Christian Religion:


A plain and easy draft of the Christian



52 Lectures, on chosen Texts of Scripture, For each Lord’s Day of the Year, Learnedly and Perspicuously illustrated with Doctrines, Reasons and Uses.

By that Reverend and Worthy Labourer in the Lord’s Vineyard,


Doctor in Divinity,
And later Professor of it at Franeker in Friezeland.

Printed by T. Mabb for Thomas Davies, and are to be sold at his shop
at the Sign of the Bible over against the little-north-door of Paul’s Church,

Latin edition published 1627

This work was included in Ames’ COMPLETE LATIN WORKS, Vol 1
(Joannes Jansson press, Amsterdam, 1635, 1658)
Ed. Matthias Nethenus (1618-1686), Prof. of Theology at Utrecht,
who was Ames’ Biographer.

The editor of this English Translation (1642), though unnamed,
was likely Hugh Peter (1598-1660), heir to Ames’ papers,
and co-pastor with Ames at the English Church of Rotterdam.

Biographical Sketch — William Ames: Puritan in the Netherlands


Almost from the beginning of the history of the Reformation in the Netherlands a Puritan strain could be found in the Dutch Reformed Churches. This Puritan influence was to continue for many years and it made an indelible mark on Dutch thought. Some even speak of “Dutch Puritanism.”

The reason why a Puritan influence could be found among the Dutch was the close contact, throughout the centuries, between the Dutch and the English. The English came to the help of the Dutch in the War for Dutch Independence under William the Silent. The English sent representatives to the Synod of Doit (although it is a matter of debate whether they were of any assistance in the battle against Arminianism). During the time of Spanish persecution in the Netherlands, many fled to England and found refuge there; and during the efforts of the Stuart kings in England to impose prelacy on all the churches, many refugees found a haven in the Netherlands. One need only think of the Pilgrims who, after fleeing England, lived for a time in and near Leyden before sailing for America. English scholars were recognized for their learning and were invited to Dutch universities to teach, and Dutch scholars found positions in English universities. Dutch ministers preached in English churches and English preachers found many years of enjoyable labor in Dutch churches. The contacts were of many kinds, very close, and frequent.

All this brought into the Netherlands a Dutch Puritanism which remains in the Dutch churches today. William Ames was one of the Dutch Puritans.

Life in England

Almost nothing is known of the early life of William Ames; not any of the details of his early life have come down to us. He was born in 1576 in Ipswich, Suffolk, a town about seventy miles north-east of London near the Sea. And he was born when Queen Elizabeth sat on the throne of England as the last of the Tudors. She had already seen to it that Parliament passed the Act of Conformity, which required that all churches follow the pattern of the Church of England both in worship and church government, a policy which made life difficult for Puritans.

These circumstances of Ames’ birth are so important that his entire life was controlled by them. And so we shall have to say a few things about the struggle which went on in England as a result of Elizabeth’s rule.

The Church of England was, at least officially, quite Calvinistic, as expressed in the 39 Articles of the Church of England — the official creed of the church. In government, the church was strictly hierarchical and had the same structure of archbishops, bishops, and priests (along with a multitude of other offices) as Rome had — except for cardinals and a pope. In worship most of the trappings, ceremonies, robes, liturgies, and symbols which were a part of Romish worship, while abolished in the first rush of reformation, gradually crept back into the church.

Within the Anglican Church was a large group of clergy and people who wanted more complete reformation, not only in doctrine, but also in church polity and worship. They made every effort to change the Anglican Church but were blocked in their efforts by Elizabeth, who insisted on uniformity throughout her realm. Most clergy, when forced to sign the Act of Uniformity, did so. Some did not. They became known as Puritans because they wanted to purify the church beyond what had so far been accomplished. Later, in about 1919, they were called Non-conformists, a name which stuck for many years.

For the most part the Non-conformists, though continuing to promote their non-conformity and though refusing to sign any Acts of Uniformity, stayed in the church. Where else could they go? It was not until the Great Ejection that non-conformists were expelled from the Anglican Church and Non-conformist Churches sprang up throughout England.

William Ames was a Puritan in the Anglican Church, outspoken and vocal, and one who refused to bow before the dictates of Elizabeth. Nor could Archbishop Bancroft’s most strenuous opposition to non-conformity move him. I suppose that if Ames had been content to moderate his protests and keep his objections to himself he would have survived within the Anglican Church and would have been able to keep his post in Cambridge. But that was not in his nature. He believed deeply that prelacy, hierarchy, and all the remnants of Rome that remained in the Anglican Church dishonored God and made the church a wicked institution. His deep commitment to his principles came to expression in his strong opposition to the established church’s practices and made him a passionate defender of Puritan goals.

Ames received the bulk of his education at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he studied under the famous Puritan supralapsarian William Perkins. Being an ardent Puritan he could hope for no advancement within Anglican circles. Hence, when an opportunity to become chaplain of Cambridge University opened up, he took it.

His stay in Cambridge did not last long. The very nature of an established State Church was conducive in England to careless and profane living. The students in Cambridge were no exceptions. And so, when Ames preached a sermon against various evil practices among the students, such as card-playing and gambling, his enemies took the opportunity to work for his censure. Hating him for his non-conformity, they used Ames’ sermon as an excuse to get rid of him.

Ames quite clearly saw that he would be expelled from the University if he fought his case; and so he left the university and made his way to the Netherlands. After a brief stay in Leyden, he went to the Hague.

An interesting anecdote describing an event which took place prior to Ames’ departure from the university shows how clearly the issue was really one of non-conformity. While the storm over his sermon was still raging, Ames was called before Dr. Carey, the master of the college, and told he should wear a surplice, which was a robe worn by clerics to add to the dignity of their office. The Puritans had rejected the use of such “papal” garments, but the Anglicans were then and are now favorable to such clothing. Dr. Carey insisted that Scripture required him to wear it, and when Ames, rather astonished, asked for the text where such a command was found, Carey quoted the passage: “Put on the armour of light,” which, Carey insisted, referred to a white surplice. Ames’ refusal to be swayed by such exegesis infuriated the master.

Ames’ Labors in the Netherlands

It was in the Hague that Ames found employment as chaplain to Sir Horace Vere, the commander of the English troops in the Netherlands, and at the same time served as minister of the English church in the Hague.

But the long arm of Ames’ enemies in England reached across the channel. The archbishop of Canterbury wrote a letter to Sir Ralph Winwood, the English ambassador to Netherlands, to see to it that Ames was removed from his position. His letter ended with these words: “I wish the removing of him to be as privately and as cleanly carried as the matter will permit. We are also acquainted what English preachers are entertained in Zeeland, whereunto in convenient time we hope to give a redress.”

But his persecutors could not finally keep him from finding employment in the land where he had chosen to make his home — although they tried desperately. Because of his vast learning and great ability Ames was called to be divinity professor at Franeker in Friesland in 1622. Twelve years he served in this prestigious school, and his fame spread throughout all Europe. Students came from remote parts of the continent to study under him, and the school itself, in recognition of his contributions to the university, made him rector in 1626. During this time he had the privilege and pleasure of serving with Maccovius, of whom we spoke earlier.[1]

Sadly, though, his abilities were not recognized by his countrymen; and the adage mentioned even in Scripture that a prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, was true of Ames.

During the years of his stay in Franeker, Ames served the Dutch Reformed Churches well. He did battle against the high church prelates in England and continued to write against their superstitious ceremonies and Romish practices, while defending vigorously the regulative principle of worship. Richard Baxter, famous for his still popular book, The Reformed Pastor, left Anglicanism to join the Non-conformist movement because of the writings of William Ames.

Ames also wrote extensively against Roman Catholic error and took on the great Bellarmine, perhaps the greatest of all Roman Catholic theologians since the time of the Reformation.

But his chief enemies were always the Arminians, whose theology he detested as rationalistic and humanistic — which it truly is. Not only were they subjected to his scathing attacks in print, but Ames was chosen to attend the Synod of Doit, where he participated in their trial and condemnation. He was, in fact, paid four florins a day to attend the Synod, and he served with distinction as assistant and private secretary to the president, the fiery Johannes Bogerman. Ames’ work was chiefly behind the scenes.

But William Ames always loved above all the pastoral ministry and wanted to return to it. Added to this was a severe case of asthma, which made it difficult for him to breathe in the winter months. He was in fact so stricken that he feared every winter would be his last in the cold and damp northern provinces.

Thinking perhaps that the southern part of the Netherlands would be better for his health, Ames took a call to the church in Rotterdam where he served the Lord for a brief time. But the climate here did not make much difference in his asthma, and Ames made plans to move to America to settle among the Dutch churches in New York or New Jersey. He died, however, before he could make the move, and finished his work on earth on November 14,1633 at the age of 57.

His wife and family did move to the new world after Ames’ death and took his extremely valuable library with them. This library was an extraordinarily valuable legacy in America, for he had one of the finest libraries in the country, and America, at this time in her history, was almost entirely without books.

Ames’ son William returned from America to England and was vocal in the Non-conformist movement in England until he, along with so many others, was ejected from the Anglican Church and suffered the awful persecution which was the lot of the ejected ministers.

Although Ames was by no means well known, the Dutch Reformed Churches owe him a great debt for his unwavering and uncompromising stand against Arminianism; and the Puritanism for which he fought in England was to be his legacy in the Netherlands as it lived on in various branches of the Reformed churches.


[1] That biographical sketch of Maccovius is not included. Johannes Maccovius (1588-1644), also known as Jan Makowski, was a Polish Reformer (Calvinist). He was a skilled debater and ardent foe of Arminianism. Maccovius entered the University of Franeker in the Netherlands in 1613, attracting students from all over Europe for his Scholastic methodology. However, his extreme love of logic led him into a dispute with his colleague, Sybrandus Lubbertus, concerning supralapsarianism. Lubbertus felt that Maccovius had gone too far in teaching that God decreed the reprobate to sin; and too far in teaching that the reprobate sin out of necessity. That dispute was not settled mi til the Synod of Dort in 1619. The synod agreed that Maccovius had gone too far. Earlier, John Calvin likewise cautioned against taking the logic of double-predestination too far, by attributing our sinfulness to God (Rom 9.19), and thereby denying personal accountability for it. See Calvin’s Institutes, Vol. 2, chap. 4, sec. 3, where God operates by deserting the reprobate, or by delivering them to Satan, not by making them sinful.

To the Reader

Some years have now passed since it pleased divine providence to put a period to the life of Dr. William Ames, in whose death very many interested themselves, as no indifferent mourners. Not only those who either, under the notion of scholars or friends, had become his familiars — but universally, all those who had been sensible of enjoying the fruits of his labours, and who were fervent lovers of sound literature, purity of heavenly doctrine, and godliness in sincerity of heart: knowing indeed that in Ames, the garden of learning had lost one of its choicest flowers, the fortress of truth one of its stoutest defenders, piety its most faithful favourite, the school a most able and reverent doctor, and studious youth their most diligent instructor. That we have in him lost such a man, those who derived their streams of learning from his clear fountain, are undeniable witnesses. In further testimony are his elabourate tracts in opposition to the idolatrous tyranny of popery, and the spreading gangrene of Arminianism, especially his Coronis, whereby he placed the Crown in conflict. As also those things which he dedicated to both religion and piety, his Marrow of Divinity, his Cases of Conscience, Explication of the Psalms, Peter, etc. And these, his Catechetical Commentaries, which indeed he intended for the private use of his scholars, upon whose entreaty he put them down. But things so eminently conducive to the public were not to be confined to the narrower limits of private profit. Among those diverse ways by which diverse [men] handle Catechetical Doctrine, this author thought fit above all to make use of this method: He takes out of the Word of God a text most apposite, resolves and explains it succinctly, then draws out examples containing doctrinal instructions, and lastly applies them to their several uses. If this disgusts some nicer palette, entreat him only little by little to remit that prejudiced opinion, which he can deduce from nothing but a slight perusal, and must upon a more settled introspection confess that in this piece Ames has most prudently chosen, and dexterously handled, the most plain and regular method for the preacher’s function, and Christian instruction. But if any should please themselves with any other method, they may with little pains, and exceeding profit, produce compliance between it and our Amesian System. The truth of this is sufficiently attested, not only by our own countrymen, but also by the Dutch, French, and others, among whose Catechistic Treatises this was and is [held] in no small esteem.

I need not have taken this much pains to premise a Prefatory Epistle, when indeed I am not ignorant how the least knowing among us will conclude me but weak to suppose, that I might induce them to prize this piece by a second motive, when the title has already presented them with the name of Ames. But lest a total silence should bring this work at first sight to be questioned as spurious, I thought it not altogether unnecessary to usher it into the world with this short preface.



The First Lord’s Day

Psalm 4 verses 6-8.

There are many that say, Who will show us any good? Lord, lift up the light of your countenance upon us,You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. 8-1 will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for you Lord, only, make me dwell in safety.

The scope of this Psalm is to teach us by the example of David how we ought to carry ourselves when we are compassed about with the greatest dangers. Now, two things are performed here [2] by David, which make up the two parts of this Psalm. First, he prays for turning away imminent danger, verse 1. Secondly, he sets out the effect of his prayer in strengthening his mind, which he attained by this means, and by that in the rest of the verses.

This confirmation is declared by a double reason. First, by an exhortation, which he uses towards his enemies, verses 2-5. Secondly, by a profession of his confidence that he had in God, from the sixth verse to the end of the Psalm. In this profession of his confidence, the Royal Prophet shows that he places his chief felicity in God’s favour towards him. And this profession is first illustrated from a comparison with a very unlike and vanishing care of worldly men that they have concerning their own happiness or felicity, verse 6. Secondly, from the effect of God’s favour, namely, that it brings with itself wonderful gladness to the minds and consciences of those that have received it, verse 7, in which words the reason and cause is given for the former confession. And then this gladness is illustrated by a comparison of a lesser joy or gladness, which yet is taken by the world for a full joy; and that is the joy that arises from the plenty and abundance of the goods of this life, verse 7. Lastly, this profession of the Prophet is illustrated from another effect that it brings with it, namely, security and safety from fear, and all cause of fear; the true cause of which is placed in God’s protection, verse 8.

That all these things may be better understood, we must know and observe for the explication of the words, that by many in this passage is understood to mean all, [3] because what is attributed here to many, agrees with all. Secondly, that by the words they say is not understood here properly as external and vocal speech, but the inward affections, desire, and endeavour; because this saying is also affirmed about those who abstain from outward speech and perhaps cannot speak. Thirdly, that by this exclamation, who will show us any good? a vehement desire is imported. Fourthly, that by good is understood all and everything which appears delectable, whether it seems profitable, pleasant, or in any other way desirable. Fifthly, that by lifting up God’s countenance upon us, is understood a constant phrase of

Scripture, the communication and manifestation of God’s gracious presence and favour; for it is a metaphor or speech that seems to be borrowed from the sun rising and spreading abroad the beams of his light, whereby he brings a certain life and gladness to all creatures here below.

Doctrines arising from this.

Doctrine 1. Our chief felicity and happiness ought to be regarded and sought after above all other things, and that [should be done] throughout our whole life.

This doctrine is thus raised and gathered in that David proposes this as his only comfort which he regarded in the time of his affliction, and which he would regard all his lifetime. Now by the chief good, what is properly to be understood is that in which our felicity consists; in this felicity is contained an affluence or fulness of all desirable good things. And this chief good, as it is imperfectly attained to and possessed here in this life, is properly [4] called our consolation, or comfort. It is called comfort, because it is that which, as it were, strengthens and comforts the mind, and makes it strong and firm against all oppressing pains, griefs, and terrours; for consolation or comfort is properly a mitigation of pain and grief, or a remedy against sorrow and fear.

Reason 1. The first reason for this doctrine is because the end of our life conflicts with this chief good, and the end in all things is chiefly to be looked at, because whoever does anything not in order to obtain a fixed end, does it but rashly, and without reason. So also, he who lives without having his eye still fixed upon his chief good, lives but rashly and at random, like a brute and unreasoning creature.

Reason 2. Because from the regard we have for this end, all our actions are to be governed; of which only these can be called right which, as it were, tend to this end in a right or straight line; and all others are wrong, like crooked lines or bypaths turning out of the right and straight way. Therefore, he that lives without regard to this chief and last end, does just as someone intending to shoot at a Butte,1 yet would not look at the mark, but let his arrow loose at random; or as someone that would commit his ship to the wind and waves, never looking to the loadstar,[1] [2] or having any care about the haven to which he would arrive.

Reason 3. Because the chief good is of chief excellence and worth, and therefore also deserves to have the chief place in our thoughts, studies, and cares. Therefore, those who neglect this, and allow themselves to be taken up with other things, are like [5] children, who commonly misregarding things of greatest worth, busy themselves altogether with trifles.

Use. The use of this Doctrine is for Reproof:[3] against those who seldom or never think of the end and mark toward which their life should tend; and are not careful about that perfection and chief good toward which they ought mainly to contend; such men’s lives are neither Christian nor rational, but rather brutish and bestial.

Doctrine 2. That a man’s chief good or happiness cannot be found in the goods of this life.

And this is gathered from verse 6, where this opinion of worldly men, that good or happiness may be found in such things, is rejected as vain. The meaning of the doctrine is that a man’s happiness consists neither in riches, nor in honours, nor in renown, nor in power, nor in any goods of the body; nor yet in pleasure, nor in any perfection of the mind, nor in any other similar created good.

Reason 1. Because such goods do not make the man himself good, and therefore neither can they make him happy, but they are common to the worst of men, as well as to good men.

Reason 2. Because such goods are oftentimes the instruments and means of sin and misery.

Reason 3. Because there is none of them which ought not to be referred to a further good. Therefore, the last, chief, and most perfect good cannot consist in them.

Reason 4. Because none of them can perfect the soul and spirit of man.

Reason 5. Because most of these goods are common to beasts and men, and yet beasts are not capable of happiness.

[6] Reason 6. Because oftentimes it is a man’s virtue and perfection to neglect and contemn1 such goods, so that the best and most perfect men are those who take the least account of these outward and worldly goods.

Use. For Reproof: against those who esteem as much of these goods, seek after them as lawfully, keep them with as great care when acquired, and are as loath to leave them, as if they placed their true and only bliss and happiness in them.

Doctrine 3. That our true and chief good consists in our union and communion that we have with God.

This is gathered from these words: Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O Lord. The meaning is that God himself is our true chief good, effectively as well as objectively, because he alone makes us happy, as the efficient cause; and he makes us happy in himself as the object; that is, by communicating himself to us according to that model of the Covenant: I will be your God; I will be your rich reward. And our communion with God is our formal or inherent happiness, which is usually called the vision or seeing of God, and the beatific [4] [5] vision. Now to see God in Scripture-phrase, signifies neither the light of the eyes, nor the bare speculation and beholding with the understanding, but the full fruition and enjoyment of God as far as it makes for our blessedness. And we attain to this fruition and communion by Jesus Christ our Lord; therefore this consolation must be referred to Christ as its cause, and all that belongs to our happiness must be acknowledged to come by him.

[7] Reason 1. Because there is nothing else that can bring sound and solid quiet and peace to our souls or satisfy the desires of the nature of man, for all other things are well-noted by Isa. 35.2 3 to be unsatisfactory things; where also on the contrary, the fat and delightful satiety of our souls, is said to consist in this holy communion. And this same thing, in like manner, is preached to us in several places in the Psalms, That in the Lord’s House, that is, in the communion that we have

with God, our souls are filled as it were with fat and marrow, Psalm 83.6 and 65.5.1 And as any natural body, out of its own place, never has that kindly and natural rest which it desires, so also man, standing without God, is as it were, out of his own place; and so he cannot rest with true and solid contentment. Also as nothing which is less can fill up the whole capacity of a vessel that is bigger, so nothing that is worldly can fill up the capacity of our souls; and that is because our souls are of a higher and larger capacity than this whole world.

Reason 2. Because there is no other thing outside or besides God which for itself is the end to be desired. For all things should always to be referred to God, because he is the first efficient and last end of all things. Therefore, as one going on a journey can never finish it so long as he stays halfway, but ought to proceed to the end, so they that stick either at any creature, or at any worldly matter, can never arrive at the end and perfection of their life. For these are but parts of the way by which we ought to be led to God.

Reason 3. Because there is no other independent good. For he that trusts in someone who depends on [8] another is not sure in his trust, because the other is also uncertain, in that he depends upon another’s pleasure.

Reason 4. There is no other good that can be imparted to all and every man, together and at once, that are heirs of happiness. For that which is wholly communicated to all and every one, at once and together, ought to be infinite.

Reason 5. Lastly, there is nothing else which in itself is either free from all mixture of imperfection, or can keep us free from all kinds of evil, or make us partakers of all sorts of good.

Use 1. Of Exhortation: to seek God and his face and favour above all other things whatever.

Use 2. Of Comfort: for the faithful, who have God for their God, in Christ; for they are partakers of that chief good, and so are truly blessed or happy, whatever otherwise befalls them in this world.

Doctrine 4. That joy which the faithful have from their communion with God, surpasses all other human delights and joys in its sweetness.

This is gathered from verse 7 and from iPeter 1.8.[6] [7] This doctrine may be illustrated and clarified from these passages, as from the passage cited and similar ones.

Reason 1. Because this joy is about the true and chief good. Other worldly joys are either about false and counterfeit goods, or about those which in comparison to the chief good, are but light and of no great value. There is as great a difference between these joys as there is between the fancy and affection of a child moved by the picture or resemblance of food, or drink, or of some other [9] delightful thing, and that affection which men feel arising in themselves from the use of convenient and nourishing food and drink after great thirst and hunger.

Reason 2. This is why also in Scripture, Psalm 103, not only the soul, but all that is in a faithful man, is said to rejoice in God. In this respect, there is as much difference between this spiritual joy, and that worldly gladness that arises from other things, as there is between the light sprinkling of the earth with the morning or evening dew, and the thorough wetting of the earth with a plentiful and seasonable rain.

Reason 3. Because all other worldly joys are fading, temporary and but for a moment, and often end in mourning and sorrow. Whereas, that spiritual joy endures to eternity, as does the good, from whose possession it arises. In this regard also, there is as much difference between this spiritual joy and gladness, and that of this world, as there is between the flame of straw or thorns burning under a pot, and the light of the sun itself.

Reason 4. Because worldly joy is overcome and interrupted by the travails and afflictions of this life, and much more by terrours and anguishes of conscience. But this spiritual joy so overcomes all other afflictions and swallows them up, that it not only makes a man rejoice while he is in them, but also rejoice about them and/or them. Act 5.41; Jas 1.2.1

[10] Use 1. Of Admonition: that we do not allow ourselves to be deceived by the pleasures and delights of this world, so that they may not in the least take us away from seeking God; as the Apostle says, That the afflictions of this world are not worthy of that eternal weight of glory, which we expect in heaven.[8] [9] [10] 3 For indeed we ought to think of the pleasures of this world as not worthy to be compared with that spiritual joy to which we are called in Christ, and in our God through Christ. For those who are led away by the pleasures of this life, from seeking that solid joy in God, act as if they should rest in the smell of food or drink, and so only think to feed themselves while neglecting the solid food itself, until they perish for hunger.

Use 2. Of Refutation: against that carnal imagination of the world, by which many think that there is no joy or gladness in the practice of godliness; and so they shun godliness and the care of it, as that which is full of sadness and melancholy. But the Scriptures teach otherwise, that the godly are called to this: that they may always rejoice, Phil 4.4 3 and that they are always, as it were, feasting with all gladness according to Solomon, Prov 15.15.[11] The proper cause of this errour is ignorance and a depraved sense of their sins, being like a herd of swine in this, which make it their greatest pleasure and delight to wallow in the mire.

Use 3. Of Consolation: for the godly, in that whatever their outward condition is, yet they have cause for more true j oy than can be either felt or understood by worldly men.

Use 4. Of Exhortation: that striving with our utmost endeavour, we must labour more and more to [11] receive and be sensible of this joy. Now the means which we chiefly ought to use to attain and increase it are these: 1. We must in good earnest remove all hindrances of this joy; that is, we may cleanse and disburden ourselves of our sins by repentance and a real amendment of life. 2. We ought to have a true care that we daily make our union and communion with God more sure

and constant to ourselves, by diligent examination and confirmation of our faith and hope. 3. That we are much and often exercised in the religious meditation of God’s Promises, which promise all good things to those who have God for their God. 4. It is greatly conducive to this purpose if we exercise and excite this joy in ourselves, in and by the daily praise of God’s name; that is, in private as well as public thanksgiving, coming from the bottom of our heart, for all those blessings with which God has blessed us in Christ Jesus.

Doctrine 5. That this joy and this comfort bring a certain holy security to the consciences of believers.

This is gathered from the last verse of the Psalm. And this is that security in which the Apostle boasts and glories, Rom 8.31, 38. If God is for us, who can be against us, etc. For I am persuaded that nothing can separate me, etc. And David everywhere in the Psalms[12]; Why do I fear? God is my rock, etc. This security differs much from carnal security, in which men of this world lie and sleep. 1. Because true and praiseworthy security is grounded upon true faith, and not upon vain imagination. 2. Because it is bred in us by the Word and Promises, and by the preaching and knowledge of the word of God. It does not proceed from traditions or men’s dreams, and [12] sinful habits, as that does. 3. Because this security relies always upon God’s protection, as it is in the Text, You only make me dwell in safety. It does not rely on outward means, or on our own strength and wisdom. 4. Because this security is fed, cherished, and advanced by diligent use of calling upon God’s name, and of all other means that God has prescribed and appointed for us.

Reason 1. Because God’s protection secures believers from all evil, at least from the sting of it, for which reason only is it truly evil; for God has all things, both evil and good in his own power.

Reason 2. Because God’s presence brings all other good things with it; for God is so good in himself that virtually and eminently, he contains all things in himself that can be called good.

Reason 3. Because God’s goodness towards believers is unchangeable; so that there can be no danger of this happiness being changed into misery.

Use. For Consolation: of the faithful, namely, that from this ground they may and ought to depend upon God; and lay aside all those anxieties by which they may be discouraged from adhering to God with joy and gladness.


[1]A target.

[2] A guiding star.

[3] To convince or convict; or to correct (scold) with kindly intent.

[4] Look down on with disdain

[5] Experiencing celestial joy (angelic).

s It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Cannel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, The excellency of our God.

[6] Citations would be Psa 83.5 and 64.5 in the Douay-Rlieims; or Psa 84.4 and 65.4 in the KJV. Psalm 84:4 Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah. Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Yom courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Yom holy temple.

[7] Whom having not seen, you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (iPe 1:8).

[8] So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were comi ted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Act 5:41); My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, (Jam 1:2)

[9] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2604:17).

[10] Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (Phi 4:4)

[11] All the days of the afflicted are evil, But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast. (Pro 15:15)

[12] e.g. Psa 31.3, 71.3.

The Second Lord’s Day

Romans 7.7

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Indeed, I would not have known sin except by the law. For I would not have known that concupiscence or lust was a sin unless the law had said, You shall not covet.

The Apostle, that he might stir up the faithful to a new obedience, had proposed to them the difference between the condition of those that are under the Law, and those that are under Grace: that those under the law of the flesh and sin, bring forth fruits unto death; but those who are under the grace of the Spirit, bring forth fruits in a new obedience unto life eternal. But because of this opposition between the Law and Grace, some might gather that there was then a very great agreement between the Law and sin. Therefore in this seventh verse, this objection is anticipated by the Apostle. 1. Then the objection is proposed: What shall we say? Is the Law sin? 2. It is rejected with a certain kind of detestation: God forbid. 3. The case is plainly set down and resolved in these words: I would not have known sin etc. Where the singular effect and use of the Law is declared: that by forbidding and reproving sin, a sense and acknowledgement of sin is begotten in man, as that which is contrary to [the Law]; and therefore [the Law] cannot be the cause of sin.

The Explication. The Law is commonly understood as, [14] a way and rule of walking. Now this way and rule is imposed upon reasonable creatures by divine authority, and by the greatest obligations that can be. And this is the Law of God which the Apostle here understands; especially the moral Law. By sin here is not only understood the transgression of God’s will, but also all those things that follow upon such a transgression, which in this chapter is defined by the name of Death, and is sometimes called misery. Sin is either known confusedly and speculatively only, or more exactly and practically. Now the accurate and practical knowledge of sin is understood here, whereby it is efficaciously concluded in our consciences that sin is a detestable thing, and is to be avoided by all means.

Doctrine 1. Men of their own nature are so blinded that although they are completely drowned in sin and death, yet of themselves they cannot know it.

This is gathered from these words: I would not have known sin.

Reason 1. Because the very mind and conscience of man, which is his eye and light, is corrupted in a twofold manner. 1. Privitively,1 in that it is deprived of that light whereby it might rightly judge itself, and those things which belong to its spiritual life. 2. Positively, in as much as it is possessed with a certain perverse disposition, from which it often calls evil good, and good evil.[1] [2] For as the eye being put out feels nothing, and as the eye infected with diseases, and depraved by the indispositions of the organ, sees all things otherwise than as they are presented, so is it with the eye of the soul.

[15] Reason 2. Because the whole man is possessed with a certain spiritual disease and, as it were with a drunkenness, and lethargic stupidity, whereby he is sensible of nothing, rightly and spiritually.

Reason 3. Because we are so borne in sin, that in a way it becomes natural to us, nor have we ever experienced any other condition. Those who are borne with deformed and crooked limbs, never saw a right and well-proportioned disposition of all their members. They do not know that their own limbs are deformed and ill-proportioned, but consider their distortion and disproportion to be the right proportion itself. It is even so in this case of sin, and of the corruption of our nature.

Use 1. Of Admonition: that for this reason we might more and more humble ourselves before God, seeing that we are so miserable, that of ourselves we can never know our own misery.

Use 2. Of Direction: to deny all our natural wisdom, so that we may fly to God, and seek wisdom from him, so that we may rightly know ourselves and him.

Doctrine 2. The only way to rightly know sin and the cause of our misery, is by the law of God. It is gathered from these words: For... unless the law had said, etc.

Reason 1. Because the law of God in some way enlightens the eyes of our mind, Psa 19.

Reason 2. Because the law of God is the rule of our life, and is therefore the touchstone not only of the straightness, but also of all the obliquity1 and crookedness of our life.

Reason 3. Because the law of God is set before us as a mirror in which we may clearly see our faces [16] and quality, James 1.23.[3] [4] Now it performs this use of a mirror to us, by a comparison made between the perfection which the Law requires of us, and the manifold defects and deformities that are found in our life.

Questions arising from this.

Question 1. Did not some wise men, at least among the heathen, know sin without this Law of God?

I answer: 1. They were not altogether without this law of God, because in part they had it written and engraven in their hearts. Yet, 2. They did not know many sins which might easily have been known by the Law. 3. They did not know sin under the first and most proper reason for it; namely, as an offence against God, but only as repugnant to reason in man himself. 4. They did not know those spiritual miseries which accompany sin. 5. They did not know sin practically and efficaciously, so as to be driven by that knowledge to a spiritual humbling of themselves before God.

Question 2. In what manner does this Law of God show us our sin?

I answer: 1. It shows us our duty, or the will of God, that we should do. 2. It shows us our fault in transgressing this will. 3. It shows us our guilt, by which we are bound over to punishment for this guiltiness. 4. It also shows the punishment itself; for the threatenings of the Law, in which

the punishments are contained and denounced, are parts of the Law, and belong to its sanctification or ratification.

Use 1. Of Direction: that in passing judgment upon our lives, we do not follow either our own fancies nor the tenets and opinions of the vulgar, but the law of God alone.

[17] Use 2. Of Admonition: that we often test our life according to that law; and do that for time past, for our greater humiliations, as well as for the time to come, for our caution and better direction in every part of our conversation.[5]


[1] Privitively: in such a way as to deprive of something.

[2] Isa 5.20.

[3] The quality of being deceptive, or slanted.

[4] For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing Iris natural face in a mirror; (Jam 1:23)

[5] Not speech, but how we deal with others; the way we conduct ourselves; our way of life.

The Third Lord’s Day

Romans 5.12

Therefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.

The Apostle’s purpose in this passage is to illustrate that Doctrine which he had taught before concerning justification by Jesus Christ; for this end he makes a comparison of the likeness between this grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the sin of Adam, our first father after the flesh. And the comparison runs upon the efficacy and effects of each of them. The proposition of the comparison is in v.12, and the answer to it is afterward explicated by way of parenthesis [in verses 13-17].1 In the proposition, Adam is set forth as the cause of a twofold effect: bringing in sin, and bringing in death. And the reason for the Connexion of these effects with that cause is given in the last words of this verse; namely, from the conjunction[1] [2] that all had with Adam in that first sin — in these words, In whom all men, etc.

[18] Doctrine 1. Sin entered into the world, not by God’s creation, but by man’s defection.

This is manifest in the text, by one man, not by God, etc.

Reason 1. Because God made man upright and after his own image; that is, not only free from all sin (which may in some way also be said of all other creatures), but God also adorned man with all those endowments and faculties whereby God’s nature might be expressed and represented, as in a portrait; and by the help of these in keeping the law, man might have attained to a certain sort of divine blessedness or felicity. For just as there is no fault in a portrait if it is well-drawn or made by a perfect workman, unless the fault is in the original from which the portrait is taken, so also there could be no fault in man, who was created according to God’s image by God himself, unless some fault is attributed to God himself, whose image is man.[3]

Reason 2. Because God not only prescribed a law to man in the Creation, but also engraved it on his heart; it was by this means that man had in himself a most certain Testimony of his uprightness, in which and to which he was created, and with a most sufficient and ready means of living well and unblameably to God. For the law of God perfectly and purely written in the heart of man, is as it were a solemn Testimony registered in a Tablet or Book, that man was made fit and able to keep that Law. It is as it were the voice of God sent down from Heaven, whereby man was called and stirred up to observe that way of living which is taught by it.

[19] Reason 3. Because God added to it a pledge and sacrament in the Tree of Life, by which he would have that Covenant of the Law, written in the heart, more clearly confirmed outwardly; namely, that he would by the observation of his Law, first perpetuate man’s life in this world to solemnly justify him, at his appointed time, and then advance him to a further and heavenly Felicity. And on the other side, he threatens him with Death in case he were to depart from the Will and Law of God: all of which would have been done to no purpose if man had at first been made by God in any measure or manner sinful and perverse.

Reason 4. So far was God from being the cause of sin in the first creation of man, that by no means can it be conceived how God at any time can be the cause of any sin — because, seeing that sin is a defect, it can have no other cause but a deficient one; seeing that God is perfection itself, he can in no way nor ever be deficient.

Use. Of Direction: that in all our speech and thoughts we may keep God’s glory untouched and unspotted, and confess that all the good we have, always comes from him; but that all the evil that we either do or suffer, does not arise from him, but from ourselves.

Doctrine 2. Through Adam’s first disobedience sin passed upon all his posterity.

Nor did this happen only by way of imitation, as the Pelagians teach, but also by way of propagation or natural descent. This is proved by this argument: if this had only come to pass by imitation, then the Apostle might just as properly have said [20] that Adam with all his posterity sinned in the angels, who first fell from God, as to have said that all men sinned in Adam — because they as much follow the example of the angels as of Adam. For it is expressly said in verse 14, That death (and so also sin) reigned over those who had not sinned after the likeness of Adam, that is, by the imitation of Adam. Therefore, verse 19, men are said to be made sinners by Adam’s disobedience itself.

The manner of this propagation is taken up and understood to mean, 1. To stand in imputation, because that first transgression was held as the transgression of the whole nature of mankind. For as in receiving the benefits and endowments that belonged to all mankind, Adam bore the place and person of all men, so also it was only right and reasonable that he should maintain their place, either in their conservation by obedience, or their loss by disobedience, until they were capable of standing to, or falling from, their primitive condition in their own persons. In this he was, as it were, the Surety of all mankind; so that what he did in this business, was to be held valid by all as done in their names. 2. The second degree of this Propagation stands in the derivation, or transduction[4] of that corruption, which by our first transgression seized upon the person of Adam himself. This corruption is usually called the languishing of nature, the seed or tinder of sin, the law of our members, the law of the flesh, lust and sin that dwells in us; but most usually original sin, because it clings to us even from our first origin, and in some way it is natural to us, as in our corrupted nature; also it is the origin of all other sins: for all actual sins [21] flow from this as from their fountain.

This corruption first and principally consists in the privation of original righteousness, the absence of which, so far as it is penal, is inflicted by God; but as it is a privation, having the nature of a fault — in the loss of that rectitude or right constitution which we would have kept

and preserved entire — it depends upon that relation which all men have to Adam, and to his first sin.

Now that such corruption is naturally found in all men, is not only proved from Scripture, but it also seems to be confirmed by experience itself.

Reason 1. For in all men there appears a manifest perversion of our wills and inward appetite — in as much as spiritual and truly good things have no good relish to all animal and natural men;[5] but the contrary evils, which of their own nature have no good relish, seem most sweet to them. Now as the perversion of the sensitive appetite denotes bodily sickness, so the perversion of the inmost and most spiritual appetite, points out to us a sickness that is inward and in the spirit. The same may also be observed about the perversion of the judgment and understanding, from which come so many and shameful errours, whereby good is esteemed evil, and evil good.

Reason 2. It is manifest that there is in all men a certain rebellion of the inferior and animal faculties and appetites, against the superior and most spiritual faculties of the soul; this shows the sickness of the upper part, as not having strength enough to govern the lower; and again a disorder and confusion of the inferior faculties whereby they will not be subject to their superior. For as [22] every infirmity, debility, and perturbation in the body, has its cause of sickness, disease, or certain corruption from the depravation of other parts, so it is also in the soul.

Reason 3. There may be observed in all, a certain natural crouching of ourselves to things that are below us, and a certain aversion and turning away from those that are above us and for which we were made; so that there are few among men who do not live more like beasts, stooping naturally to their belly-food, and bowing towards the ground, than according to the nature of man whose body was erected to look up to heaven and seek after God. Now just as crouching in the constitution and fashioning of the body is a sign of a bodily sickness, so also this soul-crouching of the spirit manifestly declares some soul-sickness of the spirit.

Reason 4. There manifestly appears in all men a certain insensibility from nature itself, in discerning things that are truly good, and truly evil. Nevertheless there is a far greater sweetness in true spiritual good things, than in corporal good things, and a far greater bitterness and sorrow in spiritual things, than in carnal evils. Now this insensibility and spiritual blockishness is a manifest defect and vice, clinging to us from our very origin, even as the lack of any outward sense is a great defect and fault of the body.

Reason 5. Experience teaches that only with great difficulty and slowness are men stirred up to things that are truly good. Therefore, as it is the definition of a good habit, that it makes a man ready and quick to do good works, so it must be an evil and corrupt [23] habit, whereby the contrary comes to pass; because it is only slowly and with difficulty that men set themselves to any good endeavors.

Reason 6. It is well enough known to all, that man does not have the power to do so much good as he knows should be done, and as he desires to do. Therefore, when one does not have the power to move the members of his body, it is a manifest disease that hinders its motion. Thus where one does not have the power to move himself spiritually, it is a manifest spiritual disease.

Just as it reveals a great weakness of his body when bodily motion is difficult and one moves his body with great pains, even so this other reveals a weakness of the spirit.

Use 1. For Humiliation: by reason of this misery.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: that we do not rest until we perceive that we are freed from this misery by the grace of God.

Use 3. For Direction: that in our prayers before God, and in all parts of our care for the amendment of our life, we may chiefly go about this — that we be reformed not only in our outward words and works, as being only the rivulets and branches of our sin, but that we may be cleansed and renewed in the fountain and root of this sin dwelling in us.


[1] (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 11 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification, 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through tire One, Jesus Christ.)

[2] That is, joining. Because Adam is our fleshly forefather and we are Ins seed, we join or share in his original sin, and become heirs to Ins estate of sin and death. By the same token, we are joined to Christ through faith -dying with him and being raised with him to newness of life (Rom 6.4-5); "V become heirs with him to his estate of righteousness and eternal life (Rom 8.16-17). This doctrine is called “federal headship.”

[3] Which is impossible.

[4] This would normally mean “conversion”, but here it means “conveyance.”

[5] In other words, in our natural or animal state, we do not relish spiritual and truly good tilings.

The Fourth Lord’s Day

Ephesians 5.6

Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience.

In these words is contained the argument by which the Apostle labours to persuade all the faithful that they may keep themselves from those sins of which he made mention a little before. The Argument is drawn from an adjunct that follows upon sin: the wrath of God, of which sins are not only the antecedents, but also the meritorious causes, certainly procuring his wrath as intimated in these words: for these things. The connexion of this effect with its cause is limited and confirmed.

1. It is limited by a description of the subjects upon whom God’s wrath always pursues sin, in these words, upon the children of disobedience.

2. It is confirmed by rejecting all vain shifts1 in these words: Let no man deceive you.

The explication by the wrath of God1 .׳. It is understood as God’s vindictive justice. 2. His will to inflict punishment according to that justice. 3. The punishment itself that is so inflicted. And in this passage, the punishment is most properly understood as it is often called in other passages, death, distress, severities, hot anger, and the like. This wrath of God is said to come against or upon men because, [25] as it were, coming down from Heaven, it suddenly sets upon and overwhelms, and holds the sinners as if entangled in a net; so that by no means can they escape it. In the same sense, not unlike that phrase used in Rom 1.18,[1] [2] the expression here, children of contumacy [3] [4] 4 or stubbornness, upon whom this wrath comes, is understood as those sinners which can by no means be persuaded to leave their sins and seek God by true faith and repentance. This is to be marked, that uioug xfjg a.uciQcicig [children of stubbornness] may be termed both children of incredulity, and children of disobedience; but it agrees better in this passage to be termed children of disobedience and of rebellion, because we do not read this phrase, children of faith, but children of obedience, iPet 1.14.4

Doctrine 1. Such men’s condition is most desperate, because they are not only sinners, but also stubborn in their sins.

It’s gathered out of these words: Upon the children of disobedience or stubbornness. So they are named here as men whose condition is much to be abhorred, and whose example and company is most to be shunned, as appears from ver. 7 therefore do not be partakers, etc.

Reason 1. Because such men serve a most miserable servitude to a very base Master, that is, to sin. For sin exercises a spiritual Kingly power and dominion over them, because they do all that

the lusts of sin command them; and they cannot be persuaded to shake off that slavish yoke by any means; the less they perceive that slavery, the more fully they are under its command, because by this means it comes to pass that their very will itself, and the spirit of the mind, are [26] possessed by this slavery and oppressed by it. For as a brute or a man that comes near to a brute, serving some cruel Master, takes no thought for his condition because of his stupidity, nor cares or wishes for a better condition — he is a more full and perfect slave than some free-born and free-minded man who is constrained by force to serve one, and yet under such servitude and force, still keeps a free mind — even so it fares in this matter.

Reason 2. Because such men are furthest from repentance, and so from the kingdom of God, and from salvation. For repentance most consists in the turning of the heart from sin to God, by persuasion of the Word and the Holy Spirit. And the obstinacy and unpersuadableness of such men is flat opposite to this temper; not only are they not persuaded to turn to God, but they are persuaded to the contrary. For that sort, persuasion of converting is not to be embraced or regarded; for such men are properly called the children of rebellion or disobedience. As therefore those diseases are most mortal which admit no cure, and are only more exasperated the more they are dealt with, even so is it with this kind of men.

Reason 3. Because these men most grievously increase their guilt in this, that they withstand the means that God has sanctified for procuring their salvation. For while they will not allow themselves to be persuaded to that conversion unto Faith and Repentance, they directly fight against God; and not only so, but in this very thing, that he would and is in some way striving, as it were, to save them.1 2

[27] Use. Of Admonition: That most of all we be careful of this stubbornness or rebellion, which is not only to be understood in common with that contumacy whereby men altogether refuse to be converted; but also specially and in every part of obedience. For if we perceive that God calls us to this or that special duty, ‘tis then our part mainly to take care that even in that, we present our hearts to God flexible and persuasible to that which we are invited.

Doctrine 2. Upon the children of disobedience, certainly and inevitably the horrible wrath of God comes.

This is clear in the Text without any collection made from it.

The Scripture testifies everywhere that this wrath is horrible and altogether intolerable, such as Heb. 10.27; Rev 6.16-17; - and elsewhere. And the thing itself sufficiently shows it, if we consider God’s anger as to its intensity, extent, and duration. As to its intensity, it is called in Scripture a consuming fire, Heb. 12.29. Now, this fire of the wrath of God does not consume lightly, or light things only, as in their superficies.[5] [6] [7] But as it is said in Dent. 32.22, God’s wrath set on fire will burn down to the grave,[8] etc. In Nahum 1.6 [9] there is a most similar and pithy description. All these descriptions signify that the wrath of God thoroughly pierces not only into the body, but into the soul and the inward part of the spirit, for which reason in many passages of Scripture it is compared to sharp arrows piercing into the heart itself, and consuming the spirit and life. As to the extent, this wrath of God contains in it all sorts of evils, whether corporal or spiritual; whether in [28] this life or at the end of it, and in death, or at death. Here belong those catalogues or inventories of curses that are found in Deut. 28 and Lev. 26. As to the duration, it remains upon impenitent sinners, John 3.36,1 not for some short space, but unto all eternity, and without end. For as with that obligation whereby we are bound to render to God all obedience without end, so consequently, the transgression whereby sinners break that obligation, is in a way infinite and without end. So also the punishment, which takes away its measure from the nature of the transgression, will be without end and infinite — and that is in the privation of an infinite good, as well as in the endless duration of this privation or loss. Nor should it seem strange that for a sin which is committed in a short time, an endless punishment should be inflicted; because equity itself requires that everyone should be deprived of that good from which, by his own fault, he has turned. But every sinner has turned himself away from an endless good, by a fault he can never come out of by himself and make an end of; and therefore it is only reasonable that he be endlessly deprived of that good. And moreover, because he has disturbed that order which God set and appointed, it is only justice if he were never freed from the punishment of this fault, until he has repaired[10] [11] God his honour — which an unrepenting sinner can never do, unto eternity.

It should not therefore move anyone, that sin, which is but momentary, should be punished eternally.

Reason 1. Committing sin is, as it were, a spiritual wounding; and yet a wounding done in [29] however short a time, often leaves behind it a wound of long duration, and often endless and eternal death.

Reason 2. Committing sin is, as it were, a spiritual fall, or sliding; and yet the fall passed in a short time, may be such that thereby, for a very long time, or without end, the party may remain in the depth or pit into which he fell.

Reason 3. Committing sin is, as it were, tying with bands or thongs; its nature is that it may be done quickly, and yet it keeps the party bound forever, as long as the bands themselves remain unloosed or unbroken.

Reason 4. ‘Tis, as it were, a bargain in which the sinner, for the enjoyment or use of some short pleasure, out of madness sells himself into slavery.

Now from a bargain of buying and selling, though passed in a short time, the right is conveyed to the buyer forever; and the alienation is eternal or endless in its own way.

Reason 1. It is, as it were, the putting out of a lamp; for a sinner once drowning himself in the filth of sin, puts out, as it were, the whole light of his mind; and a lamp once put out, though it is done in a moment, yet by virtue of that putting out, remains of itself endlessly extinct and put out.

Use 1. Of Condemnation: against those who remain in their carnal security, and please themselves in this condition, over which perpetually hangs the so horrible wrath and anger of God.

Use 2. Of Admonition: that with all care above all other things, we go about this, to show this wrath of God, Mat 3.7, where also the way to avoid it is shown to be by repentance, verse 8.1 And yet [30] this is not to be so taken, as if this avoiding lay in our repentance, as it is our action, and as if that had some virtue of freeing us from the wrath of God; for Christ alone is our enfranchiser[12] [13] from the wrath to come, iThess. 1.10•[14] We therefore truly flee from the wrath of God, when we fly to this mercy in Christ Jesus by true faith in him, and unfeigned repentance.

Doctrine 3. All speeches that promise impunity of sin, and indemnity from the wrath of God, are but vain and seducing.

This is also clear in the Text. Now, that they are vain is apparent from this: because they are against his decree, and his clearly revealed will; and therefore they can have no solid truth in them. And that they are seductive is also apparent enough from the first author of such speeches. For the devil, when he would seduce our first Parents, promised them this impunity in these words: You shall not die. Gen. 3.4.


[1] An indirect or evasive method or argument; deceptive practice (a “shell-game”).

[2] Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness;

[3] Obstinate, rebelliousness, and insubordinate; resistant to authority.

[4] 1 Peter 1:14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;

[5] It is not that God is unable to save them, but that such men resent the thought that they need saving at all.

[6] Hebrews 10:27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Rev 6:16-17 snd said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

[7] The purely external aspect of a thing, as in a superficial wound; the outer surface.

[8] “to the lowest hell.” NKJV; “to the depths of Sheol.” CSB, ESV; “to the depths of the grave.” NLT

[9] Nall 1:6 Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, And the rocks are thrown down by Him.

[10] Joh 3:36 “ He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

[11] To set right or straight.

[12] Mat 3:7-8 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coining to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance;”

[13] The one who grants freedom to someone; as from slavery or servitude.

[14] 1Th 1:10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

The Fifth Lord’s Day

Rom 8.3

For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.

The Apostle in this passage expounds why the faithful may be freed from sin and death by Christ. The reason is given, as it were, from the cause moving God to this giving of Christ.

[31] And this moving cause was the neediness of our want, which appears in the defect of power in any other means to produce such an effect, as if the Apostle had said, “because it was necessary for us to be delivered from sin and death.” And yet this could be effected by no other means; therefore God performed it by Christ. The strength and necessity of this consequence depends on the will of God, which tacitly supposes that God would not have mankind fall, utterly to perish, but to be restored again. The whole syllogism or reason is this: if fallen men could be restored by no other means but by Christ, then that way was to be taken, because God would that it should be done in some way. But the first is true; and therefore also the latter.

The assumption is proved, namely, that man could be restored by no other means, by the most likely instance of the law, which once had been of great power, and of sufficient force to bring man to happiness. For except Christ and the Gospel, nothing was ever given by God to man that was more perfect and divine than the Law. Therefore, what the Apostle says here about the law, has the force of such an argument as this: If by virtue of the Law man could not be restored, than by no other means could he be, but by Christ. But the first is true, and therefore also the latter.

