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Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life by John Brown (of Wamphray)

Part 3 out of 7

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verse 14.

That by this means they may be encouraged to continue fighting against a
vanquished enemy, and not give over, notwithstanding of disappointments,
discouragements, prevailings of corruption, &c. and the believer may
know upon what ground he standeth, and what is the ground of his hope
and expectation of victory in the end; and so he "may run, not as
uncertainly; and so fight, not as one that beateth the air," 1 Cor. ix.

_Sixthly_, In this work of sanctification, the believer should be much
in the lively exercise of faith; fight by faith; advance by faith, grow
up, and bring forth fruit by faith; and so,

1. The believer would be oft renewing his grips of Christ, holding him
fast by faith; and so abiding in him, that he may bring forth fruit,
John xv. 4,5.

2. Not only would he be keeping his union fast with Christ, but he would
also be eyeing Christ by faith, as his store-house, and general Lord
dispensator of all the purchased blessings of the covenant, which he
standeth in need of, and looking on Christ, as standing engaged by
office to complete his work of salvation, and to present him with the
rest to himself holy, without blemish, yea, and without spot and
wrinkle, or any such thing, Eph. v. 27.

3. He would by faith grip to the promises, both of the general stock of
grace, the new heart, and heart of flesh, and the spirit to cause us
walk in his statutes, Ezek. xxxvi. 26,27; and of the several particular
acts of grace that be standeth in need of, such as that, Jer. xxx. 8, "I
will cleanse them from all their iniquities," &c. So Ezek. xxxvi. 25.
Jer. xxxi. 19. As the church doth, Micah vii. 9. "He will subdue our
iniquities," &c. And so having, or gripping these promises, we are to
cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, "and perfect
holiness in the fear of God," 2 Cor. vii. 1.

4. As the believer would by faith draw out of Christ, through the
conduit of the promises, which are all "yea and amen in him," 2 Cor. i.
20. grace, strength, knowledge, courage, or whatever his fight in this
warfare calleth for, to the end he may be strong in "the Lord, and in
the power of his might," Eph. vi. 10; so he would by faith roll the
weight of the whole work upon Christ; and thus cast himself, and his
care and burden on him who careth for him, 1 Pet. v. 7. Psal. xxxvii. 5,
and lv. 22; and so go on in duty, without anxiety, knowing who beareth
the weight of all, and who hath undertaken to work both to will and to
do, according to his good pleasure. Thus should the work be easy and
safe, when by faith we roll the burden on him, who is the chosen one
fitted for that work, and leave it on him, who is our strength,
patiently waiting for the outgate, in hope.

Thus the believer makes use of Christ, as made of God sanctification,
when in the use of means appointed, eyeing the covenant of grace, and
the promises thereof, and what Christ hath done to sanctify and cleanse
his people, he rolleth the matter on him, and expecteth help, salvation,
and victory through him.


But lest some should be discouraged, and think all this in vain, because
they perceive no progress nor growth in grace for all this, but rather
corruption as strong and troublesome as ever, I would say a few things
to them.

1. Let them search and try, whether their shortcoming and disappointment
doth not much proceed from this, that the matter is not so cleanly cast
over on Christ as it should be; is it not too oft found, that they go
forth to the battle in their own strength, lippening to their own stock
of grace, to their own knowledge, or to their duties, or the like? How
then can they prosper?

2. Let them mourn as they get any discovery of this, and guard against
that corrupt bias of the heart, which is still inclining them to an
engagement without the Captain of their salvation, and a fighting
without the armour of God.

3. Let them try and see, if, in studying holiness, they be not led by
corrupt ends; and do not more labour after sanctification, that they may
be more worthy and the better accepted of God, and that they may have
quietness and peace as to their acceptance with God, as if this were any
cause, matter, or condition of their righteousness and justification
before God, than that they may shew their obedience to the command of
God, 1 Thes. iv. 3. Eph. ii. 10. John xv. 16; and express their
thankfulness to him, and glorify God, Mal. i. 6. Matt. iii. 16. John
xvii. 10. Eph. iv. 30; and if so, they ought to acknowledge God's
goodness in that disappointment, seeing thereby they see more and more a
necessity of laying aside their own righteousness, and of betaking
themselves to the righteousness of Christ, and of resting on that alone
for peace and acceptance with God.

4. They should try and see, if their negligence and carelessness in
watching, and in the discharge of duties, do not occasion their
disappointments and shortcoming. God sometimes thinks fit to suffer a
lion of corruption to set on them, that they may look about them, and
stand more vigilantly upon their watch-tower, knowing that they have to
do with a vigilant adversary, the devil, who, as a roaring lion, goeth
about seeking whom he may devour, I Pet. v. 8. and that "they fight not
against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world; against spiritual
wickedness in high places," Eph. vi. 12. It is not for nought that we
are so often commanded to watch, Matt. xxiv. 42, and xxv. 13, and xxvi.
41, and xiv. 38. Luke xxi. 36. Mark xiii. 33-37. 1 Cor. xvi. 13. 1 Thes.
v. 6. 1 Pet. iv. 7. Col. iv. 2. Through the want of this, we know what
befel David and Peter.

5. They should try and see, whether there be not too much
self-confidence, which occasioned Peter's foul fall. God may, in justice
and mercy, suffer corruption to break loose upon such, at a time, and
tread them under foot, to learn them afterward to carry more soberly;
and to "work their salvation with fear and trembling," Phil. ii. 12,
remembering what a jealous, holy God he is, with whom they have to do;
what an adversary they have against them; and how weak their own
strength is.

6. This should be remembered, that one may be growing in grace, and
advancing in holiness, when, to his apprehension, he is not going
forward from strength to strength, but rather going backward. It is one
thing to have grace, and another thing to see that we have grace; so it
is one thing to be growing in grace, and another thing to see that we
are growing in grace. Many may question their growth in grace, when
their very questioning of it may evince the contrary. For they may
conclude no growth, but rather a back-going, because they perceive more
and more violent, and strong corruptions, and hidden works of darkness
and wickedness, within their soul, than ever they did before; while as
that great discovery sheweth the increase of their spiritual knowledge,
and an increase in this is an increase in grace; so they may question
and doubt of their growth, upon mistakes, as thinking corruption always
strongest when it makes the greatest stir and noise; or their complaints
may flow from a vehement desire they have to have much more
sanctification, which may cause them overlook many degrees they have
advanced. Or some such thing may occasion their darkness and complaints;
yea, God may think it fittest for them, to the end they may be kept
humble and diligent, to be in the dark as to their progress; whereas if
they saw what advancement and progress they had made in Christianity,
they might grow wanton, secure, and careless, and so occasion some sad
dispensation to humble them again.

7. It should be remembered, that perfect victory is not to be had here.
It is true, in respect of justification through the imputation of the
perfect righteousness of Christ, and in respect of their sincerity and
gospel simplicity, and in respect also of the parts of the new man,
believers are said to be perfect; such an one was Noah, Gen. vi. 9, and
Job, chap. i. 1, 8. See also Psalm xxxvii. 37, and lxiv. 4. 1 Cor. ii.
6. Heb. v. 14. James iii. 2. And it is true, we are to aim at
perfection, and to pray for it, as Matt. v. 48. 2 Cor. xiii. 11. Col.
iv. 12. Heb. xiii. 21. James i. 4. 1 Pet. v. 10. Heb. vi. 1. Yet as to
the degrees of holiness and sanctification, and in respect of the
remnant of corruption within, there is no full perfection here, Jer. ix.
20, 21. Phil. iii. 12. For even he who is washed, and, as to
justification, is clean every whit, yet needeth to wash his feet,
because contracting filth in his conversation, Job xiii. 10. So that if
the Lord should mark iniquity, no man should stand, Psalm cxxx. 3, and
cxliii. 2. There will still be in the best something, more or less, of
that battle, that Paul speaketh of, Rom. vii. 15-23. So that they will
still have occasion to cry out with him, verse 24, "O wretched man that
I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death!" And the flesh
will still lust against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, so
that they shall not be able to do what they would, Gal. v. 17. The place
of perfection is above, where all tears are wiped away, and the weary
wrestler is at rest.

8. Let them not mistake and think, that every stirring of corruption in
the soul, argueth its dominion and prevailing power. Corruption may stir
and make a great deal ado, where it cannot get leave to reign; and be as
a violent and cruel invader, seeking the throne, putting the whole
kingdom in a combustion, who is resisted with force of arms.

Corruption may be more quiet and still, when indeed it hath the throne
of the soul; as a conqueror may be more quiet and still, when he hath
overcome and is in peaceable possession of the kingdom, than when he was
but fighting for it. When the strong man keeps the house, and is master,
then all is quiet and at rest, till a stronger come and thrust him out,
and dispossess him.

9. Sanctification doth not always consist in a man's freedom from some
corruptions. For there may be some corruptions that one hath no natural
inclination to, but, on the contrary, a great aversion for; as some
world's wretches may have no inclination to prodigality and ranting, or
such like vices, which are contrary to their humour, or to their
constant education; and Satan may never tempt some man to such evils,
knowing he will get more advantage by plying his temper and genius, and
so carrying him away to the other contrary evil; and so, though this man
know not so much, as what it is once to be tempted to those vices, yet
that will not say, that he is a sanctified man; far less will it say,
that he hath more grace than another man, whose predominant that evil
is, and against which he is daily fighting and wrestling. Whence it
appeareth that wrestling and protesting against even an overcoming
corruption, may evidence more of grace, than freedom from some evils, to
which some are not so much tempted, and to which they are naturally less

10. Nor should they think, that corruption is always master of the soul,
and possessing the throne as a full conqueror, when it prevaileth and
carrieth the soul headlong at a time, for corruption may sometimes come
in upon the soul as an inundation with irresistible violence, and, for a
time, carry all before it, so that the soul cannot make any sensible
resistance; as when a sudden, violent, and unexpected temptation setteth
on, so as the poor man is overwhelmed, and scarce knoweth where he is,
or what he is doing, till he be laid on his back. At that time it will
be a great matter, if the soul dare quietly enter a protest against and
dissent from what is done, and if there be an honest protestation
against the violent and tyrannical invasion of corruption, we cannot
say, that corruption is in peaceable possession of the throne. If the
spirit be lusting against the flesh, levying all the forces he can
against the invader, by prayer and supplication to God, and calling in
all the supply of divine help he can get, and, when he can do no more,
is fighting and groaning under that unjust invasion, resolving never to
pay homage to the usurper, nor to obey his laws, nor so much as parley
with him, or make peace, we cannot say, that the soul doth consent fully
unto this usurpation. Nay, if the soul shall do this much, at such a
time when Satan sets on with all his force, it will be a greater
evidence of the strength of grace in the soul, than if the soul should
do the same or a little more, at a time when the temptation is not so

11. It is not good for them to say, that grace is not growing in them,
because they advance not so far as some do; and because they come not to
the pitch of grace that they see some advanced to. That is not a sure
rule to measure their growth in grace by. Some may have a better natural
temper, whereby they are less inclined to several vices which these find
a strong propension to; they may have the advantage of a better
education, and the like; so that they should rather try themselves this
year by what they were the last year, and that in reference to the lusts
to which they have been most subject all their days.

