REV. JOHN WESLEY, A.M.,
SOMETIME FELLOW OF LINCOLN COLLEGE, OXFORD.
WITH THE LAST CORRECTIONS OF THE AUTHOR.
WESLEYAN-METHODIST BOOK- OOM,
2, CASTLE STREET, CITY ROAD, E.C.;
AND AT 66, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.
[Entereb at Stationert' 3all.]
HAYMAN. C(1HRI.TY AND LILLY, lID., HATT'ON WORKS, FARRINGDON ROAD, E.G.
SECOND SERIES CONCLUDED.
THIRD, FOURTH, AND FIFTH SERIES.
SECOND SERIES CONTINUED.
SERMON LXXXVII.-The Danger of Riches.
1 Timothy vi. 9. They that will be rich fall into temptation
and a snare, c. ................... 1
I Peter iii. 3, 4. Whose adorning let it not be that outward
adorning of-wearing of gold, 4c. ........... 15
LXXXIX.-The More Excellent Way.
Corinthians xii. 31. Covet earnestly the best gifts : 4c. 2i
XC.-An Israelite Indeed.
John i. 47. Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no
1 Corinthians xiii. 1-3. Though I speak with the tongues
of men and of angels, and have not charity, -c. 45
Galatians iv. 18. It is good to be always zealously affected in
a good thing ....................... 57
XCIII.-On Redeeming the Time.
Ephesians v. 16. Redeeming the time . ... 67
XCIV.-On Family Religion.
Joshua xxiv. 15. As for me and my house, we will serve the
Lord ......................... .. 76
XCV.-On the Education of Children.
Proverbs xxii. 6. Train up a child in the way he should
go: 4-c.. ............ ............ .86
XCVI.-On Obedience to Parents.
Colossians iii. 20. Children, obey your parents in all things 98
XCVII.-On Obedience to Pastors
Hebrews xiii. 17. Obey them that have the rule over you, 4-c. 108
XCVIII.-On Visiting the Sick.
Matthew xxv. 36. I was sick, and ye visited me . 117
XCIX.-The Reward of the Righteous.
Matthew xxv. 34. Come, ye blessed of my Father, 4c. 1i/
SERMON C.-On Pleasing all Men.
Romans xv. 2. Let every man please his neighbour for his
good to edification ...................... 139
CI.-The Duty of Constant Communion.
Luke xxii. 19. Do this in remembrance of me ..... 147
CII.-Of Former Times.
Ecclesiastes vii. 10. Say not thou, What is the cause that the
former days were better than these? .c. ...... 157
CIII.-What is Man ?
Psalm viii. 3, 4. When I consider thy heavens, the work
of thyfingers, dsc. ........................ 167
CIV.-On Attending the Church Service.
1 Samuel ii. 17. The sin of the young men was verygreat 174
2 Corinthians i. 12. For our rejoicing is this, the testimony
of our conscience ................... 186
CVI.-On Faith. -
Hebrews xi. 6. Without faith it is impossible to please him 195
CVII.-On God's Vineyard.
Isaiah v. 4. What could have been done more to my vineyard,
that I have not done in it? c. . . ... 202
Matthew xix. 24. It is easier for a camel to go through, 4c. 214
SERMON CIX.-What is Man?
Psalm viii. 4. What is man ? ............... 225
CX.-On the Discoveries of Faith. s
Hebrews xi. 1. Now faith is the evidence of things not seen 231
CXI.-On the Omnipresence of God.
Jeremiah xxiii. 24. Do not I fill heaven and earth? 4-c. 238
CXII.-The Rich Man and Lazarus.
Luke xvi. 31. If they hear not Moses and the Prophets,
neither will they be persuaded, c. . ... 244
CXIII.-Walking by Sight, and Walking by Faith. v
2 Corinthians v. 7. We walk by faith, not by sight 256
CXIV.-The Unity of the Divine Being.
Mark xii. 32. There is one God . . ... 264
SERMON CXV.-The Ministerial Office.
Hebrews v. 4. No man taketh this honour unto himself, but
he that is called of God, as was Aaron. ...... 273
CXVI.-Causes of the Inefficacy of Christianity.
Jeremiah viii. 22. Is there no balm in Gilead? c. .. 281
CXVII.-On Knowing Christ after the Flesh.
2 Corinthians v. 16. Henceforth know we no man after the
flesh: c .. .. ... .......... .... 291
CXVIII.-On a Single Eye.
Matthew vi. 22, 23. If thine eye be single, thy whole body
shall be full of light. c. . . . 297
CXIX.-On Worldly Folly.
Luke xii. 20. But God said unto him, Thou fool! 305
CXX.-On the Wedding Garment.
Matthew xxii. 12. How camest thou in hither not having a
wedding garment? ... ... ..... ..... 311
CXXI.-Human Life a Dream.
Psalm lxxiii. 20. Even like as a dream when one awaketh; so
shalt thou make their image to vanish out of the city 318
CXXII.-On Faith. /
Hebrews xi. 1. Nrow faith is the evidence of things not seen 326
CXXIII.-On the Deceitfulness of the Human Heart.
Jeremiah xvii. 9. The heart of man is deceitful above all
things, and desperately wicked: Who can know it? 335
CXXIV.-The Heavenly Treasure in Earthen Vessels.
2 Cor. iv. 7. TVe have this treasure in earthen vessels 344
CXXV.-On Living without God.
Ephesians ii.. 12. Without God in the world ....... .349
CXXVI.-On the Danger of Increasing Riches.
Psalm lxii. 10. If riches increase, set not your heart upon
SERMON CXXVII.-The Trouble and Rest of Good Men.
Job iii. 17. There the wicked cease from troubling ; dc. 365
CXXVIII.-Free Grace. J
Romans viii. 32. He that spared not his own Son, but
delivered him up for us all, Sc. ...... 373
SERMON CXXIX.-The Cause and Cure of Earthquakes.
Psalm xlvi. 8. 0 come hither, and behold the works of the
Lord; Sic. ................. ....... 386
CXXX.-National Sins and Miseries.
2 Samuel xxiv. 17. Lo, I have sinned, &c. . ... 400
CXXXI.-Some Account of the late Work of God in
Ezekiel i. 16. The appearance was,-as it were a wheel in
the middle of a wheel ................. 409
CXXXII.-On Laying the Foundation of the New Chapel,
near the City-Road, London.
Numbers xxiii. 23. According to this time it shall be said,-
What hath God wrought! . . .... 419
CXXXIII.-On the Death of the Rev. Mr. John Fletcher.
Psalm xxxvii. 37. Mark the perfect man, 4 .. .. 431
SERMON CXXXIV.-True Christianity Defended.
Isaiah i. 21. How is the faithful city become an harlot! 452
CXXXV.-On Mourning for the Dead.
2 Samuel xii. 23. Now he is dead, wherefore should I fast?
Can I bring him back again ? e . .. 463
CXXXVI.-On Corrupting the Word of God.
2 Corinthians ii. 17: We are not as many, who corrupt the
word of God: Byc. ................... 468
CXXXVII.-On the Resurrection of the Dead.
1 Corinthians xv. 35. But some man will say, How are the
dead raised up ? 4c. .................. 474
CXXXVIII.-On Grieving the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians iv. 30. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, Sfc. 485
1 Corinthians xiii. 3. Though I bestow all my goods to feed
the poor, and give my body to be burned, c. . 492
CXL.-On Public Diversions.
Amos iii. 6. Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the
people not be afraid? c. . . . ... 500
CXL .-On the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians iii. 17. Now the Lord is that Spirit 508
THE DANGER OF RICHES.
" They that will be rich fall into temptation, and a snare, and
into many foolish and hurtful desires, which drown men
in destruction and perdition." 1 Timothy vi. 9.
1. How innumerable are the ill consequences which have
followed from men's not knowing, or not considering, this great
truth And how few are there even in the Christian world, that
either know or duly consider it!' Yea, how small is the number
of those, even among real Christians, who understand and lay it
to heart Most of these too pass it very lightly over, scarce
remembering there is such a text in the Bible. And many put
such a construction upon it, as makes it of no manner of effect.
"They that will be rich," say they, that is, will be rich at all
events ; who will be rich, right or wrong ; that are resolved to
carry their point, to compass this end, whatever means they use
to attain it; they 'fall into temptation,' and into all the evils
enumerated by the Apostle." But truly if this were all the
meaning of the text, it might as well have been out of the Bible.
2. 'his is so far from being the whole meaning of the text,
that it is no part of its meaning. The Apostle does not here
speak of gaining riches unjustly, but of quite another thing:
His words are to be taken in their plain obvious sense, without
any restriction or qualification whatsoever. St. Paul does not
say, They that will be rich by evil means, by theft, robbery,
oppression, or extortion; they that will be rich by fraud or
dishonest art;" but simply, They that will be rich:" These,
THE DANGER OF RICHES.
" They that will be rich fall into temptation, and a snare, and
into many foolish and hurtful desires, which drown men
in destruction and perdition." 1 Timothy vi. 9.
1. How innumerable are the ill consequences which have
followed from men's not knowing, or not considering, this great
truth And how few are there even in the Christian world, that
either know or duly consider it!' Yea, how small is the number
of those, even among real Christians, who understand and lay it
to heart Most of these too pass it very lightly over, scarce
remembering there is such a text in the Bible. And many put
such a construction upon it, as makes it of no manner of effect.
"They that will be rich," say they, that is, will be rich at all
events ; who will be rich, right or wrong ; that are resolved to
carry their point, to compass this end, whatever means they use
to attain it; they 'fall into temptation,' and into all the evils
enumerated by the Apostle." But truly if this were all the
meaning of the text, it might as well have been out of the Bible.
2. 'his is so far from being the whole meaning of the text,
that it is no part of its meaning. The Apostle does not here
speak of gaining riches unjustly, but of quite another thing:
His words are to be taken in their plain obvious sense, without
any restriction or qualification whatsoever. St. Paul does not
say, They that will be rich by evil means, by theft, robbery,
oppression, or extortion; they that will be rich by fraud or
dishonest art;" but simply, They that will be rich:" These,
allowing, supposing the means they use to be ever so innocent,
'fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and
hurtful desires, which drown men in destruction and perdition."
3. But who believes that? Who receives it as the truth
of God? Who is deeply convinced of it? Who preaches
this ? Great is the company of preachers at this day, regular
and irregular; but who of them all, openly and explicitly,
preaches this strange doctrine? It is the keen observation
of a great man, The pulpit is the preacher's strong-hold."
But who even in his strong-hold has the courage to declare so
unfashionable a truth ? I do not remember that in threescore
years I have heard one sermon preaclhd upon this subject.
And what author, within the same term, has declared it from
the press? at least, in the English tongue ? I do. not know
one. I have neither seen nor heard of any such author. I have
seen two or three who just touch upon it; but none that treats
of it professedly. I have myself frequently touched upon it in
preaching, and twice in what I have published to the world:
Once,in explaining our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, and once
in the discourse on the Mammon of unrighteousness;" but
I have never yet either published or preached any sermon
expressly upon the subject. It is high time I should ;-that I
should at length speak as strongly and explicitly as I can, in
order to leave a full and clear testimony behind me, whenever
it pleases God to call me hence.
4. 0 that God would give me to speak right and forcible
words; and you to receive them in honest and humble hearts!
Let it not be said, They sit before thee as my people, and
they hear thy words; but they will not do them. Thou art
unto them as one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well
on an instrument; for they hear thy words, but do them not !"
0 that ye may "not he forgetful hearers, but doers of the
word," that ye may be blessed in your deed !" In this hope
1 shall endeavour,
I. To explain the Apostle's words. And,
II. To apply them.
But, 0 "who is sufficient for these things?" Who is able
to stem the general torrent? to combat all the prejudices, not
only of the vulgar, but of the learned and the religious world ?
Yet nothing is too hard for God! Still his grace is sufficient
for us. In his name then, and by his strength, I will endeavour
THE DANGER 01' RItCHES.
SI. To explain the words of the Apostle.
1. And, First, let us consider, what it is to be rich. What
does the Apostle mean by this expression ?
The preceding verse fixes the meaning of that: Having
food and raiment," (literally coverings; for the word includes
lodging as well as clothes,) let us be therewith content."
-" But they that will be rich;" that is, who will have more than
these; more than food and coverings. It plainly follows, what-
ever is more than these is, in the sense of the Apostle, riches;
.whatever is above the plain necessaries, or at most conveniences,
of life. Whoever has sufficient food to eat, and raiment to put
on, with a place where to lay his head, and something over, is
2. Let us consider, Secondly, What is implied in that expres-
'sion, They that will be rich ?" And does not this imply, First,
they that desire to be rich, to have more than food and
coverings ; they that seriously and deliberately desire more than
food to eat, and raiment to put on, and a place where to lay
their head, more than the plain necessaries and conveniences
of life? All, at least, who allow themselves in this desire, who
see no harm in it, desire to be rich.
3. And so do, Secondly, all those that calmly, deliberately,
and of set purpose, endeavour after more than food and cover-
ings; that aim at and endeavour after, not only so much worldly
substance as will procure them the necessaries and conveniences
of life, but more than this, whether to lay it up, or lay it out in
superfluities. All these undeniably prove their "desire to be
rich," by their endeavours after it.
4. Must we not, Thirdly, rank among those that desire to be
rich, all that, in fact, "lay up treasures on earth?" a thing as
expressly and clearly forbidden by our Lord, as either adultery
or murder. It is allowed, (1.) That we are to provide neces-
saries and conveniences for those of our own household: (2.)
That men in business are to lay up as much as is necessary for
the carrying on of that business: (3.) That we are to leave our
children what will supply them with necessaries and conveniences
after we have left the world: And, (4.) That we are to provide
things honest in the sight of all men, so as to owe no man any
thing:" But to lay up any more, when this is done, is what
our Lord has flatly forbidden. When it is calmly and deliber-
ately done, it is a clear proof of our desiring to be rich. And
thus to lay up money is no more consistent with a good ion-
science, than to throw it into the sea.
5. We must rank among them, Fourthly, all who possess
more of this world's goods, than they use according to the will
of the Donor: I should rather say, of the Proprietor; for He
only lends them to us as Stewards; reserving the property
of them to himself. And, indeed, he cannot possibly do other-
wise, seeing they are the work of his hands; he is, and must be,
the possessor of heaven and earth. This is his unalienable
right; a right he cannot divest himself of And together with
that portion of his goods which he hath lodged in our hands, he
has delivered to us a writing, specifying the purposes for which
lie has intrusted us with them. If, therefore, we keep more
of them in our hands than is necessary for the preceding
purposes, we certainly fall under the charge of "desiring to
'le rich:" Over and above, we are guilty of burying our
Lord's talent in the earth; and on that account are liable to
be pronounced wicked, because unprofitable, servants.
6. Under this imputation of "desiring to be rich," fall,
Fifthly, all "lovers of money." The word properly means,
those that delight in money; those that take pleasure in it;
those that seek their happiness therein; that brood over their
gold or silver, bills or bonds. Such was the man described by the
fine Roman painter, who broke out in that natural soliloquy:-
Populus me sibilat, at mihi plaudo
Ipse domi simul ac nummos contenplor in arch.*
If there are any vices which are not natural to man, I should
imagine this is one; as money of itself does not seem to gratify
any natural desire or appetite of the human mind; and as,
(luring an observation of sixty years, I do not remember one
instance of a man given up to the love of money, till he had
neglected to employ this precious talent according to the will
of his Master. After this, sin was punished by sin; and this
evil spirit was permitted to enter into him.
7. But beside this gross sort of covetousness, the love
of money, there is a more refined species of covetousness,
The following is Francis's translation of these lines from Horace:-
Let them hiss on,
While. in my own opinion fully blest,
I count my money, and enjoy my. chest."-EnDr.
THE DANGER OF RICHES.
mentioned by the great Apostle,-whenv.s,--which literally
means, a desire of having more; more than we have already.
And those also come under the denomination of they that will
be rich." It is true that this desire, under proper restrictions, is
innocent; nay, commendable. But when it exceeds the bounds,
(and how difficult is it not to exceed them !) then it comes under
the present, censure.
8. But who is able to receive these hard slyings ? Who can
believe that they are the great truths of God ? Not many wise
not many noble, not many famed for learning; none, indeed,
who are not taught of God. And who are they whom God
teaches? Let our Lord answer: "If any man be willing to
do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God."
Those who are otherwise minded will be so far from receiving
it, that they will not be able to understand it. Two as sensible
men as most in England sat down together, some time since,
to read over and consider that plain discourse on, Lay not
up for yourselves treasures upon earth." After much deep
consideration, one of them broke out, Positively, I cannot
understand it. Pray do you understand it. Mr. L. ?" Mr. L.
honestly replied, Indeed, not I. I cannot conceive what
Mr. W. means. I can make nothing at ail of it." So utterly
blind is our natural understanding touching the truth of God!
9. Having explained the former part of the text, "They
that will be rich," and pointed out, in the clearest manner I
could, the persons spoken of; I will now endeavour, God being
my helper, to explain what is spoken of them : "They fall into
temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful
desires, which drown men in destruction and perdition."
They fall into temptation." This seems to mean much
more than simply, they are tempted.. They enter into the
temptation : They fall plump down into it. The waves of it
compass them about, and cover them all over. Of those who
thus enter into temptation, very few escape out of it. And
the few that do are sorely scorched by it, though not utterly
consumed. If they escape at all, it is with the skin of theii
teeth, and with deep wounds that are not easily healed.
10. They fall, Secondly, into a snare," the snare of the
devil, which he hath purposely set in their way. I believe the
Greek word properly means a gin, a steel trap, which shows no
appearance of danger. But as soon as any creature touches the
spring, it suddenly closes ; and either crushes its bones in pieces,
or consigns it to inevitable ruin.
1. They fall, Thirdly, "into many foolish and hurtful
desires ;" avorTou;,-silly, senseless, fantastic; as contrary to
reason, to sound understanding, as they art to religion : Hurtful,
both to body and soul, tending to weaken, yea, destroy, every
gracious and heavenly temper: Destructive of that faith
which is of the operation of God; of that hope which is full
of immortality; of love to God and to our neighbour, and
of every good word and work.
12. But what desires are these ? This is a most important
question, and deserves the deepest consideration.
In general, they may all be summed up in one, the desiring
happiness out of God. This includes directly, or remotely,
every foolish and hurtful desire. St. Pau expresses it by
"loving the creature more than the Creator:" and by being
Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." In particular,
they are, (to use the exact and beautiful enumeration of St.
John,) the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the
pride of life;" all of which, the desire of riches naturally tends
both to beget and to increase.
13. The desire of the flesh" is generally understood in far
too narrow a meaning. It does not, as is commonly supposed,
refer to one of the senses only ; but takes in all the pleasures
of sense, the gratification of any of the outward senses. It has
reference to the tiiate in particular. How many thousands do
we find at this day, in whom the ruling principle is, the desire
to enlarge the pleasure of tasting Perhaps they do not gratify
this desire in a gross manner, so as to incur the imputation
of intemperance; much less so as to violate health or impair
their understanding by gluttony or drunkenness: But they live
in a genteel, regular sensuality ; in an elegant epicurism, which
does not hurt the body, but only destroys the soul ; keeping it
at a distance from all true religion.
14. Experience shows that the imagination is gratified chiefly
by means of the eye: Therefore, the desire of the eyes," in its
natural sense, is, the desiring and seeking happiness in gratifying
the imagination. Now, the imagination is gratified either by gran-
deur, by beauty, or by novelty: Chiefly by the last; for neither
grand nor beautiful objects please any onger than they ar. new.
15. Seeking happiness in learning, of whatever kind, falls
THK hDANGERt OF RICHES.
-under the' desire of the eyes;" whether 'it be in history,
languages, poetry, or any branch of natural or experimental
philosophy : Yea, we must include the several kinds of learning,
such as Geometry, Algebra, and Metaphysics. For if our
supreme delight be in any of these, we are .herein gratifying
"the desire of the eyes."
16. The pride of life" (whatever else that very uncommon
expression, ahai0ove rTou 3iou, may mean) seems to imply
chiefly, the desire of honour; of the esteem, admiration, and
applause of men; as nothing more directly tends both to beget
and cherish pride than the honour that cometh of men. And
as riches attract much admiration, and occasion much applause,
they proportionally minister food for pride, and so may also be
referred to this head.
17. Desire of ease is another of these foolish'and hurtful
desires; desire of avoiding every cross, every degree of trouble,
danger, difficulty ; a desire of slumbering out life, and going to
heaven (as the vulgar say) upon a feather-bed. Every one may
observe how riches first beget, and then confirm and increase,
this desire, making men more and more soft and delicate; more
unwilling, and indeed more unable, to take up their cross
daily;" to endure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ,"
and to take the kingdom of heaven by violence."
18. Riches, either desired or possessed, naturally lead to some
or other of these- foolish and hurtful desires; and, by affording
the means of gratifying them all, naturally tend to increase them.
And there is a near connexion between unholy desires, and every
other unholy passion and temper. We easily pass from these to
pride, anger; bitterness,envy, malice, revengefulness; to an head-
strong, unadvisable, unreprovable spirit: Indeed, to every temper
that is earthly, sensual, or devilish. All these, the desire or posses-
sion of riches naturally tends to create, strengthen, and increase.
19. And by so doing, in the same proportion as they prevail,
they "pierce men through with many sorrows;" sorrows from
remorse, from a guilty conscience; sorrows flowing from all the
evil tempers which they inspire or increase; sorrows inseparable
from those desires themselves, as every unholy desire is an
uneasy desire; and sorrows from the contrariety of those desires
to each other, whence it is impossible to gratify them all. And,
in the end, they drown" the body in pain, disease, "destruc-
tion,' and the soul in everlasting perdition"
II. 1. I am, in the Second place, to apply what has beet
said. And this is the principal point.' For what avails the
.clearest knowledge, even of the most excellent things, even
of the things of God, if it go no farther than speculation, if it
he not reduced to practice ? He that hath ears to hear, let him
hear And what he hears, let him instantly put in practice.
O that God would give me the thing which I long for that,
before I go hence and am no more seen, I may see a people
wholly devoted to God, crucified to the world, and the world
crucified to them; a people truly given up to God, in body,
soul, and substance How cheerfully should I then say, Now
lettest thou thy servant depart in peace!"
2. I ask, then, in the name of God, Who of you "desire to
be rich ?" Which of you (ask your own hearts in the sight
'of God) seriously and deliberately desire (and perhaps applaud
yourselves for so doing, as no small instance of your prudence)
to have more than food to eat, and raiment to put on, and a
house to cover you ? Who of you desires to have more than
the plain necessaries and conveniences of life ? Stop Consider!
