And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit,
seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
—1 Tim. 3.16.

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Sermon,

PREACHED

AT

FINNICK,

In Auguſt, 1662,

BY

Mr. WILLIAM GUTHRY,

Upon Matth. xvi. 25.

For whoſoever will ſave his Life, ſhall loſe it; but whoſoever will loſe his Life for my ſake, ſhall find it.


PHILADELPHIA:

Re-printed by B. FRANKLIN.

M,DCC,XLIII.

X

TrueCovenanter.com Editor's Introduction.

The following sermon, by William Guthrie, (author of The Christian's Great Interest,) was printed originally in the year 1680. During the 1740's it was reprinted, among other items of Presbyterian and Covenanter interest, by Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia. In 1771, the Sermon was reprinted in Scotland in a collection of Guthrie's Works.

To the modern reader, such a style of preaching, as is found below, may not be the easiest or pleasantest to read. Guthrie's manner is very colloquial and adapted directly to his own hearers, in their time and place. Yet, if the reader will invest the time, he will reap a valuable reward. Many a modern Christian may imagine that our Lord Jesus never spoke these words to him: Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, and that this is because his Church is in a new time of peace, prosperity, and liberty. Mr. Guthrie's direct manner of preaching, and heart-searching reproof, may be helpful to make clear instead, that the Church of Jesus Christ has rather, ever since the overturn of the Reformation, been in a time of decay, backsliding, and confusion; and that much of the liberty which professing Christians enjoy has very probably been purchased at the price of compliance with the world, and submission to the enemies of King Jesus.

It is hoped therefore, that the words of this author will be helpful to awaken the present generation. Those who consider the course of the times which followed the preaching of this sermon, will perceive how prophetic Mr. Guthrie's warnings were some years before the worst of persecution broke out in Scotland, and the worst of treachery against Jesus Christ on the part of those who complied with Antichristian enemies. May the Lord make use of it, to guard his flock of this day, against the same temptations, and prepare his saints for faithful and valiant service, that they never seek to offer, promise, nor prove any loyalty to the enemies of our reigning King.

2009.08.05.

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MATTH. XVI. 25.

For whoſoever will ſave his Life, ſhall loſe it; but whoſoever will loſe his Life for my Sake, ſhall find it.

I HAVE told you, That the natural Life of Man may come in Competition with the Cause and Interests of Christ, and that some Men will get a free Choice in this Case, to save or lose their Life, tho’ every one will not get it to their Option. I have likewise told you, That the natural Life of Man, when put to a Man's Option to save or to lose, as he pleaseth, with Denial, or Not-Denial of the Cause, was a mighty Temptation. ---- All that a Man hath, will he give for his Life.

But however it might be a mighty Temptation, and however many Things may occur in the Way to obstruct the Man's right Choice in the Case; yet be it known unto you all, that whosoever seeketh to save his Life with Prejudice to the Cause of Christ and a good Conscience, thereby loseth his Life.

I was beginning to tell you, what Ways a Man would study to save his Life with Prejudice to Christ and his Cause: And he doth so either by Omitting that which is his Duty before God, for Fear of his Life, or for Fear of Inconveniences that might {4} follow upon his doing of his Duty; or he doth it by Committing that which is positively sinful before God, for Fear of his Life.

First of all, the Man prefers his natural Life to Christ and his Cause and a good Conscience, by Omitting his Duty:  And that is,  1. When he forbears to testify for God in his Place and Station, I mean, by witnessing with the Mouth for him; this reaches both Minister and People, when they will not speak for Christ's Cause, when it's reproached, for Fear of Hazard: This is to seek to save their Life by Omitting of Duty.  2. Folk may be said to seek to save their Life with Prejudice to the Cause of Christ, by Omission of Duty in this Case, when God lays an Opportunity of his Service and Work before them for the Good of his Church; but by reason of their Faint-heartedness they fear, and will not set about it, and so will not rescue Christ and his Cause by opposing what God calls them to oppose.  3. By omitting other Duties competent for them in their Place and Station, or by reason of the wicked Laws made against such Duties by the Supreme Magistrate, with Certification of such and such Hazards to occur upon them by doing of those Duties, as ye ever already heard.

Having spoken of these Things, we come now to speak of the next great Head of Cases and Ways with Prejudice to Christ and his Cause and Interests, and our own Conscience positively, by Doing that which is sinful against God; and this is done several and many Ways.  There are several and many Cases, in which Folk may be said to prefer their natural Life to Christ's Cause and their own Conscience, by Committing positively that which is sinful against God.   And,

1. Folk prefer their natural Life to Christ his Interests and Cause, when Men do disclaim the Interests {5} and Cause of Christ, and all that Party, Side and Faction, because of Christ Jesus and the Truth. I hope ’tis clear, and without Controversy to you all, If Folk do this for Fear of their Life, or any Peril, or Hazard that they may come under, with Prejudice to his Interest and Cause, That they are seeking to save their Lives with Prejudice to his Interest and Cause, and to fall in under the Hazard of losing their Life.  This was Peter's Fault; for, as holy a Man as he was, he thought he was something hardly put to it, and he being under the Apprehension that his Life might have gone, if he had confessed his Master, and so judges himself to be in Hazard, upon that Account, he doth formally disclaim Christ Jesus, and all that Faction and Party; --- Thou art one of them (say they) for thou wast with him in the Garden; thou art one of his Disciples, thy Speech bewrayeth thee: I vow and swear (saith he) I am not frantick, if ye will believe me.  And thus he formally disclaims Christ and his Interests and Cause, and forswears himself.  This is a very heinous Way of seeking to save our Life with Prejudice to Christ his Interests and Cause, and our own Conscience.  But,

