CHRISTS GENERALL WATCH-WORD.
MARK. 13. 37. WATCH.
§. 1. THere be a two commings of our* Lord and Sauiour Christ men∣tioned in Scripture: the former of them in mercy, b to saue the world; the latter of them in maiestie, c to iudge the world. Some of those that liued in the time of the for∣mer, had d moued question to our Sauiour him∣selfe concerning the latter; eWhen will the com∣ming of the Sonne of man be?
Now our Sauiour, in way of answer vnto this question, layeth downe both the certaintie and the Page 2 vncertaintie of his second comming: the certain∣tie, that it shall be; the vncertaintie when it shall be. That, which is wont to be said of the day of Death, being no lesse true of the day of Doome; fThere is nothing more certaine, and yet nothing more vncertaine:g Nothing more certaine than that it shall be: as sure, we vse to say, as Death; and may well say, as Doome: For hHeauen and earth (saith our Sauiour) shall passe away, but so shall not my word. And yet i nothing more vncertaine than when it shall be. For, kOf that day and houre knoweth no man ought, no nor the Angels in heauen, nor the Sonne (l as he was m then) himselfe.
Hereupon he taketh occasion to n exhort his Disciples whom he then spake to, and o vs all in and by them, vnto circumspection and warinesse, vnto vigilancie and watchfulnesse: p that since such a day must once come, and they know not how soone it may come, wherein they shall all be called to giue vp their accounts, that therefore they liue in a continuall expectation of it, in a perpetuall preparation for it; that whensoeuer it shall come, they may be found ready and fit for it.
Which exhortation hauing vrged▪ and enlarged Page 3 by sundry arguments of inforcement and illustra∣tion in q the words before going, he doth r here re∣peat and conclude, winding vp the summe of all before deliuered in this one word,
A word not consisting of many syllables or let∣ters;* but containing much matter, and matter of* much vse. Which that it may the better and the* more orderly be vnfolded, we will referre all that shall be spoken to these foure heads:
The Sense, the Proofes,
The Manner, and the Meanes: Or,
- 1. The Meaning of the word, what it is to watch.
- 2. The Reasons, why we ought so to watch.
- 3. The manner, how we must watch.
- 4. The Meanes, whereby we may watch.
The two former belong to Doctrine; the two latter to Vse.
§. 2. For the first of them, to wit, what it is to watch. Watching is, to speake properly, s an affe∣ction of the bodie; and is by way of metaphor onely applied vnto the soule. In regard whereof it will not be amisse to consider briefly what it im∣porteth in the one, that we may the better conceiue thereby what it signifieth in the other.
tWatching therefore and waking are two seuerall things: it is one thing to wake, or to be awake, and another thing to watch. For example: we are all here (I presume) at this present waking; but can∣not properly be said to be watching, because nei∣ther is it now the ordinarie time of rest, neither (it may be) haue we any present inclination there∣unto. Page 4 But the Disciples of our Sauiour the night before he suffered, are said to haue watched with him, uCould ye not watch an houre with me? because both it was then the ordinarie time of repose, and they very sleepie and drowsie also themselues.
Againe, x the Psalmist complaineth that God held his eyes waking, or ywatching; (but in an vn∣proper sense) that he was forced to keepe waking, and so in some sort to watch as it were against his will. A man lieth oft awake when he would faine sleepe, but z cannot, either through disease of bo∣die or distraction of minde: And a man that is set to watch, may keepe awake, but not minde or re∣gard his charge: and neither of them in such case are said properly to watch. But those that sit by such a sicke man as cannot sleepe, to tend him, are said to watch by him: And the Shepherds are said to haue beene awatching ouer their flocks, when the Angell appeared to them that brought them tidings of Christs birth.
So that bodily watching (to speake properly and precisely) is then, when a man striueth to keepe himselfe corporally waking for the tending or hee∣ding of something, at such time as he is or may be inclining to sleepe.
§. 3. But it is no such bodily watching that is here intended. A man may not watch thus, that keepeth himselfe so awake: and b a man may not keepe himselfe so awake, and yet watch.cPeter watched thus while he slept in the prison between two souldiers tied fast with two chaines. And so did dDauid, when trusting to Gods gratious pro∣tection, Page 5 he laid himselfe quietly downe to sleepe. Whereas on the other side, eIudas sate vp all the night long (as f theeues and murtherers also doe many times) to put his treason in practise, g while his fellow Disciples slept; and yet watched he no more, nay not so much as they did. And hDauid was broad awake, when he spied Bathsheba from off his terrace; and yet watched he not so well as be∣fore he did, when on his pallet he lay fast asleepe: he rose from one sleepe, to fall into another, a worse sleepe. It is not i a corporall, but a spiri∣tuall; not a proper, but a figuratiue, a metapho∣ricall watching, (and yet a watching that hath re∣ference to that proper, some resemblance of that corporall watching) that our Sauiour here intendeth.
To apply therefore what was before said of watching, to the Soule, and so to our present pur∣pose. Sinne is in the word compared to a sleepe.kLet not vs sleepe, as others sleepe, saith the Apostle: For those that sleepe, sleepe in the night: and, We are not of the night, but of the light and of the day. He speaketh as of a spirituall l night of ignorance, so of a spirituall sleepe of sinne. Repentance is said to be an awaking (as it were) out of this sleepe. mAwake to righteousnesse; and sinne not, saith the same Apostle. And againe, nAwake thou that slee∣pest, and arise from the dead, from the deadly sleepe of sinne, and Christ will illighten thee. And, oAs it is a signe that a man is awaked out of his sleepe, whenPage 6he telleth what dreames he saw in his sleepe: so it is a signe, saith the Heathen man, of one truely repen∣tant, when a man maketh sincere confession of his for∣mer offence. And lastly, the striuing to keepe our selues from future relapse and from falling backe into this our former deadly slumber againe, is that which by the same metaphor is termed watching, as here, so p elsewhere.
So that it is as much in effect, as if our Sauiour had said, when he willeth vs to watch; that It is not*sufficient for vs, that we haue beene awaked out of the deadly sleepe of sinne; but we must with all heed∣full diligence for the time to come striue to keepe our selues thus waking. Watch we cannot till we be awaked; and q when we are once awaked, we must euer watch. And so haue we both the true sense and signification of the word; and the point also therein propounded.
- The first taken from the drowsinesse of our owne naturall disposition.
- The second from the diligence of our Aduer∣sarie the Deuill.
- The third from the necessitie of perseuerance.
- The fourth and last from the danger of relapse.
For the first of them, to wit, the drowsinesse of* our owne naturall disposition. rHe came the second time, saith the Euangelist of our Sauiours Disci∣ples, whom he had but lately before awaked, and found them asleepe againe; for their eye were heauy. And as it is with those that be of an heauie consti∣tution, Page 7 of a drowsie disposition, that though they be awaked out of sleepe, yet vnlesse they vse some diligence (yea though they so doe) to keepe them∣selues awake, they are ready euer anon to be nap∣ping and nodding, and (if they be not the more carefull) to fall euen fast asleepe againe: So it is na∣turally with euery one of vs in regard of our soules: We are all generally s of a very dull and drowsie disposition, by reason of that lumpish flesh of ours, t that abideth much euen in the best of vs. By meanes whereof it commeth to passe, that we are oft slipping and slumbring, be we neuer so carefull and diligent; yea in danger oft, after we haue beene awaked out of this dreery and deadly sleepe, to fall eftsoone backe againe into the same, if we keepe not a constant watch ouer our selues and our soules. Beside that the Deuill is ready and busie euer to helpe forward, besprinkling of our tempels with his spirituall Opium of euill motions and suggestions, to further the matter, and to cast vs againe (if it be possible) into a Lethargie irreco∣uerable.
§. 5. A second Reason therefore may be taken* from the diligence of this our Aduersarie. uBe sober and watch, saith the Apostle, for your Aduer∣sarie the Deuill goeth about continually like a roaring Lion, seeking whom he may deuoure.xShall men watch, saith the Heathen man, to slay and destroy others? and wilt not thou watch to saue thy selfe? So say I: Shall Satan be more vigilant in watching to doe vs a shrewd turne or a mischiefe, then we in watching to keepe our selues safe from his malice? Page 8y Vndoubtedly if he watch thus continually to assault vs, vnlesse we watch as constantly on the other side to preuent him, we shall soone come to be surprised and vanquished againe of him. z Con∣tinuall watch therefore is to be held of vs, because * our enemie continually lies in wait for vs: nor can we euer in regard thereof (be we neuer so watchfull) be ouer-much warie, yea or warie enough.
A thing the rather to be regarded, because it is not here, as in bodily or in worldly watch and ward; where a some watch for the rest, and the rest sleepe while they wake: as that bGreeke Com∣mander sometime said in a generall solemnitie, that che kept sober and watched, that others the whi∣lest might drinke and sleepe: And Philip of Macedon vsed to say, that dhe might safely drinke deepe, as long as Antipater kept sober and watched. But it is not so in this spirituall watch; we cannot here watch by deputie; no man can watch for vs; but euery one must watch for himselfe.
I answer: True it is indeed; they are called Watchmen: and they are said to watch, yet not so much for, as gouer your soules. Now it is one thing to watch for one, and another thing to watch ouer one. To watch for one (to speake properly) is h to watch Page 9 in his stead that he may not watch: as in a Citie besieged, or in a set Campe some few watch by night in their turnes that the rest the whilest may sleepe: and as i the Prince is said to watch, that the subiect may rest at ease: or the * Princes guard to watch, that he may sleepe safely. But to watch ouer one is to watch by him to keepe him awake; as those that watch Deere to tame them by keeping them from sleepe; or as those that tend a sicke Patient in some drowsie disease, or k after some me∣dicine receiued, or a veine opened, or the like, where sleepe may be preiudiciall and dangerous vnto him. In this latter manner are we said to watch ouer you; and the maine end of our watching is to keepe you waking. Which vnlesse it be there∣fore by our watching effected, all our watching in regard of you is to no purpose; no more then their watching about the Patient before spoken of, if he sleepe amids them, while they watch about him.
The Pastor then indeed must watch ouer his people: but l the people must watch also with their Pastor, and must be kept waking by his watching. Yea as m he must watch ouer both himselfe and them; so n must they in person also watch each one ouer himselfe. To which purpose, if we should demand of our Sauiour, as Peter did sometime in the very same case, and vpon the like occasion; oMaster, speakest thou this vnto vs alone, or vnto all? Doest thou speake this to thine Apostles onely, or to Pastors alone, that are to watch ouer others, or to the people also, to thy Disciples all in generall? our Sauiour Page 10 would no doubt answer, yea so expresly he doth answer, pWhat I say vnto you, I say vnto all, Watch. Others may watch ouer vs; but none can watch for vs: each one in person must euer watch for himself.
§. 7. To the aduersarie before mentioned, we* might well adde another, no lesse dangerous than the former, to wit, the world, as aAaron saith of his people, bwholly set vpon wickednesse. This though we be cnot of it, yet are we din it, neither can ewe goe, or fget out of it,g when we will our selues; h we must stay in it, till it please God i to call vs out of it. And so long as we are in it, kwe tread vpon embers,lwe walke among snares, of m euill example, of allurement by n profit and o pleasure, of shame and abashment by p derision, scorne and con∣tempt, of terror and affrightment by q opposition, threats, and discountenance, if we doe not as others doe. We are in as much danger (if not much r more) by euill men as by deuils, by sdeuils incarnate, as by tdeuils indeed: they are u limmes of the deuill, and x the instruments that he oftest ma∣keth vse of. y We are more in danger of wicked Page 11 men for our soules, then they are for their bodies that liue in the wide wildernesse, where wilde beasts are most frequent. They were men like themselues that our Sauiour warned his to be∣ware of, when he said, zTake ye heed of men: for they are they that may doe you most mischiefe. They were bMen-wolues that he forewarned them of, when he told them, that he should send them out aas sheepe among wolues. And had not they need cto walke warily, that d haue so many snares in their way? Had they not need to stand continu∣ally vpon their guard, that haue their enemies e on either side, nay f on euery side of them? Haue they not iust cause to g watch night and day, that abide there where h Lions, Wolues, and wilde beasts of rauenous disposition are most rife?
§. 8. But there is yet a third enemie, as vigilant and diligent, yea more incessant and more dange∣rous then either of the former, and that is our owne corrupt nature.
For the other two are without vs, this is within vs, it is an inbred, an home-bred aduersarie. A mansPage 12enemies, saith i the Prophet, and k our Sauiour from him, shall be those of his owne house.l An houshold foe is much more dangerous then a fo∣rainer, then one out of the house, though dwelling at the next doore. But this enemie of ours is not in our house, but min our heart, lodged and seated in the very inwardest and secretest closet of our soule.
The other two are professed aduersaries, this a pretended friend. And n a pretended friend is more dangerous then a professed foe. oIt was not a professed enemie, saith Dauid, that did me this wrong; for then could I well haue borne it: nor was it an open aduersarie, that set himselfe against me; for then could I have shunned him: but it was thou ô man, my companion, my counsellor, my guide, my familiar. And therefore, pTrust not a friend, saith the Pro∣phet, take heed especially of a false friend; put no confidence in a counsellor: keepe the doores of thy mouth from her thatqlieth in thy bosome. But this false-hearted friend of ours lieth not in our bosome, but within our breast.