The Apostle both proves and expounds the Assumption at the same time, from the reason or cause of this defect or weakness of the Law to restore man. The reason that we cannot fulfill the Law so that it might save us is not properly inherent in the Law itself, but in our flesh or corruption — much less can we by the Law rise up again from Death to life.

[32] Doctrine 1. It is the will of God that miserable men may be delivered from their misery, and restored to life eternal.

This is presupposed by the Apostle as granted, and it is used by him as the ground of his reasoning.

Reason 1. Is taken partly from God’s mercy, partly from his wisdom, partly from his power, and partly from the stability of his decrees. From his mercy, God would relieve miserable men, to show in this the glory of his grace and free mercy as it is called Eph. 1.6;1 the riches of his mercy, his great love, and the super-eminent riches or treasures of his grace and bounty, Eph 4.7.[1] [2] For unless God had helped miserable men that were all drowned in sin and death, he would not have accomplished above half of his goodness and bounty towards mankind. For that bounty that was manifested in our creation, was neither fully completed in its last perfection and end, because no man by it arrived at eternal happiness; nor was it in itself the greatest, highest, fullest goodness of God, because a higher, fuller, and more surpassing sort of goodness appeared in the preservation of the elect angels. And what is now revealed in the Gospel, and brings perfect salvation to fallen mankind, is also far greater.

Now this was most fitting, that the goodness and mercy of God should as well be perfected towards men, as his justice. From his wisdom God knew the best way whereby he could conveniently help miserable man, and therefore it was fitting that his wisdom should be made manifest in its effect. And this is what the Apostle everywhere teaches, that in this mystery of the Gospel there was a wisdom of [33] God, which was kept hidden from all the Heathen. Therefore by way of excellence, he calls this that wisdom of God into which the Angels themselves are said to look with desire and wonder, !Pet 1.12.[3] For such was our misery, that not only could we not rise out of it ourselves by our own power, but we could not so much as think about or devise a way or means whereby we might be delivered. But this was the proper work of the wisdom of God himself, conjoined with his own mercy. From his power also, he had the ability to help and bring to perfection in this, what he would. For so our redemption in Scripture is not only usually ascribed to God’s grace and mercy, but also to his power. For the highest power and sovereignty was required to dissolve the works of the devil, and the bonds of death and the grave, for raising dead men to life again, for guiding and protecting them so that they might be brought to life eternal, despite all opposition of their enemy; and most of all, for laying that groundstone of the whole, and uniting the second person of the Deity, his own Son, and the nature of man, into one Person.

From the immutability also of his decree, it was in some sort necessary for God to procure their deliverance from death, whom he had chosen from eternity, and appointed to life. Hence a twofold necessity of the restoration and liberation of mankind is rightly determined by some: on our part, the necessity of want; on God’s part, the necessity of his immutability.

Use. Of Exhortation: that with all admiration we behold and look into this good will of God, and with all thankfulness in our thoughts, as well as in [34] our speech; all our lifetime we publish and praise it.

Doctrine 2. The Law cannot deliver miserable men from their misery.

It is clear enough in the Text; and it is grounded moreover on the following reasons:

Reason 1. Because the Law promises no good to miserable sinners, but only to just persons, and those who keep it.

Reason 2. Because in itself, it has no force of taking away sin, but only of punishing it.

Reason 3. Because by no sinner can it be fulfilled, and that is because of the weakness of the flesh, or the impotency of carnal and fallen mankind, as it is in the Text.

Reason 4. Because though the Law might be fulfilled for time to come, yet bypassed sins would take away all hope of receiving the reward of Life from the Law. Hence it is that the Law is called a killing letter,1 and the minister of death and of condemnation.

Use. Of Refutation: against those who put their trust in their own works, and look for salvation from their good intentions and endeavors: which is the errour of Papists, Remonstrants or Arminians, and Anabaptists, who always extol an honest life, and good works.

Doctrine 3. No sinner can deliver himself from this misery.

This is thus gathered, because none go above the Law. For if the Law cannot deliver us for the weakness of our flesh, then neither can we ourselves, for the same weakness of our flesh.

Reason 1. No debt can duly be blotted out by the debtor till it is paid.

[35] Reason 2. Because, though no one ever augmented his first debt by sinning, yet he should in all this do no more, but pay what he owes in so doing; and so he could not by that means make satisfaction for his former transgression.[4] [5]

Reason 3. Because, if man could not preserve himself, nor did not preserve himself in that integrity in which he was created, it cannot reasonably be thought that now he can recover it again.

Reason 4. If he could recover his first integrity, he would be as subject to easily lose it again, as our first Father was at the beginning.

Use. Of Direction: that we put no confidence in ourselves, nor in our own strength, but denying ourselves, we depend altogether on God’s grace and mercy in Jesus Christ.

Doctrine 4. No mere creature in heaven, or on earth, can deliver miserable men from sin and death.

It follows from the Text, because no such creature is above the Law.

Reason 1. Because no external thing, that is a mere creature, has in itself that worth that can be a compensation for sin to God’s justice and truth, and so be a price of redemption from death, Mat 16.26.[6] [7] 4 Indeed, not the whole world. For that is what is hinted at in !Pet 1.18,4 where all corruptible things, among the best of which are gold and silver and the like, are determined to be below the redeeming of man.

Reason 2. Because whatever any mere creature may do, whether man or Angel, it owes all that for itself, and on its own behalf.

Reason 3. Because if we were redeemed by a mere creature, for this very reason we would become the [36] servants of that mere creature, out of justice and gratitude, just as we are the servants of Christ our Redeemer, because he is our Redeemer, as already taught. But this would be an unworthy thing, and it would infer a kind of self-contradiction. For seeing that man before his fall was not the servant of any creature, but of God alone, then if by redemption he were to become the servant of any creature, he would not be redeemed and restored into that perfect liberty from which he fell. And so, though redeemed (as we suppose), yet he would not be properly redeemed; that is, he would not be mad efree by such a redemption.

Reason 4. The evils that are to be removed from us are greater than can be taken away by any mere creature; such as the infinite and eternal wrath of God; the guilt of sin confirmed by the force of an eternal law; and the command that sin and death have over us. What we have about these in Rom 7.8-13,1 is true.

Reason 5. The good things to be imparted, and before that to be purchased, are of greater worth than can be communicated to us from any mere creature — such as, a righteousness going beyond the righteousness of the Law; the resurrection, bodily as well as spiritual; the communication of the divine nature, life eternal, and a happiness that surmounts that of Adam in his innocence — that is, a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, Heb 12.28.[8] [9] [10] *

Use. Of Instruction: that in the business of our salvation, we turn away our eyes away from all creatures, and lift them up above to the fountain of salvation, in the manner mentioned.


[1] Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.

[2] Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Romans 9:23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, winch He had prepared beforehand for glory;

[3]1 Peter 1:12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the tilings which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven— things which angels desire to look into.

[4] 2 Corinthians 3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but tire Spirit gives fife.

[5] This is a bit unclear, but the logic is that each sin creates its own independent debt—and so sinning more won’t increase the debt of the first sin. Still, a man should sin no more—only pay what he owes for his latest sin—which is death. And so he could not, by that means, satisfy his first debt, much less clear his remaining sin-debts. All of which points to our inescapable need for Christ, who cleared all our sin-debts in one sacrifice. James 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

[6] Matthew 16:26 “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

[7] 1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers.

[8] Rom 7:8-13 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by tire commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. 1׳,'. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through tire commandment might become exceedingly sinful. [originally Luk lO.21-22\

[9] Heb 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear, [originally Heb 11, ‘last verse.

The Sixth Lord’s Day

1Tim. 3.16

And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by Angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

In these words is contained an argument whereby the Apostle endeavors to stir up Timothy to procure diligence and care in the Church of God. It is drawn from the object, if we consider Timothy’s Ministry, which now ought to be busied about the greatest mysteries, and so it is to be exercised with greatest reverence, diligence, and care. Or, from an adjunct, if the Church herself is considered, that was to be cared for by Timothy, of which mention was made in the preceding verse; namely, because of all other matters, the greatest was entrusted to this Church: the mystery of godliness. And so Timothy’s greatest diligence and care ought to be bestowed upon the Church. In these words then is properly expounded the nature of the Gospel, 1. From its Genius, or general notion, that it is a Mystery. 2. From its end, that it is a mystery of godliness. 3. From the degree of its worth and excellence; that it is a great, or noble mystery. 4. From the most certain and undoubted truth of all these things, in their complexion and communication — without controversy.

And all these are demonstrated by induction [38] of the parts and members that make up this mystery as a whole. For seeing in every part there is something altogether singular and wonderful, it necessarily follows that the whole mystery is altogether admirable, and to be stood amazed at. These parts are those which are contained in these words, God manifested in the flesh, etc.

Doctrine 1. Our Lord Jesus Christ is true God and true man.

This is clear from the Text, God manifested in the flesh; and that he is true God, appears from the following reasons.

Reason 1. From plain testimonies of this sort, whereby the name of God is simply and absolutely given to Him in the same manner altogether as to the Father; as in this passage, and also Isa 9.6; Joh 1.1; Rom 9.5; iJoh 5.20.[1] [2]

Reason 2. From the divine properties that are given to him, such as Eternity, Joh 1.1; 17.5;[3] Omnipotency, Joh 3.21; Phil 4.13,[4] and the like.

Reason 3. From the divine works of which he is made Author; such as of Creation, Col 1.16;1 the Sustaining of all things, Heb. 1.3;[5] [6] and of all sorts of miracles.

Reason 4. From the divine authority that everywhere is given to him in Scriptures, as he gives authority to the Word and Sacraments, and other divine Ordinances.

Reason 5. From the divine Worship, Honour, and adoration that is due him, Heb 1.8,[7] [8] [9] 4 5 and in other passages.

Reason 6. From that efficacy which by his Ministers, through the power of the Holy Spirit, he puts forth in the Preaching of this Doctrine, as it is evident in our Text in these words, justified in the [39] Spirit, preached to the Gentiles, and believed on in the world.

That he is true man, is apparent enough from this Text, that he was made like us in all things except in sin, Heb 4.15.4

Why our Mediator ought to be true God:

Reason 1. Is that he might be able to sustain the weight of God’s wrath, and perform the other divine duties that belong to the perfecting of our Redemption and Salvation.

Reason 2. That the works of his Mediation, which he was to perform on our behalf, might have divine virtue and worth from his person.

Why he should also be man:

Reason 1. Is that he might be fit to suffer and do all those things which were necessary for the Redemption of men, and were below the divine nature alone to do or suffer.

Reason 2. Because without effusion of blood, or death, of which the divine nature is not capable, there could be no remission nor redemption, Heb 9.22.5

Reason 3. That the whole mystery of our Redemption, as well as the deity itself, might in some way be made familiar to us, so as to be seen with our eyes, heard with our ears, and handled with our hands, iJoh 1.1-2.[10]

Use 1. Of Instruction: that we may always keep a right and pure belief about the divine and human nature of Christ, both in our hearts, and in our mouths or confessions.

Use 2. Of Comfort: to all those who are by true faith grafted into Christ; because in him they are advanced into a state more than human, and are [40] made partakers of the divine nature, 2Pet 1.4.1

Use 3. Of Exhortation: that we may more and more exercise ourselves in the religious contemplation and study of this mystery; so will that love of God in Christ, which shines forth in this dispensation of God, confirm our hearts, so that it will powerfully stir us up to all care of thankfulness for glorying the name of God and Christ.

Doctrine 2. The nature of God and the nature of man were conjoined in Christ into one person.

This is gathered from these words, was made manifest in the flesh, for what is signified by them is the conjunction of the divine with the human nature, so that God — because he is not conspicuous in his divine nature — was made manifest in his human nature. This communication in respect of the divine nature, is rightly called an Assumption, Incarnation, Manifestation in the flesh, as it is in this passage.

But in respect to both natures together, it is called a personal union, because these two natures are together united in the same person. In respect to the human nature, it cannot be called an Assumption (actively understood, that is an assuming, but it is passively only; that is, a being assumed). Nor can it be called Deification, because the divine person existed from eternity, and he took unto himself and adjoined the human nature in time (not the human person). This is because the human nature was assumed, and never existed apart and by itself. And therefore it never had in itself the formal reason of a person; and therefore also it cannot be said to have assumed the divine nature or person, but only to have been assumed by it. Seeing that these actions are of suppositions or persons, and not of the nature. But the divine person (not [41] properly the nature) is said to have assumed the human nature, not the person. Therefore the human nature cannot so properly and rightly be said to be deified, as either the divine nature or person is said to be incarnate, or made man; for that is equivalent to made flesh, which the Scripture often uses. We read then in this passage and its like, that God was made manifest, or visible in the flesh, 1.6., in the nature of man (for flesh there) — this is done by a synecdoche[11] [12] which signifies the whole nature of man, the soul as well as the body, and in a similar sense we read that the Word was made flesh, Joh 1.14. But no where do we read that flesh was made God, or that the flesh or human nature was made invisible in God. Although these things may be said, they are not said properly, nor is saying it free from danger and abuse.

But here we must not think that for the union of the divine nature with the human, that therefore there was any real change properly produced or made in the divine nature, but relatively and of reasonably, or notionally only — all the real mutation being in the human nature only. For whatever is mutable is imperfect, but the divine nature is in no way imperfect. Therefore, though the divine nature in Christ is under another relation or habitude than before the incarnation, yet that is for no real change in itself, but in the human nature that was assumed.

As the Sun is called illuminating from the action that it has on the air, which did not exist before (let us suppose this), yet the Sun is not thereby changed in itself, but only the air is changed. In this conjunction, when the flesh or human nature is said to have been assumed, it is to be understood that not only the essence of human nature is [42] assumed and all that necessarily follows from that essence, but also were assumed all the weaknesses, qualities, and common or universal defects (which do not follow from nature, but from sin); those that are in themselves sinless, and only as they are sinless and penal1 — and only these are excepted: those that have in them the nature of sin, or tend of themselves to sin.

Reason 1. Because the mediatory actions of Christ ought to be both human and divine, and all his actions are of the person, as of the principle[13] [14] which acts; though they are of this or of that nature, as of the principle whereby, or by virtue of which, they are extracted from the person. Therefore, the divine and human nature ought jointly to subsist in one and the same person.

Reason 2. This union of the divine and human nature ought to have been most intimate, and the highest of all unions, because the perfection of the person assuming them, and from which the union flowed, was absolutely the greatest — but the most inward union with him that could be, was personal. Therefore also that union of men with God that flows from, and depends upon this union, is of very great perfection, though not personal. Therefore, next to the unity of the three persons in one divine nature, there is no other union of more things, more inward and perfect, than this of two natures in one person, in Christ.

Reason 3. The essential worth of the mediatory obedience and passion of Christ, which properly agreed to him, according to the human nature, ought to have been also in some kind divine. But that divinity of worth is derived from the person, or this union, as the esteem of all the actions and passions depends upon the person. And therefore, [43] the human nature ought to have subsisted, and been sustained, in the divine nature or person.

Use 1. Of Instruction: for directing and establishing our Faith about the person of Christ, that we may neither here imagine confusion of the natures, nor multiplication of the Persons in any sort; but the union only of two natures into one and a single person, namely, the second person of the Trinity, which is the primary principle of Christian Faith.

Use 2. Of Direction: that in seeking union and communion with God, in which our whole happiness consists, we wholly adhere to Christ above. Because there alone we have the certain and manifest foundation of this union between God and men. So that in this very respect, Christ may no less truly be called the Way, than the Truth, and the Life; because as he has the truest and highest union of man with God, so is he the Way because of this union, by which we may come the beatific[15] union, which is our eternal life.

Doctrine 3. This doctrine of the divine and human nature in Christ, is a mystery most divine.

It is called a mystery, 1. As it contains in itself that divine wisdom of highest and rarest price, or that treasure of wisdom, iCor 2.6-7; 2C0r 4.7.1 2. Because this wisdom is a thing hidden and remote, not only from human sense, but also from our understanding and comprehension. In iCor 2.7-10,[16] [17] [18] [19] [20] 3 * 5 it is called deep for this reason; so also Eph 3.8-9.3 And it is called hidden or secret, 1. Because it was not possible for the wit of man or Angels to have so much as thought upon, or devised such a means of Redemption and Salvation, much less to have gone through with it.

[44] 2. Because it was not revealed to the Church herself for many ages, but under a certain veil, and sparingly. 3. Because by ourselves, now in the light of greatest revelation, it is not understood but very imperfectly, and in the least part of it. iCor 13.12,4 in part — only a little in comparison to the whole; as in a mirror — we know here only like a riddle, for the darkening and lessening of our knowledge by sin, which is signified by these phrases.

The Reason why this wisdom is not more fully comprehended, is not in the darkness of Scripture, as some blasphemously will have it; but partly in the depth of the thing itself, and partly in the blindness of our minds; 2C0r 4.3-43 — to the depth of the thing itself belongs this truth: that in Christ’s person there agree together and abide in one subject, highest power with lowest weakness; greatest glory with greatest humility; highest justice with highest mercy; and eternity with novelty of being.

Use 1. Of Admonition: that we do not allow the nature of our Faith to be troubled in any sort with the vain speculation of human reason, whereby this mystery is usually opposed. For though it has nothing in it contrary to reason, yet it contains many things above reason, and above the capacity of the mind of man. Otherwise it would not be a great mystery, as it is called here, but only the vulgar and common verity.

Use 2. Of Exhoration: that we may seek from God the spirit of wisdom, and of revelation in acknowledging him, that the eyes of our minds being enlightened, we may perceive so much of this mystery as needed for us unto salvation, and for glorifying God’s name as it requires, Eph. 1.17-18.[21]

[45] Use 3. Of special Admonition: to the Ministers of the Word chiefly, that with all reverence and religious faithfulness, they behave themselves in their charge, because they are called to this, to be Stewards of this great mystery, iCor. 4.1, where this reverence and fidelity are pointed out to them.

Doctrine 4. All true godliness depends on the belief of this mystery, so that there is no true and solid or sound godliness without this belief; nor can this belief be true and solid unless it also has true godliness joined with it.

This is gathered from that title, the mystery of godliness, because godliness both rises up to this Faith, and flows down from it. This most practical doctrine is the general use of all the rest that went before it.

Reason 1. Because in this mystery appears God’s greatest goodness, grace, mercy and love; which if they are rightly taken up, can only stir up our minds to care and zeal of honouring, loving and adhering to God, and pleasing him in all things in which he has shown us that true godliness consists.

Reason 2. In this mystery is contained both the merits and efficacy or power, by virtue of which men are regenerated, that they may live acceptably to God and Christ; that is, godly.

Reason 3. Because in Christ we have the most perfect pattern of all godliness, and with that, the most perfect doctrine, which is called the doctrine of godliness, or according to godliness.

Use. Of Reproof: against those who profess the faith of this great mystery, but in the meantime [46] most foully profane it, and make it blasphemed through their impiety.[22]


[1] Reasoning from detailed facts to general principles.

[2] Isa 9:6 And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. John 1:1 In tire beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Rom 9:5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. iJoh 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

[3] John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Joh 17:5 “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

[4] Joh 3:21 “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds maybe clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” Phi 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

[5] Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All tilings were created through Him and for Him.

[6] Hebrews 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding [or sustaining] all things by the word of His power...

[7] Hebrews 1:8 But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.

[8] Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

[9] Hebrews 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

[10] 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.

[11] 2 Peter 1:4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature...

[12] Substituting a more inclusive term for a less inclusive one or vice versa.

[13] Penal: subject to punishment by law. Christ’s human nature was subject to our weaknesses and to the Law; he was tempted in every way, just as we are, and yet he was without sin (Heb 4.15).

[14] A worldview that is accepted as true, and used as the basis for our reasoning or conduct.

[15] Experiencing or bestowing celestial joy.

[16] 1C0 2:6-7 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory; 2C0 4:7 But we have tins treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

[17] 1C0 2:7-10 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 winch none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep tilings of God.

[18] Ephesians 3:8 To me, who am less than fire least of all the saints, tins grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from fire beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; I Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

[20] 2Co 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the fight of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

[21] Eph 1:17-18 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and

[22] Rom 2.24.

The Seventh Lord’s Day

Act 16.31

And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved and your house.

In this text is contained Paul’s and Silas’ answer to the question proposed by the Jailer concerning the way how to be saved; in which these two things are proposed: 1. An act absolutely necessary to attain salvation, namely, that of Faith; believe, they say. And this act is declared by its proper object, our Lord Jesus Christ. 2. The effect that is certain to follow this act is set down, and that is the salvation of him that believes.

Doctrine 1. All are not saved by Christ, but only those who are united or grafted into Christ by Faith.

It is gathered from this Text, that one who is careful how to be saved, is sent to Christ, to believe in him, and so to have union with him by this belief, that he may be saved.

Reason 1. Because although there is sufficiency enough in Christ, and in abundance to save all and any man, yet this sufficiency is not reduced to efficiency, or into an act, unless a due application is made, just as neither meat nourishes, nor medicine cures, [4 7] nor cloth covers, nor silver makes rich, unless they are rightly applied to the party to be nourished, cured, clothed and made rich; so it is in this business.

Reason 2. As the first Adam neither received, nor lost his righteousness and life for any but those who were in some way virtually in him, and afterwards actually descended from him, or were in union of the same blood with him — so also the second Adam Christ does not restore righteousness and life except to those who are in him, namely, those who are ingrafted by Faith and adhere to him by the union of one and the same spirit.1 This is why that effectual vocation[1] [2] by which this application of Christ (or this conjunction with him) is brought to pass, precedes not only our glorification and salvation, but also our justification and all sound consolation that we have concerning salvation.

Use. Of Admonition: that we may chiefly care for and go about this, that we may both be and remain in Christ, and live in him — because without this union with him, we cannot come to be saved. The sign or mark by which we know that this or that man is in Christ, is ordinarily according to the appointed means, which is this: if drawing his virtue from Christ, as a branch draws spiritual sap from the stock, he takes care to bring forth fruits to Christ, and in Christ, Joh 15-2-4-1

Doctrine 2. Faith is the tie by which we are first united to Christ, and ingrafted into him.

This doctrine is couched in the Text, in the word believe. For there are three ties of Union which are needed in our conduction with God [48] and Christ: the Spirit, Faith, and Love. The Spirit is that tie whereby Christ lays hold on us, and ties us to himself. Faith is the tie whereby we lay hold on Christ, and apply him to ourselves; and it is always the effect of the Spirit in some measure. Love is the band of perfection whereby we wholly give ourselves to Christ, and consecrate ourselves to his will; and it is the effect of both the former. Among these, Faith is the first bond by which we lay hold on Christ. For though it follows the operation of the Spirit as its effect, in that respect it is called the gift of God,[3] [4] and the gift of the Spirit of God; 3 yet it goes before both Love and Hope, that are saving.

Reason 1. Because the proper nature of Faith is to be a spiritual hand, whereby we lay hold on and receive that good that is needed for salvation, Joh 1.12 — where to believe is meant to receive, so that the true office and nature of Faith may be set forth.

Reason 2. Because a Faith receiving Christ, also receives life in Christ, and Faith is the principle of our spiritual life, according to these words of the Apostle, The just shall live by Faith 3

Reason 3. Because Christ is not proposed to us to salvation except in the promise of the Gospel. And the proper and immediate end and fruit of this proposal is to make Faith, or to gain belief. And so the first receiving of the promise, as well as the thing about which the promise is made, is by Faith.

Use. Of Direction: that which upon another occasion the Apostle directed, Eph 6.16,[5] namely that above all things we be careful to acquire, keep, and increase true Faith.

[49] Doctrine 3. The adequate object of Faith, as it justifies, is Jesus Christ, as offered in the Gospel for righteousness and life; or the mercy of God in and through Jesus Christ which is thus offered.

This is evident in the Text. The explication is that, although with our understanding we ought to assent to all things that are contained in the word of God — and especially to those things that are contained in the promises of the Gospel — yet the power of justifying us proceeds from no other object, but from Christ alone. And so Faith, though it looks at other objects also, yet it does not justify us, nor absolve us from the guilt of sin and death, except as it looks at Christ alone as offered to us to that end.

Reason 1. Because Christ alone is our Righteousness and Redemption. But our justification consists in the application of this Righteousness and Redemption. Therefore Faith in that respect justifies as it looks at Christ and applies him.

Reason 2. Because if all other things revealed in Scriptures, and to be believed by us, belonged to our justification as objects of justifying faith, then not only the belief of the creation would justify us, but also the belief of man’s falling into sin, and of being dead in it. And so Faith about sin and death would as well justify us, as Faith in Christ.

Reason 3. Unless Christ is looked upon by Faith, Faith itself has nothing in it to explain why it should more justify us than any other virtue, or grace and gift of God, such as charity, temperance, and the like.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against those who attribute justification to Faith, as if it were an act, and part of our obedience, as a condition required by God. For thus the strength and life of justifying Faith is [50] destroyed, and Christ is robbed of his glory, and the consciences of Christians are robbed of their solid comfort and tranquility of mind.

Use 2. Of Direction: that we may always set the eye of our faith directly on Christ, or on the grace and mercy of God in him, so that we may draw Righteousness and Salvation from him.

Doctrine 4. Justifying saving faith does not consist properly in any knowledge, but in certain, solid or sound affiance[6] or trust.

Justifying Faith is an act and fruit of the experience of Faith; it is not the first affiance and trust that justifies us. Our Doctrine is gathered from this: that the object of Faith in this passage is no intellectual or logical truth as such, but some good, as the object of the practical mind and of pre-election. That is, Faith is the means of salvation, which is a single or incomplex term (as Logicians call it) in these words, on the Lord Jesus Christ; where nothing of or about Christ is the object, but Christ himself. Next, because Faith is said to be busied about this object, as about a prop or stay, so that the heart of a man otherwise destitute of all help and about to run into despair, casts itself upon Christ as a stay, so that it may be sustained and upheld by him. This is intimated by this phrase, believe in our Lord Jesus Christ.

By affiance, we do not mean any assent or act of the understanding about logical truth, nor the affirmation or negation of it. Nor do we properly mean the confident expectation of the will which is assigned to our hope, and the confidence contained in it, or arising from it. Rather, we mean that act of the will or heart, which is properly called election or choice, by which we rely on Christ, repose and rest on him, and adhere to him as a fit and sufficient Mediator, by whom we [51] may be saved. By this affiance we are said everywhere in the Old Testament to be united or joined to God, as in Isa 48.2 and 50.10.1 And by this affiance properly, we come to Christ, Joh 6.44,[7] [8] [9] 3 and are said to receive Christ, Joh 1.12.3 These things cannot be affirmed by any complex knowledge, or assent of the understanding, whether general or special.

It is true that such knowledge on behalf of those who belong to Christ is a necessary antecedent, and the cause of this faith and affiance that justifies. And so in that respect, it has the title of this faith in Scriptures, just as it does in common discourse. Yet when Faith is considered precisely as it justifies and saves, then it is understood either as an act or disposition of the will or heart, which follows that knowledge, and which that knowledge serves to produce. From this affiance, if it is lively and vigorous, and joined with fitting knowledge, there follows a certain persuasion of the remission of our sins. And therefore true Faith often used to be described by this persuasion — especially when the controversy is with Papists who oppose this persuasion as a vain presumption. Yet this persuasion is not properly justifying faith, but an act of hope and experience (rather, a fruit) in the one who is already justified. It is also such an act that it may be lacking for some time, where true justifying faith still exists, though infirm, as experience in the godly teaches. And therefore it should not be proposed as part of the essence and definition of justifying Faith — lest the weak consciences of some believers be heavily troubled by this, as if they had no true faith, when they feel they have no such certain persuasion of the remission of their [52] sins. It will appear then, to anyone rightly weighing all things, that justifying Faith as such, is properly the affiance of the heart, not any complex knowledge or judgment of the understanding.

Reason 1. Because nothing in the whole Gospel is promised to anyone that does not yet have affiance or trust in Christ. Before this affiance therefore, nothing can be known that has the virtue to justify, until it is trusted on; and therefore no knowledge going before this faith of affiance can justify.

Reason 2. We cannot conceive any knowledge before this affiance, which is not found sometimes in those who are not justified. For example, those with a spirit of illumination and light, but not of regeneration.[10] [11] 5 And therefore they fall away afterwards from that glory which inseparably follows justification, thus sinning against the Holy Spirit.

Reason 3. Because in every part of Religion, and so in Faith also, these two things are distinguished: to know, and to do. To know what is to be believed, and what all ought to believe, and to give assent to truths that are to be believed, is still not doing what believing imports, and what constitutes the proper obedience of Faith itself. For this is the root of all other obedience; and therefore it is to be jointly understood under this, because both come from Faith, Rom 1.5.5

And in very truth, such is the formal reason for obedience in true Faith: that under this name and nature it ought to be referred to the will, properly, because to obey is part of the will, and not the understanding.

Reason 4. Because by this act of the will, we have an inward union with God in Christ, even as among men there is a greater conjunction by a [53] constant inclination and affection of the will, than by the judgment of the intellect.[12]

Reason 5. Because the act of faith is such that by it we cast ourselves wholly upon Christ, or upon the mercy of God in Christ. But the act of the understanding, properly and immediately, does not transfer the whole man, but the act of the will alone therefore is properly called the act of the whole man. Nor can it be answered here that Faith is an aggregate thing, consisting partly of knowledge, and partly of affiance. Because single and distinct operations cannot be attributed to such aggregate things, as they are attributed to Faith. For example, the health of the whole body has no distinct operation, but is conceived of as a single thing. It extends itself alike to the soundness of all and of every part, just as holiness — as it is in this or that virtue — has no distinct and single operation. Moreover, no more reason can be given why knowledge and affiance should make up one aggregate thing, than knowledge and hope, or knowledge and love, or knowledge and justice or temperance. Besides all this, however knowledge is aggregated with true Faith, yet because a great part of this knowledge which precedes affiance is also found in the Devils themselves, neither can any knowledge be shown that precedes affiance, which is not also found in some unregenerate persons. Thus reason will not allow this knowledge to be an essential part of Faith and of the spiritual life, because it is found in those who have no part of spiritual life.

Use 1. Of Exhortation: against Papists and others who do not know or acknowledge any other faith but knowledge, and a certain material assent, which may yet [54] be consistent with the greatest doubt, and the most wretched desperation.

Use 2. Of Direction: that we may enquire of the knowledge of the truth which is necessary for us unto Faith and Salvation; and that we be wary that we do not rest on any bare knowledge — rather, we should think we have true Faith only when according to the knowledge of the truth, we rely upon Christ with our whole heart for salvation, to be obtained by him alone.

Use 3. Of Consolation: to those who with all their heart strive to rest upon Christ, and yet cannot for a time, or shortly and certainly persuade themselves that God is reconciled to them — for such have true Faith, though it is weak. For this certainty of persuasion is the effect of a stronger and more perfect Faith to which, in their own time, such believers shall also be brought.

A Question is here propounded: By what means is such a Faith generated and promoted in our hearts?

Answer. This Faith is properly generated in us by the Holy Spirit, through the Ministry and Preaching of the Gospel — because Faith is above nature while we believe these things that surmount all reason, and are lifted up above ourselves by Faith. As the Apostle says, Abraham hoped above hope, that is, beyond human, natural, and ordinary hope. So also those who truly believe, believe beyond belief, or above belief. It is generated in us by the Gospel, because in the promise of the Gospel, Christ is offered and exhibited to us; and the efficacy or power of the

Holy Spirit accompanies the preaching of the holy Gospel. Now from these things it follows that those who do not have true faith, who [55] either believe nothing above what is natural (z.e., in a supernatural way), or else do not have their Faith from the Gospel and word of God.

Doctrine 5. Those who truly believe in Christ may and ought to be sure of their salvation.

This is gathered from the connexion between the antecedent and consequent in the Text: believe and you shall be saved. For just as particular men, while remaining in their particular sins, may be assured that for that time they are subject to the curse of God, so may some believers be particularly assured that they are partakers of eternal blessing and salvation. For just as other assurance of the curse comes from the Law towards impenitent sinners, or law-breakers, so this other assurance of the blessing comes to repenting and believing sinners through the promises of the Gospel. The whole order therefore of this consolation whereby we may be certain of salvation is as follows. It consists in such a syllogism (in which both will and understanding have their parts) of which the proposition stands in the assent of the understanding, and makes up a dogmatic Faith. The assumption is not principally in the compounding of the understanding, but in the single apprehension and will, so as to make it true and of sufficient force to infer the certainty of the conclusion. The heart does this by that act of affiance — which is the property of justifying Faith, and thus it exists in the heart.

The conclusion is also principally and ultimately in the single apprehension and will, or in the heart, by the grace of hope. And both it and the experiential reflexion joined with it (which is in the understanding, and the other also, by this reflexion), are the effects of the [56] experiential knowledge and the reflexion of our understanding, in the assumption made upon the true existence of the single apprehension — in the heart or will — which bears the whole burden of the assurance.

Use. Of great Consolation: to believers, of which they are Sacrilegiously[13] robbed by Papists and all those who impugn this certainty of salvation.


[1] Paul writes, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” (1C0 15:22) All mankind is of the seed of Adam—we are all from his bloodline—so that all mankind died in Adam. How then are all not made alive in Christ? The answer is that not all are of Christ (Rom 8.9). The promise was made to Eve, that her seed would crush the head of the serpent (Gen 3.15). The seed referred to is specifically Christ on the cross; it is not all mankind. And there was a covenant promise made to Abraham, that all the nations of the earth would be blessed “in him” (Gen 18.18). But that was not every seed of his bloodline—only those who “are of the faith of Abraham” (Rom 4.16). And who is the object of that faith? Paul writes, “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, And to your Seed,’ who is Christ.” (Gal 3:16) And so, if the promise of salvation, made to Abraham, and received by faith, was not made to all mankind as Adam’s seed, or to all who are Abraham’s seed, but only to one Seed who is Christ, then how do we receive the fruit of that promise? How do we gain an interest in his eternal inheritance? Only those who are united to Christ by faith are made one with him—so that the promise made to him, is made to them “in him”, by that union. By faith in Christ, we are made children of God—heirs and joint heirs with Christ (Rom 8.16-17).

[2] That is, calling.

[3] John 15:2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He primes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in tire vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

[4] Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God;

[5] Ephesians 6:16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

[6] That is, faith or fidelity - trusting in a pledge that has been made; a solemn engagement.

[7] Isaiah 48:2 For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; The LORD of hosts is Iris name. 50:10 Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of his servant, that walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. (KJV)

[8] John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

[9] John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name;

[10] In other words, they understand the content of the Gospel, but their heart and life remain unchanged. For example, Simon the Magician “believed” (Act 8.13), but he remained in the “gall of bitterness” (Act 8.21-23).

[11] Romans 1:5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name;

[12] Arnes lays out here what will be Jonathan Edwards’ argument in Freedom of the Will, a hundred years later.

[13] The act of depriving something of its sacred character.

The Eighth Lord’s Day

Mat. 28.19

Go therefore, and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

In this verse is contained that principal command which Christ left to his Apostles and Ministers. And it consists of two parts: in the first, the preaching of the Word, and in the second, the administration of the Sacraments, is commanded. The chief scope of both parts is shown in the last words: that men may be taught and confirmed in the true faith and obedience of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From this place the Creed was taken and framed which is called the Apostles Creed. But as to the foundation of it in these words, 1. not first taught by the Apostles, but taught to the Apostles by Christ himself, at that very time when he spoke those words. 2. By the Apostles at the command of Christ to all Christians for a rule of Faith, and a badge whereby Christians would be distinguished from Heathens as well as from Jews and other Sects. Nor [57] was there any other or longer Creed than this, contained in the words of our Lord in the times of the Apostles, and of the Church that next followed their times. But afterwards diverse heresies laid a necessity upon the Church of adding diverse articles to this Creed, not that they should be new additions to the old Faith, but necessary explications of the same. This is why all things that are now contained in the Creed are referred to these three headings, which are set down in these words: either to the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit.

Doctrine 1. Though God is only one in essence, yet he is three in persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Reason 1. Because in this place, Faith is presupposed, and pre-required for baptizing one of age, whereby he believes in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And this same Faith is as it were sealed by Baptism, as with a seal. And the open profession of this Faith is solemnised by this Badge, or Confession and Creed that our Lord himself taught and gave in command. And these things were not done once, or in a temporary way — but by an unchangeable Institution and perpetual Covenant, they were delivered to the Church to be observed through all ages as necessary foundations of salvation. The consequence of this argument has certainty and confirmation from this: that divine Faith and spiritual [devotion] neither should be, nor anywhere in Scripture is, directed to any creature, but to God alone.

Reason 2. Because one and the same authority and power is attributed to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For when the Word is preached and Baptism is administered, not only in the name of [58] the Father, but likewise of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, it is manifestly shown that by the authority and power of this most holy Trinity, Baptism with other similar sacred Institutions were delivered to the Church; and that for the same authority, they are to be received and acknowledged by all men, with religious subjection to it by their souls and consciences. The reason for this consequence is because, however supplication used to be made in some party’s name, without respect to his authority and power, and with respect only to the grace of God to whom we make our supplication — yet when an Institution is published as a Law, and proclaimed in the name of this or that party, the authority and power of him in whose name this was done, is always declared. And it is used as a sanction or means to make the Institution inviolable.1

Reason 3. Because a truly divine operation, and an omnipotency, is here attributed to these three. And this is true while they are set out and acknowledged as the authors of all those spiritual good things which are imparted to the faithful, and which are signified and sealed in Baptism. For it would have been in vain to mention their name and authority in that solemn promise, unless they had the power and faculties to perform and perfect the things promised.

Reason 4. Because in this place we are taught to invocate the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit so that by their grace and power Baptism may have its due effect. This is done in almost the same way as in the Apostle’s salutation: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.[1] [2] And the reason for [59] the variation or small difference that exists between these forms seems to be this: that in Baptism, where authority and power are regarded, first place is given to the Father; but in the salutation mentioned, where regard is given to receiving consolation, which no one attains unless he first comes to Christ and lays hold of his grace, so that he may be reconciled to the Father by him, and made a partaker of the Holy Spirit — there the grace of Christ is mentioned in the first place, and then afterwards the love of God the Father. The strength of this whole argument hangs on this, that the invocation of, or praying to, and worship of God, belong to God alone.

Reason 5. Divine honour and glory are not only given here to the Father, but also to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, in as much as all those who are baptised in these names are directly consecrated to these three — that they may always live to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And hence these are Apostolic phrases in which the faithful are said not only to live merely to God, but also to live to Christ the Son, and to the Spirit of God. This reason is confirmed from this, that it is not lawful to wholly consecrate oneself to any other but God. And this is also the Tenor of the New Covenant, that God be acknowledged for our good, and that we be forever his people. From this also hangs the direction of our whole life, that we may always have this proposed to ourselves: to be serviceable to his glory in all things to which we were consecrated from the beginning.

Use. Of Instruction: that we may always keep this rule of Christian Faith safe, pure, and unviolated, [60] against all the gates of hell, as the chief principle and foundation of salvation, on which depend both our Baptism, and all things that are signified and sealed in our Baptism.

Doctrine 2. The divine essence and all its essential attributes, and all divine external works, equally agree to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This is gathered from the Text.

Reason 1. Because the same name, the same honour, the same power and glory, is attributed to the three.

Reason 2. Our Faith is here in like manner directed towards all, as the same in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Reason 3. All things that belong to the divine essence are such that they can neither be multiplied, nor divided, nor permitted to have a variety of degrees, for their immensity and perfection. Therefore, if they at all agree to the Son and Holy Spirit, as they apparently do from what has been said, then it must be that they agree identically; that is, in the greatest equality they are one and the same.

Use. Of Direction: That in exercises of our Faith, Hope, Charity, and in all parts and appurtenances of religious worship, and the practice of godliness, we lift up our minds as much as can be, not only to the name of God in common, but distinctly to the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — to be honoured and celebrated equally in all our addresses.

Doctrine 3. Between these three persons there is a certain distinction as to the form and manner, or order of subsisting.

This is gathered from the Text, because they are [61] disposed or set in a copulative enunciation.1 For if there were no distinction between them, then that copulative would be irrelevant. It would have no more ground for using it than if one were to say, in the name of the righteous God, and the merciful God, and the omnipotent God, etc. These are not to be taken in the propriety and rigor of conjunction, but exegetically. They differ then from the essence, as essential or substantial concretes do from their abstracts.[3] [4] They differ from themselves as relatives,[5] and are unlike in some ways. This unlikeness or dissimilitude is in certain of their individuated and characteristic properties, which are not inherent qualities, but relative affections or properties.

As to the point of order, the Father is the first, the Son the second, and the Holy Spirit the third — not in order of time, or of nature properly speaking, but in order of origination. This is why such works, in which the beginnings of things are most apparent, are attributed to the Father by appropriation, such as the Creation. But those things in which the second and successive dispensations or procurements are most conspicuous, are attributed to the Son, such as redemption. And those in which the perfection and last consummation are manifest, are attributed the Holy Spirit, such as our sanctification and glorification.

Use. Of Direction: That in receiving those blessings which are bestowed on us by God, and in performing the duty of Religion and Obedience, we regard and observe this distinction as much as may be to the glory of God, and our own consolation. For this is in every way a divine meditation whereby the heart of the faithful are [62] singularly affected and lifted up — if they well ponder that in the descent or coming down on us of God’s benefits, of which we are made partakers, the beginning is taken from the Father, the progress is by the Son, and the accomplishment is through the Holy Spirit. Moreover, in the ascent or sending up of our duties to God, which we owe him, the beginning is taken from or through the Holy Spirit; the progress is made by the Son; and termination or resting is made by

the Father. For thus, through the Holy Spirit, through his teaching and assisting or helping us, we begin to pray. That is, we conceive and make our prayers here; and our prayers that are so conceived or made, ascend and enter into Heaven by Jesus Christ; and lastly, they are ultimately heard and accepted by the Father.


[1] For example, “Open the gate in the name of the King!” brings with it the authority and office of the king as the basis of the authority of the person calling for the gate to be opened. It also conveys to the hearer a responsibility to comply with that command, or be charged with an offense against the crown, punishable under the law.

[2] 2Cor 13.14.

[3] Grammar: syntactically connecting elements of a sentence - “and” is a copulative enunciation.

[4] Abstract terms refer to ideas or concepts; they have no physical referents (e.g. love, good, moral). Concrete terms refer to objects or events that are available to the senses.

[5] Grammar: relative clauses give additional information about something without starting another sentence.

The Ninth Lord’s Day

Rev 4.11

You are worthy, 0 Lord, that you should have glory, and honour, and power; because you created all things, And for your pleasure they are, and were created.

A reason is given in these words, why all glory should be given to God, and it is taken from the effects. For that is more praise-worthy, that it be taken from the effects, because the power and virtue of the cause to which the praise is due, exists and is properly seen in its effects. The effect of God is creation, which is illustrated in this place:

[63] First, by his effects, which are declared by the universality conjoined with them in these words: because you created all things. Secondly, from his manner of creating, that God out of a wise purpose created all things: and for your pleasure, etc. Thirdly, from the adjunct of duration or lasting, and for your pleasure they are, and were created. For one thing is understood by the words, they are, and another by, you created, etc. This might be evident from the tense you created, in the past-tense. They now are in the present-tense, by which the duration of things is evident.

Doctrine 1. All things that now are in the world, were produced and made out of nothing by God.

Reason 1. Scriptures evidence this truth.

Reason 2. Partly also all nations testify to it, because there is no Nation which does not believe, and does not tell us something concerning its beginning.

Reason 3. The world itself witnesses this about itself. For in almost all creatures there appears such imperfection in their power and mutability to which they are subject, that of themselves they could not have produced their own act and first existence; but of necessity, they must depend on some pure and perfect act — and that is God.

Reason 4. The world also witnesses this same thing, for in its parts, a certain perfection appears which is such that it cannot be the first; and yet it is such that it must be from the first perfection. Such are these perfections that used to be observed in this sentence: whereby all things are said to be made in number, weight, and measure.[1] Measure means the perfection that each thing has in itself; and number means what is referred to [64] others, as to defect or excess; and weight means that motion or inclination that all things have to their own ends and uses, particular to themselves as well as common to others, and the whole.

Reason 5. Lastly, all right reason confirms the same thing, because in all order of causes and things which exist, common reason brings us to one First Cause, and one First Existence. Besides, it implies a manifest contradiction to conceive the world to have been eternal. For if the world was from eternity, then infinite days were before this day; and so these days are not yet ended. Consequently, this day does not exist, because it cannot exist unless the other days before it had ended and were gone. Also, if the world was from eternity, there was no one day of the world before there was a thousand years of the same world, because in eternity, no point or moment of time can be defined before which there were not many thousands of years. But this is a manifest contradiction: that one year of the world, that is made up of many days, should exist together, at once, with the first day; or that there is no day of any year before which there was not a thousand years; or lastly, that there were as many thousands of years already, as there were days in the world.1

Use 1. Of Instruction: that in this part of our faith, we study more and more solidity to ground and strengthen ourselves — because this ground being well laid, our faith and affiance much more easily and freely make progress about all those things which God has revealed in his Word. This includes those things he has done, or will do about this world, or some parts of it, or other things that require the same sort of might and power that was shown in the creation of the world.

[65] Use 2. Of Admonition: that we do not allow our minds to cling to this world, or stick there, but that we lift them up higher, and adhere to the one who made the world. For it would be a very great folly and perverseness if, after we know that all these things were made by God, we love the world better than God, and we would forsake God for the love of the world.

Doctrine 2. God from his own wise purpose and good pleasure created all things, not out of any necessity.

This is gathered from these words: and for or by your pleasure or will, etc. There are some Philosophers who have said that all created things come from God by way of emanation, as little rivulets come and flow from their Fountain. But that which proceeds in this way must be part of that River from which it flows — which cannot properly be affirmed about created things, if we reflect on God the Creator. Others are of the opinion that the universe came from the Creator, as the form or fashion of someone that looks into a mirror, passes from him into the glass. [2] [3] Neither is this fit to be affirmed, because the universe is in no other subject, as the shape is represented in a glass or mirror. Others have said that the universe went from God as a shadow from its body. But this is altogether irrelevant, because a shadow does not go out of its body, but follows it by an absence of light, and by reason of the interposing of the opaque or gross body between the light and that place. Others have said that the universe went forth from the Creator like the footstep is made by the print of the foot of the one that walks. But God had nothing outside himself upon which, by his walking, he could [66] imprint such a footstep.

All these had a good intention, though they did not speak accurately and properly enough. For these comparisons are otherwise profitable to raise the mind of man in contemplating the eminence and majesty of God the Creator, for they point out that the eminence of the Creator is incomparably greater than the whole universe itself. And they show the vanity, or at least the littleness of all things, even those which seem greatest in the world, if they are compared with God’s perfection. For in respect to God, they are as little streams, or as little droppings in respect to an ever and over-flowing Fountain, or of the whole Sea. Or they are as a light resemblance of one’s feature appearing in a mirror is in respect to the solid substance of the party himself. They are as dark and vanishing shadows in respect to a most firm body. Lastly, they are as the footstep of a man imprinted on the land is in respect to the living man himself.

These same comparisons show also that the world and all its parts, or all things in this universe, are certain tokens and way-marks, leading us to the Creator, as the streams lead to the fountain, the image in the mirror shows the man’s face, and the shadow respects the body, or it brings one to find it out, as the footstep of the foot reveals the man. But leaving these comparisons, the holy Scripture usually makes use of a truer and fitter one when it says that the world so came from the Creator, as the workmanship from the workman, and every building from its builder, Heb. 11.10. Now every workman does what he does from a determinate reason, purpose, and will, in as much as he is a workman. And in this sense it is said both in our Text, and everywhere else in [67] Scripture, that God made all things by his word, from his determinate purpose of mind and will. Yet there is this difference between other Artists and God, that all other artificers bring their works to perfection by various motions. For as soon as they have taken up a purpose within themselves to make some work, first they move their own members; secondly, by their members they move other external instruments; thirdly, by these instruments they move the matter into the form, or they act out what they intend to imprint on it. But God perfects his work with saying and willing. And this is what the Scripture everywhere inculcates to us, Psa 33.6, 9, etc.[4]

Reason 1. Because there is nothing in the world that has a necessary connexion with the divine essence; and so nothing external comes from God by any necessity of his nature, but only from his wisdom and free-will.

Reason 2. Because this is the noblest and most perfect way of working, to work advisedly and with a free-will.

Reason 3. In the beginning of the Creation there was nothing that could have the place either of matter or of instrument; nor can we conceive in God any other power really distinct from his understanding and will. This is therefore of necessity to be granted and believed, that God created all things out of his own free wisdom and will alone.

Use 1. Of Instruction: for by this foundation we may forearm our faith against the curious queries of some men who are used to asking or wondering why the world was not created before that time in which it was indeed created; or why such a part of it was not done in such and such a manner? The Scripture [68] answers that God created all things by his own free choice, wisdom, and will; so that in this work he was neither subject to any necessity, nor should any other reason be enquired for, beyond or above his free will.

Use 2. Of Direction: that from this consolation, we establish our Faith about all things that he has revealed in his Word, that he will do. For however improbable or impossible they may seem to our staggering reason, yet seeing God does whatever he wills, and he made the world only with saying and willing, it is not to be doubted that he will most truly perform all those things which he has said he will do.

Doctrine 3. By the same efficiency whereby God created all things, he also sustains and preserves all things in being.

