True Christianity

A Treatise

On Sincere Repentance, True Faith, The Holy Walk of the True Christian.

By the Venerable

Johann Arndt

General Superintendant of Ecclesiastical Affairs in the Principality of Lüneberg

Originally Translated Into English By Rev. A. W. Boehm, German Chaplain at the Court of St. James, and Published in London, A.D. 1712.

A New American Edition,

Revised, Corrected, and Furnished with Additional Matter From The Original German,


Brought to you by


  • Book 1

  • Book 2

  • Book 3

  • Book 4

  • Contents - Book Four

  • Book IV.
  • Preface To The Fourth Book.

  • Part I.
  • Ch 1. The Work Of The First Day
  • Ch 2. The Work Of The Second Day
  • Ch 3. The Work Of The Third Day
  • Ch 4. The Work Of The Fourth Day
  • Ch 5. The Work Of The Fifth Day
  • Ch 6. The Work Of The Sixth Day

  • Part II.
  • Ch 1. God, An Infinite And Eternal Being
  • Ch 2. God, The Supreme Good
  • Ch 3. Man, Made For The Service Of God.
  • Ch 4. God Made Man To Delight In Him
  • Ch 5. God By His Love
  • Ch 6. Man Is Indebted To God
  • Ch 7. Things Comfort The Soul
  • Ch 8. Obligations Men Owe To God
  • Ch 9. Man Indebted To God For Inward Blessings
  • Ch 10. The Wisdom of God Creating Man
  • Ch 11. The Obligations Man Has Towards God
  • Ch 12. Answering The Obligations To God
  • Ch 13. God's Love Appears In All His Works and Chastisements
  • Ch 14. Man Is Obliged To Love God
  • Ch 15. The Creatures Show Us What We Owe To God
  • Ch 16. How To Answer Our Obligations To God
  • Ch 17. A Christian Who Loves Not God Is Without Excuse
  • Ch 18. Our Duty To God Promotes Happiness
  • Ch 19. Creatures Render To Man, And Man Renders To God
  • Ch 20. Preserved By The Hand Of God
  • Ch 21. The Union Between The World, Man, and God
  • Ch 22. The Love of God and Neighbor
  • Ch 23. Man Is Made In The Image Of God
  • Ch 24. To Love His Neighbor As Himself
  • Ch 25. To Be Considered As One Man In One Great Body
  • Ch 26. Charity, The Foundation Of Strength
  • Ch 27. The Fruits Of Love
  • Ch 28. Love Unites And Transforms
  • Ch 29. What Is Worthy Of Our Love
  • Ch 30. Our Chief Love Is Due To God
  • Ch 31. He Who Loves Himself
  • Ch 32. Self-Love, The Source Of All Evil
  • Ch 33. Love Of God And Of Self
  • Ch 34. The Source Of Peace And Unity
  • Ch 35. How We Ought To Love God
  • Ch 36. The Fruit Of Divine Love
  • Ch 37. The Evil Fruits Of Self-Love
  • Ch 38. Everlasting Sorrow And Death
  • Ch 39. All That We Have Must Be Offered To God
  • Ch 40. He Who Seeks His Own Glory
  • Conclusion.
  • [pg 423]

    Book IV.

    Preface To The Fourth Book.

    All Creatures Are Messengers Of God, Intended To Lead Us To God.

    By him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.Col. 1:16, 17.

    The eminent prophet Moses exhibits to us two powerful witnesses of God, in the book of Creation. The first is the universe; the second is the inferior world, that is, Man. Both of them, the universe and the heart of man, furnish glorious testimony in the Scriptures, by which the Creator and Preserver of all things is revealed, and also formed in our hearts.

    2. We shall, therefore, introduce in this Book the testimony of both, that is, first, of the universe, and secondly, of the inferior world. Thus we shall learn that all creatures are, as it were, the guides and messengers of God, whereby we are to be brought to Christian knowledge, and also to God in Christ.

    3. It is therefore unnecessary to attempt to prove that this Book also belongs to True Christianity, although there are some who might entertain a different opinion. If they desire additional evidence, they may find it in the passage quoted above (Col. 1:16, 17), and also in the Introduction of the Gospel according to St. John, and in very many passages of the Old and the New Testaments. Let them consider specially Psalms 19; 104; 139; and the words of St. Paul in Rom. 8: 22, concerning the groaning of the whole creation, and in 1 Cor. 15:42-52, concerning the resurrection of the dead; in that case they will judge me with more gentleness and favor. And they will also assent to the Saviour's own method of teaching, who used to explain and demonstrate to his disciples and followers the mysteries of his kingdom and of true Christianity, by beautiful illustrations taken from the book of nature. But if they oppose the very Sacraments themselves, which are so many witnesses and seals of divine grace taken from the great book of nature, then I refer them to St. Ambrose, Basil, Theodoret, and others, who have written largely and learnedly upon the six days' creation.

    4. Thus much may suffice in defence of my method and design; to which I beg leave to subjoin only this admonition, as the great argument of the whole, namely, that it is the duty of a true Christian to use God's creatures to his honor and glory, so that God in all things may be glorified, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    5. Observe the method by which the creatures lead us unto God. An [pg 424] indulgent father invites his children to come to him; and if they are backward, offers them an apple or some other engaging present. This he gives, not that the child should be in love with the present, but be induced by it to be more fond of the giver. Just so God deals with us; he invites us by all the engaging invitations and promises of the Gospel; and not content with that, he offers us many great and noble gifts, “doing us good, and giving us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Acts 14:17. All these blessings are so many messengers sent from God to draw us to himself, and to instruct us how to taste the goodness of the Giver and Creator in that of the creature.

    6. But so perverse is man, that his heart is set upon his gold and silver, his houses, estates, honors, and pleasures, which, however good in their kind, are yet in the sight of God of no value; they are only given us by God, to draw us to himself. For this reason it was, that God made man so needy and helpless a creature, that by the variety of his blessings and multitude of his benefits, he might draw him to himself, and teach him by these various instances of his love and goodness, that all the comfort and sweetness which he tastes in the creature, really proceeds from the Creator; and that he alone is able to comfort, relieve, and support us, when these perishing worldly comforts forsake and leave us.

    7. But the greatest of all God's messengers, the most excellent of all his gifts, is the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, in whom are all the fulness and perfection of divine love and goodness. His mercy is over all his works, and “by him all things were made.” John 1:3. “By him all things consist.” Col. 1:17. “He upholdeth all things by the word of his power.” Heb. 1:3.

    8. Having said thus much by way of preface, I begin the First Part of this Book, treating in general of the six days of creation, to promote the knowledge, glory, and praise of God.

    9. Of man, we shall speak more particularly in the Second Part; and I intreat my readers to read the Conclusion to my Second Book, before they begin to judge me. For I again protest and declare that I desire my writings to be understood in accordance with the Symbolical Books of the Church of the Augsburg Confession, and in no other sense.

    [pg 425]

    Part I.

    Treating Of The Works Of The Six Days Of Creation, In General.

    Chapter I.

    Of Light, The Work Of The First Day.

    God said, Let there be light; and there was light.—He covereth himself with light as with a garment.—God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.Gen. 1:3; Ps. 104:2; 1 John 1:5.

    In those words in Job 38:19—“Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof?” it is intimated that the nature of light is very difficult to be explained, and that its original is not to be comprehended by finite understandings. For though we know something of it by means of sight, yet it is but little; however, let us employ that little to promote the glory of God.

    2. First, then, we say that light is a noble, subtle, and pure principle, separated from the darkness in the morning of the creation, when God “commanded the light to shine out of darkness.” 2 Cor. 4:6. By this the world is enlightened and comforted, and all its beautiful variety is distinctly known and apprehended. By this, as some think, the light of life was conveyed into the great world, incorporating itself with every creature. From this pure brightness and glorious splendor, light and beauty flowed into the sun, constituting it thereby the great luminary of the day, which it governs and directs. Jer. 31:35. Whence, also, the Creator himself calls the light day. Gen. 1:5, 14.

    3. But as it is the duty of a Christian to contemplate the works of God with spiritual eyes, so as therein to see the Creator, and by the work be led to praise the Maker; let us take a nearer view of this subject, and see how the light and the sun bear witness of God and Christ.

    4. And the first conclusion that naturally presents itself is this: If God created so beautiful, refreshing, enlivening, clear, and shining a light; how much more lovely, comfortable, and refreshing a light must He be himself? Therefore, the commentator upon St. Dionysius, to the question, “Why God first of all created light?” answers—Because from his own essential light, the visible light almost naturally proceeds, as that which bears the nearest resemblance to his own nature; and therefore he calls light, a [pg 426] little after, “the image of the goodness of God;” adding, that the light in God was transcendent and above comprehension; in angels and men, intelligible; in the sun, visible.

    5. And, whereas God made the light, in order that the true external form and beauty of the creatures might be distinctly seen and apprehended, it follows that there is also another secret or concealed light, by which the internal form of the creatures may be likewise known, and from which nothing can be hidden. And this light is the eternal wisdom of God, which, being compared with the natural and created light, has been fitly called the brightness of the everlasting light.

    6. Of this St. Dionysius writes in these words. “As the visible light directs, governs, and fills the visible world; so the incomprehensible and heavenly light, fills and enlightens all heavenly spirits. It also purifies the soul from darkness and error, and brings it into communion with the light of God. It is at first no more than a twilight, or faint glimmering of light; but when it is tasted, loved, and desired, then, in proportion to our love, it increases more and more unto the perfect day. Wherefore this transcendent light exceeds all lights, being, as it were, the centre and fountain of them all. From its fulness it enlightens all spirits; and, being the original of all light, it comprehends under it all the degrees of spiritual, angelical, rational, and natural light. And as ignorance separates deluded souls from the light; so the presence of this divine light, collects, unites, perfects, and delivers from ignorance and error, all that are enlightened by it: it converts them to the truth, reducing their various imaginations to the standard of pure and simple truth, and fills their souls with pure and uniform light.” Thus far St. Dionysius.

    7. In the light of the sun, also, shines forth the pure, deep, and ardent love of God. For whom did he create the sun? Certainly not for himself, for he needeth not the sun, nor any other created light, being himself a light infinite and eternal. It was for our sakes, therefore, that he created it; so that every ray of light proceeding from the sun, is indeed a ray of divine love towards mankind.

    8. And as the eternal wisdom of God is likewise a bright sun, clearly discovering his mercy and beneficence; therefore, according to the nature and properties of the visible sun and light, it may also be called, an image of the divine goodness.

    9. The created light determines the order, figures, and distinctions of all created things; for without it, the whole world would be nothing but darkness and confusion. So that upon this account also, the light is an image of the divine wisdom.

    10. The created light, by its brightness and splendor, causes everything to turn to it; so the goodness of God draws all things to itself, as the centre and principle of all things.

    11. The light of the sun is pure and spotless; so is the love of God towards mankind. Hence also the divine wisdom, being a spotless light, is, agreeably to this property of the sun, the spotless mirror of the divine majesty.

    12. As the light flows plentifully and freely from the sun; so the love of God descends plentifully upon us. As the sun shines freely upon all, without respect of persons; so the divine love overflows upon all mankind. As the light proceeds from the nature and essence of the sun; so does the love [pg 427] of God flow from his very nature and essence.

    13. Moreover, as God created the external light for the world and visible bodies; so it is worth inquiring, whether he did not at the same time provide an inward and spiritual light for the soul. For God took not less care of the soul, than he did of the body. Now this light of the soul is God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the ever blessed and undivided Trinity, by whom our understandings are enlightened through faith. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isa. 60:1.

    14. Now as the sun enlightens the world, so does Christ enlighten the soul. “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9); and is, therefore, called by the prophet Malachi, “The Sun of righteousness.” Mal. 4:2. St. James calls God, “the Father of lights.” James 1:17. The Holy Ghost appeared upon the Apostles in the form of fiery tongues (Acts 2:3); and from this eternal light proceeds the light of grace, the light of wisdom and divine knowledge, the light of truth and life, the light of joy and consolation, the light of God's countenance, the light of faith and all Christian virtues.

    15. This light is the chief beauty and glory of the creatures. God is said to be clothed “with light as with a garment.” Ps. 104:2. “The glory of the Lord” (Luke 2:9), is also the beauty of the blessed saints and holy angels. The highest majesty and glory of the elect in the other world, will consist in light and splendor. “The righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt. 13:43; Dan. 12:3); which is also expressed in the appearance of the woman clothed with the sun. Rev. 12:1. Lastly, as the light is the greatest ornament of this visible world; so the everlasting light shall be the chief glory of the heavenly Jerusalem. Rev. 21:11.

    16. The more light any creature has, the more noble it is. This appears from the angels, the sun, moon, stars, and precious stones. So virtue itself is a most glorious light, and all the redeemed in the next world, shall be full of light and glory, and accordingly shall be distinguished, as “one star differeth from another star in glory.” 1 Cor. 15:41.

    17. Light is refreshing: and who can doubt but, when the day of eternal light arrives, the blessed saints shall be refreshed with joy unspeakable? Without question, the light of the everlasting Sun of righteousness shall give us infinitely more delight and joy, than this created sun, which only gives light to a world of misery and sorrow.

    18. The light awakens those that sleep; so Christ, our light, rouses us from the sleep of sin. “Awake, thou that sleepest, and Christ shall give thee light.” Eph. 5:14.

    19. The light directs the traveller in his way: so saith Christ—“I am the light of the world; he that followeth me, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12; 13:46.

    20. Moreover, as light has a vital power in it; so in Christ, our light, “was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; he is the strength of my life.” Ps. 27:1.

    21. As the light cannot be seen but by itself; so God cannot be known but by Himself: “In thy light shall we see light.” Ps. 36:9.

    22. As the external light chases [pg 428] away the darkness, and the spirits of darkness; so Christ, who is the light of God in us, chases away unbelief, and all the works of darkness and Satan. God must speak the word in us, as he did at the first creation, “Let there be light!” or we shall for ever remain in darkness. This made the Psalmist say, “Thou wilt light my candle; the Lord will enlighten my darkness.” Ps. 18:28. “To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.” Luke 1:79. “I saw an angel come down from heaven; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” Rev. 18:1.

    23. When the daylight is gone, the moon, regent of the night, arises with a pale lustre: so, without the light of Christ, man is nothing but darkness; and the boasted light of reason is but dim obscurity.

    24. And as he would be called foolish, who preferred being enlightened by the moon, rather than by the sun; so are they much more foolish, who prefer the wisdom of this world, to the eternal wisdom of God in Christ Jesus. And as none but a madman would make use of the light of a candle in sunshine; so no man in his senses would think himself more enlightened by worldly wisdom, than by the divine wisdom. Strange madness! that a man should expect more light from the creature, than from the Creator, the Father of lights, God blessed for ever! Whosoever duly apprehends my meaning, has in him the beginning of the divine, eternal, and heavenly wisdom, which is the subject of the whole 119th Psalm.

    25. As the sun is the ornament of heaven, so Christ is the ornament of his church, and of the new heaven, and new earth in their future glory, where it will be manifested to all the elect, that he is “the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person.” Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:15.

    26. As dwellings are pleasant, in proportion as they receive the light, so “God dwelleth in light.” 1 Tim. 6:16. And the heavenly Jerusalem is described as full of sweet and refreshing light. “It hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God enlightens it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” Rev. 21:23.

    27. Ah the light makes all things clear and plain; so there is nothing in heaven or in earth, no spirit, no being, nor the very thoughts of the heart, that can be hidden from the light of divine wisdom. Heb. 4:12, 13. Hence the Psalmist says, “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.” Ps. 90:8. And “Thou understandest my thought afar off.” Ps. 139:2.

    28. As the light communicates itself to all creatures, and diffuses itself over the world; so God communicates himself to all creatures, particularly to men, delighting most of all in doing them good.

    29. Lastly, the light and sun are a witness of the glorification of our souls and bodies at the resurrection. The glorification of our souls is, indeed, in some degree accomplished in this life by the Holy Spirit, according to the words of St. Paul, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:18. These, however, are but the imperfect beginnings, and first glimpses of eternal happiness; but hereafter both soul and body shall be clothed with everlasting light and glory. Hence St. Paul says, “There is one glory of the [pg 429] sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: so also is the resurrection of the dead.” 1 Cor. 15:41, 42. “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.” Dan. 12:13.

    30. Of this we find an image in the transfiguration of our Lord, when “his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Matt. 17:2. This was the heavenly brightness the splendor of the everlasting Sun. So the face of Moses shone like the brightness of the sun, so that the children of Israel could not look upon him. Exod. 34:29; 2 Cor. 3:7. And this was the consequence of only a few days passed in the divine presence. How great then must that glory be, which will be the result of our eternal union and converse with him! The lustre of the face of Moses was terrible to look on, but the glory of Christ was refreshing and comfortable.

    31. Rev. 1:14, 16. The eyes of him that had the seven stars in his hand, were “as a flame of fire.” And the same Jesus Christ, who is the eternal light, shall so glorify us at the last day, that our whole bodies shall shine like lightning. Matt. 6:22; Luke 11:36.

    Chapter II.

    Of Heaven, The Work Of The Second Day.

    See Gen. 1:6-8; Ps. 104:6; Ps. 19:1.

    Who can doubt that the admirable and pure structure of heaven, with all its wonderful properties, is a strong evidence and witness of God? “What are heaven and all the beauty of nature” (says one of the ancients), “but an illustrious mirror, in which we view the wonders of their Maker.” For if God created all so pure, so glorious, and so firm, that our weak understandings cannot comprehend or explain it; how pure, how glorious, eternal, spiritual, unutterable a Being must that God be who created all? And if He has made so glorious a heaven over men, during their short abode here; how much more illustrious a mansion has he not reserved for us hereafter in the region of life and immortality? Hence St. Paul tells us, “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.” 2 Cor. 5:1, 2.

    2. As to the stupendous height and compass of heaven, to which the earth is in comparison no more than a single point; how does it suggest to us the immense and unsearchable power and wisdom of God? “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts, than your thoughts, saith the Lord.” Isa. 55:8, 9. Does not its circular roundness remind us of the eternity of God? For of both there [pg 430] is neither beginning nor end. Does it not also tell us of his omnipresence? For as the heaven surrounds and encompasses all things, so does the God of heaven support and comprehend all his creatures. “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?” Isa. 40:12.

