Acacia John Bunyan - Online Library

Christian Behavior
Being the fruits of true Christianity:
Teaching husbands, wives, parents, children,
masters, servants, etc.,
how to walk so as to please G O D.

With a word of direction to all backsliders.

By J O H N.B U N Y A N.


Written in 1663, while imprisoned in Bedford Prison.
This was John Bunyan's third book during his first incarceration.

Edited by George Offor.

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This valuable practical treatise, was first published as a pocket volume about theyear 1674, soon after the author's final release from his long and dangerous imprisonment.It is evident from the concluding paragraph that he considered his liberty and evenhis life to be still in a very uncertain state; not from the infirmities of age,for he was then in the prime of life; but from the tyranny of the government, andprobably from the effects of his long incarceration in a damp, unhealthy jail. Itis the best and most scriptural guide that has ever appeared to aid us in the performanceof relative duties: written with originality of thought and that peculiar and piousearnestness which so distinguishes all his works.

No one can read this book, without finding in it his own portrait truly and correctlydrawn to the life. Many have been the hearers of the word in its public ministration,who have been astonished that a faithful minister has not only opened their outwardconduct, but the inward recesses of their hearts and have inquired with wonder, 'Wherecould he get such a knowledge of my heart?' The usages and feelings of every partof the human family the rich and poor outward professors or openly profane God fearersor God defiers are displayed in the following pages as accurately as if the authorhad been present in every family upon earth, and had not only witnessed the conductof the happy and of the miserable in every grade; but he goes within and unvailsthat mystery of iniquity the human heart, its secret springs, feelings, and machinations.

What mysterious power could this uneducated man have possessed, thus to dive intothe most subtle of all secret repositories, the human heart! Could he have left hisbody at times and his invisible spirit have entered all chambers, as was said ofan ancient philosopher, [1] still time would have been too short even to have transientlysurveyed outward conduct; and then he could not have entered into the thoughts ofothers. Reader, the fountain of all hidden things was open to him. Shut up for manyyears in prison, with the key in his possession which unlocks all the mysteries ofearth, and heaven, and hell he diligently used his time and all was revealed to him.He makes the source of his knowledge no secret, but invites you to search, as hedid, this storehouse of things new and old. It was the Bible which unfolded to himall the great events of time and of eternity all the secret springs of states, andfamilies, and individuals wonderous book! It made an uneducated artizan wiser thanall the philosophers who have been contented with Plato, Aristotle, Pliny, Plutarch,and the most renowned of human writers. Not only is the real state of human naturerevealed with unerring truth, as suffering under a cruel malady, strangely diversein its operations, but all tending to the downward, dark, dreary road to misery temporaland eternal: but it also displays the antidote; an infallible remedy against allthe subtilties of this tortuous disease. Reader, this treasure is in our hands. Howgreat is the responsibility.

How blessed are those who with earnest prayer for divine illumination, read, ponder,and relying upon the aid of the Holy Spirit, understand and instantly obey the sacredprecepts which its pages unfold. Weigh well their nature and tendency, as Bunyanopens them in this invaluable treatise. They lead step by step from darkness to light.It may be a tempestuous passage in the dim twilight, as it was with him, but it issafe and leads to the fountain of happiness the source of blessedness the presenceand smiles of God and the being conformed to his image. In proportion as we are thustransformed in our minds, we shall be able to fulfil all our duties and behavioras becometh Christians. We dare not seek to avoid these duties because they are fullof anxieties. Blessed are those who know and feel the ties of church fellowship orthe nearer union of husband and wife, that type of the mystical union of Christ andhis church. Happy are those who piously discharge parental and filial duties, thatfigure of the relationship which the Almighty, in infinite condescension, owns betweenhim and his fallen but renewed creatures.

... we are bound, in the expectation of the divine approbation, not to shrink fromduties, but to seek wisdom to fulfil them; and in this little work we have a scripturalguide to which we shall do well to take heed. It is a peculiarly solemn legacy theauthor's ardent desire is thus expressed; 'Before I die [as the greatest of all theduties he had to perform] let me provoke you to faith and holiness.' Be it our dutyand privilege to examine our conduct faithfully by those portions of holy writ, withwhich this treatise is beautifully adorned. It was written in the prospect of sufferingsand death, and yet how serene was his soul. No cloud, no doubts or fears are seen;his legacy to us as well as to those who survived him is, 'Love one another whenI am deceased.' My labours of love to you are limited to this world. 'Though thereI shall rest from my labours, and be in paradise, as through grace, I comfortablybelieve; yet it is not there but here I must do you good.' Consider what he has advanced,and the scriptures by which every sentence is confirmed, and may his concluding andfervent prayer be answered to our souls: 'The Lord give us understanding in all things.Farewell.' GEO. OFFOR.

The Epistle to the Reader

Courteous Reader,
Having formerly writ some small matter touching the doctrine of faith, as justificationby grace through the faith of Christ's blood, &c., I do here, as the second tothat doctrine, present thee with a few lines touching good works, that I might, asat first I showed thee the good and glory of the one, so now show thee the beautyand excellency of the other: for though we are justified freely by grace throughChrist before God (Rom 3:24, &c.); yet we are justified before men by our works(James 2:18): nay, a life of holiness flowing from faith in us that are saved bygrace, it doth justify that grace before the world, that justifies us before God(2 Cor 6:1,3; 9:12,13; 1 Peter 2:11,12).

I have not here only in general treated of this doctrine of good works, but particularly,after some discourse about works flowing from faith, and what makes it truly andgospelly good, I discourse of them as we stand under our several relations in thisworld among men.

As, The duty of the master of a family: Of the husband to his wife; and of hers tohim: Of the duty of parents to their children; and of children to their parents:Of masters also to their servants; and of the servant again to his master: with abrief touch upon good neighbourhood; and a discovery of covetousness, pride, anduncleanness, which are great obstructions to a truly gospel conversation.

I know there are many that have treated of good works in large and learned discourses;but I doubt all have not so gospelized their discourses as becomes them, and as thedoctrine of the grace of God calleth for. However, I thought it my duty to add thisdiscourse to all that are past; and that for these reasons.

1. To take away those aspersions that the adversaries cast upon our doctrine as alsoin the days of Paul that because we preach justification without works of the law;therefore they pretend we plead for looseness of life: 'whose damnation is just'(Rom 3:8).

2. Because, though there be much discourse about works in general, yet a particulardiscourse of them, as before is touched, is too much neglected; and by this meansevery one too much left at uncertainties (as from them) of their several works undertheir particular relations; which I think is one reason of that disorder in familiesand places where God's people live; to their shame, and the dishonour of God.

3. Because these few books that do particularly treat thus of good works, are, Ithink, now so scarce, or so big, that but few have them, and few buy them, if theymay be had, especially our new converts, for whose sakes principally this short discourseis intended; and indeed, this is one reason of my brevity, that the price might neitherbe burdensome, nor the reading long and tedious. Multitude of words drown the memory;and an exhortation in few words may yet be so full, that the reader may find thatin one side of a sheet, which some are forced to hunt for in a whole book. The Lordteach us this wisdom.

4. I have written this book, to show that I bear a fellow-testimony and witness,with all that know God, of the operation that grace hath, and will have, in the heartthat hath savingly received it.

Lastly, I have thus written, because it is amiable and pleasant to God, when Christianskeep their rank, relation, and station, doing all as becometh their quality and calling.When Christians stand every one in their places, and do the work of their relations,[2] then they are like the flowers in the garden, that stand and grow where the gardenerhath planted them, and then they shall both honour the garden in which they are planted,and the gardener that hath so disposed of them. From the hyssop in the wall, to thecedar in Lebanon, their fruit is their glory. [3] And seeing the stock into whichwe are planted, is the fruitfullest stock, the sap conveyed thereout the fruitfullestsap, and the dresser of our souls the wisest husbandman, (John 15:1) how contraryto nature, to example, and expectation, should we be, if we should not be rich ingood works!

Wherefore take heed of being painted fire, wherein is no warmth; and painted flowers,which retain no smell; and of being painted trees, whereon is no fruit. 'Whoso boastethhimself of a false gift, is like clouds and wind without rain' (Prov 25:14). Farewell.

The Lord be with thy spirit, that thou mayest profit for time to come.


Christian Behavior

'That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hopeof eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirmconstantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain goodworks. These things are good and profitable unto men.' Titus 3:7,8.

I shall not at this time discourse of every particular at large included in thesewords; but shall briefly fall upon those things that I judge most necessary for thepeople of God. Neither shall I need to make any great preamble to the words for theirexplication; they themselves being plain, and without that ambiguity that callethfor such a thing; the general scope being this, THAT THEY WHICH HAVE BELIEVED INGOD SHOULD BE CAREFUL TO MAINTAIN GOOD WORKS.

But yet, to prosecute what I intend, with what clearness I may, I shall in a wordor two make way for what is to be the main of this book.
'This is a faithful saying.' This; Which? Why, that which goeth before, namely, 'Thatbeing justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternallife. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly.'

Why so?

Why, 'That they which have believed in God, might be careful to maintain good works.'The meaning is, that the way to provoke others to good works, is constantly in theevidence and demonstration of the spirit to show them the certainty of their [thesebelievers] being by grace made heirs of eternal life.

From this scripture, therefore, I do gather these things observable.

FIRST, That good works do flow from faith. Yea,

SECOND, That every one that believeth should be careful that their works be good.

THIRD, That every believer should not only be careful that their works be good, andfor the present do them, but should also be careful to maintain them; that is, theyshould carefully study to keep in a constant course of good works.

FOURTH, and lastly, That the best way to provoke both ourselves and others to thiswork, it is to be often affirming to others the doctrine of justification by grace,and to believe it ourselves: 'This is a faithful saying, and these things I will,'saith Paul, 'that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God mightbe careful to maintain good works.'

FIRST.I begin with the first. That good works do flow from faith. This is evidentdivers ways.

First, From the impossibility of their flowing from any other thing; they must eitherflow from faith, or not at all: 'For whatsoever is not of faith, is sin' (Rom 14:23).And again, 'Without faith it is impossible to please him' (Heb 11:6). Every man bynature, before faith, is an evil and a corrupt tree; and a corrupt tree cannot bringforth good fruit: 'Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?' (Matt 7:16,17).Now a man is made good by faith, and by that bringeth forth the fruits that are acceptableto God (Heb 11:4; Col 1:4-6).

Wherefore sinners, before faith, are compared to the wilderness, whose fruits arebriars and thorns; and whose hearts are the habitation of dragons; that is, of devils[4] (Isa 35:6,7; Heb 6:7,8).

And hence again it is, that they are said to be Godless, Christless, Spiritless,faithless, hopeless; without the covenant of grace, without strength; enemies intheir minds by wicked works, and possessed by the spirit of wickedness, as a castleby a conqueror (Eph 2:12; Jude 19; 2 Thess 3:2; Col 1:21; Luke 11:21).

Now, these things being thus, it is impossible that all the men under heaven, thatare unconverted, should be able to bring forth one work rightly good; even as impossible,as for all the briars and thorns under heaven to bring forth one cluster of grapes,or one bunch of figs; for indeed they want the qualification. A thorn bringeth notforth figs, because it wanteth the nature of the fig-tree; and so doth the bramblethe nature of the vine. Good works must come from a good heart. Now, this the unbelieverwanteth, because he wanteth faith; for it is that which purifieth the heart (Luke6:45; Acts 15:9). Good works must come from love to the Lord Jesus; but this theunbeliever wanteth also, because he wanteth faith: For faith 'worketh by love,' andby that means doth good (Gal 5:6).

And hence again it is, that though the carnal man doth never so much which he callethgood, yet it is rejected, slighted, and turned as dirt in his face again; his prayersare abominable (Prov 15:8), his ploughing is sin (Prov 21:4), and all his righteousnessas menstruous rags (Isa 64:6).

Thus you see that without faith there are no good works. Now then, to show you thatthey flow from faith: and that, For that FAITH is a principle of life, by which aChristian lives (Gal 2:19,20), a principle of motion, by which it walks towards heavenin the way of holiness (Rom 4:12; 2 Cor 5:7). It is also a principle of strength,by which the soul opposeth its lust, the devil, and this world, and overcomes them.'This is the victory, even our faith' (1 John 5:4,5) Faith, in the heart of a Christian,is like the salt that was thrown into the corrupt fountain, that made the naughtywaters good, and the barren land fruitful (2 Kings 2:19-22). Faith, when it is wroughtin the heart, is like leaven hid in the meal, (Matt 13:33) or like perfume that lightethupon stinking leather, turning the smell of the leather into the savour of the perfume;faith being then planted in the heart, and having its natural inclination to holiness.Hence it is that there followeth an alteration of the life and conversation, andso bringeth forth fruit accordingly. 'A good man out of the good treasure of hisheart bringeth forth that which is good' (Luke 6:45). Which treasure, I say, is thisfaith (James 2:5; 1 Peter 1:7). And therefore it is that faith is called 'the faithaccording to godliness,' (Titus 1:1) and the 'most holy faith' (Jude 20).
Second, Good works must needs flow from faith, or no way; because that alone carriethin it an argument sufficiently prevalent to win upon our natures, to make them complywith holiness.

Faith showeth us that God loveth us, that he forgiveth us our sins, that he accountethus for his children, having freely justified us through the blood of his Son (Rom3:24,25; 4; Heb 11:13; 1 Peter 1:8).

Faith receiveth the promise, embraceth it, and comforteth the soul unspeakably withit. Faith is so great an artist in arguing and reasoning with the soul, that it willbring over the hardest heart that it hath to deal with. It will bring to my remembranceat once, both my vileness against God, and his goodness towards me; it will showme, that though I deserve not to breathe in the air, yet that God will have me anheir of glory.

Now, there is no argument greater than this. This will make a man run through tenthousand difficulties, to answer God, though he never can, for the grace he hathbestowed on him.

Further, FAITH will show me how distinguishingly this love of God hath set itselfupon me; it will show me, that though Esau was Jacob's brother, yet he loved Jacob(Mal 1:2). That though there were thousands more besides me that were as good asme, yet I must be the man that must be chosen.