2. Some can hardly get it denied, but they have been with Christ, and one of that Party, Side, and Company, and one of their Sect, as ’tis said in the Scriptures; but yet for Fear of their Life, they will not only disclaim that Interest, Party, Side, and Faction, but to put it out of all Question that they do so, they will not put it under their Hand in a Covenant or Declaration (as ye use to call it) that they do disclaim that Party, Side, and Way, and so that they do judge all their former Works and Actions in that Way, and with that Party, to be Sin, and so will solemnly oblige themselves by an Oath that they will never own that Interest or Way more, {6} if the supreme Magistrate put them not to it.  I hope ye are all clear, that this is one of the most heinous Ways that can be chosen for Folks seeking to save their Lives with Prejudice to Christ his Interest and Cause; yet there are many of this Generation, that will not only disclaim that Party, Side, and Faction, (for it may be called a Faction) but they will also put it under their Hand in a Declaration that they do judge that Way their Sin, and so shall never own that Interest or Way of Christ any more, if the supreme Magistrate put them not to it, tho’ he should turn them all Mahometans.  I have this much Charity to give some of thir lowns [these rascals], albeit I have not much to give to any that ever have gone that Way, yet I have this much Charity to give some of them, that it has been for Fear of the Loss of their Lives, or for Fear of the Loss of some personal Interests, that hath made them do so:  If it has been the Wickedness of their Principles, betwixt them and God may it be, my Part is clean of it.  However, let them do it as they will, they have sought to save their Lives with Prejudice to Christ, his Interests and Cause.  And there are Two great Witnesses standing against them, that shall stand against them before God and Man, and that is their Tongue and their Hand; these Two shall witness against them before Heaven and Earth, declaring their unparallel'd Wickedness.  Ye may, perhaps, think the taking of that printed Paper, the Declaration, is but a small trivial Business: But I would ask at any serious godly Souls, that have the least Spunk of Ingenuity remaining in them, that have not sinned away their Consciences with this pernicious Time; Sirs, what would ye think to see a printed Covenant, such as our Covenant was, having so many Men's Names at the End of it, as our Covenant hath had in many Places, Men thinking it their Glory to {7} have their Names at the End of that Covenant; I say, what would ye think to see another Covenant disclaiming the former printed Covenant by the self same Men, that owned the former, having their Names at the former Covenant, vowing and swearing to maintain the Cause and Interest of Christ, having their Names at the latter printed Covenant, vowing and swearing the quite contrary, never to own the Interests of Christ any more?  What would ye think to see the Names of these Knaves now at this latter Covenant, insealing against their own Names at the former Covenant? Truly, construct of them as ye will, I think the World may wonder of them, else ye may give them Charity and the like; but if God write another Bible, I have none to give them, construct of them as ye will.  ’Tis a Shame in the Sight of the Nations for Men to falsify their own Deed before Sun and Moon, Heaven and Earth, God and Man; to put it under their Hand, that they shall never own the Interest of Christ, contrary to their Oath, the heinousest Perjury that ever they put upon themselves, or that ever we read of, either in Scripture or in any other History; this is one of the most heinous Ways that ever Man took for shunning of personal Hazards, with Prejudice to Christ, his Interests and Cause; if they lose not their Life, many of them, we wonder, and that some will possibly see it ere long, tho’ perhaps we shall not be much Witness to it; yet there will be Witnesses to it ere the dreadful Day of Doom.  Folks set always long Terms.   But,

There's a 3d Way that many seek to save their Lives, with Prejudice to Christ's Cause, by doing something that's positively sinful before God, and that is neither by disclaiming Christ and his Cause, and Party and Side, nor yet by putting it under their Hand, that they shall never own that Party nor {8} Way any more: But it is by joining of Interest and Issue with those Enemies that have so done; there's a joining of their Interests with those that have so done, that God looks on as very heinous in his Sight.  There are many Ways of joining Interests and Issue with that Party:  There are many Plottings and Complottings, and Workings to-and-fro to their Hands, among us in this Matter.  Howbeit we have so much Charity to give to some of them that have so done, that ’tis not so much out of Malice that they have done so (perhaps) as the Fear of personal Hazards, which has made them to join Issue and Interest with that Party.  But however, here I shall give you some Ways and Cases in which Men do join Interest and Issue with the Enemies of God; and tho’ I will not say that all these that I am about to name may be properly applied to those that may be called, The Enemies of God; yet having these, or any of these, they look with very black Marks, and tho’ I will not say that one that's guilty of one of them, will be guilty of all of them; yet I judge one of them useth to follow another in a Man's Practice, so God's judicial Plague brings them to an Height. Ye will find always of a People's joining of Interests and Issues with God's professed Enemies in the Prophecy of Obadiah, they run all to the Case of Esau there, in the Name of Edom, Jacob's bastard Brother a Lown that had sold his Birth-right for a Fill of his own foul Belly, and he had still an Ill-will to the honest Lad Jacob: And so whenever he got an Opportunity he joined Issue and Interest with those that were his professed Enemies, and ye will see many Things brought in there that God charges him with. This may be very properly applied to many within our Times that have joined Interest and Issue with that Party that's the Enemies of God and his Church {9} at this Time, to lay their Hand to their Heart, and see whether or not they speak not this very Case.

1st, This their Charge upon Edom, is, In the Day of thy Brother's Affliction thou stoodest on the other Side. Now, that ye may understand the Matter, ye must take it up thus: There were two Parties in that Day, standing confronted over against another, viz. poor Israel standing on the one Side, and Israel's Enemies that had invaded them, standing on the other Side; Edom is a bastard Brother in the House, and he comes in for his own Hand, and sides with Israel's Enemies.  When God had placed the two Parties, one against another, Edom comes in, and when he should have sided with the People of God, he sided with the Enemies of the People of God; so soon as he knew who were the professed Enemies of the People of God, he stood on the other Side: ’Tis like he declared not himself to be an Enemy at the first, but he stood on the other Side; and that was enough to declare him to be one of the Enemies of Jacob.  There are some of you who will speak nothing against the People of God, and ye will not declare to be Enemies, but ye will speak as little Good for them for all that, and that says, Ye stand upon the other Side, else ye would help when they are in Need.  Your Indifferency, in such a Day, will prove you to be the Enemies of the People of God, and e’re long, in God's righteous Judgment, ’tis like ye'll go to the full Length, if ye be standing there; else ye will not stand long there, God will declare you to be rank Enemies to his Cause and People.  It is not good to side with God's Enemies either in Jest or Earnest.  There is not much Word of some of our Compliances yet, but we stand on the other Side for all that.  Truly I fear you very sore ere all be done; then ’tis enough to declare any Man to be a Joiner of Issue and Interests with God's Enemies, and the Enemies of his People, {10} because tho’ they speak nothing against the People of God, yet they speak nothing for them in the Day of their Affliction; Thou stoodest on the other Side in the Day of thy Brother's Affliction.