    3. And as, in a circle, no part can be called upper and lower; so God fills all things equally. Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of his glory; “He is not far from every one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:27, 28. For though there are antipodes and many other creatures under us, as is demonstrable from the figure of the earth; yet by the wonderful power of God the heaven is everywhere over our heads, and we look up directly towards it, by reason of its immensity.

    4. Does not also the firmament of heaven remind us of the constant, eternal, and immutable truth of God and his Word? For who is it that supports the heaven? Where are the pillars that sustain it? Or how does it hang, but upon the word of God? “The pillars of heaven tremble,” saith Job, “and are astonished at his reproof. He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.” Job 26:9, 11. And if by his word he has so strongly fixed the heavens, who can doubt that he will keep his word and promise to us forever and ever? If he support the heavens by the word of his power, doubt not but he will also support, protect, and preserve thee forever.

    5. But, from this created heaven, learn to raise thy thoughts to the spiritual heaven (1 Kings 8:27), “where are fulness of joy and pleasures forever more.” Ps. 16:11. This St. Paul calls “paradise, and the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2, 4); and “the glory into which Jesus Christ was received.” 1 Tim. 3:16. This our Lord himself calls “his Father's house, where he prepares a place for us” (John 14:2); and lastly, it is called, “the heaven of heavens.” 1 Kings 8:27.

    6. Moreover, by meditation upon this external, transient heaven, thou mayest learn to descend into thyself, into thine own heart and soul; for there also is heaven, and the habitation of God. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, I dwell with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15.

    7. Let this external heaven lead thee to the new heaven, of which St. Peter speaks: “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:13. For though this visible heaven was created in such purity, by God, as not to be subject to corruption; yet “the heavens are not clean in his sight.” Job 15:15. Therefore, “they shall pass away,” as St. Peter tells us. 2 Pet. 3:10. And “they shall perish, and wax old like a garment, and as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed.” Ps. 102:27. “I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” Rev. 21:1, 5. “Behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth: and the former shall not be [pg 431] remembered, nor come into mind.” Isa. 65:17. How beautiful, how illustrious will be this city of God, this heavenly Jerusalem, whose builder and maker is God! Or who can declare the glory of that happy place? “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Cor. 2:9. Hence the Evangelist St. John describes the new and heavenly city by all the precious and costly things in nature. See Rev. 21:11, 18-21. In a word, this is that heaven in which “God will be all in all.” 1 Cor. 15:28.

    Chapter III.

    Of The Separation Of The Waters From The Dry Land, The Work Of The Third Day.

    God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear. And God called the dry land, earth.Gen. 1:9, 10. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.Ps. 33:5; 104:24.

    The earth is a heavy and gross substance, separated from the waters, and fixed by the power of God to be the receptacle of all the heavenly influences. This globe hangs in the air by the power of the Almighty, and is replenished with the vital seeds of all trees, plants, and vegetables.

    2. The stupendous structure and foundation of the earth is a most wonderful witness of the power of God. For by what pillars is the earth supported? Or where are its foundations?

    3. Some have disputed whether the dry land be founded in the waters; or whether, as being the heavier substance, it sink to the lowest place so as to be the foundation of the waters.

    4. The patrons of the first opinion build upon these testimonies: “He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.” Ps. 24:2. And, “He stretched out the earth above the waters.” Ps. 136:6. To which may be added the testimony of St. Chrysostom, that “God laid the foundation of the earth upon the water.”

    5. Others assert the contrary, 1. Because the earth is heaviest, and therefore sinks to the lowest place, where it naturally remains fixed and immovable; for if the earth should move out of its place, it must move upwards, which is contrary to nature. And for this they quote, “Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.” Ps. 104:5. 2. They allege the experience of seamen, who sound the bottom of the sea; and explain those passages of the Psalms which mention the separation of the waters of the dry land, as Moses describes it. Gen. 1:9.

    6. But on what does this vast terraqueous [pg 432] globe depend? Who bears it up? Where are the pillars of it? “He hangeth the earth upon nothing,” (Job 26:7), saith Job. For it hangs in the midst of heaven, borne up in the air, begirt with the waters, “Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment.” Ps. 104:6. The air and water support one another; the clouds, though vast masses of water, are yet supported by the air from falling; for the power of sustaining is a property of the air. “He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not rent under them.” Job 26:8.

    7. The stability of the earth in the waters, and in the centre of the vast expanse of air, is a very clear argument of the divine omnipotence; “Where wast thou (saith the Lord to Job), when I laid the foundations of the earth? Who hath laid the measures thereof? Who laid the corner-stone thereof?” Job 38:4-6. Thence, we learn, that the foundation of the earth could not be comprehended by human understanding, but must be counted among the infinite wonders of Omnipotence. “Therefore,” saith the Psalmist, “will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof?” Ps. 46:2, 3. And that this is an argument of the wisdom of God is plain from Prov. 8: 29, 30; where wisdom says of herself, “When he appointed the foundations of the earth, I was with him, etc.”

    8. And this is the earth of which the Psalmist says, “God hath given it to the children of men.” Ps. 115:16. But though, as to its external form, it appear to be a hard, dead, dry, and cold mass, yet is it in truth, enriched by God with a wonderful variety of blessings, fruitful energy, and seminal virtues. These never rest; but are always active to produce fruits, adorned with agreeable forms, odors, tastes, and colors, with external signatures of their inward virtues and qualities.

    9. So, then, from the earth proceed all the varieties of plants and vegetables, having exchanged their old attire for a new and delicate dress. The tattered garments of the preceding year being decayed and dead, they come forth with exquisite beauty, odor, and color, and, as it were, preach to mankind in words such as these: “Look upon us, ye unbelieving sons of men; we were dead, and are now alive again. We have laid aside our old garments and bodies, and are now renewed. Do ye also imitate us; 'put off the old man, and put on the new' (Eph. 4:22-24); being renewed in your eternal fountain and original, which is God, your Creator, in whose image ye were created. If ye do this, then in the day of the righteous judgment of God, when ye have lost your old bodies, ye shall, like us, come forth out of the earth (1 Cor. 15:42), with new bodies, clothed with immortal glory, of which our new-born beauty is but a faint resemblance. And whilst ye are in this world, take not too much thought for the body. Matt. 6:25, etc. Consider us, whom the God of nature has annually, for so many thousands of years since the first creation to this time, provided with beautiful clothing, as an argument of his bounty and goodness. Consider our virtues and qualities, which are given not for our, but for your benefit; we bloom and blossom, not for our good, but yours; [pg 433] yea, the blessing of God blossoms through us.”

    10. Among the vegetables, also, a man may discern many thousands of witnesses of the goodness and omnipotence of God. Here we have a perfect collection of drugs and simples, an admirable and complete herbal; yea, a living one, not furnished with faint draughts and dead pictures; but graved with living characters and impressions, to be read by every curious spectator, but not to be fully understood by any, except by Him that made them. And till we come fully to understand their divine signatures, we cannot so perfectly know the wonders of Providence contained under them.

    11. Every herb and plant has its proper signature, which is nothing less than the inscription and handwriting of God, whereby he has most wonderfully and beautifully distinguished them all according to their virtues and qualities; and in many of them, the outward form is a token of their inward virtues. The turf we tread upon is furnished both with food and medicine. Yea, in the smallest grain or seed is manifested the unsearchable wisdom of God. He has created nothing in vain, and the minutest part of the creation is not to be overlooked or despised, since we know not the thousandth part of its virtues.

    12. But if from their external forms we descend to their internal, and extract their spirit by chemical processes, separating that pure essence, which being full of high medicinal virtue, is lodged by God in the outward body, as a diamond in a casket, then, indeed, we shall truly taste the goodness of God in the virtues of his creatures, and bless him with a grateful heart, for the many comfortable medicines which he has provided for miserable man.

    13. Consider, moreover, how the bountiful Creator has provided not only for man, but also furnished “food for all flesh.” Ps. 136:25; 145: 15. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of men, “that he may bring forth food out of the earth, and wine that maketh glad the heart of man.” Ps. 104:14, 15. So that we may properly call the earth the treasury or storehouse of God, in which are laid up a variety of blessings both for man and beast: upon which account the Psalmist says, “the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” Ps. 33:5.

    14. A very wonderful effect of this divine goodness is, that bread sustains the whole body, so that in one single morsel is contained the nourishment of all the members of the body. And because of this nutritive quality that is in bread, therefore, the eternal Son of God calls himself the “bread of life” (John 6:35); denoting his power of nourishing and sustaining the whole man, body, soul, and spirit.

    15. It is no less wonderful, that the greatest tree, with its root, trunk, boughs, leaves, seed, flowers, and fruit, should be contained in a very small seed; and that every year the same plants and trees, with their respective fruits and seeds, should appear in their proper order and season. All this must be resolved into the principle of the seed, containing in it all those powers, which successively display themselves in so great a variety of size, thickness, height, and breadth.

    16. Notice also, how the grass, upon which the cattle feed, becomes food for man; being converted into the milk and flesh of the creatures that [pg 434] eat them. Even our beds and clothes grow out of the earth, since both sheep and birds live upon the fruits of it.

    17. I shall not in this place speak particularly of trees and plants: otherwise, perhaps, I should have taken notice of the fig-tree which was accursed by our blessed Saviour (Matt. 21:19); of the olive-tree, whose leaf the dove brought into Noah's ark (Gen. 8:11); of the palm-tree, to which the flourishing state of the righteous is compared (Ps. 92:12); of the cedars, and of the spices, of which Moses made the holy ointment (Exod. 30:23); of the generous spikenard, which is a type of the Holy Spirit, and of the resurrection of the dead, being used in embalming bodies, in order to preserve them from putrefaction; of the vine, and various vegetables; from which the Holy Ghost draws beautiful similitudes, designed to illustrate and explain to us the mysteries of the kingdom of God.

    18. Of the fruitfulness of the earth, David speaks thus: “Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly; thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof: thou crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy paths drop fatness.” Ps. 65:9-11. That is, every month produces its peculiar fruit out of its treasury, the bosom of the earth.

    19. This natural fertility of the earth has been very much restrained by the curse of the Almighty; hence the tares which choke the good corn. “Cursed is the ground,” saith God, “thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.” Gen. 3:17, 18. Fruitfulness, therefore, must be regarded and prayed for, as the gift and blessing of God, without which, a man can neither plough, sow, nor plant with success: “for it is God that giveth the increase.” 1 Cor. 3:6. Thus we are to understand the words, “A fruitful land turneth he into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.” Ps. 107:34.

    20. Let our meditations on the fruitfulness of the earth, carry our thoughts to that new earth which we expect, “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Pet. 3:13. There the curse, to which the present earth is in bondage, shall have no place; it shall be the region of perfect blessedness and life eternal. This is the new paradise, full of celestial sweetness, joy, and pleasure: then shall we truly sing this song, “the flowers appear on the earth.” Cant. 2:12.

    21. I come next to the mountains, which by their height and beauty are no small ornament to the earth. The mountains are, in a more particular sense, the treasury of God, in which all kinds of metals are prepared. They are, as it were, so many chemical furnaces, in which the matter of all metals and minerals is separated and matured. It has been observed, that the best simples grow upon high mountains; and whensoever they are transplanted into gardens, they degenerate and lose their virtue. Hence it was said of Hippocrates that the herbs which he used in the practice of medicine, were generally gathered from hills and mountainous places.

    22. The mountains ought to remind us both of the protection of God (and so the expression is used in Scripture—“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help;” Ps. 121:1); and also of the Church [pg 435] of God. “The mountains shall bring peace, and the little hills by righteousness.” Ps. 72:3.

    23. Under this head, also, we may consider the springs and rivers of waters that run through the valleys, adorning, enriching, and beautifying the earth. For though, in strict propriety, the fountains belong to the work of the fifth day; yet the royal Prophet couples the mountains and springs together, because the rivers arise from the hills. Ps. 104:10.

    24. Solomon tells us, “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.” Eccles. 1:7. Though the waters, passing out of the sea through the earth, are sweetened by percolation; yet they do not everywhere break forth, nor form springs in all places, but according to the order and appointment of God. So saith the Psalmist, “He sendeth the springs into the valleys.” Ps. 104:10. And their continual streams are not only a great blessing, and a miracle of divine power, but are also an apt representation of eternal life.

    25. If God take so much care of the beasts of the earth, shall he not much more take care of us? If “the beasts of the field cry unto him, when the rivers of waters are dried up” (Joel 1:20), how much more ought we to call upon him in all our distresses? And, whereas, those places are generally most pleasant, where there is the greatest plenty of springs and rivulets: so thither the birds generally resort, and “sing among the branches.” Ps. 104:12. It is as if God had taken care to fill even the forests with their music, that so every place might resound with his praises, and that man might learn, even from the animals, that not only himself, but all creatures were made to praise and glorify God.

    26. Natural fountains, of which some are well known as possessing healing virtues, should remind us of the fountain of grace and salvation, the water of life, even Jesus Christ. “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” Isa. 12:3. “With thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see light.” Ps. 36:9. “Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” Isa. 55:1. “The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Rev. 7:17.

    27. The 104th Psalm, which gives us a beautiful account of the work of the third day, takes particular notice of seven illustrious creatures of God, all proceeding from the earth, and all capable of a spiritual sense. First, he speaks of the earth in general; that God laid its foundations, divided it from the waters, adorned it with mountains, and watered it with springs. Thence descending to particulars, he takes notice of its remarkable productions. 1. The dew, wherewith He waters the mountains. 2. The grass. 3. Bread. 4. Wine. 5. Oil, or balsam. 6. The fruits of trees. 7. Birds and beasts: all which are plainly expressed in the 104th Psalm.

    28. Thus he speaks: “He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.” Ps. 104:13. Thus we often see with admiration, the clouds hovering upon the mountains, and dropping showers of plenty upon the hills, as “the bottles of heaven” (Job 38:37); and then God doth truly water the hills from above. Sometimes, also, he sends his dew, refreshing them with great plenty. Thus were continually [pg 436] watered little Hermon, in Judea, and the mountains of Gilboa, where Saul and Jonathan, his son, were slain. Therefore David said, “Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you.” 2 Sam. 1:21.

    29. It is the property of dew to make the ground rich and fruitful, and to refresh the flowers scorched with excessive heat; whence, at last, the bees by wonderful art draw their honey. Sometimes we see a sort of honey-dew lying upon the leaves, as did the manna heretofore. Just so the Gospel is like a spiritual honey, the dew of the Holy Spirit.

    30. It is not without reason that peace is compared to dew. Ps. 133:1, 3. For as the dew is generated by the morning, so peace proceeds from Jesus Christ, who is himself the morning star, and the Prince of peace. Where Christ liveth, reigneth, and worketh, there is perpetual peace. “The kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Rom. 14:17. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Matt. 5:9. Such are begotten of God, as the dew is of the morning; and as the dew makes all things lively, fresh, and flourishing, so also does peace; which, therefore, every good man ought to beg of God, the Father of peace.

    31. And whereas, in the last place, it is said that “the earth is satisfied with the fruit of God's works,” it suggests that the Word of God the Creator, is still as powerful and efficacious as formerly it was, when he spake the word, saying, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit.” So that all things, from the beginning of the world to this day, spring from the Word of God, as from an eternal root of divine blessing.

    32. Secondly, the Psalmist says, “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle.” Verse 14. Nor is that the least of God's blessings; for how could so many wild as well as tame beasts, that minister to the necessities of man, subsist, were the grass to fail? And it is wonderful that when, in very dry weather, one would not think there could be grass enough to support the beasts that are to eat it, yet they still live upon it. Thus it seems to grow as much by night as it is eaten by day.

    33. Hence, we learn how merciful God is to mankind, and how liberally he provides for our necessities; and, though the grass may seem to be the least and meanest of all the blessings of God, yet we cannot be sufficiently thankful for it. So true is it that the least of God's blessings exceeds our highest gratitude.

    34. The grass may also furnish us with proofs of the Divine Providence. 1. He that considers that God takes care of the grass of the ground, cannot question, but that he takes much more care of him and his affairs, according to Matt. 6:30. 2. It may put us in mind of our own vanity. For “all flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.” Isa. 40:6. 3. It may also minister comfort under afflictions and persecutions, according to Psalm 37:1, 2. “Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity; for they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.”

    35. Thirdly, “Herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth: and bread, which [pg 437] strengtheneth man's heart.” Ps. 104:14, 15. Now the very notion of bread implies in it a great variety of divine blessings. First, it reminds us of God's paternal affection towards us; for a father naturally cares and provides for his children. So Matt. 7:9, “What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread will he give him a stone?” Let us remember, then, that God is our Father; and that we are needy and indigent creatures, subject to infirmities and necessities. So that our very hunger and thirst are so many monitors to lead us unto God; and every morsel of bread we eat, should put us in mind of the paternal affection and goodness of God.

    36. (2) Let us admire and reverence the wise dispensation of Providence, which assigns to every man his convenient portion of bread, so that no man has reason to complain that he is forgotten before God. Heb. 13:5.

    37. (3) From bread we may learn the wisdom of God. In Psalm 104:14, God is said “to bring forth herb for the service of man, that he may bring forth food (or bread) out of the earth.” The bread which we eat is, at first, nothing but grass, which, growing up into ears, and into the perfect grain, supplies us with bread, which at last is converted into our body and blood. This miraculous operation gives us an image of our creation; forasmuch as even to this day he makes the flesh and blood of man out of the earth; so that we may properly call it our mother, and say that “in God we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:28. The nutritive virtue of bread is the Word of God. If God should withdraw it, then all flesh and blood would wither and decay as a flower, or as the grass of the field. Therefore, man doth not live by bread alone. Matt. 4:4; Deut. 8:3.

    38. The specific property of bread is indicated in these words; “Bread, which strengtheneth man's heart.” Ps. 104:17. Every other kind of food, by being daily eaten, becomes unwelcome to us; but bread never does. So that bread is a universal food, and seems to contain in it all the nutritive qualities of every other sort of food, all of which borrow their virtues from it; as the planets derive their light from the universal luminary, the sun. And this we may conceive to be the reason of the great virtue there is in bread, that, being the most common and ordinary food, every man might find in it wherewithal to support life, though he should have nothing else. In a word, whatever we eat or drink, ought to be looked upon as a miracle of divine wisdom and goodness.