Againe, the other two cease sometime their op∣posing of vs, this is incessant, it neuer ceaseth. Though there be a continuall renmitie, a perpe∣tuall hostilitie, sa warre without truce betweene Satan and vs: yet are we not alwayes actually t in skirmish and combat. We are not alwayes in fight, though we be alwayes in the field. Nor is Page 13 the deuill himselfe alwayes about vs or with vs. But u our corrupt nature is neuer from vs, it is al∣wayes x in the very middest of vs; y we carry it about with vs continually, whithersoeuer we goe, or wheresoeuer we become. And * it is neuer idle in vs, but incessantly working on vs, continually either hindering vs in well-doing, or prouoking and egging of vs on vnto euill. zThe flesh, saith the Apostle, lusteth and striueth against the Spirit, so that ye cannot doe what you would. And, aI finde by wofull experience, that when I would doe good, euill is present with me. For mine inner man delighteth in the Law of God: But I see and feele another law in my limmes rebelling against the law of my minde, and leading me captiue to the law of sinne that is in my limmes.
§. 9. Lastly, without the helpe of this traitor b no other enemie can hurt vs. cThe deuill himselfe can∣not foyle vs, vnlesse w•… our selues will.d He may perswade and entice, suggest and prouoke, but he cannot enforce or constraine, nor vnlesse our owne heart giue consent, cause vs to sinne. As we vse therfore to say of the Land & State that we liue in, that We need not feare any foraine foe, if we be true among our selues: So may it be said much more▪ Page 14 truly of our spirituall estate, e we should not need to feare any outward aduersarie, either world or deuill, if our owne heart were, and would be sure to keepe true to vs. But f it is our owne heart within vs that is ready to ioyne with our aduersaries with∣out vs, and to betray vs vnto them. gThe prince of this world, saith our Sauiour, hath beene dealing with me; but he found nothing in me; and therefore preuailed not against me. But h he neuer commeth to assault vs, but he findeth enough and too much in vs; the maine cause why so oft he preuaileth against vs. i He findeth a many Iudasses within vs, that are ready to ioyne with him, to second him, to assist him, to fight for him, to betray vs into his hands.
Without this intestine traitor then, the deuill himselfe cannot hurt vs: but it alone is able to hurt vs without him. We need no other Tempter to tempt or entice vs to euill: we haue k an Eue, a Tempter of our owne each one within vs, more powerfull and more effectuall then any is or can be without vs, and one that needeth not any helpe from without. lEuery man, saith the Apostle, is tempted, when he is inticed and drawne aside by his owne lust. And so lust hauing conceiued bringeth forth sinne, and sinne being consummate bringeth forth death.m No need is there of other deuill to delude or destroy vs; there is deuill enough in the Page 15 hearts of euery one of vs to doe either, there is enough in vs without any deuils helpe to effect either.
§. 10. We haue as much cause then nto watch euen against our selues, as against any aduersarie whatsoeuer. Since that as the Heathen man some∣time said, oEuery man is the first and the greatest flatterer of himselfe: and others could neuer come to fasten their flatteries vpon vs, if we did not be∣fore flatter our selues: So peuery man is the first and the greatest enemie to himselfe: and other enemies could neuer doe vs any harme, if we did not first conspire with them to hurt our selues. And if they had need to be exceeding vigilant, and extraordinarily circumspect, that haue not onely many open enemies, besetting and assaul∣ting them on euery side without, but many close traitors also, that haue busie heads and working braines, plotting and practising continually their ruine at home; then surely no lesse cause haue we to be extraordinarily watchfull, whose case, as we see, is the very same. If q our first parents had cause to watch in Paradise, when there was no aduersarie but without: Much more haue we cause to watch, and to watch most diligently now, when we haue aduersaries r both without & within. For therein is the difference, as s one saith well, betweene tAdam & uIudas, so betweene our first parents and vs, that Outward temptation preuented inward corruption in them, inward corruption preuenteth outward tempta∣tion in vs. So many aduersaries therefore, so vigi∣lant, so diligent, round about vs, on euery side of Page 16 vs, before vs, behinde vs, aboue vs, beneath vs, without vs, within vs, * must needs enforce on vs an incessant watchfulnesse, if we haue any care of our owne safetie.
§. 11. A third Reason may be taken from the necessitie of perseuerance. qWho so endureth to the end (saith our Sauiour, he alone) shall be saued. The Christian course is compared to a race.rLet vs runne with patience (saith the Apostle) the race set before vs. And sin a race (saith the same Apo∣stle) all runne; but all winne not. If we aske who winne, he telleth vs else-where, that t they onely winne the wager or get the garland, that runne uaccording to the lawes of the game, to the rules of the race. Now in worldly races the law of the game is, that none but he gaineth the prize, that getteth first to the gole: But in the spirituall race the law is otherwise. For x there not who so com∣meth first, but who so holdeth out to the last,y be he in order of place or time first or last, is sure to winne and to doe well. zBe faithfull to death, and thou shalt haue the crowne of life, saith our Sauiour to each Christian souldier and soule.
a As in a race then it is to no purpose for a man to set out with the first, and to run eagerly a while, if after some time he sit downe, and stay at the mid-way: yea if he giue ouer when he is within but a foot or two of the gole, it is all one as if he had neuer set foot into the field: So here for a man Page 17b to runne well for a spurt, and then to giue ouer, yea to breake off that good course that he was en∣tred into but a day or twaine before decease▪ it is enough to annull all his former proceedings, and to make him to be in no better estate then if he had neuer set foote into the good wayes of God. For cIt is perseuerance alone in well-doing, that carieth away the crowne.dThe latter part of a mans life ouer-swayeth the former: and ethe former yeeldeth it to the latter.fif the righteous man (saith the Prophet, or rather God himselfe by the Pro∣phet) shall turne from his righteous course of life that before he liued in, none of his former good deeds shall be remembred or reckoned; but in the euill that then he doth, he shall die.
Yea to keepe to the comparison that we haue in our text: If a Seruant or Souldier appointed to watch for his Masters comming, or against the enemies approach, shall continue watching till within an houre or some shorter time of the arri∣uall of the one or the assault of the other, but shall then chance to fall fast asleepe; he shall be no lesse in danger either to be shent of the one or to be slaine by the other, then if he had slept all out, and watched no time at all. And the like may be said of our spirituall Watch; which if we shall for any time intermit, or after any time giue ouer, we may chance in the interim to be surprized either by the iustice of God, or by the malice of Satan, and so g be in danger of perishing euerlastingly by either, notwithstanding all our former watch. To which purpose saith our Sauiour in the words next before Page 18 my text; that it is in this case hAs when a man go∣ing from home for a time, leaueth his seruants to keepe house, and setteth each one his taske, and willeth the Porter to watch: and he warneth vs all therefore to iwatch incessantly, (because kwee know not what time our Lord and Master may come) lest if he come suddenly, he t•…ke vs asleepe.
§. 12. A fourth Reason may be taken from the* danger of relapse: lGoe thy way (saith our Sauiour to the Criple he had cured) and sinne no more; lest a worse matter befall thee. As we stand continually in no small danger of relapse, partly through the drowsinesse of our owne disposition, and partly through the diligence of our Aduersary the De∣uill, (as before we haue shewed:) so is there m no small danger in relapse, and in relinquishing this our spirituall watch: which if euer therefore wee giue ouer and fall from, it shall not be barely all one to vs, as if we had euer lien still asleepe, but it shall be farre worse with vs, then if wee had neuer beene awaked.
For as it is in the diseases of the body; so it is likewise in the sicknesse of the soule. As * in bodily sicknesse the relapse vsually is worse and more dangerous, more incurable and irrecouerable then the disease it selfe was at first: so it falleth out com∣monly, yea so it is eue•…▪ ordinarily in this spirituall Lethargie, that the relapse proueth more desperat then the disease was in it selfe. nFor if men (saith the Apostle) hauing escaped these worldly defilementsoby the acknowledgement of Christ (or the profession of Christianity) come after to be entangled and againePage 19ouercome of them;pthe latter estate of such is worse then the first. For it had beene better for them neuer to haueqtaken notice of the good way of God, then after notice taken of it, to turne againe away from it. Since that such, as the Prouerbe truely speaketh, arerlike the Dog that resumeth his owne vomit;sand like Swine that after washing returne againe to their wal∣lowing in the mire. As if he had said in words ap∣plied to the present comparison, It had beene bet∣ter for men to haue lien fast asleepe still, snorting se∣curely in their sanne, then hauing beene by the word and Spirit of God, raised and roused out of it, to fall afterward backe againe into some deadly fit of it.
§. 13. They seldome awake againe, that fall the second time so fast asleepe. Partly, for that through their owne inbred corruption (the euill humour that feedeth this drowsie disease) waxing com∣monly in such cases more fierce and furious then afore (like a mastiue that breaketh loose, when hee hath beene tied vp sometime; or like t the streame of a riuer that hath recouered scope againe, where it had found some restraint formerly, either pent in with arches, or bounded with bankes) this spi∣rituall Lethargie in the returne of it groweth stron∣ger vpon them, and so harder to be subdued and expelled then at first; like a maladie that hath got masterie of, and now contemneth those remedies that curbed and abated the force of it for a while.
As also partly through Satans malitious policie, who endeuoureth all he can by plunging of such as haue broken or beene breaking away from him (if hee can fasten againe vpon them) as deepe as Page 20 may be in all manner of impietie and impuritie, thereby to make them surer then euer to himselfe: u like the Iaylor, that hauing laid hold on his pri∣soner againe, that had either attempted or made escape from him, laieth load on him with irons as many as he may beare, to make him sure from star∣ting a•…ide any more.
Yea and partly through the iust iudgement of God, who vpon such Apostataes (as, though he haue beene so gracious and mercifull vnto them as to awake them out of this deadly slumber some∣time, yet he findeth them not thankfull to him for it, nor stedfast and faithfull with him, nor carefull to keepe their watch so as they should, but wil∣ling to sleepe againe, x delighting in slumber, and repenting that euer they were awaked) is wont yto poure out the spirit not of slumber, but of deepe and dead sleepe; so that it may be said of them, as of Saul and his troupes, zA deepe sleepe of God was vpon them, that they did not awake: as he is said e∣uen ato close vp the eyes, and to make the very hearts of such (not their heads only) heauy, that they may not returne or repent, that is, be awaked any more againe out of their dead sleepe, and so healed of this their spirituall Lethargie.
And no maruell then if they seldome awake or recouer, whom God, and the Deuill, and their owne corrupt heart, God in iustice, the Deuill in malice, and their owne corrupt heart out of its owne drowsie disposition, shall all con∣spire as it were together to with-hold from wa∣king, and from returning to their wonted watch.
Page 21§. 14. So that whether wee regard the drowsi∣nesse of our owne naturall disposition; or the dili∣gence of our Aduersary euer watching against vs; or the necessity of perseuerance, and holding out to the end; or the dreadfull danger of relapse, if wee fall from our former forwardnesse, and either intermit or giue ouer our watch, and our standing vpon our Guard: wee cannot but see the truth of the point formerly propounded, to wit, that it is not sufficient for vs that wee haue beene awaked out of this spirituall sleepe of sinne, but there is further need of perpetuall care to bee had for the keeping of vs from falling backe into that deadly slumber againe.
§. 15. Now what may be the Vse of all this, but* to exhort and excite vs to the diligent practise and performance of a duty so necessarie, that so neere∣ly concerneth vs, and that is so oft and so earnestly exacted of vs and pressed vpon vs, both by b our Sauiour Christ himselfe, and c his Apostles, as here, so else-where.
Which that wee may doe the more readily and with the better successe, it shall not be amisse in the next place to consider of, both the Manner, how it is to be performed; as also the Meanes, whereby it may be effected.
For the former, to wit, the Manner how this* spirituall watch is to be held, wee will pitch vpon foure points, wherein the same doth principally consist:
- The 1. is a due Examination of our seuerall actions;
- Page 22The 2. a diligent obseruation of our speciall cor∣ruptions;
- The 3. a carefull auoidance of the occasions of euill;
- The 4. a constant resistance of temptations vn∣to euill;
And of these in order.
§. 16. The first point then of this Christian* watch is the due d Examination of our seuerall actions, before we vndertake them, lest wee bee otherwise vnawares ouertaken with sin in them, especially where they may be doubtfull and que∣stionable. ePonder, saith Salomon, the paths of thy feet, that thy waies may all be ordered aright. And againe, fA prudent man (will not runne on head, but) will consider his steps. Those that goe in gwaies darke and slippery, and in that regard dan∣gerous, are wont to tread gingerly and step wari∣ly, feele with hand and foot their way before them, whether it be cleare and firme, and will not lift vp the one foot, till they finde sure footing for the other. And so should it bee with vs that are here trauelling through the darke and dangerous way of this worlds wildernesse, like hthe vale of Siddim, slimy and slippry, and full of limepits, of such pitfalls and springes as Satan diggeth and set∣teth for vs, and of such stumbling-blockes as hee laieth before vs, thereby to maime and to mis∣chiefe vs: i we haue great reason to looke about Page 23 vs, and to haue an eie to our footing, that wee step not vnwarily and vnaduisedly vpon that that may proue and procure either our woe or our bane, ei∣ther our ruine or our ruthe.
§. 17. This is that that the Apostle seemeth to haue an eye vnto, where hee exhorteth some to walke kin sincerity; (as also l he professeth of himselfe that he so did:) and praieth for others, mthat they may discerne those thi•…gs that differ, to the end they may bensincere. The word vsed by the Apostle in both places signifieth properly osomething tried by the light of the Sunne. And it is a Metaphore (as some suppose) taken from the custome of the Eagle, whose manner is (if wee may beleeue p those that write the naturall story) to bring her young out of the nest before they bee full flegde, and to hold them forth against the full sight of the sunne; the light whereof those of them that can with open eye endure, shee retaineth and bringeth vp as her owne; the rest that cannot brooke it but winke a•…it, she reiecteth and casteth off as a bastardly broode. In like manner should we doe with those manifold motions that arise in our mindes, and that are hatched as it were in our hearts, ere wee proceede to put them in practise; q we should bring them forth first to the bright sunne-shine of Gods word; let them looke vpon that, and it vpon them: if they can endure it, wee may on in them with courage and comfort; if not, wee must stay both our hand and our heart too from further following or fostering of them.