2. It's charged on them there, that they rejoiced at Jacob's Affliction, and at the Prosperity of their Enemies; that's another Step of Compliance or joining of Interest and Issue with them, rejoicing at the Enemy's Prosperity, and at their Success, and at the Calamity and Destruction of the People of God.  Indeed quoth some, I am not guilty of that, I had rather have them that ye call the People of God upmost;—Do ye so?  What think ye then of the Keeping of Days of Thanksgiving [for the enemy's interest]? then ye may say, ye keep those Days on this Account and on that Account.  Yes, ye may put Folk by so; but see if ye put God and your own Conscience by so.  God knows on what Account ye keep those Days of Thanksgiving.  I defie you or any else on any Account.  But ye justify all the cursed Work that the Enemies have done for the Overthrow of the Work of God in these Lands.  Ye may go about the Bush with me how to find out Distinctions, but gang [go] about it as ye will, my Friend, I shall hook you: For the Matter stands directly thus, that on one of these two Accounts ye behooved to rejoice, either at the Prosperity of the Wicked, or at the Adversity of the Godly: For just in the Day of our Affliction, when our Worthies fell, and when our Government and Ministers were cried down, and all the conjured Enemies of our Lord Jesus Christ got up their Head, and Mischief by our Rulers established by a Law, that Day ye stated your Day of Thanksgiving.  Know ye how, and what at ye rejoiced? Lay then your Hand to your Hearts, and read that Scripture, It is only Jacob that is in Affliction; and it's only the wicked Crew, Jacob's Enemies that are exalted. Now lay your Hand {11} to your Hearts, and learn to know on what Account ye rejoiced, and know ye are but bastard Brethren, rejoicing at the Prosperity of the Enemies of Jesus, and at the Affliction of Jacob, and know what hazard ye are in.  Indeed perhaps ye may say, it was the Fear of your Life, the Hazard of or Fear of Inconveniences that follow on your not keeping of such Days; ye may lose your Means, or ye may lose your Life or something that belongs to Life.  Indeed I believe you now, I seek no more of you than that, that's enough to prove that ye have sought your Life to save it, with Prejudice to Christ and his Cause, by the Keeping of a Day of Thanksgiving.  Indeed I give you that much Charity, that it has been for Fear of your Life, or some Inconveniency, that has made you keep a Day of Thanksgiving with Prejudice to Christ and his Cause.  If it has been but the Wickedness of your Principles, it's the worse of that; betwixt you and God may it be.  But I give you the Charity, that it has been for Fear of your Life or some Inconveniencies that has made you wrong the Cause of Christ, by keeping a Day of Thanksgiving.

3. There is this charged on Edom, and ye may take it as another Degree of joining Interest and Issue with God's Enemies, and it is this, Neither should they have spoken proudly in the Day of his Distress. There are some that are given to homologate the Courses of the Time, and yet they have no Will to be called the Enemies of the People of God, and they have as Ill-will to be called Phanaticks: But they are even such Fools as are given to take a Rant sometimes; and not to give them too much Charity, it's to be judged they will take some more than ordinary, for Fear they be judged Phanaticks: And when they are taking their Rant they will reproach the poor People of God thus, It's well war'd on them: They were all grown so proud that they could not be tolerate: {12} They could not but meet with a Mischief they were all grown so proud, so saucy, and so precise there could not better come of them.  Well, be doing so, talk on so; but remember that this is no small Part and Way of joining Issue and Interest with God's Enemies, and remember ye are of the black Band that hath spoken proudly in the Day of Jacob's Affliction.  What is the Cause, I pray you?  Was it not, that ye yourselves would not be suspected to be of that Party that's called Phanaticks, that so ye might not be under the Hazard they are in at this Time? Therefore ye have spoken so proudly against that Party in the Day of their Affliction.  It had not been so ill for you to have called them so in the Day of their Prosperity. But in this ye are exceeding guilty, that ye have spoken proudly in the Day of Jacob's Distress and Affliction.

4. There is this charged on Edom, and ye may take it here as another Step and Degree of Compliance with the Enemies of God, Neither shouldst thou have laid thy Hand on thy Brother's Substance in the Day that Strangers carried away his Forces.  Will any-body, think ye, that professes Love to the Cause take an Harl [scrape] of an honest Man's Gear, when it's going for the Cause and Covenant and Work of Reformation? Indeed I'll warrant you that they will. It's true, none I know that has Love really to the Cause and Covenant and Work of Reformation will do so.  But I know enough of lowns [rascals] that have professed much Love to the Work, will be very glad to win a Day's Wages to draw an honest Man's Poind [fines, seizures] when it's going for the Work of Reformation, and many will not hook to put in their Hand among the honest Man's Gear, when it's going for the Work of Reformation, and take a good deal of it.  Will ye do so? Then truly it shall be the dearest Gear that ever ye wan [won] in your Life.  Will the States take a Fine of a Man for promoting of the Work of God? {13} And will ye take any Off-fallings that ye can get? Will ye lay your Hand on your Brother's Substance in the Day of his Distress? Take it as ye will, but ye may as well take God's Vengeance as take it; and if ye take it, ye shall take God's Vengeance with it.  It shall be the dearest Gear in your Aught [possession] the Thing that ye take of them that Way, if ye take any thing of the People of God for the Covenant and Work of Reformation, or for any thing relating thereunto; believe it, ye shall get the broad Curse of God with it that shall crow in your Crop, and burst out at your broadside, and turn out that which is in of you, that all the World shall see as well within as without; and withal know assuredly this is one of the highest Ways of joining Issues and Interests with God's Enemies, that the Spirit of God hath left on Record in the Scripture; and know ye are once screwed up and over among the Black-Band, and God knows when ye shall come off again.

5thly, There is this there charged on Edom, and ye may take it likewise as another Step and Degree of Compliance, and that is, Thou stoodest on the Cross-Way to cut off those of his that did remain. There is even some Folk at this Present, that have not gone the full Length they resolve, that find the Work of Grace is going over the Brae, and the People of God is like to be ruined, as it is, to lend all a Put together, to put all further Wrong, to reproach any thing that remain.  Professed Enemies have gotten the one Wheel of the Work of God over the Brae, and ye wait well, under Thumb, to get the other put over the Brae also; the Vote and Cause will go against them: Quoth ye, we cannot help it, and need not cast ourselves at needless Hazards; since the Work be going let it go, and frae that Party be going, let them go; we need not speak for them, for they will over the Brae: Be as {14} it will, therefore let us even vote as the rest vote, lest we bring ourselves into Hazard.  I know there are some of you that would not have taken the Lives of those that were execute at this Time, nay, but you will not hook to reproach them for all that; and amongst the Enemies of God not care to say they were guilty of Death; ’tis an high Way of joining Interest and Issue with that Party; hereby ye seek to save your Life with Prejudice to Christ, his Cause, Interests, and People.  God shall screw you up among that Number that put his People to Execution.

6thly, There is another Degree of joining Issues and Interests with that Party charged on Edom, and that is the discovering those that were hid: And that follows still on the other, the Matters of God are going wrong, these have a Rant and Hand to put it further wrong; the next Thing that they will do, if they have Opportunity, they will delate and discover any body that they know hid, that they think if they were discovered, would come into Hazard for the Covenant and Cause, and Work of Reformation; there is not much Din of our Compliance yet; but we are busy enough else tattling and telling to some others of some that we know hidden, that we know, if they come to Light, they'll come into the Chalk for the Work of God: Wherefore do ye so? Is it not that ye yourselves should not be suspected to be one of that Party? Or is it out of Malice that ye do so? This is also an high Degree of joining Issue and Interest with that Party.