This is taken from these words in the Text: and for your pleasure, or by your will they are; Also Heb 1.3; Act 17.28, in him we are, or have our being. For as in the beginning, when God cherished1 the world of waters, or the waters, the Spirit moved upon them, and so sustained, conserved, and cherished them; even so also the same spirit perpetually sustains, governs, and cherishes all created things. Now God is said to sustain and conserve created things, not only indirectly as he removes and keeps from them causes that would corrupt or destroy them; but also directly, as he gives a conserving power for continuing their existence. Nor does he do this by means alone, as he sustains an infant by its nurse; and a building by its pillars; but also immediately, in being most inwardly present to all things, he furnishes the means themselves with all their efficacy, when at his will they concur. And he also does many [69] things himself for their conservation, in which there is no virtue[5] [6] at all in any means he uses to do this. This sustaining of all things is rightly called maintenance by some, because thereby God holds the creature in his hand, as it were, so that it does not fall back to that nothing from which it was at first brought by that same hand. For it is like someone who lifts up something from the ground with his hand — unless he also holds it after it has been lifted up in his hand, it will fall to the ground again of its own accord. So also, after God by his omnipotent hand, lifted up the creature from nothing, he also upheld it with the same hand; otherwise it would fall back and return to nothing again.

Reason 1. Because sustenance is a sort of continued creation. For creation brings it to pass, that a thing first exists; and sustenance brings this about, that the same thing continues to exist. So that creation has almost nothing in it beyond sustenance, but only a newness of being, in which creation is terminated.[7] Therefore the same omnipotence and power of God is required to sustain things, which was required at their first creation.

Reason 2. Because to be, or to exist, agrees so imperfectly to the creature, that if it were removed or separated from the first being from which its beginning arose, it would quickly cease to be.[8] [9] 5 In the enlightening of the air, the light is received by the air, so that as soon as the Sun is removed from it, on which this illumination depends, the air quickly ceases to be illuminated; so it is in this business.

Reason 3. Because God is so universally and inwardly the cause of the creature, that he is not [70] only in place of an external efficient cause, but also of an internal cause. And not one whit less does he communicate to things their being, than do matter and form, which are other internal causes, and essential too; being taken away, the essence and being of such things is taken away as well. Therefore, although many effects consist or keep their being when their efficient causes are removed or cease — as a building remains after the death of its builder — yet, without the presence and power of God, the creature can no more consist and keep its being than it can without its matter and form.

Use 1. Of Direction: that we may strive to open the eyes of our mind, and may pray that by the grace of God they may be more and more opened, so that we may see both God in ourselves, and in every other thing in some manner. For that is what the Apostle teaches in Act 17.27.1

Use 2. Of Admonition: for this reason we take heed to ourselves that we do not sin against God, because we are held up in and by the hand of God. If therefore knowingly and willingly we offend God, it is as if a child, out of petulance, should hurt his Father’s face while he is held by his Father in his arms and in his bosom.

Doctrine 4. All the glory that can be given by a creature to God, is due him by reason of his unique creating and sustaining of all things.

This is taken from the Text, You are worthy, etc., where this glory is expounded by three words which intend one and the same thing, though in a different manner — because no one word can be found which can sufficiently mark out the duty of a creature to God its Creator.

[71] Reason 1. The general reason is because the greatest perfection of all divine power appears in the work of Creation, and in those things which depend on it. Now by however much the power of the cause appears in its effect, by that much more is praise and glory due the efficient cause. Then

First, God’s goodness appears, chiefly for whose sake he is ever to be glorified — because whatever good is in the creature, all this is derived from God’s goodness. And as it were, it is nothing but a certain slender scent that is breathed from the infinite goodness of God, and flows from it. This is in some way pointed at in these words, God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.[10] [11]

Secondly, His greatest and infinite power appears in the Creation in that, by his word and his command, he made the whole world suddenly and out of nothing, or pre-existent matter.

Thirdly, His highest wisdom also appears in that he did not make all things confusedly, so that there would be and remain Chaos, but in all perfection of order and proportion. So that to anyone who attentively considers these things, so much wisdom appears not only in the fabric of the whole, but in the disposition of the parts in one man, or in one flea, that all the wisest men in this world would never be able to imitate, or explicate, or by all the diligence they can use, sound the bottom of it.

Use. Of Exhortation: that with heart, mind, and work, we are always diligent to give this glory to God that he deserves, and which justice requires from us, and to which we are perpetually called and stirred up by all creatures in heaven and on earth.


[1] And so, God, who created all things in number, weight, and measure arranged the elements in an admirable order. (Wisdom 11:20)

[2] The logic is simpler than Ames presents it. The word “infinite” means without beginning or end. Therefore, all previous days have no end, nor does this current day have a beginning. To speak of previous, current, or future days, when all days are infinite, is thus self-contradictory. And cumulating days into years is also contradictory, because adding an infinite day to an infinite day is nonsensical.

[3] This is the philosophy of pantheism: The doctrine or belief that God is the universe; or that regards the universe as a manifestation of God.

[4] Psalm 33:6, 9 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth; ... For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

[5] In Deut 32.11 the same word is used of an eagle visibly cherishing its young: “As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings...”

[6] This is not a reference to any goodness in the means, but to their effect. For example, “He was able to get the book off the top shelf by virtue of Ins height.” His height resulted in his ability to get the book, but it did not cause the book to be obtained; thus no honor or glory goes to his height, even though it was a means to that end.

[9] Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...” He is the initiator, sustainer, and perfecter of our faith (also Jude 1.24). 1 Acts 17:28 “for in Him we five and move and have our being...” Colossians 1:17 “And He is before all things, and in Him all tilings consist.”

[10] Act 17:27 “so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;”

[11] Gen 1.31.

The Tenth Lord’s Day

Rom 11.36

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.

The Apostle brings an argument here to prove what he had asserted before, that God owes no man anything. He proves it from the opposition thus: the cause owes nothing to its effect, but contrarily the effect owes everything to the cause. Now God is the cause, not the effect, in respect to all things whatsoever that either are, or are done in this world. But God as a cause comes under a threefold reason or notion: 1. either as a procreating cans ?,from him are all things; or 2. as a conserving or directing cause, and through him or by him are all things; or 3. as a final cause, for which all things exist, and to him, or for him are all things.

In the first notion, creation is attributed to him; in the second, sustenance and governance of all things, in which the providence of God properly consists; in the third notion, perfection and conservation of all things is attributed to God in which the end and accomplishment of creation, sustenance, and governance is seen and consists.

Doctrine 1. God has a sure providence whereby he takes care for all things, and directs them to his own glory.

This is clear from the Text, in as much as all things are to be directed by him and for him.

Reason 1. Because God is the cause of things from [73] reason and wisdom of the greatest excellence — not from any necessity of his nature, nor yet from any casualty1 or coaction. And in such a cause, there is always a regard to the end, and an efficacious willing of it, together with an ordering of the means for attaining that end accordingly.

Reason 2. Because if God had only made the creatures, and had no care of them afterwards, or did not direct and govern them, the work of creation would have been but idle, vain, and as if done in jest. For workmen do not usually take pains to perfect a work, and then neglect it, unless they do it from too much leisure, and sport, or pastime, which does not agree to God.

Reason 3. Unless God directed and governed all things that he created, his work would be imperfect, as not bringing it to its destinate end. It would also be subordinate to the operation or influence of something else upon it that is not the principal, as we see it is among men. For someone that makes a Ship, and does not afterwards direct and govern her in her sailing, his work about her is but imperfect and as it were in vain. His art and work is subordinate to the art of sailing, which does the other and better sort of work about that Ship.

Reason 4. Common experience teaches that there is some present and powerful wisdom everywhere that is efficacious in its workings and intentions, whereby creatures are directed in their operations. For without it, the kinds of all things could not have been preserved and propagated under the same forms and figures, parts and dispositions, through all generations.[1] [2] Also, without it, creatures that lack reason could not be directed to tend to [74] some certain end unknown to themselves, and to possess certain places most convenient for them, and to seek the order and preservation of the universe or whole, rather than their own in particular. Without this providence it cannot be understood how some beasts have such instinct and as it were some beams of certain wisdom imparted to them as they have. This may be seen in ants, bees, spiders, swallows, and storks, of which Scripture itself speaks, and many other beasts which are rightly said to be born as it were with a Law, a Book, and a Lantern. With a Law which they follow and observe constantly in all their operations, and in which there is a certain art and wisdom that manifestly appears. With a Book in which they have that Law written down for them, because it is ever present with them, and indeed it is written or engraven on their souls. With a Lantern also, because at all times they so readily read in it, and perceive all those things which agree to their condition.

Use 1. Of Information: that we may have a care to solidly establish our Faith in this behalf: because providence is among the first principles of Religion, from which the glory of God mainly depends, and our affiance, patience, reverence, humility, and all the rest that belong to the real practice of religion.

Use 2. Of Direction: that we do not lean on our own or other men’s wisdom and providence, but to apply ourselves always to lay hold on the providence of God, that we may rely on it in all things.

Doctrine 2. The providence of God includes in itself not only the intention, but also the attainment of its end.

For all things are no less certainly for him, than they are either by him, or from him.

[75] Reason 1. Because divine providence is most perfect, and therefore always attains what it intends properly. For that is the imperfection of man’s providence: that it often does not attain its end, but is hindered by some other causes.

Reason 2. Because if God did not attain his purposed end, then he would allow some change in his blessedness and happy condition; because it is more blessed to have all one’s desires and purposes fulfilled, than to fall beside some of them.[3]

Reason 3. Because from this also would follow the diminution of God’s eternal knowledge. For no wise man proposes to attain for himself that which from the beginning he knows he shall never attain.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against those that turn divine providence into a human providence.

Use 2. Of Consolation: to all believers to whom God has promised that he will provide and see to them, so that all things at last shall turn to their good and eternal happiness.

Doctrine 3. This providence of God extends itself to all things. This is clear in the Text.

Reason 1. It is as much extended to everything in the world just as a good and wise master of a family cares (as much as it lies in him) for all things that are done in his house.

Reason 2. It is extended to everything that was created by God. For in the same manner providence follows upon creation, as the Apostle teaches that provision follows upon procreation, and seeing to children and others in the family, !Tim 5.8.[4] For God in some sort is called the Father of all things that he created.

[74] Reason 3. He cares for all noble and great things, because the direction of such things makes his glory evident.

Reason 4. He also cares for the least and vilest things, such as the hairs on our head and the like, Mat. 10.29. Because his wisdom is infinite, these cannot escape it. Just as his being is not helped by their greatness, so he is not kept from caring for them by their littleness. Oftentimes also, very great things depend on the least things, and from vile or base things, a noble change follows, either for the better or for the worse.

Reason 5. This providence is extended not only to things that are, or must be, by necessity, but also to contingent, or voluntary things. This is because contingents are mutable, and subject to many casualties, coming from the course of many causes; and most of all, they require the governance of a superior power, so that they may be rightly ordered, lest all should run into confusion. And voluntary things are of a most noble operation, and of a higher nature than any natural things are. And therefore, most of all, they depend upon God’s care for them and over them. And these things are so cared for by God, that their nature is not thereby overthrown, but established and governed. For it is rightly said of divine providence, that though it attains to its end with strength, yet even in doing so, it disposes all things sweetly. That is, it attains its end according to the nature of all and each, so that he himself put into them in the Creation, and yet he conserves them by his providence. For there is nothing in God’s providence that brings a necessity upon anything properly so-called, but only a certainty [77] which in no way withstands the nature of contingency and liberty.

Reason 6. This providence is extended not only to good things, but also to evil — nor only to evils of punishment, but also to evils of sin — because, though evil was not created by God, and in this respect it is not properly and in itself the subject of divine providence; yet because it comes from the creature of God, and of its own nature disorders the work of God, and is contrary to the order that God appointed, therefore by necessity it ought to be ordered and limited by God. Otherwise the most noble work of God, if he had no care to the contrary, would run into great disorder. And because in sin there is the greatest confusion and disorder, it is therefore most of all required here, that God exercise the power of his providence. In regard to God only, does evil have some kind of good in it — namely, as far as it is ordered by him, and turned to good.

Use 1. Of Exhortation: that we may always have our affiance firm, and immovable, and fixed on God; because if God is for us, who can be against us? — seeing that all things are directed and governed by God.

Use 2. Of Admonition: that we depend upon no creature, but upon God alone; because all things are governed by God. And then, that we learn to reverence and fear God in all things, seeing that his providence, which is to be reverenced and feared, has a hand in all things.


[1] That is, accident.

[2] Gen 1.21, 24.

[3] Psa 21.2.

[4]1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of Iris household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

The Eleventh Lord’s Day

Act 4.12

Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.

In these words is contained the reason for the answer that Peter gave to the multitude having come together, to the question they asked about the good work done to the crippled man, verse 9. The question was how he was healed and delivered from his sickness? The answer was that he was made whole by the name of Jesus Christ; that is, by that divine authority and power of which Jesus Christ was the author. The reason for this answer and deed is taken from the nature and power of Jesus Christ, which is shown and declared in this verse, from its effect. Namely, it brings salvation to men, spiritual as well as corporal. And this effect is so affirmed about this cause — that is, about Christ — that it is denied about all others. So that there are two assertions contained in these words, of which the first is, that Jesus Christ offers salvation to men. The second is that no other can bring salvation. The reason for both these assertions is given: because the name, that is, the power and authority of saving, which is signified by the name Jesus, is given to him and to no one else. For by name in this verse (because it is referred to Christ in verse id), Christ himself is understood, as signified by that [79] name of Jesus or Saviour. Just as by the name of God, God himself is often thus understood in Scripture. But along with the power and authority of Christ to save, is that which is made known in more illustrious persons by their titles, and solemn styles, by which is declared their quality, and what they import — for the significance of the name Jesus is taught here. Lastly, regard is made to our Faith, which properly looks at the name of Jesus Christ, and of God the Father, that is, Christ and God the Father, as they are proposed to us and named in the Gospel.

Doctrine 1. Jesus Christ saves us from all our sins.

This is what is signified by the appellation[1] of his name, and is proper to the name, containing in itself the whole sum of our Redemption and its application. It also signifies the end of his incarnation, humiliation, and exaltation. Now Christ saves us by his satisfaction, merit, and efficacy. By satisfaction, because he removes the guilt of sin and wrath of God that were hindrances to our safety, and could not be removed by us. By his merit, because he procures for us the favour and right to all those blessings that used to be communicated to the sons of God. By his efficacy, because by his Spirit he effects indeed, and works all in us that belongs to our salvation. In this way therefore, he saves us from all our sins as to the guilt, to the punishment, to the duration, and to the defilement.

Reason 1. Because he was given by God his Father for this end: that is, he was eternally predestined for that end, promised from the beginning, exhibited — for this end, I say (as he himself professes), that he might save sinners, iTim 1.15. In these words the Apostle Paul glories much, as in a precious treasure.

[80] Reason 2. Because he was fit in every way to produce this effect: that is, to procure this salvation, which follows most certainly from this, that he was sent by God for this end. For God sends no one to perform any duty, whom he does not instruct, and make fit to accomplish it. To this also belongs all that was said before about the divine and human nature of Christ, and what will be said shortly about the spirit resting upon him without measure, and the like.

Reason 3. Because willingly and of his pleasure, he gave himself to the performance of all these things that were necessary for our salvation.

Use 1. Of Direction: that we may yield and surrender ourselves wholly to Christ to be saved.

Use 2. That with all Admiration of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we may live to him; that is, as being saved by him, we may yield to him all thankfulness, and strive to do him all honour and homage to his glory.

Doctrine 2. Beside Jesus Christ, there is no Saviour.

This is express enough in the Text: Neither is there salvation in any other, etc. There are no other Saviours either in whole or in part, nor joint with him. There are no other causes of our salvation, either subordinate or ministrating, properly so-called; none at all.

Reason 1. Because none is like or equal to Christ, that could do the same that Christ did for our salvation. For he is the only begotten Son of the Father, the only Immanuel, God with us, God- man, in one person, the only Mediator between God and man, !Tim 2.5.1

[81] Reason 2. Because God gave and proposed no other Saviour to us, as it is in the Text.

Reason 3. Because if there were any other Saviour, then such exclusive assertions could have no place, as they occur everywhere in Scripture.

Whoever does not believe in Christ shall die: The wrath of God shall abide on him.[2] [3] Without him we can do nothing,[4] [5] 4 and the like. Nor yet are there any Mediators in part.

Reason 1. Because Christ perfectly saves those that believe in him, so that they do not need in any way to seek salvation in any other, Heb 7.25 J

Reason 2. Because our salvation cannot be so divided into parts that one part may be sought from one, and one part from another; for so it might come to pass that one might be partly saved, and partly damned. Nor are there subordinate and ministering causes, because properly, he saves us by himself, Heb. 1.3.[6] Now, the saviours that were typical, and the Ministers of the Word, who now also are said to save many, together with the Word and Sacraments, which also save — all these are only said to save because they are the adjuncts and instruments of this only Saviour, serving him in the application of salvation previously purchased by him. It is not that they are causes together with him of his salvation, nor that they have in themselves the power and virtue of saving anyone, if we speak properly.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against Papists who in many ways join other saviours to Christ, such as 1. While thrusting Angels and blessed spirits upon us as saviours, to be religiously invoked. 2. While teaching men to place their trust and hope in the satisfactions of men, and in the pardons or indulgences of Roman Bishops.1 3. While seeking to save themselves [82] by the merit of their own works, and by placing some faith and confidence in them.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: that in every greater and lesser part of our salvation, we not only fly to Christ, but also depend purely, only, and wholly on him, saying with the Psalmist, Whom have I in heaven but you, and I delight in none on earth beside you, Psa 73.25.

Doctrine 3. All that is made known to us in Scriptures that is to be done concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, ought most of all to be done by us, as bringing salvation to our souls.

For in this sense it is said in the Text not simply that Jesus saves us, but that the name of Jesus Christ does it — that is, Jesus Christ as he is proposed to us in Scriptures, to be apprehended by Faith.

Reason 1. Because such is the nature of our Faith, as it differs from sight, which we are to have in the life to come, that it is not carried simply and absolutely to Christ, but only as he is proposed to us in God’s Promises.

Reason 2. Because in the word of God, nothing is taught of Christ which does not directly make for our Faith, and for advancing and confirming our salvation, John 20.31.[7] [8]

Reason 3. Because that charity and thankfulness that we owe to Christ requires this: that we highly esteem all things that belong to him, seeing that otherwise we are not worthy of him.

Use 1. Of Reproof: against the slowness and sluggishness of our minds; we can hear and read many things concerning Christ, without any affection or lifting up of our hearts to him.

Use 2. Of Direction: that we may get for ourselves that knowledge of the name of Christ that may be sufficient for us in all our necessities; and [83] that we may put this into practice and use it when we are pressed either with our sins, or our inward corruptions, or the Devil’s temptations, or the world’s allurements, or with afflictions, or when we are in the midst or danger of death. For thus, in the name of Christ we have a Magazine[9] [10] 4 or rich Well, from which at all times, or on any occasion, we may draw or take something of salvation, according to what the prophet spoke, Isa 12.3, When you have drawn waters with joy out of the Wells of this salvation, you shall say, etc.


[1] Identifying word or words by which someone or something is called and classified, or distinguished from others.

[2] Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

[3] John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

[5] Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

[6] Hebrews 1:3 “when He had by Himself purged our sins.”

[7] Indulgences did not end with the Reformation. While reasserting the place of indulgences in the salvific process, the Council of Trent in 1563 condemned “all base gain for seeming indulgences”. Pope Pius V abolished the sale of indulgences in 1567. Yet the system and its underlying theology otherwise remained intact. Exactly 400 years later, in 1967, Pope Paul VI modified it by shifting tire stress away from the satisfaction of punishment, to the inducement of good works, greatly reducing the number of plenary indulgences and eliminating the numerical system associated for so long with partial indulgences. (Ency. Britannica, “Indulgence”)

[8] John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

[9] A storehouse (such as a compartment on a warship) where weapons and ammunition are stored.

[10] Isa 12:3-4 Therefore with joy you shall draw water out of the wells of salvation. 4 And in that day you shall say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that Iris name is exalted.

The Twelfth Lord’s Day

Act 2.36

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made that same Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.

This is one of the last parcels of that first Sermon which the Apostle Peter made to the Jews after Christ’s resurrection. It contains the principal conclusion of the whole Sermon, as appears by the illative particle,[1] therefore; and the necessity of the consequence itself, certainly know, therefore, etc. The conclusion is that Jesus is the Lord himself, and the Messiah that was promised. The arguments from which it is deduced are testimonies of preceding Prophets, and the present effusion of the Holy Spirit, which could be the effect of none other, but of Christ the Lord, or the Messiah.

In the conclusion itself, two things are explicated: [84] the function or charge of Christ; and the calling to that charge. The function is included in these titles, Lord and Christ. The calling is declared in this, that he is said to have been made Lord and Christ, and constituted so by God. We have three names here that are attributes of our Saviour: Jesus, Christ, and Lord. These are commonly joined elsewhere in Scripture, and this distinction may be observed between them: Jesus is his proper name; Christ is his name of authority; and Lord is his name of power. Jesus points to the end which our Saviour had before him; Christ points to the means and way to come to that end; Lord is the perfect execution and attainment of that end. Between Christ and Lord there is no real difference, nor so great a notional difference as there is between Christ and Jesus. The Lordship or dominion is, at it were, an adjunct following that function, which is designed by the titles of Christ, Messiah, or Anointed.

But between Christ and Jesus this is the difference: that Jesus, as said before, designs the end, and Christ designs the means and manner of attaining it. Jesus denotes Christ’s action on our behalf properly; and Christ denotes his perfection for it, and his receipt of that dignity from the Father.

Doctrine 1. Our Saviour Jesus was ordained and constituted by the Father for performing all these things that were necessary for our salvation.

It is hence gathered, that he is said to be made Lord and Christ; that is to say, he was made that Messiah whom all the Prophets from the beginning of the world foretold and preached was to come, for procuring and perfecting the salvation of man; and whom all the faithful looked for with great desire, [85] as the only author of their salvation. The things that were necessary for our salvation to be brought about are contained in these three functions which are intimated in the name Messiah and Christ, namely, the functions of Prophet, Priest, and King.

Our Savior was the anointed Prophet.

Reason 1. Because by outward Ministry he proclaimed and revealed the whole counsel of God about our salvation, Deu 18.18; Joh 15.15,17.8.1

Reason 2. Because inwardly he illuminates the minds, and opens our hearts, so that we may be taught by God.[2] [3] [4] 3

Reason 3. Because he told us all things to come that are necessary to be known, and that belong to his Church and Kingdom.

Our Saviour was also the anointed Priest.

Reason 1. Because by offering himself up, he reconciled us to God.

Reason 2. Because he yet effectually intercedes at the hands of the Father for us.

Reason 3. Because he makes us and our imperfect works acceptable to God, by virtue of his own oblations and intercession.

Our Saviour is also the anointed King.

Reason 1. Because he overcame and gloriously triumphed over all the enemies of our souls and of our salvation.

Reason 2. Because as Prince and head of his Church, he governs, protects, and conserves her by his efficacious power.

Reason 3. Because he shall with the greatest glory, perfect the government, protection, and salvation of his Church; and shall deservedly at last not only be called and acknowledged King, but King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.[5]

[85] Use 1. Of Information: that by true Faith we may distinctly see in Christ, that which in all our necessities may supply our wants. If we would have our ignorance and blindness taken away, we may fly to Christ as our Prophet, to be taught by him and to seek wisdom from him, who is himself the wisdom of God.[6] If we are pressed with the guilt of our sins, and accused by our own consciences, we may fly to the blood and oblation of Christ our Priest, which he made himself for us. If we would attain anything from God, we may use Christ as our Intercessor. Lastly, if our own weakness and the strength of our enemies discourage and terrify us, we may look to Christ our King, by whose help all the faithful shall become more than Conquerors.[7]

Use 2. Of Consolation: that we never give way to despair, because God has provided for us so sufficient and able a Saviour.

Use 3. Of Admonition: that by no means we separate those things which God has conjoined in Christ. And they are separated by those who either seek knowledge only, but do not care to be cleansed from their sins, nor to be subjected themselves under the obedience of Christ as King — or else seek only remission of their sins in the name of Christ, but neglect knowledge and other means of this, and flatly refuse to bear Christ’s yoke, or to acknowledge his Scepter and Crown.1

Doctrine 2. Christ was called to perform all the duties of these offices.

This arises from these words: God made this man Lord and Christ. This calling contains in it his election, preordination, mission or sending, and all [87] other things that belong to preparation, inauguration, confirmation, and consummation of this anointed one now sent. By virtue of election, and pre-ordination, or predestination, Christ was Mediator from all eternity. By virtue of this revealed purpose, he exercised the office of Mediator immediately after the fall of Adam. By virtue of his mission or sending, in the fulness of time he was manifested; and after he had manifestly and openly exercised these functions on earth during the time appointed for that end, he was taken up to the greatest glory and dignity in which, with great glory and majesty, he still exercises these functions that befit so divine and exalted a Mediator. From this also, in the Text where Jesus is said to be made Lord and Christ, a singular regard seems to be paid to this exaltation of Christ, after and in which he came, as to the consummate possession of this dominion, in respect to which he is called Lord and Christ.

Reason 1. Because none could or ought to usurp or assume to himself this honour, except the one that was called of God, Heb 5.4-6.[8] [9]

Reason 2. Because the whole nature of Christ’s mediatory office stood in this: that he should do the will of the Father, Heb 10.7, 9.3

Reason 3. Because in Christ an example is set down of that procedure which God observes in us to be brought into life and glory by him. For our life and glory have their first foundation in God’s electing of us, and begin at his effectual calling of us.

Use 1. Of Information: for establishing our Faith; because we may certainly know that God made Christ in every way fit for accomplishing our salvation.

[88] Use 2. Of Consolation: against all terrours and tumults whereby either our salvation or the Church of Christ is impugned; because we certainly ought to know that Christ is made Lord and has all power of restraining his enemies at his own pleasure. If therefore nothing at present appears from which we may be confirmed against such temptations, yet we ought to live by this Faith, according to that text, The just shall live by Faith. [10] [11] *

Doctrine 3. All that by true Faith rely upon Christ are made partakers according to their measure of the dignity of Christ.1

This is collected from this: that the Apostle so earnestly exhorts us to this faith, especially if we compare this conclusion with the occasion of the question, as it is explicated in verses 17 and 18.[12] [13] [14] [15] 3 4 For they are in some way partakers of the Prophetic fruition and dignity, as they have the Spirit of Christ. In verses 17-18, it is apparent by which Spirit they are taught all things, iJoh 2.27C so that in some way they may discern all things, iCor 2.157 Secondly, they are also made partakers of the Priestly function and dignity, as it is granted to them, to offer unto God Sacrifices and Oblations, while they offer themselves to God, Rom 12.1;[16] and while all that they can and have are dedicated and consecrated to God; and lastly, while they continually cause to ascend to the presence of God the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.[17] Thirdly, they are made partakers of the Kingly dignity, !Pet 2.9; Rev 1.6,[18] because they have through the grace of God gotten dominion over themselves, and are no longer servants of this world, but rather masters of it; and because they are heirs of heavenly glory, and receive the right and first fruits of it in this life.

[89] Reason 1. Because so great is the spiritual and mystical union that believers have with their Head, that they must of necessity in some way or other participate in his dignity, just as the members of the body partake of the dignity of the head, and just as the Wife participates in the dignity of her Husband.

Reason 2. Because all things that Christ does as Mediator, he does for us, and for our good, in our name, and in a way, in our person; that is, representing and standing in our stead.

Reason 3. Because so great is the love of Christ towards his own, that he would have what is his, as far as it can be, communicated to others.

Use 1. Of Information: that we may understand the force and reason for this name whereby we are called Christians. Now believers would rather be called Christians than Jesuits because, as was said, Jesus properly denotes Christ’s action of saving us; but Christ denotes the receiving of that office; so that we are not made Saviours of ourselves so much, as fitted receivers of this salvation from him. For what he does as our Jesus, he doesn’t communicate to us, but only the fruit of it — only what he received as our Christ. Therefore he received it so that he might in some way communicate it to us, and make us fit to receive it from him. Therefore, only those who have spiritual and effectual communion with Christ, or with God in Christ, are truly Christians.

Use 2. Of Admonition: that we do not make the divine name of Christian dishonoured and blasphemed by the filthiness of our life and manners.[19]


[1] Grammar: expressing or preceding an inference.

[2] Deu 18:18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. Joh 15:15 “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you; 17:8 “For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.

[3] John 6:45 “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

[4] Oblation: an act of offering; Jesus’ oblation is “offering himself up to God for us without spot, to purge our consciences from dead works,” Heb. 9:14. 1 Tim 6.15; Rev 17.14.

[6] iCor I.24.

[7] Rom 8.37.

[8] That is, they receive him only as their Saviour, but not as their Lord; they want salvation without sanctification.

[9] Heb 5:4-6 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was. 3 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” 6 As He also says in another place: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek”.

"O God." then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

[12] Hebrews 3:14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.

[13] That is, Act 2.17-18, marked by the effusion of the Holy Spirit, as prophesied by Joel (2.28).

[14] 1 John 2:27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

[15] 1 Corinthians 2:15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.

8 Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

[17] Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

[18] 1 Peter 2:9 But you arc a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; Revelation 1:6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him he glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

[19] Rom 2.24.

The Thirteenth Lord’s Day

Mat 16.16

You are Christ, the Son of the Living God.

This is Peter’s answer to the question propounded by Christ to the Apostles. The question was about their judgment and faith, as to the person of our Saviour.1 The answer contains the confession of the Disciples concerning Christ, and together with this, a description of Christ. In this description, the person of our Saviour is described, 1. From his office, You are Christ. 2. From his essence, which is indicated by his essential relation to that principle from which he came forth. This principle is God, who is illustrated by his attribute of life, the living God. The relation of our Saviour to God is that of a Son to a Father, the Son of the living God. And he is also illustrated by a tacit comparison of that unlikeness that exists between the Son and others that use the same name. And this comparison is illustrated to us in the particle prefixed to Son: the Son, or that Son.

Doctrine 1. Jesus Christ is the coeternal or natural Son of God.

He is called the Son of God because he proceeds from the Father, not by way of creation, but by way of generation. And generation is used here by similitude or proportion: this emanation of the [91] Son from the Father has with that production what a child has from its parent. In comparing this similitude or analogy, as it is in all the other attributes of God, the perfections only of the denomination are understood to agree; and all the imperfections and defects are to be removed in our thoughts. Hence, what is proper to bodily generation — that the one who begets does it with some transmutation; and the thing begotten is something out of the begetter — these are not to be imagined in this divine mystery. Nor is it to be imagined in spiritual generation in or by a creature — that the thing begotten is of another essence from that of the begetter — as in the production of the word of the mind in human understanding. But the perfection that is in the generation of a body — that the begotten is in essence and nature like the begetter — is here conjoined with that perfection that is found in spiritual generation of creatures — that the begotten is in the begetter by the most inward and inseparable way of being so. And so we come nearest to apprehending what can be conceived or apprehended of this divine generation of the Son by the Father. For in Christ proceeding from God the Father, he has the same common nature and essence with the Father, and is his substantial image, Heb 1.3.[1] [2] Yet he still remains in the Father, and the Father in him, without total separation of either from the other; just as God understanding himself, is in God understood by himself; and God understood by himself, is in God understanding himself.[3]

Use 1. Of Consolation: towards all believers because [92] while they have communion with Christ, who is the Son and heir of all the goods of the Father, they may from this see their felicity, namely that they are coheirs with Christ in the heirship of life and eternal glory, Rom 8.17.

Use 2. Of Admonition: to all, so that they hear the voice of Christ with all submission according to that command sent down from heaven, This is my Son in whom I am well-pleased; hear him, Mat 17.5.

Doctrine 2. Christ is the Son of God in afar more perfect and divine way than any creature is.

This is from the particle the, or that Son. The reason is because Christ is the Son of God by nature, not by adoption or creation. Christ is called the natural Son of God, not because in his first or proper nature he is the Son of God; for so the good Angels may be called the natural Sons of God if they are compared with men who now, after the fall, are not thus the natural sons of God, but only in their second nature and generation — that is, in their regeneration and adoption. But Christ is the natural Son of God, because the Father begot him, not of free choice, or decree of wisdom and will going before it, but of natural necessity, just as light engenders light. Moreover, Christ has the same most single and singular nature with the Father, of which there can be no resemblance found on earth in any creature except that which is imperfect. Therefore Christ is also called the only Son of God and the only begotten. For though, as to the general denomination, he has many whom he grants to call brothers, yet as to the special manner and foundation of this filiation of his, he has no brothers at all, nor any like himself, nor can he have any.

[93] Use 1. Of Direction: of our Faith and thoughts about Christ. For though in our relation to God, we use the same words to speak of Christ and of ourselves (because we lack more specific and proper expressions) — thus God is called the father of Christ, and our Father, and we together with Christ are called the sons of God — we should always conceive that all divine perfection are in these titles and words when they are attributed to Christ; and these same words, when they are attributed to us, should have a far inferior dignity; and yet a dignity that is sufficient enough for our consolation.

Use 2. Of Information: how we ought to seek all that belongs to our adoption and happiness only in Christ, and by Christ — because Christ is that son of God in whom is the principality and all the excellence of the divine filiation, or sonship. Therefore it is in him, and by him, that we should always seek all our participation in this dignity that we can have, or may crave.

Doctrine 3. Christ is the Supreme Lord in the Church of God.

Though this is not expressed in our Text, yet because it is in order conjoined with the antecedent words in the Apostles Creed (commonly called), it will be conveniently joined to the preceding matter in this passage. It is thus gathered from our Text. Peter in the words set down, refers to the Messiah, whom all the Prophets had preached, saying that he would be a King, a Lord, and a most glorious vindicator or restorer of his people. And it is also to this that the particle the or that looks in part. For the Jews at that time looked for such a Messiah, as appears from Joh 1.49, You are that Son of God, you are the King of Israel, [94] as it is also stated in the words of the High Priest, Mat 26.63. And Christ, in his answer explains the matter, how his dominion is contained in these words.1

Reason 1. Because Christ is one and the self-same God with the Father; and God is the Lord of all that he made, in the order of grace, as well as of nature; so also Christ is the Lord of them all by right of creation; for by him all things were made,[4] [5] and by right of sustenance, because he sustains all that he made, with his mighty hand, Heb. 1.3.

Reason 2. Christ is Mediator, and is Lord of the Church by right of Redemption. For he that redeemed the whole, bought the whole man for himself; therefore he has him in his power, in whole and in part, and he has that by a debt of justice, to which also accrues another debt of thankfulness. This is why it comes to pass that the one who is redeemed wholly yields and surrenders himself to his Redeemer.

Reason 3. Just as Christ is considered the party to whom we subject ourselves, and who obliges our truth and fidelity to him by a most holy Sacrament, oath, or vow which is solemnly sealed with an outward badge or confession — so he is our Lord by right of contract or bargain of Covenant, of our religious assurance or truth-giving, and of our promise. And for these two last reasons, more specifically and especially, everywhere in the New Testament he is called our Lord — even when he is named together with the Father and with the Holy Spirit; because he alone is thus our Lord in our nature; he alone is our Lord, who thus alone redeemed us. Lastly, we in a special way choose him to be our Lord, in our calling to Faith by our answer of a good conscience, as Peter calls it.[6] It is from this also [95] that we are called Christians, or subjects of Christ and of his Kingdom, and that we call upon his name, just as his name is called upon us, and it is professed that he is our Lord.

Use 1. Of Instruction: to establish our Faith concerning the Godhead of Christ, because none either can or may be called our Lord absolutely, or God of the Church, except God alone. For,

First, only God is the Lord of man’s life, and of those things which belong to the goods of nature. For Magistrates and Commonwealths are, only by God’s institution, keepers of the lives of their subjects under them, in order for the public good of all. And every Citizen or Subject is but a tutor and keeper of his own life, and not an absolute Lord or maker of it.

Secondly, only God may use, or apply to his use, the whole man according to his own free arbitrament.[7]

Thirdly, the things that belong to the goods of grace are of a nobler rank than those of nature. Therefore, if God alone is Lord of this natural life, than much more must it be granted that he alone is Lord of grace and spiritual life.

Fourthly, the one that discharges the part of the Lord of the Church of God, should by necessity be omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, because it belongs to him to have the care over the Church, and all its members dispersed all over the earth, and under the whole compass of heaven, and to direct them in all their ways, and defend them against all sorts of evils, and lastly, to heap upon them all sorts of good to their happiness.

Seeing then that this is the solemn title of Christ, that he is Lord in the [96] Church of God, it necessarily follows that he is also essentially and by nature God, and not by office only.1

Use 2. Of Consolation: to all the faithful, that they have him for their Lord, who gave himself unto death for them.

Use 3. Of Admonition: that we subject ourselves wholly to this Lord, and to his will, and do him all honour in all and every part of our life and conversation.[8] [9]


[1] Matthew 16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

[2] Hebrews 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and tire express inrage of His person...

[3] God’s understanding cannot be separated from God himself.

[4] Mat 26:63-64 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God! ”Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of tire Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

[5] Joh 1.3.

[6] iPet 3.21.

[7] The act of deciding as an arbiter or judge; giving an authoritative judgment.

[8] That is, he not only has the title of God, as though merely god-like, but he is truly God in and of himself.

[9] Not speech, but how we deal with others; the way we conduct ourselves; our way of life.

The Fourteenth Lord’s Day

Mat 1.20

But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

These words contain a reason given by the Angel of the Lord as to why Joseph should receive his wife Mary. And the reason removes the cause for which Joseph might have been induced to put her away from himself. Now the cause was that she appeared to be with child by a man other than her own husband. This cause is removed by putting another unblameable cause in its place; and this cause is determined by the Angel to be the Holy Spirit. The effect then, is placed with its causes in this enunciation. The effect then, is Jesus Christ, as to his [97] human nature. There are two causes: the Holy Spirit, and the Virgin Mary. Mary is the efficient cause, the less principal cause, and also the supplier of the material cause. But the Holy Spirit is the most principal and first cause. He brings the less principal, the efficient, and the material causes together into acting, to produce this effect.[1]

Doctrine 1. Christ the Son of God took to himself, into the unity of his person, the nature of man truly such, together with the conditions of human weakness.

This is taught in the Text. When it is said, In time a man bom and begotten of a woman, it is but the same thing expressed in these words of the Creed: conceived of the Holy Spirit, and bom of the Virgin Mary, etc. He might have assumed the nature of another creature, such as an Angel; he might also have assumed man’s nature in its greatest perfection, as Adam was made (who was never perfect, properly speaking), neither conceived nor born an infant. But it was his pleasure to assume the nature of man — truly such, with sinless imperfections — and not of Angels.

Reason 1. That he might do man’s business and work; that is, to make satisfaction for them and save them.

Reason 2. He would also take our nature in its weak and lowly condition:

First, because he would come down (as far as it could be without sin) into the same place and condition out of which he intended to lift us up higher.

Secondly, that by this means he might in some way sanctify all the states and conditions of human life, lest any might imagine that any such low [98] estate separates a man from communion with Christ.

Thirdly, that he might leave this to us in his own experience, as a pledge of his knowledge and of his like sufferings and affections with us, from which he might look upon our infirmities.1

Use 1. Of Information: for establishing our Faith in this regard: that we give no place to the fantastic imaginations of Heretics who impugn directly or indirectly, and fight the human nature of Christ, directly or indirectly, and fight against the human nature of Christ. These sorts of errours are in some way countenanced by Papists in their Doctrine of Transubstantiation, and by Ubiquitarians[2] [3] in their Doctrine of Consubstantiation, in as much as they attribute omnipresence and other similar divine attributes to the human nature, which in no way agrees with it.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: to extol and to solemnly praise the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ with all admiration and thanksgiving, who not only agrees to become man for us, but also in the nature of man did not disdain to become an infant, to be conceived, and to be born after our manner; and to undergo other similar infirmities and humiliations for our sake. This is what the Apostle points out in Heb 2.17-18.[4] [5] [6]

Use 3. Of Consolation: that we should make no difference between an infant newly conceived or born, and a perfect man or one of age; or between any other conditions of the nature and life of man as to our interest in Christ, as if any sinless condition of nature could make us less regarded by him, or exclude us from him. For Christ descended to the lowest and most imperfect sinless degree and condition [99] of the life of man — in that he was 1. conceived; and 2. enclosed in his mother’s womb the ordinary time of other births; and 3. born.

Doctrine 2. Christ assumed this human nature from Mary, as from his Mother.

For though he is said in the Text to be conceived in her, yet elsewhere he is said to be made after the flesh of the seed of a woman; 4 and a woman is said to have conceived him, and to have born him as her son.3 Hence also he is called the son of Mary,[7] the son of David,[8] the son of Abraham,[9] and the like, whereby that phrase is expounded, and the truth of it is confirmed.

Reason 1. He should have been born of a woman, as he was of his mother, to the end that the first Evangelical promise of the seed of the woman — that he was to tread down the serpent’s head — might be fulfilled.[10]

Reason 2. It was right that he was born of Mary, so that it might be certain how he descended from the tribe of Judah, and from the Family of David, according to the prior promises and prophecies about him.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against Anabaptists and their like who fantastically think that the humanity of Christ only passed through Mary, and was not assumed from her nature. The first reason for such an imagination seems to have been that some simple men could not conceive how anyone could be born of a woman, after the fall, without sin. But though Anabaptists afterwards removed this ground of their errour of denying original sin, yet they adhered to their conclusion of mere willfulness [to sin], without any reason.

Use 2. Of Information: for directing our Faith [too] about Christ’s sonship. For he is the Son of God and the son of man both, yet so as he is not two sons, but in a certain way he is twice one son in one person. The first, from eternity; the next, in time; and consequently he is in two ways a son, as both by eternal generation, and by generation in time. Yet he is but one son of God and of man, because he is but one person who, according to his divine nature is the Son of God, and according to his human nature he is the son of man. So every man is twice a son in essence, first to his father and paternal generation, and then to his mother and maternal generation.

Doctrine 3. Christ was bom of Mary, remaining still a virgin after he was bom.[11]

This is gathered from the scope of the words; the question is this: whether Mary was a virgin or not; and the words of the Angel were to assure Joseph that she was.

Reason 1. That this might be a singular and miraculous sign to the whole house of Israel, and this is what is pointed at in Isa 7.14.

Reason 2. That the prophesies which had gone before about this thing might be fulfilled.

Reason 3. That God’s omnipotence in this divine mystery, and principal work of God, might be evidently shown. Now, it was not difficult for the power of God that a son should be born of a virgin. For seeing that all secondary causes act by virtue of what they received from God, it is not to be doubted that God can produce all these effects without this or that cause cooperating, which would otherwise exist by them. Yet not only the power of God appeared in that work, but also his wisdom. And it was most agreeable to his wisdom that so [101] singular a substance of human nature should, in as singular a manner be brought to pass, that it differed from all others. For previously all men were made in three manners:

1. Without the concurrence of either man or woman, as in the creation of Adam.

2. Without the concurrence of woman, as in the production of Eve.

3. By the concurrence of a man and woman, as in all ordinary generation afterwards.

And this only is the proper and unique birth of Christ, by and of a woman, without the concurrence of a man.

Reason 4. That it might easily appear how the contagion of sin might be removed from the human nature of Christ.

Use. Of Confirmation: for strengthening our Faith about the person of Christ — that he was both the Messiah promised of old, and the promised seed of the woman in the unique manner which that promise seems to have intended; namely, the son of man. That is he was born of a woman who herself descended from Adam and other men in an ordinary way; but she was made the mother of a son not in a vulgar or common way, but miraculously and without the company of a man. So that from Jesus’ first conception, all things were supernatural in him, about which our minds being busied, should always be lifted up to supernatural contemplations, laying aside carnal and worldly thoughts.

Doctrine 4. The Holy Spirit was the principal efficient cause of this generation.

It is from these words in the Text: is of the Holy Spirit. The particle does not denote any material cause, but the efficient cause. So that of the Holy Spirit signifies as much as if it had been said, by the power of the [102] Holy Spirit, and his operation. Now this is attributed to the Holy Spirit for these reasons:

Reason 1. Because it was a miracle, and all miracles by appropriation are attributed to the Holy Spirit.

Reason 2. Because the principal work here was of Sanctification — for the lump of human nature which was to be assumed by Christ, was in a singular manner sanctified and cleansed from all spot of sin; and all Sanctification is uniquely attributed to the Holy Spirit.

Reason 3. Because the Holy Spirit was to rest on and dwell in Christ without measure. It was only reasonable, therefore, that the Holy Spirit should prepare and make such a dwelling for himself, as he also prepares his dwelling in the sons of God by adoption.

Question. It may be questioned whether Christ may be called the Son of the Holy Spirit?

Answer. It cannot be said, 1. Because it would bring some confusion about the personal relations and proprieties in God, and in the Persons [of the Godhead]. 2. Because the Holy Spirit did not produce a new person when he made Christ to be begotten or generated; nor was it a new nature, which he produced after his own nature (or of the same essence with his own nature).

Use 1. Of Direction: in our Faith, and in all our thoughts that we have of Christ, that we grant that all which is in him is spiritual, holy, and full of mystery. Nor should we ever doubt any part of this mystery; because all this, just as it is above the common order of things, so it is above the reach of common nature. Yet we may always receive and conceive this: that none of all these things is above the divine [103] power of the Holy Spirit, nor is there anything irrelevant or unfitting in that thing which is wholly managed by the Holy Spirit.

Use 2. Of Direction: in our Practice, as to the certainty of our salvation, which depends upon this: if we are sure that we are conformable to Christ in his nativity, life, death, and resurrection. And the beginning of this conformity to Christ is to be taken from this: if we are spiritually regenerated by the Holy Spirit, as Christ was born of Mary through the efficiency and operation of the Holy Spirit. And this is the self-same thing which the Apostle Peter admonishes us to do, that we study to make our vocation and election sure, !Pet 1.10.


[1] Aristotelian logic: (1) A material cause is determined by the material of winch the moving or changing things are made; here it is the flesh and blood supplied by Mary. (2) A formal cause is the arrangement, shape, or appearance of tire thing; here it is human nature. (3) An efficient or moving cause refers to something apart from the tiring itself, which interacts with it so as to be an agency of it; here it is Mary giving birth. (4) A final cause is the aim or purpose being served by it; here it is the effect, which is Jesus Christ. What Arnes refers to as the principal or first cause, is the initiating and creative cause; which is the Holy Spirit by whom Jesus is conceived.

[2] Heb 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

[3] Advocates of Luther’s doctrine that Christ’s body is omnipresent, and therefore exists in the Eucharistic bread.

[4] Heb 2:17-18 Therefore, in all tilings He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in tilings pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

[5] Rom 1.3.

[6] Gal 4.4.

[7] Mar 6.3.

[8] e.g. Mat 9.27; 15.22; 20.30; 21.9.

[9] Mat 1.1.

[10] Gen 3.15.

[11] “Virgin” here may simply mean that Mary had not been with a man till after Jesus’ birth. “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS” (Mat 1:24-25). There is a doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary winch was widely supported by the early church fathers, and affirmed in a number of ecumenical councils. Early Protestant reformers like Luther held it as well; even Hugh Latimer and Thomas Cranmer of the English Reformation followed the tradition. Later reformation doctrine, however, rejected it as having no Scriptural basis; and so it was kept out of the Reformation Creeds.

The Fifteenth Lord’s Day

1Pet 3.18

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.

An argument is brought in these words, whereby all Christians may be persuaded that undeserved afflictions are to be patiently born. The argument is taken from the greater to the lesser, in which is also contained the force and nature of a simile or example, and also of some dissimilitude. For such Logical assertions are often joined together in the same thing, as they make for the same purpose. The argument is this: if Christ who was just, [104] has suffered for sins and for unjust men, then much more should we suffer afflictions imposed upon us — the first is true, and therefore the latter also. Christ considered in himself is the greater, and his sufferings are the greater; and so the argument is from the greater. But considered as our head and Saviour, he has the place and nature of a simile or example to be imitated by us in tolerating afflictions; so it is an argument from a likeness, or from an example. Lastly, considered as just, suffering for the sins of others that are unjust, he is altogether unlike us; and so some force and emphasis of this argument is also taken from the unlikeness.

They are ordered in this enunciation in which, as the assumption of the Syllogism,1 the cause is contained in the effect: Christ with his suffering. For though suffering of its own nature is an adjunct of the sufferer, yet because it is voluntarily accepted and undertaken, it is an effect. Yet these arguments are so ordered, that they have mixed with them the affection or property of the argument from diversity. For Christ and his passions of their own nature are dissentaneous.[1] [2] [3] [4] * 4 Therefore, when it is said, Christ suffered, it is as if he had said, Though Christ was the Son of God, yet he was not free from suffering. So that this may be better understood, it is to be known that suffering in this passage and in others like it, is attributed to Christ by the tropes of Synecdoche4 — the more general for the special; and it signifies the special suffering of a grievous evil. Then these two are very dissentaneous between themselves, that Christ should suffer a great evil. Now he is said to have suffered for sins, and for the unjust; the particle for designates [105] the cause of his suffering, and that is threefold: a meritory or material cause, a formal cause, and a final cause. The meritory cause, because Christ suffered for the things which the sins of unjust men deserved, or merited. The formal cause, because for our sins Christ was induced, as the form, as of divine imputation—as of that which was imputed by God—so too of the suretyship undertaken by Christ, or that form which was undertaken by Christ, or accepted to be accounted his, when he underwent these sufferings. Lastly, also the final cause, because Christ suffered for this end which was set before him, or for this very purpose, so that he might take away the sins of unjust men, and make them just, and thus might bring them to salvation.

Doctrine 1. Christ the Lord suffered all these evils of punishment, which were due us for our sins.

This is not to be understood as if he had undergone all the evils in kind and particularly, but only in value and generally — in the sum or upcast of all, and in what was equivalent and equipollent[5] to all — and so he is said to have suffered all the evils of punishment.

Reason 1. Because he generally suffered all sorts of evil: spiritual, in the agony and horror of his mind, as well as corporal in his body; and he suffered the extreme, positive as well as privative, both in a kind of loss, and in a kind of sorrow or feeling.

Reason 2. Because he suffered from all those from whom any evil could be inflicted. He suffered from men, Jews as well as Gentiles, foreigners as well as his own people; he suffered from the powers of darkness and Hell, which were murderers from the beginning, and the authors of these evils [106] which Christ suffered from them and their instruments; lastly, he suffered from God himself, whose cup full of wrath he drank.

