The Christian's Charter

Showing the Privileges of a Believer

by Thomas Watson

"All things are yours!"
1 Corinthians 3:21

Chapter 13. The eighth Royal Privilege—The bodies of the saints shall be enameled with glory!
"So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body! For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die!" 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 53. In this life the body is infirm, physicians have much work to repair it and keep it going! It is like a house out of repair—every storm of sickness it rains through. How does a holy soul often lodge in a sickly or deformed body! The body is like a piece of rotten wood, diseases like worms, breed there. Fevers, aches, etc. But this body shall be made glorious at the resurrection; it shall neither have diseases nor defects! Leah shall no more complain of her bleary eyes, nor Barzillai of his lameness. There are five properties of our glorified bodies.

1. They shall be AGILE and nimble. The bodies of the saints on earth are heavy and weary in their motion—but in heaven there shall be no gravity hindering; but our bodies being refined, shall be swift and facile in their motion, and made fit to ascend, as the body of Elijah. This is the apostle's meaning when he calls it a spiritual body; that is not only a body made fit to serve God without weariness—but a body that can move swiftly from one place to another. In this life the body is a great hindrance to the soul in its operation: "The spirit is willing—but the flesh is weak." When the soul would fly up to Christ, the body as a leaden lump keeps it down. Here on earth, the body is a clog; in heaven it shall be a wing. The bodies of the saints shall be agile and lively, they shall be made fully subject to the soul, and will in no way, impede or hinder the soul in its progress.

2. The bodies of the saints shall be transparent, full of clarity and BRIGHTNESS. They shall be as Christ's body when it was transfigured, Matt. 17:2. Our bodies shall have a divine luster put upon them! Here on earth, they are as iron when it is rusty; there they shall be as iron when it is filed and made bright, as the sun in its splendor; nay, "seven times brighter!" says Chrysostom. Here on earth, our bodies are as the gold in the ore—drossy and impure. In heaven they shall be as gold when it spangles and glitters! So clear shall they be, that the soul may venture out at every part, and sparkle through the body as the wine through the glass.

3. They shall be BEAUTIFUL. Beauty consists in two things.

1. Symmetry and proportion, when all the parts are drawn out in their perfect lineaments.

2. Complexion, when there is a mixture and variety in the colors. Thus the bodies of the saints shall have a transcendency of beauty upon them. Here on earth, the body is called a vile body. It is vile in its origin—it is made of the dust of the earth. The earth is the most ignoble element. The body is also vile in the use that it is put to; the soul often uses the body as a weapon to fight against God. But this vile body shall be ennobled and beautified with glory; it shall be made like Christ's body!

How beautiful was Christ's body upon earth! In it there was the rose and the lily; it was a mirror of beauty! For all deformities of body issue immediately from sin—but Christ being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and so without sin, he must needs have a beautiful body, and in this sense he was fairer than the children of men, Psalm 45:2. There was graceful majesty in his looks. Christ's body, as some writers aver, was so fair by reason of the beauty and grace which shined in it, that no artist could ever draw it exactly. And if it was so glorious a body on earth, how great is the luster of it now in heaven! That light which shone upon Paul, "surpassing the glory of the sun," was no other than the beauty of Christ's body in heaven. O then what beauty and resplendency will be put upon the bodies of the saints! they shall be made "like Christ's glorious body."

4. The bodies of the saints shall be IMPECCABLE. Not but that the body when it is glorified, shall have such a passion as is delightful, (for the body is capable of joy) but it will have no passion which is hurtful; it shall not be capable of any noxious impression; in particular,

1. The bodies of the saints shall be free from the NECESSITIES of nature, such as hunger and thirst. Here on earth, we are pinched with hunger: "David waxed faint," 2 Sam. 21:15. Here on earth, we need continual supplies for nature. Christ "took compassion on the multitude," and wrought a miracle, lest they should "faint by the way," Matt. 15:32. Nature must have its supplies; these are as necessary to maintain life, as the oil is to maintain the lamp. But in heaven we shall hunger no more, Rev. 7:16. Hunger implies a need and lack, which cannot be in heaven; there we need not pray, "Give us our daily bread."

Question. But does not Christ say, "I will not drink this day of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom"; which implies there will be eating and drinking in heaven, and by consequence hunger?

Answer. We must not understand the words literally; our Savior only alludes to the metaphor of the vine. It is as if Christ had said, as drinking the fruit of the vine now with you, is an action of familiarity and pleasantness; so when you shall be with me in the kingdom of heaven, you shall be filled with such joy and delight, as if all the time were a time of feasting and banqueting.

2. Glorified bodies shall be free from the INFIRMITIES of nature, such as cold and heat. Heaven is a temperate zone: there is no nipping frost or scorching heat, nothing will be there in extremity—but joy.

3. The bodies of the saints shall be free from the BURDENS of nature, such as labor and sweating. There will be no more ploughing or sowing—what is the need of that—when the saints shall receive the full crop of joy! When the farmer works in the field, he needs his rake, his spade, etc. But let this same farmer be advanced to the throne, and now he has no more use for the spade—he is freed from all those labors! So though now we must "eat our bread with the sweat of our brows," yet when we are in heaven, and shall be advanced to the throne—there will be no more need of our working tools! Labor shall cease! Our sweat as well as our tears shall be dried up!

4. The bodies of the saints shall be free from the INJURIES of nature, such as sufferings. We run the race of our life on the track of misery! We go from one suffering to another. We never finish our troubles—but merely change them! "Man is born to trouble," he is the natural heir to it. Where the body is, there will afflictions like vultures be gathered together. Job was smitten with boils, and Paul did bear in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Afflictions, like hard frosts, nip the tender buds of our comfort; but before long the saints shall be impeccable, they shall have a protection from injuries granted them.

5. The bodies of the saints shall be IMMORTAL. Here on earth, our bodies are always dying. It is improper to ask, "When shall we die?" We should rather ask, "When shall we be finished dying?" First, the infancy dies, then the childhood, then the youth, then the old age—and then we are finished dying! It is not only the running out of the last sand in the glass which spends it—but all the sands which run out before. Death is a worm that is ever feeding at the root of our gourds! But in heaven "our mortal shall put on immortality." As it was with Adam in innocency, if he had not sinned, such was the excellent temperature and harmony in all the qualities of his body, that it is probable he would have never died—but had been translated from paradise to heaven! Indeed, Belarmine says that Adam would have died, though he had not sinned. But I know no ground for that assertion, for sin is made the formal cause of death!

However there is no such thing disputable in heaven, as the bodies there are immortal. Luke 20:36, "Neither can they die any more": heaven is a healthful place, there is no sickness or dying; we shall never more hear a death-bell ring! As our souls shall be eternal, so our bodies immortal. If God made manna (which is in itself corruptible) to last many years in the golden pot, much more is he able by a divine power, so to fashion the bodies of the saints, that they shall be preserved to eternity. God "will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain." Revelation 21:4.

Chapter 14. The Ninth Royal Privilege is—that we shall be as the angels in heaven!
Matthew 22:30, "The will be like the angels in heaven." Christ does not say, we shall be angels—but like the angels.

Question. How is that?

Answer. Two ways.

1. In regard of our manner of WORSHIP. The angels fulfill the will of God, 1. Readily. 2. Perfectly.

1. The angels fulfill the will of God READILY. When God sends the angels upon a commission, they do not hesitate or dispute the case with God—but immediately obey. The cherubim are pictured with wings displayed—to show how ready they are in their obedience, it is as if they had wings, Dan. 9:21. As soon as God speaks the word, the angels are eager to obey. When we get to heaven—we shall be as the angels!

