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The World's Great Sermons, Vol. 2 (of 10)

Part 2 out of 3

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regiments are defeated; nightfall is the salvation of the remainder of
his army. But a severe rainstorm serves to add to our difficulties and
discouragements, so that we have at the same time to contend with not
only the highest courage and the perfection of art, but the forces of
nature as well. In spite of the advantage that an enemy, as able as he
is bold, takes of these conditions, and the fact that he intrenches
himself anew in his impregnable mountains, hard prest on every side,
he is forced not only to allow his cannon and baggage to fall a prey
to the Duc d'Enghien, but also the country bordering the Rhine. See
how everything is shaken to its foundation: Philipsburg is in dire
distress in ten days, in spite of the winter now close at hand;
Philipsburg, which so long held the Rhine captive under our laws,
and whose loss the greatest of kings so gloriously retrieved. Worms,
Spire, Mayence, Landau, twenty other places I might name, open their
portals: Merci is unable to defend them, and no longer faces his
conqueror. It is not enough; he must fall at his feet, a worthy victim
of his valor. Nordlingen will witness his overthrow; it will there
be admitted that it is no more possible to withstand the French in
Germany than in Flanders. And all these benefits we will owe to this
self-same prince. God, the protector of France and of a king whom He
has destined to perform His great works, thus ordains ...

It was not merely for a son nor for his family that he had such tender
sentiments: I have seen him (and do not think that I here speak in
terms of exaggeration), I have seen him deeply moved by the perils of
his friends. Simple and natural as he was, I have seen his features
betray his emotions at the story of their misfortunes, and he was ever
ready to confer with them on the most insignificant details as well as
on affairs of the utmost importance. In the adjustment of quarrels, he
was ever ready to soothe turbulent spirits with a patience and good
nature that one would little have expected from a disposition so
excitable, nor from a character so lofty. What a contrast to heroes
devoid of human sympathy! Well might the latter command respect and
charm the admiration, as do all extraordinary things, but they will
not win the heart. When God fashioned the heart of man and endowed him
with human affection, He first of all inspired him with the quality
of kindness, like unto the essence of the divine nature itself, as a
token of the beneficent hand that fashioned us. Kindness, therefore,
ought to be the mainspring and guide of our heart, and ought at the
same time to be the chief attraction that should, as it were, be
a part of our very being, with which to win the hearts of others.
Greatness, which is but the result of good fortune, so far from
diminishing the quality of kindness, is but given one that he might
the more freely spread broadcast its beneficent effects like a public
fountain, which is but erected that its waters might be scattered to
the sunlight.

This is the value of a good heart; and the great who are devoid of
the quality of kindness, justly punished for their disdainful
insensibility to the misfortunes of their fellows, are forever
deprived of the greatest blessing of human life--that is to say, of
the pleasures of society. Never did man enjoy these pleasures more
keenly than the prince of whom I am speaking; never was man less
inspired with the misgiving that familiarity breeds contempt. Is this
the man who carried cities by storm and won great battles? Verily, he
seems to have forgotten the high rank he so well knew how to
sustain. Do you not recognize in him the hero, who, ever equable and
consistent, never having to stand on tiptoe to seem taller than he is,
nor to stoop to be courteous and obliging, found himself by nature
all that a man ought to be toward his fellow, like a majestic and
bountiful stream, which peacefully bears into the cities the abundance
it has spread in the fields that it has watered, which gives to all
and never rises above its normal height, nor becomes swollen except
when violent opposition is offered to the gentle slope by which it
continues on its tranquil course. Such, indeed, has also been the
gentleness and such the might of the Prince de Conde. Have you a
secret of importance? Confide it boldly to the safe-keeping of this
noble heart; he will reward your confidence by making your affair his
own. To this prince nothing is more inviolable than the sacred rights
of friendship. When a favor is asked of him he acts as tho he himself
were under obligation; and never has a joy keener and truer been
witnessed than he felt at being able to give pleasure to another.

It was a grand spectacle to see during the same period, and in the
same campaigns, these two men, who in the common opinion of all Europe
could be favorably compared to the greatest captains of past ages,
sometimes at the head of different bodies of troops; sometimes united
more indeed by the concord of their thoughts than by the orders which
the subaltern received from his superior; sometimes at the head of
opposing forces, and each redoubling his customary activity and
vigilance, as tho God, who, according to the Scriptures, often in His
wisdom makes a sport of the universe, had desired to show mortals the
wonders in all their forms that He could work with men. Behold the
encampments, the splendid marches, the audacity, the precautions, the
perils, the resources of these brave men! Has there ever been beheld
in two men virtues such as these in characters so different, not to
say diametrically opposite? The one appears to be guided by deep
reflection, the other by sudden illumination; the latter as a
consequence, tho more impetuous, yet never acting with undue
precipitation; the former, colder of manner, tho never slow, is bolder
of action than of speech, and even while having the outward appearance
of embarrassment, inwardly determined and resolved. The one, from the
moment he appears in the army, conveys an exalted idea of his
worth and makes one expect of him something out of the ordinary;
nevertheless, he advanced in regular order, and performed, as it
were, by degrees, the prodigious deeds which marked the course of his
career. The other, like a man inspired from the date of his first
battle, showed himself the equal of the most consummate masters of the
art of warfare. The one by his prompt and continued efforts commanded
the admiration of the human race and silenced the voice of envy; the
other shone so resplendently from the very beginning that none dared
attack him. The one, in a word, by the depth of his genius and the
incredible resources of his courage, rose superior to the greatest
perils and even knew how to profit by every kind of fickleness of
fortune; the other, by reason of the advantages derived from high
birth, by his great conceptions derived from Heaven, and by a kind of
admirable instinct, the secret of which is not given to ordinary
men, seemed born to mold fortune to conform to his designs and bring
destiny to his feet. And that the great tho diverse characters of
these two men might be clearly discerned, it should be borne in mind
that the one, his career cut short by an unexpected blow, died for his
country like another Judas Maccabeus, mourned by the army as for a
father, while the court and all the people, lamented his fate. His
piety as well as his courage were universally lauded, and his memory
will never fade from the minds of men. The other, raised to the very
summit of glory by force of arms like another David, dies like him in
his bed, sounding the praises of God and leaving his dying behests to
his family, while all hearts were imprest as much by the splendor of
his life as by the gentleness of his death.




John Bunyan was born in the village of Elstow, near Bedford, England,
in 1628. Because of his fearless preaching he was imprisoned in
Bedford jail from 1660 to 1672, and again for six months in 1675,
during which latter time it is said his wonderful "Pilgrim's Progress"
was written. While his sermons in their tedious prolixity share the
fault of his time, they are characterized by vividness, epigrammatic
wit, and dramatic fervor. The purity and simplicity of his style
have been highly praised, and his unflinching faith has been the
inspiration of many a hesitating soul. Among his best known works are
"The Holy War," "Grace Abounding in the Chief of Sinners," and "Sighs
from Hell." He died in London in 1688.




_So run that ye may obtain_.--I Cor. ix., 24.

Heaven and happiness is that which every one desireth, insomuch that
wicked Balaam could say, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and
let my last end be like his." Yet, for all this, there are but very
few that do obtain that ever-to-be-desired glory, insomuch that many
eminent professors drop short of a welcome from God into this pleasant
place. The apostle, therefore, because he did desire the salvation of
the souls of the Corinthians, to whom he writes this epistle, layeth
them down in these words such counsel, which if taken, would be for
their help and advantage.

First, Not to be wicked, and sit still, and wish for heaven; but to
run for it.

Secondly, Not to content themselves with, every kind of running, but,
saith he, "So run that ye may obtain." As if he should say, some,
because they would not lose their souls, begin to run betimes, they
run apace, they run with patience, they run the right way. Do you so
run. Some run from both father and mother, friends and companions,
and thus, they may have the crown. Do you so run. Some run through
temptations, afflictions, good report, evil report, that they may win
the pearl. Do you so run. "So run that ye may obtain."

These words were taken from men's funning for a wager; a very apt
similitude to set before the eyes of the saints of the Lord. "Know you
that they which run in a race run all, but one obtaineth the prize? So
run that ye may obtain." That is, do not only run, but be sure you win
as well as run. "So run that ye may obtain."

I shall not need to make any great ado in opening the words at this
time, but shall rather lay down one doctrine that I do find in them;
and in prosecuting that, I shall show you, in some measure, the scope
of the words.

The doctrine is this: They that will have heaven, must run for it; I
say, they that will have heaven, they must run for it. I beseech you
to heed it well. "Know ye not, that they which run in a race run all,
but one obtaineth the prize? So run ye." The prize is heaven, and if
you will have it, you must run for it. You have another scripture
for this in the xii. of the Hebrews, the 1st, 2d, and 3d verses:
"Wherefore seeing also," saith the apostle, "that we are compassed
about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every
weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with
patience the race that is set before us." And let us run, saith he.
Again, saith Paul, "I so run, not as uncertainly: so fight I," etc.

But before I go any farther:

1. Fleeing. Observe, that this running is not an ordinary, or any
sort of running, but it is to be understood of the swiftest sort of
running; and therefore, in the vi. of the Hebrews, it is called a
fleeing: "That we might have strong consolation, who have fled for
refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before us." Mark, who have fled.
It is taken from that xx. of Joshua, concerning the man that was to
flee to the city of refuge, when the avenger of blood was hard at his
heels, to take vengeance on him for the offense he had committed;
therefore it is a running or fleeing for one's life: a running with
all might and main, as we use to say. So run.

2. Pressing. Secondly, this running in another place is called a
pressing. "I press toward the mark"; which signifieth, that they that
will have heaven, they must not stick at any difficulties they meet
with; but press, crowd, and thrust through all that may stand between
heaven and their souls. So run.

3. Continuing. Thirdly, this running is called in another place, a
continuing in the way of life. "If you continue in the faith grounded,
and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel of
Christ." Not to run a little now and then, by fits and starts, or
half-way, or almost thither, but to run for my life, to run through
all difficulties, and to continue therein to the end of the race,
which must be to the end of my life. "So run that ye may obtain." And
the reasons are:

(1.) Because all or every one that runneth doth not obtain the prize;
there may be many that do run, yea, and run far too, who yet miss of
the crown that standeth at the end of the race. You know all that run
in a race do not obtain the victory; they all run, but one wins. And
so it is here; it is not every one that runneth, nor every one that
seeketh, nor every one that striveth for the mastery that hath it.
"Tho a man do strive for the mastery," saith Paul, "yet he is not
crowned, unless he strive lawfully"; that is, unless he so run, and so
strive, as to have God's approbation. What, do you think that every
heavy-heeled professor will have heaven? What, every lazy one? every
wanton and foolish professor, that will be stopt by anything, kept
back by anything, that scarce runneth so fast heavenward as a snail
creepeth on the ground? Nay, there are some professors that do not go
on so fast in the way of God as a snail doth go on the wall; and yet
these think that heaven and happiness is for them. But stay, there are
many more that run than there be that obtain; therefore he that will
have heaven must run for it.

(2.) Because you know, that tho a man do run, yet if he do not
overcome, or win, as well as run, what will they be the better for
their running? They will get nothing. You know the man that runneth,
he doth do it to win the prize; but if he doth not obtain it, he doth
lose his labor, spend his pains and time, and that to no purpose; I
say, he getteth nothing. And ah! how many such runners will there be
found in the day of judgment? Even multitudes, multitudes that have
run, yea, run so far as to come to heaven-gates, and not able to get
any farther, but there stand knocking when it is too late, crying,
Lord! Lord! when they have nothing but rebukes for their pains. Depart
from Me, you come not here, you come too late, you run too lazily; the
door is shut. "When once the master of the house is risen up," saith
Christ, "and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and
to knock, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us, I will say, I know you not,
depart," etc. Oh, sad will the state of those be that run and miss;
therefore, if you will have heaven, you must run for it; and "so run
that ye may obtain."