    39. Lastly, the strengthening faculty of bread, puts us in mind of “the bread of life,” which is Christ. So we read in John 6:35. “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” For in this bread of life, all the power of God is contained; because “it pleased God that in him all fulness should dwell” (Col. 1:19); “and that of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16); and by him, “we might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Eph. 3:19. Blessed is he that eateth this bread! Earthly bread cannot save us from death, but he that eateth of Christ, the bread of life, shall never die.

    40. The fourth thing mentioned is “wine, that maketh glad the heart of man.” Ps. 104:15. How wonderful is the love of God towards us, who is so far from desiring to have us oppressed with sorrow, that he has provided even [pg 438] natural means to refresh and comfort us! And as for the dejected and broken spirit, he refreshes that by the generous wine of the Holy Spirit, drawn from the living vine, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the wine mentioned in the Song of Solomon, “He brought me to the banqueting-house” (Cant. 2:5); (or house of wine, as the margin reads it.) This was the spiritual wine the holy prophets drank of (Isa. 12:2; 61:10; and Ps. 34:1; 63:11), which made them break forth into songs of joy and exultation.

    41. Wine again was given by God to strengthen the sick. For wine has a spirit in it adapted to quicken the vital motions of the heart. This is another instance of the wonderful love of God; yet it serves to put us in mind of a greater; namely, of that most generous wine which was pressed from the bloody wounds of the true vine, the Lord Jesus Christ, and which is the only sovereign remedy for the diseased soul. “He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.” Gen. 49:11.

    42. Lastly, it was also given that the aged, whose lamp of life is almost spent, might invigorate the languid flame, and make it burn the brighter. This may put us in mind of the spiritual old age of the Church. For as the sight, hearing, and all the other powers of nature, are broken by age; so now faith is extinguished, charity is cold, hope languishes, and the whole spiritual body of Christ decays every day more and more. “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8. But God promises the faithful, that he will “renew their strength, that they may mount up as eagles” (Isa. 40:31): and he declares, that he will “carry them even to old age.” Isa. 46:4. To which also belongs that promise, “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.” Ps. 92:14.

    43. The fifth thing is, “Oil to make his face to shine.” Verse 15. By this we are to understand, the precious ointment used among the Jews, and other Eastern nations, when they were more than commonly joyful, or intended to treat their guests after the best fashion; and which diffused a wonderful vigor through their whole bodies. In this sense we are to understand Psalm 23:5. “Thou anointest my head with oil.” So our blessed Saviour, when he was entertained by Simon, was anointed with oil. Matt. 26:7. He upbraids another of that name, a Pharisee, that he had not shown him the same respect. “My head with oil (saith he) thou didst not anoint; but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.” Luke 7:46.

    44. So great was the virtue of these Eastern unguents, that they used them in embalming the dead; and by that means preserved them many hundred years from corruption; as appeared in the body of Alexander the Great, which was found in the time of Augustus, as fresh as if it had been interred but yesterday, though it had lain above three hundred years. And this balsam is a proper representation of that oil, with which the Son of God, according to his human nature, was anointed without measure. Hence the Psalmist says, “Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Ps. 45:7): and “Of his fulness have all we received” (John 1:16); which is nothing else but that unction by which he teacheth us all things (1 John 2:20), and by which our souls shall be presented before God wholly beautiful, and adorned [pg 439] with the gifts of the Holy Spirit: “when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality.” 1 Cor. 15:53.

    45. The sixth thing mentioned is this, “The trees of the Lord are full of sap: the cedars of Lebanon which he hath planted.” Ps. 104:16. There are many remarkable things to be considered in trees; of which, two are more particularly noticed in Holy Scripture. The first is, that, whereas, they seem to be dead all the winter, yet upon the return of the spring, they are full of sap, and produce, first, leaves, and afterwards, fruit, in a manner truly wonderful, and such as no art can imitate. For where is the artist, who from the juice of any vine, can form a grape? The birch-trees so overflow with sap in spring-time, that men can tap them like a cask. In Ferro, one of the Canary Islands, as it is said, there is no spring, river, or rain; but there are certain trees, from the leaves of which there drops so great a quantity of water, as is sufficient for the inhabitants.

    46. And whereas it is said that “the Lord hath planted them,” we must understand it of his creating word (Gen. 1:12), by the power of which new trees daily arise to supply the place of those that die or are cut down. This blessing will abide in the earth as long as it lasts, because the power of the Lord is the universal source of all things that arise out of the earth. Now the trees, with their fruits, may remind us of that divine charity which ought to be in us. For as these freely bestow their several fruits upon man; so ought we to be affected towards God and towards one another; “that we may be trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” Ps. 92:13. Lastly, they remind us of the tree of life, with its fruits, even Jesus Christ crucified; of which, whosoever eateth, shall live forever. Rev. 22:2.

    47. Seventhly, the birds are a very great ornament of the earth. They build upon the trees and help to furnish our tables. “There the birds make their nests; as for the stork, the fir-trees are her house.” Psalm 104:17. And “Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass? Gavest thou wings and feathers unto the ostrich? what time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider. Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom? Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?” Job 39:1, 5, 13, 18, 26, 27.

    48. From all this we may learn that God made not the earth to be desolate, but has allotted its deserts and wildernesses to be inhabited by birds and wild beasts, that his bounty to man, and his magnificence might be made known by the multitude of his creatures; his omnipotence, by his works; and his wisdom, by that infinite variety of distinct properties which he has bestowed upon the creatures. “Every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell thee; for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?” Ps. 50:10-13. What then is the sacrifice that God expects? “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High; and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” Ver. 14, 15.

    [pg 440]

    Chapter IV.

    Of The Sun, Moon, And Stars, The Work Of The Fourth Day.

    See Gen. 1:14; Ps. 104:19.

    The stars are bright heavenly bodies, fixed in the firmament of heaven by the word of the Most High. They enlighten the earth, distinguish the night from the day, and adorn the heavens; and they are signs and tokens of nature, of judgment, of mercy, of seasons, days, and years. 1 Cor. 15:41; Gen. 1:14.

    2. “Lift up your eyes on high,” saith God, “and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names.” Isa. 41:26. We ought, therefore, according to his command, to contemplate these glorious works of his hands, and learn thence to admire and adore the power and wisdom of him who made them. For “the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork.” Ps. 19:1.

    3. With regard to the magnitude of the sun and moon, St. Basil thus speaks in his sixth Homily upon the works of the six days: “I conceive that the sun and moon are styled by Moses great lights, not only because they exceed the lesser stars in magnitude; but because they are so exceedingly large that they can fill not only the whole heaven, but even the earth and seas with their light. And as they always appear equally large, both in their rising and setting, it follows that they must be incredibly large; because notwithstanding the whole breadth of the earth, they always appear of equal size.”

    4. If a man were to see a globe of fire as large as a vast mountain, or a large city in flames, moving to and fro in the air, he would look upon it with astonishment and terror. Now it is demonstrable that the globe of the sun is many times greater than the earth; whence we may conjecture how great and inconceivable a space in the heavens the sun must take up. Yea, the least of the stars in the firmament of heaven are very vast in compass, and are greater than the earth; and yet in the firmament there are many thousands of these stars, which by reason of their vast distance cannot be discerned by us with the naked eye.

    5. Here human reason is at a stand; for no created mind can conceive of the dimensions of heaven. Hence it is that the Holy Scripture, speaking of God's infinite compassion, compares it to the greatness of heaven. “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Ps. 103:11, 12. For though “the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Ps. 33:5), yet is the compass of it too small to be compared with the infinite goodness of God. Hence the Holy Spirit bids us look up to the height of heaven, furnished with innumerable glorious bodies, all full of the goodness of God, and vastly larger than this lower world.

    [pg 441]

    6. Moreover, the incomprehensible greatness of the divine power is manifested, not only in the bulk of the heavenly bodies, but also in their constant and regular revolutions; for who can observe without wonder and admiration, such prodigious bodies, not only pendent in the air, but moving up and down in it with constant regularity? And how great and incomprehensible a space must they have to perform their courses in, and at the same time so determined and settled, that they never exceed their appointed limits, nor interfere with each other in their revolutions? David truly pronounces, that God “by wisdom made the heavens.” Ps. 136:5. How excellent, how transcendently excellent must that wisdom be, which can guide and govern the infinite host of heaven with such admirable order, and call them all by their names?

    7. It is wonderful also, that these vast shining bodies should have, as it were, a motion in themselves, so that they cannot for one moment, stand still in their courses; for the whole heavenly order would then be disturbed, and the stars themselves, together with their motion, would lose their vital power, even as men die, when the motion of their lungs fails. The least star never stands still, but is perpetually in quick and inconceivable motion.

    8. If the motion of one planet only be so stupendous, what shall we say of that innumerable multitude of stars, each of which has its particular course and revolution? And if any man could but for an hour take a view of all their distinct motions, he would be able to unfold to us very surprising things.

    9. The consideration of the motions and multitude of these stars may remind us of those bright and invisible stars, the angels of God. This seems to be hinted in the Revelation of St. John, where the Son of God appears with seven stars in his hand (Rev. 1:16), which are the seven spirits or angels sent forth into all the earth. To this the Book of Job alludes, “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7): by which the writer leads us from the natural stars to the holy angels. For if God has created so great a multitude of stars, who can doubt that he has a much greater multitude of celestial spirits, who praise him without ceasing?—“Praise ye him, sun and moon; praise him, all ye stars of light.” Ps. 148:3.

    10. The revolution of the heavens is, by the all-wise Creator, appointed as the measure of time; in which appear the stupendous providence, economy, and wisdom of God. To this head we are to refer the ages of the world, and their distinct epochs, the ending of monarchies, the seventy years of the Babylonish captivity, Daniel's seventy weeks, the periods of kingdoms, and the times of Antichrist, both in the book of Daniel and the Revelation, with other things of the same nature, which wonderfully confirm and illustrate the providence and wisdom of God. And whereas our Saviour tells us, that “it is not for us to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power” (Acts 1:7); this is to be understood of such a knowledge only as was foreign to the duty of an apostle, not serving either to the edification of the church, or the propagation of the Gospel. The words also may mean that no time or place ought to be prescribed to our blessed Lord for the erecting and establishing of his kingdom; of which he himself is the only proper [pg 442] judge. Our business is only to be witnesses of his kingdom, and to do our best to promote it, leaving the times and seasons to God alone. Moreover, the disciples at that time, had wrong views of the nature and design of his kingdom, and those words may be looked upon as a proper rebuke of their erroneous opinions about a temporal kingdom.

    11. And as for the times and seasons of our worldly affairs, even these are under the disposal and direction of God, whensoever we devoutly submit our concerns to him, begging his direction and assistance; as plainly appears in the case of Abraham's servant, who prayed to God, that he would “send him good speed that day.” Gen. 24:12.

    12. Our blessed Saviour argues with the Jews from those signs in the heavens, which the common experience of the times had remarked (Matt. 16:2, 3; Luke 12:54-56), thereby leading them to observations of a higher nature, and putting them in mind of those signs which were to usher in and attend the appearance of the Messiah. The words in St. Matthew are these: “When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather; for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day, for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” So that our Saviour's conclusion runs thus: If ye attend to the natural signs, and by the face of the sky can judge rightly of the weather, why do ye not attend to the signs of the present period, and conclude that the times of the Messiah are come?

    13. The words in St. Luke run thus: “When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?” So that our Lord concludes thus: As by the natural signs of heaven, ye judge rightly of the weather, because ye see the effect follow; so by the signs and miracles which ye see, ye ought to be convinced, that the Messiah is really come. But, hypocrites as ye are, ye retain the one, and neglect the other, though of the highest importance to you.

    14. As to the operations of heaven, we must first observe, that they have nothing in their own nature hurtful to mankind, as some pretenders would persuade us; but that our sins and wickedness are the true cause why God arms the creatures unto vengeance, and makes use of them to punish a rebellious world. Thus he punished the sins of the old world by a rain of forty days, which caused the flood. Gen. 7:12. And thus the sin of Sodom drew down fire and brimstone from heaven. Gen. 19:24.

    15. In the same manner we are punished even at this day; sometimes by excessive heats; at other times by violent cold, rains, or drought; at other times by thunder, hail, fire, insects, or infected air, which like the fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, fall from heaven. But as the Egyptian plagues had no power over the children of Israel (Exod. 8:22), so these punishments never hurt the children of God, if they live in his faith and fear. Thus it is said, “The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand; the sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.” Ps. 121:5, 6. [pg 443] The same Psalm advises us, to “lift up our eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh our help,” that by the grace and favor of God we may escape these evils.

    16. And as God makes use of the heavens and heavenly bodies, as instruments of vengeance against the wicked, so he employs them sometimes as means of protection and blessing to the righteous. Thus we read, “They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera” (Judg. 5:20): not unlike to which, is the story of the Emperor Theodosius, whose enemies were routed by a sudden tempest of wind and rain.

    17. The productions of heaven God in his due time dispenses out of his treasures, for the benefit and advantage of this lower world; God so disposing and ordering things, that the inferior creatures receive of the superior, and all nature hangs together, as it were, in one chain. And this connection of nature and providence is finely described by the prophet Hosea, “It shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel.” Hosea 2:21, 22. In this place the prophet presents us with the entire order of nature, beginning at the first cause, which is God. “I (saith he) will hear the heavens,” namely, when, in the great drought, the heaven shall scorch with excessive heat, and the channel of the heavenly influences shall, as it were, be dried up, so that they cannot convey fruitful seasons to the earth: then I will hear the distress of the heavens, I will cover them with clouds.

    18. And whereas the prophet adds, “The heavens shall hear the earth,” that has relation to the secondary causes. For as the earth depends on the heavens, it follows, that when the operations of the heavens are, as it were, hindered, the earth can produce nothing that is good. And when the earth is broken or chapped by excessive heat, it, as it were, opens its mouth and entreats for rain. “And the earth shall hear the corn, and wine, and oil;” that is, forasmuch as the vegetables depend upon the earth for their moisture; therefore, whensoever the earth is dry and cannot supply them with nourishment, the vegetables solicit moisture of it, as a thirsty infant would appeal to its mother.

    19. I proceed, next, to the benefits which God bestows upon us by the light of the sun and moon. And these we must consider in the fear of God, and show how we may enjoy and use them, both in a natural and spiritual sense. “Tell me (saith God to Job), where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof? Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season, or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? Canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?” Job 38:19, 31-34. In these words God represents to us his infinite power and wisdom, such as no mortal can search out or account for, much less imitate. For so unable is the wisest man to form light or darkness, that he cannot so much as produce a blade of grass. “Not unto us (then), O Lord, not unto us, but unto [pg 444] thy name give glory” (Ps. 115:1); for thou hast made all these things, and thy hand hath formed them. “He appointed the moon for seasons; the sun knoweth his going down” (Ps. 104:19); alluding to the work of the fourth day, when God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day from the night: and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also.” Gen. 1:14-16.

    20. How wonderful is the increase and decrease of the moon; sometimes it seems to be shut up in darkness, and again, in its season, to emerge by degrees into a fulness of light. And these varieties God hath appointed for a regular distinction of the times and seasons of the year, and of the affairs and business of mankind. Without this distinction of the months and other divisions of time, there could be no order in the church of God, or in civil governments, or in the economy of private families; but all would be disorder and confusion.

    21. And how abundantly is the wisdom of God displayed, even in this certain course of the moon, and distinction of seasons! In all states and conditions, the chief part of prudence is to preserve good order, and to observe the proper opportunities of acting; these are the distinguishing accomplishments of a wise ruler, and of a prudent head of a family. This, indeed, is the principal thing to be regarded in every action; he that acts unseasonably, acts to little or no purpose. God himself hath ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight; and every season has its proper opportunities and blessings attending it. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Eccles. 3:1. And as the choosing of the proper season is truly a happiness, so it is also a blessing from God, of whom, therefore, we ought to ask it by prayer.

    22. By the words, “The sun knoweth his going down” (Ps. 104:19); the royal prophet suggests to us the seasons of the year, spring, summer, autumn, winter, and the distinguishing of days, being some longer, and some shorter; all which are of very great use to mankind.

    23. And who can consider these amazing acts of divine power and wisdom, without admiration and praise to the Author of nature? This astonishing order of nature appeared so glorious to the ancient heathens, that they worshipped even the sun for their God, as being the greatest and most splendid of all objects, and as enlightening all the world. This was a conclusion for blind, corrupt reason to draw, though every part of the creation, to pure and right reason, fully manifests and discovers the being and excellencies of the Creator. A certain Indian king having heard of Jesus Christ, and the necessity of believing in him, because he died for us, gave this answer: “For my part, I had rather believe in the sun that never dies, than in a mortal God.” This was the effect of human blindness, against the corrupt influences and prejudices of which, God has taken particular care to warn us: “Lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all [pg 445] nations under the whole heaven.” Deut. 4:19.

    24. As to the magnitude of the sun, moon, and stars, it is an error to imagine that they are really no larger than they appear to us. For though the moon and some of the planets are less than the earth, yet the sun may be plainly and infallibly demonstrated to be many times larger; and that it appears so small to us, is owing to the immensity of its distance. Ocular demonstration convinces every man of this, that the more remote any object is, the less it appears. A nice disquisition of these matters the unlearned must leave to astronomers, and be content religiously to admire what they do not understand.

    25. And, here, how ought we to magnify and adore the omnipotence and wisdom of God, who appointed the sun to be the light and ornament of the day, and the moon of the night. For light is the highest beauty of all things. If we highly admire a well-built house with a fair prospect, furnished with good statues and pictures, and painted with great variety of colors, how much more ought we to look up with gratitude and astonishment to heaven, adorned with lights so many, and so stupendous.

    26. How profound is the wisdom of God, who “telleth the number of the stars, and calleth them all by their names” (Ps. 147:4, 5); to which is immediately subjoined, “Great is our Lord, and of great power; his understanding is infinite.” How ought we then to depend upon this wisdom, and be satisfied with all its determinations concerning us, and not charge him with folly, by pretending to be wiser than He is! “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” 1 Cor. 1:25.

