Edited By Rev. Daniel R. Jennings
HOMILY 6: The gifts of grace are preserved by an humble mind, and a ready will;
but destroyed by pride and sloth.
1. THE souls that are lovers of truth and of GOD, and desirous to put on CHRIST completely, though they may suffer
in some measure a state of emptiness; yet being wholly nailed to the cross of CHRIST, they perceive, day after day,
an experimental sense of their advances towards the spiritual Bridegroom. And being wounded with an heavenly
desire, and hungering after righteousness, they have an insatiable longing for the Spirit to shine out upon them. And
though they are thought worthy to receive, through faith, the knowledge of Divine mysteries, or are made partakers
of the gladness of heavenly grace, yet they have no confidence in themselves: but the more of spiritual gifts they
enjoy, the more insatiable is the heavenly desire they are filled with; the more they are sensible of the spiritual
progress in themselves, the more hungry and thirsty are they after the increase of grace; and the richer they
spiritually are, by so much the more do they seem to themselves to be in want, and are carried out with a spiritual
desire after the heavenly Bridegroom, as says the wise man, a They that eat me shall yet be hungry, and they that
drink me shall yet be thirsty."
2. Souls like these, that have a fervent and insatiable love for the Lord, are thought worthy of the redemption from
vile affections, and receive the irradiation and presence of the Holy Spirit, which is unspeakable, and the mystical
fellowship in the fullness of grace. But as many souls as are destitute of manly vigor and activity, are still but as in the
flesh, having never entertained any hopes of receiving the sanctification of their heart through patience and long-
suffering, nor of enjoying the fellowship of the Spirit, with the utmost sensation and assurance: these, after having
been once thought worthy of Divine grace, have yet been insensibly circumvented by the evil one, and so have given
themselves over to carelessness and remissness. And the reason is evident; after they have received the grace of
the, Spirit, and actually enjoyed the comfort of grace in rest and spiritual sweetness, they trust in it; they are lifted up,
and take no farther care, being neither of a contrite heart, nor humble mind; neither have they waited with all
diligence and faith, to be perfectly filled with grace but instead of that, they were full, they were completely satisfied,
and rested in the first consolation of grace. The progress such souls made tended more to elevation than humility;
so that they were stripped again of that very gift, which before was vouchsafed to them, through their careless
contempt of any thing farther, and the vain swelling of their own opinion.
3. The soul that is truly a lover of GOD, and a lover of CHRIST, though it does righteous works without number,
demeans itself however, as if it had wrought just nothing at all, through the insatiable love it bears to the Lord. And
though by fastings and by watchings it has even macerated the body, it applies itself to the pursuit of the virtues still,
as if it never had begun before to take the least pains about them. Though it has been thought worthy of the several
gifts of the Spirit, or favored with revelations and heavenly mysteries; yet, by reason of its immense love for the Lord,
does it seem to itself as if it had just nothing in possession: but hungering and thirsting through faith and love, it is
carried on insatiably in the persevering spirit of prayer-to the mysteries of grace, and to every degree of virtue. And
being wounded by the heavenly Spirit, continually exciting an inflamed desire after the heavenly Bridegroom, and
longing to be completely admitted to the mystical and inexpressible communion with him in the sanctification of the
Spirit; having the face of the soul unveiled, and looking with a steady eye upon the heavenly Bridegroom, face to
face, in the light which is spiritual, and not to be expressed; it mixes with him in all the fullness of assurance; becomes
conformable to his death, ever waiting in the abundance of desire to die for the sake of CHRIST, and expecting to
obtain, under the conduct of the Spirit, an entire redemption from sin, and the darkness of the affections that being
purified by the Spirit, sanctified in soul and body, it may be made a vessel clean prepared for the
susception of the heavenly ointment, and the residence of CHRIST, the true and heavenly King. And then is the soul
filled with the heavenly life, and becomes the pure habitation of the Holy Spirit.