(3.) Because the way is long (I speak metaphorically), and there is
many a dirty step, many a high hill, much work to do, a wicked heart,
world, and devil to overcome; I say, there are many steps to be taken
by those that intend to be saved, by running or walking in the steps
of that faith of our father Abraham. Out of Egypt thou must go through
the Red Sea; thou must run a long and tedious journey, through the
vast howling wilderness, before thou come to the land of promise.

(4.) They that will go to heaven they must run for it; because, as the
way is long, so the time in which they are to get to the end of it is
very uncertain; the time present is the only time; thou hast no more
time allotted thee than thou now enjoyest: "Boast not thyself of
to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Do not
say, I have time enough to get to heaven seven years hence; for I tell
thee, the bell may toll for thee before seven days more be ended; and
when death comes, away thou must go, whether thou art provided or not;
and therefore look to it; make no delays; it is not good dallying with
things of so great concernment as the salvation or damnation of thy
soul. You know he that hath a great way to go in a little time, and
less by half than he thinks of, he had need to run for it.

(5.) They that will have heaven, they must run for it; because the
devil, the law, sin, death, and hell follow them. There is never a
poor soul that is going to heaven, but the devil, the law, sin, death,
and hell, make after the soul. "The devil, your adversary, as a
roaring lion, goeth about, seeking whom he may devour." And I will
assure you, the devil is nimble, he can run apace, he is light of
foot, he hath overtaken many, he hath turned up their heels, and hath
given them an everlasting fall. Also the law, that can shoot a great
way, have a care thou keep out of the reach of those great guns, the
Ten Commandments. Hell also hath a wide mouth; it can stretch itself
farther that you are aware of. And as the angel said to Lot, "Take
heed, look not behind thee, neither tarry thou in all the plain" (that
is, anywhere between this and heaven), "lest thou be consumed"; so I
say to thee, Take heed, tarry not, lest either the devil, hell or the
fearful curses of the law of God do overtake thee, and throw thee down
in the midst of thy sins, so as never to rise and recover again. If
this were all considered, then thou, as well as I, wouldst say, They
that will have heaven must run for it.

(6.) They that go to heaven must run for it; because perchance the
gates of heaven may be shut shortly. Sometimes sinners have not
heaven-gates open to them so long as they suppose; and if they be once
shut against a man, they are so heavy that all the men in the world,
nor all the angels in heaven, are not able to open them. "I shut, and
no man can open," saith Christ. And how if thou shouldst come but
one quarter of an hour too late? I tell thee, it will cost thee an
eternity to bewail thy misery in. Francis Spira can tell thee what it
is to stay till the gate of mercy be quite shut; or to run so lazily
that they be shut before you get within them. What, to be shut out!
what, out of heaven! Sinner, rather than lose it, run for it; yea,
"and so run that thou mayst obtain."

(7.) Lastly, because if thou lose, thou losest all, thou losest soul,
God, Christ, heaven, ease, peace, etc. Besides, thou layest thyself
open to all the shame, contempt, and reproach, that either God,
Christ, saints, the world, sin, the devil, and all can lay upon thee.
As Christ saith of the foolish builder, so I will say of thee, if thou
be such a one who runs and misses; I say, even all that go by will
begin to mock at thee, saying, This man began to run well, but was not
able to finish. But more of this anon.

Quest. But how should a poor soul do to run? For this very thing is
that which afflicteth me sore (as you say), to think that I may run,
and yet fall short. Methinks to fall short at last, oh, it fears me
greatly. Pray tell me, therefore, how I should run.

Ans. That thou mayst indeed be satisfied in this particular, consider
these following things.

The first direction: If thou wouldst so run as to obtain the kingdom
of heaven, then be sure that thou get into the way that leadeth
thither: For it is a vain thing to think that ever thou shalt have the
prize, tho thou runnest never so fast, unless thou art in the way that
leads to it. Set the case, that there should be a man in London that
was to run to York for a wager; now, tho he run never so swiftly, yet
if he run full south, he might run himself quickly out of breath, and
be never nearer the prize, but rather the farther off? Just so is it
here; it is not simply the runner, nor yet the hasty runner, that
winneth the crown, unless he be in the way that leadeth thereto. I
have observed, that little time which I have been a professor, that
there is a great running to and fro, some this way, and some that way,
yet it is to be feared most of them are out of the way, and then, tho
they run as swift as the eagle can fly, they are benefited nothing at

Here is one runs a-quaking, another a-ranting; one again runs after
the baptism, and another after the Independency: here is one for
Freewill, and another for Presbytery; and yet possibly most of all
these sects run quite the wrong way, and yet every one is for his
life, his soul, either for heaven or hell.

If thou now say, Which is the way? I tell thee it is Christ, the Son
of Mary, the Son of God. Jesus saith, "I am the way, the truth, and
the life; no man cometh to the Father but by me." So then thy business
is (if thou wouldst have salvation), to see if Christ be thine, with
all His benefits; whether He hath covered thee with His righteousness,
whether He hath showed thee that thy sins are washed away with His
heart-blood, whether thou art planted into Him, and whether you have
faith in Him, so as to make a life out of Him, and to conform thee
to Him; that is, such faith as to conclude that thou art righteous,
because Christ is thy righteousness, and so constrained to walk with
Him as the joy of thy heart, because he saveth thy soul. And for the
Lord's sake take heed, and do not deceive thyself, and think thou art
in the way upon too slight grounds; for if thou miss of the way, thou
wilt miss of the prize, and if thou miss of that I am sure thou wilt
lose thy soul, even that soul which is worth more than the whole

Mistrust thy own strength, and throw it away; down on thy knees in
prayer to the Lord for the spirit of truth; search His word for
direction; flee seducers' company; keep company with the soundest
Christians, that have most experience of Christ; and be sure thou have
a care of Quakers, Ranters, Free-willers: also do not have too much
company with some Anabaptists, tho I go under that name myself. I
will tell thee this is such a serious matter, and I fear thou wilt so
little regard it, that the thought of the worth of the thing, and of
thy too light regarding of it, doth even make my heart ache whilst I
am writing to thee. The Lord teach thee the way by His Spirit, and
then I am sure thou wilt know it. So run.

The second direction: As thou shouldst get into the way, so thou
shouldst also be much in studying and musing on the way. You know men
that would be expert in anything, they are usually much in studying of
that thing, and so likewise is it with those that quickly grow expert
in any way. This therefore thou shouldst do; let thy study be much
exercised about Christ, which is the way, what He is, what He hath
done, and why He is what He is, and why He hath done what is done; as
why "He took upon Him the form of a servant" (Phil, ii.); why He was
"made in the likeness of man"; why He cried; why He died; why He
"bare the sin of the world"; why He was made sin, and why He was made
righteousness; why He is in heaven in the nature of man, and what He
doth there. Be much in musing and considering of these things; be
thinking also enough of those places which thou must not come near,
but leave some on this hand, and some on that hand; as it is with
those that travel into other countries; they must leave such a gate on
this hand, and such a bush on that hand, and go by such a place, where
standeth such a thing. Thus therefore you must do: "Avoid such things,
which are expressly forbidden in the Word of God." Withdraw thy foot
far from her, "and come not nigh the door of her house, for her steps
take hold of hell, going down to the chambers of death." And so of
everything that is not in the way, have a care of it, that thou go not
by it; come not near it, have nothing to do with it. So run.

The third direction: Not only thus, but in the next place, thou
must strip thyself of those things that may hang upon thee, to
the hindering of thee in the way to the kingdom of heaven, as
covetousness, pride, lust, or whatever else thy heart may be inclining
unto, which may hinder thee in this heavenly race. Men that run for
a wager, if they intend to win as well as run, they do not use to
encumber themselves, or carry those things about them that may be a
hindrance to them in their running. "Every man that striveth for
the mastery is temperate in all things"; that is, he layeth aside
everything that would be anywise a disadvantage to him; as saith the
apostle, "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so
easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set
before us." It is but a vain thing to talk of going to heaven, if
thou let thy heart be encumbered with those things that would hinder.
Would you not say that such a man would be in danger of losing, tho
he run, if he fill his pockets with stones, hang heavy garments on
his shoulders, and get lumpish shoes on his feet? So it is here;
thou talkest of going to heaven, and yet fillest thy pockets with
stones--_i.e._, fillest thy heart with this world, lettest that hang
on thy shoulders, with its profits and pleasures. Alas! alas! thou art
widely mistaken: if thou intendest to win, thou must strip, thou must
lay aside every weight, thou must be temperate in all things. Thou
must so run.

The fourth direction: Beware of by-paths; take heed thou dost not turn
into those lanes which lead out of the way. There are crooked paths,
paths in which men go astray, paths that lead to death and damnation,
but take heed of all those. Some of them are dangerous because of
practise, some because of opinion, but mind them not; mind the path
before thee, look right before thee, turn neither to the right hand
nor to the left, but let thine eyes look right on, even right
before thee; "Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be
established." Turn not to the right hand nor to the left. "Remove thy
foot far from evil." This counsel being not so seriously taken as
given, is the reason of that starting from opinion to opinion, reeling
this way and that way, out of this lane into that lane, and so missing
the way to the kingdom. Tho the way to heaven be but one, yet there
are many crooked lanes and by-paths that shoot down upon it, as I may
say. And again, notwithstanding the kingdom of heaven be the biggest
city, yet usually those by-paths are most beaten, most travelers go
those ways; and therefore the way to heaven is hard to be found, and
as hard to be kept in, by reason of these. Yet, nevertheless, it is in
this case as it was with the harlot of Jericho; she had one scarlet
thread tied in her window, by which her house was known: so it is
here, the scarlet streams of Christ's blood run throughout the way to
the kingdom of heaven; therefore mind that, see if thou do not find
the besprinkling of the blood of Christ in the way, and if thou do, be
of good cheer, thou art in the right way; but have a care thou beguile
not thyself with a fancy; for then thou mayst light into any lane or
way; but that thou mayst not be mistaken, consider, tho it seem never
so pleasant, yet if thou do not find that in the very middle of the
road there is written with the heart-blood of Christ, that he came
into the world to save sinners, and that we are justified, tho we are
ungodly, shun that way; for this it is which the apostle meaneth when,
he saith, "We have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood
of Jesus, by a new and living way which He hath consecrated for us,
through the vail--that is to say, His flesh." How easy a matter it is
in this our day, for the devil to be too cunning for poor souls, by
calling his by-paths the way to the kingdom. If such an opinion or
fancy be but cried up by one or more, this inscription being set upon
it by the devil, "This is the way of God," how speedily, greedily,
and by heaps, do poor simple souls throw away themselves upon it;
especially if it be daubed over with a few external acts of morality,
if so good. But it is because men do not know painted by-paths from
the plain way to the kingdom of heaven. They have not yet learned the
true Christ, and what His righteousness is, neither have they a
sense of their own insufficiency; but are bold, proud, presumptuous,
self-conceited. And therefore,

The fifth direction: Do not thou be too much in looking too high in
thy journey heavenward. You know men that run a race do not use to
stare and gaze this way and that, neither do they use to cast up their
eyes too high, lest haply, through their too much gazing with their
eyes after other things, they in the mean time stumble and catch a
fall. The very same case is this: if thou gaze and stare after every
opinion and way that comes into the world, also if thou be prying
overmuch into God's secret decrees, or let thy heart too much
entertain questions about some nice foolish curiosities, thou mayst
stumble and fall, as many hundreds in England have done, both in
ranting and quakery, to their own eternal overthrow, without the
marvelous operation of God's grace be suddenly stretched forth to
bring them back again. Take heed, therefore; follow not that proud,
lofty spirit, that, devil-like, can not be content with his own
station. David was of an excellent spirit, where he saith, "Lord,
my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty, neither do I exercise
myself in great matters, or things too high for me. Surely I have
behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother: My
soul is even as a weaned child." Do thou so run.