    27. The certain and regular course of the sun and moon, reminds us of the truth of God, and the certainty of his promises: such are those of sending the Messiah, of the revolutions of certain states and kingdoms, and other deliverances of mankind; all which appeared in their time. Thus saith the Lord by the prophet Jeremiah, “If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; and if ye can break my covenant, that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant.” Jer. 33:20, 21, 25.

    28. At our blessed Saviour's passion, the darkness that overspread the world did, as it were, represent the terrors of his death, and all those barbarous impieties that were acted against him (Matt. 27:45); for the sun and moon were then as mirrors, in which might be read the sins and iniquities of mankind; which, like the sin of Sodom, mounted up to heaven, and drew down vengeance upon the world. Gen. 18:20. So every eclipse of the sun points out to us that internal and spiritual blindness of heart which reigns in every one of us; and that as plainly as if a voice should call to us, saying, “Look upon me, for you yourselves are in the same condition.” And when the heaven is red as blood, and seems to be on fire, it appears to speak to us in words like these: “Look up to me, and think on that day when I shall burn with real flames.” So, in short, we may consider all things as upbraiding us with our iniquities, and warning us to repent. What is the thunder, but the terrible voice of heaven, at which the earth trembles, and by which God speaks to the impenitent world? What is an earthquake, but a lecture of repentance? [pg 446] The same may be said of storms and tempests at sea, and of all disorders in the inanimate creation.

    29. The sun, moon, and stars, are witnesses of the divine goodness, and of that eternal light which enlightens, comforts, and refreshes every man that cometh into the world. For as God is in himself invisible and incomprehensible, we should, by the direction of the natural light, aspire to the knowledge of Him that made it; and by the beauty of the created, be drawn to the love of the uncreated light. And as we naturally take pleasure in the outward light, as the most beautiful object in the creation; so ought we, with our whole hearts, to love Him who is light eternal, and to walk and rejoice in his light, by withdrawing ourselves from the darkness of sin. “For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial?” 2 Cor. 6:14, 15.

    30. Lastly, the visible sun should put us in mind of Jesus Christ, the spiritual and eternal “Sun of righteousness.” Mal. 4:2. For as that shines equally upon all men; so Christ freely bestows himself, and the light of his grace, upon all that will receive him. Thus he saith, “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12.

    Chapter V.

    Of The Waters, And Their Productions, The Work Of The Fifth Day.

    See Gen. 1:20-22; Ps. 104:25.

    That is unquestionably the best philosophy which gives the best account of the works of God. And this knowledge every true lover of God ought to seek, that he may thereby know how many glorious creatures God has created for our use and benefit. Let the pretenders to philosophy look to it, that they spend not their time in inquiries, which, instead of teaching them true knowledge, lead them into ignorance and forgetfulness of God and his creatures.

    2. The first thing to be observed and admired, is the mutual relation subsisting between the different parts of created nature. Thus the heavens generate rains, dews, winds, and cooling breezes in the air; and then send them down to us. So the earth produces its fruits in the air; and they bud, blossom, and ripen, and are nourished by the air, without which they would quickly languish and die.

    3. Among the productions of the watery element, are the rivers. In one place springs up the Rhine, in another the Danube; here is the Elbe, there the Nile. As from one bough of a great and fruitful tree, spring many little branches, and much fruit; so one great branch of the world of waters, as the Rhine or the Danube, is connected with rivulets, lakes, and fountains, which all flow into it.

    4. As for the living creatures that [pg 447] arise from the sea, they are without number, God having blessed it with so great fruitfulness, both for its vast extent, and the use and benefit of mankind, that out of this vast repository there arise, at certain seasons, prodigious quantities of fish, varying in their kinds every month. For such is the nature of sea-fish, that they are not to be caught except at certain seasons.

    5. And here it is observable, that the sea and all its productions, have their proper order, time, and motion, appointed to them by God. So in the heavens, the stars have their stated times, regular order, motion, rising, and setting. The earth at certain seasons produces different fruits and vegetables; and, in that sense, is in perpetual motion, and never rests until it has brought forth all its fruits. So likewise the sea has its laws of motion, flux and reflux, and produces all its fruits at such appointed seasons as may best serve the use and benefit of man.

    6. Let us now take a survey of the wonderful power and wisdom of God in the sea, and inquire what spiritual inferences may be drawn from it. “Who hath shut up the sea with doors,” saith God to Job, “when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it, and brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?” Job 38:8-11, 16. In these words, God points out the great and dreadful ocean as an obscure image and resemblance of his unsearchable and incomprehensible power. For it is a very surprising miracle, that God should by his word alone, as with bars and doors, inclose the sea so strongly, that it should not be able to overflow its bounds. No less wonderful is its ebbing and flowing; so that the sea, being, as it were, conscious and mindful of the divine command, so soon as it touches the earth, seems to fly back and retire in a fright, as at the presence of God himself, like Jordan and the Red Sea. Josh. 3:16; Ps. 114:3. “He gathereth the waters of the sea together, as a heap; he layeth up the deep in storehouses.” Ps. 33:7.

    7. God tells Job, that he has “made the clouds to be the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it” (Job 38:9); which plainly appears, when its waves roll and toss themselves up to the clouds, that, as it were, receive them into their embraces, and cover them with darkness and horror, so that they seem to be blended with each other. Then appear the mighty wonders of God, which a man cannot behold without fear and astonishment, as it is described in Psalm 107:25, etc.

    8. To this work of the fifth day, belongs also that passage of the Psalmist: “So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships; there is that leviathan whom thou hast made to play therein.” Ps. 104:25, 26.

    9. As for the greatness of the sea, who can but admire the power of God, which, notwithstanding that so much water flows into the sea every day, and has, from the beginning, yet suffers not its waters to exceed their appointed quantity? And though its waves sometimes rage and swell, and lift themselves like mountains; yet are [pg 448] they quickly put at rest, and settled within their proper bounds. These are clear demonstrations of the mighty power of God.

    10. Here too we may not improperly speak of the islands. Who can behold, without wonder, several large and populous countries, and entire kingdoms, lying in the midst of the sea, as if they had been planted there? Who can tell on what foundations they are built, and what it is that keeps them immovable in the midst of violent storms and tempests? Some of them, encompassed with vast rocks growing out of the sea, seem to be built and founded on them. Upon the whole, their fruitfulness, tillage, and the occasion and manner of their being peopled, are what we may rather admire than understand. So that the sea is as populous as the earth. For as the earth is much less than the sea, it is probable that God would not suffer the greatest part of the globe to be uninhabited, and therefore he planted it with islands: so that none of the miracles and blessings which he works in the sea, might escape the observation of mankind. Therefore, to these islanders also did he send the Gospel of truth, by his holy Apostles, “shaking both the sea and the dry land, after the Desire of all nations was come.” Hag. 2:6, 7.

    11. No less wonderful is the vast multitude of creatures that inhabit the sea; for some affirm that there is as great abundance and variety of them in the sea, as on the land. Who can behold without astonishment, prodigious shoals of fish rising from the depths of the sea, like a flock of sheep, and offering themselves to the use and necessities of mankind? So that the sea is a great storehouse of God, out of which he feeds the greatest part of mankind, and out of which, too, he produces many other excellent works, such as pearls, amber, and coral.

    12. I might here mention the many bold voyages that have been performed within the memory of us and our fathers, to the most distant parts of the East and West; and all this chiefly by the assistance of the magnet, which seems to have nothing in it either of beauty or use, and yet the greatest things are performed by it. By this the pilot steers his ship, and keeps his way in the pathless waters; and by constantly pointing to the pole, it guides the mariner to his intended port. Of these voyages, and of the islands, countries, people, and other useful discoveries, there are many volumes extant, to which I refer the reader.

    13. The huge whales, mentioned by David (Ps. 104:26), give us a great idea of the mighty power of God. Of this God himself takes notice when he talks with Job: “His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God. He drinketh up a river and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid; by reason of breakings they purify themselves. He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.” Job 40:18, 19, 23; 41:18-21, 25, 31.

    14. Thus much for the greatness of the sea; which is a very striking illustration of the power of God. [pg 449] “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand?” saith Isaiah. Isa. 40:12. To which the Psalmist answers, “Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven and in the earth, in the seas and all deep places.” Ps. 135:6. All that remains is, to praise, honor, and glorify the wisdom of God, which is so wonderfully manifested in the deep; the riches of his goodness in that vast variety of fishes, and other productions of the sea, for the use and benefit of man; and in a word, to adore and magnify him in all his works.

    15. Let us consider how this doctrine of the sea may bring to our remembrance that twofold sea mentioned in Scripture: the sea of affliction and misery, and the sea of grace and comfort; the depths of misery, and the abyss of divine mercy. For what is this life and world of ours but a troublesome and tempestuous sea? As the sea is never at rest, but is perpetually ruffled with winds and waves, so is the life of man. Sometimes we fancy ourselves safe and out of danger, when suddenly a stormy wind arises, and the floods swell, to the great danger both of body and soul. As the sea has its ebb and flow, so has the life of man. Hence we read that the Lord dries the sea, the waters of the great deep. Isa. 51:10; Jer. 31:35; Ps. 107:25. Moreover, as the freshest waters when they come into the sea grow salt, so all the pleasures, glories, honors, and riches of this mortal life, however sweet and pleasant at first, soon grow bitter and unsavory. And all that cleave to them, thereby forfeit the sweet consolations of heaven, and are drowned and overwhelmed in bitter fears and perplexing sorrows.

    16. As the sea has many rocks and quicksands, on which vessels split and are lost, so in human life, many there are who split upon the rocks of covetousness, and run foul of the quicksands of worldly pleasures, and are lost to all eternity. As the sea, after some days, throws up the carcasses that have been cast into it, so the world vomits us out, after it has entertained us a little while; so that it is our highest wisdom to look out betimes for a haven of salvation in the land of the living. As the mariner sails at random without his compass, and has no certain guide but his needle, which is continually pointing to the pole, so Jesus Christ is our loadstone, continually drawing our hearts towards him and heaven, that we may not float up and down at random, or be lost in the sea of this world. As the depth of the sea is unsearchable, according to Job, “Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?” (Job 38:16); so is our life an unsearchable abyss of misery and sorrow. Whence the Psalmist says, “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.” Ps. 130:1. And, “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts; all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.” Ps. 42:7. So that our life is nothing but a vast sea of calamity and sorrow.

    17. To this abyss of misery and sin we must oppose the abyss of grace and consolation. And the first comfort is the boundless mercy of God, which is higher than the heavens, and deeper than the sea. Of this the prophet Micah speaks, “He will have compassion on us, and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19. As the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea (Exod. 14:28), so must all our sins be drowned and [pg 450] washed away in the blood of Christ. And though the abyss of our misery be ever so great, yet the merits of Jesus Christ are greater.

    18. A second comfort is, the consideration of the many wonders that God has wrought in the water; and that the blessed Jesus assisted his disciples when they were in danger by sea. Matt. 8:26. He stretched out his hand to Peter when he was afraid of sinking. Matt. 14:31. So, at this day, he is never nearer to us, than when we are sinking in the floods of affliction; and we never so fully experience his presence and assistance, as when we are under the cross. “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.” Isa. 43:2.

    19. A third consolation is contained in these words of the prophet Zechariah: “It shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea.” Zech. 14:8. So also the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47:8) saw a stream of water flowing out of the temple near the altar into the sea, healing and quickening everything that was touched by it. This signifies the fountain of grace and consolation opened by the Holy Spirit, by the preaching of the Gospel, whereby the bitter waters of affliction are to be refreshed and sweetened; so that the cross shall be no longer a Dead Sea, but a water of life, and a well of salvation. According as it is said, “In the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my soul.” Ps. 94:19.

    20. A fourth consolation against the stormy sea of this world, is contained in Psalm 65:7. “God stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.” As if he had said, When all things threaten ruin and destruction, when wars rage, and desolation seems to be at hand; then can God easily still the waves. So did the blessed Jesus, Matt. 8:26. “The lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters.” Ps. 93:4.

    Chapter VI.

    Of The Living Creatures, The Work Of The Sixth Day.

    And out of the ground the Lord formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam, to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field.Gen. 1:24; 2:19, 20.

    Here Adam gave an illustrious proof of the divine wisdom implanted in him by God, to the honor and praise of Him that gave it. He beheld His wisdom and goodness in the variety of his creatures; he considered the distinct forms, figures, proportions, and colors of them all; he distinctly viewed, and understood the nature of the living animals by the [pg 451] light of divine wisdom; and, upon a full survey of the properties of every creature, he gave them proper and significant names, expressing their several natures. From this natural knowledge of all creatures, he called her that was made out of his rib, Woman, because she was taken out of man; afterward, Eve, as being “the mother of all living.” Gen. 2:23; 3:20.

    2. So, even at this day, God shows to us the natures and properties of all creatures in his holy Word, that we may thereby be led to praise and magnify the wisdom and goodness of Him that made them. Thus Job says (12:7, 8), “Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee; or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee; and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.” See also Chap. 39. He leads us, as it were, into every part of the brute creation, putting us in mind of the many wonders of divine power and mercy manifested in every one of them. So Jeremiah sends us “to the stork and the crane, the turtle, and the swallow, who know the appointed time of their coming.” Jer. 8:7. Isaiah sends us “to the ox and the ass, who know their master's crib” (Isa. 1:3); David and Job, “to the young ravens that call upon God” (Ps. 147:9; Job 38:41); David again, “to the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear” (Ps. 58:4); Isaiah, “to the cockatrice' eggs and vipers” (Isa. 59:5); Jeremiah, “to the sea monsters, that draw out the breast, and give suck to their young ones;” adding, “the daughter of my people is become cruel like the ostriches in the wilderness.” Lam. 4:3. So the Song of Solomon speaks of the “young hart, the dove, and the foxes” (Song of Solomon 2:9, 14, 15); David, “of the hart panting after the water-brooks” (Ps. 42:1); Solomon, “of the ant” (Prov. 6:6); David and Isaiah, “of the eagles.” Ps. 103:5. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,” like the eagles. Isa. 40:31. Lastly, Habakkuk and Jeremiah speak of the wolves, leopards, and lions, sent to be executioners of divine vengeance. Hab. 1:8; Jer. 5:6.

    3. So also in the New Testament, the blessed Jesus speaks of the sparrows, not one of which falleth to the ground without the knowledge of our heavenly Father. Matt. 10:29. Thus he speaks “of the wisdom of serpents, and the harmlessness of doves” (Matt. 10:16); of “the hen gathering her chickens under her wings” (Matt. 23:37); of “the eagles' following the carcass” (Matt. 24:28); of “the dogs that eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” Matt. 15:27. So he describes his own sheep, with their several properties. John 10:27, 28. Lastly, he talks of the scorpion and serpent, which no father would give to his children when they ask for an egg or a fish. Luke 11:11, 12.

    4. Here it may be considered why the blessed Jesus himself is compared to a lamb (Isa. 53:7), to express his exemplary meekness and patience. Why did the blessed Spirit light upon the Son of God in the form of a dove (Matt. 3:16), but because the mourning of a dove (Isa. 38:14) resembles the mourning of the spirit in the hearts of the faithful. Hence Hezekiah says of himself: “I did mourn as a dove.” Isa. 38:14. Why had “the four living creatures the faces of a man, an ox, a lion, and an eagle”? Ezek. 1:10; Rev. 4:7. They express to us the four mediatorial offices of Christ: his incarnation, sacrifice, resurrection, and ascension.

    [pg 452]

    5. Here also we may consider the wonderful providence of God, whereby he protects, sustains, and nourishes all his creatures. Thus in Psalm 65 David celebrates the paternal mercies of God towards all creatures. Again, “O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.” Ps. 36:6. This consideration should strengthen our faith and secure our perseverance in prayer, under all the wants and necessities of soul and body. And whereas David mentions the word flesh, “to thee shall all flesh come” (Ps. 65:2); this seems to have a particular regard to our bodily wants and sufferings (as we are flesh and blood), such as hunger, cold, nakedness, etc.; and should, at the same time, put us in mind of our own vileness and corruption, which is frequently in Scripture expressed by the word flesh. Isa. 40:6. The prophet gives us further comfort, by adding, that there is no man so vile and contemptible as to be despised or forgotten before God. This is expressed to us in these words: “Thou who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea.” Ps. 65:5. As if he had said: So great is the love of God to mankind, that wheresoever they are, whether by land or sea, he still takes care to protect and defend them. And whereas he adds, “Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice” (ver. 8); his meaning is, that, as God feeds and nourishes all creatures, so he comforts and refreshes them, too, according to the words of St. Paul, “filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Acts 14:17. For it is no small blessing to feed upon his creatures with a cheerful mind, to begin the labors of the day with devout prayers and praises, and to conclude them with thanksgiving. Lastly, he assigns the cause, in these words: “The river of God is full of water” (ver. 9); that is, the fountain of divine bounty, mercy, and goodness, overflows to all his creatures, upon which our being and comforts entirely depend.

    6. To this also may be referred that passage of the Psalmist, “All wait upon thee, that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.” Ps. 104:27. And not only so, but he represents also the brute creatures as sensible of this dependence upon God, “The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God” (Ps. 104:21); intimating thereby, that God, the Preserver of nature, is moved to pity and to assist the distresses and sufferings of every creature; and that the wants of every part of his creation, whether animate or inanimate, are a sort of silent prayer to the great author and preserver of their being. And this is called by St. Paul, “the earnest expectation of the creature.” Rom. 8:19. Here let us consider likewise what an infinite variety of creatures there are contained in the air, earth, and sea, and that God has mercifully provided for the comfortable subsistence of every one, in a way suitable to their proper natures. And if God takes such care of the meanest of his creatures, it would be wrong to imagine, that man, created in his own image, should be neglected or forgotten by him.

    7. And since there are more creatures in the earth, air, and sea, than there are men in the whole world; and the providence of God is extended to the meanest and smallest of his creatures, how is it possible that man should be forgotten,—man, that lives, moves, and has his being in him; “for in him we live, and move, and have our being,” saith St. Paul (Acts [pg 453] 17:28),—man, that is sustained by his power: for “he upholdeth all things by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3)—man, whom he has made with his own hand; according to Isaiah 64:8. “O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art the potter, and we all are the work of thy hand;”man, whom he has redeemed by the blood of his only begotten Son, and sealed with his Holy Spirit? In a word, God can no more forget man, than he can forget Himself. So that we have all the reason in the world to depend upon him, that he will give us meat in due season.

