    obedience of one shall many be made righteous._—ROM. 5:19.


As a skilful builder, when he is about to raise a lofty structure, takes
care to lay first a deep and solid foundation, so the merciful and
compassionate God, when he was to erect the high and everlasting palace of
our salvation and righteousness, thought fit to lay the foundation
thereof, in the depth of his mercy, upon the Person and office of his dear
Son Christ Jesus, as on the true rock of salvation. This is the promise
recorded by the prophet: “Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone,
a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation: he that
believeth shall not make haste.” Isa. 28:16. This stone was indicated by
Christ, when he declared to Peter, that “thereon he would build his
church;” a church so firmly and surely sustained, that “the very gates of
hell should not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18.

2. This was the rock and corner-stone, which was preached by the apostles
Peter and Paul. 1 Pet. 2:4; 2 Tim. 2:19. This is that marvellous
corner-stone celebrated by the Psalmist, and upon which the 118th Psalm is
grounded. Upon this foundation, God has been pleased to raise the whole
structure of our righteousness, faith, and eternal salvation. But as God,
our merciful Heavenly Father, has, on his side, placed the groundwork of
our salvation and righteousness in the unsearchable depth of his mercy and
everlasting love; nay, even in his beloved Son, and the paternal affection
of his own heart; so he wills that on our side also the same be laid in
the depth of our heart, and in the centre of our soul; in order that,
through the divine light and power of faith alone (and even faith is
solely the work of the Divine Spirit), the righteousness of Christ may be
apprehended, and without any respect of our own works, whether antecedent
or consequent, be freely imputed and appropriated to us. The reasons of
this way of proceeding are as follows.

3. In the _first_ place, that God by this means might cleanse and justify
a man from within, and in the inmost centre of his soul: for as man is
inwardly corrupted by Satan, and infected in all the interior powers of
his soul, so it is but fit that his cure should be wrought from within,
and that all the faculties of his soul should be restored to their former
integrity and soundness.

4. _Secondly_, that our righteousness proceeds from _faith_ only. This
faith is wrought by God himself, and it stands entirely in his _power_ (1
Cor. 2:5), being supported by it, and not by any human performance, or
hypocritical action of men. Of this latter sort was the righteousness of
the Pharisees (Matt. 5:20), who made indeed a show of outward
performances, but were little concerned about the reformation of the
heart, and the inward recesses of the mind.

5. _Thirdly_, that our heart, soul, and spirit, renouncing human power and
strength (upon which, through the temptation of the Devil, and the snares
of self-love, ambition, and pride, they too much rely), might wholly
depend upon _Christ alone_, and upon his precious merit and satisfaction.
For from him alone flow the gracious remission of all our sins, and the
whole train of graces consequent on it; Jesus Christ having abundantly
satisfied for the sins of the whole world, and reconciled the Father to
mankind.

6. _Fourthly_, that the righteousness of Christ, by faith, might be made
_our_ own. In order to the same end he also by his Word and Spirit begets
this faith in our hearts, that thereby we may become actually possessed of
this inestimable treasure. For this is the highest, the unspeakable, and
inconceivably great consolation, that our righteousness is not the
righteousness of a man, nor even of a saint or angel, but of Christ, and
of God himself; “It is God that justifieth.” Rom. 8:33. Therefore if the
whole world were overflowed with the sins of one man, yet would the
righteousness of Christ be still more extensive and overflowing. For
verily, he is “the Lord our Righteousness” (Jer. 33:16), and how can sin
be more powerful than the Lord Jehovah? Would it be an insufficient
satisfaction, thinkest thou, if instead of a penny which thou owest thy
creditor, thou shouldest return ten thousand pounds? But such a price,
nay, one infinitely greater, is paid with the blood of Christ, which
therefore is called by St. Paul, “God’s own blood.” Acts 20:28. So great
and immense is the righteousness of Christ, conferred on us by faith, that
thereby we are not only made _righteous_, but also _righteousness_ itself.
2 Cor. 5:21. For, as it is not enough that a defiled infant be washed from
its uncleanness, but it must also be wrapped up in clean apparel (Ezek.
6:10), so Christ not only cleanses us with his blood, but clothes us also
with the garment of salvation, and covers us with the robe of
righteousness (Isa. 61:10): which we have received from the hand of the
Lord. This garment is called by the prophet, priestly or holy apparel; by
David, “the beauty of holiness” (Ps. 29:2); by St. John, “fine linen clean
and white, which is the righteousness of saints” (Rev. 19:8); by the
prophet Amos, “rivers of righteousness” (Amos 5:24); by St. Paul,
“superabounding grace” (Rom. 5:20); and “exceeding riches of grace.” Eph.
2:7. All these expressions set forth that the righteousness bestowed on a
penitent soul, is as great as God himself, and therefore beyond all human
comprehension. Though in the state of innocency, our first parents had a
complete righteousness in its kind, yet was it not so full and exuberant
as that which we have obtained in Christ: for this righteousness and
holiness, which we apply to ourselves by faith, is far more excellent than
that which Adam would have left us, had he continued in his original
innocency. So, too, the humility and obedience of Christ, as it was more
perfect, so it was more acceptable to God, than the obedience and
innocency of Adam; nay, a thousand such persons as Adam, could not have
come up to the perfection of Christ alone. Adam would have transmitted to
us indeed an hereditary righteousness, and thereby united us with God; yet
it cannot be denied, that our union, established with God in Christ, is
much more noble and excellent than that which we should have derived from
Adam: for Christ being made man, has in himself so cleansed and exalted
human nature, that the primitive state of Adam is not at all to be
compared with it. And as Christ retains his human nature to all eternity;
so all believers continue in the same united to God; because Christ is
wholly ours, and we are wholly his. Whatever purity the human nature hath
obtained in general in His Person, is also transferred to the nature of
each believer in particular. This will appear in the glorification of our
bodies at the last day, when “they shall be fashioned like unto the
glorious body of Christ.” Phil. 3:21. Nay, even in this life, it is said
in faith: “Behold, thou art fair, my love” (Cant. 1:15); “glorious, not
having spot or wrinkle” (Eph. 5:27): “the king’s daughter is all glorious
within, her clothing is of wrought gold.” Ps. 45:13. In a word, our
righteousness in Christ is no less immense than God himself; and if his
depth may be found out, so will our righteousness. Whence all creatures,
finding nothing that can be reproved in man, must stand as it were
astonished, and cry out with admiration: “Who is he that shall accuse or
condemn man, whose righteousness is the Son of God himself?” And this is
that righteousness of faith on which we rest, as on an eternal rock, and
which is a foundation that cannot be shaken. Of this we glory, in this we
rejoice in time and in eternity. By this we are conquerors, and triumph
over sin, death, the devil, and hell. By this we tread upon the lion and
adder, and trample under foot the young lion and the dragon. Ps. 91:13.

7. _Fifthly_, an angel (who never died for us) cannot be the foundation of
our righteousness, much less any _man_. The righteousness of man is but
weak and inconstant; and if he should fall, “all his righteousness that he
hath done shall not be mentioned” (Ezek. 18:24; 33:13), and therefore
whatever is built thereon falls soon to the ground and comes to nothing.
For this reason, our righteousness must have another foundation; a
foundation, namely, which is firm and constant, and not liable to be
shattered to pieces, though the “mountains should depart, and the hills be
removed.” Isa. 54:10. “An everlasting righteousness must be brought in”
(Dan. 9:24), so that “the salvation of the Lord may be forever, and his
righteousness be not abolished.” Isa. 51:6. A most excellent, eternal, and
sovereign Person, must procure an eternal and infinite good, by an immense
and infinite satisfaction offered for us.

8. The _sixth_ cause why God will have our righteousness to be apprehended
by faith, is found in his truth and promise, on which our faith entirely
rests, and by which God declared and promised righteousness to Abraham,
and to all his faithful seed. Whence St. Paul argues, that “our
righteousness must be of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end that
the promise might be sure.” Rom. 4: 16. Upon this promise of grace,
fulfilled in Christ, has God established our righteousness and salvation,
as the same apostle in another place more fully asserts: “Even as
Abraham,” says he, “believed God, and it was accounted to him for
righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same
are the children of Abraham.” And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would
justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto
Abraham: saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed (Gen. 12:3). “So
then they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham.” Gal.
3:6-9. And thus “grace and truth are come by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17.

9. _Seventhly_, God has made his grace, and the merit of Christ, the
foundation of our righteousness, that Christ alone may have the honor of
it. Isa. 45:22-24; 53:11. “In him alone is our help.” Hos. 13:9. He is the
beginning, middle, and end of our righteousness and salvation, so that
“every mouth may be stopped.” Rom. 3:19. For we are “saved by grace
through faith; not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph. 2:8, 9. But
if our righteousness were founded on our own works and merits, there would
then be no room for grace, nor should we have occasion for mercy or pardon
of sin, “for which every one that is godly doth pray.” Ps. 32:6. Moreover,
there would be no place for humility, nor for the fear of God; neither
would faith and prayer turn to any great account; yea, we should have no
need of a Mediator, Redeemer, and Saviour. Christ would have then died in
vain; and we should be obliged, both by an external and an internal
obedience, perfectly to fulfil the whole law. We should remain under the
curse, have fallen from grace, and have lost Christ; as St. Paul expressly
testifies in Gal. 5:3, 4. So that the doctrine of justification by
_works_, in the sight of God, is altogether inconsistent with the whole
Scripture, both of the Old Testament and the New, and with our holy
Christian faith.

10. In short, our salvation and righteousness are founded entirely upon
the eternal grace of God, and the eternal Person and office of Christ; and
in Christ alone we are made righteous, holy, alive, blessed, sons and
heirs of God. The righteousness of Christ is ours, his goodness ours, his
holiness ours; his life ours, his happiness ours, and lastly, the sonship
and inheritance of Christ are ours; and so the WHOLE Christ, both
according to his divine and his human nature, is ours; (for God gives us
the WHOLE CHRIST for a Saviour, that he with his Person, office, grace,
glory, and blessedness, may be wholly appropriated to us). That all this
is our own, is our highest consolation, glory, praise, honor, love, joy,
and peace before God and all the angels and elect; it is our sublimest
wisdom, strength, might, victory, and triumph over sin and death, the
devil and hell, the world and all our enemies. For which God be praised to
all eternity! Amen.




Chapter IV.


 Showing That Saving Faith In The True Christian Produces Manifold Fruits
Of Righteousness, And That These Must Proceed From The Depth Of The Heart;
Also, That The Character Of Our Outward Works, Depends, In The Judgment Of
                    God, Upon The State Of The Heart.


    _And this I pray, that ye may be sincere and without offence till
    the day of Christ: being filled with the fruits of righteousness,
    which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of
    God._—PHIL. 1:9-11.


The true Christian is not only justified by faith in Christ, but is also
made a temple and habitation of Christ and of the Holy Spirit. To this end
the good Spirit of God purifies his heart by faith: and it is fit that
Christ should live in his temple, together with his love, humility and
meekness. 1 Cor. 6:19; Eph. 3:17; Acts 15:9. To this end also thy Redeemer
has bestowed upon thee his Holy Spirit, that he might create in thee a new
heart, and endue thee with so cheerful and ready a mind, as to do the will
of God freely, without any unwillingness or compulsion. Jer. 31:32, 33;
Heb. 10:16. This new and holy obedience proceeds not from the law, or any
legal commandment; but from a lively faith. Hence, “the law is not made
for a righteous man” (1 Tim. 1:9), to _compel_ him to do good; though it
is in other respects an excellent rule by which to regulate a Christian’s
life and manners. For a true and living faith does everything freely and
of its own accord: it renews the man, it purifies the heart, it produces
fervent love to our neighbor, it hopes and considers such things as are
not yet seen. Faith prays, praises, fears, and confesses God. It is also
patient, humble, merciful, loving, meek, easy to be reconciled,
compassionate, and peaceful. Faith readily forgives offences; hungers and
thirsts after righteousness; embraces God with all his grace, and Christ
with all his merit; and obtains a complete remission of all sins. Now if
any one does not perceive in his heart these fruits of the Spirit, and the
indwelling of Christ by faith, let him humbly entreat the Lord, and that
with tears and groans, that he may obtain them. I would not be understood,
however, as saying that a Christian in this life could attain to perfect
and absolute holiness; for even the greatest saints are still sensible of
their infirmities; of which the book of Psalms and the Lord’s Prayer fully
convince us. God therefore requires that our righteousness, by which we
are to please him, should be entirely apprehended by faith; and lest we
should act the hypocrite he wills that his righteousness should be stamped
on our very heart, and on the inmost centre of our souls; and likewise
that all the fruits of faith and righteousness should proceed from a
living and sound principle seated within the mind. According to this
inward and leading principle, God judges all our works, whether they be
true and genuine, or false and hypocritical.

2. Here again, we do not assert that perfection can be found in this
present world, but only require that a Christian should walk in newness of
life, and approve himself by such works as are cleared from guile and
hypocrisy. For it is by no means possible that the fruits of the Spirit
enumerated by St. Paul, in Gal. 5:22, 23, should not be found in that man
in whom the Spirit of God himself dwells (Gal. 5:22); or that a good tree
should not be known by its fruits, though they may not be altogether so
perfect and angelic as could be wished, but be stained and often obscured
by various frailties and imperfections. Nevertheless, all hypocrisy and
insincerity, are utterly to be banished from a regenerate state; nor are
the fruits of a Christian to proceed from an empty profession, or a
lifeless appearance of things, but possess truth and reality. I do not
deny, on the one hand, that the Christian Church may be fitly compared to
a hospital crowded with all manner of sick; or to a house inhabited by
sinners as well as by saints. I believe also that many, like feeble
children, have not yet attained to the ability of walking alone; but that
they gradually learn to walk steadily. Hence it is necessary to “bear one
another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2), and never rashly to judge or condemn those
who by reason of their weakness halt behind. Rom. 14:1. We ought rather to
restore in the spirit of meekness those that stumble, and with great
tenderness to rectify what is amiss in them. Thus we learn to read our own
imperfections in the infirmities of our brother. But on the other hand,
Christians ought to labor to make continual advances in the spiritual
life. They ought not to continue always in a state of infancy and
weakness, how difficult soever it be to conquer the carnal mind that
obstructs our growth. They ought to be fervent in the practice of
“charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith
unfeigned” (1 Tim. 1:5); and bear this in perpetual remembrance, that all
outward performances are valued by God according to the inward disposition
of the heart. If the heart be good, thou mayest then be assured, that
whatever thou doest is also good before God: but if the heart be evil,
corrupt, and envious, then all thy works are evil and hateful. Such as
thou art inwardly, and in thy heart, such art thou accounted to be before
God; and such are thy prayers, thy public worship, thy giving of alms, thy
receiving the Sacrament, and all thy other performances.