The sixth direction: Take heed that you have not an ear open to every
one that calleth after you as you are in your journey. Men that run,
you know, if any do call after them, saying, I would speak with you,
or go not too fast and you shall have my company with you, if they run
for some great matter, they use to say, Alas! I can not stay, I am
in haste, pray talk not to me now; neither can I stay for you, I am
running for a wager: if I win I am made; if I lose I am undone,
and therefore hinder me not. Thus wise are men when they run for
corruptible things, and thus shouldst thou do, and thou hast more
cause to do so than they, forasmuch as they run for things that last
not, but thou for an incorruptible glory. I give thee notice of this
betimes, knowing that thou shalt have enough call after thee, even the
devil, sin, this world, vain company, pleasures, profits, esteem among
men, ease, pomp, pride, together with an innumerable company of such
companions; one crying, Stay for me; the other saying, Do not leave me
behind; a third saying, And take me along with you. What, will you go,
saith the devil, without your sins, pleasures, and profits? Are you so
hasty? Can you not stay and take these along with you? Will you
leave your friends and companions behind you? Can you not do as your
neighbors do, carry the world, sin, lust, pleasure, profit, esteem
among men, along with you? Have a care thou do not let thine ear open
to the tempting, enticing, alluring, and soul-entangling flatteries
of such sink-souls as these are. "My son," saith Solomon, "if sinners
entice thee, consent thou not."

You know what it cost the young man whom Solomon speaks of in the vii.
of the Proverbs, that was enticed by a harlot: "With much fair speech
she won him, and caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips
she forced him, till he went after her as an ox to the slaughter, or
as a fool to the correction of the stocks"; even so far, "till the
dart struck through his liver," and he knew not "that it was for his
life." "Hearken unto me now therefore," saith he, "O ye children, and
attend to the words of my mouth, let not thine heart incline to her
ways, go not astray in her paths, for she hast cast down many wounded,
yea, many strong men have been slain (that is, kept out of heaven); by
her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death."
Soul, take this counsel, and say, Satan, sin, lust, pleasure, profit,
pride, friends, companions, and everything else, let me alone, stand
off, come not nigh me, for I am running for heaven, for my soul, for
God, for Christ, from hell and everlasting damnation; if I win, I win
all; and if I lose, I lose all; let me alone, for I will not hear. So

The seventh direction: In the next place be not daunted tho thou
meetest with never so many discouragements in thy journey thither.
That man that is resolved for heaven, if Satan can not win him by
flatteries, he will endeavor to weaken him by discouragements; saying,
Thou art a sinner, thou hath broken God's law, thou art not elected,
thou cometh too late, the day of grace is passed, God doth not care
for thee, thy heart is naught, thou art lazy, with a hundred other
discouraging suggestions. And thus it was with David where he saith,
"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the loving-kindness of
the Lord in the land of the living." As if he should say, the devil
did so rage, and my heart was so base, that had I judged according
to my own sense and feeling, I had been absolutely distracted; but I
trusted to Christ in the promise, and looked that God would be as good
as his promise, in having mercy upon me, an unworthy sinner; and this
is that which encouraged me, and kept me from fainting. And thus must
thou do when Satan or the law, or thy own conscience, do go about to
dishearten thee, either by the greatness of thy sins, the wickedness
of thy heart, the tediousness of the way, the loss of outward
enjoyments, the hatred that thou wilt procure from the world or the
like; then thou must encourage thyself with the freeness of the
promises, the tender-heartedness of Christ, the merits of His blood,
the freeness of His invitations to come in, the greatness of the sin
of others that have been pardoned, and that the same God, through the
same Christ, holdeth forth the same grace as free as ever. If these be
not thy meditations, thou wilt draw very heavily in the way of heaven,
if thou do not give up all for lost, and so knock off from following
any farther; therefore, I say, take heart in thy journey, and say to
them that seek thy destruction, "Rejoice not against me, O my enemy,
for when I fall I shall arise, when I sit in darkness the Lord shall
be a light unto me." So run.

The eighth direction: Take heed of being offended at the cross that
thou must go by before thou come to heaven. You must understand (as I
have already touched) that there is no man that goeth to heaven but he
must go by the cross. The cross is the standing way-mark by which all
they that go to glory must pass.

"We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of heaven."
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer
persecution." If thou art in thy way to the kingdom, my life for thine
thou wilt come at the cross shortly (the Lord grant thou dost not
shrink at it, so as to turn thee back again).

"If any man will come after me," saith Christ, "let him deny himself,
and take up his cross daily, and follow me." The cross it stands,
and hath stood, from the beginning, as a way-mark to the kingdom of
heaven. You know, if one ask you the way to such and such a place,
you, for the better direction, do not only say, This is the way, but
then also say, You must go by such a gate, by such a stile, such
a bush, tree, bridge, or such like. Why, so it is here; art thou
inquiring the way to heaven? Why, I tell thee, Christ is the way; into
Him thou must get, into His righteousness, to be justified; and if
thou art in Him, thou wilt presently see the cross, thou must go close
by it, thou must touch it, nay, thou must take it up, or else thou
wilt quickly go out of the way that leads to heaven, and turn up some
of those crooked lanes that lead down to the chambers of death.

It is the cross which keepeth those that are kept from heaven. I am
persuaded, were it not for the cross, where we have one professor we
should have twenty; but this cross, that is it which spoileth all.

The ninth direction: Beg of God that He would do these two things for
thee: First, enlighten thine understanding: And, secondly, inflame thy
will. If these two be but effectually done, there is no fear but thou
wilt go safe to heaven.

One of the great reasons why men and women do so little regard the
other world is because they see so little of it: And the reason why
they see so little of it is because they have their understanding
darkened: And therefore, saith Paul, "Do not you believers walk as
do other Gentiles, even in the vanity of their minds, having their
understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through
the ignorance (or foolishness) that is in them, because of the
blindness of their heart." Walk not as those, run not with them: alas!
poor souls, they have their understandings darkened, their hearts
blinded, and that is the reason they have such undervaluing thoughts
of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the salvation of their souls. For when
men do come to see the things of another world, what a God, what
a Christ, what a heaven, and what an eternal glory there is to be
enjoyed; also when they see that it is possible for them to have a
share in it, I tell you it will make them run through thick and thin
to enjoy it. Moses, having a sight of this, because his understanding
was enlightened, "He feared not the wrath of the king, but chose
rather to suffer afflictions with the people of God than to enjoy the
pleasures of sin for a season. He refused to be called the son of
the king's daughter"; accounting it wonderful riches to be accounted
worthy of so much as to suffer for Christ with the poor despised
saints; and that was because he saw Him who was invisible, and had
respect unto the recompense of reward. And this is that which the
apostle usually prayeth for in his epistles for the saints, namely,
"That they might know what is the hope of God's calling, and the
riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints; and that they
might be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and
length, and depth, and height, and know the love of Christ, which
passeth knowledge." ...

The tenth direction: Cry to God that He would inflame thy will also
with the things of the other world. For when a man's will is fully set
to do such or such a thing, then it must be a very hard matter that
shall hinder that man from bringing about his end. When Paul's will
was set resolvedly to go up to Jerusalem (tho it was signified to him
before what he should there suffer), he was not daunted at all; nay,
saith he, "I am ready (or willing) not only to be bound, but also
to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." His will was
inflamed with love to Christ; and therefore all the persuasions that
could be used wrought nothing at all.

Your self-willed people, nobody knows what to do with them: we use to
say, he will have his own will, do all what you can. Indeed, to have
such a will for heaven, is an admirable advantage to a man that
undertaketh a race thither; a man that is resolved, and hath his will
fixt, saith he, I will do my best to advantage myself; I will do my
worst to hinder my enemies; I will not give out as long as I can
stand; I will have it or I will lose my life; "tho he slay me, yet
will I trust in him. I will not let thee go except thou bless me." I
will, I will, I will, oh this blest inflamed will for heaven! What is
it like? If a man be willing, then any argument shall be a matter
of encouragement; but if unwilling, then any argument shall give
discouragement; this is seen both in saints and sinners; in them that
are the children of God, and also those that are the children of the
devil. As,

1. The saints of old, they being willing and resolved for heaven,
what could stop them? Could fire and fagot, sword or halter, stinking
dungeons, whips, bears, bulls, lions, cruel rackings, stoning,
starving, nakedness, etc., "and in all these things they were more
than conquerors, through him that loved them"; who had also made them
"willing in the day of his power."

2. See again, on the other side, the children of the devil, because
they are not willing, how many shifts and starting-holes they will
have. I have a married wife, I have a farm, I shall offend my
landlord, I shall offend my master, I shall lose my trading, I shall
lose my pride, my pleasures, I shall be mocked and scoffed, therefore
I dare not come. I, saith another, will stay till I am older, till my
children are out, till I am got a little aforehand in the world, till
I have done this and that and the other business; but, alas! the thing
is, they are not willing; for, were they but soundly willing, these,
and a thousand such as these, would hold them no faster than the cords
held Samson, when he broke them like burnt flax. I tell you the will
is all: that is one of the chief things which turns the wheel either
backward or forward; and God knoweth that full well, and so likewise
doth the devil; and therefore they both endeavor very much to
strengthen the will of their servants; God, He is for making of His
a willing people to serve Him; and the devil, he doth what he can to
possess the will and affection of those that are his with love to sin;
and therefore when Christ comes closer to the matter, indeed, saith
He, "You will not come to me. How often would I have gathered you as a
hen doth her chickens, but you would not." The devil had possest their
wills, and so long he was sure enough of them. Oh, therefore cry hard
to God to inflame thy will for heaven and Christ: thy will, I say,
if that be rightly set for heaven, thou wilt not be beat off with
discouragements; and this was the reason that when Jacob wrestled with
the angel, tho he lost a limb, as it were, and the hollow of his thigh
was put out of joint as he wrestled with him, yet saith he, "I will
not," mark, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me." Get thy
will tipped with the heavenly grace, and resolution against all
discouragements, and then thou goest full speed for heaven; but
if thou falter in thy will, and be not found there, thou wilt run
hobbling and halting all the way thou runnest, and also to be sure
thou wilt fall short at last. The Lord give thee a will and courage.

Thus I have done with directing thee how to run to the kingdom; be
sure thou keep in memory what I have said unto thee, lest thou lose
thy way. But because I would have thee think of them, take all in
short in this little bit of paper.

1. Get into the way. 2. Then study on it. 3. Then, strip, and lay
aside everything that would hinder. 4.. Beware of by-paths. 5. Do not
gaze and stare too much about thee, but be sure to ponder the path of
thy feet. 6. Do not stop for any that call after thee, whether it be
the world, the flesh, or the devil: for all these will hinder thy
journey, if possible. 7. Be not daunted with any discouragements thou
meetest with as thou goest. 8. Take heed of stumbling at the cross. 9.
Cry hard to God for an enlightened heart, and a willing mind, and God
give thee a prosperous journey.