4. But these are heights which the soul does not reach all at once;, but through many labors and conflicts, with
variety of trials and temptations, it receives spiritual growth and improvement, till at last it comes to an entire
exemption from its old affections; holding out, with a cheerful and noble obstinacy against every succeeding
temptation, it is then thought worthy of great honors and spiritual gifts, and becomes an inheritor of the heavenly
kingdom in CHRIST JESUS our Lord to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
HOMILY 7: Tins Homily teaches us how the soul ought to demean herself in
holiness and purity, towards her Bridegroom. JESUS CHRIST.
1. IF a glorious prince should take a liking to a poor woman that has nothing, and have her brought home to him for
his spouse, she ought ever after to show all good will to this husband, and retain a constant love for him. But if she
transgresses the bounds of decency and duty, then she is turned out of doors with disgrace and reproach, and is full
of sorrow; reflecting from how great wealth she is fallen, and what glory she has lost. Thus also the soul, which
CHRIST, the heavenly Bridegroom, shall espouse to himself, ought to please CHRIST, her lover; carrying herself in
the house of this heavenly Spouse with a fair deportment, and a grateful sense of the grace bestowed upon her. Lo!
such a soul is actually invested with the full command of all her Lord's goods, and her body becomes the glorious
tabernacle of his Godhead. But if she do not the things that are pleasing to him, and is not perfectly observant of his
will, then with reproach and disgrace is she disrobed of all her honor, as no way proper for the communion of the
heavenly King. And after that, there commences an universal grief and lamentation over that soul among all the
saints and intellectual spirits: angels, powers, apostles, prophets,, and martyrs, mourn for her. For as " there is joy in
heaven," as the Lord has said, " over one sinner that repenteth," so is there great grief and mourning in heaven over
one soul that falls from eternal life.
2. We must therefore strive, and with the utmost prudence take care to "work out our salvation with fear and
trembling." Whosoever therefore you are, that have been made partakers of the Spirit of CHRIST, look upon
yourselves in no case whatever, whether small, or great, to be above advice; neither do any despite to the Spirit of
grace, that you may be never excluded from the life which you have been made to partake of. Let us therefore beg
of GOD, that we, as many as have been partakers of his grace, may minister acceptably in the service of the Spirit,
according to his will; that thus serving him according to his will with a spiritual service, we may inherit eternal life.
3. But can a man fall that has the gift of grace? Answ. If he grow careless, he certainly falls. For his enemies are
never idle, or backward in the war. How ought you then never to desist from seeking after GOD? For the damage
which you sustain by your neglect is exceeding great, though you may seem to be even established in the mystery of
4. Are the perfect liable to affliction or war, or are they entirely free from care? Answ. An enemy never respites any
from the war. And SATAN is perfectly void of mercy: wherefore neither is he backward to set upon any man whatever,
though he does not attack all in the same measure and degree.
5. But there is need of much pains and labor, that a man may seek and lay the foundations, till' such a time as the
fire shall come into the hearts of men, and purge away the thorns. And thus do they begin to be sanctified, giving
glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.
HOMILY 8: That spiritual men are liable to temptations and a fictions.
1. As the experienced husbandmen, in a year of plenty, expect a time of dearth; and on the other hand, when dearth
and difficulties overtake them, they are not dejected; as knowing there will come a change. So in the spiritual state,
when the soul falls into divers temptations, it is not surprised as at a strange or unusual thing, neither does it
despond, because it knows that they conic by permission, that it may be tried and disciplined by the evil that befalls
it. Neither again, when it abounds in wealth and ease, is it free from apprehension, but expects a change.
2. For when a man is rich in grace, there is yet a remnant of corruption with him: he has one however that takes his
part, and that comes to his assistance. Whenever therefore any one is in afflictions, and the storm of corrupt
affections thickens upon him, yet ought he not to quit his hope. For then sin gains ground. But when a man retains
his hope in GOD, sin crumbles as it were, arid dries away.
3. As a well that runs, and has all about it nothing but moist grounds, when the heat comes on, both itself and its
adjacent bogs are dried up; thus it is with the servants of GOD, in whom grace abounds; that dries up the
concupisence, not only that which is from the wicked one, but that also which is natural; because that now the men of
GOD are greater than the first Adam.