Page 24§. 18. Others thinke it rather taken from the vsuall practise of Chapmen in the view and choise of their wares. A wise and wary Chapman that hath to doe with a deceitfull Merchant, Draper, or other, one that keepeth his wares in obscure places where the defects of them cannot so easily be dis∣cerned, or hath false lights that may helpe to giue a counterfeit glosse to them, he will take no ware of him vpon his word, but hee will first diligently view it, tosse it and turne it to and fro ouer and o∣uer, try how it is in the middest as well as at both ends, bring it forth into the light, hold vp his cloth against the sunne, see if he can espie any defect or default in it; hee knoweth well hee may easily else bee ouer-reached. The like should bee our practise, because our case is alike. Wee haue to deale daily with diuers craftie Merchants; r by whom wee are sure to bee oft cozened, bee wee neuer so carefull, and can neuer there∣fore take heede enough how we deale with the•…. There is first the Deuill, for his slienesse and subtiltie tearmed sa Serpent, for his experience and antiquity stiled antold Serpent: one that, ulike a deceitfull Draper (saith one,) to draw men on vn∣to sinne, sheweth them the present pleasure or pro∣fit of sinne as the one end of the cloth, but concealeth and keepeth out of sight the middle and the other end of it in the internall remorse here, and the eternall punishment hereafter. Then there is the world, which our selues are wont to say is wholly set vp∣on deceit, and the Spirit of God saith xis wholly set vpon sin: of whom we may well say as one some∣time Page 25 of an Historian, yBoth the words and the shewes of it are all full of fraud. Yea there is lastly our owne Heart as fraudulent and deceitfull as any of them. For, zThe heart of man, saith Iere∣mie, is wicked and deceitfull aboue all things: who can know it? So deceitfull, that oft-times ait decei∣ueth a mans owne selfe, and so consequently bit selfe. Hauing to deale then with such craftie ones, we had need to be exceeding warie, that they take nothing vp from them, that they shall offer to ob∣trude on vs, either by outward perswasion, or in∣ward suggestion, or otherwise, especially where there shall be some good ground and iust cause of suspition, vntill we haue turned it euery way, and tryed it by the light of Gods Law, c examined both ends, weighed well euery circumstance, and searched euery corner of it; that we may haue dgood assurance, as the Apostle willeth, of the law∣fulnesse and the warrantablenesse of it, before we venture vpon the admission of it to consent, or to practise.
§. 19. This was Dauids course: eThy testimonies (saith he) are my comfort and my counsell. Dauid was a very wise Prince himselfe, fprudent like an An∣gell of God, as the woman sometime told him. And he had besides a learned Councell about him; Achitophel among the rest, gOne whose words went in those dayes for Oracles. But yet had Dauid a Coun∣sellor beyond and aboue all these, to wit, the voice of God himselfe in his word: This had a negatiue voice in all Dauids consultations; so that though the matter propounded seemed good in his owne Page 26 eyes, yea and had the approbation of his learned Councell withall, yet if this his head Counsellor went not with it, it was not for Dauid to deale with. And this Counsellor so long as Dauid hearkned vnto (for sometime to his owne woe he ouer-shot himselfe by neglecting it; but for the most part he did so) so long he did well, and thri∣ued and found comfort, and had prosperous suc∣cesse in whatsoeuer he went about. And the like must we doe, if we desire to fare as he did; make Gods word our Counsellour, if we would haue it our comforter: doe as worldly-wise and warie men are wont to doe; they will doe nothing with∣out counsell; If they dwell neere to a Lawyer, whom they may freely repaire and haue accesse to vpon euery occasion, and of whom they may haue counsell, and cost them nothing, as oft as they will, they will be sure to doe nothing of mo∣ment, where the least matter of doubt or suspition of danger may be, without his aduice. And such a Counsellor haue we h euer at hand with vs, ready on all occasions to aduise vs, neuer weary of con∣ferring with vs, i angry with vs for nothing but ei∣ther for not asking or not following his aduice; whom therefore if we shall neglect to consult with, and take counsell of vpon euery iust occa∣sion, the common warinesse of worldly men, yea our owne warinesse in worldly things will one day worthily condemne vs.
§. 20. Yet is this that that most men can be hardly drawne to condescend vnto, to take ad∣uice of Gods word, that is so willing to aduise Page 27 them. There is none but would haue comfort from it: and there is none almost willing to take counsell of it. We like all well to haue a Comfor∣ter of it; but we haue no lust to make a Counsellor of it. But as Dauid, and Gods Spirit by Dauid ioy∣neth these two together: so k we must not disioyne or seuer them the one from the other; or if we doe, we shall but delude our selues with vaine hopes. For he that taketh not counsell of Gods word, shall neuer receiue comfort from Gods word. He that maketh it not a Counsellor, shall neuer finde it a Comforter.
The neglect of this hath beene the cause that many, wise otherwise and religious, haue oft shamefully ouer-shot themselues, because (with lIoshua and the Israelites in their agreements with the Gibeonites) they haue not beene carefull to consult with the voice of God in his word. In which kinde commeth iustly to be censured the vnadui∣sed cariage of those that practise first and aduise afterward: runne on head into ambiguous acti∣ons, and then after fall to examining whether they haue done well, and as they ought in them, or no. Of which course well saith the Wiseman; mIt is a snare for a man to deuoure a thing consecrated, and then afterward to inquire of the vow. A man is en∣snared and entangled now by his owne act; so that he is not so free, n nor fit now to iudge aright of it, because his practise hath forestalled, and (as it may fall out) corrupted and peruerted his iudge∣ment: ready therefore as o one partiall in his owne cause, or as a Iudge that hath taken some∣what Page 28 of the one side, to passe no sincere, nor indif∣ferent sentence.
§. 17. As also their preposterous course com∣meth here not vnworthily to be taxed, that first resolue, & then consult; determine first what they will doe, and then aske aduice what they should doe. Thus did the Iewish Captaines sometime with Ieremie.p They come to him very demurely, and make deepe protestations, calling God so∣lemnly to witnesse of the truth of their intention, of their willing minde and full purpose to put in execution and practise whatsoeuer God by the Prophet should aduise them vnto, were it good or bad. But (as qIeremie after truly told them) they dissembled but with him. For they were resolued before what course they would take; and came onely to make triall whether the Prophet would concurre therein with them or no. Which when they found that he did not, they flie off fairely from him; yea they sticke not to giue him the lie, and to tell him to his teeth, r that the answer he brought them was no diuine Oracle, but an vn∣truth of his owne coyning at the instigation of Ba∣ruc. And in like manner doe many now adayes re∣paire to Gods Ministers for their opinion in cases of conscience concerning the lawfulnesse of some act that they are resolued on already; that if they deliuer their opinions with them, they may then be able to say, they had the iudgment of good Diuines for it, before they did it, or attempted ought in it, to stop the mouthes of those with that may after∣ward question it: but whether they concurre or Page 29 no, resolued to goe on, and so oft doe directly con∣trary to the iudgement and aduice of those whom they made shew to consult with. I say not, but that a man consulting with a Diuine, if he receiue not good satisfaction from him, is free still notwith∣standing his sentence. But s for a man to resort to t Gods Ministers and Messengers for aduice, when he is resolued before what he will doe, how soeuer they shall aduise, or how soeuer he may be conuin∣ced by Gods word of the contrary, is no other but a meere mockerie both of them, and of him; yea and, as it falleth out oft, a meanes of deluding himselfe too, and betraying his owne soule to sin: the rather while u God in his iust iudgement many times fitteth such hypocriticall Consulters with such corrupt Counsellors, as speake not what they deeme agreeable to Gods holy will and word, but what they suppose the partie resorting to them is willing to heare.
§. 18. A second point wherein this spirituall* Watch consisteth, is, the diligent Obseruation of our owne speciall corruptions. xI beseech you, brethren, saith the Apostle, as Pilgrims and Stran∣gers, abstaine from fleshly lusts, that fight against the soule Sinne is the maine enemie and the y bane of mans soule. And z all sinnes in generall fight a∣gainst euery mans soule; but some sinnes more specially against some then against others. And as in the world, where two neighbour kingdomes are at open warre either with other, there is an hostili∣tie in generall betweene all the Subiects of either, euen between those that neuer bore armes against, Page 30 nor euer saw either other; but this hostilitie is more specially executed and exercised betweene those that either border either vpon other, or are vp in armes in the field together either against other: So here, there is a generall hostilitie betweene each Soule and all Sinne, but that exercised in more speciall manner betweene each particular soule and some peculiar sinnes; and these commonly of two sorts, the sinnes of a mans calling or parti∣cular vocation, and the sinnes of a mans nature, or of his naturall constitution.
§. 19. First, the sinnes of a mans Calling; vnder which head also may be comprehended the sinnes either of the places that men abide in, or of the times that they liue in.
When I say the sinnes of a mans Calling, it is not so to be vnderstood, as if the workes or duties of any lawfull Calling were euill or sinfull in themselues: but that a man by occasion of his place and vocation, or his course of life and con∣uersation, may haue more, and more frequent oc∣casions of some sinnes then of others, greater and stronger inducements and inticements to some sinnes then to others, which he is therefore more specially to keepe watch against. Thus the Cour∣tiers sinne is with aNaaman to make a God of his Prince, in being content to please the one by dis∣pleasing the other: The Captaines sinne with bIoab, to be a man of bloud, ready to vse, or abuse his weapon rather, to priuate reuenge: c The Souldiers sinne to pill and spoyle, and make a prey of those whom hee ought to protect: Page 31d The Lawyers sinne to betray, or to delay his Clients cause, to draw the more fees from him: e The Iudges sinne to peruert iudgement, or to re∣fuse to doe iustice, for feare, fauour, or reward: f The Ministers sinne to sooth vp men in their sinne, or g to forbeare to reproue sinne for feare of mans face: The Handy-craftmans sinne to h doe his worke deceitfully and vnfaithfully, there espe∣cially where he thinketh that he cannot be disco∣uered: The Tradesmans sinne i to vse lying and fraud in the vttering of his wares: k The sinne of great men to be oppressors of the poore: and the sinne of the meaner and poorer fort l to be discon∣tent with their estate, m to enuie those that exceed them, and to be instruments of euill offices for their owne aduantage to others. And so vpon each course of life and Calling are there some speciall sinnes attending, which those therefore that fol∣low it are the more subiect vnto, and more in dan∣ger to be surprised by, then by many, or ordina∣rily by any other.
Againe, when it is said that the sinnes are to be obserued of the times and places that men liue in; it is not so to be conceiued, as if all sinnes were not in some sort to be found in all places, or n as if all sinnes had not beene more or lesse in all ages; but that o some sinnes in some places are rifer then others, some sinnes in some ages more in request then some other: as some diseases raigne more in some places then in others, some infirmities are Page 32 more frequent at some times then at others: which those therefore that liue in such times or such places, must more specially watch against, as being more in danger to be infected and tainted therewith.
§. 20. The second sort of speciall corruptions are the sinnes of a mans nature, or of his naturall constitution, such as he is naturally more addicted and inclined vnto then vnto other. For as it is with the bodie, so is it also with the soule. As in euery mans bodie there is a generall mixture of all the foure humours, Bloud, Fleame, and the two Cho∣lers, in some degree more or lesse, but there is some one of them predominant, in regard whereof a man is said to be of a Sanguine, a Flegmatike, a Melancholike, or a Cholerike Constitution: or as in grounds vntoiled and vntilled there grow euill weeds of all sorts, but there is some one common∣ly that ouer-toppeth the residue, and groweth ri∣fer and rancker vsually then the rest: So in the soule of man (since the fall of our first Parents pa gene∣rall seed-plot of euill) there are spirituall weeds of all sorts, a mixture of all vice, the seed and spawne of all sinne, q Atheisme it selfe not excepted: but there is r some one pestilent Humour or other lightly more predominant then the rest, some one maine and master vice, that giueth a denomination, in regard whereof men are said to be, some ambi∣tious, some couetous, some superstitious, some lasciuious, and the like: not as if such persons had no other vice, but that that they are so named by: for it is most true that the Heathen man saith, Page 33sHe that hath any one vice, hath all other with it; but t because that beareth the sway, though the other be all there too in a lower, and a lesse eminent de∣gree. This is that which Dauid seemeth to haue aimed at when he saith; uI was vpright also with him, and kept my selfe from mine owne sinne,xEuery Dauid (saith one well) hath his Bathsheba, and euery Bathsheba her Dauid. Dauid had no doubt his sinne, y his beloued, his deare, his darling sinne, that which naturally he delighted in and was addi∣cted vnto. And so hath euery man ordinarily some one corruption or other, that is the delight of his heart and the ioy of his eyes, that he is naturally most wedded vnto, most caried away with.
Now z this maine sinne, this master sinne is it that we must principally bend our Watch against; as a the King of Aram bade his souldiers fight neither against more nor lesse, but against the King of Israel. For as b when he was once slaine, the whole Hoast was soone vanquished: so if this master sinne be once mastered in vs, other petie and inferiour ones will the more easily be sub∣dued.