Now this, I say, is a marvellous argument, and unspeakably prevaileth with the sinner,as saith the apostle: 'For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge,that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all; that theywhich live,' that is, by faith, 'should not henceforth live unto themselves, butunto him which died for them, and rose again' (2 Cor 5:14,15). 'Love,' saith thewise man, 'is strong as death; Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floodsdrown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterlybe contemned' (Song 8:6,7). Oh! when the broken, dying, condemned soul, can but see,by faith, the love of a tender-hearted Saviour, and also see what he underwent todeliver it from under that death, guilt, and hell, that now it feels and fears; whichalso it knoweth it hath most justly and highly deserved; 'Then bless the Lord, Omy soul' (Psa 103:1,2,3); and 'What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits?'(Psa 116:1-14).

Thus is faith a prevailing argument to the sinner, whereby he is fetched off fromwhat he was, and constrained to bend and yield to what before he neither would norcould (1 Cor 2:14; Rom 8:7).

And hence it is, that gospel obedience is called 'the obedience of faith,' as wellas obedience to the faith (Rom 16:26). For it must be by the faith of Christ in myheart, that I submit to the word of faith in the Bible, otherwise all is to no profit:as saith the apostle, 'The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed withfaith in them that heard it' (Heb 4:2). For faith alone can see the reality of whatthe gospel saith; and so I say, argue over the heart to the embracing of it.

Third, Faith is such a grace, as will represent to the soul all things in their propercolours. It doth not, as doth unbelief and ignorance, show us all things out of order;putting darkness for light, and bitter for sweet; but will set every thing in itsproper place before our eyes; God and Christ shall be with it, the chiefest good,the most lovely and amiable; a heavenly life shall be of greater esteem, and moredesirable, than all the treasures of Egypt! Righteousness and sanctification willbe the thing after which it will most vehemently press; because it seeth not onlydeath and damnation as the fruits of sin, but sin also in itself, distinct from thepunishment belonging to it, a detestable, horrible, and odious thing (Heb 11:25-27;Phil 3:7-12; Rom 12:9).

By faith we see that this world hath no abiding in it for us, nor no satisfactionif it were otherwise (Prov 3:35; Heb 11:15,16; 13:14; 1 Cor 7:9-31). And hence itis, that the people of God have groaned to be gone from hence, into a state thatis both sinless and temptationless. And hence it is again that they have run throughso many trials, afflictions, and adversities, even because of that love to holinessof life that faith being in their hearts did prompt them to, by showing them theworth and durableness of that which was good, and the irksomeness and evil of allthings else (2 Cor 5:1-8; Heb 11:33-39).

Fourth, Faith layeth hold of that which is able to help the soul to bring forth goodworks: it layeth hold of, and engageth the strength of Christ, and by that overcomeththat which oppresseth; 'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me'(Phil 4:13).

In a word, a life of holiness and godliness in this world, doth so inseparably followa principle of faith, that it is both monstrous and ridiculous to suppose the contrary.What, shall not he that hath life have motion! (Gal 2:20). He that hath by faithreceived the spirit of holiness, shall not he be holy? (Gal 3:2). and he that iscalled to glory and virtue, shall not he add to his faith virtue? (2 Peter 1:4,5).We are by faith made good trees, and shall not we bring forth good fruit? (Luke 6:43).They that believe are created in Christ Jesus unto good works; and God hath, beforethe world was, ordained that we should walk in them; and shall both our second creation,and God's fore ordination be made frustrate? (Eph 1:4; 2:10). Besides, the childrenof faith are the children of light, and of the day (1 Thess 5:5). Lights upon a hill,and candles on a candlestick, and shall not they shine? They are the salt of theearth, shall not they be seasoning? (Matt 5:13-16).
The believer is the alone man, by whom God showeth to the world the power of hisgrace, the operation of his people's faith, &c. The unbelievers read indeed ofthe power of grace; of the faith, hope, love, joy, peace, and sanctification of theheart of the Christian; but they feel nothing of that sin-killing operation thatis in these things; these are to them as a story of Rome or Spain. Wherefore to showthem in others, what they find not in themselves, God worketh faith, hope, love,&c., in a generation that shall serve him; and by them they shall see what theycannot find in themselves; and by this means they shall be convinced, that thoughsin, and the pleasures of this life, be sweet to them, yet there is a people otherwiseminded; even such a people, that do indeed see the glory of that which others readof, and from that sight take pleasure in those things which they are most averseunto. To this, I say, are Christians called; herein is God glorified; hereby aresinners convinced; and by this the world condemned (1 Thess 4:7; 1 Peter 2:12; 3:1;Heb 11:7).

But if faith doth so naturally cause good works, what then is the reason that God'speople find it so hard a matter to be fruitful in good works?

1. God's people are fruitful in good works according to the proportion of their faith;if they be slender in good works, it is because they are weak in faith. Little faithis like small candles, or weak fire, which though they shine and have heat; yet butdim shining and small heat, when compared with bigger candles and greater fire. Thereason why Sardis had some in it whose works were not perfect before God, it was,because they did not hold fast by faith the word that they had formerly heard andreceived (Rev 3:1-3).

2. There may be a great mistake in our judging of our own fruitfulness. The soulthat indeed is candid and right at heart, is taught by grace to judge itself, thoughfruitful, yet barren upon two accounts. (1.) When it compareth its life to the mercybestowed upon it: for when a soul doth indeed consider the greatness and riches ofthe mercy bestowed upon it, then it must needs cry out, 'O wretched man that I am,'(Rom 7:24) for it seeth itself wonderfully to fall short of a conversation becomingone who hath received so great a benefit. (2.) It may also judge itself barren, becauseit falleth so far short of that it would attain unto, 'it cannot do the thing thatit would' (Gal 5:17).

3. The heart of a Christian is naturally very barren; upon which, though the seedof grace, that is the fruitfullest of all seeds, be sown, yet the heart is naturallysubject to bring forth weeds (Mat 15:19). Now, to have a good crop from such ground,doth argue the fruitfulness of the seed. Wherefore I conclude upon these three things,(1.) That the seed of faith is a very fruitful seed, in that it will be fruitfulin so barren a soil. (2.) That faith is not beholden to the heart, but the heartto it, for all its fruitfulness. (3.) That therefore the way to be a more fruitfulChristian, it is to be stronger in believing.

SECOND Now for the second thing, to wit, That every one that believeth should becareful that their works be good. This followeth from what went just before; to wit,That the heart of a Christian is a heart subject to bring forth weeds.

There is flesh as well as spirit in the best of saints: and as the spirit of gracewill be always putting forth something that is good, so the flesh will be puttingforth continually that which is evil. 'For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,and the Spirit against the flesh' (Gal 5:17).

Now this considered, is the cause why you find so often in the Scriptures so manyitems and cautions to the Christians to look to their lives and conversations. As,'Keep thy heart with all diligence' (Prov 4:23). 'Watch ye, stand fast in the faith,quit you like men, be strong' (1 Cor 16:13). 'Be not deceived; God is not mocked:for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his fleshshall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of theSpirit reap life everlasting' (Gal 6:7,8).

All works are not good that seem to be so. It is one thing for a man's ways to beright in his own eye, and another for them to be right in God's. Often 'that whichis highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God' (Prov 30:12; Luke16:15).

Seeing corruption is not yet out of our natures, there is a proneness in us to build[even] upon the right foundation, wood, hay, and stubble, instead of gold and silver,and precious stones (1 Cor 3:11-15). How was both David the king, Nathan the prophet,and Uzza the priest, deceived, touching good works! (1 Chron 17:1-4; 13:9-11). Peteralso, in both his defending his Master in the garden, and in dissuading of him fromhis sufferings, though both out of love and affection to his Master, was deceivedtouching good works. (Matt 16:22,23; John 18:10,11). Many have miscarried both asto doctrine, worship, and the prosecution of each.

First, For doctrine. Christ tells the Jews, that they taught for the doctrines ofGod the doctrines and traditions of men (Matt 15:9; Mark 7:7). As also, saith theapostle, They teach 'things they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake' (Titus 1:11).

Second, Also touching worship, we find how frequently men have mistaken, both fortime, place, and matter, with which they worshipped.

1. For time. It hath been that which man hath devised, not which God hath commanded(1 Kings 12:32). They 'change the ordinance,' saith Isaiah, 24:5. They change God's'judgments into wickedness,' saith Ezekiel 5:6.

2. For place. When they should have worshipped at Jerusalem, they worshipped at Bethel,at Gilgal and Dan, in gardens, under poplars and elms. (1 Kings 12:26-30; Hosea 4:13-15;Isa 65:2-5).

3. For the matter with which they worshipped. Instead of bringing according to thecommandment, they brought the lame, the torn, and the sick; they would sanctify themselvesin gardens, with swine's flesh and mice, when they should have done it at Jerusalem,with bullocks and lambs (Isa 66:17).

Third, Again, touching men's prosecuting their zeal for their worship, &c., thatthey do think right; how hot hath it been, though with no reason at all? Nebuchadnezzarwill have his fiery furnace, and Darius his lions' den for Nonconformists (Dan 3:6;6:7, &c.) Again, they have persecuted men even to strange cities; have laid trapsand snares in every corner, to entrap and to entangle their words; and if they couldat any time but kill the persons that dissented from them, they would think theydid God good service (Acts 26:11; Luke 11:53,54; John 19:1,2). But what need we lookso far from home, were it not that I would seal my sayings with truth. We need lookno farther to affirm this position, than to the Papists and their companions. Howmany have they in all ages hanged, burned, starved, drowned, racked, dismembered,and murdered, both openly and in secret? and all under a pretence of God, his worship,and good works. [5] Thus you see how wise men and fools, saints and sinners, Christiansand heathens, have erred in the business of good works; wherefore every one shouldbe careful to see that their works BE good.

Now, then, to prevent, if God will, miscarriage in this matter, I shall propoundunto you what it is for a work to be rightly good. First, A good work must have theword for its authority. Second, It must, as afore was said, flow from faith. Third,It must be both rightly timed and rightly placed. Fourth, It must be done willingly,cheerfully, &c.

First, It must have the word for its authority. Zeal without knowledge is like amettled horse without eyes, or like a sword in a madman's hand; and there is no knowledgewhere there is not the word: for if they reject the word of the Lord, and act notby that, 'what wisdom is in them?' saith the prophet (Jer 8:9; Isa 8:20). Whereforesee thou have the word for what thou dost.

Second, As there must be the word for the authorising of what thou dost, so theremust be faith, from which it must flow, as I showed you before: 'for whatsoever isnot of faith is sin;' and 'without faith it is impossible to please God.' Now, Isay, without the word there is no faith, (Rom 10:17, as without faith there is nogood, let men's pretences be what they will.

Third, As it must have these two aforenamed, so also it must have, 1. Right time;and, 2. Right place.

1. It must be rightly timed. Every work is not to be done at the same time; everytime not being convenient for such a work; There is a time for all things, and everything is beautiful in its time (Eccl 3:11). There is a time to pray, a time to hear,a time to read, a time to confer, a time to meditate, a time to do, and a time tosuffer. Now, to be hearing when we should be preaching and doing, that is, yieldingactive obedience to that under which we ought to suffer, is not good. Christ wasvery wary, that both his doings and sufferings were rightly timed (John 2:3,4; 13:1,2).And herein we ought to follow his steps. To be at plough in the field, when I shouldbe hearing the word, is not good; and to be talking abroad, when I should be instructingmy family at home, is as bad: 'Whoso keepeth the commandment, shall feel no evilthing: 'and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment' (Eccl 8:5). Goodthings mistimed, are fruitless, unprofitable, and vain.

2. As things must have their right time, so they must be rightly placed; for themisplacing of any work is as bad as the mistiming of it. When I say, things, if good,must be rightly placed, I mean, we should not give to any work more than the wordof God alloweth it, neither should we give it less. Mint, anise, and cummin, arenot so weighty matters as faith and the love of God; as in (Matt 23:23). For a pastorto be exercising the office of a deacon, instead of the office of a pastor, it ismisplacing of works (Acts 6:2). For Martha to be making outward provision for Christ,when she should have sat at his feet to hear his word, was the misplacing a work;and for her sister to have done it at her request though the thing in itself wasgood had been her sin also (Luke 10:39-42). Now, to prevent the misplacing of goodworks,

(1.) They misplace them that set them in the room of Christ (Rom 10: 1-3).

(2.) They also misplace them that make them copartners with him (Rom 9:31,32; Acts15:1). This is setting up our post by God's posts, and man's righteousness by therighteousness of Christ (Eze 43:7,8). These are said to be teachers of the law, notknowing what they say, nor whereof they affirm (1 Tim 1:7).

(3.) They also misplace works, who ascribe to a work of less moment that honour thatbelongeth to a work more noble. And such are (a) Those who count the ceremonial partof an ordinance as good as the doctrine and signification of it. [6] (b) Such whoaccount the dictates and impulses of a mere natural conscience, as good, as high,and divine, as the leadings and movings of the Spirit of Christ. (c) Those also whocount it enough to do something of what God hath commanded, and that something, possiblythe least, instead of all, and the things more necessary and weighty. (d) They alsomuch misplace them, who count things indifferent as high as those that are absolutelynecessary in the worship of God. (e) But the grosser, who place men's traditionsabove them. (f) And they greatest of all, who put bitter for sweet, and darknessfor light. All these things we must shun and avoid, as things absolutely obstructiveto good works.

Wherefore touching good works; obedience is better than sacrifice; that is, to dothings according to the word of God, is better than to do them according to my fancyand conceit (1 Sam 15:22). 'Wherefore, let all things be done decently and in order'(1 Cor 14:40).

Fourth, Again, as good works should be ordered and qualified, as before is touched,so they should be done from the heart, willingly, cheerfully, with simplicity andcharity, according to what a man hath (1 John 5:3; 2 Cor 9:7; Rom 12:8; Col 3:12;1 Cor 10:24; 2 Cor 8:12).

Farther, there are three things that a man should have in his eye in every work hedoth. 1. The honour of God (1 Cor 6:20). 2. The edification of his neighbour (1 Cor14:26). 3. The expediency or inexpediency of what I am to do (1 Cor 6:12). And alwaysobserve it, that the honour of God is wrapped up in the edification of thy neighbour;and the edification of thy neighbour in the expediency of what thou dost.

