The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures
By Thomas Brooks, 1675
Serious and Weighty Questions Clearly and Satisfactorily
Several great points, which refer to the saints' present
blessedness, and their future happiness, with the resolution of several
Here you have also the active and passive obedience of
Christ vindicated and improved, against men of corrupt minds, etc. Who
boldly, in pulpit and press, contend against those glorious truths of the
You have farther eleven serious singular pleas, that all
sincere Christians may safely and groundedly make, to those ten Scriptures
in the Old and New Testament, which speak of the general Judgment, and of
that particular Judgment, that must certainly pass upon them all immediately
The Godhead and Manhood of Christ, is here largely
proved, and improved against all gainsayers, by whatever names and titles
they are distinguished and known among us. Several things concerning Hell,
and hellish torments, opened, cleared and improved against all Atheists, and
all others who boldly assert, that there is no Hell—but what is in us. Some
other points of importance are here cleared and opened, which other authors
have passed over them in great silence, all tending to the confirmation of
the strong, and support, peace, comfort, settlement and satisfaction of
poor, weak, doubting, trembling, staggering Christians.
THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY
To his much honored and worthily esteemed friend, Sir
Nathaniel Herne, Knight, Sheriff of London, and Governor of the East India
Grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied upon you and yours.
Much might be said, were it necessary, for the dedication of books unto
people of worth, interest, service, and honor, this having been the constant
practice of the best and wisest of men in all the ages of the world; and
therefore I need not make any farther apology for my present practice.
What is written is permanent, and spreads itself
farther by far, for time, place, and people—than the voice can reach.
Augustine, writing to Volusian, says, "That which is written is always at
hand to be read when the reader is at leisure." There are those who
think—and, as they conceive, from Scripture grounds too—that the glory of
the saints in heaven receives additions and increases daily, as their holy
walk and faithful service when here on earth does, after they are gone,
bring forth fruit to the praise of God among those who are left behind them.
If this be so, what greater encouragement can there be to write, print,
preach, and to walk holily in this world?
I must also confess that that general acceptance that my
former labors have found, both in England and in foreign parts, that
singular blessing that has attended them from on High. This has been a great
encouragement to me once more to cast in my mite into the common treasury.
Besides, I am not insensible of your candid esteem of some former endeavors
of mine in this kind, neither do I know any way wherein I am more
capacitated to serve the glory of God, the interest of Christ, the public
good, reproached truths, and the interest of the churches, in my generation,
than this, as my case and condition is circumstanced. I am very well
satisfied that there is nothing in this treatise but what tends to the
advantage, comfort, support, settlement, and encouragement of those whose
concernment lies in peace and truth, in holiness and righteousness,
throughout the nations.
Sir, the points here insisted on are of the greatest use,
worth, weight, necessity, excellency, and utility imaginable. They are such
wherein our present blessedness and our future happiness, yes, wherein our
very all, both as to this and the eternal world, is wrapped up. It will be
your life, honor, and happiness to read them, digest them, experience them,
and to exemplify them in a suitable lifestyle, Deut. 30:15, 19, and 32:47,
which, that you may, let your immortal soul lie always open to the warm,
powerful, and hourly influences of heaven.
Let it be the height of your ambition, and the height of
all your designs, to glorify God, to secure your saving interest in Christ,
to serve your generation, to provide for eternity, to walk with God, to be
tender to all who have anything of Christ shining in them, and so to steer
your course in this world as that you may give up your account at last with
joy, Mat. 25:21, seq. All other ambition is base and low. "Selfish
ambition," says Bernard, "is a gilded misery, a secret poison, a hidden
plague, the engineer of deceit, the mother of hypocrisy, the parent of envy,
the origin of vices, the moth of holiness, the blinder of hearts. Selfish
ambition turns medicines into maladies, and remedies into diseases."