Reason 3. Because he suffered in every part of himself, in every way that he could suffer. For he suffered horrors and unspeakable sorrows in his soul; he suffered hunger, thirst, nakedness, wounds, spitting, lashes, and pummeling in his body, and whatever conceivable malice and cruelty could devise.

Use 1. Of Direction: that in continually meditating on the passion of Christ, we may look upon the singular and incomprehensible goodness, grace, love, mercy, justice, and wisdom of God by which he sent his eternal Son to suffer such things for us, and for our salvation; and together also, look upon the abundant grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who was willing to do it, and who suffered so many and so grievous things for us.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: that from the consideration of this suffering of our Lord and Saviour, we strive to stir up ourselves powerfully, that we may daily have more faith and hope about grace and our salvation to be perfected by Christ; and that our hearts may be kindled with greater heat of love towards God and Christ, and with greater zeal of the glory of his name; lastly, that with more courage, constancy, and patience, we bear all the troubles of this life for Christ’s sake, who suffered all things for us.

Doctrine 2. Christ suffered all these things, neither out of any necessity of nature, nor by constraint, nor by casualty and chance, but of his own free choice of wisdom and will.

This is gathered from the Text in that it is put [107] among Christ’s praises, as an example of obedience, that he thus suffered. But there is no place for praise nor obedience in such things as one suffers out of necessity or chance, without the free consent of the will.

Reason 1. Because this was the will of the Father to which he would conform his will in all things, so far as he laid this charge upon him.

Reason 2. Because this was the very thing for which Christ came into the world, according to the form of covenant made between the Father and the Son, Isa 53.10.1

Reason 3. Because in this consisted the most perfect obedience, which is the way to the most perfect glory, Phil 2.8-9.[6] [7]

Objection: Every evil of punishment is against the will of the sufferer; but what Christ suffered for us were very great evils of punishment. They were therefore suffered against his will.

Answer: That evils of punishment are said always to be against the will of the sufferer:

First, Because they are against his natural inclination. Therefore punishment is only evil because it tends to destroy our nature, and so it is against the inclination of nature, whereby everything seeks the preservation of itself.

Secondly, The evil of punishment is against the will of the sufferer, conditionally; namely, if the sufferer can attain his wished end by no other means; but it is not always absolutely against his will. The first had a place in Christ, because these passions were against the inclinations of nature since otherwise they would have brought him no pain; and they were also against his conditional will, as it appears by [108] these words: Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.[8] But they were not against his deliberate, determinate, and absolute will. The reason is because he suffered it all out of obedience to the Father, and out of love for us, and for our salvation.

Use 1. Of Instruction: how we may from this ground arm our minds against those temptations that usually come by the occasion of Christ’s sufferings. For in this respect, Christ was a stumbling stone to the Jews, and foolishness to the Grecians.[9] But if we weigh well with ourselves, that Christ suffered all these things not out of coaction, or out of any necessity, or any external force, but from the obedience of love towards mankind, and that he might give us a most perfect pattern of obedience in his own person. We would be so far from finding any stumbling block, or foolishness in these sufferings, that on the contrary, nothing could be found that was or is more suitable to the Saviour of the world.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: that calling seriously to mind this grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, out of thankfulness to and mutual love for him, we may be ready, with all willingness and cheerfulness of mind, to undergo all sufferings and afflictions for his sake.

Doctrine 3. Christ’s sufferings were an expiatory Sacrifice for our sins.

This is what is said in the Text, That he suffered for sins, for the unjust. That is, he had the virtue to take away the punishment from us, the guilt also, and the spot, and to acquire for us the favour of God, and righteousness, and eternal life. It is what is usually signified by satisfaction, by [109] merit, by redemption, by restitution, or restoration made by Christ.

Reason 1. Because this was the covenant between the Father and the Son, that if he would undergo that obedience for us, then we would be freed from our disobedience and death, and would live through him, Isa 53.10. For this suffering was the perfecting of all his obedience.

Reason 2. Because by his suffering, Christ made satisfaction to divine justice, and repaid God as much of his honour in our name, as he had suffered in it by our sins. Therefore God’s justice is now appeased; the grace of God has had its free course, so that it may derive all good upon us.

Reason 3. Because Christ now, by virtue of his passion and consummate obedience, as it were of his own right that he acquired, makes intercession with the Father for us, so that we may be, and live with him, Joh 17.24.[10]

Use 1. Of Consolation: to the faithful against the guilt of their sin, and terrors of their conscience that arise from sin. For in Christ and his sufferings, we have a remedy against these wounds that are otherwise deadly.

Use 2. Of Admonition: that we would detest all sins as things that brought our Saviour to death, and would have brought a thousand deaths upon us, if he had not turned them away from us.


[1] Syllogism: deductive reasoning in which a conclusion is derived from two premises or assumptions.

[2] Dissentaneous - disagreeing; contrary; differing.

3Trope - language used in a figurative or non-literal sense.

[4] Synecdoche - a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for tire general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing made from it (as steel for sword).

[5] Having equivalent signification and reach; expressing the same thing, but differently.

[6] Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.

* Phi 2:8-9 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name...

[8] Luk 22.42.

[9] 1Cor 1.23.

[10] Job 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

The Sixteenth Lord’s Day

Joh 10.17-18

Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it up again. None takes it from me; but I lay it down of myself I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. This commandment I received from my Father.

Christ in these words expounds what he had said before about the duty, effect, and sign of a good Shepherd: that he lays down his life for his sheep. This he had applied to himself, verse 15, where two things were propounded: 1. The Object to which laying down his life refers — or, which are those sheep of Christ? This is explained in verses 15-16.1 And 2. The manner of laying down his life. First, the death of Christ, or laying down his soul or life, is explicated from the efficient cause, which is Christ himself, I lay down my life. Secondly, from the manner of laying it down, Christ is a voluntary cause, doing it from counsel and deliberation, not coaction: None takes it from me, but I lay it down. Thirdly, from the adjunct of this efficiency; he did not do it from weakness, but from power: I have authority to lay it down. This is shown from another effect that follows from this: from his resuming it again — his resurrection — I have authority to take it up again. It is as if he said, he that so lays down his life, [111] that he takes it up again with power, does not lay it down out of coaction and with weakness, but he does it voluntarily of his own accord: but I so lay down my life. This is illustrated here from the impulsive cause, the Father’s commandment: This commandment I received from my Father. And fourthly, from its end and effect, which is the Father’s love and delight, or his complacency[1] [2] [3] 3 in this: Therefore my Father loves me, because, etc.

Doctrine 1. Christ so far humbled himself for us, that he underwent death itself for us.

I lay down my life, etc. Now he underwent a double death for us: a spiritual and a bodily death. The spiritual is about Christ’s descent into Hell A This consisted in the separation of God’s favour from the soul of Christ for a time, not really, but as to sense and feeling, and that influence from which comfort is usually felt; and also as to impressions of divine wrath, which with horror struck all the faculties of his soul. So that for the time the soul was at so low an ebb and concussion from all its happiness, as any creature could be that was without sin, formally inherent in itself. The death of the body is that which consists in the separation of the soul from the body; the confirmation and continuance was in the burial of Christ. Now such was the separation of the soul from the body in Christ’s death, that the conjunction and union of both of them with the divine person, remained the same that it was before. It was as if one drawing a sword, held the scabbard in the one hand, and the sword in the other; there would be a separation between the scabbard and the sword, but neither of them would be separated from the man who so held them. So also [112] in this mystery, there is a separation of the soul from the body, but neither of them was separated from the divine nature or person, but the person still sustained both in the unity of itself, as one person with him. The reason is because if there had been any such separation from the divine person, then the second person would have ceased to be God-man, and so he could not for that time have been our Priest or Mediator. Also, a new incarnation or assumption would have been made again in the resurrection of Christ. Therefore, what is in the mouths of many divines is most true, and used almost proverbially, That what the Son of God assumed, he never laid aside again.

Reason 1. Because the perfection and consummation of humiliation is in undergoing death, Phil 2.8.1 And this also was the first reason why he did not only undergo death, but the most vile, contemptible, and contumelious [4] [5] death; that is, the death of the cross, as it is more especially set down in that passage.

Reason 2. Because his charge of redeeming us required this: that he should pay that price to divine justice which we owed, and so be subject to the same punishment that we were liable to. And this was also the reason why he chose the death of the Cross, that he might show that he did not merely sustain death, but that cursed death that was due us, and did it in our place, or for us, Gal 3.13.[6]

Reason 3. That by the most convenient way, he might procure the death of sin in us by assimilation, and by making us conform to himself, Rom 6.1-8.[7]

[113] Use 1. Of Information: for directing our faith, that while we seek remission of our sins, and reconciliation, and salvation in God, we so have our faith in Christ that we may be specially united to him in his sufferings, blood-shedding, and death, Rom 3.25.5

Use 2. Of Consolation: to all those who have such true faith, because they are out of all risk of death or condemnation, according to the Apostle, Rom 8.34.[8]

Use 3. Of Direction: 1. In the study of Sanctification, that with Christ we may die to sin. 2. In the study of all obedience, love, and humility, according to the example of Christ, in whom all the perfections of these virtues shine marvelously to us in a most eminent and excellent way.

Doctrine 2. Christ ordained his own death, from certain wise deliberation and power, to dispose of it as he pleased.

I have power to lay down my life. From these words it appears first, that the death of Christ was voluntary. It was also violent, coming from external agents, and it was against Christ’s internal natural inclinations; and it was also in some way natural, as it was wrought by external causes that naturally produced such an effect. And yet it was voluntary, not only as to the willing disposition and choice of it whereby Christ set himself to suffer it; but also as he suspended his own power to hinder and avert death, and so he gave both the way and the power to the enemies inflicting it. In this respect, his death may also be called miraculous, or wonderful, because he that was dying ordered his own death, and willingly allowed it. So that by doing he suffered, and by suffering he acted, and [114] he had his own action in it all. Without this, he could not have suffered by any creature whatsoever.

Reason 1. Because it was fitting for the one who was God to die in this way. For since the human nature subsisted in the same person with the divine nature, nothing could befall the human nature either in doing or suffering, except as the divine willed and ordained it.

Reason 2. Because otherwise in his death Christ would not have been together Priest, Sacrifice, and Altar. For though it is the part of a Sacrifice to be passive, and to be offered up to the Father, yet it is the part of the Priest — by being active about it, and ordering the whole — to offer up the Sacrifice.

Use 1. Of Information: for arming our faith against temptations and scandals which used to arise from this, in that Christ, in whom we believe as our God, was subject to death. For Christ died not of weakness and coaction, but by certain resolve, and of his own proper will and power; so that the divine nature and power of Christ did not appear only in his resurrection, but if the thing is rightly considered, his death also had as great a hand and was as evident.

Use 2. Of Direction: for our preparation to undergo death in whatever way God would have it come to pass. For from these two things that were in Christ — that he both willingly underwent death, and then also ordered it himself — the first of these lies upon us all out of duty, that we be ready to die at such time, and in such manner, as God is pleased we should. The other, though it cannot be performed by us because we do not have the power to lay down our lives and order our deaths, [115] yet by faith and a holy desire for our comfort, we ought to seek this from God and look for it: that in Christ, who ordered his own death for us, he would order our death for our salvation, and for his own glory.

Doctrine 3. Christ underwent this death by his Father’s command.

It is in the Text, This command I received from my Father. And this command was not any part of the law of nature, nor of the moral, ceremonial, or judicial law. Rather, it was a unique condition of the mediatory office that was laid upon Christ by the Father, and of his own free consent. It was therefore a command to the Messiah alone, as he was our Mediator.

Reason 1. Because as by the disobedience of the first Adam, sin and death entered into the world, so by the obedience of the second Adam, righteousness and salvation should be brought to us. And as the disobedience of Adam was the breach of the command given to him, so also the obedience of Christ was to be in the keeping of that command given to him with his office of mediatorship, or whereby the office itself was also imposed on him.

Reason 2. Because in Christ we were to have such an example of obedience as was most perfect in keeping the commandments of God.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against the superstition and presumption of popish Monks, who have devised a kind of perfection in obedience of councils, beside and beyond that which stands in keeping the commandments of God. Yet Christ himself who has given us the whole portrait and pattern of perfect obedience, confesses that he went no further than to obey what the Father commanded him.

[116] Use 2. Of Admonition: that we may set ourselves to follow Christ in this point, that even to death itself, we may cling fast to the commandments of God.

Doctrine 4. God the Father loves Christ for this obedience.

This is in the Text, therefore the Father loves me; that is, he is delighted with this obedience, and so delighted that he commends it to be looked at by every Christian, and all those who are Christ’s.

Reason 1. Because by Christ’s death, God was most glorified by Christ, Joh 12.28; 17.4.1

Reason 2. Because by that death of Christ the counsel of God was fulfilled whereby he had from eternity appointed in himself to communicate his grace and glorious good will to men, Eph 1.5, 6, 7, 9•[9] [10]

Use 1. Of Refutation: against those who usually conclude from such phrases by which God is said to love men for this, and not for that — that such men’s works were the first causes of God’s love. For Christ was the Son of God, beloved by him from all eternity; and yet the Father is said to have loved Christ also for his obedience.[11] [12] *

Use 2. Of Consolation: to all those who are in Christ by faith. For as the Father loves Christ, so will he also love those who are in Christ.

Use 3. Of Exhortation: that with all cheerfulness we stir ourselves up to obey God, because God loves those who obey him.


[1] Joh 10:15-16 “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

[2] The modem connotation of complacency is indifference. But here it means God is satisfied with Himself.

[3] Tins is taken from a late addition to the Apostles Creed. The phrase was not included in the Marcelli Ancyrani (a Greek version of the creed, A.D. 340), nor the Latin versions of the creed (cf. Romana, from the 3d or 4th century). It was not until later that this line and others appeared. Philip Schaff writes, “The translation ‘descended into hell’ is unfortunate and misleading. We do not know whether Christ was in hell; but we do know from Ins own lips that he was in paradise between his death and resurrection (Lk 23.43). The term Hades is much more comprehensive than Hell (Gehenna), which is confined to the state and place of the lost.”

[4] Phi 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

[5] Arrogantly insolent - stubbornly opposed to God’s rule (Parable of the Evil Tenants, Mat 21.33-41).

[6] Gal 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree “). 1 Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also five with Him.

[8] Rom 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right

[9] John 12:27-28 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from tins hour"? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” John 17:4 “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

[10] Eph 1:5-9 “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself...

[11] That is, God loved Christ before his works were ever performed; God likewise loves His own from eternity. And yet, as Use 3 implies, God loves those who obey him; but they obey him because he first loved them (!Joh 4.19).

The Seventeenth Lord’s Day

Joh 10.17-18.

I lay down my life, that I may take it up again. None takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority or power to take it up again. This commandment I received from my Father.

Seeing the Text is the same as it was before, the same analysis that was there, may also serve here, and be made use of.

Doctrine 5. Christ rose again from the dead.

For this is what is understood in the Text by taking up his life again. For this taking up again is a reunion of things that were separated before. And in this reunion of the soul and body, there was a change or move from an inferior to a superior condition, which before was in a better condition also, or a condition that was superior to this condition from which the change is now made.1 And therefore it is properly called a reassumption [of life], or taking again, and not barely a resurrection. The form then from which this change was made, was from his state of humiliation; and the form to which he changed, was the state of exaltation and glory. The subject of this transmutation or move was Christ’s human nature, which had fallen to the lowest and most abject condition of his humiliation. Christ’s own body arose again from true death, and from the grave. And his soul also is said to have risen [118] again, as it was now restored and reunited to the body, and so it was delivered from the state and dominion of death; or it was delivered from the privation of its activity in the body, in which there was some diminution of its relative perfection. There were two parts of this resurrection: revivification (or a quickening again of the human nature by the renewed union of soul and body); and its going out of the grave to make it manifest that it was restored. This resurrection was confirmed moreover by Angels, by the Scriptures, by Christ himself, and by the assent and eye-witness, or experience of many witnesses, in various appearances reiterated from time to time during the space of forty days.

Reason 1. Because it was unbefitting and impossible that the Son of God, and author of life, could be long detained by the power of death, Act 2.24.[1] [2]

Reason 2. That by this means Christ himself might be justified in the spirit, or according to the spirit of holiness, which is by the power of his Godhead, justified to be God as well as man in one person. He was justly and fully declared and proved to be God by his raising himself again from the dead, Rom 1.4; iTim 3.16.[3] [4] 4 And that by this means he might show that we were justified by him from our sins, for which he died, and also rose again to show that he had overcome them for us, and delivered us from them, Rom 4.253

Reason 3. That being now alive, he might powerfully apply to us what he had purchased before by his death, Rom 5.10.1

Reason 4. That by this he might be the cause, foundation, and sign of assurance, and earnest to us of our resurrection, spiritual as well as bodily, Rom 8.11; iCor 15.12-14.[5] [6] [7] 3

[119] Use. Of Information: for the direction of our faith, that believing in Christ unto justification and salvation, we may so lay hold on Christ’s death, that we still also look at his resurrection in which his victory for us was shown, and his power over death, and efficacy to work in us appeared, and which renders his death full of comfort for us, Rom 6.3-4; 1Pet 3.21.3

Doctrine 6. Christ’s resurrection came to pass by his own proper virtue and power.

It is clear in the Text, I take it up again; and I have power to take it up again. For this is the difference between Christ’s resurrection and that of others: that they rise again by the power of another, namely Christ, as many as are his. But Christ rose again by his own power as Lord of life and death. And therefore he has the disposition of both as he sees fit. Neither is it anything against this truth that it is often said that God raised him again from the dead; and the Spirit of God raised him.[8] For the works of the Trinity from outside are undivided, and common to all three Persons.

Reason 1. Because what is thus attributed to God is therefore also attributed to the Son together with the Father and Holy Spirit, and is not taken from him, as is made clear by our Text.

Reason 2. When Christ is said to be raised by God, or the Spirit of God, then properly his human nature is considered as raised by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, though all three are not always expressed; but now one is expressed, and now another. But when he is said to have raised himself, his divine nature and person is spoken of and considered, as raising his assumed human nature, together with the Father, and the Spirit.

[120] Reason 3. Because by the Spirit and glory of God whereby Christ is said to be raised, no other virtue or power can be understood than that of the divine nature which was in Christ.

Use 1. Of Information: to confirm our faith about the person of Christ. For he that arose from death by his own power cannot be a man only, but must of necessity be acknowledged to have been God also. For raising a dead body is no less divine a work than the creation of a live body. He that raised himself from the dead, at the same time he was dead in one of his two natures, still had life and the fountain of life in his other nature; namely, he had the divine nature at his command, by which he did so great a work as to raise his other nature to life again. Therefore, just as Christ by his death proved himself to be true man, so also, in and by his resurrection, he proved himself to be the eternal and natural Son of God, and especially true God— not by office only. And that is most manifestly proved.

Use 2. Of Consolation: to all those who are in Christ. For they are in him who has virtue and power to raise them again from the dead, and to give them eternal life, Joh 6.39-40.'

Doctrine 7. Christ’s resurrection was for us, or it was to do us good.

This is hence gathered, because in the Text the common end for laying down his life and taking it up again for all, is mentioned. Those for whom he laid down his life, are those for whom he also took it up again. Now the resurrection of Christ turns to our good in another way than his death does. For his death is accounted as satisfying and deserving for us. But it is not so with his resurrection. Rather, it has the [121] place and account of a sampler and efficient cause, and in some way, of an efficacious and powerful applier and perfecter.

Reason 1. Because Christ in his resurrection represented in some way all the elect of God, and by a virtual containing, had them all in himself, and brought them all back from death.

Reason 2. Because the same Spirit that raised Christ again from the dead, by a certain way of communicating the same resurrection, quickened the souls as well as the bodies of the faithful, so that they may be conformed to the likeness of his resurrection, Rom 8.11.1 [9] [10]

Reason 3. Because that same Spirit quickens us by the power and virtue of the resurrection of Christ.

Reason 4. Because the whole reparation of our nature will be after the image and pattern of the resurrection of Christ, Rom 6,5.[11]

Use 1. Of Consolation: because in the resurrection of Christ, as brought to pass for us, or for our good, we have our victory over Death, the Devil, Sin and Hell, and all our Enemies, already purchased and prepared for us. It is not therefore left to us to fight so that we may overcome, but only in sincerity that we may mind this: to lay hold on the victory already acquired by Christ for us, and that in the same manner we may strive to keep it, prosecute it, and more and more put ourselves in perfect possession of it by faith in Christ.

Use 2. Of Admonition: that we by no means allow sin to reign in our mortal bodies, but that we may spiritually imitate such as arise from the dead.[12]


[1] That is, Jesus was alive (superior condition), then dead (inferior), and now alive again (superior).

[2] Acts 2:24 “whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”

[3] Rom 1:4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by tire resurrection from tire dead. !Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

[4] Romans 4:25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

[5] Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

[6] Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. !Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of tire dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

[7] Rom 6:3-4 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

[8] Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. iPe 3:21 There is also an antitype which now saves us — baptism (not the removal of the 61th of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ; For example, Act 2.24, 32; 3.15, 26; Rom 8.11.

[9] John 6:39-40 “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

[10] Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

" Romans 6:5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection...

[12] Romans 6.4 ...just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

The Eighteenth Lord’s Day

Mark 16.19

So then after the Lord had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven, and sat at the right hand of God.

Here is explicated a singular act of Christ after his resurrection. Notice 1. The motion in which the act is designed. And 2. The thing brought to pass by that motion. The motion is but the means. The thing done by the motion was its end. The motion was as it were the way. And the thing done by it, was the end of that way, and the rest and perfection that was to be attained by it. This motion was Christ’s ascending into Heaven. The thing brought to pass by it, was Christ’s sitting down at the right hand of God. The motion then is described from the term to which it was made, which was heaven. But the term from which it was made is also understood, which was the earth. The thing done by this motion is also explained by its adjuncts; namely, Christ’s glory and power, and his quiet and settled possession of these. All of which are metaphorically signified in these words: He sat down at the right hand of God. For being placed at God’s right hand signifies a communication of divine glory and power; and sitting at his right hand denotes the quiet and settled possession of this glory and power.

[123] Doctrine 1. Christ ceased to be upon earth by his bodily presence after the fortieth day after his resurrection.

This is clearly enough signified in the Text by these words: He was received up into heaven, that is, he ceased to be here upon earth. The time is here only generally intimated Act 1.3.1 We say, by his bodily presence, because by his spiritual and divine presence, by his Godhead and his Spirit, he is present with his own in a gracious manner according to his promise, even to the end of the world, Mat 28.20. We also call it his bodily presence rather than his real presence, because real presence is more properly opposite to an imaginary, or only feigned presence, than it is to a divine and spiritual presence.

Reason 1. Because it did not become Christ to abide longer on earth, when he had now left off being earthly, as he was in the state of his humility. By leaving off being earthly we do not mean the substance of his body, but of the manner, quality, and suit or garb, as it were of his body, which was now turned from being earthly or infirm, to heavenly and glorious.

Reason 2. Because his bodily presence had not been for our good, but rather to our hurt; in as much as the Spirit, the Comforter, Christ’s true Vicegerent here on earth could not be poured out and given, before Christ ascended into Heaven, Joh 16.7.[1] [2]

Reason 3. Because Christ had now done the work which he had to do on earth for glorifying his Father there; and therefore he was now to return to what he had before the world was made, and manifest it by exaltation of his human nature, as much as before he had hidden it by laying it aside as it were, during the days of his weakness or humility, Joh 17.4.[3]

[124] Use. Of Refutation: against Papists, Ubiquitarians, and other false Prophets who designing some definite and determinate places on earth, dare say behold, here is Christ bodily, and behold, there is Christ bodily, according to that warning in Mat 24.23.[4]

Doctrine 2. Christ, when he left the earth, went up into the highest Heavens.

This is clear enough in the Text, compared with other Scriptures, where the Heaven of glory and of bliss is called the highest Heaven, and the third Heaven, which is all one.

Reason 1. Because it is most fitting that his human nature, which is now made immortal and glorious, should be seized and possessed of a place that was convenient for itself and its condition; and only the highest or third Heaven was such a place, the other two being subject to corruption, or to change.

Reason 2. Just as he opened that Heaven for us, which was shut to us for our sins, so it was expedient that by his own proper ascension and going there, he would make this plain to us.

Reason 3. He ascended so that he might, on our behalf, also take possession of the Kingdom of Heaven, and might raise us to a certain hope that through him, we would come to the same place and condition.

Reason 4. He ascended so that he might dispatch such other things that still remained to be done for us. Now such were his intercession, and mediation at the right hand of his Father for us; his giving, and sending, and shedding abroad his Spirit, to take his place and be the Comforter of his people; lastly, the universal government of all things for our good, and the like.

[125] Use 1. Of Refutation: against those who would pretend to have Christ’s human nature in Heaven, and yet have it together and at the same time bodily on earth. That he might ascend to Heaven, it is clearly said that he was received up into Heaven. And therefore, that he might ascend into Heaven, he left the earth. For if the consequence is good, for which the good Angel declared, He is arisen, therefore he is not here, that is, he is not in the grave. So then, no more doubt can be made of this consequence: he is ascended into Heaven; therefore he is not here on earth.

Use 2. Of Direction: in our Faith, and worshipping or adoring Christ; namely, that we do not now think of Christ carnally and in an earthly manner, but worship him in spirit and in truth, as placed in highest glory and divine power in the Heavens.

Use 3. Of Admonition: that we may remove our minds and affections from earthly things, and set them on heavenly things that are above, where Christ our treasure sits at the right hand of the Father — so that our conversation may be there, and with him, Mat 6.21; Col 3.1; Phil 3.20.

Doctrine 3. Christ in Heaven has possession of all the highest glory that a created nature can be capable of.

This is hence gathered, in that he is said to be seated at the right hand of God. From this it is signified that he is next to God himself in dignity; and so he is not only above all men and their blessed spirits, but above the glorious Angels themselves.

Reason 1. Because Christ’s human nature, which we specifically speak of here, came next in dignity to God himself, by free grace, and personal union and communion with the Godhead, [126] and therefore it was most fitting also that in pre-eminence of glory and dignity, he should be next to God himself.

Reason 2. Because Christ is the head of all Saints and blessed ones, both men and Angels, from whom is derived all dignity and glory upon all those who are gathered together in one body under him, as the Angels also are. It was necessary therefore, that just as he received the Spirit of grace without measure,1 so also he should be adorned with glory and majesty above all other creatures.

Reason 3. Because both the grace and glory of the Church tends to the glory of Christ, just as the glory of Christ tends to the glory of God, iCor 3.21-23.[5] [6] [7] [8] 3 4

Use. Of Consolation: to all the faithful in Christ, because not only the glory of the head redounds to the glory of all its members, but we also have a sure promise concerning this, that as in this life we are partakers of the sufferings and patience of Jesus Christ, so also in the life to come we shall be made partakers of his glory, Rom 8.17.3

Doctrine 4. Christ together with his highest dignity, also has highest power.

The Text evidences this, in as much as God’s right hand signifies his power; and sitting down at his right hand signifies the highest communion and society with God that there can be in this power.

Reason 1. Because dignity and power might thus have the same degrees. For dignity separated from power is no more than a dead title, and therefore, seeing that Christ has highest dignity and glory, it also follows that he is endued with highest power.

Reason 2. Because Christ is constituted Lord, [127] to correct and govern, as well as to preserve and glorify his Church. He must therefore of necessity have both the power of right, and the power of strength, fitting and competent for these ends. For the Lord has both a power of right and of might to exercise and execute all this, immediately and by himself, as well as mediately and by instruments or servants. And this is that power which Christ professes was given to him in Heaven and on earth, Mat 28.18. Now this power is given to Christ, and most properly belongs to him as he is Mediator, or as man having the unity of one person with God — but not so properly as God; and therefore it is said to belong to him as he is the son of man, Joh 5.27A

Use. Of Consolation: for though this divine power of Christ is terrible to his enemies, yet to believers it brings firm hope, and affiance, and comfort; because as Christ himself says in Joh 5.24, such a person has everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life. And Rom 8.34-35 also tends towards this when the Apostle proves that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ because he sits at the right hand of God.

Doctrine 5. Christ has the quiet and unmovable possession of this power. For in this sense he is said to sit at the right hand of God.

Reason 1. Because he has overcome all his enemies virtually, and shall actually in his own appointed time subdue them all fully, and bring them under the yoke.

Reason 2. Because there is nothing on earth, or under the earth, that can in the least trouble or molest his possession.

[128] Reason 3. Because this state and condition of Christ is not only immortal and free from all change by virtue of Covenant and divine Promise, but also of its own nature, being now accomplished according to free Covenant — and such will be the happiness of the least Saint.

Use. Also of Consolation: which though it may strike terror and amazement in the hearts of Christ’s enemies, yet it raises and rouses up the dejected and drooping spirits of all those who put their trust and confidence in him; for he sits at the right hand of God in power and majesty, making intercession for us there.


[1] Acts 1:3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the tilings pertaining to the kingdom of God.

[2] John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.

[3] John 17:4 “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

[4] Matthew 24:23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or’There!’ do not believe it.

[5]Joh 3.34.

[6] 1C0 3:21-23 ...For all things are yours: 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come - all are yours. 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

[7] Rom 8:17 and if children, then heirs— heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

[8] Joh 5:27 “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.

The Nineteenth Lord’s Day

Mat 25.31-39

31 When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 “And before him will be gathered all Nations, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 ‘Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

In this passage, the acts or procedure of the last day are expounded. There are two parts: Christ’s coming, and the end of his coming, which is the last judgment. In this last judgment, 1. The preparation for it is described. 2. The execution of [130] the sentence. In the preparation, Christ’s majesty and glory in which he shall then appear, is chiefly set down here: 1. From his train and attendants that will wait upon him, consisting chiefly of the glorious Angels. 2. From his glorious throne. 3. From the effect of this coming; namely, the gathering together of all mankind, and separating the good from the bad.

The sentence to be pronounced is twofold: 1. Of salvation to the good. 2. Of condemnation to the evil. The sentence of salvation is declared, 1. From its causes; 2. From its adjuncts. The principal cause is God’s good will, which is shown 1. From the effect of that grace or favour that is the cause of our salvation, which is the blessing of God; 2. From the relation that arises from it, which is that of a Father giving an inheritance, and of a Son’s receiving it; 3. From the adjunct of time, that this salvation was not then first appointed for them, but it was prepared for them from the beginning of the world. The adjunct signs by which this salvation is declared, are good works — which are intended by the works of mercy described here.1 And these are amplified by that relation which these works have to Christ himself, while they are exercised towards his members. The sentence of condemnation is quite contrary to the former, handled by the comparison and proportion of similar things. The execution of the sentence is briefly set down in the last verse of this Chapter.[1] [2]

Doctrine 1. The universal or general judgment is most certainly to come to pass.

This judgment is called universal, so that it may [131] be distinguished from that particular judgment which is exercised in some way on most men even in this life, and upon every one in particular when they pass out of this life. For this comprehends all men together, and therefore it is called universal. It may also be called universal, or understood to be universal, because in this judgment, sentence shall be passed on the deeds of all men and angels, and on matters generally, without any exception. It is also called the last judgment, because no new judgment is to be expected after it — only the execution of that judgment will follow.

Reason 1. Because before that time the judgment of God towards men is not completed and fully perfected; because in this life through God’s forbearance and long patience, evil men enjoy many good things, and good men are oppressed with many evils. From this consideration, even many of the Heathens gathered that rewards and punishments were more justly and equally to be distributed, where it would be ill with evil men, and not well at all; and it would go well with good men, and not ill at all. This reason also seems to be confirmed by our Lord himself, Luk 16.15,1 and by the Apostle Paul, iCor 15.19.[3] [4] Now after this life, while the Soul remains separate from the body, the judgment of God is not complete, nor fully accomplished, because it has not passed on the whole man in his full being, as he was in this life while he committed the things that were to be judged. Therefore another and fuller judgment follows and is to be looked for, than that judgment which is only on the departed souls; this last judgment shall certainly come in its own time.

Reason 2. It is most convenient and agreeable to God’s [132] glory, that God in and by Christ, in a most glorious manner, should make manifest before all, Angels as well as men, his mercy as well as his justice; that he might have the public and solemn glory of both mercy and justice; and this is the thing that will come to pass at that time, in that universal and last judgment.

Reason 3. This belongs also to the glory of God, the joy of the faithful, and just confusion of the unfaithful: that they may see before their faces the promises and threatenings of God almost perfectly and accurately fulfilled, not only particularly on their own persons now in the body, as before death; but universally upon all others, both men and Angels — which shall only be when this last and universal judgment is held.

Use 1. Of Information: that we take care to have our faith and hope solidly confirmed and strongly rooted about this article, lest we be in any way troubled with profane blasphemies and mockings of Infidels and Heathens, who first cast down and trample on the profession of this article by their life and manners; and then also fight and dispute against it by words and speeches, concerning whom we are warned by the Apostle St. Peter, 2Pet 3.3-4, etc.[5]

Use 2. Of Admonition: that with all fear and trembling, we watch over our ways as those who certainly mind and look for the day of this judgment, iPeti.17; 2Pet 3.11-123

Doctrine 2. Our Lord Jesus Christ will be Judge in this judgment.

Reason 1. Because it belongs to his Kingly office and power, whereby he was made Lord and King, [133] and had all judgment committed to him.

Reason 2. Because Christ is the one from whom and by whom the faithful have salvation adjudged to them, even in this life; and from whom also unbelievers have death adjudged to them. Now it is the same judgment that in this life both ways have begun, and in the last judgment shall be fully manifested and perfected.

Reason 3. Because it is at that time that Christ should fully and actually triumph over all enemies and opposite power, and crown all his own servants, soldiers, and adherents. And this is most conveniently and gloriously done in the form of public and solemn judgment.

Use. Of Consolation: chiefly to the faithful, because they shall have for their Judge the one whom they received as their Redeemer, Justifier, Sanctifier, and Intercessor or Advocate; and from whom therefore they may with all confidence expect all good.

Doctrine 3. Christ’s glory at that time shall be incomparable.

It appears from the Text that if the Angels that are so glorious shall then be his Ministers of State and attendants; and that his Throne with all the rest of that procedure shall be so glorious, then it must be that Christ himself is excellent in glory above all that we can think of.

Reason 1. Because the exercise of this judgment belongs to the manifestation of Christ’s highest exaltation.

Reason 2. Because the very end of his coming was to give glory to those who sought God in him. It is fitting then that Christ appears in greatest glory.

Reason 3. The majesty of the supreme Judge of the [134] world, and the terror and confusion of his enemies that they must be put to, require that he should come clothed in the greatest glory.

Use. Of Consolation: to the faithful, against the crosses and contempts to which they are liable in this world together with Christ; because just as now they are partakers of the cross of Christ, so then they shall be partakers of his glory.

Doctrine 4. In this judgment, the condition of the godly and ungodly shall be quite unlike and opposite to one another.

This is taught in the Text by the separation of the sheep from the goats; by the right hand and the left; by come you blessed, and go you cursed.

Reason 1. Because there is a great unlikeness and opposition in the lives and ways of the godly and ungodly while they are in this world.

Reason 2. Because there is a great dissimilitude or opposition between the promises that belong to the godly, and the threatenings that belong to the ungodly.

Reason 3. Because there is great disparity and opposition between the manifestation of greatest mercy, and of the greatest execution of justice.

Use. Of Admonition: that we separate ourselves from ungodly men as much, and in such a manner as we can; that is, if we cannot separate ourselves in places, and yet we separate ourselves in our internal affections as well as our external conversation, then we should be as unlike them as can be in those things in which they are ungodly.

Doctrine 5. The cause of any blessing to the godly, is the mercy of God; but the cause of any curse to the ungodly, is their own fault.

This is clear in the Text when the godly are [135] called blessed of the Father; but the ungodly are merely called you cursed, not of the Father, nor from the Father, nor from God; because though it is God that curses them, yet the first cause of this curse is in their sins.

Reason 1. Because all good is from God who is the greatest good, and chiefly good in himself. But all evil of punishment arises from evil of fault; and this evil of fault is from the creature itself, breaking the Law and Order that God has set to it.

Reason 2. Because the blessing of life is the mere free gift of God; but the curse of death is the reward or wages of sin, Rom 6.23.

Reason 3. Preservation from the curse, which is by God’s favour, is necessary for our blessing; but to incur the curse, nothing more is necessary than to neglect or contemn[6] that way which leads to the blessing.

Use. Of Direction: that we may always give God the glory in every good thing that we either have, or seek, or look for; and always blame ourselves for any evil that befalls us.

Doctrine 6. The blessing of the godly consists in the communion that they shall have with God in Christ; and the curse of the ungodly consists in the separation of them from such communion.

This is plain in the words, come you blessed, and go you cursed.

Reason 1. Because this is the end to which all the godly look, desiring nothing more than to approach still nearer and nearer to God. The ungodly, on the contrary, shun nothing more than God, and such things in which God has appointed to show and impart his gracious and singular presence.

Reason 2. Because man’s happiness not coming from [136] man himself, is therefore to be sought from outside himself, and that is from his union or conjunction with the greatest good, and that is the cause and fountain of all good. Therefore of necessity it consists in communion with God; and from deprivation of this communion, the greatest misery must follow.

Reason 3. Because the most perfect act of our life is that which is most closely and intimately carried towards God, as all that we do well consists in this: that in so doing, we live to God; and all misery must accompany the privation of such acting — its lack and absence.

Use. Of Direction: that even in this life we may wholly be taken up with this, to seek communion with God, and shun and take heed of all separation from him.

Doctrine 7. The certain signs and tokens of this blessing are good works; and the signs and tokens of this curse are evil works.

This is largely and clearly laid open in the Text.

Reason 1. Because good works came from the same grace or favour of God, from which the blessing itself comes upon them; and evil works, joined with obstinacy and impenitency, come from the same malice and malignancy which God has cursed and adjudged.

Reason 2. Because God, of his free grace, has promised the blessing for good works, and of his unspotted justice, he has appointed the curse for evil works.

Reason 3. Because in good works there is a certain disposal and preparation of the way to obtain the blessing; and in evil works there is not only the preparation of a way, but of a deserving, or a meritorious cause even unto the curse.

Use. Of Admonition: that we take great care as to our actions through every part of our life, because according to their actions, men are either condemned or saved.[7] For such as the life is, such is the end.


[1] This is concluded using a Trope, or borrowed manner of speaking, called Synecdoche by the learned, where the special is put for the general.

[2] Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

[3] Luk 16:15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

[4] 1C0 15:19 If in tins life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

S■ 2Pe 3:3-4 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

[6] Look down on with disdain.

[7] Arnes is not saying that we are saved by our works, but as Doctrine 7 says, our works are the signs or tokens of our salvation, winch is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Martin Luther — ‘We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.’ “Faith without works is dead,” Janies 2.20.

The Twentieth Lord’s Day

1Cor 6.19

What, do you not know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God, and you are not your own?

In the words of the Text are contained a most powerful argument against Fornication and similar sins. It is taken from the contrary end, because the end of Christians’ bodies is quite opposite to this sin. And that end is declared from the subject that is possessed, and the possessor and indweller of that subject: the Holy Spirit. The subject is again explained by a Metaphor of a Temple, because our bodies are, as it were, houses consecrated to him. And that this argument may be made clearer and stronger, the Apostle adds that as the Holy Spirit is the possessor of this Temple or house, so he himself is also the indweller of it. And both these relations that we have to the Holy Spirit are illustrated from their efficient cause, namely, that they are of God; and from their consequent effect and adjunct, namely, faith and certain knowledge of these relations that exist between our bodies and the Holy Spirit, given in these words: Do you not know, etc.

[138] Doctrine 1. The Holy Spirit is true and coeternal God with the Father, and eternal Son.

The Text gives many reasons for this Doctrine.

Reason 1. Because to have one and the same spirit with God is the same as to be glued or joined to God, verse 17.1

Reason 2. Because a Temple is not lawfully consecrated to anyone but to God; much less could it be lawful for a man, who stands in place of or as a Temple, to be consecrated to that which is not God. But here such a Temple which is most sacred, is said to be consecrated to the Holy Spirit.

Reason 3. Because the Holy Spirit is said to be in us in such a way that we become his by right, and by duty; that is, we become God’s rightful possession, as the scope of the words clearly demonstrate.

Use 1. Of Information: for directing our faith rightly, not only to the Father and Son, but also to the Holy Spirit, as the same one and true God.

Use 2. Of Admonition: that we diligently take heed to ourselves, so that we neither contemn nor neglect any holy thing that comes from or is breathed by the Holy Spirit — as the whole Scripture is said to have come from the inbreathing or inspiration of the Holy Spirit;[1] [2] [3] 3 and all the motions of godliness are only attributed to the Holy Spirit as their Author. 3 Likewise, all the gifts of grace are bred in us from and by this Spirit of grace.[4] We must therefore take heed in all these, so that we in no way resist the Holy Spirit, or knowingly and willingly sin against him.

[139] Doctrine 2. The Holy Spirit himself is given to the faithful. This is apparent in the Text.

Reason 1. In that our bodies are called the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Reason 2. In that he is said to be in us.

Reason 3. In that we are said to have him, or to get him from God. Now the Holy Spirit is said to be given to us when he has a singular relation to us, and that is for our good; that is, it is for our sanctification and the salvation of our souls. And moreover, it is because he powerfully works these things in us that are agreeable to his most holy nature, and which cannot in any way be derived to us from flesh and blood. And it is from this that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are called the Holy Spirit also, by that trope or borrowed kind of speech by which the cause is put for the effect, which Scholars call a Metonymy.1

Use 1. Of Exhortation: to thanksgiving to God who gives so divine a gift; and also to religious prayers and calling upon God’s name, so that he would keep unto us, and more and more communicate to us this divine gift, Luk 11.13.[5] [6]

Use 2. Of Admonition: to take heed of all such things whereby the Holy Spirit is said either to be grieved, or extinguished; that is, from the grievousness of all such sin that fights against the holiness of this divine Spirit, so that he cannot delight to dwell in us, but wholly or in great measure withdraws himself from us.

Doctrine 3. The Holy Spirit is not communicated to our souls only, but to our bodies also.

It is in the Text, when our bodies are also called the Temples of the Spirit.

Reason 1. Because as Christ did not redeem our [140] souls only, but the whole man, so also the Holy Spirit ought to bring into subjection and possession the whole man to God, and to Christ.

Reason 2. Because many duties of a spiritual life must be performed by the body also; and therefore the body ought to be subject to the Holy Spirit, and as a vessel or instrument, be wholly in his power.

Reason 3. Because our bodies are made liable to sin, and by sin to death, from which we must be freed by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, Rom 8.11.[7]

Use 1. Of Admonition: that we do not allow sin to reign in our natural bodies; that we do not offer our members as weapons of unrighteousness to sin, but as weapons of righteousness to God, Rom 6.12-13.[8]

Use 2. Of Exhortation: that we glorify God in our body, as it follows from the Text, verse 20.[9] For we ought to have that care of our body which prepares it for spiritual things that are due to the Temple of God, as in the Text; and for an offering to be offered up in the Temple of God, Rom 12.1.1

Doctrine 4. The indwelling of this Spirit is a flat[10] [11] enemy to the reigning of sin in us.

This is the consequence of the argument in the Text, namely, that the Temple of God cannot be prostituted to whoredom and other such sins, without Sacrilege.[12]

Reason 1. Because there should be an agreement between the Temple, and the one whose temple it is, or to whom it is dedicated, as in 2C0r 6.16: what agreement does the Temple of God have with Idols? For by similar reasoning we may ask, what agreement does the temple of God have with reigning sin?

Reason 2. Because the Holy Spirit dwells in believers, that he might impart holiness to them; [141] and as his nature and name are, so also are his indwelling and operation as an enemy to all ungodliness.

Reason 3. Because if the Kingdom of sin were to prevail in the Temple and dwelling of the Holy Spirit, this would turn to the disgrace and dishonour of the Holy Spirit himself. And this is indeed the thing that is done when some profane men blaspheme and mock the name of God and of the Holy Spirit, because of the unworthy carriage of those who profess to be led by this Holy Spirit.

Use 1. Of Reproof: against those who turn the Temple of the Holy Spirit into a Den of Thieves, or into a Cage of unclean birds.[13] [14] 5

Use 2. Of Admonition: that we give no place to sin either in our souls or bodies, but as far as possible, that we imitate Christ who, as written in Mat 21.12, cast out of the Temple of God even buyers and sellers, and the tables of money changers; and in Joh 2.15, drove sheep and oxen out of the Temple with a whip.

Doctrine 5. All the faithful ought to have both faith and experience about this indwelling of the Holy Spirit in them.

This is intimated in the these words: Do you not know brethren — that is, you should not be ignorant of this, but believe this, and know it from your own proper experience or feeling.

Reason 1. Because this is among the greatest benefits that belong to our salvation.

Reason 2. Because from this benefit depends the knowledge of all the rest that God has freely given to us, iCor 2.12.5 So that the same may be said here, that is said about Christ in 2C0r 13.5; Test yourselves. Do you not know that Christ is in you? etc. So it is here, Do you not know that the Holy Spirit is in you? etc.

[142] Use 1. Of Direction: that we test ourselves in this point, and never rest — as if all were well with us — until to our comfort, we can perceive that the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: that we study to have this knowledge lively and powerful in us, according to the intent of the Apostle here, who intimates to us that this knowledge, if it is such as it should be, is not consistent with whoredom or any such similar impurity of life.


[1]1 Corinthians 6:17 But lie who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

[2] 2Tim 3.16.

[3] Rom 8.10; Eph 5.9; Tit 3.5-6.

[4] 1Cor 12.8-9; Heb 2.4.

[5] Substituting the name of an attribute or feature for the name of the tiring itself (as in ‘they counted heads’)

[6] Luke 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! (that is, the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit).

[7] Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

[8] Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. J3 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

[9] 1 Corinthians 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

[10] Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

[11] Not modified or restricted by reservations.

[12] Blasphemous behavior; the act of depriving something of its sacred character.

[13] Lev 20.25.

[14] 1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know tire things that have been freely given to us by God.

The Twenty-first Lord’s Day

Eph 5 25-27

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it. 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word.27 That he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish.

It is the Apostle’s purpose in this passage to stir men up to the duty of love to their wives. And he illustrates this duty and persuades us of it from the example of Christ’s love for his Church. And in the example, the love of Christ towards his Church is declared from its effects. The first of which is that he laid down his life for her. The second is the end and effect of the former; namely, that by virtue of his death, he sanctified and purified the Church [143] for himself. The third is the effect and end of both the former; namely, that he makes her glorious. The fourth is the conjunction and union that the Church has with Christ; namely, that she is his body, and of his flesh and bones, verse 30. The manner of this union and its nature is shown to consist in a mystery, and not in any carnal or bodily way, but in a most spiritual and hidden way.

Doctrine 1. The Church is the whole company and community of the elect.

This is hence gathered, because she is here described and designed by Christ’s spiritual love towards her, as the love of a husband ought to be towards his wife. Now this love always includes in itself a differencing by her beloved, separating her from all others; and so it is nothing else but an election or choice made of her above others. This is to be understood of a company chosen to eternal life. Now this company is considered in two ways: First, as election lies in the absolute and internal counsel of God. Secondly, as it is described and manifested by its effect of calling, and the blessing that follows upon it. Those that are chosen the first way are members of the Church only virtually; and are potentially members in time — brought about by such a determinate power, that it will certainly act in due time, by the decrees of God. Therefore, the elect who are not yet called, are not yet formal members of the Church, actually and in themselves.

The second way, because the act of vocation[1] and the effect of election is there, it makes men actual and formal members of the Church. Now that first effect of internal election, which is proper to the elect, is effectual calling, which is a kind of external [144] election, as it were, made in time. Therefore the Church has her name from this calling, rather than from justification, sanctification, or glorification — to which moreover this accrues: that by this means the company or community of actual believers is fitly designed, seeing that ordinarily none are effectually called, except those who answer that call by actual faith.

Use. Of Direction: how we may obtain for ourselves the certainty of our election; namely, how we can be certain of our effectual calling. That is, how we can be sure of our election by an inward feeling and experience of our true faith and unfeigned repentance — of their operations on and in our hearts, and by the effects that follow from that.

Doctrine 2. This Church is the body of Christ.

Reason 1. It is called his body by way of proportion or similitude, not like a body politic, as found in worldly Cities or Commonwealths; but more as a natural body, such as man’s. Now it is called the body of Christ, because the union that it has with Christ is so very near — being as it were, flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, as it is in the Text.

Reason 2. Because of that dependence it has from Christ, as its head.1 For just as all sense and motion of a sensitive creature is derived from the head into every particular member, so also all spiritual virtue is derived by influence from Christ into his Church.

Reason 3. Because of the union and communion that the faithful have among themselves in Christ, which is the communion of Saints; and the joints whereby these members are coupled together.[2] [3] The bonds also of this conjunction, are the [145] Spirit, Faith, and Charity. By the Spirit they are properly conjoined with God in Christ, and also among themselves; but by Faith they are properly conjoined to God in Christ only; and by Charity, most properly, they are conjoined among themselves.

Use 1. Of Consolation: to all believers, because they are made partakers of so great a dignity as to be assumed to the body of Christ, on whose behalf they may also certainly expect all good things from Christ.

Use 2. Of Admonition: that we do not dishonour this most holy body of Christ with our life and manners; but with all our care and diligence we may go about this, that our conversation may be such that it is worthy of those who have so near a conjunction with Christ and his most holy servants.

Doctrine 3. The Church in that acceptance of the word, as she is mystically considered, is one only, holy and universally, catholic.

These things are understood of her mystical estate, because in her visible or external estate, she is neither one, nor catholic, nor altogether holy. These things are thus gathered from the Text. She is one, because she makes but one body of Christ, and he does not have more bodies than one. She is holy because she is said to be sanctified and purified by Christ, namely, by separation from the world; by pardon of her sins in justification; by renovation of our inherent righteousness in the sanctification of this life, and the perfecting of it in the life to come. She is lastly Universal or catholic, because all the elect or faithful of all Nations, and of all times, and places, make up but one and the same mystical body of Christ.