3. Whosoever therefore is willing to try his own faith and inward
condition, should set before his eyes the Ten Commandments (as by Christ
himself interpreted) (Matt. 5 and 6), and learn to judge of his actions by
his heart. By such an impartial trial, he will clearly perceive whether
what he does be acceptable or unacceptable to God, and whether he bring
forth the genuine fruits of that inward righteousness which is by faith.
Phil. 1:11. For example, thou considerest that thou dost not defile
thyself with any external idolatry. Now, in keeping from idols thou doest
surely well; but I would have thee farther inquire, whether thou also
abhorrest all manner of _internal_ idolatry? Or whether thou hast set up
an inward idol in some secret corner of the heart, to which thou payest
thy vows? Ezek. 14:3, 4. Examine thyself whether thou art _within_, what
thou professest to be _without_? See whether thy heart be not set upon the
world, upon avarice, and pride? If so, then thou art assuredly guilty of
most dangerous idolatry; for the creature has engrossed those noble
affections which should be entirely surrendered to the Creator, and
dedicated to him alone. Thou assurest us that thou art punctual in saying
thy prayers, and in praising God; and that thou dost not neglect to offer
up thy thanks for benefits received at his hands; but didst thou ever
consider, whether thou cursest in thy heart, whilst thou prayest with thy
lips? Whether thou contradictest by thy actions what thou expressest in
thy words? If so, thy prayer will prove but a worthless performance, and
all thy thanks and praises will be trifling and vain. Thou tellest us how
strictly thou keepest the sabbath-day. In this truly thou doest well; but
look on the inward frame of thy soul. Dost thou celebrate the true sabbath
in thy heart? Dost thou rest from evil thoughts and wicked desires? Is thy
heart devoted to God, and freed from noise and clamor, that God himself
may work in it? Thou attendest divine service at church; it is well done;
but see that thou carry not with thee to church the canker-worm of pride
and vanity. This would convert thy service into mere formality, and all
thy performances into an empty show. Thou yieldest external obedience to
God and to thy superiors; but does that which passes within thy soul agree
with this exterior conduct? Is everything done with an upright and willing
mind? Dost thou act from a principle of love, or of fear only? If it be
fear that constrains thee to an external compliance, then know assuredly
that thy obedience is no more than hypocrisy. Thou defilest not thy hands
with blood and slaughter, and thinkest thyself free from the crime of
murder. But take a view of thy heart: for when the heart burns with wrath
and anger, and when this, as a flame, flashes out upon thy face; when thy
inward wrath breaks out into reproaches and curses, saying to thy brother,
_Raca_, and _Thou fool_; then surely thou art become guilty of the
judgment, of the council, and of everlasting fire. Matt. 5:22. What
therefore will it avail thee that thy hand is unpolluted with blood,
whilst thy heart accuses thee of hatred and murder? 1 John 3:15. For
within, in the heart, the murderer, the adulterer, the thief, and the
liar, are harbored. Here it is that thou must look for the beast, the evil
lust, and the root of all malice and mischief: which, if it be not
destroyed by serious repentance, by true contrition and conversion, by
faith and the blood of Christ, it is impossible that thou shouldest do so
much as one work acceptable to God; who judges of all thy actions by the
inward temper and disposition of the heart.

4. Of this Christ himself gives us an example from the commandment “Thou
shalt not kill,” saying, “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.”
Matt. 5:21-26. That is, it will not at all avail thee to pray, to
sacrifice, to worship God, and to take the Sacrament; yea, all thy actions
will be converted into so many sins, because God regards the heart only,
and not the outward performance. Hence St. Paul commands us to “lift up
holy hands without wrath and doubting.” 1 Tim. 2:8. And St. Peter enjoins
married persons to beware of anger, and to dwell together in love and
harmony, as heirs together of the grace of life, “that their prayers be
not hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7. Nay, the Lord Jesus himself strongly exhorts
us to brotherly reconciliation, by the three following arguments. Matt.
5:25, 26.

(_a_) The first is, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in
the way with him;” that is, whilst thou art on this side of eternity: for
our life indeed is nothing else but a perpetual motion towards death and
the grave. If in this life thou art not freed from the bonds of wrath,
thou shalt remain a captive to them, yea, to the devil himself, throughout
all eternity.

(_b_) The second argument is, “lest at any time the adversary deliver thee
to the judge.” It is an awful thing to be summoned to the tribunal of God,
and before so tremendous a judgment-seat, to plead our cause against an
accusing adversary. Whereas, whatever is pardoned, settled, and forgiven
in this life, the same will also be forgiven and eternally pardoned in the
next. Whence we may gather how much God regards the love of our neighbor,
since he will have it by no means separated from the love of himself; and
therefore refuses to admit of our love to him, unless it be linked to that
of our neighbor. And why? Because God is Love itself, and loveth man as
his own soul.

(_c_) The third argument is, “lest thou be cast into prison, whence thou
canst not come out till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” It is
agreeable to the divine justice, so to deal with us there, as we have
dealt with our neighbor here; and “with that measure we have meted withal,
to measure to us again.” Luke 6:38. Wherefore if thou refusest to forgive
any brother his faults, the judgment of God is this: That in like manner
no sin shall be remitted to thee. This will prove a burden heavy indeed.
For the man that dies in this bitter, irreconcilable temper, must, in
hell, continue a debtor to all eternity, and this without any hope or
prospect of ever lessening the debts which he has here contracted.

5. Thus the Son of God, has by this example, taught us that we must judge
of the worth of our outward works, nay, of all our religion, by the inward
disposition or principle that sways the heart. But perhaps thou still
continuest to flatter thyself, and to say, “I am baptized into Christ; I
have the pure word of God; I hear it; I receive the sacrament of the
Lord’s Supper; I also believe and confess all the articles of the
Christian faith: wherefore it cannot be, but that my life and actions must
be pleasing to God; I am a Christian in truth, and in the right way to be
saved.” This, alas! is the general, but false reasoning of many in these
days, who regard their outward performances as constituting true
righteousness. It might do well enough, if the heart did but agree with
their profession: for without this, all is mere trifling, and a dead,
hypocritical show. Look therefore into this, and learn to judge of thyself
by the inward frame of thy soul. Thou boastest indeed, that thou art a
Christian; and an excellent name it is; but dost thou consider, whether
thy heart and thy actions agree with a name so sacred? Hast thou received
the unction from above, and art thou possessed of the fruits of the
Spirit, that demonstrate a Christian? 1 John 2:27. If these be wanting,
thou wilt prove in the end but a false and spurious Christian. Thou
assertest, further, that thou art baptized; and so indeed thou art! But
search the state of thy heart, and inquire whether thou livest in the new
birth, in daily repentance, and an unwearied mortification of the old man.
See whether thou bringest forth fruit answerable to the baptismal
covenant, in which thou art engaged? Thou sayest that thou hast the
oracles of God committed to thee, and that thou hearest and readest them:
but inspect thy heart, and consider whether the Word be converted into thy
life and spirit, as bodily food passes into thy flesh and blood? Whether
thou hast lived up to its direction, and expressed the effect of it in thy
conduct? If thou contentest thyself with the bare _hearing_ thereof, thou
must know that this will never yield eternal salvation, and that thou
deceivest thyself in a matter of infinite importance. For this reason has
the Lord compared the kingdom of Heaven to leaven, which gradually spreads
itself through the whole lump, and converts every part into its own
nature; thereby to set forth that powerful influence which the Word ought
to have upon our will and affections. Truly, “not every one that saith,
Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the
will of the Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 7:21. Thou thinkest that
thou dost a service when with zeal thou defendest the purity of the
doctrine: and truly therein thou doest well. Nevertheless, I would have
thee inquire, whether by the purity of the doctrine, and thy defence of
it, thou hast also attained a true purity of the _heart_. Do we not find
many rigid defenders of the pure doctrine, who in their lives are the most
unclean of men, full of pride, bitterness, and covetousness? Alas, the
name of God itself, is made a common shelter for all manner of vices,
which screen themselves under the same, with impunity. Thou affirmest that
thou often receivest the Lord’s Supper. This is right; but search thine
own heart. Thou hast often received the flesh and blood of Christ in this
Sacrament: why then do the flesh and blood of Adam live and reign in thee?
Should not the life of Christ shine forth in thy whole conduct? Should not
his love, his humility, and meekness, diffuse themselves through all thy
manners? Where is the advantage, if thou receivest Christ in the
Sacrament, and deniest him in thy life and actions? Thou sayest, that thou
believest and confessest all the articles of the Christian faith. It is
well! but have recourse to the touchstone of the _heart_. That is only a
true faith, which unites man with God, and God with man; by which God
dwells, lives, and operates in man. If these effects be wanting in thee,
thy faith is false, and so far from uniting thee with God, it sets thee at
a greater distance from him. This, however, is not to be understood of the
faith of weak and feeble Christians, which is often so clouded, as to
render it hard to perceive its life and motion. For even a weak _faith_,
though it be like smoking flax, has in it the properties of a strong
faith, though it cannot exert itself with equal strength and energy. It
heartily cleaves to God, and brings forth fruit amidst all those
infirmities with which it struggles. But I would have it understood of
faith in general, and of the trial and fruits of it, that, if thou
believest in Christ, then Christ must certainly live in thee by faith, or
thine will prove but an empty, naked profession. If thou believest that
Christ suffered death for thy sins, thou must also die with him to the
same (Gal. 2:20), and renounce the world, with all its pride and avarice.
Rom. 6:2. If this effect do not follow, then truly thou believest not in
Christ. If thou believest that Christ was crucified for the sins of the
world, _thou_ must with him be crucified to the same. If thou refusest to
comply with this, thou canst not be a living member of Christ, nor be
united with him by faith. If thou believest that Christ is risen from the
dead, it is thy duty to rise spiritually with him, and firmly adhere to
him, thy Head and Saviour. In a word, the birth, cross, passion, death,
resurrection, and ascension of Christ, must, after a spiritual manner, be
transacted in thee. And this is the blessed effect of faith, and the
influence it has on believing souls. Wherever this effect is wanting,
there is nothing but a lifeless image of faith, with which men miserably
deceive themselves. So if thou believest in the Holy Spirit, the same
Spirit in whom thou believest, must of necessity dwell and reign in thy
heart, and enlighten and sanctify it. For, “as many as are led by the
Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Rom. 8:14.

6. Therefore, dear Christian! let not your religion be confined to bare
externals, but see that it proceed from the more inward recesses of a
heart endued with a true, living, and active faith, and with an unfeigned,
inward, and daily repentance. If you put away from you this inward life,
this faith, and this repentance, you strip your religion of all essential
goodness, and, instead of a living principle, which ought to be
established in the mind, you carry about an empty, insignificant name,
which will avail you nothing in that day, wherein God will judge all
things according to the inward frame of the heart. But if you are truly
affected with a sense of your inward wants and impurities, then flee
without delay to the healing fountain of grace! Draw and drink, pray and
knock, seek and cry, “Lord, have mercy upon me!” Then your heart shall be
cured, your sin covered, and your transgression cancelled.




Chapter V.


  Showing That The Evidence Of True Christianity Does Not Consist In The
 Knowledge And The Hearing Of God’s Word, But That He Is A Christian, In
 Whose Life God’s Word Is Manifested, And Who Beseeches God In Sincerity
That This Word, As A Divine Seed, May Be Quickened In Him, And Bear Fruit.


    _The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every
    one that believeth._—ROM. 1:16.


The way by which we are to arrive at true and substantial wisdom, and
become friends of God, is to submit ourselves to the discipline of
repentance, and to lead a life conformable to the Word of God. Such a life
as this cannot fail to be attended with true illumination of the mind, and
an increase of all divine graces; nay, with so close an alliance with God
himself, as to make us “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the
corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4. An example of
this we have in Enoch, who having “walked with God, was not, for God took
him” to himself. Gen. 5:24. To such a holy life as this David aspired with
the utmost fervor of spirit, proposing two means by which to obtain it:
the first, _fervent prayer_; and the second, _a diligent practice of the
word of God_. “I cried,” says he, “with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord: I
will keep thy statutes. I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy
testimonies.” Ps. 119:145, 146.

2. These words set forth the difficulties which he encounters who seeks to
be a true Christian, and to keep the word of God in holiness of life. For
flesh and blood naturally strive against the word of God, and that
holiness of life which it requires: and are, besides, inconstant and weak,
and prone to yield to the enticements of the world. The devil on all
occasions hinders our progress, and opposes our endeavors on every side.
This is followed by a multitude of evil examples, and the persecutions
which wicked men raise in opposition to those souls that enter upon
another course of life. Against obstinate evils, such as these, all the
strength of the soul is to be opposed. This we learn from the example of
David, who cried unto the Lord _with his whole heart_, in order that he
might better digest the Word, and by leading such a life as that Word
requires, continue in the favor of God. This ought also to be our main
concern; the favor of God being infinitely preferable to all that the
world affords. Whoever pleases God, and is His friend, most effectually
secures himself thereby from the malice of all his enemies. Hence _serious
and fervent prayer_ is, as I said before, the first step to a holy life.
The second means to obtain a holy life, is expressed in the following
words of the same Psalm: “I prevented the dawning of the morning, and
cried: I hoped in thy word. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I
might meditate in thy word.” Ps. 119:147, 148. Here the Psalmist declares
the earnest study, love, and affection, which are due to the word of God;
as also the time best suited for meditating in it, namely, the morning.
The faculties of the mind are then more strong and vigorous than at other
times; and are best disposed for searching into divine subjects. The truth
of this is at that season most feelingly perceived, when the soul,
afflicted by sadness and deep spiritual temptations, “watches for the
morning” (Ps. 130:6), and with “waking eyes” (Ps. 77:4), expects help from
the Lord. She is then “as a sparrow alone upon the house top,” as a lonely
owl in the desert (Ps. 102:6, 7); and “so weary with groaning” (Ps. 6:6),
as to be almost ready to expire.

3. This is that exercise of the cross, or school of affliction, in which
all saints are most effectually trained for a happy eternity. Whoever is
not inured to this sort of trials, can know but little of God and of his
word. In this exercise, all the natural powers of soul and life consume
away, that God alone may become our strength and support. By such inward
trials as these, the carnal life is likewise more and more weakened, and
the quickening power of God and of his word, perceived with the greater
effect and experience. And truly, all our efforts ought to centre in this,
that the external hearing and reading of the divine word be practically
applied to the mind, and improved into Christian experience.

4. This doctrine, therefore, I would have firmly rooted in thy mind,
namely, that not the reading or hearing, but the doing and practising of
the word, demonstrates the true Christian. James 1:22. Without this
practical improvement, hearing and reading will be of no great advantage.
For the word was not committed to us, that it might be read and known
only, but that it might be reduced to practice. As a medicine gives no
relief to the patient who hears of, or looks upon it, but at the same time
refuses to take it; so the word, though a remedy for our diseased nature,
can yet cure no man, or restore him from death to life, whilst he refuses
to take what the word prescribes. Therefore, in order to this, fervent and
constant prayer (according to the example set us by David), will be
requisite in order to enable us to conform our life and actions to the
divine word. What advantage is it to an artist that he knows an art, if he
never practises it? Will not his supine and careless neglect reduce him at
length to poverty? And what will it avail us to _know_ the word of God,
and not _do_ it? “That servant,” says our Saviour, “which knew his lord’s
will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall
be beaten with many stripes.” Luke 12:47. And St. Peter affirms, that “it
had been better for such not to have known the way of righteousness, than,
after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto
them.” 2 Peter 2:21. As a father does not own him for a son, who in
everything acts in a manner contrary to his will, so not words, but the
life and actions, are marks and indications of a child of God, according
to that saying of our Saviour: “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do
the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me,—this did not Abraham.—Ye
are of your father the devil.” John 8:39, 40, 44. Why should a barren and
fruitless tree take up any room in the garden, when it only incumbers the
ground on which it grows? It is surely fit for nothing, but to be cast
into the fire, as is represented in the parable of the barren fig-tree.
Luke 13:6, 7. As it would be foolish to give to a raven the name of a
swan, to which it has no resemblance; so if the men of this world should
be called by the name of true Christians, whilst so little of a Christian
temper appears in their life and manners, I think it would be justly
counted egregious folly. It is not by words, but by deeds and actions,
that we are to judge of a Christian’s state, according to that saying of
St. Paul: “The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” 1 Cor. 4:20.
Such is the condition of most men at this day, that those who make the
strongest pretences to the Christian name, do nothing but that which is
contrary to the Christian spirit. They are like the people at Rome,
concerning whom Laurentius Valla exclaimed when reading these words of our
Lord, “Blessed are the merciful, blessed are the peacemakers,” etc. (Matt.
5:7-9), “_Surely either these words are not true, or we are no
Christians._” Man is corrupted to such a degree, that even not a few brute
creatures visibly surpass him in some good quality. The dove excels him in
harmlessness (Matt. 10:16); the ant in industry (Prov. 6:6); the stork in
a careful provision for her young; the dog in love and fidelity; the ox
and the ass in knowledge of their master (Isa. 1:3); the sheep in meekness
(Isa. 53:7); the lion in generosity and clemency towards weak animals; the
cock in watchfulness; and the serpent in wisdom. On the contrary, man in
his natural state exceeds all the beasts in mischief. He is more fierce
than a wolf; more crafty than a fox; more vain than a peacock; more
voracious than a swine; more pestilent than a viper; fiercer than a bear.
Indeed, the Lord Jesus himself terms Herod a _fox_ (Luke 13:32); John the
Baptist applies the name of _vipers_ to the Pharisees (Matt. 3:7); and St.
Paul that of _lion_ to Nero. 2 Tim. 4:17. Truly, those vices and
mischiefs, which go single and unaccompanied in brutes, are oftentimes
crowded together in one natural man. So that the human body is very
significantly called by the apostle, “the body of sin” (Rom. 6:6), as
being full of sins, and infected with all manner of defilements. Not to
mention, that there is no creature so bad and pernicious, but that it may
be still of some use to men. The foxes and wolves, for instance, with
their skins, secure men from the injuries of a rigorous season. But, alas!
what good is there to be found in a man abandoned to the conduct of an
unregenerate nature? “Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is
only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5; 8:21); as is more than once expressed in
Scripture. He exercises his reason to practise fraud; he wastes his body
with pride and lewdness; and is both inwardly and outwardly corrupted, so
that all his members are justly called the “instruments” or weapons “of
unrighteousness.” Rom. 6:13. Hence it is, that the Sacred Scriptures
represent our nature in colors so dark and odious, as may strike terror
into every man that reads them. “There is none righteous, no, not one:
there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable;
there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open
sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is
under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their
feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways;
and the way of peace have they not known; there is no fear of God before
their eyes.” Rom. 3:10-18; Ps. 14.