[Cardinal Bourbon would not lose his part in Paris, for his part in
paradise.] In the enthronisation of the pope, before he is set in his chair
and puts on his triple crown, a piece of straw is set on fire before him,
and one appointed to say, "The glory of this world is but a blaze." Luke
calls Agrippa's great pomp a fantasy or vain show, Acts
25:23; and indeed all worldly pomp and state is but a fantasy or vain show.
Matthew calls all the world's glory an opinion, Mat. 4:8; and Paul
calls it a mathematical figure, 1 Cor. 7:31, which is a mere notion, and
nothing in substance. The word here used intimates that there is nothing of
any firmness or solid consistency in the creature; it is but a surface,
external, empty thing; all the beauty of it is but skin deep.
Mollerus, upon Psalm 73:20, "As a dream when one awakes,
so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies." concludes,
"that men's earthly dignities are but as idle dreams; their splendid
braveries but fantasies." [The Romans built Virtue's and Honor's temples
close together, to show that the way to true honor was by virtue.
—Augustine.] High seats are never but uneasy, and crowns are always
stuffed with thorns, which made one say of his crown, "O crown, more
noble than happy." May the Spirit of God, the grace of God, the
power of God, the presence of God—arm you against all other sins, evils,
snares, and temptations—as you are by a good hand of heaven armed against
worldly ambition and worldly glory.
Sir, you know that is was a Saul that said, "Honor
me before the people," 1 Sam. 15:30; and it was a Jehu that said,
"Come, see my zeal for the Lord Almighty," 2 Kings 10:16. There were three
Irish kings who rebelled in Henry the Second's days—being derided for
their crude fashions. Those were some of the worst of cardinals who,
when they were like to die, would give great sums of money for a cardinal's
hat, that they might be elegantly styled in their coffins. And they were the
Romans and other barbarous nations that were most ambitious of worldly honor
and glory. It was a Julius Caesar whose excessive desire of honor
made him to be mortally hated by the senators and all others. God grants no
man a patent for honor, during his life—but during His own good pleasure.
All worldly honor and glory is subject to mutability.
Honors, riches, and pleasures are the three deities, which
all people adore, and to whom they continually sacrifice, their best
thoughts and energies. These, for their unparalleled vanity, may well be
called the vanity of vanities, Ecclesiastes 1:2. Worldly honors are but a
mere conceit, a shadow, a vapor, a feather in the cap—without substance. And
yet they are the most powerful charm of Satan, whereby he lulls men to sleep
in the paradise of fools; to cast them, after they die, into the bottomless
pit of eternal woe!
For had not Satan held them to be the strongest of all
temptations, he would not have reserved them for his last battery against
the constancy of our blessed Savior, as he did, Mat. 4:8-9. And although
this roaring cannon of his, could not prevail against Christ, the rock of
ages, Mat. 16:18—yet how many thousands in these days are captivated and
deluded by the glistening of worldly honors! Men of great honor and worldly
glory stand but in slippery places. Adonibezek, a mighty prince, was
made a companion with the dogs, Judges 1:7; and Nebuchadnezzar, a mighty
conqueror, was turned a-grazing among the oxen, Dan. 4:28; and Herod was
reduced from a imagined god, to the most loathsome of men, a living carrion,
arrested by the vilest creatures, upon the affront of his Creator, Acts
12:23. A great Haman is feasted with the king one day, and made a feast for
crows the next, Esther. 7:10. In all the ages of the world God has taken a
delight to stain the pride of all the glory of this lower world. "The Lord
Almighty planned it, to bring low the pride of all glory and to humble all
who are renowned on the earth." Isaiah 23:9. See it in a few instances:
Valerian, the Roman emperor, fell from being an emperor
to be a footstool to Sapor, king of Persia—as often as he mounted his horse.
Bibulus the consul, riding in his triumphant chariot, by
the fall of a tile-stone from a house—was made a sacrifice before he could
reach the capitol, to offer up there the bulls and garlands he had prepared.