[146] Use 1. Of Refutation: against Papists who wrest all that is proposed to be believed and spiritually understood by Christ’s mystical body, to the Popish state of their Roman visible Church. And that church is neither one, because it is not now the same as it was when the Apostles wrote to her; nor is it holy, because by their own confession, many Popes (that is, heads of the Roman Church) were most wicked beasts; nor is she catholic or Universal, because it implies a contradiction that one particular church, as the Roman church properly is, should be Universal in any propriety of speech.

Use 2. Of Consolation: to all believers, because in this very thing — that they are actual believers — they are members of this Church that is proposed to us to be believed. And as to the main business of this, they are in the same condition as the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles, and all the Saints were in, that ever lived or shall live hereafter, in any place or time of the world.

Doctrine 4. To this Church relate and belong all those benefits that Christ has procured for men by his death.

It is gathered from this Text, because Christ is said to have done all that he did, out of love for his Church.

Reason 1. Because it was the wise purpose and intention of God, gloriously by Christ, to communicate his grace to certain men. For otherwise the whole dispensation of Christ’s incarnation, life, and death, would have been of uncertain success or event.

Reason 2. Because Christ not only promerited[4] this, but he also brings it to pass, and does that to perfection by his efficacy or power.

Use. Of Consolation: chiefly to all true believers.

[147] For whatever is said of the whole Church in common, is extended to each member of that Church; because the Church is nothing else but a collection of believers, or believers considered as gathered together, or conjoined in one body or multitude.


[1] That is, the act of calling - both the external call of the Gospel, and the internal call of the heart.

[2] Epli 5.23; also Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church...

[3] Colossians 2:19 ...holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

[4] To deserve; to procure by merit.

The Twenty-second Lord’s Day

Phil 3.20-21

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also look for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will change our vile body, that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working1 by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

A reason is given in these words, why believers would rather follow the true Apostles than false Teachers; and it is taken from the comparison of unlike things.[1] [2] [3] [4] 3 4 The unlike qualities are a care for the things of the world, in false Teachers; and a care for heavenly things in the true Apostles. This care of the Apostle is illustrated by a double argument: 1. From the adjunct manner which is set out before us, by the similitude of the Burgesses. 3 2. From the efficient cause of this care, which is faith, and the hope of the glory that is to come. This glory again is illustrated: 1. From its principal cause, which is Christ Jesus. 2. From the subject of it, [148] which is extended also to the body, and not to the soul alone. 3. From the quality of the body which is pointed out to us by a similitude with the body of Christ. 4. From the virtue and power of that efficient cause mentioned, for producing such an effect which is no other than its omnipotence, according to that mighty power by which, etc.

Doctrine 1. The resurrection of man’s body is certainly to be.

This is taught in the Text. 1. In that a transmutation of our bodies has been determined. 2. In that it is said they shall be conformed to the body of Christ, which by its resurrection was raised to glory J The foundations or grounds of that article are two: the power of God, and the truth of the Scriptures, as Christ himself teaches in his answer to the Sadducees, You err; namely about the resurrection, not knowing the Scriptures and the power of God.[5] By the power of God, the raising of our bodies again is possible, it being as easy for God to do that, as it was at first to make all things out of nothing; indeed, as easy to make man out of the clay of the earth.[6] For it is easy to conceive that the same efficient cause can again join the same principles which he conjoined once before, and moreover made them all out of nothing. As for the Scriptures, the truth and certainty of this resurrection is expressly declared by its testimony.

Reason 1. Because man was created for eternity, and therefore must be set free from death, which assaults the whole race of mankind against its nature, so that it may again attain to eternity.

Reason 2. Because the soul cannot come to its [149] perfect and complete glory by its reunion with the body; this is because it would be maimed as it were, as to such faculties, the operation of which it exercises by the body; and so in some way it would remain blind, deaf, dumb, etc.

Reason 3. Because the equity of divine dispensation requires this, that those bodies which had their own share in the labours and works that belong to this life, should also have their share in those rewards which belong to the end of this life.

Use. To establish our faith about this truth, which is one of the principal articles of the Christian faith.

Doctrine 2. The same bodies that we had, as to their essence and nature, shall arise again, though not the same as to their dispositions and qualities.

This is hence gathered, that in the Text it is said that our bodies will be transfigured. By this phrase we are to understand that the substance of our bodies will remain the same, and only the outward figure or fashion, or manner of its disposition and complexion, will be changed. Not only this, but it is also said that they will be transfigured after the manner of Christ’s body. For Christ had the same flesh and bones which he had before, and he made this manifest to his Disciples.[7]

Reason 1. Because neither reward nor punishment would have any place in the body after its resurrection unless the very same bodies were restored to men, of which they previously made use here on earth, either for doing evil, or doing good.

Reason 2. Because otherwise, after the resurrection, the person would not remain the same man, determinately this man, or that man, or that he existed before.

[150] Reason 3. Because it is as easy for God to glorify the same bodily substance that the person had before, as any other.

Use. Of Refutation: against such Heretics who, having almost blended their own dogmatic fictions and fancies with the true Doctrine, would also have our bodies not be the same after the resurrection, but new ones, even as to their substance.

Doctrine 3. Perfection, glory, and eternal happiness shall be given to believers after the resurrection, in which they will be clothed with their bodies again.

It is in the Text. This glory is partly in the soul, and partly in the body; but in both, there shall be a removal of all imperfection, and a communication of all perfection, which shall be thought fit for everyone to receive. In the soul will be the fruition of God, whereby all desire for desirable things will be satisfied in a certain eminent way. There will also be an abundantly heaped perfection in all gifts and virtues, as there is in the blessed Angels. This glory will also so stream forth to the bodies, that they will be like heavenly bodies, which is the point chiefly expounded in the Text, Our body shall be made conformable, etc.

Reason 1. Because it is God’s purpose singularly to glorify himself in that supernatural blessedness that is to be given to us.

Reason 2. Because Christ already glorified, is not only the efficient cause, but the pattern of our glory. We will not therefore have only such a likeness to Christ as there is between any effect and its cause, according to that maxim, as the cause is, such is the effect; but also that proportion which exists between the pattern and its portrait.

[151] Reason 3. In the order of dignity, by the bountiful appointment of God, believers shall next after Christ, have their place together with the blessed Angels.

Use. Of Direction: that we may often see before our eyes in our meditation, the greatness of this glory to which we are called, so that we may both stir up thankfulness in ourselves to God, and a certain holy contempt for and neglect of all things in this world.

Doctrine 4. This resurrection of our bodies from the dead, and the glorification of them, shall be by the most powerful operation of Christ.

From these words: According to the mighty power of working, he should transform, etc. And this agrees to Christ, as he is one and the self-same God with the Father.

Reason 1. Because it is the work of that super-eminent greatness of power that is proper to God, Eph 1.1g.1

Reason 2. Because that most wonderful quickening of our bodies should come from the living and alive-making God, who is the fountain and source of all life. Therefore in the same way, it is not attributed only to the Father, but also to the Son, and Holy Spirit, Rom 8.11.

This agrees also to Christ as he is Mediator, but still as essentially united to God; also as he submits himself to be mediator, together with the human nature in one person, Joh 5.26; 6.40.[8] [9] [10] 3

Reason 1. Because it belongs to the Mediatory office of Christ not only that by his merit he should procure eternal life for us, but also that by his powerful working, he should actually bring it to pass.

Reason 2. Because Christ as Mediator is the head [152] of his Church, from whom is derived and communicated to us the Spirit of life, whereby our souls as well as our bodies are quickened — our souls especially in this life, and our bodies in the day of the resurrection.

Reason 3. Because Christ as Mediator, and as the Son of man (but as united personally in the Godhead, as the Son of God) shall judge the world, Joh 5.27.3• Now this belongs to the power of the Judge, that he can make the parties to be judged appear before him.

Use. Of Direction: that we do this by all means — as in our prayers, so in our meditations and other spiritual exercises — namely, that we may behold this super-eminent power and greatness of Christ’s might, as the Apostle wishes to the Ephesians and to us, as one of the greatest gifts of God, Eph 1.17-205 For by this means, 1. Our faith and confidence in Christ is established. 2. We will be forearmed against all terrours of this world, and of Hell itself. 3. With all cheerfulness, we shall recommend our souls to Christ in well-doing, because he is able to perform all that he has promised, all that we seek of him, and above all that can come into our thoughts.* 1

Doctrine 5. We should so look for this glory to come, in this present life, as that we lead in some sort a heavenly life even here on earth.

This is what is said in the beginning of the Text, We behave ourselves as Burgesses, or Citizens of Heaven.

Reason 1. Because where our treasure or chief good is, there our hearts will be also; and where the heart is, there the whole man will be. If therefore [153] we have our treasure and chief good in Heaven, then our heart will be in Heaven also; and our conversation will be heavenly.

Reason 2. Because all these worldly things about which men are busied, and in which most are drowned, can never come in competition with the bliss of Heaven — not as to their worth, nor as to their endurance, nor by any love-worthy quality.

Reason 3. Because to this we are called, that denying ourselves, and leaving the world, we may seek the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and glory.

Reason 4. Because while we believe and hope in Christ, and have the eyes of our mind set on him as our Captain and pattern of our salvation, we must be changed into his likeness and image, iJoh 3.3; 2C0r 3.18.[11] [12] [13]

Use 1. Of Direction: for discerning our condition, whether we have any such faith and hope, or not.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: to stir up and rouse our minds to a more earnest and diligent study and care of all godliness.


[1] Literally, “energy”, Greek energeia; or as Ames renders it below, “mighty power”.”

[2] Ames is referring to the context of the preceding verses, 17-19: “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: *9 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame - who set their mind on earthly tilings.”

[3] Citizens of an English borough.

[4] Rom 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

[5] Mat 22.29.

[6] Gen 2.7.

[7] Luk 24.39-43.

[8] Ephesians 1:19-20 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places...

[9] John 5:26 "For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself; John 6:40 "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

[10] John 5:27 "and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.

[11] Ephesians 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you tire spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places...

[12] Eph 3.20

[13] 1 John 3:3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The Twenty-third Lord’s Day

Rom 3.24-25

Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, 25 whom God has set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

The Apostle had before proved that all mankind was under the most grievous guilt of sin, and therefore needed justification so that they might be saved. This justification he had also shown could not be had from any creature, nor from the Law. He had set this down as the conclusion of his discourse in verse 20 of this Chapter.1 From this he further concludes that justification is of necessity to be sought in that way of the Gospel which is proposed in Christ Jesus. The whole dispute may be summed up in this Syllogism: Men are either justified by Nature, or by Law, or by the Gospel. But he is neither justified by Nature nor by the Law; and therefore of necessity, it must be by the Gospel. The Proposition is presupposed and tacitly understood as manifest in itself. The Assumption is proved in the first part of the Epistle, up to verse 21 of this Chapter. The Conclusion is proposed and illustrated in verse 21 to the end of that Chapter, and afterwards. The words set down in our Text, [155] contain a description of this Gospel-justification. And it is described, 1. From its principal and highest cause, God: whom God appointed.[1] [2] 2. From the manner of this cause — which does not consist in commutative justice that gives like for like, or so much for so much; nor yet from distributive justice, which looks at the worth of men, and deals with them in a proportionate manner — but in mere and pure grace, or free favour, as stated in these words: we are justified freely, of his free grace or free favour. A singular emphasis or force of speech is laid on this part of the description by this doubling or repetition, freely, and of his free favour. 3. It is described from its impulsive or meritorious cause, which also becomes in some sort the formal cause of our justification, namely, our redemption made by Jesus Christ. 4. From its instrumental cause, which is faith: by faith in his blood. 5. From its final cause, which is the manifestation of the justice and mercy of God: for showing his justice,[3] etc.

Doctrine 1. It is God that justifies us.

He is said to justify us, not by infusing righteousness into us, or making us fit to do things that are just — this is the error of the Papists, placing justification first in the infusion of the habits of faith, hope, and charity; and next in the good works that come from those habits, which they mix with a certain sort of remission of sins. But instead God is said to justify us, because by his judicial sentence he absolves us from the guilt of all sin, and accepts or accounts us as fully just and righteous for eternal life, by the righteousness of Christ which he gives us. This appears from this: that this justification is used in Scripture as [156] opposed to charging with crimes, and condemnation, Rom 8.33.1 And this is done by God, as it were, by degrees. 1. In his eternal counsel and decree, because from eternity he intended to justify us. 2. In our head Christ rising again from the dead, we were virtually justified, and in some sort actually justified; as in Adam sinning, all his posterity were virtually condemned to death by the Law, and in some sort actually condemned, because in some sort they were actual sinners. 3. He justifies us further actually and formally in ourselves, and not only in our head, when by his Spirit, and our faith — the work of his Spirit — he applies Christ to us, to our justification. 4. And further yet, he justifies us actually and formally to our sense and feeling, when by our own reflex knowledge and examination of our estate, he gives us to perceive this application of Christ that is made, and so to have peace and joy in him.

Reason 1. Because our sins from which we ought to be justified, are done against the majesty of God, iSam 2.25. And none can forgive an offence done against another, or an injury done to another, in a proper way of speaking.

Reason 2. Because the guilt of sin depends on the obligation of the Law, and of divine justice and truth. And therefore it cannot be taken away except by him that is above the Law, and knows what is agreeable to his own truth and meaning, in first making it.

Reason 3. Because by justification we are received into the favour of God, and life eternal, and God himself (in some sort) is given to us; all of which cannot otherwise be done, except by God himself alone.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against Papists, who set [157] down manners and means of justification from human tradition, and their own authority, to wretched men — as if it were in their power to justify men in whatever way they please, when it is God alone that justifies, and that alone therefore prescribes the manner and means of justification.

Use 2. Of Consolation: as it is set down in Rom 8.33, Who shall lay anything to our charge? It is God that justifies. And verse 31, If God is for us, who can be against us?

Doctrine 2. This justification is fit, pure, and infinite grace or favour.

So in the Text, freely, his free favour. The grace of God in justification appears as it were, by these degrees: 1. In that God does not pursue his right against us and our sins, according to that rigour that his Law might have been taken in, and his revenging justice might have extended itself to; but he left room for some reconciliation. 2. In that being the offended party himself, yet of his own good-will he invented, appointed or ordered, and revealed both the manner and the means of this reconciliation. 3. In that he did not spare his only begotten son for procuring this reconciliation.[4] [5] [6] 3 4. That without any merits or worth of ours, he ingrafts us into his Son and our Lord Jesus Christ, and so makes us partakers of that reconciliation which is in him. 3 This was altogether necessary, that our justification might be of free favour.

Reason 1. Because it was impossible for the laws and the righteousness of them to justify sinners, Rom 8.3-4.1

Reason 2. Because in the justification of a sinner there is remission or pardon of sin; and all pardon is of free favour.

[158] Reason 3. Because in justification there is a free Donation of righteousness, and of life eternal, which to sinners cannot be done except with special grace and favour. The satisfaction made by Christ for us, does not withstand the freeness of this favour of justification; this is because it was of free favour and grace that Christ himself was given to us, and by his calling was appointed to this satisfaction for us; and of his own free grace he also accepted that calling.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against Papists and many others who would have our justification depend on our Works; yet everywhere by the Apostle, our works are opposed to this Free grace in our justification.

Use 2. Of Consolation: to believers and repenters, against all those shakings of mind which they may feel (or can feel) from their own unworthiness that their consciences tell them of; it consoles because our whole justification hangs on the free favour or grace of God, and not upon our own worth or merits.

Use 3. Of Exhortation: 1. That we always flee to the Free-grace of God, as the only garrison of our souls. 2. That from admiration of this grace of God, we always study[7] [8] to be thankful to God.

Doctrine 3. The obedience of Jesus Christ imputed to us, or given to us, and so accounted as ours, justifies or makes us righteous, and it is the foundation of all our righteousness.

It is in the Text, by the redemption made by Jesus Christ.[9] 1. For he that is justified by the Redemption of another, such as by paying a ransom — that price is conceived as it were, to be paid for the one who is redeemed. 2. If Christ is the pacification in our justification when we please God, as it is in the Text, then we please him for something which Christ has [159] performed for our good. 3. If Faith justifies, as it is related to Christ and the shedding of his blood, then there is something in his blood thus shed, or in his obedience unto death, by virtue of which we are justified.

Now the obedience of Christ in respect to our justification holds two places. 1. The place of a meriting cause which obtains it for us, because it was the means that God’s justice required to be performed to God, before his grace could justify us. 2. The place of a formal cause in as much as it is accepted and taken as ours, being given to us as a free gift; and so it is made ours indeed, in that we are looked on by God as truly clothed with it, when he pronounces the sentence of our justification. This is the source of that phrase of the Apostle, Not having my own righteousness, but that which is Christ’s, Phil. 3.9.

Reason 1. Because this is most agreeable both to the justice and mercy of God, jointly. For if our justification had stood in the bare remission of sin, without the imputation of a sufficient righteousness, or obedience, to satisfy his justice, then only God’s mercy and favour would have had a place in this business; there would have been no regard to the justice of God, that satisfaction might be made of it.

Reason 2. Because if we had been pronounced just, without any imputation of a satisfying righteousness, or obedience performed, then there could not have been any just ground for such a sentence — namely, that anyone should be pronounced just, who was in no way just, either by his own inherent justice or righteousness; or by another’s justification freely given to him.

Reason 3. Because by this means we have in some manner a divine righteousness, or the righteousness of God himself; namely, that which Christ, who is God, performed for us as God- man in one person (not the essential righteousness of God, as Soliander dreamed). We may therefore rely on this, and with greater confidence appear before God, and because of it hope for all divine and good things at the hands of God.

Reason 4. Because in this manner we more own our salvation as wrought by Christ.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against Papists, Anabaptists, Remonstrants or Arminians, and almost all Sects and Sectarians, who all agree in this error: that our justification depends on our works, and is not to be sought by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us, or accounting his obedience as ours.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: unto due thankfulness to Christ by whose Redemption or ransoming of us we are justified, and set free from sin and death (the wages of sin); and adjudged to life and glory above what any mere creature’s righteousness could ever have deserved.

Doctrine 4. The obedience of Jesus Christ is powerful for justifying us by being accepted and laid hold on by our Faith. It is in the Text, Through Faith in his Blood.

Reason 1. The very nature and duty of Faith is to rely on Christ, or on the favour and mercy of God in Christ, for pardon of sins.

Reason 2. Because by Faith we are united to Christ, and ingrafted into him, so that we may be partakers of all the blessings that in him are prepared for men.

Reason 3. Because Faith receives, lays hold on, and embraces all the promises of God, and the things [161] contained, offered, or proposed in them, among which pardon of sins and justification in Christ have a chief place.

Use. Of Direction: that it may be our only care in the business of our justification, to direct our Faith and confidence towards Christ, and to stir up and confirm it more and more, so that we may have firm and abundant[10] comfort from this.


[1] Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

[2] “whom God has set forth”.

[3]“to declare Iris righteousness.”

[4] Romans 8:33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Also, Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,

[5] Rom 8.32.

[6] 2Cor 5.18-19.

[7] Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

[8] That is, we are always careful and diligent.

[9] Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

[10] Informatively, the original spelling of abundant was “aboundant.”

The Twenty-fourth Lord’s Day

James 2.22

Do you see how faith was wrought with his works, and by works, faith was made perfect?

In these words is contained the conclusion of that disputation which James had against those who lack faith, that is, who are destitute of good works. For the Apostle concludes that such Faith has no worth unto justification. And this conclusion is often repeated, as in verses 2.14,17, 20, 22, and 24, under various forms of words,1 but having one and the same sense. Now this conclusion which the Apostle proves, is not that good works are any part or cause of our justification before God, as Papists take it; nor (as many of our own think) that our works justify us before men, whatever truth that may contain in it. But this is the conclusion: that justifying faith is such that it works, and puts forth its operation,[1] [2] [3] [4] 3 4 by good works.

And it is proved 1. From a comparison of like things [162] from verses 15 to 18.3 2. By another comparison of likes; namely, of such a fruitless faith in men and devils, verse 19 J 3. From the example and pattern of that faith that was in Abraham, verse 21,[5] the conclusion for all of this is set down in this verse 22. In this verse two things are determined, 1. That true and justifying faith is fruitful of good works.[6] 2. That good works are the end and perfection of faith. For faith is said to cooperate with good works, because together with the command of God, faith furnishes its strength and force of working, for producing good works.[7] And when works are called the perfection of faith, it is not to be so understood as if works were the internal and formal perfection of faith (as the form is the formal and essential perfection of everything). But rather, works contain and show the external perfection of faith, in as much as they flow from it, and as every effect contains in itself some perfection of its course; namely, as it partakes of the force and virtue that comes from the internal perfection of the cause.[8]

Doctrine 1. Our good works are in no way the cause of our justification, but they are the effects and fruits of a man who is justified.

It is gathered from the Text, in as much as works are the effects of faith. And faith and justification, according to the nature of relative things, are one or together in nature. A true believer and a justified man are the same thing. If therefore good works are the effects of a believer, then they are also the effects of one who is justified. And that works do not justify us, is apparent from four reasons.

Reason 1. Because believers are not now under the Covenant of works, and therefore cannot be justified by works. Rather all are condemned by them if we rely on them at that point,1 because [163] none of them come up to what the Law requires, and so all are sinful and imperfect.[9] [10] [11] [12]

Reason 2. Because all our good works are debts, and therefore they can never properly merit or deserve pardon. 3

Reason 3. Because the good works we do did not come from our own strength, but from the grace of God.1

Reason 4. Because our best good works are in themselves imperfect, and defiled with many uncleannesses.[13]

Objection 1. Our good works are perfect, because they come from the Holy Spirit whose works are all perfect.

Answer 1. If in respect to us they are imperfect, they cannot as ours have any force toward our justification, though in some other respect they maybe perfect.

Answer 2. That perfection which they have in reference to the Holy Spirit, does not properly redound to our meriting or deserving justification by them, because the Holy Spirit is in no way united to us into one person — which is the only reason why the works of Christ had a divine merit and worth in them. Being Christ’s, they were divine works because, as man, he was personally united to the Godhead and the person of the Son, so that they made but one person. The Holy Spirit then, though he is the principal cause of our good works, yet this is in its own way an external efficient, having no personal union with the person that is working.

Objection 2. Our reward is given according to our works.

Answer. That reward is not of our merit, but of God’s free grace and favour. For there is a reward of servants, and a reward of sons.[14] The reward of servants does not look to the person, but to the merit or desert of the work; but the reward of sons looks [164] at the person chiefly, and so it is given of grace and good will to the person of the worker, more than to the merit of the work. For the Father in his Son crowns with reward that which in itself deserves no such thing for the most part. Otherwise he would be unjust not to reward his servants likewise.

Use. Of Admonition: that we never glory in ourselves or our own works before God, but always acknowledge when we have done all that we can, that we are but unprofitable servants, as our Lord himself teaches us to do;1 and that we depend wholly on the grace of God, putting no trust in our own works.

Doctrine 2. Good works, by a necessary coherence, follow true faith.

It is gathered from this, that faith is to work together in and with good works, and by good works to be brought to its end. Now good works are necessary to a believer:

1. By necessity of precept, because God from that right and power he had to do so, was pleased to command us to use them.

2. By necessity of means, without which we cannot attain the end.

And that is so, 1. In respect to God or his glory as the end, because without works we cannot attain to the enjoyment of God, nor glorify him as we should and must for that attainment. 2. In respect to the Church and others outside the church, whose edification without good works we cannot attain; and good men are edified more and more by good works, as examples; and to others, a light of hope is held out whereby they may discern their right way. Let your light so shine before men, etc.[15] [16] [17] 3. In respect to our own salvation, because good works are necessary to salvation; though not necessary as [165] meritorious causes of it, yet as dispositions, qualifications, and ways that must be had and insisted on, because our election and calling is to good works; 3 and by good works our salvation and these other things are made surer to our consciences. For in them consists that way of a new obedience, and Gospel thankfulness, which alone leads to life. Also, as holiness is not only internal but also external, it is such an inseparable disposition or qualification for those who are to be saved, that without holiness, none shall ever see God[18] to his comfort, or happiness.

3. They are necessary by necessity of the end; because election, redemption, and vocation, tend and look toward this end: that we may live to God, and to Christ, in all holiness and righteousness.[19] And a necessity of thankfulness as well as of covenant lies upon us, that with all our vigour and with all our strength, we endeavour to attain to this end.

4. Good works are necessary by a certain sort of natural necessity. For just as good fruits come from a good tree, and sweet waters come from a sweet fountain, by a similar manner and necessity, good works come from true faith. Or as our vital operations and motions always accompany natural life, so also spiritual life, which is from faith (by which the just man lives), always presents itself in good works as the proper operations and acts of a spiritual life. It may sometimes happen that, as in someone in a swoon, scarcely any matter or operation appears, though life itself remains; so also by some extraordinary mentation,[20] the seed of faith may remain in the heart of this or that man for some time, while the fruits of it can hardly be discovered.

But this is 1. As much against the nature of faith, and of a faithful [166] man, as sickness is against health and life. 2. It is an extraordinary case by which we must not judge the ordinary operations and fruits of faith, nor of its nature, or the necessity of good works. 3. In such a case, both the degree of faith itself is diminished, and the comfort of it ceases for that time. 4. Although in such a case, such fruits of faith do not appear as are required for our comfort, yet it is hardly ever so overwhelmed, without having some operation at least in that fight which then the Spirit has against the flesh.

Use 1. Of Reproof: against such men’s most vain presumption, who brag of a sort of faith of their own, that is separated from all care about good works.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: that with such considerations, we stir up our minds to greater zeal and cheerfulness in every good work.


[1] Jam 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? ... 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead... 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? ... 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? ... 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

[2] That is, it demonstrates or presents evidence that faith is operating.

[3] Jam 2:15-18 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the tilings which are needed for fire body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

[4] Jam 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe— and tremble!

[5] Jam 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on fire altar?

[6] That is, faith produces or yields good works.

[7] That is, faith provides or supplies its own strength and force to the business of producing good works.

[8] Here “the perfection of faith” refers to the fulfillment, completion, expression, or outworking of faith.

[9] Galatians 2:16 "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is tire knowledge of sin.

[10] Rom 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them."

[11] Rom 4:4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

[12] Colossians 1:29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

[13] Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;

[14] Luke 15:19 "and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.'"

[15] Luk 17.10.

[16] Mat 5.16.

[17] Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

[18] Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

[19] Rom 6.2,11; 14.8; 2Cor 5.15; Gal 2.19.

[20] The process of using your mind to consider something carefully. Informally, Ames is saying that if you racked your brain, you might conceive of a faithful man who has no good works, but it is not the norm.

The Twenty-fifth Lord’s Day

Rom 4.11

And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had while yet uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those that believe, though they are not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also.

The Apostle in this passage addresses the justification of Abraham, which he so ascribes to him, that in him he sets down a pattern of justification to life in respect to uncircumcised Gentiles as well as Jews themselves. For this end, the Apostle observes and proposes to be observed, that faith [167] was reputed to Abraham unto righteousness while he was yet uncircumcised, or was yet with the foreskin. Against this Doctrine, it might be objected that circumcision was then of no use to Abraham. The Apostle answers this by a probation[1] in this verse. He denies the consequence, and gives a reason for this denial: because there was another end and use of that Sacrament. For Abraham was not circumcised that he might be justified by circumcision; but that by circumcision, as by a seal and sign, he might have his righteousness, that was imputed to him before, better confirmed. We have then in these words a description of a Sacrament of the Covenant of grace: 1. From its general notion; that it is a sign. 2. From its differencing notion; in which it is described by the use and end of this sign. The end is designed, 1. From its manner of signifying, being not only called a sign, but a seal. 2. From the object, or thing signified, which is the righteousness of faith, and the receiving of it.

Doctrine 1. The proper end and use of a Sacrament is that it may confirm our faith.

This is hence collected because Circumcision is here called a seal of faith, or of the righteousness of faith. For a seal, when it is set to Deeds, has this proper use: that it ratifies and confirms them; that is, it solemnly declares them to be sealed.

Reason 1. Because, since Sacraments are fitly and conveniently referred to faith and to grace, of necessity they ought to tend either to the first begetting of grace, or to its confirmation. The first is performed by the Holy Spirit in our first calling by the preaching of the Gospel; and the Sacraments are not instruments of our first call. Therefore, [168] the Sacraments do not tend to the first breeding of faith in us, but to the confirming and strengthening of it more and more in us, after it is first begotten in us.

Reason 2. Because often faith is begotten even though Sacraments are lacking, if they are not despised. But in any ordinary way, faith is never so confirmed and strengthened as it is when Sacraments are joined with the Word.

Reason 3. Because Sacraments properly belong only to those who have faith already, and so they can have no other use than to confirm such persons’ faith, and to advance by it all other graces in them.

Use. Of Direction: what we ought to properly look to in the use of Sacraments; namely, that by such holy Ordinances of God, we may be more and more built up in our most holy faith.

Doctrine 2. The Sacraments in no other way confirm our faith, or advance our salvation, than by way of sign and seal.

This is hence collected in that the Apostle in this passage only gives them this way of operating. So that we may better understand this, it is to be noticed that a sign is either natural, or it is by institution or appointment; and it is to be noted that Sacraments are signs by appointment. Now in signs by appointment, the author appointing the sign is always to be looked to, and the end or purpose of his appointing. For seeing that any appointment is as a means, it has an essential relation and dependence with the efficient by which it is directed, and as to the end for which it is directed. The author and appointer of a Sacrament is God alone, because no creature can appoint one, seeing that none can perform [169] that which is signed and sealed in a Sacrament, nor bind God to perform it for them. The end of a Sacrament in general is to help our infirmity, and a Sacrament helps it in a threefold manner:

Manner 1. In respect to our understanding, to which they are notifying or knowledge-begetting signs; or as it were, they are mirrors in which, by the intermediate Ministry of our external senses, we may behold the mysteries of God.

Manner 2. In respect to our memory, to which they are admonishing signs, and as it were, they are made perpetual remembrances or memorandums by their orderly reiteration and renovation.

Manner 3. In respect to our will, faith, and affiance,1 to which they are sealing signs, or most certain seals and pledges.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against Papists who would have the Sacraments work righteousness and grace in us, as physical instruments, by the work done.

Use 2. Of Direction: in the use of Sacraments, that by these means our chief care may be to lay hold on, and more and more apply to ourselves, all these spiritual things which are signed and sealed to us by the Sacraments.

Doctrine 3. The things which are signified and sealed to us in the Sacraments are, in one word, all the blessings of the New Covenant.

This is hence gathered, in that the righteousness of faith is said to be sealed by the Sacrament of Circumcision. Now that righteousness, by the trope Synecdoche, signifies all the blessings of the New Covenant, as it appears from verse 9,[2] [3] where the imputation of this righteousness is called the declaration [170] of blessedness. Now the same that is signifie d in one Sacrament is also signified in another, as to the substance of the matter, though the manner is different; and so some benefits are more expressly signified in one Sacrament than in another.

Reason 1. Because a Sacrament is, after the fall, a seal of the New Covenant, not as to this or that part of it, but as to the whole. For no Covenant or Charter, though sometimes it may have many seals, is confirmed as to one part of it by one seal, and to another part of it by another seal; but by all and every seal, the whole is confirmed.1

Reason 2. Because Christ, from whom every blessing flows, is exhibited to us in every Sacrament. For as the Sacraments in the Old Testament looked at Christ as shadows look at their bodies, so also — and much more clearly in the New Testament — we are both baptized in to Christ, and have communion with him in his body and blood, in his Supper. And when Christ is exhibited, all the blessings that are prepared for us in Christ are, together with him, exhibited to us there.

Reason 3. Because the blessings of life and salvation cannot be separated from one another; for example, effectual Vocation, Justification, Adoption, Sanctification, Consolation, and eternal Glorification. Therefore, when one of these blessings is directly or indirectly represented, by consequence, all the rest are also signified and sealed.

Use 1. Of Information: that we may learn to rightly distinguish between complete Sacraments and other Sacramental signs. For other signs and ceremonies that do not signify and seal the blessings of the New Covenant, as they are such — [171] though they are sacred signs, yet they are not presently Sacraments properly speaking — that is, they are not of that nature and rank with Baptism and the Supper. We hold Christ’s most holy Sacraments in great esteem, because in them we are dealing with no less than all that belongs to our eternal happiness.

Use 2. Of Admonition: that we never separate what God has joined together in the use of the Sacraments, which is usually done by those who seek only remission of sins, but not sanctification and preservation from sin; and that is because they have not determined within themselves to amend their lives.

Doctrine 4. By the Sacraments, these blessings are not only generally signed, but also particularly signed to all those who partake of them with true faith.

This is gathered in that Abraham in particular is said to have received the seal of his own righteousness in particular.

Reason 1. Because the Sacraments are not so proposed to us, that they may seal on this condition, that we have faith; rather, they always presuppose that faith is already in us; and so then, they are offered to confirm faith, and do singularly confirm it.

Reason 2. Because to everyone in particular, by name, they are exhibited for their confirmation, and not in common only, as the Word is preached publicly.

Reason 3. Because the manner of administration, and the Sacramental actions that belong to them, such as washing in Baptism, taking, eating, drinking in the Lord’s Supper, consist in a particular application of the signs; and therefore they also signify [172] a particular sealing of the things signified to particular persons.

Use 1. Of Comfort: against scruples[4] [5] and doubts with which our minds are sometimes troubled. Because in the Sacraments, duly administered to those who have a right to them, God as it were stretches out his own hand from Heaven, and holds forth in it his grace, and all the spiritual blessings of the Covenant, to every one of us alike (thus participating), in our own proper and singular persons, particularly.

Use 2. Of Admonition: that we do not neglect the Sacraments, but diligently both prepare and fit ourselves for them, and then seek after them and receive them; because to neglect them, would be to neglect our own proper and singular consolation in particular.

Use 3. Of Direction: how we may rightly use the Sacraments; namely, so that in a singular manner, we seek our edification and advancement in this: that we see Christ there, offering and giving his grace to us by name, and in particular; and accordingly, thus sealing to us in particular our salvation.


[1]A test or proof by examination.

[2] It is significant that Aines combines “will, faith, and affiance” as though reflecting a single determination in us.

[3] Rom 4:9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted [or imputed] to Abraham for righteousness.

[4]As in Rev 5.2.

[5] An ethical or moral principle that inhibits action.

The Twenty-sixth and seventh Lord’s Days

Mat 28.19

Go therefore and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Here is expounded the command of Christ, who is now about to ascend in Heaven, which he left to his Apostles. It contains two principal duties. 1. The preaching and publishing of that Doctrine taught by Christ. 2. The administration of the Sacraments appointed by him. For in this passage, by Baptism is understood the other Sacrament of the Supper (according to that usual borrowing of speech called Synecdoche, that puts something of one sort for the whole kind, and sometimes contrarily). But here, Baptism is named rather than the other: 1. Because it is the first Sacrament, and it is the Sacrament of initiation, and of being solemnly received into the Church, on which the other Sacrament, for this reason, depends. 2. Because it chiefly belonged to the Apostles’ office, by themselves or by others, to see this Sacrament rightly administered; they were sent to plant and gather or build Churches from their first beginnings, rather than to feed, govern, and further build or advance them after they were first planted. And Baptism belongs particularly to the first ingrafting into Christ and to planting; and the Supper belongs particularly to feeding and to growth [174] after planting. Now Baptism is expounded in this passage. 1. From its object, or the persons to be baptized, Baptizing them; that is, baptizing those who are already trained up in Christ’s Doctrine, or made his Disciples or Scholars, as the Greek word signifies — p.a0r|Tcu (mathetai) — make them my Scholars, or Disciples. 2. From the form or manner of doing it; namely, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

By this form or model are designed: 1. The efficient causes by whose authority Baptism is exercised and made effectual; and that is by the name, or authority and power, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 2. The union of the baptized that they are to have with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — in the participation of all their graces of justification, sanctification, adoption, etc. (that from the Father, in the Son, and by the Spirit, are derived to all the heirs of eternal salvation) — and in the profession and practice of all the outward Ordinances and means that Christ taught them, by which to attain to those inward graces; and to keep and advance them by the same Spirit, in the Son, and from the Father.

Doctrine 1. Baptism is the Sacrament of our ingrafting and initiation, or first reception, into Christ.

This is hence gathered, in that all those who are already taught Christ’s Doctrine, and made his Scholars professedly, are then soon to be baptized so that they may be registered as it were, among the domestics or householders of Christ.

Reason 1. This appears in that baptism came in the place of Circumcision; and Circumcision was the Sacrament of first admission among the people of God.[1]

Reason 2. In Baptism is represented the death of [175] sin, and the mortifying of the old man; a washing and cleansing from sin; and bringing a man from death to life. All of these most properly denote our first vocation, and therefore also Baptism is called by Scripture itself, the Sacrament of regeneration, or washing of regeneration.1

Reason 3. Because by our Baptism, our first solemn reception into Christ’s Family and Kingdom is represented;[2] [3] and therefore also we are said to be baptized into Christ.[4] [5] 4 By this therefore, Baptism is distinguished from the Lord’s Supper: because however it seals the same blessings, as to the main business that the other does, yet it does not do it in the same manner, but Baptism denotes their beginning, and the Supper their progress and advancement.

Use. Of Direction: how we should make constant and perpetual use of our Baptism; namely, that we often take occasion to meditate on it, and on the graces of God that are sealed in it on God’s part, and on our response of universal obedience that is sealed too on our parts; and to think of the favour that God did us, thus solemnly to receive us into Covenant with him, and into his Church — the true confederates of God, or the number of those saved by Christ. And that from this Faith and belief, thus sealed and continued, we more and more study to take care in all things to walk worthy of this condition, and to glorify God in Christ, as becomes us, and as he requires of us.

Doctrine 2. In Baptism by the washing of water, our adoption, justification, and sanctification are sealed to us J

This is hence collected: in that our union in the form of Baptism, is designed to be with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for sealing our communion [176] in those benefits which flow from this union. And we are properly adopted by the Father, justified by the Son, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Reason 1. Because these three are directly necessary for us, that we may have true entrance into the Kingdom of God. For 1. We must be accepted as God’s children, that he may be our Father, which is by adoption. 2. We must be freed from the guilt of sin by which we are separated from God; and this is done by justification. 3. We must be cleansed and purged from the remainders and corruptions of sin, by which men are made unfit to enjoy God; and this is done by sanctification.

Reason 2. Because the washing with water in Baptism designs and in some way respects our cleaning from the guilt as well as the corruption of sin, whereby we were made strangers to the estate of the Sons of God; so that from this it may appear that now by grace we are adopted, justified, and sanctified. These things could not have been so conveniently shadowed by any other visible sign, as by the washing of water. This is because, of its own nature, it both has a principal fitness to cleanse, and among all Nations it is readily at hand; and it then it had also been sanctified for such uses under the Old Testament.

Use 1. Of Information: how greatly we ought to esteem our Baptism, in which such great spiritual benefits or blessings were first sealed to us.

Use 2. Of Direction: that on the occasion of seeing Baptism administered at any time, with all devout meditation on our own Baptism, we both lift our minds to the lively apprehensions of these specific blessings, of our adoption justification, and sanctification; [177] and along with this, to think about what is due to God from us for such great benefits, and what we engaged in and by our baptism: to perform in all manner of holy, thankful, and Christian obedience.

Doctrine 3. Those saving blessings which are signified in Baptism, do not properly depend on the washing of water as to their real efficacies; but on the operation of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This is hence gathered, because by these words of the institution, our hearts as it were, are commanded to be lifted up, that we may look for all the grace and efficacy of this Sacrament out of heaven, from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Reason 1. Because the Sacramental signs are not causes of grace, either principal or instrumental, by any virtue or efficacy that is either inherent or adherent in themselves; that is, they are not physical causes (as the phrase is used and received in the Schools about this point), but only moral causes, and in a moral way put forth any virtue they have; namely, in as much as they seal only that which God the Father, in the Son, and by the Spirit, works in us.

Reason 2. Because our justification and adoption, which consist in the remission of sins, and accepting us into favour, are moral effects of their own nature, and not physical effects; therefore they cannot by any means be otherwise produced than morally.

Reason 3. Because it can in no way be conceived how these external elements of the Sacraments should physically work on the soul to produce spiritual effects, seeing that they themselves are only corporal, and therefore can only work physically on the [178] body. Indeed, in holy Scriptures, such spiritual effects used to be attributed to such signs in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. But this is only in the moral sense mentioned, and by trope or a borrowed speech, because of the union or relation of likeness between signs, and the things signified by them. From this union, or relation of likeness (grounded partly on the analogy between the things themselves, and partly but chiefly on the divine institution) there arises, in common speech, such a mutual and interchangeable giving or communicating of the attributes or qualities of each of these to the other, as that which is found in Christ between his human and divine natures (because of the hypostatic or personal union between them). Though otherwise there is no other union here, except of likeness and proportion between the sign and things signified, or sealed, when the signs are rightly used. This performance, or making a present of the graces signified, depend wholly on the truth of God’s institution and promise; and that is in a moral way, as was said before, and not properly physical — though this Sacramental union was devised by Scholastic Divines, or mistaken and imagined as a physical union, for maintaining their corporal presence of Christ’s body, properly speaking, or their monster of Transubstantiation. And all this is true, because the things that are proper to the signs are sometimes attributed to the things signified; and contrarily, the properties of the things signified are attributed to the signs. We have sufficiently explained the true reasons and manner of these.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against Papists who in some [179] sort turn the Sacraments into Idols — though not by trope or borrowed speech (which is usual, as we declared), yet in formal words they assign to the signs and external elements those things which are proper [only] to God.

Use 2. Of Direction: that in the use of the Sacraments, we always lift up our hearts, and by faith and devout desires, look for and seek from God such divine blessings as are represented by the outward signs.

Doctrine 4. All and only those who are the Disciples or Scholars of Christ are to be baptized; that is, who are of his family beforehand, and as it were his householders, and therefore fit to be solemnly declared and enrolled for such.

This is hence gathered, because the Apostles are here commanded first to gather Disciples or Scholars to Christ out of all Nations; and then to baptize them, after they were made such.

Reason 1. Because the Sacraments are appendices of the Word; so they are often understood in Scriptures; namely, they are mentioned only when the Gospel and word of the Kingdom are mentioned. This is because they are appended and connected to the Word. And this is also why, if the Sacraments are separated from the Word, they are of no value. Therefore, where the Word is not received, the Sacraments cannot be received.

Reason 2. Because the Sacraments are both privileges and marks or badges of the Church; and therefore they belong only to those who are members of the Church.

Reason 3. Because a Sacrament cannot be a sealing sign except for those who have some grant to be sealed. But those who in no way are partakers of Christ, [180] have no grant or promise made to them there, that can or ought to be sealed to them.

A Question here arises about Infants: Whether they are to be baptized or not, seeing they cannot be taught or instructed about faith?

I Answer, that the Children or Infants of believers ought to be Baptized, because while they are yet Infants as to the external privileges of the Covenant with God, they are accounted as both persons and parties of that Covenant, or as belonging to their parents; and therefore they are of the family of Christ, or of the number of his Disciples. For if the Covenant made with Abraham is substantially the same as that by which we are saved, and it belongs as much to us and to our children as it did to Abraham and his posterity, then not only we, but also our children ought to be partakers of the seal of this Covenant. But the first is true, as appears by Rom 4 and other places,[6] and therefore the latter is also true.

Furthermore, it is to this purpose that the grace of this Covenant after Christ’s coming, is in no way more straitened, or made narrow, than it was before his coming. In many ways it is made wider, larger, and more extended. As to what is objected about faith, that it is required of those who are to be baptized, it no more hinders the Baptism of Infants, than of old it hindered the Circumcision of those for whom faith as well as baptism were required; this is because by its institution it was a seal of the righteousness of faith, Rom 4.11. As therefore in Circumcision, distinct knowledge, active faith, and its profession, were not necessary for infants — but the state of faith, and of its profession in which they were born (by means of their parents’ profession), sufficed — so it is also in baptism.

[181] Use 1. Of Confutation: against Anabaptists.

Use 2. Of Comfort: in respect to this great favour done for us by God, even from our Infancy, whereby he deems not only to receive ourselves, but also our children.


[1] Gen 17.10-14.

[2]Tit 3-5•

[3] 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free— and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

s Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

[5] The original wording used salvation instead of sanctification; but in context, it seems an obvious error.

[6] Rom 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Rom 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also; Rom 4:20-22 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness."

The Twenty-eighth and ninth Lord’s Days

1Cor 10.16

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

The Apostle in the beginning of the eighth Chapter exhorted Christians to abstain from the unclean feasts of the Gentiles. In these words of the Text, after a digression by which he had prevented some objections, he brings an argument from a comparison of likes, whereby he proves that communication or partaking with Gentiles in their idolatrous feasts, cannot be exercised without communion with the Idols themselves. The comparing argument proposed to illustrate and prove this, is the Lord’s Supper, in which we have communion with Christ. The argument then comes to this: if in partaking of the Lord’s Supper we have communion with Christ, then also in partaking of the feasts of Idols, we have communion with the Idols. But the first is true; and therefore the latter is likewise true. The Assumption is set down and explained in our Text; and it is [182] explained by the parts of the Lord’s Supper, or feast, which are bread and wine. The use of these is shown, 1. From the things which they serve to signify, as things like themselves, and subjects or objects which they signify. 2. From the manner of signifying; that they not only signify or represent, but they also ratify and seal a communion in, or a partaking of, the things signified. Z. From the reason or cause from which this relation and connexion arises between the signs and things signified; which is the blessing of the signs, or by using them, as Christ appointed.

Doctrine 1. The Lord’s Supper is a Sacrament of the New Testament whereby our nourishment and growth in Christ are sealed unto us.

This is hence gathered, in that bread and wine were the external signs appointed by Christ in this Sacrament, which are the chief means of bodily nourishment, as not only experience but also the Holy Spirit teaches us, Psa 104.1 Now, it is not bread alone, nor wine alone that is used, but both together; this is partly so that the mystery of our spiritual nourishment might be better explained by such a distribution of the whole into its parts; and partly so that the sufficiency of our nourishment might be declared by it; namely, that we need to seek nothing for our nourishment outside of Christ.

Reason 1. Because, just as we have the principle of grace and spiritual life in Christ, so also we ought to look for all progress and advancement in Christ, by faith. And as the first is signified in Baptism, so this last is most fitly declared in the Lord’s Supper. And it is this, properly, in which the Supper differs from Baptism.

[183] Reason 2. Because for our frequent Infirmities and falls, it was necessary for us to have some Sacrament for frequently renewing our confirmation, as indeed our faith stands in need of such renovation and corroboration. But Baptism is not to be renewed, because it is enough once to be born again, just as it was enough once to be born. Most conveniently, therefore, the Supper was Psa 104:15 And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, And bread which strengthens man's heart instituted, to be celebrated often by us, so that in faith and all grace we might grow more and more, and be confirmed and strengthened in it.

Reason 3. Because we receive from God all the increases of grace; so it is fitting that, by public profession, we acknowledge this to the glory of his name, and to stirring up our thankfulness to him, for which use the holy Supper most fitly serves us.

Reason 4. Because that communion which between the members of the Church, as they belong to the same family, and as they all eat of the same spiritual food at the same table that belongs to their own and same Master and Lord, cannot be more fitly declared than by such a sacred and solemn spiritual feast or banquet.

Use 1. Of Comfort: that we may be refreshed; because in this manner, both by Word and Sacrament or seal, we have this confirmed to us: that all that is necessary for our nourishment, growth, and advancement in grace, for attaining spiritual perfection, is prepared for us in Christ, and is to be derived to us by him.[1]

Use 2. Of Exhortation: that we may diligently bestow all care and industry, so that we may really and in operation attain this nourishment, growth, and advancement in grace, which is exhibited to us in the Sacrament, rightly used.

[184] Doctrine 2. This nourishment which we receive in Christ, is by the working of faith.

This is hence gathered, in that we are said in the Text to have communion with the flesh and blood of Christ, which yet are not bodily present with us, but are only spiritually partaken of by faith, as is apparent in other passages.

Reason 1. Because it is by faith that we have union with Christ.

Reason 2. Because by faith in Christ, we draw to ourselves and suckle as it were, all grace and spiritual life.

Reason 3. Because as the principle of our spiritual life is faith, so our nourishment and growth in that same life depend on the further intention and extension of this faith. For all spiritual endowments and riches are vigorous or grow cold as our faith is vigorous or grows cold.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against those who would have Christ given to us in the Sacrament only by the outward bodily work, and to be received only by the mouth, whether we have faith or not.

Use 2. Of Direction: that in the use of the Lord’s Supper, we take great care to stir up our faith, because for nourishment and growth, not only are the habit and disposition of faith required, but also the actual exercise of it, in that all — even believers and the faithful — are not worthy receivers of this Supper unless they rouse up the faith they have, and exercise it as the exigency of that time and business require.

Doctrine 3. For this spiritual nourishment in the Supper, it is not required that the bread and wine be substantively changed into the body and blood of Christ; nor that Christ be bodily present in, with, and under the bread and wine; but [185] only that they be changed as to relation and application or use; and that Christ be spiritually present only to those who partake in faith.

This is gathered hence: in that bread and wine are said to remain so here in the Supper; and our communion with Christ is said to be such as Idolaters have with their Idols, which stands in relation only. Therefore the Transubstantiation of Papists, and the Consubstantiation of Lutherans conflict:

Reason 1. With the nature of Sacraments in general, whose nature consists in a relative union or likeness, as has been explained — it is not in a bodily succession of the one in the other’s place, or a substantive change of the one into the other; nor yet is it a bodily conjunction or presence of the one with, in, and under the other.

Reason 2. With the analogy of this to the other Sacrament of Baptism, in which neither Transubstantiation nor Consubstantiation is made, nor dreamed of being made, analogous.