Again, if thou wouldst walk to the edification of thy neighbour, and so to God'shonour, in the midst of thy observers, beware,

1st. That thou in thy words and carriages dost so demean thyself, that Christ inhis precious benefits may be with clearness spoken forth by thee; and take heed,that thou dost not enter into doubtful points with them that are weak (Rom 15:1).But deal chiefly, lovingly, and wisely, with their consciences about those mattersthat tend to their establishment in the faith of their justification, and deliverancefrom death and hell. 'Comfort the feeble-minded,' confirm the weak (1 Thess 5:14).

2ndly. If thou be stronger than thy brother, take heed that thou do not that beforehim, that may offend his weak conscience; I mean, things that in themselves may belawful. All that is lawful is not expedient; all that is lawful edifieth not (1 Cor6:12). Wherefore here is thy wisdom and love, that thou in some things deny thyselffor thy brother's sake. 'I will eat no flesh while the world standeth,' saith Paul,'lest I make my brother to offend' (1 Cor 8:13). Wherefore have this faith to thyselfbefore God (Rom 14:22). But if thou walk otherwise, know, thou walkest not charitably,and so not to edification, and so not to Christ's honour, but dost sin against Christ,and wound thy weak brother, for whom Christ died (Rom 14:15; 1 Cor 8:12). But I say,all this while keep thy eye upon the word; take heed of going contrary to that underany pretence whatever; for without the word, there is nothing to God's glory, northy brother's edification. Wherefore, walk 'wisely in a perfect way' (Psa 101:2,3).

Having thus, in few words, showed you what are works rightly good, I beseech youin the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you put yourselves into a conscientiousperformance of them, that you may, while you live here, be vessels of honour, andfit for the master's use, and prepared to every good work (1 Tim 6:18). Study toapprove things that are excellent, 'that you may be sincere, and without offence,until the day of Christ' (Phil 1:10). Covet communion with God: 'covet earnestlythe best gifts' (1 Cor 12:31). Ah! we that are redeemed from among men (Rev 14:4),and that rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Rom 5:2), we that look, I say,for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our SaviourJesus Christ (Titus 2:13), 'what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversationand godliness' (2 Peter 3:11).

To conclude, for your farther edification, take a plain rehearsal of your severalgeneral duties and works, to which God engageth you in his word, according to yourplaces, callings, and relations in this world;

If thou have under thee a family, then thou art to consider the several relationsthou standest under; and art to know, that thou in each of them hast a work to dofor God, and that he expecteth thy faithful deportment under every one of them. As,in general;

He that is the master of a family, he hath, as under that relation, a work to dofor God; to wit, the right governing of his own family. And his work is twofold.First, Touching the spiritual state thereof. Second, Touching the outward state thereof.

First, As touching the spiritual state of his family; he ought to be very diligentand circumspect, doing his utmost endeavour both to increase faith where it is begun,and to begin it where it is not. Wherefore, to this end, he ought diligently andfrequently to lay before his household such things of God, out of his word, as aresuitable for each particular. And let no man question his rule in the word of Godfor such a practice; for if the thing itself were but of good report, and a thingtending to civil honesty, it is within the compass and bounds even of nature itself,and ought to be done; much more things of a higher nature; besides, the apostle exhortsus to 'Whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, pure, lovely, andof good report, to think of them,' that is, to be mindful to do them (Phil 4:8).But to be conversant in this godly exercise in our family, is very worthy of praise,and doth much become all Christians. This is one of the things for which God so highlycommended his servant Abraham, and that with which his heart was so much affected.I know Abraham, saith God, 'I know him' to be a good man in very deed, for 'he willcommand his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way ofthe Lord' (Gen 18:19). This was a thing also which good Joshua designed should behis practice as long as he had a breathing time in this world. 'As for me,' saithhe, I 'and my household, we will serve the Lord' (Josh 24:15).

Further, we find also in the New Testament, that they are looked upon as Christiansof an inferior rank that have not a due regard to this duty; yea, so inferior asnot fit to be chosen to any office in the church of God. A [bishop or] pastor mustbe one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with allgravity; For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take careof the church of God? 'The deacon' also, saith he, must 'be the husband of one wife,ruling their children, and their own house well' (1 Tim 3). Mark a little, the apostleseems to lay down thus much, that a man that governs his family well, hath one qualificationbelonging to a pastor or deacon in the house of God, for he that knoweth not howto rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? which thing considered,it giveth us light into the work of the master of a family, touching the governingof his house.

1. A pastor must be sound and uncorrupt in his doctrine; and indeed so must the masterof a family (Titus 1:9; Eph 6:4).

2. A pastor should be apt to teach, to reprove, and to exhort; and so should themaster of a family (1 Tim 3:2; Deut 6:7).

3. A pastor must himself be exemplary in faith and holiness; and so also should themaster of a family (1 Tim 3:2-4; 4:12). 'I,' saith David, 'will behave myself ina perfect way; I will walk in,' or before, 'my house with a perfect heart' (Psa 101:2).

4. The pastor is for getting the church together; and when they are so come together,then to pray among them, and to preach unto them. This is also commendable in Christianmasters of families.

But my family is ungodly and unruly, touching all that is good. What shall I do?

1. Though this be true, yet thou must rule them, and not they thee! Thou are setover them of God, and thou art to use the authority which God hath given thee, bothto rebuke their vice, and to show them the evil of their rebelling against the Lord.This did Eli, though not enough; and thus did David (1 Sam 2:24, 25; 1 Chron 28:9).Also, thou must tell them how sad thy state was when thou wast in their condition,and so labour to recover them out of the snare of the devil (Mark 5:19).

2. Thou oughtest also to labour to draw them forth to God's public worship, if peradventureGod may convert their souls. Saith Jacob to his household, and to all that were abouthim, 'Let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God,who answered me in the day of my distress' (Gen 35:3). Hannah would carry Samuelto Shiloh, that he might abide with God for ever (1 Sam 1:22). Indeed a soul rightlytouched, will labour to draw, not only their families, but a whole city after JesusChrist (John 4:28-30).

3. If they are obstinate, and will not go forth with thee, then do thou get godlyand sound men to thy house, and there let the word of God be preached, when thouhast, as Cornelius, gathered thy family and friends together (Acts 10).

You know that the jailor, Lydia, Crispus, Gaius, Stephanus, and others, had not onlythemselves, but their families, made gracious by the word preached, and that someof them, if not all, by the word preached in their houses (Acts 16:14-34; 18:7, 8;1 Cor 1:16). And this, for ought I know, might be one reason among many, why theapostles taught in their day, not only publicly, but from house to house; I say,that they might, if possible, bring in those in some family, which yet remained unconverted,and in their sins (Acts 10:24; 20:20, 21). For some, you know how usual it was inthe day of Christ, to invite him to their houses, if they had any afflicted, thateither would not or could not come unto him (Luke 7:2, 3; 8:41). If this be the waywith those that have outward diseases in their families, how much more then, wherethere are souls that have need of Christ, to save them from death and eternal damnation!

4. Take heed that thou do not neglect family duties among them thyself; as, readingthe word and prayer; if thou hast one in thy family that is gracious, take encouragement;nay, if thou art alone, yet know that thou hast both liberty to go to God throughChrist, and also art at that time in a capacity of having the universal church joinwith thee for the whole number of those that shall be saved.

5. Take heed that thou suffer not any ungodly, profane, or heretical books, or discoursein thy house. 'Evil communications corrupt good manners' (1 Cor 15:33). I mean suchprofane or heretical books, &c., as either tend to provoke to looseness of life,or such as do oppose the fundamentals of the gospel. I know that Christians mustbe allowed their liberty as to things indifferent; but for those things that strikeeither at faith or holiness, they ought to be abandoned by all Christians, and especiallyby the pastors of churches, and masters of families; which practice was figured outby Jacob's commanding his house, and all that was with him, to put away the strangegods from among them, and to change their garments (Gen 35:2). All those in the Actsset a good example for this, who took their curious books and burned them beforeall men, though they were worth fifty thousand pieces of silver (Acts 19:18, 19).The neglect of this fourth particular hath occasioned ruin in many families, bothamong children and servants. It is easier for vain talkers, and their deceivableworks, to subvert whole households, than many are aware of (Titus 1:10, 11). Thusmuch touching the spiritual state of thy household. And now to its outward.

Second, Touching the outward state of thy family, thou art to consider these threethings.

1. That it lieth upon thee to care for them that they have a convenient livelihood.'If any man provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, hehath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel' (1 Tim 5:8). But mark, whenthe Word saith, thou art to provide for thy house, it giveth thee no license to distractingcarefulness; neither doth it allow thee to strive to grasp the world in thy heart,or coffers, nor to take care for years or days to come, but so to provide for them,that they may have food and raiment; and if either they or thou be not content withthat, you launch out beyond the rule of God (1 Tim 6:8; Matt 6:34). This is to labour,that you may have wherewith 'to maintain good works for necessary uses' (Titus 3:14).And never object, that unless you reach farther, it will never do; for that is butunbelief. The word saith, 'That God feedeth ravens, careth for sparrows, and clotheththe grass;' in which three, to feed, clothe, and care for, is as much as heart canwish (Luke 12:6-28).

2. Therefore though thou shouldest provide for thy family; yet let all thy labourbe mixed with moderation; 'Let your moderation be known unto all men' (Phil 4:5).Take heed of driving so hard after this world, as to hinder thyself and family fromthose duties towards God, which thou art by grace obliged to; as private prayer,reading the scriptures, and Christian conference. It is a base thing for men so tospend themselves and families after this world, as that they disengage their heartto God's worship. Christians, 'The time is short: it remaineth that both they thathave wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not;and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that use this world,as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away' (1 Cor 7:29-31). ManyChristians live and do in this world, as if religion were but a by-business, andthis world the one thing necessary; when indeed all the things of this world arebut things by the by; and religion only the one thing needful (Luke 10:40-42).

3. If thou wouldst be such a master of a family as becomes thee, thou must see thatthere be that Christian harmony among those under thee, as becomes that house whereone ruleth that feareth God.

(1.) Thou must look that thy children and servants be under subjection to the wordof God; for though it is of God only to rule the heart, yet he expecteth that thoushouldest rule their outward man; which if thou dost not, he may in a short timecut off all they stock, [even every male] (1 Sam 3:11-14). See therefore that thoukeep them temperate in all things, in apparel, in language, that they be not gluttons,nor drunkards; not suffering either thy children vainly to domineer over thy servants,nor they again to carry themselves foolishly towards each other.

(2.) Learn to distinguish between that injury that in thy family is done to thee,and that which is done to God; and though thou oughtest to be very zealous for theLord, and to bear nothing that is open transgression to him; yet here will be thywisdom, to pass by personal injuries, and to bury them in oblivion: 'Love coveretha multitude of sins.' Be not then like those that will rage and stare like madmen,when they are injured; and yet either laugh, or at least not soberly rebuke, andwarn, when God is dishonoured.
'Rule thy own house well, having thy children with others in thy family in subjection,with all gravity' (1 Tim 3:4). Solomon was so excellent sometimes this way, thathe made the eyes of his beholders to dazzle (2 Chron 9:3, 4). [7] But to break offfrom this general, and to come to particulars.


Hast thou a wife? Thou must consider how thou oughtest to behave thyself under thatrelation: and to do this aright, thou must consider the condition of thy wife, whethershe be one that indeed believeth or not. First, If she believeth, then,

1. Thou art engaged to bless God for her: 'For her price is far above rubies, andshe is the gift of God unto thee, and is for thy adorning and glory' (Prov 12:4;31:10; 1 Cor 11:7). 'Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareththe Lord, she shall be praised' (Prov 31:30).

2. Thou oughtest to love her, under a double consideration: (1.) As she is thy fleshand thy bone: 'For no man ever yet hated his own flesh' (Eph 5:29). (2.) As she istogether with thee an heir of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7). This, I say, shouldengage thee to love her with Christian love; to love her, as believing you both aredearly beloved of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and as those that must be togetherwith him in eternal happiness.

3. Thou oughtest so to carry thyself to and before her, as doth Christ to and beforehis church; as saith the apostle: So ought men to love their wives, 'even as Christloved the church, and gave himself for it' (Eph 5:25). When husbands behave themselveslike husbands indeed, then will they be not only husbands, but such an ordinanceof God to the wife, as will preach to her the carriage of Christ to his spouse. Thereis a sweet scent wrapped up in the relations of husbands and wives, that believe(Eph 4:32); the wife, I say, signifying the church, and the husband the head andsaviour thereof, 'For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is thehead of the church' (Eph 5:23). and he is the Saviour of the body.

This is one of God's chief ends in instituting marriage, that Christ and his church,under a figure, might be wherever there is a couple that believe through grace. Whereforethat husband that carrieth it undiscreetly towards his wife, he doth not only behavehimself contrary to the rule, but also maketh his wife lose the benefit of such anordinance, and crosseth the mystery of his relation.

Therefore, I say, 'So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He thatloveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishethand cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:' (Eph 5: 8, 29). Christ laid outhis life for his church, covereth her infirmities, communicates to her his wisdom,protecteth her, and helpeth her in her employments in this world; and so ought mento do for their wives. Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter had the art of thus doing,as you may see in the book of Canticles. Wherefore bear with their weaknesses, helptheir infirmities, and honour them as the weaker vessels, and as being of a frailerconstitution (1 Peter 3:7).

In a word, be such a husband to thy believing wife, that she may say, God hath notonly given me a husband, but such a husband as preacheth to me every day the carriageof Christ to his church.

Second, If thy wife be unbelieving or carnal, then thou hast also a duty lying beforethee, which thou art engaged to perform under a double engagement: 1. For that shelieth liable every moment to eternal damnation. 2. That she is thy wife that is inthis evil case.

Oh! how little sense of the worth of souls is there in the heart of some husbands;as is manifest by their unchristian carriage to and before their wives! Now, to qualifythee for a carriage suitable,

1. Labour seriously after a sense of her miserable state, that thy bowels may yearntowards her soul.

2. Beware that she take no occasion from any unseemly carriage of thine, to proceedin evil. And here thou hast need to double thy diligence, for she lieth in thy bosom,and therefore is capable of espying the least miscarriage in thee.