Aurelianus, the Roman emperor, brought Tetricus his
opponent, and the brave Queen Zenobia of Palmyra—captive to Rome in golden
Sejanus, that prodigious favorite, on the same day that
he was attended by the senate—he was torn in pieces by the people. Seneca,
speaking of him, says, that he who in the morning was swollen with titles,
before night there remained not so much as a morsel of flesh for the hangman
to fasten his hook in.
Belisarius, a most famous general under Justinian the
emperor, after all the great and famous services that he had done—had his
eyes put out in his old age by the Empress Theodora; and was forced to beg:
"Give a crust to old blind Belisarius, whom virtue advanced—but envy has
brought into this great misery."
Henry the Fourth, emperor, in sixty-two battles, for the
most part, he became victorious—yet he was deposed, and driven to such
misery, that he desired only a lowly clerk's place—which was denied him.
Whereupon he broke forth into that speech of Job: "Have pity upon me, oh my
friends, for the hand of God has touched me!" Job 19:21. He died of grief
Bajazet was a proud emperor of the Turks. Tamerlane took
him prisoner, and bound him in chains of gold, and used him for a footstool
whenever he mounted horse. When he was at table, he made him gather crumbs
and scraps under his table, and eat them for his food.
Dionysius, king of Sicily, was such a cruel tyrant that
his people banished him. After his banishment he went to Corinth, where he
lived a base and contemptible life. At last he became a schoolmaster; so
that, when he could not tyrannize any longer over men, he might over
Pythias, who once was able to maintain Xerxes his mighty
army—pined to death for lack of bread.
Great Pompey had no coffin to be buried in. William the
Conqueror's corpse lay three days unburied, his interment being hindered by
one who claimed the ground to be his.
Caesar having bathed his sword in the blood of the senate
and his own countrymen, was miserably murdered in the senate by his own
friends, Cassius and Brutus.
King Guillimet, a powerful king of the Vandals, was
brought so low as to entreat his friend to send him a sponge, a loaf of
bread, and a harp; a sponge to dry up his tears, a loaf of bread to maintain
his life, and a harp to solace himself in his misery.
A Duke of Exeter was reduced to begging barefoot.
By all these instances, and many more which might be
produced, it is most evident that worldly glory is but a breath, a vapor, a
froth, a phantasy, a shadow, an apparition, a nothing. Like in a dream, you
imagine it a substance, a weight; you grasp at it and awake, and it is
nothing. Pleasure and wealth will abide a sense or two—the one
a touch or taste; the other a sight of the eyes. But worldly glory can
neither be felt, seen, or understood. The philosophers are at strife among
themselves where to fix it in any being or existence, whether in the giver
or the taker. The inconstancy and slipperiness of it is discernible in the
instances last cited. It has raised some—but has ruined more; and those
commonly whom it has most raised, it has most ruined.
Sir, if there be anything glorious in the world, it is a
mind that divinely contemns that glory; and such a mind I judge and hope God
has given you. I have hinted a little at the vanity of worldly glory,
because happily this treatise, passing up and down the world, may fall into
the hands of such as may be troubled with that itch; and if so, who can tell
but that that little that I have said may prove a sovereign salve to cure
that Egyptian botch: and if so, I have my end.
Sir, let nothing lie so near
your heart in all the world, as these eight things:
1. Your sins, to humble you and abase you at the foot of
2. Free and rich and sovereign grace, to soften and melt
you down into the will of God.
3. The Lord Jesus Christ, to assist, help, strengthen,
and influence you to all the duties and services which are incumbent upon
4. The blessed Scriptures, to guide you and lead you,
"and to be a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your paths." [Col.
1:10-13; Phil. 4:12-14; Gal. 2:20; 1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 12:10; Psalm
119:105; Amos 6:3-6; Neh. 1:1-5.]
5. The afflictions of Joseph, to draw out your charity,
mercy, pity, sympathy, and compassion to men in misery.
6. The glory and happiness of the eternal world, to arm
you and steel you against all the sins, snares, and temptations that your
high places, offices, and circumstances may lay you open to.