12. We must not think that every believer will attain to the same
measure of grace. There is a measure appointed for every member or joint
of this body; and every joint supplieth, according to the effectual
working in the measure of every part, Eph. iv. 16. God hath more ado
with some than with others; there is more strength required in an arm or
leg than in a finger or toe; and every one should be content with his
measure, so far as not to fret or repine against God and his
dispensations, that makes them but a finger, and not an arm of the body;
and do their duty in their station, fighting against sin, according to
the measure or grace dispensed to them of the Lord, and that faithfully
and constantly; and not quarrel with God, that he maketh us not as free
of temptations and corruptions as some others. For the captain must not
he blamed for commanding some of his soldiers to this post where they
never once see the enemy, and others to that post where they must
continually fight. The soldier is here under command, and therefore must
be quiet, and take his lot; so must the Christian reverence the Lord's
dispensations, in ordering matters, so as they shall never have one
hour's quietness, while, as others have more rest and peace, and stand
at their post fighting, resolving never to yield, but rather to cover
the ground with their dead bodies, till the commander-in-chief think
good to relieve them. Sure I am, as the only wise God hath distributed
to every member of the body, as he hath thought good, so it is the duty
of every member to endeavour this holy submission to him, as to the
measure of grace, considered as his free gift bestowed on them; and to
be humbled for the grudgings of his heart, because God hath not given
him more talents. And sure I am, though this submission make no great
noise in the world; yet really this is one of the highest degrees of
grace attainable here, and such an ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,
as is in the sight of God of great price. So that whoever hath attained
to this, have the very grace they seem to want, and more. Yet, lest
this should be abused, let me add a word or two of caution, to qualify
this submission. (1.) There must be with it a high prizing even of that
degree of grace which they want. (2) There must be a panting after
grace, as it is God's image, and a conformity to him, and with so much
singleness, as they may be in case to say, without the reproachings of
their heart, they do not so much love holiness for heaven, as heaven for
holiness. (3.) There must be an unceasingness in using all means,
whereby the growth of grace may be promoved to this end, that they may
be conformed to his image, rather than that they may be comforted. (4.)
There must be also a deep humiliation for the want of that degree of
grace they would have, as it importeth the want of so much conformity to
him to whose image they are predestinated to be conformed, which will
very well consist with this submission we are speaking of.

13. It would be remembered, that there may be a great progress, even
when it is not observed; when, (1.) Hereby the man is made to lie in the
dust, to loath himself, and cry, behold I am vile! (2.) Hereby his
indignation against the body of death is the more increased. (3.) Hereby
his esteem of a Saviour and of the blessed contrivance of salvation is
the more heightened, that he seeth he is thereby brought to make mention
of his righteousness, even of his only. (4.) Hereby his longing after
immediate fruition is increased, where all these complaints shall cease.
(5.) And hereby he is put to essay that much slighted duty of holding
fast the rejoicing of his hope firm unto the end, looking and longing
for the grace that shall be brought unto him at the revelation of Jesus
Christ, when he shall be presented without spot, and be made meet to be
a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.



Having thus shortly pointed out some things in general, serving to the
clearing and opening up the way of our use-making of Christ for
sanctification, we come now more particularly to the clearing up of this
business. In sanctification we must consider, _first,_ The renewing and
changing of our nature and frame; and, _next,_ The washing and purging
away of our daily contracted spots. The first of these is commonly
divided into two parts, viz. _1st,_ The mortification, killing, and
crucifying of the old man of sin and corruption which is within; and,
_2d,_ The vivification, renewing, quickening, and strengthening of the
new man of grace; and this is a growth in grace, and in fruitfulness and

As to the first of these, viz. The mortification or crucifying of the
old man, we would know, that there is such a principle of wickedness and
enmity against God in man by nature, now since the fall, whereby the man
is inclined to evil, and only to evil. This is called the old man, as
being like the body, made of so many parts, joints, and members, that
is, so many lusts and corruptions and evil inclinations, which,
together, make up a-corpus, and they are fast joined and compacted
together, as the members of the body, each useful and serviceable to one
another, and all of them concurring and contributing their utmost to the
carrying on of the work of sin, and so it is the man of sin; and it is
also called the old man, as having first possession of the soul, before
it is by grace renewed, and it is a dying more and more daily. Thus it
is called the old man, and the body of sin, Rom. vi. 6. This old man
hath his members in our members and faculties, so that none of them are
free,--understanding, will, affections, and the members of our body are
all servants of unrighteousness to this body of sin, and old man. So we
read of the motions of sin, Rom. vii. 5, which work in our members to
bring forth fruit unto death; and of the lusts of the flesh, Rom. xiii.
14. Gal. v. 16, 24; and the lusts of sin, Rom. vi. 12. So we hear of the
desires of the flesh and of the mind, Eph. ii. 3; and of affections and
lusts, Gal. v. 24. And the old man is said to be corrupt, according to
the deceitful lusts, Eph. iv. 22; all which lusts and affections are as
so many members of this body of sin, and of this old man. And, further,
there is herein a considerable power, force, and efficacy, which this
old man hath in us, to carry us away, and, as it were, command or
constrain us, as by a forcible law. Hence we read of the law of sin and
death, Rom. viii. 2, which only the "law of the Spirit of life in Christ
doth make us free from." It is also called a "law in our members warring
against the law of our mind," Rom. vii. 23, "and bringing us into
captivity to the law of sin which is in our members." So it is said, "to
lust against the Spirit, and to war," Gal. v. 17. All which point out
the strength, activity, and dominion of sin in the soul, so that it is
as the husband over the wife, Rom. vii. 1; yea, it hath a domineering
and constraining power, where its horns are not held in by grace. And as
its power is great, so its nature is wicked and malicious; for it is
pure "enmity against God," Rom. viii. 7; so that it neither is nor can
be reconciled, and therefore must be put off and abolished, Eph. ii. 15;
killed and crucified, Rom. vi. 6. Now herein lieth the work of a
believer, to be killing, mortifying, and crucifying this enemy, or
rather enmity; and delivering himself from under this bondage and
slavery, that he may be Christ's free man, and that through the Spirit,
Rom. viii. 13.

Now, if it be asked, How shall a believer make use of Christ, to the end
this old man may be gotten crucified? or, how should a believer mortify
this old man, and the lusts thereof, through Christ, or by the Spirit of
Jesus? We shall propose those things, which may help to clear this:

1. The believer should have his eye on this old man as his arch-enemy,
as a deadly cut-throat lying within his bosom. It is an enemy lodging
within him, in his soul, mind, heart, and affections, so that there is
no part free; and therefore is acquaint with all the motions of the
soul, and is always opposing and hindering every thing that is good. It
is an enemy that will never be reconciled to God, and therefore will not
be reconciled with the believer as such; for it is called enmity itself,
and so it is always actively seeking to promove the ruin of the soul,
what by prompting, inclining, moving, and forcibly drawing or driving,
sometimes with violence and rage, to evil; what by with standing,
resisting, opposing, counter-working, and contradicting what is good; so
that the believer cannot get that done which he would do, and is made to
do that which he would not. Therefore this being such an enemy, and so
dangerous an enemy, so constant and implacable an enemy, so active and
close an enemy, so deadly and destructive, it is the believer's part to
guard against this enemy, to have a vigilant eye upon it, to carry as an
irreconcilable enemy thereunto; and therefore never to come in terms of
capitulation or agreement therewith, never once to parley, let be make
peace. And the believer would not have his vigilant eye upon this or
that member of this body of death, so much as upon the body itself, or
the principle of wickedness and rebellion against God; the head, life,
spirit, or law, of this body of death; for there lieth its greatest
wickedness and activity; and this is always opposing us, though not in
every joint and member; but sometimes in one, sometimes in another.

2. Though the believer should have a main eye upon the body, this
innate, strong, and forcible law of sin and death, yet should he have
friendship and familiarity with no part, member, or lust of all this
body. All the deeds of the body should be mortified, Rom. viii. 13; the
old man with his deeds should be mortified, Col. iii. 6; and we should
"mortify our members which are upon the earth," verse 5; for all of them
are against us, and the least of them countenanced, entertained, and
embraced, will work our ruin, and cut our soul's throat; therefore
should the believer look on each of them, and on all of them, as his
deadly enemies.

3. He should consider, that, as it is a very unseemly thing for him to
be a slave to that old tyrant, and to yield his members as so many
servants to iniquity, so it is dangerous and deadly. His life lieth at
the stake; either he must get it mortified, killed, and subdued, or it
will kill him; his life will go for its life; if this enemy escape, he
is a gone man. The consideration of this should cause the believer to
act here in earnestness and seriousness, with care and diligence, and
set about this work of mortification with labour and pains.

4. Much more must it be against all reason and Christianity, for the
believer to be making "provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts
thereof," Rom. xiii. 14. To be strengthening the hands of, and laying
provision to this enemy, which is set and sworn against us, can stand
with no reason. And here is much of the Christian's prudence and
spiritual wisdom required, to discern what may make for fostering of
this or that corruption, or member of the body of sin and death, and to
withdraw that, as we will labour to take away provision of any kind from
an enemy that is coming against us. Paul acted herein as a wise gamester
and combatant, when he kept under his body, and brought it into
subjection, 1 Cor. ix. 27. It were but to mock God, and to preach forth
our own folly, to be looking to Christ for help against such an enemy,
and, in the meantime, to be underhand strengthening the hands of the
enemy; this would be double dealing, and treachery against ourselves.

5. To the end, their opposition unto this enemy may be the stronger and
more resolute, they should consider, that this body of sin is wholly set
against God, and his interest in the soul, being very enmity itself
against God, Rom. viii. 7; and always lusting and fighting against the
work of God in the soul, Gal. v. 17; and against every thing that is
good, so that it will not suffer, so far as it can hinder the soul to do
anything that is good, at least in a right manner, and for a right end.
Nay, with its lustings, it driveth constantly to that which is evil,
raiseth evil motions and inclinations in the soul, ere the believer be
aware; sideth with any temptation that is offered, to the end that it
may destroy the soul, like a traitor within; as we see it did in David,
when he fell into adultery; and with Asaph, Psalm lxxiii. 2; yea, itself
opposeth and tempteth, James i. 14, by setting mind, will, and
affections on wrong courses; and thus it driveth the soul to a course of
rebellion against God, or diverts it, and draws it back, that it cannot
get God served aright; yea, sometimes it sets a fire in the soul,
entangling all the faculties, filling the mind with darkness or
prejudice, misleading or preventing the affections, and so miscarrying
the will, and leading it captive, Rom. vii. 23; so that the thing is
done which the unregenerate soul would not do, and the duty is left
undone which the soul would fain have done; yea, and that sometimes
notwithstanding of the soul's watching and striving against this; so
strong is its force.

6. The believer should remember, that this enemy is not for him to fight
against alone, and that his own strength and skill will make but a
slender opposition unto it. It will laugh at the shaking of his spear;
it can easily insinuate itself, on all occasions, because it lieth so
near and close to the soul, always residing there, and is at the
believer's right hand whatever he be doing, and is always openly or
closely opposing, and that with great facility; for it easily besetteth,
Heb. xii. 1, because it lieth within the soul, and in all the faculties
of it--in the heart, mind, will, conscience, and affections; so that
upon this account, the deceitfulness of the heart is great, and passeth
the search of man, Jer. xvii. 9. Man cannot know all the windings and
turnings, all the drifts and designs, all the lurking and retiring
places, all the falsehoods and double dealings, all the dissimulations,
lies, and subterfuges, all the plausible and deceitful pretexts and
insinuations of his heart acted and spirited by this law of sin and
death. And besides this slight and cunning, it hath strength and power
to draw by lusts into destruction and perdition, 1 Tim. iv. 9, and to
carry the soul headlong; so that it makes the man's case miserable, Rom.
vii. 24. All which would say, that the believer should call in other
help than his own, and remember, that "through the Spirit he must
mortify the deeds of the body," Rom. viii. 13.

7. And therefore the believer must lay aside all his carnal weapons, in
dealing with his adversary, and look out for divine help and assistance,
even for the promised Spirit, through which alone he can be instructed
and enabled for this great work; for of himself he can do nothing, not
so much as think a good thought as of himself, 2 Cor. iii. 5, far less
will he be able to oppose such a mighty adversary, that hath so great
and many advantages; and therefore all his carnal means, purposes, vows,
and fightings in himself, will but render himself weaker, and a readier
prey unto this adversary, which gaineth ground while he is so opposed.
It is Christ alone and his Spirit, that can destroy the works of the
devil, and kill or crucify this enmity.

8. So that the believer must have his recourse for help and succour
here, unto Jesus the Captain of salvation, and must follow him, and
fight under his banners, make use of his weapons, which are spiritual;
fight according to his counsel and conduct, taking him as a Leader and
Commander, and lying open for his orders and instructions, waiting for
the motions of his Spirit, and following them; and thus oppose and fight
against this deadly enemy, with an eye always on Christ by faith,
depending on him for light to the mind, resolution to the will, and
grace to the whole soul to stand in the battle, and to withstand all
assaults, and never engage in a dispute with this enemy, or any lust or
member of this body without Christ the principal, that is, the soul
would despair in itself, and be strong in him, and in the power
of his might, by faith griping to him, as Head, Captain, and
Commander-in-chief, resolving to fight in his strength, and to oppose
through the help of his Spirit.