What are you doing? Evil is before you Will you rush upon
the point of a sword ? By the grace of God, turn and live !
3. By the same authority I ask, Who of you are endeavouring
to be rich ? to procure for yourselves more than the plain
*necessaries and conveniences of life? Lay, each of you, your
hand to your heart, and seriously inquire, Am I of that
number? Am I labouring, not only for what I want, but for
more than I want P" May the Spirit of God say to every one
whom it concerns, "Thou art the man !"
4. I ask, Thirdly, Who of you are, in fact, laying u.p for
yourselves treasures upon earth ?" increasing in goods ? add-
ing, as fast as you can, house to house, and field to field As
long as thou thus doest well unto thyself, men will speak good
of thee." They will call thee a wise, a prudent man! a man
that minds the main chance. Such is, and always has been,
the wisdom of the world But God saith unto thee, "' Thou
fool !' art thou not 'treasuring up to thyself wrath against
the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment
5. Perhaps you will ask, But do not you yourself advise,
to gain all we can, and to save all we can? And is it possible
to do this, without both desiring and endeavouring to be rich ?
THE DANGER OF RICHES.
nay, suppose our endeavours are successful, without actually
laying up treasures upon earth ?"
I answer, It is possible. You may gain all you can, without
hurting either your soul or body; you may save all you can, by
carefully avoiding every needless expense; and yet never lay up
treasures on earth, nor either desire or endeavour so to do.
6. Permit me to speak as freely of myself as I would of
another man. I gain all I can (namely, by writing) without
hurting either my soul or body. I save all I can, not willingly
wasting anything, not a sheet of paper, not a cup of water.
I do not lay out anything, not a shilling, unless as a sacrifice
to God. Yet by giving all I can, I am effectually secured
from "' laying up treasures upon earth." Yea, and I am secured
.from either desiring or endeavouring it, as long as I give all I
can. And that I do this, I call all that know me, both friends
and foes, to testify.
7. But some may say, "Whether you endeavour it or no,
you are undeniably rich. You have more than the necessaries
of life." I have. But the Apostle does not fix the charge, barely
on possessing any quantity of goods, but on possessing more
than we employ according to the will of the Donor.
Two-and-forty years ago, having a desire to furnish poor
people with cheaper, shorter, and plainer books than any I had
seen, I wrote many small tracts, generally a penny a-piece; and
afterwards several larger. Some of these had such a sale as I
never thought of; and, by this means, I unawares became rich.
But I never desired or endeavoured after it. And now that it
is come upon me unawares, I lay up no treasures upon earth: I
lay up nothing at all. My desire and endeavour, in this respect,
is, to wind my bottom round the year." I cannot help leaving
Smy books behind me whenever God calls me hence; but, in every
other respect, my own hands will be my executors.
8. Herein, my brethren, let you that are rich, be even as I
am. Do you that possess more than food and raiment, ask,
"What shall we do? Shall we throw into the sea what God
hath given us?" God forbid that you should It is an excel-
lent talent: It may be employed much to the glory of God.
Your way lies plain before your face; if you have courage,
walk in it. Having gained, in a right sense, all you can, and
saved all you can; in spite of nature, and custom, and worldly
prudence, give all you can. 1 do not say, "Be a good Jew
giving a tenth of all you possess." I do not say, Be'a good
Pharisee; giving a fifth of all your substance." I dare not advise
you to give half of what you have; no, nor three quarters ; but
all Lift up your hearts, and you will see clearly, in what sense
this is to be done. If you desire to be "a faithful and a wise
steward," out of that portion ot your Lord's goods which he
has for the present lodged in your hands, but with the right of
resumption whenever it pleaseth him, (1.) providee things need-
ful for yourself; food to eat, raiment to put on; whatever nature
moderately requires, for preserving you both in health and
strength : (2.) Provide these for your wife, your children, your
servants, or any others who pertain to your-household. If, when
this is done, there is an overplus left, then do good to them
that are of the household of faith." If there be an overplus still,
"as you have opportunity, do good unto all men." In so doing,
you give all you can ; nay, in a sound sense, all you have. For
all that is laid out in this manner, is really given to God. You
render unto God the things that are God's, not only by what
you givb to the poor, hut also by that which you expend in
providing things needful for yourself and your household.*
9. O ye Methodists, hear the word of the Lord I have A
message from God to all- men, but to you above all. For
above forty years I have been a servant to you and to your
fathers. And I have not been as a reed shaken with the wind:
I have not varied in my testimony. I have testified to you the
very same thing, from the first day even until now. But who
hath believed our report?" I fear, not many rich: I fear there
is need to apply to some of you' those terrible words of the
Apostle, "Go to now, ye rich men! weep and howl for the
miseries which shall come upon you. Your gold and silver is
cankered, and the rust of them shall witness against you, and
shall eat your flesh, as it were fire." Certainly it will, unless ye
both save all you can, and give all you can. But who of you
hath considered this, since you first heard the will of the Lord
concerning it ? Who is now determined to consider and practise
it? By the grace of God, begin to-day !
10. O ye lovers of money, hear the word of the Lord
Suppose ye that money, though multiplied as the sand of fhe
sea, can give happiness ? Then you are "given up to a strong
sermons, vol. ii., pp. 133, 134.
THE DANGER OF RICHES. 11
delusion to believe a lie ;"-a palpable lie, confuted daily by a
thousand experiments. Open your eyes! Look all around you !
Are the richest men the happiest ? Have those the largest share
of content who have the largest possessions? Is not the very
reverse true? Is it not a common observation, that the richest
of men are, in general, the most discontented, the most miser-
able ? Had not the far greater part of them more content, when
they had less money? Look into your own breasts. If you
are increased in goods, are you' proportionably increased in
happiness? You have more substance; but have you more
content ? You know that in seeking happiness from riches,
you are only striving to drink out of empty cups. And let
them be painted and gilded ever so finely, they are empty still.
11. 0 ye that desire or endeavour to be rich, hear ye the
word of the Lord! Why should ye be stricken any more?
Will not even experience teach you wisdom ? Will ye leap
into a pit with your eyes open? Why should you any more
"fall into temptation ?" It cannot be but temptation will beset
you, as long as you are in the body. But though it should
bcset you on every side, why will you enter into it ? There is
no necessity fbr this: It is your own voluntary act and deed.
Why should you any more plunge yourselves into a snare,
into the trap Satan has laid for you, that is ready to break your
bones in pieces? to crush your soul to death ? After fair
warning, why should you sink any more into "foolish and
hurtful desires?" desires as inconsistent with reason as they
are with religion itself; desires that have done you more hurt
already than all the treasures upon earth can countervail.
12. Have they not hurt you already, have they not wounded
you in the tenderest part, by slackening, if not utterly destroy-
ing, your "hunger and thirst after righteousness?" Have yoi
now the same longing that you had once, for the whole image
of God ? Have you the same vehement desire as you formerly
had, of going on unto perfection ?" Have they not hurt you
by weakening your faith ? Have you now faith's "abiding
impression, realizing things to come ?" Do you endure, in all
temptations, from pleasure or pain, "seeing Him that is invi-
sible ?" Have you every day, and every hour, an uninterrupted
sense of his presence? Have they not hurt you with regard to
your hope ? Have you now a hope full of immortality ? Are
you still big with earnest expectation of all the great and precious
1% SERMON LXXXVIT.
promises? Do you now "taste the powers of the world t'
come ?" Do you "sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus?"
13. Have they not so hurt you, as to stab your religion to
the heart? Have they not cooled (if not quenched) your love
to God? This is easily determined. Have you the same
delight in God which you once had? Can you now say,
I nothing want beneath, above;
Happy, happy in thy love?
I fear, not. And if your love of God is in anywise decayed,
so is also your love of your neighbour. You are then hurt in
the very life and spirit of your religion! If you lose love, you
14. Are not you hurt with regard to your humility ? If you
are increased in goods, it cannot well be otherwise. Many will
think you a better, because you are a richer, man: And how
can you help thinking so yourself? especially, considering the
commendations which some will give you in simplicity, and
many with a design to serve themselves of you.
If you are hurt in your humility, it will appear by this token:
You are not so teachable as you were, not so advisable; you
are not so easy to be convinced, not so easy to be persuaded;
you have a much better opinion of your own judgment and are
more attached to your own will. Formerly, one might guide
you with a thread; now one cannot turn you with a cart-rope.
You were glad to be admonished or reproved; but that time is
past. And you now account a man your enemy because he tells
you the truth. O let each of you calmly consider this, and see
if it be not your own picture !
15. Are you not equally hurt, with regard to your meekness?
You had once learned an excellent lesson of him that was meek
as well as lowly in heart. When you were reviled, you reviled
not again. You did not return railing for railing, but contrari-
wise blessing. Your love was not provoked, but enabled you
on all occasions to overcome evil with good. Is this your case
now? I am afraid, not. I fear you cannot hear all things."
Alas, it may rather be said, you can bear nothing; no injury,
nor even affront! How quickly are you ruffled! How readily
does that occur, "What! to use me so! What insolence is
this! How did he dare to do it? I am not now what I was
once. Let him know, I am now able to defend myself." You
THE. DANGER OF RICHES.
mean, to revenge yourself. And it is much, if you are not
willing, as well as able; if you do not take your fellow-servant
by the throat.
16. And are you not hurt in your patience too ? Does your
love now "endure all things?" Do you still "in patience
possess your soul," as when you first believed? O what a
change is here You have again learned to be frequently out
of humour. You are often fretful; you feel, nay. and give
way to, peevishness. You find abundance of things go so
cross, that you cannot tell how to bear them.
Many years ago I was sitting with a gentleman in London,
who feared God greatly, and generally gave away, year by
year, nine tenths of his yearly income. A servant came in and
threw some coals on the fire. A puff'of smoke came out. The
baronet threw himself back in his chair and cried out, 0 Mr.
Wesley, these are the crosses. I meet with daily !" Would
he not have been less impatient, if he had had fifty, instead
of five thousand, pounds a year ?
17. But to return. Are not you who have been successful
in your endeavours to increase in substance, insensibly sunk
into softness of mind, if not df body too? You no longer
rejoice to "endure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ."
You no longer "rush into the kingdom of heaven, and take it
as by storm." You do not cheerfully and gladly "deny your-
selves, and take up your cross daily." You cannot deny your-
self the poor pleasure of a little sleep, or of a soft bed, in order
to hear the word that is able to save your souls! Indeed, you
"cannot go out so early in the morning; besides it is dark,
nay, cold, perhaps rainy too. Cold, darkness, rain, all these
together,-I can never think of it." You did not say so when
you were a poor man. You then regarded none of these things.
It is the change of circumstances which has occasioned this
melancholy change in your body and mind: You are but the
shadow of what you were! What have riches done for you ?
But it cannot be expected I should do as I have done.
For 1 am now grown old." Am not I grown old as well as
you? Am not I in my seventy-eighth year? Yet, by the
grace of God, I do not slack my pace yet. Neither would you,
if you were a poor man still.
18. You are so deeply hurt, that you have nigh lost your zea\
"for works of mercy, as. well as of piety. You once pushed on,
through cold or.rain, or whatever cross lay in your way, to see
the poor, the sick, the distressed. You went about doing good,
and found out those who were not able to find you. You
cheerfully crept down into their cellars, and climbed up into
To supply all their wants,
And spend and be spent in assisting his saints.
You found out every scene of human misery, and assisted
according to your power:
Each form of woe your generous pity moved;
Your Saviour's face you saw, and, seeing, loved.
Do you now tread in the same steps? What hinders? Do
you fear spoiling your silken coat ? Or is there another lion in
the way? Are you afraid of catching vermin? And are you
not afraid lest the roaring lion should catch you? Are you not
afraid of Him that hath said, Inasmuch as ye have not done
it unto the least of these, ye have not done it unto me?"
What will follow? "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels I"
19. In time past, how mindful were you of that word, "Thou
shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart: Thou shalt in anywise
reprove thy brother, and not suffer sin upon him !" You did
reprove, directly or indirectly, all those that sinned in your
sight. And happy consequences quickly followed. How good
was a word spoken in season It was often as an arrow from
the hand of a giant. Many a heart was pierced. Many of the
stout-hearted, who scorned to hear a sermon,
Fell down before his cross subdued,
And felt his arrows dipt in blood.
But which of you now has that compassion for the ignorant,
and for them that are out of the way? They may wander on
for you, and plunge into the lake of fire, without let or hi.der-
ance. Gold hath steeled your hearts. You have something
else to do.
Tnhelp'd, unpitied let the wretches fall.
20. Thus have I given you, O ye gainers, lovers, possessors
,of riches, one more (it may be the last) warning. ) that it
may not be in vain May God write it upon all your hearts!
;Though "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a
.ccdle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven,"
yet the things impossible with men are possible with God.
Lord, speak! and even the rich men that hear these words
shall enter thy kingdom, shall take the kingdom of heaven
by violence," shall sell all for the pearl of great price;" shall
be crucified to the world, and count all things dung, that they
may win Christ!"
" Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of-
wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
" But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is
not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet
spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."
1 Peter iii. 3, 4.
1. Sr. PAUL exhorts all those who desire to "be transformed
Iy the renewal of their minds," and to "prove what is that
good and acceptable and perfect will of.God," not to be "con-
formed to this world." Indeed this exhortation relates more
directly to the wisdom of the world, which is totally opposite to
his "good and acceptable and perfect will." But it likewise
has a reference even to the manners and customs of the world,
which naturally flow from its wisdom and spirit, and are exactly
suitable thereto. And it was not beneath the wisdom of God
to give us punctual directions in this respect also.
2. Some of these, particularly that in the text, descend even
to the apparel, of Christians. And both this text, and the
parallel one of St. Paul, are as express as possible. St. Paul's
words are, (1 Tim. ii. 9, 10,) "' I will that women adorn them-
selves in modest apparel; not-with gold, or pearls, or costly
array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with
3. But is it not strange," say some, that the all-wise Spirit
'of God should condescend to take notice of such trifles as these ?
to 'take noticc'of'such -insignificant trifles, things, of so little
moment, or rather of none at all ? For what does it signify,
provided we take care of the soul, what the body is covered
with, whether with silk or sackcloth ? What harm can there be
in the wearing of gold, or silver, or precious stones, or any
other of those beautiful things with which God has so amply
provided us? May we not apply to this what St. Paul has
observed on another occasion, that 'every creature of God is
good, and nothing to be rejected ?'"
4. It is certain, that many who sincerely fear God have
cordially embraced this opinion. And their practice is suitable
thereto: They make no scruple of conformity to the world, by
putting on, as often as occasion offers, either gold, or pearls, or
costly apparel. And indeed they are not well pleased with those
that think it their duty to reject them; the using of which they
apprehend to be one branch of Christian liberty. Yea, some
have gone considerably farther; even so far as to make it a
point to bring those who had refrained from them for some
time to make use of them again, assuring them that it was
mere superstition to think there was any harm in t em. Nay,
farther still: A very respectable person has said, in express
terms, I do not desire that any who dress plain should be in
our society." It is, therefore, certainly worth our while to
consider this matter thoroughly; seriously to inquire whether
there is any harm in the putting on of gold, or jewels, or
5. But, before we enter on the subject, let it be observed,
that slovenliness is no part of religion; that neither this, nor
any text of Scripture, condemns neatness of apparel. Certainly
this is a duty, not a sin. "Cleanliness is, indeed, next to
godliness." Agreeahly to this, goid Mr. Herbert advises
every one that fears God:-
Let thy mind's sweetness have its operation
Upon thy person, clothes, and habitation.
And surely every one should attend to this, if he would not
have the good that is in him evil spoken of.
,. 6. Another mistake, with regard to apparel, has been common
in the religious world. It has been supposed by some, that
there ought.to be no difference at all in the apparel of Christians.
But.neither these texts, nor any other in the book of God, teach
.any such thing,.or direct that the dress of the master or the
mistress should be nothing different from that of their servants
There may, undoubtedly, be a moderate difference of apparel
between persons of different stations. And where the eye is
single, this will easily be adjusted by the rules of Christian
7. Yea. it may he doubted, whether any part of Scripture
forbids (at least I know not any) those in any nation that are
invested with supreme authority, to be arrayed in gold and
costly apparel; or to adorn their immediate attendants, or
magistrates, or officers, with the same. It is not improbable,
that our blessed Lord intended to give countenance to this
custom when he said, without the least mark of censure or
disapprobation, "Behold, those that wear gorgeous," splendid,
"apparel are in kings' courts." (Luke vii. 25.)
8. What is then the meaning of these scriptures? What is
it which they forbid? They manifestly forbid ordinary Chris-
tians, those in the lower or middle ranks of life, to be adorned
with gold, or pearls, or costly apparel. But why ? What harm
is there herein ? This deserves our serious consideration. But
it is highly expedient, or rather absolutely necessary, for all who
would consider it to any purpose, as far as is possible to divest
themselves of all prejudice, and to stand open to conviction:
Is it.not necessary, likewise, in the highest degree, that they
should earnestly beseech the Father of Lights, that, by his
holy inspiration, they may think the things that are right, and,
by his merciful guidance, perform the same?" Then they will
not say, no, not in their hearts, (as I fear too many have done,)
what the famous Jew said to the (hristian, Thou shalt not
persuade me, though thou hast persuaded me."
9. The question is, What harm does it do, to adorn ourselves
with gold, or pearls, or costly array, suppose you can afford it:
that is, suppose it does not hurt or impoverish your family ?
The first harm it does, is, it engenders pride, and, where it is
already, increases it. Whoever narrowly observes what passes
in his own heart will easily discern this. Nothing is more
natural than to think ourselves better because we are dressed in
better clothes; and it is scarce possible for a man to wear
costly apparel, without, in some measure, valuing himself upon
it. One of the old Heathens was so well apprized of this, that,
when he had a spite to a poor man, and had a mind to turn his
head, he made him a present of a suit of fine clothes.
SKI MO)N LXXXVIII.
Eutrapelus cuicunque nocere voiebat,
Vestimenta dabat pretiosu.*
lie could not then but imagine himself to be as much better as
ne was finer than his neighbour. And how many thousands,
not only lords and gentlemen, in lngland, but honest trades-
men, argue the same way inferring the superior value of their
persons from the value of their clothes !
10. '"But may not one man be as proud, though clad in
sackcloth, as another is, though clad in cloth of gold?" As
this argument meets us at every turn, and is supposed to be
unanswerable, it will be worth while to answer it once for all, and
to show the utter emptiness of it. May not, then, one clad
in sackcloth," you ask, "be as proud as he that is clad in cloth
of gold?" I answer, Certainly he may: I suppose no one
doubts of it. And what inference can you draw from this?
Take a parallel case. One man that drinks a cup of wholesome
wine, may be as sick as another that drinks poison: Butdoes
this prove that the poison has no more tendency to hurt a man
than the wine? Or does it excuse any man for taking what
has a natural tendency to make him sick? Now, to apply:
Experience shows that fine clothes have a natural tendency to
make a man sick of pride; plain clothes have not. Although
it is true, you may be sick of pride in these also, yet they have
no natural tendency either to cause or increase this sickness.
Therefore, all that desire to be clothed with humility, abstain
from that poison.
11. Secondly. The wearing gay or costly apparel naturally
tends to breed and to increase vanity. By vanity I here mean,
the love and desire of being admired and praised. Every one
of you that is fond of dress has a witness of this in your own
bosom. Whether you will confess it before man or no, you are
convinced of this before God. You know in your hearts, it is
with a view to be admired that you thus adorn yourselves; and
,that you would not be at the pains were none to see you but
God and his holy angels. Now, the more you indulge this
foolish desire, the more it grows upon you. You have vanity
enough by nature; but by thus indulging it, you increase it a
The following is Boscawen's translation of this quotation from Horace:-
"Eutrapelus, whome'er he chose
To ruin, deck'd in costly clothes."-EDIT.
lundred-fold. O,stop! Aim at pleasing God alone, and all
these ornaments will drop off.
1-2. Thirdly. The wearing of gay and costly apparel natu-
rally tends to beget anger, and every turbulent and uneasy
passion. And it is on this very account that the Apostle places
this "outward adorning" in direct opposition to the "ornament
of a meek and quiet spirit." How remarkably does he add,
which is in the sight of God of great price !"
Than gold or pearls more precious far,
And brighter than the morning star.
None can easily conceive, unless himself were to make the sad
experiment, the contrariety there is between the "outward
adorning," and this inward "quietness of spirit." You never
can thoroughly enjoy this, while you are fond of the other. It
is only while you sit loose to that "outward adorning," that you
can in patience possess your soul." Then only when yoh
have cast off your fondness for dress, will the peace of God
reign in your hearts.
13. Fourthly. Gay and costly apparel directly tends to create
and inflame lust. I was in doubt whether to name this brutal
appetite; or, in order to spare delicate ears, to express it by
some gentle circumlocution. (Iike the Dean, who, some years
ago, told his audience at Whitehall, If you do not repent,
you will go to a place which I have too much manners to name
before this good company.") But I think it best to speak out;
since the more the word shocks your ears, the more it may arm
your heart. The fact is plain and undeniable; it has this effect
both on the wearer and the beholder. To the former, our
elegant poet, Cowley, addresses those fine lines:-
The' adorning thee with so much ari
SIs but a barbarous skill;
'Tis like the poisoning of a dart, ,
Too apt before to kill.
That is, (to express the matter in plain terms, without any
colouring,) "You poison the beholder with far more of this
base appetite than otherwise he would feel." Did you not
know this would be the natural consequence of your elegant
adorning ? To push the question home, Did you not desire, did
you not design it should r And yet, all the time, how did you
.et to public view
A specious face of innocence and virtue !
IJU SERMON LXX'(VIII.
Meanwhile you do not yourself escape the snare which you
spread for others. The dart recoils, and you are infected with
*the same poison with which you infected them. You kindle a
flame which, at the same time, consumes both yourself and
your admirers. And it is well, if it does not plunge both you
and them'into the flames of hell!
14. Fifthly. The wearing costly array is directly opposite
to the being adorned with good works. Nothing can be more
evident than this; for the more you lay out on your own apparel,
the less you have left to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry,
to lodge the strangers, to relieve those that are sick and in prison,
and to lessen the numberless afflictions to which we are exposed
in this vale of tears. And here is no room for the evasion used
before:. I may be as humble in cloth of gold, as in sackcloth."