7. The grand points in this treatise, which, being laid
upon your heart by the warm hand of the Spirit, are able to make you wise
unto salvation, and to secure your precious and immortal soul against those
pernicious and most dangerous, may I not say damnable, errors and opinions,
which are preached, printed, and cried up in this vain world, 2 Pet. 2:1.
8. The interest of Christ and his people, which will be
your honor while you live, your joy and comfort when you come to die, and
your crown of rejoicing in the great day of our Lord, 1 Thes. 1:19-20.
Sir, I shall not so far disgust you as to tell the world
how great a sum of your money has passed through my hands towards the
relief, refreshment, support, and preservation of such who, for their piety
and extreme poverty and necessity, were proper objects of your charity; but
I shall take this opportunity to tell you, and all others into whose hands
this treatise may fall, that of all the duties of piety there are none—
1. More commanded than this duty of charity, pity,
compassion, and mercy to men in misery, especially to those of "the
household of faith."
2. There is no one duty more highly commended and
extolled than this.
3. There is no one duty that has more choice and precious
promises annexed to it than this.
4. There is no one duty that has greater rewards
attending it than this. [Proverbs 3:9-10; Eccles. 11:1-2; Gal. 6:10; 2 Cor.
8:3-5, and 9:1-2; Isaiah 58:7-13, (ponder upon it;) Mat. 25:34-41.]
It is certain, that one day's being in heaven, will make
a sufficient recompense for whatever a man has given on earth.
Neither shall I acquaint the world with those particular
favors and respects which you have showed to myself—but treasure them up in
an awakened bosom, and be your remembrancer at the throne of grace. Only I
must let the world know that I owe you more than an epistle; and if you
please, to accept of this mite in part of payment, and improve it for your
soul's advantage, you will put a farther obligation upon me, to study how I
may farther serve the interest of your immortal soul.
Let the luster of your prudence, wisdom, charity,
fidelity, generosity, and humility of spirit, shine gloriously through all
your places, offices, abilities, riches, employments, and enjoyments; for
this is the height of all true excellency. And that it may be so, remember
forever that the eyes of God, of Christ, of angels, of devils, of sinners,
of saints, of good, of bad—are always fixed upon you. God is all ear
to hear, all hand to punish, all power to protect, all
wisdom to direct, all goodness to relieve, all grace to
pardon. God is all eye, to observe the thoughts, hearts, words, ways, and
walkings of men. "My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from
me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes." Jeremiah 16:17. "Your eyes are
open to all the ways of men; you reward everyone according to his conduct
and as his deeds deserve." Jeremiah 32:19. "For a man's ways are in full
view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths." Proverbs 5:21. "Nothing in
all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid
bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." Hebrews 4:13
As the eyes of a well-drawn picture are fastened on us,
whichever way we turn, so are the eyes of the Lord. Zeno, a wise heathen,
affirms, that God beheld even the very thoughts of men. Athenodorus,
another heathen, says that all men ought to be careful of the actions of
their life, because God was everywhere, and beheld all that was done. Of all
men on earth, magistrates and ministers had need pray with David, "Teach us
your way, O Lord, and lead us in a plain path, because of our enemies,"
Psalm 27:11; or, nearer the Hebrew, "because of our observers." In
all the ages of the world there have been Sauls and Doegs, who have looked
upon God's Davids with an evil eye, and watched for their halting, Jer.
20:10. There are multitudes that will be still eyeing and prying into the
practices, offices, lives, and conversations of magistrates and
ministers—the more it concerns them to watch, pray, act, and walk like so
many earthly angels in the midst of a crooked, perverse, and froward
generation, Phil. 2:15.
Wise and prudent governors are an unspeakable mercy to a
nation, which Jethro well understood when he gave Moses that good counsel,
to select, "capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy
men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands,
hundreds, fifties and tens." [Exod. 18:21-22.] But in the nations round, how
rare is it to find magistrates qualified, suitable to Jethro's counsel!
