A Cabinet of Choice Jewels, or,
A Box of Precious Ointment

By Thomas Brooks, 1669

Being a plain discovery of, or, what men are worth for Eternity, and how it is likely to fare with them in the eternal world. Here is also a clear and large Discovery of the several rounds in Jacob's Ladder, that no hypocrite under Heaven can climb up to. Here are also such close, piercing, distinguishing and discovering evidences as will reach and suit those Christians who are highest in grace and spiritual enjoyments; and here are many evidences, which are suited to the capacities and experiences of the weakest Christians in Christ's school: And here Christians may see as in a mirror, what a sober use and improvement they ought to make of their evidences for Heaven; and how in the use of their gracious evidences they ought to live. First, upon the free grace of God. Secondly, upon the Mediatorial righteousness of Christ. Thirdly, upon the Covenant of Grace. With several other points of grand importance, etc.

"Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure." 2 Peter 1:10.

"Examine your selves whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves, know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you except you be reprobates?" 2 Corinthians 13:5


Epistle Dedicatory

Honored and Beloved in our Lord Jesus,
All confluence of blessings, both for this life and for that which is to come, from the Father of mercies and God of all consolations. I owe more than an epistle to each of you. But the Lord having made you near and dear one to another more ways than one, I take the boldness to present this treatise to you jointly. Here is nothing in this book that relates to government of church or state. The design of this treatise is to show what men are worth for eternity, and how it is likely to go with them in the eternal world. There are none but bear about with them, precious and immortal souls, which are more worth than ten thousand thousand worlds. If the soul is safe—all is safe. If the soul is well—all is well. If the soul is lost—all is lost. The first great work that men are to attend in this world is the eternal safety and security of their souls; the next great work is to know, to be assured, that it shall go well with their souls forever. [Granctensis tells of a woman who was so affected with souls' miscarryings, that she besought God to stop up the passage into hell with her soul and body, that none might have entrance. O divine soul! invested with the image of God, espoused to him by faith, etc. —Bernard.] And these are the main things which are aimed at in this discourse.

The soul is the better and more noble part of man. Upon the soul the image of God is most fairly stamped. The soul is first converted, and the soul shall be first and most glorified. The soul is that spiritual and immortal substance, which is capable of union with God, and of communion with God, and of an eternal fruition of God. Plato, though a heathen, could say that he thought the soul to be made all of eternity, and that the putting the soul into the body was a sign of great wrath from God.

"Each living corpse must yield at last to death,
And every life must lose his vital breath.
The soul of man—which only lives on high,
And is an image of eternity." (Pindar)

The Romans, when their emperors and great ones died, and their bodies were buried, they caused an eagle to mount on high, thereby to signify the soul's immortality and ascent. A Scythian captain, having for a draught of water delivered up his city, cried out, What have I lost, what have I betrayed? So many at last will cry out, "Oh, what have I lost! I have lost God, and Christ, and heaven, and have betrayed my precious and immortal soul into the hands of divine justice, and into the hands of Satan!" Who these men are, who will at last thus cry out, this treatise does discover.

I have read that there was a time when the Romans wore their jewels on their shoes. Most men in this day do worse, for they trample that matchless jewel of their souls under feet; and who these are this treatise does discover. Chrysostom well observes, "That whereas God has given many other things double; two eyes to see with, two ears to hear with, two hands to work with, and two feet to walk with, to the intent that the failing of the one might be supplied by the other. But he has given us but one soul, and if that be lost, have you another soul to give in recompense for it?"

Now, who those are whose souls are in a safe estate, and who those are whose souls are in danger of being lost forever, this treatise does plainly and fully discover. To describe to the life, who that man is, who is truly happy in this world, and who shall be blessed forever in the other world—is the work of this ensuing treatise, Psalm 15, 144:15. The grace of the covenant in us is a sure evidence of God's entering into the covenant of grace with us. To be in a gracious state is true happiness—but to know ourselves to be in such a state is the top of our happiness in this world. A man may have grace, and yet, for a time, not know it, 1 John 5:13. The child lives in the womb—but does not know it. A man may be in a gracious state, and yet not see it; he may have a saving work of God upon his soul, and yet not discern it; he may have the root of the matter in him, and yet not be able to evidence it, Psalm 77:6, Psalm 88. Now to help such poor hearts to a right understanding of their spiritual condition, and that they may see and know what they are worth for another world, and so go to their graves in joy and peace, I have sent this treatise abroad into the world. Will you give me leave to say,