§. 21. But this is it that flesh and bloud will not abide almost to heare ought of. It is in stripping vs of sinne, as in flaying of a beast, the skin com∣meth away with ease, till you come to the head. Men are well enough content, at least outwardly; to conforme themselues to good courses, till it come to the master corruption, to the head sinne; to thecfat sinne that their profit commeth in by, Page 34 or theirdsweet sinne that they doe naturally take pleasure and delight in: but there it sticketh fast, and goeth not on, (if at all) without much adoe, but with great difficultie.
The worldly minded for other matters will be as conformable as you will desire: But for his State-sinne, or his Trade-sinne, with eNaaman, he must haue a protection, that must not be stirred, it may not be touched: he will doe any thing else that you will haue him; but therein must God be mercifull vnto him: It is a thing incident to his trade and course of life; he cannot doe otherwise; it is his liuing; and it is no other then euery one doth: and if he should not doe so as well as others, there were no liuing for him in the world. A wretched speech of a di∣strustfull heart, refusing to trust him with the bo∣die, whom they would seeme to trust with the soule. fFaith (saith one well) feareth no famine. Yea a fearefull signe of an vngratious heart, lo∣uing and regarding ggaine more then godlinesse, and preferring temporall liuing before life euer∣lasting. hIt is better, saith our Sauiour, to goe halt and blinde to heauen, then to goe with health and sight to hell. So it is farre better for a man, with iLaza∣rus, to beg and starue in the streets, and so to be conueighed hence to heauen; then, with k the rich∣man at whose doore he lay, to liue in good fa∣shion, or gather a great estate together here, and then be l snatched away hence to hell.
§. 22. Yea, but it is not our fault; it is the fault of the times; or, it is the fault of the Land, or the Citie, that we doe as we doe. To omit, that Page 35m we ascribe oft those things to the times and places we liue in, that indeed proceed principally from our selues and our owne corrupt hearts: like the Philosophers foole n that complained the roome was so darke she could not see, when shee had sodainely by some disease lost her sight. The rifer any euill is in those places or ages we liue in, the more carefull should we be to shun and auoid such a sinne. oTake heed, saith the Apostle, that you walke circumspectly, not as fooles, but as wise men; because the dayes are euill. Are the times then we liue in, or the places we abide in, more then or∣dinarily euill in this or that kinde? That giueth vs no libertie; but should make vs walke the more warily; as men that liue in bad aires, or in time of generall contagion, are more carefull to fence and arme themselues by taking of preseruatiues, eating in the morning ere they goe abroad, carying some things about them to smell to, &c. against danger of infection: that we may be like p the fish, that though it liue and swim in the salt sea, yet it tasteth not of the salt: that it may be said of vs as it was of Noa,qBut Noah was a iust man in his generation: not, ra iust man as iust men went in those dayes, (s that were but a poore praise of so worthy a Pa∣triarke) but tNoah was a iust man in that genera∣tion wherein the whole world was ouer-growne with wickednesse; he continued iust then when there were none almost iust but himselfe and his familie, and u not all of them neither.
Let vs remember in this case that as it is an height of impietie and vngodlinesse for a man Page 36xto be bad in a good age, and to continue vnrefor∣med in a time of generall reformation; so it is a speciall commendation, and a note of true godli∣nesse, for a man yto be good in a bad age, and to con∣tinue vncorrupted in times of generall corruption: yea that it is the office of good Christians (that are in their kinde and degree zthe light of the world, while they are in the world, as a Christ also was when he was in it) b to shine as lights in the middest of a naughtie and peruerse nation, striuing to shew more sinceritie and more zeale and forwardnesse in the best things, the more dissolute the times grow, and the more corrupt those are they liue among; like the lampe that shineth brightest where the aire about it is most darke, or the roome that it is in; and like the fire that burneth hottest and scaldeth most, when the weather is most cold, in the sharpest of winter.
§. 23. Againe, in the like manner it is with men for their natiue corruptions. For to passe from the worldly to the fleshly minded: Come we to the lasciuious and incontinent person; we shall finde him affected as Herod was, c ready to heare Iohn Baptist gladly, and vpon his motion to doe many good matters: but if you begin once to deale with him about his Herodias,d he can no longer endure you. Some such haue not sticked openly and plain∣ly to professe, that they cannot, nor will not leaue their lust and their lecherie, no not for the sauing of their soules.
So deale we with the drunkard; we may chance to finde him tractable enough otherwise: but if Page 37 you come once to his drinke, to pull the cup from his mouth, or plucke it out of his hand; you may as soone e wring ought out of the fist of some Giant, f it is so fast glewed to either: he will make you answer with the vine in Iothams parable; gI cannot leaue my wine; nor giue ouer my good fellow∣ship:htake away my good liquor, and you take away my life.
So for the angry man, that is of an hastie and a furious disposition: reproue him for his furious and outragious behauiour, his cursing, and ban∣ning, and blaspheming of Gods name. What will his answer be, but this? I confesse, it is a fault indeed to doe thus: but you know my nature. I am of a cho∣lericke constitution: and seare fewell is soone fixed.iEuery man hath his fault: that is my naturall infir∣mitie: and it must be borne with. I cannot mend it, and my life lay vpon it. Yea men account it an all∣sufficient Apologie, and an vnanswerable plea for their grossest corruptions, if they can say but, It is my▪ nature.
Socrates (as k they report of him) when there came one Zopyrus to Athens that professed by mens physnomie to tell how they were affected, and hauing guessed shrewdly at the matter with many other, was at length brought to him, and af∣ter a diligent view of his visage censured him for a man blockish, proud, ambitious, vicious of life, and tainted with many foule matters, whereupon the standers by fell a laughing at him as now out Page 38 of his Art; bade them stay their laughter, for the man, he said, spake not amisse: true it was, that he was naturally indeed so affected as Zopyrus had said, but by the helpe of Philosophie he had altred and ouer∣come nature. Can a naturall man then by naturall helps so restraine and curbe his owne naturall cor∣ruptions, that they shall not come to breake forth on him, or to be discouered in him? And cannot Christian men, hauing spirituall and supernaturall helps, doe as much, yea or much more? A foule shame it is for vs, and no small staine to our pro∣fession, if by Gods grace assisting vs we cannot doe that, which by humane learning alone Hea∣then men haue effected before vs: Not to adde, what our Sauiour saith, that, lvnlesse we goe beyond such, we shall neuer be saued.
§. 24. Is it a corruption of thy nature? or is it a sinne incident to thy calling, or to thy course of life and condition? Then it is that sinne that God specially calleth thee to keepe watch and ward against. For what neede or vse is there of watching there, where there is no feare or danger of assault? Were it not a wise watching, for men to keepe watch and ward against such enemies as are many hundred miles off them, and neglect those the meane while that are neerer at hand with them, ready euery houre almost to be setting vpon them? If there were (as oft there hath beene) ho∣stilitie betweene France and vs; were it a wise part, or would it deserue the name of watching, to set some about the Cinque-ports to keepe out Tur∣kish men of warre, but to let French-bottomes Page 39 passe freely in and out to land forces at their plea∣sure? m They are thine owne corruptions, not other mens, that wage warre against thy soule: those it standeth thee therefore in hand to keepe watch and ward against; because those they are that thou standest most in danger of; and n those they are that the Deuill is readiest to assault thee withall: such as are the sinnes either of thy birth and constitution, or of thy breed and education, or of thy course of life and conuersation, or of thy state and condition, or of the times thou liuest in, or of the places thou abidest in; which because* they be neerest or deerest vnto thee, thou maist soonest therefore be drawne away by them, and canst hardliest in that regard be withdrawne away from them.
§. 25. A third point or head of this spirituall Watch, is the carefull auoidance of all occasions of euill. oA prudent man, saith Salomon, foreseeth the plague, and hideth himselfe: but the foolish goe on still, and are plagued. And it is indeed a point of true spirituall wisdome to foresee sinne afarre off in the occasions of euill, and p by eschewing the one to preuent the other. qFlie from sinne (saith Sirachs sonne) as from a Serpent.r He were euill aduised that would sleepe neere the hole where he knew that a Serpent harboured; or that seeing a Serpent making toward him, would vse no meanes to keepe it from him, till it got within reach of him; alledging for himselfe that s he were safe enough, so long as the Serpent fastneth not vpon him. t Nor were they better then starke Page 40 fooles, that should sit still and suffer the enemie, whom they were informed to be vp in armes and comming for them, to enter their territorie, ap∣proach their Citie, sit downe before it, and raise rampires against it; pretending the meane while, that all is well enough with them (what should they need to feare or care?) so long as their walls are not scaled, nor the Citie it selfe surprized: The latter is like enough soone to follow, if way be gi∣uen to the former. In like manner here u it is but a sorrie watching that we hold against sinne, vn∣lesse we keepe watch withall against the occasions of euill. If we wax remisse in our watching against the one, we shall soone be surprized and subdued by the other.
It was the wile that x that wilie one vsed against our first parents, and by it preuailed with them. He would haue the woman at first but goe and see the forbidden fruit; y though they were not to eat of it, yet they might lawfully enough looke on it; it was the taste, not the view of it that God had forbidden them. But zWhat meanest thou, O woman, (saith one of the Ancients) to eye thine owne bane so wishfully? Why shouldest thou haue such a minde to gaze on that which thou maist not meddle with? And indeed it fell out full vnhap∣pily with her; as with the fish, a that is nibbling so long vpon the bait, till at length it be suddenly vnawares caught with the hook. Forb from gazing vpon it she proceeded to gaping after it; and from sight and view to touch and taste, to c the taking in of that that proued the bane both of her and hers.
Page 41And it is the course whereby Satan yet to this day preuaileth with a many; such especi∣ally as seeme to make any conscience of their courses; by drawing them into bad company, combining and linking them in league with lewd ones, egging them on to vnnecessary contenti∣ons and Law-suits, enticing them to some kinde of lawfull, but dangerous delights, and such like wiles at the first sight not appearing to be such, hee leadeth them into such sinnes as them∣selues at first intended not, nor once dreamed (it may be) that they should euer be drawne vnto.
§. 26. To this purpose as the Apostle Paul saith of the Ministers of the word, that they must notdintangle themselues with worldly affaires: thereby implying that the Minister of God by giuing way to multiplicitie of worldly businesses, though he intend not in so doing to neglect or grow slacke in the worke of his owne function, yet may come to be so pusseld and snarld in them, that he shall not be able to get well out againe when he is once in. and so may be, beside his purpose, with-drawne from that which he should e principally attend. So the Apostle Peter of many Christians, that fha∣uing escaped the defilements of this world (that is, such sinnes as worldly men are wont to be ordina∣rily defiled with) by beinggintangled, (to wit, in the like occasions of sinne, and such hsnares as Sa∣tan had in the same set for them) they come at length to be ouercome and vanquisht againe; to wit, by being drawne againe to the practise of such Page 42 foule enormities as in themselues they had for∣merly reformed.
In regard whereof it is that our Sauiour doth admonish his Disciples to iWatch and pray, that they enter not into temptation. For that k if they doe enter, an hundred to one it is, (such is mans naturall weaknesse and pronenesse to euill) that they come not out without some foile. And l agree∣able to our prayer should our practise be; or else it is but a mock-praier, and a mockery of him whom we pray to. As we are taught to pray that we may not enter into temptation; so must wee take •…eed how we offer our selues vnto temptati∣on. Else m what is it but a meere mocking of God, to aske that of God, which wee wilfully deny to our selues, when we might haue it? Or n how can we hope that God should heare vs when we heare not our selues, when we refuse to put an Amen to our owne prayer? Wee must oshun, saith the Apostle, and be shie of the very shew and shadow of sinne: be afraid, not, with pthe burnt childe, of the fire, and the flame only; but of the very smoake it selfe of sinne: remembring that qthough the smoake can doe no great hurt it selfe, yet the fire that may burne vs shrewdly, is not farre from it.
§. 27. Where commeth to be met with the idle plea of those, who when they are admonished or aduised to forbeare some courses, some compa∣nies, that may in this kinde proue preiudiciall and dangerous vnto them, are wont to say; Why? Is it not lawfull to doe this or that? or, Is it simply vn∣lawfull to be in such and such company? Yea but, saith Page 43 the Apostle to such; rAll things (that is, all things in their owne nature indifferent) are lawfull: but all (such) things are not expedient. Things in them∣selues lawfull, in the vse of them proue oft inexpe∣dient; and then become they in that regard, and so farre forth vnlawfull to vs. The vse of a thing and the abuse of it are many times so close twined and twisted together, that a man cannot lay hold on the one but he shall be taken with the other; he cannot pull the one to him, but the other will come with it and accompany it in spight of his heart, though he doe not desire the company of it, or to haue any dealing at all with it.
Yea sure it is (as one well saith) thatsHee that will needs doe all that euer he may doe, will be soone drawne to doe somewhat also that he ought not to doe. And better it were for a man to forbeare many things that he might doe; (there is no hurt in such forbearance; tit will neuer begriefe or offence of heart to him, as shee said to Dauid in another case, that hee hath so done) then by venturing so farre betweene winde and water, in what he may doe, to be but once ouertaken in what he should not doe; which may proue a corasiue to him as long as he liueth.
And certainly as u it were but a fond course for a man that is trauelling by the way, when hee hath a faire broad path to walke in, to presse so neere x the brinke or banke of a brooke that run∣neth along by it, and that, y where the ground is slippery, and when the wind is high and bloweth stiffe, that z ten to one he is in ouer shoes, if not Page 44 ouer head and eares, ere he goe far, yea that at eue∣ry step almost he is in danger to slip in: So here it is a very vnwise and improuident cariage, for a man, when hee hath the a broad rhoad of Gods law, giuing him scope enough to walke at large without danger in the vse of Gods good creatures and in the ordering of his courses, yet to presse needlesly so neere vpon the borders and confines of sinne, that as Dauid saith to Ionathan,bas sure as God liueth, there is but a step betweene death and me; so there is but a step betweene sinne and them; or as he of men at sea, cbut a three inch plancke be∣tweene them and death; so but an inch or two be∣tweene them and that that may be their bane and the very break-necke of their soule: and that step or inch further may the Deuill soone push them, or the very swinge and sway of their owne cor∣ruption may of it selfe easily cary them.