9. And for this cause, the believer would eye the covenant of
redemption, the basis of all our hope and consolation, wherein final and
full victory is promised to Christ, as Head of the elect, viz. "that he
shall bruise the serpent's head;" and so that in him, all his followers
and members of his mystical body shall lift up the head, and get full
victory at length over both sin and death. Now it is "God that giveth us
the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. xv. 57. The believer
would also eye by faith the covenant of grace, wherein particularly this
same victory is promised to the believer, in and through Jesus, Rom.
xvi. 20. "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet
shortly; and sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under
the law, but under grace," Rom. vi. 14. The believer, I say, would look
out by faith unto, and lay hold on these and the like promises, and
thereby get strength conveyed to himself, whereby he may strive
lawfully, and fight valiantly, and oppose with courage and resolution.

10. Further, the believer would eye Christ as a fountain of furniture,
as a full and complete magazine, standing open, and ready for every one
of his honest soldiers to run to for new supplies of what they want; so
that whatever they find wanting in their Christian armour, they must run
away to the open magazine, Christ's fulness, that standeth ready for
them, and by faith take and put on what they want and stand in need of
in their warfare. If their girdle of truth be slacked, loosed, or
weakened, and they be meeting with temptations anent their hypocrisy,
and Satan objecting to them their double dealing, of purpose to
discourage them, and to make them faint and give over the fight; they
must away to him who is the truth, that he may bind on that girdle
better, and make their hearts more upright before God in all they do.
And if their breastplate of righteousness be weakened, and Satan there
seem to get advantage, by casting up to them their unrighteous dealings
towards God or men, they must flee to him, who only can help here, and
beg pardon through his blood for their failings, and set to again afresh
to the battle. If their resolution, which is understood by the
preparation of the gospel of peace, grow weak, it must be renewed in
Christ's armoury, and the feet of new be shod therewith. If their shield
of faith begin to fail them, away must they get to him who "is the
Author and Finisher of faith," Heb. xii. 2. And if their helmet of hope
begin to fail them, in this armoury alone can that be supplied. And if
their sword be blunted in their hand, or they unable to wield it aright,
the Spirit of Jesus can only teach their hands to fight, and instruct
them how to manage that useful weapon with advantage. Thus must the
believer "be strong in him, and in the power of his might," Eph. vi. 10.
"He is their God that girdeth them with strength, and maketh their way
perfect. He maketh their feet like hind's feet, and setteth them upon
their high places. He teacheth their hands to war, so that a bow of
steel is broken by their arms. He giveth them the shield of salvation.
His right hand upholdeth them. He girdeth with strength unto the
battle," &c. Psalm xviii. 32, &c.

11. For the further strengthening of their hope, faith, and confidence,
believers would eye Christ, as hanging on the cross, and overcoming by
death, death, and him that hath the power of death, the devil; and so as
meritoriously purchasing this redemption from the slavery of sin and
Satan, and particularly from the slavery of that body of death, and of
the law of sin and death; for the apostle tells us, Rom. viii. 2, "That
the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus doth make us free from the
law of sin and death," and that because, as he saith further, ver. 3, 4,
"what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God
sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin
condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be
fulfilled in us." So that the believer may now look upon that enemy, how
fearful soever it may appear, as condemned and killed in the death, of
Christ; he having laid down the price of redemption, hath bought this
freedom from the chains and fetters with which he was held in captivity.
Faith, then, on the death of Jesus satisfying justice for the poor
captive, may, and should support and strengthen the hope and confidence
of the believer, that he shall obtain the victory at length.

12. And it will further confirm the hope and faith of the believer, to
look to Christ hanging on the cross, and there vanquishing and
overcoming this arch-enemy, as a public person, representing the elect
who died in him, and virtually and legally did in him overcome that
jailor, and break his fetters; and the soul now believing, may, yea,
should reckon itself in Christ dying, as it were, upon the cross, and
there overcoming all those spiritual enemies. "Likewise," saith the
apostle, Rom. vi. 11, "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto
sin." From hence, even while fighting, the believer may account himself
a conqueror, yea, "more than a conqueror, through him that loved him,"
Rom. viii. 37. Now faith acting thus on Christ, as a public person,
dying and overcoming death and sin, the believer may not only infer the
certainty of victory, knowing that our old man is crucified with Christ,
Rom. vi. 6; but also from the cross of Christ draw strength to stand and
fight against the strugglings of this vanquished and killed enemy. "They
that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and
lusts," Gal. v. 24. But how? Even by the cross of Christ. "For thereby
is the world crucified unto me," saith the apostle, Gal. vi. 14, "and I
unto the world." "Your old man is crucified with him, that the body of
sin might be destroyed," Rom. vi. 6.

13. The believer being dead indeed unto sin, through the cross of
Christ, is to look upon himself as legally freed from that yoke of
bondage under sin and death. "The law hath dominion over a man as long
as he liveth," Rom. vii. 1. "But by the body of Christ believers are
become dead to the law," ver. 4. That law of sin and death which hath
dominion over a man that liveth still in nature, and is not yet by faith
planted in the likeness of Christ's death, nor buried with him by
baptism into death, Rom. vi. 4, 5, hath not that dominion over believers
it had once--"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath
made them free from the law of sin and death," Rom. viii. 2; so that now
the believer, is free from that tyranny; and that tyrant can exercise no
lawful jurisdiction or authority over him; and therefore he may with the
greater courage repel the insolencies of that tyrant, that contrary to
all right and equity seeketh to lord it over him still. They are no
lawful subjects to that cruel and raging prince, or to that spiritual

14. So that the believer, renouncing that jurisdiction under which he
was formerly, and being under a new husband, and under a new law, even
the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, is to look upon all the
motions of sin as illegal, and as treasonable acts of a tyrant. "The old
man being crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be
destroyed, the believer is not any more to serve sin," Rom. vi. 6; "and
being now dead, they are freed from sin," ver. 7; "and are married to
another, even to him who is raised from the dead, and so they should not
serve sin, but bring forth fruit unto God," Rom. vii. 4; and therefore,
look upon all motions of the flesh, and all the inclinations and
stirrings of the old law of sin, as acts of treachery and rebellion
against the right and jurisdiction of the believer's new Lord and
husband; and are therefore obliged to lay hold on this old man, this
body of death, and all the members of it, as traitors to the rightful
king and husband, and to take them prisoners to the king, that he may
give out sentence, and execute the same against them, as enemies to his
kingdom and interest in the soul;--they being now no more "servants of
sin, but of righteousness, they ought no more to yield their members
servants to uncleanness, and iniquity unto iniquity," Rom. vi. 18, 19;
"and being debtors no more to the flesh, to live after the flesh," Rom.
vii. 12; "they are to mortify the deeds of the body through the spirit,"
ver. 13; "and to crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts," Gal.
v. 24; that is, by bringing them to the cross of Christ, where first
they were condemned and crucified, in their full body and power; that a
new sentence, as it were, may go out against them, as parts of that
condemned tyrant, and as belonging to that crucified body.

15. So that the believer that would carry faithfully in this matter, and
fight lawfully in this warfare, and hope to obtain the victory through
Jesus Christ, must bring these traitors that appear in their sinful
motions and lusts in the soul, working rebellion against the just
authority and equitable laws of the lawful prince Jesus, before the
tribunal of him who hath now got "all power and authority in heaven and
in earth," Matt, xxviii. 18; "and hath all judgment committed to him,"
John v. 22; "and to this end, both died, and rose, and revived, that he
might be Lord both of the dead and living," Rom. xvi. 9; that he may
execute justice upon the traitor, head, and members; that he may trample
these devils under, and bruise the head of these serpents within us. The
believer then is by faith in prayer, to carry these open enemies to
Christ, and declare and witness against them as traitors, by what
mischief they have done in the soul, by their hindering the righteous
laws of the king to be obeyed; and constraining and forcing, what by
arguments and allurements, and what by forcible inclinations and
pousings, to a disobedience and a counteracting of Christ; and he should
urge and plead upon the fundamental laws of the land, viz. the articles
of agreement betwixt the Father and the Son, and the faithful promises
of the covenant of grace; and upon Christ's office as king and governor,
and his undertaking as Mediator; upon the merits of his death and
sufferings; upon his dying as a common person; upon the constitution of
the gospel, whereby they are in law repute as dying in him, and so free
from the law of sin and death; and upon their relation to him as their
new Lord, Head, Husband, King, Commander, &c. Upon these arguments, I
say, to plead for justice against the rebel that is now brought to the
bar, and so by faith leave the prisoner in his hand, that he may, in his
own time and way, give a second blow unto the neck of this implacable
and raging enemy, that he may not rise up to disturb the peace of the
soul as before; or to trouble, impede, and molest the soul in paying the
homage and obedience due to his lawful master and sovereign king, JESUS.


For further clearing of the premises, I would propose a few particulars,
for caution and direction, as,--

1. This work of laying the burden of this business on Christ by faith,
would be gone about with much singleness of heart, aiming at the glory
of God, and the carrying on of his work in the soul; and not for
self-ends, and carnal by-respects, lest thereby we mar all.

2. It would be carried on, without partiality, against all and every
one of the lusts and motions of the old man. For if there be a
compliance with and a sparing of any one known lust, the whole work may
be marred; they may meet with a disappointment as to the particular lust
they are desiring victory over;--and the lust they are harbouring,
though it may seem little, may open a door to many stronger, and so
occasion sad days to the man, ere he be aware.

3. As they would bring the particular lust, or lusts, unto Christ, as
chief Lord Justice; so they would always lay the axe to the root of the
tree, and crave justice against the main body, that yet lieth within the
soul; and these particular corruptions and affections, that are as
members of that body of sin, should put them in mind of the old man, for
they should "crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof,"
Gal. v. 24; the body and the members. These lusts are the lusts of sin,
or of that head-sin, which hath a law, or the force and impulse of a law
in the soul; and therefore their main design would be against this root,
where lieth the strength and body of the enemy, and which acteth in
those members; this is the capital enmity, and should be mainly opposed.
And the following of this course would prove more successful than that
which many time we take: our nibbling at, or wrestling against this or
that member of the body of death, is but of little advantage, so long as
the main body of sin, the bitter root of wickedness, the carnal mind,
this innate enmity is miskent, and not opposed; but on the contrary,
strike at this, we strike at all.

4. This would be the believer's constant work, to be "crucifying the
flesh, with the lusts thereof; to be mortifying their members," wherein
the members of the old man quarter and lodge, Col. iii. 5; "to be
spiritually minded, and to mind the things of the Spirit," Rom. viii. 5,
6. "For the carnal mind is enmity, against God," Rom. viii. 7; "and so
is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." It is not only
an enemy which may be reconciled, but enmity in the abstract, which
never can be reconciled. And this enmity will never be idle; for it
cannot till it be fully and finally destroyed; "the flesh is always
lusting against the spirit,'" Gal. v. 17; "for they are contrary one to
the other." So that though, to our sense, it may sometimes appear as
sleeping, in regard that it doth not by some particular lust so molest
and perplex the soul as formerly it did: yet it is restless, and may be
more active in another lust, and so by changing weapons on us, deceive
us. Here then is much spiritual wisdom and vigilancy required. When they
think they have gotten one lust subdued, they must not think the war is
at an end; but after all their particular victories, watch and pray,
that they enter not into temptation.

5. This way of laying the weight of the matter on Christ, should and
will keep them humble, and teach them not to ascribe the glory of any
good that is done unto themselves, but to give him all the glory, who is
jealous of his glory, and will not give it to another, that the crown
may alone flourish on his head, who is the captain of their salvation,
and who by his Spirit worketh all their works in them.