This is a singular comfort to a weak Christian! Alas, we are not as the angels in this life! When God commands us to service, or to mourn for sin, or to take up the cross—O what a dispute is there! how long is it sometimes before we can get permission from our stubborn hearts to go to prayer! Jesus Christ went more willingly to suffer, than we do often to pray! How badly do we perform our duties! God had as good almost be without it! O but (if this is our grief) be of good comfort—in heaven we shall serve God swiftly—we shall be winged in our obedience, even as the angels!

2. The angels fulfill the will of God PERFECTLY. They fulfill God's whole will; they leave nothing undone! When God commands them upon duty, they can shoot to a hair's breadth. Alas, our services—how lame and bedridden are they! We do things by halves. We pray as if we prayed not; we weep for sin as if we wept not; how many blemishes are there in our holy things! as the moon when it shines brightest, has a dark spot in it. How many grains would we lack, if Christ did not put his merits into the scales! Our duties, like good wine, do smell of a bad cask. The angel pouring sweet fragrances into the prayers of the saints, Rev. 8:3, shows that in themselves they yield no sweet savor, unless perfumed with Christ's incense. But in heaven we shall be even as the angels—we shall serve God perfectly! How should we long for that time!

2. We shall be as the angels in regard of DIGNITY. There is no question—but in regard of our marriage-union with Christ, we shall be above the angels. But behold our human nature, simply and entirely considered, shall be parallel with the angelic nature. Luke 20:36, "they shall be equal to the angels." I shall show the dignity of the angelic nature, and the analogies between the saints glorified, and the angels. The dignity of the angels appears,

1. The dignity of the angels appears in their SAGACITY. The angels (who are God's courtiers) are wise, intelligent creatures. Tyre in regard of wisdom is styled a cherubim, or angel, Ezek. 28:3, 4, 16. The angels have a most critical exquisite judgment, they are discerning spirits. Thus the saints shall be as the angels—for wisdom and sagacity. Christ the wisdom of God is their oracle.

2. The dignity of angels appears in their MAJESTY. An angel is a beautiful glorious creature. They saw Stephen's face "as it had been the face of an angel," Acts 6:15. The angels are compared to lightning, in regard of their sparkling luster, Matt. 28:3. Such beams of majesty fall from the angels, that we are not able to bear a sight of them. John the apostle was so amazed at the sight of an angel, that he fell at his feet to worship him, Rev. 19:10. Thus shall we be as the angels—for splendor and majesty. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father," Matt. 13:43, not that the saints shall not surpass the sun in brightness, says Chrysostom; but the sun being the most noble and excellent creature, therefore our Savior takes a resemblance thence, to express the saints' glory. They shall not only be of a sun-like brightness—but angel-like brightness! The beams of Christ's glory will be transparent in them.

3. The dignity of angels is seen in their POWER. Angels "excel in strength," Psalm 103:20. We read of one angel which destroyed an army of a hundred and eighty-five thousand at one blow! An angel would be able to merely look us dead! Thus shall we be as the angels. Here on earth, we have our fainting fits, we wrestle continually with infirmities; but in heaven the weak reed shall be turned into a cedar! We shall put on strength, and be as the angels of God.

4. The dignity and nobility of angels consists in their PURITY. Take away holiness from an angel, and he is no more an angel—but a devil. Those blessed spirits are sinless, spotless creatures; no unholy thought enters into their mind. They are virgin spirits; therefore they are said to be "clothed in pure white linen," Rev. 15:6. And they are represented by the cherubim overshadowing the mercy-seat, which were made "all of fine gold," to denote the purity of their essence. In this sense we shall be as the angels—of a refined, pure, sublime nature. Therefore the saints are said to have "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb," Rev. 7:14. Christ's blood washes white! We read of "the spirits of just men made perfect."

5. The dignity of angels appears in their IMMUNITY. The angels are privileged by their immunities—and thus shall we be as the angels. There is a two-fold immunity.

1. We shall be immune from the DIFFICULTIES of piety. Duties are irksome to the flesh. But in heaven, we shall be as the angels; no more praying or fasting, no more repenting or mortification. When we are above sin—then we shall be above ordinances! I do not say we shall be free from serving God—but we shall be freed from all that is tedious and unpleasant! The angels serve God—but it is with cheerfulness. It is their heaven to serve God—when they are singing hallelujahs they are ravished with holy delight! Though being spirits, they need no food—yet it is their food and drink to be doing the will of God: "the joy of the Lord is their strength." Thus the saints shall be as the angels, "they shall rest from their labors," Rev. 14:13. They shall not rest from serving God—but from their labor in serving him. Their service shall be sweetened with so much pleasure and delight, that it shall not be a task—but a recreation! What joy will it be to sing in the heavenly choir! The angels begin the music—and the saints join in the concert!

2. We shall be immune from TEMPTATION. The angels, those blessed spirits, have no temptations to sin—thus shall we be as the angels. It is sad to have atheistical, blasphemous thoughts forced upon us. It is sad always to lie under the Devil's spout, to have temptations dropping upon us! And though we do not yield to the enemy—yet to have the garrison continually assaulted, is a great grief to a child of God! But this is a believer's privilege—he shall be shortly as the angels—not subject to temptation. The Devil is cast out of paradise! The old serpent shall never sneak into the New Jerusalem. Heaven is pictured out by an exceeding high mountain, Rev. 21:10. This heavenly mount is so high, that Satan's fiery darts cannot shoot up to it—it is above the reach of his arrow!

6. The dignity of angels consist in their IMPECCABILITY. The blessed angels are not only without sin—but they are in an impossibility of sinning. The angels have a clear sight of God! They are, by the sweet influence of that vision, so enamored with the beauty and love of God, that they have not the least motion or will to sin. "They are confirmed by the power of God," says Augustine, "that they cannot sin!" The angels are immoveable in holiness.

Indeed Origen affirms that there is a possibility of sinning even in the angels; but this opinion is, 1. Contrary to the current of the fathers—that the angels are of that invincible sanctity, that they cannot be drawn by any violence to sin. 2. That it should be possible for the angels to be stained with the least tincture of sin—is repugnant to scripture; for if the angels may sin, then they may fall—but they cannot fall. The minor proposition is clear: elected angels cannot fall—but the angels are elected; the apostle proves the election of angels. 1 Tim. 5:21, "I charge you before God and the elect angels."

The angels are called stars, Job. 38:7. These angelical stars are so fixed in their orb of sanctity, that they cannot have the least erring, or retrograde motion to sin. Does not all this set forth the privilege and comfort of believers? They shall be in this sense as the angels—in an impossibility of sinning! Here on earth, it is impossible that we should not sin; in heaven it is impossible that we should sin! There we shall not only be exempted from the act of sinning—but from the capacity of sinning—for we shall be as the angels of God! What a blessed privilege is this! We who are now accounted as the off-scouring of men—shall be as the angels!

Oh how may this excite the most profane people to the study of piety! Fly from sin! Sin will not make you angels—but devils! "Follow after holiness!" The huntsmen pursues the deer with earnestness. Pursue holiness as the huntsman pursues his game! Here is reason enough— you shall not only be with the angels—but you shall be like the angels! If while you live, you live as saints—when you die, you shall be as angels!

