Ieroboams sonnes decease a funerall sermon on part of 1 Kings 14. 17. By Thomas Gataker B. of D. and pastor of Rotherhith.
Gataker, Thomas, 1574-1654.
Page  1


1 KING. 14.17. The Childe died.

IT was foretold by Gods Prophet of this Childe, that it should die. And the Prophet (you see) pro∣ued a true Prophet: For (saith my Text) the Childe died.

Now howsoeuer a Childes death may seeme a matter of no great moment;* yet the Death of Children, and more especially the Death of this Childe, being duely considered,* may well afford much matter of good vse.

The Childe was Ieroboams, a good Sonne of a bad Father, for his Parents sinne by God smitten, before with sicknesse, and now with Death.

The storie briefly is this. Ieroboam,*King of the aTen Tribes rent from Salomons house, had out of b a wicked worldly policie, put downe Gods true Page  2worship within his Territorie, and set vp Idolatrie in the roome of it. For this the wrath of God be∣ing incensed against him, the Lord smote with sicknessee a childe he had, which (it seemeth) was right deere vnto him. Hereupon f the Queene his mother, out of a motherly affection to her childe, desirous to know what was like to become of it, g with the aduice of her husband also, repaireth to one Ahias a Prophet of God,h who had sometime foretold her husband, being then but Salomons ser∣uant, that he should succeed his Soueraigne in part of his Soueraigntie. But because she thought shee should be no welcome guest to him, i she disgui∣sed her selfe that she might not be knowne. How∣beit the Prophet vnderstanding from God who shee was, told her, he had kheauie tidings from God for her: That her husbands house should be vtterly de∣stroyed;lGod would sweepe it away, as a man swee∣peth away doung, till none of it be left. m Those of his stocke that died in the Citie, should bee eaten with dogs, and those that died in the field, should bee de∣uoured by the fowles.n This alone of all the rest should die in his bed, be laid in his graue, and mour∣ning made for him, because some good things were found in him, he had a good heart to God, as a childe might haue. And as the Prophet foretold her, so accordingly it fell out: For no sooner was the Queene his mother returned, but o euen as shee set foot vpon the threshold of the Kings house, The childe died.

*Now from this childes death thus considered, di∣uers points of Instruction readily offer themselues vnto vs, Page  3

  • Some generall,*
  • Some speciall:*

I will pitch vpon two of either. The two Generall points shall be;

  • [Points Generall 2] the former, that euen Children are tainted with sinne;
  • [Points Generall 1] the latter, that Death is euer at our doores.
[Point Generall 2] For the former, that euen Children are tainted with Sinne, We hence deduce it, in that [Point Generall 1] they are subiect to death. For pDeath is the wages of sinne. And,qrFor sinne it is that the body dies. And, sDeath came in by sinne. And, tBecause all haue sinned, therefore all die.uSinne and Death, are as Needle and Threed; the one entring before, is a meanes to draw on the other, x nor would the one follow, if the other went not before. y Before Sinne was, there was no death; z nor shall there be any, when sinne shall be no more. It is apparant therefore, that euen Children are not free from sinne, in that they are sub∣iect vnto death.

That which may also in few words be further confirmed vnto vs,

  • By their Birth;
  • By their new-birth.*

1. By their birth, or their off-spring.a They come of sinnefull persons, of parents stained with [Reason 1] Page  4sinne. And bwho can draw a cleane thing out of tha that is vncleane? how can faire water come from a filthy spring? Yea euen the Children of faithfull and sanctified parents; howsoeuer (for the comfort of those that haue them taken hence in their non∣age) they are by vertue of their parents copie, and Gods gratious entaile,c within the compasse of his couenant; it running in those termes, dI will bee thy God, and the God of thy seed; and ethe promise therefore is made not to them onely, but to their Children too: and they are in that regard said in some sort to be fholy; (gIf the root bee holy, the sprigs also be holy:) and hcleane: (iEls were your children vncleane; but now they bee cleane:) And there is good hope therefore of the ksaluation of such; and much more comfort too, when they haue re∣ceiued also the seale of the same. Yet certaine it is, that euen the children of the faithfull also, (as Da∣uid, who confesseth as much by himselfe, mEuen bred in iniquitie, and borne in sinne;) are of them∣selues as deepely tainted with this corruption as any. For that nprocreation being but a naturall act, the parents thereby can passe no more to their issue, than what they had naturally themselues. So o the lPage  5circumcised father bred an vncircumcised sonne: and p corne though it bee neuer so curiously seuered and clensed, from the straw by threshing, from the chaffe by winnowing,q yet commeth vp againe, if it be sowne, with both, as before.

2. By their new-birth. For rchildren should not [Reason 2] need either regeneration, or baptisme, the Sacra∣ment of it, were they not before, euen by their first breeding, defiled and polluted with sinne. For s nothing can spiritually pollute or defile, but it onely. Bernard speaking of those words of the Apostle, tWe were by nature children of wrath, euen as well as the rest.uWe are, saith he, by nature, chil∣dren of Gods wrath, but yet not children of Gods rage, that is, of his implacable wrath, as x the Deuills are, irrecouerably therefore damned. For, saith hee, yWere I not by nature a childe of wrath, I should not need to be renewed; but were I a childe of Gods rage, or his implacable wrath, either should I neuer haue beene renewed, or I should neuer haue beene the better for being renewed.

Both by the first and the second breeding then it is apparent, that children are not free from sinne.

If any shall moue doubt here,* how children can Page  6haue sinne, who neither are yet able to doe, speake, wish, or thinke euill, yea that doe not so much as know what sinne is.

*1. I might answer with aAugustine, that albeit wee could not conceiue how Infants should haue sinne; yet vnderstanding out of Gods word, that *death came in by sinne, and that it is an effect and fruit of sinne, wee must acknowledge that they are not free from the one, when we see them subiect to the other.

*But 2. I answer, that it may well be conceiued how euen children may haue sinne, though not able yet to act it, or to vnderstand at all what it is.

[Instance 1] 1. As the brood of Aspes and Vipers, (for b such are we compared to) c haue a poisonfull nature, be∣fore euer they come to venome or to sting any: or as the whelps of Lions, Wolues and Beares (for d such also are we said to be) e haue a rauenous disposition in them naturally, before euer they come to bee able to prey, or to apprehend what prey is.

[Instance 2] 2. As wicked men fPauls viper, that lay stiffe with cold, and for the present therefore might bee handled without harme, and yet was it no lesse venomous all that while, than before. For is a bad man the lesse euill,Page  7 when hee lieth fast asleepe? Or doth g he lay aside his wickednesse together with his weed.

3. Take it by the contratie: as h a godly man is [Instance 3] in the like cases a good man still, though his senses be so locked vp for the time, and the vse of vnder∣standing and reason so suspended, that hee can nei∣ther minde nor tend any good thing for the present. For it is no naturall accident that can impaire spiri∣tuall grace in him; no corporall infirmitie or disease that can kill that incorruptible seedkof God once conceiued in the soule. And what should hinder, but that as much may be in a young childe, as in a godly man so affected?