(1.) First, Some men of name in their day have laid down such things for evidences or characters of grace, which, being weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, will be found too light. But here, a mantle of love may be of more use than a lamp; and therefore,

(2.) Secondly, Many, yes, very many there are, whose graces are very weak, and much buried under the earth and ashes of many fears, doubts, scruples, strong passions, prevailing corruptions, and diabolical suggestions, who would give as many worlds as there are men in the world, had they so many in their hands to give, to know that they have grace, and that their spiritual estate is good, and that they shall be happy forever. Now this treatise is fitted up for the service of these poor hearts; for the weakest Christians may turn to many clear and well-bottomed evidences in this treatise, and throw the gauntlet to Satan, and bid him prove if he can, that ever any profane person or cunning hypocrite under heaven, had such evidences, or such fair certificates to show for heaven, which he has to show.

The generality of Christians are weak. They are dwarfs—rather than giants; they are bruised reeds—rather than tall cedars; they are babes—rather than strong men; lambs—rather than sheep, etc. [1 Peter 2:2, 3; 1 John 2:12-14; Isaiah 40:11.] Now, for the service of their souls, I have been willing to send this treatise into the world; for this treatise may speak to them when I may not; yes, when I cannot; yes, which is more, when I am not.

Mr. Dod would frequently say, he cared not where he was if he could but answer these two questions:

1. Who am I?

2. What am I doing here? Am I a child of God? and am I in my way? But,

(3.) Thirdly, Some there are who are so excessively and immoderately taken up with their signs, marks, and evidences of grace, and of their gracious state, etc., that Christ is too much neglected, and more rarely minded by them. Their hearts do not run out so freely, so fully, so strongly, so frequently, so delightfully towards Christ as they should do, nor as they would do, if they were not too inordinately taken up with their marks and signs. Now, for the rectifying of these mistakes, and the cure of these spiritual maladies, this treatise is sent into the world. We may and ought to make a sober use of characters and evidences of our gracious estates, to support, comfort, and encourage us on our way to heaven—but still in subordination to Christ, and to the fresh and frequent exercises of faith upon the person, blood, and righteousness of Jesus. But oh how few Christians are there who are skilled in this work of works, this art of arts, this mystery of mysteries. [Where Christ was born, they were all so taken up with their guests, that he was not minded nor regarded; when others lay in stately rooms, he must be laid in a manger, Luke 2:7.] But,

(4.) Fourthly, Some there are who in those days are given up to enthusiastical fancies, strange raptures, revelations, and to the sad delusions of their own hearts; crying down with all their might all discoveries of believers' spiritual estates by Scripture characters, marks, and signs of sanctifications, 2 Thes. 2:9-11, as carnal and low; and all this under fair pretenses of exalting Christ, and maintaining the honor of his righteousness and free grace, and of denying ourselves and our own righteousness. Though sanctification is a branch of the covenant of grace as well as justification—yet there are a sort of people who would not have Christians to rejoice in their sanctification, under a pretense of reflecting dishonor upon their free justification by Christ, Jer. 33:8, Ezek. 36:25-27. There are many who place all their religion in opinions, in brain-sick notions, in airy speculations, in quaint disputations, in immediate revelations, and in their warm zeal for this or that form of worship. Now, that these may be recovered, and healed, and prevented from doing further mischief in the world, I have at this time put to a helping hand. But,

(5.) Fifthly, no man can tell what is in the womb of divine Providence. No man can tell what a day, a night, an hour, may bring forth. [The Brachmanni had their graves before their doors. The Sybarites at banquets had a skull moved from hand to hand by every guest at the table. The Egyptians, in the midst of their feasts, used to have the skeleton of a dead man set before them, as a memorandum to the guests of their mortality. The poor heathen could say that the whole life of man should be a meditation of death. Dwell upon that. Deut. 32:29, Proverbs 27:1.]