Chapter 15. The Tenth Royal Privilege is—the vindication of our REPUTATIONS.
Fulgentius calls a good name the godly man's heir, because it lives when he is dead. A good reputation is the best temporal blessing—yet all do not wear this garland. Those who have a good conscience, have not always a good name. The old serpent spits his venom at the godly—through the mouths of wicked men! If Satan cannot strike his fiery dart into our conscience—he will put a dead fly into our reputation.

The people of God are represented to the world, in a very bad light. How strangely does a saint look—when he is put in the Devil's dress! Some primitive Christians that were clothed with bear's skins, and painted with red devils. Job was represented to the world as a hypocrite—and by his friends too—which was very painful to him. Paul was called a seditious man. He suffered (in the opinion of some) as an evildoer, 2 Tim. 2:9. "Wherein I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even unto bonds." He did not only bear Christ's mark in his body—but in his name. Our blessed Savior was called a glutton and a drunkard, and a deceiver of the people. It has always been the manner of the wicked world—to paint God's children in very strange colors.

It is a great sin to defame a saint, it is murder; better take away his life than his name! It is a sin which we can never make him reparation for; a flaw in a man's credit being like a blot in white paper, which will never come out. The defaming of a saint is no less than the defaming of God himself! The saints have God's picture drawn in their hearts: a man cannot abuse the picture of Caesar, without some reflection upon Caesar's person. Well, either God will clear his peoples' innocency here, which he has promised, Psalm 37:6, "And he shall bring forth your righteousness as the light." Your good name may be in a cloud—but it shall not set in a cloud; or else God will clear his peoples' innocency at the day of judgment.

In this life the godly are called the troublers of Israel, seditious, rebellious and what not! but a day is shortly coming, when God himself will proclaim their innocency. Believe it, as God will make inquisition for blood, so also for names! The name of a saint is precious in God's esteem—it is like a statue of gold which the polluted breath of men cannot stain. And though the wicked may throw dust upon it—yet as God will wipe away all tears from the eyes of his people—so he will wipe off the dust from their name! The time is shortly coming when God will say to us, as once to Joshua, "I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you." Even as it was with Christ, the Jews rolled a great stone upon him, and as they thought, it was impossible he should rise again; but an angel came and rolled away the stone, and he arose in a glorious triumphant manner. So it shall be with the godly, their good names or titles are buried, a stone of calumny and reproach is rolled upon them; but at the day of judgment, not an angel—but God himself will roll away the stone, and they shall come forth from among the pots, where they have been blackened and sullied, "as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold." O what a blessed day will that be, when God himself shall be the saints' vindicator.

Chapter 16. The Eleventh Royal Privilege is—the sentence of ABSOLUTION.
Here take notice of two things.

1. The process in law. "And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books." Revelation 20:12. This is a metaphor taken from the manner of our courts of judicature, where there is the whole process, every circumstance considered, and the witnesses examined. So here—the books are opened, the book of God's accounting, and the book of conscience! Now observe, "another book was opened, which is the book of life"; that is, the book of God's decree, the book of free grace, the book which has the saints' names written in it, and their pardon! The elect shall be judged out of this book! Surely the sentence cannot be dismal, when our husband is judge—and will judge us by the book of life!

2. The sentence itself. Matt. 25:34, "Come you who are blessed by my Father!"

1. This implies the saints' ACQUITTANCE. The curse is taken off; they have their discharge in the court of justice, and shall have the broad seal of heaven, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—all setting their hands to the pardon, and this Christ shall proclaim.

2. This implies the saints' INSTALLMENT. "Come you who are blessed." As if Christ should say, "You are the heirs to the crown of heaven! Come in—enter upon possession!" And this sentence can never be reversed to eternity; but as Isaac said, "I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed!" At the hearing of this wondrous sentence, O with what ineffable joy will the saints be filled! it will be like music in the ear, and a jubilee in the heart! Even as Elizabeth once said to the virgin Mary, as soon as the voice of your salutation sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy! Just so, the heart of a believer will leap inside him—at the hearing of this blessed sentence, and be ready to leap out of him for joy. O what trembling now among the devils! What triumph among the angels!

Chapter 17. The Last Royal Privilege is—that God will make a public and honorable mention of all the good which the saints have done.
This I ground upon three scriptures. Matt. 15:21, "Well done—good and faithful servant!" The world maligns and censures us. When we discharge our conscience, they say "Badly done!" But God will say, "Well done—good and faithful servant!" He will set a trophy of honor upon his people, "He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. Then the King will say to those on the right—Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me!" Matthew 25:33-36.

King Ahasuerus had his book of records; and when he read in his book, he took notice of Mordecai's good service, and caused him to have public honor. Be assured—God has his book of record, and will openly take notice of all the good service you have done, and he himself will be the herald to proclaim your praises! 2 Cor. 4:5, "Then shall every man have praise from God."

I speak this the rather, to encourage you in God's service. Perhaps you have laid out yourself for the cause of God, but it came to nothing, and you begin to think that it was a foolish venture—and all is lost. No! your faith and zeal are recorded; your service iw written in heaven, and God will give you a public testimony of honor, "Well done—good and faithful servant!" What a whetstone is this to duty? How should it add oil to the flame of our devotion? You perhaps have prayed a great while, and watered this seed with your tears. Be of good comfort—your tears are not lost! God bottles them as precious wine, and it will not be long before he will open his bottle, and this wine which came from the wine-press of your eyes—shall sparkle forth in the sight of men and angels!

More—God will not only take notice of what we have done for him—but what we would have done, if we could have. David had an intention to build God a house, and the Lord interpreted it as if he had done it, 1 Kings 8:18. "Whereas it was in your heart to build a house unto my name, you did well that it was in your heart." Intentional goodness is recorded, and shall add to our crown!

What a good and generous God we serve! Who would ever change such a master! It were, one would think, enough that God should give us wages for our work (especially seeing that he was the one who gave us the ability to work). But what a marvel it this—that God should applaud us with a "Well done!" Think how sweet it will be to hear such a word from God—how amazing and ravishing, when he shall say openly, "These are the servants of the most high God! These are those who feared to sin! These are those who have wept in secret for that which it was not in their power to perform! These are those who have kept their garments pure—who have valued my favor above life—who rather choose to honor me than humor men! These are those who were willing to wash off the stains from the face of religion with their blood, and to make my crown flourish, though it were in their ashes! Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord!" Thus shall it be done to those whom God delights to honor!

These are those glorious things which are to come! I have led you to the top of the mount, and given you a prospect of heaven! I have shown you just a glimpse. I shall say of this glory of heaven, as once the queen of Sheba said of Solomon's pomp and magnificence, "The half of it has not been told!"

Chapter 18. The First Inference drawn from the Proposition.

It shows us what a high valuation and esteem we should set upon the godly. They are, we see, men "greatly in favor with God," as the angel once proclaimed to Daniel, and they are invested with glorious privileges. They are of a heavenly descent, born of the Spirit; they are very rich, for they are heirs of the kingdom! God has not only laid out some parcels of land, or divided heaven to them, as Canaan was divided to Israel by lot: the tribe of Judah to inhabit in one country, the tribe of Reuben in another, etc. God, I say, does not parcel out heaven thus to the saints. No! heaven is theirs, with all its privileges, blessings, and royalties. There are no enclosures or fences in heaven; there can be no confinement where everything is infinite. Oh what a high value and estimate then should be put upon the saints! they are heirs of God! How does the world respect great heirs! What honor then should we give to the godly! They are adopted into all the stately privileges of heaven. How rich is he when possessed of the inheritance! How rich shall the saints be, when God shall pour out of his love, and shall empty all the treasures of glory into them! The saints are jewels—but their worth and riches are not known; therefore they are trampled upon by the world. "It does not yet appear what they shall be!" All things are theirs!