Reason 3. With all the Sacramental phrases or manners of speaking that are used through all the Scriptures.

Reason 4. With the human nature of Christ which, with its essential properties, can neither safely be everywhere at once, nor yet in so innumerable places at once, as the Supper of the Lord is usually to be given at one time.

Reason 5. With the state and condition of the glorified body of Christ, which does not allow for the flesh and blood of Christ to be divided or sundered, broken, devoured and chewed by the teeth, concocted and digested by the stomach, etc., or to be handled in any other such manner.

[186] Reason 6. With the revealed will of God, by which it is certain that Christ remains bodily in the Heavens, and shall do so until he comes again to judge the quick and the dead.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against the errors and mad outcries of those who defend such monstrous Doctrines without any shame, as they were at first hatched and received without any ground.

Use 2. Of Direction: that in the use of this Supper, we admit no gross and carnal thoughts into our minds, as if the spiritual eating of and feeding upon Christ daily in the Word preached, were not altogether the same substance as that in the Sacrament.1 For they differ only in this: that the Sacramental eating differs only in the manner, or external adjunct of sealing, or obsignative[2] [3] exhibition or ratification, from the others that are merely spiritual, and without this outward obsignation in the Word preached — though it often has the inward and substantive obsignation by the Spirit, for which reason only was the other instituted.

Doctrine 4. The only ground of this operative presence of Christ in the Sacrament is that blessing by which we bless, consecrate, or set apart the bread and wine for such a holy use according to Christis appointment, who can only be present with his own Ordinance by his Spirit and operation, according to his promise, when it is used as appointed.

This is taught in the Text, The cup of blessing which we bless, etc. This blessing contains in itself

1. The Institution recited and explained in celebration of the Supper as the ground of the whole action, and of the benefit and blessing that follows it. 2. A thanksgiving for Christ and for his appointment, to the Father, through Christ, and [187] by the Spirit, so that in this Ordinance we are more and more made partakers of Christ and of his benefits. 3. A petition whereby the grace of God is sought for directing and keeping us in the right use of it, and making this Ordinance powerful unto all the ends for which it was appointed by him. And this is properly the consecrating of the signs, or outward elements.

Reason 1. Because by this blessing, bodily things are separated from a common use, and are set apart to a holy use, and so they are consecrated and sanctified.

Reason 2. Because by these acts, both the will of God by his institution, and our will or consent in this business, sanctified by our prayers, come together as one, for procuring spiritual power and operation in the forms or use of these signs.

Reason 3. Because Christ himself did this and commanded that we should do the same, so that by doing so, we may look for the spiritual blessing from him.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against those kinds of enchantments or sorceries that the Papists have put in place of this blessing or consecration.

Use 2. Of Direction: that in the celebration of this Supper, we may always have Christ’s institution before our eyes with thanksgiving, and seeking grace or favour, so that we may approve ourselves in the right use of it; because from these come all the blessing and power of the Sacrament.


[1] That is, delivered, applied, or brought to us by him; or we derive these from him.

[2] Joh 6:54-58, 63 "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 "For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 "This is the bread which came down from heaven— not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever." ...c״ "It is tire Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

[3] Obsignation: tire action or process of certifying by means of (or as if with) a seal, or a mark of ratification.

The Thirtieth Lord’s Day

1Cor 11.28-29

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

The Apostle in this part of his Epistle, corrects many abuses which had gotten some strength in the Church of Corinth, among which was the profanation[1] of the Lord’s Supper. This is the conclusion of its correction, in which he expounds the duty of believers in receiving the Lord’s Supper. This duty may be referred to two heads: 1. Concerning the action itself, whereby the faithful are made partakers of this mystery by eating and drinking. 2. Concerning the manner of this action which is specified to us in the word so. And this manner is again contained in three acts of which, 1. Is that which is set in last place, that every communicant discern the Lord’s body. 2. Is that he test himself. 3. Is that he furnish himself with such a disposition as is worthy of so great a mystery. And these three acts are set down in these three phrases: discerning the Lord’s body; let a man examine himself; and he that eats or drinks unworthily.

[189] Doctrine 1. All our work, that is ours only in the Lord’s Supper, is to eat and drink the body and blood of Christ.

It is gathered from these words, Let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup; and not discerning the Lord’s body.

Reason 1. Because this is the Sacrament of our spiritual nourishment in and by Christ.

Reason 2. Because in the very institution of this Sacrament, no other thing is prescribed but that we should take, eat, and drink; namely, as the signs are with our bodies, so the body and blood of Christ spiritually or by faith, are to the nourishment of our souls.

Reason 3. Because nothing else is represented in the external signs and actions but this nourishment on Christ, which by the institution of Christ, is used in this Sacrament.

Use. Of Refutation: against Papists, What the difference is between the Supper and the Popish Mass — because Papists have taken away the Sacrament that was instituted by Christ, and have set up in its place the Sacrifice of the Mass that was devised by men. And this is the difference between a Sacrament and a Sacrifice: the formal reason of a Sacrifice consists in this, that in it men offer something to God, and God receives something from men. But the formal reason of a Sacrament is in this, that God offers something to men by visible signs, and men receive it from God on the conditions and in the manner that he offers it. In this Supper, God offers Christ to us for our spiritual nourishment; and we receive Christ as the food of our souls by eating and drinking of him by faith. Hence the popish Mass is a mere stranger to Christ’s institution, [190] while they make its principal use to be a Sacrifice for the quick and the dead; while they officiate their private Masses in which the people neither eat nor drink; while in the public Masses they take the cup away from the people, so that, though they eat in some sort, yet they drink in no manner; while they hold up the Host, or Sacrifice — that is, the consecrated bread and wine — to be adored and worshipped, rather than eaten or drunk; while, lastly, they do all this in an unknown tongue, so that the people cannot understand either what or how they should eat or drink.

Doctrine 2. That we may rightly partake in the Lord’s Supper, it is chiefly required that we rightly discern the Lord’s body.

By this discerning of the Lord’s body is understood an act of the understanding whereby we observe the difference between this bread and common bread. This bread is consecrated to be a sign and exhibitive seal of the Lord’s body to our faith (that is, of all his benefits and graces). Or it is that judgment of our mind whereby we have a right apprehension, and pronounce a right sentence, concerning this whole mystery or business. The lack of this discerning is what is reproved here by the Apostle.

Reason 1. Because without judgment and prudence agreeable to the thing undertaken, nothing can be rightly or perfectly done or performed.

Reason 2. Because in the Sacraments, where the external appearances are bodily and gross, and yet a spiritual mystery or secret (as to its sense) lies hidden in them, there is need of spiritual heed and judgment, so that we may rightly pierce and dive into that spiritual secret itself.

[191] Reason 3. Because the lack of this discerning brings with it a profanation of this holy feast, as appears by the example of the Corinthians. For whoever does not discern what it is about, in which they busy themselves, can never fit themselves so as to behave rightly in handling such a business.

Use. Of both Direction and Exhortation: that everyone earnestly set his mind and judgment to rightly discern, before he comes to the table of the Lord, what it is that is done there; and what it is that he himself should do there. Now the special points that ought to be discerned by all communicants, are these:

1. The occasion and necessity that there was, that Christ should be broken and given for us, and to us, which was no other but the deepest guilt of our sin, and the heaviest punishment due for it; and the misery that would have flowed to us from this.

2. The proper cause and reason for this donation, which was the infinite mercy of God towards us.

3. The manner in which Christ was given for us, which was both in body and soul, to the sufferance of death (though they were the soul and body of God personally); that by his obedience, we might be both freed from death and the consequent of its misery, and also made partakers of all the blessings of grace, and glory, and happiness which were prepared for us in him, and which he had merited for us.

4. The means by which Christ is thus applied to us, and made ours, as he is in this Sacrament. Externally he is applied to us by the signs of eating bread, and drinking wine; and internally he is applied to us by the operation of the Holy Spirit. Our faith is stirred up by him to rely on Christ for life, and nourishment, and growth unto life eternal, and for all the blessings mentioned.

[192] Doctrine 3. The second duty required for a right communicating, or partaking of this Sacrament, is that we seriously examine or test ourselves.

The object of the former duty was the Supper itself, instituted by God. The object of this duty is ourselves, in which by a reflex act, we behold and consider ourselves, so that we may understand how our disposition and condition agrees or disagrees with the nature and use of this institution. And this inquiry should be made with greatest care and diligence, as the word used for it sufficiently expresses; and in which is properly expressed the Goldsmith’s pains in diligently testing silver and gold, so that he may know true coin from false.

Reason 1. Because it would be in vain to discern the Lord’s body, unless we also rightly discern how we ourselves agree with, or disagree from, the Lord’s body; and whether we have such requisites as necessarily we must, for the saving participation of his body. For in the Sacrament, there is a mutual relation between the gift offered, and our receiving of it; nor does it assist us at all, to know of what sort and how precious the gift is, unless we also know that we ourselves are those to whom this gift belongs.

Reason 2. Because great is the deceit of man’s heart, whereby men deceive themselves while they think that all is right, when it is not at all so. It is necessary therefore, that we diligently examine our own hearts, lest we be deceived with a false faith, and from this, rest in a fancy and vain imagination.

Reason 3. Because it is not enough to our comfort, that we are sometimes well-disposed to [193] partake of these good blessings of God, unless we also discern that this disposition is in us. For our comfort depends not only on the presence or having of grace, but also on our inward feeling and perceiving that we have it. That we may attain to this perceiving, it is necessary that we seriously examine ourselves, and know what is in us.

Use. Of Exhortation: that we may have a care for this duty, and not deal too gently with ourselves, nor slightly, but bring all to a very punctual and rigorous trial. Now the special points that we ought to examine in ourselves are these:

1. Whether we have knowledge and understanding of the things that belong to the institution of the Supper; that is, whether we rightly discern the Lord’s body as has been taught in the preceding Doctrine.

2. Whether we have a true acknowledgement of and repentance for our sins, from the guilt of which we would be disburdened; i.e. the pardon of which we seek to be sealed to us in the use of this Sacrament.

3. Whether we have that faith whereby we flee only to Christ, so that we may be freed from our sins.

4. Whether we are so far in charity and love for our [offending] neighbour, that we carry no spite, hatred, malice, or revenge toward his person, but can pray heartily for him to God for his forgiveness, just as we would for ourselves — in case he is opposed to any convenient and fitting means of reconciliation — and we can where occasion offers, indeed we are desirous to, do him really all the good that we can. Although, we may not be able to outwardly testify our forgiveness of him, such as where church discipline cannot be had for fear of hardening him in his sin, or of exposing ourselves and these mysteries to derision; or because some other hindrance will not allow us, such as the remote absence of the parties, and the like.

[194] Doctrine 4. The third duty for right communication, is that we have the disposition that is worthy and fitting for so great a mystery.

It is gathered from these words, He that eats or drinks unworthily. Now the worthiness that is required here is not the worth of quantity or of merit, but of quality or uprightness in the business; and of suitableness — as when St. John the Baptist says, Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.1 There he does not mean fruits that deserve repentance to be given to us, but fruits that are agreeable to true repentance; that is, true fruits of true repentance, and suitable to its nature.

Reason 1. Because these mysteries cannot be unworthily used, without the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ also being unworthily affronted, as it were by contempt. And hence it is that unworthy partakers are said to eat and drink judgment to themselves; namely, from God’s wrath, who is provoked by this most unworthy ignominy put upon his Son.

Reason 2. Because no noble form is introduced in an ordinary way, nor without being fitly disposed and prepared beforehand; so too the grace and comfort of this Sacrament is not to be received except by those who are suitably disposed and prepared for it; so that whoever comes unworthily, of necessity leaves unfruitful from this Sacrament, as to receiving any solid fruits from it.

Reason 3. Because unfitness and unpreparedness make this most holy Ordinance into an occasion for many, of greater hardening in their sins.

[195] For as the preaching of the Gospel is to some a savour of death unto death,[2] [3] not of its own nature, but by their perverse dispositions, so also, for unworthy communicants, this Sacrament is not the cup of blessing, but the occasion of a curse. Now the specialties that are required for this disposition are these:

1. A right and pure intention, whereby we look at all and only those ends in partaking of the Supper, which God looked at in appointing and giving it to us.

2. A good conscience, whereby we have a sure and firm purpose and resolve to obey God in all things commanded by him; and of shunning all sins in obedience to him.

3. An awful reverence flowing from rightly discerning the Lord’s body.

4. Humility which flows from a right examination of ourselves, whereby we cannot help but perceive our own unworthiness.

5. A great desire for the spiritual good things which are offered to us in the Sacrament.

6. Thankfulness to God for the goods bestowed and imparted to us.

7. Charity towards our brethren who are, together with us, partakers of these blessings in Christ, as further declared in the previous Doctrine.

Doctrine 5. Whoever openly neglects these duties is not to be admitted to the Lord’s Supper.


[1] Blasphemous behavior; the act of depriving something of its sacred character.

[2] Mat 3.8.

[3] 2Cor 2.16.

The Thirty-first Lord’s Day

Mat 16.19

And I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. And whatever you bind on earth, shall be bound in Heaven; whatever you loose on earth, shall be loosed in Heaven.

In these words is contained an explication of that promise which Christ in the last preceding verse had made to Peter, of building his Church upon the Rock, and of the strength of that building which the gates or power of Hell would not overcome. Now the building of his Church is signified by the instrumental cause of it; that is, the Ministry of the Gospel. The strength or firmness of this building is shown in the firmness it has from Heaven, which is its principal cause. And the building of the Church by the Ministry is Metaphorically explained by, the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; be cause giving them the keys to bear is the sign of power given them over that House, or Town to which they belong; therefore by this simile Christ most intended the power of the Ministry in those who belong to the Kingdom of Heaven. The confirmation or strength of this Heavenly building is explained from things compared in likeness; namely, between the administration of or around these keys; and its approbation, or ratification by God. This parity or likeness is [197] explained in two parts, according to the two uses which keys serve, of shutting and binding; and of opening and loosing.

Doctrine 1. Christ appointed in his Church a certain order or rank of Ministers for building her up, and keeping her in repair or strength.

He appointed a Ministry not a Magistry — not a mastership or Lordly power — because he did not ordain that anyone in the Church should do anything from or of his own authority, or according to his own pleasure; but only from and by the authority of Christ himself, who is the only King, Lord, and Law-giver in his Church. He appointed a certain order:

Reason 1. Because God is the God of order, and not of confusion, which ought to be far from his House.

Reason 2. Because no other but the Lord of the Church had power to ordain any such thing, or make it effectual for its ends.

Reason 3. Because thus it became Christ to show himself faithful in the House of God, as Moses was, Heb 3.2,5.

He appointed this order for building his Church, or for keeping her in repair, or strengthening her.

Reason 1. Because he would deal with men in a man-like and moral manner, as suited their nature. And this servantship or Ministry is a moral means of building up and confirming the faithful.

Reason 2. Because believers’ imperfections and diverse temptations, require such means by which they may be established and ordained in the faith.

Reason 3. Because he would so put forth his powerful working by such earthen vessels, and [198] weak means, for the greater praise and illustration of his grace.

Use. Of Information: that we understand how to esteem the Ministry of the Gospel; namely, as a most holy and saving Ordinance of Christ ought to be esteemed.

Doctrine 2. To this Ministry is adjoined a ministerial or servant-like power in things that belong to the Kingdom of Heaven.

This is collected from giving the keys. For although by a key is sometimes meant a supreme or Lordlike power and command, as in Rev 1.18,1 yet sometimes only a Ministerial power is meant, as in Isa 22.22.[1] [2] [3] 3 And that it is to be so understood here is clear in that Christ alone is King of his Church, and commander, endowed with supreme power. And by this he is distinguished from the Apostles themselves, Mat 18.1g-2o:> and also by this, that the Apostles everywhere profess themselves to be the Ministers of Christ.[4]

Reason 1. Because every order, rank, or degree instituted by God has some suitable power adjoined to it. As therefore a commanding or an imperial power is adjoined to an Empire or State; so a ministerial power is adjoined to Ministers.

Reason 2. Because the building and keeping in repair, and strengthening and advancing the Church, in which the end of this Ministry consists, cannot be procured by men, but only by such a power.

Reason 3. Because the Kingdom of Heaven is of that nature which can be subject to no imperial or commanding power of sinful man, but only to him that is infallible and impetrable[5], God and man Christ Jesus; and only to a Ministerial or servant-like power of sinful men.

[199] Use 1. Of Refutation: against Papists who give an imperial and commanding power to Peter, and to the Popes of Rome; which they would gladly pick out of this verse. But the power here spoken of is equally given or joined to all the Ministers of the Word, and not to Peter alone, as they would have it. For

1. Peter here represented all the Apostles, and all Ministers of the Word, their successors, and in some way the whole Church. For Christ posed the question to all of them, and the answer was given by Peter with the approval and consent of them all, as what they adhered to and admitted as well as he. And therefore Peter might be said to have answered in the name of all. He was the senior, and so often spoke for all; so also in this promise, instead of them all, Christ directs his speech to Peter.

2. This same power is solemnly given to all the Apostles, and to their successors, Joh 20.23.[6]

3. This power is in some kind extended to every true Church.

Use 2. Of Direction: to Ministers, that they attempt nothing except from the command of Christ, as his Ministers; and to others, that they not so look at Ministers as to keep their eye on their persons and look no further, but that they lift up their eyes to Christ, whose Ministers they are; and that they love and honour them for his sake, and for the employment he has laid on them in which, and as far as, they conduct themselves suitably to both.

Doctrine 3. This power is properly exercised in binding and loosing, or in shutting and opening; that is, in retaining or remitting sins.

Reason 1. Because the whole consolation and edification of the Church chiefly consists in the remission [200] of sins given and granted to believers, which is also set out and illustrated by retaining of sins, or denial of remission, which is denounced to unbelievers in the Church.

Reason 2. Because all other duties that belong to the Ministry depend on these, and may conveniently be reduced into them as means, effects, adjuncts, and the like.

Reason 3. Because in these the excellence and worth of the Ministry of the Gospel singularly appear; because that chief work of forgiving sins, which properly and absolutely agrees only to God, is in some sort communicated to the Ministers of Christ, or made common to them with God; namely, because the denunciation, testification, declaration, and certification of forgiveness of sins, belongs to the Ministers of Christ by their office. And that is in two ways: either in the preaching of the Word, or in the exercise of Discipline.

Use 1. Of Information: about the excellence and worth of the Ministry of the Gospel, that it may not be disgraced by Ministers themselves, nor condemned or spoken against by others.

Use 2. Of Comfort: to believers, because the whole Ministry of the Gospel labours for this, that believers may be made certain of the forgiveness of their sins.


[1] Revelation 1:18 "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have tire keys of Hades and of Death.

[2] Isaiah 22:22 Speaking of Eliakim, master of Hezekiah’s household: “The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open, and no one shall shut; And he shall shut, and no one shall open.”

[3] Matthew 18:19 "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.20 "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."

[4] For example, Rom 15.16; iCor 3.5; Eph 6.21; Col 1.7; 1T113.2.

[5] Capable of being impetrated, obtained, or influenced by prayer or petition.

[6] Joh 20:22-23 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 2" "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

The Thirty-third Lord’s Day

Eph 4.20-22

But you have not so learned Christ,21 if it is so that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That you put off, concerning your former conversation,1 the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.

The Apostle is here taken up in that most weighty exhortation, whereby he began at the entry of this chapter to stir up Christians to that conversation which agrees with their calling to Christianity. And he began this exhortation in verse 17,[1] [2] [3] [4] 3 * to illustrate from a comparison of unlike things. And the parties that are compared are Christians, and other people. The quality in which they are compared is their manner and way of living. The unlikeness in this quality is either in the principles and causes of living, or in their effects. As to their principles, Heathens are said to have all their faculties corrupted; and as to the faith, all their actions and motions3 are deformed. On the contrary, all the faculties of Christians are renewed, and their motions are holy and honest. The reddition,! or second part of this comparison, which belongs to Christians, is contained in these five verses, in which the unlike condition of Christians and unbelievers is explained: 1. From its external cause, which [202] is the Doctrine and Discipline of the Gospel, verses 20, 21. 2. From the internal causes, which are Conversion and Sanctification. This again consists of two parts: 1. The mortification and laying off of the old man; and 2. Its vivification[5] and putting on of the new man; that is, the renovation of the whole man, each part illustrated by its description, which is from their effects. The effects of the old man are corruptions and errours, verse 22. The effects of the new man are righteousness and holiness, verses 23,24.

Doctrine 1. There is a great unlikeness of condition and life between regenerated men and unregenerated men.

This is gathered from the scope of the Text, and these words, the old man, and the new man, as if a man were not the same man after regeneration that he was before. To this belong all those comparisons which, through most of the Proverbs of Solomon, are made between the godly and ungodly. It is also pointed at everywhere in the New Testament, and also in the Old, by the difference between light and darkness, and between a quick man and dead, and between one that is being defiled with all sorts of uncleanness, like the Sow that wallows in the mire, and one that is washed and cleansed.

Reason 1. Because they have a different nature; believers are made partakers of the divine nature, 2Pet 1.4; and unbelievers are scarcely said to have a man’s nature in a moral consideration. To this it belongs that the Apostle everywhere teaches that believers are led and governed by the Spirit of God, to walk after it;1 and unbelievers are led by their own flesh.[6] [7]

Reason 2. Because, as the internal principle of operations [203] is quite unlike, so also the outward rule of all their conversation is quite contrary; the regenerate orders his whole life after the will of God revealed in his Word; the unregenerate orders it after his own suggestions, and corrupt imaginations, or worldly opinions.

Reason 3. Because the end to which they tend is unlike and contrary; the regenerate breathes after God and Heaven, as he is called to the hope of eternal life; the unregenerate seeks himself, and this present world. To this it belongs that the unregenerate are said to be of this world; but the regenerate are Citizens of Heaven itself, Phil 3.20, and often elsewhere.

Use 1. Of Reproof: of those who will be thought, and perhaps think themselves true believers and regenerate, when yet in their whole conversation scarcely anything can be marked which is not common to them and unregenerate persons.

Use 2. Of Comfort: for the godly that lead a life worthy of a Christian profession, but are sometimes troubled from infirmity, because most with whom they live or deal become strange towards them; and make it plain that they are offended in some way by the strictness of their conversation. This offense arises properly from this unlikeness of conversation, whereby the corrupt walking of others according to the fashions of the world is tacitly reproved, Eph 5.11-13.3 Now this unlikeness ought to be our greatest comfort, as it is a sign of our regeneration.

Use 3. Of Exhortation: that by the change of our life and conversation, we may more and more study to show to others, and confirm to ourselves, this [204] grace of our regeneration, to which we are called in Christ.

Doctrine 2. The cause of this unlikeness of regenerate from unregenerate is the Doctrine of the Gospel.

It is clear enough in the Text.

Reason 1. Because the Doctrine of the Gospel teaches us to deny all ungodliness, and worldliness, and to live holily, Tit 2.12.

Reason 2. Because the mighty and powerful operation of the Holy Spirit is present with the preaching of the Gospel, for producing this change in man; for this cause it is called the Ministry of the Spirit, and the Law of the Spirit of life, and the Arm of God.

Reason 3. Because the proper power of faith is to cleanse the hearts of those that it is in, Act 15.9; and to make us, from our hearts, hearken to the Doctrine to which we were delivered, Rom 6.17.

Use. Of Admonition: that we beware lest by hearing in vain the preaching of the Gospel, without this fruit of conversion and change of life, we perniciously deceive ourselves.

Doctrine 3. One part of this conversion made by the Gospel, is mortification of all our corrupt dispositions and habits.

It is gathered from verse 22, where the old man means all the corrupt dispositions, because they possess all the parts and faculties of the man from our birth, and have dominion and power over us to keep us still under them; therefore they carry the name of the old man justly, and for these reasons: 1. Because they thus possessed us from the beginning of our conception. 2. Because they ought to be considered by Christians as old things, and useless, and be put off, and laid away. And that is.

[205] Reason 1. Because the end of Christ’s death, and of the Gospel itself, is to dissolve the works of the Devil, iJoh 3.8.[8] And these inordinate dispositions and habits are among the first and chief works of the Devil.

Reason 2. Because by these corruptions we were separated from God, and the Gospel calls us and draws us to God again; and therefore calls us to lay these aside.

Reason 3. Because life and obedience have no place in those things which lusts and habits have power in; and the Gospel calls us to a spiritual life, and a new obedience.

Use 1. Of Reproof: of those who would have themselves thought regenerate, when yet they are the servants of such carnal lusts.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: that we manfully set ourselves not only to repress such lusts, but quite also to root them out. Now the old man is mortified,

1. By that firm and constant purpose of changing our life, which is effectually begun in our first repentance, and ought to be renewed and extended daily to all new emergences.

2. By the virtue of Christ’s death applied to us by faith, from which our old man is said to be crucified with Christ; and it may be rightly added, with the same nails that Christ was crucified. For Christ was fastened to the Cross partly because of the guilt of our sins; partly out of the love of the Father to us, that we might be saved; and partly out of Christ’s own love to us, whereby he was willing to lay down his life for us. By earnest meditation on these things, the power of sin is most diminished in us.

3. By the power of the Holy Spirit, to whom we ought to surrender ourselves, in the use of all the [206] means ordained by God, which he uses to put forth his powerful working.

Doctrine 4. The other part of this conversion is vivification, or renewing the inward man.

By the terms inward, new, or renewed man are understood the new dispositions that are agreeable to the will of God. They are called the man, as these other dispositions were, because they should be diffused over the whole man, as they were. And they are called the new man partly in respect to order, because they follow the other; partly in respect to their excellence, because they are so much better than the other, as new things are better than old, worn-out, and decayed things. In this respect, many things of greater excellence than others are called new in comparison to the other. And this new man is said both to be repaired, and to be put on, because as these inward dispositions in the spirit of our mind are acquired, they are the renewing of the man, and the inner man, verse 23. And the same is said to be put on as a garment, as both outwardly and inwardly it has full hold of us, and wraps us wholly up in itself; so that it contains not only imputed righteousness, but also inherent righteousness, which consists in the actions of a new obedience.

Reason 1. This new man must be put on, because it is according to God, or the image of God, as it is in Text. For it is our duty during our whole life to live to God, and to aspire to be like the image of God according to which we were created, and to which we are now called again.

Reason 2. Because our spiritual perfection consists in this new man, or in this image of God, and [207] so these are almost the chief parts of our glorification.

Reason 3. Because, as by this image we please God who delights in his own image, so by this image alone we are made fit, and apt to glorify God as we ought to.

Reason 4. Because we cannot be freed from the corruption and perverseness of the old man, except by virtue of this new man — just as darkness is not removed out of this or that place except by letting in light.

Use. That with all care and by all means, sanctified by God for this end, we may more and more labour to put on this new man. Now he is put on, 1. By virtue of that effectual desire and purpose we have to please God in our first repentance. 2. By virtue of Christ’s resurrection applied to us by faith. 3. By virtue of the Holy Spirit given to us in the word of Christ, and in his Sacraments.

Doctrine 5. The old man brings in errours and corruptions; and the new man brings forth righteousness and true holiness, verses 22, 23.

The old man corrupts, 1. The understanding, with all secret errours. 2. The other faculties, by all sorts of lusts and concupiscences. 3. The life and conversation, by all sorts of misleadings from the right way. In all these there is corruption, properly so-called, because there is lack of such a life and perfection as should not be lacking; and a perturbation of that order that belongs to the state of perfection. Now, that the new man produces works of righteousness and holiness, is apparent for these reasons:

Reason 1. Because he observes the rule of righteousness, which is the Law of God.

[208] Reason 2. Because he belongs to our spiritual perfection, in which we resemble the divine nature according to the proportion of our holiness.

Reason 3. Because he always brings forth kindly fruits, or fruits like unto himself, seeking both his own conservation and improvement from the common conspiracy of all our inclinations.

Use. Of Exhortation: that with the same care and zeal we may labour for the mortification of the old man, and vivification of the new, by which means we desire to shun corruption and death, and to attain to a holy and blessed perfection.


[1] That is, your former conduct.

[2] Eph 4:17-19 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

[3] That is, inchnations of the heart; motivations.

[4] An explanation or representation; here it is given by comparison.

[5] Quality of being active, spirited or alive and vigorous.

[6] Rom 8.1,14.

[7] 2Pet 2.10.

[8]1J0 3:8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

The Ten Commandments

The Thirty-fourth Lord’s Day

Exo 20.1-3

And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the Land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.”

In these words are contained the preface of the Moral Law, and the first precept of it. In this preface is contained the definition, division, and confirmation of the Law. The definition is pointed at by circumstances which are, as it were, the specificative or differencing notions of it, whereby this Law is distinguished from all others. Of which the first is, 1. That God himself spoke it, or immediately by himself pronounced the words of this Law. 2. That then he spoke it; that is, after such a singular preparation [209] of the people, as had never been used in the giving of any other Law. The division of it is contained in these words, that God is said to have spoken all the words of it; that is, of both Tablets, or all ten words,1 where respect to the whole and to its parts is plainly pointed at. The confirmation, or the persuasion used to confirm it, is verse 2, where a most strong argument is brought to induce an obedience suitable to this Law; and this is twofold: 1. In general from the Covenant, I am your God. 2. From a special benefit bestowed upon them by virtue of that Covenant. The first precept itself is verse 3, whereby we are enjoined to have Jehovah for our God, or Jehovah alone.[1] [2] [3] 3 So that in this two points together enjoin us: 1. That we acknowledge Jehovah to be the true God, and none else. 2. That with all religious honour and worship, we worship him, and do that with all our heart, etc. For that is to have Jehovah for our God. It is not to be understood speculatively only, but practically, effectively, and really.

Doctrine 1. This Law of God contained in the Decalogue, or ten words (that is, brief sentences), is the most perfect rule for directing the life of man.

This is gathered from the definition which, as we said before, was pointed out in two circumstances; because it not only has God for its author, but it is also given with singular majesty in the most perfect manner, as after extraordinary preparation. What is to be found in this, is that we may understand all the perfection that can be desired in any law.

Reason 1. Because it prescribes all the duties of man, whether they look at God himself directly, as in the first Tablet; or at our neighbour, as in the second Tablet. 3

[210] Reason 2. Because in all those duties, it not only requires the works themselves, but also the most perfect way of working them; namely, that they come from the whole heart, and from the bottom of the heart; that is, from the entire strength of the whole man, and with perfect purity and sincerity; and that they be directed to the glory of God.

Reason 3. Because it contains in itself a delineation or draft[4] of that perfection to which man in his first or innocent nature was created, according to the image of God. And therefore it is also called the Law of Nature, because that rule of life which was written in the heart of man, according to its primitive and pure nature, is explained in this Law.

Reason 4. Because it belongs not only to one Nation, as the Judicial Law did; nor to some certain time only, as the Ceremonial Law did; but it is the Common-Law of all Nations, Times, and Persons.

Use 1. Of Information: that we esteem this Law of God as we ought to; that is, that we think of it in no other way than as the will of God omnipotent, and as that will of his which most intimately belongs to us as the only rule of our life; and as such a rule that is has no defect, but it is both perfect in itself, and it requires all perfection in us.

Use 2. Of Admonition: that with all reverence we give heed to this Law, and beware all neglect and contempt of it, as we would shun death.

Doctrine 2. The Moral Law is divided into various words or precepts.

It is gathered from this, in that God is said to have spoken all these words. They are called words [211] because they are short and as it were, spoken summarily, or in one word. The chief division of them is into two Tablets; the next into ten Precepts, or Commands.

Reason 1. That we might more easily understand the will of God delivered by parts; which if delivered wholly together and all at once — declared in heaps as it were — we could not understand them so well. For the parts in a distribution or division, greatly help the declaration and illustration of any whole.

Reason 2. That by this means our memory may be helped, because naturally our memory is strengthened from the order of the parts among themselves.

Reason 3. That in every part and act of our conversation, we may have the light of singular direction from some part of this Law.

Use. Of Admonition: that we do not neglect or contemn any word of this Law, because they are all parts of one and the same Law, and have the same sanction of authority; so that whoever stumbles against any one of them, is guilty of them all, Jam. 2.10.

Doctrine 3. Whatever is commanded in any part of the Law, we are bound for many reasons to perform it to God.

This is gathered from that confirmation of the Law, I am Jehovah, etc.

Reason 1. Because God commands nothing that he may not with very good right require from us, by reason of his absolute power and dominion, as well as our dependence on him, by which we need to be supplied and upheld by him in all things.

Reason 2. Because he requires nothing from us, the observance of which he did not deserve at our [212] hands before, by spiritual benefits and blessings, as well as temporal and bodily blessings, in regard to which, out of thankfulness, we owe him all obedience, as is plain in the Text, I brought you out of the Land, etc.

Reason 3. Because God is ready to reward our obedience most abundantly, in every point.

Use. Of Direction: that by meditating often on the manifold obligations by which we are bound to perform our obedience to God, we may more and more stir up our minds to care to observe him in all things.

Doctrine 4. Every command of the Law requires the whole obedience of the whole man.

That is, inward as well as outward; of the heart as well as the mouth, and of the hand, or work: You shall have no other, etc. Do not make for yourself etc. These are forms of speaking by which such a universal obedience is formally required.

Reason 1. Because God, the giver of this Law, ought to be glorified with the obedience of the whole man, of soul as well as body — both these parts of man.

Reason 2. Because this is the excellent perfection of the Law of God, whereby it goes beyond all human Laws, in that it subjects to itself the heart and reins,1 and the most inward retirement of men, as God himself alone — who is the author of this Law — knows what is in man.[5] [6] [7] 3

Reason 3. Because this Law is the rule of spiritual life, and so it ought to pierce even to our spirits themselves.

Use 1. Of Information: that for the right understanding of this Law, we look not only to such things, or think that only these are contained under [213] the Law, as contained there in express words; but also all such things that belong to such a topic of obedience, whether they are outward or inward. For in every command, as is certainly meant by the sum of entire and whole obedience, the words are to be taken not according to the bare letter, but in such a modification of various tropes, or borrowed ways of speaking, as agree with the perfection of such a Law of nature.

The trope of Synecdoche, which puts the special for the general which is to be understood by it, is frequently used here — as when abstinence from some one vice that is named is put for the whole obedience. By this trope, we not only abstain from all faults of that kind, but we are also bound to perform the contrary affirmative good — and when some action is put for all of its kind, and which have an affinity of nature with it.

The trope of Metonymy is everywhere in these commands, whereby all the adjuncts are understood under the name of their objects; the effects are understood in their causes, and also contrarily. This is complicated with the trope of Metaphor in some way; so that the entire Decalogue is Metaleptic,3 or it is to be understood by TransumptionJ These rules must of necessity be understood in the explication of every precept, as our Saviour’s expositions of them and other Scriptures make clear.

Use 2. Of Admonition: that we do not rest, nor please ourselves in just any sort of obedience to the Law; but that we may aspire to the entire and perfect observance of it; and that we ever acknowledge that we are justly humbled in this: that we are so far from that perfection which it requires.

Doctrine 5. The first and greatest command is that which contains our duty to God.

[214] Hence it is, that it is both put in the first position, and it also has the express testimony of Christ in Mat 22.38.1

Reason 1. Because God himself is the object of this duty, from him a sort of nobleness and dignity is derived to the duty itself.

Reason 2. Because more and greater things are contained in our duty to God than either can or may be used in duties to man; as is clear by that form, With the whole mind, and the whole heart, etc.

Reason 3. Because this duty is the Foundation and principle of all others, in as much as in God, and for God only, we ought to perform all other duties; and so the duties of the second Tablet are thus virtually contained in the first Commandment.

Use. Of Direction: that our first and chief care may be taken up in those duties that belong to God.

Doctrine 6. The principal duty to God is that we have only him for our God.

And to have God for our God is in general, to give God that honour which is due Him for his excellent Majesty. And to this are required,

1. That we seek true knowledge of him with all care, as he has revealed himself in his word; because we cannot rightly honour him whose nature and will we are ignorant of: Joh 4.12; Rom 10.14.[8] [9]

2. That from a most humble reverence, we subject ourselves to him, because the honour that we give to God, as to our God, is the honour of a Creature towards its Creator; of a Son towards his Father; of a Servant towards his Master; and he is such a Master that he has power of life and death over us; [215] not only of the body, but of the soul, or that which is eternal.

3. That we believe all that he witnesses and proposes to us, and rest in them by true faith; because otherwise we cannot give him the glory of his omniscience, truth, etc.

4. That with certain hope we look for all that he has promised; because we cannot give him the honour of the truth of his promises unless with belief of them, we are so affected with them, as to desire and hope for their accomplishment.

5• That with greatest love we cling to him as the chief good; because the quintessential notion of God does of itself denote the Fountain and Author (and so the possessor) of all highest and most perfect goodness; and so the honour due unto God contains in it that affection which is raised up by the meditation and apprehension of the chief good — which is pure and perfect love.

6. That we express all these duties, and exercise them by a devout hearing of his Word, and calling upon his name with a similar exercise of divine worship; because we cannot be powerfully affected about the honour of God without those operations in which such affections are put forth; nor is the honour we owe God contained within the bounds of individual disposition or affection; nor lastly, can a lively affection of honouring God be cherished or kept in our minds without those means by which it is begotten in us, as well as preserved and improved.

Use 1. Of Reproof: against those who think they have God for their God, and think they keep this command well enough if they do not deny God with their [216] mouths, even though they never rouse themselves to give God this honour spoken of before. This sort of men are all those who 1. Do not deny themselves so as to be wholly subject to God and his will. 2. All those who rest in their ignorance. 3. Those who do not endeavor to build themselves up in true Faith, Hope, and Love. 4. Those who contemn or neglect the exercise of Piety, public or private. Of all these it may truly be affirmed that as long as they do not endeavor to thus give God his due honour, they do not really have him for their God.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: that by such considerations we stir ourselves up to a greater care for Piety — unless we want to be like those who are without God in this world, and so can look for nothing else than to be separated from God in the world to come.

Doctrine 7. Whoever gives this honour or any part of it to any other than God, they set up a false god for themselves, and so they are Idolaters.

It is gathered from this, You shall have no other God. That is, do not give this honour to another, that is not true God by nature or essence. For men sin against this command in three ways. 1. If we do not give this honour to God. 2. If we give this honour to another that is not God. 3. If we fight or dispute against God, or this honour of his. Whoever sins against God in the first way, they are profane; in the second way, they are Idolaters; in the third way, they are enemies to God.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against Papists who give a great part of this honour to creatures.

Use 2. Of Condemnation: against those who have their minds so fastened to worldly things, that it may truly be said of them, that they have their [217] affiance, hope, and love chiefly placed in them. Concerning them the Apostle warns us that they have their belly for their god, and their substance, riches, and the like.[10]


[1] That is, all ten commandments. “Words” can mean sayings, teachings, or statements, as in tire Greek logos.

[2] LORD in capital letters indicates the original Hebrew tetragrammaton: Yahweh, or Jehovah.

[3] The two stone tablets (or “tables”) that Moses brought down off the Mount with the Ten Commandments on them. The commandments are traditionally divided into two groups: commandments 1-4 on the first tablet governing our relationship with God, and 5-10 on the second tablet, governing our relationship with others.

[4] That is, a blueprint.

[5] It denotes the kidneys or loins; but as used here, it refers to the seat of the affections and passions.

[6] Joh 2.25; iCor 2.11.

[7] Figurative substitutions in which a concept is described by a word that is distanced from that concept by multiple, usually metonymical, links (e.g. “I spent the evening with Shakespeare” actually means his works). Most figures of speech involve a single link between word and concept, e.g. a single link can be followed from the metonym ‘crown' to file concept to which it refers, ‘king'. But a metalepsis involves multiple such links, each of which must be mentally followed until the intended concept is reached. Metaphorical transference.

[8] Mat 22:37-38 Jesus said to him, " ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 "This is the first and great commandment.

[9] Joh 4:12 "Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"; Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

[10] Philippians 3:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame— who set their mind on earthly things.

The Thirty-fifth Lord’s Day

Exo 20.4-6

You shall not make for yourself any graven image, or the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor worship them, nor serve them; for I the LORD am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me. 6 And showing mercy to thousands of those that love my, and keep me commandments.

We have here the second Command, and the sanctification of it. It concerns the means of worshipping God. It is expressed by Negation and Distribution of means, and Description of the use that is usually to be exercised about such means. The Distribution is taken from the places of the means: Heaven, Earth, and Waters. The Description is from the Adjunct of Adoration, or bowing down to them. The Sanction consists in a threatening and promise, the nature and ratifying power of which is expounded from the nature of God, I am Jehovah, your strong God. This command is distinguished [218] from the former in that there the essential and natural worship of God was commanded; but here, it is accidental and of a free institution. And this instituted worship, as to the negative part, is declared Synecdochically by an image; because this worship of God used to be most violated by the abuse of images.

Doctrine 1. God is only to be worshipped in such ways and by such means as he has commanded himself to be worshipped by his word.

This is gathered from this Precept, in that by image is to be condemned all will-worship brought in by men; so that no other worship is approved, except that which God himself has prescribed. This Doctrine also seems to be clear in these words, You shall not make for yourself; that is, you shall bring no worship to God at your own pleasure, and as you like best. For although this phrase sometimes has the sense that you shall not make anything so as to have it for yourself alone, yet both the short and comprehensive manner of speech in the Decalogue, and the matter itself that is addressed here, persuade us that it should be taken in the former sense here. This Doctrine is expressed in Exo 23.24, and Deut 12.32?

Reason 1. Because God alone knows what is acceptable to him, and suitable to his nature and will.

Reason 2. Because the whole blessing and fruit of our worship that we owe God, depends on him; and it is not for us to prescribe to God by what means he should work on us, or by what means we bless him.

Reason 3. Because worship that is not commanded, does not have the nature of obedience in it. But it is God’s will [219] and it belongs to his honour, that by obeying we worship him, and by worshipping we obey him.

Reason 4. Because such is the vanity and futility of men’s imaginations in divine things, that if it had been left to us to choose for ourselves the means of divine worship, it would all have been turned into traditions and vain observations, as experience witnesses; by this means the Devil has led men away into empty superstitions almost throughout the world.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against Papists, who have defiled all parts of Divine worship with their Will-worship, traditions of men’s devising, and their own ordinances.

Use 2. Of Direction: that in worshipping God, we have a precise regard for God’s own holy Ordinances in the ministry of the Word, Sacraments, and Discipline; and on the other part, that we despise all human devices, no matter how fair a colour1 and pretense they may be commended to us.

Doctrine 2. God is not to be worshipped at or before an Image.

For otherwise Images in this passage are not absolutely forbidden, because there is a civil, lawful use of some Images; but only the use of Images in God’s worship is forbidden. Nor are only Images of counterfeit gods forbidden in God’s worship, as Papists would have it; but also images of the true God, Deut 4.12. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] 3 4 * There Moses contrasts the voice of the true God (which the people had heard on the Mount) to all Images of the same God, and not to images of other counterfeit gods. This was expressly said to have been signified by the sin of the Israelites concerning the image they made, Exo 32.6 — [220] that they would make a Calf for an Image or representation of Jehovah.3 The distinction therefore between an Image and an Idol, in which and by which Image God is served, has no ground either in writing, or right reason, or in common use of words. The grievousness of this sin everywhere appears, that in Scripture is commonly called Idolatry. For those who worship the true God at or before an Image, do not altogether and professedly forsake the true God; and therefore they do not commit that principal and essential Idolatry; yet they are guilty of secondary Idolatry, and of that which is idolatry indirectly, and by participation. 4

Reason 1. Because in some way, they make for themselves another God besides the true God; namely, such a god as will be represented by an Image, and worshipped there by us.

Reason 2. Because they not only diminish that glory which they ought to give to God, but they also refer, either expressly or impliedly, a part of the glory which is due to God alone, to the image.

Reason 3. Because they also honour in some way with Divine honour, the Authors of Images, while they grant them the power or authority to institute divine worship, which belongs to God alone. And by that means also, they are said to worship the Devil himself, because he is the principal author of Image worship. This is why Scripture used to call this grievous sin by some special phrases — as when in the sanction of this commandment, it is called hating God, and in other places it is called treachery or perfidiousness, adultery and violation of the wedlock- covenant. This is also why so heavy a [221] punishment is denounced against this sin, as it is in the threatening laid down in this commandment, whereby it is said that God will visit this iniquity on the Sons, Nephews, and their Children again to the third and fourth generations.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against the Idolatry of Papists who, as they commit Idolatry against the first commandment in praying to Angels and departed Saints and the like, so here they commit secondary Idolatry: 1. In that they make Images of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which is expressly forbidden. 2. In that they honour these and other Images with divine worship. 3. In that they make the worship which they would offer to God Idolatrous, by interposing an Image which they thrust upon God against his own revealed will. And this among other things gives just and necessary cause to all the godly to separate from the Church and worship of Papists — because such worship is abominable to God, and ought to be abominable and detestable to all the godly.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: for thanksgiving to God that he has delivered us from such Idolatry, as well as to care and caution, that we communicate in no manner with such Idolatrous ordinances.

Doctrine 3. Such Images are to be diligently shunned by us.

It is gathered from the manner of setting forth the command whereby with such care and so precisely all and every sort of Images are forbidden. And this is what the Apostle John means in his first Epistle, chap. 5 and last verse.1

[222] Reason 1. Because such Images belong to that greatest abomination, namely, of Idolatry, from which all the godly ought to keep themselves very far.

Reason 2. Because there is great danger in these human inventions, lest they insensibly allure us to an apostacy or defection from God, as is evident by the words of this precept, You shall not bow yourself, nor worship, etc.

Reason 3. Because by this means we should reprove Idolaters, and as much as it lies in us, call them back from their Idolatry.

Use. Of Direction: that we always have a care to be precise[7] [8] [9] 3 in this kind, so that we may preserve for ourselves the worship of God, pure and undefiled. Nor then are any Images of God to be allowed, nor any other Images for holy use, nor anything of our devising that has analogy or proportion to an Image, as are all symbol-like or signifying ceremonies in divine worship introduced by men. And instructing rude and ignorant people by this means is only a vain pretence, because images are teachers of lies, Hab 2.18; Jer 10.8.3


1 Exo 23:24 "You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars. Deu 12:32 "Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

[2] An outward or token appearance or form that is deliberately misleading.

[3] Deu 4:12 "And the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of tire lire. You heard the sound of the words, but saw no form; you only heard a voice.

[4] Exo 32:4-6 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!" s 80 when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, "Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD [Jehovah]." 6 Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

[5] In other words, although strictly speaking worshipping an image of Jehovah is not idolatry, it still violates the second commandment. Making a distinction between an image and an idol is a false dichotomy; both are forbidden.

[7] 1J0 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

[8] That is, strict.

[9] Hab 2:18 "What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it, The molded image, a teacher of lies, That the maker of its mold should trust in it, To make mute idols? Jer 10:8 A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine.

The Thirty-sixth and seventh Lord’s Day

Exo 20.7

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.

The third command is proposed here, and its Sanction or Confirmation. The Command concerns the manner of worshipping God, or the right use of those things which have a special relation to God and his worship. For by the name Jehovah is understood all by which God is made known to us, or discernible, just as a man is known by his name. By taking God’s name into our mouths is understood then, the use of all such things; because things are commonly taken up so that they may be applied to use. And by in vain, or vainly, is understood all pravity1 of this use — by a Synecdoche of the special being put for the more general kind. And that is because a vain use of sacred and holy things is a grievous abuse of them, though there may be others that are more grievous. For example, when they are used not only without their just and true end and fruit, or for no settled end — that is, when they are used rashly or in vain — but also when they are settledly and purposely turned and twisted for some wicked and impious uses. So then, by taking God’s name in vain is understood all abuse of sacred things.[1] [2] The Sanction [224] of this precept is by its threatening, which is generally of all misery. This misery is explicated by its proper causes; that is, the prosecution of that guilt which follows the breach of this Command: God will not leave him or hold him guiltless, etc. For as the blessedness of a man is declared by taking away the guilt of his sins, Rom 4.6-7,[3] so also man’s misery is declared by prosecution of that same guilt.

Doctrine 1. With all religion or devotion, we ought to be conversant about those things which belong to God’s worship, both as to the things themselves, and as to the manner of handling them.

It is clear enough in the words themselves, Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Reason 1. Because this manner of handling things belongs in some way to the form of the action and of our duty; and it more inwardly belongs to our duties, that we rightly direct our actions as to the point of their form, than of their matter and object[4] [5] * — though care must be had to both, and that is be done with a devotion of the same kind.

Reason 2. Because in such things the name of God is committed and recommended to our trust as it were, so that it may appear with what devotion and respect we will use them.

Reason 3. Because that name of God has so much worth and excellence in it, that it is no less wicked to use it with contempt or slight, than to neglect it altogether. Now the religious manner

of using God’s name consists chiefly in these things: 1. First, in the sincerity of our intentions, whereby we are to look at the very end in its use, and in the worship of God to which, of [225] its own nature and by God’s appointment, it tends and was ordained. 2. In the reverence with which we use it, which is to be such that thereby we may show that we are careful to preserve and keep up the honour of God and of his worship in good esteem, and save it from all contempt, slight, dishonour, and reproach. 3. In our zeal, whereby we endeavor with all earnestness of mind to glorify God in the use of these things, and so advance our own salvation. These and similar ways are pointed out to us in the very forbidding of using them vainly.

Reason 1. Because what is not used to its own end is used rashly and vainly; therefore to exclude this vanity, sincerity about our intention must first be used.

Reason 2. Because what is only lightly and slightly handled, as if it were a thing of no weight or importance, is counted but vain and empty; therefore forbidding to use vainly commands us, by the same means, to use it with reverence, earnestness, and gravity.

Reason 3. Because a thing is used in vain when it does not attain to its end, its uses, and its fruit for which it was ordained; therefore, taking away this vanity also requires a diligent endeavor of reaping and receiving the just fruits of such ordinances; thus it is done by zeal.

Use 1. Of Reformation: against Papists who in many things look only to the work done, and neglect the manner of doing it, and the disposition of the doer.