5. Behold here the deplorable image of the natural man! Behold the
abomination that is common to us all! And now tell me how a man can see
the kingdom of God, unless he be born again from above, or, as St. Paul
expresses it, “unless he be renewed in the spirit of his mind: putting on
the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true
holiness?” Eph. 4:23; Col. 3:10. And the same apostle says, “But ye have
not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been
taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus.” Eph. 4:20, 21. Yea, he says,
“They that are Christ’s, have crucified the flesh with the affections and
lusts.” Gal. 5:24. Alas! if those belong not to Christ, who do not mortify
the members of unrighteousness, but live in the pollutions of sin, then
they surely must belong to the devil, and cannot inherit the kingdom of
heaven, since they do not crucify the flesh. For whosoever desires to
please God, must become “a new creature” in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17); “in whom
neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new
creature.” Gal. 6:15. Now, since these are the terms on which our eternal
welfare depends, let it be our main concern, that we more and more
vanquish sin in our mortal bodies, and that we be members, not of Satan,
but of Jesus Christ. Let us earnestly endeavor, that the divine Word may
gain ground, and bear fruit in our souls. Let us strive to render our
lives acceptable to God, so that, being preserved by his grace to the end,
we may continue “vessels of mercy, and not of wrath.” Rom. 9:22, 23.

6. It is for this reason that David so heartily wishes to lead a holy
life, conformably to the word of God: “I cried,” says he, “with my whole
heart; hear me, O Lord; I will keep thy statutes” (Ps. 119:145): for since
our conversion is entirely from above, it follows, that a holy life must
be obtained by continual prayer and supplication. “Heal me, O Lord,” says
the prophet, “and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for
thou art my praise.” Jer. 17:14; 31:18. And David says again, “I cried
unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.” Ps. 119:146. Sin
and the kingdom of Satan are, indeed, so strong and powerful in man, that
it is in vain to attempt their conquest without the divine aid and
assistance.

7. Let us therefore shake off all sloth and negligence, and let us acquit
ourselves diligently, in a matter of so great importance. David himself
further adds, “I prevented (_that is_, I came before) the dawning of the
morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. Mine eyes prevent (_or_,
anticipate) the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.” Ps.
119:147, 148. And very appropriate are the words of the prophet on this
account: “He wakeneth me morning by morning: he wakeneth mine ear to hear
as the learned.” Isa. 50:4. With which those of Solomon agree: “I sleep,
but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh.” Song
5:2.

8. In these and the like sentences of Scripture, we may view the fatherly
care, and condescending love of our merciful God; since his delight is to
be conversant with the sons of men, to speak with them and to instruct
them. Hence he appointed his Son to be our heavenly Teacher and Master; of
which the Lord Jesus himself gave a visible image when he was found in the
temple in the midst of the doctors, and astonished the hearers with “his
understanding and answers.” Luke 2:47. This was done by our Saviour, not
merely on account of the Jewish temple, which is now destroyed; but rather
on account of the Christian Church itself, which is the true and heavenly
Jerusalem, taught and instructed by his Word and Spirit. It was also done
with reference to the temple of our heart, in which he will teach,
comfort, enlighten, and sanctify us. Here he will pray, ask questions, and
answer them; and speak in holy thoughts, and devout meditations. And in
this the prophetical office of Christ consists. Hence also he replied to
his mother in these words: “How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that
I must be about my father’s business?” (Luke 2:49), meaning that office
which was conferred upon him by his Father. This office he now performs at
the right hand of God, as our true and only High priest; and upon earth he
discharges it by his _word_; by means of which he also inwardly preaches
in our hearts by his Holy Spirit and gracious illumination. Without this,
the outward preaching must prove barren and unfruitful, according to the
words of the apostle: “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the
increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that
watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” 1 Cor. 3:6, 7.




Chapter VI.


The Perfection And Salvation Of Men Depend On Union With Christ By Faith;
  But To This They Can Contribute Nothing, Whereas They Rather Interfere
 With The Grace Of God By Their Perverse Will; But Christ, And He Alone,
                       Accomplishes The Work In Us.


    _Without me ye can do nothing._—JOHN 15:5.


As man by his apostasy from God, through ambition and self-love, was
separated from him, and fell from the perfection in which he was created,
so he must of necessity return to his original tranquillity and happiness,
by a _union_ with God; in which the whole of human perfection consists. It
was therefore necessary, that the Son of God should become man, in order
that human nature, being again united to God, might thereby be restored to
its primitive integrity and perfection. As the divine and human natures
are united in the one Person of Christ, so must we all, through grace, be
united to him by faith, as to our eternal and sovereign Good. In this
manner it pleased God to rectify the exceeding corruption of our nature by
the abounding goodness of his grace. This union is declared by the Son of
God himself: “I will betroth thee,” says he, “unto me for ever, in loving
kindness and in mercies.” Hos. 2:19. For since our nature is infected and
corrupted by _sin_, which is the greatest of evils, it could not be
restored and healed but by GOD himself, the sovereign Good.

2. Now as the union of the divine and the human natures in Christ is
eternal, and is never to be dissolved, insomuch that even death itself
could not break asunder so sacred a bond: so Christ our Head is to be so
firmly united with his faithful members, that neither life nor death may
ever be able to separate them from him. This is also declared by the
prophet Hosea, in the Person of Christ: “I will,” says he, “betroth thee
unto me for ever.”

3. This union by faith, is of the highest necessity, because “our
iniquities have separated between us and our God.” Isa. 59:2. And this
deplorable state will continue to all eternity, unless Christ dwell in us
here by faith. Moreover, we are not able to do the least good, unless
Christ himself work it in us. Hence, says the apostle, “Not I, but the
grace of God which is with me.” 1 Cor. 15:10. And the Lord himself says:
“Without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5); the truth of which he
illustrates by the beautiful parable of the vine and the branches. Whence
it naturally follows, that if we are, or do, any good at all, it is
altogether to be ascribed to God alone; according to what is said by the
prophet: “Thou hast wrought all our works in us” (Isa. 26:12); and by
another: “I am like a green fir-tree. From me is thy fruit found.” Hos.
14:8.

4. O man! consider therefore, what thou art, and what thou canst do. What
hast thou been able to contribute to thy restoration and the renovation of
thy depraved nature? Surely nothing. As thou couldst not afford any help
toward thy bodily birth, nor create thyself; so neither canst thou bring
any assistance towards thy new birth or regeneration. Thou canst indeed
lose, corrupt, and destroy thyself; but to renew, to restore, to heal, to
justify, and to quicken thyself, is a work entirely beyond thy strength.
Couldest thou contribute anything that God might become man? No. There is
nothing therefore that thou canst arrogate to thyself, or ascribe to thy
own ability. Indeed, the more a man attributes to his own will, strength,
and ability, the more effectually does he obstruct divine grace, and the
renewal of his corrupted nature. Let us therefore wholly renounce our own
strength, our own wisdom, our own will, and self-love, that, being thus
resigned to God alone, we may suffer his power freely to work in us, so
that nothing may, in the least, oppose the will and operations of the
Lord.

5. Until thou art brought to this, O Christian, that thy mind becomes
merely passive, and that thou purely _sufferest_ the operation and will of
God, it is evident, that God is impeded by thee, so that he cannot unite
himself with thy soul; or by true renovation of thy corrupt nature
establish his image there. For our own will, self-love, ambition, the
opinion of our own wisdom, and whatever we arrogantly claim to ourselves,
are so many impediments, why God cannot freely operate in us, and effect
his good will. For as a man’s own will more and more corrupts and depraves
him; so the will of God more and more perfects and restores him.

6. Hence, it was said by Bonaventura, that “the highest perfection of
religion, consists in renouncing our own will.” And by Augustine, “If _to
love God_ is the greatest good to man, _to love himself_ must needs be his
greatest evil. And, if such is the nature of good, that it diffuses and
communicates itself; of necessity self-love must be a great evil, since it
engrosses to itself both its own and the goods of others, and will not
part with any of them.” Of this even the pagan Seneca himself was not
ignorant when he said: “That only is an accession to virtue, which is a
denial of thy own will.” And again: “Unless thou departest from thyself,
thou canst not approach God, who is above thee.”

7. Our _own will_ is nothing else but a defection or apostasy from God.
Defection verily is easy, smooth, and pleasant; but the recovery from it
is bitter, troublesome, and difficult; yea, even beyond all the power of
the creature. For man, by his own strength, can neither return, nor in any
wise help himself, whether in will or deed. Man’s will is captive, and his
works are dead. Christ alone is able to help, in the beginning, the
progress, and the end. He lays before us two means, the _law_ and the
_gospel_; or _repentance_ and _remission_ of sin. Through the _law_, in
the first place, thou must die with Christ, and by true sorrow and
brokenness of heart sacrifice thy own will. Thou must become as nothing in
thine own eyes, and resign thyself wholly to Christ. Then grace and
forgiveness of sin are conferred through the _gospel_, and man, that was
dead before, is made alive by faith. Whence it appears, that no man can by
his own strength convert and quicken himself. For it is absolutely
necessary that he hate, deny, and lose himself; that he be displeased
with, and die unto, himself; and that his hope be placed entirely in God
alone, by whose grace he expects to live.

8. But even this self-hatred, denial, and mortification, are not the
effect of our own will and ability. “It is not,” says St. Paul, “of him
that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Rom. 9:16. It is God therefore alone who operates all this in us by his
grace, and by the power of his good Spirit: so that our justification is
not derived from any creature whatsoever, but from God alone, whose work
and gift it is. For the most dangerous enemy any man has, is _himself_;
insomuch that we have great reason to implore the Lord to deliver us from
ourselves and all that we have by nature, and then to bestow that which
flows from his grace. By our own strength we are not able to perform the
least good, if God, himself, even after conversion, do not graciously
operate in us. Who is there that can endue us with love and mercy, but
God, who is LOVE itself, and from whom all other graces proceed?
Therefore, Christ _alone_ is our help and support, when the help of men
cannot avail. But after all, be the condition ever so low to which man has
been brought by the fall of Adam, he is now raised again by Christ, and
even exalted to a higher degree than he possessed before. But of this more
shall be said in Chapter XI.




Chapter VII.


Showing That In Order To Understand The True Nature Of Repentance, We Must
Necessarily Know The Distinction Between The Old And The New Man; Or, How
In Us Adam Must Die, And Christ Live; Or, How In Us The Old Man Must Die,
                          And The New Man Live.


    _We know this, that our old man is crucified with Christ, that the
    body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not
    serve sin._—ROM. 6:6.


In every Christian there is found a twofold man, opposed, like their
fruits, to one another. This will more fully appear from the following
statement:

Adam,             Christ.
Old man,          New man.
Outward man,      Inward man.
Old birth,        New birth.
Flesh,            Spirit.
Nature,           Grace.
Reason,           Faith.
Darkness,         Light.
Tree of death,    Tree of life.
Evil fruit,       Good fruit.
Sin,              Righteousness.
Damnation,        Salvation.
Death,            Life.
Old Jerusalem,    New Jerusalem.
Kingdom of the    Kingdom of God.
devil,
Seed of the       Seed of God.
serpent,
Natural man,      Spiritual man.
Image of the      Image of the
earthly,          heavenly.

The truth of this statement, the Scriptures, as well as experience,
abundantly confirm. The former speak largely of the old man and the new,
of the inward and outward man. See Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:9; 2 Cor. 4:16. They
teach also that the Spirit of God is in us: Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19;
2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:13. And likewise Christ, Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 13:5.
_Experience_, moreover, demonstrates the same. Hither may also be referred
that striving and struggling of the flesh and Spirit, from which even the
saints are not free. Rom. 7:23. Likewise there belong here the different
fruits of the flesh and Spirit reckoned up by St. Paul. Gal. 5:19-23. This
point is therefore clearly stated in Scripture, and too certain to be
called in question by any Christian. It is the hinge, as it were, on which
all the Scripture moves, and the foundation on which the true knowledge of
man depends. Out of the same fountain issue true repentance, or the death
of Adam, and the life of Christ in us. For no sooner does Adam die in us,
but there perishes with him all that is originally derived from him; the
old outward man, the old birth, the flesh, nature, corrupt reason,
darkness, the tree of death, evil fruits, sin, death, damnation, the seed
of the serpent, the natural man, the earthly image, the old Jerusalem, and
the kingdom of Satan. But as long as Adam lives, there also live and reign
with him the old man, and the carnal birth, the flesh, nature, corrupt
reason, darkness, and the whole train of evils before mentioned, being all
comprised under the kingdom of Satan, and subject to damnation, and to the
curse everlasting. But if, on the other hand, Christ live in any one, then
verily there live and reign with him the new and inward man, the new
birth, the Spirit, grace, faith, light, the tree of life, good fruits,
righteousness, life, happiness, the seed of God, the spiritual man, the
heavenly image, the new Jerusalem, and the kingdom of God. All which
proceed from the divine blessing, and tend to eternal salvation. Here is a
matter of importance, namely, so to order one’s life and conduct, that
Christ the new or second Adam, and not the old Adam, may live and reign in
us.

2. Therefore it is necessary for a man to watch, to fast, to pray, fight,
and strive; and, as St. Paul expresses it, to examine himself if Christ be
in him. 2 Cor. 13:5. He is to work out his salvation with fear and
trembling. Phil. 2:12. He is to enter through the strait gate and the
narrow way in Christ. Matt. 7:13. That is, man must now hate and deny
himself, forsake all (Luke 14:26), and die unto sin. Rom. 6:2. This surely
is not to be effected, as the delicate Christians of this age imagine, by
any careless and slight application of mind, but by an inward and profound
sorrow, contrition, and brokenness of heart, together with groans and
tears that cannot be uttered. These inward exercises, and acts of
devotion, are most feelingly set forth by David in his Penitential Psalms,
which abound with expressions of this nature. Ps. 6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 130;
143. The apostle calls it a crucifying of the flesh with the affections
and lusts thereof. Gal. 5:24. Whoever attains to this state, in him verily
Christ lives, and he reciprocally in Christ by faith. Then Christ conquers
and reigns in man, whose faith is become “the victory that overcometh the
world.” 1 John 5:4.

3. But since the world, which thou art to strive against, is not _without_
thee, but _within_ thee, it follows, that it is also to be conquered not
without, but within thee. For what is the world, but “the lust of the
flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life?” 1 John 2:16. As
these are in thee, so in thee they are to be subdued, that thus thou
mayest worthily bear the name and character of a true child of God. “For
whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world” (1 John 5:4); and if thou
overcomest, and gainest the victory over thy great enemy the world, thou
art then a child of light (Eph. 5:8), a member of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27;
Eph. 5:30), and the temple of the Holy Ghost. 1 Cor. 6:19. Thou art now a
good tree (Matt. 12:33), that freely and without constraint, yea, with
joy, love, and pleasure, bringeth forth fruit to the glory of God. Matt.
5:16.