Provocation: Now that you may be provoked to run with the foremost,
take notice of this. When Lot and his wife were running from curst
Sodom to the mountains, to save their lives, it is said, that his wife
looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt; and yet
you see that neither her example, nor the judgment of God that fell
upon her for the same, would cause Lot to look behind him. I have
sometimes wondered at Lot in this particular; his wife looked behind
her, and died immediately, but let what would become of her, Lot would
not so much as once look behind him to see her. We do not read that he
did so much as once look where she was, or what was become of her; his
heart was indeed upon his journey, and well it might: there was the
mountain before him, and the fire and brimstone behind him; his life
lay at stake, and he had lost it if he had looked behind. Do thou so
run and in thy race remember Lot's wife, and remember her doom; and
remember for what that doom did overtake her; and remember that God
made her an example for all lazy runners, to the end of the world; and
take heed thou fall not after the same example. But,

If this will not provoke thee, consider thus, 1. Thy soul is thine own
soul, that is either to be saved or lost; thou shalt not lose my soul
by thy laziness. It is thine own soul, thine own ease, thine own
peace, thine own advantage or disadvantage. If it were my own that
thou art desired to be good unto, methinks reason should move thee
somewhat to pity it. But, alas! it is thine own, thine own soul. "What
shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his
own soul?" God's people wish well to the souls of others, and wilt not
thou wish well to thine own? And if this will not provoke thee, then

Again, 2. If thou lose thy soul, it is thou also that must bear the
blame. It made Cain stark mad to consider that he had not looked to
his brother Abel's soul. How much more will it perplex thee to think
that thou hadst not a care of thine own? And if this will not provoke
thee to bestir thyself, think again.

3. That, if thou wilt not run, the people of God are resolved to deal
with thee even as Lot dealt with his wife--that is, leave thee behind
them. It may be thou hast a father, mother, brother, etc., going
post-haste to heaven, wouldst thou be willing to be left behind them?
Surely no.

Again, 4. Will it not be a dishonor to thee to see the very boys and
girls in the country to have more with them than thyself? It may be
the servants of some men, as the housekeeper, plowman, scullion, etc.,
are more looking after heaven than their masters. I am apt to think,
sometimes, that more servants than masters, that more tenants than
landlords, will inherit the kingdom of heaven. But is not this a shame
for them that are such? I am persuaded you scorn that your servants
should say that they are wiser than you in the things of this world;
and yet I am bold to say that many of them are wiser than you in the
things of the world to come, which are of greater concernment.

Expostulation. Well, then, sinner, what sayest thou? Where is thy
heart? Wilt thou run? Art thou resolved to strip? Or art thou not?
Think quickly, man; have no dallying in this matter. Confer not with
flesh and blood; look up to heaven, and see how thou likest it; also
to hell, and accordingly devote thyself. If thou dost not know the
way, inquire at the Word of God; if thou wantest company, cry for
God's Spirit; if thou wantest encouragement, entertain the promises.
But be sure thou begin betimes; get into the way, run apace, and hold
out to the end; and the Lord give thee a prosperous journey. Farewell.




John Tillotson, archbishop of Canterbury, renowned as a preacher,
was born at Sowerby, in Yorkshire, in 1630, the son of an ardent
Independent. After graduating from Clare College, Cambridge, he began
to preach in 1661, in connection with the Presbyterian wing of the
Church of England. He, however, submitted to the Act of Uniformity
the following year, and in 1663 was inducted into the rectory of
Veddington, Suffolk. He was also appointed preacher to Lincoln's Inn,
was made prebendary of Canterbury in 1670 and dean in 1672. William
III regarded him with high favor, and he succeeded the nonjuring
Sancroft in the arch-see of Canterbury. His sermons are characterized
by stateliness, copiousness and lucidity, and were long looked upon as
models of correct pulpit style. He died in 1694.




_Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should
raise the dead?_--Acts xxvi., 8.

The resurrection of the dead is one of the great articles of the
Christian faith; and yet so it hath happened that this great article
of our religion hath been made one of the chief objections against
it. There is nothing that Christianity hath been more upbraided for
withal, both by the heathens of old and by the infidels of later
times, than the impossibility of this article; so that it is a matter
of great consideration and consequence to vindicate our religion in
this particular. But if the thing be evidently impossible, then it is
highly unreasonable to propose it to the belief of mankind.

I know that some, more devout than wise, and who, it is to be hoped,
mean better than they understand, make nothing of impossibilities in
matters of faith, and would fain persuade us that the more impossible
anything is, for that very reason it is the fitter to be believed; and
that it is an argument of a poor and low faith to believe only things
that are possible; but a generous and heroical faith will swallow
contradictions with as much ease as reason assents to the plainest and
most evident propositions. Tertullian, in the heat of his zeal and
eloquence, upon this point of the death and resurrection of Christ,
lets fall a very odd passage, and which must have many grains of
allowance to make it tolerable: "_prosus credible est_ (saith he),
_quia ineptum est; certum est, quia impossible_--it is therefore
very credible, because it is foolish, and certain, because it is
impossible"; "and this (says he) is _necessarium dedecus fidei_," that
is, "it is necessary the Christian faith should be thus disgraced by
the belief of impossibilities and contradictions." I suppose he means
that this article of the resurrection was not in itself the less
credible because the heathen philosophers caviled at it as a thing
impossible and contradictious, and endeavored to disgrace the
Christian religion upon that account. For if he meant otherwise, that
the thing was therefore credible because it was really and in itself
foolish and impossible; this had been to recommend the Christian
religion from the absurdity of the things to be believed; which
would be a strange recommendation of any religion to the sober and
reasonable part of mankind.

I know not what some men may find in themselves; but I must freely
acknowledge that I could never yet attain to that bold and hardy
degree of faith as to believe anything for this reason, because it was
impossible: for this would be to believe a thing to be because I am
sure it can not be. So that I am very far from being of his mind, that
wanted not only more difficulties, but even impossibilities in the
Christian religion, to exercise his faith upon.

Leaving to the Church of Rome that foolhardiness of faith, to believe
things to be true which at the same time their reason plainly tells
them are impossible, I shall at this time endeavor to assert and
vindicate this article of the resurrection from the pretended
impossibility of it. And I hope, by God's assistance, to make the
possibility of the thing so plain as to leave no considerable scruple
about it in any free and unprejudiced mind. And this I shall do from
these words of St. Paul, which are part of the defense which he made
for himself before Festus and Agrippa, the substance whereof is this,
that he had lived a blameless and inoffensive life among the Jews, in
whose religion he had been bred up; that he was of the strictest sect
of that religion, a Pharisee, which, in opposition to the Sadducees,
maintained the resurrection of the dead and a future state of rewards
and punishments in another life; and that for the hope of this he was
called in question, and accused by the Jews. "And now I stand here,
and am judged, for the hope of the promise made unto the fathers; unto
which promise our twelve scribes, instantly serving God day and night,
hope to come; for which hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the
Jews." That is, he was accused for preaching that Jesus was risen from
the dead, which is a particular instance of the general doctrine of
the resurrection which was entertained by the greatest part of the
Jews, and which to the natural reason of mankind (however the heathen
in opposition to the Christian religion were prejudiced against it),
hath nothing in it that is incredible. And for this he appeals to
his judges, Festus and Agrippa: "why should it be thought a thing
incredible with you that God should raise the dead?"

Which words being a question without an answer, imply in them these
two propositions:

First, That it was thought by some a thing incredible that the dead
should be raised. This is supposed in the question, as the foundation
of it: for he who asks why a thing is so, supposeth it to be so.

Secondly, That this apprehension, that it is a thing incredible that
God should raise the dead, is very unreasonable. For the question
being left unanswered, implies its own answer, and is to be resolved
into this affirmative, that there is no reason why they or any man
else should think it a thing incredible that God should raise the

I shall speak to these two propositions as briefly as I can; and then
show what influence this doctrine of the resurrection ought to have
upon our lives.

First, that it was thought by some a thing incredible that God should
raise the dead. This St. Paul has reason to suppose, having from his
own experience found men so averse from the entertaining of this
doctrine. When he preached to the philosophers at Athens, and declared
to them the resurrection of one Jesus from the dead, they were amazed
at this new doctrine, and knew not what he meant by it. They said, "he
seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods, because he preached unto
them Jesus and the resurrection." He had discoursed to them of the
resurrection of one Jesus from the dead; but this business of the
resurrection of one Jesus from the dead was a thing so remote from
their apprehensions that they had no manner of conception of it; but
understood him quite in another sense, as if he had declared to them
two new deities, Jesus and Anastasis; as if he had brought a new god
and a new goddess among them, Jesus and the Resurrection. And when he
discoursed to them again more fully of this matter, it is said that,
"when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, they mocked." And at
the twenty-fourth verse of this twenty-sixth chapter, when he spake of
the resurrection, Festus told him he would hear him no further, and
that he looked upon him as a man beside himself, whom much learning
had made mad. Festus looked upon this business of the resurrection
as the wild speculation of a crazy head. And indeed the heathens
generally, even those who believed the immortality of the soul, and
another state after this life, looked upon the resurrection of the
body as a thing impossible. Pliny, I remember, reckons it among
those things which are impossible, and which God himself can not do;
"_revocare defunctos_, to call back the dead to life"; and in the
primitive times the heathen philosophers very much derided the
Christians, upon account of this strange doctrine of the resurrection,
looking always upon this article of their faith as a ridiculous and
impossible assertion.

So easy it is for prejudice to blind the minds of men, and to
represent everything to them which hath a great appearance of
difficulty in it as impossible. But I shall endeavor to show that if
the matter be thoroughly examined, there is no ground for any such

I proceed therefore to the second proposition, namely, that this
apprehension, that it is an incredible thing that God should raise
the dead, is very unreasonable: "why should it be thought a thing
incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?" That is, there
is no sufficient reason why any man should look upon the resurrection
of the dead as a thing impossible to the power of God; the only
reason why they thought it incredible being because they judged it
impossible; so that nothing can be vainer than for men to pretend to
believe the resurrection; and yet at the same time to grant it to be a
thing in reason impossible, because no man can believe that which he
thinks to be incredible; and the impossibility of a thing is the best
reason any man can have to think a thing incredible. So that the
meaning of St. Paul's question is, "why should it be thought a thing
impossible that God should raise the dead?"

To come then to the business: I shall endeavor to show that there is
no sufficient reason why men should look upon the resurrection of the
dead as a thing impossible to God. "Why should it be thought a thing
incredible (that is, impossible) with you, that God should raise the
dead?" which question implies in it these three things:

1. That it is above the power of nature to raise the dead.

2. But it is not above the power of God to raise the dead.

3. That God should be able to do this is by no means incredible to
natural reason.

First. This question implies that it is above the power of nature
to raise the dead; and therefore the apostle puts the question very
cautiously, "why should it be thought incredible that God should raise
the dead?" by which he seems to grant that it is impossible to any
natural power to raise the dead; which is granted on all hands.

Secondly. But this question does plainly imply that it is not above
the power of God to do this. Tho the raising of the dead to life be
a thing above the power of nature, yet why should it be thought
incredible that God, who is the author of nature, should be able to
do this? and indeed the apostle's putting the question in this manner
takes away the main ground of the objection against the resurrection
from the impossibility of the thing. For the main reason why it was
looked upon as impossible was, because it was contrary to the course
of nature that there should be any return from a perfect privation to
a habit, and that a body perfectly dead should be restored to life
again: but for all this no man that believes in a God who made the
world, and this natural frame of things, but must think it very
reasonable to believe that He can do things far above the power of
anything that He hath made.