Chapter XIX. The Second Inference drawn from the Proposition.

It shows us a main difference between the godly and the wicked. he godly man has all his best things to come. The wicked man has all his worst things to come. As their way is different, so their end. "You in your lifetime received your good things." The wicked have all their good things here on earth; their worst things are to come. Why—what is to come? The apostle answers, 1 Thes. 1:10, "Wrath to come!" And here I shall briefly show you the wicked man's charter—which consists in five things.

Section 1. The first thing to come, is the awakening of conscience. Conscience is God's deputy in the soul, his viceroy. A wicked man does what he can to unthrone conscience, and put it out of office. Conscience is God's echo, and sometimes it is so shrill and clamorous, that the sinner cannot endure the noise—but silences conscience. By frequent sinning, conscience begins to be sleepy and seared; "having their conscience seared with a hot iron," 1 Tim. 4:2. This conscience is quiet—but not good; for the silence of conscience proceeds from the numbness of it. It is with him as with a sick patient, who having a confluence of diseases upon him—yet being asleep, is insensible of his diseases.

Time was when conscience was tender—but by often sinning, he is like the ostrich which can digest iron; or as it is said of Mithridates, that by often accustoming his body to poison, it never hurt him—but he could live upon it as his food. That sin which was before as the wounding of the sensitive eye; now is no more painful than the cutting of the finger nail.

Well, there is a time coming when this sleepy conscience shall be awakened! Belshazzar was drinking wine in bowls, when "the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king's palace. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fear! Such terror gripped him that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way beneath him!" There conscience began to be awakened.

Conscience is like a looking-glass; if it is foul and dusty, you can see nothing in it; but wipe away the dust, and you may see your face in it clearly. There is a time coming, when God will wipe off the dust from the looking-glass of a man's conscience, and he shall see his sins clearly represented! Conscience is like a sleeping lion; when he awakes—he roars and tears his prey. When conscience awakes, then it roars upon a sinner, and tears him!—as the devil did the man into which he entered; he "rent him, and threw him into the fire." When Moses' rod was turned into a serpent, he was afraid and fled from it. Oh what is it when conscience is turned into a serpent!

Conscience is like the bee, if a man does well—then conscience gives honey, it speaks comfort; if he does evil—it puts forth a sting. Conscience is called a worm, Mark 9:44, "where the worm never dies." It is like Prometheus' vulture, it is ever gnawing. Conscience is God's bloodhound, which pursues a man. When the jailor saw the prison doors open, and, as he thought, the prisoners were missing, he drew his sword and would have killed himself. Just so, when the eye of conscience is opened, and the sinner begins to look about him for his evidences, faith, repentance, etc. and sees they are missing, he will be ready to kill himself! A troubled conscience is the first-fruits of hell; indeed it is a lesser hell. That it is so, appears two ways:

1. By the testimony of scripture. Proverbs 18:14, "A wounded spirit who can bear?" a wound in the name, in the estate, in the body, is sad; but a wound in the conscience, who can bear? especially when the wound can never be healed—I speak of such as awake in the night of death.

2. By the experience both of good and bad.

A. By the experience of good men; when the storm has risen in their conscience (though afterwards it has been allayed) yet for the present, they have been in the suburbs of hell. David complains of his broken bones, he was like a man that had all his bones out of joint. What is the matter? You may see where his pain lay, Psalm 51:3, "My sin is ever before me!" He was in a spiritual agony: it was not the sword which threatened; it was not the death of the child—but it was the roarings of his conscience! Some of God's arrows fast stuck there! Though God will not damn his children—yet he may send them to hell in this life!

B. By the experience of bad men, who have been in the perpetual convulsions of conscience. "I have sinned!" says Judas. Before, he was nibbling at the silver bait—the thirty pieces. But now the hook troubles him, conscience wounds him. Such was Judas' horror, being now like a man upon the rack, that he hangs himself to quiet his conscience. This shows what the hell of conscience is; that men account death easy—to get rid of conscience; but in vain. It is with them as with a sick man, he moves out of one room into another, and changes the air—but still he carries his disease with him. O sinner, what will you do when conscience will begin to fly upon you, and shall probe you with scourgings? It is a mercy when conscience is awakened in time; but the misery is when the wound is too late, there being then, no balm in Gilead.

Section 2. The second thing to come is, his appearing before the judge. "For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ." Hierome thought he ever heard that sounding in his ears, "Arise you dead, and come to judgment!" What solemnity is there at court, when the judge comes to the bench, and the trumpets are sounded! Thus Christ the Judge shall be accompanied with angels and archangels, and the trumpets shall be blown; 1 Thess. 4:16, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God!" This is the great and general judgement. Then shall Christ sit down upon the throne of judgement, holding his sword in his hand, and a flame coming out of his mouth. Now the sinner being summoned before him as a prisoner at bar, he has his guilt written in his forehead; he is condemned before he comes, I mean in his conscience, which is the petty judgement; and appearing before Christ, he begins to tremble and be amazed with horror! And not being covered with Christ's righteousness, for lack of a better covering, he cries to the mountains to cover him! "And the kings and the great men said to the mountains and rocks—fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb!" Nothing so dreadful as the sight of mercy abused. Now the Lamb will be turned into a Lion; and he who was once a Savior will be a Judge!

Section 3. The third thing to come is, his charge read. "I will reprove you, and set your sins in order before you," Psalm 50:21. As God has a bottle for the tears of his people; so he has a book to register men's sins, Rev. 20:12, "the books were opened." Oh what a black charge will be read against a sinner! not only the sins which have damnation written in their forehead—such as drunkenness, swearing, blasphemy, shall be brought into the charge—but those sins which he slighted, as,

1. Secret sins, such as the world never took notice of. Many a man does not forsake his sins—but grows more cunning in concealing them. His heart gives as much vent to sin as ever. His care is rather that sin should be concealed, than cured. He is like him who shuts up his shop windows—but follows his trade within doors; he sits brooding upon sin. He does with his sins, as Rachel did with her father's idols, she put them under her that he might not find them; so does he put his sins in a secret place. But all these sins shall be set in order before him! Luke 12:2, "For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed!" God has a key for the heart!

2. Little sins, as the world calls them. The majesty of God—against which it is committed, does accent and enhance the sin. Besides, little sins (suppose them so) yet multiplied, become great! What is less than a grain of sand? Yet when multiplied, what is heavier than the sands of the sea? A little sum multiplied, is great. A little sin, unrepented of, will damn! Just as one leak in the ship, if it be not looked to, will sink it. You would think it is no great matter to merely forget God—yet it has a heavy doom, "Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue!" Psalm 50:22. "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." Psalms 9:17. The non-improvement of talents, the world looks upon as a small thing; yet we read of him who "hid his talent in the earth," Matt. 25:25. He had not wasted it. Only not trading it, is sentenced. "You wicked and lazy servant!" "Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!"