For d it is in going to God-ward, as in climbing an hill; a man shall be enforced to stay and breath himselfe oft ere hee would; e it is in walking to sin-ward as in running downe an hill; a man shall not be able to take vp his fierce and disordered af∣fections, Page 45 and to stay himselfe where hee would: f A man is carried with the strong streame of his owne affections in the one, hee must striue and struggle against the maine current, yea the swift and stiffe torrent of his owne corruptions in the other: so that g vnlesse he striue and straine hard, if hee grow but remisse hee will soone be going amaine backward; and when he is once going on toward sinne, or neuer so little gone in sinne, it is not easie for him to stop and stay, when he will.
And how carefull had we need then to bee of keeping aloofe off from that, how fearefull of ma∣king toward it, or pressing neere vpon it, which if we doe but approach vnto, we shall hardly keepe out of, if we once chance to step into, wee shall hardly but goe on in; and if we step but once into, may be, if we goe on in, will be our end.
Oh let vs consider then how dangerous it is euen to approach neere to this whirlpit, where we may so soone be wheeled in ere we are aware: let vs take heed how we be hplaying about the hole of the Aspe, or neere the den of the Cockatrice: let vs re∣member that it is in the vse euen of things indiffe∣rent that Satan most vsually setteth his snares for Gods seruants: and that hee preuaileth against those that be not grossely prophane and vngodly more often by the immoderate and inordinate vse of things in themselues lawfull, then by drawing them to such things as are simply euill and vn∣lawfull in themselues. And withall, that it is as Page 46i easier, so safer, for the fowle to passe by the snare while she is yet out, then it is to wind her selfe out againe, when she is once in: She is safe enough for being caught, if she keepe aloofe of it; she ven∣tureth catching, though she be not caught, if she come ouer-neere it. kKeepe alòofe of her (to wit, the Harlot) saith Salomon lessoning his son, come not so much as once neere the doore where such a one dwelleth. He is in danger that so doth, whether he goe in to her or no. And l he sinneth dangerously that wilfully exposeth himselfe to the danger of any sinne.
§. 28. Now in this kinde is more speciall regard to be had, as before of our speciall corruptions, so here of such speciall temptations as wee haue for∣merly found our selues either to haue fallen, or to haue beene in danger of falling by, m that we may the more warily for the time to come shun such things, as though not euill in themselues, yet we finde to haue beene formerly occasions of euill vn∣to vs. nTurne mine eies away, saith Dauid, ô Lord, euen from beholding of vanity: not mine heart one∣ly from affecting it, but mine eies also from beholding it. It is not likely indeed (though some haue so thought) that Dauid penned that Psalme after his foule ouer-sight with Bathsheba: it may seeme rather by the maine matter of it to haue beene made during the time of his exile∣ment vnder Saul, before he came to the crowne. Page 47 But o well might Dauid, or any other in Dauids case, calling to minde after the like offence, what had beene the occasion of his fall, how by letting his eyes run at randome, and not watching ouer them as he ought, he had come to be caught in Sa∣tans snares; well, I say, might such a one pray ear∣nestly vnto God, as Dauid there doth, that his eies as well as his heart might bee kept within com∣passe, left by the one Satan might come againe to surprise and to seise vpon the other.
Yea not only ought such a one so to pray with Dauid, but to ioyne practise also with his prayer, by p making (as Iob sometime did) a couenant with his eies, q that they should no more be fixed and set vpon such obiects as had beene formerly occasions to him of folly and of fall: and so others in the like case to forbeare such company, cast off such acquaintance, shun such priuate familiarities, and breake off such needlesse businesses, as haue beene the meanes formerly to ensnare them vnto sinne. Remembering what the Prophet saith, de∣scribing the man that shall both dwell in safety here, and behold the glory of God to his eternall comfort hereafter, that r he is such a one as wal∣keth righteously, and speaketh vprightly, and refuseth gaine by oppression; that shaketh his hands from taking of gifts, (he will not only not consent to doe a man wrong, but will s not so much as receiue a gift Page 48t whereby hee may bee engaged or enclined so to doe;) and stoppeth his eares from hearing of bloud; (he will not only haue no hand in the shedding of it, but he cannot endure to heare any communing of it;) and lastly, that shutteth his eies from seeing of euill: he not escheweth only the practise of it, but he euen u shunneth the very sight of it, so farre forth as it may be a meanes to inueigle his heart; or the sight of ought that may betray his heart thereunto.
§. 29. The fourth and last point wherein this spirituall Watch consisteth is the constant resi∣stance of temptations vnto euill. xIt cannot bee, saith ou•… Sauiour, but that offences will come: So it cannot •…e auoided, walke we neuer so warily, but that occasions of euill too too many will be offe∣red. Heerein therefore standeth a further part of this our Watch, as in a carefull auoidance (so much as in vs lieth) of the occasions of sinne that they be not offered: so in a constant resistance of temptations and encitements to euill when they shall be offered, yea when they shall be vrged and enforced vpon vs; that which the Apostles Iames and Peter call y the withstanding of the Deuill and his instruments; and the Apostle Paulzwithstan∣ding and standing, or standing firme and fast by stand∣ing out, in the euill day, that is, in the time of temp∣tation.
Page 49aOn that night, saith the story of Assuerus, the Kings sleepe went from him. It is no watching to speake properly, neither is it thank-worthy, for a man to lie awake, because hee cannot sleepe: but when long continuance of waking, and the vsuall houre of rest, and the drowsinesse of his owne braine, and the heauinesse of his eies, and the ex∣ample of others fast asleepe by him, shall all con∣curre and conspire as it were to cast him into a slumber, for a man b then to striue to keepe waking is true watching, and is thank-worthy indeed. So here for a man to keepe himselfe sober, when hee cannot come by wine or strong drinke, or when he wanteth his good-Fellowes to drinke with (for this it is one of those sociable sinnes; there is no life in it without company) it is c not thank-wor∣thy, the will is as good, or as bad rather, still as euer. But for a man to bee carefull not to breake the bounds of sobriety, when he shall be in place where wine is plenty, and no restraint of it, and where company will be egging him on, and vrging him with instance to take more then is meet, that is true temperance and praise-worthy indeed. In like manner d for a man to keepe a true man, as we say, because he was neuer put in trust, or to deale faith∣fully, where a due and strict account is taken of his actions; it is no commendation the one, and it is but a very slender commendation (if any at all) the other. But for a man that hath trust repo∣sed in him, and none to looke after him, or to call him to account (as eIoseph, as fthe work-men about the Temple sometime) to deale then truly Page 50 and faithfully, especially when want and penury shall be perswading him to the contrary, g that is indeed a matter of high commendation; that is watching ouer a mans hands and fingers indeed. Thus also for a man to liue chastly and keepe con∣tinent, h when he wanteth his lewd company, or for a woman to liue honestly whom no man loo∣keth after, or i because she is otherwise looked af∣ter, and a narrow watch is set ouer her, deserueth not the name of watchfulnesse in either, yea the heart may be neuer a whit the lesse faultie with ei∣ther. But for kTamar to deny Ammons incestuous suit, and to stand out against him, till by meere force shee bee constrained l to endure rather the dishonest act of another, then to doe any of her owne; for mIoseph sued and sought to by his Mistresse n that had some kinde of command ouer him, yea vrged and solicited day after day to con∣descend to her adulterous desires, o to refuse to yeeld to her allurements, (her inforcements I might well say) and p to choose rather to hazard losse of present liberty (such as then he had) by not sinning, then to gaine further enlargement and aduancement (there might well bee hope of future preferment) by consenting to sinne; it was a part and practise of due watchfulnesse indeed.
Page 51§. 30. Where commeth to bee met with that vaine and idle Apologie that many are wont to make in defence or excuse at least of their inordi∣nate behauiour, that they were prouoked and vr∣ged to doe that they did. Are you not ashamed to be ouerseene with drinke in such sort as to make your selfe a scorne and a laughing stocke to euery one that beheld you, and to become no better then a beast? Oh; saith he, I was vrged to it: I was in company with Chapmen or Customers; (they are those that a man liues by) and I could not doe otherwise then I did. Yea but no man could or can (q nor the Deuill him∣selfe) compell thee to sinne, vnlesse thou wilt thy selfe. And there were no need for thee, or for any man to watch against such sins as these are, if there were no such occasions of falling into them, or if no such temptations to incite or entice thereunto.
Againe, saith another reproued for his outragi∣ous behauiour in cursing and banning, swearing and swaggering, and blaspheming, as before; I did nothing but what I was vrged and prouoked vnto: It would haue angred an Angell; it would haue made a Saint sweare, to be vsed as I was, to endure what I did. Alas! and r what vse were there of patience, were there no prouokement to impatience? or what praise is it there to be patient, where there is no occasion (for iust cause none can be) of impa∣tience? s Shall another mans wickednesse make Page 52 thee wicked like him? Wilt thou imitate him in that, wherein thou condemnest him? and be like him in that which thou mislikest in him? Yea shall mans wronging thee make thee wrong God? his abusing thee make thee abuse Gods blessed name? his flying in thy face make thee flie in Gods face? What watching call wee this, for a man to keepe no longer awake, then till his eies begin to grow heauy, and then of his owne accord to settle him∣selfe vnto sleepe? Or what watching is it to keepe watch and ward, to fence and fortifie, where no assault is made, and to set no watch nor make re∣sistance when we are indeed assaulted? to watch, till we see the enemie whom wee should watch a∣gainst, approach; and so soone as we descrie him, as tthe hireling, when he spieth the Wolfe comming, to leaue instantly and giue ouer our watch? No: it is in regard of continuall danger that wee are in, either by inward defect or by outward default, that this Watch is required: And therefore there must watch be most diligent, where is most likeli∣hood of danger, or where hottest assault is made: Yea continuall watch must bee held and ioyned with resistance, not till assault only be made, but so oft as assault shall bee made, and so long as it shall continue: Which because it will so doe euer euen till we die, this our Watch must continue also euen vnto death.
§. 31. Hitherto then we haue considered of the* manner of this Watch, and wherein the same doth principally consist: Let vs now further consider of some Meanes of helpe and furtherance, where∣by Page 53 we may be the better enabled to goe thorow therewith.
The first may bee the practise of Sobrietie and* Temperance, uTake heed, saith our Sauiour, lest at any time your hearts come to bee oppressed or sur∣charged with surfetting and drunkennesse, and with the cares of this life: and so that day come vpon you and surprize you vnawares: But watch and pray con∣tinually. And surely as it is with the body; so is it also with the soule. Temperate diet is a great helpe to bodily watching: and on the other side x when men haue ouer-liberally eaten and drunke, they are wont to be heauy and drowsie, ready to slum∣ber as they sit, fit for nothing but for sleepe. And no lesse enemie to this spirituall Watch is such ri∣ot and excesse. yBe not filled with wine, (saith the Apostle) wherein is excesse; but be filled with the Spirit: as if when the one went in, the other went out; and there were no roome left for the one, when men are filled so with the other. Wee are wont to say that When the wine goeth in, the wit go∣eth out: but the Apostle saith, that when wine is thus taken in, the Spirit of God is expelled, (wher∣with we should watch) & the Spirit of Satan is en∣tertained, (against which we should watch) and the Temple of the one is made a stie and a stable for the other. For such excesse is a meane euen z to drowne the minde, and by casting reason & vnder∣standing into a dead & deadly sleepe, to make men vnableto watch against the motions of sinne, a to shut the doore of the heart against all vertue, & to Page 54 set it wide open to all vice. By meanes hereof came bNoah to discouer his owne shame in the sight of his sonnes, to his disgrace and reproach. Yea by meanes hereof came cLot in beastly manner to abuse himselfe by filthy incest with those that came out of his owne loynes, and so became he the father of an accursed bastardly broode. And no maruaile if Sin and Sathan finde free entrance at will, when that is shut out, or laid vp that should watch against either.
§. 32. On the other side d Sobrietie is a speciall helpe vnto vigilancie: which the Apostles there∣fore are wont vsually to ioyne the one with the other. eLet not vs sleepe, as others doe, saith the Apostle Paul; but let vs watch, and be sober. And, fBe sober and watch, saith the Apostle Peter. Which sobrietie also must be vnderstood to con∣sist, not in the temperate taking of meat and drinke only, but in a moderate vsage of all other temporal blessings, such especially as we are wont to take pleasure and delight in. For there is (as the Pro∣phet saith in another sense, Thou that art drunke, but not with wine; and, hThey are drunke, but not with wine; and they stagger, but not with strong drinke,) there is, I say (as I haue shewed i else∣where) *ka drunkennesse without either wine or strong drinke; yea and a surfetting too without flesh or foode. A man may surfet of, and bee drunke with prosperity, with pleasure, with game, with disport, with other the like delights; and may well be said so to doe, when he is so transpor∣ted with them, so distempered by them, that hee Page 55 breaketh forth into such disordered and outragi∣ous behauiour; as, of immoderate reioycing, and excessiue laughter, of howting and showting, and of gesture vnseemely, or of fretting and chafing, of cursing and banning, of swearing and blasphe∣ming, or the like, as will not stand with sobriety, and such as they could not but condemne in themselues, were they not for the time in a man∣ner drunke and beside themselues; yea sometime, not such only as all sober minded men would ab∣hor, but l such as euen a mad man himselfe, if he be not starke mad, will esteeme to be mad cariage.