4. To reason therefore from the state and con∣dition [Instance 4] of children themselues. They are capable of holinesse, euen while they are such. It is appa∣rent in Iohn the Baptist, who was lfilled with the Holy Ghost, euen from the wombe of his mother; and (as one of the ancients well saith) was mnew-bred, yet vnborne. Yea so certaine it is of all young ones, that belong to Gods election, that they are nrege∣nerate and sanctified ere they goe hence: since that ono vnholy thing can enter into Heauen,pnorqflesh and bloud inherite the kingdome of God. And if chil∣dren may haue habituall holinesse in them, though they be altogether vnable yet to doe ought that is good, yea though they know not so much as what it meanes; why may they not as well haue habi∣tualliPage  8naughtinesse in them, albeit they be yet vnable vtterly to doe ought that is euill, or to rvnderstand so much as what it is?

This point then thus proued and cleered, the vse of it it;

[Vse 1] 1. To acquite God from all imputation and a∣spersion of crueltie, or of iniquitie, if hee should haue taken euerie one of vs, as soone as wee came into the world, and throwne vs headlong (as some wee need not doubt but hee doth) into hell. Wee brought that into the world with vs, for which hee might iustly haue so dealt with vs. Nor is this discrepant from our owne courses in the like, kinde. sCatch vs (saith he) the foxes, euen the young cubs too. t Wee destroy the verie breed of veno∣mous creatures, when wee can come by them, as well as those that they come of; wee kill the young whelps, if we light on them, as well as the old wolfe or the fox; not in regard of the hurt that they haue done, or are able yet to doe, but in regard of the harmefull disposition that is naturally in them. And iust may it be with God to doe the like by vs, in regard of that ueuill disposition that is xbred and borne with vs. For who can in equitie denie the Creatour that power ouer the creature, that the crea∣ture hath ouer its fellow-creature.

[Vse 2] 2. To shew the reason why it is so difficult a matter to make a man good.a Man is euill by na∣ture; he is bred and borne such. And that (we say) Page  9that is bred in the bone, will not out of the flesh.b Those things that are naturall cannot easily bee altred. You may tie or mousle a wolfe, so that hee cannot prey or bite; or you may beat him so bound, till he bee not able to stirre; but c you shall neuer bee able to beat his woluish nature out of him. But sinne it is naturall to vs, and cannot therefore bee remoued, but by a supernaturall power. As dno man is good, but of bad made good; so no man can but e by a diuine power of bad be made good. Sinne cannot be wrought out of vs by any meanes, but those that God himselfe hath sanctified and set a∣part for that purpose, and by his gratious blessing accompanying the vse of them.

3. To admonish parents of their dutie concer∣ning [Vse 3] their children; to begin as soone as they can with them, and as they are capable of ought, to vse the good meanes by God himselfe prescribed for the working of this inbred naughtinesse out of them. Be as carefull for your children in regard of their soules, as you are wont to be f for their bodies. If ought grow awrie there, you are forward enough to be tampering about them, seeking helpe, and vsing meanes for them, while they age yet young, and their bones gristly and ftender, before the gioynts be knit, and the bones growne stiffe, that may make Page  10 it the more incurable. Oh be as wise and as proui∣dent for them in regard of their soules. Since you are informed that they generally grow awrie by nature, vse with all speed; and all diligence, all good meanes to remoue this enormitie, and to set them right and strait as soone as possibly may bee, be∣fore that nature and custome (ahsecond nature) con∣curring, make i the cure at least the more difficult, if not the euill irrecouerable.

[Vse 4] 4. To admonish each one for himselfe, to take heed how obstinately he goe on in sinne, how hee wilfully adde to this original corruption further actu∣all transgression.kIt is sufficient (saith the Apo∣stle) that we spent the former time of our ignorance in the lusts of the flesh, &c. So it was sufficient, yea and more than sufficient for vs, that wee brought into the world with vs that inbred naughtinesse, for which God might iustly then haue destroyed vs. And if therefore lconcerning themgoodnesse and long suffering of God, who hath hitherto borne with vs, and in much mercie forborne vs, wee shall still wilfully runne on in the practice of sinne, and so nadde drunkennesse to thirst; we shall but otreasure vp wrath against the day of wrath, and make our iudgement at length the more intolerable.

Page  11The other Generall point, that from the death of children we obserue, is,* that
Death is euer at our doores.

p It lieth in wait for vs not in our fields, or our streets, or our shops, or our beds onely, but in our cradles to, in our swathing-bands, in the childe-bed, in the childe-birth.q None come into life, but by pe∣rill of death. Death is neere at hand with vs, r not in our old age, or our decaying time onely, but in our mans estate also, in our riper yeeres, in our youth, in our childe-hood, in our infancie it selfe. How many are carried s from the wombe to the tombe, (as Iob speaketh) from birth immediately to buriall? yea, how many die t in the wombe? how many perish vnborne, before euer they come to light, ere they know what life meaneth, or u wee know that they liue. That young goe as well as old, and children die as well as others, we haue as well a visible as a vo∣call sermon preaching it to vs at this present.

That it is so therefore, it is of it selfe euident, and daily experience is a sufficient proofe of it. The reason why it is so, is no lesse apparent.

For, to passe by that generall reason from the for∣mer point, that therefore Children also are subiect to death, because they are not free from sinne;*

1. There is no certaine stint, tearme, or lease of [Reason 1] mans life.a Our times are in Gods hands. As for Page  12 our blands, so for our cliues we are but Gods tenants at will. And he may turne our soules out of these d mud-walled cotages of our bodies, when hee will. e The fbreath of man (saith Salomon) is as ga can∣dle of Gods lighting. And as wee doe with our lights, so doth God with our liues: we light candles, and put them out againe as we list: some wee doe out as soone as they beginne but to burne; some we let alone, till the wax or tallow be halfe wasted; some till weeke and wax all be spent. So doth God with vs; he setteth our hlife vp as a light, and when he seeth good, hee doth it out againe, with some sooner, with some later, but with each one when himselfe will.

[Reason 2] 2. The bonds that tie soule and bodie together, are no stronger, if not rather more tender, in chil∣dren, than in others of riper yeeres. iAll flesh is as grasse. But children are as flowers, or blossomes, more tender vsually than any other part of the plant: The kflower sooner fadeth, than the herbe it selfe doth: the blossome is sooner blasted and blowne away, that the fruit that followeth it, is wont to be, when it is once knit. Yea, to hold to our for∣mer resemblance; a candle is sooner and more ea∣sily blowne out againe, when it is but new lighted, than when it hath burnt awhile. And with lesse difficultie is this light of life puft out in those, whom it is but newly, and scarce thorowly yet, kindled in.