3. Sins that in the eye of the world were looked upon as virtues; sins that were colored and masked over with zeal of God, and good intentions, etc. Men put fine glosses upon their sins, that they may obtain credit, and be the more commendable. It is said of Alcibiades, that he embroidered a curtain with lions and eagles, that he might hide the picture underneath, full of witches and satyrs. So does Satan embroider the curtain with the image of virtue, that he may hide the foul picture of sin underneath. The devil is like the spider—first she weaves her web, and then hangs the fly in it. Just so, the devil helps men to weave the web of sin with religious pretenses, and then he hangs them in the snare! All these sins shall be read in the sinner's charge, and set in order before him!

SECTION 4. The next thing is, the passing of the sentence. Matt. 25:41, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!" At the hearing of this sentence, the heart of a sinner will be rent through with horror; that heart which before would not break with sorrow for sin, shall now break with despair. At the pronouncing of this dreadful sentence, "depart from me," the sinner would be glad if he could depart from himself, and be annihilated. O it will be a sad departing! We use to say, when a man is dead, he is departed. But this will be a departing without a deceasing. As soon as Christ has pronounced the curse, the sinner will begin to curse himself. "Oh what have I been doing! I have lain in wait for my own blood! I have twisted the noose of my own damnation!" While he lived, he blessed himself; "oh how happy am I, how does providence smile upon me!" Psalm 49:18, "Though while he lived he blessed his soul," yet when this sentence is passed, he is the first who will curse himself.

SECTION 5. The pouring out of the vial. Psalm 75:8, "For the Lord holds a cup in his hand; it is full of foaming wine mixed with spices. He pours the wine out in judgment, and all the wicked must drink it, draining it to the dregs!" This is the sad execution. Hell is pictured out by Tophet, Isaiah 30:33, which was a place situated near Jerusalem, where they offered their children in the fire to Moloch. This is a fit metaphor to picture out the infinite torments of hell—the sinner shall lie in the furnace of God's wrath, and the breath of the Lord, as a pair of bellows, shall blow the fire!

Hell is said to be prepared, as if God had been sitting down to study and devise some exquisite torment. Hell is pictured out as fire, and in another place by darkness—to show that hell is a fire without light. The hypocrite, while he lived, was all light, no fire; and in hell he shall be all fire, no light! In hell there is nothing to give comfort! There is no music but the shrieks of the damned! There is no wine but what is burnt with the flame of God's wrath: "There shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth!" The weeping hypocrite shall go to the place of weeping: while he lived, he lifted up his eyes in a false devotion, and now being in hell he shall lift up his eyes in torment. He who gnashed his teeth at the godly, shall now have gnashing enough! Before he gnashed in envy—now in despair—and this forever!

"He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!" The word unquenchable scorches hotter than the fire! The fire of hell is like that stone in Arcadia, I have read of, which being once kindled, could not be extinguished. Eternity is the hell of hell! The loss of the soul is irreparable! If all the angels in heaven should put together a purse, they could not make up this loss. When a sinner is in hell, shall another Christ be found to die for him? or will the same Christ be crucified again? Oh no! They are everlasting burnings!

Thus the sinner has all worst things to come; but a believer has all his best things to come—the things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, namely, the beatific vision, the crystal streams of joy that run at God's right hand! His heaven is to come!

Chapter 20. A Serious Scrutiny about the Believer's Charter.

I hear, methinks, a Christian say, "Great are the privileges of a believer; but I fear I have no title to this glorious charter." Were there a dispute about our estate, whether such an inheritance did belong to us, we would desire that there should be a trial in law to decide it. Here is a large inheritance, 'things present and things to come;' but the question is—whether we are the true heirs to whom it belongs? Now for the deciding this, we must seriously examine what right we have to Christ; for all this estate is made over to us through Christ. "All things are yours, and you are Christ's"—there comes in the title. Jesus Christ is the great treasury and storehouse of a Christian, he has purchased heaven with his blood. If we can say we are Christ's, then we may say, "all things are ours!"

Question. But how shall we know that we are Christ's?

Answer. Those that are Christ's—Christ is in them, 2 Cor. 13:5. "Know you not that Christ is in you?"

Question. But how shall we know that?

Answer. If we are in the faith. It is observable, before the apostle had said, "Know you not that Christ is in you"; first he puts this query, "Examine whether you are in the faith." Christ is in you, if you are in the faith. Here lies the question, Have you faith? Now for the deciding this, I shall show,

The antecedents, the concomitants, the genuine act, and the fruits of faith.

Section 1. Showing the ANTECEDENTS of Faith.

1. Antecedent to faith, is KNOWLEDGE. Faith is an intelligent grace; though there can be knowledge without faith—yet there can be no faith without knowledge. "Those who know your name will put their trust in you," Psalm 9:10. One calls it, quick-sighted faith. Knowledge must carry the torch before faith, 2 Tim. 1:12, "For I know whom I have believed." As in Paul's conversion, a light from heaven 'shined round about him," Acts 9:3; so before faith be wrought, God shines in with a light upon the understanding. A blind faith is as bad as a dead faith. That eye may as well be said to be a good eye, which is without sight; as that faith is good, which is without knowledge. Devout ignorance damns! This condemns the church of Rome, which teaches that ignorance is the mother of devotion! But surely, where the sun is set in the understanding, it must needs be night in the affections. So necessary is knowledge to the being of faith, that the scriptures do sometimes baptize faith with the name of knowledge, Isaiah 53:11, "By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;" knowledge is put there for faith. This knowledge which is antecedent to faith and does usher it in, consists in the apprehension of four things: the soul through this optic glass of knowledge sees,

1. The soul, by faith, sees a PRECIOUSNESS in Christ, "he is the chief of ten thousand." There is nothing in Christ but what is precious: he is precious in his name, in his nature, in his influences, in his privileges. He is called a precious stone, Isaiah 28:16. He must needs be a precious stone—who has made us living stones, 1 Pet. 2:5.

2. The soul, by faith, sees a FULLNESS in Christ, the fullness of the Godhead. Col. 2:9, "all fullness," Col. 1:19. Christ has a fullness of merit—his blood is able to satisfy God's justice. Christ has a fullness of spirit—his grace able to supply our needs.

3. The soul, by faith, sees a SUITABLENESS in Christ; nothing can be satisfactory but what is suitable. If a man is hungry, bring him fine flowers, this is not suitable; he desires food. If he be sick, bring him music, this is not suitable, he desires medicine. In this sense there is a suitableness in Christ to the soul: there is a fitness as well as a fullness. He is (as Origen speaks) everything which is desirable. If we hunger, he is the food of the soul, therefore he is called the bread of life. If we are sick unto death, his blood is the balm of Gilead. He may be compared to the trees of the sanctuary, which were both for food and medicine, Ezek. 47:12.

4. The soul, by faith, sees a propensity and readiness in Christ to GIVE out his fullness. There is bounty in Christ as well as beauty. Isaiah 55:1, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost!" Behold, at what a low price does God set his heavenly blessings! it is but thirsting: bring but desires. Behold the readiness in Christ to dispense and give out his fullness: "Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost!" A strange kind of buying! As he is all fullness, so he is all sweetness—he is of a noble and generous disposition. This is the enticer of the affections; this draws the eyes and heart of a sinner after him. What are the promises—but Christ's golden scepter held forth? What are the motions of the Spirit—but Jesus Christ coming a wooing?

Such a knowledge of Christ does necessarily precede and go before faith; now the soul begins to move towards him.