If you could be as humble when you choose costly as when
Syou choose plain apparel, (which I flatly deny,) yet you could
not be as beneficent,-as plenteous in good works. Every shil-
ling which you save from your own apparel, you may expend in
Clothing the naked, and relieving the various necessities of the
poor, whom ye "have always with you." Therefore, every
shilling which you needlessly spend on your apparel is, in effect,
stolen from God and the poor! And how many precious oppor-
tunities of doing good have you defrauded yourself of! How
often have you disabled yourself from doing good by purchasing
what you did not want! For what end did you buy these
ornaments? To please God? No; but to please your own
fancy, or to gain the admiration and applause of those that were
no wiser than yourself. How much good might you have done
with that money! and what an irreparable loss have you
sustained by not doing it, if it be true that the day is at hand
when "every man shall receive his own reward, according to
his own labour !'
15. I pray consider this well. Perhaps you have not seen it
in this light.before. When -you are laying out that moley in
costly apparel which you could have otherwise spared for the
Spoor, you thereby deprive them of what God, the proprietor
Sof all, had lodged in your hands for their use. If so, what
you put upon yourself, you are, in effect tearing from the back
Sof the naked; as the costly and delicate food which you eat,
you are snatching from the mouth of the hungry. For mercy,
for pity, for Christ's sake, for the honour of his gospel, stay
your hand! Do not throw this money away Do not lav out
on nothing, yea, worse than nothing, what may clothe your
poor, naked, shivering fellow-creature !
16. Many years ago, when I was at Oxford, in a cold winter's
day, a young maid (one of those we kept at school) called upon
me. I said, You seem half-starved. Have you nothing to
cover you hut that thin linen gown ?" She said, Sir, this is
all I have!" I put my hand in my pocket; but found I had
scarce any money left, having just paid away what I had. It
immediately struck me, Will thy Master say, Well done, good
and faithful steward?' Thou hast adorned thy walls with the
money which might have screened this poor creature from the
cold 0 justice! 0 mercy Are not these pictures the blood
of this poor maid?" See thy expensive apparel in the same
light; thy gown, hat, head-dress! Everything about thee
which cost more than Christian duty required thee to lay out
is the blood of the poor! O be wise for the time to come!
Be more merciful! more faithful to God and man! more
abundantlyadorned (like men and women professing godliness)
with good works!
,17. It is true, great allowance is to he made for those who
have never been warned of these things, and perhaps do not
know that there is a word in the Bible which forbids costly
apparel. But what is that to you? You have been warned
over and over, yea, in the plainest manner possible. And what
have you profited thereby ? Do not you still dress like other
people of the same fortune? Is not your dress as gay, as
expensive as theirs who never had any such warning? as
expensive as it would have been, if you had never heard a word
said about it?. O how will you answer this, when ou and I
stand together at the judgment-seat of Christ? Nay, have
not many of you grown finer as fast as you have grown richer?
As you increased in substance, have you not increased in
dress? Witness the profusion of ribands, gauze, or linen about
your heads! What have you profited then by bearing the
reproach of Christ? by being called Methodists? Are you
not as fashionably dressed as others of your rank that are no
Methodists? Do you ask, "But may we not as well buy
fashionable things as unfashionable?" I answer, Not if they
give you a bold, immodest look, as those huge hats, bonnets,
head-dresses do. And not if they cost more. "But I can
!2 SERMON LXXVI1I.
offlrd it." 0 lay aside for ever that idle, nonsensical word!
No Christian can afford to waste any part of the substance
which God has entrusted him with. How long are you to stay
here? May not you to-morrow, perhaps to-night, be summoned
to arise and go hence, in order to give an account of this and
all your talents to the Judge of quick and dead?
S18. How then can it be, that, after so many warnings, you
persist in the same folly ? Is it not hence? There are still
among you, some that neither profit themselves by all they hear,
nor are willing that others should : And these, if any of you
are almost persuaded to dress as Christians, reason, and rally,
and laugh you out of it. O ye pretty triflers, 1 entreat you not
to do the devil's work any longer! Whatever ye do yourselves,
do not harden the hearts of others. And you that are of a
better mind, avoid these tempters with all possible care; and
if you come where any of them are, either beg them to be silent
on the head, or quit the room.
19. Sixthly. The putting on of costly apparel is directly
opposite to what the Apostle terms, the hidden man of the
heart;" that is, to the whole "image of od" wherein we
ivere created, and which is stamped anew upon the heart of
every Christian believer;-opposite to the mind which was
in Christ Jesus," and the whole nature of inward holiness. All
the time you are studying this outward adorning, the whole
inward work of the Spirit stands still; or, rather, goes back,
though by very gentle and almost imperceptible degrees.
Instead of growing more heavenly-minded, you are more and
more earthly-minded. If you once had fellowship with the
Father and the Son, it now gradually declines; and you
insensibly sink deeper and deeper into the spirit of the world,
-into foolish and hurtful desires, and grovelling appetites.
All these evils, and a thousand more, spring from that one root,
-indulging yourself in costly apparel.
20. Why then does not every one that either loves or fears
God, flee from it, as from the face of a serpent ? Why are you
still so conformable to the irrational, sinful customs of a frantic
ivorld? Why do you still despise the express commandment
of God uttered in the plainest terms? You see the light: Why
do not you follow the light of your own mind ? Your conscience
tells you the truth: Why do you not obey the dictates of your
own conscience ?
21. You answer, "Why, universal custom is against me;
and I know not how to stem the mighty torrent." Not only the
profane, but the religious world, run violently the other way
Look into, I do not say, the theatres, but the churches, nay,
and the meetings of every denomination (except a few old-
fashioned Quakers, or the people called Moravians;) look into
the congregations, in London or elsewhere, of those that are
styled Gospel Ministers; look into Northampton-Chapel; yea,
into the Tabernacle, or the chapel in Tottenham-Court Road;
nay, look into the chapel in West-Street, or that in the City-
Road; look at the very people that sit under the pulpit, or by
the side of it; and are not those that can aford it, (I can
hardly refrain from doing them the honour of naming their
names,) as fashionably adorned, as those of the same rank in
22. This is a melancholy truth. I am ashamed of it: But I
know not how to help it. I call heaven and earth to witness
this day, that it is not my fault! The trumpet has not given
an uncertain sound," for near fifty years last past. O God!
thou knowest I have borne a clear and a faithful testimony. In
print, in preaching, in meeting the society, I have not shunned
to declare the whole counsel of God. I am therefore clear
of the blood of those that will not hear. It lies upon their
L23. I warn you once more, in the name, and in the presence
of God, that the number of those that rebel against God is no
excuse for your rebellion. He hath expressly told us, "Thou
shalt not follow the multitude to.do evil." It was said of a
great, good man, he
Fear'd not, had Heaven decreed it, to have stood
Adverse against a world, and singly good.
Who of you desire to share in that glorious character ? to stand
adverse against a world ? If millions condemn you, it will be
enough that you are acquitted by God and your own conscience.
24. "Nay, I think," say some, I could bear the.contempt
or reproach of all the world beside. I regard none.but my own
relations, those especially that are of my own household. My
father, iny mother, my brothers and sisters, (and perhaps one
that is nearer than them all,) are teasing me continually." This
is a trial indeed; such as very few can judge of, but those that
bear it I have not strength to bear it." No, not of your
own: Certainly you have not. But there is strength laid up
for you on "One that is mighty !" His grace is sufficient for
you; and he now sees your case, and is just ready to give it
you. Meantime, remember his awful declaration, touching them
that regard man more than God: "He that loveth father or
mother, brother or sister, husband or wife, more than me, is not
worthy of me."
25. But are there not some among you that did once renounce
this conformity to the world, and dress, in every point, neat and
plain, suitable to your profession? Why then did you not per-
severe therein? Why did you turn back from the good way?
Did you contract an acquaintance, perhaps a friendship, with
some that were still fond of dress? It is no wonder then that
you was, sooner or later, moved to measure back your steps to
earth again." No less was to be expected, than that one sin
would lead you on to another. It was one sin to contract a
friendship with any that knew not God: For "know ye not
that friendship with the world is enmity with God?" And
this led you back into another, into that conformity to the world
from which you had clean escaped. But what are you to do
now ? Why, if you are wise, escape for your life: No delay :
Look not behind you! Without loss of time, renounce the
ciuse and the effect together! Now, to-day, before the heart
is hardened by the deceit'ulness of sin, cut off, at one stroke,
that sinful friendship with the ungodly, and that sinful con-
formity to the world Determine this day Do not delay till
to-morrow, lest you delay for ever. For God's sake, for your
own soul's sake, fix your resolution now !
26. I conjure you all who have any regard for mn, show me
before I go hence, that I have not laboured, even in this respect,
in vain, for near half a century. Let me see, before I die, a
Methodist congregation, full as plain dressed as a Quaker con-
gregation. Only be more consistent with yourselves. Let your
dress be cheap as well as plain; otherwise you do but trifle
with God, and me, and your own souls. I pray, let there be no
costly silks among you, how grave soever they may be. Let
there be no Quaker-linen,-proverbially so called, for their
exquisite fineness; no Brussels lace, no elephantine hats or
bonnets,-those scandals of female modesty. Be all of a piece,
dressed from head to foot as persons proftessing godlines.;
professing to do every thing, small and great, with the single
view of pleasing God.
27. Let not any of you who are rich in this world endeavoii
to excuse yourselves from this by talking nonsense. It ii
stark, staring nonsense to say, 0, I can ford this or that.'
If you have regard to common sense, let that silly word never
come out of your mouth. No man living can afford to waste
any part of what God has committed to his trust. None can
afford to throw any part of that food and raiment into the sea,
which was lodged with him on purpose to feed the hungry, and
clothe the naked. And it is far worse than simple waste, to
spend any part of it in gay or costly apparel; For this is no
less than to turn wholesome food into deadly poison. It is
giving so much money to poison both yourself and others, as
fur as your example spreads, with pride, vanity, anger, lust,
love of the world, and a thousand "foolish and hurtful desires,"
which tend to "pierce them through with many sorrows."
And is there no harm in all this ?. 0 God, arise and maintain
thy own cause! Let not men or devils any longer put out
our eyes, and lead us blindfold into the pit of destruction
28. I beseech you, every man that is here present before God,
every woman, young or old, married or single, yea, every child
that knows good from evil, take this to yourself. Each of you,
for one, take the Apostle's advice; at least, hinder not others
from taking it. I beseech you, 0 ye parents, do not hinder
your children from following their own convictions, even though
you might think they would look prettier if they were adorned
with such gewgaws as other children wear! I beseech you, O
ye husbands, do not hinder your wives! You, 0 ve wives, do
not hinder your husbands, either by word or deed, from acting
just as they are persuaded in their own minds! Above all, I
conjure you, ye half-Methodists, you that trim between us and
the world, you that frequently, perhaps constantly, hear our
preaching, but are in no farther connexion with us; yea, and all
you that were once in full connexion with us, but are not so
now; whatever ye do yourselves, do not say one word to hinder
others from receiving and practising the advice which has been
now given Yet a httle while, and we shall not need these poor
coverings; for this corruptible body shall put on incorruption.
Yet a few days hence, and this mortal body shall put on immor-
tility. In the mean time, let this be our only care, to put off
the old man,"-our old nature,-" which is corrupt,"-which is
altogether evil,-and to put on the new man, which after God
is created in righteousness and true holiness." In particular,
"'put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercies, kindness,
gentleness, longsuffering." Yea, to sum up all in one word,
." put on Christ;" that "when he shall appear, ye may appear
with him in glory."
THE MORE EXCELLENT WAY.
Covet earnestly the best gifts: And yet I show unto you a
more.excellent way." 1 Corinthians xii. 31.
1. IN the preceding verses, St. Paul has been speaking of the
extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost; such as healing the
sick; prophesying, in the proper sense of the word, that is,
foretelling things to come; speaking with strange tongues,
such as the speaker had never learned; and the miraculous
interpretation of tongues. And these gifts the Apostle allows
to be desirable; yea, he exhorts the Corinthians, at least the
teachers among them, (to whom chiefly, if not solely, they
were wont to be given in the first ages of the Church,) to covet
them earnestly, that thereby they might be qualified to be more
useful either to Christians or Heathens. And yet," says he,
I show unto you a more excellent way ;" far more desirable
than all these put together: Inasmuch as it will infallibly
lead you to happiness, both in this world and in the world to
come; whereas you might have all those gifts, yea, in the
highest degree, and yet be miserable both in time and eternity.
2. It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the
Holy Ghost were common in the Church for more than two or
three centuries. We seldom hear of them after that fatal
period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Chris-
tian; and. from a vain imagination of promoting the Christian
cause thereby, heaped richs and power and honour upon the
THE MORE EXC1'E.LE\T WAY.
Christians in general, but in particular upon the Christian
Clergy. From this time they almost totally ceased; very few
instances of the kind were found. The cause of this was not,
(as has been vulgarly supposed,) "because there was no more
occasion for them," because all the world was become Christians.
This is a miserable mistake ; not a twentieth part of it was then
nominally Christian. The real cause was, *' the love of many,"
almost of all Christians, so called, was "waxed cold." The
Christians had no more of the Spirit of Christ than the other
Heathens. The Son of Man, when he came to examine his
Church, could hardly "find faith upon earth." This was
the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost
'were no longer to be found in the Christian Church; because
the Christians were turned Heathens again, and had only a
dead form left.
3. However, I would not at present speak of these, of the
extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, but of the ordinary; and
these likewise we may covet earnestly," in order to be more
'useful in our generation. With this view, we may covet the
gift of convincing speech," in order to "sound the unbelieving
heart;" and the gift of persuasion, to move the affections, as
well as enlighten the understanding. We may covet knowledge,
both of the word and of the works of God, whether of pro-
vidence or grace. We may desire a measure of that faith
which, on particular occasions, wherein the glory of God or the
happiness of men is nearly concerned, goes far beyond the power
of natural causes. We may desire an easy elocution, a pleasing
address, with resignation to the will of our Lord; yea, whatever
would enable us, as we have opportunity, to be useful wherever
we are. These gifts we may innocently desire; but there is
'"a more excellent way."
4. The way of love,-of loving all men for God's sake;
of humble, gentle, patient love,-is that which the Apostle so
admirably describes in the ensuing chapter. And without this
he assures us, all eloquence, all knowledge, all faith, all works,
and all sufferings are of no more value in the sight of God than
sounding brass or a rumbling cymbal, and are not of the least
,avail toward our eternal salvation. Without this, all we know,
all we believe, all we do, all we suffer, will profit us nothing in
the great day of accounts.
5. But at present I would take a different view of the text,
and point out a "more excellent way" in another sense.' It Is
the observation of an ancient writer, that there have been from
the beginning two orders of Christians. The one lived an inno-
cent life, conforming in all things, not sinful, to the customs and
fashions of the world; doing many good works, abstaining from
gross evils, and attending the ordinances of God. They endea-
voured, in general, to have a conscience void of offence in their
behaviour, but did not aim at any particular strictness, being in
most things like their neighbours. The other Christians not
only abstained from all appearance of evil, were zealous of good
works in every kind, and attended all the ordinances of God,
but likewise used all diligence to attain the whole mind that
was in Christ, and laboured to walk, in every point, as their
beloved Master. In order to this, they walked in a constant
course of universal self-denial, trampling on every pleasure which
they were not divinely conscious prepared them for taking
pleasure in God. They took up their cross daily. They strove,
they agonized without intermission, to enter in at the strait gate.
This one thing the\ did, they spared no pains to arrive at the
summit of Christian holiness; "leaving the first principles
of the doctrine of Christ, to go on to perfection ;" to "know
all that love of God which passeth knowledge, and to be filled
with all the fulness of God."
6. From long experience and observation I am inclined to
think, that whoever finds redemption in the blood of Jesus,
whoever is justified, has then the choice of walking in the
higher or the lower path. I believe-the Holy Spirit at that time
sets before him the "more excellent way," and incites him to
.walk therein; to choose the narrowest path in the narrow way;
to aspire after the heights and depths of holiness,-after the
entire image of God. But if he does not accept this offer, he
insensibly declines into the lower order of Christians. He still
goes on in what may be called a good way, serving God in his
degree, and finds mercy in the close of life, through the blood
of the covenant.
7. I would be far from quenching the smoking flax,-from
discouraging those that serve God in a low degree. But I could
not wish them to stop here: I would encourage them to come
up higher. Without thundering hell and damnation in their ears,
without condemning the way wherein they were, telling them
it is the way that leads to destruction, I will endeavour to poiu4
THIE MORE EXCELLENT WAY.
out to them what is, in every respect, "a more excellent
8. Let it be well remembered, I do not affirm that all who
do not walk in this way are in the high road to hell. But this
much I must affirm, they will not have so high a place in heaven
as they would have had if they had chosen the better.part.
And will this be a small loss,-the having so many fewer stars
in your crown of glory ? Will it be a little thing to have a lower
place than you might have had in the kingdom of your Father?
Certainly there will be no sorrow in heaven; there all tears will
be wiped from our eyes; but if it were possible grief could enter
there, we should grieve at that irreparable loss. Irreparable
then, but not now. Now, by .the grace of God, we may choose
the." more. excellent way." Let us now compare:this, in a few
particulars, with the way wherein most Christians walk.
I. To begin at the beginning of the day. It is the manner
.of the generality of Christians, if they are not obliged to work
for their living, to rise, particularly in winter, at eight or nine
-in the morning, after having lain in bed eight or nine, if not
;more, houirs. I do not say now, (as I should have been.very
apt to do fifty years ago,) that all who indulge themselves in
*this manner are in the way to hell. But neither can I say,
.they are in the way to heaven, denying themselves, and taking
.up their cross daily. Sure I am,. there is ."a more excellent
.way" to promote health both of body and mind. From an
'observation of more than sixty years; I have learned, that men
'in health require, at an average, from six to seven hours' sleep,
-and healthy women a little more,-from seven to eight-in four-
,and-twenty hours. I know this quantity of sleep to be most
-advantageous to the body as well as the soul. It is preferable
to any medicine which I have known, both for preventing and
;removing nervous disorders. It is, therefore, .undoubtedly, the
,most excellent way,.in defiance of fashion and custom, to take
:just so much sleep as experience proves our. nature to require;
-seeing.this is indispitablp most conducive both to: bodily and
"spiritual health. And why should not-you walk in this way ?
Because it is difficult? Nay, with men it is impossible. But all
Things are possible with God; arid by his grace, all things will
be possible to you. Only continue instant in prayer, and you
will find this not only possible, but easy : Yea, and it will be far
easier to rise early constantly, than to do it sometimes. But
then you must begin at the right end; if you would rise ea ly,
you must sleep early. Impose it upon yourself, unless when
something extraordinary occurs, to go to bed at a fixed hour.
Then the difficulty of it will soon be over; but the advantage
of it will remain for ever.
II. The generality of Christians, as soon as they rise, are
accustomed to use some kind of prayer; and probably to use
the same form still, which they learned when they were eight
or ten years old. Now, I do not condemn those who proceed
thus, (though many do,) as mocking God; though they have
used the same form, without any variation, for twenty or thirty
years together. But surely there is "a more excellent way"
of ordering our private devotions. What if you were to follow
the advice given by that great and good man, Mr. Law, on
this subject? Consider both your outward and inward state,
and vary your prayers accordingly. For instance: Suppose
your outward state is prosperous; suppose you are in a state
of health, ease, and plenty, having your lot cast among kind
relations, .good neighbours, and agreeable friends, that love
you, and you them; then your outward state manifestly calls
for praise and thanksgiving to God. On the other hand, if you
-are in a state of adversity; if God has laid trouble upon your
loins; if you are in poverty, in want, in outward distress;
if you are in imminent danger; if you are in pain and sickness;
then you are clearly called to pour out your soul before God
in such prayer .as is suited to your circumstances. In like
manner you may suit your devotions to your inward state,' the
present state of your mind. Is your soul in heaviness, either
from a sense of sin, or through manifold temptations ? Then
-let your prayer consist of such confessions, petitions, and sup-
plications as.are agreeable to your distressed situation of mind.
On the contrary, .is your soul in peace ? Are you rejoicing in
God? Are his consolations not small with you? Then say,
:with the Psalmist, Thou art my God, and I will love thee:
Thou art my God, and I will praise thee." You may, likewise,
when you have time, add to your other devotions a little
reading .and meditation, and perhaps a psalm of praise,-the
natural effusion of a thankful heart. You must certainly see,
that this is "a more excellent way" than. the poor dry form
which you used before,
III. 1. The generality of Christians, after using some prayer,
THE MORE EXCELLENT WAY
usually apply themselves to the business of their calling. Every
man that has any pretence to be a Christian will not fail to do
this; seeing it is impossible that an idle man can be a good
man,-sloth being inconsistent with religion. But with whdt
view, for what end, do you undertake and follow your worldly
business? To provide things necessary for myself and my
family." It is a good answer, as far as it goes ; but it does not
go far enough. For a Turk or a Heathen goes so far,-does
his work for the very same ends. But a Christian may go abun-
dantly farther: His end in all his labour is, to please God ; to
do, not his own will, but the will of Him that sent him into the
world,-for this very purpose, to do the will of God on earth as
angels do in heaven. He works for eternity. He labours not
for the meat that perisheth," (this is the smallest part of his
motive,) but for that which endureth to everlasting life." And
is not this "a more excellent way ?"
2. Again: In what manner do you transact your worldly
business ? I trust, with diligence, whatever your hand findeth
to do, doing it with your might ; in justice, rendering to all
their due, in every circumstance of life; yea, and in mercy,
doing unto every man what you would he should do unto you.
This is well: But a Christian is called to go still farther,-to
add piety to justice; to intermix prayer, especially the prayer
of the heart, with all the labour of his hands. Without this,
all his diligence and justice only show him to be an honest
Heathen ; and many there are who profess the Christian
religion, that go no farther than honest Heathenism.
3. Yet again : In what spirit do you go through your busi-
ness? in the spirit of the world, or in the spirit of Christ ?
I am afraid thousands of those who are called good Christians
do not understand the question. If you act in the spirit
of Christ,' you carry the end you at first proposed through all
your work from first to last. You do everything in the spirit
of sacrifice, giving up your will to the will of God; and
continually aiming, not at ease, pleasure, or riches, not at
anything "this short-enduring world can give," hut merely at
the glory of God. Now, can any -one deny, that this is the
most excellent way of pursuing worldly business ?