Thirdly. This question implies that it is not a thing incredible to
natural reason that God should be able to raise the dead. I do not say
that by natural light we can discover that God will raise the dead;
for that, depending merely upon the will of God, can no otherwise be
certainly known than by divine revelation: but that God can do this
is not at all incredible to natural reason. And this is sufficiently
implied in the question which St. Paul asks, in which he appeals to
Festus and Agrippa, neither of them Christians, "why should it be
thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?"
And why should he appeal to them concerning the credibility of this
matter if it be a thing incredible to natural reason?

That it is not, I shall first endeavor to prove, and then to answer
the chief objections against the possibility of it.

And I prove it thus: it is not incredible to natural reason that God
made the world, and all the creatures in it; that mankind is His
offspring; and that He gives us life and breath, and all things. This
was acknowledged and firmly believed by many of the heathens. And
indeed, whoever believes that the being of God may be known by natural
light, must grant that it may be known by the natural light of reason
that God made the world; because one of the chief arguments of the
being of God is taken from those visible effects of wisdom, and power,
and goodness, which we see in the frame of the world. Now He that can
do the greater can undoubtedly do the less; He that made all things of
nothing, can much more raise a body out of dust; He who at first gave
life to so many inanimate beings, can easily restore that which is
dead to life again. It is an excellent saying of one of the Jewish
rabbis: He who made that which was not, to be, can certainly make that
which was once, to be again. This hath the force of a demonstration;
for no man that believes that God hath done the one, can make any
doubt but that He can, if He please, do the other.

This seems to be so very clear, that they must be strong objections
indeed, that can render it incredible.

There are but two that I know of, that are of any consideration, and
I shall not be afraid to represent them to you with their utmost
advantage; and they are these:

First, against the resurrection in general: it is pretended
impossible, after the bodies of men are resolved into dust, to
re-collect all the dispersed parts and bring them together, to be
united into one body.

The second is leveled against a resurrection in some particular
instances, and pretends it to be impossible in some cases only--viz.,
when that which was the matter of one man's body does afterward become
the matter of another man's body; in which case, say they, it is
impossible that both these should, at the resurrection, each have his
own body.

The difficulty of both these objections is perfectly avoided by those
who hold that it is not necessary that our bodies at the resurrection
should consist of the very same parts of matter that they did before.
There being no such great difference between one parcel of dust and
another; neither in respect of the power of God, which can easily
command this parcel of dust as that to become a living body and being
united to a living soul to rise up and walk; so that the miracle of
the resurrection will be all one in the main, whether our bodies be
made of the very same matter they were before, or not; nor will there
be any difference as to us; for whatever matter our bodies be made of,
when they are once reunited to our souls, they will be then as much
our own as if they had been made of the very same matter of which they
consisted before. Besides that, the change which the resurrection will
make in our bodies will be so great that we could not know them to be
the same, tho they were so.

Now upon this supposition, which seems philosophical enough, the force
of both these objections is wholly declined. But there is no need to
fly to this refuge; and therefore I will take this article of the
resurrection in the strictest sense for the raising of a body to life,
consisting of the same individual matter that it did before; and in
this sense, I think, it has generally been received by Christians, not
without ground, from Scripture. I will only mention one text, which
seems very strongly to imply it: "and the sea gave up the dead which
were in it; and death and the grave delivered up the dead which, were
in them; and they were judged every man according to his works." Now
why should the sea and the grave be said to deliver up their dead, if
there were not a resurrection of the same body; for any dust formed
into a living body and united to the soul, would serve the turn? We
will therefore take it for granted that the very same body will
be raised, and I doubt not, even in this sense, to vindicate the
possibility of the resurrection from both these objections.

First, against the resurrection in general of the same body; it is
pretended impossible, after the bodies of men are moldered into dust,
and by infinite accidents have been scattered up and down the world,
and have undergone a thousand changes, to re-collect and rally
together the very same parts of which they consisted before. This the
heathens used to object to the primitive Christians; for which reason
they also used to burn the bodies of the martyrs, and to scatter their
ashes in the air, to be blown about by the wind, in derision of their
hopes of a resurrection.

I know not how strong malice might make this objection to appear; but
surely in reason it is very weak; for it wholly depends upon a gross
mistake of the nature of God and his providence, as if it did not
extend to the smallest things; as if God did not know all things that
He hath made, and had them not always in His view, and perfectly
under His command; and as if it were a trouble and burden to infinite
knowledge and power to understand and order the least things; whereas
infinite knowledge and power can know and manage all things with as
much ease as we can understand and order any one thing; so that this
objection is grounded upon a low and false apprehension of the Divine
nature, and is only fit for Epicurus and his herd, who fancied to
themselves a sort of slothful and unthinking deities, whose happiness
consisted in their laziness, and a privilege to do nothing.

I proceed therefore to the second objection, which is more close
and pressing; and this is leveled against the resurrection in some
particular instances. I will mention but two, by which all the rest
may be measured and answered.

One is, of those who are drowned in the sea, and their bodies eaten up
by fishes, and turned into their nourishment: and those fishes perhaps
eaten afterward by men, and converted into the substance of their

The other is of the cannibals; some of whom, as credible relations
tell us, have lived wholly or chiefly on the flesh of men; and
consequently the whole, or the greater part of the substance of their
bodies is made of the bodies of other men. In these and the like
cases, wherein one man's body is supposed to be turned into the
substance of another man's body, how should both these at the
resurrection each recover his own body? So that this objection is like
that of the Sadducees to our Savior, concerning a woman that had seven
husbands: they ask, "whose wife of the seven shall she be at the
resurrection?" So here, when several have had the same body, whose
shall it be at the resurrection? and how shall they be supplied that
have it not?

This is the objection; and in order to the answering of it, I shall
premise these two things:

1. That the body of man is not a constant and permanent thing, always
continuing in the same state, and consisting of the same matter; but
a successive thing, which is continually spending and continually
renewing itself, every day losing something of the matter which it had
before, and gaining new; so that most men have new bodies oftener than
they have new clothes; only with this difference, that we change our
clothes commonly at once, but our bodies by degrees.

And this is undeniably certain from experience. For so much as our
bodies grow, so much new matter is added to them, over and beside the
repairing of what is continually spent; and after a man come to his
full growth, so much of his food as every day turns into nourishment,
so much of his yesterday's body is usually wasted, and carried off by
insensible perspiration--that is, breathed out at the pores of his
body; which, according to the static experiment of Sanctorius, a
learned physician, who, for several years together, weighed himself
exactly every day, is (as I remember) according to the proportion of
five to eight of all that a man eats and drinks. Now, according to
this proportion, every man must change his body several times in a

It is true indeed the more solid parts of the body, as the bones, do
not change so often as the fluid and fleshy; but that they also do
change is certain, because they grow, and whatever grows is nourished
and spends, because otherwise it would not need to be repaired.

2. The body which a man hath at any time of his life is as much his
own body as that which he hath at his death; so that if the very
matter of his body which a man had at any time of his life be raised,
it is as much his own and the same body as that which he had at
his death, and commonly much more perfect; because they who die of
lingering sickness or old age are usually mere skeletons when they
die; so that there is no reason to suppose that the very matter of
which our bodies consists at the time of our death shall be that which
shall be raised, that being commonly the worst and most imperfect body
of all the rest.

These two things being premised, the answer to this objection can not
be difficult. For as to the more solid and firm parts of the body, as
the skull and bones, it is not, I think, pretended that the cannibals
eat them; and if they did, so much of the matter even of these solid
parts wastes away in a few years, as being collected together would
supply them many times over. And as for the fleshy and fluid parts,
these are so very often changed and renewed that we can allow the
cannibals to eat them all up, and to turn them all into nourishment,
and yet no man need contend for want of a body of his own at the
resurrection--viz., any of those bodies which he had ten or twenty
years before; which are every whit as good and as much his own as that
which was eaten.

Having thus shown that the resurrection is not a thing incredible to
natural reason, I should now proceed to show the certainty of it from
divine revelation. For as reason tells us it is not impossible, so the
word of God hath assured us that it is certain. The texts of Scripture
are so many and clear to this purpose, and so well known to all
Christians, that I will produce none. I shall only tell you that as
it is expressly revealed in the gospel, so our blest Savior, for the
confirmation of our faith and the comfort and encouragement of our
hope, hath given us the experiment of it in his own resurrection,
which is "the earnest and first-fruits of ours." So St. Paul tells us
that "Christ is risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of
them that slept" And that Christ did really rise from the dead, we
have as good evidence as for any ancient matter of fact which we do
most firmly believe; and more and greater evidence than this the thing
is not capable of; and because it is not, no reasonable man ought to
require it.

Now what remains but to conclude this discourse with those practical
inferences which our apostle makes from this doctrine of the
resurrection; and I shall mention these two:

The first for our support and comfort under the infirmities and
miseries of this mortal life.

The second for the encouragement of obedience and a good life.

1. For our comfort and support under the infirmities and miseries of
this mortal state. The consideration of the glorious change of our
bodies at the resurrection of the just can not but be a great comfort
to us, under all bodily pain and sufferings.

One of the greatest burdens of human nature is the frailty and
infirmity of our bodies, the necessities they are frequently prest
withal, the manifold diseases they are liable to, and the dangers and
terrors of death, to which they are continually subject and enslaved.
But the time is coming, if we be careful to prepare ourselves for it,
when we shall be clothed with other kind of bodies, free from all the
miseries and inconveniences which flesh and blood is subject to.
For "these vile bodies shall be changed, and fashioned like to the
glorious body of the Son of God." When our bodies shall be raised to a
new life, they shall become incorruptible; "for this corruptible shall
put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality; and
then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is
swallowed up in victory." When this last enemy is conquered, there
shall be no "fleshly lusts" nor brutish passions "to fight against the
soul; no law in our members to war against the laws of our minds"; no
disease to torment us; no danger of death to amaze and terrify us.
Then all the passions and appetites of our outward man shall be
subject to the reason of our minds, and our bodies shall partake of
the immortality of our souls. It is but a very little while that our
spirits shall be crusht and clogged with these heavy and sluggish
bodies; at the resurrection they shall be refined from all dregs of
corruption, and become spiritual, and incorruptible, and glorious, and
every way suited to the activity and perfection of a glorified soul
and the "spirits of just men made perfect."

2. For the encouragement of obedience and a good life. Let the belief
of this great article of our faith have the same influence upon us
which St. Paul tells it had upon him. "I have hope toward God that
there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and
unjust; and herein do I exercise myself always to have a conscience
void of offense toward God and toward man." The firm belief of a
resurrection to another life should make every one of us very careful
how we demean ourselves in this life, and afraid to do anything or to
neglect anything that may defeat our hopes of a blest immortality,
and expose us to the extreme and endless misery of body and soul in
another life.

Particularly, it should be an argument to us, "to glorify God in our
bodies and in our spirits"; and to use the members of the one and
the faculties of the other as "instruments of righteousness unto
holiness." We should reverence ourselves, and take heed not only how
we defile our souls by sinful passions, but how we dishonor our bodies
by sensual and brutish lusts; since God hath designed so great an
honor and happiness for both at the resurrection.

So often as we think of a blest resurrection to eternal life, and the
happy consequences of it, the thought of so glorious a reward should
make us diligent and unwearied in the service of so good a Master and
so great a Prince, who can and will prefer us to infinitely greater
honors than any that are to be had in this world. This inference the
apostle makes from the doctrine of the resurrection. "Therefore, my
beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the
work of the Lord; for as much as ye know that your labor is not in
vain in the Lord."