4. Christians therefore belong to another world, are the sons of the heavenly Adam, a new generation, the children
of the Holy Spirit, the bright and glorious brethren of CHRIST, perfectly like their Father, the spiritual and glorified
Adam, of that very, city, of the same kind, and of the self-same power. He himself says, " Ye are not of this world,
even as I am not of this world."
5. Yet a fear they still have upon them, not indeed that of novices, that live in a dread of wicked spirits; but a fear and
concern how they may best employ the spiritual gifts they are entrusted with. And such a one as this looks upon
himself to be despicable beyond all sinners. This reflection is as deeply rooted in him, as if it were his very nature.
The more he advances in the knowledge of GOD, so much the less is he in his own eyes. And though he learns
never so much; he is still as one that knows nothing. But these things are wrought in the soul by the ministration of
grace. The case is not unlike that of an infant in the arms of a young man; the bearer carries it about whithersoever
he pleases: so does grace also carry the mind about, and bear it upwards into the very heatens, to the perfect world,
and eternal rest.
HOMILY 9: Concerning the spiritual unction and glory of Christians.
1.'THE Christians, who are come the nearest to the King, are at all times devoted to the cross of CHRIST; and when
they are anointed with the heavenly unction, they commence kings and prophets of the heavenly mysteries. For if
the anointing oil that came from an outward plant, had so much virtue that the persons anointed with it, were
constituted kings thereby; how much more do they who are anointed with the sanctifying and cheering oil of
gladness, the heavenly and spiritual oil, receive the sign of that incorruptible kingdom, and everlasting power, the
earnest of the Spirit, the very spirit of holiness and comfort? It is called the Comforter, by reason of that comfort and
support it bestows upon them that are in afflictions. These being anointed from the tree of life, JESUS CHRIST, from
the heavenly plant, are thought worthy to come to perfection; to the kingdom, and the adoption, being admitted to
the secret councils of the heavenly King, and having free access to the Almighty, entering into his very palace, where
are angels, and the spirits of the holy persons, though at the same time they live in this present world. For though
they have not actually received the inheritance prepared for them in that world, they are secure from the earnest of
the Spirit, which they have received, as if they were already crowned, and in possession of the kingdom. Nor does •it
seem a strange thing to them that they shall reign together with CHRIST, through the overflowing presence of the
Spirit. For what reason? Even because though in the flesh, they have a relish of its sweetness, and that effectual
working of his power.
2. For they that are to reign in the world to come, are before-hand acquainted with the mysteries of grace. Indeed
since man transgressed the commandment, the devil has covered the whole soul with a dark veil. But when grace
comes, the veil is thrown off; so that the soul becoming pure, and regaining its proper nature, a creature free from
blame or spot, for ever after beholds with a clear sight the glory of the true light, and the true Sun of Righteousness
flashing with his bright beams upon the heart itself.
3. For as when the heavens are done away, the righteous for ever after shall live in the kingdom, and light, and
glory, beholding nothing else but after what manner CHRIST in glory is evermore at the right hand of the Father; so
these also that are now taken out of. the World, behold all the beauties and the wonders which are wrought there.
For we that are upon earth, have our indenization in heaven; all our transactions, and our whole civil conduct, is in
that world as to our mind, and the inner man. For as the outward eye, when clear, perfectly beholds the sun; so the
mind that is perfectly cleansed, ever beholds the glory of the light of CHRIST, and is present with the Lord night and
day, just as the body of our Lord, being joined to the Godhead, is ever present with the Holy Ghost. But these are
heights men do not immediately attain to, nor without labor and affliction) and conflict,
4. But the unsteady and unskillful, whenever grace operates, imagine presently they have no more sin. Whereas
they that have discretion, cannot deny, that even we who have the grace of GOD, may be molested again with evil
thoughts, For we have often had instances of some among the brethren, that have experienced such a degree of joy
and grace, as to affirm, that for five or six years running, they had no sin in them; and yet after all, when they thought
themselves freed entirely from it, the corruption that lurked within, was stirred up anew, and they were well nigh burnt
5. There is need therefore of great discernment, that a person may by experience know that things are really thus. I
tell you moreover, that even the apostles were not altogether without apprehension. For with that joy and gladness
had.they also a fear and trembling, proceeding from grace itself, and not from corrupt nature. But that very grace
was their security, that they might riot turn aside.