Who can sum up the many possible deaths which are still lurking in his own bodies, or the innumerable hosts of external dangers which beleaguer him on every side, or how many invisible arrows fly about his ears continually! How soon he may have his mortal wound given him by one or other of them—who can tell? Now, how sad would it be for a man to have a summons to appear before God in that eternal world, before his heart and life are changed, and his evidences for heaven cleared up to him! The life of a man is but a shadow, a runner, a span, a vapor, a flower, etc. Though there is but one way to come into the world—yet there are many thousand ways to be sent out of the world; and this should bespeak every Christian to have his evidences for heaven always ready and at hand, yes, in his hand as well as in his heart, and then he will find it an easy thing to die. The king of terrors will then be the king of desires to him, and he will then travel to glory under a spirit of joy and triumph.

We carry about in our bodies, the material for a thousand deaths, and may die a thousand different ways in several hours. As many senses, as many members, nay, as many pores as there are in the body, so many windows there are for death to enter in at. Death needs not spend all his arrows upon us; a worm, a gnat, a fly, a hair, a seed of a raison, a skin of a grape, the stumbling of a horse, the trip of a foot, the prick of a pin, the cutting of a fingernail, the cutting out of a corn; all these have been to others, and any of them may be to us, the means of our death within the space of a few days; nay, of a few hours; nay, of a few moments!

Does not it therefore highly concern us to have our evidences for heaven cleared, sealed, shining, and at hand? Naturalists tell us that if a man sees a cockatrice first, the cockatrice dies. But if the cockatrice sees a man first, the man dies. However that may be; certainly if we so see death first as to prepare for it, as to get our evidences for heaven ready, we shall kill it. But if death sees us first, and arrests us first before we are prepared, and before our evidences for heaven are cleared, it will kill us everlastingly, it will kill us eternally. Time travails with God's decrees, and in their season brings them forth. But little does any man know what is in the womb of tomorrow, until God has signified his will by the event: "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." Proverbs 27:1. That man who knows what he himself intends to bring forth—does not know what the day will bring forth; the next day is not so near the former in time as it may be remote from it in the effects of it.

Providence in this life is the map of changes, the picture of mutability. Who can sum up the strange circumferences, and rare circuits, and labyrinths of providence? Providence is as a wheel in the midst of a wheel, whose motion, and work, and end in turning is not discerned by every common eye, Ezek. 1:16.

Three dreadful judgments God has lately visited us with, namely, sword, pestilence, and fire. But who repents; who smites upon his thigh; who finds out the plague of his own heart; who says, What have I done? who ceases from doing evil; who learns to do well; who turns to the Most High; who lays hold on everlasting strength; who makes peace with God; who throws himself into the gap? etc., Isaiah 1:16-17, Psalm 106:23. Are not multitudes grown much worse after judgments, than they were before? Do not they bid higher defiance to heaven than ever? And, therefore, who can tell what further controversy God may have with such a people, especially considering that solemn scripture, Lev. 26:14th to the 34th verse, with scores of others that sound that way? Were our forefathers alive, how sadly would they blush to see such a horrid, degenerate posterity as is to be found in the midst of us! How is our forefathers' thriftiness converted into riot and luxury; their frugality into pride and prodigality, their simplicity into subtlety, their sincerity into hypocrisy, their charity into cruelty, their chastity into lust and wantonness, their sobriety into drunkenness, their plain-dealing into deceit, and their works of compassion into works of oppression, etc. And may we not fear that even for these things God may once more visit us?

The nations are angry, and we are weak in their eyes; our enemies are not asleep abroad, and are not we too secure at home? And what further confusions may be in the world, who can tell? I point at these things only to provoke all those into whose hands this treatise may fall—to make sure work for an eternal world, to make sure their evidences for heaven, and to keep their evidences for life and glory always sparkling and shining. And then I am sure that the worst of calamities, the sorest of judgments—shall but translate them from earth—to heaven, from a wilderness—to a paradise, from misery—to glory, and from mixed and mutable enjoyments—to the pure and everlasting enjoyments of God, Christ, the angels, and "the spirits of just men made perfect," Heb. 12:22-24. But,

(6.) Sixthly and lastly, In this treatise, as in a mirror—all sorts of profane people, and all sorts of self-flatterers, and all sorts of hypocrites, may see—

[1.] That their present state and condition is not so safe, nor yet so happy, as they judge it to be.

[2.] Again, in this treatise, as in a mirror, all sorts of profane people, and all sorts of self-flatterers, and all sorts of hypocrites, may see the happy and blessed state of the people of God, against whom their spirits rise and swell, etc.

[3.] Again, in this treatise, as in a mirror, all sorts of profane people, and all sorts of self-flatterers, and all sorts of hypocrites, may see what those things are, which they need, and that they ought to beg of God.