§. 33. Whereas some therefore vse to say, when they are rebuked and reproued, as for their abuse of Gods good creatures, so for their drunken and disordered behauiour at game, or otherwise; Is it not lawfull to eat and drinke? and, Is it not lawfull to vse game? and, Is it not lawfull for neighbours to be merry together? Yes vndoubtedly: Christianity enioyneth not, nor exacteth of vs any Stoicall au∣sterity. God hath giuen and granted vs, as mbread to strengthen our bodies, so wine to cheere our hearts withall: he hath liberally afforded vs the free vse of his good creatures, not for necessity alone, but for lawfull delight too. n Neither doth it follow, that Gods children take no delight at all in such outward delights, because they haue other more principall ones that they take farre greater delight in. It is promised as a blessing euen vnto Gods people, that o there should be boies and girles play∣ing together in the streets of Ierusalem: and that p they should haue liberty to inuite and entertaine Page 56 either other, each man his friend or his neighbour vnder his vine or his figtree, in his orchard or in his arbour. But can we not vse Gods creatures, vnlesse we abuse them, and make that the bane and poison of our soules, that was giuen vs to bee the food and stay of our bodies? Or q can we not be merry vnlesse we make the deuill our play-fellow? Can we not bee merry, vnlesse wee be mad? r Is there no mirth at all but in swearing and swagge∣ring, and in blaspheming of Gods blessed name? s Is our mirth (thinke we) nothing worth, if it be not mixt with profanenesse; if it be not seasoned, or tainted rather, with impietie & vngodlinesse, or with impurity and vncleannesse? Such eating and drinking is accursed eating and drinking: such t mirth is accursed mirth, euill-beseeming any Christian, and such as will at length u end in mour∣ning and woe, yea in eternall mourning and euerlasting woe, if it be not speedily preuented. As the Apostle saith, in regard of others, so is it no lesse true in regard of a mans selfe; xIt is euill for a man to eat with offence; and with the dis∣abling of himselfe vnto good duties: And it is euill for a man to vse game or any other lawfull delight in that manner, as it shall bee an occasion, either of stumbling to others, or of sinne and euill to himselfe. And, yIt is not good therefore for a man to eat flesh, nor drinke wine, nor vse game, nor doe ought else, whereby either himselfe, or any other Page 57 shall be occasioned to sinne. For what we owe vn∣to others, z we owe much more to our selues; be∣ing enioyned a to loue others indeed, but as our selues. And therefore ought wee to haue a care as well to bliue soberly in regard of our selues, as to cwalke charitably in regard of our bre∣thren.
§. 34. The rather are wee to bee heedfull and carefull in this kinde, because (that which made dIob so fearefull and suspitious of his children, lest they should ouer-shoot themselues when they were feasting together) e we are more prone to be carried away vnto euill in our pleasures and delights, in mirth and game, in sport and pastime, then amids our sadder and more serious affaires. With these commonly is Satan tempering his poi∣son to infect our soules with vnto death; vnder these is he vsually hiding his hookes to catch vs withall to our destruction: as those that seeke by poyson to make a man away are wont not to mi∣nister it alone, but to mixe it with such meat as the party ordinarily feedeth on, and taketh most de∣light in, or to giue it him in his ordinary drinke; and f as the Fisher-man baiteth his hooke for each fish with such bait as the fish vsually feedeth on and most greedily gapeth after. Besides that wee are in danger by such meanes to bee soonest sur∣prised of him; as gAmmon was sometime by Ab∣saloms Followers, and hElah by Zimry his owne traiterous Seruant, and i the Citizens of Laish by the children of Dan, for that we are in such cases commonly most secure, and least mistrustfull; and Page 58k the more in danger therefore, the lesse wee mis∣doubt it, or dreame of it.
§. 35. A second helpe vnto Vigilancie is the so∣ciety of Saints, the company of those that be god∣ly* and religious. lTwo, saith the Wiseman, are better then one. For if the one of them fall, the other is at hand to helpe him vp againe. But woe bee to him that is alone.mFor if he fall, he hath none to helpe to raise him againe. A drowsie person, if hee be alone, is ready presently to fall asleepe. But if hee be in company, n the very presence of others, besides their mutuall conference and discourse, is a good meanes to keepe him awake; and if he begin but to nod, some one or other of the company is rea∣dy to iog him on the elbow, and either to keepe him awake, or to awake him soone againe, if on a sodaine he be sleeping. As it is dangerous there∣fore for a man to be left alone, when hee is heauy, and sleepe may (as after a veine opened or some potion taken) proue preiudiciall vnto him: So o it is dangerous for vs in regard of our drowsie disposition to be solitary; p we may the sooner be surprised with sinfull suggestions, the more easily be drawne to yeeld to Satanicall temptations, and the longer may it be (if euer it be) ere we recouer our selues againe after them: Whereas if we be in company with those that bee wise and wakefull, it may be a meane to keepe vs waking oft, when Page 59 we would otherwise be slumbring, and to recouer vs the more speedily when we are sodainely fal•…e into slumber vnawares.
To this purpose the Apostle exhorteth Christi∣an men qto obserue either other: that is, r to haue an eye one to another, and not each one to him∣selfe only; to keepe watch one ouer another, and not each one ouer himselfe onely, like cursed Caine that asketh of God, s whether hee were his bro∣thers keeper. And to what end would he haue them thus to watch ouer their brethren? tto whet them vp, or whet them on, saith the Apostle: (that which we all stand in need of:) to prouoke & egge them on vnto godlinesse and well-doing, to keepe them watching with themselues. And how is that done? Surely, uAs iron, saith Salomon, whetteth iron; so the very face of a man whetteth his friend.x The ve∣ry presence of a religious person, and much more* his good speech, and his godly carriage, his holy aduice, his discreet admonition, his seasonable reproofe may be a meane to encourage and cheere vs vp when wee doe well, to restraine and stay vs vp, when we are slumbring and sinking downe, to recouer and raise vs vp againe when we are downe vnawares. In which kind, a as the whet-stone, though dull and blunt it selfe, yet is able to shar∣pen iron tooles: so euen those that be but dull and drowsie of themselues, but yet diligent, and desi∣rous to keepe waking both themselues and others, may helpe to sharpen and quicken euen those that bee otherwise more wakefull (it may bee) then themselues. For as z there is none so learned, but Page 60 he may learne something from the very meanest, euen from those that bee farre inferiour in gifts to himselfe: aApollos though a learned Teacher and well read in the word, yet may bee taught some∣thing by a silly Tent-maker and a weake woman, that he was ignorant of before: and b the Iewish Rabbines acknowledge that they came to vnder∣stand a place of the Prophet cEsay by hearing an Arabian woman mention dabroome, or a beesome in her language to her maide: so there is none so watchfull of himselfe, but hee may haue need of others to watch ouer him, and may receiue bene∣fit in that kinde, euen from a drowsie soule, one that is lesse wakefull then himselfe. In a word, drowsie persons, if they desire to keepe waking, can better doe it in company together one with another, (it is not likely they should all so∣dainely fall fast asleepe at once) then they can be∣ing seuerally apart either from other.
§. 36. Well therefore and wisely addeth the Apostle in that place; eNot forsaking the fellow∣ship; as the manner is of many. And againe; fBut we are not of them that with-draw themselues to their owne ruine.g It is not safe for a melancholy man to be much solitary: and it is a matter of no small danger for a Christian man to affect a solitarinesse, or a sullen kinde of priuacy and retirednesse, and by occasion thereof to sequester himselfe from the company and society of others, though it be vp∣on some good and godly pretence. Thus as in the Church of Rome, at this day many affect a Mon∣kish course of life, vnder colour of withdrawing Page 61 themselues from the world: So among the Aun∣cients we finde that some worthy men otherwise had sometime some cogitations and proiects loo∣king and bending somewhat that way, yea that sometime they made some triall of conclusions in that kinde.
But what doth one principall man among them confesse, writing to another of them out of the wildernesse, whither he had withdrawne himselfe, how he found himselfe th•…e affected? hWhat I doe here night and day (saith he) I am euen ashamed to relate. For the City businesse I haue shunned as an oc∣casion of many euils: but my selfe yet I cannot shun. But it fareth with me, as with men at sea that are sea∣sicke because they cannot brooke the sea: when they are in a greater ship, they thinke they should bee better, if they were in a lesse barke; it is the rolling of the great ship they thinke that maketh them so euill: and so out of the ship they get them into the boat or the barke. But in the ship or in the barke they are bad still, as euill as euer,iso long as the bitter choller abideth with them that pestereth their stomacke. In like man∣ner it is with vs.kCarying about with vs our inbred and inmate passions, wee are euery where encombred with the like perturbations: and solgaine no great matter by this▪our solitarinesse, and sequestring of our selues.
And another of latter and more superstitious times, though a great admirer and practiser of Mo∣nasticall life himselfe, aduising a woman that had a great minde to the Wildernesse; mIs it not wis∣dome, saith he, peraduenture you will say, to eschew asPage 62the wealth, so the throng of the City? will not my cha∣stitie be there safer, where conuersing with few or none, I may please him alone whom I desire principally to approue my selfe vnto?nNo, by no meanes, say I: One that will doe euill, shall finde matter enough in the Wildernesse to worke vpon, and beside shady shelter in the thicket, and silence in solitude. For the euill that none sees, none findes fault withall. And where there is none to finde fault, the Tempter is the bolder to as∣sault, and the fault is committed the more freely. Whereas being in company you cannot doe euill though you would: for you are presently e•…ed, chid, rebuked and reclaimed by the rest.oTo conclude, either you are a wise Virgin or a foolish one: if a wise one, the company hath need of you; if an vnwise one, you of it. And else-where dealing with some other in like manner affected; pPerchance, saith he, you will make choise of solitarinesse, not well weighing either your owne weaknesse, or Satans assaults. For what can bee more ieopardous then to wrestle alone with such a slie aduersary as seeth vs when we see not him? We had more need to seeke out some troupe to ioyne our selues with, where we may haue as many Fellow-hel∣pers as fellowes. For it is the congregation that isqterrible, as an armie well ranged. Butrwoe be to him that is alone: for if he fall, he hath none at hand to helpe him vp.sThat which a many finde too true by wofull experience, whentthe noone-day DeuillPage 63hath inticed them out into the Wildernesse vnder pre∣tence of greater holinesse, and strictnesse of life.
And vndoubtedly, as there is none but are more prone to slumber when they are alone, then when they are in company with others that are awake; so there is no man, if he well consider himselfe, but he shall finde that hee is more prone to bee assailed with euill suggestions and motions, when he is a∣lone by himselfe, then when hee is in company with others that be religiously affected. In regard whereof it is not without good cause that the same Author saith, uI more feare the euill that I may doe alone, then what I cannot doe but in company. Those therefore that shunnnig the society of others, se∣quester themselues, and x will needs liue wholly to themselues, doe but in so doing depriue them∣selues of a maine helpe vnto watchfulnesse, and expose themselues vnwisely, (though it may bee vnwittingly) vnto the wiles and snares of their suttle Aduersary, who is then with them vnseene, when there is no body else by them; and is then readiest to assault them, when there is none by to assist them.
§. 37. But as a hee said sometime to one that was talking, as he said, with himselfe, He had neede be well aduised, that he talked not with a bad Compa∣nion: so here, a man that not without good cause desireth company, b had neede yet be wary what company he lighteth on and associateth himselfe vnto. For c as the benefit is great that commeth Page 64 by good company, so is the danger and harme no lesse that accreweth by bad. Associatiō is of much force both the one way & the other. d Our society with others, and theirs with vs, cannot but preuaile much either to make vs like them, or to make them like vs. *He that walketh but with the wise, saith Salomon, shal wax wiser thereby: and he that keepeth company with fooles, shall be the worse for it. The ve∣ry company of either is wont ordinarily to worke euen with some efficacie on those that much or oft conuerse though for other ends with either. A third helpe therefore vnto Watchfulnesse may be the shunning of the societie and fellowship of wicked and prophane persons. eAway from mee, saith Dauid, all ye workers of iniquitie. And, fA wicked person I will not know: I will haue no ac∣quaintance with any such. Yea to this purpose, as he inuiteth good company to him, gI am a compa∣nion of all those that feare thee, and keepe thy precepts. Such as feared God, were they high or low, were they rich or poore, they were for his company, he was content and desirous to bee acquainted with them. So on the other side hee biddeth all pro∣phane ones away from him, hAway from mee, yee wicked ones: I will keepe the commandements of myPage 65God. As if he could not keepe Gods commande∣ments, at least not so well as he would, so long as the wicked were in company with him.
And in this regard as else-where he professeth of himselfe, that i he would neither sit among, nor goe abroad, nor keepe any company with such: so k he pronounceth him a happy man, that neither walketh with, nor standeth amids, nor sitteth among, that in no sort or manner conuerseth with those, that are wicked, sinfull, and scoffers at goodnesse and godli∣nesse. Not that a man should by and by in a lPha∣risaicall humor condemne or contemne euery one that commeth short of himselfe either in know∣ledge or in practise of sanctification, or should se∣quester himselfe from euery one that is not so for∣ward in, or zealous of the better things, as were to be wished and desired; like those proud Hypo∣crites in Esay,mthat say, Stand aloofe of me; come not neere mee: for I am holier then thou.nWeake ones are to be receiued, not to be reiected: oto be hea∣led and strengthened, not to be turned out. But for those that be openly prophane with pEsau; scof∣fers and deriders of religion with qIsmael; by their loose and lewd course of life proclaiming and publishing not an vtter want onely of goodnesse and godlinesse in them, but a peruersenesse of heart and an auersenesse thereunto; rsuch, saith the Apostle, should men shun:s lest they corrupt vs, when we cannot correct them. For t the very sight of bleare eyes may hurt those that haue whole, but tender, eyes: when u the sight of the whole will not helpe the bleare-eyed. Sooner may Page 66 euill be fastned vpon good ones, weake ones espe∣cially, then good things conueyed vnto and wrought into those that be obstinately euill.