HOMILY 10: Concerning the treasure of Christians, that is, CHRIST and the Holy
Spirit, variously exercising them towards perfection.
1. IF any one in this world is possessed of a treasure, with that treasure he purchases whatever he has a mind to.
Whatsoever he is desirous of he compasses with ease, and readily procures all possessions that suit his inclinations.
So also they who have found the heavenly treasure of the Spirit, the Lord shining in their hearts, fulfill that entire
extent of goodness there is in the commandments of the Lord, from that treasure that is within them, CHRIST; and by
means of that do they amass together a large store of heavenly wealth. For by means of the heavenly treasure do
they work every virtue in the -whole circle of righteousness, and every commandment of the Lord, by the help of the
invisible riches of the grace within them.
2. Whoever therefore possesses within himself this heavenly treasure of the Spirit, he fulfils in this spirit all the
righteousuess of the commandments, and the complete practice of the virtues, without blame, and in purity;
moreover without compulsion or difficulty. Then let us beseech GOD, and seek diligently unto him, and pour out our
supplications before him, that he would freely grant unto us the treasure of his Spirit, that we may be enabled to walk
in all his commandments without reproof, and without blemish, and fulfill all the righteousness of the Spirit in purity
3. For he that is poor, and naked, and a beggar, can purchase nothing in the world: but he that has a treasure at
command, without trouble, is master of what possession he pleases. So the soul that is naked, and destitute of GOD,
cannot, would it ever so fain, produce any of the fruits of the Spirit of righteousness in truth and reality, before it
actually partakes of the Spirit itself.
4. It behooves every one therefore to oblige himself by force to petition the Lord, that he may receive the heavenly
treasure of the Spirit, so as without difficulty to be able to perform all the commandments of the Lord, blameless and
in purity; which before, even with violence, he could never do. ror being poor and destitute of the communication of
the Spirit, how should he come by such spiritual possessions? But the soul which, by faith and much patience, has.
found the Lord, the true treasure, produceth the fruits of the Spirit, and performs all the righteousness and
commandments of the Lord, which the Spirit has commanded, in and by it, with purity, and free from blame.
5. We ought therefore to beg of GOD with earnestness of heart, that he would grant unto us his riches, the true
treasure of CHRIST, in our hearts, in the power and efficacy of the Spirit. And thus. having found first within-
ourselves salvation and eternal life, we shall then profit others also, producing from that treasure of CHRIST within
us, all the goodness of spiritual discourses, and declaring heavenly mysteries. For so it pleases the good will of the
Father, that he should dwell with every one that believeth. --He that loves me, (says CHRIST,) shall be loved of my
Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." And again, " We will come unto him, I and my Father, and
make our abode with him." Thus did the infinite kindness of the Father's will: Thus was the inconceivable love of
CHRIST pleased. And thus did the unspeakable goodness of the Spirit promise. Glory be to the tender mercies of
the Holy Trinity; which surpass all expression!
6. Let us illustrate in some measure by examples the methods of the Spirit in the soul. At a certain time then are they
elated, as at a royal banquet, and rejoice with joy and gladness not to be expressed. At another season are they as
the bride, thatin communion with the bridegroom enjoys Divine pleasures. At other times they are as the angels,
which are not clogged with this earthly tabernacle.
7. At other times, they are in grief and lamentation for all mankind, and interceding for the whole stock of Adam. They
take up a wailing and a weeping for it; the love of the Spirit.for the human nature kindling and flaming out within them.
At other times the joy and love of the Spirit inflames them to that degree, that were it possible, they would snatch up
every man into their own bowels, not making the least distinction of the bad from the good.