Use 2. Of Reproof: of all carnal and irreligious manners of men in the use of God’s worship and sacred things. This happens when they go about them either [226] in a usual fashion of their own, or out of custom rather than from conscience, and with a knowing and feeling resentment of duties; and when they have in them for the most part, other ends set down and proposed to themselves than those which God appointed, and which alone they ought to intend. Or they are lightly touched with them, and therefore they are but lightly busied in them, as if they were matters of sport, or highway pastimes. Or lastly, they are so long in the good duties they do, though they do not look like men in sport, yet they look like those who never looked for, nor had any great care to reap any great benefit from the things they did.

Use 3. Of Exhortation: that we may more and more stir up in ourselves, and in our minds and consciences, this religious care.

Doctrine 2. This religious care ought to singularly be had in the use of Oaths, and those things that are of a similar nature to it.

It is gathered from this: because the name of God is taken into our mouths in a special way in Oaths, Vows, Promises, Covenants, and the like; and a reverence for God’s dreadful name is especially commended to us here.

Reason 1. Because in every Oath there is a certain calling upon the name of God in a special way.

Reason 2. Because God is not to be barely and only called upon to help us, as he is in other business; but he is called upon as a witness, judge, and avenger, if we do not speak and think truth, nor do right.

Reason 3. Because in an Oath, we bind ourselves not only to man or our party on earth, but also to God, and for the most part of own accord; [212] and where otherwise we did not need to put our souls under the wrath and curse of God and his fearful vengeance if we were to deceive.

Reason 4. Because as it were, here we interpose God and his name for our Surety; in all of which respects it requires a singular religious care of the use of God’s name in such a behalf.

Use. Of Condemnation: against those who are given to rash Oaths, or to superstitious, blasphemous, and profane ones.

Doctrine 3. To abuse God’s name in this manner is a most grievous sin, and such that God will avenge it in a singular way.

This is gathered from the sanction that is adjoined to the precept, God will not leave him unpunished, etc. And this sanction is grounded on two Reasons:

Reason 1. Because this sin among men is accounted venial,1 and is daily committed without any punishment.

Reason 2. Because it is our natural corruption to little or not at all regard the dispositions of our minds in worshipping God, which nonetheless God chiefly looks at.

Now the grievousness of the sin appears in this: 1. That God is as it were, mocked in this. 2. That God’s worship is turned as it were, into a stage play. 3. That an occasion is hereby given to contemn and blaspheme God’s name. And among the punishments with which God follows this sin, spiritual revenge is the most horrid, whereby he so deserts such men, that things which of their own nature are a savour of life unto life, become to them a savour of death unto death — [228] which also by the very order of nature follows this kind of sin.

Use. Of Admonition: that we take heed of this sort of sin; passages of holy Scripture are not to be played with, and made sport of; nor are they to be made use of for charms, or enchantments, or witchcraft; nor to toss them to and fro like Tennis-balls in common discourse, and for common purposes, without any reverence or gravity; lastly, Scripture is not to be exercised in any part of God’s worship merely for a shift,[6] [7] and according to the fashion or custom in use.

Doctrine 4. That merely from the fear or horror of such a sin, we should not altogether abstain from Oaths as things that in themselves and absolutely are unlawful.

For in some cases, times, and matters, we are bound to Oaths by the affirmative or commanding part of this Precept.


[1] That is, perversion (to change the inherent pinpose or use of something).

[2] All those things on which God puts his name: Num 6.27; iKgs 9.3; 11.36; 2Kngs 21.4, 7; 2Chr 33.7.

5 Romans 4:6-7 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered;"

[4] In other words, consider the point of these sacred things, the why of their form, rather than what they are in themselves (their matter), or how they are used or handled externally (then־ object).

[6] Easily excused or forgiven.

[7] That is, for shock value, or as a rhetorical device to move (shift) the listeners.

The Thirty-eighth Lord’s Day

Exo 20.8-11

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days shall you labour, and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work — you nor your son, nor your daughter, your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made hallowed it.

This fourth command, which is about the time of more solemn worship, is explicated 1. generally, verse 8, Remember, etc. 2. specially, verses 9-10, that this is the seventh, or one of seven, to which is adjoined the duty to keep this day. This duty consists of two parts, namely, of rest, and of the Sanctification of that rest. The rest is ceasing from all our works; and it is illustrated from its causes by a distribution; neither you, nor your son, etc. The sanctifying of this rest is the consecration or holy application of it to God’s worship. And this sentence is not only proposed, but also confirmed, and that is for a double reason: 1. It is taken from a tacit comparison with the greater. God has promised us six days for our works; and therefore [230] by very good right and reason, he may claim the seventh for himself, to be consecrated to his worship. 2. Reason is taken from the exemplary cause; because God by his own example of resting on the seventh day, went before us as it were, to give us an example to follow. 3. Reason is taken from the efficient, that is, from God’s institution or appointment which consists in two parts: sanctifying it, and blessing it. Sanctifying it was separating this day from a worldly use to a holy use. Blessing it was the promise to bless those who rightly bless this day.

Doctrine 1. Certain times are both privately and publicly to be appointed and set apart for more solemn worship.

This is understood in the command by that Synecdoche that names the special for the general. In general, those times which are most agreeable to the societies in which we live are due for public worship. And to the private exercises of godliness, by right order, some part of the morning and of the evening is due; and this is always the practice of the Prophets and Apostles approved in Scripture and proposed to us as an example to be followed.

Reason 1. Because we ought to have this care, that we worship God in an orderly and decent way, which cannot be without setting apart such a certain time.

Reason 2. Because our vanities, and straggliness of mind, and forgetfulness about spiritual duties, requires of us the help of such an ordinance as this.

Reason 3. Because these appointed times keep us from many sins, while in our thoughts we are either preparing ourselves for these exercises, or else they keep [231] the fresh remembrance and power of them in our memories.

Use. Of Reproof: against the negligence of it by those who, though they profess themselves to be worshippers of God, yet can scarcely find any time to give God the worship due him.

Doctrine 2. That one day in seven be holily observed, is of moral and perpetual duty — as with us, the Lord’s Day is observed.

Reason 1. Because it is expressly commanded in this moral law, as spoken immediately by God himself, together with the other commands, and they were written by his own finger on tablets of stone; these things were only proper to the moral law.

Reason 2. Because it was thus ordained from the beginning of the Creation.

Reason 3. Because it is never less necessary that some seventh day be observed, than it was at the first institution. That the Lord’s Day, or first of the week, or seventh day is now by Divine authority appointed to us to be kept holy, appears from these:

1. From the ground and reason for the change: because God from the beginning appointed the seventh day of the week, or septenary circuit of days, for his rest from Creating things. In the same way, Christ appointed the first day of the week — or the first of seven days of ordinary recourse — because on that day he rested from his penal and afflictions labours of his humiliation, or emptying himself, whereby he restored and created the world as it were, new again — to a better condition than it had lost.

2. By the frequent appearances of Christ in convening his Disciples on this day.1

[232] 3. From sending and shedding abroad the Holy Spirit on this day.[1] [2]

4. By the practice of the Apostles.[3] [4] 4

5. By Apostolic constitution, iCor 16.23

6. From the very title and name of the Lord’s Day that it has in the New Testament.[5]

7. From the rigourous observation of this day in the Primitive Church, for which they were considered worshippers of the sun; this is because Heathens assigned this first day of the week to the Planet of the Sun, as the rest were assigned to the rest of the Planets.[6]

Use. Of Exhortation: that out of conscience towards God, and obedience to this command, we are careful to observe the Lord’s Day.

Doctrine 3. One part of our duty is that on the Lord’s Day we cease from all our own works.

It is gathered from the Text, In six days you shall do all your work; but on the seventh day you shall do no work, etc. That is, no work that is yours. Now that work is said to be our work which neither directly belongs to the worship of God, nor is otherwise imposed on us by any necessity from God; but is chosen by ourselves for some human or worldly end. Now such works are, 1. All our common and mercenary works.[7] 2. All things that call our mind away from that intention that is required for the worship of God on that day, though otherwise they are not servile.1 Yet those things are not forbidden which either belong to common honesty, or are of a very urgent nature, and are not a contrived necessity of our own. The reason for this rest is that we may have convenient leisure for divine worship. For worldly business in various ways withstands this more solemn worship of God.

Reason 1. Because the very external acts of both are for the most part, such that they cannot consist or stand together at one time.

Reason 2. Because the mind being distracted with such worldly business, cannot compose or settle itself in good order to perform solemn worship to God as it should.

Reason 3. Because the taste, and savour, and power of holy exercises is impaired, and at least dulled or blunted, by mixing with them such things that are vile by comparison.

Use. Of Reproof: of those who easily break the rest of this day, either by their ordinary and vulgar occupations; or with merchandizing, or with sports or plays, or with troublesome and long feastings on it,[8] [9] [10] 3 etc.

Doctrine 4. The other part of our duty on the Lord’s Day is to sanctify our rest; that is, to apply the leisure that we have to God’s worship, publicly as well as privately.

Duties of this kind are first, preparing our minds for God’s solemn worship. Secondly, Hearing his Word. Thirdly, Solemn prayers. Fourthly, Partaking of the Sacraments. Fifthly, Works of Charity. Sixthly, Meditation and conference about holy things. Seventhly, A religious consideration of the works of God, of Creation and Providence, and even of those things which we occasionally hear or see, though they are otherwise worldly.

Reason 1. Because in such duties we make a profession of Religion, and of that honour that is due unto God, which therefore is honourable and acceptable to him.

Reason 2. Because by this means we build up ourselves, [234] and advance our communion that we have with God. For seeing that, by worldly occupations through the six days of the week our mind is somewhat pressed towards the earth, it was ordained by a most wise purpose and counsel of God, that every seventh day at least, our minds should be lifted up to heaven again, and sent upwards by all such means, so that they might be restored to their former step or degree from which they had been declining. And also, seeing that we contract some filthiness from such worldly business, they should be wiped off on the Lord’s Day, and we should be cleansed from them by the exercise of sanctification. And seeing that many occasions fall on the other days, which bring their own difficulties and temptations with them, on this day we ought to be well-furnished and armed, so that the Lord’s Day ought to be our day of spiritual mustering, or of weapons-display, and a day of lustration. 3 On this day, in as far as our Faith and Charity with other heavenly gifts are singularly kindled in our hearts, there should be a cleansing of ourselves from all filthiness contracted before, and a day of our ascending into heaven.

Reason 3. Because by this means we also build one another up in the practice of our Religion, so that the one who hears the preaching of the word, though he learns nothing himself, yet he teaches others some good thing, even in this: that he hears, and thereby urges that both he and others should do so. So hereby he teaches others that God is to be solemnly worshipped, and his word is to be heard with reverence.

Use 1. Of Admonition: that we beware of the neglect of these duties; such neglect cannot be consistent with [235] any vigour either of religion to God; or of love and care for our own salvation; or lastly, of love and Christian affection towards the Church, and our neighbours.

Use 2. Of Direction: that according to this rule, we judge the duties which we perform about God’s worship on this day. For all of them in common should rise up so high as to sanctify this day; and this sanctifying of the day again depends on our sanctifying the name of God, and advancing our own salvation. Unless therefore we seek such fruits in our consciences, we have just cause in this for great humiliation. But if we feel them in any degree, then we have as great a reason to give the Lord great thanks for it.

Doctrine 5. It is the duty of every Christian, that not only should they sanctify that day themselves, but also that they make all those who are under their power do it, as far as it lies in them.

This is hence collected, because this commandment is in a singular way directed to those who are over others, such as Magistrates, Parents, Masters, etc., Neither you, nor your son...

Reason 1. Because those servile works are forbidden on that day, are for the most part made to be done by command of Fathers to Children, Master to Servants, Magistrates to Subjects. So that, though they are performed by others, yet the works are those of the one at whose command they are done.

Reason 2. Because the sanctifying of this day was ordained for the cause and use of Sons and Servants, as well as Parents and Masters.

Reason 3. Because it is the duty of all Superiors to further the salvation, as much as they can, of all [236] those who are under them; and to procure by them and from them, that honour to God that is due him.

Use 1. Of Reproof: against that most unworthy carelessness of men who, just as they are not diligent enough themselves in doing their own duty on this behalf, so they think that they are free from all charge of children and servants about this matter.

Use 2. Of Direction: to Inferiors that are under others’ power. 1. That in this they willingly obey their Superiors when they call them to serve God. 2. Indeed, that they be thankful towards them for this reason. 3. That those who have the liberty to do so, should choose to be under those Superiors from whom they may look for this help.

Doctrine 6. To keep this duty, we must have a special remembrance: Remember that you keep holy, etc.

Reason 1. Because this command is not written naturally on our hearts as the other is; but it was a command of institution rather than of natural light.

Reason 2. Because the command does not concern all days and hours, but one special time; therefore we may forget it more easily.

Reason 3. Because the many businesses of this life will easily turn our minds from this duty, unless with some care and diligence we set ourselves to the contrary.

Reason 4. Because to rightly and conveniently sanctify this day, we need to think of it beforehand, and set our worldly business in such order that it is no hindrance to us on that day, to sanctify it rightly; and also be so busied about those things on other days, that [237] when that day comes, we may be disposed and ready, with freedom of mind and cheerfulness, to lay that business aside and apply ourselves to and go about the solemn worship of God with our whole mind.

Use. Of Reproof: against the laziness and carelessness of many who are so far from a holy remembering of this day, that they remember it rather to this end: that they may spend it on their private pleasures or other business of their own, on which they cannot have the leisure to spend any other day. For if they must run abroad a little, or if there is some sport and an easy journey must be made for it, or if there is some trouble-feast[11] to be held, they choose the Lord’s Day for these occasions, before any other day — as if otherwise the Lord’s Day would be lost to them as an idle day if it were only spent on God’s solemn worship. There are others who do not so much as remember the day of the week unless the Church Bell put them in remembrance of it.


[1] As for example, Luk 4.16; 6.1; 13.14; 14.1; etc.

[2] Act 2.1 - Pentecost was on the first day of the week, 50 days after the Passover Sabbath.

[3] Act 20.7.

[4] 1C0 16:2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.

[5] Rev 1.10.

[6] That is, because the Christians made Sunday — as named by the heathens — their primary day of worship and because heathens worshipped the sun, they assumed Christians worshipped the sun as well.

[7] Things done to make money.

[8] Acts of service.

[9] The sort of feasting that will trouble the conscience, because it is tainted with sinful indulgences.

[10] An act of purifying by means of a ritual; purging.

[11] The sort of feasting that troubles the conscience. The works of Robert Leighton, Archbishop of Glasgow (London, 1859), P• 277. “That is the trouble-feast that disquiets the conscience, which, while it continues good, is a continual feast. So much sin as gets in, so much peace will go out...”

The Thirty-ninth Lord’s Day

Exod 20.12

Honour your Father and your Mother: That your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you.

In the fifth command of the Decalogue, that duty is handled which is due our Neighbour in regard to his rank, degree, or quality. It is expounded by the Synecdoche that denominates[1] [238] one special thing for all of its kind, which is honour. For honour is a principal part of this duty, and also an impelling cause for other parts of it. For by honour is understood a just and right esteem and respect of worth (whatever it may be) which appears in our Neighbour, whether he is our Superior, or inferior, or our equal. Yet (as we said) it has its special denomination from that special respect which we owe those in whom some singular and eminent excellence appears. This is also why the degree of our Neighbour, in regard to which honour is to be given him, is signified to us by a similar Synecdoche by the titles of Father and Mother, in whom nature itself, however corrupt, evidently acknowledges a rank and degree of dignity to which honour is due. The sanction of this command is in a promise of long life, because the continuation of our life, and of all our quietness in it, depends on the preservation of the relationships of mankind, of which the first and source of almost all the rest, is between parents and children. And this is also the true reason why this command has first place in the second Tablet.

Doctrine 1. All men whatsoever, are in some way or other, to be honoured by us.

It is hence gathered, in that all precepts of the second Tablet regard our Neighbour, whatever he may be, according to Mat 22.39 where the sum of this Tablet is made to be, You shall love your Neighbour, etc. Though therefore this honour is referred to by the name Father and Mother, as its chief objects, yet in some way it is to be extended to every Neighbour; that is, to all mankind.

[239] Reason 1. Because none is found so base and vile that he does not have something in him that ought to be esteemed by us, and much valued. For if nothing else could be remarked in someone, yet the very common nature of man has that worth and dignity in it that should be regarded, and the party not altogether contemned, or accounted less than he indeed deserves; and in such respect, some honour is contained.

Reason 2. Seeing that all men are either our Superiors or Inferiors, or our equals. Religion, charity, and nature itself in a way lead us there, that we should honour all Superiors, because they are superior to us, as Parents. This appears by the very phrase of this command, where all Superiors are called Fathers and Mothers; and by like reasoning, all Inferiors should be respected by us like sons; and all equals as brothers or sisters.

Reason 3. Because such honour does much to advance love and mutual duties of all kinds. For all more willingly perform their duties when they see themselves and what they do, held in some respect.

Use. Of Reproof: against that barbarous pride which so possesses the minds of many that they can find but very few whom they think worthy of any honour from them. [It is doubtful] whether

those may be excepted from this, who make such a poor show of respect towards others by their Puppet and Morris-like behaviours,1 as signs of the honour that they truly owe you; but they go no further toward any reality of it. For the honour commanded here ought to have found roots in our hearts, and bring forth some sound fruits, and not only colours, and pretenses, and lying shows of it.

[240] Doctrine 2. A special honour is due our Superiors according to the nature and quality in which they are superior to us.

This is contained in the naming of Father and Mother who are to be specially honoured, in the general duty of honour that is due to all.

Reason 1. Justice requires that everyone is given his due; and Superiors have a special worth and excellence to which a special esteem and respect of honour is due.

Reason 2. Religion commands that we acknowledge that special manner of God’s image which appears in every super-eminence of dignity. This is why all such respect towards Superiors is called piety; partly because by piety, or religion towards God, it is commanded in a special manner; partly also because it has some likeness to that piety and worship due unto God.

Reason 3. Charity and thankfulness persuade us of the same thing, just as some good thing ordinarily descends from Superiors to Inferiors, even if it were only from the rank and order; for this reason, a special sort of honour is due them, even from those who in their own proper persons perhaps receive no particular good from them.

Reason 4. Because even for the society of mankind, nature teaches us to honour those who deserve well from others, even if we were to receive no profit by them.

Use 1. Of Admonition: that we take heed of such barbarous and uncivil manners whereby respect towards Superiors is taken away.

Use 2. Of Direction: that we always give reverence to those who are superior in authority or power, such as the Fathers of the Country, the Fathers of our bodies, the Fathers of families, Fathers in Christ, and the like.

Doctrine 3. Superiors owe a kind of honour to their Inferiors, suitable to their place.

This is hence gathered, in that Father and Mother are put here by a Synecdoche. 1. For all Superiors. 2. For all Neighbours, as has been said. So men are commanded to honour their wives, 1Pet 3.7.[2] [3] The meaning is that they ought to so behave themselves towards their Inferiors, that their Inferiors may cheerfully acknowledge that degree of dignity which they have over them, and show it.

Reason 1. Because this is only that general and universal justice whereby everyone is bound to render to another his due.

Reason 2. Because humility inclines all godly men, that as far as conveniently may be, they condescend to Inferiors, and as it were lift them up to themselves rather than stand too much upon their own title or superiority.

Reason 3. Because that esteem and respect which descends from the superior to the inferior has much more weight than that which ascends from the inferior to the superior; and therefore it does more to preserve the safety of mankind in its right order.

Use 1. That Superiors uphold with their dignity that resemblance of God which they ought to carry before their inferiors.

Use 2. That they take care to go before them in a right way and by a good example.

Use 3. That they always use all their wisdom, authority, and power that they have, to procure the good of those that are under them.

[242] Doctrine 4. This mutual honouring of each other does much to prolong and make our lives more pleasant in this world, and it improves our hope about life eternal.

This is clear from the promise that is subjoined to the precept.

Reason 1. Because the conformation of human society tends directly to the conservation of the life and livelihood of each one in particular.

Reason 2. Because sins that are committed against parents by whom we received this life, are most suitably punished by the loss of this life and of its comforts; and there is a like reason to punish sins against those who are placed in the position of parents.

Use. Of Exhortation: that by this and similar considerations, we stir ourselves up to a general care for the performance of this duty.


[1] Assigns a name or title to something.

[2] Referring perhaps to the puppet shows and Morris dancers that had been popular since Elizabethan days. It essentially means “going through the motions” or “play-acting” - i.e., to appear to be what you are not.

[3] 1Pe 3: 7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

The Fortieth Lord’s Day

Exod 20.13

You shall not kill.

In this sixth command of the Decalogue Moses addresses the person and life of man, and this is the reason why this command is placed before the other two following commands,1 in which are handled only the adjuncts of these. For the person and life are of greater importance than the things that belong to the person. Therefore care was first to be had of this, and then of those. The command is proposed negatively, as are the rest that [243] follow; yet the precedent ones were proposed affirmatively. The reason is because in things belonging to the fifth precept,[1] [2] [3] [4] privation is more used than contrariety; that is, it is more commendable not to give the honour to those to whom it is due, than to load them with manifest injuries and reproaches. But in these commands nothing is more usual than that for the duties commanded, we run into the quite contrary faults as to hurt our neighbour’s life or his livelihood in his goods, or to bear a false testimony against him, or to inordinately desire anything that is his. It was therefore very suitable that in the fifth commandment, the perfect duty opposite to the privation of honour should affirmatively be commanded of us; but in the rest it was more necessary that we should be recalled from the contrary faults and sins, by a negative prohibition. Now the life for which provision is made in this command, is both bodily and spiritual; and both these ought to be considered not only in their esteem and existence, but also in all their accessory qualities that makes for their comfort and convenience.

Doctrine 1. Out of conscience to God and his law, we ought to abstain from all such things that tend to hurt our neighbour’s bodily life.

This is gathered from the words of this command, because while murder or killing is forbidden, all causes and effectual occasions of it are also forbidden.

Reason 1. Because man is made after the image of God, and so any unjust violence done to the person or life of a man, is against the honour of God, Gen 9.6, etc.3

[244] Reason 2. Because God alone is the father of spirits, and the Lord of our life. He that unjustly hurts his brother’s life therefore does an injury to God, and arrogates4 to himself that power which properly belongs to no other but to God alone.

Reason 3. Because the greatest wrong that can be done to a man in this life, is to deprive him of life, in which all other injuries are privatively[5] contained.

Use 1. Of Admonition: that we diligently keep ourselves not only from spilling blood, which is the height of this injury, but also from all cruelty, and from all words and deeds by which man’s life, or the comforts and conveniences of his life, may be hurt or impaired.

Use 2. Of Admonition also: that by like reason and conscience, we keep ourselves from all the inward dispositions and affections by which man is led and provoked to hurt his neighbour unjustly, such as 1. Anger. 2. Hatred, which is as it were, a vehement anger now strengthened and rooted in the mind; which is why men work great evils to those whom they hate, and do so constantly; from this affection endeavor follows; and from endeavor, the act itself of hurting. 3. Envy, whereby men so repine[6] at others’ good estates, that they wish them worse, or some evil.

4. Desire for revenge, whereby men render evil for evil, and that is itself evil. Although it is sometimes honest and laudable to desire restitution for what is taken away, or satisfaction for the wrong, or chastisement or punishment against someone that has offended, this is because (and when) some evil in these things and the like is wished [245] to the offending party — not as evil, but as it tends to his good, and so as it may be good for him. Yet desire for revenge, whereby we desire some evil to another, such that it is only evil to him and without any reference to his good, can never be honest, laudable, or lawful.

Doctrine 2. But most of all we ought to keep ourselves from such things whereby the life of the soul of our brother is hurt.

This is gathered from the words of the Text, because above all other, this is the deadliest sort of killing a man; of which also the Scripture admonishes us in the same phrase whereby bodily killing is forbidden, I will require his blood at your hands, Ezek 33.8. Yet there is this difference between bodily and spiritual killing, that no man can be spiritually killed or murdered by violence and mere force, as many are killed bodily.

Reason 1. Because a man’s spiritual life is his most precious possession, far surmounting his bodily life.

Reason 2. Because hurting this life belongs to the hurt of his eternal state and condition.

Reason 3. Because depriving this life draws with it the deprivation of all the true comfort of the bodily life also.

Reason 4. Because in hurting this life, God’s glory is directly wronged by reason that this life cannot be hurt except by the sin of the one that hurts it, as well as the sin one that is hurt; though bodily life may be taken away without the sin of the one whose life it is.

Use. Of Admonition: that with great care and conscience we keep ourselves from all things whereby this life of the soul is hurt; such as, 1. From Heretical

[246] Doctrines. 2. From evil and corrupt counsel. 3. From scandalous and pernicious examples. 4. From all neglect of those duties that we owe our Neighbour with regard to this eternal salvation.

Doctrine 3. It is our duty not only to abstain from all those things which hurt the life of our Neighbour, bodily or spiritual; but also to carefully do all those things whereby he may be furthered in either life, and it may be made more lovely and comfortable for him.

It is hence gathered, that as no command is altogether negative, but always contains and commands the contrary duties to the sins forbidden, so it is also in this sixth Commandment.

Reason 1. Because there is a certain communion of nature and bodily life among all the posterity of Adam, as they all come from one and the same blood. There is likewise a like communion of spiritual life among many, as to the act and exercise itself; and among all, as to the hope and possibility.

Reason 2. Because religion sets up a sort of society among men and as it were, a spiritual City or Commonwealth, in which everyone is bound to procure the common good,1 and advance it as much as he can.

Reason 3. Because God is glorified in such duties, and according to the power and occasion given to us, there arises a calling to us, and a divine allowance whereby we are to perform this duty in a special manner.

Use. Of Exhortation: to all sorts of duties whereby the life of our Neighbour may be cherished; such as, 1. To a care for peace and love. 2. To patience. 3. To courtesy. 4. To pity, mercy, and bounty. 5. To [247] spiritual alms of Instruction, Exhortation, Admonition, Consolation, as occasion requires. This also refers to those sins which we commit against our own lives, such as drunkenness, surfeit,[7] [8] the evils of whoredoms and uncleanness, and the like; and contrarily, those duties whereby we ought to procure and further our own comfort, both of life and health and also of body and soul.


[1] Adultery and stealing.

[2] To honor your Father and your Mother.

[3] Gen 9:6 "Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.

[4] To assert one's right or title to something; to claim for oneself.

[5] The act of depriving someone of something.

[6] Express discontent; whine.

[7] 1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: - the Greek sumphero means to bring together for what is profitable. The NIV, ESV, and NAS use “common good.”

[8] To indulge one's appetite to satiety or excess; over-indulgence in anything.

The Forty-first Lord’s Day

Exo 20.14

You shall not commit Adultery.

In this seventh Commandment are handled those duties which belong to begetting and propagating human life. For these are next in place after those belonging to the preservation of life, which were ranked in the sixth Commandment, which takes care for continuing the life of this and that party in particular. But this seventh Commandment takes care for all men in general. By name then, one special impurity and dishonesty alone is forbidden; but by the usual Synecdoche, or comprehensive sort of speech, all others of that kind are to be understood, whether disordered actions like this, or those that tend of their own nature or of the intention of the doer to further such impure acts.

Doctrine 1. Out of conscience towards God, we ought to keep ourselves from all impurity and unchastity.

Reason 1. Because sins of this kind bring disorder into [248] those things which belong to the propagation of man’s life, and so they tend in some way to the corrupting of mankind.

Reason 2. Because from such sins, a sort of most inward uncleanness follows in the person or body of man. This is why the Apostle in iCor 6.18,1 distinguishes this sin from all others, in that others are outside the body, but this is in and against the body itself. Though there are some other sins that seem to be in and against the body, such as drunkenness, surfeit, etc., yet they neither so inwardly arise from the body, nor so directly and primarily affect it, as do these lustful dishonesties.

Reason 3. Because from this kind of uncleanness follows that dishonouring of our own bodies, which is contrary to what is naturally due to them, and to our persons, as appears in iThess 4.4.[1] [2]

Reason 4. Because these impurities in a special way withstand inward holiness, as appears both from that passage in Thessalonians, where holiness is conjoined with the honour of the body in opposition to this uncleanness; and from that passage in Corinthians, where our bodies are said to be temples of the Holy Spirit and members of Christ, yet by these faults they become the members of a Harlot.

Use. Of Admonition: that with greater care and conscience, we shun all such uncleanness. This should all the more be called to mind by us, because the depravity of man’s nature most often appears in these kinds of sins — because they are the most common, most prevalent, and keep the strongest dominion over him. They possess the whole man in whom they are found, and that is most deeply, and with a kind of violence and force. Hence it is that in Scripture [249] they are called a burning, because they burn up everything in their way; and little by little they consume the whole man, as fire consumes the thing that it burns. More especially then, we ought to keep ourselves, 1. From that lust which is properly called carnal, so that we are not subject to it, nor obey its affections and dispositions. 2. From all outward conversation by which such lust is cherished and furthered in ourselves, or in others, as are these:

1. Those thoughts which with pleasure and delight are taken up and engaged with unchaste matters.

2. Wanton apparel and behavior, or which favour wantonness, or cherish it.

3. Filthy and unclean communication, either in common discourses or songs.

4. Unclean company and wanton representations, as are commonly found in stage-plays and interludes, pictures, and rooms hung with such things, etc.

5. All occasions and provocations to lust, such as idleness, drunkenness, surfeiting, etc.

6. Most of all, the acts themselves of unchasteness in whoredom, adultery, fornication, etc.

Doctrine 2. By virtue of this command, we are bound to study all cleanness of soul and body that belongs to procreation.

This is commanded in the same words, that the contrary faults are forbidden by, according to the constant use of speech in the Decalogue.

Reason 1. Because this cleanness is a part of our inward sanctification.

Reason 2. Because from this part of our sanctification, a special sort of honour arises, iThess 4.4 — while our bodies are not made drudges for fulfilling the base and vile affections of the flesh, but are applied to nobler uses.

[250] Reason 3. Because this purity is necessary, so that we may be fit to worship God as we should. For where carnal impurity prevails and gets dominion, it not only presses down and burdens the mind so that it cannot raise itself up to spiritual thoughts and affections, but it also infects with contagion, and pollutes those very thoughts and endeavors whereby we seek after and breathe for spiritual life.

Use. Of Admonition: that we do not indulge or allow the inclinations of our corrupt natures in these things, nor allow ourselves to be carried away with the evil manners and examples of the vulgar sort who in this kind, are often more beasts than Christians. But let us always be thinking how we may keep ourselves clean from these lusts of the flesh, as well as from other sins. This cleanness is maintained by modesty and temperance. Modesty is kept in this, if neither by words, nor by gestures, nor by any other such way, we uncover as it were, without reverence, what nature tells us should covered and hidden, and if we are ashamed of the uncovering.[3] Temperance or sobriety consists in keeping a moderation or measure in the pleasures of the flesh or body, especially in food and drink. This cleanness or chastity, as to its diversity of manner, is divided into the chastity of single life, and chastity of marriage. For marriage is appointed by God, since the fall, as a means to keep this cleanness or chastity in things that belong to the generation of mankind. Therefore we ought to have a care, 1. That we marry in such cleanness — that is, with such a person, in such a manner, and for such an end — that from a good conscience [251] it may be said that the contract or bargain was made in the Lord, and in fear of him. 2. That it be used and exercised in this cleanness — that is, that neither the end of it may be broken; nor that it be drawn beyond the bounds of modesty and temperance; nor that it be turned in any way from a remedy for sin and lust, into a cover for uncleanness and wantonness.


[1]1 Corinthians 6:16-18 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh." v But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

[2] 1 Thess 4:4-5 that each of you should know how to possess Ins own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;

[3] That is, we are modest if we do not do what is immodest, and if we blush if someone else does.

The Forty-second Lord’s Day

Exo 20.15

You shall not steal.

In this eighth Commandment men’s possessions are handled as things that come under the name of their outward goods and commodities. For thus God would show what a care he has for us, in that by his Law he not only has provided for the safety of our life, and chastity, and the honour of our persons, but also for our possessions and external goods. He would also hereby admonish us how confidently we may entrust all that is ours to him; and where, by his external Law, he would have us secured about these lesser matters. There is ordained and presupposed in this Commandment, a propriety[1] to every particular man in his own goods, by reason of which it is truly said, this is mine, and that is thine. For though at the beginning of the creation, all things were in a way common, yet afterwards, by lawful seizure and possession of this or that, a division of things [252] ensued. The unjust breach of this division is condemned in this commandment, along with all those things which make for it, or lead to it. For it is as in a feast: some dish is set down in common, and it is no more this guest’s than that guest’s. Yet when any guest has taken a portion or share of it for himself, then that is more his own than any other’s; so that it cannot be taken from him by any other without incivility. So all the commodities of this life were at first held out in common to all; but when one took a certain portion of them for himself, another could not by force take it from him without sin. Now by name, only theft is forbidden, because it is one of the grossest and most manifest sins of this kind; because in theft, the breach of that right which everyone has to his own commodity is apparent to everyone, and so the injustice and the wrong is clear. Yet together with sin — according to the perpetual use of speech in all the other Commandments — all the degrees, causes, principles, and occasions or provocations for it, are also forbidden.

Doctrine 1. Out of conscience towards God, we must keep ourselves from all unjust hurting of our Neighbour, in point of his possessions or outward goods.

Reason 1. Because otherwise we sin against God in various ways: 1. That dispensation of his providence whereby he has divided such things among men, is disturbed against his revealed will. 2. The dominion of God himself, which he exercises in dispensing those things as seems best to him, seems in this way to be contemned. 3. We invade this sovereignty and dominion of God, while at our pleasure we make ours, whatever we wish.

[253] Reason 2. Because we do our neighbour gross and manifest injury while we take by force for ourselves what belongs to him, and so take away from him his goods.

Reason 3. Because in this way, charity is directly broken: while instead of that good which we both ought to wish and procure for our neighbour, we do him real evil in depriving him of his own goods.

Reason 4. Because from such sins follow strifes, hatred, and the disturbance of all society.

Use. Of Admonition: that we not only shun that which is commonly called theft, but also all those sins which in Scripture are covered by theft as their common head. Such as, 1. Too great a love of riches. 2. The desire for our own profit at our neighbour’s loss. 3. All injustice in bargains and commerce, however it may be done under the colour of right. 4. All using or appropriating for ourselves that which is another’s, without its master’s consent; whether this is done by force, or by deceit and circumvention.

Doctrine 2. With the same religion or conscience that we ought to abstain from theft, we ought to set ourselves to this, on the contrary: that we seek our neighbour’s good, and further it in his outward goods.

It is gathered from the similar reason that exists between the sins that are forbidden, and the duties that are commanded which are contrary to theft.

Reason 1. Because by this means we make ourselves instruments of God’s bounty and good providence, whereby it is his pleasure that all be provided for in things necessary to this life.

[254] Reason 2. Because it is the exercise of our charity towards our neighbour.

Reason 3. Because it also belongs in some way to justice, in as much as we ought to behave ourselves as members of the same society; and everyone has a right to such duties from others as far as they can be conveniently performed by them.

Reason 4. Because our Lord admonishes us that we make friends for ourselves from the use of this communion, and so further others by our good example, and further ourselves by their good desires and prayers for us, on the way to salvation.1

Use. Of Direction: that we set ourselves with all care that according to this duty of humanity, we further the profits of others as our occasion and power shall require.[2] [3] Hence,

1. We ought to purchase nothing for ourselves, except by honest means and just titles of right. For whatever is otherwise purchased or acquired always turns to the wronging of another.

2. Everyone should take to some honest exercise of life,[4] which is lawful in itself, suitable to ourselves, and profitable to others and those who live at ease. For whoever lives a disorderly life,[5] [6] 5 such as resolute beggars, with those who, like the one in the Gospel, having full Bags and Barns, sing a requiem to their souls, saying, Soul take your ease; you have laid up muchA As in other things, so they sin in this: they do not take on themselves such a condition, whereby they may do good to others.

3. Diligence is to be used in our calling, without which we cannot keep the things we have, much less increase them, so that we may spare something from them and lay it out for the common good of others.

[255] 4. Frugality and moderation ought to be used in our expenditures for ourselves, lest the fountain be drawn dry from which such streams flow for helping and refreshing others.

Bounty and mercy ought to be exercised in communicating our goods to others, especially persons that are to be pitied; and of these, chiefly those who are of the household of faith. For in this duty is most of all exercised (and most manifestly) that virtue which is most contrary to theft. Because as in theft we unjustly take for ourselves what is not our own, so in liberality and alms we justly take from ourselves what is our own, and freely bestow it on another.


[1]A proprietary or property right; ownership;.

[2] Luke 16:9 "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.

[3] Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

[4] That is, a paying occupation; a job or career. Ephesians 4:28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

[5] Disorderly: undisciplined and unruly, where sin and sloth have not been substantially mastered (Gen 4.7), nor are they being actively brought into submission to tire Spirit (iCor 9.27; Rom 8.4-5; 8.13-14).

[6] Luke 12.19.

The Forty-third Lord’s Day

Exo 20.18

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

In this Commandment is handled the testimony of one given on behalf of another, to obtain belief or trust in them. This then is also among the things that belong to our neighbour. For it either tends to his good, or to his hurt, as the belief that is given to this testimony may either do him good, or do him harm. God in this Commandment therefore shows us not only that we should not hurt our neighbour in his honour, or life, or chastity, or goods, but also that no effectual occasion [256] should be given for harm to him, either by words or by witnessing. Even though he might not be immediately hurt by it, he would still be hurt either by coming between his own or someone else’s credit or endeavor. The general sin that is forbidden here is called/aZse witnessing; that is, whenever by our credit, authority, or testimony, we confirm as truth that which we know to be false, which is the very nature and definition of a lie.

Doctrine 1. Every lie, with whatever pretense it may be excused, because it is a witnessing of falsehood, it is a sin.

Reason 1. Because it contains an injury to our neighbour, who from the very law of nature has this right, that he may challenge us to say nothing to him as being true, that is not true; no more than we would foist upon him a piece of false coin as being true coin, or as being gold or silver currency, when it is only a counterfeit.

Reason 2. Because there is a base and dishonest disorder in the false witness, that lies while his tongue and speech quite disagree from his mind;1 it is as if the Interpreter of some Prince were to speak things quite contrary to those that he was commissioned by his Prince to declare.

Reason 3. Because the inconveniences that are brought forth and furthered in the world by lies are very grievous and heavy; because by these lies all trust, in which the very knot and foundation of human society lies, is troubled in every kind. There is no evil that is done to anyone, in any other way, but that it both may and usually is brought about by lies. So that by lies, sin is committed against the honour, the life, the chastity, and the outward goods of men, just as it is committed against his religion. So that, [257] by breaking this Commandment, all the foregoing Commandments may also be broken in some way.[1] [2]

Reason 4. Because by a lie, the nature of the Devil himself is followed in a special manner, and as it were, put on like a garment. Joh 8.44, You are of your Father the Devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and did not abide in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks his own: for he is a liar, and the Father of it.

Use. Of Admonition: that out of conscience towards God, we keep ourselves from all lying, whether it is that of a pernicious lie, or an officious lie, or a merry lie.1 Whether it is spoken of ourselves, as in our vaunting and dissimulations,[3] [4] or of others, as in calumnies,[5] slanders, backbitings, flatteries, soothings,[6] etc. But these lies are chiefly to be shunned, as used to be committed in public judgments, and in matters of great weight and importance. 1. Because by how much advisedness[7] a man lies, by so much his sin is the greater. 2. Because by how much greater the danger that another is brought into by the lie, by so much the sin is the heavier. 3. By how much greater the obligations come together that bind us to the truth, by so much the sin is multiplied.

And that we may abstain from lying, we must abstain from those things that make way for lying — such as rash suspicions, and too great an easiness to believe and receive false reports; and a talkative and twattling[8] [9] 7 nature, which used to be exercised by so many, without that consideration whereby they [258] should always put a difference between truth and falsehood, and the like.

Doctrine 2. We ought to love truth, and accordingly, as occasion serves, we ought to further and advance it.

This is gathered from the words of the Commandment; because veracity, whereby we both love truth, and according to occasion, witness to the truth, is that virtue commanded here; and it is contrary to that sin that is condemned here, in bearing false witness. So that speculative truth is not properly treated here, nor that which is true generally; but only moral truth — that is, what belongs to men’s manners and consciences. And that is such a truth of our words, as that they agree with our mind; and our mind also agrees with the thing itself, as far as we are bound to know, or profess that we know. And this veracity is to be followed and highly prized for these reasons:

Reason 1. Because it is not the least part of that image of God that we ought to show, because in a special way, God is and is called the God of Truth, Psa 31.5; and his word is called the word of truth/ and truth itself.[10] So that truth has a unique agreement with the nature and perfection of God. This is also why it is that God, though in other commands has sometimes used a kind of exception, and as it were, dispensed with it for a time, as in the matter of Theft with the Israelites (for he made it not to be a theft, by a special explication of the command, which otherwise would have been theft~); and some marriages both before and under the Law, were made lawful by an extraordinary approving of them.[11] Yet in this command about speaking truth, God never granted any explication or [259] dispensation, because from the very nature of the thing itself, it has more of God’s image in it, and of his divine and immutable justice. Indeed, what is more, God has absolutely forbidden us to lie even for his cause, much less for our own or for any mortal man’s.

Reason 2. Because this veracity is a special perfection of man, to the extent it excludes these deviations and the crookedness of men’s minds, whereby men are perverted to a habit of lying, and subjected to the base affections either of fear, or fraud, or the like. Hence also, from the very light of nature, it is a singular honour to anyone if they are lovers of truth, and stick fast to it, and are constant both in defending and furthering the truth.

Reason 3. This is also the foundation of all civil society and conversation; so that it being taken away, men would become Wolves and Foxes to one another, rather than men.

Reason 4. By the exercise and love of truth, our minds are better disposed to embrace that truth which leads to our salvation.

Use. Of Direction: that in our conversation with men, we follow after this truth. For though it is not required either that we know all that is true, nor that at all times we speak what we know to be true, yet we are never to witness anything against the truth — at no time, in no place, for no party whatsoever, not even for God himself (as was said). Moreover, we are always bound to give witness to the truth, and to confirm it when either religion or conscience towards God, or justice and charity towards our neighbour, shall require this duty from us.


[1] That is, from what he knows in his mind to be true.

[2] Jas 2.10.

[3] A lie said in fun, just to see what might happen.

[4] That is, “as in boasting and deceiving”.

[5] A false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone's words or actions. Also, an abusive attack on a person's character or good name.

[6] For example, telling a lie to make someone feel better or to avoid giving offense.

[7] Careful prior consideration; willful intent.

[8] To talk in a digressive or long-winded way; idle talk; ill-considered speech.

[9] For example 2Tim 2.15; Jas 1.18.

[10] Psa 119.160; Joh 17.17.

[11] No reference is given.

The Forty-fourth Lord’s Day

Exo 20.17

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour's.

In this last Commandment is handled the estate and condition of our Neighbour in common, as appears by these last words, nor whatever is your neighbour’s. For as in the first Commandment of the first Tablet, that duty is commanded on which all other duties lie and depend; so also in this last Commandment of the last Tablet, that duty is handled on which all other duties that relate to our neighbour depend. About this state of our neighbour in common, covetousness is forbidden. This covetousness is neither to be understood as the natural faculty of coveting or desiring, which of itself is good and lawful; and it is not to be ranked with forbidden things. Nor is this covetousness to be understood as every concupiscence or lust; because such acts of filthy lust have the consent of the will joined with them to accomplish the acts of sin, if occasion were given. As such, they are prohibited in the other Commandments, according to their kinds to which they belong. Christ himself teaches about man inordinately lusting after a woman, which he calls adultery, and shows that it is forbidden [261] in the seventh Commandment.1 Nor yet is this covetousness to be understood as that innate and inbred lust in us which is original sin, and the tinder[1] [2] to all actual sin; because that is no more forbidden in any one Commandment, than the contrary original righteousness and innocence is commanded in the whole Law. But as this primitive righteousness is commanded of us in all the Law throughout, so the contrary original sin, lust, or inclination and propensity to evil, in general, is forbidden in the whole Law, and not in any one commandment. Here then is properly understood that covetousness which is a disorderly desire or longing for anything that is our neighbour’s, though we do not fully consent to it, and though we never desire to accomplish it by unlawful means.

Doctrine 1. The first motions[3] in which we are touched by an inordinate desire, are to be considered sins that are to be shunned.[4]

It is gathered from the words of the Commandment, because that first lusting after anything that is our neighbour’s is expressly condemned; and all other inordinate motions are of the same kind.

Reason 1. Because such motions are contrary to the perfection of God’s Image, which we are everywhere bound to keep entire in ourselves, as much as possible.

Reason 2. Because such motions are contrary to charity, whereby we ought to love God with our whole heart, and our neighbour as ourselves. For if this charity were perfect in us, no place would be left in us for such motions or affections, either against God, or against our Neighbour.

Reason 3. Because in such motions there is a certain beginning of a consent to evil, though it is not full and perfect. This appears from that hidden liking and delight that usually accompanies such motions, until they are seriously repressed.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against Papists who do not hold such first motions to be sins, and so they do not acknowledge the spiritual depth of sin; and by the same means in great part they take away the power of repentance and spiritual humiliation.

Use 2. Of Admonition: that with all diligence we keep our hearts;1 though we cannot be altogether free from such motions, yet as much as possible, we are to keep ourselves from them; and that is for two reasons: 1. Because they have something of sinfulness in them, and also tend to promote heavier sins. 2. Because in some way they defile our mind, and make it less fit to exercise and preserve holy motions.

Doctrine 2. Everyone ought to be content with that portion and condition that God has measured out to him.

This is hence gathered, because contentment with our own is the duty directly contrary to desiring what is another’s.[5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Reason 1. Because we ought to rest in God’s dispensation, as in our Father’s good providence who knows best what is good for us.

Reason 2. Because this contentment does much for the quietness of our mind, and so for the happiness of our life.

Reason 3. Because the lack of this contentment argues that our love of the world and of ourselves is too great, and it comes from a perverse affection, that we are not content with our lot.

Use 1. Of Reproof: against those who think about almost nothing else, than about how they may gain such or such a worldly thing that they do not have; so that their whole life is nothing else but a continual exercise of avarice and ambition.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: that we may more and more strive for this contentment of mind, which is the companion of true piety, as it is said: Godliness is great gain, with a mind contented with its own condition. PFor we brought nothing with us into this world, nor can we take anything out of it with us; 8 but having food and clothing, let us be content with these. 9 But those who would be rich fall into temptation, and into a snare, and many lusts or covetings, etc. iTi 6:6- 9■

Doctrine 3. We ought to desire our Neighbour’s good as well as our own.1

This is hence gathered, that here is forbidden the coveting of that which is our Neighbour’s; from this it follows that we should not only leave to him those things which are his, but also (which is more) heartily desire that he may keep and enjoy his own to his own contentment, and not that we should have them or desire them. So that, just as the love of God above all other things is commanded in the first Commandment, so loving our Neighbour as ourselves seems to be chiefly commanded and summed up in this last Commandment.[10] [11]

Reason 1. Because love to our Neighbour ought to follow from our love to God; and God may be as well honoured by the things he gives to our Neighbour, as by the things he gives to us.

Reason 2. Because though it is more natural to wish good to ourselves, yet it is more divine [264] and perfect to wish good to others in such external things.

Reason 3. Because by wishing good to others, we wish good to ourselves, in as much as by the exercise of this duty, we further our own salvation.

Use. Of Reproof: against the common frailty of us all. For from this Commandment, just as from the Commandment to love God above all things, it follows that none can perfectly keep this moral Law in this life; namely, if we understand that perfection which consists in complete obedience. For otherwise, such a perfection, or integrity and sincerity, would be found in all believers, as opposed to feigning and dissimulation; and as opposed to that halting or lameness by which some duties seem to be looked after, but not all; and also such a perfection as is opposed to lukewarmness. For all believers both worship God sincerely, and desire to keep all his Commandments, and pant after a complete obedience also. Yet the Law is not proposed to us in vain for this purpose, even though we are unable to keep it fully. For from this we understand,

1. What is our duty.

2. What are the defects under which we lie.

3. What we may require from God; namely, that we may be freed from guilt, and renewed to a performance of our duties.

4. That we have a mark set for us, at which we may aim in all our endeavors.

5. That we may in part take notice of the perfection of that life which we shall enjoy in another world.


[1] Mat 5:28 "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

[2] Fuel for a lire.

[3] That is, inclinations of the heart; motivations.

[4] Avoid and deliberately stay away from; stay clear of.

[5] Proverbs 4:20-23 20 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Luke 21:34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.

[6] Heb 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Phi 4:11-12 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.

[9] Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

[10] Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

[11] Matthew 22:39 "And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

The Forty-fifth Lord’s Day

Eph 6.18

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching to this end with all perseverance, and supplication for all Saints.

The Apostle, after explicating our spiritual armour which every Christian ought to furnish himself with, adds exhortations to prayers, by which this spiritual armour is taken up, put on, strengthened, made sure and proved, and is increased. In the Exhortation itself, several things are expounded, such as the Duty of praying. This duty is declared,

1. By a distribution, with all prayer and supplication.

2. From the adjunct of time, always, or at all times.

3. From the object, whose good these prayers are to serve; namely, not only for ourselves, but for

all Saints.

4. From the efficient cause, by the Holy Spirit.

5. From its singular manner that must accompany it, which consists in watching and in perseverance.

Doctrine 1. Prayer is among those principal duties which we ought to be careful of.

It is hence gathered from the Text; because the Apostle so carefully urges it.

Reason 1. Because it gives very great glory to God; for God in all our prayers is acknowledged as the principle and fountain of all our good.

Reason 2. It contains man’s greatest subjection and [266] homage to God. 1. Because it seeks all things by free gift and grace. 2. Because the soul and the conscience themselves are prostrated before God, and are cast at his feet when we pray.

Reason 3. Because by prayer we receive all the spiritual gifts of God.

Reason 4. Because by prayer we sanctify to ourselves all the corporal gifts of God.