4. But if thou livest in Adam, and Adam reigns in thee, then thou art not
a child of God, nor born again of him. For since thou art overcome by the
world, and since the prince thereof rules in thee by pride, ambition, and
self-love, thou art on this very account to be numbered amongst the
children of the devil. John 8:44. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of
God, they are the sons of God.” Rom. 8:14. And, on the contrary, as many
as are led by Satan, they likewise are his children; yea, they are the
very members of Satan, sons of darkness, a habitation of unclean spirits,
an accursed Babylon, full of impure and of abominable beasts; as it is
represented by the ancient prophets (Isa. 13:21; Rev. 18:2); but
particularly by the prophet Ezekiel. He being brought in spirit into the
temple at Jerusalem, beheld two remarkable things: one whereof was, “every
form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the
house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about;” and secondly (which
was still more detestable), “seventy men of the ancients of the house of
Israel, worshipping these beasts and images, and offering them incense.”
Ezek. 8:10, 11.

5. Behold, O man, a lively representation here given of thy depraved,
brutish, and beastly heart! If thou wilt but enter into this temple of thy
heart, thou shalt surely find therein vast numbers of foul, detestable
creatures, images, and idols, fashioned and represented by all manner of
corrupt and impure thoughts in the carnal mind, imagination, and memory.
Moreover (and this is the greatest evil of all), though these idols and
horrid abominations should be utterly banished from the heart, and this
detestable evil, by which man is made the habitation of unclean and
pestilential reptiles, should, by all means, be destroyed by repentance,
by mortification of the flesh, and by penitential tears and humiliation;
yet, instead of doing that, thou lovest these serpents, adorest these vile
monsters, and servest and caressest them. Alas! thou but little regardest
that Christ is cast out of thy soul by these abominations, and is utterly
banished from thy heart; and that by this means thou deprivest thyself of
the supreme and eternal Good, losing the Holy Spirit with all his
excellent gifts and graces. O miserable man! thou exceedingly grievest
when any outward trouble befalls thee, or when thou losest anything in the
world that is dear to thee; why then is it, that thou art not at all
concerned at the loss even of CHRIST himself, and at the deplorable state
of thy soul and body, which are both become a habitation of malignant
spirits!

6. If these things be seriously pondered and laid to heart, we shall soon
understand what Adam and Christ are; and how they live and act in men. To
this head we may also refer the following observations. First, In Adam we
are ALL naturally equal, nor is one better than another; since we are all,
both as to body and soul, equally polluted and corrupted, so that it is
affirmed by St. Paul, not only of Jews and Gentiles, but even of all men
in general, that “there is no difference.” Rom. 3:22. Hence it is also
true, that in the sight of God, no man is better than the most profligate
criminal. For though that perverse temper which is natural to all, does
not equally in all break out into works, yet God judges all men by the
inward state of the heart, that poisoned fountain of all sin. Nor is there
any sin so heinous, which man by nature would not freely commit, were he
not strongly restrained by divine grace. For by the bent of our nature we
are but too much inclined to pollute ourselves with all manner of
wickedness (Jer. 13:23); and if the inclination be not always attended
with the external effect itself, it is wholly to be attributed to the
grace of God, and not to any strength or prudence of our own. Gen. 20:6.
This consideration should excite us to the practice of true humility, and
to an unfeigned fear of God; and at the same time restrain us from rashly
despising our fellow-creatures, lest, by reflecting on others, we
ourselves split upon the dangerous rock of carnal presumption. Secondly,
it is proper to observe, that as in Adam we are all equally bad with
regard to the corruption of nature; so by Christ we are all made equally
just and holy; no man receiving for himself any prerogative of a peculiar
righteousness in the sight of God. For since Christ is our perfection, our
“wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30;
6:11), we, who in _Adam_ are alike, are also alike in _Christ_. For as in
_Adam_ by nature we are all one man and one body, infected with the foul
contagion of disobedience and sin, so all true Christians are as one man
in _Christ_, and make up one body, completely purified and sanctified by
faith, and the blood of Christ.

7. This truth is a remedy against _spiritual pride_, namely, that none
should account himself better before God than others, though perhaps
adorned with greater gifts, and endowments. For even these are no less
bestowed on him of pure grace, than are righteousness and salvation
themselves. Upon this principle of pure grace, be careful to keep thy mind
constantly fixed. If thou dost so, then this grace shall protect thee
against the dangerous snares of pride and arrogance; and as, on the one
hand, it will convince thee of thy own misery and poverty in spirit, so,
on the other, it will give thee a most lively insight into Christ, and
into the exceeding riches of grace, offered through him to all mankind.




Chapter VIII.


Showing How Graciously God Invites Us To Repentance, And How Necessary It
                    Is That It Should Not Be Delayed.


    _Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the
    angels of God over one sinner that repenteth._—LUKE 15:10.


God, who is of infinite mercy, in order that he might the better soften
our hard and stony hearts, and turn them from the world, ourselves, and
the devil, unto himself (Acts 26:18), has, in his Word, variously
represented and set before our eyes man’s conversion and repentance.

2. Among other ways of impressing it on our minds, the two parables of the
_Lost Sheep_ and of the _Prodigal Son_ (Luke, chap. 15), are exceedingly
affecting, and are so abundant in divine consolation, that it is scarcely
possible seriously to think upon them without tears. Therein our Saviour
describes three different hearts. Of these the first is, the impenitent
heart of a sinner; the second, the contrite heart of a penitent; the
third, the heart of God, full of mercy and paternal affection.

3. The _first_ he describes under the similitude of a degenerate son,
wastefully spending his substance and inheritance, and at last reduced to
such necessity, as to wish to fill his belly with the husks which the
swine did eat. By this figure all mankind in their natural state are
shadowed forth; who, as so many degenerate sons, have squandered away the
heavenly inheritance by continual riot and wickedness. That is, they have
lost their original righteousness, holiness, innocency, and the beautiful
image of God, in which they were at first created (Eph. 4:24), and are now
by their own fault become the bond-slaves of sin, of the devil, and of
death. And to complete their ruin, finding no relief, rest, or comfort, in
any human performances and laws (which answer to the husks in the parable)
they must of necessity perish with endless famine and misery, unless they
speedily have recourse unto the grace of their Heavenly Father.

4. The _second_ heart, which is that of a repenting sinner, is set forth
in these words: “How many hired servants of my Father have bread enough,
and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise, and go to my Father,
and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before
thee; and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” In this account we have
a very moving description of true repentance. By the Prodigal’s coming to
himself, is signified sorrow for sin; that is, when a man, on the one
hand, reflects upon his own misery, and considers how, from being a child
of God, he is become, as it were, a brute beast (2 Pet. 2:12), an unclean
swine, a man void of reason, earthly and sensual; and, on the other,
mindful of his divine origin, turns his thoughts entirely upon his Father,
repents, acknowledges his offences, and says, “Father, I have sinned
against heaven, and before thee;” and have offended both God and man. This
he immediately confirms by a sincere contempt of himself, expressed in
these words: “and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” Moreover,
_faith_, which is the other part of repentance, is exhibited to us in his
actual _arising_ and _returning_ to his father’s house. He assumed
confidence to repair to his home, and firmly persuaded himself that his
father would receive him, if not as a son, at least as one of his hired
servants. “For,” says he, “I am no more worthy to be called thy son; make
me as one of thy hired servants.” This plainly shows the sure hope he
entertained, that his father would yield to his entreaties, and receive
him into his favor.

5. And now I come, _thirdly_, to draw the character of the paternal heart
of God, set forth in the parable.

I. _When the son was yet a great way off, his father saw him._ Behold the
prevenient mercy of our Heavenly Father, who graciously looks for his
prodigal children. Ps. 79:8; Isa. 30:18, 19; Ps. 32:8.

II. _And was moved with compassion._ Hereby is represented his mercy
waiting to be gracious to us.

III. _And ran and fell on his neck._ Here is mercy receiving into favor.

IV. _And kissed him._ This exhibits mercy ready to administer consolation
to the returning sinner. Micah 7:19; Isa. 66:13.

V. _Bring forth, says he, the best robe, and put it on him_ (Isa. 61:10).
This has relation to Christ, and points out his righteousness, and
_justifying_ grace. Rom. 8:33.

VI. _And put a ring on his hand._ Hereby is signified the Holy Spirit, the
pledge of sonship (Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:5), the seal of intimate favor and
union; and it also represents to us the espousing mercy of the Lord.

VII. _And shoes on his feet._ This denotes a new and holy walk in Christ,
resulting from the Divine power, and the grace of the Holy Spirit; which
are the peculiar effects of preserving mercy. 1 Peter 1:5; Ps. 84:11.

VIII. _Bring hither the fatted calf._ By this feast is represented the joy
of angels, or rejoicing and _crowning_ mercy, described by the holy
Psalmist, and the prophet Isaiah. Ps. 63:5; 103:5; Isa. 65:13.

6. What strong and endearing arguments are here offered by the goodness of
God inviting us to sincere repentance! Let us, then, seriously consider
some of the main _inducements_ to true repentance, of which seven shall be
proposed at present.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

I. The boundless mercy of God.

II. The kindness of Christ, and his inestimable merit.

III. The awful threatenings and punishments that are laid before us.

IV. Death.

V. The last judgment.

VI. Hell. And

VII. Everlasting joy.

I. THE MERCY OF GOD.

7. “If thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek
him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul. When thou art in
tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter
days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his
voice; (for the Lord thy God is a merciful God); he will not forsake thee,
neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers, which he
sware unto them.” Deut. 4:29-31. What tender affection, as of the heart of
a father, have we here presented to us! And how just and reasonable is it,
that it should move us to repentance! For how numerous and _great_ soever
our sins may be, the mercy of God is still _greater_, according to the
words of the Psalmist: “With the Lord there is mercy; and with him is
plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”
Ps. 130:7, 8. And again: “According unto the multitude of thy tender
mercies, blot out my transgressions.” Ps. 51:1. Nor are our sins so filthy
and abominable, but God can make them white as snow. “Though your sins,”
says the prophet, “be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isa.
1:18. And the Psalmist says: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Ps. 51:7. Neither are they so
various and manifold, but that they are surpassed by the riches of divine
grace, according to the apostle: “In Christ we have redemption through his
blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”
Eph. 1:7. And what we read in Exodus teaches the same: “The Lord, the Lord
God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and
truth; forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin.” Exod. 34:6, 7. Nor
are they so strong and powerful, but God can destroy them, and throw them
into the depth of the sea, as he did unto Pharaoh and all his host. “He
will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the
depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19. Nor, finally, are they so mortal and
pestilential, but God can heal them, as the prophet assures us: “The
wicked shall not fall by his wickedness in the day that he turneth from
it.” Ezek. 33:12.

II. THE KINDNESS OF CHRIST.

8. How kindly and affectionately Christ Jesus receives sinners, he himself
abundantly declares in the Gospel: “They that be whole,” says he, “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. “The Son of man is
come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10. Of this
gracious bounty of Christ towards returning sinners, the prophets have
left us many predictions. “Woe be to the shepherds of Israel,” saith
Ezekiel, “who have not sought that which was lost: but with force and with
cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no
shepherd. Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
As a shepherd seeketh out his flock, in the day that he is among his sheep
that are scattered; so will I seek that which was lost, and bring again
that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and
will strengthen that which was sick.” Ezek. 34:2, 4, 12, 16. And the
prophet Isaiah says, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall
gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom.” Isai. 40:11.
Nor should only the _gracious nature_ of Christ move thee to _repentance_;
but more especially his extreme _sorrow_, and most innocent blood shed on
thine account. For consider within thyself:

(1.) That he laid down his life, not for heaven or earth, but for thy
soul. And wilt thou, by sin and impenitence, wantonly cast away so great
and valuable a treasure?

(2.) Remember, that thou couldest not have been redeemed by any other or
less price than the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:19). Why shouldest
thou deprive thyself of a ransom so inestimable as the Redeemer has paid
for thee?

(3.) Call to mind, that Christ has redeemed thee from the world, from sin
and the devil. And dost thou desire to continue longer in the service of
so hard and cruel a master?

(4.) Be assured, that without unfeigned repentance, the merit of Christ
will avail thee nothing; yea, that thou tramplest under foot his blood,
and dost “despite unto the Spirit of grace.” Heb. 10:29.

(5.) Lastly, consider how sharp and cruel were the sufferings which thy
Saviour underwent on thy account! How he wept and sorrowed, trembled and
feared! Heb. 5:7. How grievously he was wounded for thy transgressions
(Isa. 53:5), and, at last, as a worm (Ps. 22:6), and cursed (Gal. 3:13),
hung upon a tree! How loudly this mournful scene calls on thee to repent!

III. THREATS OF TEMPORAL PUNISHMENT.

9. “God judgeth the righteous,” saith the Psalmist, “and God is angry with
the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword: he hath bent
his bow, and made it ready: he hath also prepared for him the instruments
of death: he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.” Ps. 7:11-13.

10. This wrath and revenge, no man will ever be able to escape, as the
prophet Amos affirms: “He that escapeth of them shall not be delivered.
Though they climb up to heaven, thence I will bring them down: and though
they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command
the serpent, and he shall bite them. Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are
upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the
earth.” Amos 9:1-3, 8. “Their blood shall be poured out as dust,” saith
Zephaniah, 1:17, 18, “and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver,
nor their gold, shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s
wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy.”
Such terrible threatenings as these should lead us to unfeigned
repentance; this being the only means by which to prevent impending
desolation, and the total destruction of nations and cities; as evidently
appears from the example of Nineveh. Jonah 3:5, 10. “At what instant I
shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up,
and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have
pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought
to do unto them.” Jer. 18:7, 8.

IV. DEATH.

11. God has concealed the time of our death from us, that thereby we may
be kept in the daily and uninterrupted practice of true repentance, as not
knowing which hour may be our last. “The whole life of a man is given him
for repentance,” saith St. Bernard. And this repentance is a Christian’s
daily cross and tribulation. Thus it is said in the Psalms: “I am ready to
halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.” Ps. 38:17; 73:14. God has
promised grace to the penitent, but he has not promised to sinners another
day in which to repent. “It is appointed unto men once to die; but after
this the judgment.” Heb. 9:27. Such as God shall find thee, as such will
he judge thee: wherefore, live in such a manner as thou wouldest wish to
have done, when thou art dying. Consider seriously in thy mind, where they
now are, who but a few years ago wasted their lives with lust and vanity,
and freely enjoyed the “good things” of this world? Luke 16:25. They are
all gone to their own place, where they wait for the day of judgment.
Wherefore, “come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her
sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4.

V. THE LAST JUDGMENT.

12. For after death, there is neither place nor time for repentance. It is
in this world that eternal life is either lost or obtained. Those that
repent betimes, shall not be condemned in judgment; but the impenitent
will hear the awful sentence: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting
fire.” Matt. 25:41. “Behold, therefore, now is the accepted time; behold,
now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor. 6:2), which will be followed by the
day of judgment in the other world. “To-day, therefore, if ye will hear
his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation; lest I swear in
my wrath, that ye shall not enter into my rest.” Ps. 95:7, 8, 11; Heb.
3:7, 8, 11. “For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ,
that every one may receive the things done in his body, whether it be good
or bad.” 2 Cor. 5:10. Those, therefore, who here repent, “shall have their
sins covered” (Ps. 32:1), and “they shall no more be mentioned unto them,”
as the prophet declares. Ezek. 33:16. Lay hold, therefore, on the offer of
mercy betimes, know and confess thy sins, O man, that they may be remitted
and forgotten.