8. At other times they are humbled so far below every other person in the self-abasement of the Spirit, as to think
themselves inferior to, and less than all. At other times they are like a strong man, that, having put on the royal
armor, and coming down in battle upon his enemies, fights valiantly against them, and overcomes them. For in like
manner, he too that is spiritual takesthe heavenly weapons of the Spirit, and comes upon his enemies and fights
them, and treads them under his feet. At other times does the soul rest in great silence, and calmness and peace,
being given up to spiritual pleasure, and rest unspeakable. At other times it is instructed by grace in a sort of
understanding and wisdom not to be described, and a knowledge of the Spirit that is past finding out, in such things
as it is impossible for the tongue to utter. So very various is the way of grace in them, and such variety is there in the
manner after which it conducts the soul, refreshing it according to the will and pleasure of God. And with equal
variety does it exercise her, thereby to restore her perfect and blameless, and pure to our heavenly Father.
9. These several refreshments of grace are expressed indeed very differently. However, there is no intermission of
their influence; but one operation continually succeeds another. For when the soul is thoroughly.tlcansed from all its
corrupt affections, and is united, by an ineffable communion, to the Spirit, the Comforter, and is thoroughly mixed
with the Spirit, and is become spirit itself: then is it all light, all eye, all spirit, all joy, all rest, all gladness, all love,. all
bowels, all goodness, and clemency. As a stone in the bottom of the sea is every way surrounded with water; so are
these every way drenched with the Holy Spirit, and made like to CHRIST himself, possessing unalterably within
themselves the virtues of the power of the Spirit, being blameless within and without, and spotless, and pure. For
being brought to perfection by the Spirit, how is it possible they should outwardly produce the fruits of sin? But at all
times, and in every instance, do the fruits of the Spirit shine brightly out in their whole deportment.
1O. And therefore let us also beseech GOD, and believe in love, and abundant hope, that the self-same Spirit may
govern and lead us into all the will of GOD; and may refresh us with all the variety of the rest he gives that by the
means of such an administration, and the exercise of grace, and spiritual improvement, we may come to the
perfection of the fullness of CHRIST, as the apostle expresses it, « That ye might be filled with all the fullness of
God." And again, "Till we all come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of CHRIST."
The Lord has promised to all that believe in him, and ask in truth, that he will, give to them the mysteries of the
ineffable communion of the Spirit; and therefore let us, having entirely devoted ourselves to the Lord, make haste to
attain the good things we have before-mentioned, being consecrated both in soul and body, and nailed to the cross
of CHRIST, and giving glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, unto ages. Amen.
HOMILY 11: Christians that are willing to improve and increase, ought to force
themselves to every thing that is good.
1. He that is desirous to come to the Lord, and to become the mansion-house of CHRIST, and to be filled with the
Holy Spirit, that so he may bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, and perform the commandments of CHRIST in purity;
ought to begin first with believing in the Lord, to give himself entirely up to the directions of his commandments, and
to bid an universal farewell to the world, that so his mind may not be engrossed by any of the things that do appear.
2. He ought ever to continue instant in prayer, in the faith and expectation of the Lord, waiting at all times for his
help, with the full bent of his mind continually, fixed upon it. Then ought he to force himself upon every good work,
and to all the commandments of the Lord. For instance, let him force himself to be of a lowly mind before all men,
and let him esteem himself worse than they, not seeking honor, or praise, or glory from any one; but setting the Lord
ever before his eyes, desirous of pleasing him only, in meekness of heart, as the Lord himself prescribes, "Learn of
me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
3. In like manner let him accustom himself to be merciful, kind, tender-hearted, and good to the utmost of his power,
as our Lord expresses it, " Be ye merciful, even as your heavenly Father is merciful."
4. Above all things, let him keep inviolably in mind the humiliation of our Lord, and his manner of life, his meekness of
conversation, as the standard that is never to be overlooked, And thus the things which he does now by violence,
and with a reluctant heart, he will in time do freely, by being ever mindful of the Lord, and in, much love waiting for
him. For the Lord observing how he forces himself, and even wrests his heart, though never so unwilling, shows
mercy to him, and redeems him from his enemies, and from the sin that dwells in -him, filling him with the Spirit. And
thus for the future, without compulsion or difficulty, does he perform the commands of the Lord in truth. Or rather, the
Lord himself does his own commandments in him; and then he brings forth the fruits of the Spirit in purity.