The Vse whereof may be,

[Vse 1] 1. To discouer their folly, that presume of long life, in regard of health and youth. They are but Page  13young yet, and therefore they may liue long and see many a good day. And they are healthie and strong, and may therefore hold out as well as o∣thers, as long as any. Yea, but there is none of those that thus say or thinke, so young, but they haue seene many younger goe; none so strong, but that they may haue seene as strong, if not stronger, goe than themselues. m Mans life is as a day. And as we see that daies are not all of one length; there are Summer, and there are Winter dayes; some lon∣ger, some shorter; some of more, some of fewer houres: So is there no lesse varietie in the length and size of mens liues, according to that time that God hath pleased to allot each. But herein againe there is great difference betweene this naturall day and the day of mans life; that n the naturall day, be it neuer so short, it hath a morning, a noone, an after∣noone and an euening; whereas the day of our life may haue a morning, and no noone, or a noone and no after-noone.oThe Sunne (as the Prophet spea∣keth in another sense) may set with vs at noone day. We may be suddenly snatcht away p in the flower of our youth, in the prime of our age, in the height of our health, in the chiefe of our strength. Yea, the qSunne may set with vs, so soone as it is vp; it may but peere out, and twinckle awhile with a twy-light, and in the twinckling of an eye instantly goe downe againe. It is a vaine thing therefore, for any in regard of youth, to presume of long life, when as length of life no way dependeth vpon youth, and wee see young goe as well, yea as oft as old doe.

Page  14 [Vse 2] 2. Is it so that death is euer at our doores? Then it standeth vs in hand to liue euer in expectation of it. rDoth death (saith one) he euerie where in wait for thee? then thou also, if thou beest wise, wile be prepared alwaies for it. Say thou as blessed Iob saith, and doe as he (no doubt) also did; sAll the daies (saith he) of mine appointed time here, I will wait till my change come, that is, till the time come of my decease and departure hence. Nor let the young man thinke that this lesson is for old men onely. No: tRemember thy Maker (saith Salomon) in the daies of thy youth.u It standeth young men vpon as well as old, to prepare for death, because youth as well as old age is subiect to death. And though there may be affirmatiue, yet there are no negatiue signes of it. Of doomes-day there are both; of thy deaths day but the one onely. Of the generall day of doome, there are signes both affirmatiue, such x as shew that it approacheth and draweth neere; and negatiue, such as shew that it shall not be as yet, be∣cause they must goe before it, and it shall not come therfore, before they be fulfilled, as y was the reuelation of the man of sinne, and is yet zthe Conuer∣sion of the Iewish Nation. But of the particular day of any mans death, howsoeuer there may be signes affirmatiue, such as shew the neerenesse of it, as old age, decay of nature, some diseases, and the like; yet there is no negatiue signes of it ordinarily, (howso∣euer aSimeon and b some others haue had some extraordinarily giuen them) such as may shew that as yet it shall not be. A man cannot say, I am young, and therefore I shall not die yet; for c he may Page  15 be taken away in his youth. A man cannot say, I am strong, and therefore I shall not die yet: for with the sudden stroake of an apoplexie may hee be strucke downe d in his chiefe strength. A man cannot say, I am healthie, and therefore I shall not die yet: For e there needs no long sicknesse, yea no sicknesse at all, to deliuer a man vp to death. As a man may die well before he be old, so may hee well die also, and yet neuer be sicke. Since that death therefore lieth in wait for vs, as well in youth as in age, it be∣houeth young as well as old to be prepared for it.

3. Are young children also subiect to death? Let those whom God hath blessed with children then, [Vse 3] hence bee admonished, to apply themselues be∣times to worke good things into them; since that they know not how soone they may bee taken away from them. That if it shall please God to call for their children, while they are but young yet, away from them, they may with the more comfort part with them, when they may bee able to say of them, as it is said f of the childe spoken of in my Text, As young as they were, yet there were good things in them; some seeds and sparks of grace began to appeare in them. Wee are wont to be troubled, when God taketh them away from vs, if we haue not beene so carefull as wee thinke wee should haue beene, in something concerning the health of their bodies: But we haue more cause to be troubled, when our hearts shall tell vs, that wee haue beene negligent and retchlesse about them, in such things as con∣cerned the state and welfare of their soules.

4. Are our children thus subiect to death, and we [Vse 4] Page  16 know not how soone they may bee taken away from vs? Then as the Apostle speaketh in the like case, gLet those that haue children be as if they had them not. Not that Parents should not loue and af∣fect their children: they are h commanded so to doe: and they are worse, I say not, than heathen, but than i bruit beasts, that doe otherwise: and it is well made a note therefore of men kgiuen vp to a reprobate minde, and cast behinde euen the gouern∣ment of nature, as well as the guidance of grace, to be ldeuoid of naturall affection. But that they should not so set and fasten their affections vpon them, that they should be vnwilling m to part from them, when God shall please to call for them, n from whom formerly they receiued them, and who hath therefore best right and title to them. So therfore must thou labour to haue thy children, and endeuour to stand so affected in regard of them, that if God should call for thine Isaak, thy darling from thee, (oTake thine onely sonne, saith he, Isaak, thy Sonne that thou louest:) thou maist be willing to offer him to God with thine owne hands. If he call for one of many, as p he of Athens, when Alci∣biades a young gallant came reuelling into his house, as hee sate with some strangers at supper, and tooke away the one halfe of his plate; and his guests stormed and tooke on at it; q he told them, he had dealt kindly that hee less them the other hal•••, thatrhe tooke not all, when all was his; so repine not thou, for that that is gone, but be thankfull to God, for those that be left; he that taketh one, might as well, if he would, haue tooke all, and it is his mercie Page  17 if he leaue thee any. Yea; labour to bee like Iob, to be affected as he was. When God tooke not one of them, but sall his children at once from him, tThe Lord (saith he) hath giuen; and the Lord hath taken: Now blest bee his name. Hee parteth with them as one would doe with a nurse childe, that the parents of it had sent for home againe. And indeed (to speake as the truth is) wee are but as foster fathers and nursing mothers to those children that God bles∣seth vs here with; their true uFather indeed is a∣boue in Heauen. So therefore should we esteeme of them, as of children by God put to nurse to vs; whom therfore, when he shall see good to call for them home from vs, we should be as willing to re∣turne to him, as wee would a nurse childe, though we loued it as our owne, to the parents of it, when they should send for it; the rather, knowing that they shall be, and doe better with him, than they haue done, or can doe with vs.