3. If she behave herself unseemly and unruly, as she is subject to do, being Christlessand graceless, then labour thou to overcome her evil with thy goodness, her forwardnesswith thy patience and meekness. It is a shame for thee, who hast another principle,to do as she.

4. Take fit opportunities to convince her. Observe her disposition, and when sheis most likely to bear, then speak to her very heart.

5. When thou speakest, speak to purpose. It is no matter for many words, providedthey be pertinent. Job in a few words answers his wife, and takes her off from herfoolish talking: 'Thou speakest,' saith he, 'as one of the foolish women. What? shallwe receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?' (Job 2:10).

6. Let all be done without rancour, or the least appearance of anger: 'In meeknessinstructing those that oppose themselves, if peradventure they may recover themselvesout of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will' (2 Tim 2:25,26). 'And how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife' (1 Cor 7:16).


If thou are a parent, a father, or a mother, then thou art to consider thy callingunder this relation.

Thy children have souls, and they must be begotten of God as well as of thee, orthey perish. And know also, that unless thou be very circumspect in thy behaviorto and before them, they may perish through thee: the thoughts of which should provokethee, both to instruct, and also to correct them.

First, To instruct them as the scripture saith, and to 'bring them up in the nurtureand admonition of the Lord'; and to do this diligently, 'when thou sittest in thinehouse when thou liest down, and when thou risest up' (Eph 6:4; Deu 6:7).

Now to do this to purpose:

1. Do it in terms and words easy to be understood: affect not high expressions, theywill drown your children. Thus God spake to his children (Hosea 12:10), and Paulto his (1 Cor 3:2).

2. Take heed of filling their heads with whimsies, and unprofitable notions, forthis will sooner learn them to be malapert and proud, than sober and humble. Opentherefore to them the state of man by nature; discourse with them of sin, of death,and hell; of a crucified Saviour, and the promise of life through faith: 'Train upa child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it'(Prov 22:6).

3. There must be much gentleness and patience in all thy instructions, 'lest theybe discouraged' (Col. 3:21). And,

4. Labour to convince them by a conversation answerable, that the things of whichthou instructest them are not fables, but realities; yea, and realities so far abovewhat can be here enjoyed, that all things, were they a thousand times better thanthey are, are not worthy to be compared with the glory and worthiness of these things.[8]

Isaac was so holy before his children, that when Jacob remembered God, he rememberedthat he was 'the Fear of his father Isaac' (Gen 31:53).
Ah! when children can think of their parents, and bless God for that instructionand good they have received from them, this is not only profitable for children,but honourable, and comfortable to parents: 'The father of the righteous shall greatlyrejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him' (Prov 23:24, 25).
Second, The duty of correction.

1. See if fair words will win them from evil. This is God's way with his children(Jer 25:4, 5).

2. Let those words you speak to them in your reproof, be both sober, few, and pertinent,adding always some suitable sentence of the scripture therewith; as, if they lie,then such as (Rev 21:8, 27). If they refuse to hear the word, such as (2 Chron 25:14-16).

3. Look to them, that they be not companions with those that are rude and ungodly;showing with soberness a continual dislike of their naughtiness; often crying outto them, as God did of old unto his, 'Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate'(Jer 44:4).

4. Let all this be mixed with such love, pity, and compunction of spirit, that ifpossible they may be convinced you dislike not their persons, but their sins. Thisis God's way (Psa 99:8).

5. Be often endeavouring to fasten on their consciences the day of their death, andjudgment to come. Thus also God deals with his (Deu 32:29).

6. If thou art driven to the rod, then strike advisedly in cool blood, and soberlyshow them, (1.) their fault; (2.) how much it is against thy heart thus to deal withthem; (3.) and that what thou dost, thou dost in conscience to God, and love to theirsouls; (4.) and tell them, that if fair means would have done, none of this severityshould have been. This, I have proved it, will be a means to afflict their heartsas well as their bodies; and it being the way that God deals with his, it is themost likely to accomplish its end.

7. Follow all this with prayer to God for them, and leave the issue to him: 'Foolishnessis bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far fromhim' (Prov 22:15).

Lastly, Observe these cautions,

1. Take heed that the misdeeds for which thou correctest thy children be not learnedthem by thee. Many children learn that wickedness of their parents for which theybeat and chastise them.

2. Take heed thou smile not upon them, to encourage them in small faults, lest thatthy carriage to them be an encouragement to them to commit greater.

3. Take heed thou use not unsavoury and unseemly words in thy chastising of them,as railing, miscalling, and the like: this is devilish.

4. Take heed thou do not use them to many chiding words and threatenings, mixed withlightness and laughter; this will harden. Speak not much, nor often, but pertinentto them with all gravity. [9]


Masters also have a work to do as they stand related to their servants. And,

First, If possibly they can, to get them that fear God: 'He that worketh deceit,'saith David, 'shall not dwell within my house; he that telleth lies, shall not tarryin my sight' (Psa 101:7).

Second, But if none at the present but unbelievers can be got to do thy labour, then,

1. Know that it is thy duty so to behave thyself to thy servant, that thy servicemay not only be for thy good, but for the good of thy servant, and that both in bodyand soul. Wherefore deal with him, as to admonition, as with thy children; givenhim the same bread of God thou givest to them; and who knows, but that if thou withspiritual delicates bringest up thy servant, but he may become thy spiritual sonin the end (Prov 29:21).

2. Take heed thou do not turn thy servants into slaves, by overcharging them in thywork, through thy greediness. To make men serve with rigour, is more like to Israel'senemies than Christian masters (Exo 1:14). [10]

3. Take heed thou carry not thyself to thy servant as he of whom it is said, 'Heis such a man of Belial, that his servants could not speak to him.' (1 Sam 25:14-17).

And the apostle bids you forbear to threaten them, because you also have a Masterin heaven (Eph 6:9). As who should say, Your servants cannot be guilty of so manymiscarriages against you, as you are guilty of against Christ. Wherefore do with,and to your servants, as you would have your master do with you.

4. Take heed that thou neither circumvent him at his coming in to thy service, norat his going out. Servants, at their going into service, may be beguiled two ways.

(1.) By their masters lying unto them, saying, their work is so small and so easy,when it is indeed, if not too burdensome, yet far beyond what at first was said ofit. This is beguiling of them.

(2.) The other way is, when masters greedily seek to wire-draw their servants tosuch wages as indeed is too little and inconsiderable for such work and labour. Boththese the apostle opposeth, where he saith, 'Masters give unto your servants thatwhich is just,' just labour, and just wages, 'knowing that ye also have a masterin heaven' (Col 4:1).

As servants may be circumvented at their coming into their labour, so also they maybe at their going out: which is done by masters that either change their wages, likeheathenish Laban, (Gen 31:7). or by keeping it back, like those against whom Godwill be a swift witness (Mal 3:5).

5. Take heed that thou make not a gain of thy place, because thou art gracious, orlivest conveniently for the means of grace. [11]

Servants that are truly godly they care not how cheap they serve their masters, providedthey may get into godly families, or where they may be convenient for the word. Butnow, if a master or mistress should take this opportunity to make a prey of theirservants, this is abominable, this is making a gain of godliness, and merchandiseof the things of God, and of the soul of thy brother (1 Tim 6:5).

I have heard some poor servants say, That in some carnal families they have had moreliberty to God's things, and more fairness of dealing, than among professors. Butthis stinketh. And as Jacob said concerning the cruelty of his two sons, so may Isay of such masters, they make religion stink before the inhabitants of the land(Gen 34:30).

In a word, learn of the Lord Jesus to carry yourselves well to your servants, thatyour servants also may learn something of the kindness of Christ by your deportmentto them. Servants are goers as well as comers; take heed that thou give them no occasionto scandal the gospel when they are gone, for what they observed thee unrighteouslyto do when they were with thee. Then masters carry it rightly toward their servants,when they labour both in word and life to convince them that the things of God arethe one thing necessary. That which servants are commanded to do, touching theirfear, their singleness of heart, their doing what they do as to the Lord, and notto men; the master is commanded to do the same things unto them. (Eph 6:6-9).


But passing the master of the family, I shall speak a word or two to those that areunder him.

And, first, to the wife: The wife is bound by the law to her husband, so long asher husband liveth (Rom 7:2). Wherefore she also hath her work and place in the family,as well as the rest.

Now there are these things considerable in the carriage of a wife toward her husband,which she ought conscientiously to observe.

First, That she look upon him as her head and lord. 'The head of the woman is theman' (1 Cor 11:3). And so Sarah called Abraham lord (1 Peter 3:6).

Second, She should therefore be subject to him, as is fit in the Lord. The apostlesaith, 'That the wife should submit herself to her husband, as to the Lord' [12](1 Peter 3:1;Col 3:18; Eph 5:22). I told you before, that if the husband doth walktowards his wife as becomes him, he will therein be such an ordinance of God to her,besides the relation of a husband, that shall preach to her the carriage of Christto his church. And now I say also, that the wife, if she walk with her husband asbecomes her, she shall preach the obedience of the church to her husband. 'Thereforeas the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands ineverything' (Eph 5:24). Now for thy performing of this work, thou must first shunthese evils.

1. The evil of a wandering and a gossiping spirit; this is evil in the church, andis evil also in a wife, who is the figure of a church. Christ loveth to have hisspouse keep at home; that is, to be with him in the faith and practice of his things,not ranging and meddling with the things of Satan; no more should wives be givento wander and gossip abroad. You know that Proverbs 7:11 saith, 'She is loud andstubborn; her feet abide not in her house.' Wives should be about their own husbands'business at home; as the apostle saith, Let them 'be discreet, chaste, keepers athome, good, obedient to their own husbands.' And why? Because otherwise 'the wordof God will be blasphemed' (Titus 2:5).

2. Take heed of an idle, talking, or brangling tongue. This also is odious, eitherin maids or wives, to be like parrots, not bridling their tongue; whereas the wifeshould know, as I said before, that her husband is her lord, and is over her, asChrist is over the church. Do you think it is seemly for the church to parrot itagainst her husband? Is she not to be silent before him, and to look to his laws,rather than her own fictions? Why so, saith the apostle, ought the wife to carryit towards her husband? 'Let the woman,' saith Paul, 'learn in silence with all subjection.But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to bein silence' (1 Tim 2:11, 12). It is an unseemly thing to see a woman so much as oncein all her lifetime to offer to overtop her husband; she ought in everything to bein subjection to him, and to do all she doth, as having her warrant, licence, andauthority from him. And indeed here is her glory, even to be under him, as the churchis under Christ: Now 'she openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is thelaw of kindness' (Prov 31:26).

3. Take heed of affecting immodest apparel, or a wanton gait; this will be evil bothabroad and at home; abroad, it will not only give ill example, but also tend to temptto lust and lasciviousness; and at home it will give an offence to a godly husband,and be cankering to ungodly children, &c. Wherefore, as saith the apostle, Letwomen's apparel be modest, as becometh women professing godliness, with good works,'not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array' (1 Tim 2:9, 10). Andas it is said again, 'Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaitingthe hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel: But let it be thehidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of ameek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after thismanner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves,being in subjection unto their own husbands' (1 Peter 3:3-5).

But yet, do not think that by the subjection I have here mentioned, that I do intendwomen should be their husbands' slaves. Women are their husbands' yoke fellows, theirflesh and their bones; and he is not a man that hateth his own flesh, or that isbitter against it (Eph 5:29). Wherefore, let every man 'love his wife even as himself;and the wife see that she reverence her husband' (Eph 5:33). The wife is master nexther husband, and is to rule all in his absence; [13] yea, in his presence she isto guide the house, to bring up the children, provided she so do it, as the adversaryhave no occasion to speak reproachfully (1 Tim 5:10, 13). 'Who can find a virtuouswoman? for her price is far above rubies. A gracious woman retaineth honour:' andguideth her affairs with discretion (Prov 31:10; 11:16; 12:4).

But my husband is an unbeliever; what shall I do?

If so, then what I have said before lieth upon thee with an engagement so much thestronger. For, 1. Thy husband being in this condition, he will be watchful to takethy slips and infirmities, to throw them as dirt in the face of God and thy Saviour.2. He will be apt to make the worst of every one of thy words, carriages, and gestures.3. And all this doth tend to the possessing his heart with more hardness, prejudice,and opposition to his own salvation; wherefore, as Peter saith, 'ye wives, be insubjection to your husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they may also withoutthe word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation,coupled with fear' (1 Peter 3:1, 2). Thy husband's salvation or damnation lieth muchin thy deportment and behaviour before him; wherefore, if there be in thee any fearof God, or love to thy husband, seek, by a carriage full of meekness, modesty, andholiness, and a humble behaviour before him, to win him to the love of his own salvation;and by thus doing, how 'knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband?'(1 Cor 7:16).

But my husband is not only an unbeliever, but one very froward, peevish, and testy,yea, so froward, &c., that I know not how to speak to him, or behave myself beforehim.

Indeed there are some wives in great slavery by reason of their ungodly husbands;and as such should be pitied, and prayed for; so they should be so much the morewatchful and circumspect in all their ways.

1. Therefore be thou very faithful to him in all the things of this life.

2. Bear with patience his unruly and unconverted behaviour; thou art alive, he isdead; thou art principled with grace, he with sin. Now, then, seeing grace is strongerthan sin, and virtue than vice; be not overcome with his vileness, but overcome thatwith thy virtues (Rom 12:21). It is a shame for those that are gracious to be aslavishing in their words, &c., as those that are graceless: They that are 'slowto wrath are of great understanding; but they that are hasty of spirit, exaltethfolly' (Prov 14:29).

3. Thy wisdom, therefore, if at any time thou hast a desire to speak to thy husbandfor his conviction, concerning anything, either good or evil, it is to observe convenienttimes and seasons: There is 'a time to keep silence, and a time to speak' (Eccl 3:7).Now for the right timing thy intentions,

(1.) Consider his disposition; and take him when he is farthest off of those filthypassions that are thy afflictions. Abigail would not speak a word to her churlishhusband till his wine was gone from him, and he in a sober temper (1 Sam 25:36, 37).The want of this observation is the cause why so much is spoken, and so little effected.[14]

(2.) Take him at those times when he hath his heart taken with thee, and when heshoweth tokens of love and delight in thee. Thus did Esther with the king her husband,and prevailed (Ester 5:3, 6; 7:1, 2).