[4.] Again, in this treatise, as in a mirror, all sorts of profane people, and all sorts of self-flatterers, and all sorts of hypocrites, may see what those things are without which they can neither be happy here nor hereafter. Now, were there no other reasons for my sending forth this treatise into the world, this alone might justify me.

But, beloved, before I close up this epistle, give me permission to say, that there are two sorts of men that all are bound (1.) highly to prize, (2.) cordially to love, and (3.) greatly to honor above all other men in the world; and they are these: First, Christians of public spirits; secondly, Christians of charitable spirits, men of merciful spirits, men of tender and compassionate spirits.

(1.) First, Christians of public spirits, myself and all others are bound, 1, highly to prize; 2, cordially to love; and, 3, greatly to honor above all other men in the world; and that,

1. First, because a public-spirited man is a common good, a common blessing. All in the family, all in the court, all in the city, all in the country, fare the better for that Christian's sake that is of a public spirit. All in Laban's family did fare the better for Jacob's sake; and all in the city of Zoar did fare the better for Lot's sake; and all Pharaoh's court and the whole country of Egypt did fare the better for Joseph's sake, Gen. 30:27, and 19:21-24, and Gen. 41, etc. Sodom was safe while Lot was in it. Elijah was a man of public spirit, and he was "the chariots and horsemen of Israel," 2 Kings 2:12. Moses was a man of public spirit, and he often diverted ruining judgments from falling upon Israel, Psalm 106:23. Phinehas was a man of public spirit, and he takes up his censer, and stands between the living and the dead, and the plague was stopped, Num. 16:46, 49.

Christians of public spirits are public mercies, public blessings. They are a public diffusive blessing in the places where they live. Christians of public spirits are the true Atlases both of church and state; they are the pillars on whom all do rest, the props on whom all do lean. [Though I do not, I dare not, say, that every public spirit is a gracious spirit. Yet this I must say, that every gracious spirit is a public spirit.] Do but overturn these pillars and all will fall about your ears, as the house did on the Philistines when Samson shook it. Rack but these, and kingdoms and commonwealths shall be quickly racked themselves.

2. Secondly, Because public-spirited Christians are most like Christ, and to the choicest and most excellent saints. [John 1:7, Heb. 2, Psalm. 63:8, Romans 8:30-38; Heb. 7:25; John 14:1-4; Acts 10:88; Philip. 2:4, 6. Christ made himself poor to make others rich—but men of narrow souls make others poor to make themselves rich, 2 Cor. 6:8, 8:9.] Christ left his Father's bosom for a public good; he assumed our nature for a public good; he trod the wine-press of his Father's wrath for a public good; he died for a public good, and he rose for a public good; he ascended to heaven for a public good, and he continues in heaven for a public good. When he was in this world he went up and down doing good. He healed others—but was hurt himself; he fed and filled others—but was hungry himself. Christ was all for a public good: "Look not every man on his own things—but every man also on the things of others." "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus," Philip. 2:4-5. Though SELF be a great stickler—yet he who will write after Christ's copy, must neglect himself to serve others. That Christian acts most like Christ, who prefers the public a saving interest before his own private interest.

The stars have their brightness, not for themselves—but for the use of others; and the sun has her shining light—but not for herself—but for others. In the natural body every member is diffusive; the eye conveys the light, the head thoughts, the liver blood, etc. And why should it not be so in the politic body also?

And as Christ, so Moses was a man of a public spirit, when God made a very fair offer to him, that he would make him a great nation if he would but stand neutral until God had revenged himself upon a rebellious people. But Moses had no mind to preferment upon those terms; he preferred the public good before his own honor, profit, and advancement, and therefore follows God close, and never gives over pleading for them until he had procured their pardon, and turned away the wrath of God from them, Exod. 32:10-12; so Num. 14:4, 10, 13-14.

So Joshua was a man of a public spirit: "When they had made an end of dividing the land for inheritance by their coasts, the children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun among them," Joshua 19:49. Joshua might have served himself first, and he might have taken as large an inheritance as he had pleased—but he preferred the good of the people before his own. He who had divided the land to others, was himself contented with very poor portion, for his inheritance was among the barren mountains, as some observe.

So Jehoiada was a man of a public spirit. You read that they "buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done so much good in Israel," 2 Chron. 24:16. Men of public spirits shall be honored both living and dying.