And thus much for the two generall points that from hence we obserue:*

Wee passe now to the speciall: which shall bee these two, that
The good goe oft before the bad, [ 1] and that,
The good die oft-times for the bad. [ 2]

For the former,* howsoeuer we might hence ob∣serue, that
The good goe as well as the bad. Yet passing by that for the present, as hauing handled it on the like occasion a elsewhere, the point that I purpose now to insist on shall be this, that Page  18*The good goe oft before the bad;
That they die not onely as well as they, but they die oft euen before them. So the Prophet telleth vs, that bThe righteous perish, and good men are taken a∣way: when the wicked meanewhile are left be∣hinde still. And the Psalmist complaineth, that the godly were taken away so fast, that there was scarce one good man left.cHelpe Lord, (saith he) for there is not a godly man left, the faithfull are failed from a∣mong the children of men. But there is d a world of wicked ones left still. eThe wicked (saith he) walke on euerie side. Here we see (to goe no further) Ie∣roboams good sonne taken away, when his vngodly fa∣ther,* and his wicked brethren, with the rest of that prophane and irreligious family still remaine.

Now this God thus disposeth,
Sometime in iudgement, and
Sometime in mercie.

[Reason 1] 1. In iudgement sometime. For fIudgement be∣ginneth at Gods house.g The cup of Gods wrath is sent first to Ierusalem: she beginneth to the rest of it. h The mortalitie at Corinth seized vpon the Be∣leeuers there for their abuse of the Sacrament, s••it some of them, and swepe away other some of them, when many an Infidell escaped, and went scot-free the whiles. i The fruit tree is oft pared, and pruned, and trimmed▪ while the brier standeth by it vnstir∣red and vntoucht, till it come at length to be f•••od at once for the fire. The stormie shower and raine lighteth first on the high bils, and k hauing washed them, then runneth downe to the vale, and there tsetleth with all the filth in the bottome.

Page  912. In mercie, (though in that iudgement also there [Reason 2] be mercie; yea, it is not umixt onely with mercie, but euen the verie iudgement it selfe also is a mercie, because x it preuenteth a greater mischiefe; but this in meere mercie without admixtion of wrath,) when (as the Prophet saith) ythey are taken away from the euill to come. So was it foretold Iosias that he should be taken away, z that hee might not see the euill that should befall that place and his people. And so of this childe, that e hee should die before-hand, that he might not see and suffer in those fear∣full iudgements that should betide his Fathers house and stocke after his decease. God doth in this kinde, as wee would our selues in the like case, had wee children either at nurse or at schoole in some place, where some trouble were like shortly to bee; and so dangerous being and abiding there for them: For example, had any of you had a childe at Breda, abiding there to learne the language, or for some other such end, and should haue heard that Spinola had an intent and purpose to come and sit downe with all his forces, as he did also, before it; what course wouldest thou haue taken in this case; but in all haste to send away for thy sonne, and to cause him to come home to thee, where he might be in better safetie? * In like manner doth God with his that hee hath at nurse or at schoole here, when trouble and danger is toward those places where they make their abode, he calleth for them away, he taketh them home to himselfe, where they are sure to be safe, farre from touch or view of euill.

Yea but,* how doth God (may some say) then Page  20 make good a his promise of long life, made to good and obedient children? such as wee need not doubt but that this son of Ierobeams was; for where there is goodnesse to God, there cannot but be a care of all good dutie and due respect to those that are as b in Gods roome, and whom cGod hath enioyned honour to be giuen vnto.

To this I answer;

[Answer 1] 1. That long life is there promised so farre forth as it may bee a benefit and a blessing. Now howso∣euer it may be a blessing to liue long, to dsee Ierusa∣lem in prosperitie, and peace vpon Israel: yet to liue long,e to see the enemie in the gates of our people, to seefthe Canaanite in Gods house,gGods aduersaries roaring in the middest of his Sanctuarie, and their en∣signes in way of triumph set vp in his Temple: so to liue long, I say, might be no benefit at all, might bee a curse rather than a blessing: because hso to liue long, were but to liue long in miserie, so to liue long, were rather i to bee long a dying, than to liue long: For how can a man bee said truely k to liue then, [Answer 2] when he hath lno comfort of his life?

2. God in such cases maketh his word good, in that in stead of a lesse good, he giueth a better a grea∣ter. To vse Chrysostomes comparison: m Thou com∣mest to a Gold-smith or a Ieweller, that hath among other stones on his stall, a sorrie Achate, and a rich Adamant; thou cheapenest, and bargainest with Page  21 him for the Achate, and in stead of the Achate hee deliuereth thee the Adamant; wouldest thou say, he did thee wrong? Or suppose thou commest to a great landed man, and dealest with him for some terme of yeeres in a farme; and when the deeds come to be drawne, he maketh ouer to thee the fee-sim∣ple of a manour. Euen so dealeth the Lord here. nThe King (saith he) asked life of thee, and thou gauest him long life, euen for euer and euer. Hee promiseth long life, and for that lease of life of some few yeeres continuance, he bestoweth a perpetuitie; in stead of a miserable long life here, hee giueth a blessed and incorruptible eternall life elsewhere. Hee maketh them payment (saith oChrysostome) in stead of pblacke moneyes in a strange Countrey, in qgood gold at home in their owne.

Now the consideration hereof may

1. Teach and admonish vs, to suspend our cen∣sures [Vse 1] in regard of those that are taken away from vs: and not to iustifie our selues in regard of those that we suruiue in times of mortalitie, or that perish at any time when wee escape. They may goe for the better, and we be reserued for worse matters, to see and suffer more miserie which they are taken a∣way from. rThese shall be mysiewels (saith God by Malachy) in the day that I doe this. God doth, as men in the like cases. If their houses be on fire, or in dan∣ger of fiering, their iewels and their treasure is that that they haue most care of, and that in the first place therefore they will endeuour to remoue: so doth God with his, that are his iewels and his trea∣sure, (for so t he termeth them, and so he esteemeth Page  22 them) when the fire of his wrath is seized, or ready to seize on the places they abide in, hee snatcheth them thence, and remoueth them to places of bet∣ter securitie. And what place more secure than Heauen, his owne house? Or where can they be safer than with himselfe?

[Vse 2] 2. It may comfort parents, in regard of their chil∣dren that God taketh away from them, especially hauing seene signes of grace and goodnesse in them, such as their tender age and few yeeres may afford: that it is no argument of Gods hatred, no nor of his anger alwayes, to be soone taken away. aThey goe soonest oft, whom he best loueth. Those children that their parents most affect, though they put out from them vpon necessarie occasions, yet they desire as soone as may bee to haue home to them againe; especially if they be not like to doe so well where they are, or if some sicknesse and mortalitie begin to reigne in those parts. Nor may they doubt, being good children, but that the change shall be with them for the better: hee that hath b promised them long life, will make his word good to them with aduan∣tage. They shall haue ctrue life indeed for that, which in comparison of it, is d not worthy the name of life; and for this transitarie and temporall, that euerlasting and eternall. Besides that, they know not what a mercie it may bee to them, that they are so soone taken, and what miserie they might haue liued either to fee or to suffer. That which, as the times are, considering how the ad∣uers•…rie getteth ground daily on Gods inheritance; and how the scourge hath runne ouer a great part Page  23 of Gods portion; and that we know not how soone it may passe ouer vnto vs to; may serue much to mitigate the griefe that parents are naturally affe∣cted with for the losse of their little ones; since that they know not e what euils their children are taken away from, or what they themselues may liue to see, which would be farre f heauier vnto them for such hanging vpon them, than they would be for themselues otherwise. Howsoeuer, they may as∣sure themselues, that their children gone to God, are gsafer and better with him, than they either were, or euer could haue beene with themselues here.