6. Nor would this way of carrying the matter to Christ, and putting it
over on him, cause the believer become negligent in commanded duties,
reading, hearing prayer, &c; for it is there he must expect to meet with
Christ; there must he seek him, and there must he wait for him, and his
Spirit to do the work desired. For though he hath not limited himself to
these means, so, as he cannot, or will not any other way help, yet he
hath bound us to them; and it is our duty to wait there, where he hath
commanded us to wait, though he should sometime think good to come
another way, for the manifestation of the sovereignty of his grace.

7. Yet while we are about the means, we would guard against a leaning to
them, lest, instead of getting victory over corruption, we be brought
more in bondage thereunto another way. We must not think that our
prayers, or our hearing, or reading, &c. will bring down the body of
death, or subdue any one corruption; for that were but an yielding to
corruption, and opening a back door to the carnal mind, and to another
deadly lust, and a beating corruption with a sword of straw. This is not
to mortify the deeds of the body through the Spirit, but through the
flesh; and a fleshly weapon will never draw blood of this spiritual
wickedness or old man, or of any corrupt lust or affection thereof; and
yet how many times doth our deceitful heart bias us this way? Our work
would be, as is said, to use the ordinances as means, whereby we may get
the business laid on Christ, and help from Christ to do the business. We
must go to the means with our prisoner to find Christ there at his court
and assizes, that he may take course with the traitor.

8. In all this there would be a looking to, and dependence on Christ for
help and grace; because of ourselves, as of ourselves, we cannot do this
much; we cannot complain aright of corruptions, nor take them away to
Christ, nor ask for justice against them. As constables and other
officers must carry malefactors to the courts of justice, upon public
charges; so Christ will not have us doing or attempting this much on our
own charges, for he giveth noble allowance.

9. In following of this course, we would not think always to come speed
at the first. Sometimes the Lord, for the encouragement of his children,
may give them a speedy hearing, and deliver them from the tyranny of
some particular lust or other that hath troubled them; so that for some
time at least, it shall not so trouble them as it did. Yet he will not
do so always, but may think it good to keep them waiting on him, and
hanging on his courts for some considerable time, that he may thereby
exercise their faith, patience, desire, zeal, and diligence. So that it
should not seem strange to us, if we be not admitted at the first, and
get not our answer at the first cry.

10. When the Lord thinketh good to delay the answer to our desires, and
the execution of justice on the malefactor and traitor, or to deliver us
from his tyranny and trouble, we would beware of thinking to capitulate
with the enemy for our peace and quiet, or to enter into a cessation of
arms with him; that is, our enmity against him should never abate; nor
should our desire after the mortification and crucifixion of this lust
grow less; nor should we be at quiet and at peace, though it should
seem to grow a little more calm and still, or not to rage as formerly;
for this looks but like a covenant or confederacy with lust, which will
not stand.

11. We would also know, that what Christ said of devils, holdeth good of
these lusts, viz. "that some of them do not go out but by fasting and
prayer;" that is, by Christ sought unto and found in these means. There
are some lusts that will not be so easily killed and mortified as
others, but will cost us more pains and labour, as being corruptions
which possibly have some greater advantage of our natural temper and
constitution of body, or of long continuance and a cursed habit, or the
like. We must not then think it strange, if some such lust be not
subdued so easily as some others to which we have fewer and weaker, and
not so frequent temptations.

12. As we cannot expect a full conquest of the body of death, so long as
we are here, as was shown above, neither can we expect a full and final
victory over any one lust, which ever we have been troubled with. It is
true, believers may be kept from some gross out-breaking of a
corruption, which sometime prevailed, as Peter was from relapsing into
an open and downright denying his Master; yet that same corruption did
afterward stir, though not so violently as to carry him to such an
height of sin; yet so far as to cause him do that which was a partial
denying of his Master, when Paul withstood him to the face, because he
was to be blamed for withdrawing from the Gentiles, for fear of them of
the circumcision, &c. Gal. ii. 11, 12.: So, though a particular lust may
be so far subdued through grace, as that for some considerable time a
man may not find it so violent as it was; yet be cannot say that it is
totally killed, because it may stir thereafter in some weaker measure;
yea, he cannot tell, but ere he come to die, that same corruption may
rise to be as violent as ever, and that Satan may again think to enter
the soul at that same breach which once he entered at; yea, and who can
tell, whether God may not suffer that corruption, which lay long as
dead, to revive again for a time, and for a time drive the soul as
violently as ever, and prevail for a time? And this should teach all to
walk soberly, watchfully, and in fear, and to have a vigilant eye, even
upon such lusts and carnal affections, as they may suppose they have got
the victory of.

13. We would not think that we gain no ground upon corruption, because
we still perceive it stirring, less or more; for as corruption is not
always strongest, as was said above, nor hath the deepest footing in the
soul, when its motions and stirrings are most felt; so neither must we
think that there is no ground gained upon a lust, because we are still
troubled and molested with its stirrings; for it is a great advantage to
be more sensible of the motions of this enemy; and our more faithful and
active wrestling against it may make its least stirrings more sensible
to us; as the motions and trouble which a malefactor, while in grips and
in prison, maketh, may be thought more of than his greater ragings
before he was apprehended; yet he may be sure in fetters for all that. A
beast that hath gotten death's blow may get out of grips, and run more
mad than ever, and yet will die at length of the same blow.

14. Though we should find present ease and quiet by our following this
way, yet we should think it much, if the Lord help us to stand, when we
have done all we can, though we meet not with the hoped for success
presently; if he give us grace to continue without wearying or fainting,
and to be resolved never to give over, we have reason to bless him; if
we be kept still in the conflict with pursuit of the enemy, it is our
great advantage; the victory shall come in God's own time. If our
opposition so continue, that we are resolved never to take nor give
quarter, though our trouble and exercise should be the greater, and our
ease and quiet the less, we ought to bless him, yea, and rejoice in hope
of what he shall yet do for us; for he that will come, shall come, and
will not tarry. Let us wait for him, in doing our duty, and faithfully
keeping our post.

15. Yea, if we get quietness or ease from the violence of raging lusts
for any little time, and be not continually driven and carried headlong
therewith, we ought to be thankful for this, and to walk humbly before
him; lest he be provoked by our unthankfulness and pride, and let these
furious dogs loose upon us again.

16. When we are bending our strength and all our forces against some
one corruption or other, which possibly hath been most troublesome to
us, we would not be secure as to all others, or think that we are in
hazard only on this side; for Satan may make a feint here, and really
intend an assault at another place, by some other corrupt affection. O
what need have we of spiritual wisdom that we may be better acquainted
with his stratagems and wiles I Let us so then fight against one member
of this body of death, as to have our eye upon others, lest when we
think to keep out Satan at the fore-door, he enter in at the back-door.
He can make use of extremities, and play his game with both; yea, and
gain his point, if we be not aware.


It will not be amiss, for further explaining of the matter, to remove a
scruple or two. Some may say, that they cannot perceive that all their
pains in this matter come to any good issue; for they never found
corruption stir more, and act more lively and incessantly, than since
they began to fight against it in good earnest; so that this would seem
not to be the right way.

I answer, Though from what is said before, particularly cautions 9th and
13th, a resolution of this doubt maybe had; yet I shall propose those
things, for further clearing of the matter:

1. May not much of this flow from thy not laying the whole work so
wholly off thyself, and upon Christ, as thou oughtest to do? Try and

2. May not the devil rage most, when he thinks ere long to be ejected?
May he not labour to create most trouble to the soul, when he seeth that
he is like to be put from some of his strengths?

3. May not the devil be doing this of purpose to drive thee to despair
of ever getting corruption subdued and mortified; or to a fainting and
sitting up in the pursuit, and to a despondency of spirit; that so
instead of fighting or standing, thou may cede and turn thee back? And
should we comply with him in his designs?

4. May not the Lord give way to this for a time, to try thy seriousness,
patience, submission and faith, and to sharpen thy diligence, and
kindle up thy zeal? And should we not submit to his wise dispensations?

5. How can thou say that thou gainest no advantage, as long as thou art
not made to lay aside the matter wholly, as hopeless of any good issue;
but, on the contrary, art helped to stand, and to resist sin, to cry out
against it, to fight as thou canst, and at least not to yield?

6. What if God see it for thy advantage, that thou be kept so in
exercise for a time, to the end thou may be kept humble, watchful, and
diligent? He may see more of thee, than thou canst see of thyself, and
so may know what is best for thee; and should thou not condescend to be
disposed of by him as he will, and to let him make of thee, and do with
thee what he will?

7. What if God be about to chasten thee thus for thy former negligence,
security, and unwatchfulness, and giving too much advantage to those
lusts, which now, after his awakening of thee, thou would be delivered
from? Should thou not bear the indignation of the Lord, because thou
hast sinned against him, as the Church resolved to do, Micah vii. 9?

8. Is it not thy duty the more that corruption stirs, to run with it the
oftener to Christ, that he may subdue it and put it to silence? May not
thou improve this to thy advantage, by making many errands to him?

9. May it not come in a day, that hath not come in a year? Art thou
sure, that all thy pains shall be in vain? Or thinkest thou that all his
children have got victory alike soon over their lusts? What cause is
there then to complain thus?

10. May not all this convince thee, that it is thy duty to wait on him,
in the use of his appointed means, and to be patient, standing fast to
thy post, resolving, when thou hast done all, yet to stand?

11. May not this satisfy thee, that God through grace accepteth thy
labour and wrestling, as thy duty, and accounteth it service to him, and

But again, it may possibly be objected thus: so long as I am in this
condition, kept under with my lusts, I cannot get God glorified and
served as he ought to be.

I answer, though so long as it is so with thee, thou cannot glorify and
serve him, in such a particular manner as others, who have got more
victory over those evils under which thou art groaning, yet God can get
glory and service of thee another way; as,

1. By thy submission, with calmness of spirit, to his wise
dispensations, when thou dare not speak against him, and say, with
Rebecca, in another case, if it be so, why am I thus? But sweetly and
willingly cast thyself down at his feet, saying, good is the will of the
Lord; let him do what seemeth him good, &c.

2. By thy patient on-waiting, when thou art not wearying nor fainting,
but saying, why should I not wait upon the great King's leisure? Is he
not free to come when he will? Dare I set limits to the Holy One of

3. By thy humility, when thou blessest him, for keeping thee so long out
of hell, and thinkest much of his giving thee grace to see and observe
the stirrings of corruption, which carnal wretches never perceive; and
helping thee to withstand and complain of corruption, which they sweetly
comply with.

4. By thy hatred of sin, when all that Satan can do cannot make thee
comply with those lusts, or sweetly embrace those vipers, or lie down in
peace with those rotten members of the old man, as others do.

5. By thy watchfulness, when all thy disappointments cause thee the more
earnestly watch against that enemy.

6. By thy acting faith, when still thou art carrying sin in its lusts to
Christ to kill and subdue, as believing the tenor of the gospel and new

7. By thy hope, which appeareth by thy not despairing, and giving over
the matter as a hopeless business, and turning aside to wicked courses.

8. By thy praying, when thou criest to him continually for help, who
only can help.

9. By thy wrestling and standing against all opposition, for thereby is
his strength made perfect in thy weakness, 2 Cor. xii. 9.

10. By thine obedience; for it is his command that thou stand and fight
this good fight of faith.

So that if thou hast a desire to glorify him, thou wants not occasion to
do it, even in this condition wherein thou complainest that thou cannot
get him glorified. And if those grounds do not satisfy thee, it is to be
feared that it is not so much a desire to glorify him, that moveth thee
to cry so earnestly for actual delivery from the trouble of the flesh
and the lusts thereof, as something else, which thou may search after
and find out; such as love to ease, quietness, applause and commendation
of others, or the like.

But, in the _third_ place, it may be objected, is it not promised that
sin shall not have dominion over us, as "not being under the law, but
under grace," Rom. vi. 14. How can we then but be troubled, when we find
not this promise made good?

I answer, 1st, Sin is not always victorious and domineering, when it
seemeth to rage and stir most. Your opposition thereunto, fighting and
wrestling against it, sheweth that it hath not full dominion. So long as
an invading usurper is opposed, he hath not full dominion, not having
peaceable possession of what he is seeking; and thus the promise is in
part accomplished.