IV. 1. But these tenements of clay which we bear about us
require constant reparation, or they will sink into the earth froit
which they were taken, even sooner than nature requires Daily
food is necessary to prevent this, to repair the decays of nature.
It was common in the IHeathen world, when they were about to
use this,-to take meat, or even drink,-libare pnteramn Jovi; "to
pour out a little to the honour of their god ;" although the gods
of the Heathens were but devils, as the Ap:stle justly observes.
" It seems," says a late writer, there was once some such
custom as this in our own country. For we still frequently see
a gentleman, before he sits down to dinner in his own house,
holding his hat before his face, and perhaps seeming to say
something; though he generally does it in such a manner that
no one can tell what he says." Now what if, instead of this,
every head of a family, before he sat down to eat and.drink,
either morning, noon, or night, (for the reason of the thing is
the same at every hour of the "day,) were seriously to ask a
blessing from God on what he was about to take ? yea, and
afterward, seriously to return thanks to the Giver of all his
blessings ? Would not this be a more excellent way than to
use that dull farce which is worse than nothing; being, in
reality, no other than mockery both of God and man ?
2. As to the quantity of their food, good sort of men do-not
usually eat to excess ; at least, not so far as to make themselves
sick with meat, or to intoxicate themselves with drink. And as
to the manner of taking it, it is usually innocent, mixed with a
little mirth, which is said to help digestion. So far, so good.
And provided they take only that measure of plain, cheap,
wholesome food, which most promotes health both of body and
mind, there will be no cause of blame. Neither can I require
you'to take' that advice of Mr. 'Herbert, though he was a good
Take thy meat; think it dust: Then eat a bit,
And say with all, Earth to earth I commit.
This is too melancholy ; it does not suit with that cheerfulness
which is highly proper at a Christian meal. Permit me to
illustrate this subject with a little story. The King of France,
one day pursuing the chace, outrode all his company, who, after
seeking him some time, found him sitting in a cottage eating
bread and cheese. Seeing them, he cried out, Where, have
I lived all my time ?. I never before tasted so good food in my
life !" '" Sire," said one of them, "you never had so good sauce
before; for you were never hungry." Now it is true, hunger
is a good sauce; but there is one that is better still ; that is,
THE MORE EXCELLENT WAY.
thankfulness. Sure, that is the most agreeable food which is
seasoned with this. And why should not yours at every meal ?
You need not then fix your eye on death; but receive every
morsel as a pledge of life eternal. The Author of your being
gives you, in this food, not only a reprieve from death, but an
earnest that, in a little time, death shall be swallowed up in
3. The time of taking our food is usually a time of conver-
sation also; as it is natural to refresh our minds while we
refresh our bodies. Let us consider a little, in what manner the
generality of Christians usually converse together. What are
the ordinary subjects of their conversation ? If it is harmless,
(as one would hope it is,) if there be nothing in it profane,
nothing immodest, nothing untrue, or unkind; if there be no
tale-bearing, backbiting, or evil-speaking, they have reason to
praise God for his restraining grace. But there is more than
this implied in "ordering our conversation aright." Tn order
to this it is needful, First, that your communication," that is,
discourse or conversation, "be good;" that it be materially
good, on good subjects; not fluttering about any thing that
occurs; for what have you to do with courts and kings ? It is
not your business to
Fight o'er the wars, reform the state;
unless when some remarkable event calls for the acknowledgment
of the justice or mercy of God. You must indeed sometimes
talk of worldly things, otherwise we may as well go out of the
world. But it should be only so far as is needful: Then we
should return to a better subject. Secondly, let your conver-
sation be to the use of edifying;" calculated to edify either
the speaker or the hearers, or both; to build them up, as each
has particular need, either in faith, or love, or holiness. Thirdly,
see that it not only gives entertainment, but, in one kind or
other, "ministers grace to the hearers." Now, is not this "a
more excellent way" of conversing than the harmless way
V. 1. We have seen what is the "more excellent way"
of ordering our conversation, as well as our business. But we
cannot be always intent upon business : Both our bodies
and minds require some relaxation. We need intervals of diver-
sion from business. It will be necessary to be very explicit
upon this head, as it is a point which has been much misunder-
2. Diversions are of various kinds. Some are almost peculiar
to men, as the sports of the field: Hunting, shooting, fishing,
wherein not many women (I should say ladies) are concerned.
Others are indifferently used by persons of both sexes: Some
of which are of a more public nature, as races, masquerades,
plays, assemblies, balls. Others are chiefly used in private
houses; as cards, dancing, and music; to which we may
add, the reading of plays, novels, romances, newspapers, and
3. Some diversions, indeed, which were formerly in great
request, are now fallen into disrepute. The nobility and
gentry, in England at least, seem totally to disregard the once
fashionable diversion of hawking; and the vulgar themselves
are no longer diverted by men hacking and hewing each other
in pieces at broad-sword. The noble game of quarter-staff,
likewise, is now exercised by very few. Yea, cudgelling has
lost its honour, even in Wales itself. Bear-baiting also is now
very seldom seen, and bull-baiting not very often. And it
seems cock-fighting would totally cease in England, were it
not for two or three right honourable patrons.
4. It is not needful to say anything more of these foul
remains of Gothic barbarity, than that they are a reproach, not
only to all religion, but even to human nature. One would not
pass so severe a censure on the sports of the field. Let those
who have nothing better to do, still run foxes and hares out
of breath. Neither need much be said about horse-races, till
some man of sense will undertake to defend them. It seems
a. great deal more may be said in defence of seeing a serious
tragedy. I could not do it with a clear conscience; at least
not in an English theatre, the sink of all profaneness and
debauchery; but. possibly others can. I cannot say quite so
much for balls or assemblies, which, though more reputable than
masquerades, yet must be allowed by all impartial persons to
have exactly the same tendency. So, undoubtedly, have all
public dancing. And the same tendency they must have,
unless the same caution obtained among modern Christians
which was observed among the ancient Heathens. With them,
men and women never danced together, but always in separate
rooms This was always observed in ancient Greece, and for
THE MORE EXCELLENT WAY.
several ages at Rome; where a woman dancing in company
with men would have at once been set down for a prostitute
Df playing at cards I say the same as of seeing plays. I could
not do it with a clear conscience. But I am not obliged to
pass any sentence onthose that are otherwise minded. I leave
them to their own Master: To Him let them stand or fall.
5. But' supposing these, as well as the reading of plays,
novels, newspapers, and the like, to be quite innocent diversions;
yet are there not more excellent ways of diverting themselves
for those that love or fear God ? Would men of fortune divert
themselves in the open air? They may do it by cultivating
and improving their lands, by planting their grounds, by laying*
out, carrying on, and perfecting their gardens and orchards.
At other times they may visit and converse with the most
serious and sensible of their neighbours ; or they may visit the
sick, the poor, the widows, and the fatherless in their affliction.
Do they desire to divert themselves in the house ? They may
read useful history, pious and elegant poetry, or several branches
of natural philosophy. If you have time, you may divert your-
self by music, and perhaps by philosophical experiments. But
above all, when you have once learned the use of prayer, you
will find, that as
That which yields or fills
All space, the ambient air, wide interfused
Embraces round this florid earth;
so will this, till through every space of life it be interfused with
all your employment, and wherever you are, whatever you do,
embrace you on every side. Then you will be able to say
With me no melancholy void,
No moment lingers unemployed
Or unimproved below:
My weariness of life is gone,
Who live to serve my God alone,
And only Jesus know.
VI. One point only remains to be considered ; that is, the
use of money. What is the way wherein the generality
of Christians employ this? And is there not "a more excel-
lent way ?"
1. The generality of Christians usually set apart something
yearly, perhaps a tenth or even one-eighth part of their income,
whether it arise from yearly revenue, or from trade, for charita-
ble uses. A few I have known, who said, like Zaccheus,
" Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor." 0 that it
would please God to multiply those friends of mankind, those
general benefactors But,
2. Besides those who have a stated rule, there are thousands
who give large sums to the poor; especially when any striking
instance of distress is represented to them in lively colours.
3. I praise God for all of you who act in this manner. May you
never be weary of well-doing May God restore what you give,
seven-fold, into your own bosom! But yet I show unto you a
more excellent way."
4. You may consider yourself as one in whose hands the
Proprietor of heaven and earth, and all things therein, has
lodged a part of his goods, to be disposed of according to his
direction. And his direction is, that you should look upon
yourself as one of a certain number of indigent persons, who are
to be provided for out of that portion of his goods wherewith
you are entrusted. You have two advantages over the rest:
The one, that "it is more blessed to give than to receive;"
the other, that you are to serve yourself first, and others after-
wards. This is the light wherein you are to see yourself and
them. But to be more particular: First, if you have no
family, after you have provided for yourself, give away all that
remains; so that
Each Christmas your accounts may clear,
And wind your bottom round the year.
This was the practice of all the young men at Oxford who
were called Methodists. For example: One of them had thirty
pounds a year. He lived on twenty-eight, and gave away forty
shillings. The next year receiving sixty pounds, he still lived
on twenty-eight, and gave away two-and-thirty. The third
year he received ninety pounds, and gave away sixty-two. The
fourth year he received a hundred and twenty pounds. Still
he lived as before on twenty-eight; and gave to the poor
ninety-two. Was not this a more excellent way ? Secondly,
if you have a family, seriously consider before God, how much
each member of it wants, in order to have what is needful for
life and godliness. And in general, do not allow them less,
nor much more, than you allow yourself Thirdly, this being
done, fix your purpose to "gain no more." I charge you in
AN ISRAELITE INDEED. d/
the name of God, do not increase your substance! As it comes,
daily or yearly, so let it go: Otherwise you "lay up treasures
upon earth." And this our Lord as flatly forbids as murder
and adultery. By doing it, therefore, you would treasure up
to yourselves wrath against the day of wrath and revelation
of the righteous judgment of God."
5. But suppose it were not forbidden, how can you, on prin-
ciples of reason, spend your money in a way which God may
possibly forgive, instead of spending it in a manner which he
will certainly reward ? You will have no reward in heaven
for what you lay up ; you will, for what you lay out. Every
pound you put into the earthly bank is sunk: It brings no
interest above. But every pound you give to the poor is put
into the bank of heaven. And it will bring glorious interest K
yea, and, as such, will be accumulating to all eternity.
6. Who then is a wise man, and endued with knowledge
among you ? Let him resolvethis day, this hour, this moment,
the Lord assisting him, to choose in all the preceding parti-
culars the "more excellent way:" And let him steadily keep it,
both with regard to sleep, prayer, work, food, conversation, and
diversions; and particularly with regard to the employment
of that important talent, money. Let your heart answer to
the call of God, From this moment, God being my helper, I
will lay up no more treasure upon earth: This one thing I
will do, I will lay up treasure in heaven; I will render unto
God the things that are God's: I will give him all my goods,
and all my heart! "
AN ISRAELITE INDEED.
" Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile !" John i. 47.
1. SOME years ago, a very ingenious man, Professor Hutche-
son of Glasgow, published two treatises on the Original of our
Ideas of Beauty and Virtue. In the latter of these he main-
tains that the very essence of virtue is, the love of our fellow-
creatures. He endeavours to prove, that virtue and benevo-
lence are one and the same thing; that every temper is only so
far virtuous, as it partakes of the nature of benevolence; and
that all our words and actions are then only virtuous, when they
spring from the same principle. But does he not suppose
gratitude, or the love of God, to be the foundation of this bene-
volence?" By no means: Such a supposition as this never
entered into his mind. Nay, he supposes just the contrary:
He does not make the least scruple to aver, that if any temper
or action be produced by any regard to God, or any view to a
reward from him, it is not virtuous at all; and that if an action
spring partly from benevolence, and partly from a view to God,
the more there is in it of a view to God, the less there is of virtue.
2. I cannot see this beautiful essay of Mr. Hutcheson's in
any other light, than as a decent, and therefore more danger-
ous, attack upon the whole of the Christian Revelation : Seeing
this asserts the love of God to be the true foundation, both
of the love of our neighbour, and all other virtues; and, accord-
ingly, places this as the first and great commandment," on
which all the rest depend, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy strength." So that, according to the Bible,
benevolence, or the love of our neighbour, is only the second
commandment. And suppose the Scripture to be of God, it
is so far from being true, that benevolence alone is both the
foundation and the essence of all virtue, that benevolence
itself is no virtue at all, unless it spring from the love of God.
3. Yet it cannot be denied, that this writer himself has a
marginal note in favour of Christianity. Who would not
wishh" says he, that the Christian Revelation could be proved
to be of God ? seeing it is, unquestionably, the most benevolent
institution that ever appeared in the world !" But is not this,
if it be considered thoroughly, another blow at the very root
of that Revelation ? Is it more or less than to say, I wish
it could, but in truth it cannot, be proved ?"
4. Another ingenious writer advances an hypothesis totally
different from this. Mr. Wollaston, in the book which he
entitles, The Religion of Nature Delineated," endeavours to
prove, that truth is the essence of virtue, or conformableness to
truth. But it se ms, Mr. Wollaston goes farther from the Bible
than Mr. Hutcheson himself. For Mr. Hutcheson's scheme
AN ISRAELITE INDEED. 39
sets aside only one of the two great commandments, namely,
" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God;" whereas Mr. Wollaston
sets aside both : For his hypothesis does not place the essence
of virtue in either the love of God or of our neighbour.
5. However, both of these authors agree, though in different
ways, to put asunder what God has joined. But St. Paul unites
them together in teaching us to speak the truth in love."
And undoubtedly, both truth and love were united in him to
whom He who knows the hearts of all men gives this amiable
character, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile !"
6. But who is it, concerning whom our blessed Lord gives
this glorious testimony? Who is this Nathanael, of whom so
remarkable an account is given in the latter part of the chapter
before us ? Is it not strange that he is not mentioned again in
any part of the New Testament? He is not mentioned again
under this name; but probably he had another, whereby he
was more commonly called. It was generally believed by the
ancients, that he is the same person who is elsewhere termed
Bartholomew; one of our Lord's Apostles, and one that, in
the enumeration of them, both by St. Matthew and St. Mark,
is placed immediately after St. Philip, who first brought him to
his Master. It is very probable, that his proper name was
Nathanael,-a name common among the Jews; and that his
other name, Bartholomew, meaning only the son of Ptolemy,
was derived from his father-a custom which was then exceeding
common among the Jews, as well as the Heathens.
7 By what little is said of him in the context, he appears to
have been a man of an excellent spirit; not hasty of belief, and
yet open to conviction, and willing to receive the truth, from
whencesoever it came. So we read, (verse 45,) Philip findeth
Nathanael," (probably by what we term accident,) and saith
unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the Law, and
the Prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth." Nathanael saith
unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ?" Has
Moses spoke, or did the Prophets write, of any Prophet to come
from thence? "Philip saith unto him, Come and see;" and
thou wilt soon be able to judge for thyself. Nathanael took his
advice, without staying to confer with flesh and blood. Jesus
saw Nathanacl coming, and saith, Behold an Israelite indeed, in
whom is no guile !"' "Nathanael saith," doubtless with surprise
enough, Whence knowest thou me ?" "Jesus saith, Before
41 SERMON XC.
Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw
thee." Nathanael answered and said unto him,"-so soon was
all prejudice gone !-" Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou
art the King of Israel."
But what is implied in our Lord's character of him ? In
whom is no guile." It may include all that is contained in
Still let thy heart be true to God,
Thy words to it, thy actions to them both.
I. 1. We may, First, observe what is implied in having our
hearts true to God. Does this imply any less than is included
in that gracious command, My son, give me thy heart?'
Then only is our heart true to God, when we give it to him.
We give him our heart, in the lowest degree, when we seek our
happiness in him; when we do not seek it in gratifying the
desire of the flesh,"-in any of the pleasures of sense; nor in
gratifying "the desire of the eye,"-in any of the pleasures of the
imagination, arising from grand, or new, or beautiful objects,
whether of nature or art; neither in "the pride of life,"-in
"the honour that cometh of men," in being beloved, esteemed,
and applauded by them ; no, nor yet in what some term, with
equal impudence and ignorance, the main chance, the "laying
up treasures on earth." When we seek happiness in none
of these, but in God alone, then we, in some sense, give him
2. But in a more proper sense, we give God our heart, when
we not only seek but find happiness in him. This happiness
undoubtedly begins, when we begin to know him by the teach-
ing of his own Spirit; when it pleases the Father to reveal his
Son in our hearts, so that we can humbly say, My Lord and
my God ;" and when the Son is pleased to reveal his Father in
us, by the Spirit of adoption, crying in our hearts, Abba,
Father," and bearing his testimony to our spirits that we are
the children of God." Then it is that "the love of God also
is shed abroad in our' hearts." And according to the degree
of our love, is the degree of our happiness.
3. But it has been questioned, whether it is the design
of God, that the happiness which is at first enjoyed by all that
know and love him, should continue any longer than, as it were,
the day of their espousals. In very many, we must allow, it
does not; but in a few months, perhaps weeks, or even days,
AN ISRAELITE INDEED. 41
the joy and peace either vanishes at once, or gradually decays.
Now, if God is willing that their happiness should continue, how
is this to be accounted for ?
4. I believe, very easily: St. Jude's exhortation, "Keep
yourselves in the love of God," certainly implies that something
is to be done on our part, in order to its continuance. And is
not this agreeable to that declaration of our Lord, concerning
this and every gift of God? "Unto him that hath shall be
given, and he shall have more abundance: But from him that
hath not,"-that is, uses it not, improves it not,-" shall be
taken away even that which he hath." (Luke viii. 18.)
5. Indeed, part of this verse is translated in our version,
That which he seemeth to have." But it is difficult to make
sense of this. For if he only seemeth to have this, or any other
gift of God, he really hath it not. And if so, it cannot be taken
away: For no man can lose what he never had. It is plain,
therefore, o oxs zi ey, ought to be rendered, what he assuredly
hath. And it may be observed, that the word 8oxew in various
places of the New Testament does not lessen, but strengthen,
the sense of the word joined with it. Accordingly, whoever
improves the grace he has already received, whoever increases
in the love of God, will surely retain it. God will continue,
yea, will give it more abundantly : Whereas, whoever does not
improve this talent, cannot possibly retain it. Notwithstanding
all he can do, it will infallibly be taken away from him.
II. 1. Meantime, as the heart of him that is "an Israelite
indeed is true to God, so his words are suitable thereto: And
as there is no guile lodged in his heart, so there is none found
in his lips. The First thing implied herein, is veracity,-the
speaking the truth from his heart,-the putting away all wilful
lying, in every kind and degree. A lie, according to a well-
known definition of it, is, falsum testimonium, cum intention
.fallendi: "A falsehood known to be such by the speaker, and
uttered with an intention to deceive." But even the speaking of a
falsehood is not a lie, if it be not spoken with an intent to deceive.
2. Most casuists, particularly those of the Church of Rome,
distinguish lies into three sorts : The First sort is malicious lies;
the Second, harmless lies; the Third, officious lies: Concerning
which they pass a very different judgment. I know not any
that are so hardy as even to excuse, much less defend, malicious
lies; that is, such as are told with a design to hurt any one:
These are condemned by all parties. Men are more divided
in their judgment with regard to harmless lies, such as are
supposed to do neither good nor harm. The generality
of men, even in the Christian world, utter them without any
scruple, and openly maintain, that, if they do no harm to any
one else, they do none to the speaker. Whether they do or
no, they have certainly no place in the mouth of him that is
"an Israelite indeed." He cannot tell lies in jest, any more
than in earnest. Nothing but truth is heard from his mouth.
He remembers the express command of God to the Ephesian
Christians: "Putting away lying, speak every man truth to
his neighbour." (Eph. iv. 25.)
3. Concerning officious lies, those that are spoken with a
design to do good, there have been numerous controversies in
the Christian Church. Abundance of writers, and those men
of renown, for piety as well as learning, have published whole
volumes upon the subject, and, in despite of all opposers, not
only maintained them to be innocent, but commended them as
meritorious. But what saith the Scripture ? One passage is so
express that there does not need any other. It occurs in the
third chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, where the very
words of the Apostle are, (verses 7, 8,) If the truth of God
hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory, why am I
yet judged as a sinner ?" (Will not that lie be excused from
blame, for the good effect of it?) And not rather, as we are
slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say, Let us
do evil that good may come ? Whose damnation is just."
Here the Apostle plainly declares, (1.) That the good effect
of a lie is no excuse for it. (2.) That it is a mere slander
upon Christians to say, They teach men to do evil that good
may come." (3.) That if any, in fact, do this; either teach
men to do evil that good may come, or do so themselves; their
damnation is just. This is peculiarly applicable to those who
tell lies in order to do good thereby. It follows, that officious
lies, as well as all others, are an abomination, to the God
of truth. Therefore, there is no absurdity, however strange it
may sound, in that saying of the ancient Father, I would not
tell a wilful lie to save the souls of the whole world."
4. The Second thing which is implied in the character of an
Israelite indeed," is, sincerity. As veracity is opposite to lying,
so sincerity is to cunning. But it is not opposite to wisdom, or
AN ISRAELITE INDEED.
discretion, which are well consistent with it. But what is the
difference between wisdom and cunning ? Are they not almost,
if not quite, the same thing ?" By no means. The difference
between them is exceeding great. Wisdom is the faculty of dis-
cerning the best ends, and the fittest means of attaining them.
The end of every rational creature is God; the enjoying him
in time and in eternity. The best, indeed the only, means
of attaining this end, is, the faith that worketh by love." True
prudence, in the general sense of the word, is the same thing
with wisdom. Discretion is but another name for prudence,-
if it be not rather a part of it, as it is sometimes referred to our
outward behaviour,-and means, the ordering our words and
actions right. On the contrary, cunning (so it is usually
termed amongst common men, but policy among the great)
is, in plain terms, neither better nor worse than the .art
of deceiving. If, therefore, it be any wisdom at all, it is the
wisdom from beneath;" springing from the bottomless pit, and
leading down to the place from whence it came.
5. The two great means which cunning uses in order to
deceive, are, simulation and dissimulation. Simulation is the
seeming to be what we are not; dissimulation, the seeming
not to be what we are; according to the old verse, Quod non
est simulo: Dissimuloque quod est. Both the one and the
other we commonly term, the hanging out of false colours."
Innumerable are the shapes that simulation puts on in order to
deceive. And almost as many are used by dissimulation for
the same purpose. But the man of sincerity shuns them, and
always appears exactly what he is.