VI. ETERNAL PAINS OF HELL.

13. With this present life, the season of the mercy of God closes. It will
then be said: “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good
things.” Luke 16:25. Thy life is now over. Thou art now dead! Dead to God
forever, to whom thou didst refuse to live in time! There is no redemption
from hell. Ps. 49:14-20. How can the damned enjoy the goodness of God, to
which they were dead whilst they were alive, and to which they will now
continue dead to all eternity! Remember, therefore, that now is the only
time for mercy, and the hour of visitation to repent; whereas, there the
damned so die, as, notwithstanding, always to live; and so live, as yet to
die eternally. All the senses will there suffer torment. The sight shall
be punished with eternal darkness; the ears shall be filled with weeping
and gnashing of teeth; the smell with stench of fire and brimstone; the
taste with the bitterness of eternal death; and the feeling with a sense
of endless tortures and miseries.

VII. THE JOY OF ETERNAL LIFE.

14. Is it not a very high degree of folly, to prefer a short perishing
pleasure to an eternal joy; and a worthless trifle, to the glorious
presence of God? Now none shall enter into this, but he who has thoroughly
washed himself, and “made white his robes in the blood of the Lamb.” Rev.
3:14. “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and
murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Rev.
22:15. None of those, who, having been here invited to the feast of
Christ, yet refused to come, “shall taste of his supper.” Luke 14:24. The
highest joy of eternal life, will consist in “seeing God as he is.” 1 John
3:2. _To see God_, is all in all, and an eternal reward. “Ye shall see
me,” says our Lord, “and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man
taketh from you.” John 16:19, 22. This sight of the face of God is the joy
of the angels; it is their life, and the invisible food by which they are
sustained. Now as this vision of God creates the most exalted joy, so to
be banished from it, is to suffer the greatest, the most terrible, and the
most severe torment, and eternal misery.




Chapter IX.


   Showing What Repentance Is, And The Manner In Which The Sinner Truly
      Repents; Also, How The Goodness Of God Leads Us To Repentance.


    _Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all
    your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
    and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord
    your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of
    great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil_.—JOEL 2:12, 13.


The Lord, whose mercy is infinite, by no means seeks our destruction, but
rather our life and happiness. He best knows the wretched and deplorable
condition into which we are fallen by sin; and he is also desirous to
reclaim us from that dangerous state, and to preserve us from everlasting
ruin. It is for this reason, that he so earnestly invites the soul to
repentance, and engages us to the same by many strong and powerful
motives.

2. Sometimes God is pleased to stir us up by terrible _threatenings_.
“Behold,” says he, “I will bring evil upon this people; because they have
not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.” Jer. 6:19.
Again, “And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and
I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not;
therefore, will I cast you out of my sight.” Jer. 7:13, 15. This dreadful
proclamation of both temporal and eternal calamities, should strike fear
and terror into us: for the threatening of God is not an empty voice, nor
a sound that vanishes into nothing, but it is accompanied with many
terrible effects, and consuming wrath, as will in its time more fully
appear, and which we even feel already by sad experience; since miseries
and calamities, like a flood, seem to carry all before them. Nay, they
will undoubtedly multiply upon us, and exert themselves with the utmost
fury and fierceness, except we betimes prevent them by a sincere
repentance. Thus the wrath of God shall be poured forth in wars, famines,
pestilence, fire, and inundations, till he has at length destroyed our
very _foundations_, as he did once to the city of Jerusalem. Lam. 4:11.

3. But if the proclamation of wrath and judgment cannot prevail upon us,
yet ought God’s abounding _goodness_, attended as it is with so many
endearing marks of love, to melt our hearts, and to soften them into true
and earnest repentance. For thus hath the Lord spoken by the prophet:
“Return, thou backsliding Israel, and I will not cause mine anger to fall
upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for
ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against
the Lord thy God.” Jer. 3:12, 13. In these words, God makes a free offer
of his grace, entreats and adjures us to return to him again, for he is
willing to accept our repentance.

4. The passages that have been quoted, are a convincing proof that God, by
his grace, mercy, patience, and clemency, strongly invites us to true
repentance. There are chiefly three things in those scriptures, which
deserve a more particular observation: namely, the _nature_ of repentance,
or what it is to repent; that is, to turn unto the Lord:—the _manner_ in
which repentance is to be wrought out; that is, by fasting, weeping, and
mourning:—the _motive_ to engage us in so holy an exercise, which is the
paternal goodness of God; “_for I am merciful_.”

As to the _first_, we know that _to repent_, is nothing else but to be
led, through the _law_ of God, to acknowledge the natural blindness of our
hearts, and that detestable impurity which lurks within. Next, we ought to
regard this as the very source whence all other sins proceed, and whereby
we depart from God, the supreme and eternal Good, deserving not only
various punishments here, but also his everlasting wrath in hell
hereafter. All this ought to awaken in us sorrow and distress, not so much
by reason of the threatened punishment, as rather on account of the
heinousness of the many provocations offered to a merciful Father, who in
his very nature is love and kindness. This being done, we may then raise
again our souls by virtue of the _Gospel_, and with a well-grounded faith,
rely on the favor of God, and on the sure remission of sin promised in
Christ Jesus. This must necessarily be attended with a serious amendment
of life, with a constant purification of the heart by faith, with a
mortification of all evil desires, and with a sincere abnegation of our
own will, so opposite to that of God. In a word, it will be accompanied
with a new life acceptable unto God in Christ, and with fruit worthy of
repentance; suitably to what God enjoins by the prophet: “Wash ye, make
you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease
to do evil, learn to do well. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall
be as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:16, 18.

5. But alas! here is the difficulty! These things are much more easily
said, than reduced to practice. The reason is, because hardly any will
earnestly engage in so weighty a work, or search into the true original
cause of the many dreadful disorders that appear in our lives and conduct.
Man flatters himself with a confident opinion of his own goodness, and
cherishes the affection of the old man. There are few who care to see
their hearts in their inward and native depravity; or to be made sensible
of that vein of evil nature which runs through all their actions, even the
best and most shining. And thus Christ himself, and the grace of God,
manifested by him, are wantonly disregarded.

6. And yet Joel (2:12) requires us to “turn unto God with all our heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” Hereby he intimates that
we are turned away from God; have forsaken the fountain of living waters
(Jer. 2:13); and are now unable to attain life and happiness again, unless
we “_search_ our ways,” and “_return_” unto him from whom we are gone
astray. Lam. 3:40. It is for this purpose that the Prophet charges
“backsliding children” to return, with the promise annexed, that the “Lord
will heal their backslidings.” Jer. 3:22. For this verily is the will of
God, that we should see and confess our misery, in order that he may
compassionately heal it.

7. But since, by nature, we are so blind as to be utterly unable of
ourselves sufficiently to discover our own wretchedness; God has been
pleased to afford means, with a view to bringing us to a sound knowledge
of ourselves. This is done by his holy Word and the Sacraments, which are
always accompanied with his grace and Spirit. By these the Father draws,
allures, and calls us to himself, as so many lost and wandering sheep.
John 6:44. For as a straying sheep cannot of itself return, but must of
necessity be sought and brought back to the fold by the shepherd, so we
would forever go astray in the wilderness of sin and error, did not God
himself carefully seek us; and this the examples of Peter and Paul
abundantly confirm. Therefore the prophet says: “Turn thou me, O Lord, and
I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God.” Jer. 31:18. “Heal me, O
Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art
my praise.” Jer. 17:14. “For it is God,” says the apostle, “which worketh
in us, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13.

8. When, therefore, the Lord graciously awakens us by these means, and
invites us to repentance, it is our part, not to withstand his grace and
Spirit; (as it is said, “To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your
hearts”) (Ps. 95:7, 8); but to confess the sin which he thus reproves in
us, and by no means make light of the grace offered to us in the Gospel.
Then God will assuredly have mercy upon us, as he himself declares: “Let
the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let
him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God,
for he will abundantly pardon.” Isa. 55:7.

9. Upon this account the work of conversion, though it is entirely a work
of God’s grace, is yet in one respect ascribed to us; namely, as we _give_
up ourselves to the Lord, and to his operations, and do not wantonly
resist his Spirit, despise his grace, and cast it from us; or, as the
apostle expresses it, do not put his Word from us, nor stop our ears
against it, as did the Jews of old. Acts 13:46; 7:57. On the contrary,
when the severity of the _law_ has laid open our spiritual diseases, and
we have felt the bitterness thereof; let us avail ourselves of the
_Gospel_ as a healing remedy, and suffer our heavenly Physician to restore
us to health.

10. An image of this we have in a straying sheep. If it but hear at a
distance the voice of the shepherd, it starts back immediately, and
returns to him. And how willingly would the lost sinner follow the voice
of his Shepherd, if sin had not so perverted him, as to reduce him lower
than the very beasts in stupidity and dulness! Of this indeed the prophet
complains: “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but
Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.” Isa. 1:3. “Shall they
fall,” asks another prophet, “and not arise? Shall he turn away, and not
return? The stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times, and the
turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the times of their coming:
but my people know not the judgment of the Lord.” Jer. 8:4, 7.

11. We ought, therefore, most fervently to implore the Lord, not to
withdraw from us his gracious assistance, without which we must certainly
go astray. For since sin and the old Adam constantly abide in our corrupt
flesh and blood, we have need of daily, yea, hourly supplies of grace, for
repressing the tyranny of sin, and for nourishing the life of God within
us. The grace of God is the life of our soul, as the soul is the life of
the body. And as the life of the body, without the free enjoyment of the
air, must soon be extinct; so the vital flame of the inward life will
speedily languish, without a daily supply of grace to support it. For this
reason Solomon prayed: “The Lord our God be with us; let him not leave us,
nor forsake us; that he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all
his ways.” 1 Kings 8:57.

12. This is a lesson which ought not to be learned in a light and general
manner, but by a close and practical application be brought home to every
one in particular. Let, therefore, every one look into his own heart and
seek its renewal, that so all may be reformed in time. Let us remember
that comfortable exhortation, and the promise annexed thereto: “Seek ye
the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near.” Isa.
55:6. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with
all your heart, saith the Lord.” Jer. 29:13.

13. But in order to true repentance, it is not enough to refrain only from
gross sins, and foul visible transgressions; but the heart, whence all
those evils proceed, is to be changed and purified; that so inward pride,
covetousness, and lust, with all sinful affections, may be mortified at
last. For whilst the heart is unchanged, unreformed, and unrenewed; that
is, whilst our own corrupt temper, our inward malice, wrath, hatred,
enmity, revenge, lying, and deceit, are quietly suffered within us; all
our boasts of, and pretences to, and formalities in, religion, are but
mere show and hypocrisy. God requires no less than a new heart, and “a new
creature in Christ Jesus.” 2 Cor. 5:17. No one is so holy, so good, and so
thoroughly cleansed, but he will still find something in his own heart to
be thrown out, or to be amended and rectified. “As a fountain casteth out
her waters, so Jerusalem casteth out her wickedness.” Jer. 6:7. This is
the first head, relating to the nature of repentance, of which more has
been said in Book I.

14. Let us now consider, in the second place, the _manner_ of our
returning to God: “with all the heart,” says the prophet, “with fasting,
with weeping, and with mourning.” Wretched mortals can weep floods of
tears for empty and perishing goods, whilst they stand unmoved at the
miserable state of their souls, and at the loss of an eternal and
incorruptible inheritance! In this they are altogether unlike David, who,
by his example, sets a most shining pattern of sincere and unfeigned
repentance before us. See Ps. 6, and Ps. 38. “For the Lord looketh on the
heart” (1 Sam. 16:7), and “trieth the heart and reins.” Ps. 7:9.

15. What the prophet says of fasting, is to be understood of a general
fast enjoined by the prophet to all the people. In such a fast the whole
body of a nation were wont to be concerned. They publicly confessed their
sins; they deplored and bewailed them; and thus humbling themselves before
God, fasted both inwardly and outwardly. And in this order they begged
remission of sin, and deprecated the judgments of God gathering over them.
Such a general fast and public repentance as this, such sincere
conversion, prayer, faith, confession, and supplication, are the most
effectual means to appease the wrath of an offended God, and to avert his
judgments from whole kingdoms and nations. This plainly appears from the
history of the defeat of the other tribes of Israel, by that of Benjamin;
in which the former having in two battles lost forty thousand men, all
went up and came before the Lord, with weeping and mourning, and there
fasted the whole day, from morning to night. Judges 20:26. A similar
illustrious example is recorded of the fast of the Ninevites (Jonah 3:5,
10): and of the children of Israel, who, being beaten by the Philistines,
kept a fast for seven days together, after Saul and Jonathan were slain in
the battle. 1 Chron. 10:12.

16. Such solemn penitential fasts were also in use in the primitive
Church, when the Christians met together, and in any great public calamity
humbled themselves before the Lord. Not, surely, to obtain remission of
sin by such performances, as so many meritorious acts of devotion; but by
a contrite, sober, and humble heart, to deprecate the judgments that were
ready to break in upon them. And such fasts might with propriety still be
observed.

17. Fasts such as these, accompanied with true repentance, would prove an
impregnable wall and fortification against all our enemies; a sovereign
medicine in all pestilential diseases; and a safeguard about all our
estates and possessions. An example of this we have in Job, who, whenever
his children had spent any day in mirth and feasting, “offered up unto God
prayers and sacrifices for them” (Job 1:4, 5); and thus, as it were,
fortified his house by prayer against the insults of wicked men and
devils.

18. In great public calamities the Lord looks out for such men as may,
like a bulwark, oppose his wrath when ready to make a breach. “I sought
for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap
before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them, I have consumed
them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon
their heads, saith the Lord God.” Ezek. 22:30, 31. We may also remember,
on this occasion, the intercession of Abraham. Gen. 18:23.

19. Thus the prophet Daniel was a wall of defence when he made confession
to God of the sins of all the people. Dan. 9:4, 5, etc. And the prophet
Joel, in very moving terms, describes such a penitential fast: “Blow the
trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the
people; sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the
children, and those that suck the breasts; let the bridegroom go forth of
his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the
ministers of the Lord, say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine
heritage to reproach.” Joel 2:15-17.

20. Such public fasts ought to be celebrated by the whole multitude,
without hypocrisy, with ardent zeal and devotion; for it is the will of
God, that every one readily confess his sins. He requires true humility,
sincere repentance, and a turning to him with our whole heart. Hence the
prophet commands the “heart, and not the garments,” to be rent. The Jews,
at the hearing of any sad or terrible evil, were accustomed to rend their
clothes, in order to evidence thereby the inward sorrow with which they
were affected. This, however, like their fasting, was often a mere
formality, and their grief was only pretended. Wherefore, the prophet
reproves them, saying, “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a
man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to
spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an
acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to
loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, 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?” Isa. 58:5-7.

21. These words explain the nature of a true fast; which is then only
kept, when, on the one hand, we abstain from sin, subdue the wanton lusts
of the flesh, and keep the old man, with all his members, under constant
restraint and subjection: and, on the other, when we are fervent in works
of charity, in the practice of patience and mercy, and of the other
virtues springing up from a contrite, sincere, and penitent heart. And it
is with regard to these inward acts of humiliation, that the prophet bids
us _rend our hearts_. For as the wounds of the heart must necessarily be
very painful; so the grief occasioned by our sins should affect us, as if
our very hearts were bruised and crushed. And this “broken spirit,” this
“contrite heart,” is that _sacrifice_ which is so highly acceptable to
God. Ps. 51:17. Such a heart has, by faith, obtained a due fitness to
receive the influence of the grace of God, the consolations of the Holy
Spirit, and the merit and blood of Jesus Christ. As a hard and massive
stone cannot be penetrated by the oil or water poured upon it, until it be
broken to pieces; so the sovereign balm of God’s grace and consolation
cannot comfort and quicken the heart, except it be first broken and
softened into humility, that so by faith it may partake of the merit of
Christ. “Not the whole, but the sick, have need of a physician.” Matt. 9:
12. Let no one think that he belongs to Christ, unless he has first
“crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts.” Gal. 5:24. The blood
of Christ will be of no profit to any except to those who embrace it with
a contrite, afflicted, penitent, humble and believing heart.