7thly, There is another Degree of this Evil here charged on Edom, take it also as another Part of Compliance or joining of Interest with God's Enemies, and that is, drinking upon the holy Mountain of God.  There are some Folk having come all the Lengths, in the End they will even come to this, to drink to the Confusion of the Covenant and all {15} that Party that will adhere to it; and so when they fall upon their Rants among their Companions will say, Here to the Confusion of the Covenant and all the Fanaticks; and some of them will even be so absurd as to say, The Devil clank over with it. Such of you may read in the 16th Verse of the Prophecy of Obadiah, and look what it speaks of you, and throughout all that Chapter of Obadiah, you may read it at your own Leisure; ye will find many Instances there and Degrees of Compliance.  I shall not speak much more upon it; but remember this general Head, that tho’ ye do not disclaim Christ nor his Cause, nor yet take the Declaration, yet that there is a joining of Issue and Interest with that Party that are the professed Enemies of God, that ye have so done for personal Hazards, and it goes readily from one Degree to another till it win to the last.

1. They begin and they side with that Party that are the Enemies of the Church of God, and will speak but little and debate for that Party, and they will speak nothing against the People of God, yet they will say as little for them, but they will stand on the other Side; and indeed if they be there they will gang [go] a little further the next Time, and profess they have Reason to evidence something of Joy for the Success and Prosperity of the Wicked, at least to profess Joy in that Case, for Fear of Hazard or Inconveniencies; once being there they will not stand much to speak proudly and testify against the People of God in Affliction, and to blame them thus, That it is all justly come upon them, they were all so proud that they could not stand: Indeed when once they be at this, to reproach the People of God thus, without all Debate when they see their Gear going for the Covenant and Cause and Work of Reformation, if they get Opportunity of {16} any thing that is ado they will even find in their Heart to take a Clat [clod, scrape] of it.  Indeed when once they be at that with it, they will take a Clat of an honest Man's Gear, when it is going for the honest Cause, without Debate they will not spare to stand in the cross way, to cut off those of his that doth remain. Wo them! I nothing doubt if they be cutting off any thing of the Work of God that remains, but they will discover any that they know hid, that they think will come into the Chalk for that Work. If they do all the rest, doubtless when they come to their own Companions, and have taken a Rant, They will drink to the Confusion of the Covenant, and all the Fanaticks.

Now ye see there are many Ways of joining Interests and Issues with the Enemies of God, and gang [go] from less to more, from one Degree unto another, till God in his righteous Judgment lay on the last Stone as their Plague: It may be ye are but standing on the other Side today yet, and if ye be speaking nothing for the People of God, ye are speaking as little against them.  Well, are ye standing on the other Side else, in God's righteous Judgment, ere some few Years gang about ye will be drinking to the Confusion of the Covenant, and all that will adhere to it.

4thly. There is a Way that Men prefer their natural Life to the Cause and Interests of Christ, by doing that which is positively sinful, and that by giving Obedience to sinful Acts and Laws, for fear of personal Hazard, is such a Thing as I know to be iniquous and sinful.  But there comes out such a Law from the supreme Magistrate, That such a Thing must be done, or then be liable to such and such Hazard; and for fear of that Hazard I give Obedience to that iniquous Law, and that Way seek to save my Life, with Prejudice to Christ and his {17} Cause.  This was the Case of the three Children that were put to it at Babylon, but they did not obey; there came out a wicked Law against them, That whenever they heard all the Bagpipes blow they should, without any more, fall down and worship the Idol that Nebuchadnezzar had set up, or then take it on their Peril to be cast into the fiery Furnace.  O! but then the Children made a fair and honest Choice.  Be it known to you all Gentiles, quoth they, if the Bagpipes should blow till they burst again, we will not fall down and worship the Idol that Nebuchadnezzar had set it up; if our God please he can deliver us, but whether he will deliver us or not we will not bow down to your Glecks [pranks]. O! but they made a fair Choice! There are many Folks now in our Days, I think, if the King commanded the most iniquous Law that ever was commanded in a Church, I doubt not but they would give Obedience thereunto, for fear of Inconveniencies that they fear would come upon them for their Disobedience: They have given a great Proof of this already, and greater Proof than this cannot be given, for they have sworn, That his Majesty's Will shall be the Rule according to which they shall level all their Actions.  I hope it is clear to you all, that these Lowns have taken a sinful Way to save their Life with Prejudice to Christ and his Cause as ever was taken. I am sure their Lives must be in Hazard.

The next Thing I proposed to speak to, was, What Pretense have Men to say for their own Defence for this unhappy Way of Compliance? What Shadow or Pretext have they for this? Have they nothing to say for themselves for taking of such an uncanny Gate [way] as this? Yes, that they have, it is an ill Deed, but they'll always get some Excuse for it, and so they have much to say for their evil Deeds too: They have many Pretenses and Reasons for {18} their own Defence here, tho' I hope ye are all clear, that no Pretext or Reasons formable can be given without a Rag about the Foot of them. No formable Reason can be given why Men seek to save their Lives with Prejudice to Christ and his Cause, but such as they are, they have enough of them, and ye shall judge them; for I shall give you an Instance of some few of them.  Now let every Man lay his Hand to his Heart, and be Judge here.