§. 38. And surely as some bodily diseases are said to be catching and contagious; a man may soone catch them by being in company of or drinking with those that haue them: So t it is with most diseases of the soule; this spirituall Lethargy is a contagious, a catching disease, we take it easily one from another. u Euill company is infectious, as euill aires are. There is x a kinde of contagi∣ousnesse in loose and lewd companions, as well as in those that are possessed of some pestilent dis∣ease. And we haue great reason therefore, if our soules health be deere to vs, y to bee carefull of shunning, so much as may be such places, and such persons, or to bee very wary in conuersing with them, where it cannot bee auoided. The bodily plague is not so soone taken by sitting by the sicke mans bed-side; but a spirituall plague, worse farre then it, more deadly, more desperate, may much Page 67 sooner be gotten by sitting with prophane, and de∣bauched persons. z A man shall hardly come with faire apparell amongst colliers, and car∣ters, and chimney-sweepers, but he shall carry some of their soile and their soote away from them; but his white apparrell will bee soy∣led and sullied at least by them. And wee shall hardly be in company long or oft with vngodly ones, but wee shall beare away some tincture of their vngodlinesse with vs. *Woe is me, saith the Prophet Esay, I am vndone; for I am a man of pollu∣ted lips, and I dwell amids people of polluted lips: as if a man could not lightly liue among such, but he should in part be such as they were.
One slothfull person infecteth another: As a the Cramp-fish benummeth those that touch or come neere it. One wicked one fasteneth his wic∣kednesse vpon another. The very sight of others sleeping may make a man sleepy that were wake∣full otherwise: b as the very sight of those that yawne is wont to set others also on yawning. Yea such is the deuillish disposition of mans wicked & wretched heart, that as some infected and infecti∣ous persons haue a strong desire to be infecting of others; and those that haue already moyled them∣selues, take a delight in, and make a sport of moy∣ling others, that come in with faire clothes among them, thereby to make them like themselues; so Page 68c wicked and prophane persons vsually desire no∣thing more, delight more in nothing, then in trans∣fusing of their wickednesse and prophanenesse vn∣to others. Besides that d we are prone enough of our selues to take infection without helpe. Our corruption within vs is as tinder or gun-pouder rather, ready to be on a light flame, if but the least sparke light on it, or it come but any thing neere the fire: like eflax that of it selfe catcheth and draweth the flame to it, and is all on a flash, so soone as it but feeleth the fire.
§. 39. As good company therefore ought di∣ligently to be sought and kept; so euill company ought as warily to be shunned and auoided. Not that we may not at all haue commerce with such: for f he that would so doe, must goe out of the world: nor yet that we should deny Christian offi∣ces to such: gsuch we were also sometime our selues: and it were inhumane cruelty to shut vp persons infected together, and so suffer them to starue. But as we are wont to deale with those that are so dis∣eased, though we be carefull to releeue them, and to make prouision of things necessary for them, as well physicke as foode, to restore health, if it may be, as well as to preserue life; yet wee are wary of comming ouer-neere them, or conuersing so with them, as whereby to take any infection from them: So here, howsoeuer by occasion of our calling and course of life, we may be called and constrained to haue dealings sometime with such as are openly vngodly and professedly prophane; and so farre forth as we haue opportunity and iust occasion so Page 69 to doe, we performe offices about them, spirituall ones especially, as standeth with our duty, and may be for their good: Yet h we take heede how wee enter into any league of familiarity and in∣wardnesse with such, whereby we may through ordinary companying with them take spirituall infection from them, when we intend it not, ere we be aware.
iMake no league, saith Salomon, with a wrathfull man: nor keepe company with one that is of a furious and outragious behauiour, Lest thou learne his waies; and thy conuersing with him proue a snare vnto thy soule. For k as those that walke in the Sunne, though for other end and purpose, become tanned with it and sunne-burnt, whether they re∣gard it or no: so those that come oft in company with prophane and euill disposed persons, though for no euill end, intending nothing lesse then to become like vnto them, yet draw they a tincture oft from them, learne to l lispe and to m limpe af∣ter them, come in time somwhat to resemble them both in speech and in practise, and n to haue a strange change wrought on them, in regard of what they haue beene, though they perceiue not how nor when they change. oIsraels posterity had learned Aegyptian superstitions by their long Page 70 abode in Egypt: and * Heathenish impieties from those heathen people among whom they were mingled in the land of Canaan. Yea Ioseph him∣selfe by liuing in Pharaoes Court had learned to sweare at euery word almost by the life of Pharao, (pBy the life of Pharao ye are but Spies; and, By the life of Pharao ye goe not hence) as the other pro∣phane his Fellow-courtiers vsually did. Such “ apt Schollers are we all generally, to learne ought that is euill: and so easie a matter it is euen q for the best and the strongest to take taint by such socie∣ties; and if not to become wholly prophane like them, yet by oft sight of sinne to haue it wax more familiar with them, nothing so distastful vnto them as in times past it was; and so to haue the edge of their former zeale and feruor against it abated, and the intention of their watchfulnesse conse∣quently in some degree slackned. And it is one degree vnto euill to be lesse eager against euill; yea r it is no small degree of euill, when a man can well away with euill in others.*
§. 40. A fourth Helpe to further vs in this spi∣rituall Watch is to labour to keepe the feare of God fresh in our soules. sA wise man, saith the Wiseman, feareth and departeth from euill: And tBy the feare of God men depart from euill.u There is no affection * more watchfull then feare. x Griefe and sorrow make men many times heauy and drowsie: but y feare and care are wont to make them vigilant and watchfull. zIacob after he heard newes of his brother Esaus comming against him, could not for his life take any rest all that night Page 71 long. Yea aSampson himselfe when he lay with his head in Dalilaes lap, no sooner was admonished that the Philistines were vpon him, but he start vp instantly and began to looke about him, he had lit∣tle list to continue his wanton daliance with her, or his sleeping vpon her knee. b In feare of inuasi∣on men are wont to keepe due watch and ward: c where no such danger is misdoubted, like d the men of Laish, there are they more carelesse and se∣cure. In like manner is it here? The feare of God if it be kept fresh in our hearts, it will keepe vs spi∣ritually waking, it will make vs carefull to shun, and fearefull to doe ought, that may offend him whom we feare. qIob was a iust man, saith the ho∣ly Ghost, fearing God and eschewing euill. And, rBy faith Noe forewarned of things to come long after, mo∣ued with feare prepared the Arke for the safety of him and his. What made him so carefull, when the whole world was so carelesse, but his faith and his feare? sFaith bred feare, and feare bred care. In regard whereof, the Spirit of God by Salomon iust∣ly pronounceth that man ta blessed man that fea∣reth continually. For who so so doth, will euer stand vpon his guard, will neuer slumber in securi∣tie. And uit is our only security, our onely safety for vs, neuer to be secure.
On the other side, when the feare of God be∣ginneth to decay and wax faint in vs, then are wee wont to grow lesse watchfull and carefull of shun∣ning sinne, and * to lie more open to all Satans temptations thereunto. That subtill serpent could not preuaile with our first Parents to induce them Page 72 to disobedience and breach of Gods charge, till he had wrought this feare of God out of their hearts, by perswading them that there was no such dan∣ger in the matter, xthey should not die, though they did it. And therefore it is not without cause that Dauid admonisheth his malitious Aduersaries in that manner; yStand in awe, and sinne not: as im∣plying, that this was the reason why they tooke such vngodly courses against the godly, because they stood not in awe of God. And vndoubtedly the maine cause of so much loosenesse in the liues and courses of most men, is for want of this awe, because zthe Feare of God is not in them.
§. 41. aThe wickednesse of the wicked man, saith the Psalmist, enformeth mee in the very middest of mine heart, that there is no feare of God before his eies. Come we to any wicked man, that liueth neuer so loosely, and tell him that there is no feare of God in his heart; he will bee ready to cry out of pre∣sumptuous and vncharitable censurers, that take Gods office vpon them to see into mens soules, and to tell what is in mens hearts. But the Spirit of God it selfe telleth such, that b their owne liues euidently discouer to any vnderstanding eye what is within them; their prophane and secure cour∣ses proclaime a want of this awe in them. For were there any the least measure of that feare of God in them, that they would bee thought to haue, yea were it but the seruile feare onely, that c the De∣uils themselues baue; they would not, nay they could not continue and goe on so carelesly, so securely in their dissolute courses as they doe; Page 73d this very feare it selfe alone would rouze them vp and raise them out of their spirituall slumber; it would euen enforce them to looke about them in spight of theirteeth; at least not suffer them so se∣curely to lye snorting in sinne.
To this purpose e the Apostle Paul hauing rip∣ped vp and dissected the naturall man from top to toe, and made as it were an Anatomie of him, finding f his tongue tipped with fraud, g his lips tainted with venome, h his mouth full of gall, i his throat a gaping graue; k his tongue as a rapier to run men through with, and his throat as a sepul∣cher to bury them in; l his feet swift to shed bloud; and m all his wayes full of mischiefe: at length hee concludeth all with this as the cause of all this euill both in heart and life, nThere is no feare of God before their eies. Which place one of the Auncients alluding vnto saith, that oThe feare of God is as a Porter set at the doore of our Soule. If the Porter that is setto watch at the doore to keepe suspitious persons out, grow sleepie and slumber, they will be stealing in that should not, now one and then another: but if he fall fast asleepe, or be knocked on the head and slaine outright, then who will may come in hand ouer head. In like manner here: When the feare of God beginneth to grow faint in the soule, not to be so fresh as formerly it hath beene, then euill motions finde some en∣trance and beginne to steale in vpon vs. But p if the feare of God be vtterly extinct and put out in Page 74 vs, then lie we wide open, exposed indifferently to all sorts of sinnes: There is no sin so hainous▪ so hideous, that men are priuiledged or exempt from, where this feare is once abandoned and a∣bolished. qI thought, saith Abraham, there is no feare of God in this place: and therefore they will kill me to haue my wife away from me. Murther and Adulterie, are r the two formost sinnes in the se∣cond Table, and such as the very light of nature doth of all other most, and most euidently con∣demne; and yet is there no bones made of them in Abrahams account, where this feare of God is wanting, and much lesse then of any other that seeme lesser and lighter then they.
§. 42. So that if the question bee, how it com∣meth to passe that such sinnes and the like are so rife in these times, we need goe no further to seeke the cause of it; it is because sMen haue cast off the feare of God, that should and would otherwise bet∣ter keepe them within compasse. And herein is wicked and wretched man become worse then the bruit beasts. For whereas tThere be two home∣bred Tutors as it were that God hath set ouer each of vs, Shame and Feare, the shame of sinne, and the feare of wrath: uHe that hath cast off shame, is no bet∣ter then a beast; he that hath shaken off feare is worse then a beast. For xwe lay load vpon an Asse, and he is well content with it, because he is an Asse,y a beast made and borne to beare burdens: But if you offer to thrust him downe some steepe hill, or to driue him into the fire, he holdeth backe, and shunneth it all he can, because he loueth life, and feareth death. Where∣as Page 75 wretched man, more blockish and senselesse then the very Asse, more z brutish then the bruit beast, then the brutishest of beasts, hath no feare or dread of that that may bee his eternall bane, that may bring euerlasting death and destruction vp∣on him.
Yea wicked man, a a Deuill incarnate, com∣meth short herein in some sort of the Deuill him∣selfe. For bthe Deuils, saith Iames, beleeue and trem∣ble: they beleeue Gods word, and they tremble at his wrath. Whereas wicked man, in that regard worse then they, neither beleeueth the one, nor feareth the other; c maketh but a scoffe and a iest of either. And no maruell then, if there bee no watching against sinne, where there is no feare or expectation of any euill or danger by sinne, no dread or awe of Gods wrath a∣gainst it.
§. 43. A fift Helpe to further vs in our spirituall* Watch, and a meane to keepe this feare of God fresh in our soules, is to bee throughly perswaded, and oft seriously to consider, of Gods continuall presence about vs and with vs, wheresoeuer wee are, and whatsoeuer we are about. dI haue set the Lord alwaies before mine eies, saith Dauid: For he is at my right hand: therefore shall I not fall. And it would bee indeede a soueraigne preseruatiue to keepe vs from falling into this spirituall slumber, and a singular meanes to make vs watchfull of our waies, if we could at all times remember and did seriously consider, that eThere is an eye of God in euery place viewing both good and bad: yea that Page 76 that God who is fall eie, and gwhose eie seeth all,hthat seeth all himselfe vnseene of any, is present in all places; i not penned vp in heauen, but kfilling heauen and earth; as lwithout all things, and yet not excluded from any, so within all things, and yet not included in any; being likema spheare, as the Hea∣then man sometime said, whose Center is euery where, and its Circumference no where. So that as Dauid said sometime of himselfe, nThere is no fly∣ing for any man from the face of God; no shunning of the Spirit or presence of God: if wee climbe vp into heauen, wee are sure there to finde him: and if wee creepe downe into hell, we shall not misse of him there neither; (full glad would those damned wretches be, if they could) if we could take the wings of the morning, and flie as farre as the world is wide, yet there should we be sure to finde the hand of God ready to catch hold of vs. Or if we imagine that the darke∣nesse and the nightly shade may couer and conceale vs from his sight, he is able to turneoas the day in∣to darke night, so the dark-night into day. Yeapdark∣nesse is no darknesse with him; but the night is as cleare as the day; light and darknesse, day and night are with him both alike.