2. The second antecedent to faith is CREDENCE; a setting our seal to the truth of the word; a giving credit to that which the Word asserts concerning Christ: namely, that he is the true Messiah, that there is no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved; that whoever believes in him shall not perish; that he delights in mercy. It is delightful to the mother to have her breasts drawn. Just so, it is pleasing to Christ, that sinners should draw the breasts of the promises. An assent, and giving credence to all that the scripture holds forth concerning Christ, is necessary to precede faith. Dogmatic faith goes before justifying faith.

3. The third preparatory or antecedent to faith, is deep CONVICTION and HUMILIATION. The seed that lacked depth of earth withered; so will that faith which is not laid in deep humiliation. Christ is never sweet, until sin is bitter! He never gives ease, but to those who feel their burden, Matt. 11:28. Indeed, until a man feels his burden, he cannot cast it upon Christ. A man must see himself as lost. Many are lost for lack of knowing their lostness. Acts 2:37, "they were pricked at their hearts," etc. as if a balloon were pricked and the wind let out. Just so, the swelling of pride, was let out by humiliation, Romans 7:9, "when the commandment came, sin revived and I died." As if Paul had said, "when the law of God came, and showed me the spots of my soul, sin revived; that is—sin began to appear in its bloody colors, striking horror and amazement into my soul, and I died! The good opinion which before I had of myself—died!" As it was with the people of Israel, they saw the Red Sea before them, and Pharaoh pursuing behind. So the sinner after some legal bruisings, being affrighted, sees the sea of his sins before ready to swallow him up, and the justice of God pursuing and ready to overtake him, and no way to extricate or help himself; only there is a brazen serpent lifted up, and if he can look upon that, he may be saved!

4. The fourth antecedent to faith is self-renunciation, or a disclaiming and renouncing anything in a man's self that can save. This is certain—before a man can come to Christ, he must come out of himself. Before he can trust in Christ, he must despair in himself; Phil. 3:7, "Not having my own righteousness." Men would like to have something of their own, to trust to. They would bow down to their own righteousness, their duties and moralities, Romans 10:3. Oh but if you will lean on Christ—throw away these rotten crutches! You must use duty, as the dove did her wings—to fly. But trust to Christ the ark—for safety. A man must be first transplanted; he must be taken out of the old soil, and have nothing of his own to grow upon, before he can be engrafted into Christ the true olive tree. As the angel said to Mary when she looked for Christ in the sepulcher, "he is not here," Matt. 28:6, so I may say to that man who seeks to make a Christ of his duties, and moral excellencies, "Christ is not here, you must look higher! Salvation is not to be found within you—but in something without you, in something above you."

5. The fifth antecedent, or that which goes before faith, is a secret persuasion in the soul of man, that Christ is willing to show mercy to him in particular. Mark 10:49, "Arise, he calls you." Just so, the Spirit secretly whispers to the soul, "Arise out of your sins, Jesus Christ calls you! He bids you believe in him." Then the soul begins to think thus, "Did Jesus Christ come to save sinners, such as are humble and penitent? Does he not only invite them—but command them to believe in him, 1 John. 3:23. Then why do I not believe? What is it which keeps me off from Christ? Is it my unworthiness? Behold there is merit enough in Christ to make me worthy! Is it my impurity? "The blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin," 1 John 1:7. His blood is a balsam to heal me, a laver to wash me! Though I have nothing whereby to ingratiate myself into his favor—yet my comfort is, that Jesus Christ does not require that I should carry anything to him—but, fetch everything from him. I need carry no water to this well of salvation—only an empty vessel—only a humble broken heart. If God justifies the ungodly—why should I hold off from Christ any longer? Romans 4:5. Why then should not I think that there is mercy for me? Surely there is! Methinks I see Christ beckoning to me to come to him, methinks I hear the soundings of his affections. These are the preparations to faith.

SECTION 2. Showing the ATTENDANTS of faith.

1. CONSENT is the first attendant of faith. The soul now consents to have Christ, and to have him upon his own terms.

1. As a Head. The head has a double office—it is the fountain of spirits, and the seat of government. The head is, as it were, the pilot of the body, it rules and steers it in its motion. The believer consents to have Christ, not only as a head to send forth spirits, that is comfort—but as a head to rule. A hypocrite would take Christ's promises—but not his laws. He would be under Christ's benediction—but not his jurisdiction. A believer consents to have whole Christ; he does not pick and choose. As he expects to one day to sit down with Christ upon the throne, so he now makes his heart Christ's throne.

2. The believer consents to have Christ for better for worse—a naked Christ, a persecuted Christ; for he sees a beauty and glory—in the reproaches of Christ, 1 Pet. 4:14, and will have Christ not only in his royal purple—but when with John Baptist he is clothed in camel's hair. He can embrace the fire—if Christ is in it. He looks upon the cross as Jacob's ladder by which he ascends up to heaven. He says, "Blessed be that affliction, welcome that cross—which carries Christ upon it."

3. He consents to have Christ purely for love. If the wife should give her consent only for her husband's riches, she would marry his estate rather than his person; it were not properly to make a marriage with him—but rather to make a merchandise of him. The believer consents for love. He loves Christ for Christ. Heaven without Christ is not a sufficient dowry for a believer; there is no ulterior motive in his consent—it is not sinister; there is nothing forced—it is not for fear; that would rather be a constraint than consent; a forced consent will not hold in law. The believer's consent is voluntary; the beauty of Christ's person and the sweetness of his disposition draws the will, which as the master-wheel, carries the whole soul with it.

4. The believer consents to have Christ, never more to part. He would have an uninterrupted communion with him. He will part with life—but not with Christ. Death, when it slips the knot between the soul and the body—it ties it faster between the soul and Christ!

5. The believer does so consent to have Christ, as he makes a deed of gift—resigning up all the interest in himself, to Christ. He is willing to lose his own name, and surname himself by the name of Christ. He is willing to lose his own will and be wholly at Christ's disposal, 1 Cor. 6:19. He resigns up his love to Christ. In this sense the spouse is said to be a spring shut up, Cant. 4:12; she has love for relations—but the best of her love is kept for Christ. The world has the milk of her love—but Christ has the cream of it. The choicest and purest of her love is a spring shut up; it is broached only for Christ to drink!

2. The second attendant of faith is DESIRE. Psalm 42:1, "As the deer pants after the water-brooks, so pants my soul after you, O God!" "Oh!" (says the soul) "that I had Christ, that I might but touch the hem of his garment!" "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem!" 2 Sam. 23:15. So says the thirsty sinner, "Who will give me to drink of those streams of living water, which run in Christ's blood? O that I had this morning star—to enlighten me! O that I had this pearl of great price—to enrich me! O that I this tree of life—to quicken me. Oh that I had a sight of Christ's beauty, a taste of his sweetness! There is such a thirst raised in the soul, that nothing can quench it but the blood of Christ! Nothing but the breast will quiet the child; nothing will quiet the longing soul—but God's opening the breasts of free-grace, and giving his Son out of his bosom!

3. The third attendant of faith is a spirit of CONTRITION. The soul is even melted into tears, Zech. 12:10, "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced—and shall mourn!" The Spirit of grace drops as dew upon the heart, and makes it soft and tender. The poor sinner weeps for his sins of unkindness against Christ! "Oh," says he, "that I should sin against so sweet a Savior!" He looks upon a broken Christ with a broken heart! He washes Christ's wounds with his tears! Before, he wept for fear; now, he weeps for love! Mary stood at Jesus feet—weeping!