Alphonsus, king of Spain, coming very young to the crown, was advised that
seven counselors should be joined to govern with him—who should be men
fearing God, lovers of justice, free from filthy lusts, and such as would
not take bribes; to which Alphonsus replied, "If you can find seven such
men, nay—bring me but one so qualified—and I will not only admit him to
govern with me—but shall willingly resign the kingdom itself to him!"
Wicked policies are ever destructive to their authors; as
you may see in Pharaoh, in Ahithophel, in Haman, etc., Exod. 1:10, 22; 2
Sam. 16:and 23:23; Esther. 7:10. As long as the Roman civil
magistrates, senators, and commanders of armies were chosen into places of
honor and trust for their prudence and valor—their state did flourish, and
did enlarge its dominions more in one century of years than it did after
three centuries—when these places of honor came to be purchased. For then
men of no abilities were promoted to highest dignities—for money; whereupon
civil contentions were fomented, factions increased, and continual bloody
internal wars maintained; by which the ancient liberties of that state were
suppressed, and the last government of it changed into an imperial monarchy.
As long as the chief offices of the crown of France,
and the places of judicature of the realm, were given by Charles the Fifth,
surnamed the Wise—to men of learning, of wisdom, and valor in recompense of
their loyalty, virtue, and merits—that kingdom did flourish, with peace,
honor, and prosperity; and the courts of parliaments of France had the
honor, for their justice and equity, to be the arbitrators and umpires of
all the differences which happened in those days between the greatest
princes of Christendom. But when these places of honor and trust began to be
sold to such as gave most money for them, then was justice and equity
banished, and that flourishing kingdom reduced to the brink of ruin and
desolation by variety of factions and a bloody civil war.
The barbarous policy of Philip the Second, king of
Spain, to banish two or three hundred thousand Moors, with their wives
and children, under guise of religion, on purpose to confiscate all their
land, was fatal to him and to all the Spanish nation; for the Spanish nation
never thrived since, etc.
Were it not for exceeding the bounds of an epistle, I
might show, in all the ages of the world, how destructive the wicked
policies of rulers and governors have been to themselves and the states and
nations under them, etc. But from such policies God has, and I hope will
forever, deliver your soul. Sir, the best policy in the world is to know God
savingly, to serve him sincerely, to do the work of your generation
throughly, and to secure your future happiness and blessedness effectually,
Sir, I do not offer you that which cost me nothing, or
little, Mal. 1:13-14. God best knows the pains, the prayers, and the study
that the travailing of this treatise into the world has cost me, in the
midst of trials, troubles, temptations, afflictions, and my frequent labors
in the ministry. The truths that I offer for your serious consideration in
this treatise are not such as I have formerly preached, in one place or
another, at one time or another—but such as, at several times, the Lord has
brought to hand; and, I hope, in order to the service and saving of many,
many souls. [Commonly men preach those points first, which afterwards
they print—but not knowing how long the door of liberty may be open,
I have sent this treatise into the world.]
And should you redeem time from your many and weighty
occasions, and live to read it as often over as there are leaves in it, I am
apt to think you would never repent of your pains when you come to die and
make up your account with God. Sir, I must and shall say, because I love and
honor you, and would have you happy for all eternity, that it is your
greatest wisdom, and should be your greatest care, to redeem time from your
worldly business to acquaint yourself more and more with the great and main
points of true religion—to serve your God, to be useful in your day, and to
make sure and safe work for your soul to escape hell and to get heaven, Eph.
5:15-16; Col. 4:5; Eccles. 9:10.
Sir Thomas More, one of the great wits of that day, would
commonly say, "There is a devil called business, which carries more
souls to hell than all the devils in hell beside." Many men have so many
irons in the fire, and are cumbered about so many things, Luke 10:40-42,
that upon the matter they wholly neglect the one thing necessary, though I
hope better things of you. [When one presented Antipater, king of Macedonia,
with a book treating of happiness, his answer was, "I have no time for
this." The Duke of Alva had so much to do on earth, that he had no time to
look up to heaven.]