So Nehemiah was a man of a brave public spirit. He continues twelve years in public work—at his own cost and charge, Neh. 5:14-15. So Esther was one of a public spirit, and therefore she takes her life in her hand, and goes in to the king with an If I perish, I perish! And so Mordecai was a man of public spirit. "Mordecai the Jew became the prime minister, with authority next to that of King Xerxes himself. He was very great among the Jews, who held him in high esteem, because he worked for the good of his people and was a friend at the royal court for all of them," Esther 10:3. Mordecai was more mindful and careful of his people's peace, prosperity, and welfare—than he was of his own concerns.

And so David was a man of a public spirit, for "after David had served his generation according to the will of God, he died and was buried," Acts 13:36. The Spirit of the Lord has put this upon record for David's honor and our imitation. David's soul did not live in a narrow bowling-alley. He was not a man of so poor, low, and narrow a spirit as to make himself the center of his designs and actions. David was a man of a generous, noble spirit. The public good lay nearest his heart, and to serve his generation he was willing to spend and be spent.

The public-spirited man, of all men, is most like to Christ! Those worthies who were once glorious on earth—are now triumphing in heaven! The apostle speaks of some who are lovers of themselves, 2 Tim. 3:2, and who are seekers of themselves, Philip. 2:21, and who are minders of themselves, Philip. 3:19. "They mind earthly things." Of all these we may say, as God speaks of Israel, "Israel is an empty vine; he brings forth fruit unto himself," Hosea 10:1; yes, of all these we may say that light is not more contrary to darkness, heaven to hell, glory to shame—than these are contrary to Christ, and to those precious servants of his who are crowned and chronicled in the blessed Scriptures for their public spiritedness and public usefulness in the world. But,

3. Thirdly, Men of public spirits are rare men, excellent men; of all men they most resemble God, who does good to all, Mat. 5:45. There are none so excellent and truly honorable as these. All the instances just cited, make good the second particular evidences this. To which I may add that of Daniel, who was a man of a public spirit, and of that excellent spirit, as that he carried the bell from all the presidents and princes of Darius's court, Dan. 6:3. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because "an excellent spirit was in him," and the king set him over the whole realm.

I might give you many other instances from the patriarchs and apostles—but what need that, when these obvious examples speak so loud in the case. Men of public spirits have been very excellent and honorable in the very eyes of all the heathen. Take a few instances among the many hundreds that might be produced. Attilius Regulus was a man of that public spirit, that he valued not life, to serve his country; he got very much for his country—but little for himself; seven acres of land being all that ever he had. He was a man highly honored among the Romans. [In Austin's account he was the gallantest of all the old Romans.]

Titus Vespasian was a man of a public spirit. He governed so sweetly, moderately, and prudently, that he was generally termed the delight of mankind. He was greatly honored while he lived, and when he died the people wept so bitterly for him as if they had been resolved to have wept out their eyes.

Curius Dentatus was a man of public spirit, and very victorious. When his country was settled, he was found at dinner feeding on a few parched peas, when the ambassadors were sent to offer him a great sum of gold, which he refused, saying, "He had rather be at his peas, while they whom he ruled over had the gold, than he to have the gold and they the peas." When some unworthy people once accused him for keeping back something from the public, he brought forth a wooden platter, and did swear, that it was all he had reserved to himself of the spoils. He was kept in great honor and reputation among the people.

"That pilot dies nobly," says Seneca, "who perishes in the storm with the helm in his hand."

Aristides was a man of a public spirit. After the overthrow of the Persians, when there was a mass of treasure, gold, silver, and rich apparel, he would not touch it, nor take so much as one penny of it for himself. He was in high esteem among the people.

Tully in his book, brings in a dead father, now in heaven as he supposed, encouraging his son to do service for his country, wherein himself had given him a most noble and notable example, upon a very high consideration, namely, There is a most sure and certain place in heaven for every Christian who shall procure the good of his country, either by freeing it from peril, or increasing the happiness of it any way. To hear a Gentile tell of heaven as of a thing certain; to hear him tell of certain places provided there for those who should do virtuously; to have the service of one's country pressed on his soul with so celestial an argument, what matter of wonder and admiration is it!