Reason 5. Because by prayer we fly to God, so that in him we may be secured from all evil.

Reason 6. Because in the exercise of prayer we have most sweet communion with God, and the communication of his grace.

Reason 7. Because in prayer, either expressly or impliedly, we give ourselves up to God, so that after and from prayer, we rise more obliged and bound to God than we were before; because all prayer always has adjoined to it some promise of thankfulness for hearing our prayer, and granting our desires.

Use. Of Exhortation: that we may more and more give ourselves to this holy exercise of Prayer, in public as well as in private. To this care, many considerations ought to stir us up: First, that holy prayer is so acceptable to God, that in Scriptures it is called Incense, or Perfume, and Sacrifice. 2. In that it is so proper to the godly, that in Scriptures the terms godly men, and those who call upon the name of God, are used without difference. 3. In that it is so inseparable a fruit of the Holy Spirit dwelling in the heart of a believing man, that from this it is called the spirit of

Prayer; and Prayer is almost the same to spiritual life as breathing is to natural or animal life. Moreover, that by prayers we best resist all sorts of temptations; [267] this is also why we are bid to resist the Devil by Praying;1 and to pray and watch so that we do not fall into temptation.[1] [2] 4. Lastly, in that all grace is stirred up and increased by the exercise of Prayer.[3]

Doctrine 2. In prayer we ought to exercise ourselves in all kinds and sorts of prayer.

This is hence gathered, in that the Apostle exhorts us here to all prayer, and supplication, and thanksgiving.

Reason 1. Because our manifold necessities require manifold sorts of Prayer, in respect to evils with which we are pressed, as well as in respect to good things that we want, or for receiving them, for which we owe thanks; and also the necessities and circumstances of others, for whom we owe this duty of Prayer.

Reason 2. Because by this means, not only one grace or another, but all the graces of God are put forth and exercised in us, according to their proper objects and natures.

Reason 3. Because by this means, God is glorified by us in many ways.

Use. Of Direction: that we do not rest on forms of Prayers, as if repeating them were enough to fulfill our duty in general; because according to diverse occasions, we ought to take ourselves to diverse manners or ways of Praying.

Doctrine 3. In Godly prayers, the Holy Spirit exercises a special power of his own.

From the words, by the Holy Spirit.

Reason 1. Because of ourselves we do not know how or what to pray for. And although we are taught about such things in the word of God, yet for the practice itself, a special direction of the Holy Spirit is requisite.

Reason 2. Because our weaknesses are so many that, in [268] the exercise of Prayer, they must be helped by the Holy Spirit.

Reason 3. Because no prayers can be holy and acceptable to God, unless they come from the Holy Spirit.

Use. Of Direction: that in making our prayers, we do not trust to our own wit, and volubility[4] of gifts, and to our own strength; but that we always rely on the grace and help of the Holy Spirit.

Doctrine 4. In some way or other we should always, or at all times be praying.

From the words, Praying always.

Reason 1. Because we should always have a praying disposition of mind, or a mind ready to pray. For in this consists the right disposition and ordering of our mind.

Reason 2. Because we should take every just occasion for this exercise of Prayer.

Reason 3. Because we should not pass over our set and established times of prayer.

Use. Of Reproof: against those who are so far from this exercise that not only can they pass over whole days, but also whole weeks without any serious thoughts of Prayer.

Doctrine 5. The manner of Praying is as much to be taken care of as prayer itself.

This is here gathered, in that watching unto prayer is commanded in the same manner as prayer. Now watching unto Prayer belongs to the manner of Praying, and in some way it contains all things that belong to prayer. For

First, We ought to watch before prayer; that we may so prepare ourselves for it that all hindrances to it may be removed, and that we ourselves get a fit disposition of mind and spirit.

Secondly, In prayer we must watch against lukewarmness, lack of reverence, wandering thoughts, and the like.

Thirdly, After prayers we must be watchful against forgetfulness and slothfulness, whereby we come short of the fruit of our prayers; nor indeed should we expect anything for our carelessness.

Reason 1. Because in every moral action, the manner of doing is of greatest weight, by which we not only do that which is good, but do it well.

Reason 2. Because in prayer, in a special way we are in God’s presence; how we behave ourselves in his sight is a matter of no small concern.

Reason 3. Because a corrupt manner of praying sometimes not only destroys the power of our prayers, but also turns them into sin for us.

Use. Of Direction: that we may have a care for all those things which make for the right manner of praying, such as Faith, Humility, Zeal or Fervour, and Constancy.


[1] Jam 4:7-8 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

[2] Mat 26:41 "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

[3] Exo 33:13 " Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Yom way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Yom sight.

[4] The quality of being facile in speech and writing.

The Lord’s Prayer

The Forty-sixth Lord’s Day

Mat 6.9-13

After this manner therefore pray: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

This prayer was dictated by Christ, and for this reason all Christians should hold it in chief esteem as coming from him that was the wisdom of God himself; therefore he knew well all our necessities, and also knew most perfectly what the will of God is towards us. And it was dictated so that it might be an example or pattern of all Prayers that we ought to use. It is not that we should be bound to this very frame and form of words, yet it may also be freely used by us. For we do not read that this very form of words was used by the Apostles; rather, other diverse Prayers of theirs are mentioned in the Acts as well as in their Epistles. This Prayer is made up of certain Petitions, to which are adjoined a foregoing Preface, and a following Conclusion. The Preface is in these words: Our Father which art in Heaven.

[271] And in this is proposed and commended to us a certain description of God, to whom our prayers are always to be directed. This description suitably to its occasion — that is, to praying — lays out for us those perfections of God which are most necessary to be known and considered by us for devoutly calling upon his name. And because nothing does more for this than that we be assured of God’s goodness and good will towards us, whereby he intends good to us; and that we be assured of his power, whereby he is able to do all that he pleases in Heaven or on earth. Therefore 1. The goodness of God is declared by that title of, Our Father. And 2. His greatest power and majesty is designed in these other words, Which art in Heaven. He is called Father not only from the benefit of creation and providence, whereby as with a Fatherly care he provides for us in all things; but chiefly also for the benefit of adoption, whereby of his special favour he chooses us, to be of the rank and number of his sons. And he is said to be in Heaven, because in Heaven, especially the third Heaven, he manifests his majesty as it were, in his royal throne, among the blessed and glorious spirits. And from there he sends out his Word as a royal declaration of his will, through all parts of the world, for the powerful effectuating of all and every thing that he wills or pleases.

Doctrine 1. Some preparation of mind is necessary for rightly making our prayers.

This is hence gathered, in that a preface is used here, and such a preface as directly makes for preparing our minds, that we may make our prayers more directly before God.

Reason 1. Because so great is the majesty of God, [272] that to appear before him, and rashly rush into conference with him, and do so negligently, without taking any care of our fitness and predisposition for it, would be such an indignity, that

it would be a great incivility and lack of wisdom if it were done to any worldly Prince or great man.1

Reason 2. Because so great is our weakness, that unless our minds are strengthened by some religious meditation, they will never lift themselves up to God as becomes them.

Reason 3. Because so great is our unworthiness, that our minds can hardly be raised up to consider and believe how our prayers are heard by God, unless we seriously meditate on the favour or grace of God and his promises.

Use. Of Direction: how we ought to dispose and settle ourselves to prayer, namely by such a preparation which chiefly consists in two things:

1. In calling away our mind, and thoughts, and cares, from all other things during that time and exercise of prayer — not only unlawful things, but otherwise lawful though worldly things.

2. In setting our minds, and thoughts, and affections on heavenly things; and do that according to that occasion which our prayers in general, and in their special and particular nature, give us.

Doctrine 2. God alone, by religious prayer, is to be called upon.

This is hence gathered, because in this most perfect pattern of Christian prayer, we are not taught to call upon any in that way except the one whom we may call, Our Father which art in heaven.

Reason 1. Because prayer is so divine a worship, and it gives so much glory to the party that it is made to, [273] that without idolatry it cannot be offered to any creature. This is also why it is called everywhere in Scripture a sacrifice,[1] [2] which the very Papists themselves confess cannot be offered but to God alone.

Reason 2. Because no creature can sufficiently know our prayers; because they come from the heart, and not from the mouth only.

Reason 3. Because no creature can always and everywhere be present to hear prayers where they are made.

Reason 4. We cannot religiously call on those whom we do not religiously believe in, Rom 10.14.[3] But we may not religiously believe in a creature, Jer 17.5.[4] [5] 5

Use. Of Refutation: against the perverse superstition of Papists.

Doctrine 3. In all our prayers, we ought to come to God with confidence, as to our Father.

It is gathered from the word, Father.

Reason 1. Because prayer in its most inward and essential nature, is an action of affiance and trust. For we seek nothing from God, except out of trust and hope grounded on his promises.

Reason 2. Because we ought to strive for this, that we ourselves may be accepted by God as his sons, so that we may know that our prayers will be accepted by him. And this we only attain by faith and affiance placed in God, through Jesus Christ.

Reason 3. Because we ought to give God this glory, that as a bountiful Father he will liberally give to us all that is good for us, when we ask of him.

Question: What shall they do then, who have not yet received the spirit of adoption,1 so that with any certainty they may call upon God as their Father?

Answer: Though they cannot for that time receive [274] that comfort from their prayers that others do, yet they should not therefore cease from the exercise of prayer. This is because prayer itself is a most fit means to attain this confidence — when by lifting up the heart to God we at least wish, if we cannot with downright confidence and affirmation say from the Word, that we could and might truly call upon God as our Father.

Use. Of Direction: that we always call upon God in Christ, in whom alone God is our Father by adopting us, and is reconciled to us, and accepts us and our prayers.

Doctrine 4. In our prayers, confidence towards God, and charity towards our brethren, should always be joined together.

It is gathered from the word, Our. It is both lawful and sometimes expedient and profitable that a believer say in his prayers, O my Father, to manifest his particular confidence in God, and not for designing any sonship he has in God that is more special than others have; for Christ alone might and did use that form of speaking. Yet even for designing our particular confidence, it should never be joined with excluding thoughts of others. But whatever our own particular feelings are in respect to charity, the judgment, and our desire for it towards others, we should always, either expressly or impliedly, call upon God as the common Father of ourselves, and of others also.

Reason 1. Because it belongs to our comfort that we so call on God, as being members with others of that mystical body for which God has prepared and promised all good things.

Reason 2. Because it belongs to the communion of [275] Saints, that they have a perpetual communication or the mutual partaking and benefit of prayers among themselves.

Reason 3. Because charity towards others is a disposition which is in a special way required of us, so that our prayers may be acceptable to God according to that teaching of our Lord, If you forgive others, you shall be forgiven.[6] [7]

Use. Of Reproof: against those who, burning with hatred and a desire for revenge, rush into praying — not that we ought to abstain from praying merely because of such perturbations of ours, nor abstain from the Lord’s Supper. But we ought to lay aside and purge such perturbations, not only when we come to partake publicly of the Lord’s Supper, but also daily, and privately, whenever we set ourselves to make our daily prayers to God.

Doctrine 5. The majesty and power of God are to be set before us when we call upon God.

It is gathered from the words, Which art in Heaven.

Reason 1. Because this majesty of God rightly set before us and thought upon, strikes us into an awful1 reverence and fear of God, which is required for all humble and rightly conceived prayers.

Reason 2. Because the consideration of that same majesty lifts up our minds above all earthly and worldly things, to think upon and seek heavenly things.

Reason 3. Because the heavenly power of God directly strengthens our confidence according to that word of the Apostle in Rom 4.21, He believed and did not doubt that he who had promised could also perform.

Use. Of Direction: how in our prayers we may resist [276] sundry[8] [9] thoughts and temptations; namely, we resist them by lifting up our minds to behold and think upon the majesty and power of God, in whose presence we are.


[1] Malachi 1:8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts.

[2] As in Psa 141.2; Rev 5.8; or prayer is linked to sacrifice, as in Isaiah 56:7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer, their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations."

[5] Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? Jeremiah 17:5 Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.

[6] Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."

[7] Mat 6.14, the verse immediately following the Lord’s Prayer.

[8] Awe-full, or awe-filled.

[9] Various and many.

The Forty-seventh Lord’s Day

On the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer

Hallowed by thy Name.

All the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer are very short, and yet they are such as contain all things that are to be sought for in their own way, and in a most convenient order. For the first four Petitions concern obtaining good; and the last two the removing of evil. Among the former, those which nearest concern the glory of God have the first place. And first of all, the glory of God itself is sought and prayed for in the first petition, where by the name of God, God himself is understood, and those things which most intimately belong to him, in as much as he has revealed himself to the creatures. By sanctifying this name then is understood the manifestation of God’s glory, as most becomes his most holy majesty.

Doctrine 1. All prayers that we offer to God are to be followed with great zeal and affection.

This is hence gathered, because all these petitions are so short, yet pithy and comprehensive; so that it may appear from this, that the power of prayer does not consist so much in a multitude of words, and empty or vain repetitions or babblings, as it does in the fervent and well-composed desires of the heart.

[277] Reason 1. Because the abundance of the heart is here chiefly regarded, according to which only the mouth ought to speak.1 And the abundance of the heart consists in such desires with zeal and fervour, or heat of affections.

Reason 2. Because God knows what we stand in need of, so that a long and artificial or skilful expounding of things to God is not necessary, nor does it at all profit further than it proceeds from an overflowing abundance of the heart.

Use. Of Reproof: against such babblings; they are expressly condemned by Christ our Lord himself,[1] [2] [3] 3 and yet they are wilfully and professedly used by Papists, and others also; this is done out of a lukewarm formality, in as much as they use a form of praying, but deny the power of it. 3

Doctrine 2. Those things which most concern the glory of God’s name, are to be in first place, and sought after with greatest affection.

This is gathered from the order of the petitions.

Reason 1. Because in the order of intention, and of a well-ordered desire, the end is first to be desired. And the glory of God is the end of all.

Reason 2. That which is first in worth ought to be put before all other things. And the glory of God has infinite excellence and worth beyond all other things.

Reason 3. Because this is one difference between true and sincere prayer, and that which is hypocritical and vain. Hypocrites then, only seek after God when, by their own private and proper necessities, they are constrained to it, and do not seek after him first, and for himself. But the godly call upon God for the esteem that they have for him especially; [278] although even then they also seek with him, their own happiness in him, and in him alone, because this is most of all to glorify God in that manner which he himself has prescribed.

Use. Of Exhortation: that by all means, we stir up in ourselves this fervent desire towards the glory of God’s name, not only beyond and above all profits and pleasures of this life, but also above our life itself, both in this world and in the world to come — if it were possible that we could desire God’s glory separately from our own salvation and glorification in Heaven.

Doctrine 3. Our hallowing, or sanctifying and glorifying of God’s name, depends upon his own free gift and bounty.

For here we are taught to seek and pray for it from him.

Reason 1. Because no mortal creature of itself knows how God’s name is to be sanctified; nor does any creature by that illumination which he has, so understand it that he does not still stand in need more and more, and from time to time, to be taught this by God.

Reason 2. Because when we understand how God’s name ought to be sanctified by us, yet the direction, leading, and grace of the Spirit of God is necessary to perform that which we know belongs to our duty.

Reason 3. Because there are many things outside us that belong to sanctifying God’s name, that cannot be effected by us in any way, except by the special and powerful working of God himself.

Use. Of Information: that by this we may understand that all the duties that we perform to God, are God’s own gifts. For nothing can be offered to God by us for sanctifying his name, unless [279] that were first freely given to us by God. And thus God is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end,[4] in all that spiritual communion which we have with him. First he forgives us our sins; then he gives us the grace both to will and to do that which is good and well-pleasing in his sight; and lastly, all these — his own gifts — he crowns in us, both with grace to the end, and glory in the end.

Doctrine 4. It is a great benefit of God to us when we see his name hallowed or glorified.

For here we seek this first, as our principal desire and benefit, that the name of God may be hallowed.

Reason 1. Because this hallowing of God’s name always turns to the profit and building up of the children of God, who in some way are made partakers of his glory.

Reason 2. Because all those who love God above all other things, are made possessors of their chief desire, when they see the name of God being hallowed and glorified.

Reason 3. Because God often grants us this honour, to be made in some way instruments of hallowing and glorifying his name; and this ought to be acknowledged as a great honour and benefit.

Use. Of Reproof: against the base and earthly minds of men that are more taken with a little profit of the things of this world, than with the glorious hallowing of the name of God.

Doctrine 5. It ought to be our greatest grief, if the name of God is profaned or blasphemed.

For this is what is directly contrary to this first and great petition, and the greatest heart’s desire of all the godly [is that it be hallowed].

[280] Reason 1. Because God’s majesty ought to be most dear to us.

Reason 2. Because those who commit such a sin are most wretched, and therefore much to be pitied for the miserable blindness and perverseness in which they lie.

Reason 3. Because great scandal is given to others.

Reason 4. Because by this means God’s judgments are in a singular way provoked and procured, for God will always have his glory, whether we will or not;1 either from us freely or upon us fiercely; either the glory of his mercy from us, or the glory of his justice and wrath upon us.

Use. Of Direction: how we ought to be affected when the name of God is profaned or blasphemed. If it is done by others, we ought to grieve at the thing, and to mend it, as far as it lies in us to do so. But if it is done by ourselves, or we give occasion for it — that is, for a life led altogether unworthy of and unsuitable to the glorious God that we profess to serve — then we ought as it were, to repair[5] [6] God of his honour by our humiliation and repentance for such misdoings, and by zealously glorifying him afterwards, just as we had offended and dishonoured him before.


[1] Mat 12.34.

[2] Mat 6.7.

[3] 2Tim 3.5.

[4] Rev 1.8.

[5] Original wording, “will we, nill we;”

[6] To restore, make amends, or set right.

The Forty-Eighth Lord’s Day

On the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer

Let thy Kingdom come

In the second petition is handled the principal means whereby the name of God is hallowed or glorified among men; and that is, by seeking the Kingdom of God and its coming.1 And by the Kingdom of God is properly understood that state of the Church in which she is made partaker of that happiness that she has in her communion with God. For a Kingdom in its general notion is a kind of polity or public government and state of men, in which one has the supreme and chief command, and all others are subject (more or less) for their own good. For unless it is for the good of the Subjects, or people, it is not a Kingdom, but a Tyranny. So the Kingdom of God is a Polity or State in which God has the Sovereignty or Supreme power and command; and men are subject in such a way that from this they may reap and receive their chief good that can be desired, or eternal and true happiness. By a Metonymy, also all such means are understood by the Kingdom of God, whereby such a state of the Church is procured. Of this Kingdom there are two most remarkable decrees; one in that administration which belongs to this present life, in respect to which it is called the Kingdom of grace. The other belongs to the life to come, in regard to which it is called the Kingdom [282] of glory. By the coming of this Kingdom then, is understood its state or condition, and the giving or bringing to pass all such things that belong to this state, together with the advancing and perfecting of them, for its accomplishment.

Doctrine 1. The chief means by which to hallow or glorify God’s name, is the Kingdom of God, which consists in his Church.

This is gathered from the connexion of this petition with the one preceding.

Reason 1. Because the name of God, or the greatest perfections of God, are more manifested in this Kingdom than in any other of his works, but especially his grace, or mercy, justice, truth, and wisdom.

Reason 2. Because this Kingdom of God in its perfection comes nearest to God himself. For there is nothing outside of God himself that can be compared with his Church; indeed, in a way all other things are subject to the Church.

Reason 3. Because nothing is more contrary to the glory of God’s name than the impairment of this Kingdom, or trenching[1] [2] upon it, or than the troubling and deforming of it.

Use. Of Direction and Exhortation: that first of all we seek the Kingdom of God.[3]

Doctrine 2. This Kingdom is not set up nor brought about by any other than God himself.

This is hence gathered, in that its coming is sought from God alone, as the author and principal cause and procurer of it.1

Reason 1. Because the adversaries and enemies of this Kingdom are more and mightier than can be overcome by any creature.[4] [5]

Reason 2. Because the profits and advantages that [283] this Kingdom brings are greater than can be imparted to anyone by any creature.

Reason 3. Because the administration of this Kingdom is more spiritual than can be performed by any creature in chief.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against Pelagians who go about to rob God of a great part of this Kingdom, and ascribe it to nature; as well as against Papists and others, Who would have the external government of the Church at least depend upon human power and pleasure.

Use 2. Of Direction: that in seeking this Kingdom, we fly to God by faithful prayers.

Doctrine 3. This Kingdom has come to us but in part as yet.

This is hence gathered, in that the coming of this Kingdom is always to be sought by all during this life.

Reason 1. Because in this life something always clings to us which belongs to the Kingdom of darkness, and it must be put off and laid away.

Reason 2. Because something is always lacking in us that belongs to the Kingdom of light, and it must be put on.

Reason 3. Because we must always pant and breathe after the accomplishment of this Kingdom which is to be revealed and perfected in the last coming of Christ.

Use. Of Admonition: that we never so set up our rest here, as if we had arrived at the end and last perfection; but strive to a further perfection than any we have attained.

Doctrine 4. It belongs to our duty that we use all care and pains to advance this Kingdom of God by our desires, prayers, and all other lawful means and endeavours within the [284] compass of our power, place, and calling that God has set us in.

This is gathered, because we are here taught to do this by prayer; and what we are bound to pray for, we are bound to use all lawful and expedient means to bring it to pass. Otherwise we would but tempt and mock God by such prayers, by dividing the right means from the end, and disjoining things that God has conjoined.

Reason 1. Because the zeal of the House and Kingdom of God (for God’s Kingdom and his Family or House, are all one) ought to take up and possess our minds as far as it makes for the glory of God.

Reason 2. Because from it our own salvation depends.

Reason 3. Because such endeavours, if they are sincere, are never in vain.1 For though perhaps they profit little with men sometimes, yet they always advance the Kingdom of God in ourselves, and have the promise of the blessing.[6] [7]

Use. Of Reproof: of those who care nothing about what the estate of the Church is, how the Word is preached, the Sacraments administered, Discipline exercised, and the like. But it is to be feared that such Gallio’s[8] have no part or portion in this Kingdom which they entertain[9] with such slight and neglect.

Doctrine 5. We ought to wish for the uttermost perfection of this Kingdom, which is to be after the Day of Judgment.

This is hence gathered, in that believers here on earth are taught to still pray for this Kingdom unto the Day of Judgment. For further illustration it no more needs to be said than what has been said on the former Doctrines.

[285] Doctrine 6. The Kingdom of the Devil, and of Darkness, and of Antichrist, and all other such things that are opposite to the Kingdom of God and enemies to it, we ought to detest with all our heart, and oppose with all our strength.

This is gathered from the distinctive principle, thy, in which is held out an opposition of this Kingdom to all other kingdoms and things, that are contrary to it.


[1] Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

[2] Have a negative effect on, esp. by somehow restricting it; to infringe upon.

[3] Mat 6.33.

[4] Psalm 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.

[5] “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; Ins craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.” - Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, 1529.

[6] 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of tire Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

[7] Deuteronomy 16:15 "Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the LORD your God in the place winch the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice. Revelation 14:13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write:' Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."

[8] Acts 18:12-15 When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, 43 saying, "This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law." 13 And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, "If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you.15 "But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.”

[9] That is, consider or treat.

The Forty-ninth Lord’s Day

On the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer

Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.

In this petition is sought the fulfilling of God’s will, and in that manner that it ought to be sought to be fulfilled. This is explicated by a comparison of like things, where the things compared are the fulfilling of God’s will by men, and by Angels. The quality or manner in which they are compared is the manner of obedience that ought to be given to this will. Now by the will of God is here properly understood as that which God has revealed to us concerning our duty, or that which he has laid upon us to do, by his revealed will. Though the secret will of God is so far contained under this Petition that we ought to rest content with it, yet it appears to us now, by the event, that it was the will of God, Act 25.14.1 This Petition depends on the first Petition, in as much as it is a mean that tends to that end; that is, [286] the end proposed there.[1] [2] [3] 3 It also depends on the second Petition^ because it is the effect of that Kingdom and administration; and it is also the perfection and accomplishment of that same kingdom. For God is not said to have a perfect kingdom of grace, until he has gotten all the faithful absolutely subject to his will in all things. The fulfilling therefore of the will of God differs from his kingdom, as the government differs from the obedience that is given to it — in the same way almost as the kingdom of God and its righteousness differ: Mat 6.33, Seek first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness of it, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Doctrine 1. The name of God is hallowed by men, and his kingdom is advanced, when his will is religiously and devoutly done.

This flows from the former connexion already shown.

Reason 1. Because reverence to the name of God, which is the hallowing or glorifying of it, by necessity brings with it obedience to his will.

Reason 2. In this very thing — that we subject ourselves to the will of God — we give God glory and power, and command over our very souls and lives, and so we highly glorify him.

Reason 3. By doing the will of God, the kingdom of God comes to be within us; and within us is his place of majesty and state, and his throne powerfully set up to him in our hearts.

Use. Of Direction: according to this rule, we judge our love and care towards the name and kingdom of God.

Doctrine 2. The revealed will of God should be the rule of our life.

[28 7] This follows from the substance of the Petition.

Reason 1. Because the will of God is the law, partly written in our hearts, and partly revealed in the Scriptures for this very end: that we should direct our ways according to it.

Reason 2. Because it contains in itself all perfection which belongs to the imprinting upon us of the image of God, and making our life divine.

Reason 3. Because according to this will, and doing it, God both in this life and in the life to come, distributes and disposes all rewards and punishments.

Use. Of Admonition: that we deny our own carnal wills and affections or lusts, with all things that disagree with this will of God; and that we conform ourselves to it, which seems here to be insinuated in the particle thy, which is put here in opposition to our will, and to the lusts of this world.

Doctrine 3. It is God that gives us both to will and to do anything that is according to his will.

For this is the very thing that here we seek from God.

Reason 1. Because of ourselves we can do nothing that is truly good and pleasing to God in a spiritual way.

Reason 2. Because there are so many things both in us and outside us that fight against this good will of God; so that unless God gave us to will and to do what he wills, and kept us in this mind, we would never be able to attain it.

Reason 3. Because God ought to have all the glory for any good, which still could not be given to him unless he were the Author and giver of all good.

[288] Use. Of Admonition: that we think of ourselves and of our own endeavours with all humility, and that we learn to depend altogether on God, so that from him we may receive both to will and to do that which is good.

Doctrine 4. In doing God’s will, we ought to strive and endeavour toward a Heavenly and Angel-like perfection.

From these words, On earth as it is in Heaven.

Reason 1. Because this is the best way to help our imperfections, if we always aim at the highest perfection.

Reason 2. Because we are called to the same society and communion with those blessed spirits that are in Heaven, we therefore ought to aspire to imitate them.

Reason 3. Because we seek the same happiness and glory that they possess; and therefore we ought to follow the same holiness.

Use. That we always study to obey God with all the cheerfulness, sincerity, readiness, and entireness that in Scripture are attributed to Angels in their obedience, as special properties and qualifications of it.


[1] Acts 25:14 When they had been there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying: "There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix...” The point is that we often know the will of God only after the fact.

[2] Hallowed be thy name - to glorify God’s name.

[3] Thy Kingdom come.

The Fiftieth Lord’s Day

On the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer

Give us this day, etc.

The sum of this petition contains things necessary for this present life. For by a Synecdoche, bread is understood to mean all that sustains and comforts bodily life. The act of God that is humbly desired about these necessary things, is that he would give us not only the first free imparting of things to us that we do not have, but also the continuation of those things that we have, together with the right use and fruit of them, by the blessing of God1 — and moreover, the removal of all other things (as on the other side) that are contrary to this present life, or to the comfort, quietness, and contentment of it. This bread then, thus understood, is illustrated from its subject and adjunct: from its subject, in that it is called our bread; and from its adjunct, in that it is called daily bread; that is, it is fit for us and our use day by day, or from day to day. God giving us what we desire is illustrated also from the adjunct of time, this day; that is, now when we have need. And from its object, to whom; namely, to us men of all sorts, or all men, but especially those who are of the household of Faith. This petition depends on the first Petition,[1] [2] [3] 3 in as much as all other comforts of this life should in no other way, nor be further made use of, than [290] as they are instrumental, or made necessary to hallowing God’s name, or glorifying him. It depends also upon the last preceding petitions (and also on the one going before it[4]), because by the necessaries of this life we are made the fitter, and ought to be readier for doing the will of God upon earth as it is done by the holy Angels in Heaven.

Doctrine 1. Necessaries of this life are chiefly to be desired and sought on this ground, that by them we may be better fitted and enabled to do the will of God, and glorify his name.

This follows from the connexion that we have shown.

Reason 1. Because thus all things are referred to the glory of God as their last end, as they should be.

Reason 2. Because while we thus receive these outward goods, we get all the good that is in them; and at the same time we also keep ourselves free from all the evil that in some way clings to them. In regard to this, they are called snares, thorns, and all that is intended in Scripture by such like names, that indicate to us great danger by them, or from them.

Reason 3. Because thus such bodily goods are turned in some way into spiritual goods, as they are looked upon as effects and signs of God’s blessing, and are received as pledges of his love, and directed in their use to the increase and furtherance of spiritual good things.

Use. Of Reproof, against worldly men who seek the goods of this life in a carnal manner, and also use them only carnally.

Doctrine 2. All the necessaries of this life, both the greatest of them and the least, come to men’s use by the free gift and bounty of God.

[291] This follows from the manner of seeking them, give us, etc.

Reason 1. Because God is absolute Lord of all that is in heaven and on earth; and therefore whatever any creature possesses or enjoys, it has all this from God’s free indulgence.

Reason 2. Because the thing itself that we possess depends on God; so also does the whole fruit, use, and benefit of it, in every way.

Reason 3. Because this gift of God is singular in this, and freely bountiful, in that he gives them to those who are unworthy, and those too who unworthily use them, and abuse his gifts.

Use 1. Of Refutation: against the doctrine of Papists about men’s merits, which have no place in our daily bread, or in so much as one crumb of bread, much less in respect to the life to come, or eternal glory.

Use 2. Of Direction: that we do not place our confidence in second causes, but in God alone, even for these outward things; and that we show all thankfulness to God even for these worldly things; and especially beware that we do not abuse these gifts of God, and make them an occasion and matter of sinning against the Author and donour of them.

Doctrine 3. We should all live contentedly on that pittance1 of the conditions of this life that God has measured out to us.

This follows from this, in that we are taught to seek only our daily bread. So Proverb 30.8 says, Feed me with the food of my daily portion, or pittance, measured out to me.

Reason 1. Because we should not to be carried [292] towards such things with the same sort of desire with which we seek the kingdom of God and its righteousness, but we should seek them with greater moderation and with far lower desires.

Reason 2. Because we should not bind and prescribe to God the measure of the things that we desire from him, but for that, we should rest content with his pleasure.[5] [6]

Reason 3. Because as he gives, and as we have it from him, if we enjoy it with contentment, it brings more true good with it to us than all the greatest riches can bring, or can bring to worldly men.

Use. Of Exhortation: to keep ourselves from all inordinate care and solicitude about worldly things.

Doctrine 4. Our confidence or trust in God, and prayer to him, even about the necessaries of this life, is to be renewed daily.

This follows from the words, this day.

Reason 1. Because there is no day in which we do not stand in need of God’s favour and blessing, even in such things.

Reason 2. Because the blessings of God are renewed towards us daily, and therefore our worship towards him ought to be renewed daily also.

Reason 3. Because every day has in it as it were, a picture which represents the whole life of man; and we are uncertain whether we shall live until the next day; therefore every day, as it goes over us, we ought to take care of this duty.

Reason 4. Because there is great danger that we will find no time to apply ourselves to such duties, but that we will forget and pass them over altogether unless we renew the duty daily, [293] and do it every day in its own day.

Use. Of Reproof: against those who either neglect these daily prayers, or very slightly1 and coldly go about performing them.

Doctrine 5. We should not only pray for and procure such things for ourselves, but also for all others, as much as it lies in us to do so.

From this: give us, not give me.

Reason 1. Because this belongs to Charity.

Reason 2. Because it is the duty of a good steward of the gifts of God.

Use. Of Reproof: not only against those who commit thefts and robberies, but also against all those who are guilty of sparing too greatly, niggardliness,[7] [8] and envy.


[1] This is also understood by another Synecdoche.

[2] Hallowed be thy name.

[3] Thy will be done.

[4] Thy kingdom come.

[5] An allowance or portion; although the word generally implies that it is inadequate, that is not the case here.

[6] That is, with whatever he chooses to give us.

[7] Either briefly or without due regard.

[8] Extreme stinginess - akin to Charles Dickens’ character Scrooge in his novella, “A Christinas Carol.”

The Fifty-first Lord’s Day

On the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer

Forgive us our debts, etc.

The following two Petitions address the removing of spiritual evil, or sin. And sin is removed in two ways. Either, 1. By forgiveness of sin that has been committed; or 2. By preservation from sin, so that it is not committed. The first is the substance of the fifth Petition; the second is the substance of the sixth and last Petition. In the fifth, the Petition is proposed, and then afterwards it is confirmed. In the Petition, because sins are chiefly considered as to their adjoined guilt, they are therefore, under that notion by a metaphor or simile, [294] marked out to us and declared when they are called debts. The reason for the simile or metaphor is because by law and justice, we are bound to God, to give him our entire obedience; and for an omission of any part or point of this whole or entire obedience, we were bound to undergo the punishment or penalty of the curse of the law. Sins are therefore called debts; 1. Because they lack that obedience which we owed to God; and 2. Because they brought with them an obligation to undergo those punishments.

Now forgiveness is sought for both these debts; that is, for the removal of our guiltiness that we contracted by our sins; and by consequence, we seek justification and adoption. The argument whereby this petition is enforced is by this Syllogism: is taken partly from the place of like things — because from our forgiveness and mercy to others, we must expect the forgiveness and mercy of God — and partly from the place of unlikeness, or from the less to the more. If we, who scarcely have a drop or small resemblance of that mercy that is in God, yet forgive men their offenses whereby they have offended us, then much more will God, out of his infinite mercy, forgive us our offenses that we have done against him — but the first is true, and therefore the latter also. This argument is thus expounded in Luke 11.4.[1] [2] This petition has its dependence from all the foregoing, as a means whereby a way is made to obtain them; because by forgiving us our sins of his mercy, God removes the hindrance of his grace and blessing, whereby other things are obtained. And so he gives us all [295] good things that we want or desire. It is expressly coupled to the next foregoing petition by the conjunction and, which was not used in the former petitions. This is because the three former petitions were so nearly aligned, that of themselves they depended one upon another by a natural connexion and consequence. And the fourth petition depended upon the last of the other three by this kind of connexion: that the well-being of the whole person, to better exercise its duties and actions well, has depended on the well-being of a very necessary and essential part of itself. But this petition and that fourth petition are of far different kinds. They do not have so direct and immediate a connexion in the nature of the things that they are required to be coupled together by such a grammatical conjunction, and.

Doctrine 1. Our sins are the heaviest of all evils.

This is hence gathered, in that we are taught to pray for the removal of this evil absolutely, and of no other.1

Reason 1. Because they are most opposite to the chief good; that is, to the image and holiness of God, as they may be partaken of by us to our felicity;[3] [4] and so in some way they are opposite to God himself, whose will as much as it lay in us, we have violated.

Reason 2. Because they spoil us of our greatest perfection.

Reason 3. Because they beget to us the greatest miseries.

Use. Of Direction: that having a right estimation of our sins, we may all the more abhor them, and all other evil that comes by them.

Doctrine 2. Sins bring with them an obligation of the greatest debt.

[296] It is hence gathered, that they are here called debts.

Reason 1. Because the Law of God binds sinners to suffer pains, and not common ones, but from the wrath and curse of God.

Reason 2. Because this debt is such that we can never be able to satisfy God for it. For whatever sinners do, it augments rather than diminishes the nature or account of the debt.

Reason 3. Because the justice of God exacting so rigorous a discharge of this debt for sinners, is still upon them, and is as it were perpetually threatening condemnation to them in the own consciences.

Use. Of Admonition: that neither by a mad kind of secureness, nor by a secure and careless madness, we neglect these debts that are so heavy; but we go about this by all means, so that we may be set free from them.

Doctrine 3. The mercy of God in Christ is sufficient to forgive and remit all our debts.

This is hence gathered, in that we are here taught to this end: to fly to the forgiving mercy of God.

Reason 1. Because God is not only a just Judge, but also a merciful Father, as is in the preface of this prayer.

Reason 2. Because God, according to his infinite wisdom, has so ordered things in Christ that he can with safety to his justice, and of his free mercy, forgive us our sins.

Reason 3. Because this mercy being infinite, far surpasses our sins, though in themselves they are horrible.

Use. Of Exhortation: that with all our hearts we fly to this mercy, and rest in it, and on it.

[297] Doctrine 4. Remission of sins requires a confession of them, and repentance or a change of mind and amendment, together with faith.

This follows from the nature of the petition.

Reason 1. Because none can earnestly desire the blotting out of his sins unless he both confesses, and also hates and detests them.

Reason 2. Because otherwise he can by no means rightly magnify the mercy of God to which he flies; but rather he goes about prostituting it, and making it a Pander or Bawd[5] to his sins.

Reason 3. Because without these, none is fit to receive comfort from the mercy of God in the remission of his sins.

Use. Of Reproof: against those who presume on the mercy of God, though they never seriously repent of their sins in this way, nor can be brought to confess or acknowledge their cruel dispositions to men.

Doctrine 5. Mercy and love to our brethren, is a sign of the mercy and love of God to ourselves.

From these words, As we forgive our debtors.

Reason 1. Because the mercy and love of God shed abroad in our hearts, begets mercy in us to our brethren, just as heat begets heat.

Reason 2. Because this mercy and love towards men, for its conformity and suitableness to it, is a special condition for obtaining the mercy of God; and so it is declared to be tied to it, Mat 6.14, If you forgive men their trespasses, your Father also that is in Heaven will for give you.

Reason 3. Because this forgiving of all injuries and wrongs done to us by others, is taken from the special and free mercy of God communicated to us; and this grace is the effect of God’s mercy in forgiving us our sins.

[298] Use. Of Admonition: that we do not deceive ourselves and promise to ourselves the mercy of God, while we nourish in our own hearts hatred and rancour against our brethren.


[1] Simile - A figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds.

[2] Luke 11:4 And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one."

[3] Evil is used in Scripture to denote “bad tilings.” This is saying that the worst of bad things is sin.

[4] State of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

[5]A Pander is a pimp, someone who solicits sexual savours for another; a Bawd is a harlot or prostitute.

The Fifty-second Lord’s Day

On the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

In this petition the business is about the evil of sin in respect to its dominion which it has over men. Concerning dominion, we have first the petition, lead us not, and secondly its declaration or opposition, but deliver us. In the petition, we pray against this evil and its twofold cause, of which the first is the proper cause of sin — intending it — which is the temptation of the Devil, or the Devil tempting us to sin. Now temptation is nothing more than an argument proposed to us, whereby we are induced to be persuaded and drawn into sin. The other cause that is looked at in this petition is not properly the cause of the sin, nor any efficient or author of it. Rather it is a governour and orderer of the sin itself, and of the tempting to sin, and of the effects of both. But it is the true cause of the evil of punishment that follows sin.1 And this is God’s effectual and powerful way of working with sin, or exercising his providence, which is usually called God’s permission, although it is more than a bare and idle permitting. The explication of this petition is in praying [299] for what is contrary to this evil, that we prayed against in the words lead us not; this evil is prayed against from God’s gracious acting towards us, which is contrary to leading us into temptation; for it is called a delivering or plucking us out of temptation.[1] [2]

Doctrine 1. The guilt of former sins that have been committed, altogether deserves that we should be quite given over to temptations and sins at God’s hands.

This is gathered from the connexion in which first, forgiveness of sins is sought,[3] and then deliverance from temptations, and evil for sin.

Reason 1. Because sin being an aversion, or turning away from God, therefore it deserves that he should turn himself and his grace away from us.

Reason 2. Because for sin, we both give ourselves up as servants to sin, and servants to the one that tempts to sin. We therefore deserve directly and very rightly that we should be given to those masters that we ourselves have chosen.

Reason 3. When we rush into sin, we neglect that grace of God by which we might have been preserved from sin; and therefore we deserve to be deserted by him.

Use 1. Of Admonition: that we all the more take care to keep ourselves from sin.

Use 2. Of Direction: that we daily seek from God the forgiveness of our sins, even for this end: that we are not further given up to sin and to temptation, but that we may be preserved from both.

Doctrine 2. Whoever has forgiveness of sins, or seriously seeks after it, has a desire and true purpose to abstain and keep themselves from sinning in time to come.

This is also clear from the connexion of these two petitions.[4]

[300] Reason 1. Because otherwise they would not truly abhor sin, and so they would show themselves altogether indisposed and not qualified for remission of sins.

Reason 2. Because otherwise they would not be thankful to God who forgave them their sins.

Reason 3. Because otherwise that forgiveness would be in vain if they should again purpose to themselves to return to the like condition in which they were before.

Use. Of Reproof: of those who seem to wish for forgiveness of sin, but in the meantime have no care to fly from sin.

Doctrine 3. Whoever desires to keep himself from sin should also keep himself from all temptations and occasions that lead into sin.

It is clear from the petition, which prays against temptations to sins.

Reason 1. Because the end of such temptations is sin, and the misery that follows upon sin.

Reason 2. Temptations are so many, so subtle, and so powerful, that unless with great care we take heed to ourselves, it cannot be but that they lead us into sin.

Reason 3. Because of ourselves we are carried that way, and incline towards this, that by giving way to temptations, we may betray our own souls to the tempter.

Use. Of Admonition: to those who, from too much security and boldness, rashly expose themselves to the danger of various temptations and enticements to sin; for temptation is not to be desired and sought after, but as wisely as we can, to be shunned; and where that cannot be, it is to be stoutly and courageously repulsed.

[301] Doctrine 4. Our Father that is in Heaven, also disposes of our temptations according to his own good pleasure.

For thus it is held out to us here, that it is he that either leads us into temptation, or causes us not to be brought into it, but kept from it.

Reason 1. Because he exercises his providence in guiding and measuring every temptation.

Reason 2. From him depends the strengthening of our souls against such temptations as we are troubled with.

Reason 3. From him depends the issue of the temptation itself, together with its effects which follow from it, either of their own nature or by accident.

Use 1. Of Comfort: because from this we may have comfort against all temptations, that we are never fully led into them, as in iCor 10.13, No other temptation has overtaken you, except what usually befalls men; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able; but will with the temptation, also make a way to escape so that you may be able to bear it.

Use 2. Of Exhortation: to thanksgiving, that we are not led to this and that temptation; because this should not be attributed to our own strength and wisdom, but to the grace of God.

Use 3. Of Admonition: that with horrour, fear, and trembling, we pray chiefly against this judgment of God which he exercises upon many sinners when he leads them into manifold temptation.

Doctrine 5. It is a great benefit of God towards his own, that he so delivers them from evil that they are not delivered into temptation.

This is hence gathered, in that this is sought from God by doubling the same petition in this manner, lead us not into, but deliver us from.

[302] Reason 1. Because a mischief to man lies in the prevalence of temptations when he is not only tempted and led somewhere into temptation, but also led into it so as to be wrapped in it, held entangled in it, after the will of the tempter Satan, and so he is kept captive in the slavery of sin.

Reason 2. Because so great is the force of temptations, and such is our nature’s slipperiness and deceitfulness, that we cannot be delivered from this evil of temptation, but by God.

Reason 3. Because God does not deliver all; but of his just judgment, he allows many to be led into temptation of whom a great part (for all we know) were no worse than we ourselves who yet are delivered from them.

Use. Of Direction: 1. What evil we should chiefly pray against to be delivered from at God’s hands; namely, not against outward afflictions, which are also temptations; nor yet against all other temptations absolutely; but against that deadly evil of sin in them that is intended to us by Satan, both by afflictions and all others of his temptations — which in truth are often times no less dangerously couched in prosperity, than in adversity. 2. How we should wholly depend upon God for deliverance from this evil, and so give him the glory.

On the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer
For thine is the Kingdom, power, and glory, etc.

This is the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, in which two things are contained; 1. The confirmation of all the foregoing petitions. 2. The obligation of our affection that moves us to offer up these petitions to God, and in some way moves God also to hear the petitions offered. The confirmation is taken from the causes which concur in God for strengthening our confidence about the hearing of our petitions at his hands. The efficient cause is, 1. The right and authority of God by which he can and may dispense and dispose of all, according to his own pleasure; and here it is called the Kingdom of God, for thine is the Kingdom; that is, the sovereignty, the supreme dominion, and right. 2. The same efficient is also that power of God, or his might, whereby he is able to put into execution all to what he has right; that is, all that he pleases, or whatever he will: Thine is the power. 3. The final cause is his own glory: Thine is the glory. All of which are illustrated by their adjunct of duration, not for a time only, and then either to cease or to pass to another; but for ever and ever — or as the Old English had it, unto ages of ages, or worlds of worlds — or world without end, as it now goes; that is, to all eternity. The obligation or sealing up of our affection is in the word of acclamation, Amen, whereby is shown, 1. The strength of our desire with which we [304] follow after all these things that were proposed in these petitions. 2. The strength of our faith whereby we rest in and rely on God’s mercy for them all. 3. Of our hope, whereby we look for and wish that God would ratify and hold firm all our petitions, in the same manner as he does the promises to which he himself has prefixed this same word of strong asseveration[5] (for it is of both), Amen, Amen; that is, Verily, Verily, a kind of oath — and thus hold our acclamation as firm as his own asseveration; and that is beyond exception.

Doctrine 1. No petition or prayer ought to be made to God without some praise of his name at least implied.

This is hence gathered, that in the very brief pattern of petitions, a solemn praise of the name of God is subjoined, however it maybe in the order, to confirm all the foregoing petitions.

Reason 1. Because it is not ourselves that we should only or chiefly look at in the worship of God; but it is the honour of God’s name that we should so much regard.

Reason 2. Because this is a most powerful motive to obtain what we seek, if in all things we give God his glory.

Reason 3. Because it is a chief part of worship.

Use. Of Reproof: against our negligence on this behalf, to be so wholly taken up with the things that belong to our own necessities, that we neglect giving God his honour by duly praising his name; when yet it is the sole thing aimed at in this prayer of our Lord’s, that the glory of God may have the first and last place, as the Alpha and Omega of all his worship, the beginning and the end of rightly serving him. For the first petition is about [305] the hallowing or glorifying of his name; and the last conclusion is the extolling and praising of him to the same glory.

Doctrine 2. It does very much to strengthen and confirm us in our prayers, if we set before our eyes the infinite sovereignty and right, and the infinite might, and glory of God.

From the words, Thine is the Kingdom, power, and glory.

Reason 1. Because it appears from this that we rightly, and as just order requires, fly to God in our prayers, and seek all good things from him; because only he has the absolute right and might to dispense all these things, as his own honour and glory require.

Reason 2. Because it appears from this that we may have certain and sure confidence that he will hear our prayers, because it is as easy for him to do all this, as to will it; and it belongs also to his glory in some way to will it.

Reason 3. Because from this we are taught both in what manner, and for what end, we ought to look for the accomplishment of our desires; namely, in such a manner as will seem good to God, according to that wisdom and power of his whereby he exercises sovereignty of kingdom and command, or dominion in all things, and in such a manner as may most glorify his name.

Use. Of Direction: that we use these and like titles of God in our prayers, not for a fashion, but from religious reflection1 and intention, so that our prayers may be more powerful from the greater feeling and abundance of our hearts.

[306] Doctrine 3. All things that uphold our faith and our prayers, are from the everlasting and eternal God.

From these words, For ever and ever. It makes for the same purpose if we consider that all things that sustain our faith and our prayers, are in the eternal God — unto eternity, or for ever and ever, etc.

Reason 1. Because from this it appears that God is now the same, and he is such to us and to any other that called upon his name[6] [7], as he was from the beginning of the world.

Reason 2. Because from this we are confirmed in this: that God will still remain our God unto eternity, even when he will cease by changeable dispensations to do us any more good as he does here, because then we shall be settled in the possession of our last and highest good.

Use. Of Direction: for the right use of this divine attribute of eternity.

Doctrine 4. While we pray, and especially towards the end of prayer, we ought to put forth our petition with all earnest desire, and lively strength of faith and of affections.

From the word, Amen.

Reason 1. Because this word is at the end of our prayer, as if it had come to its perfection, so there at the end, we ought to exercise the perfection of our faith, affection, conscience, and desire.

Reason 2. Because every natural and kindly motion grows stronger and faster towards its end; otherwise if it is flashy in the beginning, and flags towards the end, it is a token that it was forced or framed upon some wrong ground, and it will not prove durable and kindly to the end.

[307] Reason 3. Because our affection at the end of prayer, should then act from the re-doubled and re-collected force and power of all the affections going before.

Reason 4. Because by this means in a way we re-double our whole prayer, while first we propose all our petitions one by one in order, with their own measure of desire and affection; and thereafter we press vehemently and earnestly for them all together, so that they may all be granted to us; and so according to our earnestness, we rest confident that they will.

Use. Of Reproof: against the negligence of men on this behalf, which has grown so great that now it has gone out of use among us, to signify our affections, or strong wishes and desires, by saying Amen — as the Apostle witnesses and says that all Christians of old were taught to say Amen, and used to practice it, !Cor 14.16.[8]



[1] “Evil of punishment” does not refer to God’s justice being evil, but that the punishment is painful.

[2] That is, we pray against being led into temptation (which occurs by God’s permission), and we pray for God’s grace in delivering us from it.

[3] The fifth petition, forgive us our debts, etc.

[4] That is, the fifth petition, forgive us our debts; and this sixth, lead us not into temptation.

[5]A declaration that is made emphatically (as if no supporting evidence were necessary).

[6] Originally “resentment” - the state of holding something in the mind as a subject of contemplation, or of being inclined to reflect upon it; feeling; impression.

[7] The citations in the original text read either “Isa or Psa 59.1 & 51.17.” These verses do not appear to be relevant.

[8] !Co 14:16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say "Amen " at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?