(3.) Observe when convictions seize his conscience, and then follow them with soundand grave sayings of the Scriptures. Somewhat like to this dealt Manoah's wife withher husband (Judg 13:22, 23). Yet then,

(a) Let thy words be few.

(b) And none of them savouring of a lording it over him; but speak thou still asto thy head and lord, by way of entreaty and beseeching.

(c) And that in such a spirit of sympathy, and bowels of affection after his good,that the manner of thy speech and behaviour in speaking may be to him an argumentthat thou speakest in love, as being sensible of his misery, and inflamed in thysoul with desire after his conversion.

(d) And follow thy words and behaviour with prayers to God for his soul.

(e) Still keeping thyself in a holy, chaste, and modest behaviour before him.

But my husband is a sot, a fool, and one that hath not wit enough to follow his outwardemployment in the world.

1. Though all this be true, yet thou must know he is thy head, thy lord, and thyhusband.

2. Therefore thou must take heed of desiring to usurp authority over him. He wasnot made for thee; that is, for thee to have dominion over him, but to be thy husband,and to rule over thee (1 Tim 2:12; 1 Cor 11:3, 8).

3. Wherefore, though in truth thou mayest have more discretion than he, yet thououghtest to know that thou, with all that is thine, is to be used as under thy husband;even 'every thing' (Eph 5:24). Take heed therefore, that what thou dost goes notin thy name, but his; not to thy exaltation, but his; carrying all things so, bythy dexterity and prudence, that not one of thy husband's weaknesses be discoveredto others by thee: 'A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that makethashamed, is as rottenness in his bones.' For then, as the wise man sayeth, 'she willdo him good and not evil, all the days of her life' (Prov 12:4; 31:12).

4. Therefore act, and do still, as being under the power and authority of thy husband.

Now touching thy carriage to thy children and servants. Thou art a parent, and amistress, and so thou oughtest to demean thyself. And besides, seeing the believingwoman is a figure of the church, she ought, as the church, to nourish and instructher children, and servants, as the church, that she may answer in that particularalso; and truly, the wife being always at home, she hath great advantage that way;wherefore do it, and the Lord prosper your proceeding.


There lieth also a duty upon children to their parents, which they are bound bothby the law of God and nature conscientiously to observe: 'Children, obey your parentsin the Lord: for this is right.' And again, 'Children, obey your parents in all things;for this is well pleasing unto the Lord' (Eph 6:1; Col 3:20).

There are these general things in which children should show forth that honour thatis due to their parents from them.

First, They should always count them better than themselves. I observe a vile spiritamong some children, and that is, they are apt to look over their parents, and tohave slighting and scornful thoughts of them. This is worse than heathenish; suchan one hath got just the heart of a dog or a beast, that will bite those that begotthem, and her that brought them forth.

But my father, &c., is now poor, and I am rich, and it will be a disparagement,or at least a hinderance to me, to show that respect to him as otherwise I might.

I tell thee thou arguest like an atheist and a beast, and standest in this full flatagainst the Son of God (Mark 7:9-13). Must a gift, and a little of the glory of thebutterfly, make thee that thou shalt not do for, and honour to, thy father and mother?'A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother' (Prov 15:20).Though thy parents be never so low, and thou thyself never so high, yet he is thyfather, and she thy mother, and they must be in thy eye in great esteem: 'The eyethat mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valleyshall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it' (Prov 30:17).

Second, Thou oughtest to show thy honour to thy parents, by a willingness to helpthem with such necessaries and accommodations which they need. 'If any have childrenor nephews, let them learn to show piety [15] at home, and to requite their parents:'saith Paul, 'for that is good and acceptable before God' (1 Tim 5:4). And this ruleJoseph observed to his poor father, though he himself was next the king in Egypt(Gen 47:12; 41:39-44).
But mark, let them 'requite their parents.' There are three things for which, aslong as thou livest, thou wilt be a debtor to thy parents.

1. For thy being in this world. They are they from whom, immediately under God, thoudidst receive it.

2. For their care to preserve thee when thou wast helpless, and couldst neither carefor, nor regard thyself.

3. For the pains they have taken with thee to bring thee up. Until thou hast childrenof thy own, thou wilt not be sensible of the pains, watchings, fears, sorrow, andaffliction, that they have gone under to bring thee up; and when thou knowest it,thou wilt not easily yield that thou has recompensed them for thy favour to thee.How often have they sustained [thee in] thy hunger, clothed thy nakedness? What carehave they taken that thou mightest have wherewith to live and do well when they weredead and gone? They possibly have spared it from their own belly and back for thee,and have also impoverished themselves, that thou mightest live like a man. [16] Allthese things ought duly, and like a man, to be considered by thee; and care oughtto be taken on thy part to requite them. The Scripture saith so, reason saith so,and there be none but dogs and beasts that deny it. It is the duty of parents tolay up for their children; and the duty of children to requite their parents.

Third, Therefore show, by all humble and son-like carriage, that thou dost to thisday, with thy heart, remember the love of thy parents. Thus much for obedience toparents in general.

Again, if thy parents be godly, and thou wicked, as thou art, if thou hast not asecond work or birth from God upon thee, then thou art to consider, that thou artmore strongly engaged to respect and honour thy parents, not now only as a fatherin the flesh, but as godly parents; thy father and mother are now made of God thyteachers and instructors in the way of righteousness. Wherefore, to allude to thatof Solomon, 'My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thymother; bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck' (Prov6:20, 21).

Now, to provoke thee hereto, consider,

1. That this hath been the practice always of those that are and have been obedientchildren; yea, of Christ himself to Joseph and Mary, though he himself was God blessedfor ever (Luke 2:51).

2. Thou hast also the severe judgments of God upon those that have been disobedient,to awe thee. As, (1.) Ishmael, for but mocking at one good carriage of his fatherand mother, was both thrust out of his father's inheritance and the kingdom of heaven,and that with God's approbation (Gen 21:9-14; Gal 4:30). (2.) Hophni and Phinehas,for refusing the good counsel of their father, provoked the great God to be theirenemy: 'They hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord wouldslay them' (1 Sam 2:23-25). (3.) Absalom was hanged, as I may say, by God himself,for rebelling against his father (2 Sam 18:9).

Besides, little dost thou know how heart-aching a consideration it is to thy parents,when they do but suppose thou mayest be damned! How many prayers, sighs, and tears,are there wrung from their hearts upon this account? Every miscarriage of thine goethto their heart, for fear God should take an occasion thereat to shut thee up in hardnessfor ever. How did Abraham groan for Ishmael? 'O,' saith he, to God, 'that Ishmaelmight live before thee!' (Gen 17:18). How was Isaac and Rebecca grieved for the miscarriageof Esau? (Gen 26:34, 35). And how bitterly did David mourn for his son, who diedin his wickedness? (2 Sam 18:32, 33).

Lastly, And can any imagine, but that all these carriages of thy godly parents, willbe to thee the increase of thy torments in hell, if thou die in thy sins notwithstanding?

Again, if thy parents, and thou also, be godly, how happy a thing is this? How shouldestthou rejoice, that the same faith should dwell both in thy parents and thee? Thyconversion, possibly, is the fruits of thy parents' groans and prayers for thy soul;and they cannot choose but rejoice; do thou rejoice with them. It is true, in thesalvation of a natural son, which is mentioned in the parable: 'This my son was dead,and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry' (Luke15:24). Let therefore the consideration of this, that thy parents have grace, aswell as thee, engage thy heart so much the more to honour, reverence, and obey them.

Thou art better able now to consider the pains and care that thy friends have beenat, both for thy body and soul; wherefore strive to requite them. Thou hast strengthto answer in some measure the command: wherefore do not neglect it. It is a doublesin in a gracious son not to remember the commandment, yea, the first commandmentwith promise (Eph 6:1, 2). Take heed of giving thy sweet parents one snappish word,or one unseemly carriage. Love them because they are thy parents, because they aregodly, and because thou must be in glory with them.

Again, if thou be godly, and thy parents wicked, as often it sadly falls out; then,

1. Let thy bowels yearn towards them; it is thy parents that are going to hell!

2. As I said before to the wife, touching her unbelieving husband, so now I say tothee, Take heed of a parroting tongue: speak to them wisely, meekly, and humbly;do for them faithfully without repining; and bear, with all child-like modesty, theirreproaches, their railing, and evil speaking. Watch fit opportunities to lay theircondition before them. O! how happy a thing would it be, if God should use a childto beget his father to the faith! Then indeed might the father say, With the fruitof my own bowels hath God converted my soul. The Lord, if it be his will, convertour poor parents, that they, with us, may be the children of God. [17]


Servants also, they have a work to do for God, in their place and station among men.

The apostles assert masters under a threefold consideration. First, The believingmaster. Second, The unbelieving master. Third, The froward master.

For all which, servants are furnished with counsel and advice in the word, for thedemeaning of themselves, under each of them.

But before I speak in particular to any of these, I will in general show you theduty of servants.

1. Thou art to look upon thyself as thou art; that is, as a servant, not a child,nor a wife; thou art inferior to these; wherefore count thyself under them, and becontent with that station. 'For three things the earth is disquieted, and for fourwhich it cannot bear.' One is 'a servant when he reigneth' (Prov 30:21, 22). It isout of thy place, either to talk or do, as one that reigneth.

2. Consider, that thou being a servant, what is under thy hand is not thy own butthy master's. Now, because it is not thy own thou oughtest not to dispose of it;but because it is thy master's, thou oughtest to be faithful. Thus it was with Joseph(Gen 39:8, 9). But if thou do otherwise, know that thou shalt receive of God forthe wrong that thou dost; and there is with God 'no respect of persons' (Col 3:25).Wherefore,

3. Touching thy work and employment, thou art to do it as unto the Lord, and notfor man; and, indeed, then servants do their business as becomes them, when theydo all in obedience to the Lord, as knowing that the place in which they now are,it is the place where Christ hath put them, and in which he expecteth they shouldbe faithful. 'Servants,' saith Paul, 'be obedient to them that are your master's,- with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart as unto Christ; not with eye-service,as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart'(Eph 6:5, 6).

Observe a little the word of God to servants. 1. Servants must be obedient; yet,2. Not with that obedience that will serve man only. Servants must have their eyeon the Lord, in the work they do for their masters. 3. That their work in this serviceis the will and ordinance of God. From which I conclude, that thy work in thy placeand station, as thou art a servant, is as really God's ordinance, and as acceptableto him, in its kind, as is preaching, or any other work, for God; and that thou artas sure to receive a reward for thy labour, as he that hangs or is burnt for thegospel.

Wherefore, saith the apostle to servants, 'Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as tothe Lord, and not unto men, knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the rewardof the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ' (Col 3:23, 24).

And now touching the three sorts of masters mentioned before.

First, For the believing master; saith Paul, 'They that have believing masters, letthem not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, becausethey are faithful and beloved, and partakers, with the servants, 'of the' heavenly'benefit' (1 Tim 6:2). Servants, if they have not a care of their hearts, will beso much in the consideration of the relation that is betwixt their masters and they,as brethren, that they will forget the relation that is between them as masters andservants. Now, though they ought to remember the one, yet let them take heed of forgettingthe other. Know thy place, as a servant, while thou considerest that thy master andthee are brethren, and do thy work for him faithfully, humbly, and with meekness,because he is a master faithful and beloved, and partaker of the heavenly benefit.'If any man teach otherwise,' saith the apostle Paul, 'and consent not to wholesomewords, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is accordingto godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions, and strifesof words; whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputingsof men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness:from such withdraw thyself' (1 Tim 6:3- 5).

Second, For the unbelieving masters, for of them Paul speaks in the first verse ofthe 6th of Timothy, 'Let as many servants,' saith he, 'as are under the yoke counttheir own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine benot blasphemed.' Servants living with unbelieving masters, are greatly engaged tobe both watchful, faithful, and trusty. Engaged, I say, 1. From the considerationof the condition of their master; for he being unbelieving, will have an evil eyeupon thee, and upon thy doings, and so much the more because thou professest. Asin the case of Saul and David (1 Sam 18:8, 9 &c). 2. Thou art engaged becauseof the profession thou makest of the word of God; for by thy profession thou dostlay both God and his word before thy master, and he hath no other wit but to blasphemethem, if thou behave thyself unworthily. Wherefore Paul bids Titus 'exhort servantsto be obedient to their own masters, and to please them well in all things, not answeringagain;' not giving parroting answers, or such as are cross or provoking, not purloining,but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviourin all things' (Titus 2:9, 10). That servant, who in an unbeliever's family dothhis work before God, as God's ordinance, he shall adorn the doctrine of God, if notsave his master by so doing; but if he doth otherwise, he shall both stumble theunbeliever, dishonour God, offend the faithful, and bring guilt upon his own soul.

Third, For the froward master, though I distinguish him from the unbeliever, yetit is not because he may not be such, but because every unbeliever doth not properlygo under that name. Now with this froward and peevish fellow, thou art to serve asfaithfully for the time thou standest bound, as with the most pleasant and rationalmaster in the world: 'Servants,' saith Peter, 'be subject to your masters with allfear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward' (1 Peter 2:18). Andif thy peevish master will still be froward, either out of spite to thy religion,or because he is without reason concerning thy labour thou to the utmost of thy powerlabouring faithfully God then reckoneth thee a sufferer for well-doing, as trulyas if thou wert called upon the stage of this world before men, for the matters ofthy faith. Wherefore Peter adds this encouragement to servants, to the exhortationhe gave them before: 'This is thank worthy,' saith he, 'if a man for conscience towardGod endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if when ye be buffetedfor your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if when ye do well, and suffer forit, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God' (1 Peter 2:19, 20). Whereforebe comforted concerning thy condition, with considering that God looks upon thee,as on Jacob in the family of Laban; and will right all thy wrongs, and recompensethee for thy faithful, wise, and godly behaviour, before, and in the service of thyfroward master. Wherefore, be patient, I say, and abound in faithfulness in thy placeand calling, till God make a way for thy escape from this place; and when thou mayestbe made free, use it rather (1 Cor 7:21).


Having thus in few words showed you what is duty under your several relations, Ishall now at last speak, in a word or two, touching good neighbourhood, and thendraw towards a conclusion. Touching neighbourhood, there are these things to be consideredand practised, if thou wilt be found in the practical part of good neighbourhood.