Cicero, speaking of men of public spirits, says, "Such ennobled spirits are the dear offspring, the delight and care of God; a divine race it is; from the heavens they come down to us, and to the heavens again, whenever they take their leaves of us, shall they triumphantly return."

A Catiline, that is—a trouble of mankind, grows as the weed, almost everywhere. But a Brutus, a worthy patriot, who bears the welfare of others, the true prosperity of his native land, upon his heart; and sets his eyes perpetually thereon for good—such a one is a rare jewel, worthy of all honor and embraces wherever he is found.

Christians of public spirits, of all men, do most exalt the Lord, and honor the Lord; and therefore the Lord, first or last, will most exalt them and honor them, "Those who honor me I will honor," 1 Sam. 2:30. In all the ages of the world, and in all the nations of the world, men of most public spirits have been best beloved, and most highly honored. A man of narrow spirit is like the hedge-hog, which never goes abroad but to gather what he can for himself, whoever suffers by it. But a man of a public spirit is like the pelican, which draws out her own blood for the good of others. And therefore the light of nature, as well as the law of grace, will lead men by the hand to honor such. "All of you, serve each other in humility." 1 Peter 5:5

4. Fourthly, Men of public spirits do most and best answer to one of the noblest and highest ends of their creation. [Does the bee gather honey for itself? Does the sheep yield wool for itself? Do not all creatures serve the community?] By the law of creation every man is bound to serve the public—to serve his generation. A narrow, a selfish-spirited man is a shame to his creation, because he walks so contrary to the great intendment of God in it. It is base and unworthy—for a man to make himself the center of all his actions. The very heathen man could say, "That a man's country, and his friends, and others, challenge a great part of him."

That man sins against the very law of his being—who is swallowed up in his own private interests. Men of public spirits should not bear the sword of justice in vain, for by the law of creation they are bound so to handle it as to be "a terror to evil-doers and a praise to those who do well," Romans 13:3-4. It is cruelty to the good—to spare the evil; it is wrong to the sheep—to let the wolves alone; it is the death of the lambs—to spare the lions. Better have one injurious person sit mourning—than a whole nation languishing, etc.

Men of public spirits should be for the consolation of all, and the peace of all, and the comfort of all, and the encouragement of all, and the safety of all. But this age is full of drones and ciphers, and of selfish, lifeless men—who look at nothing, who design nothing, who aim at nothing, and who endeavor nothing—but how to raise themselves, and greaten themselves, and enrich themselves, and build up themselves, though it be upon other's ruins. How many are there who are so swallowed up in their own interests and private concerns, that Gallio-like, Acts 18:17, they care not whether the public sink or swim. These put me in mind of Jotham's parable, Judg. 9:8-11, etc. The trees went forth to anoint a king over them. They go to the olive, to the fig tree, and to the vine. But shall I leave my fatness? says the olive; shall I leave my sweetness? says the fig-tree; and shall I leave my wine? says the vine, and go up and down for other trees?

This is the very temper, spirit, and demeanor of many in our day. If you go to them and desire them to lay out themselves for the public good, What!" they say, "Shall we leave our ease, our pleasure, our profits—to serve others? We cannot do it! We will never do it!"

Learned Tully was a zealous patriot and lover of his country; he wished two wishes, though he never saw either of them effected. One was, that he "might see Rome settled in its just liberties;" and the other was, that he "might see every man's estate proportionable to his service and love to the public." Doubtless if Tully's wish might take place in our times, the purses of many would be more empty, and the charitable coffers would be more full. But,

5. Fifthly, Of all men on earth, there are none who have such a stock of prayers going for them as men of public spirits. Men of public spirits are not only highly prized, and cordially loved, and greatly honored—but they are also most upon the hearts of all sober and serious Christians, when they are in the mount with God. The lives of such are most desirable, and the deaths of such will be most lamented, who make it their business to serve their generation. Men of public spirits shall never die, as Jehoram did, undesired and unlamented, 2 Chron. 21:20. Men of public spirits lie most open to snares, temptations, and oppositions, etc. This all sober Christians well understand, and therefore they cannot but pray hard for such. The names, the lives, the liberties, the estates, and all the concerns of men of public spirits, always lie nearest their hearts, who lie nearest to the heart of Christ. Men of the greatest name, and of the greatest renown, and who have had the greatest stock of prayers going for them all the world over—have been men of public spirits. But,

6. Sixthly and lastly, When Christians of public spirits come to die, their public spiritedness and general usefulness will be no small comfort and cordial to them. Nehemiah was a man of a public spirit, and accordingly he pleads it with God. "Think upon me, oh my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people," Neh. 5:19. [See chapter 13:22.] This was that which sweetened death to Hezekiah, "I beseech you, O Lord, to remember now how I have walked before you in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in your sight," 2 Kings 20:3. And when David had "served his generation, he fell asleep," Acts 13:36. Sleep is not more welcome and sweet to a laboring man than death is to him who has made it his business, his work, sincerely and faithfully to serve his generation.