6. But suppose we are engaged with artful men, may we
not use silence or reserve, especially if they ask insidious ques-
tions, without falling under the imputation of cunning ?" Un-
doubtedly we may : Nay, we ought on many occasions either
wholly to keep silence, or to speak with more or less reserve, as
circumstances may require. To say nothing at all, is, in many
cases, consistent with the highest sincerity. And so it is, to
speak with reserve, to say only a part, perhaps a small part,
of what we know. But were we to pretend it to be the whole,
this would be contrary to sincerity.
7. A more difficult question than this is, May we not
speak the truth in order to deceive? like him of old, who
broke out into that exclamation, applauding his own ingenuity,
Hoc ego mihi puto palmarium, ut vera dicendo eos ambos
fallam. This I take to be my master-piece, to deceive them
both by speaking the truth !'" I answer, A Heathen might
pique himself upon this; but a Christian could not. For
although this is not contrary to veracity, yet it certainly is to
sincerity. It is therefore the most excellent way, if we judge
it proper to speak at all, to put away both simulation and
dissimulation, and to speak the naked truth from our heart.
8. Perhaps this is properly termed, simplicity. It goes a
little farther than sincerity itself. It implies not only, First,
the speaking no known falsehood; and, Secondly, the not
designedly deceiving any one; but, Thirdly, the speaking
plainly and artlessly to every one when we speak at all; the
speaking as little children, in a childlike, though not a childish,
manner. Does not this utterly exclude the using any compli-
ments ? A vile word, the very sound of which I abhor; quite
agreeing with our poet:-
It never vas good day
Since lowly fawning was called compliment.
I advise men of sincerity and simplicity never to take that
silly word into their mouth, but labour to keep at the utmost
distance both from the name and the thing.
9. Not long before that remarkable time,
When Statesmen sent a Prelate 'cross the seas,
By long-famed Act of pains and penalties,
several Bishops attacked Bishop Atterbury at once, then Bishop
of Rochester, and asked, My Lord, why will you not suffer
your servants to deny you. when you do not care to see com-
pany ? It is not a lie for them to say your lordship is not at
home; for it deceives no one: Every one knows it means only,
your lordship is busy." He replied, My Lords, if it is (which
I doubt) consistent with sincerity, yet I am sure it is not con-
sistent with that simplicity which becomes a Christian Bishop."
10. But to return. The sincerity and simplicity of him in
whom is no guile have likewise an influence on his whole
behaviour: They give a colour to his whole outward conversa-
tion; which, though it be far remote from everything of clown-
ishness and ill-breeding, of roughness and surliness, yet is plain
and artless, and free from all disguise, being the very picture
of his heart. The truth and love which continually reign there,
produce an open front, and a serene countenance; such as leave
no pretence to say, with that arrogant king of Castile, "When
God made man, he left one capital defect: He ought to have
set a window in his breast;"-for he opens a window in his own
breast, by the whole tenor of his words and actions.
11. This then is real, genuine, solid virtue. Not truth alone,
nor conformity to truth. This is a property of real virtue; not
the essence of it. Not love alone; though this comes nearer
.the mark: For love, in one sense, "is the fulfilling of the
law." No: Truth and love united together, are the essence
of virtue or holiness. God indispensably requires truth in the
inward parts," influencing all our words and actions. Yet truth
itself, separate from love, is nothing in his sight. But let the
humble, gentle, patient love of all mankind, be fixed on its right
foundation, namely, the love of God springing from faith, from
a full conviction that God hath given his only Son to die
for my sins; and then the whole will resolve into that grand
conclusion, worthy of all men to be received: Neither
circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith
that worketh by love."
" Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and
have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a
"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all
mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all
faith, so as to remove mountains, and have not charity,
I am nothing.
" And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and give
my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth
me nothing." 1 Corinthians xiii. 1-3.
WEV know, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God," and
is therefore true and right concerning all things. But we know,
likewise, that there are some scriptures which more immediately
commend themselves to every man's conscience. In this rank
we may place the passage before us; there are scarce any that
object to it. On the contrary, the generality of men very readily
appeal to it.- Nothing is more common than to find even those
who deny the authority of the Holy Scriptures, yet affirming,
" This is my religion; that which is described in the thirteenth
chapter of the Corinthians." Nay, even a Jew, Dr. Nunes, a
Spanish physician, then settled at Savannah, in Georgia, used
to say with great earnestness, "That Paul of Tarsus was one
of the finest writers I have ever read. I wish the thirteenth
chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians were wrote in letters
of gold. And I wish every Jew were to carry it with him
wherever he went." He judged, (and herein he certainlyjudged
right,) that this single chapter contained the whole of true reli-
gion. It contains "whatsoever things are just, whatsoever
things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely: If there be any
virtue, if there be any praise," it is all contained in this.
In order to see this in the clearest light, we may consider,
I. What the charity here spoken of is:
II. What those things are which are usually put in th' place
of it. We may then,
III. Observe, that neither of them, nor all of them put
together, can supply the want of it.
I. 1. We are, First, to consider what this charity is. What
is the nature and what.are the properties of it ?
St. Paul's word is ayaarn, exactly answering to the plain Eng-
lish word love. And accordingly it is so rendered in all the old
translations of the Bible. So it stood in William Tyndal's Bible,
which, I suppose, was the first English translation of the whole
Bible. So it was also in the Bible published by the authority
of King Henry VIII. So it was likewise, in all the editions
of the Bible that were successively published in England during
the reign of King Edward VI., Queen Elizabeth, and King
James I. Nay, so it is found in the Bibles of King Charles the
First's reign ; I believe, to the period of it. The first Bibles I
have seen wherein the word was changed, were those, printed by
Roger Daniel and John Field, printers to the Parliament, in the
year 1649. Hence it seems probable that the alteration was
made during the sitting of the Long Parliament; probably it
was then that the Latin word charity was put in place of the
English word love. In was in an unhappy hour this alteration
was made; the ill effects of it remain to this day; and these
may be observed, not only among the poor and illiterate ;-not
only thousands of common men and women no more understand
the word charity than they do the original Greek ;-but the same
miserable mistake has diffused itself among men of education
and learning. Thousands of these are misled thereby, and
imagine that the charity treated of in this chapter refers
chiefly, if not wholly, to outward actions, and to mean little
more than almsgiving I have heard many sermons preached
upon this chapter, particularly before the University of Oxford.
And I never heard more than one, wherein the meaning of it
was not totally misrepresented. But had the old and proper
word love been retained, there would have been no room for
'2. But what kind of love is that whereof the Apostle is speak-
ing throughout the chapter ? Many persons of eminent learning
and piety apprehend that it is the love of God. But from
reading the whole chapter numberless times, and considering it
in every light, I am thoroughly persuaded that what St. Paul is
here directly speaking of is the love of our neighbour. I believe
whoever carefully weighs the whole tenor of his discourse will
be fully convinced of this. But it must be allowed to be such a
love of our neighbour, as can only spring from the love of God.
And whence does this love of God flow? Only from that faith
which is of the operation of God; which whoever has, has a
direct evidence that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world
unto himself." When this is particularly applied to his heart,
so that he can say with humble boldness, The life which I
now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and
gave himself for me;" then, and not till then, the love of God
is shed abroad in his heart." And this love sweetly constrains
him to love every child of man with the love which is here
spoken of; not with a love of esteem or of complacence; for
this can have no place with regard to those who are (if not his
personal enemies, yet) enemies to God and their own souls; but
with a love ofbenevolence,-of tender good-will to all the souls
that God has made.
3. But it may be asked, If there be no true love; of our
neighbour., but that which springs from the love of God; and
if the love of God flows from no other fountain than faith in the
Son of God; does it not follow, that the whole heathen world
is excluded from all possibility of salvation? seeing they are
cut off from faith; for faith cometh by hearing; and how shall
they hear without a preacher?" I answer, St. Paul's words,
spoken on another occasion, are applicable to this: What the
law speaketh, it speaketh to them that are under the law."
Accordingly, that sentence, He that believeth not shall be
damned," is spoken of them to whom the Gospel is preached.
Others it does not concern; and we are not required to deter-
mine any thing touching their final state. How it will please
God, the Judge of all, to deal with them, we may leave to God
himself. But this we know, that he is not the God of the
Christians only, but the God of the Heathens also; that he is
"rich in mercy to all that call upon him," according to the light
they have ; and that "in every nation, he that feareth God and
worketh righteousness is accepted of him."
4. But to return. This is the nature of that love whereof
the Apostle is here speaking. But what are the properties
of it,-the fruits which are inseparable from it? The Apostle
reckons up many of them ; but the principal of them are these.
First. Love is not puffed up." As is the measure of love, so
is the measure of humility. Nothing humbles the soul so deeply
as love: It casts out all "high conceits, engendering pride;"
all arrogance and overweening; makes us little, and poor, and
base, and vile in our own eyes. It abases us both before God
and man; makes us willing to be the least of all, and the
servants of all, and teaches us to say, A mote in the sun-beam
is little, but I am infinitely less in the presence of God."
5. Secondly. "Love is not provoked." Our present English
translation renders it, "is not easily provoked." But how did
the word easily come in ? There is not a tittle of it in the text :
The words of the Apostle are simply these, ou vrcpofuvirai. Is
it not probable, it was inserted by the translators with a design
to excuse St. Paul, for fear his practice should appear to contra-
dict his doctrine? For we read, (Acts xv. 36, et seq.,) "And
some days after, Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and
visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the
word of the LORD, and see how they do. And Barnabas deter-
mined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But
Paul thought not good to take with them one who departed
from the work. And the contention was so sharp between them,
that they departed asunder one from the other: And so Barna.
ON CLARITY. 49
bas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; and Paul chose
Silas, and departed; being recommended by the brethren unto
the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia,
confirming the churches."
6, Would not any one think, on reading these words, that
they were both equally sharp? that Paul was just as hot as
Barnabas, and as much wanting in love as he ? But the text
says no such thing; as will be plain, if we consider first the
occasion. When St. Paul proposed, that they should again
visit the brethren in every city where they had preached the
word," so far they were agreed. And Barnabas determined
to take with them John," because he was his sister's son, without
receiving or asking St. Pauls advice. "But Paul thought not
good to take him with them who had departed from them from
Pamphylia,"-whether through sloth or cowardice,-" and went
not with them to the work." And undoubtedly he thought
right; he had reason on his side. The following words are,
EyEvTro ov'I 7PapoVuaoc, literally, and there was a fit of anger.
It does not say, in St. Paul: Probably it was in Barnabas
alone: who thus supplied the want of reason with passion ; "so
that they parted asunder." And Barnabas, resolved to have
his own way, did as his nephew had done before, "departed
from the work,"-" took Mark with him, and sailed to Cyprus."
But Paul went on his work, "being recommended by the
brethren to the grace of God;" which Barnabas seems not to
have stayed for. And he went through Syria and Cilicia,
confirming the Churches." From the whole account, it does
not appear that St. Paul was in any fault; that he either felt
any temper, or spoke any word, contrary to the law of love.
Therefore, not being in any fault, he does not need any excuse.
7. Certainly he who is full of love is gentle towards all men."
He in meekness instructs those that oppose themselves;" that
oppose what he loves most, even the truth of God, or that holi.
ness without which no man shall see the Lord: Not knowing
but God, peradventure, may bring them to the knowledge
.of the truth." However provoked, he does "not return evil
for evil, or railing for railing." Yea, he blesses those that
curse him, and does good to them that despitefully use him and
persecute him." He "is not overcome of evil, but" always
'overcomes evil with good."
8. Thirdly. Love is longsuffering." It endures not a few
'affronts, reproaches, injuries; but all things, which God is
pleased to permit either men or devils to inflict. It arms tne
soul with inviolable patience; not harsh stoical patience, but
yielding as the air, which, making no resistance to the stroke,
receives no harm thereby. The lover of mankind remembers
Him who suffered for us, "leaving us an example that we might
tread in his steps." Accordingly, If his enemy hunger, lie
feeds him ; if he thirst, he gives him drink:" And by so doing,
he heaps coals of fire," of melting love, upon his head.
" And many waters cannot quench this love; neither can the
floods" of ingratitude drown it."
II. 1. We are, Secondly, to inquire, what those things are,
which, it is commonly supposed, will supply the place of love.
And the first of these is eloquence ; a faculty of talking well,
particularly on religious subjects. Men are generally inclined
to think well of one that talks well. If he speaks properly and
fluently of God, and the things of God, who can doubt of his
being in God's favour ? And it is very natural for him to think
well of himself; to have as favourable an opinion of himself as
2. But men of reflection are not satisfied with this: They
are not content with a flood of words; they prefer thinking
before talking; and judge, one that knows much is far prefer-
able to one that talks much. And it is certain, knowledge is an
excellent gift of God; particularly knowledge of the Holy
Scriptures, in which are contained all the depths of divine
knowledge and wisdom. Hence it is generally thought that a
man of much knowledge, knowledge of Scripture in particular,
must not only be in the favour of God, but likewise enjoy a
high degree of it.
3. But men of deeper reflection are apt to say, I lay no
stress upon any other knowledge, but the knowledge of God by
faith. Faith is the only knowledge, which, in the sight of God,
is of great price. We are saved by faith;' by faith alone:
This is the one thing needful. He that believeth, and he alone,
shall be saved everlastingly." There is much truth in this:
It is unquestionably true, that we are saved by faith:"
Consequently, that "he that believeth shall be saved, and he
that helieveth not shall be damned."
4. But some men will say, with the Apostle James, Show
me thy faith without thy works;" (if thou canst, but indeed it
is impossible;) and I will show thee my faith by my works."
And many'are induced to think that good works, works of piety
and mercy, are of far more consequence than faith itself, and
will supply the want of every other qualification for heaven.
Indeed this seems to be the general sentiment, not only of the
members of the Church of Rome, but of Protestants also; not
of the giddy and thoughtless, but the serious members of our
5. And this cannot be denied, our Lord himself hath said,
Ye shall know them by their fruits:" By their works ye know
them that believe, and them that believe not. But yet it may
be doubted, whether there is not a surer proof of the sincerity
of our faith than even our works, that is, our willingly suffering
for righteousness' sake: Especially if, after suffering reproach,
and pain, and loss of friends and substance, a man gives up life
itself; yea, by a shameful and painful death, by giving his
body to be burned, rather than he would give up faith and a
good conscience by neglecting his known duty.
6. It is proper to observe here, First, what a beautiful grada-
tion there is, each step rising above the other, in the enumeration
of those several things which some or other of those that are
called Christians, and are usually accounted so, really believe
will supply the absence of love. St. Paul begins at the lowest
point, talking well, and advances step by step; every one
rising higher than the preceding, till he comes to the highest
of all. A step above eloquence is knowledge: Faith is a step
above this. Good works are a step above that faith ; and even
above this, is suffering for righteousness' sake. Nothing is
higher than this, but Christian love ; the love of our neighbour,
flowing from the love of God.
7. It may be proper to observe, Secondly, that whatever
passes for religion in any part of the Christian world, (whether
it be a part of religion, or no part at all, but either folly, super-
stition, or wickedness,) may with very little difficulty be reduced
to one or other of these heads. Every thing which is supposed
to be religion, either by Protestants or Romanists, and is not,
is contained under one or another of these five particulars.
Make trial as often as you please, with anything that is called
religion, but improperly so called, and you will find the rule to
hold without any exception.
III. 1. I am now, in the Third place, to demonstrate, to all
who have ears to hear, who do not harden themselves against
conviction, that neither any one of these five qualifications, nor
all of them together, will avail anything before God, without
the love above described.
In order to do this in the clearest manner, we may consider
them one by one. And, First, "though I speak with the
tongues of men and of angels;"--with an eloquence such as
never was found in men, concerning the nature, attributes, and
works of God, whether of creation or providence; though I
were not herein a whit behind the chief of the Apostles;
preaching like St. Peter, and praying like St. John ;-vet unless
humble, gentle, patient love, be the ruling temper of my soul,
I am no better, in the judgment of God, than sounding brass,
or a rumbling cymbal." The highest eloquence, therefore,
either in private conversation, or in public ministrations,-the
brightest talents either for preaching or prayer,-if they were
not joined with humble, meek, and patient resignation, might
sink me the deeper into hell, but will not bring me one step
2. A plain instance may illustrate this. I knew a young man
between fifty and sixty years ago, who, during the course of
several years, never endeavoured to convince any one of a reli-
gious truth, but he was convinced; and he never endeavoured
to persuade any one to engage in a religious practice, but he
was persuaded: What then? All that power of convincing
speech, all that. force of persuasion, if it was not joined with
meekness and lowliness, with resignation and patient love,
would no more qualify him for the fruition of God, than a clear
voice, or a fine complexion. Nay, it would rather procure him
a hotter place in everlasting burnings!
3. Secondly. Though I have the gift of prophecy,"-of
foretelling those future events which no creature can foresee;
and though I understand all" the "mysteries" of nature, of
providence, and the word of God; and "have all knowledge"
of things, divine or human, that any mortal ever attained to;
though I can explain the most mysterious passages of Daniel,
of Ezekiel, and the Revelation;-yet if I have not humility, gen-
tleness, and resignation, I am nothing in the sight of God.
A little before the conclusion of the late war in Flanders, one
who came from thence gave us a very strange relation. I knew
not what judgment to form of this, but waited till John Haime
should come over, of whose veracity I could no more doubt than
of his understanding. The account he gave was this :-" Jona-
than Pyrah was a member of our society in Flanders. I knew
him some years, and knew him to be a man of an unblamable
character. One day he was summoned to appear before the
Board of General Officers. One of them said, What is this
which we hear of you ? We hear you are turned prophet, and
that you foretel the downfal of the bloody house of Bourbon,
and the haughty house of Austria. We should be glad if you
were a real prophet, and if your prophecies came true. But
what sign do you give, to convince us you are so, and that
your predictions will come to pass?' He readily answered,
SGentlemen, I give you a sign : To-morrow, at twelve o'clock,
you shall have such a storm of thunder and lightning as you
never had before since you came into Flanders. I give you a
second sign : As little as any of you expect any such thing, as
little appearance of it as there is now, you shall have a general
engagement with the French within three days. I give you a
third sign : I shall be ordered to advance in the first line. If I
am a false prophet, I shall be shot dead at the first discharge;
but if I am a true prophet, I shall only receive a musket-ball in
the calf of my left leg.' At twelve the next day there was such
thunder and lightning as they never had before in Flanders.
On the third day, contrary to all expectation, was the general
battle of Fontenoy. He was ordered to advance in the first line;
and, at the very first discharge, he did receive a musket-ball in
the calf of his left leg."
4. And yet all this profited him nothing, either for temporal
or eternal happiness. When the war was over, he returned to
England; but the story was got before him : In consequence
of which he was sent for by the Countess of St- s, and
several other persons of quality, who were desirous to receive
so surprising an account from his own mouth. He could not
bear so much honour. It quite turned his brain. In a little
time he ran stark mad. And so he continues to this day, living
still, as I apprehend, on Wibsey Moorside, within a few miles
5. And what would it profit a man to have all knowledge,"
even that which is infinitely preferable to all other,-the know-
* At the time of writing this sermon. He is since dead.
ledge of the Holy Scripture ? I knew a young man abu twenty
years ago, who was so thoroughly acquainted with the Bible,
that if he was questioned concerning any Hebrew word in the
Old, or any Greek word in the New Testament, he would tell,
after a little pause, not only how often the one or the other
occurred in the Bible, but also what it meant in every place.
His name was Thomas Walsh.* Such a master of Biblic
knowledge I never saw before, and never expect to see again.
Yet if, with all his knowledge, he had been void of love; if he
had been proud, passionate, or impatient; he and all his know-
ledge would have perished together, as sure as ever lie was born.
6. And though I have all faith, so that I could remove
mountains."-The faith which is able to do this cannot be the
fruit of vain imagination, a mere madman's dream, a system
of opinions; but must be a real work of God: Otherwise it
could not have such an effect. Yet if this faith does not work
by love, if it does not produce universal holiness, if it does not
bring forth lowliness, meekness, and resignation, it will profit
me nothing. This is as certain a truth as any that is delivered
in the whole oracles of God. All faith that is, that ever was,
or ever can be, separate from tender benevolence to every child
of man, friend or foe, Christian, Jew, Heretic, or Pagan,-
separate from gentleness to all men; separate from resignation
in all events, and contentedness in all conditions,-is not the
faith of a Christian, and will stand us in no stead before the
face of God.
7. Hear ye this, all you that are called Methodists You,
of all men living, are most concerned herein. You constantly
speak of salvation by faith: And you are in the right for so
doing. You maintain, (one and all,) that a man is justified
by faith without the works of the law. And you cannot do
otherwise, without giving up the Bible, and betraying your own
souls. You insist upon it, that we are saved by faith : And,
undoubtedly, so we are. But consider, meantime, that let us
have ever so much faith, and be our faith ever so strong, it will
never save us from hell, unless it now save us from all unholy
tempers, from pride, passion, impatience; from all arrogance
of spirit, all haughtiness and overbearing; from wrath, anger,
bitterness; from discontent, murmuring, fretfulness, peevishness.
* His Journal, written by himself, is extant.
We are of all men most inexcusable, if, having been so
frequently guarded against that strong delusion, we still, while
we indulge any of these tempers, bless ourselves, and dream
we are in the way to heaven !
8. Fourthly. "Although I give all my goods to the poor;"
-though I divide all my real and all my personal estate into
small portions, (so the original word properly signifies,) and
diligently bestow it on those who, I have reason to believe, are
the most proper objects;-yet if I am proud, passionate, or
discontented; if I give way to any of these tempers; whatever
good I may do to others, I do none to my own soul. 0 how
pitiable a case is this Who would not grieve that these
beneficent men should lose all their labour It is true, many
of them have a reward in this world, if not before, yet after their
death. They have costly and pompous funerals. They have
marble monuments of the most exquisite workmanship. They
have epitaphs wrote in the most elegant strain, which extol their
virtues to the skies. Perhaps they have yearly orations spoken
over them, to transmit their memory to all generations. So have
many founders of religious houses, of colleges, alms-houses, and
most charitable institutions. And it is an allowed rule, that none
can exceed in the praise of the founder of his house, college, or
hospital. But still what a poor reward is this Will it add to
their comfort or to their misery, suppose (which must be the case
if they did not die in faith) that they are in the hands of the
devil and his angels ? What insults, what cutting reproaches,
would these occasion, from their infernal companions 0 that
they were wise that all those who are zealous of good works
would put them in their proper place; would not imagine they
can supply the want of holy tempers, but take care that they
may spring from them !