22. As for the _motives_ to repentance, which make up the third head, they
are thus expressed by the prophet: “Turn unto the Lord, _for_ he is
gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth
him of the evil.” Joel 2:12, 13. He lays down in these words, a gradual
display of the manifold mercies offered to returning sinners. As if he had
said, “If you think it a small thing that I am _gracious_, then know that
I am _merciful_ also: if this be not enough, I am likewise _patient_ and
_slow to anger_: if this will not yet suffice, then I am, moreover, of
_great kindness_. If, after all, you still require something more, then
understand, that I easily _repent_ of intended punishments; yea, even when
my avenging hand is lifting up, I am ready to let fall the rod, upon your
serious repentance.”

23. First, then, the prophet calls God _gracious_ (Ps. 103:8); that is,
ready to be entreated and reconciled. God is easy to be prevailed with,
forgives offences, deals not in strict justice and the rigor of the law,
according to what we have deserved. And all these marks of mercy should
lead us to repentance. There are many admirable promises, all tending to
the same end. “If thou afflict them, they will cry unto me, and I will
surely hear; for I am gracious.” Ex. 22:23, 27. “Therefore will the Lord
wait that he may be gracious unto you. Thou shalt weep no more; he will be
very gracious unto thee, at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it,
he will answer thee.” Isa. 30:18. That is, the Most High is so rich in
grace, that he waits for you. In him there is _expecting grace_, by which
he readily receives those that truly return: _prevenient grace_, expressed
by the Psalmist—“Let thy tender mercies speedily prevent (_that is_, meet,
_or_ anticipate) us” (Ps. 79:8): _protecting grace_, noticed by the same
prophet; “He that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about”
(Ps. 32:10): _preserving grace_; “Surely,” says David, “mercy shall follow
me all the days of my life.” Ps. 23:6. Of this we have given examples in
the preceding chapter. With this agree also the words of Scripture: “With
the Lord there is mercy; and with him is plenteous redemption.” Ps. 130:7.
Wherefore, let the divine clemency and grace move thee to sincere and
unfeigned repentance.

24. Secondly, the prophet declares that God is _merciful_. To be
_merciful_, is to be easily moved by the miseries of another, and from the
very heart to compassionate his case. This is to be seen in parents, who,
not only with unfeigned tenderness love their children, but are at the
same time so deeply touched with their misery and weakness, as to be
willing even to die for them, if that were possible. Thus David, when he
lamented the death of his son Absalom, mournfully exclaimed: “O my son
Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom,
my son, my son!” 2 Sam. 18:33. But these bowels of mercy, this ardent,
cordial, and tender affection, are infinitely more conspicuous in God
himself, who, from an abounding sense of love and kindness, has given up
his Son to death, and thereby transcended all the affections of earthly
parents. This is declared by the prophet: “Can a woman forget her sucking
child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea,
they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” Isa. 49:15. And by another,
“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 again by another, “The Lord thy God is a merciful God; he will not
forget the covenant of thy fathers, which he sware unto them.” Deut. 4:31.
And David confirms it: “The Lord is merciful and gracious.” Ps. 103:8. And
again, calling to mind this mercy, when of three punishments he had it in
his power to choose which he pleased, he answered, “Let us fall now into
the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great.” 2 Sam. 24:14. Would to
God that his paternal mercy might also allure us to unfeigned repentance!
St. Paul himself refers to this most powerful inducement, when he
beseeches us “by the _mercies_ of God, etc.” Rom. 12:1.

25. The third appellation given to God by the prophet is, that he is
patient, or _slow to anger_. He is not easily moved to wrath; he suffers
many provocations offered him, and gives time for repentance and
conversion. All which he has abundantly evidenced by many real
demonstrations, powerful enough to convince us, that even in God himself,
“Love beareth all things, endureth all things” (1 Cor. 13:7), even as
parents bear with their children. To this purpose says St. Peter, “The
Lord is long suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but
that all should come to repentance.” 2 Pet. 3:9. And again, “Account that
the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation.” 2 Pet. 3:15. And Paul
wishes, that “the goodness of God may lead us to repentance.” Rom. 2:4. To
this long-suffering of God it was entirely due, that he granted the old
world a hundred and twenty years in which to repent; bearing all that time
with their provocations, and waiting for repentance. Gen. 6:3. And O! how
much time hath he given us to repent in, and to work out our salvation!
But this divine grace is abused by those who only grow more wanton by
mercies, and “turn even the grace of God itself into lasciviousness.”
Jude, ver. 4. But by this they only hasten their ruin, and render more
grievous the punishment which they deserve. If one, and then another of
these many and provoking affronts, with which men offend an omnipotent
God, were daily put upon a mere mortal, nothing certainly could be
expected but the utmost severity of his resentment. How inconceivably
great then must be the patience of God, who not only pardons offences so
numerous and so heinous, but also returns all manner of kindness to the
offender himself. O! that the inconceivable patience of the Lord might
inspire us with a hatred of sin, and lead us all to repentance!

26. Fourthly, God is represented to be _of great kindness_; so great
indeed, that no sin, how great soever, can surpass it. For as God is
essentially and wholly good, so is he desirous to communicate himself
wholly to men, provided they be willing to receive and admit him. Yea, by
his nature he can be and do nothing but good. He takes a pleasure therein,
and “rejoiceth over us to do us good.” Jer. 32:41. His mercy is as great
as himself, that is, infinite. It extends to all mankind. “Thy mercy, O
Lord, is in the heavens.” Ps. 36:5. “As the heaven is high above the
earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.” Ps. 103:11. And
we read in the Lamentations: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not
consumed, because his compassions fail not: they are new every morning:
great is thy faithfulness.” Lam. 3:22. See, therefore, O man! that a
goodness so inexpressible be no longer abused, but that it animate thee to
sincere repentance.

27. And lastly, the prophet says of the Lord, “_It repenteth him of the
evil._” This is as if he would say: “It is the nature of God, to punish
with reluctance; and when he is even constrained thereto, it is not for
our destruction, but salvation, that we be not condemned with the world.”
1 Cor. 11:32. He then doth “his strange work” (of punishment), that he may
bring to pass his own work (of mercy). Isa. 28:21. Thus he repented of the
evil he had designed against Nineveh. Jonah 3:10. And, therefore, “it is
good, that a man should both hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of
the Lord. For the Lord will not cast off for ever: but though he cause
grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his
mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of
men.” Lam. 3:26, 31-33. Therefore, repent of thy sins.

28. For as soon as thou repentest of sin, and supplicatest the Lord in
true faith, God will also repent of the punishment he intended to inflict.
The words of the Lord to Jonah are very memorable: “Doest thou well to be
angry for the gourd? Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou
hast not labored, neither madest it grow, which came up in a night, and
perished in a night: and should not I spare Nineveh, that great city,
wherein are more than six score thousand persons?” Jonah 4:9-11. This
boundless mercy is still the same even at this day, and will continue so
forever to penitent and returning sinners. Go, therefore, O man, and let
this overflowing mercy of God lead thee to repentance!




Chapter X.


                 The Four Properties Of True Repentance.


    _I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping,
    because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted
    me up, and cast me down. My days are like a shadow that declineth;
    and I am withered like grass. But thou, O Lord, shalt endure for
    ever, and thy remembrance unto all generations._—PS. 102:9, etc.


In these words _four properties_ of true repentance are enjoined on a
sinner. The _first_ is, _to account himself unworthy of all the mercies of
God_. This is contained in these words: “I have eaten ashes like bread,
and mingled my drink with weeping:” that is, There is nothing I can take
any more delight in, and I account myself unworthy of any good or
delicious fare. This, however pleasing it may be to the palate of others,
is not more savory to me than mere ashes.—The same regard to our own
unworthiness is thus inculcated by the Lord: “If any man will come after
me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Luke 9:23. And, “If any man come to me, and hate not his own life, he
cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26. Herein is expressed a threefold
reference which a true Christian ought to have to his own unworthiness.

2. (_a_) _First_ then, he is commanded to _deny himself_: that is, to die
to self-will, to self-love, and self-honor, esteeming himself utterly
unworthy of any of the benefits conferred by God on other men; or judging
himself not “worthy of the least of all the mercies” of God (Gen. 32:10);
and reputing himself the most inconsiderable, not only of all men, but
even of all other creatures; after the words of the Psalm: “I am a worm,
and no man.” Ps. 22:6. In this manner, for a man to despise himself, is
truly to _deny himself_.

3. (_b_) He is commanded, _secondly_, to _hate himself_; that is, to
condemn in himself whatever is pleasing and acceptable to the flesh; as
honor, luxury, revenge, anger, avarice, and whatever else savors of the
flesh. He is to crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts, and to
abhor in himself its whole offspring, as the work of the devil himself,
tending only to increase and nourish the perverse seed of original
depravity. And such self-abhorrence in a sinner, will then of necessity be
followed by pleading _guilty_, and by looking upon himself as one worthy
of eternal death.

4. (_c_) The _third_ lesson enjoined in these words, consists in _taking
up the cross, and in following the Lord_: that is, that we, not with a
morose and discontented, but with a ready mind, bear all manner of
sufferings, and deem ourselves worthy, not only of these, but even of far
more grievous afflictions. Thus Christ himself, whose example is set
before us, “endured the cross, and despised the shame” (Heb. 12:2),
thereby teaching us, that in “quietness and confidence shall be our
strength.” Isa. 30:15. And all that is comprehended in the imitation of,
or following after, Christ.

5. Upon the whole, these things make it appear, that a soul truly humble
and penitent, thinks itself unworthy of all divine benefits, and even of
daily food and refreshment. And this accords with the example of Christ
himself, who, parched with thirst on the cross, and having vinegar given
him mixed with gall, said no more, than, “It is finished.” John 19:30.
This was the reason also, that the true penitents under the old law judged
themselves entirely unworthy of any good thing. They put sackcloth on
their bodies, and sat in ashes. They satisfied their hunger with bread
taken from the ashes, and quenched their thirst with water mingled with
tears; as a testimony that they did not deserve any cleaner or better
food, but merited rather to eat and to drink with their food, the very
tears that trickled upon it.

6. Now the _cause_ of this great self-abasement, was that profound sense
with which they were affected, that, on account of their sin, they
deserved an eternal curse and condemnation. This consideration lays the
returning sinner very low. He deems himself utterly unworthy even of the
least of the benefits of God. An illustration of this we have in
Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan. When David was raised to the royal
dignity, he called to mind the kindness of his friend Jonathan, who
formerly had delivered him out of the hand of his father Saul; and
commanding search to be made, whether there remained any of Jonathan’s
family, to whom he might make a suitable return of thanks; he at last
found Mephibosheth, a lame and poor man, who, being ordered by David to
eat bread at the king’s table, bowed himself, and exclaimed: “What is thy
servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” 2 Sam.
9:8. This is a pattern, indeed, of a soul truly contrite in spirit and
penitent in heart, and, therefore, sensible of both its own unworthiness,
and of all the mercies bestowed on it by the Lord. And truly we may, with
far greater reason, make use of the same humble speech, whenever the Lord
our God vouchsafes to us, as it were, the food of his own table, and in
the Holy Supper gives us his body and blood to eat and drink.

7. In like manner does the Prodigal Son, after his repentance, express his
sorrowful mind to his Father: “Father,” says he, “I am no more worthy to
be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants.” Luke 15:19. The
woman of Canaan was even content to be called a dog, if she were but
permitted to “eat of the crumbs falling from the master’s table.” Matt.
15:27. Peter says to the Lord: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man!”
(Luke 5:8); that is, I am not worthy that thou shouldest have any further
converse with me. And the centurion of Capernaum was of the same mind:
“Lord,” says he, “I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof.”
Matt. 8:8. So also St. Paul professes himself to be “not meet to be called
an apostle” (1 Cor. 15:9): and declares, that he “counted not his life
dear unto him, so that he might finish his course with joy.” Acts 20:24.
This inward sense of self-abasement David expresses when he speaks of
“eating ashes like bread, and mingling his drink with weeping.” If the
heart of a Christian be brought to a sense of this vileness, then it is
truly contrite and humble, and fit to be made a living sacrifice unto the
Lord. Ps. 51:19.

8. A _second_ property of true repentance, is, _to grieve at nothing so
much as at the offences offered to God himself_. This is intimated in
these words: “Because of thine indignation and thy wrath, for thou hast
lifted me up, and cast me down.” That is, Of all my other miseries and
griefs, the greatest and most insupportable, is the sense I have of my
having so heinously offended the infinitely good, holy, and righteous God.

9. Since God is nothing but love, grace, righteousness, goodness, and
mercy, yea, the original source of all virtue, He must of necessity be
offended with every sin committed by men; since the nature of sin is
directly opposite to the nature of God. Thus by injustice, the justice of
God is offended, he being justice itself. By lying, the truth of God is
offended, he being truth itself. By hatred the love of God is offended, he
being love itself. In a word, since God is the perfection of all virtue,
goodness, and love, it can be no other than diabolical malice to offend
such infinite goodness, such immense love, nay, _Love_ itself. Had he at
any time injured us, it might be no such great wonder, if we hated him,
and offended him in our turn: but now, that he gives us nothing but what
is good—soul, body, and life itself; that he feeds and clothes us; that he
heals our body when it is sick; yea, pardons our sins when we pour out to
him our souls; is ready to receive us into favor, as often as we return;
now that he has given us his only Son with the Holy Spirit, yea, and
Himself too, and adopted us into the number of his children: and having
done all this for men, to be yet offended, opposed, and hated by them, is
a madness, a malice altogether unaccountable and monstrous. Would it not
be most wicked and impious to kill him who gave thee life; to beat and
wound him, who kindly embraced and cherished thee in his bosom; to insult
and affront him, who heaped honors and dignities upon thee; and to disown
and reject him, who had chosen thee for his son? But all these, and far
greater indignities, thou offerest to thy heavenly Father, to the supreme,
the righteous, the holy God, whom angels adore and fear, and whom seraphim
worship with the acclamations of “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!” Isa. 6:3. And thou, who art but
dust and ashes, art not afraid to offend him! If a penitent man earnestly
calls to mind this monstrous sin, it is impossible but he must be affected
with the keenest sorrow of heart, and feel the smart of his wounded
conscience to equal and even exceed that of a wounded body. And there is
all the reason in the world why it should be so. For hence must
necessarily arise a dread and terror, _inwardly_ threatening the
conscience with wrath and judgment, and _outwardly_ setting before it the
approach of temporal calamities: whence a man, even as Job complains (ch.
6:1, etc.), finds no rest, takes no delight in anything, loathing even his
meat and drink. These terrible pangs of conscience are described by David:
“Thine arrows,” says he, “stick fast in me: and thy hand presseth me
sore.” Ps. 38:2. For as a wound grievously smarts and grows worse whilst
the arrow remains fixed in it; so also it is with the conscience, whilst
the sting of sin and judgment is not taken away. And these lashes and
clamors proceed from nothing but the sentence of divine justice proclaimed
in the conscience, and the terrors of hell and death attending it.
Therefore, David exclaims, “Thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down:”
like one thrown down from a lofty rock into a low valley, who is so
bruised and maimed, that not one sound limb remains.

10. But how terrible soever the fear of the judgments of God may prove to
an awakened conscience, yet is there some ground of comfort; since the
prophet tells us, that these arrows, these threats, these terrors, are the
arrows and terrors of GOD himself. And it is God, who having thereby
wounded and broken the heart, heals and restores it again. It is HE that
killeth, and it is He that maketh alive; He boweth down, and He raiseth
again (Ps. 146:8); He bringeth down to the grave, and He bringeth up
again. 1 Sam. 2:6.

11. Whosoever, therefore, accounts and feels nothing to be more bitter and
grievous, than to have offended _God_, the infinite Good, and Love itself;
he only has experimentally learned the doctrine of contrition, and laid a
firm foundation for sound and genuine godliness. This was one of David’s
acts of repentance: “Against THEE,” says he, “Thee only, have I sinned.”
Ps. 51:4. As if he had said, “This is my anguish and sorrow, that I have
offended THEE.” And Daniel thus expresses himself: “Lord, righteousness
belongeth unto THEE, but unto us, confusion of face,” because we have
offended so righteous a God. Dan. 9:7.