Such Christians who have made it their business, according to their different measures, faithfully to serve their generation, have found the king of terrors to be but the king of desires to them, 2 Tim. 4:7-9; when death to men of narrow, selfish spirits, has been like the handwriting upon the wall—very dreadful, Dan. 5:5-6. Many clear instances might be produced out of history to evidence this. Take one for all. Henry Beaufort, that rich and wretched cardinal, bishop of Winchester, and chancellor of England—a man swallowed up in self-interest—in the reign of Henry the Sixth, when he perceived that he must die, and that there was no remedy, oh, how terrible was death to him! and oh, how did he murmur and fret, and vex at death, that his riches could not reprieve him until a further time! For, says he, "why should I die, being so rich? if the whole realm would save my life, I am able either by policy to get it, or by riches to buy it." "Fie upon death," says he, "will not death be hired? will money do nothing?" I might instance in men of a higher rank—but then I should exceed the bounds of an epistle.

(2.) The second sort of men, that myself and all others are bound, (1.) highly to prize, (2.) cordially to love, and (3.) greatly to honor, are men of charitable spirits, men of merciful spirits, men of tender and compassionate spirits. The Hebrew word for godly signifies merciful, to note that the godly man is the merciful man, and the merciful man is the godly man. Loving-kindness is an ingredient unto godliness. The godly man is frequently called gracious or merciful. It notes one that has obtained mercy, goodness, grace, piety, and benignity from the Lord—and that is pious, kind, gracious, and merciful to others. Though charity, bounty, is the most compendious way to plenty, and giving to getting, and scattering to increasing, and layings out to layings up—Proverbs 11:24, "There is one who scatters, and yet increases." Ver. 25, "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he who waters shall be watered also himself," —yet how few in our days honor the Lord with their substance! How few look at this as a duty, to consecrate any part of their gain unto the Lord—or of their substance to the Lord of the whole earth! Proverbs 3:9, Micah 4:13.

Most men now behave as if God himself had lost his propriety, and as if there were no rent-money due to his poor. But yet some there are, who have liberal hearts and open hands. And some there are who do open their hands wide to the poor and needy, Deut. 15:11. Now, here give me permission to say that these—

[1.] Discharge their consciences in the duty of charity, Mat. 25:25, seq., Proverbs 31:8, 9.

[2.] These rightly improve the talents of mercy, with which they are entrusted, Job 29:13, 2 Tim. 1:16.

[3.] These treasure up a stock of prayers, both for themselves and theirs; the blessing and the prayers of those who were ready to perish will come upon them and theirs.

[4.] These evidence the liveliness of their faith: James 2:17, "Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone." Ver. 18, "But someone will say—'You have faith; I have deeds.' Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." Ver. 26, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

[5.] These take the surest way, the readiest course, to assure their own souls of God's eternal favors and mercies to them: "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Charitable Christians are as wise merchants, happy usurers, parting with that which they cannot keep, that they may gain that which they cannot lose.

[6.] These take surest way to draw down more outward mercies upon themselves. The fountain is not diminished—but augmented, by giving water to the thirsty. The widow's oil did increase by pouring out. We do not lose—but increase our mercies by imparting of them for God's honor, and the comfort and benefit of others.

"Give," says Christ, "and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38. The Jews wore large and loose garments, so that they could take away much in their laps. Hence this expression, "into your lap." The meaning is, that the Lord will largely reward the beneficence of his people; yes, that he will so reward them, that they shall perceive that they are rewarded. "Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine," Proverbs 3:9-10. God will certainly bless their substance who honor him with their substance.