Nay, we may begin this blest state while we are upon earth, by
"setting our hearts and affections upon the things that are above,
and having our conversation in heaven, from whence also we look for a
Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile bodies, that
they may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the
working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself."

"Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus
Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the
everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do his
will, working in us always that which is pleasing in his sight,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever. Amen."




John Howe, a leading writer and divine under the Commonwealth, was
born in 1630, at Loughborough, in Leicestershire, England. He was
educated at Cambridge and Oxford, and ordained by Charles Herle,
rector of Winwick, whom he styled, "a primitive bishop." He became
chaplain to Cromwell and his son Richard. Among his contributions to
Puritan theology are "The Good Man the Living Temple of God," and
"Vanity of Men as Mortal," He was a man of intellect and imagination.
His sermons, tho often long and cumbersome, are marked by warmth of
fancy and a sublimity of spirit superior to his style. Howe was a
leading spirit in the effort made for the union of the Congregational
and Presbyterian bodies. He died in 1705.




_And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it,
saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the
things which belong to thy peace! But now they are hid from thine
eyes_.--Luke six., 41, 42.

Such as live tinder the gospel have a day, or a present opportunity,
for the obtaining the knowledge of those things immediately belonging
to their peace, and of whatsoever is besides necessary thereunto. I
say nothing what opportunities they have who never lived under the
gospel, who yet no doubt might generally know more than they do, and
know better what they do know. It suffices who enjoy the gospel to
understand our own advantages thereby. Nor, as to those who do enjoy
it, is every one's day of equal clearness. How few, in comparison,
have ever seen such a day as Jerusalem at this time did I made by
the immediate beams of the Sun of Righteousness! our Lord Himself
vouchsafing to be their Instructor, so speaking as never man did, and
with such authority as far outdid their other teachers, and astonished
the hearers. In what transports did He use to leave those that heard
Him, wheresoever He came, wondering at the gracious words that came
out of His mouth! And with what mighty and beneficial works was He
went to recommend His doctrine, shining in the glorious power and
savoring of the abundant mercy of Heaven, so that every apprehensive
mind might see the Deity was incarnate. God was come down to entreat
with men, and allure them into the knowledge and love of Himself. The
Word was made flesh. What unprejudiced mind might not perceive it to
be so? He was there manifested and vailed at once; both expressions
are made concerning the same matter. The divine beams were somewhat
obscured, but did yet ray through that vail; so that His glory was
beheld of the only-begotten Son of His Father, full of grace and

This Sun shone with a mild and benign, but with a powerful, vivifying
light. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. Such a
light created unto the Jews this their day. Happy Jews, if they had
understood their own happiness! And the days that followed to them
(for a while) and the Gentile world were not inferior, in some
respects brighter and more glorious (the more copious gift of the
Holy Ghost being reserved unto the crowning and enthroning of the
victorious Redeemer), when the everlasting gospel flew like lightning
to the uttermost ends of the earth, and the word which began to be
spoken by the Lord Himself was confirmed by them that heard Him, God
also Himself bearing them witness with signs, and wonders, and gifts
of the Holy Ghost. No such day hath been seen this many an age. Yet
whithersoever this same gospel, for substance, comes, it also makes a
day of the same kind, and affords always true tho diminished light,
whereby, however, the things of our peace might be understood and
known. The written gospel varies not, and if it be but simply and
plainly proposed tho to some it be proposed with more advantage, to
some with less, still we have the same things immediately relating to
our peace extant before our eyes ...

This day hath its bounds and limits, so that when it is over and lost
with such, the things of their peace are forever hid from their eyes.
And that this day is not infinite and endless, we see in the present
instance. Jerusalem had her day; but that day had its period, we see
it comes to this at last, that now the things of her peace are hid
from her eyes. We generally see the same thing, in that sinners are so
earnestly prest to make use of the present time. To-day if you will
hear His voice, harden not your hearts. They are admonished to seek
the Lord while He may be found, to call upon Him when He is nigh. It
seems some time He will not be found, and will be far off. They are
told this is the accepted time, this is the day of salvation ... As it
is certain death ends the day of grace with every unconverted person,
soit is very possible that it may end with divers before they die; by
their total loss of all external means, or by the departure of the
blest Spirit of God from them; so as to return and visit them no more.

How the day of grace may end with a person, is to be understood by
considering what it is that makes up and constitutes such a day. There
must become measure and proportion of time to make up this (or any)
day, which is as the substratum and ground fore-laid. Then there must
be light superadded, otherwise it differs not from night, which may
have the same measure of mere time. The gospel revelation some way or
other, must be had, as being the light of such a day. And again there
must be some degree of liveliness, and vital influence, the more usual
concomitant of light; the night doth more dispose men to drowsiness.
The same sun that enlightens the world disseminates also an
invigorating influence. If the Spirit of the living God do no way
animate the gospel revelation, and breathe in it, we have no day of
grace. It is not only a day of light, but a day of power, wherein
souls can be wrought upon, and a people made willing to become the
Lord's. As the Redeemer revealed in the gospel, is the light of the
world, so He is life to it too, tho neither are planted or do take
root everywhere. In Him was life and that life was the light of men.
That light that rays from Him is vital light in itself, and in its
tendency and design, tho it be disliked and not entertained by the
most. Whereas therefore these things must concur to make up such a
day; if either a man's time, his life on earth, expire, or if light
quite fail him, or if all gracious influence be withheld, so as to be
communicated no more, his day is done, the season of grace is over
with him. Now it is plain that many a one may lose the gospel before
his life end; and possible that all gracious influence may be
restrained, while as yet the external dispensation of the gospel
remains. A sinner may have hardened his heart to that degree that God
will attempt him no more, in any kind, with any design of kindness to
him, not in that more inward, immediate way at all--_i.e._, by the
motions of His Spirit, which peculiarly can impart nothing but
friendly inclination, as whereby men are personally applied unto,
so that can not be meant; nor by the voice of the gospel, which may
either be continued for the sake of others, or they contained under
it, but for their heavier doom at length. Which, tho it may seem
severe, is not to be thought strange, much less unrighteous.

It is not to be thought strange to them that read the Bible, which so
often speaks this sense; as when it warns and threatens men with so
much terror. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the
knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
but a fearful looking for judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall
devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses's law died without
mercy, under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment,
suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the
Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith He
was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit
of grace? And when It tells us, after many overtures made to men in
vain, of His having given them up. "But my people would not hearken to
my voice; and Israel would none of me; so I gave them up unto their
own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels;" and
pronounces, "Let him that is unjust be unjust still, and let him which
is filthy be filthy still," and says, "In thy filthiness is lewdness,
because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged; thou shalt not
be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to
rest upon thee." Which passages seem to imply a total desertion of
them, and retraction of all gracious influence. And when it speaks of
letting them be under the gospel, and the ordinary means of salvation,
for the most direful purpose: as that, "This child (Jesus) was set
for the fall, as well as for the rising, of many in Israel"; as that,
"Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling, and a rock of offense"; and, "The
stone which the builders refused, is made a stone of stumbling, and
a rock of offense, even to them which, stumble at the word, being
disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed"; with that of our
Savior Himself, "For judgment I am come into this world, that they
which see not might see; and that they which see, might be made
blind." And most agreeable to those former places is that of the
prophet, "But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept,
line upon line, here a little and there a little; that they might go,
and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." And we may
add, that our God hath put us out of doubt that there is such a sin as
that which is eminently called the sin against the Holy Ghost; that
a man in such circumstances, and to such a degree, sin against that
Spirit, that He will never move or breathe upon him more, but leave
him to a hopeless ruin; tho I shall not in this discourse determine
or discuss the nature of it. But I doubt not it is somewhat else than
final impenitency and infidelity; and that every one that dies, not
having sincerely repented and believed, is not guilty of it, tho every
one that is guilty of it dies impenitent and unbelieving, but was
guilty of it before; so it is not the mere want of time that makes
him guilty. Whereupon, therefore, that such may outlive their day of
grace, is out of the question ...

Wherefore, no man can certainly know, or ought to conclude, concerning
himself or others, as long as they live, that the season of grace
is quite over with them. As we can conceive no rule God hath set to
Himself to proceed by, in ordinary cases of this nature; so nor is
there any He hath set unto us to judge by, in this case. It were to no
purpose, and could be of no use to men to know so much; therefore it
were unreasonable to expect God should have settled and declared any
rule, by which they might come to the knowledge of it. As the case is
then, viz.: there being no such rule, no such thing can be concluded;
for who can tell what an arbitrary, sovereign, free agent will do, if
he declare not his own purpose himself? How should it be known, when
the Spirit of God hath been often working upon the soul of man, that
this or that shall be the last act, and that he will never put forth
another? And why should God make it known? To the person himself whose
case it is, 'tis manifest it could be of no benefit. Nor is it to
be thought the Holy God will ever so alter the course of His own
proceedings but that it shall be finally seen to all the world that
every man's destruction was entirely, and to the last, of himself. If
God had made it evident to a man that he were finally rejected, he
were obliged to believe it. But shall it ever be said, God hath made
anything a man's duty which were inconsistent with his felicity. The
having sinned himself into such a condition wherein he is forsaken
of God is indeed inconsistent with it. And so the case is to
stand--_i.e._, that his perdition be in immediate connection with
his sin, not with his duty; as it would be in immediate, necessary
connection with his duty, if he were bound to believe himself finally
forsaken and a lost creature. For that belief makes him hopeless, and
a very devil, justifies his unbelief in the gospel, toward himself, by
removing and shutting up, toward himself, the object of such a faith,
and consequently brings the matter to this state that he perishes, not
because he doth not believe God reconcilable to man, but because, with
particular application to himself, he ought not so to believe. And it
were most unfit, and of very pernicious consequence, that such a thing
should be generally known concerning others....

But tho none ought to conclude that their day or season of grace is
quite expired, yet they ought to deeply apprehend the danger, lest
it should expire before their necessary work be done and their peace
made. For tho it can be of no use for them to know the former, and
therefore they have no means appointed them by which to know it, 'tis
of great use to apprehend the latter; and they have sufficient ground
for the apprehension. All the cautions and warnings wherewith the Holy
Spirit abounds, of the kind with those already mentioned, have that
manifest design. And nothing can be more important, or opposite to
this purpose, than that solemn charge of the great apostle: "Work out
your own salvation with fear and trembling"; considered together with
the subjoined ground of it; "For it is God that worketh in you to will
and to do of his own good pleasure." How correspondent is the one with
the other; work for He works: there were no working at all to any
purpose, or with any hope, if He did not work. And work with fear and
trembling, for He works of His own good pleasure, q.d., "'Twere the
greatest folly imaginable to trifle with One that works at so perfect
liberty, under no obligation, that may desist when He will; to impose
upon so absolutely sovereign and arbitrary an Agent, that owes you
nothing; and from whose former gracious operations not complied with
you can draw no argument, unto any following ones, that because He
doth, therefore He will. As there is no certain connection between
present time and future, but all time is made up of undepending, not
strictly coherent, moments, so as no man can be sure, because one
now exists, another shall; there is also no more certain connection
between the arbitrary acts of a free agent within such time; so that
I can not be sure, because He now darts in light upon me, is now
convincing me, now awakening me, therefore He will still do so, again
and again." Upon this ground then, what exhortation could be more
proper than this? "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling."
What could be more awfully monitory and enforcing of it than that He
works only of mere good will and pleasured How should I tremble to
think, if I should be negligent, or undutiful, He may give out the
next moment, may let the work fall, and me perish? And there is more
especial cause for such an apprehension upon the concurrence of such
things as these:

1. If the workings of God's Spirit upon the soul of a man have been
more than ordinarily strong and urgent, and do not now cease: if
there have been more powerful convictions, deeper humiliations, more
awakened fears, more formed purposes of a new life, more fervent
desires that are now vanished, and the sinner returns to his dead and
dull temper.