12. The _third_ property of repentance is contained in these words: “My
days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.” That
is, a heart truly penitent, is deeply sensible of its own weakness. It
entirely despairs of its own strength and ability, knowing itself to be as
destitute of life and power, as the very shadow; and as empty of spirit
and moisture, as the grass that fadeth away. The same is affirmed in
another Psalm: “Behold, thou hast made my days as a handbreadth, and mine
age is as nothing before thee: verily, every man at his best state is
altogether vanity.” Ps. 39:5.

13. O! how noble a step would it be toward the attainment of substantial
wisdom, were man but sensible of his own NOTHINGNESS! Man is nothing, as a
shadow is nothing. As a shadow is without life, and without substance of
itself, and vanishes at the departure of the sun; so is the condition of
man, whenever the Lord withdraws the light of life from him! And it is
worthy of observation, that, the nearer the sun is, the less are the
shadows observed to be; and on the contrary, the farther the sun removes
from us, the larger the shadows appear. The same happens to man: the more
of God and his gifts is present with a good man, the less he esteems
himself, the less he boasts of himself, and of what he calls _his_. On the
contrary, the farther a man is removed from God, the greater he is in his
own eyes; the more he is puffed up with his parts and abilities, the more
he extends the bounds of his pride, and the less he knows how to keep
within proper compass. Again, as shadows at the setting of the sun are
greatest, though then just ready to disappear and vanish away; their
greatness being but a forerunner of their approaching end; so it is with
the shadows of this world, and the whole train of vain pomps and
pleasures. They pass away suddenly when we are most lifted up by them. As
the shadows vanish upon the withdrawing of the sun; so when an empty man
becomes great in his own eyes, the divine sun sets upon him unexpectedly,
and he returns to be _nothing_, even when he thought to be _something_.
Moreover, as the shadow has no life of itself, but entirely moves with the
motion of the sun, upon which it depends: so man of his own nature, is
nothing but a body destitute of life and motion; and it is God alone who
is able to put life and motion in it. The shadow of a tall and goodly tree
moves not, except as the tree itself is moved; so man only liveth and
moveth in God (Acts 17:28), of whom he is a shadow and reflected image.
The hour of death will at length fully declare, that man’s “days on the
earth are as a shadow” (1 Chron. 29:15; Job 8:9), as a vain shew or image
(Ps. 39:5); nay, as grass which grows up, but soon withereth when it is
mown down: so fades our life away immediately, when it is cut down by the
fatal scythe of death. Ps. 102:3, 11; Ps. 103:15. Lo! thus are our days
consumed like smoke, and we are “gone like the shadow when it declineth.”
Ps. 109:23.

14. Now when a man by true humility is thoroughly persuaded of all this,
and is convinced that he is nothing in the sight of God but a lifeless
shadow, then, verily, his repentance is unfeigned, and his heart right
before the Lord. And as it is appointed unto all men once to undergo a
natural death, so ought all daily to die unto sin, that they may live unto
God, and depart happily out of this mortal life, when all the shadows
disappear. This daily dying to the world, as it is the best exercise, so
it is also the best preparation for the hour of death; and if we earnestly
practise the former, we shall then be fitted for undergoing the latter.
That which we most frequently practise, becomes most perfect to us.

15. The _fourth_ property of true repentance, is _union with God_, implied
in these words: _But thou, O Lord, shalt endure forever, and thy
remembrance unto all generations._ As if the prophet had said: “Though I
am persuaded, that I am a perishing shadow, and wither like grass (Ps.
102:11), yet I am no less certain, that in _thee_ I shall abide for ever;
for thou thyself art eternal.” As by sin a man is divorced from God, so by
true conversion, he is again united to him. Even as the Person of Christ
is indivisible, and as the eternal Deity united the human nature in Christ
Jesus with itself in so firm a bond, as is not to be dissolved by death
itself (the humanity of Christ remaining in perpetual union with the
Divinity, and with the glory therein residing): so, in the work of true
conversion to God, penitent and believing souls are so closely and
intimately united to God, that neither life nor death can separate them
from him (Rom. 8:38): for “he that is joined to the Lord, is one spirit”
(1 Cor. 6:17), God betrothing us unto himself forever. Hosea 2:19. In a
word, Christ himself is our only Witness; and he is the Book of Life
wherein we are plainly taught, that as his human nature abides eternally
united with the divine, so all believers shall be eternally united with
their Lord and Head, being _one spirit_ with him. Now, as God is eternal,
and Christ eternal; so the promises of God in Christ are also eternal and
inviolable, he having made with us a covenant of everlasting grace. Ps.
111:5. Therefore, though a true Christian be forsaken of the world; be
vexed and tormented by sin, death, hell, and the devil himself; nay,
though even his own flesh and heart fail at last, and be wholly consumed,
yet is God “the strength of his heart, and his portion for ever.” Ps.
73:26.




Chapter XI.


 Showing That The Fruit Of Conversion Is The New Creature; Also, That The
 Christian Is, By Faith, A Lord Over All, And, By Love, A Servant Of All;
             And, That The Life Of Christ Is A Mirror For Us.


    _If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature._—2 COR. 5:17.


All that are in Christ by faith, are “new creatures;” that is, they are
the children of God, are righteous before God, have forgiveness of sin,
and the Holy Ghost; they are partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4),
are heirs of everlasting life, and are liberated in their consciences from
the law, the curse, death, the devil, hell, and damnation. All, whatever
appertains to their salvation, is in them begotten of Christ by grace, and
is conceived by them through faith; hence, neither time nor place, neither
law, nor commandment, nor ceremonies, nor anything whatsoever, can be any
hindrance to them. They are made perfect in Christ, who is now become a
vital principle in them, and they have in him the accomplishment of the
law through faith. Rom. 10:4.

2. Thence the name of a _Christian_ is a higher and more excellent name
than all the names in the world. It is a greater name than is to be found
in palaces and courts, a name above all posts of greatness, above the
whole world, with all that it contains. But, on the other hand, the name
of a Christian is also the lowest name of all the names in the world,
without exception. Thus, in the same degree, faith exalts a Christian
_above all_; love brings down a Christian _under all_. This thou wilt then
best understand, when thou seriously considerest the holy life of Christ;
which is the brightest mirror both of love, and of all other virtues. See
Phil. 2:5-8.

3. Behold how Christ made himself the servant of all! how humble was he in
heart! how meek in spirit! how kind and gracious in words! how benevolent
in his behavior! how merciful towards the poor! how compassionate towards
the distressed! how patient towards his slanderers! how calm in his
answers! how merciful towards sinners! Whom did he ever despise? whom did
he ever revile, being reviled? How condescending was he to the very
meanest! how ready to show acts of grace to all, without distinction! how
heartily did he seek the salvation of all men, praying for his very
enemies and murderers! Luke 23:34. How did he bear our sickness, sorrows,
reproaches, stripes, wounds, and punishments! And indeed, what else is the
life of Christ, but a most accomplished pattern of love, humility,
patience, and all other virtues whatsoever! This we ought to look into,
and to reflect upon it in our hearts; but especially when we are alone.
This is better than all the high boasts of knowledge, and all the art and
wisdom of the world. This life of Christ is like a seal (Cant. 8:6) to be
stamped upon our hearts, and leave there the impression of his image,
life, love, humility, patience, cross, reproach, and death. This would
prove a true celestial light to our hearts, and a powerful means both to
renew us in the inner man, and to transform us more and more into the
divine image. Now as Christ was _under all_ men, yea, under all creatures,
in his state of _humiliation_ in this world; but is now in his state of
_exaltation_, a Lord _over all_: so a Christian is, with reference to his
_faith_, a lord _over all_, nothing being excepted but God; but with
regard to his _life_ and conduct, a servant of servants, being _under all_
persons and things.




Chapter XII.


 Showing That Christ Is The Only Way And End Of True Godliness; And That
         Man Goes Astray, When God Does Not Guide And Direct Him.


    Teach me thy way, O Lord: I will walk in thy truth; unite my heart
    to fear thy name.—PS. 86:11.


This way is Christ. He says, “I am the way.” John 14:6. But thou wilt here
ask, How am I to come to him? The answer is: By _faith_. For _faith_
unites us with Christ; _love_ binds us fast; and _hope_ upholds and
sustains us while we walk in this way; that is, in the life of Christ. Yet
at the same time, faith, hope, and love, all proceed from Christ himself,
and are his work in us. All these graces flow from him, and return to him.
This way goes out from him, and leads back to him again.

2. Faith apprehends the Person of Christ, and his office; Love follows
Christ in his life and conversation; Hope seizes on the glory that is
hereafter to be revealed in Christ. _Faith_ must have no other Christ, no
other Redeemer, no other Saviour, no other Mediator and Way to life, but
JESUS CHRIST only. _Love_ sets before itself the one only life of Christ,
as the most perfect and shining pattern to which to conform itself. _Hope_
looks up steadfastly to Christ, as the glorious Captain of our salvation,
keeping its eye fixed upon his everlasting kingdom above. This, _this_ is
the right _way_; this is the unerring truth, wherein we are to walk; and
this is what is meant by _having the heart united, to fear the Lord’s
name_.

3. These three chief virtues are allied again to three other virtues. The
alliance of faith, is with humility; of love, with patience; and of hope,
with prayer. For he that believeth, humbleth himself; he that loveth, is
patient; and he that hopeth, learns to pray, and boldly to approach the
throne of grace. O how goodly and beautiful is this way! This is the way
of God, the way of salvation, the path to glory, even our great Master’s
way! And may He himself teach us this way of truth, and inspire us with
courage to walk in it! Where this frame of mind is, there the soul is
firmly united to the fear of the Lord; and this is that _one thing_ which
David desired. Ps. 27:4. Such a one is resolved heartily to follow Christ
in his humility and love, meekness and patience, expelling, through the
lowliness of Christ, the venom of pride that lurks within. Consider how
Christ thy Lord was made for thee a despicable worm (Ps. 22:6), and
trampled upon by the basest of men! and by looking to him, learn to
restrain thy haughty temper. In a word, let his humility slay thy _pride_;
and do thou suppress the assaults of _covetousness_, by meditating on the
poverty of Christ. Behold, he had not so much as even where to lay his
head (Matt. 8:20), and how eager art thou to grasp in possession whatever
thy unbounded desires fix themselves upon! Let the spirit of _envy_ die,
by the consideration of the overflowing love of Christ. He hath given thee
life itself, and thou grudgest thy neighbor even a morsel of bread. Let
the thirst for _revenge_ be overcome in thy breast by the meekness of
Christ. Behold! he prayed for his enemies (Luke 23:34); and thou dost not
even pray for thy friends. His face being buffeted and spit upon by
sinners, he quietly endured it; and thou canst hardly endure a severe
look, or an unkind word from thy neighbor! Let the enticements to _lust_
and voluptuousness be beaten down, by the agony and pains which thy Lord
suffered in his holy body. Behold, and see, whether the sorrows of any man
were ever like unto his sorrows! Lam. 1:12. This consideration will prove
a check to the wanton lusts of thy flesh, and a curb to thy thirst after
worldly pleasure. He wore a crown of thorns; and wouldest thou wear one of
gold? He wept for the sins of others; and refusest thou to weep for thine
own? He was a man of sorrows; and shouldest thou wish to be a man of
pleasure?




Chapter XIII.


 Showing That Jesus Christ Is The True Book Of Life, And That His Poverty
              Teaches Us To Despise The Glory Of The World.


    _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.


All who believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, are written “in the book
of life” (Phil. 4:3), or as the Lord expresses it, “in heaven.” Luke
10:20. This shall be made manifest in that great day, when the Lord will
“confess their names before his Father, and before his angels.” Rev. 3:5.
But besides this, the Lord Jesus himself is a most complete Book of a
truly Christian life: he being, as the word and wisdom of the Father, made
man, and come into the world to teach us by his life and death; and by his
conduct and conversation, to set a pattern before us for our imitation.

2. The whole of his life, from his tender infancy to his death, was made
up of nothing but a continual series of crosses and afflictions; insomuch
that he took hardly any step without the inseparable attendance either of
a pressing poverty, or of great contempt, or of most exquisite pains and
sufferings: and into these three heads the entire extent of the life of
Christ may be fitly resolved.

3. The poverty which the Lord endured, may be considered again under a
threefold aspect. In the first place, he was poor in relation to outward
things. This he himself declared: “The foxes,” says he, “have holes, and
the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay
his head.” Matt. 8:20.

4. This indigence in worldly goods was attended by another, which was a
poverty of friends. Nothing was more visible in his birth than meanness
and poverty. He was born at Bethlehem, the least among the cities of
Judah, and of a mother that was destitute of all wealth and worldly
greatness. Luke 2:4, 7. Nor did he ever court the favor and friendship of
the great and wealthy of this world. It is true, that Lazarus of Bethany
was his friend, the Evangelist taking particular notice, that the Lord
_loved him_, and thought him worthy of the title of his _friend_ (John
11:3, 5, 11, 36); but this friendship was not founded on any worldly
advantage which the Lord expected from him, but on that faith, whereby he
was induced to believe, that Jesus was really the true Messiah.

5. The third degree of the Lord’s poverty, was the state of his
humiliation, whereby, laying aside the _form of God, he humbled himself,
and made himself of no reputation_. Phil. 2:6, 7. He thereby entered into
the depth of our misery. He was wearied in the journeys he undertook, when
he “went about doing good” (Acts 10: 38); but particularly, when he healed
multitudes of sick and diseased, that continually crowded to him from all
parts, and surrounded him often to that degree, that he could not so much
as eat bread, and even his very friends thought him beside himself. Mark
3:20, 21. He fulfilled also what was said by the prophet, and is repeated
in the Gospel: “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses”
(Isa. 53:4; Matt. 8:17); never withdrawing from any hardship or
approaching calamity, never shrinking under the burden of poverty, or
cruel mockings, or unjust reproaches, or other evils, though they were
sharp and numerous. And whereas he might have been served by all the
creatures of God, and waited on by legions of angels, yet he dispensed
with all this glory, and did not exert that sovereign power which he
possessed. He suffered his head to be torn by thorns, his hands to be
bound, his sacred body to be scourged, his hands and feet to be nailed to
the cross, his side to be pierced with a spear. All this he freely
allowed, though it was in his power to prevent it, and with one word to
restrain all creatures from inflicting an injury on him.

6. In a word, for our sakes, he made himself subject to all creatures. He
took upon him the form of a servant, that by his lowliness, he might
repair our losses, and reinstate us in that sovereign dominion over all
the creatures, which we had lost. He rose from the dead again, and gained
a perfect conquest at last, thereby to purchase for us an everlasting
victory. He suffered himself to be tempted by the devil (Matt. 4:1, 8),
hurried about by his malice, tormented by his instruments, the Jews,
fastened to the cross by their cruelty; and all this he underwent, in
order to rescue mankind from the power of the devil and all his
subordinate tools and agents.

7. Thus the Strongest became weak; the Almighty infirm; the most Glorious,
became most despicable; the most Beautiful, most abhorred and hated; the
most Exalted, most exposed himself to temptations of all kinds, to
sufferings and difficulties, to pains and hardships. Hereby he designed to
check and put to shame our sinful tenderness and effeminacy. We are, alas!
so tender and delicate that the smallest cross is now complained of as an
insufferable burden, and a little trouble and toil undergone for the sake
of God and our neighbor, seems a sufficient plea why men should start back
into the smooth way, and forsake the Lord; whereas he sends such trials
upon men for the purpose of promoting thereby the recovery of their own
souls, and the glory of his name.