Section 3. Showing the genuine ACT of Faith.

Then follows the genuine and proper act of faith, namely recumbency. The soul rests upon Christ, and Christ alone for salvation. This is the very door by which we enter into heaven. Faith casts itself upon Christ, as a man that casts himself upon the stream to swim. The believer stays himself upon Christ, therefore faith is called a "leaning upon Christ," Cant. 5:8. Believers are called living stones, 1 Pet. 2:5, and they rest upon Christ the corner-stone, Isaiah 28:16. The believer caches hold of Christ, as Adonijah caught hold of the horns of the altar, 1 Kings 1:51, or as a man that is sinking caches hold of a bough. Faith makes a holy venture upon Christ, as Queen Esther did upon king Ahasuerus, "If I perish, I perish!" Esther 4:16; and this venturing upon Christ, is by virtue of a promise: else it is not faith—but presumption. Faith has its warrant in its hand, John 6:37, "he who comes to me, I will never cast out."

This is the proper act of faith—the soul's resting with a humble affiance upon Jesus Christ. Bernard, being a little before his death (as he thought) brought before God's tribunal, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him for his sins, he runs to Christ, and he says, "Satan I am sinful and unworthy as you say—but though you do magnify my disease, I will magnify my physician. I know the Lord Jesus has a double right to the kingdom of glory, not only by heritage—but conquest; and he has conquered for me. So that I am not confounded while I look on Christ as my Savior, and heaven as my inheritance!" It was a saying of Augustine, "I can rest securely, while I lay my head on Christ's bleeding side."

Now concerning this faith I shall lay down two rules.

1. That faith justifies not as a formal cause—but purely as an instrument, namely, as it lays hold on Christ the blessed object, and fetches in his fullness. In this sense it is called a precious faith. But the worth lies not in the faith—but in Christ, on which it does center and terminate. Faith in itself considered, is not more excellent than other graces. Take a piece of wax, and a piece of gold of the same magnitude, the wax is not valuable with the gold; but as the wax seals the label of some will, by virtue of which a great estate is confirmed and conveyed, so it may be of more worth than the gold. So faith considered purely in itself, does challenge nothing more than other graces, nay in some sense, it is inferior, it being an empty hand. But as this hand receives the precious alms of Christ's merits, and is an instrument or channel through which the blessed streams of life flow to us from him; so it does challenge a superiority above other graces.

Indeed, some affirm that the very act of believing, without reference to the merits of Christ, justifies. To which I shall say but this,

1. Faith cannot justify, as it is an act; for it must have an object. We cannot (if we make good sense) separate between the act and the object. What is faith, if it does not fix upon Christ—but fancy! It was not the people of Israel's looking up that cured them—but the fixing their eye upon the brazen serpent!

2. Faith does not justify, as it is a grace. This would be to substitute faith in Christ's place, it were to make a savior of faith. Faith is a good grace—but a bad savior!

3. Faith does not justify, as it is a work. Which must needs be, if the stress and virtue of faith lies only in the act, but then we should be justified by works, which is contrary to Eph. 2:9, where the apostle says expressly, "not of works." So that it is clear, faith's excellency lies in the apprehending and applying the object Christ! Therefore in scripture we are said to be justified through faith—as an instrument which lays hold on Christ the blessed object, and fetches in his fullness.

2. The second rule is, that faith does not justify, as it exercises grace. It cannot be denied but faith has an influence upon the graces; it is like a silver thread which runs through a chain of pearls. Faith puts strength and vivacity into all the virtues; but it does not justify under this notion. Faith begets obedience. By faith Abraham obeyed—but Abraham was not justified because he obeyed—but as he believed. Faith works by love—but it does not justify as it works by love. For as the sun shines by its brightness, not by its heat (though both are inseparably joined); so faith and love are tied together by an indissoluble knot. Yet faith does not justify as it works by love—but as it lays hold on Christ. Though faith is accompanied with all the graces—yet in point of justification, it is alone, and has nothing to do with any of the graces. Hence that speech of Luther, "In the justification of a sinner, Christ and faith are alone; as the bridegroom and bride in the bed-chamber." Faith is never separated from the graces—yet sometimes it is alone. And thus I have shown you the essentials of faith.

Section 4. Showing what are the FRUITS and Products of Faith.

I proceed to the products of faith. There are many rare and supernatural fruits of faith.

1. Faith is a HEART-QUICKENING grace. It is the vital artery of the soul: "The just shall live by his faith," Hab. 2:4. When we begin to believe, we begin to live. Faith grafts the soul into Christ, as the scion into the stock, and fetches all its sap and juice from the blessed vine. Faith is the great quickener; it quickens our graces and our duties.

Faith quickens our graces. The Spirit of God infuses all the seeds and habits—but faith is the fountain of all the acts of grace; it is as the spring in the watch, which moves the wheels. Not a grace stirs, until faith sets it to work. How does love work? By faith! When I apprehend

by faith, Christ's love to me—this attracts and draws up my love to

Him in return. How does humility work? By faith! Faith humbles the soul; it has a double aspect; it looks upon sin, and a sight of sin humbles: it looks upon free-grace, and a sight of mercy humbles. How does patience work? By faith! If I believe God is a wise God, who knows what is best for me, and can deliver not only from affliction—but by affliction. This spins out patience. Thus faith is not only alive—but gives life. It puts forth a divine energy and operation into all the graces.

2. Faith animates and quickens our DUTIES. What was the blood of bulls and goats, to take away sin? It was their faith in the Messiah which made their dead sacrifices become living sacrifices. What are ordinances, but a dumb show, without the breathings of faith in them? therefore in scripture it is called the prayer of faith, the hearing of faith, and the obedience of faith. Dead things have no beauty in them; it is faith which quickens and beautifies our duties.

3. Faith is a HEART-PURIFYING grace. "Having purified their hearts by faith," Acts 15:9. Faith is a virgin grace, of a pure and heavenly nature. Faith is in the soul, as the storm, which purifies the air. Faith is in the soul, as fire to the metals, which refines them. Faith is in the soul, as medicine in the body, which works out the disease. Faith works out pride, self-love, hypocrisy. Faith consecrates the heart. That which was before the devil's thoroughfare, is now made into God's enclosure; 1 Tim. 3:9, "Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience." Faith is a heavenly plant, which will not grow in an impure soil. Faith does not only justify—but sanctify. As it has one work in heaven, so it has another work in the heart. He who before was under the power of some debasing corruption, as soon as faith is wrought, there is a sacred virtue coming from Christ, for the enervating and weakening of that sin: "the waters are abated." The woman that did but touch the hem of Christ's garment, felt virtue coming out of him. The touch of faith has a healing power! Faith casts the devil out of the castle of the heart, though still he keeps the out-works. Satan has a party in a believer—but there is a duel fought every day: and faith will never give up, until, as a prince, it prevails. "This is the faith of God's elect."

You that say you Believe, has your faith removed the mountain of sin, and cast it into the sea? What, a believer—and a drunkard! A believer—and a swearer! A believer—and a worldling! Shame! Either leave your sins, or leave your profession! Faith and the love of sin can no more exist together, than light and darkness.