9. How exceeding strange must this sound in the ears
of most of those who are, by the courtesy of England, called
Christians But stranger still is that assertion of the Apostle,
which comes in the last place: "Although I give my body
to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing."
Although rather than deny the faith, rather than commit a
known sin, or omit a known duty, I voluntarily submit to
a cruel death; deliver up my body to be burned;" yet if I
am under the power of pride, or anger, or fretfulness,-" it
profiteth me nothing."
10. Perhaps this may be illustrated by an example. We
have a remarkable account in the tracts of Dr. Geddes,-
a Civilian, who was Envoy from Queen Anne to the Court
of Portugal, in the latter end of her reign. He was present at
one of those Auto da Fes, Acts of Faith," wherein the Roman
Inquisitors burned heretics alive. One of the persons who was
then brought out for execution, having been confined in the
dungeons of the Inquisition, had not seen the sun for many
years. It proved a bright sunshiny day. Looking up, he cried
out in surprise, 0 how can any one who sees that glorious
luminary, worship any but the God that made it !" A Friar
standing by, ordered them to run an iron gag through his lips,
that he might speak no more. Now, what did that poor man
feel within when this order was executed ? If he said in his
heart, though he could not utter it with his lips, Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do," undoubtedly
the angels of God were ready to carry his soul into Abraham's
bosom. But if, instead of this, he cherished the resentment in
his heart which he could not express with his tongue, although
his body was consumed by the flames, I will not say his soul
went to paradise.
11. The sum of all that has been observed is this: Whatevel
I speak, whatever I know, whatever I believe, whatever I do,
whatever I suffer; if I have not the faith that worketh by
love, that produces love to God and all mankind, I am not
in the narrow way which leadeth to life, but in the broad
road that leadeth to destruction. In other words: Whatever
,eloquence I have ; whatever natural or supernatural knowledge;
whatever faith I have received from God; whatever works I do,
-whether of piety or mercy; whatever sufferings I undergo for
'conscience' sake, even though I resist unto blood: All these
things put together, however applauded of men, will avail
nothing before God, unless I am meek and lowly in heart, and
can say in all things, Not as I will, but as thou wilt !"
12. We conclude from the whole, (and it can never be too
much inculcated, because all the world votes on the other side,)
that true religion, in the very essence of it, is nothing short
of holy tempers. Consequently all other religion, whatever name
it bears, whether Pagan, Mahometan, Jewish, or Christian;
and whether Popish or Protestant, Lutheran or Reformed;
without these, is lighter than vanity itself.
ON ZEAL. 57
13. Let every man, therefore, that has a soul to be saved,
see that he secure this one point. With all his eloquence, his
knowledge, his faith, works, and sufferings, let him hold fast
this one thing needful." He that through the power of faith
endureth to the end in humble, gentle, patient love; he, and he
alone, shall, through the merits of Christ, "inherit the kingdom
prepared from the foundation of the world."
"It is good to be always zealously affected in a good thing."
Galatians iv. 18.
1. THERE are few subjects in the whole compass of religion,
that are of greater importance than this. For without zeal it is
impossible, either to make any considerable progress in religion
ourselves, or to do any considerable service to our neighbour,
whether in temporal or spiritual things. And yet nothing has
done more disservice to religion, or more mischief to mankind,
than a sort of zeal which has for several ages prevailed, both in
Pagan, Mahometan, and Christian nations. Insomuch that it
may truly be said, pride, covetousness, ambition, revenge, have
in all parts of the world slain their thousands; but zeal its ten
thousands. Terrible instances of this have occurred in ancient
times, in the most civilized heathen nations. To this chiefly
were owing the inhuman persecutions of the primitive Chris-
tians ; and, in later ages, the no less inhuman persecutions of the
Protestants by the Church of Rome. It was zeal that kindled
fires in our nation, during the reign of bloody Queen Mary.
It was zeal that soon after made so many provinces of France a
field of blood. It was zeal that murdered so many thousand
unresisting Protestants, in the never-to-be-forgotten massacre of
Paris. It was zeal that occasioned the still more horrid massacre
in Ireland; the like whereof, both with regard to the number
of the murdered, and the shocking circumstances wherewith
many of those murders were perpetrated, I verily believe never
occurred before since the world began. As to the other parts
of Europe, an eminent German writer has taken immense pains
to search both the records in various places and the most
authentic histories, in order to gain some competent knowledge
of the blood which has been shed since the Reformation, and
computes that, partly by private persecution, partly by religious
wars, in the course of forty years, reckoning from the year 1520.
above forty millions of persons have been destroyed !
2. But is it not possible to distinguish right zeal from
wrong ? Undoubtedly it is possible. But it is difficult; such
is the deceitfulness of the human heart; so skilfully do the
passions justify themselves. And there are exceeding few
treatises on the subject; at least in the English language. To
this day I have seen or heard of only one sermon; and that
was wrote above a hundred years ago, by Dr. Sprat, then
Bishop of Rochester; so that it is now exceeding scarce.
3. I would gladly cast in my mite, by God's assistance, toward
the clearing up this important question, in order to enable well-
meaning men, who are desirous of pleasing God, to distinguish
true Christian zeal from its various counterfeits. And this is
more necessary at this time than it has been for many years.
Sixty years ago there seemed to be scarce any such thing as
religious zeal left in the nation. People in general were
wonderfully cool and undisturbed about that trifle, religion.
But since then it is easy to observe, there has been a very
considerable alteration. Many thousands, almost in every part
of the nation, have felt a real desire to save their souls. And
I am persuaded there is at this day more religious zeal in
England, than there has been for a century past.
4. But has this zeal been of the right or the wrong kind?
Probably both the one and the other. Let us see if we cannot
separate these, that we may avoid the latter, and cleave to the
former. In order to this, I would first inquire,
I. What is the nature of true Christian zeal ?
II. What are the properties of it ? And,
III. Draw some practical inferences.
I. And, First, What is the nature of zeal in general, and
of true Christian zeal in particular ?
1. The original word, in its primary signification, means heat;
such as the heat of boiling water. When it is figuratively
applied to the mind, it means any warm emotion or affection.
Sometimes it is taken for envy. So we render it, Acts v. 17,
where we read, The High Priest, and all that were with him,
were filled with envy,"-exrAE o-nahv n.ou although it might
as well be rendered, were filled with zeal. Sometimes, it is
taken for anger and indignation ; sometimes, for vehement desire.
And whenany of our passions are strongly moved on a religious
account, whether for anything good, or against anything which
we conceive to be evil, this we term, religions zeal.
2. But it is not all that is called religious zeal which is
worthy of that name. It is not properly religious or Christian
zeal, if it be not joined with charity. A fine writer (Bishop
Sprat) carries the matter farther still. "It has been affirmed,"
says that great man, no zeal is right, which is not charitable,
but is mostly so. Charity or love, is not only one ingredient,
but the chief ingredient in its composition." May we not go
further still? May we not say, that true zeal is not mostly
charitable, but wholly so? that is, if we take charity, in St.
Paul's sense, for love; the love of God and our neighbour.
For it is a certain truth, (although little understood in the
world,) that Christian zeal is all love. It is nothing else.
The love of God and man fills up its whole nature.
3. Yet it is not every degree of that love, to which this
appellation is given. There may be some love, a small degree
of it, where there is no zeal. But it is, properly, love in a
higher degree. It is fervent love. True Christian zeal is no
other than the flame of love. This is the nature, the inmost
essence, of it.
II. 1. From hence it follows, that the properties of love are
the properties of zeal also. Now, one of the chief properties
of love is humility : Love is not puffed up." Accordingly, this
is a property of true zeal: Humility is inseparable from it. As
is the degree of zeal, such is the degree of humility : They must
rise and fall together. The same love which fills a man with
zeal for God, makes him little, and poor, and vile in his own eyes.
2. Another of the properties of love is meekness: Conse-
quently, it is one of the properties of zeal. It teaches us to be
meek, as well as lowly; to be equally superior to anger or
pride. Like as the wax melteth at the fire, so before this sacred
flame all turbulent passions melt away, and leave the soul
unruffled and serene.
3. Yet another property of love, and consequently of zeal, is
unwearied patience: For "love endureth all things." It arms
the sopl with entire resignation to all the disposals of Divine
Providence, and teaches us to say, in every occurrence, It is
the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good." It enables
us, in whatever station, therewith to be content; to repine at
nothing, to murmur at nothing, but in everything to give
4. There is a Fourth property of Christian zeal, which
deserves to be more particularly considered. This we learn
from the very words of the Apostle, It is good to be zealously
affected always" (not to have transient touches of zeal, but a
steady, rooted disposition) "in a good thing:" In that which
is good; for the proper object of zeal is, good in general; that
is, everything that is good, really such, in the sight of God.
5. But what is good in the sight of God? What is that
religion, wherewith God is always well pleased? How do the
parts of this rise one above another, and what is the comparative
value of them ?
This is a point exceeding little considered, and therefore little
understood. Positive divinity, many have some knowledge
of. But few know anything of comparative divinity. I never
saw but one tract upon this head; a sketch of which it may be
of use to subjoin.
In a Christian believer love sits upon the throne which is
erected in the inmost soul; namely, love of God and man,
which fills the whole heart, and reigns without a rival. In a
circle near the throne are all holy tempers ;-longsuffering,
gentleness, meekness, fidelity, temperance; and if any other were
comprised in the mind which was in Christ Jesus." In an
exterior circle are all the works of mercy, whether to the souls
or bodies of men. By these we exercise all holy tempers; by
these we continually improve them, so that all these are real
means of grace, although this is not commonly adverted to.
Next to these are those that are usually termed works of piety ;
-reading and hearing the word, public, family, private prayer,
receiving the Lord's Supper, fasting or abstinence. Lastly,
that his followers may the more effectually provoke one
another to love, holy tempers, and good works, our blessed
Lord has united them together in one body, the Church,
dispersed all over the earth; a little emblem of which, of the
Church universal, we have in every particular Christian
6. This is that religion which our Lord has established
upon earth, ever since the descent of the Holy Ghost on the
day of Pentecost. This is the entire, connected system
of Christianity: And thus the several parts of it rise one
above another, from that lowest point, the assembling ourselves
together, to the highest,-love enthroned in the heart. And
hence it is easy to learn the comparative value of every branch
of religion. Hence also we learn a Fifth property of true zeal
That as it is always exercised Ev xa~c, in that which is good,
so it is always proportioned to that good, to the degree
of goodness that is in its object.
7. For example. Every Christian ought, undoubtedly, to
be zealous for the Church, bearing a strong affection to it,
and earnestly desiring its prosperity and increase. He ought
to be thus zealous, as for the Church universal, praying for it
continually, so especially for that particular Church or Christian
society whereof he himself is a member. For this he ought to
wrestle with God in prayer; meantime using every means in
his power to enlarge its borders, and to strengthen his brethren,
that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour.
8. But he should be more zealous for the ordinances of Christ
than for the Church itself; for prayer in public and private;
for the Lord's Supper; for reading, hearing, and meditating
on his word; and for the much-neglected duty of fasting.
These he should earnestly recommend; first, by his example;
and then by advice, by argument, persuasion, and exhortation,
as often as occasion offers.
9. Thus should lie show his zeal for works of piety; but
much more for works of mercy; seeing God will have mercy
and not sacrifice;" that is, rather than sacrifice. Whenever,
therefore, one interferes with the other, works of mercy are to
be preferred. Even reading, hearing, prayer, are to be omitted,
or to be postponed, "at charity's almighty call;" when we are
called to relieve the distress of our neighbour, whether in body
10. But as zealous as we are for all good works, we should
still be more zealous for holy tempers; for planting and promot-
ing, both in our own souls, and in all we have any intercourse
with, lowliness of mind, meekness, gentleness, longsuffcring,
contentedness, resignation unto the will of God, deadness to the
world and the things of the world, as the only means of being
truly alive to God. For these proofs and fruits of living faith
we cannot be too zealous. We should talk of them as we sit
in our house," and "when we walk by the way," and "when
we lie down," and "when we rise up." We should make them
continual matter of prayer; as being far more excellent than
any outward works whatever: Seeing those will fail when the
body drops off; but these will accompany us into eternity.
11. But our choicest zeal should be reserved for love itself,-
the end of the commandment, the fulfilling of the law. The
Church, the ordinances, outward works of every kind, yea, all
other holy tempers, are inferior to this, and rise in value only
as they approach nearer and nearer to it. Here then is the
great object of Christian zeal. Let every true believer in
Christ apply, with all fervency of spirit, to the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ, that his heart may be more and
more enlarged in love to God and to all mankind. This one
thing let him do: Let him "press on to this prize of our high
calling of God in Christ Jesus."
III. It remains only to draw some practical inferences from
the preceding observations.
1. And, First, if zeal, true Christian zeal, be nothing but the
flame of love, then hatred, in every kind and degree, then every
sort of bitterness toward them that oppose us, is so far from
deserving the name of zeal, that it is directly opposite to it.
If zeal be only fervent love, then it stands at the utmost distance
from prejudice, jealousy, evil-surmising; seeing "love thinketh
no evil." Then bigotry of every sort, and, above all, the spirit
of persecution, are totally inconsistent with it. Let not, there-
fore, any of these unholy tempers screen themselves under that
sacred name. As all these are the works of the devil, let them
appear in their own shape, and no longer under that specious
disguise deceive the unwary children of God.
2. Secondly. If lowliness be a property of zeal, then pride
is inconsistent with it. It is true, some degree of pride may
remain after the love of God is shed abroad in the heart; as
this is one of the last evils that is rooted out, when God creates
all things new; but it cannot reign, nor retain any considerable
power, where fervent love is found. Yea, were we to give way
to it but a little, it would damp that holy fervour, and, if we
did not immediately fly back to Christ, would utterly quench
3. Thirdly. If meekness be an inseparable property of zeal,
what shall we say of those who call their anger by that name ?
Why, that they mistake the truth totally; that they, in the
fullest sense, put darkness for light, and light for darkness.
We cannot be too watchful against this delusion, because it
spreads over the whole Christian world. Almost in all places,
zeal and anger pass for equivalent terms; and exceeding few
persons are convinced, that there is any difference between them.
How commonly do we hear it said, "See how zealous the man
is !" Nay, he cannot be zealous; that is impossible, for he
is in a passion; and passion is as inconsistent with zeal, as light
with darkness, or heaven with hell!
It were well that this point were thoroughly understood. Let
us consider it a little farther. We frequently observe one that
bears the character of a religious man vehemently angry at his
neighbour. Perhaps he calls his brother Raca, or Thou fool.
He brings a railing accusation against him. You mildly
admonish him of his warmth. He answers, "It is my
zeal!" No: It is your sin, and, unless you repent of it, will
sink you lower than the grave. There is much such zeal as
this in the bottomless pit. Thence all zeal of this kind
comes; and thither it will go, and you with it, unless you are
saved from it before you go hence!
4. Fourthly. If patience, contentedness, and resignation, are
the properties of zeal, then murmuring, fretfulness, discontent,
impatience are wholly inconsistent with it. And yet how
ignorant are mankind of this! How often do we see men
fretting at the ungodly, or telling you they are out of patience
with such or such things, and terming all this their zeal! 0
spare no pains to undeceive them! If it be possible, show
them what zeal is; and convince them that all murmuring, or
fretting at sin, is a species of sin, and has no resemblance of,
or connexion with, the true zeal of the gospel.
5. Fifthly. If the object of zeal be that which is good, then
fervour for any evil thing is not Christian zeal. I instance
in idolatry, worshipping of angels, saints, images, the cross.
Although, therefore, a man were so earnestly attached to any
kind of idolatrous worship, that he would even "give his body
to be burned," rather than refrain from it, call this bigotry or
superstition, if you please, but call it not zeal; that is quite
From the same premises it follows, that fervour for indifferent
things is not Christian zeal. But how exceedingly common is
this mistake too Indeed one would think that men of under-
standing could not be capable of such weakness. But, alas!
the history of all ages proves the contrary. Who were men
of stronger understandings than Bishop Ridley and Bishop
Hooper? And how warmly did these, and other great men
of that age, dispute about the sacerdotal vestments! How
eager was the contention for almost a hundred years, for and
against wearing a surplice! 0 shame to man! I would as
soon have disputed about a straw or a barley-corn And this,
indeed, shall be called zeal! And why was it not rather called
wisdom or holiness?
6. It follows also, from the same premises, that fervour for
opinions is not Christian zeal. But how few are sensible
of this! And how innumerable are the mischiefs which even
this species of false zeal has occasioned in the Christian world !
How many thousand lives have been cast away by those who
were zealous for the Romish opinions! How many of the
excellent ones of the earth have been cut off by zealots, for the
senseless opinion of transubstantiation! But does not every
unprejudiced person see, that this zeal is "earthly, sensual,
devilish;" and that it stands at the utmost contrariety to
that zeal which is here recommended by the Apostle?
What an excess of charity is it then which our great poet
expresses, in his "Poem on the Last Day," where he talks
of meeting in heaven-
Those who by mutual wounds expired,
By zeal for their distinct persuasions fired !
Zeal indeed What manner of zeal was this, which led them
to cut one another's throats ?. Those who were fired with this
spirit, and died therein, will undoubtedly have their portion,
not in heaven, (only love is there,) but in the "fire that never
shall be quenched."
7. Lastly. If true zeal be always proportioned to the degree
of goodness which is in its object, then should it rise higher and
higher according to the scale mentioned above; according to the
comparative value of the several parts of religion. For instance,
all that truly fear God should be zealous for the Church; both
/for the catholic or universal Church, and for thatpart of it
whereof they are members. This is not the appointment of men,
'.ut of God. He saw it was not good for men to be alone,"
even in this sense, but that the whole body of his children should
be knit together, and strengthened, by that which every joint
supplieth." At the same time they should be more zealous
for the ordinances of God; for public and private prayer, for
hearing and reading the word of God, and for fasting, and the,
Lord's Supper. But they should be more zealous for works
of mercy, than even for works of piety. Yet ought they to be
more 'zealous still for all holy tempers, lowliness, meekness,
resignation: But most zealous of all, for that which is the sum
and the perfection of religion, the love of God and man.
8. It remains only to make a close and honest application
of these things to our own souls. We all know the general
truth, that it is good to be always zealously affected in a good
thing." Let us now, every one of us, apply it to his own soul
9. Those, indeed, who are still dead in trespasses and sins
have neither part nor lot in this matter; nor those that.live in
any open sin, such as drunkenness, Sabbath-breaking, or profane
swearing. These have nothing to do with zeal; they have no
business at all even to take the word in their mouth. It is utter
folly and impertinence for any to talk of zeal for God, while he
is doing the works of the devil. But if you have renounced the
devil and all his works, and-have settled it in your heart, I will
"worship the Lord my God, and him only will I serve," then
beware of being neither cold nor hot; then be zealous for God.
You may begin at the lowest step. Be zealous for the Church
more especially for that particular branch thereof wherein your
lot is cast. Study the welfare of this, and carefully observe all
the rules of it, for conscience' sake But, in the mean time, take
heed that you do not neglect any of the ordinances of God; for
the sake of which, in a great measure, the Church itself was
constituted: So that it would be highly absurd to talk of zeal
for the Church, if you were not more zealous for them. But
are you more zealous for works of mercy, than even for works
of piety ? Do you follow the example of your Lord, and prefer
mercy even before sacrifice? Do you use. all diligence in
feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting them that are
bick and in prison ? And, above all, do you use every means in
your power to save souls from death ? If, as you have time,
"you do good unto all men," though especially to them that
are of the household of faith," your zeal for the Church is
pleasing to God: But if not, if you are not "careful to
maintain good works," what have you to do with the Church?
If you have not compassion on your fellow-servants," neither
will your Lord have pity on you. Bring no more vain
oblations." All your service is an abomination to the Lord."
10. Are you better instructed than to put asunder what God
has joined ? than to separate works of piety from works of
mercy ? Are you uniformly zealous of both ? So far you walk
acceptably to God; that is, if you continually bear in mind,
that God searcheth the heart and reins;" that he is a Spirit,
and'they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in
truth ;" that, consequently, no outward works are acceptable to
him, unless they spring from holy tempers, without which no
man can have a place in the kingdom of Christ and God.
11. But of all holy tempers, and above all others, see that
you be most zealous for love. Count all,things loss in com-
parison of this,-the love of God and all mankind. It is most
sure, that if you give all your goods to feed the poor, yea, and
your body to be burned, and have not humble, gentle, patient
love, it profiteth you nothing. O let this be deep engraven
upon your heart: All is nothing without love !"
12. Take then the whole of religion together, just as God
has revealed it in his word; and be uniformly zealous for every
part of it, according to its degree of excellence, grounding all
your zeal on the one foundation,-" Jesus Christ and him
crucified ;" holding fast this one principle,-" The life I now
live; I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved .i E, and gave
himself for ME." Proportion your zeal to the. value of its
object. Be calmly zealous, therefore, First, for the Church;
"the whole state of Christ's Church militant here on earth,"
and in particular for that branch thereof with which you are
more immediately connected. Be more zealous for all those
Mrdinances which our blessed Lord hath appointed, to continue
therein to the end of the world. Be more zealous for those
,won~S of mercy, those sacrifices wherewith God is well
'pleased," those marks whereby the Shepherd of Israel will know
'his sheep at the last day. Be more zealous still, for holy
ON REDEEMtKG THE TIME
tempers, for longsuffering, gentleness, meekness, lowliness, and
resignation: But be most zealous of all for love, the queen
of all graces, the highest perfection in earth or heaven, the very
image of the invisible God, as in men below, so in angels above.
For "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in
God, and God in him."
ON REDEEMING THE TIME.
"Redeeming the time." Ephesians v. 16.
1. "SEE that ye walk circumspectly," says the Apostle in
the preceding verse, not as fools, but as wise men, redeeming
the time;" saving all the time you can for the best purposes;
buying up every fleeting moment out of the hands of sin and
Satan, out of the hands of sloth, ease, pleasure, worldly busi-
ness; the more diligently, because the present are evil days,"
days of the grossest ignorance, immorality, and profaneness.
2. This seems to be the general meaning of the words. But
I purpose, at present, to consider only one particular way
of "redeeming the time," namely, from sleep.
3. This appears to have been exceeding little considered even
by pious men. Many that have been eminently conscientious
in other respects, have not been so in this. They seemed to
think it an indifferent thing, whether they slept more or less;
and never saw it in the true point of view, as an important
branch of Christian temperance.