Those who are least perplexed with a crowd of worldly
business, are commonly nearest to God. Sir, as you love God, as you love
your soul, as you love eternity, as you would be found at Christ's right
hand at last, and as you would meet me with joy in the great day of the
Lord—make much conscience of redeeming time daily from your secular affairs,
to be with God in your closet, and in your family—to read the Scriptures, to
study the Scriptures, and such men's writings which are sound in the faith,
and which treat of the great things of the gospel. It is dangerous to be
crying, "Tomorrow, tomorrow!" Manna must be gathered in the morning; the
orient pearl is generated by the morning dew. There is nothing which puts
a more serious frame into a man's heart, than to know the worth and
preciousness of time. "Time," says Bernard, "would be a good commodity
in hell, and the selling of it most gainful; where, for one day, a man would
give ten thousand worlds if he had them."
One called his friends, "Thieves!" because they
stole time from him. And certainly there are no worse thieves than those who
rob us of our praying seasons, our hearing seasons, our mourning seasons,
etc. There was an eminent minister who would often say, that he could eat
the flesh off his arm in indignation against himself, for his lost hours.
Blessed Hooper was spare of diet, sparer of words, and sparest of time.
Bradford counted that hour lost wherein he did not some good by his tongue,
pen, or purse. A heathen could say he lived no day without a purpose—that
is, he did something remarkable every day. Cato was accustomed to say, that
he abhorred to spend idle day.
It was good counsel that an ancient Christian, who is now
triumphing in glory, gave to another, "Be either like Christ or Mary: the
first was always doing good, the latter was still a-receiving good." This is
the way to be strong in grace, and to be soon ripe for glory. Certainly time
is infinitely precious in regard of what depends upon it. What more
necessary than repentance? yet that depends upon time: Rev. 2:21, "I gave
her time to repent of her fornications." What more desirable than the favor
of God? This depends upon time, and is therefore called "the acceptable
time," Isaiah 49:8. What more excellent than salvation? this likewise
depends upon time: 2 Cor. 6:4, "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of
salvation." Pythagoras says that time is the soul of heaven.
But to draw to a close, what can there be of more worth,
and weight, and importance—than eternity? Eternity is the heaven of
heaven—and the hell of hell. Without eternity, heaven would not be so
desirable—nor hell so formidable. Eternity depends upon time. Time is the
prologue to eternity. The great weight of eternity, hangs upon the small
wire of time. Whether our time here is longer or shorter, upon the spending
of our time, depends either the bliss or the bane of body and soul to all
eternity! This is our seed-time, eternity is the harvest. Whatever seed we
now sow, whether of sin or grace, it comes up in eternity! "Whatever a man
sows, the same shall he reap," Gal. 6:7-8; 2 Cor. 9:6. This is our
market-time, in which, if we are wise merchants, we may make a happy
exchange of earth for heaven, of a valley of tears for a paradise of
delights. This is our working time: "I must work the works of him who sent
me; the night comes, when no man can work," John 9:4. According as the work
is we do now, such will be our wages in eternity. Though time itself does
not last—yet whatever is everlasting, depends upon time; and therefore
should be carefully improved to the best advantage for our souls, and for
the making sure of such things as will go with us beyond the grave.
Shall your wife live to be an honor to God, to be wise
for eternity, to be a pattern of piety, humility, modesty, etc., to others,
to be a joyful mother of many children, and to bring them up in the nurture
and admonition of the Lord? Shall you both live to see Christ formed up in
your offspring, and to see their souls flourish in grace and holiness, and
God bestowing himself as a portion upon them? Shall you all be blessed with
"all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ," and shall you all be
crowned with the highest glory, happiness, and blessedness in the world to
come? Shall you all live in the sense of divine love and die in the sense of
divine favor? [1 Pet. 3:3-5; 1 Tim. 2:9-10; Eph. 6:4; Proverbs 31:1-3; Gal.