2. Victory and a full conquest over the flesh, and lusts thereof, is not
promised to any believer, at his first appearing in the fields to fight;
nor granted to all in any measure, at their first putting on their

3. Therefore it is thy part to fight on, and wait for that full victory,
viz. that sin shall not have dominion over thee, for it shall come in
due time.

4. God hath his own time and seasons wherein he accomplisheth his
promises; and we must leave him a latitude, both as to the time when,
and as to the manner how, and as to the degree in which he shall make
good his promises; and he is wise in his dispensations.

Therefore, though the promise as yet appeareth not to be accomplished,
there is no true cause of trouble of mind, because it shall be afterward
fully accomplished; and the wrestling against sin, saith that it is in
great measure accomplished already; because where it hath a full
dominion, it suppresseth all opposition or contradiction, except some
faint resistance, which a natural conscience, for carnal ends, on carnal
principles and grounds, may, now or then, make against this or that
particular corruption, which occasioneth shame, disgrace, loss,
challenges of a carnal conscience, and disquietness that way, when yet
it is not hated nor wrestled against as sin, or as a member of the old
man, and the body of death. The objector would consider, that having
subjected his consent to Christ, he is delivered really from that
natural state of bondage under sin as a lawful lord, howbeit the old
tyrant, now wanting a title, is making new invasions, to trouble the
peace and quiet of the soul.

_Fourthly,_ It may be said, but what can then, in the mean time, keep up
the heart of a poor soul from sinking?

_Ans._ Several things, if rightly considered, might help to support the
soul in this case, as,

1. That they are helped to wrestle against this body of death, in all
the members of it, so soon as they discover themselves, were it their
right eye and right hand.

2. That these lusts gain not ground upon them; or if they do seem to
gain ground, yet they attain not to a full dominion, not gaining their

3. That God is faithful, and therefore the promised victory shall be had
in due time, and Satan's head shall certainly be bruised.

4. That the wrestling soul is about his duty, carrying as a good soldier
of Jesus Christ, fighting the battles of the Lord, and waiting on him in
faith and hope.

But further, _fifthly,_ some may say, If I were kept from yielding, my
wrestling and standing would yield me some comfort; but when lust so
stirreth, as that it conceiveth and bringeth forth sin, (James i. 15,)
what can support or comfort me then?

_Ans._ 1. Corruption cannot stir in us, but therein we sin, for the very
first rise, the _motus primo-primi_, as they are called, are sinful,
being contrary to the holy law of God; and the very in-being of that old
man is our sin; for it is sinful, and rebellious against God, yea it is
very enmity and rebellion itself. When Satan cometh with a temptation
from without, he findeth always much in us to entertain the temptation.
So that the very stirring of corruption, which is occasioned by the
temptation from without, is our guilt.

2. It is true it is our duty, to set against the first risings and
motions of corruption, when it first enticeth, before it hath conceived
or brought forth sin; and it will argue grace in life and in action, to
be able to hinder the motions of lust so far, that it shall not conceive
and bring forth sin. Yet we may not say, that there is no grace in the
soul, or no measure of mortification attained, where lust sometimes not
only enticeth, but conceiveth and bringeth forth sin. The sad experience
of many of God's worthies, registrated in the word, cleareth this
abundantly. We must not say, such an one is fallen, therefore he is
dead. Paul reasoneth otherways, Rom. vii.

3. Yet even then, when lust conceiveth and bringeth forth sin, this may
comfort and bear up the heart of a poor believer. (1.) That though
corruption prevail so far, as to bear down all opposition, and run down
all that standeth in its way, yet it getteth not the full consent of the
soul: there is still a party for God in the soul, that opposeth so far
as to protest against it, or at least to dissent from it, and not to
will that which yet is done, and positively to will that which cannot be
gotten effectuated, (2.) And further, this may bear up the poor soul,
that there is a party within, which, though for a time, during the
violent overrunning of corruption, can do little more than sigh and
groan in a corner, yet is waiting and longing for an opportunity when it
may appear more for God, and against that wicked usurper. (3.)So also
this may comfort the poor soul, that as it perceiveth corruption
stirring, and the old man moving one member or other, it runneth away to
the king; and when it is not able to apprehend the traitor, and take him
captive to the court of justice, doth there discover the traitor, and
tell the king that there is such or such a traitor acting such and such
rebellion against him and his laws, and complain and seek help to take
the rebel prisoner, and bring him bound hand and foot to the king, that
he may give out sentence against him; that is, when he can do no more
against that raging enemy, maketh his complaint to the Lord, and lieth
before him, sighing and groaning for help and strength to withstand and
oppose more this enemy.

_Lastly,_ Some may yet object, and say, If it were not worse with me
than it is with others, I could then be satisfied; but I see some
mightily prevailing over corruption, and I am still at under, and can
get no victory; and can I choose but be sad at this?

I answer, 1. Dost thou know for a certainty, that those persons whose
condition thou judgest happy, are altogether free of the inward
stirrings of those lusts that thou art brought under by? Or dost thou
know for a certainty that they are not under the power of some other
corruption, as thou thinkest thyself under the power of that corruption
whereof thou complainest? What knowest thou, then, but they may be as
much complaining on other accounts as thou dost on that?

2. But be it so as thou supposeth, that there is a difference betwixt
thy condition and the condition of others, knowest thou not, that all
the members of the body are not alike great and strong, as not being
equally to be employed in work requiring strength. Are there not some
young strong men in Christ's family, and some that are but babes? May
not a captain send some of his soldiers to one post, where they shall
possibly not see the enemy all the day long, and some others to another
post, where they shall have no rest all the day? And why, I pray, may
not God dispose of his soldiers as he will? He knoweth what he is doing:
It is not safe that every one of the soldiers know what are the designs
of the commander or general; nor is it always fit for us to know or to
inquire what may be the designs of God with us, and what he may be about
to do. He may intend to employ one in greater works than another, and so
exercise them otherways for that warfare and work. It may suffice that
the prevailing of others may encourage thee to hope, that at last thy
strong corruptions shall also fall by the hand of the grace of God.

3. If thy sadness savour not of envy and fretting, thou should bless him
that hereby thou art put to the exercise of spiritual sorrow.

4. It is well if this bring thee to bless God for the success of
others, because hereby his grace is glorified, 1 Cor. xii. 26.

Therefore, 5. Let this satisfy us, That he is the Lord, who doeth what
he will in heaven and in earth, and may dispose of us as he will, and
make of us what he will, for his own glory. And that we are to mind our
duty, and be faithful at our post, standing and fighting in the strength
of the Lord, resolving never to comply with the enemy, and to rejoice in
this, that the enemy is already conquered by the captain, and that we
share in his victory, and that the very God of peace shall quickly
bruise Satan under our feet, Rom. xvi. 20.



I come now to speak a little to the other part of sanctification, which
concerneth the change of our nature and frame, and is called
vivification, or quickening of the new man of grace; which is called the
new man, as having all its several members and parts, as well as the old
man; and called new, because posterior to the other; and after
regeneration is upon the growing hand, this duty of growing in grace, as
it is called, 2 Pet. iii. &c. is variously expressed and held forth to
us in Scripture; for it is called "an abiding and bringing forth fruit
in Christ," John xv. 5; "adding to faith virtue, and to virtue
knowledge," 2 Pet. i. 5, 6, 7; "a going on to perfection," Heb. vii. 1;
"a growing up in Christ in all things," Eph. iv. 15; "a working out our
salvation," Phil. ii. 12; "a perfecting of holiness," 2 Cor. vii. 1; "a
walking in newness of life," Rom. vi. 4; "a yielding of ourselves unto
God, as alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of
righteousness unto God," Rom. vi. 13, 18; "a bringing forth fruit unto
God," Rom, vii. 4; "a serving in newness of spirit," Rom. vii. 6; "a
being renewed in the spirit of our minds, and a putting on the new man,
which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," Eph. iv.
23,24. Col. iii. 10, and the like: some whereof do more immediately
express the nature of this change, as to the root, and some as to the
fruit and effects thereof, and some the progress and advancement that is
made or to be made therein. And all of them point out a special piece of
work, which lieth on all that would see the face of God, viz. to be
holy, gracious, and growing in grace.

This, then, being a special piece of the exercise and daily work of a
Christian, and it being certain, as some of the places now cited do also
affirm, that without Christ they cannot get this work either begun or
carried on, the main difficulty and question is, How they are to make
use of Christ for this end?

For answer whereunto, though by what we have said in our former
discourse, it may be easy to gather what is to be said here; yet I shall
briefly put the reader in mind of those things, as useful here.

1. The believer would consider what an ornament this is to the soul, to
have on this new man, which is created after the image of God, Eph. iv.
23. What an excellency lieth here, to recover that lost glory, holiness
and the image of God? and what advantage the soul reapeth hereby, when
it "is made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in
light," Col. i. 12; "and walking worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,
being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of
God," Col. i. 10; "and strengthened with all might, according to his
glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering, with joyfulness,"
ver. 11; and when the abounding of the graces of the Spirit maketh them
"that they shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of
our Lord Jesus Christ," 2 Pet. i. 8; "and to be a vessel unto honour,
sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every
work," 2 Tim. ii. 21. What glory and peace is here, to be found obedient
unto the many commands given to be holy: what hazard is in the want of
holiness, when without it we cannot see God, Heb. xii. 14: how
unanswerable it is unto our profession, who are members to such a holy
head, to be unholy: what profit, joy, and satisfaction there is, in
being temples of the Holy Ghost, in walking after the Spirit, in
bringing forth fruit unto the glory of the Father, &c. The consideration
of these and other motives unto this study of sanctification, would arm
the soul with resolution, and harden it against opposition.

2. It would be remembered, that this work, though it be laid upon us, as
our duty, and we be called thereunto of God, yet it is beyond our hand
and power. It is true, at conversion, the seed of grace is cast into the
soul, new habits are infused, a new principle of life is given, the
stony heart is changed into an heart of flesh; yet these principles and
habits cannot act in themselves, or be brought into act, by any thing
that a believer, considered in himself, and without divine help, can do.
But this work of sanctification and growth in grace must be carried on
by divine help, by the Spirit of Jesus dwelling and working within; and
therefore it is called the sanctification of the Spirit, 2 Thess. ii.
13. 1 Pet. i. 2. The God of peace must sanctify us, I Thess. v. 23. We
are said to be sanctified by God the Father, Jude 1.; and by the Holy
Ghost, Rom. xv. 16; see also 1 Cor. vi. 11. "We would remember that of
ourselves we can do nothing," 2 Cor. iii. 5, and "that he must work in
us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure," Phil. ii. 13.
Albeit no believer will question the truth of this; yet it may be, it
shall be found after trial, that one main cause of their not growing in
grace, and making progress in this work, is their not acting as
believing this, but setting about the work, as if it were a work which
they themselves could master and do without special divine help.
Therefore the believer would abide, live, and act, in the faith of this

3. Therefore believers would not, in going about this work, either trust
to their own strength, to the habits of grace, to their former
experiences, to their knowledge and parts, or the like; nor yet would
they trust to any external mean, which they are to go about; because the
wisdom, strength, and help, which their case calleth for, is not to be
found in them; yet they should not think of laying these means and
duties aside, for then should they sin against God; they should prejudge
themselves of the help, strength, and supply, which God useth to convey
to the soul, in and by the use of the means. And withal, they should
tempt the Lord, by prescribing another way to him than he hath thought
good to take. The believer, then, would use the means and duties
prescribed, and that diligently, seriously, and constantly; and yet
would lean as little to them, and expect help and relief as little from
them, as if he were not using them at all, as we said above. And indeed
this would be a right way; yea, the most advantageous and profitable
way, of going about duties, to be diligent in the use of them, because
of God's command, and yet to place our hope and expectation in God
alone, and to look above the ordinances for our help.