That we may have a more just conception hereof, I will
endeavour to show,
I. What it is to redeem the time from sleep.
II. The evil of not redeeming it. And,
III. The most effectual manner of doing it.
I. 1. And, First, What is it to redeem the time from sleep?
It is, in general, to take that measure of sleep every night which
nature requires, and no more; that measure which is most
conducive to the health and vigour both of the body and mind.
2. But it is objected, One measure will not suit all men :
-some require considerably more than others. Neither will
the same measure suffice even the same persons at one time
as at another. When a person is sick, or, if not actually so,
yet weakened by preceding sickness, he certainly wants more
of this natural restorative, than he did when in perfect health.
And so he will when his strength and spirits are exhausted by
hard or long-continued labour."
3. All this is unquestionably true, and confirmed by a thou-
sand experiments. Whoever, therefore, they are that have
attempted to fix one measure of sleep for all persons, did not
understand the nature of the human body, so widely different in
different persons: as neither did they who imagined that the
same measure would suit even the same person at all times.
One would wonder, therefore, that so great a man as Bishop
Taylor should have formed this strange imagination; much
more, that the measure which he has assigned for the general
standard should be only three hours in four and-twenty. That
good and sensible, man, Mr. Baxter, was not much nearer the
truth ; who supposes four hours in four-and-twenty will suffice
for any man. I know an extremely sensible man, who was
absolutely persuaded, that no one living needed to sleep above
five hours in twenty-four. But when he made the experiment
himself, he quickly relinquished the opinion. And I am fully
convinced, by an observation continued for more than fifty
years, that, whatever may be done by extraordinary persons, or
in .some extraordinary cases, (wherein persons have subsisted
with very little sleep for some weeks, or even months,) a human
body can scarce continue in health and vigour, without, at
least, six hours' sleep in four-and-twenty. Sure I am, I never
met with such an instance: I never fund either man.or woman
that retained vigorous health for one year, with a less quantity
of sleep than this.
4. And I have long observed, that women, in general, want
a little more sleep than men; perhaps, because they are, in
common, of a weaker, as well as a moister, habit of body. If,
therefore, one might venture to name one standard, (though
liah)e to many exceptions and occasional .alterations,) I am
inclined to think this would come near to the mark: Healthy
ON REDEEMING THE TIME.
.men, in general, need a little above six hours sleep, healthy
women, a little above seven, in four-and-twenty. I myself want
six hours and a half, and I cannot well subsist with less.
5. If any one desires to know exactly what quantity of sleep
his own constitution requires, he may very easily make the
.experiment which I made about sixty years ago: I then waked
every night about twelve or one, and lay awake for some time
I readily concluded, that this arose from my lying longer in bed
than nature required. To be satisfied, I procured an alarum,
which waked me the next morning at seven; (near an hour
earlier than I rose the day before;) yet I lay awake again at
night. The second morning I rose at six ;but, notwithstanding
this, I lay awake the second night. The third morning I rose
at five; but, nevertheless, I lay awake the third night. The
fourth morning I rose at four; (as, by the grace of God, I
have done ever since;) and I lay awake no more. And I do
not now lie awake (taking the year round) a quarter of an hour
together in a month. By the same experiment, rising earlier
and earlier every morning, may any one find how much sleep
he really wants.
II. 1. But why should any one be at so much pains?
What need is there of being so scrupulous ? Why should we
make ourselves so particular? What harm is there in doing
as our neighbours do? suppose in lying from ten till six or
seven in summer, and till eight or nine in winter?"
2. If you would consider this question fairly, you will need a
good deal of candour and impartiality; as what I am about to
say will probably be quite new; different from any thing you
ever heard in your life; different from the judgment, at least
from the example, of your parents and your nearest relations;
nay, and perhaps of the most religious persons you ever were
acquainted with. Lift up, therefore, your heart to the Spirit
of truth, and beg of him to shine upon it, that, without
respecting any man's person, you may see and follow the truth
as it is in Jesus.
3. Do you really desire to know what harm there is in not
redeeming all the time you can from sleep? suppose in
spending therein an hour a day more than nature requires?
Why, First, it hurts your substance; it is throwing away six
hours a week, which might turn to some temporal account.
If you can do any work, you might earn something in that
time, were it ever so small. And you have no need to throw
even this away. If you do not want it yourself, give it to
them that do; you know some of them that are not far off
If you are of no trade, still you may so employ the time that
it will bring money, or money's worth, to yourself, or others.
4. The not redeeming all the time you can from sleep, the
spending more time therein than your constitution necessarily
requires, in the Second place, hurts your health. Nothing can
be more certain than this, though it is not commonly observed,
because the evil steals on you by slow and insensible degrees.
In this gradual and almost imperceptible manner it lays the
foundation of many diseases. It is the chief real (though
unsuspected) cause of all nervous diseases in particular. Many
inquiries have been made, why nervous disorders are so much
more common among us than among our ancestors. Other
causes may frequently concur; but the chief is we lie longer in
bed. Instead of rising at four, most of us who are not obliged
to work for our bread lie till seven, eight, or nine. We need
inquire no farther. This sufficiently accounts for the large
increase of these painful disorders.
5. It may be observed, that most of these arise, not barely
from sleeping too long, but even from, what we imagine to be
quite harmless, the lying too long in bed. By soaking (as it
is emphatically called) so long between warm sheets, the flesh
is, as it were, parboiled, and becomes soft and flabby. The
nerves, in the mean time, are quite unstrung, and all the train
of melancholy symptoms, faintness, tremors, lowness of spirits,
(so called,) come on, till life itself is a burden.
6. One common effect of either sleeping too long, or lying
too long in bed, is weakness of sight, particularly that weakness
which is of the nervous kind. When I was young, my sight
was remarkably weak. Why is it stronger now than it was
forty years ago? I impute this principally to the blessing
of God, who fits us for whatever he calls us to. But
undoubtedly the outward means which he has been pleased to
bless was the rising early in the morning.
7. A still greater objection to the not rising early, the not
redeeming all the time we can from sleep, is, it hurts the soul,
as well as the body; it is a sin against God. And this indeed
it must necessarily be, on both the preceding accounts. For
we cannot waste, or (which comes to the same thing) not
ON REDEEMIXG THE TIME.
improve, any part of our worldly substance, neither can we
impair our own health, without sinning against Him.
8. But this fashionable intemperance does also hurt the soul
in a more direct manner. It sows the seeds of foolish and
hurtful desires; it dangerously inflames our natural appetites;
which a person stretching and yawning in bed is just prepared
to gratify. It breeds and continually increases sloth, so often
objected to the English nation. It opens the way, and prepares
the soul, for every other kind of intemperance.: It breeds an
universal softness and faintness of spirit, making us afraid
of every little inconvenience, unwilling to deny ourselves any
pleasure, or to take up or hear any cross. And how then shall
we be able (without which we must drop into hell) to "take
the kingdom of heaven by violence?" It totally unfits us
for "enduring hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ;"
and, consequently, for "fighting the good fight of faith, and
laying hold on eternal life."
9. In how beautiful a manner does that great man, Mr. Law,
treat this important subject !* Part of his words I cannot but
here subioin, for the use of every sensible reader.
I take it for granted, that every Christian who is in health
is up early in the morning. For it is much more reasonable to
suppose a person is up early because he is a Christian, than
because he is a labourer, or a tradesman, or a servant.
We conceive an abhorrence of a man that is in bed when
he should be at his labour. We cannot think good of him,
who is such a slave to drowsiness to neglect his business for it.
Let this, therefore, teach us to conceive how odious we
must appear to God, if we are in bed, shut up in sleep, when
we should be praising God; and are such slaves to drowsiness
as to neglect our devotions for it.
Sleep is such a dull, stupid state of existence, that, even
among mere animals, we despise them most which are most
drowsy. He, therefore, that chooses to enlarge the slothful
indolence of sleep, rather than be early at his devotions.
chooses the dullest refreshment of the body, before the noblest
enjoyments of the soul. He chooses that state which is a
reproach to mere animals, before that exercise which is the
glory of angels.
10. "Besides, he that cannot deny himself this drowsy
Viz., Redeeming Time from Sleep.
indulgence, is no more prepared for prayer when he is up,,
than he is .prepared for fasting or any other act of self-denial.
lie may indeed more easily read over a form of prayer, than he
can perform these duties; but he is no more disposed for the
spirit of prayer, than he is disposed for fasting. For sleep thus
indulged gives a softness to all our tempers, and makes us
unable to relish any thing but what suits an idle state of mind,
as sleep does.. So that a person who is a slave to this idleness
is in the same temper when he is up. Every thing that is idle
or sensual pleases him. And every thing that requires trouble
or self-denial, is hateful to him, for the same reason that he
hates to rise.
*11. It is not possible for an epicure to be truly devout.
He must renounce his sensuality, before he can relish the
happiness of devotion. Now, lie that turns sleep into an idle
indulgence, does as much to corrupt his soul, to make it a
slave to bodily appetites, as an epicure does. It does not
disorder his health, as notorious acts of intemperance do; but,
like any more moderate course of indulgence, it silently,,and
by smaller degrees, wears away the spirit of religion, and sinks
the soul into dulness and sensuality.
Self-denial of all kinds is the very life and soul of piety.
But he that has not so much of it as to be able to be early at
his prayers, cannot think that he has taken up his cross, and is
"What conquest has he got over himself? What right
hand has he cut off? What trials is he prepared for? What
sacrifice is he ready to offer to God, who cannot be so cruel
to himself as to rise to pray at such a time as the drudging
part of the world are.content to rise to their labour?
12. Some people will not scruple to tell you, that they indulge
themselves in sleep because they have nothing to do; and that
if they had any business to rise to, they would not lose so much
of their time in sleep. But they must be told, that they mistake
the matter; that they have a great deal of business to do;
they have a hardened heart to change; they have the whole
spirit of religion to get. For surely, he that thinks he has
nothing to do, because nothing but his prayers want him, may
justly be said to have the whole spirit of religion to seek.
"You must not therefore consider how small a fault it is
to rise late; but.,how great a misery it is to want the spirit
ON REDEEMING THE TIME.
of religion, and to live in such softness and idleness as make
you incapable of the fundamental duties of Christianity.
*' If I was to desire you not to study the gratification of your
palate, I would not insist upon the sin of wasting your money,
though it is a great one; hut I would desire you to renounce
such a way of life, because it supports you in such a state
of sensuality as renders you incapable of relishing the most
essential doctrines of religion.
** For the same reason, I do not insist much upon the sin
of wasting your time in sleep, though it be a great one; but
I desire you to renounce this indulgence, because it gives a
softness and idleness to your soul, and is so contrary to that
lively, zealous, watchful, self-denying spirit, which was not only
the spirit of Christ and his Apostles, and the spirit of all the
saints and martyrs that have ever been among men, but
must be the spirit of all those who would not sink in the common
corruption of the world.
13. Here, therefore, we must fix our charge against this
practice. We must blame it, not as having this or that particu-
lar evil, but as a general habit that extends.itself through our
whole spirit, and supports a state of mind that is wholly wrong.
It is contrary to piety ; not as accidental slips or mistakes
in life are contrary to it; but in such a manner as an ill state
of body is contrary to health.
On the other hand, if you was to rise early every morning,
as an instance of self-denial, as a method of renouncing
indulgence, as a means of redeeming your time and fitting
your spirit for prayer, you would soon find the advantage.
This method, though it seems but a small circumstance, might
be a means of great piety. It would constantly keep it in
your mind, that softness and idleness are the bane of religion.
It would teach you to exercise power over yourself, and to
renounce other pleasures and tempers that war against the soul.
'And what is so planted and watered will certainly have ar.
increase from God."
III. 1. It now only remains to inquire, in the Third place,
'how we may redeem the time, how we may proceed in this
important affair. In what manner shall we most effectually
practise this important branch of temperance?
I advise all of you who are thoroughly convinced of the
unspeakable importance of it, suffer.not that conviction to die
74 S1ERMON XCIII.
away, but instantly begin to act suitably to it. Only do not
depend on your own strength; if you do, you will be utterly
baffled. Be deeply sensible, that as you are not able to do any
thing good of yourselves, so here, in particular, all your strength,
all your resolution, will avail nothing. Whoever trusts in
himself will be confounded. I never found an exception. I
never knew one who trusted in his own strength that could
keep this resolution for a twelve-month.
2. I advise you, Secondly, cry to the Strong for strength
Call upon Him that hath all power in heaven and earth,
and believe that he will answer the prayer that goeth not out
of feigned lips. As you cannot have too little confidence in
yourself, so you cannot have too much in him. Then set
out in faith ; and surely his strength shall be made perfect in
3. I advise you, Thirdly, add to your faith, prudence: Use
the most rational means to attain your purpose. Particularly
begin at the right end, otherwise you will lose your labour.
If you desire to rise early, sleep early; secure this point at all
events. In spite of the most dear and agreeable companions,
in spite of their most earnest solicitations, in spite of entreaties,
railleries, or -reproaches, rigorously keep your hour. Rise up
precisely at your time, and retire without ceremony. Keep your
hour, notwithstanding the most pressing business: Lay all
things by till the morning. Be it ever so great a cross, ever so
great self-denial, keep your hour, or all is over.
4. I advise you, Fourthly, be steady. Keep your hour
of rising without intermission. Do not rise two mornings, and
lie in bed the third; but what you do once, do always. But
my head aches." Do not regard that. It will soon be over.
But I am uncommonly drowsy; my eyes are quite heavy."
Then you must not parley; otherwise it is a lost case; but
start up at once. And if your drowsiness does not go off, lie
down for awhile an hour or two after. But let nothing make a
breach upon this rule, rise and dress yourself at your hour.
5. Perhaps you will say," The advice is good; but it comes
too late 1 have made a breach already. I did rise constantly
for a season, nothing hindered me. Hut I gave way by little
and little, and I have now left it off for a considerable time."
Then, in the name of God, begin ag in Begin to-morrow; or
rather to-night, by going to bed early, in spite of either company
ON REDEEMING THE TIME.
or business. Begin with more self-diffidence than before, but
with more confidence in God. Only follow these few rules, and,
my soul for yours, God will give you the victory. In a little
time the difficulty will be ovei ; but the benefit will last for
6. If you say, "But I cannot do now as I did then; for I
am not what I was: I have many disorders, my spirits are low,
my hands shake; I am all relaxed,"--I answer: All these are
nervous symptoms; and they all partly arise from your taking
too much sleep : Nor is it probable they will ever be removed,
unless you remove the cause. Therefore, on this very account,
(not only to punish yourself for your folly and unfaithfulness,
but,) in order to recover your health and strength, resume your
early rising. You have no other way; you have nothing else
to do. You have no other possible means of recovering, in
any tolerable degree, your health both of body and mind. Do
not murder yourself outright. Do not run on in the path that
leads to the gates of death! As I said before, so I say again,
In the name of God, this very day, set out anew. True, it will
be more difficult than it was at the beginning. But bear the
difficulty which you have brought upon yourself, and it will not
last long. The Sun of Righteousness will soon arise again, and
will heal both your soul and your body.
7. But do not imagine that this single point, rising early,
will suffice to make you a Christian. No: Although that
single point, the not rising, may keep you a Heathen, void
of the whole Christian spirit; although this alone (especially
if you had once conquered it) will keep you cold, formal,
heartless, dead, and make it impossible for you to get one
step forward in vital holiness, yet this alone will go but a little
way to make you a real Christian. It is but one step out
of many; but it is one. And having taken this, go forward.
Go on to universal self-denial, to temperance in all things, to
a firm resolution of taking up daily every cross whereto you
are called. Go on, in a full pursuit of all the mind that was
in Christ, of inward and then outward holiness; so shall you
be not almost but altogether a Christian; so shall you finish
your course with joy: You shall awake up after his likeness,
and be satisfied.
ON FAMILY RELIGION.
SAs for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
Joshua xxiv. 15.
1. IN the foregoing verses we read that Joshua, now grown
old, "gathered the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for
the elders of Israel, for their heads, for their judges and officers;
and they presented themselves before the Lord.' Verse 1.)
And Joshua rehearsed to them the greit things which God had
done for their fathers; (verses 2-13;) concluding with that
strong exhortation: Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve
him in sincerity and truth ; and put away the god& which your
fathers served on the other side'the flood, (Jordan,) and in
Egypt." (Verse 14.) Can anything be more astonishing than
this? that even in Egypt, yea, and in the wilderness, where
they were daily fed, and both day and night guided by miracle,
the Israelites, in general, should worship idols, in flat defiance
of the Lord their God He proceeds: If it seemeth evil to
you to serve the Lord, choose ye this day whom ye will serve;
whether the gods your fathers served on the other side of the
flood, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell: But
as for me and my house, we will serve tihe Lord."
2. A resolution this worthy of a hoary-headed saint, who had
had large experience, from his youth up, of the goodness of the
Master to whom he had devoted himself, and the advantages
of his service. How much is it to be wished that all who
have tasted that the Lord is gracious, all whom he has brought
out of the land of Egypt, out of the bondage of sin,-those
especially who are united together in Christian fellowship,-
would adopt this wise resolution Then would the work of the
'Lord prosper in our land; then would his word run and Iie
glorified. Then would multitudes of sinners in every place
stretch out their hands unto God, until the glory of the Lord
covered the land, as the waters cover the sea."
fV FAMILY REI.LIGION. 77
3. On the contrary, what will the consequence be, if they do
not adopt this resolution ?-if family religion be neglected ?-
it care be not taken of the rising generation? Will not the
present revival of religion in a short time die away ? Will it
not be as the historian speaks of the Roman state in its infancy,
-res unius cetatis?-" an event that has its beginning and
end within the space of one generation ?" Will it not be a
confirmation of that melancholy remark of Luther's, that a
revival of religion never lasts longer than one generation ? By
a generation, (as he explains himself,) he means thirty years,
But, blessed be God, this remark does not hold with regard to
the present instance; seeing this. revival, from its rise in the
year 17-9, has already lasted above fifty years.
4. Have we not already seen some of the unhappy conse,
quences of good men's not adopting this resolution? Is there
not a generation arisen, even within this period, yea, and from
pious parents, that know not the Lord ? that have neither his
love in their hearts, nor his fear before their eyes? How many
of them already despise their fathers, and mock at the counsel
of their mothers!" How many are utter strangers to real
religion, to the life; and power of it! .And not a few have
shaken off all religion, and abandoned themselves to all manner
of wickedness! Now, although this may sometimes be the
case, even of children educated in a pious manner, yet this case
is very rare: I have met with some, but not many, instances
of it. The wickedness of the children is generally owing to the
fault or neglect of their parents. For it is a general, though not
universal rule, though it admits of some exceptions, Train
up a child in the way he.should go, and when he is old he will
not depart from it."
5. But what is the purport of this resolution, I and my
house will serve the Lord?" In order to understand and
practise this, let us, First, inquire, what it is to "serve the
Lord." Secondly, Who are included in that expression,
" my house." And, Thirdly, What can we do, that we and
our-house may serve the Lord.
I. 1. We may inquire, First, what it is to serve the Lord."
not as a Jew, but as a Christian ; not only with, an outward
service, (though some of the Jews undoubtedly went farther
than this,) but, with inward, with the service of the heart,
"-worshipping him in spirit and in truth." The First thing
78 SERMON XCIV.
implied in this service is faith; believing in the name of the
Son of God. We cannot perform an acceptable service to God.
till we believe on Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. Here the
spiritual worship of God begins. As soon as any one has the
witness in himself; as soon as he can say, The life tnat i
now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and
gave himself for me;" he is able truly to "serve the Lord."
2. As soon as he believes, he loves God, which is another
thing implied in serving the Lord." We love him because
he first loved us;" of which faith is the evidence. The love
of a pardoning God is" shed abroad in our hearts, by the
Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Indeed this love may
admit of a thousand degrees : But still every one, as long as he
believes, may truly declare before God, *' Lord, thou knowest
that I love thee.' Thou knowest that 'my desire is unto
thee, and unto the remembrance of thy name.' "
3. And if any man truly love God, he cannot but love his
brother also. Gratitude to our Creator will surely produce
benevolence to our fellow-creatures. If we love Him, we
cannot but love one another, as Christ loved us. We feel
our souls enlarged in love toward every child of man. And
toward all the children of God we put on bowels of kindness,
gentleness, longsuffering, forgiving one another," if we have
a complaint against any, "even as God, for Christ's sake,
hath forgiven us."
4. One thing more is implied in "serving the Lord," namely,
the obeying him; the steadily walking in all his ways, the doing
his will from the heart. Like those, his servants" above, '- who
do his pleasure, who keep his commandments, and hearken to
the voice of his words;" these, his servants below, hearken unto
his voice, diligently keep his commandments, carefully avoid
whatever he has forbidden, and zealously do whatever he hay
enjoined; studying always to have a conscience void of offtnce
toward God and toward man.
II. I and my house will serve the Lord," will every real
Christian say. But who ale. included in that expression, "'my
house ?" This is the next point to be considered.
1. The person in your house that claims your first and
nearest attention, is, undoubtedly, your wife; seeing you are to
love her, even as Christ hath loved the Church, when he laid
down his life for it, 'that he might "purify it unto himself, not
ON FAMILY RELIGION.
having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." The same end is
every husband to pursue, in all his intercourse with his wife;
to use every possible means that she may be freed from every
spot, and may walk unblamable in love.
2. Next to your wife are your children; immortal spirits
whom God hath, for a time, entrusted to your care, that you
may train them up in all holiness, and fit them for the enjoy-
ment of God in eternity. This is a glorious and important
trust; seeing one soul is of more value than all the world
beside. Every child, therefore, you are to watch over with
the utmost care, that, when you are called to give an account
of each to the Father of Spirits, you may give your accounts
with joy and not with grief.
3. Your servants, of whatever kind, you are to look upon
as a kind of secondary children: These, likewise, God has
committed to your charge, as one that must give account. For
every one under your roof that has a soul to be saved is under
your care; not only indented servants, who are legally engaged
to remain with you for a term of years; not only hired servants,
whether they voluntarily contract for a longer or shorter time
but also those who serve you by the week or day: For these
too are, in a measure, delivered into your hands. And it is not
the will of your Master who is in heaven, that any of these
should go out of your hands before they have received from
you something more valuable than gold or silver. Yea, and you
are in a degree accountable even for the stranger that is
within your gates." As you are particularly required to see
'that he does no manner of work" on the Lord's day, while he
is within your gates; so, by parity of reason, you are required
to do all that is in your power to prevent his sinning against
God in any other instance.