    8. The Psalmist goes on: “That thou givest them, they gather: thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good.” Ps. 104:28. In these words is expressed that power, whereby the creatures are preserved. And this consists in a certain natural sagacity or instinct implanted in them by God, by which every one of them is prompted to look out, and procure such things as are proper for the support of life and being. And the pleasure which they receive in this exercise, is a sort of gratitude and acknowledgment to God whom they seem to look upon and rejoice in, as their Maker, Preserver, and Benefactor.

    9. Now if God takes so much care for the comfortable subsistence of all his creatures, we cannot think that he made man for perpetual anguish and sorrow, but must conclude that he is pleased to see us innocently cheerful in the fear of God. So, in Psalm 90:15, we are directed to pray, that God would make us glad according to the days wherein he afflicted us; and the years in which we saw evil. He promises his servants that they shall eat, drink, and rejoice (Isai. 65:13); and from the words of David, it plainly appears that he intends to feed his servants, not sparingly, but plentifully and bountifully; to which end, he maketh his paths drop fatness. Ps. 65:11. Experience itself also teaches us, that all creatures are so plentifully fed by God, that, at proper seasons, the birds of the air, the wild beasts of the forest, the cattle in the fields, and the fish of the sea, offer themselves, fattened and prepared, for the use and nourishment of man; and in that sense also “his paths drop fatness.” So wonderful is the providence, so transcendent is the wisdom, so great is the concern of God, to provide for all the necessities of his children.

    10. And then the Psalmist adds, “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled; thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the earth.” Ps. 104:29, 30. His meaning is, that the life of all creatures is nothing else but the breath of God. This quickening virtue and power of God, is that word by which all things were made. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” Ps. 33:6. And this word was not an empty sound, but became the life of all creatures, resting upon them as a principle of life and power; as St. Paul tells us, “the Lord upholdeth all things by the word of his power.” Heb. 1:3. So that the life and being of all things as much depend on God, as the shadow of a tree does upon the substance.

    11. Thus when God withdraws this word of life, or vital power, from the creatures, they immediately sink into their primitive nothingness. The whole world is full of God, “of whom, and through whom, and to whom are all [pg 454] things.” Rom. 11:36. He is said to be “above all, and through all, and in us all” (Eph. 4:6): so that “the Lord is the strength of our life.” Ps. 27:1; Deut. 30:20. For as men of sorrowful and distressed spirits perceive a true and vital power in the word of God; so there is in all creatures a sort of natural and vital power, which is nothing else but the Word of Creation. By virtue of this Word also, all the creatures are blessed and do multiply. By this, the face of the earth is every year renewed by a succession of plants, fruits, and living creatures, as if there were a new world every year. “While the earth remaineth,” saith God to Noah, “seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.” Gen. 8:22. By the same blessing, the world is preserved to this day.

    12. This wonderful and universal Providence of God, consists chiefly in three things. First, in his knowledge. “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” Acts 15:18. By this infinite and incomprehensible wisdom, he knows, sees, and hears all things; therefore he is called in Scripture, “the God that liveth and seeth.” Gen. 16:14 (margin). No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and open in his sight. Heb. 4:13. And he is called “the Living,” not only because he himself liveth forever, but also because he is the life of all things.

    13. The second head of divine Providence, is the fatherly goodness of God (Matt. 6:26), by which He taketh care of all things: “He maketh his sun to rise on the evil, and on the good.” Matt. 5:45. So, then, if his mercy be not only extended to the least, but even to the undeserving parts of his creation; how ungrateful are we, if we entertain any suspicions of so indulgent a Father. And if nothing be done upon earth but by his appointment and direction, we may hence learn to submit with patience to everything that befalls us, without repining or murmuring against God; firmly believing that he careth for us, and by his unsearchable wisdom ordereth all things for our good and his own glory. On the other hand, if he take from us our riches, honors, health, and other worldly blessings, we must resign them with cheerfulness, and say with Job, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.” Job 1:21. That good man gave thanks to God for his adversity, as well as for his prosperity; and the former very often proves the greater blessing of the two.

    14. The third head of God's universal providence over all his creatures is, his omnipotence. By this he is always present to his creatures, governing and preserving them; by this he governs the hearts of all men, and turneth them which way he pleases. Ps. 33:15. Whence it follows, that in all our thoughts, words, and actions, we ought to have a lively and devout sense of the divine omnipresence, and dread to do anything that is hateful in his sight. For as is the clay in the hand of the potter, so are men in the hand of God, even as we read in Jeremiah, “Arise and go down to the potter's house: and I went down, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, etc.” Jer. 18:2. The prophet intimates thereby that God, who afflicteth and breaketh us to pieces, can also heal and restore us again.

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    15. Moreover, as we are assured that God is everywhere present, and preserves and governs everything, it follows that he is so careful of his own servants, that not a hair of their heads can fall to the ground (Matt. 10:30; Luke 21:18; Acts 27:34) without his permission; and that he preserveth and keepeth us in the midst of our enemies, as we have it frequently expressed in the Psalms. Ps. 23:4; 27:1; 121:5. So when we are in distress, and there are no apparent hopes of relief, we should support ourselves with this consideration: that the Lord himself, “great in counsel, and mighty in work” (Jer. 32:19), who laid our cross upon us, can easily lighten it, or strengthen us to bear it. Let us “commit our way unto the Lord” (Ps. 37:5), like Abraham, who was ready to offer up his only son, without questioning how God could perform his promise to him, but cast all his care upon God. Gen. 22:8; Rom. 4:18; Heb. 11:19.

    16. And then, the consideration of God's providence raises in us faith, hope, and patience, of which we have examples in Job, David, and Christ himself. The blessed Jesus, knowing that he was appointed by God to die, preserved his meekness and patience all the days of his life, yea, even in the very agonies of death. Phil. 2:8. Thus David patiently endured banishment for years, attended with injuries, reproaches, poverty, and contempt; knowing assuredly that it was God that laid it upon him. This makes him cry out, “Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” Ps. 3:3. To which may be referred that passage, “The Lord killeth, and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich; he bringeth low, and lifteth up.” 1 Sam. 2:6, 7.

    17. But before we conclude this subject, we must say something particularly of man, the crown and masterpiece of the creation, of his excellence and prerogatives, which must be very great, forasmuch as God himself has declared, that “his delights are with the sons of men.” Prov. 8:31. For if all things were created for the use of man, and he is the end of this visible creation, it follows that he is the perfection of it. Reason itself convinces us, that whatsoever is the end and perfection of all things, must be more excellent than all others. So, then, all the beauty of fountains, fields, flowers, trees, fruits, and woods, yea, and all the glittering brightness of heaven, the sun, moon, and stars, are not to be compared with, the native and original excellence of man, for whose sake and benefit they were all created. For as Solomon in all his glory was not to be compared with the flowers of the field (Matt. 6:29); so the excellence of man, especially as to his soul, far transcends not only the external glory of Solomon, but all the beauties of this lower world, yea, and of the sun itself.

    18. And as for the soul, we may judge of its excellency and beauty by the form and comeliness of the body which God has prepared for its reception and residence. He provided a comely mansion for so excellent a guest. So, if we should see the spotless beauty of the original human body, we should easily judge of the beauty of its divine inhabitant. Even now, in this corrupt and depraved state of nature, we see what attractive charms there are in beauty. Moreover, we may judge yet farther of the beauty of human nature, by the glories [pg 456] of the place in which God at first placed man; which was Paradise itself, a garden full of joy and celestial pleasures, infinitely exceeding all the glory and beauty of the present world. For if the place were so glorious, what must the owner of it be, for whose sake it was created?

    19. Another great argument of the dignity of human nature is, that the angels themselves are appointed to minister unto us (Heb. 1:14); and that we were created, as it were, by a particular decree of the ever-blessed Trinity. “Let us make man,” saith God, “in our image, after our likeness.” Gen. 1:26. So that how great soever our dignity may be, by that singular decree and counsel by which we were made, yet that which arises from the image of God, in which we were created, is much greater. Therefore, when he created the sun, moon, and all the host of heaven, he but spake the word, and they were made. But when he was about to make man, the greatest and noblest of all his works, he ushers it in with a kind of solemnity, saying, “Let us make man.” How wonderful is that counsel! How solemn is that decree! How transcendent is the dignity of human nature!

    20. For though the sun, moon, and stars, and all the lower world, were made with wonderful wisdom and power; yet that deliberation does not seem to have been used there as in the creation of man; forasmuch as in him, the glory and majesty of God were more particularly and gloriously to be manifested. All the other creatures bear upon them certain marks and signatures of divine goodness and power, but man is the very image and likeness of God. For it is not said, Let us make man in the image of the sun, or of the moon, or of the angels; but “in our likeness,” that our own image may be clearly represented in him.

    21. Consider, therefore, the beauty and dignity of thy soul, which is created in the image and likeness of God, so that the glories of the divine majesty are, in a certain proportion, transferred to thee. How much reason have we then to avoid all impurity and uncleanness, that we defile not the beauty of the divine image. For if we are thereby exalted to the highest glory and honor that our nature is capable of, how unworthy and ungrateful would it be, to pollute it by any uncleanness, and so forfeit that glory which God has bestowed on us.

    22. How highly is a picture or statue prized, that is well executed by an eminent hand! Could such a picture or statue be endued with understanding, how would it esteem its maker, and take all opportunities of showing its own gratitude, and its maker's glory! How senseless then, how ungrateful is man, to forget the hand that formed him! to despise that excellent beauty with which his Maker endued him! to pollute it with all kinds of impurity! Plato, himself, a pagan, has told us, that “the beauty of the soul consists in virtue and piety.” But did we only consider the union of our souls with God and Christ, the righteousness of Christ wherewith our souls are clothed, as with a garment of glory and immortality (Isa. 61:10), we should more easily understand what the true and inward beauty of our souls is, which depends entirely upon that of Jesus Christ. And if it be so, who can question but that the soul is most exquisitely beautiful, since it derives its beauty from Him who is beauty itself?

    23. To this belongs that passage of [pg 457] the prophet Ezekiel, “Thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty; for it was perfect through my comeliness which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God.” Ezek. 16: 14. If children partake of the beauty of their parents according to the flesh; it is reasonable to believe, that our souls, by spiritual regeneration, receive a spiritual beauty from God. Moreover, it cannot be doubted that they are the most beautiful of all creatures, since the Son of God himself does not disdain to betroth himself unto them, and to adorn them with his own light and beauty. Upon this account, the faithful soul is called, “a king's daughter, all glorious within, whose clothing is of wrought gold.” Ps. 45:15. If a plebeian woman be ennobled by marriage with a husband of quality, can we doubt but that the faithful soul, by being married to the most noble and beautiful spouse, shall also partake, in a high degree, of His beauty and glory. Upon this Irenæus has a fine thought. He says, that “the glory of man is God, but the receptacle of all the operations of divine wisdom and goodness, is man.”

    24. Lastly, as it is beyond all controversy, that the most high God particularly delights to dwell in the soul of man; that he has sanctified it to be the temple of the Holy Ghost, the habitation of the Father, and the bride-chamber of the most beautiful spouse, the Lord Jesus Christ, we may therefore conclude that the soul is the most beautiful of all creatures. And as Ezekiel tells us that “our soul is perfected by the comeliness of God” (Ezek. 16:14); how great must that beauty, how rich must that attire, how transcendent must those ornaments be, which so great and noble a spouse can bestow upon the bride which he has prepared for himself? O how wonderful is this grace! How incredible is the beauty which God bestows upon human souls! Could it but be seen by mortal eyes, it must charm the most stupid beholder. And this beauty increases every day by our prayers, and devout approaches to God. So that “we are changed from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:18. For if the face of Moses, after conversing a few days with God, shone with the brightness of divine glory (Exod. 34:35); how much more shall our souls, by the same conversation, be enlightened and beautified with higher degrees of light and glory?—Of this subject we shall speak more fully in Part II, of this Fourth Book, which refers to man in particular.

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    Part II.

    Treating Specially Of Man.

    Chapter I.

    God, An Infinite And Eternal Being.

    Ah, Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.The Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is his name; great in counsel, and mighty in work.Jer. 32:17-19.

    God is the origin of the life and being of all creatures: whence it follows, that he was before all creatures, both an eternal Being, and eternal Life itself; otherwise he could not have given life and being to his creatures. But the infinity of God yet more plainly appears from the mind and thoughts of man. For as the mind of man can in a moment run through the whole circle of heaven, and comprehend in imagination all the creatures of the universe; it follows, that God who made him, comprehends all these things in a more perfect manner, and by consequence must be infinite.

    2. All the attributes of God are essential to him. As therefore he is infinite, so are his essence and life also infinite. For essence and life are inseparable from him. Moreover, as he has endued the soul of man with wisdom and understanding, it follows that the understanding and wisdom of God must be infinite. For whatsoever is in God, is essentially and eternally in him. And as the unity of the divine nature is so perfect that his wisdom cannot be separated from his essence and life, it follows that both are alike infinite and eternal.

    3. But if the wisdom of God be eternal and infinite, it will follow that He knoweth all things from eternity. Moreover, as his essence is unchangeable, equally filling all places; so his understanding does not proceed by way of rational connection, or discursive operation from one idea to another. He knoweth and understandeth all things in an instant, and to him there is nothing past or to come, but the whole circle of eternity is present to him. For as God stands in need of no creature to add anything to the perfection of his being, so neither does he need any creature with respect to his understanding. And as he is God, independently of all creatures; so he penetrates and comprehends all things in himself. So that the sands of the sea, and the drops of the rain, and eternity, are alike known to him. [pg 459] And not so much as a bird of the air, or a hair of our heads, can fall to the ground without him. Matt. 10:29, 30. He knoweth the days of the world, every hour and moment of time, with its several periods and revolutions; nor is anything under the heavens hidden from him. For as by his infinite power he created all things, so by his infinite wisdom he understands and comprehends all things; even the most secret thoughts of man. Ps. 139:2, &c.

    4. Moreover, as his essence, life, and wisdom, so also his power is infinite, and all are equally incapable of any addition or diminution. Lastly, forasmuch as no creature can oppose or set bounds to his power, therefore, he is Almighty. All which must necessarily be, forasmuch as his essence, life, wisdom, and power, are inseparable.

    Chapter II.

    God, The Supreme Good.

    For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.Rom. 11:36.

    As He must be the chief and only good, in whom all good things are contained; it follows that glory and praise belong to God alone, because from him, and by him, and for him, are all things.

    2. All the goodness that is found scattered up and down among the creatures, is in a most perfect and excellent manner and degree contained in him. So that whosoever turns himself to the creatures, and cleaves unto them, will always find himself poor, needy, and distressed: whilst he that turneth unto God with his whole heart, pursues the chief and most perfect good, and shall be blessed in the enjoyment of it: ever rich, ever at ease, ever blessed in the fruition of his God. By this it appears that perfect happiness is not to be found in the enjoyment of the creatures, and that they who fix their hearts and desires on the world, can expect nothing but anguish, disquiet, and disappointments, both in life and in death; for they have not that chief good, which alone can satisfy and make happy the soul of man.

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    Chapter III.

    Man, The Most Noble Of All Creatures, And Made For The Service Of God.

    Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.Ps. 100:3.

    All the creatures, in their several kinds and orders, were created by God for the use and benefit of man. Thus we see corn and pasture produced, these feeding the living creatures, and all serving for food to mankind. One assists another, the higher wheel setting the lower in motion, and all in a wonderful harmony concurring to one great end, which is the use and benefit of man.

    2. Now, if all this be for his sake, he is certainly more noble than they all; and hence he should learn what dependence he has upon God, and what duty and service he owes to Him who has appointed all the creatures, in their order, to minister to his necessities.

    3. And, as all the creatures seem to aim at no other end than the use and service of man, and seem to rest and be satisfied in obtaining that end; so ought man likewise to show the same diligence and faithfulness in the service of God, that the creatures show to him. All his works and labors ought to be directed to this one end, namely, to accomplish the will of God, and do nothing but that which is well-pleasing in his sight. For as all things are incessantly employed in serving man, the noblest of all creatures, so there is all the reason in the world that he should be as constant and assiduous in the service of God, who is perfection itself, and to whom alone he is indebted for that superiority which he has over the rest of the creatures.

    Chapter IV.

    God Made Man In His Own Image, In Order That He Might Delight In Him.

    My delights were with the sons of men.Prov. 8:31.—The Lord shall rejoice in his works.Ps. 104:31.

    Every artist has a love for the works of his own hands, and that induces him to take so much pains about them. “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Gen. 1:31. But if he took so much delight in the general survey of his works, how much greater pleasure must he take in man, whom he created after his own image.

    2. For the more anything resembles ourselves, the more tenderly do we [pg 461] love it. A father has a stronger affection for his son, who partakes of his own nature, than for a house which he himself has builded, though ever so exact and regular in itself.

    3. Moreover, as God takes pleasure in a creature made to resemble himself, therefore, it was necessary, that after the other creatures were formed, he should create man in his own image, in whom he might rest and delight himself. And as similitude is the foundation of friendship and society, and everything naturally associates with its like, it follows that God, in making man after his own image, intended to delight and rejoice Himself in him; so that man ought likewise to cleave unto his God, and to delight and take pleasure in conversing with Him.

    4. Further, as God is the most perfect love, he could not but desire to communicate himself, and all his blessings, to some other being. That could not be done, however, without making some being like himself; and as there was no such being then in nature, capable or worthy of such divine communications, therefore he created man in his own image, which consists chiefly in perfect love.

    5. And, lastly, as there is naturally a reciprocal love betwixt the giver and the receiver of any benefit; hence it follows, that it is the duty of man to worship with the highest affection and most ardent love, his heavenly Benefactor, who so affectionately desires to communicate himself, and all the riches of his goodness, to his unworthy creatures.

    Chapter V.

    That God By His Love Bestows Himself Upon Us.

    God is love.—1 John 4:16.

    As man devotes himself entirely unto God by love, so God bestows himself entirely upon man also by love. And as that love of his is in the highest degree of perfection, he cannot but give us Himself: for the highest instance of love is to bestow one's self upon the person we love. And as a consequence of this perfect love, He bestowed himself upon us in his only begotten Son.