The first Pretext that we shall name, which many have for their Compliance, is this, Law and Authority; there is Law and Authority for the Thing. When we say, what mean'd ye to comply and take that unhappy Course by the End? They chose this goodly Pretense, there is Law and Authority for it: In this they fortify themselves in all their abominable Courses, There is Law and Authority for such Things.  Wilt thou tell me, O Man, if thou hast any Spunk of Ingenuity remaining in thee, whether or not was there not Law and Authority at Babylon for the three Children to fall down and worship the graven Image that Nebuchadnezzar the King had set up? Though this Law and Authority came from the King, yet it was not a lawful Authority; and therefore they behooved to say to the King, in this we will neither obey Law nor Authority. Or wilt thou tell me, Man, of all the Martyrs that ever thou heardst of martyred for the Cause of Christ, if ever any of them was martyred without a Shadow of Law and Authority, save some that have been killed secretly.  Any that were brought to any publick Hearing there was always some Shadow of Law and Authority laid against them.  Was it not so from the Beginning? All the Cruelty that ever was done to Christ, his Church and Cause since the Beginning, it was still set out with some Shadow of Law and Authority; it was still so since the Beginning.  I think, Man, if thou wert a Man and not {19} a Beast, thou shouldst resolve not to make thy Conscience subject to all the iniquous Laws that may come through a Land; I mean'd one that has rational Understanding above a Beast, should know that he should not make his Conscience subject to all the iniquous Laws that come through the World.  I had Thoughts that thou art a Man baptised into the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: There is some Spunk of Ingenuity left within thee that thou shouldst know this much, That the human Laws of the Prince do not make void all the Divine Laws and Authority of our Lord Jesus upon the Consciences of Men.  I mean'd when a Divine Law and a human Law had confronted in Opposition one to another, that the Divine Law was to make void the human; but I never knew that the human Laws of the Prince made void all the Divine Laws of Christ before: I never heard that Doctrine taught but within these four Years, God be thanked.  Short While may the Law of the Prince last that makes void all the Divine Laws and Authority of our blessed Lord Jesus.  Truly, Man, thou hast a bonny [fair] Plea of it, thou must sell thy Conscience, abjure the Covenant, and comply with their iniquous Laws and Authority for it. If thou art a Man, and not a Beast, Man, I think thou shouldst know this, that it is more lawful to obey God than Man.  The Apostle made greatest Enemies Judges in this Matter, Whether be it most lawful to obey God rather than Man, judge ye.  But ye must obey Man, though opposite to all the Commands of God.  The King's Laws are for this, quoth ye, there is a Law and Authority for it.  Truly ye have a bonny Plea of it, a brave Pretense of it, forsooth. I think a Man baptized into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost should think Shame to instance such a Pretext: ’Tis even like yourself, there is Law and Authority for it.  There are many also who, {20} for their Compliance, pretend Loyalty to their Prince; they must comply, they must abjure the Covenant that they may prove their Loyalty and Respect to his Majesty's Grace.  Goodsooth, let me tell it quietly betwixt me and you, there is few good News in the Land since the like of you became so loyal.  If our King had been a Man qualified with Grace, as once we supposed him to be, and had born down Vice and Profanity, there had not been so much Loyalty in the Breasts of a Thousand of you as is in the Breast of one of you at this Day. Always I thought it had been true Loyalty to the Prince to have kept him in his own Room and given him his own Due, to have kept him subordinate to Christ, and his Laws subordinate to the Laws of Christ.  I thought true Loyalty to the Prince had been to have kept his House in the Line of Subordination to the Fear of God. Fear God, and honour the King [1 Pet. 2.17], I judged that had stood well in all the World; but there is a Generation now that has turned it even contrary, Fear the King, and then honour God: I thought never that that was true Loyalty yet: I never heard that Doctrine taught before: But I thought always that was true Loyalty, Fear God, and honour the King. God's Vengeance on them that have altered that Divine Law ever, until they set as good an one in the Place of it.  They made the Rule all wrong that put the King in the first Place; he will never stand well there. I do think Men of rational Judgment, that have not sold themselves to this iniquous Time, will think it the true Honour of the Prince to keep them him in the Line of Subordination to God's Honour, Fear God, and honour the King. He is the best Subject who is the best Christian. And ask some what makes you take such a mischievous Course by the End for the Overthrow of the Work of God?  O! I behooved to prove my {21} Loyalty to my Prince; ye understand not there are many who question my Loyalty now. In Truth, Sir, say I, there is many a better Man than ever stood on your Shins, or his either, that questions your loyalty now to the God of Heaven. Will ye make this once clear, in the first Place, that ye are a loyal Subject to the God of Heaven, and then prove your Loyalty to your Prince by Things that do not contradict the Scriptures of Truth and the Laws of the God of Heaven.  It is never a soncy [sound] Loyalty that makes Folk to quit their Religion. Tho' this Religion justled against that which they accounted Loyalty, they charged him with this, That his Way was a Way of Sedition and Heresy; his Way did not prove him to be loyal enough. Well, saith he, I am a loyal Subject for all that after that Way, so I worship the God of my Fathers: But albeit ye will quit with your Religion to prove your Loyalty to your Prince, yet truly ye will not do so.  And if ye call such Fanaticks that take the Way we do, then we are such after the Way that ye call Fanaticism, so we worship the God of our Fathers: We may not quit with our Religion, albeit ye call it by the Name of Treason, Heresy, Rebellion, and Division: Hold ye by your Thing, and we will hold us by our Thing: ’Tis always best for Folks to hold them still by their own Thing.

3. There are many Folks, who for their Compliance pretend to the Peace of the Church, and to themselves.  Know ye not what Discord and Mischief that Way breeds every where? Quoth ye, I am even gone the Length, I am gone for Peace in some Cases. Peace, Man! Peace! Man I pray thee, what Peace wouldst thou? wouldst thou have Peace with God's Enemies, that have destroyed all that is precious in our Sight? Whom with would ye have Peace?  I hope ye may have Peace with all the {22} People of God, without Compliance.  Why then tell ye us, that we should keep Peace with a Party that has destroyed all the Work of God? I weened [thought] the Scriptures had stated the Matter thus, Follow Peace with all Men, and Holiness, without which no Flesh shall see God. Ye forget still the one Half of your Tale, my Friend. Would ye have Peace among us, without Holiness? Lord, let never that Peace be among us. God send us red War, ere he sends us that Peace: Red War, Fire and Sword be among us, ere that Peace be among us.  Woful will be the Peace of these Lands, if Peace without Holiness be among us. I know not what Peace is, for if it have not Holiness with it, I know not what ye would be at, if ye would not have Communion betwixt Light and Darkness, Christ and Belial, [2 Cor. 6.14,15,] which shall never keep under one Roof, one Bed, nor one Board together.  We profess no Peace with that Party that is Enemies to God; we profess no Peace with such a Party: Let red War be betwixt us, but God let never Peace be betwixt us.

4. There are many, who pretend this for their Compliance, even Usefulness to the Church.  In their Cases, they say they have done what they have done of that kind, that they may be useful to the Work of God in other Cases.  What moved thee to comply, Man, and run with that unhappy Party so great a Length, for the Overthrow of the Work of God? But ye understand not my Drift in it; it was that I might get Credit from them, and thereby I will have Place and Opportunity to speak for the People of God, and for the Cause, and so this is a Way to be useful for the Work of God, by their putting Credit upon me; that Way I will have a fair Opportunity to get many a good Turn done in the Favour of the honest Men.  Gang [Go] thy Way, Man, the Vengeance of God gang with thee; for we will {23} either have God's Gate [way], or will never have Good at all, for Good is not Good, if it come not God's Gate: We look never that God will tryst [meet] us with Good through such foul Fingers as yours; we will look that [God] will tryst us with Good through a cleaner Hand.  But I never knew that this was your Duty to do Evil that Good might come of it; I never knew that the Scripture stated the Matter thus, That Folk should do Evil that Good might come of it. I ween'd ay [always thought] that Folk should have done Good at present, if they would have had Good to have followed on it.  But I never knew that Folk was to do Evil, that Good might follow; I never read that in all the Bible, and I have read it all from the one End to the other, and some of it twice over, but I never read that in it all.  Go thy Way Man, the Vengeance of God gang with thee; for we look never for Good at the like of thy Hand. I dare say, if it were not more respect to thy carnal Interest, that thou lookest most to, than any respect that thou hast to the Cause of Christ and his People, thou wouldst never have gone the Length thou hast gone.  God reward you for what ye have done to Christ and his Cause, and so he will, in his own due Time; ye will get the Devil to your Thanks yet, for the Good ye have done to the Cause of Christ and his People by Compliance.