8. Thus the Lord laid aside for a while the form of God. But this was not
all. He did no less lay aside the use of the divine wisdom which resided
in him. His conversation with others was plain and easy; and he behaved
himself like a man _who had not learned letters_, as the Jews expressed
it. John 7:15. He did not assume to himself the wonted formalities of a
great doctor, or of an acute reasoner and disputer. Neither did he act
like men that value themselves on account of their parts, skill, polite
learning, and high descent. Nothing was more visible in his life and
conduct than that quiet serenity of mind which he enjoyed in the midst of
all the storms of the world. This was attended, however, by a divine
power, an unaffected holiness of manners, an unfeigned charity, meekness,
and humility. He made use of plain and easy terms when he “taught the way
of God in truth” (Matt. 22:16); therefore he was despised by the proud
Jews as an unlearned man. Thus the eternal WISDOM of God, speaking through
the prophets of old, was cast aside as folly, and the true light of souls
rejected as deception: all which may serve to instruct us not to overvalue
ourselves upon our parts and abilities; but to consider that they are not
given us for the gratification of pride; and to employ them solely for
advancing the glory of God, and the good of our fellow-creatures.

9. This simplicity of our Lord was manifested herein also, that he made no
display of his glory and majesty. So great was his condescension, that he
freely conversed with sinners. He did eat and drink with them; and this
for no other reason, but to complete thereby the great work for which he
was sent, which was, to “seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke
19:10. It was on this account that he was so grievously defamed with a
multitude of odious names by his enemies, who called him “a gluttonous
man, a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners” (Luke 7:34): and at
another time, they exclaimed against him as a Samaritan, that had a devil.
John 8:48. And, at last, he suffered them to crucify him between two
malefactors, as if he were the greatest criminal, whereas he then bore our
transgressions.

10. Now he might have gained a greater repute than John himself, who,
according to the Lord’s own testimony, was a “burning and a shining
light.” John 5:35. But he readily renounced any such honor, thereby to
give a check to all superficial pretenders to piety, who are too apt to
value themselves on account of an outward show of religion: though those
that busy themselves so much about form and appearance, may have but
little of the life and power of God within them.

11. In short, the Lord forsook all that is lofty and grand in the world.
He was a king, and yet would be subject to kings and magistrates, nay, to
Joseph and his mother, though they were so mean and indigent. “He went
down with them to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.” Luke 2:51. He was
Lord over all, and yet when he came into the world, “He came not to be
ministered unto, but to minister” (Matt. 20:28), clothing himself in the
attire of poverty and meanness. He was the great and wise Prophet, and
chose disciples of the lowest rank, plain and simple people. And when it
was in his power to behave himself as a Lord and Master in the small
company of his followers, yet did he even there divest himself of that
right, being “among them as one that serveth.” Luke 22:27. He assumed no
lordlike air over them, but chose rather to be a master in life and
doctrine, than to have any other distinguishing character of grandeur and
pre-eminence. Thus when he taught the duty of obedience, he showed at the
same time a pattern of obedience in his own conduct. When he endeavored to
instil into his disciples a sense of humility, of patience, of subjection
to their superiors, and of other Christian virtues; he practised them
first himself, that so his own example might have the greater influence
upon the lives of others. Being Head and Master, he thought it becoming
his character to be chief also in bearing affronts, reproaches, injuries,
poverty, misery, and in performing the most humble services, even such as
that of washing his disciples’ feet. John 13:5. Thus he proved a Master,
Head, and Teacher, not in doctrine only; but in life, in example, and
practice.

12. Alas! how great is our folly! Our Head despised worldly honor, and lo!
we are in pursuit of it. He submitted to crosses and trials, and we shrink
back at the sight of them. He became obedient unto death; and we seek
liberty, so that we may follow our own will. But this does not agree with
the example which the Lord has set before us, nor with the spiritual
maxims contained in the Book of Life, which he has left us for imitation.

13. Consider, therefore, O man, whether the way wherein thou walkest
agrees with that excellent way wherein thy Lord and Master walked himself.
If thou despisest the narrow way of Jesus, and followest the way of the
world, then know certainly that thy way, though smooth and pleasing for a
while, will end in utter destruction at last! And thus the first part of
Christ’s life of sorrow and poverty has been described.




Chapter XIV.


Showing How Christ, By The Shame And Contempt Which He Endured, And By His
   Self-Denial, Teaches Us To Despise The Honor And Glory Of The World.


    _He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and
    acquainted with grief._—ISA. 53:3.


The second head of the life of poverty of Christ, is the contempt which he
endured from the world. After thou hast read over and seriously considered
the lesson of _poverty_ exhibited by the Lord, take also a view of the
deep and unaffected _humility_, which was so eminently seen in his whole
life and conduct. Never did he catch at the applause of men; never was he
actuated by ambition, or any thirst after temporal honor and greatness: on
the contrary, whenever men offered to bestow honors and praises upon him,
he refused them, both by word and by deed: never did he accept of any
honor from men; nay, not even when “they would take him by force to make
him a king.” John 6:15. On the other hand, with what inexpressible
humility did he bear all the insults, the reproaches, and calumnies with
which his enemies loaded him? He was execrated as a Samaritan, and his
miracles were maliciously ascribed to the power of Beelzebub. John 8:48;
Matt. 12:24. The sound doctrine which he brought down from heaven, was
denounced as blasphemy; and he who taught it, was everywhere insulted by
foul and uncharitable censures, and such base lies and slanders as the
malice of men could contrive. He was betrayed and sold; he was denied and
buffeted; he was spit upon and crowned with thorns; he was derided and
scourged; he was smitten, and sentenced to death; he was rejected, and
condemned to undergo the ignominious “death of the cross.” Phil. 2:8. He
was forsaken by God and men; and, in fine, being stripped of all, was
executed in the midst of scandalous malefactors, hanging on the tree like
one accursed. Gal. 3:13. He was made the common gazing-stock of all his
enemies, and derided by all. His prayers were turned into ridicule; his
garments were parted by lot; and at the approach of the very pangs of
death, he had nothing wherewith to refresh himself but vinegar mingled
with gall. Matt. 27:34. At last, when all was finished, he expired on the
cross, amid the reproaches, hatred, and indignation of the world; his body
was pierced with a spear, and he made his grave with the wicked. John
19:34; Isa. 53:9. Nay, his enemies continued to fume with rage and malice,
even now when he had given up the ghost; and called him a deceiver. Matt.
27:63. Being risen at last from the dead, and triumphing over his enemies;
they boldly denied the truth of his resurrection. Thus was the Lord, in
the beginning, progress, and end of his ever-blessed life, “despised and
rejected, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”

2. In the course of our Lord’s life, there is not only displayed to us the
abounding treasure of redemption gained by Christ; but it is also most
clearly demonstrated, that in this scene of suffering, he is our great
teacher and master, our prophet and shepherd, our instructor, light, and
constant monitor; that also we, by looking unto him, may learn to despise
earthly pomp and greatness; and by closely adhering to him, like true
members to their head, “grow up into him in all things” (Ephes. 4:15),
being rendered conformable unto his life, “and rooted and grounded in his
love.” Ephes. 3:17.

3. But when our lives are contrary to the life of him who is designed to
be our Head; when in our actions, words, and endeavors, we do not entirely
aim at God’s glory, but our own; it is more than evident, that Christ does
not live in us, but rather the prince of this world. It is then plain,
that we have not yet learned to love Christ, and that we are not yet loose
from the various ties of this world; for “whatsoever is born of God,
overcometh the world” (1 John 5:4); and so of course is not overcome by
it. Nor does such a one any longer love the world; for “if any man love
the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15); and
consequently, that of Christ must be absent likewise. For the whole life
of Christ teaches us how to die unto the world. Consider then the
beginning, together with the progress and conclusion of his life, and
remember the profound HUMILITY with which he bore the contempt and
reproaches of all those that love the world.




Chapter XV.


 Showing How We Should, Through Christ, Bear And Overcome The Trials And
                          Contempt Of The World.


    _Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against
    himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds._—HEB. 12:3.


It is a most moving complaint uttered by the Messiah: “I became a reproach
unto them; when they looked upon me, they shaked their heads. Help me, O
Lord my God; O save me according to thy mercy; that they may know that
this is thy hand; that thou Lord hast done it. Let them curse, but bless
thou; when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice.
Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame; and let them cover themselves
with their own confusion as with a mantle. I will greatly praise the Lord
with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude. For he shall
stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn
his soul.” Ps. 109:25-31.

2. This pathetic complaint of the Lord our Redeemer, every Christian ought
to represent to himself as a mirror, in which to behold the life of Christ
under the cross, together with that of all the saints in general. This way
of the cross has been copiously set forth in the Book of Psalms, in order
to render it the more familiar to us, and to teach us betimes, that “we
must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22.
Such a consideration gives present ease and comfort under the contempt and
reproaches incident to the true followers of Christ, and accustoms them to
a conformity to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29): which as it is one of the
greatest honors our Master bestows on his disciples; so it is by the world
abhorred and loathed, just as a healing medicine is by a distempered and
delicate palate. This conformity is, however, the grand duty of a
Christian, inuring him to bear his Master’s reproach (Heb. 13:13) and
abject image in time, that he may also hereafter bear his glorious image
in eternity. Phil. 3:21.

3. Now, as the 109th Psalm above-mentioned, contains a prayer of Christ
poured out in the midst of his sufferings; so it mentions, in the latter
part, three kinds of trouble more particularly, with which the Lord found
himself oppressed.

4. In the first place, the Lord complaineth of a vehement anxiety of
heart, declared in this manner: “I am poor and needy, and my heart is
wounded within me.” Ver. 22. Behold, what complaints this holy, this
eminent Person is reduced to! And what is the reason of them? Surely, to
acquaint us in the most affectionate terms, with all that he hath suffered
for our sake. He says, “I am poor;” and lo! thou toilest to get estates,
to hoard up riches; and yet when thou hast them, thou art still poor and
discontented in the possession of them. He says, “I am needy;” and thou, O
man, art entirely bent upon thy ease, prosperity, and fulness of bread! He
complains, “my heart is wounded within me;” how unreasonable is it then, O
man! that thou shouldest desire to be humored and gratified in all thy
vain and carnal propensities! Now, if nothing will awaken in thee a love
of the cross of Christ, let at least the consideration of the sacredness
of the afflicted Person, infinitely exalted above thee, work thee into a
ready compliance with his life. Such a consideration will give thee ease
and patience under any grief that may attend thee, and make thee relish
better those pure and untainted pleasures which will succeed the cross.
Therefore, think with thyself in this manner: “I am now put to trouble and
anxiety of heart; but the same befell also my Lord and Master, whose very
soul was surrounded with sorrows so heavy and acute, with pains so great,
that nothing of what I shall ever undergo can equal them.” However, the
Lord, after his sufferings, entered into everlasting joy; after contempt,
into never-fading glory; through death into life; and through hell into
heaven. And thus will it be with the sincere followers of the Lord, to
whom their crosses will prove but as so many advances to a more excellent
glory, and their affliction will be the avenue to everlasting bliss and
happiness.

5. The Lord continues his complaint thus: “I am gone like the shadow when
it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust. My knees are weak
through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness.” Ps. 109:23, 24. A most
expressive description of the common frailty of human nature! What is a
shadow, but a mere nothing, an empty lifeless appearance? To such an
abject lowliness, to such an inconceivable degree of humiliation, the Lord
suffered himself to be reduced whilst he dwelt among us! He who is life
and light itself, and the bottomless fountain of life and happiness, is
exposed to labor and infirmities; and should not men hereby learn so much
humility at least, as to think themselves far more emphatically as
shadows, or as nothing, than the Lord of life himself? At the same time,
it is to be remembered that the Lord here refers to his state of
humiliation alone, for, in his own glory he is our Lord and our life. He
says, “I am tossed up and down as the locust.” The Lord had no settled
habitation upon earth, as men of the world have. He was in a constant
pilgrimage towards that kingdom which cannot be moved. For this reason he
is said to have only _dwelt or tabernacled_ among us (John 1:14), and is
here compared to a locust, which having no abiding place, is fearful, and
tossed to and fro with every wind. Nahum 3:17; Exod. 10:19. And even in
this our blessed Saviour has left us a pattern, to walk as he walked; and
since we have no continuing city here, to seek one to come, which “hath
foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Heb. 11:10. What is farther
added of the weakness of his knees, and the failing of his flesh,
abundantly appeared about the time of his passion, when his “strength was
dried up like a potsherd” (Ps. 22:15); and this may be a monitor to us
under bodily diseases and infirmities. Should we complain of a fit of
sickness, when the Lord of life pined away into weakness, and languished
in misery? What matters it, how languid, weak, and neglected our body be,
if our soul and spiritual life be but vigorous and sound? The soul ought
to “eat that which is good, and delight itself in spiritual fatness” (Isa.
55:2), that so it may grow “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his
might.” Ephes. 6:10.

6. Thirdly, the Lord complains of the great contempt he underwent in this
world, in order to stop us in our pursuit after vain honor, pride, and
self-esteem. “I became,” says he, “a reproach unto them: when they looked
upon me they shaked their heads.” What indignity is there like unto this!
But the Anointed of the Lord endured it all for no other end, than to
rescue mankind from eternal scorn and infamy; for man having become a
scorner and hater of God, Christ was designed to make atonement for so
heinous a sin, by the extreme contempt which he willingly endured.
However, as the Lord by his humble submission to the contempt of the
world, has laid a mighty obligation on all Christians to be his followers
therein; so the considerations here annexed, may be of use for supporting
a man under sufferings of that nature.

7. First consider, that in bearing the contempt of the world, thou bearest
no less than the very image of Christ, and followest him who is thy Head
and Master. Rom. 8:17.

8. (2) To be contemned and disrespectfully used by the world, is of great
efficacy for improving thyself in true humility; a virtue which finds
favor with God. “For God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the
humble.” 1 Peter 5:5.

9. (3) Thy suffering of reproaches for the sake of truth, is an evidence
that thou art ranked with that cloud of witnesses, who in all ages have
been made “as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things,”
and so continue to be esteemed “unto this day.” 1 Cor. 4:13.

10. (4) Remember that those that are come out “of great tribulation, shall
be before the throne of God” at last (Rev. 7:14), and be there “confessed
before the angels of God.” Luke 12:8; 1 Cor. 4:5.

11. (5) Of what consequence is it how contemptuously the world uses thee,
since thou art not to rise in the last day (as many shall), “to shame and
everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2), (the Lord having redeemed thee from
that), but to honor and glory!

12. (6) Remember that God does not withhold his grace from thee in this
world. When the world frowns, God favors. When men withdraw their
kindness, then God confers his mercy. For this purpose the Psalmist prays:
“Help me, O Lord my God: O save me according to thy mercy; that they may
know that this is thy hand, and that thou, Lord, hast done it.” Ps.
109:26, 27. That is to say: As the Lord removed at last his Son from the
cross, from all the labors of his soul, from all the insults of his
enemies, and crowned him with glory in heaven; so will he deal with thee
also, if thou continuest faithful in bearing the cross, and all the
injuries of a profane world. All shall see and shall know, that it is the
Lord’s hand that hath done it.

13. (7) It was God himself who suffered his beloved Son to be thus
contemned, reproached, and reviled, according to the words of the Psalm:
“Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.”
Ps. 69:7. Remember, therefore, that the same God, who gave a bitter cup to
his dear Son, hath also allotted thee thy trials, to humble thee, and to
know what is in thy heart.

14. (8) Be sure that the Lord will change all the undeserved reproaches
thrown upon thee, into so many blessings, and in his own time pour shame
and confusion upon the scoffers. This is expressed in the following verse:
“Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but
let thy servant rejoice.” Ps. 109:28. Nay, if the wicked curse ever so
much, yet “shall the curse causeless never come” (Prov. 26:2), as plainly
appears from Balaam’s attempt, who could not “curse, whom God had not
cursed.” Numb. 23:8. Whereas, whosoever feareth the Lord, it shall go well
with him at the last, and he shall find favor in the day of his death. The
same blessing is bestowed on Abraham, and on all those that walk in the
steps of his faith: “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that
curseth thee.” Gen. 12:3. And in another plac