5. But first he ought thus to force himself to that which is good; and though his heart be ever so much against it, to
wait continually for mercy; to force himself to show compassion, to endure contempt with a courageous patience; and
though he is set at nought, not to be moved with indignation, as it is written, " Dearly beloved, avenge not
yourselves;" to force himself to prayer,. if he have not the spiritual prayer. And thus does GOD, beholding him in
these conflicts, grant unto him the true prayer of the Spirit, the true love, the meekness of truth, the bowels of
mercies, yea, all the fruits of the Spirit.
6. Yet if, any one forces himself to pray only for the gift of prayer, but exerts no such vigor after meekness, and
humility, and love, and the other commandments of the Lord, this is sometimes granted him; but then it is apart by
itself, just according to his petition. But in his Behavior he is exactly as he was before; without meekness, for he
sought it not; without humility, because he asked nat for it; nor has he a love for all men; forasmuch as he never had
any concern or agony in the offering up of his prayer for it. And in the execution -of the work he is upon, he has not
faith and confidence towards GOD, because indeed he has not discovered that he wants it; neither has he labored
to obtain from the Lord a steady and true affiance in him..
7. Therefore it behooves every one, as he forces himself to prayer, so also to an assurance in God; to humility, to
meekness, sincerity, and simplicity; to all patience and long-suffering, with joy. Thus ought he, by an habitual
violence, to esteem himself as nothing; to break himself of unprofitable discourse; ever to meditate upon the things
of GOD, and to declare them with his mouth, and with his heart. The same way should he proceed to conquer " all
bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and. clamor, and evil speaking;" to conform to our Lord's whole deportment; to an
universal good conversation; to all the humility of meekness, so as neither to be exalted, nor high-minded, nor puffed
up, nor to speak against any man.
8. All these ought he to bring himself to by downright force, that is desirous to be well-pleasing to CHRIST; that so,
(when he shall behold this forwardness and full intention of his, in thus compelling himself to all goodness,) he may
impart his whole self to him, the Lord himself performing all these things within him in purity, without trouble, and
without compulsion, which before he was not able, not even with force and violence, to observe. Then all these
exercises of virtue become to him as nature. For the Lord, when he comes, and is in him, and he in the Lord,
performs in him his own commands without labor, filling him with the fruits of the Spirit.
9. Whoever therefore is willing to please GOD in truth, and receive from him the heavenly grace, and to grow up and
be perfected in the Holy Spirit, ought to force himself upon all the commandments of GOD, and to bring his unwilling
heart in subjection to them, according as it is written, "Therefore hold I straight all thy commandments, and all false
ways I utterly abhor." For as a man, in order to perseverance in prayer, acts with violence and constraint, till he can
bring himself to it; so also, in all instances, if he has a willing mind, he is violent and pressing with himself. Nay, and
after he has obtained his petition, and is come to taste of GOD, and is made partaker of the Holy Ghost, he takes
pains to improve the gift imparted to him.
1O. The Spirit itself then teaches him the true prayer, the true love, the true meekness-which before he forced
himself to, and sought after, and which took up his whole thoughts. And being thus grown up, and consummated in
GOD, he is thought worthy to become the heir of the kingdom: for the humble man never falls. For whence should he
fall, who is below all? Self-elevation is a great abasement; but self-abasement is a great exaltation, and honor, and
11. And thus the commandments of GOD being fulfilled by us through his Spirit, and that Spirit perfecting us in itself,
and being itself completed in us, when once cleansed from all the pollution and stain of sin, it will then present our
souls to CHRIST as beautiful brides, pure and blameless: we, on the one hand, reposing ourselves in GOD, in his
kingdom,-and GOD, on the other, taking up his rest in us to endless ages! Glory be to his mercies, and compassion,
and love; for that he has vouchsafed to admit the race of mankind unto so great honor, to be the sons of his
heavenly Father, and declared them to be his own brethren. To him be glory for ever! Amen.