    2. This is the true spring of the incarnation, passion, and death of the Son of God. Thus our blessed Saviour pronounces these words of comfort, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16); that is, God loved the world with an entire and perfect love, and therefore gave us his Son. But as the eternal love of God is the fountain of eternal life to the world; and that eternal love is manifested by Christ Jesus, in and by whom we have everlasting life, therefore, our Lord further adds: “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

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    Chapter VI.

    Showing How Much Man Is Indebted To God For His Everlasting Love.

    We love him, because he first loved us.—1 John 4:19.

    In every benefit or gift there are three things to be considered: the giver, the receiver, and the gift itself. As, then, there is a natural obligation upon the receiver to the giver, it is manifest, that since man has received all that he has from God, so he owes all to him, and is under the strictest obligations of love and obedience to his great benefactor.

    2. And as man consists of body and soul, so God has abundantly provided for the comfort and happiness of both.

    3. As for his body, it is sustained and refreshed by the various productions of nature, so that the whole creation seems to call upon him, and put him in mind of his Creator: “Consider,” it saith, “O man, the benefits which thy Maker has bestowed upon thee, and what returns of gratitude and service thou owest him for the same. I (saith the heaven), give thee daylight to work in, and send darkness in which thou mayest sleep and take thy rest. I give thee the pleasant spring, the warm summer, the fruitful autumn, and the cold winter, in their proper seasons. I (saith the air), supply thee with breath, and every kind of birds. By me (saith the water), art thou washed, and thy thirst is quenched; by me thou art supplied with all kinds of fish. I bear thee and sustain thee (saith the earth), and satisfy thee with bread, wine, and flesh; by all which thou mayest know how much thou art beloved by Him who made thee, and me for thy use; all of whose favors are as so many bonds and obligations upon thee.”

    Chapter VII.

    Of The Things That Instruct And Comfort The Soul.

    Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee.Job 12:7, 8.

    Let us now see what provision God has made for the comfort and instruction of the soul of man. Here we shall find every creature in one way or another, subservient to this end. And, first, I shall speak of the pleasure which man receives from the creatures.

    2. Man alone has the privilege of really enjoying what he possesses. Other creatures, being void of understanding, have no relish of those blessings [pg 463] from which man receives very great comfort; gold, silver, and precious stones, have no intelligence. But man, being endowed with an understanding mind, reflects with gratitude and pleasure upon the goodness of God, who has provided so many beautiful creatures for his use and benefit. O the wonderful goodness of God, who has made all the excellencies of the creatures subservient to the happiness of man; so that they are the channels of conveying that happiness to us, which they themselves are not capable of enjoying! Thus the sweetness and goodness of the water, the fragrance and beauty of flowers, the light and glory of the sun, moon, and all the host of heaven, yield no pleasure to themselves, but all unite to promote the happiness of man. Nay, without them, man would have no enjoyment at all in this world; nor could he have any notion of the dignity and pre-eminence of his nature above that of other creatures, but by comparing his condition with theirs. This shows him the transcendent goodness of God, manifested to him above all the rest of the creation; this teaches him to be thankful for his beautiful form and stature, his erect countenance, but above all, for his rational soul, created after the image of God. From all which it appears, that the knowledge of a man's self is his highest wisdom, and the want of it, the most deplorable folly.

    3. Moreover, the creatures were made, not only for the delight of man, but also to be his monitors and instructors. For from them we may learn, that our chief good consists not in worldly and outward enjoyments; such as eating, drinking, and the gratifying the other bodily appetites, all which are common to the beasts as well as to us; and this is a convincing argument, that man, being of a more noble frame and nature than they, ought to look for other meat and drink, and other pleasures suitable to the higher nobility of his nature, which the inferior creatures cannot share with him. I need not here mention, that the greatest part of human wisdom arises from the contemplation of the creatures. Thus our music came from the sound of metals; our skill in medicine, from other creatures; and our astronomy, from the stars; which still farther illustrates my first observation, that the whole world was created for the sake of man, for which he owes never-ending thanks to his munificent Creator.

    Chapter VIII.

    Of The Obligations Under Which Men Lie To God.

    O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.Ps. 92:5, 6.

    The obligations which man lies under to God, are as many and as great, as are the favors which he has received from him, or the excellencies which he has bestowed upon all the creatures. For as every creature [pg 464] was made for his use and benefit, so ought his gratitude to rise in proportion for them all. If a king should bestow great estates and honors upon a company of children in the same family, and but one of the number had age and sense enough to know the greatness of the favor and honor done to them, he alone is certainly obliged to thank him in the name of all the rest, and would be guilty of ingratitude if he did not. So in this world, the rest of the creatures are like children, that know not the worth and value of God's blessings, as man does; he is, therefore, alone obliged to adore and praise him in the name and stead of all the rest, and is highly ungrateful if he does not.

    Chapter IX.

    Man Even More Indebted To God For Inward, Than For Outward Blessings.

    And the fear of you shall be upon every beast of the earth.Gen. 9:2.

    As man knows himself to be the most excellent of all creatures, so ought he to be more thankful to God for the perfections of his own being and nature, than for those of all the rest of the world. For as all things else were made for his sake, he must of necessity be more perfect and excellent than they. The sun, the moon, and all the host of heaven, those glorious bodies, all wait upon man, and do him service. This they do, not on account of his body, which, considered in this corrupt state, is less excellent than theirs; but on account of his soul, as to which he is in every respect superior to them. For the very notion of servitude implies a superiority in the person to whom the service is paid: so that it would be unnatural for those glorious bodies to do that service to man, if he had not an immortal soul, and by consequence, a more excellent nature than they.

    2. And on account of the immortality of the soul, it is an unworthy thing for a man to fix it upon anything that is mortal and perishing; because it is incapable of uniting with anything but what is immortal, and particularly with God himself. The body, indeed, is connected with corporeal objects, and is capable of terrestrial enjoyments; but the soul should be united solely with God; so that, as a king, he might be enthroned and bear rule in her; and in this consists the excellency of man above all other creatures, that his soul is the throne, the image, and habitation of God. Greater honor than this no creature is capable of receiving; therefore man is the most excellent of all, and is infinitely indebted to the Author and Giver of such inestimable benefits.

    [pg 465]

    Chapter X.

    Of The Wisdom Which God Has Shown In The Formation Of Man.

    O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all.Ps. 104:24.

    There are three orders in the natural body. The first is to the body the same that the husbandmen and laborers are to the state; being employed in raising the appetite, digesting and concocting the food, separating the juices, and in all the other inferior offices of the animal economy. This lower faculty works night and day, for the security and preservation of the others. For such is the constitution of human bodies, that if the lower faculties be out of order, or cease to operate, the superior, which depend upon them, cannot subsist.

    2. The next faculty is the sensitive, diversified by the five perceptions of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling, which are all more or less noble, the one than the other. The sight is more noble than the hearing, because objects are seen at a much greater distance than they are heard. The hearing is more noble than the taste, as being capable of exerting itself at a greater distance. And for the same reason, the taste and smelling are more noble than the feeling, which is the weakest and lowest of all.

    3. The third order, which is the highest and most noble of all, answers to the government in the state, and is divided into the reason, the will, and the memory. These govern and command the faculties, having each a function distinct from the rest. These are not corporeal, as the others, but strictly mental faculties; and are, therefore, more noble and excellent. Besides which, they are also endued with that perfect liberty, that they cannot be compelled to anything. For who can force the will to desire that for which it has no mind; or to hate that which it loves? The will is altogether free, and cannot be forced. These are clothed with virtues proper to each of them; as the will with righteousness; the understanding with wisdom; the memory with eloquence, etc. This is the economy settled by God in human nature.

    Chapter XI.

    Of The Obligations Man Lies Under Towards God.

    What hast thou that thou didst not receive?—1 Cor. 4:7.

    There are two very general and comprehensive favors, for which man is exceedingly obliged to God; the one visible and corporeal, which is this world; the other spiritual and invisible, which is the love of God.

    2. And though this latter is indeed the first, as being the foundation of [pg 466] all his other blessings, which are no more than infinite rivulets flowing from this universal fountain of divine love; yet, because it is invisible, the folly of man hardly considers it as any mercy at all. So that man, being delighted only with visible things, does not regard or consider that the love which is concealed under them, is greater and better than the things themselves. In a word, as smoke is a sign of fire, so are the blessings of God a certain proof of his love towards us.

    3. Since, then, the gifts and blessings of God are, as it were, certain steps by which to mount up to God himself, it follows, that his love is as great as his gifts are; and as he made the whole world for the sake of man, and formed all creatures for his use, and regards them only as they serve and minister to his beloved creature, man; as he has exalted and loved him above all creatures, and as this love of God is the most sincere, pure, safe, and in a word, the highest good, which prompted him to form and love man, not for any advantage which He was to reap from him, but out of the overflowings of his free grace and boundless love; from all these considerations, I say, it is plain that man is more indebted to God for this love, than for all the particular gifts and favors that God can bestow, and man receive.

    4. There are two things to be considered in every favor: the love that precedes and influences the giver, and the gift itself, which is the consequence of that love. The former is not only more noble and valuable than the latter, but is in all respects equal to the person that shows it. Hence, it follows, that the love of God is as infinitely good and great as God himself. This confirms the position first laid down, that man is more obliged to God for his love, than for any or all of his particular graces and favors. And as man cannot subsist a moment without the favor and mercy of God (for on Him his breath and life entirely depend), it is plain that his obligations to God are greater than those of all the creatures besides.

    Chapter XII.

    Of Answering The Obligations Which Man Lies Under To God.

    I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.Ps. 18:1.

    As God has freely and graciously bestowed all his gifts and blessings on man, he thereby obliges him to make some satisfaction and return for all these mercies. Now man can offer and dedicate nothing unto God, but what is entirely in his own power; so that all his outward goods and riches, are not a proper offering for God.

    2. But as God has bestowed on him his greatest blessing, which is his love, so he expects to be requited with love again. And as the love of God to [pg 467] man is in the highest degree of perfection, so the love that he requires from us ought to be perfect, “with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.” Mark 12:30. And how just this return is, both nature and reason may convince us. For nothing is more natural and reasonable than to love them that love us, and to proportion our love to theirs; whosoever does not this, is ungrateful and unworthy of that love which he refuses to requite. And when God does not meet with this reciprocal love from man, as he very seldom does, he has then just reason to complain of injustice and ingratitude; for he requires nothing from man but love, in return for all that infinite love and mercy which he has shown to him.

    3. Moreover, such is the nature of love, so sweet, so pure, so free, and so acceptable is it, that neither fear, nor honor, nor any other thing, is good or desirable, but as it is sweetened with love. No man ever was so great, as to despise the love of his inferiors; but the greater a man is, the more does he court the love and esteem of those below him. Yea, so true is this, that God himself, the most mighty and excellent of all beings, is so far from despising the love of mankind, that he earnestly courts and desires it. This then being certain, that love is the greatest treasure any man has, he is obliged to offer it to God, who has bestowed the fulness of his love upon man.

    4. By what I have here advanced I would not be understood to mean that this perfect love, since the fall, is wholly in our own power, or that by it we can make a perfect return to God for all his benefits. My only design is to show that we are convinced in our own consciences, not only from the Word of God, but also from the light of nature, that we ought to love God as he has loved us.

    Chapter XIII.

    Showing That God's Love Appears In All His Works, Even In His Chastisements.

    He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.Ps. 103:10.

    As love is the root and principle of all the divine acts and operations, it follows that even afflictions, which are the work of God, proceed from love, and ought to be received by man as instances of God's favor. For love is the root of all the operations of God.

    2. Hence no man ought to murmur against God when He corrects him, or repine at His chastisements, or quarrel with His judgments. Our sufferings are not chargeable upon God, but upon ourselves. It would become us much better to bear his corrections without remitting our love towards him; even as he punishes us, and yet tenderly loves us still. This would be a true instance and proof of the sincerity of our love to God.

    [pg 468]

    3. And though there is no proportion between the love of God towards man, and the love which the most perfect Christian bears to God, the one being infinite and the other finite; yet is it our duty continually to aim at the highest degrees attainable by us. We should endeavor that our love may be holy, pure, sincere, and persevering, even in the midst of sufferings and afflictions; as the love of God towards us is ardent, pure, unchangeable, and everlasting, even whilst he punishes and afflicts us for our sins. If we do not this, we are the most ungrateful of all his creatures; every one of which, in its order and capacity, answers the transcendent love of God with a pure love and obedience.

    Chapter XIV.

    Showing How, And On What Account, Man Is Obliged To Love God.

    If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.Cant. 8:7.

    Hitherto we have distinctly considered the obligations that man lies under to God; which is a doctrine founded upon that natural relation that is between the giver and the receiver; and this is, as it were, a perpetual light of nature, to direct us to the several branches of our duty to God. For as God has bestowed freely upon man everything that he possesses (whence the obligation arises), it plainly follows that man is obliged to offer up and restore unto God all that he has received from him. On the other hand, if God had given nothing, and man received nothing, there would have then been no obligation, nor any rule or measure of duty.

    2. But as the love of God is the first and chief benefit which he has bestowed on man; so it is but just and reasonable that he who has so loved us should be loved by us again. Man, then, has nothing from himself, nor from others originally, but all things from God; and by consequence, is obliged solely to God. And this obligation cannot otherwise be discharged than by loving him entirely with all our hearts and with all our strength.

    3. Lastly, as man continually depends upon God for his life and being; as he continually enjoys His favors and blessings, and, by His command and order, the service and assistance of the creatures; nothing less can be expected from so dependent a being, than love to Him who has so generously and bountifully blessed him.

    [pg 469]

    Chapter XV.

    Showing That All The Creatures Continually Remind Us Of The Love Which We Owe To God.

    Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?Prov. 8:1.

    As God has loved man above all the creatures, or, to speak more properly, has loved him only, having created them all for his sake; so this perpetual love of God calls upon us, and exhorts us to love him with all our hearts; yea, all the creatures of the universe, whilst by God's command they serve us, and minister to our necessities, do, as it were, with united voices call aloud, and put us in mind of the natural obligations we are under to magnify and adore, to serve and love so gracious a Benefactor, and that freely and willingly; even as they, by God's command, freely and cheerfully assist and minister to us.

    2. And as their love and service to us are not false and hypocritical, but sincere and faithful; so ought ours to be to our Creator. As they employ their whole strength night and day to serve us; so ought we night and day to be diligent and earnest in the service of God. As all the creatures, in their order, serve and minister to man alone; so ought all the powers of our souls and bodies to be employed solely in the service of God. And as the greatest natural pleasure which man has in this world, arises from the use and enjoyment of the creatures; so nothing is more acceptable to God than the sincere services of a devout soul; nothing delights him more than love, arising from a lively faith in Christ, operating in a free and willing spirit. From what has been said, it is plain that the creatures exhort and instruct mankind to love God: 1. With all their strength; 2. Freely and willingly; 3. Heartily and sincerely; 4. Solely and entirely.

    Chapter XVI.

    A General Rule, Teaching Us How To Answer Our Obligations To God.

    Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.Cant. 4:16.

    As the creatures are appointed by God to obey man; so man is obliged to love God, and in this the creatures are our monitors. Thus the trees furnish us with ripe, sweet, perfect, and pleasant fruits; which, if they were unripe, sour, or rotten, nobody would taste or care for. So it is not sufficient for man to offer his service, his love, fear, and honor unto God, unless they be genuine and perfect in their kind, being made acceptable [pg 470] unto God through Christ and in Christ, by the Holy Ghost, who produces in us all true and perfect fruits. This then is the great end for which we must labor, by faith and prayer, that we may bring forth fruits acceptable to God: like the trees which spend the whole twelve months of the year in laboring to produce fruits wholesome and pleasant to the eater; for God will no more accept our unripe, sour, or bitter works, than we ourselves would relish sour and unripe fruits.

    2. Moreover, as the trees serve us, and naturally provide for our pleasure and benefit; so is it our duty to serve God “out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Tim. 1:5), without hypocrisy and sinister designs, that both we and our works may be acceptable in his sight. In a word, that universal rule which holds in nature, must necessarily be transferred to our love and duty to God, namely, that a man ought never to cease from laboring, till he has brought forth fruits acceptable to God: on the other hand, that all superstition, will-worship, and hypocrisy, are as hateful and abominable in the sight of God, as unripe or rotten fruits are to us.

    Chapter XVII.

    Showing That The Christian Who Loves Not God Is Without Excuse.

    This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.—1 John 5:3.

    As God has implanted in every man a faculty of willing or desiring, which we call the will, which is also the seat of love, both which mutually depend on each other; and as man knows that the chief Good is to be loved by him, and that God is that chief Good; hence it follows, that he alone has a natural knowledge both that he ought to love God, and also of the reasons that oblige him to it.

    2. For as brute creatures are fond of their benefactors; so man is under the highest obligations to love God, from whom he has received all that he has; and if he do not, he is more stupid and ungrateful than the beasts that perish. Rom. 12:9; Isa. 1:3. Moreover, as it is the nature of love to exclude all weariness and sadness (which are the effects of hatred and displeasure), and to sweeten and soften all the labors and difficulties that may attend the service of the person beloved (1 Cor. 13:4, etc.); so we are obliged to express our love to God, by all possible tokens of satisfaction and joy; since love is the happiness and comfort of our souls. And in this appear the kindness and love of God towards man, that he does not exact of us a hard, severe, and painful service; but only the sweet, the joyful, the comfortable exercise of love. Love casts out fear, anguish, and torment; otherwise it ceases to be love. Love conquers all [pg 471] difficulties, and drives away all sorrow, filling the soul with joy and gladness; so that if we love not God, we are without excuse.

    3. By this I do not mean, that man, since the fall, can by his own strength and power, perfectly love God as he ought; but to show that every man is convinced in his own conscience, that he ought to love him as well as he can; that he who does not, is worse than the beasts; and that both nature and religion oblige us thereto.

    Chapter XVIII.

    Showing That Our Duty To God Tends To Promote Our Own Happiness.

    By thy commandments is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.Ps. 19:11.