And thus much for the former speciall point, to wit, that
The good goe oft before the bad.

We passe now to the latter of them, which (as before you heard) is, that
The good goe oft times for the bad.* And (if you please) yet a little more generally one way, though more specially another; that [Branch 1]
The Child suffers oft for the Fathers offence.

Let them be, whether you will, either two di∣stinct [Branch 2] points, or two seuerall branches of one and the same point: since that both of them alike arise from my Text, and there is in it a pregnant exam∣ple of either.

For the former of them,* that Page  24The good goe for the bad. Wee haue a precedent of it in that good King Iesus,b who was cut off, and his life shortned for the sins of his people, and the remainder of Manasses his sinnes rife still among them: as also in this good Child taken away for the sinnes of Ieroboam.

Now the reason why the godly goe thus for the wicked, is

[Reason 1] 1. That they may not perish with and among them, when some heauie iudgement is comming in vpon them. As cGod sent his Angels to fetch Lot and his out of Sodome, when Sodome was to be de∣stroyed with fire and brimstone from Heauen, that they might not be 〈◊〉 vp with the inhabitants of it:d He caused Noa to goe into the Arke, as it were out of the world, when hee was determined to drowne the world with a generall deluge, that hee might not with the rest miscarry: So tooke hee here Ieroboams sonne out of the way, e that hee might not be either eaten with dogs, or deuoured with the fowles, as the residue of that impious house and race were.

[Reason 2] 2. That they may not preserue those from peri∣shing, whom God is determined to destroy. It is said of Moses, that fhe stood in the gap, to keepe out Gods wrath, from breaking in vpon his people, when God was minded to destroy them. And of Phineaz, that g when the plague had made a breach in vpon them, he was a meanes to stay it from further proceeding. God therefore when hee is reslud, to proceed in iudgement against a people, hee taketh those away from them, that may intercede for them, that by Page  25 their hpresence or iprayers, may stay his hand, as Moses, (kLet me alone, saith God to him, that I may destroy this people) and as Lot, (lI can doe nothing, saith hee, as long as thou art here) that may turne away the storme, as he did m from Zoar, that had else as well as nSodome, Gomorrha,oAdamah, & Ze∣boim beene destroyed; that may stand in the gap, when it is breaking in, or make the breach vp againe, when it is broken in, and preserue from perishing ei∣ther in whole or in part. God, hee doth, as men are wont to doe with those they desire to destroy. Hee that would set vpon a strong man, (saith out Saui∣our) will pfirst, if he can, disarme him. They that would conquer a countrey, if they can seize vpon their munition, will not faile to make themselues first masters of that; for they know then, they shall haue no power to resist. Now the godly, they are the munition, the strength of a state; q the chariots and horse of Israel; saith rElizaeus of Elias, and King sIoas of Elizaeus. These therefore God taketh away, and so disarmeth a state, when he is bent to destroy it, that so his wrath may finde no resistance. And there bee but any one good in Ieroboams house, goe he must: Gods sentence against it cannot be execu∣ted, till he be taken out of it.

The Vse whereof may be,

1. To informe vs, what we may iustly feare and [Vse 1] expect, when God picketh out the good, and taketh many of them away. It is a signe some fearefull euill is towards, where he so doth. It is a presage of warre towards, either with or in a countrey, when men on all hands, such especially as are acquain∣ted Page  26 with state-affaires, seeke to get home with all expedition, whatsoeuer goods or wares they haue in those parts, and much more their friends and children, if they haue any resiant there. And it is a forewarning of little good towards a place, where God doth the like with those that be his deere ones, his darlings.

Besides that aThe holy seed (saith Esay) vpholdeth the land. And, bThe innocent (saith Eliphaz) preser∣ueth the Iland: (as c some reade it:) or (as d others) The Iland of the innocent shall hee deliuer: (that is, God will saue it for his sake:) or (as others againe, whom I should chuse to goe with, no lesse agreea∣bly to our purpose:) eHe shall saue him, that is not guiltlesse himselfe; and euen such shall be deliuered for the puritie of thy hands: that is, some one good man, such as fIob was, may be a meanes to saue and deli∣uer a whole citie of men, otherwise guilty and readie for their sin to be destroyed. But to returne againe to that of Esai: there seemes g an allusion in it to ha banke or a causey mentioned in the storie, that went from the Kings house to the Temple, & was borne vp with trees planted on either side of it. Which trees (saith the Prophet) as they kept vp the causey, so the holy and godly in a land support and hold vp the state. And as those trees, if they were remoued, the banke or causey would soone come downe: so that holy seed, if it be once taken away, that whole land or state is likely to come shortly after to ruine. As it was a signe therefore, that Sampson meant to bring downe the house vpon the heads of the Philistines, when i he pulled downe the pillars that bare vp the Page  27roofe of it. So it is a shrewd signe, that God is about to ruine a state, when he plucketh away those that are the shores and the props of it. As it is an argu∣ment of destruction towards, when k he taketh away the mightie, the man of warre, the Iudge and the Pro∣phet, the prudent and the ancient, the Captaine or Com∣mander, the honourable and the Counsellor, the cunning Artificer, and the eloquent Orator: So it is no lesse, (if not much more) an argument of the like, l when he taketh away the good and godly, the righteous and religious. Since the one are the temporall, the other the spirituall staies of a state: the one support it a∣gainst the power and policie of man, the other pro∣tect [Vse 2] it against the wrath and iudgements of God.

2. This considered, may teach vs, what cause we haue to pray earnestly for the life and continu∣ance of good and godly men among vs: and how iust cause of griefe and sorrow is giuen vs, when it seemeth good to God to take any such from vs. There goeth a prop or shore of our state away, when any such goeth. How would we be grieued, if we should haue newes brought of some one of the Kings ships lost or cast away at sea? and that not without cause: for our shipping is the strength of our state; they are (as we terme them) our mwood∣den wals. And no lesse cause haue we to mourne, when we lose a good man; (such an one especially as is in eminent place with vs,) since that such are indeed, (as he said sometime of his warlike nciti∣zens) Page  28 the best wals and bulwarks of our state.