But there are many likewise, who have this Pretext for their Compliance, They profess to be keeping their Life till a better Time: It is a Sin to let our Life, and what belongs to us gang this Gate [go this way]; we may keep our Life till a better Time.  Indeed, as I was telling you before, I never heard tell, that the Man's Life did ever any more Good to Christ and his Cause, that once did compete therewith, and was preferred thereunto, and so was brought off with Prejudice to the same: God will never be in {24} such a Knave's Common [due, debt] as thine, to prefer thy Life with that Honour, as to make it useful for the Cause of Christ again, who hast preferred thy Life to the Cause.  I weened the Scripture had airted [guided] thee better, Man, That he that is faithful in the little, will be faithful in the greater, and he that is not faithful in little, will not be faithful in much. He will never honour such as have denied his Cause to make them useful for the Cause and Work again; such as is faithful in the little, and keeps his Garments clean in an evil Time, God will prefer that honest Man with taking a good Turn off his Hand, for his Cause and People.  He will take nothing off a Lown's Hand that has defiled himself, and hath not been faithful in the little.  Let still that sound in your Ears, That he that is not faithful in the little, will not be faithful in the much. I'll wad [pledge] ye shall see these Children, that have gone that Gate, and are keeping their Life till a better Time; goodsooth, I'll wad that ye see an evil Time take them: Goodsooth they will look with clear Eyes, that ever will see their Life do a good Turn more in this World.  I believe the most Part of them, if not all of them, is kept for a black Hour.  They will look with clear Eyes, that ever will see them get a good Turn, or yet be useful to the Church in this World again.

There are many likewise, that have this Pretext for their Compliance, That they do what they do that Way out of no ill Intention; it was upon such good Accounts that they did such and such Things; we had no ill Intention in so doing; we intended to wrong no Man, far be it from us to persecute, or bid any Body do any thing against their Light; we had no ill Intention in what we have done. Ye have a bonny Pretext of it forsooth!  I shall desire any Man to search through all the Scriptures, and {25} see if any such a Thing be to be found in them, of God's stating Men's Honesty upon good Intentions brought forth evil Fruit; I never read such a Thing in all the Bible. I thought the Scriptures had said, With the Heart Man believes, and with the Tongue Confession is made unto Salvation: In contending for the Matters of God, for his Cause and Interest, Hands, Tongues, and Feet are to be made Use of.  Good Deeds and Actions are useful for the Cause of Christ, but for your good Thoughts and Intentions, while they have brought forth such bad Fruits, as the Apples of Sodom and the Grapes of Gomorrah, I have no Skill of them.  The most Part of those Knaves that say they had good Thoughts and Intentions, we will see them the greatest Persecutors that the People of God will have.  These good Intentions of yours, ye will get a black Reward for them, for they have wronged the Church far, and so ye are at the Loss and the Church both, with those good Intentions of yours.

A bonny Pretence ye have of it forsooth! I never read it in all the Scriptures where ever God made a Man's Foresight of Events the Measure of his Actions in Duty.  I never heard that a Man was to shift his Duty upon that Account, because he thought his Duty would not have good Consequences. I never understood that before, that Issues and Events belonged to us. I weened ay [always thought], known Duty had belonged to us, but Issues and Events had belonged to God. Indeed the Prophets, that the Lord sent forth long since to speak in his Name, had a little more Ground to shift their Duty when God told them the Issue and Event would not prove good, yet they durst not for their Life shift their Duty even in that Case: Go, saith he, speak to this People, but they are a stiff-necked and rebellious People, they will not hear.  Will they not hear? might they say, {26} then we will never speak to them, it is but Folly to cast ourselves into Hazard, when it needs not. We may as well gang and speak to Stocks and Stones, and they will not persecute us, since the Thing we speak will have a like Effect upon both. Whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, speak ye my Word to them, or their Blood will I require at your hand, [Ezek. 3.11,18]: Speak when God bids you speak, whether there come Evil or Good of it; if ye will not, God will make your Tongues to fry & flutter upon the hot Coals of Hell, he will gar [make] it blutter and bleeze upon the burning Coals of Hell.  Speak, Sir, when God bids you speak, or he will gar that Tongue that he hath put into your Mouth, papple and play in the how [deep] Pot of Hell.  Ye have a bonny Pretence of it, Man, your bare Testimony will not turn the Chace. Sir, did those Two Witnesses, in the Revelation, that prophesied in Sackcloth, by their Testimony turn the Chace?  Yet they were to witness against the Abominations of the Time, till they were slain; for all that, Folk have gotten a brave Gate of it now, forsooth, that they will speak nothing for the Cause of Christ now, because that will not turn the Chace.  Speak, when God calls you to speak, or he will gar you do worse in a worse Time. At last, when Folk have made all the Pretences they can make, in the End they must even come to this, I dought [can] not stand it out for Fear, Flesh, and Blood would not do it, when I considered the Hardships, that now the People of God is in Hazard of, of ripping up the Nose, and cutting off of the Ears and Hands, and losing of the Life; it was so terrible to me, while Flesh and Blood would not serve me to stand it out.  Indeed ’tis even the best, and most honest Pretence of all that ye have had yet from the Beginning; yet there is no Consolation to you from this Text: I would have you to remember {27} that the Text speaks peremptorily, He that seeks to save his Life, shall lose it.  I have not a Dispensation to grant you from these Words, but I shall read over the good Text of our Lord Jesus to you, that will speak better for itself than I, or any Body that will speak on it, He that seeks to save his Life, shall lose it. See if that grants you a Dispensation.  The Man's Heart would not serve him to stand it out, yea, but he that seeks to save his Life (saith the Text) shall lose it.  Alas! my Flesh and Blood dought not do it, my Fear moved me to such a Course, He that seeks to save his Life, shall lose it.  O! I had great Temptations, many Burdens, Wife and Children, which my Care was engaged for, I could not get it stood out, He that seeks to save his Life, shall lose it: A dreadful Word, that may make you all tremble, He that seeks to save his Life, shall lose it!  Never make a Pretext of your own Weakness; never make a Pretext of this, that other Folk that had more Wit than ye, did such a Thing before you, though ye were not clear in it; yet that ye thought they behoved to be clear in it, there is no Excuse to you from this, He that seeks to save his Life, shall lose it.  Ye saw many that ye judged good and godly doing so, that is no Excuse for you, frae ye saw an Appearance of Evil, He that seeks to save his Life, shall lose it.  Therefore I charge you in the Name and Authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye see the Cause of Christ on the one Side, and your Life on the other Side, competing and justling against one another, that ye make a right Choice, for the Good of the Cause, or ye shall come under the Hazard of this Text, He that seeks to save his Life, shall lose it.