The Jews at this day, though they are not in their own country, and though they have not a Levitical priesthood—yet those who will be reputed pious among them, distribute the tenth of their increase to the poor, being persuaded that God does bless their increase the more; for they have among them a very elegant proverb to that purpose, Pay your tithes that you may be rich. The poor man's hand is Christ's treasury, and he shall not lose his reward that casts his mites into that treasury. [The safest chest is the poor man's box. God will never forget your charity to his people, Heb. 6:10. Cicero could say, that to be rich is not to possess much—but to give much. And Seneca could rebuke those who so studied to increase their wealth—that they forgot to use it.]

It is fabled of Midas, that whatever he touched he turned it into gold. But this is most sure, that whatever the hand of charity touches, it turns it into gold—be it but a cup of cold water—nay, into heaven itself: Mat. 10:42, "And whoever shall give a drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, truly I say unto you, he shall never lose his reward." Cold water, having not fuel to heat it, cold water which cost not the charge of fire to warm it. A sea of pleasures, a heaven of blessings attends men of charitable minds, though their charity can extend no further than to a cup of cold water; for God measures men's deeds by their minds, and not their minds by their deeds.

The Kenites in Saul's time, who were born many ages after Jethro's death, received life from his dust, and favor from his hospitality; nay, the very Egyptians, for harboring and at first dealing kindly with the Israelites, though without any respect to their righteousness, were preserved by Joseph in that severe famine, and kindly dealt with ever after by God's special command. I have read a story of one Evagrius, a rich man, who lying upon his deathbed, and being importuned by Synesius, a pious man, to give something to charitable uses, he yielded at last to give three hundred pounds—but first took bond of Synesius—that it should be repaid in the eternal world. But before he had been one day dead, he is said to have appeared to Synesius, delivering in the bond cancelled, as thereby acknowledging that what was promised was made good. Whether the story be mythological or not, I shall not now stand to determine. But this is certain, that all acts of Christian charity shall be certainly and eminently rewarded.

Several writers observe that the ground is most barren nearest the golden mines; and experience tell us that many who are enriched with fair estates, are most barren in good works. But this will be bitterness in the end. He who shall consult two scriptures, among many others, will conclude that he who has a withered hand has no honest heart, 2 Chron. 31:10, 1 John 3:17. The wealth that such men have, is but as Aristotle calls it a happy madness, because they are so taken up with their wealth, that they neither know what they are, nor what they do. Josephus, writing of the waters of Egypt, says, that "they were blood in the hands of an Egyptian—but water in the hand of an Israelite." Wealth in the hand of a worldling is like blood in the hand, which is good for nothing. But wealth in the hand of a charitable Christian is like water in the hand, which may be of use both to a man's self and others. By what has been said, there is nothing more evident than this, namely—that men of public spirits, and men of charitable spirits, of all men on earth are,

(1.) to be most highly prized;

(2.) most cordially loved; and

(3.) most greatly honored, etc.

Christians, this will be your honor and comfort, both in life and death, and in the day of your account—that you have laid out your time, your strength, your estate, for the public good. When others have been serving themselves upon the public, you have been a-serving of the public. It is your great mercy and happiness that you can stand forth and say, as once Samuel did, "Behold, here I am, witness against me, whose ox have I taken? or whose donkey have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith?" 1 Sam. 12:3.

French history tells us, that when an old courtier would needs depart from the court, and retire himself to a private life, the king desired him to leave his advice in some general rules, about the government of his kingdom. Upon this motion of the king, the old courtier took a sheet of white paper, and writ upon the top of the leaf, Moderation, and in the middle of the leaf, Moderation, and at the bottom of the leaf, Moderation, intimating to the king, that the only way to keep his kingdom in peace and prosperity, was to manage his government throughout with a spirit of moderation.

"But when you give to someone, don't tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you." Matthew 6:3-4. The angels have their hands under their wings; they do much good, and yet make no noise, Ezek. 1:8, and 10:8. There are some in the world who are like them. The violet grows low, and covers itself with its own leaves, and yet of all flowers yields the most fragrant smell to others. There are some charitable Christians who resemble this sweet flower.

"Now, the God of all grace fill all your hearts with all the fruits of righteousness and holiness, unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, and of faith and hope in this life," 1 Peter 5:10; and at last crown you all with ineffable glory in the life to come, Gal. 5:22-23, Heb. 10:22-23. To the everlasting arms of his protection, and to the perpetual influences of his grace and mercy in Christ, I commend you to him who is all.

Your much obliged and affectionate friend and soul's servant in our dear Lord Jesus,
Thomas Brooks