*But leaue wee this, and passe on to the last Branch, which is, that
Children suffer oft for their Parents:
That Children, I say, as well good as bad, suffer oft∣times at Gods hand for their Parents offences: God punisheth the one ofttimes in the other. So puni∣shed he oPharao by the death of his first-borne, for his obstinate refusall to dismisse his people. So he punished pDauid, by the decease of the childe be∣gotten in adulterie, for that enormious act of his. And so Ieroboam here q for his idolatrie, by the losse of a sonne, that no doubt to him was verie deere. Yea, it is that that God threatneth, as well r in the sanction of the second precept, as oft also s elsewhere, that he will visit, that is, punish the iniquitie of pa∣rents vpon their posteritie, and that not vnto one or two alone, but euen to three or foure descents. So not tCanaan onely was cursed for his Father Chams offence; and u all Achans family destroyed for his fault; but xthe leprosie of Naaman for Giezies fals∣hood stucke by him and his posteritie so long as any of them lasted.

The reason of this course that God taketh oft∣times in punishing of the transgressions of parents by paines inflicted vpon their children is,

[Reason 1] 1. Because Children are apart of their parents possessions. It is reported of a Persian Emperour, Ar∣taxerxes the Long-handed, that b for such faults of his Nobles and Chieftaines, as their haire had wont Page  29 to bee pulled, their head-tire or turbants should bee openly so vsed, and for such offences as their bodies had wont to be beaten, their robes should publikely be scourged; which was deemed to them no small disgrace. And in like manner (saith Theodoret, speaking of the plague of leprosie in mens houses and garments) doth God deale with men:c when they offend themselues, God punisheth them not in their persons alwayes, but ofttimes in their possessions, in their goods and chattels, in their worldly estate. And if in their possessions, no maruell if in their children to, being part of their possessions, as is eui∣dent by the commission giuen and granted to Satan, concerning power ouer Iobs possessions,d which comprehended his children as well as his chattels, as appeareth by the execution of it.

2. Yea, children are not part onely of their pa∣rents [Reason 2] possessions, but they are epart (in some sort) of the parents themselues; or f of one and the same bodie at least with them. As g the Subiects and the Soueraigne make ioyntly one body politicke, and h the losse of the subiects therefore is a punishment to the Soueraigne: and God doth sometime punish the So∣ueraigne so (witnesse *Dauid) in the subiect. So the Father and the whole family make both as one body; and euill befalling any of them is a punishment to him, especially befalling one so neere as a childe: (iHaue mercie on mee, Lord; saith the mother: My Page  30 daughter is distracted:k her daughters paines were a punishment to her:) and God doth oft punish the fa∣ther or master so (witnesse lAbimelech) in his family, and those that be of it. He doth m as the Physitian that openeth a veine in the arme, or (it may be) in the foot either, for some disease in the head. For so he let Pharao bloud in the right arme, when n hee smote his first borne for his fault: so he let oDauid bloud in the feet, that is, p in his subiects, (for they are the qfeet that the Soueraigne standeth vpon) for his offence.

*But how, may some say, doth this stand with Gods iustice to punish one for another. Or how can threatning to punish sinne so in posteritie, stand with that which God himselfe enacteth elsewhere, that rthe childe shall not suffer for his fathers offence; or with his answer to the people, that had gotten vp a bad prouerb,sThe fathers haue eaten sowre grapes, and the childrens teeth are set on edge: thereby mea∣ning that tTheir fathers had sinned, and they suffered: that, uthe soule that sinneth should it selfe die the death, and xnot one suffer for another.

This question hath not a little troubled many, both old and new Writers: and that place in the Law, hath verie much puzzled many, yea, the most of the Ancients,* beside others; which in that regard [ 1] they haue laboured,

Some of them to diuert by allegoricall interpre∣tations;

Page  31Some to auoid by ouer-violent & forced expositions; [ 2]

Some to salue by strange and needlesse shifts. [ 3]

Some of thē (I say) expound the words allegorically; [Euasion 1]

Either a of Satan, and his sonnes, all wicked ones; [Exposition 1] whom bGod punisheth here that they may not be damned with him hereafter, c reseruing the Deuill their Father to the last day of doome:

Or d of degrees of sin in the soule, making the first [Exposition 2] motions of sin the Father; the consent to sin the son; the act of it the grand childe; and obstinacy or glo∣rying in it the great grand-childe: that God spareth men oft for the first and second, but estriketh home when sinne is come to her height in the two last.

But to frame allegories thus without need or ground, is but * to wrong the Text;* to peruert the purpose of Gods spirit, and to make God himselfe speak that, that he neuer therein meant, nor intended.

Others take the words literally; but expound them either nothing agreeably, or euen directly con∣trary [Euasion 2] to the intent of Gods spirit in them.

Some not of punishing sinnes vpon such descents, but f of deferring and putting off the punishment of [Exposition 3] Page  32 sinne to such a descent, as a matter not of wrath and iudgement, but of mercy rather and patience: which some of them also in particular apply to the Iewish people; either g in the first generation punished, after their departure out of Egypt, for all their idolatries during that whole time committed;h or else (as some other) captiued in the third, and destroyed in the fourth age of the world.

*Now howsoeuer it be true indeed, that God in mercy sometime deferreth iudgement from the Fa∣thers daies to the Sons, as he did in iAhab. yea and in Ieroboam too; for his stocke was not so destroyed as was kthreatned, till l after his decease: yea hee deferreth it, as with m particular pesons, so with n whole peoples and states for many descents, till their sinnes be come to a certaine height. Yet the opposition there o of mercie to be shewed to thou∣sands on the other side,* that is, both to them and theirs, sheweth that the place cannot be so ex∣pounded.

Others vnderstand it of originall sinne onely, [Exposition 4] which deduced from Adam, is, and hath beene from time to time for many descents punished in his po∣steritie with death; and r which as the Parents fault the child standeth charged withall,p till by the new birth it be dissolued;q or at least vntill it come to haue iniquitie of it owne.

But this will as euill hold as the former: For,

Page  331. Neither is any one ordinarily punished for [Exception 1] anothers originall sinne, but for shis owne:

2. Nor will the tstinting of descents to three or foure on the one side, opposed to that u large extent [Exception 2] of mercie on the other side, admit this exposition:

3. Nor is there difference in this kinde between [Exception 3] either good and bad, or the posteritie of either; both alike tainted with originall sinne, and both alike liable to temporall death:

4. Nor doth it stand with the drift and scope of the place, x to deterre from idolatrie an actuall [Exception 4] transgression for feare of punishments vpon posteritie:

5. Nor are euen the regenerate freed from su∣staining such punishments for their parents offences; [Exception 5]

6. Or the growne and great ones any more [Exception 6] than infants, howsoeuer hauing actuall sinnes in∣deed also otherwise of their owne.

But the sense and meaning of the place is so plaine and euident, that by no meanes it can be auoi∣ded; and a verie pregnant proofe it is of the present point, that children suffer oft for their fathers faults.

Nor need we haue recourse here for the acqui∣ting [Euasion 3] of Gods iustice, or the reconciling of his doomes, to those shifts and salues, that some other haue here vsed: as to say,

1. That it was athreatned indeed, but neuer ex∣ecuted: [Exposition 5] for that God oft in such cases is better than his word:b hee threatneth to terrifie, but intendeth not what he threatneth: yea, c that it were impious to take it as intended so, as the threatning seemeth to import.