A third Thing we would speak a Word to, is this,

1. What Way doth the Folk lose their Life, that goeth about so preposterously to save their Life, {28} either by committing that which is their Sin, or for Fear of personal Hazard, doing that which is wrong?

2. How do they lose their Lives?

3. What Sort of Life is this that they lose?

4. What is mean'd by losing their Life?

Here, first of all, they lose their Life as they lose Life everlastingly thereby; for Christ hath in even down Terms said in the Words following, He that denieth me before Men, him will I deny before the Father and the holy Angels.  In Truth then if he deny you, I know not who will own you in that Day, none of all that Court and Side that he is on will own you: But I know another Court that will own you, believe, even the Court and Side of all the Devils in Hell, they will own you, they will know you well enough; believe, they will gather all together about the poor Soul, as so many greedy Crows about a Gushorn, every one gripping it straiter in their Cluiks than another.  But none of that Court will own you, all that Court will say, I know you not; altho' ye were their born Brother, they dare not say they know you in that Day, if Christ know you not: ’Tis everlasting Life that ye lose, my Dove, by taking such preposterous Ways to save it. That's a sore Word, O! but that's a great Pawn, ye lose Life, as thereby ye will lose Life everlasting; O! that's a Pawn ye shall never exchange again.---What shall a Man give in Exchange for his Soul? Prove your Loyalty to your Prince, by losing of your Soul that Gate.

2dly, They lose their natural Life as God's Blessing to them.  Men's natural Life, while God calls him not to lay it down, is God's Blessing to him; but if God call for it, and he lay it not down, it is no more God's Blessing to him, but God's Curse; he holds it no more of God, but of the Devil in Hell: The saving of his Life is God's Plague and {29} Vengeance on him; his Life after that is God's Plague and Curse to him, he holds it no more of God: And that Time, when God calls for his Life, and he lays it not down, he forfeits his Right holding of his Life in God, and so he loseth his Life, as he loseth God's Blessing upon his natural Life: He has lost his Life as God's Blessing, and he holds it as God's Curse, he shall never have Power again by his Life to commit a good Deed; all the Actions again proceeding from that Life, shall be cursed; cursed in his Incoming and in his Outgoing, in his Basket and in his Store, and in every Thing he doth; he may build Houses, and buy Land after that, but all shall be accursed; all the Actions, proceeding from that cursed Life, shall be cursed; live he long, or live he short, the Curse of God shall fall upon him, tho’ he should live to be the Sinner of 100 Years old, he shall be accursed, his Life cursed, his Actions cursed; all that he doth shall be but Fuel to the Curse of God that shall light broad flaught [thunder-flash] upon him.  He shall eat and drink and wear in the Curse of God, it shall feed and live upon him.  He shall hold Bed and Board on the Curse of God, and the Curse of God shall hold Bed and Board on him; that Way they shall lose their Life; they shall lose it as God's Blessing.

3dly, The Man that goes thus preposterously about to save his Life, he shall lose his Life so as within a little he shall lose the Comfort of his Life; within a little he shall be full of Hell's Sorrows, Hell's Terror shall seize upon him, the Worm that never dies shall begin an inward gnawing at his Heart, the Worm of ill Conscience rugging [pulling, tearing] at his Heart and Intrals [Entrails] of him like a Canker-Worm drawing at his Liver, an inward Flame, like the Fire of Hell ready to burn him up within, ere ever Death come to take away the cursed Carcase of him; {30} the gnawing Worm that never dieth shall ever draw at the Conscience of him, like a greedy Glade riving [tearing] at a Gushorn, ay as if the Devil were within going to rive [tear] out the Soul at his broad Side, and to run away to Hell with it.  God will kindle the Fire of Hell in the Heart of him, wherein he shall find that hungry Worm, like the Devil, drawing out the Soul and Intrals of him, like a few hungry Glades riving at a Gushorn; thou shalt never have Rest henceforth, but an inward gnawing and rugging at the Heart, till thou be fully possest in everlasting Flames.  Gang thy Way, Man, if thou hast wronged the Cause of Christ for Fear of thy Life, I would not have an Hour of thy Life for all the Gold of Gowry.

4thly, This Man loseth his Life another Way, more formally; as God, upon this Account, for the Man's seeking to save his Life, gars [makes] his Life gang [go] upon a miserable Account, and that many Times, ere long, as the just Reward of his Sin; he dies in the midst of his Days; God gars him make some Tyke's Testament: He doth not die properly, he is cut off in the midst of his Days: He disowns God, and betrays the Cause for Fear of his Life, ere ever he wit God cleiks [snatches] him off. He had an honourable Opportunity to let his Life go, but he would not let it go; so God gars him let it go upon a more miserable Account; and very readily God gars his Life gang by that self same Mean that he took to save his Life: ’Tis like their Eyes are open now, that will see the like of that yet; now, will we ever see that Day that the Declaration, and the Service-Book, and keeping Days of Men's Invention, will be the high Way to gar some Folk lose their Life. Will ye have Patience a little? Ye shall either see that Day, or ye shall say I had no Skill of Preaching, or of the Mind of God; ye will see this, that those {31} Folks that have betrayed the People of God, have most of all betrayed their own Life: They think they have gotten a safe Gate for their Life now as ever Man had, for they have made the King the Head of the Church, and they shall be of any Religion that ever he likes to bring through the Land, that they may save their Life.  Goodsooth, that will not work yet, all that will not hide you, that will even but bring you sooner to the Gallows, that will gar your Bones whistle in the Wind some Day. Will the taking of the Declaration do your Turn, think ye? God will gar the taking that Declaration, that many a Man thinks to be the Safety of his Life, that Way the Safety of his Life will gar his Head weigh his Tail yet, and his Bones whistle in the Wind.  All these Shifts will yet the sooner bring them to the Gallows, for these Shifts that they take against the Light of their own Conscience. Ye will [go] to the Gallows, for all the Plots that ye plot against the People of God.  Wicked Haman must to the Gallows, for all the Plot that he plots so deep against the People.  Ye think that these Laws, that ye make against the People of God, will only bring them to Distress, Sorrow, and Bonds; yea, but they will gar your Bones whistle in the Wind, for all.  The readiest Way to bring Folk to a miserable hinder End, is that wicked Declaration. What would you think of such a Cast of Kindness from God's Hand, as that to make your Mischief turn upon your own Head? Wicked Haman's Plots and contriving Cruelties against the People of God most hasted to help him to haste to the Gallows. Haman may make many Decrees, but he must to the Gallows ere he see them put to Execution. What would ye think if those Laws that they are making against the People of God, to bring them to Ruin, bring their own Carcases to the Gallows? {32} These their Acts and Laws, that they are making against the People of God, is the Way in all the World to hasten themselves to a miserable hinder End.  The sinful Way that a Man takes for the Safety of his Life proves the very Mean and Way of his Overthrow; and so will come of them yet.