III. Let us inquire, in the Third place, What can we do that
all these may "serve the Lord ?"
1. May we not endeavour, First, to restrain them from all
outward sin; from profane swearing; from taking the name
of God in vain; from doing any needless work. or taking any
pastime, on the Lord's day? This labour of love you owe
even to your visitants; much more to your wife, children, and
servants. The former, over whom you have the least influence,
you may restrain by argument or mild persuasion. If you find
that, after repeated trials, they will not yield either.to one,or the
other, it is your bounden duty to set ceremony aside, and to dis-
miss them from your house. Servants also, whether by the day,
or for a longer space, if you cannot reclaim, either by reasoning
added to your example, or by gentle or severe reproofs, though
frequently repeated, you must, in anywise, dismiss from your
family, though it should be ever so inconvenient.
2. But you cannot dismiss your wife, unless for the cause
of fornication, that is, adultery. What can then be done, if she
is habituated to any other open sin ? I cannot find in the Bible
that a husband has authority to strike his wife on any account,
even suppose she struck him first, unless his life were in immi-
nent danger. I never have known one instance yet of a wife
that was mended thereby. I have heard, indeed, of some such
instances; but as I did not see them, I do not believe them.
It seems to me, all that can be done in this case is to be done
partly, by example, partly by argument or persuasion, each
applied in such a manner as is dictated by Christian prudence.
If evil can ever be overcome, it must be overcome by good. It
cannot be overcome by evil: -We cannot beat the devil with his
own weapons. Therefore, if this evil cannot be overcome by
good, we are called to suffer it. We are then called to say,
" This is the cross which God hath chosen for me. He surely
permits it for wise ends; 'let him do what seemeth him good.'
Whenever he sees it to be best, he will remove this cup from
me." Meantime continue in earnest prayer, knowing that with
God no word is impossible; and that he will either in due time
take the temptation away, or make it a blessing to your soul.
3. Your children, while they are young, you may restrain
from evil, not only by advice, persuasion, and reproof, but also
by correction ; only remembering, that this means is to be
used last,-not till all other have been tried, and found to be
ineffectual. And even then you should take the utmost care
to avoid the very appearance of passion. Whatever is done
should be done with mildness; nay, indeed, with kindness too.
Otherwise your own spirit will suffer loss, and the child will
reap little advantage.
4. Butsome will tell you, "All this is lost labour: A child
need not to be corrected at all. Instruction, persuasion, and
advice, will be sufficient for any child without correction; espe-
cially if gentle reproof be added, as occasion may require." I
answer, There may be particular instances, wherein this method
ON FAMILY RELIGION.
may be successful. But you must not, in anywise, lay this down
as an universal rule; unless you suppose yourself wiser than
Solomon, or, to speak more properly wier than God. For it is
God himself, who best knoweth his own creatures, that has told
us expressly, He that spareth the rod, hateth his son : But
he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." (Prov. xiii. 24.)
And upon this is grounded that plain commandment, directed
to all that fear God, Chasten thy son while thlire is hope,
and let not thy soul spare for his crying." (xix. 18.)
5. May we not endeavour, Secondly, to instruct them? to
take care that every person who is under our roof have all such
knowledge as is necessary to salvation ? to see that our wife,
servants, and children be taught all those things which belong
to their eternal peace ? In order to this you should provide that
not only your wife, but your servants also, may enjoy all the
public means of instruction. On the Lord's day in particular,.
you should so forecast what is necessary to be done at home,
that they may have an opportunity of attending all the ordi-
nances of God. Yea, and you should take care that they
have some time every day for reading, meditation, and prayer;
and you should inquire whether they do actually employ that
time in the exercises for which it is allowed. Neither should
any day pass without family prayer, seriously and solemnly
6. You should particularly endeavour to instruct your child-
ren, early, plainly, frequently, and: patiently. Instruct them
early, from the first hour that you perceive reason begins to
dawn. Truth may then begin to shine upon the mind far earlier
than we are apt to suppose. And whoever watches the first
openings of the understanding, may, by little and little, supply
fit matter for it to work upon, and may turn the eye of the sou,
toward good things, as well as toward bad or trifling ones.
Whenever a child begins to speak, you may be assured reason
begins to work. I know no cause why a parent should not just
then begin to speak of the best things, the things of God. And
from that time no opportunity should be lost, of instilling all
truths as they are capable of receiving.
7. But the speaking to them early will not avail, unless
you likewise speak to them plainly. Use such words as little
children may understand, just such as they use themselves.
Carefully observe the few ideas which they have already, and
endeavour to graft what you say upon them. To take a little
example: Bid the child look up; and ask. What do you see
there?" "The sun." "See, how bright it is! Feel how
warm it shines upon your hand! Look, how it makes the grass
and the flowers to grow, and the trees and everything look
green But God, though you cannot see him, is above the
fky, and is a deal brighter than the sun It is he, it is God
that made the sun, and you, and me, and everything. It is he
that makes the grass and the flowers grow; that makes the trees
green, and the fruit to come upon them Think what he can
do! He can do whatever he pleases. He can strike me or
you dead in a moment! But he loves you; he loves to do you
good. He loves to make you happy. Should not you then
love him ? You love me, because I love you and do you good.
But it is God that makes me love you. Therefore, you
should love him. And he will teach you how to love him."
8.. While you are speaking in this, or some such manner, you
should be continually lifting up your heart to God, beseeching
him to open the eyes of their understanding, and to pour his
light upon them. He, and he alone, can make them to difler
herein from the beasts that perish. He alone can apply your
words to their hearts; without which all your labour will be in
"vain. But whenever the Holy Ghost teaches, there is no delay
9. But if you would see the fruit of your labour, you must
teach them not only early and plainly, but frequently too. It
would be of little or no service to do it only once or twice a
week. How often do you feed their bodies? Not less than
three times a day. And is the soul of less value than the body ?
Will you not then feed this as often ? If you find this a tiresome
task, there is certainly something wrong in your own mind. You
do not love them enough; or you do not love Him who is your
Father and their Father. Humble yourself before him Beg
that he would give you more love; and love will make the
10. But it will not avail to teach them both early, plainly,
and frequently, unless you persevere therein. Never leave off,
never intermit your labour of love, till you see the fruit of it.
But in order to this, you will find the absolute need of being
ended with power from on high; without which, I am per-
suaded, none ever had, or will have, patience sufficient for the
ON FAMILY RELIGION.
work. Otherwise, the inconceivable dulness of some children,
and the giddiness or perverseness of others, would induce them
to give up the irksome task, and let them follow their own
11. And suppose, after you have done this, after you have
taught your children from their early infancy, in the plainest
manner you could, omitting no opportunity, and persevering
therein, you did not presently see any fruit of your labour,
you must not conclude that there will he none. Possibly the
bread" which you have cast upon the waters" may be found
after many days." The seed which has long remained in the
ground may, at length, spring up into a plentiful harvest.
Especially if you do not restrain prayer before God, if you con-
tinue instant herein with all supplication. Meantime, whatever
the effect of this be upon others, your reward is with the Most
12. Many parents, on the other hand, presently see the fruit
of the seed they have sown, and have the comfort of observing
that their children grow in grace in the same proportion as they
grow in years. Yet they have not done all. They have still
upon their hands another task, sometimes of no small difficulty.
Their children are now old enough to go to school. But to
what school is it advisable to send them ?
13. Let it be remembered, that I do not speak to the wild,
giddy, thoughtless world, but to those that fear God. I ask,
then, for what end do you send your children to school?
Why, that they may be fit to live in the world." In which
world do you mean,-this or the next? Perhaps you thought
of this world only; and had forgot that there is a world to
come; yea, and one that will last for ever! Pray take this
into your account, and send them to such masters as will keep
it always before their eyes: Otherwise, to send them to school
(permit me to speak plainly) is little better than sending them
to the devil. At all events, then, send your boys, if you have
any concern for their souls, not to any of the large public
schools, (for they are nurseries of all manner of wickedness,)
but a private school, kept by some pious man, who endeavours
to instruct a small number of children in religion and learning
14. "But what shall I do with my girls?" By no means
send them to a large boarding-school. In these seminaries too
the children teach one another pride, vanity, affectation, intrigue,
artifice, and, in short, everything which a Christian woman ought
not to learn. Suppose a girl were well inclined, yet what would
she do in a crowd of children, not one of whom has any thought
of God, or the least concern for her soul ? Is it likely, is it
possible, she should retain any fear of God, or any thought
of saving her soul in such company? especially as their whole
.conversation points another way, and turns upon things which
one would wish she would never think of. I never yet knew a
pious, sensible woman that had been bred at a large boarding-
school, who did not aver, one might as well send a young maid
to be bred in Irury-Lane.
15. "But where, then, shall I send my girls?" If you
cannot breed them up yourself, (as my mother did, who bred
up seven daughters to years of maturity,) send them to some
mistress that truly fears God; one who'e life is a pattern to
her scholars, and who has only so many that she can watch
over each as one that must give account to God. Forty
years ago I did not know such a mistress in England; but you
may now find several; you may find such a mistress, and such
a school, at Highgate, at Deptford, near Bristol, in Chester, or
16. We may suppose your sons have now been long enough
at school, and you are thinking of some business for them.
Before you determine anything on this head, see that your eye
be single. Is it so ? Is it your view to please God herein ? It
is well if you take him into your account But surely, if you
love or fear God yourself, this will be your first consideration,-
In what business will your son be most likely to love and serve
God ? In what employment will he have the greatest advantage
for laying up treasure in heaven ?" I have been shocked above
measure in observing how little this is attended to, even by
pious parents! Even these consider only how he may get most
money; not how he may get most holiness! Even these, upon
this glorious motive, send him to a heathen master, and into
family where there is not the very form, much less the power
of religion Upon this motive they fix him in a business which
will necessarily expose him to such temptations as will leave him
not a probability, if a possibility, of serving God. O savage
parents! unnatural, diabolical cruelty .-if you believe there is
ON FAMILY RELIGION.
"But what shall I do?" Set God before your eyes, and do
all things with a view to please him. Then you will find a
master, of whatever profession, that loves, or at least fears,
God ; and you will find a family wherein is the form of religion,
if not the power also. Your son may nevertheless serve the
devil if he will; but it is probable he will not. And do not
regard, if he get less money, provided he get more holiness.
It is enough, though lie have less of earthly goods, if he secure
the possession of heaven.
17. There is one circumstance more wherein you will
have great need of the wisdom from above. Your son or your
daughter is now of age to marry, and desires your advice relative
to it. Now you know what the world calls a good match,-one
whereby much money is gained. Undoubtedly it is so, if it be
true that money always brings happiness: But I doubt it is
not true; money seldom brings happiness, either in this world
or the world to come. Then let no man deceive you with vain
words ; riches and happiness seldom dwell together. Therefore,
if you are wise, you will not seek riches for your children by
their marriage. See that your eye be single in this also:
Aim simply at the glory of God, and the real happiness of your
children, both in time and eternity. It is a melancholy thing to
see how Christian parents rejoice in selling their son or their
daughter to a wealthy Heathen And do you seriously call this
a good match ? Thou fool, by parity of reason, thou mayest
call hell a good lodging, and the devil a good master. 0
learn a better lesson from a better Master Seek ye first the
kingdom of God and his righteousness," both for thyself and
thy children ; "and all other things shall be added unto you."
18. It is undoubtedly true, that if you are steadily determined
to walk in this path; to endeavour by every possible means,
that you and your house many thus serve the Lord; that every
member of your family may worship him, not only in form, but
in spirit and in truth ; you will have need to use all the grace,
all the courage, all the wisdom which God has given you; for
you will find such hindrances in the way, as only the mighty
power of God can enable you to break through. You will have
all the saints of the world to grapple with, who will think you
carry things too far. You will have all the powers of darkness
against you, employing both force and fraud; and, above all,
the deceitfulness of your own heart; which, if you will hearken
(16 SERM1ON XCV.
to it, will supply you with many reasons why you should h1 a
little more conformable to the world. But as you have begun,
go on in the name of the Lord, and in the power of his might
Set the smiling and the frowning world, with the prince thereof,
at defiance. Follow reason and the oracles of God; not the
fashions and customs of men. Keep thyself pure." What-
ever others do, let you and your house "adorn the doctrine
of God our Saviour." Let you, your yoke-fellow, your children,
and your servants, be all on the Lord's sido ; sweetly drawing
together in one yoke, walking in all his commandments and
ordinances, till every one of you "shall receive his own reward,
according to his own labour!"
ON THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN.
STrain up a child in the way wherein he should go: And
when he is old, he will not depart from it." Prov. xxii. 6i.
1. WE must not imagine that these words are to be under-
stood in an absolute sense, as if no child that had been trained
up in the way wherein he should go had ever departed from it.
Matter of fact will by no means agree with this: So far from it,
that it has been a common observation, Some of the best
parents have the worst children." It is true, this might some-
times be the case, because good men have not always a good
understanding; and, without this, it is hardly to be expected
that they will know how to train up their children. Besides,
those who are in other respects good men have often too much
easiness of temper; so that they go no farther in restraining
their children from evil, than old Eli did, when he said gently,
Nay, my sons, the report I hear of you is not good." This,
then, is no contradiction to the assertion; for their children are
not "trained up in the way wherein they should go." But it
must be acknowledged, some have been trained therein with all
ON THE EDU('ATIO\ OF CHILDREN.
possible care and diligence; and yet before they were old, yea,
in the strength of their years, they did utterly depart from it.
2. The words, then, must be understood with some limita-
tion, and then they contain an unquestionable truth. It is a
general, though not an universal, promise; and many have found
the happy accomplishment of it. As this is the most probable
method for making their children pious which any parents can
take, so it generally, although not always, meets with the desired
success. The God of their fathers is with their children;
lie blesses their endeavours; and they have the satisfaction
of leaving their religion, as well as their worldly substance, to
those that descend from them.
3 But what is "the way wherein a child should go?" and
how shall we train him up" therein ? The ground of this is
admirably well laid down by Mr. Law, in his Serious Call to
a Devout Life." Part of his words are,-
Had we continued perfect as God created the first man,
perhaps the perfection of our nature had been a sufficient self-
instructer for every one. But as sickness and diseases have
created the necessity of medicines and physicians, so the
disorders of our rational nature have introduced the necessity
of education and tutors.
And as the only end of a physician is, to restore nature to
its own state, so the only end of education is, to restore our
rational nature to its proper state. Education, therefore, is to
be considered as reason borrowed at second-hand, which is,
as far as it.can, to supply the loss of original perfection. And
as physic may justly be called the art of restoring health, so
education should he considered in no other light, than as the
art of recovering to man his rational perfection.
This was the end pursued by the youths that attended
upon Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato. Their every-day lessons
and instructions were so many lectures upon the nature of man,
his true end, and the right use of his faculties; upon the
immortality of the soul, its relation to God; the agreeableness
of virtue to the divine nature; upon the necessity of temper.
ance, justice, mercy, and truth; and the folly of indulging our
Now, as Christianity has, as it were, new created the moral"
and religious world, and set everything that is reasonable, wise,
holy, and desirable in its true point of light; so one would
expect the education of children should be as much mended b).
Christianity, as the doctrines of religion are.
As it has introduced a new state of things, and so fully
informed us of the nature of man, and the end of his creation;
as it has fixed all our goods and evils, taught us the means
of purifying our souls, of pleasing God, and being happy
eternally; one might naturally suppose that every Christian
country abounded with schools, not only for teaching a few
questions and answers of a catechism, but for the forming,
training, and practising children in such a course of life as the
sublimest doctrines of Christianity require.
An education under Pythagoras or Socrates had no other
end, but to teach children to think and act as Pythagoras and
"And is it not reasonable to suppose that a Christian educa-
tion should have no other end but to teach them how to think,
and judge, and act according to the strictest rules of Christianity ?
"'At least one would suppose, that in all Christian schools,
the teaching them to begin their lives in the spirit of Christian-
ity,-in such abstinence, humility, sobriety, and devotion as
Christianity requires,-should not only be more, but a hundred
times more, regarded than any or all things else.
For those that educate us should imitate our guardian
angels; suggest nothing to our minds but what is wise and
holy; help us to discover every false judgment of our minds,
and to subdue every wrong passion in our hearts.
And it is as reasonable to expect and require all this benefit
from a Christian education, as to require that physic should
strengthen all that is right in our nature, and remove all our
4. Let it be carefully remembered all this time, that God,
not man, is the physician of souls; that it is he, and none else,
who giveth medicine to heal our natural sickness; that all the
help which is done upon earth, he doeth it himself;" that none
of all the children of men is able to bring a clean thing out
of an unclean ;" and, in a word, that "it is God who worketl
in us, both to will and to do of his good pleasure." But it is
generally his pleasure to work by his creatures; to help man bh
man. He honours men to be, in this sense, workers together
with him." By this means the reward is ours, while the glory
redounds to him.
ON THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN.
5. This being premised, in order to see distinctly what is the
way wherein we should train up a child, let us consider, What
are the diseases of his nature ? What are those spiritual diseases
which every one that is born of a woman brings with him into
the world ?
Is not the first of these Atheism ? After all that has been so
plausibly written concerning the innate idea of God;" after
all that has been said of its being common to all men, in all
ages and nations; it does not appear, that man has naturally
any more idea of God than any of the beasts of the field; he
has no knowledge of God at all; 'no fear of God at all; neither
is God in all his thoughts. Whatever change may afterwards
be wrought, (whether by the grace of God, or by his own
reflection, or by education,) he is, by nature, a mere Atheist.
6. Indeed it may be said, that every man is by nature, as it
were, his own god. He worships himself. He is, in his own
conception, absolute lord of himself. Dryden's hero speaks
only according to nature, when he says, Myself am king
of me." He seeks himself in all things. He pleases himself.
And why not? Who is lord over him ? His own will is his
only law; he does this or that because it is his good pleasure.
In the same spirit as the "son of the morning" said in old
time, I will sit upon the sides of the North," he says, "I will
do thus or thus." And do we not find sensible men on every
side who are of the self-same spirit? who if asked, Why did
you do this ?" will readily answer, Because I had a mind to it."
7. Another evil disease which every human soul brings into
the world with him, is pride; a continual proneness to think
of himself more highly than he ought to think. Every man
can discern more or less of this disease in every one-but
himself. And, indeed, if he could discern it in himself, it
would subsist no longer; for he would then, in consequence,
think of himself just as he ought to think.
8. The next disease, natural to every human soul, born with
every man, is love of the world. Every man is, by nature,
a lover of the creature, instead of the Creator; a "lover
of pleasure," in every kind, "more than a lover of God." He
is a slave to foolish and hurtful desires, in one kind or another;
either to the "desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, or the
pride of life." The desire of the flesh" is a propensity to seek
happiness in what gratifies one or more of the outward senses.
" The desire of the eyes" is a propensity to seek happiness it
what gratifies the internal sense, the imagination, either by
things grand, or new, or beautiful The pride of life" seems
to mean a propensity to seek happiness in what gratifies tie
sense of honour. To this head is usually referred "the love
of money ;" one of the basest passions that can have place in
the human heart. But it may be doubted whether this be not
an acquired, rather than a natural, distemper.
9. Whether this be a natural disease or not, it is certain
anger is. The ancient philosopher defines it, "A sense
of injury received, with a desire of revenge." Now, was there
ever any one born of a woman who did not labour under
this? Indeed, like other diseases of the mind, it is far more
violent in some than in others. But it is furor brevis, as the
poet speaks; it is a real, though short, madness wherever it is.
10. A deviation from, truth is equally natural to all the
children of men. One said in his haste, All men are
liars;" but we may say, upon cool reflection, All natural men
will, upon a close temptation, vary from, or disguise, the truth.
If they do not offend against veracity, if they do not say what
is false, yet they frequently offend against simplicity. They
use art; they hang out false colours; they practise either
simulation, or dissimulation. So that you cannot say truly
of any person living, till grace has altered nature, Behold an
Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile !"
11. Every one is likewise prone, by nature, to speak or act
contrary to justice. This is another of the diseases which we
bring with us into the world. All human creatures are naturally
partial to themselves, and, when opportunity offers, have more
regard to their own interest or pleasure than strict justice
allows. Neither is any man, by nature, merciful as our heavenly
Father is merciful; but all, more or less, transgress that glorious
rule of mercy as well as justice, Whatsoever ye would that
men should do unto you, the same do unto them."
12. Now, if these are the general diseases of human nature,
is it not the grand end of education to cure them ? And is
it not the part of all those to whom God has entrusted the
education of children, to take all possible care, first, not to
increase, not to feed, any of these diseases; (as the generality
of parents constantly do;) and next, to use every possible
means of healing them ?
ON THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN.
13. To come to particulars. What can parents do, and
mothers more especially, to whose care our children are necessa-
rily committed in their tender years, with regard to the Atheism
that is natural to all the children of men ? How is this fed by
the generality of parents, even those that love, or at least
fear, God; while, in spending hours, perhaps days, with their
children, they hardly name the name of God! Meantime,
they talk of a thousand other things in the world that is round
about them. Will not then the things of the present world,
which surround these children on every side, naturally take up
their thoughts, and set God at a greater distance from them
(if that be possible) than he was before ? Do not parents feed
the Atheism of their children farther, by ascribing the works
of creation to nature ? Does not the common way of talking
about nature, leave God quite out of the question ? Do they
not feed this disease, whenever they talk in the hearing of their
children, of anything happening so or so ? of things coming
by chance? of good or ill fortune? as also when they ascribe
this or that event to the wisdom or power of men; or, indeed,
to any other second causes, as if these governed the world ?
Yea, do they not feed it unawares, while they are talking
of their own wisdom, or goodness, or power to do this or that,
without expressly mentioning, that all these are the gift of God?
All tends to confirm the Atheism of their children, and to keep
God out of their thoughts.
14. But we are by no means clear of their blood, if we only
go thus far, if we barely do not feed their disease. What can
bIe done to cure it? From the first dawn of reason continually
.inculcate, God is in this and every place. God made you, and
me, and the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and every thing.
And every thing is his; heaven, and earth, and all that is
therein. God orders all things: He makes the sun shine, and
the wind blow, and the trees bear fruit. Nothing comes by
chance; that is a silly word; there is no such thing as chance.
As God made the world, so he governs the world, and every
tiling that is in it. Not so much as a sparrow falls to the
ground without the will of God. And as he governs all things,
so he governs all men, good and bad, little and great. He gives
them all the power and wisdom they have. And he over-rul s
all. He gives us all the goodness we have; every good thought,
and word, and work, are from him. Without him we can