Page  34 [Exception 1] For 1. neither are dGods threatnings in vaine; as e they should be, should they neuer take effect; since that fno iot or tittle of his word is such:

[Exception 2] 2. Neither want wee examples, many a one, of the execution hereof; as hath formerly beene shewed:

[Exception 3] 3. Nor, albeit gGod in mercie sometime reuoke his sentences, doth he euer threaten ought that hee may not iustly inflict.

[Exception 4] 4. Nor is it impious to say, that God intendeth ought that hee threatneth: impious rather it may seeme to be, to say that it is impious to auow it.

Or 2. that it was for a time onely enacted,h to [Exposition 6] tame that stiffe-necked people by feare of hauing their posteritie punished, but was i afterward reuer∣sed, when they were amended. As if that in kEze∣chiel were a reuocation of the former.

For 1. neither are the sanctions of the Law Mo∣rall, [Exception 1] of lesse continuance than the Law it selfe, l which lasteth for euer.

[Exception 2] 2. Nor was it Gods purpose there to reuoke or alter ought of his former courses,m the equitie whereof he there auowes; and n this among the rest is auerred, by another Prophet of the same time, to haue beene euen then Gods wonted practice.

[Exposition 7] Or 3. that this concerneth o the Iewes onely, who p beyond that q they wished themselues, should be punished for Christs death, not in their Page  35children alone, but in their childrens children too for many descents; but concerneth not Christians,r of whom that other should be meant in Ezechiel.

For 1. both the former is more generall.

2. Nor is there difference in Gods dealings be∣tweene [Exception 1] Iew and Christian in this kinde. [Exception 2]

3. Not to adde that euen the faithfull them∣selues [Exception 3] sometime haue so suffered. [Exception 4]

4. Nor doth either this or the former any way assoile the doubt or vntie the knot, concerning the iustifiablenesse or equitie of the point or practice que∣stioned, but restraine onely the execution of it to some people or persons.

Or 4. that therefore God may iustly punish chil∣dren [Exposition 8] for their fathers offences, because s they stand guiltie of the same in Gods sight: which guilt yet t how farre it goeth, they dare not determine.

For 1. this is a conceit that * hath no ground at all [Exception 1] in Gods word: which if it be admitted, that of the Heathen man of u the world growing worse and worse, would be true, not onely as he meant of it, of the practice of sinne, but much more in regard of the guilt of sinne more and more multiplied in each seuerall descent.

2. Nor will xGods blessing of posteritie for the an∣cestors well-doing, (a worke of meere grace and free [Exception 2] fauour onely) proue a speciall guilt of an ancestours particular misdeeds to adhere to any of his issue.Page  36 A King may well yreward a man for seruice, done him by his Father. Yet it followeth not thence, that he may therefore in like manner either zcon∣demne him or execute him for his Fathers offence.

[Exposition 9] Or 5. that this sentence is neuer put in execution, but a where the children tread in their Fathers steps, and doe in impietie or iniquitie imitate their bad Parents: For that when they cease to follow their bad Parents base practice, they b then cease to bee their Sonnes. And that therefore is there mention made of the third and fourth descent onely, be∣cause that cparents may liue so long, and their e∣uill examples consequently be seene of their issue.

[Exception 1] For 1. the verie example that wee haue here in hand, of a good Sonne smittn for his bad Fathers of∣fence, doth directly proue the contrarie.

[Exception 2] 2. Nor seemeth it stinted to the third and fourth descent, so much, because Parents may liue so long Page  37 to giue euill examples to their issue, as because they may liue so long to see Gods iudgements on it. [Exposition 10]

Or lastly, that it is then onely executed,d when impietie runneth on so from descent to descent, as hereditarie, that the whole race it selfe seemeth e worthy to be vtterly rooted and raced out.

For besides the former exceptions,* which here also hold; the examples some of them before pro∣duced doe euidently euince the contrarie.

Thus you see how about the Solution of this Question many haue beaten their braines, and those men of great note, and yet haue giuen no good or iust satisfaction therein.

For the vntying therefore of this knot, rather snarled more and entangled, than by them vnknit, and the reconciling of those seeming differences be∣tweene the texts of Scripture before mentioned, let me intreat a while your best attention to that that shall be deliuered, that I may not be in ought therein mistaken.

First therefore let it be considered,* that fall men (Father and Sonne, as well the one as the other) [Considerati∣on 1] owe a death vnto God; g which hee may iustly re∣quire whensoeuer, and wheresoeuer, on what oc∣casion, and by what meanes soeuer he will. h God therefore for the sinne of Achan, might command his whole houshold, and his children among the rest, (though not ipriuie to, or guiltie of that offence of his) to be put to death, and so punish him in them as Page  38 well as in his owne person, because they ought all of them a death to him, which on that occasion he might require. But kAmazias may not put to death the sonnes of those traytors that slew the King his Father; according to that lLaw which God had enacted betweene man and man to be obser∣ued: because they were no way obnoxious to him, neither did they by any Law or Statute humane or diuine owe a death vnto him otherwise.

Yea the iustice and equitie of Gods dealing in this kinde may bee further cleered euen by such courses as men also may lawfully take: For suppose we some great Noble-mans only sonne and sole heire condemned to die, for some rape or robberie by him committed. Howbeit his Soueraigne considering that the young man is one of good parts otherwise, and may hereafter doe his King and Countrey good seruice, though he were ouertaken in that act; as also out of pitie to his Fathers house, loth to see an ancient family vtterly extinguished in him; and be∣sides, hauing earnest suit made in his behalfe by di∣ners neere about him is inclining, yea & purposed to grant him his pardon. But in the interim, while the matter hangeth yet in suspence, it commeth to be discouered, that the Noble-man his Father hath his hand in some foule treason, hath entred into conspiracie either with some forraine 〈◊〉 or some domesticall traitour against the person of his Prince. Now hereupon his Soueraigne, altring his minde and purpose concerning his Sonne, causeth him instantly to bee brought out and executed in the sight of his Father, whom after also hee dispo∣seth Page  39 of according to his desert. In which case the Sonne (you see) is punished for his Fathers offence, but for which hee might haue escaped: and the Father is punished in the Sonne; his Sonnes death (no doubt) being no lesse punishment to him than his owne: and yet is there no wrong or iniustice done either to Father or Sonne, because both had deserued death, and death was therefore due to either.

And herein erred those wicked Iewes, that char∣ged God with iniustice, that they complained that their Fathers had done amisse, and that m they (themselues being no way faultie) suffered onely for their Fathers faults. Whereas indeed, vile wret∣ches, n they were euerie whit as bad, or worse ra∣ther than they, and o bare the burden of their owne iniquities.

Secondly, let it be considered, that God layeth [Consideration 2] no temporall iudgement at any time vpon any, but hee is able to turne the same p to the good of the partie vpon whom it is inflicted. And that he doth so, as here also hee did, when hee layeth any out∣ward euill on a godly person for the sinne of some wicked one, and so punisheth (as he doth oft also) the bad in the good.