First, Thou must be of a good and sound conversation in thy own family, place, andstation, showing to all, the power that the gospel and the things of another worldhath in thy heart, 'That ye may be blameless, and harmless, the sons of God, withoutrebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lightsin the world' (Phil 2:15, 16).

Second, As persons must be of good behavior at home, that will be good neighbours,so they must be full of courtesy and charity to them that have need about them (Luke10:36, 37). Right good neighbourhood is for men readily to communicate, as of theirspirituals, so of their temporalities, as food, raiment, and help to those that haveneed; to be giving to the poor as thou seest them go by thee, or to inquire aftertheir condition, and according to thy capacity to send unto them (Job 31:15-17, &c).

Third, Thou must be always humble and meek among them, as also grave and gracious;not light and frothy, but by thy words and carriage ministering 'grace to the hearers'(Eph 4:29). Thus also Job honoured God among his neighbours (Job 29:6-12).

Fourth, Thy wisdom will be, rightly to discountenance sin, and to reprove thy neighbourfor the same (Lev 19:17), denying thyself in some things, for the preventing an injuryto thy neighbour, that thou mayest please him for his edification (Rom 15:2).

Fifth, If thou wouldest be a good neighbour, take heed of thy tongue upon two accounts.

1. That thou with it give no offensive language to thy neighbour, to the provokingof him to anger. Bear much, put up wrongs, and say little: 'It is an honour for aman to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling' (Prov 20: 3). And again,'He loveth transgression that loveth strife' (Prov 17:19).

2. And as thou shouldest take heed that thou be not the original of contention andanger, so also take heed that thou be not an instrument to beget it between parties,by tale-bearing and a gossiping spirit: 'He that passeth by, and meddleth with strifebelonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. As coals are toburning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife' (Prov26:17-21). I do observe two things very odious in many professors; the one is a head-strongand stiff-necked spirit, that will have its own way; and the other is, a great dealof tattling and talk about religion, and but a very little, if anything, of thoseChristian deeds that carry in them the cross of a Christian in the doing thereof,and profit to my neighbour.

(1.) When I say a head-strong and stiff-necked spirit, I mean, they are for pleasingthemselves and their own fancies, in things of no weight, though their so doing beas the very slaughter-knife to the weak conscience of a brother or neighbour. Nowthis is base. A Christian, in all such things as intrench not the matters of faithand worship, should be full of self- denial, and seek to please others rather thanthemselves; 'Give none offence - to the Jews, nor to the [18] Greeks, nor to thechurch of God: - not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they maybe saved' (1 Cor 10:32, 33).

(2.) And the second is as bad, to wit, when professors are great prattlers and talkers,and disputers, but do little of anything that bespeaketh love to the poor, or self-denialin outward things. Some people think religion is made up of words; a very wide mistake!Words without deeds is but a half-faced religion: 'Pure religion, and undefiled beforeGod and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,and to keep himself unspotted from the world' (James 1:27). Again, 'If a brotheror sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Departin peace, be warmed and filled,' which are very fine words, yet if you 'give themnot those things that are needful to the body, what doth it profit?' (James 2:15,16).

[Sins which interfere with the duties of Christian Brotherhood and Civil Neighbourhood.]

Now then, before I go any farther, I will here take an occasion to touch a littleupon those sins that are so rife in many professors in this day: and they are, covetousness,pride, and uncleanness. I would speak a word to them in this place, the rather becausethey are they which spoil both Christian brotherhood, and civil neighbourhood, intoo great a measure.


First, For Covetousness.

1. Covetousness; it is all one with desire; he that desires, covets, whether thething he desires be evil or good. Wherefore that which is called coveting, in Exodus20:17, is called desire, in Deuteronomy 5:21. As the apostle also saith, 'I had notknown lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet' (Rom 7:7). That is, Ihad not known lust to be a sin, unless the law had forbid it. Wherefore, though lawfuldesires are good (1 Cor 12:31), and to be commended, yet covetousness, as commonlyunderstood, is to be fled from, and abhorred, as of the devil.

2. Covetousness, or evil desire, it is the first mover, and giveth to every sin itscall, as I may say, both to move and act; as was said before, the apostle had notknown sin, except the law had said, Thou shalt not desire or covet; for where thereis no desire to sin, there appears no sin.

3. Therefore covetousness carrieth in it every sin we speak of sins against the secondtable even as a serpent carrieth her young ones in her belly. This the scriptureaffirms, where it saith, 'Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant,nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's'(Exo 20:17). Covetousness will meddle with anything.

Now, there are in my mind at present these eight notes of covetousness, which hindergood works, and a Christian coversation among men, wherever they are harboured.

(1.) When men, to whom God hath given a comfortable livelihood, are yet not contenttherewith. This is against the apostle, where he saith, 'Let your conversation bewithout covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said,I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee' (Heb 13:5).

(2.) It is covetousness in the seller, that puts him to say of his traffic, it isbetter than it is, that he may heighten the price of it; and covetousness in thebuyer, that prompts him to say worse of a thing than he thinks in his conscienceit is, and that for an abatement of a reasonable price. This is that which the apostleforbids under the name of defraud, 1 Corinthians 6:8, and that which Solomon condemns(Prov 20:14).

(3.) It is through covetousness that men think much of that which goeth beside theirown mouth, though possibly it goeth to those that have more need than themselves,and also that better deserve it than they.

(4.) It argueth covetousness, when men will deprive themselves, and those under them,of the privileges of the gospel, for more of this world; and is condemned by Christ(Luke 14:18-20).

(5.) It argueth covetousness, when men that have it, can go by, or hear of the poor,and shut up their bowels and compassions from them (1 John 3:17).

(6.) Also when men are convinced it is their duty to communicate to such and suchthat have need, yet they defer it, and if not quite forget it, yet linger away thetime, as being loth to distribute to the necessities of those in want. This is forbiddenby the Holy Ghost: 'Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is inthe power of thine hand to do it.' Now, it is due from thee to the poor, by the commandmentof God, if they want, and thou hast it; 'Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and comeagain, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee' (Prov 3:27, 28).

(7.) It argueth a greedy mind also, when, after men have cast in their minds whatto give, they then from that will be pinching and clipping, and taking away; whereasthe Holy Ghost saith, 'Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let himgive, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver' (2 Cor 9:7).

(8.) And lastly, It argueth a filthy greedy heart also, when a man, after he hathdone any good, then in his heart to repent, and secretly wish that he had not sodone, or at least, that he had not done so much: this is to be weary of well-doing;(I speak now of communicating,) and carrieth in it two evils, First, It spoileththe work done. And, secondly, It, if entertained, spoileth the heart for doing anymore so. 'The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said tobe bountiful,' for 'the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shallhe stand' (Isa 32:5, 8).
Now then, to dissuade all from this poisonous sin, observe, that above all sins inthe New Testament, this is called idolatry (Eph 5:5; Col 3:5). And therefore God'speople should be so far from being taken with it, that they should be much afraidof the naming of it one among another, lest it should, as adulterous thoughts, infectthe heart, by the talking of it (Eph 5:3).

But why is covetousness called idolatry?

1. Because it engageth the very heart of man in it, to mind earthly things; it getsour love, which should be set on God; and sets it upon poor empty creatures; it putsour affections out of heaven, where they should be, and sets them on earth, wherethey should not be (Eze 33:31; Phil 3:18, 19; Col 3:1-3). Thus it changeth the objecton which the heart should be set, and setteth it on that on which it should not.It makes a man forsake God, 'the fountain of living waters,' and causeth him to hewto himself 'cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water' (Jer 2:11-13). For,

2. It rejecteth the care, government, and providence of God towards us, and causethus to make of our care and industry a god, to whom, instead of God, we fly continually,both for the keeping what we have and for getting more. This was Israel's idolatryof old, and the original of all her idolatrous practices. 'For their mother hathplayed the harlot,' that is, committed idolatry: 'she that conceived them hath doneshamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that gave me my bread and mywater, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink' (Hosea 2:5).

3. It disalloweth of God's way of disposing his creatures, and would have them orderedand disposed of otherwise than his heavenly wisdom seemeth meet; and hence arisethall discontents about God's dealing with us. Covetousness never yet said, It is theLord, let him do what he pleaseth; but is ever objecting, like a god, against everythingthat goeth against it; and it is that which, like a god, draweth away the heart andsoul from the true God, and his Son Jesus Christ: 'And he went away sorrowful; forhe had great possessions' (Matt 19:16-22). Now then, that which engageth the heart,that rejecteth the providence of God, and that is for ordering and disposing of thingscontrary to God, and for breaking with God upon these terms, is idolatry; and allthese do covetousness. 'The wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth thecovetous, whom the Lord abhorreth' (Psa 10:3). Now the way to remedy this diseaseis, to learn the lesson which Paul had got by heart; to wit, 'In whatsoever stateyou are, therewith to be content' (Phil 4:11).


Second, I come, in the second place, to speak a word of pride, and loftiness of heartand life.

1. Pride, in general, it is that which causeth a man to think of man and his things,above what is written (1 Cor 4:6).

2. It hath its seat in the heart among these enormities, fornications, adulteries,lasciviousness, murders, deceit, &c. (Mark 7:21-23) and showeth itself in thesefollowing particulars.

(1.) When you slight this or that person, though gracious; that is, look over them,and shun them for their poverty in this world, and choose rather to have conversewith others, that possibly are less gracious, because of their greatness in thisworld. This the apostle James writes against, James 2:1-3, under the name of partiality;'for indeed the fruits of a puffed- up heart is to deal in this manner with Christians'(1 Cor 4:6, 7). Now this branch of pride floweth from ignorance of the vanity ofthe creature, and of the worth of a gracious heart; wherefore get more of the knowledgeof these two, and this sprig will be nipped in the head, and you will learn to condescendto men of low degree (Rom 12:16).

(2.) It argues pride of heart, when men will not deny themselves in things that theymay, for the good and profit of their neighbours. And it argueth now, that pridehas got so much up into self-love and self- pleasing, that they little care who theygrieve or offend, so they may have their way (Oba 12-15).

(3.) It argueth pride of heart, when sober reproofs for sin, and unbeseeming carriages,will not down with thee, but that rather thou snuffest, and givest way to thy spiritto be peevish, and to retain prejudice against those that thus reprove thee. Saiththe prophet, 'Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken.' Thatis, hear the reproofs of God for your sins, and break them off by repentance; 'butif ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret for your pride,' &c. (Jer13:15-17). So also in Hosea, 'They will not frame their doings to turn unto theirGod: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not knowthe Lord. And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face' &c. (Hosea 5:4, 5).This argueth great senselessness of God, and a heart greatly out of frame.

(4.) It argueth pride also, when a reproof or admonition will not down as well fromthe poorest saint, as from the greatest doctor; and it argueth a glory in men, 1Corinthians 3:21, and that they would, that their faith should stand in their wisdom,and not 'in the power of God;' that is, of naked truth 1 Corinthians 2:5.

(5.) It argueth pride of heart, when a man that hath this or that in his heart todo, in reference to God, but yet will slight a sober asking counsel and directionof God in this matter: 'The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will notseek after God,' saith David (Psa 10:4).

(6.) It argueth pride of heart, when persons are tickled with thoughts of their ownpraise, that secretly lust after it; that think of themselves and others above whatis written; which those do who do not acknowledge that man in his best estate isaltogether vanity: but such kind of people have forgot the exhortation, 'Be not high-minded,but fear:' (Rom 11:20). And also, That there is a knowledge that puffeth up, andedifieth neither themselves nor others (1 Cor 8:1, 2). Wherefore, to such the apostlesaith, Be 'not desirous of vain-glory,' but in lowliness of mind 'let each esteemothers better than themselves' (Phil 2:3; Gal 5:26).

Pride also there is in outward carriage, behaviour, and gesture, which is odiousfor Christians to be tainted with; and this pride is discovered by mincing words,a made carriage, and an affecting the toys and baubles that Satan, and every lightheadedfool bringeth into the world. As God speaketh of the daughters of Zion, 'they walkwith stretched forth necks, and wanton eyes, mincing as they go, and making a tinklingwith their feet' (Isa 3:16). A very unhandsome carriage for a people that professgodliness, and that use to come before God to confess their sins, and to bemoan themselvesfor what they have done. How can a sense of thy own baseness, of the vileness ofthy heart, and of the holiness of God, stand with such a carriage? Dost thou seethe vileness of thy heart, the fruit of sin? And art thou afflicted with that disagreementthat is between God and thy heart, that layest the reins on the neck of thy lusts,and lettest them run whither they will? Be not deceived, pride ariseth from ignoranceof these things (1 Tim 6:3, 4). A sense of my vileness, of what I have deserved,and of what continually in my heart opposeth God, cannot stand with a foolish, light,and wanton carriage: thou wilt then see there is other things to mind than to imitatethe butterfly. Alas, all these kind of things are but a painting the devil, and asetting a carnal gloss upon a castle of his; thou art but making gay the spider:is thy heart ever the sounder for thy fine gait, they mincing words, and thy loftylooks? Nay, doth not this argue, that thy heart is a rotten, cankered, and besottedheart? Oh! that God would but let thee see a little of thy own inside, as thou hastothers to behold thy outside: thou painted sepulchre, thou whited wall, will thesethings be found virtues in the day of God? Or, is this the way that thou takest tomortify sin? 'An high look, and a proud heart, the plowing of the wicked, is sin'(Prov 21:4). Pride is the ringleader of the seven abominations that the wise mannameth, Proverbs 6:16, 17, and is that above all that causeth to fall into the condemnationof the devil (1 Tim 3:6).


Now I come in the last place to touch a word or two of adultery, and then to drawtowards a conclusion. Adultery, it hath its place in the heart, among the rest ofthose filthinesses I mentioned before (Mark 7:21, 22) of which sin I observe twothings.

1. That almost in every place where the apostle layeth down a catalogue of wickednesses,he layeth down adultery, fornication, and uncleanness in the front; as that in Mark7:21, Romans 1:29, 1 Corinthians 6: 9, Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 5:3, 1 Thessalonians4:3-5, Hebrews 12:16, James 2:11, 1 Peter 2:11, and 2 Peter 2:10. From this I gatherthat the sin of uncleanness is a very predominant and master sin, easy to overtakethe sinner, as being one of the first that is ready to offer itself on all occasionsto break the law of God.