4:19; 1 Tim. 1:5-6; Isaiah 44:3-4, and 59:21; Psalm 112:1-2; Eph. 1:3.] Now,
to the everlasting arms of divine protection, and to the constant influences
of free, rich, and sovereign grace and mercy, he commends you all, Gal.
Your much obliged friend and soul's servant,
To the Reader
Christian Reader! Some preachers in our days are like
Heraclitus, who was called the dark doctor, because he affected dark
speeches; so they affect sublime notions, obscure expressions, uncouth
phrases: making plain truths difficult, and easy truths hard, etc. They
"darken counsel by words without knowledge," Job 38:2. Men of abstract
conceits and wise speculations are but wise fools: like the lark that soars
up on high, peering and peering—but at last falls into the net of the
fowler. Such people commonly are as censorious as they are curious, and do
Christ and his church but very, very little service in this world.
The heathenish priests had their mythologies and strange
canting expressions, of their imaginary inaccessible deities, to amaze and
amuse their blind superstitions followers; and thereby to hold up their
Popish and apish idolatries in greater veneration. The prudent reader can
tell how to make application.
If you desire high strains of wit, or larded, pompous,
and high-flown expressions, or eloquent trappings, or fine new notions, or
such things that you may rather be amazed at than understand, I shall not
encourage you to the perusal of this treatise. But,
First, If you would be furnished with sovereign
antidotes against the most dangerous errors which are rampant in these
days—then seriously peruse this treatise: 2 Pet. 3:16; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John
Secondly, If you would be established, strengthened,
settled, and confirmed in the grand points of the gospel—then seriously
peruse this treatise: 1 Pet. 5:10. But,
Thirdly, If you would know what that faith is, which
gives you a saving interest in Christ and in all that fundamental good which
comes by Christ—then seriously peruse this treatise: John 1:12, 16, and
Fourthly, If you would have your judgment rightly
informed in some great truths, about which several men of note have been
mistaken—then seriously peruse this treatise: 1 Cor. 2:6-7; Psalm 119:18.
Fifthly, If you would know what safe and excellent
pleas to make to those ten scriptures that refer to the general judgment,
and to your particular day of judgment—then seriously peruse this treatise:
2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27. But,
Sixthly, If you would have your heart brought and
kept in a humble, broken, bleeding, melting, tender frame—then seriously
peruse this treatise: Psalm 34:18; Isaiah 57:15; 2 Chron. 34:27. But,
Seventhly, If you would always come to the Lord's
table with such a frame of spirit, as Christ may take a delight to meet you,
to bless you, to bid you welcome, and to seal up his love and your pardon to
you—then seriously peruse this treatise, especially that part of it where
the dreadful and amazing sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in body
and soul, are at large set forth: Mat. 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor.
Eighthly, If you would have a clear sight of the
length, and breadth, and depth, and height of the love of Christ—then
seriously peruse this treatise: Eph. 3:18; Psalm 146:8. But,
Ninthly, If you would have your love to Christ tried,
raised, acted, inflamed, discovered, and augmented, etc.—then seriously
peruse this treatise: Cant. 1:7, and 8:5-7. But,
Tenthly, If you are a strong man in Christ
Jesus, and would have your head and heart exercised in the great things of
God, and in the deep things of God, and in the mysterious things of God—then
seriously peruse this treatise: 2 Tim. 2:1; Heb. 5:14; 1 Cor. 6-7; 1 John
Eleventhly, If you are but a weak Christian, a
babe, a little child, a shrub, a dwarf in grace, holiness, and communion
with God, and in your spiritual attainments, enjoyments, and
experiences—then seriously peruse this treatise, especially the first part
of it: 1 Cor. 3:1; Heb. 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:2; 1 John 2:1, 12-13. But,
Twelfthly, If you would know whether you are an
indulger of sin, and if you would be stocked with singular remedies against
your special sins—then seriously peruse the former part of this treatise:
Job 20:11-14; Micah 6:6-7; Romans 13:14; James 4:3. But,
Thirteenthly, If you would be rooted, grounded,
strengthened, and settled in those two grand points of the gospel, namely,
the active and passive obedience of Christ, and be daily refreshed with
those pleasant streams, with those waters of life that flow from thence—then
seriously peruse this treatise: 1 Pet. 5:10; Isaiah Heb. 10:10, 12, 14; Gal.