    Having sufficiently proved, in the first and second Chapters, that God is an absolute, infinite, and superabundant Good, having all perfection in and of himself, and receiving no benefit from the service and worship of the creature; it follows, that all our religious services, as they cannot be enjoined without a purpose, so they must tend directly to our benefit and advantage. All the time and pains, therefore, which we spend in the service of God, are really and truly laid out in the service of ourselves.

    2. For so great are the kindness and love of God towards men, that He has pointed out to them the path of love, that they might walk in it, and drink plentifully of the waters of life. O the boundless love of God, who has made even our duty to be our happiness!

    3. But here we must not think that we can merit anything by the services which we pay to Him; for, in truth, all the blessings that we receive either in this life or the next, are solely owing to the free grace and favor of God. The sense and meaning of this Chapter then is this: that the virtues or vices of men are neither profitable nor hurtful unto God, but only unto themselves.

    Chapter XIX.

    The Service Which The Creatures Render To Man, Compared With That Which Man Renders To God.

    My son, keep sound wisdom and discretion: so shall they be life unto thy soul.Prov. 3:21, 22.

    As we have already shown that there are two sorts of services; one which the creatures render to man, and the other which men render to God, both tending to the sole happiness of man; it remains now that [pg 472] we show the resemblance and relation that subsists between them. As for the service of the creatures, it is not in the power of man to make any retribution for the good they do us (for everything that we have is God's): nor indeed is it fit to do this, because all the goodness of the creatures is no more than a little stream of divine goodness, flowing to us through them; and to Him alone, the Author and Fountain of all good, all our love and gratitude are due. So then, though a man cannot subsist one moment without the assistance of the creatures, yet are they not the proper objects of our love, but God alone; who, by their services, endeavors to oblige and draw us to a reciprocal love and service to himself. For what advantage is it to us, to live by the help of the creatures, unless we live unto God.

    2. This then is the intention of God: to instruct us, by the cheerful services which the creatures pay to us, how cheerfully we ought to love, to serve, and obey him. For as man cannot live without the help of the creatures, such as the air and universal nature; so he spiritually dies unto God whenever he ceases to obey him and to live in Christ. Moreover, as the life of man is nothing worth, if it be not godly and devout; so the service of the creatures profits him nothing, if he also be not active and cheerful in the service of God. And as the natural life is nothing, when compared with a life of godliness and devotion; so the service we pay to God, profits us much more than all the service the creatures pay to us.

    3. Nay, he that serveth not God, is not worthy of the service of the creatures; for as they were made for the service of man, so man was made for the service of God; and all the duty they pay to us, is only to encourage us in our duty to our Maker. When this end is not answered, we may not only be said to use the creatures in vain, but to abuse them. The end of all that has been said, is this: that as God has commanded the creatures to contribute to the support of our natural life, he thereby instructs us to devote and dedicate that life entirely to His honor and service.

    Chapter XX.

    All Things Are Preserved By The Hand Of God.

    The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.Ezra 8:22.

    As man, the noblest of the creatures, cannot subsist one moment without the help of those that are much inferior to himself; it follows, that their being, and the qualities by which they help and assist us, are entirely owing to God. Whosoever denies this, must believe that they who want not our help, must be more worthy than we, who cannot subsist without theirs.

    2. But the more natural conclusion would be, that if man cannot subsist without their help, they who are so [pg 473] much more ignoble than he, must likewise depend on some superior being for their support and preservation. But as He that supports the creatures, also supports mankind by their means, it is plain, that he can be nothing less than the Creator and Maker of all things. For nothing can preserve our being, but he that gave it, and that is God, who ordained the creatures for our sakes, and man for his own.

    Chapter XXI.

    Showing That From The Service Of Man And The Creatures, A Union Takes Place Between The Visible World, Man, And God.

    Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O Lord; thou art great, and thy name is great in might. Who would not fear thee, O king of nations?Jerem. 10:6, 7.—If then I be a father, where is mine honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear?Mal. 1:6.

    Let us now consider and admire the wonderful union of all the creatures with God, by that double service of which we have spoken. For as all the creatures were made for the use of man, thence arises a certain relation or union between man and them; as there is by our duty and service to God, between us and him. For as God intended to draw man to himself by the cords of love, so he commanded all the creatures to do service unto man, as being created for his use alone; and this is a strong obligation upon us to love, serve, and honor him.

    2. Hence we may learn, that all the duty they pay to us, or we to God, tends solely to the good and benefit of man. As for the other creatures, they reap no benefit or advantage from their several labors and services, but only that every one is looked upon to be more or less excellent, in proportion to the service they respectively do to man. So likewise God receives no advantage from our services to him; but the greater love any man has for God, the more noble he is, and the greater benefit he receives. Whence it appears, how wonderfully this twofold service unites the creatures to man, and man to God,

    3. And would to God that the bond of union which is between God and man, were as strong as that which is between man and the creatures! They are incessantly employed in the service of man, and never act in a manner contrary to this design of their creation; but man, on the other hand, bursts the yoke, and breaks the bonds of duty which God has laid upon him, debasing himself below the beasts, though so much more noble than they. Now if the laws of nature and reason require the creatures to be obedient to man, as their lord, how much more just and reasonable is it, that man should be obedient unto God? For as the soul is much more noble than the body, so is the inward and spiritual service of God much more excellent than that external and bodily service of the creatures. And thus by the duty and service of man to his Maker, are all the creatures united unto God, and perfected in charity, that they may not be created in vain.

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    Chapter XXII.

    From The Love Which We Owe To God, Proceeds That Which We Owe To Our Neighbor.

    This commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.—1 John 4:21.

    As we have already shown above, that our love is entirely due to God, and that this is the first and chief obligation upon us; hence it follows, that it would be highly unjust to alienate that love from him, and fix it upon any other object. As God has appropriated all his love to us, so ought we entirely to consecrate ours to him. For though the creatures indeed do us good, yet they are only agents, and, in truth, God does us good by their means, forasmuch as he supports, enables, and commands them to minister to our necessities. Whence it follows, that man also, being a creature of God, appointed to minister to his neighbor, if he does him any service, ought not to claim any honor or love for himself, which are due to God alone.

    2. But as man is obliged to love God above all things, so he is thereby bound to unite his will and love with the will and love of God, and to love all mankind as created in the image of God, as freely and sincerely as God himself loves them. And he that saith he loves God, and loves not his brother, created in the image of God, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; for every one that truly loveth God, will love his brother also.

    Chapter XXIII.

    Man Is Made In The Image Of God.

    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.Gen. 1:26.

    All the creatures, in their different orders and degrees of subordination, may be said to imitate their Maker. Those beings that are endued with life and sense come nearer to him than the vegetable; the rational, than the irrational. As, then, all the creatures in their order seem respectively to approach nearer and nearer unto God, and man is the end and perfection of them all, it follows, that he must be in the highest degree of conformity and likeness unto God.

    2. For as the wax represents the perfect impression of the seal, so God has fixed a stamp or impression of himself upon all creatures; but to man, before his fall, he gave his own image and the brightness of that glory, which the rest of the creatures partake of in lower degrees. Thus it appears from the orders of created [pg 475] beings, that man was entirely created after the image of God. And as God is a pure spirit, a holy, just, and understanding mind, so there is in man a spiritual and understanding soul, in which the brightness and glory of the divine image shone and manifested itself.

    Chapter XXIV.

    That Man Is Obliged To Love His Neighbor As Himself.

    He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.—1 John 4:8.

    As we were all originally created in the image of God, and he is endeavoring to restore in us this lost image by the Holy Spirit, and to save us in Jesus Christ, it follows, that we ought to love our neighbors, and look upon them not as aliens and strangers, but as our kindred and brethren, having all received from the same God and Father, our life, and breath, and all things. We ought to regard them with the same affection that we do ourselves, that so the image of God, renewed in us by Christ, may not suffer by our fault. Since, then, there is but one image of God in us all, and we have but one Redeemer and one Holy Spirit, how strong ought the bond of love and unity to be betwixt those who represent but one great body, and where all are members one of another? For as our Maker justly claims the first place in our love, so the second is certainly due to them that are created in his image. And because this image resides more particularly in the soul, we are thereby obliged to wish as well to the souls of our neighbors as to our own; so then every man is bound to love his neighbor as to love his God, and that is a necessary consequence of this. For as God has loved man from all eternity, and still continues to love us, by providing plentifully for all the wants of soul and body; he designs thereby, as with the cords of love, to draw us to himself, and to teach us that as he loves us, so ought we also to love one another.

    2. Moreover, as religion or the worship of God regards chiefly the good and benefit of the worshipper, it follows, that the love of our neighbor, which arises from our love of God, necessarily tends to the same end. Or shall we say that the image of God in man is profitable to the giver, and not to the receiver? Lastly, as the love of God and of our neighbor is the first and chief duty of man, it must of necessity be also his chief and greatest good; yea, the root and fountain of all the blessings which he can possibly enjoy; so that nothing can strictly be called good to him, that proceeds from any other principle. The more, therefore, we increase and improve in the love of God and of our neighbor, the more do we improve in blessedness and happiness.

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    Chapter XXV.

    All Mankind Are To Be Considered As One Man, Or As Being Many Members Of One Great Body.

    Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?Mal. 2:10.

    As all the creatures, the fire, air, earth, water, sun, moon, and stars, equally and without any respect of persons, serve and minister to mankind, doing the same service to the poor as to the rich; to the peasants as to the citizens; to him that labors for his bread, as to him that sitteth on the throne; by this God teaches us to look upon our neighbor as part of ourselves, and all of us together as making up but one man. And as he has commanded all the creatures to pay honor and obedience to man, he designs thereby to instruct us that we are the image of God, and ought to live in a constant imitation of him.

    2. If we do not this, and accept not the service of the creatures with thanksgiving, we are unworthy of the least service from them. Now as the creatures pay equal service to all men, solely on account of the image of God which they bear, how much more incumbent is it upon us to love and honor our neighbor, as bearing that divine image. So that the creatures themselves instruct us by their example in the duties which we owe to one another; for as they regard all mankind but as one man, so ought we to do likewise.

    3. Lastly, forasmuch as all of us enjoy the love and favor of the same God; are all equally created in the same image; as the love of God is universal to us all, and his blessings equally bestowed on all; as we all labor under the same necessities, and stand in need of the same mercies, and are obliged to pay him the same duty and service; as we are all partakers of the same nature, and bear the same name (for the poorest and meanest is as truly a man as the greatest); as we all receive an equal tribute of service from the creatures; and, as it is appointed for us all once to die; upon all these accounts we are, each one, obliged to love our neighbors as ourselves, and promote peace, unity, and charity among ourselves.

    4. From all that has been said, it appears, that there is a twofold brotherhood among men: First, as we are all the creatures of God, and owe to him our being, and all the comforts and supports of it, as well as the other creatures; and secondly, as we are distinguished from the rest of the creatures, and have a closer and more heavenly relation one to another, being all created in the image and likeness of God. But there is yet a much more noble brotherhood discovered to us in the Gospel, by which we are all brethren of, and in, the Lord Jesus Christ, and members of his spiritual body under Him, our Head, of whose fulness we all receive our different measures and proportions of grace. Ephes. 1:23.

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    Chapter XXVI.

    Charity, The Foundation Of The Greatest Strength.

    Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.Eph. 4:3.

    As the greatest strength arises from concord, and the greatest weakness from discord; it follows, that the closer this concord is, the greater will the strength be. But in order to be united among ourselves, it is necessary that we begin first with being united unto God. The closer our union is with God, the stronger will it be with our neighbors. For it is impossible that he who is sincerely and heartily united to God by love, should hate his neighbor, whom God so sincerely loves. Yea, the more ardently any man loves God, the more tenderly will he love his neighbor; and the more he loves him, the closer will he be united to him.

    2. Upon the diminution or increase of our charity, therefore, depends the decay or increase of our union; and when both are perfect, the strength arising from them is invincible. Whence it plainly appears, that when men love God, they must of necessity love one another, and are thereby united in a perfect bond of union and peace. But when once they come to forget God, and to care for nobody but themselves, then faction and discord arise, which end in ruin and confusion. Here we see the advantages of concord, and the many public and private blessings that flow thence; and how all the miseries that attend confusion and discord, rob us of those blessings, which every single person may enjoy in the safety and peace of the public. In a word, so great are the benefits of this universal love of God and man, that so long as it is preserved, no power can destroy or hurt us.

    3. Hitherto we have been ascending by gradual steps, from the lowest creatures to God, our chief Good, being taught and convinced by the creatures, of the obligations under which we are to love and worship God. Hence we descend again from the Creator to the creature; that is, from the love of our Creator, to the love of the creatures.

    Chapter XXVII.

    Of The Nature, Properties, And Fruits Of Love.

    Take heed that the light which is in thee be not darkness.Luke 11:35.

    That nothing is properly our own but our love, is too plain to need any proof. Hence, if our love be good, and rightly applied, our hearts and the treasures that are in them, are good likewise; but if otherwise, then [pg 478] we ourselves and all that we have, are evil. It is our love only that makes us either good or bad. And as, when our love is right and duly placed, there can be nothing better; so, when it is otherwise, there can be nothing worse.

    2. And, since we can call nothing our own but our love, it follows, that on whatsoever being we place our love, to that we dedicate ourselves and all that we have. Whensoever we abuse or misapply our love, we throw away and lose all that we have. So then, if all our goodness consist in the rectitude of our love, and all our evil in the misapplying of it; it follows, that virtue itself is nothing else but our love, truly and properly placed; and vice nothing else but a perverse and irregular love. Whosoever considers these properties of love, cannot be ignorant wherein the greatest good, and the greatest evil of man, consist.

    Chapter XXVIII.

    Love Unites Him Who Loves With The Person Loved, And Transforms Into The Same Nature.

    God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.—1 John 4:16.

    Love unites itself to the beloved object, because it is the nature of love to communicate itself willingly and freely to every person or being that is disposed to receive it. For love is a free gift, and cannot be obtained by force. And as it is the nature of a gift, to be entirely in the power of him to whom the last owner gave it; so our love is entirely appropriated to him on whom we have bestowed it, so that we truly give up ourselves to that thing on which we fix our love. Thus the beloved is united with the lover, and they two become one, not by constraint or force, but freely, willingly, and joyfully: and so he who loves is made one with the thing beloved, and love takes its denomination from its object. Hence we read of carnal love, earthly love, and divine love, each taking its name and character from the objects on which it is fixed. Thus then every man has it in his power to be changed with freedom and ease into a being more noble than himself.

    2. Moreover, as the will, without controversy, undergoes a change in love, and every change ought to be from an ignoble to a more noble state of being (as we see the elements are changed into plants and herbs, and these into the flesh of living creatures, and they again into the substance of human bodies), it would, therefore, be unnatural to fix our love upon, and, consequently, to be united and changed into, anything that is meaner than ourselves, but rather upon God, the best and supreme Being; to whom, according to the order of nature, our love and will ought to be united. Thus we hear, as it were, the whole creation calling to us, and putting us in mind of the supreme excellency of God; upon which account He, and He alone, is worthy of our love.

    [pg 479]

    Chapter XXIX.

    Nothing Is Worthy Of Our Love, But That Which Can Make Us More Noble And Pure.

    Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.—1 John 2:15.

    As our love is the most noble present we can make, and has a power of changing our will into the nature of the thing beloved, so that we are under the control of that which we heartily love; it follows, that we act meanly and unworthily, when we give to anything that is vile and earthly, the power of enslaving our will, which is a spiritual faculty, and, consequently, more noble than anything corporeal: and that he is very unhappy and foolish, who places his love on his body, and the gratifications of sense, for instance, on his furniture, equipage, houses, and estates; all which debase the soul, and can yield it no satisfaction in trouble, no comfort in the hour of death, or in the day of judgment. Nothing can do this but God, who is the highest and chief Good, and alone is worthy of our love.

    2. We must not, therefore, waste our love on anything that is not sensible of the honor we pay it, nor able to make us a worthy return for it, much less on things that corrupt and debase it, making it earthly, sensual, and unprofitable. On the other hand, as God loves us above all creatures, he deserves a suitable love from us; and that not only as he raises and ennobles our love, but as he requites us with his own, which is infinite, uncreated and eternal.

    Chapter XXX.

    Our Chief Love Is Due To God, As The First And Last, The Beginning And The End Of All Things.

    He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.Deut. 32:4.

    Not only the universal voice of nature, but our own consciences also bear witness that our chief and highest love is due to God. 1. Because he is our chief and eternal Good. 2. Because not only man, but all other creatures derive their being from him. 3. Because the love and goodness of God are conveyed unto man by all the creatures. Whence it follows, that God, who is the fountain of goodness and love, deserves to be loved by us more than any creature, yea, than all the creatures put together; [pg 480] they being no more than means or instruments of conveying to us the transcendent and eternal love of God. So that our love is never true, right, regular, or reasonable, but when it is fixed upon God; which may be properly called the rectitude of our will.

    2. On the other hand, when self-love predominates, and a man makes all his love centre upon himself, that love is unnatural, preposterous, unjust, and irregular, a direct opposition to God, and the root and seed of all sin and iniquity. For what can be more unjust and ungrateful than to withdraw our love from God, who alone has a right to it, and to fix it upon ourselves or upon any creature? This, in short, is the highest injustice, and the highest violation of the laws of nature, as well as of God.

    Chapter XXXI.

    He Who Principally Loves Himself, Actually Sets Up Himself In God's Stead.

    O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces.Dan. 9:7.—Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory.Ps. 115:1.

    As God is the beginning and end of all things, so the first and chief love of man is due to him. And whosoever transfers it to any other object, really and truly makes that his god; which is the greatest affront that can be offered to his divine Majesty. For as it is the nature of love to unite the lover with the thing beloved, so the fixing of our love upon any creature separates and alienates us from the Creator. Whosoever principally loves himself, certainly loves everything else solely for his own sake; which he ought to love purely for the sake of God; and so all his love is founded in and upon himself, which ought to be fixed entirely upon God.

    2. Hence he is employed in doing his own will instead of God's; he usurps God's right; attempts to invade his kingdom; sets up an authority in opposition to God's kingdom; and actually rebels against his Maker and his God.

    [pg 481]

    Chapter XXXII.

    Love To God, The Source Of All That Is Good; Self-Love, The Source Of All Evil.

    O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.Hos. 13:9.