2. I observe that this sin is committed unawares to many, even so soon as a man hathbut looked upon a woman: 'I say unto you,' saith Christ, 'that whosoever lookethon a woman to lust,' or desire, 'after her, he hath committed adultery with her alreadyin his heart' (Matt 5:28). This sin of uncleanness, I say, is a very taking sin;it is natural above all sins to mankind; as it is most natural, so it wants not temptingoccasions, having objects for to look on in every corner: wherefore there is needof a double and treble watchfulness in the soul against it. It is better here tomake a covenant with our eyes, like Job (Job 31:1) than to let them wander to God'sdishonour, and our own discomfort.

There are these three things which discover a man or woman too much inclining tothe uncleanness of their own hearts.

(1.) The first is a wanton eye, or an eye that doth secretly affect itself with suchobjects as are tickling of the heart with the thoughts of immodesty and uncleanness.Isaiah calls this a wanton eye: and Peter an eye full of adultery, that cannot ceasefrom sin (2 Peter 2:14; Isa 3:16). This is that also which Christ calleth an evileye, and John the lust of the flesh, and of the eyes, and doth defile those who arenot very watchful over their own hearts (Mark 7:22; 1 John 2:16). This wanton eyeis that which the most holy saints should take heed of, because it is apt to seizeupon them also. When Paul bids Timothy beseech the young women to walk as becomesthe gospel, he bids him do it with all purity (1 Tim 5:1, 2). As, who should say,Take heed that while thou instructest them to holiness, thou thyself be not corruptedwith the lust of thy eye. O how many souls, in the day of God, will curse the daythat ever they gave way to a wanton eye!

(2.) The second thing that discovereth one much inclining to the lusts of uncleanness,it is wanton and immodest talk; such as that brazen-faced whore in the 7th of theProverbs had, or such as they in Peter, who allured 'through the lusts of the flesh,through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error'(2 Peter 2:18). 'Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,' whereforeif we be saints, let us take heed, as of our eye, so of our tongue, and let not thelust of uncleanness, or of adultery, be once named among us, 'named among us as becomethsaints' (Eph 5:3). Mark, 'Let it not be once named.' This implies, that the lustsof uncleanness are devilishly taking, they will both take the heart with eyes andtongue: 'Let it not be once named among you,' &c.

(3.) Another thing that bespeaks a man or woman inclining to wantonness and uncleanness,it is an adorning themselves in light and wanton apparel. The attire of an harlotis too frequently in our day the attire of professors; a vile thing, and arguethmuch wantonness and vileness of affections. If those that give way to a wanton eye,wanton words, and immodest apparel, be not whores, &c., in their hearts, I knownot what to say. Doth a wanton eye argue shamefacedness? Doth wanton talk argue chastity?And doth immodest apparel, with stretched-out necks, naked breasts, a made speech,and mincing gaits, &c., argue mortification of lusts? If any say, that thesethings may argue pride as well as carnal lusts; well, but why are they proud? Isit not to trick up the body? And why do they with pride trick up the body, if itbe not to provoke both themselves and others to lusts? God knoweth their hearts withouttheir outsides: and we know their hearts by their outsides.

My friends, I am here treating of good works, and persuading you to fly those thingsthat are hindrances to them: wherefore bear with my plainness when I speak againstsin. I would strike it through with every word, because else it will strike us throughwith many sorrows (1 Tim 6:9, 10). I do not treat of good works as if the doing ofthem would save us, for we are justified by his grace, according to the hope of eternallife; yet our sins and evil works will lay us obnoxious to the judgments both ofGod and man. He that walketh not uprightly, according to the truth of the gospel,is like to have his peace assaulted often, both by the devil, the law, death, andhell; yea, and is like to have God hide his face from him also, for the iniquityof his covetousness (Isa 57:17).

How can he that carrieth himself basely in the sight of men, think he yet well behavethhimself in the sight of God? And if so dim a light as is in man can justly countthee as a transgressor, how shall thy sins be hid from him whose 'eye-lids try thechildren of men?' (Psa 11:4).

It is true, faith without works justifies us before God (Rom 3:28; 4:5): yet thatfaith that is alone, will be found to leave us sinners in the sight both of God andman (James 2:18). And though thou addest nothing to that which saveth thee by whatthou canst do, yet thy righteousness may profit the son of man; as also saith thetext: but if thou shalt be so careless as to say, What care I for being righteousto profit others? I tell thee, that the love of God is not in thee (Job 35:8; 1 John3:17; 1 Cor 13:1-3). Walk therefore in God's ways, and do them, for this is yourwisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear of allthese statutes, and say, 'This great nation is a wise and understanding people' (Deu4:6).

THIRD. Observe. Every believer should not only take heed that his works be good,and so for the present do them, but should carefully study to maintain them; thatis, to keep in a continual exercise of them.

It is an easier matter to begin to do good, than it is to continue therein; and thereason is, there is not so much of a Christian's cross in the beginning of a work,as there is in a continual, hearty, conscientious practice thereof. Therefore Christianshave need, as to be pressed to do good, so to continue the work. Man, by nature,is rather a hearer than a doer, Athenian like, continually listening after some newthing; seeing many things, but observing nothing (Acts 17:20; Isa 42:20). It is observable,that after Christ had divided his hearers into four parts, he condemned three ofthem for fruitless hearers (Luke 8:5-8). O it is hard continuing believing, continuingloving, continuing resisting all that opposeth; we are subject to be weary of well-doing(Gal 6:9). To pluck out right eyes, to cut off right hands and feet, is no pleasantthing to flesh and blood; and yet none but these shall have the promise of life;because none but these will be found to have the effectual work of God's grace intheir souls (Matt 18:8, 9): 'If ye continue in my word, then are you my disciples'INDEED (Matt 24:13; John 8:31). And hence it is, that you find so many IFS in theScripture about men's happiness; as, 'if children, then heirs;' and 'if ye continuein the faith;' and 'if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto theend' (Rom 8:17; Col 1:23; Heb 3:14). Not that their continuing in the way of Godis the cause of the work being right; but the work being right causeth the continuancetherein. As John saith in another place, 'They went out from us, but they were notof us; for if they had been of us, [saith he] they would, no doubt, have continuedwith us' (1 John 2:19). But I say, where the work of God indeed is savingly begun,even there is flesh, corruption, and the body of death to oppose it. Therefore shouldChristians take heed, and look that against these opposites they maintain a continualcourse of good works among men.

Besides, as there is that in our own bowels that opposeth goodness, so there is thetempter, the wicked one, both to animate these lusts, and to join with them in everyassault against every appearance of God in our souls. And hence it is, that he iscalled the devil, the enemy, the destroyer, and him that seeks continually to devourus (1 Peter 5:8), I need say no more but this. He that will walk like a Christianindeed, as he shall find it is requisite that he continue in good works, so his continuingtherein will be opposed; if therefore he will continue therein, he must make it hisbusiness to study how to oppose those that oppose such a life, that he may continuetherein.

FOURTH. Now then to help in this, here fitly comes in the last observation, to wit,That the best way both to provoke ourselves and others to good works, it is to beoften affirming to others the doctrine of justification by grace, and to believeit ourselves. 'This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirmconstantly, that they which have believed in God, might be careful to maintain goodworks' (Titus 3:8).

I told you before, that good works must flow from faith: and now I tell you, thatthe best way to be fruitful in them, is to be much in the exercise of the doctrineof justification by grace; and they both agree; for as faith animates to good works,so the doctrine of grace animates faith. Wherefore, the way to be rich in good works,it is to be rich in faith; and the way to be rich in faith is to be conscientiouslyaffirming the doctrine of grace to others, and believing it ourselves.

First, To be constantly affirming it to others. Thus Paul tells Timothy, that ifhe put the brethren in mind of the truths of the gospel, he himself should not onlybe a good minister of Christ, but should be nourished up in the words of faith andof good doctrine (1 Tim 4:6). It is the ordinance of God, that Christians shouldbe often asserting the things of God each to others; and that by their so doing theyshould edify one another (Heb 10:24, 25;1 Thess 5:11).

The doctrine of the gospel is like the dew and the small rain that distilleth uponthe tender grass, wherewith it doth flourish, and is kept green (Deu 32:2). Christiansare like the several flowers in a garden, that have upon each of them the dew ofheaven, which being shaken with the wind, they let fall their dew at each other'sroots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of one another.For Christians to commune savourly of God's matters one with another, it is as ifthey opened to each other's nostrils boxes of perfume.[19] Saith Paul to the churchat Rome, 'I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to theend ye may be established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you, bythe mutual faith both of you and me' (Rom 1:11, 12). Christians should be often affirmingthe doctrine of grace, and justification by it, one to another.

Second, As they should be thus doing, so they should live in the power of it themselves;they should by faith suck and drink in this doctrine, as the good ground receiveththe rain; which being done, forthwith there is proclaimed good works. Paul to theColossians saith thus, 'We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and love toall the saints; for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heardbefore in the word of the truth of the gospel, which is come unto you, as it is inall the world, and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you.' But how long ago?Why, 'since the day ye heard it, [saith he,] and knew the grace of God in truth'(Col 1:3-6).

Apples and flowers are not made by the gardener; but are an effect of the plantingand watering. Plant in the sinner good doctrine, and let it be watered with the wordof grace; and as the effect of that, there is the fruits of holiness, and the endeverlasting life (Rom 6:22).

Good doctrine is the doctrine of the gospel, which showeth to men, that God clotheththem with the righteousness of his Son freely, and maketh him with all his benefitsover to them; by which free gift the sinner is made righteous before God; and becausehe is so, therefore there is infused a principle of grace into the heart, wherebyit is both quickened, and bringing forth fruit (Rom 3:21-26; 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21;John 1:16).

Now then, seeing good works do flow from faith, and seeing faith is nourished byan affirming of the doctrine of the gospel, &c., take here these few considerationsfrom the doctrine of the gospel, for the support of thy faith, that thou mayest beindeed fruitful and rich in good works.

Consider 1. The whole Bible was given for this very end, that thou shouldest bothbelieve this doctrine, and live in the comfort and sweetness of it: 'For whatsoeverthings were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patienceand comfort of the Scriptures might have hope' (Rom 15:4; John 20:31).

Consider 2. That therefore every promise in the Bible is thine, to strengthen, quicken,and encourage thy heart in believing.

Consider 3. That there is nothing that thou dost, can so please God as believing;'The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy'(Psa 147:11). They please him, because they embrace his righteousness, &c.

Consider 4. That all the withdrawings of God from thee, are not for the weakening,but for the trial of thy faith; and also, that whatever he suffers Satan, or thyown heart to do, it is not to weaken faith (Job 23:8- 10; 1 Peter 1:7).

Consider 5. That believing is that which will keep in thy view the things of heavenand glory; and that at which the devil will be discouraged, sin weakened, and thyheart quickened and sweetened (Heb 11:27; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9; Eph 6:16; Rom 15:13).

Consider lastly, By believing, the lover of God is kept with warmth upon the heart,and that this will provoke thee continually to bless God for Christ, for grace, forfaith, hope, and all these things, either in God, or thee, that doth accompany salvation(2 Cor 2:14; Psa 103:1-3).

Third, The doctrine of the forgiveness of sins received by faith, will make notablework in the heart of a sinner, to bring forth good works.
But, Forasmuch as there is a body of death and sin in every one that hath the graceof God in this world; and because this body of death will be ever opposing that whichis good, as the apostle saith (Rom 7:21), therefore take these few particulars further,for the suppressing that which will hinder a fruitful life.

1. Keep a continual watch over the wretchedness of thy own heart, not to be discouragedat the sight of thy vileness, but to prevent its wickedness; for that will laboureither to hinder thee from doing good works, or else will hinder thee in the doingthereof; for evil is present with thee for both these purposes. Take heed then, thatthou do not listen to that at any time, but deny, though with much struggling, theworkings of sin to the contrary.

2. Let this be continually before thy heart, that God's eye is upon thee, and seethevery secret turning of thy heart, either to or from him: 'All things are naked andopened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do' (Heb 4:13).

3. If thou deny to do that good which thou oughtest, with what thy God hath giventhee; then consider, that though he love thy soul, yet he can chastise; First, Thyinward man with such troubles, that thy life shall be restless and comfortless. Secondly,And can also so blow upon thy outward man, that all thou gettest shall be put ina bag with holes (Psa 89:31-33; Hag 1:6). And set the case he should licence butone thief among thy substance, or one spark of fire among thy barns, how quicklymight that be spent ill, and against thy will, which thou shouldest have spent toGod's glory, and with thy will; and I tell thee further, that if thou want a heartto do good when thou hast about thee, thou mayest want comfort in such things thyselffrom others, when thine is taken from thee. See Jude 1:6, 7.

4. Consider, that a life full of good works is the only way, on thy part, to answerthe mercy of God extended to thee; God hath had mercy on thee, and hath saved theefrom all thy distresses; God hath not stuck to give thee his Son, his Spirit, andthe kingdom of heaven. Saith Paul, 'I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God,that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, whichis your reasonable service' (Rom 12:1; Matt 18:32, 33).

5. Consider, that this is the way to convince all men, that the power of God's thingshath taken hold of thy heart I speak to them that hold the head [20] and say whatthou wilt, if thy faith be not accompanied with a holy life, thou shalt be judgeda withered branch, a wording professor, salt without savour, and as lifeless as asounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal (John 15; Matt 13:1 Cor 13:1, 2). For, saythey, show us your faith by your works, for we cannot see your hearts (James 2:18).But I say on the contrary, if thou walk as becomes thee who art saved by grace, thenthou wilt witness in every man's conscience, that thou art a good tree; now thouleavest guilt on the heart of the wicked (1 Sam 24:16, 17). Now thou takest off occasionfrom them that desire occasion; and now thou art clear from the blood of all men(2 Cor 11:12; Acts 20:26, 31-35). This is the man also that provoketh others to goodworks. The ear that heareth such a man shall bless him; and the eye that seeth himshall bear witness to him. 'Surely,' saith David, 'he shall not be moved for ever:The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance' (Heb 10:24; Job 29:11; Psa 112:6).