Now what is the Reason of this, that he that seeks his Life shall come to a miserable hinder End that Way that he seeks to save it?

Answer. The Reason is, the Righteousness of God. God is a righteous God, that is even the Reason of it; God is a righteous God, he will make it known to all the World, that he is an upright God, and that there is no Unrighteousness in him.  He is righteous in this, to rain Snares on such wicked Souls that lay Snares before the Consciences of his People.  The righteous God loveth Righteousness, as ye heard in the Morning, upon the hinder End of that Psalm that we lectured on.  The Way that the Man went to save his Life, when God called him to lay it down, he is a righteous God to gar [make] his Life gang [go] by that Way which he looks to save it.  The Man that before Heaven and Earth, Sun and Moon, and the World, makes such a Choice as God has forbidden, to save his Life, God is righteous to hold him at his Choice, and that Way to bring him to a miserable hinder End.  I offered you Life eternal, Peace of Conscience, the Way to save your Life forever; ye would not, but ye would have your Venture on a Way of your own. Well, as I live, saith God, I shall take you at your Word, that Choice shall you make which you have made, and that Choice shall be your Ruin; ye shall take the Holding of your Life in that Choice that ye have made; ye shall never get more of me, ye have no more to crave of me: Now God is a righteous God in this.  Well, now for the Use of the Doctrine. {33}

First of all, Ye would labour to know with yourself, in what Hazard your Life is in, when the Cause of Christ is upon the Stage; ye would reckon with yourselves how many Ways ye may run the Hazard of your Life, when Christ's Cause is upon the Stage, either by not doing and omitting that which ye should do, or by committing and doing that which ye should not do; it were not amiss to consider these Hazards, and what the Scripture speaks of Folks seeking to save their Lives any of these Ways.

Secondly, Do not hold up nor satisfy yourselves with any of your broken Pretences that I have named, or others that I have not named, they hold no Weight before God, ye must be even down in the Matter; for he that seeks any Way to save his Life, shall lose it.  Ye need not speak of this, there is Law and Authority for such a false Cause; ye need not speak of proving your Loyalty to your Prince that Way; ye need never pretend, that such a Way ye thought best for Peace; ye need never pretend your Usefulness to God's People by your taking such a Gate; ye need never say, ye are keeping your Life to a better Time; ye need never tell us, ye had no ill Intentions, or that your bare Testimony would not have done Good: These are Fools Devices; he that seeks to save his Life, shall lose it.  That Word hath more Weight than all the foolish Intentions and Pretexts that ye have; He that seeks to save his Life, shall lose it.

Thirdly, Let me obtest you, as ye love your own Life, as ye love the Life of your Soul, and your natural Life, as God's Blessing, and not God's Curse, and as ye love the Comfort of your Life, and Life itself; then by all these I obtest you to make a right Choice: It is like ere long your Life may come upon the Stage for Christ and his Cause, and you may get {34} it in your Option, to save or lose your Life, with Denial or not Denial of the Cause.  Now as ye love the Life of your Souls, and a Blessing upon your natural Life, and the Comfort of your Life, the keep of your Life, make a right Choice.

Fourthly, Sirs, never covet the Life of those that have kept their Life by wronging the Cause of Christ; covet not their Life, I say, therefore. Have they not a brave Life of it? God save me, and all that I good would, from a Trial of it.  For all that, will ye let alone, for all that, if ye had a Trial of it, within a little ye would think it worse than the most miserable Death that ever a Man died. One dying not long ago, may be exemplary for this, ’tis a brave Testimony that he gave for this, lying on his Death-bed, I would not (saith he) bide one Night again as I have had, for that Declaration, for all the World.  When heard ye one of our Side that ever said the like of that, for taking the Covenant and abiding by it?  God be thanked we will get some of the other Side that will say so for taking of that Declaration, albeit they be scarce as yet; nevertheless, I hope, there shall be more of them ere it be long.  I say, covet not their Life; black and miserable is the Life that some of them have of it, a fearful looking for of the Soul to be rugged [torn] out of them; the Worm that never dies, ay [always] sitting rugging [tearing] at the heart of them, where the Life sits. The broad Curse of God upon their Life, and all that they gather together with their Hands, as the Work of their Life.  God's Curse upon all holding Bed and Board of them; and it may be that make a sad Sight to be seen of some of them, and all that they have, what they are.  That is a dreadful Thing, besides the inward Worm gnawing with Terror, like a Worm rugging at the Maw [belly] of them, ready to rug out the very miserable Life that they {35} would fain be quit of, which God shall, within a little, cause to gang in the Favour of the Devil, in the midst of their Days: Therefore, Sirs, covet not their Life, they have a miserable Life of it; yet, Sirs, upon the other Hand, ye must pity poor Folk in this Case, for their Temptation was even very great, as I was saying to you before.  Now, that we may end this Doctrine, observe here the righteous Wisdom of God, in destroying Mens Lives, who, for Fear of personal Hazard, seek to save them with Prejudice to Christ and his Cause, who love their Lives better than Christ's Cause, and so wrong it for the Safety of their Life.  Ye may see much of that now a-Days, and if ye live long, ye will see more of it; there may be much of it seen already. If ye see a Man falling into a Snare, to enrich himself, as indeed ye will get Hundreds not far off, O then admire the righteous Wisdom of God, in that ye see a Man seeking to save his Life, and falling into a Mischief by that!  admire the Righteousness of God in it, if ye see any complying with that wicked Party, for Fear of their Life, or for Fear of their Means! Admire the righteous Wisdom of God in this, for making that a Snare for destroying of their Life, which they made Use of for a Mean to save their Lives!  So much for this Doctrine.

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