For the better cleering of this, wee may well make vse of that distinction so rise in the Schooles, that q these outward temporall euills, or penall suf∣ferings are in the nature,

  • Page  40 Sometime of a curse.
  • Sometime of a cure.

*And accordingly there is a foure-fold course of Gods dealings in these cases.

[Course 1] For sometime God punisheth a bad Father in a bad Sonne; and then it is not a crosse onely, but a curse to both. So God punished (wee may iustly deeme) rPharao in his first-borne.

[Course 2] Sometime hee punisheth a good Father in a good Sonne; and then it is, though a crosse, yet a cure to both. So punished he sDauid (i•…e may well iudge) in his young childe.

[Course 3] Sometime hee punisheth a good Father in a bad Sonne; and then it is a cure to the Father, and a curse to the Sonne: So punished he the same. tDa∣uid in his sonne Absolom.

[Course 4] Sometime hee punisheth a bad Father in a good Sonne; and then it is a curse to the Father, and a cure to the Sonne. So punished hee uIeroboam in his sonne here mentioned. And that which was no doubt a great and grieuous crosse and plague to his Father, yet proued through Gods goodnesse in mer∣cie wisely so disposing it, no lesse x a benefit and blessing to the childe.

*Thus then I hope that by this time you see, how God without any the least blemish to his iustice, may by death take away the Sonne for his Fathers [Branch 1] offence.*

[Branch 2] Why man may not ordinarily doe therein as God doth: and yet that in some cases men doe also, and may well doe the same.

[Branch 3] That the wicked Iewes had no iust cause to Page  41 charge▪ God with iniustice for his dealings with them, albeit that he should so haue done.

And how God can turne to the good of a good child, [Branch 4] the euill that he suffers for his bad Fathers default; though to his vngodly Parent the same be a feare∣full iudgement, and not a crosse only, but a curse too.

Now a word or two of vse, and so an end.

And first it may admonish Parents to be the [Vse 1] more carefull to shun sinne, if not for their owne a, for their childrens sake yet: because their sinnes may bring iudgements vpon their children also, e∣uen as well as vpon themselues. There is no Pa∣rent, if he be not wholly stript of naturall affection, but desires the welfare of his child. Yea, bParents are vsually wont to be more charie of their childrens welfare than of their own. Art thou desirous then of thy childrens well-doing? Doe not wilfully that that may any way impeach it. And nothing may sooner doe it than thy sinne. As thine obedience and vpright carriage of thy selfe in Gods sight may procure c a blessing euen to thy posterity: so thy sinne and transgression may bring deuill also vpon it. What a griefe would it be to any of vs that haue children, if in playing with one of them wee should let it fall vnwittingly, whereby the childe should get a knocke, that it should lie long sicke, and at length die of? Take heed then how to satisfie some wanton lust or desire of thine, thou doe wil∣fully that that may prouoke God to wrath, & cause him to lay the like on thy childe, as thou seest that in the like cases sometime he hath done. Yea, con∣sider with thy selfe, if shortly after some such wil∣full Page  42 running out of thine, and giuing way to thine vnrestrained corruption, some such thing should befall thy childe, and e thy guilty conscience shall then (as it may iustly) suggest vnto thee, This may well be the hand of God vpon my childe for mine ex∣cesse, or my sinne; f what griefe and anguish of heart must it needs procure to thee, and possesse thy soule withall, when thou shalt euer and anon bee thinking, and saying within thy selfe, gAll this torment doth this poore infant endure for my sake, for my sinne. We cry out oft of witches, when our children are strangely taken, and say such a one hath bewitched them, when we are the witches our selues; and, as hee saith of the hwine, that men take aboue measure, it is our sinne that hath be∣witched them. Nor let Gods children thinke them∣selues priuileged in this kinde more than others. iDauid (you heard) was so punished, as well as Ie∣roboam, howsoeuer God turned it to his good; and that not in one onely, but i in diuers of his. And if other of Gods children shall in like manner grow wanton, and presuming on Gods goodnesse, shall take liberty to themselues, to walke loofely, and run riot; God may iustly by the like iudgements call them home againe, and reclaime them, which may be also for their good.

[Vse 2] To conclude, it may teach Parents what vse to make of Gods hand vpon their children. That they take occasion thereby to looke home to them∣selues, examine their hearts, view and surey their liues, make inquiry what corruption of theirs ei∣ther swaying (without controll) in the one, or Page  43 breaking out by way giuen to it in the other, might giue God iust occasion to lay that crosse vpon them: and in more speciall manner, (because kGod oft punisheth vs in those things that we of∣fend in; as he punished Dauid in his children, for his ouer-much lindulgence towards them) wherein we haue beene faulty about them, and defectiue in our duty toward them, either in fond affection, or neglect of instruction and correction, or the like. Now, where is there almost any that thinke in such cases on this? We are troubled to thinke, when our children are euill, that we haue let them go too thin clad, and so they haue caught cold: But wee thinke not how carelesse we haue beene of cloathing (not their bodies, but) their soules. We are trou∣bled when they are gone, to thinke that we omit∣ted this or that meanes of helpe for them. But we are not troubled to thinke, that we neglected the best meanes with them, and those that concerned not their temporall but their eternall good. Or wee are not troubled for this, that we brake not off, or humbled our selues for some sinne, which repented of might haue kept them still with vs. Neither yet doe I, or dare I affirme generally, that this is alwaies the cause why God crosseth men in their chil∣dren: He may doe, and doth it also (no doubt) many times, for the mtriall and nexercise of his gifts and graces in them, their patience, obedience, confidence in God, and the like, and for other ends to himselfe best knowne, as to make way for some o∣ther worke of his. It was not for any speciall sinne of Iob, that o his children were all at once so destroy∣ed,Page  44 though it were a: grieuous crosse vnto him. It was p not for any speciall sinne of his Parents (our Sauiour himselfe faith it) that that poore beggar in the Gospell was borne blinde. Howbeit, since that we learne out of Gods word, that God doth frequent∣ly inflict such euills vpon, children for the transgressi∣ons of their Parents, yea, and he hath threatned also so to doe: it standeth vs vpon, and it is one of the best vses that we can make, as of those crosses that God layeth on vs in our goods and chattels, and our worldly estates; so, much more of those that in our children (who are much neerer than those to vs) doe befall vs, that we take occasion thereby q to sife and search out our wayes, and to humble our selues in, the sight of God for our sinnes. Had Iere∣boam so done, peraduenture hee might haue saued his sonnes life, he had at least preuented other iudge∣ments more fearefull, that for want thereof after befell him and his. And wee by so doing, may either remoue Gods hand lying heauy on our children, and on vs also in them, or at least we may haue the crosse so qua∣lified and sanctified, that it shall turne to the good both of vs and ours.

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