6. Again, The heart that is fullest of good works, hath in it at least room for Satan'stemptations. And this is the meaning of Peter, where he saith, 'Be sober, be vigilant;'that is, be busying thyself in faith and holiness, 'because, your adversary the devil,as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour' (1 Peter 5:8). 'Hethat walketh uprightly, walketh safely; and they that add to faith, virtue; to virtue,knowledge; to knowledge, temperance; to temperance, brotherly kindness; and to thesecharity; and that abounds therein, he shall neither be barren nor unfruitful; heshall never fall; but so an entrance shall be ministered to him abundantly, intothe everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ' (2 Peter 1:5-10; Prov10:9).

7. The man who is fullest of good works, he is fittest to live and fittest to die:'I am now,' at any time, 'ready to be offered,' saith fruitful Paul (2 Tim 4:6).Whereas he that is barren, he is neither fit to live, nor fit to die: to die, hehimself is convinced he is not fit, and to live God himself saith he is not fit;'cut him down, why doth he cumber the ground?' (Luke 8:7).

Lastly, Consider, to provoke thee to good works, thou shalt have of God when thoucomest to glory, a reward for everything thou dost for him on earth. Little do thepeople of God consider, how richly God will reward, what from a right principle andto a right end, is done for him here; not a bit of bread to the poor, not a draughtof water to the meanest of them that belong to Christ, or the loss of a hair of yourhead, shall in that day go without its reward (Luke 14:13, 14; Matt 10:42).

'For our light affliction,' and so all other pieces of self-denial, 'which is butfor a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory' (2Cor 4:17). I tell thee, Christian, be but rich in good works, and thou shalt havemore than salvation; thy salvation thou hast freely by grace through Christ, withoutworks (Eph 2:8-10), but now being justified and saved, and as the fruits hereof,renewed by the Holy Ghost; after this, I say, thou shalt be rewarded for every workthat proved good; 'For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love,which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, anddo minister' (Heb 6:10; 1 Cor 3:14). Moses counted the reward that he was to have,for a short suffering with the people of God, of greater worth than the treasuresof Egypt, the smiles of the king, or the honour of his kingdom (Heb 11:25- 27). Ina word, let the disappointments that do, and shall most surely befall the fruitlessprofessors, provoke thee to look with all diligence to thy standing. For,

1. Such a one is but deceived and disappointed touching the work of grace he supposethto be in his heart; he thinks he is a Christian, and hath grace, as faith, hope,and the like, in his soul, yet no fruits of these things manifest themselves in him;indeed his tongue is tipt with a talk and tattle of religion. Poor man, poor emptyman! Faith without works is dead; thy hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost;thy gifts with which thy soul is possessed, are but such as are common to reprobates;thou art therefore disappointed; God reputes thee still but wicked, though thou comestand goest to the place of the Holy (James 2:19, 20; Job 11:20; 1 Cor 13:1-3).

2. Therefore all thy joy and comfort must needs fall short of saving comfort, andso leave thee in the suds notwithstanding; thy joy is the joy of the Pharisees (John5:35), and thy gladness as that of Herod (Mark 6:20), and the longest time it canlast, it is but a Scripture-moment (Job 20:5). Alas! in all thy gladness and contentwith thy religion, thou art but like the boy that plays with brass instead of gold;and with counters instead of that which will go for current coin. Thus, 'if a manthink himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth [or disappoints] himself'(Gal 6:3).

3. This is not all, but look thou certainly for an eternal disappointment in theday of God; for it must be; thy lamp will out at the first sound the trump of Godshall make in thine ears; thou canst not hold up at the appearance of the Son ofGod in his glory; his very looks will be to thy profession as a strong wind is toa blinking candle, and thou shalt be left only to smoke.
Oh the alteration that will befall a foolish virgin! She thought she was happy, andthat she should have received happiness with those that were right at the heart;but behold the contrary, her lamp is going out, she is now to seek for saving grace,when the time of grace is over? Her heaven she thought of, is proved a hell, andher god is proved a devil. God hath cast her out of his presence, and claps the doorupon her. She pleads her profession, and the like, and she hath for her answer repulsesfrom heaven. 'So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shallperish; whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web. Heshall lean upon his house but it shall not stand; he shall hold it fast, but it shallnot endure' (Matt 25:1-10; Luke 8:25, 26; Job 8:13-15).

Take heed therefore; thy soul, heaven, and eternity, lies at stake; yea, they turneither to thee or from thee upon the hinge of thy faith; if it be right, all is thine:if wrong, then all is lost, however thy hopes and expectations are to the contrary:'For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision;but faith which worketh by love. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for becauseof these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of unbelief. [21] For theearth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbsmeet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: but that whichbeareth thorns and briars is REJECTED, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is tobe burned' (Gal 5:6; Eph 5:3-6; Heb 6:7, 8).

But what shall I do, who am so cold, slothful, and heartless, that I cannot findany heart to do any work for God in this world? Indeed time was when his dew restedall night upon my branches, and when I could with desire, with earnest desire, bedoing and working for God; but, alas! now it is otherwise.

If this be true, thy case is sad, thou art to be pitied; the Lord pity thee. Andfor thy recovery out of this condition, I would give thee no other counsel than wasgiven to Ephesus when she had lost her first love.

1. 'Remember,' saith Christ, 'from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do thefirst works,' &c. (Rev 2:5).

Mark: Thy first work is to enter into a serious considering, and remembrance fromwhence thou art fallen. Remember that thou hast left thy God, the stay of thy soul,and him without whom there is no stay, comfort, or strength, for thee either to door suffer anything in this world: 'Without me,' saith he, 'ye can do nothing' (John15:5). A sad condition; the remembrance of this, for certain, is the first step tothe recovering a backsliding heart; for the right remembrance of this doth bringto mind what loss that soul hath sustained that is in this condition, how it hathlost its former visits, smiles, and consolations of God. When thy conscience wassuppled with the blood of thy Saviour; when every step thou tookest was, as it were,in honey and butter; and when thy heart could meditate terror with comfort (Job 29:2-6;Isa 33:14- 19). Instead of which, thou feelest darkness, hardness of heart, and thethoughts of God are terrible to thee (Psa 77:3). Now God never visits thee; or ifhe doth, it is but as a wayfaring man, that tarrieth but for a night (Jer 14:8, 9).

This also brings to mind how the case is altered with thee, touching thy confidencein God for thy future happiness, how uncertain thou now art of thy hopes for heaven,how much this life doth hang in doubt before thee (Deu 28:65, 66).

2. 'Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent.' These are wordswell put together; for a solid considering of what I have lost in my declining, willprovoke in my heart a sorrow, and godly heaviness, whereby I shall be forced to bemoanmy condition, and say, 'I will go and return to my first husband, for then was itbetter with me than now' (Hos 2:7). And believe it, the reason of God's standingoff from giving the comfortable communion with himself, it is that thou mightestfirst see the difference between sticking close to God, and forsaking of him; andnext, that thou mightest indeed acknowledge thy offence, and seek his face (Hos 5:15).He taketh no pleasure in thy forlorn condition; he had rather thou shouldest havehim in thy bosom, only he will have it in his own way. 'He looketh upon men, andif any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited menot; [then] he will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shallsee the light' (Job 33:27, 28).

3. 'Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.'

As there should be a remembering and a repenting so there should be a hearty doingour first works; a believing as before, a laying hold of the things of heaven andglory, as at the first; for now is God returned to thee, as before (Zech 1:16). Andthough thou mayest, through the loss of thy locks, with Samson, be weak at the first,yet, in short time, thy hair will grow again; that is, thy former experience willin short space be as long, large, and strong, as in the former times. Indeed at thefirst thou wilt find all the wheels of thy soul rusty, and all the strings of thineheart out of tune; as also when thou first beginnest to stir, the dust and filthof thy heart will, like smoke, trouble thee from that clear beholding the grace ofthy God, and his love to thy soul; but yet wait, and go on, and though thou findestthyself as unable to do anything as thou formerly couldest; yet I say, up, and bedoing, and the Lord will be with thee; for he hath not despised the day of thy smallthings (1 Chron 22:16; Zech 4:10).

I know thou wilt be afflicted with a thousand temptations to drive thee to despair,that thy faith may be faint, &c. But against all them set thou the word of God,the promise of grace, the blood of Christ, and the examples of God's goodness tothe great backsliders that are for thy encouragement recorded in the scriptures oftruth; and remember, that turning to God after backsliding, is the greatest pieceof service thou canst do for him, and the greatest honour thou canst bring to theblood of Christ; and know farther, that God, to show his willing reception of sounworthy a creature, saith, there shall be joy in heaven at thy conversion to himagain (Luke 15:7, 10).


If thou yet, notwithstanding what hath been said, dost remain a backslider:

1. Then remember that thou must die; and remember also, that when the terrors ofGod, of death, and a backslidden heart, meet together, there will be sad work inthat soul; this is the man that hangeth tilting over the mouth of hell, while deathis cutting the thread of his life.

2. Remember, that though God doth sometimes, yea, often, receive backsliders, yetit is not always so. Some draw back into perdition; for, because they have flungup God, and would none of him, he in justice flings up them and their souls for ever(Prov 1:24-28).

I have observed, that sometimes God, as it were in revenge for injury done him, dothsnatch away souls in the very nick of their backsliding, as he served Lot's wife,when he turned her into a pillar of salt, even while she was looking over her shoulderto Sodom (Gen 19:26). An example that every backslider should remember with astonishment(Luke 17:32).

Thus have I, in few words, written to you, before I die, a word to provoke you tofaith and holiness, because I desire that you may have the life that is laid up forall them that believe in the Lord Jesus, and love one another, when I am deceased.Though there I shall rest from my labours, and be in paradise, as through grace Icomfortably believe, yet it is not there, but here, I must do you good. Wherefore,I not knowing the shortness of my life, nor the hindrance that hereafter I may haveof serving my God and you, I have taken this opportunity to present these few linesunto you for your edification.

Consider what hath been said; and the Lord give you understanding in all things.Farewell.


[1] Hermotimus of Lucian. During one of these wanderings his wife thought him dead,and his body was burnt. Whether the poor soul, thus suddenly ejected, obtained anotherhabitation is not narrated.

[2] 'Of their relations,' related or belonging to themselves.Ed.

[3] Also where the gardener hath set them, there they stand, and quarrel not onewith another.Pilgrim, part 2. Interpreter's House, vol. 3. 186; see also vol. 2.570.Ed.

[4] 'Where the great red dragon Satan had his seat.'Dr. Gill's Commentary. See alsoRevelation 12.Ed.

[5] This manly, bold, and upright statement of truth, was published in 1674, onlytwo years after the author's deliverance from twelve years and a half's incarcerationin a damp, miserable jail, for nonconformity! None but those whose close communionwith God inspires them with the confessor's courage, can understand the spirit whichdictated such language. Had all dissenters used such faithful words, the church wouldlong ago have been emancipated from persecution in this country.Ed.

[6] This is a very extensive and awful delusion. To mistake the 'outward and visiblesign' for the 'inward and spiritual grace' is a very general and fatal error. Ofit's sad effects all religious parties have warned their members. It has done infinitemischief to the souls of men.Ed.

[7] The queen of Sheba was as much or more delighted with the order, harmony, andhappiness of Solomon's household than she was with all his splendour and magnificence.It is to this Bunyan refers in this quotation.Ed.

[8] 'Though the words of the wise - are as nails fastened by the master of assemblies(Eccl. 12:11) yet sure their examples are the hammer to drive them in to take thedeeper hold. A father that whipt his son for swearing, and swore himself while hewhipt him, did more harm by his example than good by his correction.'Fuller's HolyState, p. 11.Ed.

[9] How exceedingly admirable are all these scriptural directions, warnings, andcautions. Happy are those parents and their children where such wisdom is manifestedin that painful duty of administering counsel and correction.Ed.

[10] One of the Saxon laws was, that if a serf or villain work on Sunday by his lord'scommand, he shall be a free man.Spelman's Concilia, An. 692.Ed.

[11] The rust of money in the rich man's purse, unjustly detained from the labourer,will poison and infect his whole estate.Fuller's Holy State, p. 16.Ed.

[12] The apostle Peter, in his solemn injunctions to married persons, commences withthe wife. Fuller observes upon this, 'And sure it was fitting that women should firsthave their lesson given them, because it is harder to be learned,and therefore theyneed have the more time to con it.'Holy State, p. 1.Ed.

[13] 'In her husband's absence she is wife and deputy husband, which makes her doublethe files of her diligence. At his return he finds all things so well, that he wondersto see himself at home when he was abroad.'Fuller's Holy State, p. 2.Ed.

[14] 'She never crosseth her husband in the spring-tide of his anger, but stays tillit be ebbing water.'Fuller's Maxims.Ed.

[15] Bunyan's words are 'to show pity,' probably taken from the word 'goodness' inthe margin of the Bible; but lest it might be a typographical error, the usual renderingis given in this quotation.Ed.

[16] 'What is the child but a piece of the parents wrapped up in another skin.'Flavel.On seeing a Mother with her Infant asleep in her Arms.
'Thine is the morn of life,
All laughing, unconscious of the evening with her anxious cares,
Thy mother filled with the purest happiness and bliss
Which an indulgent Heaven bestows upon a lower world,
Watches and protects her dearest life, now sleeping in her arms.' German Poem.Ed.

[17] Bunyan's silence, in all his writings, concerning the state of his parents asto godliness, may lead us to fear that this fervent ejaculation had often been pouredforth by his own soul on behalf of his father and mother. All that we know of themis, that they were poor, but gave their children the best education their means afforded;as to their piety he is silent.Ed.

[18] 'To the Greeks.' Bunyan in this follows the Puritan translation. The word 'Greeks'is in the margin of the authorized Bible.Ed.

[19] This is a most beautiful passage, unequalled by any ancient or modern author.Such a view of church fellowship does honour to the head and heart of the princeof allegorists. It is worthy to be printed in letters of gold, and presented to everycandidate for church fellowship among all Christian societies of every denomination.See p. 550, and note.Ed.

[20] To 'hold the head' is to make a very prominent profession of religion.Ed.

[21] 'Of unbelief' see margin of the Bible.Ed.