2. If there be no disposition to reflect and consider the difference,
no sense of his loss, but he apprehends such workings of spirit in him
unnecessary troubles to him, and thinks it well he is delivered and
eased of them.

3. If in the time when he was under such workings of the Spirit he
had made known his case to his minister, or any godly friend, whose
company he now shuns, as not willing to be put in mind, or hear any
more of such matters.

4. If, hereupon he hath more indulged sensual inclination, taken more
liberty, gone against the check of his own conscience, broken former
good resolutions, involved himself in the guilt of any grosser sins.

5. If conscience, so baffled, be now silent, lets him alone, grows
more sluggish and weaker, which it must as his lusts grow stronger.

6. If the same lively, powerful ministry which before affected him
much, now moves him not.

7. If especially he is grown into a dislike of such preaching--if
serious godliness, and what tends to it, are become distasteful to
him--if discourses of God, and of Christ, of death and judgment, and
of a holy life, are reckoned superflous and needless, are unsavory and
disrelished--if he have learned to put disgraceful names upon
things of this import, and the persons that most value them live
accordingly--if he hath taken the seat of the scorner, and makes it
his business to deride what he had once a reverence for, or took some
complacency in.

8. If, upon all this, God withdraw such a ministry, so that he is now
warned, admonished, exhorted and striven with, as formerly, no more.
Oh, the fearful danger of that man's case! Hath he no cause to fear
lest the things of his peace should be forever hid from his eyes?
Surely he hath much cause of fear, but mot of despair. Fear in this
case would be his great duty, and might yet prove the means of saving
him--despair would be his very heinous and destroying sin. If yet he
would be stirred up to consider his case, whence he is fallen, and
whither he is falling, and set himself to serious seekings of God,
cast down himself before Him, abase himself, cry for mercy as for his
life, there is yet hope in his case. God may make here an instance
what He can obtain of Himself to do for a perishing wretch. But if
with any that have lived under the gospel, their day is quite expired,
and the things of their peace now forever hid from their eyes, this is
in itself a most deplorable case, and much lamented by our Lord Jesus
Himself. That the case is in itself most deplorable, who sees not? A
soul lost! a creature capable of God! upon its way to Him! near to the
kingdom of God! shipwrecked in the port! Oh, sinner, from how high a
hope art thou fallen! into what depths of misery and we! And that it
was lamented by our Lord is in the text. He beheld the city (very
generally, we have reason to apprehend, inhabited by such wretched
creatures) and wept over it. This was a very affectionate lamentation.
We lament often, very heartily, many a sad case for which we do not
shed tears. But tears, such tears, falling from such eyes! the issues
of the purest and best-governed passion that ever was, showed the true
greatness of the cause. Here could be no exorbitancy or unjust excess,
nothing more than was proportional to the occasion. There needs no
other proof that this is a sad case than that our Lord lamented it
with tears, which that He did we are plainly told, so that, touching
that, there is no place for doubt. All that is liable to question is,
whether we are to conceive in Him any like resentments of such cases,
in His present glorified state? Indeed, we can not think heaven a
place or state of sadness or lamentation, and must take heed of
conceiving anything there, especially on the throne of glory,
unsuitable to the most perfect nature, and the most glorious state. We
are not to imagine tears there, which, in that happy region are wiped
away from inferior eyes--no grief, sorrow, or sighing, which are all
fled away, and shall be no more, as there can be no other turbid
passion of any kind. But when expressions that import anger or grief
are used, even concerning God Himself, we must sever in our conception
everything of imperfection, and ascribe everything of real perfection.
We are not to think such expressions signify nothing, that they have
no meaning, or that nothing at all is to be attributed to Him under
them. Nor are we again to think they signify the same thing with what
we find in ourselves, and are wont to express by those names. In the
divine nature there may be real, and yet most serene, complacency and
displacency--viz., that, unaccompanied by the least commotion, that
impart nothing of imperfection, but perfection rather, as it is a
perfection to apprehend things suitably to what in themselves they
are. The holy Scriptures frequently speak of God as angry, and grieved
for the sins of men, and their miseries which ensue therefrom. And
a real aversion and dislike is signified thereby, and by many other
expressions, which in us would signify vehement agitations of
affection, that we are sure can have no place in Him. We ought,
therefore, in our own thoughts to ascribe to Him that calm aversion of
will, in reference to the sins and miseries of men in general; and in
our own apprehensions to remove to the utmost distance from Him all
such agitations of passion or affection, even tho some expressions
that occur carry a great appearance thereof, should they be understood
according to human measures, as they are human forms of speech. As, to
instance in what is said by the glorious God Himself, and very near in
sense to what we have in the text, what can be more pathetic than that
lamenting wish, "Oh, that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel
had walked in my ways!" But we must take heed lest, under the pretense
that we can not ascribe everything to God that such expressions seem
to import, we therefore ascribe nothing. We ascribe nothing, if we do
not ascribe a real unwillingness that men should sin on, and perish,
and consequently a real willingness that they should turn to Him,
and live, which so many plain texts assert. And therefore it is
unavoidably imposed upon us to believe that God is truly unwilling of
some things which He doth not think fit to interpose His omnipotency
to hinder, and is truly willing of some things which He doth not put
forth His omnipotency to effect.

We can not, therefore, doubt but that,

1. He distinctly comprehends the truth of any such case. He beholds,
from the throne of His glory above, all the treaties which are held
and managed with sinners in His name, and what their deportments are
therein. His eyes are as a flame of fire, wherewith He searcheth
hearts and trieth reins. He hath seen therefore, sinner, all along
every time an offer of grace hath been made to thee, and been
rejected; when thou hast slighted counsels and warnings that have been
given thee, exhortations and treaties that have been prest upon thee
for many years together, and how thou hast hardened thy heart against
reproofs and threatenings, against promises and allurements, and
beholds the tendency of all this, what is like to come to it, and
that, if thou persist, it will be bitterness in the end.

2. That He hath a real dislike of the sinfulness of thy course. It is
not indifferent to Him whether thou obeyest or disobeyest the gospel,
whether thou turn and repent or no; that He is truly displeased at thy
trifling, sloth, negligence, impenitency, hardness of heart, stubborn
obstinacy, and contempt of His grace, and takes real offense at them.

3. He hath real kind propensions toward thee, and is ready to receive
thy returning soul, and effectually to mediate with the offended
majesty of Heaven for thee, as long as there is any hope in thy case.

4. When He sees there is no hope, He pities thee, while thou seest it
not, and dost not pity thyself. Pity and mercy above are not names
only; 'tis a great reality that is signified by them, and that hath
place here in far higher excellency and perfection than it can with us
poor mortals here below. Ours is but borrowed and participated
from that first fountain and original above. Thou dost not perish
unlamented even with the purest heavenly pity, tho thou hast made thy
case incapable of remedy; as the well tempered judge bewails the sad
end of the malefactor, whom justice obliges him not to spare or save.

And that thou mayst not throw away thy soul and so great a hope,
through mere sloth and loathness to be at some pains for thy life, let
the text, which hath been thy directory about the things that belong
to thy peace, be also thy motive, as it gives thee to behold the Son
of God weeping over such as would not know those things. Shall not the
Redeemer's tears move thee? O hard heart! Consider what these tears
import to this purpose.

1. They signify the real depth and greatness of the misery into
which thou are falling. They drop from an intellectual and most
comprehensive eye, that sees far and pierces deep into things, hath a
wide and large prospect; takes the comfort of that forlorn state into
which unreconcilable sinners are hastening, in all the horror of it.
The Son of God did not weep vain and causeless tears, or for a light
matter; nor did He for Himself either spend His own or desire
the profusion of others' tears. "Weep not for me, O daughters of
Jerusalem," etc. He knows the value of souls, the weight of guilt, and
how low it will press and sink them; the severity of God's justice and
the power of His anger, and what the fearful effects of them will
be when they finally fall. If thou understandest not these things
thyself, believe Him that did; at least believe His tears.

2. They signify the sincerity of His love and pity, the truth and
tenderness of His compassion. Canst thou think His deceitful tears?
His, who never knew guile? Was this like the rest of His course? And
remember that He who shed tears did, from the same fountain of love
and mercy, shed blood too! Was that also done to deceive? Thou makest
thyself a very considerable thing indeed, if thou thinkest the Son of
God counted it worth His while to weep, and bleed, and die, to deceive
thee into a false esteem of Him and His love. But if it be the
greatest madness imaginable to entertain any such thought but that His
tears were sincere and unartificial, the natural, genuine expression
of undissembled benignity and pity, thou art then to consider what
love and compassion thou art now sinning against; what bowels thou
spurnest; and that if thou perishest, 'tis under such guilt as the
devils themselves are not liable to, who never had a Redeemer bleeding
for them, nor, that we ever find, weeping over them.

3. They show the remedilessness of thy case if thou persist in
impenitency and unbelief till the things of thy peace be quite hid
from thine eyes. These tears will then be the last issues of (even
defeated) love, of love that is frustrated of its kind design. Thou
mayst perceive in these tears the steady, unalterable laws of
heaven, the inflexibleness of the divine justice, that holds thee in
adamantine bonds, and hath sealed thee up, if thou prove incurably
obstinate and impenitent, unto perdition; so that even the Redeemer
Himself, He that is mighty to save, can not at length save thee, but
only weep over thee, drop tears into thy flame, which assuage it not;
but (tho they have another design, even to express true compassion) do
yet unavoidably heighten and increase the fervor of it, and will do so
to all eternity. He even tells thee, sinner, "Thou hast despised My
blood; thou shalt yet have My tears." That would have saved thee,
these do only lament thee lost. But the tears wept over others, as
lost and past hope, why should they not yet melt thee, while as yet
there is hope in thy case? If thou be effectually melted in thy very
soul, and looking to Him whom thou hast pierced, dost truly mourn over
Him, thou mayst assure thyself the prospect His weeping eye had of
lost souls did not include thee. His weeping over thee would argue thy
case forlorn and hopeless; thy mourning over Him will make it safe and
happy. That it may be so, consider, further, that,

4. They signify how very intent He is to save souls, and how gladly
He would save thine, if yet thou wilt accept of mercy while it may be
had. For if He weep over them that will not be saved, from the same
love that is the spring of these tears, would saving mercies proceed
to those that are become willing to receive them. And that love that
wept over them that were lost, how will it glory in them that are
saved! There His love is disappointed and vexed, crossed in its
gracious intendment; but here, having compassed it, how will He joy
over thee with singing, and rest in His love! And thou also, instead
of being revolved in a like ruin with the unreconciled sinners of old
Jerusalem, shalt be enrolled among the glorious citizens of the new,
and triumph together with them in glory.




Louis Bourdaloue was born at Bourges, in 1632. At the age of sixteen
he entered the order of the Jesuits and was thoroughly educated in the
scholarship, philosophy and theology of the day. He devoted himself
entirely to the work of preaching, and was ten times called upon
to address Louis XIV and his court from the pulpit as Bossuet's
successor. This was an unprecedented record and yet Bourdaloue could
adapt his style to any audience, and "mechanics left their shops,
merchants their business, and lawyers their court house" to hear
him. His high personal character, his simplicity of life, his clear,
direct, and logical utterance as an accomplished orator united to
make him not only "the preacher of kings but the king of preachers."
Retiring from the pulpit late in life he ministered to the sick and to
prisoners. He died in Paris, 1704.