4. Faith is a HEART-PACIFYING grace. Peace is the daughter of faith, Romans 5:1. "Being justified by faith—we have peace with God." Faith is the dove that brings an olive branch of peace in its mouth. Faith presents a reconciled God—and that gives peace. What is it which makes heaven—but the smile of God? Faith puts the soul into Christ—and there is peace. "That in me—you may have peace." When the conscience is in a fever, and burns as hell, faith opens the orifice in Christ's side, and sucks in his blood—which has a cooling and pacifying virtue in it!

Faith gives us peace in trouble; nay, out of trouble as well!

1. Faith gives peace in trouble. Faith is a heart-pacifying, because a heart-securing grace. When Noah was in the ark, he did not fear the deluge; he could sing in the ark. Faith shuts a believer into the ark, Christ! "Lead me to the rock which is higher than I," was David's prayer. Faith plants the soul upon this rock. The West Indians built their palaces upon the tops of hills: in the flood the waters covered the hills. But a believer is built higher: "These are the ones who will dwell on high. The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress of safety." Isaiah 33:16. His place of defense shall be the munition of rocks. But a man may starve upon a rock; therefore it follows, "Food will be supplied to them, and they will have water in abundance." Faith builds a Christian upon the power, wisdom, and faithfulness of God—this is the munition of rocks. And faith feeds him with the hidden manna of God's love—here is bread given him. The way to be safe in evil times, is to get faith; this ushers in peace, and it is such a peace as does garrison the heart, Phil. 4:7. "The peace of God shall guard your heart"; it shall guard it as in a tower or garrison.

2. Faith gathers peace out of trouble. It gathers joy out of sorrow; glory out of reproach. This is the key to Samson's riddle, "out of the eater came meat"; this explains that paradox, "Can a man gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" Yes, of trials and persecutions, faith gathers joy and peace: here are figs of thistles. How were the martyrs ravished in the flames! the Apostles were whipped in prison—but it was with sweet-briar. O how sweet is that peace which faith breeds! it is a plant of the heavenly paradise; it is a Christian's festival! it is his music: it is as Chrysostom speaks, the anticipation of heaven.

5. Faith is a HEART-STRENGTHENING grace. A believer has a heart of oak—he is strong to resist temptation, to bear afflictions, to foil corruptions; he gives check to them, though not full mate. An unbeliever is like Rueben, unstable as water, he shall not excel. A state of unbelief is a state of impotency. A believer is as Joseph, who though the archers shot at him, his bow abode in strength. If a Christian is to do anything, he consults with faith; this is the sinew, which if it be cut, all his strength goes from him. When he is called out to suffering, he harnesses himself with faith—he puts on this coat of armor. Faith gives suffering strength, furnishes the soul with suffering promises, musters together suffering graces, and propounds suffering rewards.

But how is it, that faith is so strong?

Answer. 1. Because it is a piece of God's armor. It is a shield which God puts into our hand. Eph. 6:16, "Above all, taking the shield of faith." A shield will serve for a breast-plate; a sword, if need be; and a helmet; it defends the head, it guards the vitals; such a shield is faith.

Answer. 2. Faith brings the strength of Christ into the soul. Phil. 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." The strength of faith lies outside of itself, it grafts upon another stock—Christ. When it would have wisdom, it consults with Christ, whose name is Wonderful, Counselor. When it would have strength, it goes to Christ, who is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Christ is a Christian's armory, faith is the key that unlocks it! Faith hangs upon the lock of Christ, all its strength lies here; cut it off from this lock, and it is weaker than any other grace. Christ may be compared to that tower of David, on which there hung a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men: the faith of all the elect, these shields hang upon Christ. Faith is a heroical grace; the crown of martyrdom is set upon the head of faith. "By faith they quenched the violence of the fire"; the fire overcame their bodies—but their faith overcame the flame.

5. Faith is a LIFE-FRUCTIFYING grace. It is fruitful. Julian, upbraiding the Christians, said, that their motto was, "only believe." Indeed, when faith is alone, and views all the rare beauties in Christ, then faith sets a low value and esteem upon works. But when faith goes abroad in the world, good works are the handmaids which wait on this queen! Though we place faith in the highest orb, in matter of justification—yet good works are in conjunction with it—in matter of sanctification. It is no wrong to good works—to give faith the upper hand, which goes hand in hand with Christ. Good works are not separated from faith—only faith claims the higher rank. Faith believes as if it did not work, and it works as if it did not believe. Faith has Rachel's clear eye, and Leah's fruitful womb! Romans 7:4, "That you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead—that you should bring forth fruit unto God." Faith is that spouse-like grace which marries Christ; and good works are the children which faith bears.

Thus having briefly shown you the nature of faith, I now come to the application: Have you true faith or not?

And here let me turn myself, first to unbelievers, such as cannot find that they have this uniting, this espousing grace. What shall I say to you? Go home and mourn; think with yourselves, "What if you should die this night? what if God should send you a letter of summons to judgement? "What would become of you? You lack that faith, which entitles you to Christ and heaven! Oh, I say, mourn! Yet mourn not as those who are without hope, for in the use of means, you may recover a title to Christ. I know it is otherwise in our law-courts; if a title to an estate is once lost, it can never be recovered. But it is otherwise here; though you have no title to Christ today—yet you may recover a title: you have not sinned away the hope of a title, unless you have sinned away the sense of sinning. To such as are resolved to go on in sin, I have not a word to say—except that they shall shortly go to hell. But to you that have been prodigal sons—but are now taking up serious resolutions to give a bill of divorce to your sins, let me encourage you to come to Christ, and to throw yourselves upon his blood; for yet a title to heaven is recoverable.

Objection 1. "But," says the sinner, "Is there hope of mercy for me? surely this is too good news to be true! I would believe, and repent—but I am a great sinner."

Answer. And whom else does Christ come to save! whom does God justify—but the ungodly! Did Christ take our flesh on him, and not our sins?

Objection 2. "But my sins are of no ordinary dye."

Answer. And is not Christ's blood of a deeper purple than your sins? Is there not more virtue in his blood, than there can be venom in the your sin? What if the devil magnifies your sins? Can you not magnify your physician? Cannot God drown one sea in another—your sea of sins, in the ocean of his mercy?

Objection 3. "But my sins are of a long standing."

Answer. Can Christ's blood only heal new and fresh wounds? We read that Christ raised not only the daughter of Jairus, who was newly dead, and the widow's son who was carried forth to burying; but he also Lazarus, who had lain four days in the grave, and had begun to putrefy! Has Christ less virtue now in heaven, than he had upon earth? if yours is an old wound—yet the medicine of Christ's blood, applied by faith, is able to heal it! Therefore, do not sink in these quicksands of despair! Judas' despair was worse in some sense than his treason. I would not encourage any to go on in sin, God forbid! It is sad to have old age and old sins. It is hard to pull up an old tree that is deeply rooted; it is easier to cut it down for the fire! But let not such despair: God can give an old sinner a new heart! He can "make springs in the desert!" Have not others been set forth as patterns of mercy, who have come in at the twelfth hour? Therefore break off your league with sin, throw yourself into Christ's arms! Say, "Lord Jesus, you have said—Those who come to you, you will never cast out!"

2. Let me turn myself to the people of God, such as upon a serious scrutiny with their own hearts, have solid grounds to think that they have faith, and being in the faith, are engrafted into Christ. Read over your charter, "All things are yours!" Things present and to come! You are the heir on which God has settled all these glorious privileges. "Give wine," says Solomon, "to those who are of heavy hearts." But while I am going to pour in this wine of consolation, methinks I hear the Christian sadly disputing against himself, that he has no right to this charter.