    Love is the efficient cause of all things; and as there are two sorts of love, the love of God and the love of ourselves, and as these are directly opposite to each other, it follows, that the one must be extremely good, and the other extremely evil. But forasmuch as it is plain that the preference is to be given to divine love, it follows, that this alone is good. For the love of God is a divine seed in us, from which no evil, but all good things proceed. This love unites itself to its object, which is God, its chief, its only Good, in whom it rests, triumphs, and rejoices, even as God does in it. For joy and pleasure arise from love, as we learn in Psalm 18:1, 2. This spreads itself over all the world, and, like God, its author and object, communicates and bestows itself upon every worthy receiver. And truly, as love finds all things in God, and is happy in the enjoyment of him, it stands in need of no creature.

    2. But as from divine love proceeds nothing but good, so from self-love proceeds nothing but evil. This is the root of all the iniquity, sin, blindness, ignorance, and misery, of which human nature is capable. By this a man makes his own will his god; and, as the true God is the fountain of all good, so this false god, this vain idol, our self-will, is the fountain of all evil. Moreover, as the creatures which we are so fond of, are made out of nothing, and are so weak and uncertain that they are always tending to their original state, and, in the meantime, are nothing but poverty, misery, and sorrow; it follows, that as man is changed into the nature of the thing which he loves, he must likewise partake of their inconstancy, their poverty, and misery, and can have no rest in the enjoyment of them. If the creature is vanity and sorrow, the heart that cleaves to the creature enters into its vanity, and must be partaker of its sorrow.

    3. Thus self-love, when it rules and is uppermost in men, makes them enemies to God, fills them with all iniquity, and brings them into subjection to the creatures. As the love of God dilates and enlarges the soul, so the love of ourselves contracts and straitens it, making it unjust, corrupt, proud, and covetous. As the love of God makes us quiet, easy, peaceable, and benevolent; so the love of ourselves makes us unquiet, turbulent, and ill-natured. As the love of God reinstates us in the liberty of the sons of God; so self-love makes us slaves to the creatures. The one gives us firmness and constancy of mind and will; the other makes us inconstant and changeable. The one makes a man courteous, courageous, generous, and obliging; the other makes him sour, timorous, mean, and an enemy to everybody but himself.

    [pg 482]

    Chapter XXXIII.

    Of The Love Of God, And The Love Of Self.

    The carnal mind is enmity against God.Rom. 8:7.

    As it is plain that by the love of God, or the love of self, all the motions and operations of our will are governed and directed, and that all other desires and inclinations have their birth and bias from them; it follows, that upon them depends all our knowledge, either of good or evil. For as the love of God is the principle by which we know and judge of all the good that is in man; so self-love discovers to us all the evil. And whosoever understands not what self-love is, knows not what evils there are in man; just as he that understands not the love of God, cannot know the good that is in Him. For no man can judge of either good or evil who knows not the springs and fountains from which they flow. The love of God is a shining light, discovering to us not only itself, but its enemy, which is self-love; on the contrary, self-love is a thick darkness, blinding the eyes of men, that they cannot see the good or evil that is in them. These, then, are the two roots of good and evil, which, whosoever is ignorant of, cannot rightly judge of either.

    2. For as man consists of two parts, namely, soul and body; so in respect of one, he sets his heart upon honors, dignities, and preferments; whilst the other tempts and draws him to fleshly and sensual pleasures. So that whosoever thus loves himself, must be a slave either to honor or pleasure, which he looks upon as his greatest happiness, as gratifying that inclination to himself, which is uppermost in his heart. And from these two kinds of self-love spring many others, as various as are the means and instruments of obtaining the honors, or fulfilling the lusts, which have taken possession of our hearts. And these are chiefly three: 1. Pride, or an inclination to be eminent and popular in the world. 2. Pleasure and luxury, by which we indulge and gratify the flesh. 3. Covetousness, or an inordinate love of worldly things. Whosoever eagerly seeks honor, cannot but hate everything and every person that stands in his way and hinders his designs; whence proceed anger, revenge and envy of all those who are possessed of any advantages which we want, or which seem to eclipse or lessen the figure which we desire to make in the world. Hence also proceed indolence and sloth, and a mean fear of laboring or sufferings, both of which are ungrateful to flesh and blood. In a word, all sins and iniquities proceed from this fruitful fountain of self-love.

    [pg 483]

    Chapter XXXIV.

    Love To God, The Only Source Of Peace And Unity.

    Above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.Col. 3:14.

    If all men had an equal love for God, the supreme Good, they would then all be of one heart and of one mind, and the sincerity and unanimity which they would manifest in the love of God, would cordially unite them to each other.

    2. But instead of this, every man loves himself, and pursues the inclinations of his own heart, so that hardly two can agree together. For as he whose heart is set upon honor, cannot but hate and envy every one that is preferred before him; so from these different interests and inclinations, nothing can proceed but emulation, strife, and discord. Moreover, as he that pursues his own will, and courts the esteem of men, makes himself his own god, there must by consequence be as many of these idols and false gods as there are proud, ambitious men in the world. Hence arise envy, hatred, wars, and fightings, whilst every one is bent upon increasing and defending his own grandeur, in opposition to that of his neighbors. Hence it plainly appears that as the love of God is the bond of peace and union; so self-love is the root and cause of all the discord and contention that is in the world.

    Chapter XXXV.

    Showing How We Ought To Love God.

    Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.—1 Tim. 1:5.

    There is no better way of convincing a man than by appealing to his own conscience. There, as in a glass, we may read our duty much more plainly than ten thousand teachers can instruct us. We have already shown that it is a point of natural equity to love God above all things, and that he who does otherwise, sets himself up as his own idol. And now, if any man desire to know to what his duty to God obliges him, let him look into himself, and examine his own heart, and conclude that whatsoever he would have done for himself, that he is obliged to do for God. Therefore, as self-love is natural to us all, we must reverse that, and offer to God that which we unjustly arrogate to ourselves, by loving him as we have hitherto loved ourselves.

    2. Wherefore, as thou now lovest thine own will, and endeavorest to gratify it in all things, so thou must, [pg 484] for the future, prefer the will of God to thine own will, and think it better to submit to God's good pleasure than to humor and gratify thyself. Thou art in love with honor and esteem, and wouldest have everybody bow to thy superior merit and character; turn now this inclination of thine, and apply it to promote the glory of God, and pray that all men may unite to do the same. As thou hast hitherto been angry with every one that has opposed thee in thy pursuits of glory, so oughtest thou now to oppose those that oppose the glory of God.

    3. Whilst thy heart is full of self-love, thou art greedy of praise, and wouldest have everybody think and speak well of thee; do thou the same for God; labor and pray that God may be glorified by all men, and that every creature may praise and magnify His name. As thou art very industrious to be thought a man of truth and honesty, and wouldest be very uneasy to be counted a liar; so oughtest thou also cheerfully and industriously to propagate and vindicate the truth and veracity of God. From all which it appears that every man may read in the book of his own conscience the obligation he is under to love and honor God rather than himself.

    Chapter XXXVI.

    Divine Joy, The Fruit Of Divine Love.

    Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice.Ps. 5:11.

    The end and perfection of everything is the fruit it bears, or the effects it produces, which are as various as the seeds from whence they spring. Therefore, as there are two different seeds or roots in man, namely, the love of God and the love of ourselves, which are diametrically opposite to each other; so likewise are the fruits which they produce. Now the end and fruit of all human actions is either joy or sorrow. Joy, as it is a good fruit, must necessarily proceed from a good root; and sorrow, being evil, must proceed from an evil root; that is, in short, all true joy must proceed from the love of God, and all sorrow and anguish of mind from the love of ourselves.

    2. For as all joy arises from love, and depends upon it, such as is the love, such also must be the joy. If the love be divine, the joy will be divine; if earthly, the joy also will be earthly. Now so long as our hearts are united to God by true love, they cannot but rejoice and be happy in him. This is a foretaste of eternal life, in which both our love and our joy shall be completed and perfected together. Therefore, as we shall there live eternally unto God, so our love also shall be eternal; and as our love shall be perfected, so it shall be united with a perfect, absolute, infinite, and eternal good, being itself also perfect, unchangeable, constant, and eternal. And from a love so pure, immaculate, and heavenly, shall flow a river of joy, divine, pure, precious, full of [pg 485] rapture, full of grace, glory, and immortality.

    3. For eternal life itself is nothing but this eternal joy, with some drops of which, faithful souls, even in this life, have been often refreshed and comforted. This is the meaning of that passage in Canticles 2:4, “He brought me to the banqueting-house: stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples.” And whosoever has tasted of this joy, can have no relish for worldly pleasures. But as that proceeds from the true love of God, arising from faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows, that if we desire to obtain so great a good, and, by tasting some drops of this sweetness, to enjoy this earnest and foretaste of everlasting life, it must be obtained by a lively faith, operating by divine love. Whence St. Paul tells us that “the love of Christ passeth knowledge.” Eph. 3:19.

    4. And as this divine love is not a thing without us, but within us, it follows that this does not depend upon our external goods or possessions, such as riches, honors, learning, meat, or drink, or any other outward blessing; but that all these things are contained in it. And as this love shall attain its full perfection in the other life, so the peace and joy that flow from it, shall be perfect and everlasting. This treasure a man shall have in himself, and no one shall take it from him; he shall have a river of living pleasure rising up in himself, independent of all external blessings and comforts. And as no man knoweth this treasure, but he that has it; so he that has it, is in perfect ease; he envies nobody, covets nothing, thirsts after nothing but the fulness and perfection of divine love.

    5. The first fruits of this treasure may be possessed by faithful souls even in this life, without lessening the reversion in the next life; yea, it rather increases and spreads itself to infinite degrees, so that though all mankind should unite together in this divine love, they would be no hinderance to each other, but would rather increase and improve their united stock of love and joy. For the more earnestly any man loves God, the greater is his joy. And if it be so in this world, how great shall our joy be in the next, when God shall pour out the fulness of his joy and love upon his elect, and He himself shall be “all in all.” 1 Cor. 15:28.

    Chapter XXXVII.

    Of The Evil Fruits Of Self-Love.

    Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: and let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.James 4:9.

    As true and divine joy proceeds from true and divine love, so nothing can proceed from false love but false joy. For as self-love aims at nothing, delights in nothing but honors, riches, and sensual and worldly pleasures, all which are fading, perishing, and subject to a thousand casualties; therefore the man whose heart is set upon them, cannot but be always [pg 486] fearful, apprehensive, and jealous of every accident that may deprive him of his happiness; so that his joys are never solid or lasting, but false and perishing, mixed with fears and cares, and ending in disappointment and sorrow. For as the seed is, such is the fruit.

    2. Now we have already shown, that self-love is corrupt, impure, unjust, abominable, and unnatural, the seed and root of all evil, the parent of weakness, blindness, error, and death. And the fruit or joy arising from it is of the same sort, unjust, impure, opposed to God, to our neighbor, and to all righteousness; it rejoices in iniquity, and contempt of God. And if it be a sin only to love anything which God hateth, how much more grievous a sin must it be to delight and rejoice in it? Such a joy as this, which is opposite to the nature of every creature, and contrary to the nature and express will of God, cannot but end in everlasting sorrow, death, and darkness.

    3. For as divine joy brings us nearer and nearer to God; so carnal joy carries us farther and farther from him. Divine joy makes us the friends of God; but worldly joy makes us his enemies. The former confirms and strengthens the will in the love of God, makes the conscience easy, cheerful, and happy; the latter disquiets and torments the soul, making it turbulent, restless, and uneasy. That may be obtained without labor or charge; this requires both, and all too little to support and secure it. The one produces, improves, and preserves love, peace, and friendship among men; the other creates discord, contentions and quarrels, wars, violence, and bloodshed. From the one all good, from the other all evil things proceed. The one is a lively, salutary, and sober joy, full of virtue, full of pleasure, and acceptable to God; the other is fleshly, vicious, dishonest, base, and hated of God. The one increases our devout longings after God and goodness; the other inflames our corrupt desires. That enlightens the understanding, filling it with divine light and wisdom; this darkens and blinds it, and fills it with ignorance and error. That is true and substantial; this treacherous, deceitful, and false.

    Chapter XXXVIII.

    Everlasting Sorrow And Death, The End Of Self-Love And Carnal Joy.

    If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.Rom. 8:13.

    As we have already shown everlasting joy to be the genuine fruit of divine love; it follows, that without that love, we cannot be partakers of the joy, but must sit down at the last in eternal anguish and distress. For when the condemned sinner comes to reflect and consider, that by his own fault, he has irrecoverably lost all the blessings of a happy eternity, how great must his sorrow, how bitter must his grief be! Annihilation itself would be to him a blessing; but alas! he wishes for it in vain, he [pg 487] must bear his burden, and undergo his punishment to all eternity.

    2. This must raise in him an eternal hatred and abhorrence of himself, and all his adherent impurities and sin; which, whether he will or not, will forever stare him in the face, revenging, as it were, upon him the past sacrilege of his self-love.

    Chapter XXXIX.

    All That We Have Must Be Offered And Consecrated To God.

    O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.Ps. 95:6.

    As we are assured that God is our Creator, Preserver, and loving Father, to whom can we more reasonably pay our honor, duty, and service, than to him? Whom shall we rather implore and pray to, whom shall we rather praise and glorify, than him that made us? Whom shall we rather trust? In whom shall we rather hope? Whom shall we rather love? In whom shall we rather rejoice and be happy? Shall we not love him, who hath created us in his own image? Shall we not honor him, who has exalted us above all creatures? Shall we not devote ourselves entirely to him, who has given himself entirely unto us? Who created us for the end that we might live, abide, and rejoice with him forever? Shall we not love and honor him, who has adopted us for his children?

    2. Think, therefore, and consider with thyself, O man! that as God has given thee a rational soul, so thou oughtest to consecrate all the powers and faculties of it to his honor and service. He has given thee the faculty of loving: therefore love him; he has given thee understanding: endeavor to know him; he has given thee fear: therefore fear him; the power of honoring: therefore honor him; the gift of prayer: therefore pray to him; of praise and thanksgiving: therefore praise his name. He has given thee the power of believing, hoping, and trusting: therefore depend, and trust, and hope in him; of rejoicing: therefore rejoice and be glad in him. Lastly, as all things are in him, and he has an infinite power of doing all things, consider this with thyself, that if thou rest and rejoice in him alone, thou shalt in him possess all things.

    3. And hence arises the true and genuine worship of God. He that loves him, honors him; he that loves him not, affronts him. So likewise he that fears him, honors him; he that fears not, despises him. And all the other vices and virtues are of the same nature. By obedience, God is honored, and he is dishonored by disobedience; the same may be said of faith, hope, charity, and gratitude.

    4. From all this it appears, that there is nothing better, more honorable, or more profitable for man, than to honor God; and nothing more base and abominable than to dishonor him.

    [pg 488]

    Chapter XL.

    He Can Never Praise And Glorify God, Who Seeks His Own Glory.

    Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory.Ps. 115:1.

    He that in all things seeks not the glory of God, and endeavors to promote it, does not act like a creature of God, but directly opposes his Maker, and all his designs, seeing he made all things for his own glory. And he does even worse, who measures all things no otherwise than as they contribute to the raising of his own glory and honor. Such a one usurps the honor due to God alone, and, like the rebel Lucifer, sets himself in God's throne.

    2. And this he does not only in his own soul, but endeavors to lead others into the same guilt, by filling their hearts, which ought to be thrones and temples of God, with the same notions of love and honor to himself, as he has entertained in his own mind; endeavoring as much as in him lies, to dispossess his Maker and settle himself in his room. But what greater sin can there be than this? Now as the consequence of this irregular loving and honoring a man's self is, that it makes him the enemy of God, and casts him out of his presence into the pit of destruction, it follows, that he who would be the friend of God, must hate and deny himself.

    3. Return, therefore, and repent, O man! believe in Christ and live in him as a new creature, and he will receive thee and comfort thee. But to others, who persist in their rebellion and continue in their corruptions, he shall say at the last day: “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity!” Matt. 7:23. Moreover, as the love of Christ is our chief good, our highest wisdom, and the perfection of our knowledge, and self-love is perfectly opposite to it: let us be persuaded to cast out the love of ourselves and of the world, that the love of Christ may enter into our hearts. This is that love which perfects and accomplishes our Christianity, and with this do thou, O God, refresh and satisfy our souls for ever and ever. Amen.


    1. The title “True Christianity” is prefixed to these Four Books for the reason that true faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and the righteousness which proceeds from faith, constitute the fountain from which the whole Christian life must flow. I have, accordingly, written, not for heathens, but for Christians; who have, it is true, adopted the Christian faith, but whose life does not accord with it, and who deny, or will not understand, the power of faith. 2 Tim. 3:5. I have written, not for unbelievers, but for believers; not for those who are yet to be justified, but for those who are already justified. Hence, this whole work on daily repentance and Christian love, ought to be understood in no other sense, than that faith must go before as a light in our path, and that it is the foundation of all. Let no one, by any means, suppose that anything is here ascribed to our carnal [pg 489] free will or to good works; our sole object is to persuade you, as you are a Christian, and are anointed with the Spirit of God, to let Christ live in you, and rule in you, and to let the Holy Spirit govern you, in order that your Christianity may not be hypocrisy.

    2. Hence, too, Part II. of this Fourth Book is not to be so understood, as if we could love God from our own carnal will; for love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. This Part II. is, on the contrary, only intended to show that, besides the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, even our own heart and conscience may teach us, from the book of nature, and the light of nature, that we are bound to love God on account of his great love bestowed upon us, and manifested through the means of all his creatures. Such an argument, derived from nature, ought to convince every man, whether he be a heathen or a Christian, a believer or an unbeliever; and no one can refute it. For, granting that God has bestowed so many mercies on us, who can deny that we are in gratitude obliged to so gracious a benefactor? And as he calls and invites us to love him, by all the creatures which are bestowed in common upon all mankind, who can deny that the love of God is discovered to us in the book of nature, and that the heathens themselves may be convinced by arguments drawn thence? “The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.” Ps. 111:2. And, “Thou Lord, hast made me glad through thy work; I will triumph in the works of thy hands.” Ps. 92:4. How can these works be more effectually praised, than in this manner? The Lord God give us understanding and wisdom, that we may know him and praise him for all his works, both here and forevermore. Amen.