_And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which
also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning unto them, said,
"Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for your selves,
and for your children_."--Luke xxiii., 27, 28.

The passion of Jesus Christ, however sorrowful and ignominious it may
appear to us, must nevertheless have been to Jesus Christ Himself an
object of delight, since this God-man, by a wonderful secret of His
wisdom and love, has willed that the mystery of it shall be continued
and solemnly renewed in His Church until the final consummation of the
world. For what is the Eucharist but a perpetual repetition of the
Savior's passion, and what has the Savior supposed in instituting
it, but that whatever passed at Calvary is not only represented but
consummated on our altars? That is to say, that He is still performing
the functions of the victim anew, and is every moment virtually
sacrificed, as tho it were not sufficient that He should have suffered
once; at least that His love, as powerful as it is free, has given to
His adorable sufferings that character of perpetuity which they have
in the Sacrament, and which renders them so salutary to us. Behold,
Christians, what the love of God has devised; but behold, also, what
has happened through the malice of men! At the same time that Jesus
Christ, in the sacrament of His body, repeats His holy passion in a
manner altogether mysterious, men, the false imitators, or rather base
corrupters of the works of God, have found means to renew this same
passion, not only in a profane, but in a criminal, sacrilegious, and
horrible manner!

Do not imagine that I speak figuratively. Would to God, Christians,
that what I am going to say to you were only a figure, and that you
were justified in vindicating yourselves to-day against the horrible
expressions which I am obliged to employ! I speak in the literal
sense, and you ought to be more affected with this discourse, if what
I advance appears to you to be overcharged; for it is by your excesses
that it is so, and not by my words. Yes, my dear hearers, the sinners
of the age, by the disorders of their lives, renew the bloody and
tragic passion of the Son of God in the world; I will venture to say
that the sinners of the age cause to the Son of God, even in the state
of glory, as many new passions as they have committed outrages against
Him by their actions! Apply yourselves to form an idea of them; and in
this picture, which will surprize you, recognize what you are, that
you may weep bitterly over yourselves! What do we see in the passion
of Jesus Christ? A divine Savior betrayed and abandoned by cowardly
disciples, persecuted by pontiffs and hypocritical priests, ridiculed
and mocked in the palace of Herod by impious courtiers, placed upon a
level with Barabbas, and to whom Barabbas is preferred by a blind and
inconstant people, exposed to the insults of libertinism, and treated
as a mock king by a troop of soldiers equally barbarous and insolent;
in fine, crucified by merciless executioners! Behold, in a few words,
what is most humiliating and most cruel in the death of the Savior of
the world! Then tell me if this is not precisely what we now see,
of what we are every day called to be witnesses. Let us resume; and
follow me.

Betrayed and abandoned by cowardly disciples; such, O divine Savior,
has been Thy destiny. But it was not enough that the apostles, the
first men whom Thou didst choose for Thine own, in violation of the
most holy engagement, should have forsaken Thee in the last scene of
Thy life; that one of them should have sold Thee, another renounced
Thee, and all disgraced themselves by a flight which was, perhaps, the
most sensible of all the wounds that Thou didst feel in dying. This
wound must be again opened by a thousand acts of infidelity yet more
scandalous. Even in the Christian ages we must see men bearing the
character of Thy disciples, and not having the resolution to sustain
it; Christians, prevaricators, and deserters from their faith;
Christians ashamed of declaring themselves for Thee, not daring to
appear what they are, renouncing at least in the exterior what they
have profest, flying when they ought to fight; in a word, Christians
in form, ready to follow Thee even to the Supper when in prosperity,
and while it required no sacrifice, but resolved to abandon Thee in
the moment of temptation. It is on your account, and my own, my dear
hearers, that I speak, and behold what ought to be the subject of our

A Savior mortally persecuted by pontiffs and hypocritical priests!
Let us not enter, Christians, into the discussion of this article, at
which your piety would, perhaps, be offended, and which would weaken
or prejudice the respect which you owe to the ministers of the Lord.
It belongs to us, my brethren, to meditate to-day on this fact in the
spirit of holy compunction; to us consecrated to the ministry of the
altars, to us priests of Jesus Christ, whom God has chosen in His
Church to be the dispensers of His sacraments. It does not become me
to remonstrate in this place. God forbid that I should undertake to
judge those who sustain the sacred office! This is not the duty of
humility to which my condition calls me. Above all, speaking as I do,
before many ministers, the irreprehensible life of whom contributes so
much to the edification of the people, I am not yet so infatuated as
to make myself the judge, much less the censor of their conduct.

But tho it should induce you only to acknowledge the favors with which
God prevents you, as a contrast, from the frightful blindness into
which He permits others to fall, remember that the priests and the
princes of the priests, are those whom the evangelist describes as the
authors of the conspiracy formed against the Savior of the world, and
of the wickedness committed against Him. Remember that this scandal
is notoriously public, and renewed still every day in Christianity.
Remember, but with fear and horror, that the greatest persecutors of
Jesus Christ are not lay libertines, but wicked priests; and that
among the wicked priests, those whose corruption and iniquity are
covered with the veil of hypocrisy are His most dangerous and most
cruel enemies. A hatred, disguised under the name of zeal, and covered
with the specious pretext of observance of the law, was the first
movement of the persecution which the Pharisees and the priests raised
against the Son of God. Let us fear lest the same passion should blind
us! Wretched passion, exclaims St. Bernard, which spreads the venom of
its malignity even over the most lovely of the children of men, and
which could not see a God upon earth without hating Him! A hatred not
only of the prosperity and happiness, but what is yet more strange, of
the merit and perfection of others! A cowardly and shameful passion,
which, not content with having caused the death of Jesus Christ,
continues to persecute Him by rending His mystical body, which is the
Church; dividing His members, which are believers; and stifling in
their hearts that charity which is the spirit of Christianity! Behold,
my brethren, the subtle temptation against which we have to defend
ourselves, and under which it is but too common for us to fall!

A Redeemer reviled and mocked in the palace of Herod by the impious
creatures of his court! This was, without doubt, one of the most
sensible insults which Jesus Christ received. But do not suppose,
Christians, that this act of impiety ended there. It has passed from
the court of Herod, from that prince destitute of religion, into those
even of Christian princes. And is not the Savior still a subject of
ridicule to the libertine spirits which compose them? They worship Him
externally, but internally how do they regard His maxims? What idea
have they of His humility, of His poverty, of His sufferings? Is not
virtue either unknown or despised? It is not a rash zeal which
induces me to speak in this manner; it is what you too often witness,
Christians; it is what you perhaps feel in yourselves; and a little
reflection upon the manners of the court will convince you that there
is nothing that I say which is not confirmed by a thousand examples,
and that you yourselves are sometimes unhappy accomplices in these

Herod had often earnestly wished to see Jesus Christ. The reputation
which so many miracles had given Him, excited the curiosity of this
prince, and he did not doubt but that a man who commanded all nature
might strike some wonderful blow to escape from the persecution of His
enemies. But the Son of God, who had not been sparing of His prodigies
for the salvation of others, spared them for Himself, and would not
say a single word about His own safety. He considered Herod and his
people as profane persons, with whom he thought it improper to hold
any intercourse, and he preferred rather to pass for a fool than to
satisfy the false wisdom of the world. As His kingdom was not of this
world, as He said to Pilate, it was not at the court that He designed
to establish Himself. He knew too well that His doctrine could not
be relished in a place where the rules of worldly wisdom only were
followed, and where all the miracles which He had performed had
not been sufficient to gain men full of love for themselves and
intoxicated with their greatness. In this corrupted region they
breathe only the air of vanity; they esteem only that which is
splendid; they speak only of preferment: and on whatever side we cast
our eyes, we see nothing but what either flatters or inflames the
ambitious desires of the heart of man.

What probability then was there that Jesus Christ, the most humble
of all men, should obtain a hearing where only pageantry and pride
prevail! If He had been surrounded with honors and riches, He would
have found partisans near Herod and in every other place. But as He
preached a renunciation of the world both to His disciples and to
Himself, let us not be astonished that they treated Him with so much
disdain. Such is the prediction of the holy man Job, and which after
Him must be accomplished in the person of all the righteous; "the
upright man is laughed to scorn." In fact, my dear hearers, you know
that, whatever virtue and merit we may possess, they are not enough
to procure us esteem at court. Enter it, and appear only like Jesus
Christ, clothed with the robe of innocence; only walk with Jesus
Christ in the way of simplicity; only speak as Jesus Christ to render
testimony to the truth, and you will find that you meet with no better
treatment there than Jesus Christ. To be well received there, you must
have pomp and splendor. To keep your station there, you must have
artifice and intrigue. To be favorably heard there, you must have
complaisance and flattery. Then all this is opposed to Jesus Christ;
and the court being what it is--that is to say, the kingdom of the
prince of this world--it is not surprizing that the kingdom of Jesus
Christ can not be established there. But wo to you, princes of the
earth! Wo to you, men of the world, who despise this incarnate wisdom,
for you shall be despised in your turn, and the contempt which shall
fall upon you shall be much more terrible than the contempt which you
manifest can be prejudicial.

A Savior placed upon a level with Barabbas, and to whom Barabbas is
preferred by a blind and fickle rabble! How often have we been guilty
of the same outrage against Jesus Christ as the blind and fickle Jews!
How often, after having received Him in triumph in the sacrament of
the communion, seduced by cupidity, have we not preferred either a
pleasure or interest after which we sought, in violation of His law,
to this God of glory! How often divided between conscience which
governed us, and passion which corrupted us, have we not renewed this
abominable judgment, this unworthy preference of the creature even
above our God! Christians, observe this application; it is that of St.
Chrysostom, and if you properly understand it, you must be affected by
it. Conscience, which, in spite of ourselves, presides in us as judge,
said inwardly to us, "What art thou going to do? Behold thy pleasure
on the one hand, and thy God on the other: for which of the two dost
thou declare thyself? for thou canst not save both; thou must either
lose thy pleasure or thy God; and it is for thee to decide." And the
passion, which by a monstrous infidelity had acquired the influence
over our hearts, made us conclude--I will keep my pleasure. "But what
then will become of thy God," replied conscience secretly, "and
what must I do, I, who can not prevent myself from maintaining His
interests against thee?" I care not what will become of my God,
answered passion insolently; I will satisfy myself, and the resolution
is taken. "But dost thou know," proceeded conscience by its remorse,
"that in indulging thyself in this pleasure it will at last submit thy
Savior to death and crucifixion for thee?" It is of no consequence if
He be crucified, provided I can have my enjoyments. "But what evil has
He done, and what reason hast thou to abandon Him in this manner?" My
pleasure is my reason; and since Christ is the enemy of my pleasure,
and my pleasure crucifies Him, I say it again, let Him be crucified.

Behold, my dear hearers, what passes every day in the consciences of
men, and what passes in you and in me, every time that we fall into
sin, which causes death to Jesus Christ, as well as to our souls!
Behold what makes the enormity and wickedness of this sin! I know that
we do not always speak, that we do not always explain ourselves in
such express terms and in so perceptible a manner; but after all,
without explaining ourselves so distinctly and so sensibly, there is a
language of the heart which says all this. For, from the moment that I
know that this pleasure is criminal and forbidden of God, I know that
it is impossible for me to desire it, impossible to seek it, without
losing God; and consequently I prefer this pleasure to God in the

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