4. Albeit it be true that the power and grace of God alone, doth begin
and carry on this work of sanctification in the soul: yet though he
might, did he but see it for his glory, carry on and finish this work in
the soul, without the intervention of second causes or means, he hath
notwithstanding thought it fit, for the glory of his name, to work this
work by means, and particularly by believers setting about the work. He
worketh not in man as if he were a block or a stone, but useth him as a
rational creature, endued with a rational soul, having useful and
necessary faculties, and a body fired by organs to be subservient to the
soul in its actions. Therefore the believer must not think to lie by and
do nothing, for he is commanded to work out his own salvation, and that
because it is God that worketh in him both to will and to do. Because
God worketh all, therefore he should work; so reasoneth the apostle. So
that God's working is an argument and motive to the man to work, and not
an argument to him to lie by idle and do nothing. And here is the holy
art and divine skill requisite in this business, to wit, for the
believer to be as diligent and active as if he could bring forth fruit
in his own strength, and by his own working; and yet to be as abstracted
from himself, his own grace, ability, knowledge, experience, in his
working, as if he were lying by like a mere block, and only moving as
moved by external force.

5. The soul that would make progress in Christianity, and grow in grace,
would remember that Christ is proposed to us as a copy, which we are to
imitate, and that therefore we should set Christ continually before us
as our pattern, that we may follow his steps, 1 Pet. i. 15, and ii. 21.
But withal it would be remembered, that he is not like other ensamples
or copies, that can help the man that imitateth them in no other way
than by their objective prospect; for looking by faith on this copy,
will bring virtue to the man that studieth to imitate, whereby he shall
be enabled to follow his copy better. O! if we knew in experience what
this were, to take a look of Christ's love, patience, long-suffering,
meekness, hatred of sin, zeal, &c, and by faith to pore in, till, by
virtue proceeding from that copy, we found our hearts in some measure
framed into the same disposition, or at least more inclined to be cast
into the same mould!

6. The believer would act faith on Christ, as the head of the body, and
as the stock in which the branches are ingrafted, and thereby suck sap,
and life, and strength from him, that he may work, walk, and grow, as
becometh a Christian. The believer must grow up in him, being a branch
in him, and must bring forth fruit in him, as the forementioned places
clear. Now, Christ himself tells us, that the branches cannot bring
forth fruit, except they abide in the vine; and that no more can his
disciples bring forth, except they abide in him, John xv. Therefore, as
it is by faith that the soul, as a branch, is united to Christ, as the
vine; and as it is by faith that they abide in him; so it is by faith
that they must bring forth fruit; and this faith must grip Christ as the
vine, and the stock or root from which cometh sap, life, and strength.
Faith, then, must look to Christ as the fountain of furniture--as the
head from whence cometh all the influences of strength and motion.
Christ hath strength and life enough to give out, for "the fulness of
the Godhead dwelleth in him bodily;" and he is also willing enough to
communicate of his fulness, as the relations he hath taken on do
witness. The head will not grudge to give to the members of the body,
spirits for action and motion; nor will a vine grudge to give sap into
the branches. Nay, life, strength, and furniture will, as it were,
natively flow out of Christ unto believers, except they, through
unbelief, and other distempers, cause obstructions; as life and sap doth
natively and kindly flow from the root to the branches, or from the head
to the members, unless obstructions stop the passage. It is necessary,
therefore, that believers eye Christ under these and the like relations,
and look upon him as standing, (so to speak,) obliged by his place and
relation, to grant strength and influences of life, whereby they may
become fruitful in every good work; and so with holy, humble, and
allowed boldness, press in faith for new communications of grace,
virtue, strength, courage, activity, and what else they need; for, from
the head, all the body, by joints and bands, having nourishment
ministered, increaseth with the increase of God. Col. ii. 19. Eph. iv.

7. For this cause believers would lie open to the influences of Christ,
and guard against the putting of obstructions in the way, through
grieving of the Spirit, by which he conveyeth and communicateth those
influences unto the soul; and through questioning and misbelieving
Christ's faithfulness and unchangeable willingness, which as a violent
humour stoppeth the passage. So then believers would lie open by looking
and waiting, drawing, seeking from him what they need, and by guarding
against every thing that may provoke the Lord to anger, whether in
omission or commission. Here is requisite, an holy, humble, sober, and
watchful walk; an earnest, serious, and hungry looking out to him, and a
patient waiting for supply and furniture from him. This is to open the
mouth wide that he may fill it; to lie before the Sun of Righteousness,
that the beams thereof may beat upon them, and warm and revive them; and
to wait as a beggar at this King's gate, till he give the alms.

8. For the strengthening their hope and faith in this, they would lay
hold upon Christ dying, and by his death purchasing all those
influences of life and strength which are requisite for carrying on the
work of grace and sanctification in the soul. For we must be "blessed in
Christ with all spiritual blessings," Eph. i. 3. The believer, then,
would look upon these influences, as purchased at a dear rate, by the
blood of Jesus Christ; so that the divine power giveth unto us all
things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of
him that hath called us to glory and virtue, 2 Peter i. 3. And this will
encourage the soul to wait on, and expect the flowing down of
influences, and spiritual blessings and showers of grace, to cause the
soul to flourish and become fruitful, and to urge and press more
earnestly by faith the bestowing of the purchased benefits.

9. Moreover, the believer would look on Jesus as standing engaged and
obliged to carry on this work, both receiving them as for this end, from
the Father. Hence we are said "to be chosen in him before the foundation
of the world, that we should be holy," &c. Eph. i. 4; and as dying for
them. For he gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify and
cleanse it, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, that
it should be holy, Eph. v. 25-27. He hath reconciled them, in the body
of his flesh, through death, to present them holy, Col. i. 2, 22. So
that the noble covenant of redemption may found the certain hope and
expectation of the believer, upon a double account: (1.) Upon the
account of the Father's faithfulness, who promised a seed to Jesus, viz.
such as should be his children, and so be sanctified through him, and
that the pleasure of the Lord, which in part is the work of
sanctification, should prosper in his hand. And, (2.) Upon the account
of Christ's undertaking and engaging, as is said, to bring his sons and
daughters to glory, which must be thought sanctification; for without
holiness no man shall see God. And they must look like himself, who is a
holy head, a holy husband, a holy captain; and therefore they must be
holy members, a holy spouse, and holy soldiers. So that he standeth
engaged to sanctify them by his Spirit and word, and therefore is called
the sanctifier, Heb. ii. 11; "for both he that sanctifieth, and they
who are sanctified, are all one." Yea, their union with Christ layeth
the foundation of this; for "being joined to the Lord, they become one
Spirit," 1 Cor. vi. 17, and are animated and quickened by one and the
same Spirit of life and grace, and therefore must be sanctified by that

10. The believer likewise would act faith upon the promises of the new
covenant, of grace, strength, life, &c, whereby they shall walk in his
ways, have God's laws put into their minds, and wrote in their hearts,
Heb. viii. 10. Jer. xxxi. 33; and of the new heart, and new spirit, and
the heart of flesh, and the Spirit within them, to cause them walk in
his ways or statutes, and keep his judgments, and do them, Ezek. xxxvi.
26, 27, and the like, wherewith the Scripture aboundeth; because these
are all given over to the believer by way of testament and legacy,
Christ becoming the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of
death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the
first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of
eternal inheritance, Heb. ix. 15. Now, Christ, by his death, hath
confirmed this testament; "for where a testament is, there must also of
necessity be the death of the testator; for a testament is of force
after men are dead," vers. 16, 17. Christ, then, dying to make the
testament of force, hath made the legacy of the promises sure unto the
believer; so that now all the "promises are yea and amen in Christ," 2
Cor. i. 20. "He was made a minister of circumcision to confirm the
promises made to the fathers," Rom. xv. 8. That the eyeing of these
promises by faith is a noble mean to sanctification, is clear, by what
the apostle saith, 2 Cor. vii. 1, "Having therefore these promises, let
us cleanse ourselves; perfecting holiness in the fear of God." And it is
by faith that those promises must be received, Heb. xi. 33: So that the
believer that would grow in grace, would eye Christ, the fundamental
promise, the testator establishing the testament, and the executor or
dispensator of the covenant, and expect the good things through him, and
from him, through the conduit and channel of the promises.

11. Yet further, believers would eye Christ in his resurrection, as a
public person, and so look on themselves, and reckon themselves as
rising virtually in and with him, and take the resurrection of Christ as
a certain pawn and pledge of their sanctification; for so reasoneth the
apostle, Rom. vi. 4, 5, 11, 13. "We are buried," says he, "with him by
baptism unto death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by
the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life:
For--we shall be also planted in the likeness of his resurrection; and
if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with
him:--therefore reckon ye also yourselves to be--alive unto God, through
Jesus Christ our Lord, and yield yourselves unto God, as those that are
alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness
unto God." The right improving of this ground would be of noble
advantage to the student of holiness: for then he might with strong
confidence conclude, that the work of sanctification should prosper in
his hand; for he may now look upon himself as "quickened together with
Christ," Eph. ii. 5. Christ dying and rising, as a public person, and he
by faith being now joined with him, and united to him.

12. Moreover this resurrection of Christ may yield us another ground of
hope and confidence in this work; for there is mention made of the power
of his resurrection, Phil. iii. 10. So that by faith we may draw
strength and virtue from Christ, as an arisen and quickened head,
whereby we also may live unto God, and bring forth fruit unto him, and
serve no more in the oldness of the letter, "but in the newness of the
Spirit," Rom. vii. 4, 6. He was quickened as a head, and when the head
is quickened, the members cannot but look for some communication of life
therefrom, and to live in the strength of the life of the head: see Col.
iii. 1, 2.

13. Faith may and should also look to Christ, as an intercessor with the
Father. For this particular, John xvii. 17, "Sanctify them through thy
truth, thy Word is truth:" and this will add to their confidence, that
the work shall go on; for Christ was always heard of the Father, John
xi. 41, 42, and so will be in his prayer, which was not put up for the
few disciples alone.

The believer then would eye Christ as engaging to the Father to begin
and perfect this work; as dying to purchase the good things promised,
and to confirm the same; as quickened, and rising as head and public
person, to ensure this work, and to bestow and actually confer the
graces requisite; and as praying also for the Father's concurrence, and
cast the burden of the work on him by faith, knowing that he standeth
obliged, by his place and relation to his people, to bear all their
burthens, to work all their works in them, to perfect his own work that
he hath begun in them, to present them to himself at last a holy bride,
to give them the Spirit "to dwell in them," Rom. viii. 9, 11 "and to
quicken their mortal bodies," ver. 11, "and to lead them," ver. 14;
"till at length they be crowned, and brought forward to glory." This is
to live by faith, when Christ liveth, acteth, and worketh in us by his
Spirit, Gal. ii. 20. Thus Christ dwelleth in the heart by faith; and by
this his people become rooted and grounded in love, which is a cardinal
grace; and knowing the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, they
become filled with all the fulness of God, Eph. iii. 17, 19. So that the
believer is to commit by faith the work to Christ, and leave the stress
of all the business on him who is their life. Yet the believer must not
think he is to do nothing, or to lay aside the means of ordinances, but
using these diligently, would in them commit the matter to Christ, and
by faith roll the whole work on him, expecting, upon the ground of his
relations, engagements, promises, beginnings, &c., that he will
certainly perfect the work, (Phil. i. 6,) and take it well off their
hands, and be well pleased with them for putting the work in his hands,
and leaving it on him "who is made of God to us sanctification."


As in the former part, so here it will not be amiss to give a few words
of caution, for preventing of mistakes.

1. We would beware of thinking that perfection can be attained here:
the perfect man and measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ is
but coming, and till then the body will be a perfecting and edifying,
through the work of the ministry, Eph. iv. 12, 13. Believers must not
think of sitting down on any measure of grace which they attain to here;
but they must be growing in grace, going from strength to strength, till
they appear in the upper Zion with the apostle, Phil. iii. 13.
"Forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forth unto those
things which are before, they must press toward the mark, for the prize
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." It must then be a dreadful
delusion for any to think that they can reach to such a degree of
perfection here, as not to stand in need of the ordinance any more. Let
all believers live in the constant conviction of their shortcoming, and
be humbled, and so work out their salvation with fear and trembling.