4:4-5; Romans 8:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21. But,
Fourteenthly, If you would be throughly acquainted
with the sufferings of Christ, in his body and soul, with their greatness
and grievousness, etc., and if you would understand the mighty benefits we
have by his sufferings—then seriously peruse this treatise: Isaiah 53 and
63:2; 1 Pet. 2:21-24; John 10:11, 15, 17-18. But,
Fifteenthly, If you would be able strongly to prove,
that there is a hell, a place of torment, provided and prepared for all
wicked and ungodly people—then seriously peruse this treatise: Mat. 25:41;
Psalm 9:17; Proverbs 5:5. But,
Sixteenthly, If you would, in a scripture-glass, see
the torments of hell, and know how to avoid them, and what divine
improvements to make of them, and be resolved in several questions
concerning hell and hellish torments—then seriously peruse this treatise.
Seventeenthly, If you would be able strenuously to
maintain and defend Christ's eternal deity and manhood against all corrupt
teachers and gainsayers—then seriously peruse this treatise: 1 John 1:2, 14;
1 Tim. 2:5. But,
Eighteenthly, If you would be rooted and grounded in
that great doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ, and be warmed,
refreshed, cheered, comforted, and delighted with those choice and singular
consolations that flow from thence—then seriously peruse this treatise: Jer.
23:6; Isaiah 45:24, and 61:10; 1 Cor. 1:30. But,
Nineteenthly, If you would be set at liberty from
many fears and doubts and disputes that often arise in your soul about your
internal and eternal estate, then seriously peruse this treatise: Psalm
42:5, 11, and 55:5; 2 Cor. 7:5. But,
Twentiethly, If you would have all grace to flourish
and abound in your soul, if you would be eminently serviceable in your
generation, if you would be ripe for sufferings, for death, for heaven, if
you would be temptation-proof, if you would be weaned from this world and
triumph in Christ Jesus when the world triumphs over you—then seriously
peruse this treatise: Psalm 92:12-14; Romans 15:13; Acts 13:36; 2 Cor. 12:9,
10; Rev. 12:1; 2 Cor. 14.
Reader, if you would make any
earnings of your reading this treatise, then you must—
1. Read, and believe what you read.
2. You must read, and meditate on what you read.
3. You must read, and pray over what you read.
4. You must read, and test what you read by the
touchstone of the word.
5. You must read, and apply what you read; that
plaster will never heal that is not applied, etc.
6. You must read, and make conscience of living up
to what you read, and of living out what you read. [Acts 18:8, and 24:14;
Psalm 1:2, and 119:5, 18; Acts 17:11; Psalm 119:9; John 13:17; Psalm
119:105-106.] This is the way to honor your God, to gain profit by this
treatise, to credit religion, to stop foul mouths, to strengthen weak hands,
to better a bad head, to mend a bad heart, to rectify a disorderly life, and
to make sure work for your soul, for heaven, for eternity.
Reader, in a sealed fountain and hidden treasures, there
is little profit or comfort. No fountain compared to that which flows for
common good, no treasures t compared o those who lie open for public
service. If you get any good by reading this treatise, give God alone the
glory; and remember the author when you are in the mount with God. His
prayers for you are, that you may be a knowing Christian, a sincere
Christian, a growing Christian, a rooted Christian, a resolute Christian, an
untainted Christian, an exemplary Christian, a humble Christian, and then he
knows you will be a saved Christian in the day of Christ; so he rests, who
is your cordial friend and soul's servant,