2. Nor should every believer expect one and the same measure of
holiness, nor can it be expected with reason that all shall advance here
to the same height of sanctity; for every part of the body hath its own
measure, and an effectual working in that measure: and so every joint of
the body supplieth less or more, according to its proportion, and
contributeth to the increase of the body, and to the edifying of itself
in love, as the apostle clearly sheweth, Eph. iv. 16. As in the natural
body the diversity of functions and uses of the members requireth
diversity of furniture and strength, so in the mystical body of Christ
the members have not all alike measure, but each hath his proper
distinct measure, according to his place and usefulness in the body.
Believers then would learn much sobriety here and submission, knowing
that God may dispense his graces as he will, and give them to each
member in what measure he thinketh good: only they would take heed, that
their poverty and leanness be not occasioned through their own
carelessness and negligence, in not plying the means of grace with that
faithfulness and single dependence on Christ that they ought.

3. It would be remembered, that there may be some progress made in the
way of holiness, when yet the believer may apprehend no such thing; not
only because the measure of the growth may be so small and
indiscernible, but also because even where the growth in itself is
discernible, the Lord may think it good, for wise ends, to hide it from
their eyes, that they may be kept humble and diligent; whereas, if they
saw how matters stood indeed with them, they might (without a new degree
of grace) swell and be puffed up, yea, even forget God, and misken
themselves and others too. Likewise this may proceed from such an
earnest desire after more, that they forget any measure they have
gotten, and so despise the day of small things.

4. There may be a great progress in holiness, though not in that
particular which the believer is most eyeing to his sense and
apprehension: for when he thinks he is not growing in love to and zeal
for God, &c, he may be growing in humility, which is also a member of
the new man of grace; and when he can perceive no growth in knowledge,
there may be a growth in affection and tenderness. And if the work be
carried on in any joint or member, it decayeth in none, though it may be
better apprehended in one than another.

5. There may be much holiness, where the believer is complaining of the
want of fruits, when under that dispensation of the Lord towards him, he
is made to stoop before the Most High, to put his mouth in the dust, if
so be there may be hope, and pleasantly to submit to God's wise
ordering, without grudging or quarrelling with God for what he doth, and
to accept sweetly the punishment of his iniquity, if he see guilt lying
at the root of this dispensation. Where there is a silent submission to
the sovereign and only wise disposing hand of God, and the man is
saying, if he will not have me to be a fruitful tree in his garden, nor
to grow and flourish as the palm-tree, let me be a shrub, only let me be
kept within the precincts of his garden, that his eye may be upon me for
good; let me abide within his courts, that I may behold his countenance,
there is grace, and no small measure of grace. To be an hired servant is
much, Luke xv. 19.

6. But withal, it would be observed, that this gracious frame of soul,
that is silent before God, under several disappointments, is accompanied
with much singleness of heart, in panting after more holiness, and with
seriousness and diligence in all commanded duties, waiting upon the
Lord, who is their hope and their salvation in each of them, and with
mourning for their own sinful accession to that shortcoming in their

7. We would not think that there is no progress in Christianity, or
growth in grace, because it cometh not our way, or by the instruments
and means that we must expect it by. Possibly we are too fond on some
instruments and means that we prefer to others; and we think, if ever we
get good, it must be that way, and by that means, be it private or
public: and God may give a proof of his sovereignty, and check us for
our folly, by taking another way. He would not be found of the bride,
neither by her seeking of him secretly on her bed by night; nor more
publicly, by going about the city, in the streets and broad ways; nor by
the means of the watchmen, Cant. iii. 1, 2, 3.

8. Nor would we think that there is no growth in the work of grace,
because it cometh not at such or such prelimited or fore-set time; nor
would we think the matter desperate, because of our looking long, and
waiting, and asking, and labouring, and yet seeing no sensible
advantage. Such and such a believer, saith the soul, made great progress
in a short time, but I come no speed, for as long as I have been at this
school. O! we should beware of limiting the Holy One of Israel. Let us
be at duty, and commit the event to him.

9. It is not a fit time to take the measure of our graces, as to their
sensible growth and fruitfulness, when devils are broken loose upon us;
temptations are multiplied, corruptions make a great noise, and we are
meeting with a horrible tempest shaking us on all hands: for it will be
strong grace that will much appear then; it will be strong faith that
will say, Though he kill me, yet will I trust in him. At such a time it
will be much if the man keep the ground he hath gained, though he make
no progress. It will be much for a tree to stand, and not to be blown
out of the ground, in the time of a strong and vehement storm, of wind,
though it keep not its flourishes and yield not fruit The trees, which
in a cold winter day bear neither leaves nor fruit, must not be said to
go back, nor not to grow; because when the spring cometh again, they may
revive and be as fruitful as ever.

10. We would not always measure our graces by what appeareth outwardly;
for there may be some accidental occurrence that may hinder that, and
yet grace be at work within doors, which few or none can observe. The
believer may be in a sweet and gracious frame, blushing before the Lord,
yea, melting in love, or taken up with spiritual meditations and
wondering, when as to some external duties, it can find no present
disposition, through some accidental impediment or other, so that to
some, who judge most by outward appearance, no such things as the active
working of grace in life can appear.

11. We would think it no small measure or degree of holiness, to be with
singleness of heart pursuing it, even though it should seem to flee from
us; to be earnestly panting after it, and hungering and thirsting for
it. Nehemiah thought this no small thing, when he said, Neh. i. 11, "O
Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of
thy servants who desire to fear thy name."

12. Whatever measure of holiness the believer win to, he would take
special heed that he place no part of his confidence of his being
accepted and justified before God in it, as if that could come in any
part of the price to satisfy justice: but when he hath done all, let him
call and account himself an unprofitable servant. Though believers will
not be so gross as to speak thus, yet sure their justifying of their
holding a-back from God, because they find not such a measure of grace
and holiness as they would have, looketh too much this way, and saith,
that they lean too much hereunto in the matter of the acceptance of
their persons before God. Now this should be specially guarded against,
lest their labour be in vain.


An objection or two must here also be removed. And 1. Some may say, that
though they have been labouring, and striving, and working now for some
long time, yet they can perceive no advancement; they are as far short
as ever.

_Ans_. Hath it not been found, that some have complained without cause?
Have not some complained of their unfruitfulness and want of growth,
that other good Christians would have thought themselves very happy, if
they had but advanced half so far as they saw them to have done?

But be it so, as it is alleged, what if the fault be their own? What if
the cause of this be, that they attempt things in their own strength,
leaning to their own understanding, or habits of grace, or means, &c.,
and that they do not go about duties with that single dependence on
Christ that is requisite, nor do they suck life, strength, and sap from
him, by faith through the promises, nor give themselves up to him by
faith, that he may work in them both to will and to do. Should not this
be seen, mourned for, and helped?

3. If all this shortcoming and disappointment cause them lie in the
dust, and humble themselves more and more before the Lord, the grace of
humiliation is growing, and that is no small advantage, to be growing

4. Withal, they would do well to hold on in duty, looking to Christ for
help, and rolling all difficulties on him, give themselves away to him,
as their head and Lord, and so continue their life of faith, or their
consenting to let Christ live in them by faith, or work in them by his
Spirit what is well-pleasing in his sight, and wait for the blessing and
fruit in God's own time.

_Next_, It will be objected, Though we might wait thus, yet how
unedifying are we unto others, when there appeareth no fruit of the
spirit of grace in us.

_Ans_. A Christian behaviour and deportment under the sense of
fruitlessness, expressing an holy submission of soul unto God, as
sovereign, much humility of mind before him, justifying of God, and
taking guilt to themselves, with a firm resolution, to wait on patiently
in the use of means appointed, cannot but be edifying to Christian
souls; such exercises being really the works and fruit of the spirit of
grace working within.

But, _thirdly_, some may say, How then are the promises of the covenant
made good?

_Ans_. 1. The same measure of sanctification and holiness is not
promised to all.

2. No great measure is promised to any absolutely. So much indeed is
secured to all believers as shall carry them to heaven, as without which
they cannot see God. But much as to the degree depends on our performing
through faith the conditions requisite, to wit, on condition of our
abiding in the vine, of our acting faith on him, &c.; and when these and
the like conditions are not faithfully performed by us, what can we
expect? So the Lord hath appointed a way wherein he will be found, and
will have us to wait for strength and influence from him; and if we
neglect these means which he hath appointed, how can we expect the good
which he hath promised in the use of these means?

3. The Lord has his own time of making good all his promises, and we
must not limit him to a day.

4. Hereby the Lord may be trying and exercising thy faith, patience,
hope, dependence, submission, diligence, &c., and "if these be in thee,
and abound, they shall make that thou shalt neither be barren nor
unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ," 2 Pet. i. 11.

But _lastly_, It will be inquired, what can support the believing soul
in this case?

_Ans_. 1. The consideration and faith of the covenant of redemption,
wherein both the Father's engagement of the Son, and the Son's
engagement to the Father, secureth grace and holiness, and salvation to
the believer. And whatever we be, they will be true to each other,--our
unbelief will not make the faith of God of none effect.

2. The consideration of the noble and faithful promises contained in the
covenant of grace, which shall all be made good in due time.

3. If we be humbled under the sense of our failings and shortcomings,
and made to mourn before the Lord, stirred up to more diligence and
seriousness, that may yield comfort to our soul. If we be growing in
humility, godly sorrow, repentance, diligence, and be gripping faster by
faith to the root, we want not ground of joy and support; for if that
be, we cannot want fruit.

4. It should be matter of joy and thanksgiving, that the believer is
kept from turning his back on the way of God, and kept with his face
still Zion-ward. Though he make but little progress, yet he is still
looking forward, and creeping as he may, waiting at God's door, begging
and asking, studying, labouring, and endeavouring for strength to go

5. It is no small matter of peace and comfort, if we be kept from
fretting, grudging and repining at the Lord's dispensations with us, and
be taught to sit silent in the dust, adoring his sovereignty, and
ascribing no iniquity to our Maker.



The next part of our sanctification is in reference to our daily
failings and transgressions, committed partly through the violence of
temptations, as we see in David and Peter, and other eminent men of God;
partly through daily infirmities, because of our weakness and
imperfections; for, "in many things we offend all," James iii. 2; and,
"if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in
us," 1 John i. 8; "a righteous man falleth seven times," Prov. xxiv. 16;
"there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not,"
Eccl. vii. 20; and Solomon further saith, 1 Kings viii. 46, "That there
is no man that sinneth not." This being so, the question is, how Christ
is to be made use of, for taking these away.

For satisfaction to this, it would be considered, that in those daily
out breakings there are two things to be noticed. _First_, There is the
guilt which is commonly called _reatus paenae_, whereby the transgressor
is liable to the sentence of the law, or to the penalty annexed to the
breach thereof, which is no less than God's curse; for "cursed is every
one that abideth not in all things, which are in the law to do them,"
Gal. iii. 10. _Next_, There is the stain or blot, which is called
_reatus culpae_, whereby the soul is defiled, and made in so far
incapable of glory, (for nothing entereth in there which defileth,) and
of communion and fellowship with God, who is of purer eyes than he can
behold iniquity. So that it is manifest, how necessary it is that both
these be taken away, that they may not stand in our way to the Father.
And as to both, we must make use of Christ, who is the only way to the

And this we shall now clear. And, _first_, speak of the taking away of
the guilt that is contracted by every sin. And for this cause we shall
speak briefly to two things. (1.) Shew what Christ hath done as
Mediator, for this end, that the guilt contracted by our daily failings
and out-breakings, might be taken away. (2.) Shew what the believer
should do for the guilt taken away in Christ; or how he should make use
of Christ for reconciliation with God after transgressions; or, for the
taking away of the guilt that he lieth under, because of his violation
of the law.

As to the first, we say, Christ, for taking away of guilt contracted
daily, hath done these things:

1. Christ laid down his life a ransom for all the sins of the elect;
both such as were past before they believed, and such as were to be
committed after. His blood was shed for the remission of sins
indefinitely, and without distinction, Matt. xxvi. 28.

2. And this was done according to the tenor of the covenant of
redemption, wherein the Father "caused all our sins to meet together on
him," Isa. liii. 6; and made him sin, or a sacrifice for sin,
indefinitely, 2 Cor. v. 21; and so did not except the sins committed
after conversion.

3. Having satisfied justice, and being risen from the dead as a
conqueror, he is now exalted to "be a prince, to give repentance and
remission of sins," Acts v. 31. Now repentance and remission of sins his
people have need of, after conversion as well as before conversion.

4. There are promises of pardon and remission of sins in the new
covenant of grace, all which are sealed and confirmed in the blood of
Jesus, Jer. xxxi. 34, "For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will
remember their sin no more." And chap, xxxiii. 8, "And I will cleanse
them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I
will pardon all their iniquities whereby they have sinned, and whereby
they have transgressed against me." Isa. xliii. 25, "I, even I, am he
that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake; and will not
remember thy sins."

5. Though there be no actual pardon of sins, till they be committed, and
repented of, according to the tenor of the gospel, Matt. iii. 2, Luke
xiii. 3. Acts ii. 38; and viii. 22; yet while Christ bare all the sins
of his people upon the cross, they were all then virtually and
meritoriously taken away; of which Christ's resurrection was a certain
pledge and evidence; for then got he his acquitance from all that either
law or justice could charge him with, in behalf of them, for whom he
laid down his life a ransom. Rom. viii. 33, 34, "Who shall lay anything
to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth: Who is he that
condemneth? It is Christ that died, or rather that is risen again."

6. So that by virtue of Christ's death, there is a way laid down, in the
covenant of grace, how the sins of the elect shall be actually pardoned,
viz. that at their conversion and first laying hold on Christ by faith,
all the sins, whereof they then stand guilty, shall be actually pardoned
and forgiven, in their justification; and all their after-sins shall
also be actually pardoned, upon their griping to Christ of new by faith,
and turning to God by repentance. And this way is agreed to by Father
and Son, and revealed in the gospel, for the instruction and
encouragement of believers; and all to the glory of his free grace. "In
whom we have redemption, (saith the apostle, Eph. i. 7-9) through his
blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having
made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good
pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself."

7. Beside Christ's death and resurrection, which give ground of hope, of
pardon, of daily out-breakings, there is likewise his intercession
useful for this end. For, so saith the apostle, 1 John ii. 1, 2, "If any
man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the
righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins." This intercession
is a special part of his priesthood, who was the great high priest, Heb.
iv. 14, 1; and a completing part, Heb. viii. 4, and ix. 8; and upon this
account it is, that "He is able to save to the uttermost, all that come
to God through him, because he liveth for ever to make intercession for
them," Heb. vii. 25. For by his intercession is the work of redemption
carried on, the purchased benefits applied, and particularly, new grants
of remission are, through his intercession, issued forth: he pleading
and interceding, in a way suitable, to his glorified condition, upon his
death and propitiation made, while he was upon the cross, accepted of
the Father, and declared to be accepted by his resurrection, ascension,
and sitting at his Father's right hand. And thus, as believers are
reconciled to God by Christ's death, they are saved by his life, Rom. v.
10. So that Christ's living to be an intercessor, makes the salvation
sure; and so laying down a ground for taking away of daily
out-breakings, which, if not taken away, would hinder and obstruct the
believer's salvation.

8. And as for the condition requisite to renewed pardon, viz. faith and
repentance, Christ is the worker of both. For he is a prince exalted to
give repentance, first and last, Acts iv. 30; and as he is the author of
faith, so he is the finisher of it, Heb. xii. 2.

As to the _second_ particular, namely, what believers should do for
getting the guilt of their daily failings and out-breakings taken away
by Christ; or how they should make use of Christ for this end, I shall,
for clearing of it, propose those things to consideration:

1. We would beware to think, that all our after actual transgressions
are actually pardoned, either when Christ died, or when we first
believed in Christ, as some suppose; for sin cannot properly be said to
be pardoned before it be committed. David was put to sue out for pardon,
after his actual transgression was committed, and not for the mere sense
and feeling of the pardon, or the intimation of it to his spirit, when
he cried out, Psalm li. 2, "Blot out my transgressions, wash me," &c;
and verse 9, "Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my
iniquities;" and verse 14, "Deliver me from blood-guiltiness." Sure when
he spoke thus, he sought some other thing than intimation of pardon to
his sense and conscience; for that he desired also, but in far more
clear expressions, verse 8, "Make me to hear joy and gladness," &c.; and
verse 12, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation," &c. Scripture
phrases to express remission import this, viz. covering of sin,
pardoning of debts, blotting out of sins, hiding of God's face from sin,
not remembering of them, casting of them behind his back, casting of
them into the sea, removing of sin, Psalm xxxiii. 1, 2. These and the
like phrases, though many of them be metaphorical, yet do all of them
clearly evince, that sin must first have a being before it can be
pardoned. The same is clearly imported by the gospel conditions
requisite before pardon; such as acknowledgment of sin, (1 John i. 9)
which we see was practised by the worthies of old; David, Psalm xxxii.
51. Nehemiah, chap. ix. Ezra, chap. ix. and Daniel, chap. ix. Confessing
and forsaking of it, Prov. xxviii. 13. Sorrowing for it, and repenting
of it, and laying hold on Christ by faith, &c.

The reason why I propose this, is not only to guard against this
Antinomian error, but also to guard the soul from security, to which
this doctrine hath a natural tendency. For if a person once think, that
all his sins were pardoned, upon his first believing, so that many of
them were pardoned before they were committed; he shall never be
affected for his after transgressions, nor complain of a body of death,
nor account himself miserable upon that account, as Paul did, Rom. vii.
24; nor shall he ever pray for remission, though Christ has taught all
to do so, in that pattern of prayer; nor shall he act faith upon the
promise of pardon made in the covenant of grace for after
transgressions, or for transgressions actually committed, Jer. xxxi. 34,
and xxxiii. 8. Heb. viii. 12; and so there shall be no use made of
Christ for new pardons, or remissions of new sins.

2. The believer would remember, that among other things, antecedently
requisite to remission of posterior actual transgressions, gospel
repentance is especially required, (Luke xiii. 3. Matt. iii. 2. Ezek.
xviii. 28, 30. Luke xv. 17,18. Hos. ii. 6, 7. Ezek. xiv. 6,) whereby a
sinner, through the help of the Spirit, being convinced not only of his
hazard by reason of sin, but also of the hatefulness and filthiness of
sin; and having a sight of the mercy of God in Christ Jesus to sinners,
turning from their sin, doth turn from those sins unto God, with a full
purpose of heart, in his strength, to follow him, and obey his laws. And
hereby the soul is brought to loathe itself and sin, and is made willing
to desire, seek for, accept of, and prize remissions of sins. This makes
them more wary and careful in time coming; "For behold," says the
apostle, 2 Cor. vii. 11, "this self same thing that ye sorrowed after a
godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of
yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement
desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge," &c. Thus is God glorified in
his justice, Psalm li. 4; and his mercy is acknowledged, in not entering
with us into judgment, nor casting us into hell, as he might have done
in justice.

3. Yet it would be remembered, that though it hath seemed good in the
Lord's eyes to choose this method, and appoint this way of obtaining
pardon of sins daily committed, for the glory of his grace and mercy;
and likewise for our good, we must not ascribe too much unto repentance,
in the matter of pardon. We must not make it a cause of our remission,
either efficient or meritorious. We must not think that it hath any hand
in appeasing the wrath of God, or in satisfying justice. Pardon must
always be an act of God's free grace, unmerited at our hands, and
procured alone through the merits of Christ. We must not put repentance
in Christ's room and place, nor ascribe any imperfection unto his
merits, as if they needed any supply from any act of ours. We must
beware of leaning to our repentance and godly sorrow, even so far as to
think to commend ourselves to God, thereby that we may obtain pardon.

4. The believer would consider seriously the dreadfulness of their
condition who are lying under the lash of the law for sin. The law
saith, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in
the law;" and every sin is a transgression of the law. So that,
according to law and justice, they are in hazard. For every sin in
itself exposeth the sinner to eternal wrath, sin being an offence
against God, who is a righteous judge, and a breach of his law. A right
sight and apprehension of this, would serve to humble the sinner before
God, and make him more earnest in seeking out for pardon, that this
obligation to punishment might be removed.

5. The believer would not only consider the sin itself, but also take
notice of all its aggravations. There are peculiar aggravations of some
sins taken from the time, manner, and other circumstances, which,
rightly considered, will help forward the work of humiliation. And the
sins of believers have this aggravation above the sins of others, that
they are committed against more love, and special love, and against more
opposition and contradiction of the grace of God within the soul,
against more light and conviction, &c. And therefore their humiliation
upon this account ought to be singular and serious. So was it with
David, when he took notice of the special aggravation of his sin, Psalm
li. 4, 6, 14, and Ezra, chap ix. and Nehemiah, chap. ix. and Daniel
chap. ix. This considering of sin, with its due aggravations, would help
to prize mercies at a high rate, and cause the soul more willingly wait
for and more seriously seek after remission; knowing that God is more
angry for great sins, than for sins of infirmity, and may therefore
pursue the same with sorer judgments, as he broke David's bones,
withdrew his comforts, &c.

6. The believer would be convinced of an impossibility of doing anything
in himself which can procure pardon at the hands of God; should he
weep, cry, afflict himself, and pray never so, all will do nothing by
way of merit, for taking away of the least sin that ever he committed;
and the conviction of this would drive him to despair in himself, and be
a mean to bring him cleanly off himself, and to look out for mere mercy
in Christ Jesus. So long as, through the deceitfulness of Satan, the
false heart inclineth to the old bias, and hath its eye upon any thing
in itself, from whence it draweth its hopes and expectation of pardon
and acceptance, it will not purely act faith on Christ for this end, and
so he will lose all his labour, and in the end be disappointed.
Therefore the believer would guard against this, and that so much the
more, that the false deceitful heart is so much inclined thereto; and
that this deceit can sometime work so cunningly, that it can hardly be
discerned, being covered over with many false glosses and pretexts; and
that it is so dishonourable to Jesus, and hurtful and prejudicial to the

7. The believer would act faith on the promises of pardon in the new
covenant, as having a right to them through Jesus Christ, and challenge
with humble boldness, the fulfilling of the same, according to that, 1
John i. 9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive
us our sins." So that the believer may not only take hold of mercy and
grace in God, as an encouragement and invitation to go to God for
pardon; but even of the justice and righteousness of God, because of his
faithful promises; and the believer would have here a special eye to
Christ, in whom all the promises are yea and amen; and look for the
accomplishment of them through him, and for his sake alone.

8. Faith would eye Christ, as hanging upon the cross, and offering up
himself, through the eternal Spirit, a sacrifice to satisfy divine
justice, for all the sins of his own chosen ones; we cannot think, that
Christ bare but some of their sins, or only their sins committed before
conversion; and if he bare all, as the Father laid all upon him, the
believer is to lay hold on him by faith, as hanging on the cross, as
well for taking away of the guilt of sins committed after conversion, as
before; his sacrifice was a sacrifice for all, "and he bare our sins
(without distinction or exception,) in his own body on the tree," 1 Pet.
ii. 24. David had his eye on this, when he cried out, Psalm li. 7,
"Purge me with hyssop;" hyssop being sometimes used in the legal
purifications, which typified that purification which Christ really
wrought when he gave himself a sacrifice for sin, Levit. xiv. 6. Num.
xix. 18.

9. The believer looking on Christ, dying as a Mediator, to pacify the
wrath of God, and to make satisfaction to the justice of God, for the
sins of his people, would renew his consent unto that gracious and wise
contrivance of Heaven, of pardoning sins, through a crucified Mediator,
that mercy and justice might kiss each other, and be glorified together;
and declare again his full satisfaction with Christ's satisfying of
justice for him, and taking away the guilt of his sins, by that blood
that was shed upon the cross, by taking those sins, whereof now he
standeth guilty, and for which he is desirous of pardon, and by faith
nailing them to the cross of Christ, and rolling them on his shoulders,
that the guilt of them, as well as of the rest, might be taken away,
through the merits of his death and satisfaction. Thus the believer

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