It is the argument that Salomon vseth with the incontinent person to withdraw him from his loose and licentious courses; qWhy shouldest thou delight, saith he, in a strange woman, or embrace a strangers bosome? Since the waies of a man are before the eyes of the Lord; and he pondereth all his paths. Yea not his waies alone, but r the secret motions of his minde, and the inward intentions of his heart, theyPage 77are allsnaked and broken vp, as the inwards of a beast that is cut vp and quartered, to him that wee haue to deale with. For tthou hast possessed my very reines, saith Dauid, and thou vnderstandest all my thoughts: yea, uthou vnderstandest them afarre off, or long before:x he seeth them ere they are, they are conceiued of him, ere they be conceiued in vs, he knoweth as well what we will either thinke or doe, as what wee haue already thought or done. And yHell and destruction, saith Salomon, are be∣fore the Lord: and how much more then the hearts of the sonnes of men? And it is the argument that Eli∣hu vseth to disswade and deterre men from wic∣ked practises; zGods eies are vpon the waies of man; and he eieth euery step hee taketh: And there is no darknesse, nor deadly shade, that can shadow wicked workers from his sight.
§. 44. This was that that kept Dauid in com∣passe: aI haue kept, saith he, thy precepts and thy te∣stimonies: for all my waies are in thy sight. As ball Gods lawes in his sight: so all his waies in Gods sight▪ Gods lawes in his sight by dutifull regard; his waies in Gods sight through his all-seeing proui∣dence, whereby clike a well-drawne picture, that eieth each one in the roome, hee eieth in that manner each one in the world, and all the waies of each one, d as if his eie were vpon none but him alone.
This was it that made Ioseph so vigilant and watchfull, that hee would not yeeld vnto sinne, though he were solicited and vrged therunto, when Page 78 there was both opportunity and secrecy withall, none by to see them or to bewray them, and so to incense his Master against him: eHow can I, saith he, doe this great wickednesse, and sinne against God? It was the feare of God arising from the conside∣ration of his presence there, that kept Ioseph at that time from that sinne. As if hee had said; Though there be no creature by to see what we doe, yetfthere is a God that ouer-looketh vs. And, as he saith, gWhat availeth it to haue none priuie to our euill acts, when we haue our owne consciences priuy thereunto? so what auaileth it to haue no creature priuy to them, when h we haue him priuy to them who must one day be our Iudge, and who as he abhorreth them, and i cannot brooke or abide them, so k hath threatned to punish and take vengeance vpon vs for them.
l We read of two religious men that tooke two contrary courses with two lewd women, whom they were desirous to reclaime from their lewd manner of life. The one came to the one as desi∣rous of her company, so it might be with all secre∣cie: and when shee had led him from roome to roome, and he made still many doubts, as very shie and fearefull, lest at this window, that key-hole, this creuice, or that crany, some or other might chance to peepe in and espy them together, at length shee brought him to the inwardest roome in the house, where she said she was full sure that none vpon her life could possibly come to pry in or see ought: but m then he told her that all the bolts and bars that were could not keepe God out, all the wallesPage 79and d•…ores that were could not hinder his eye-sight: and what should they gaine by shunning mans eyes, when they lay open still to Gods eye?
The other of them came to another of like con∣dition in like manner, as desiring her company, but n so as she would goe out at doores and company with him openly in the street: Which when o she seemed to reiect as a mad mans request; hee there∣upon told her, that Better and safer it were to com∣mit that or any other sinne in the eies of a multitude of mortall men, then in the sight of God alone the immor∣tall Iudge of mankinde; in the eies of the whole world, then in the sight ofpthe Iudge of the whole world,qbefore whom one day we must all be iudged. How warrantable the course was, I stand not to discusse: and▪ what effect it had with them, I remember not now: But sure I am that it would be very effectu∣all vnto vs to keepe vs vigilant and watchfull, and so to preserue vs from many ouer-sights, which for want hereof wee are oft ouertaken withall, if wee could euer seriously consider of this presence of God with vs.
§. 45. This would keepe vs within the bounds of Sobriety and Temperance in the vse of Gods good creatures, in our recreations and disports; if we remembred, that wee eat and drinke in Gods presence; that we feast and make merry together, yea that wee play and sport vs in Gods presence: that as well, when we are playing, as when we are praying, we are euer still in Gods eye. Children, though they take more liberty to bee wanton and waggish, when they are out of their Parents eie, Page 80 yet are they more carefull commonly to carry themselues more decently euen in their sports, when they play in their presence. And so would we doe, were wee assured that wee were in Gods presence, and that God ouer-looked vs euen at our game.
r The Heathen man aduiseth a friend of his to propound to himselfe and set before him some graue man or other, and so to carry himselfe in all his courses as he thought he should doe, i•… such an one were then eying him: that when he were mo∣ued to doe ought that were indecent, hee might thinke with himselfe, Would I doe this, or doe thus if such an one were in presence? And sure it is that mans 〈◊〉 many times, such an ones especially as we reuerence and stand in some awe of, is a speci∣all meane to keepe men in compasse. For doe we not see it by common experience, that s when men are swearing and swaggering, or otherwise disordered, if one chance to come in whom they haue some reuerend conceit of, or one that they know cannot abide such behauiour, they are by and by husht and quiet, and breake off their disor∣ders, and behaue themselues more orderly so long as he is in presence. Yea if such an one bee by vn∣seene behind the backe of some one of them, when he shall rap out an oath, or breake a bawdy iest on some other of the company, will not the rest bee Page 81 ready to say to him, Doe not you see who is behind you? as ready it may bee, otherwise to vie oaths with him, and to requite his vnsauory iest with the like. Can mans presence then so farre preuaile with vs? And would not Gods much more, if we were assured of it; or had we the eie of our soule open to see the one, as we haue the bodily eie to see the other? Or are we not ashamed of our selues, that mans presence should preuaile with vs more then the presence of God should? t that what wee would blush and be ashamed to doe in any mans, yea u in any childes eie, that had but wit enough to conceiue what we did, that wee blush not, nor are abashed to commit in Gods sight.
§. 46. Againe this would keepe vs x from ta∣king liberty to our selues of sinning in regard of secrecy and priuacy, were we neuer so solitary, ne∣uer so priuate. It is true that wicked wretches take occasion by such opportunities to offend the more freely. yThe eye of the Adulterer, saith Iob, waiteth for the twilight; and then he disguiseth him∣selfe, and saith, No eye shall see him. Yea of God himselfe they thinke, zHe walketh aloft on the hea∣uenly tarase, and there is many a thicke cloud betweene him and vs: How can he see or discerne what we doe in the darke? But aVnderstand, ye vnwise ones, as the Psalmist speaketh; and ye brutish ones, will yee neuer be wise? He that formed the eie, shall not hee himselfe see? hee that planted the eare, shall not hee himselfe heare? yea he that made the heart, know∣eth not he what is in the heart? Or he that framed thy soule, cannot he see as much and as well as thy Page 82 soule? But b when thou art in the darke, doth not thy soule see what thou doest? And c doth not God then d that is farre aboue thy soule, e that knoweth thy soule better then thy soule knoweth it selfe, that f knoweth more by thee then thou knowest by thy selfe, doth hee not much more know, and much more easily and clearely dis∣cerne what thou doest in the darke? Oh how watchfull and wary would we be in all our waies, were our hearts but once throughly possessed with this vndoubted perswasion of Gods perpe∣tuall presence with vs, of his all-seeing eie euer and euery where ouer-looking on vs? What tempta∣tion could preuaile against vs, were this considera∣tion at hand with vs? If wee could follow that good rule though by an Heathen man giuen, gSo conuerse with men, as if God ouer-looked thee; so commune with God, as if men ouer-heard thee: If we could haue that continually before the eyes of our soule that a reuerend and religious man had before his eyes euer in his study; hSinne not; (bee thou neuer so secret) for God seeth thee: the good Angels stand by thee: the Deuill is ready to accuse thee; thine owne conscience to giue in euidence against thee; and hell fire to torment thee: it would not be so great a mastery to keepe vs waking and watchfull, as for want hereof vsually it is.
§. 47. A sixt helpe to this spirituall watchful∣nesse is the i frequent consideration of our end, and of that last day either of death or doome, Page 83 wherein we must euery one appeare before God to giue vp our accounts to him. kThe end of all things, saith the Apostle Peter, is at hand: bee sober there∣fore, and watch vnto praier. And our Sauiour oft; lWatch therefore; for you know not in what houre your Master will come. And it is the last Argument that the Wiseman vseth (hoping, if by any, by it to preuaile) to the vnruly youngster, that will needes haue his owne swinge; mBut know that for all these things God will call thee to account. As those therefore that are to giue an account of their actions, as n at Athens most of their Magistrates did at the yeeres end when they went out of of∣fice, are wont to bee more wary and chary how they carry themselues in their affaires, then those that are not liable to account, nor looke euer to come to reckoning, especially if it bee vncertaine how soone they may bee called vpon to giue vp their accounts: o So ought it to bee with vs, since wee may well remember, yea so it cannot but bee with vs, if we shall duly consider, that pwee must all of vs one day appeare at Christs Tribunall, and there qeuery one giue account vnto God for himselfe. And if we shall withall take notice, what a strict ac∣count it shall bee, wherein we must answer not for euery wicked worke only, but rfor euery idle word also, and as well s for the very Thoughts of our hearts, as for the actions of our liues; and that this wee know not how soone it may be, (God hath pre∣fixed vs no set time for it; thee would haue the lastPage 84day hid from vs, because he would haue vs euery day watch for it:) it must needes make vs keepe a most strait watch, and that constantly and continually too, not ouer our feet and our hands onely, but ouer our hearts and our minds also, as u the Wise∣man doth well admonish vs.
§. 48. Yea but that day, may some say, is not so neere yet, x the Apostle Paul himselfe saith so. There are some fore-running signes of it as yet vnfulfilled, as ythe conuersion of the Iewes, and zthe subuersion of Antichrist: And till these haue beene, it shall not be.
To this I answer, with some of the auncients; that a there is a twofold doomes-day: a generall Doomes-day, at the end of the world: and a particu∣lar Doomes-day, at the end of each mans life. Euery mans Deaths-day is each mans Doomes-day. For bIt is reserued for all men, that once they must die, and then commeth iudgement. And c when the body returneth to dust,dwhence it was taken, the Spirit goeth to God, to giue account to him ethat at first gaue it. And that which is wont to bee said, (though, it may be, f at first spoken in another sense) gAs the tree falleth, so it lieth:h as Death leaueth thee, so shall the last iudgement finde thee, and so shalt thou abide then for all eternity. iIf the euill seruant therefore shall say in his heart, My Ma∣ster will not come yet: and shall take occasion there∣by either to sleepe with the slouthfull, or to bee drunke with the riotous, which hee ought not to doe, to giue ouer his vigilancie, and liue more re∣missely or more loosely; that Seruants Master willPage 85come when he is not aware, and by death kcut him in two, seuer body and soule asunder, and giue him his portion with Hypocrites, in that place of torment, where is nothing but weeping and wailing for paine and griefe, and gnashing of teeth for indignation and vexation of Spirit.
§. 49. And l what shall it auaile a man that the world standeth still, if hee die, and so the whole world bee as good as gone with him? if the riuer runne still that hee dwelt by, the house stand still that hee dwelt in, when himselfe is taken away from either? Though the last day of the world bee neuer so farre off, yet may the last day of thy life bee neere at hand. t Though the worlds Doomes-day come not yet, thine may come long before it: though it bee neuer so long before that come, it cannot bee long ere thine will come. And if it bee vn∣certaine when the generall day of Doome will bee, it is no lesse vncertaine, yea in some sort more vncertaine when thy particular day of doome will be.
There are both affirmatiue and negatiue signes of the one; there may be affirmatiue, but there are no negatiue signes of the other. Of the generall day of Doome there are some affirmatiue signes; such as argue the neere approaching of it, u as the tendernes of the bough and the sprouting out of the fig∣tree doth the Summers approach. And there are some negatiue signes; such as xtill they come that day shall not bee, as y the gathering in of the Iewes a∣gaine; Page 86 and z the destruction of the Beast and the woman that sitteth on her.
But of each mans particular Doomes-day, to wit, of his dying day, there may be signes affirma∣tiue, as decay of nature, old age, and some vncure∣able diseases; a by which it may bee knowne that the day of death is not far off. But negatiue signes of it there are none, of which we may say, till such or such things be, a man shall not die: a man can∣not say, I am not weake, nor sicke, nor old yet; and therefore I know I shall not die yet. For our bSunne may set at noone, as the Prophet speaketh in an other sense: our life may be c cut off in the mid∣dest of our yeeres: we may be d snatcht away so∣dainely in the prime of our strength. e The young goeth many times as soone as the old; and f the strong oft before the weake. Yea as for one apple that hangeth on the tree til it be rotten or full ripe, there are twenty or more blowne down or beaten downe, or nipped with the frost or blasted before they be ripe: So for one man that g fulfilleth his naturall course, there are an hundred intercepted and haue their liues shortned, by surfet, by sick∣nesse, by the sword, by pensiuenesse, by some one casualtie or other.
§. 50. Could wee then but seriously consider thus much with our selues, that wee know h our life cannot be long, though we should liue the full length of it: iOur life it is but an hand-bredth; and our whole age it is as nothing in regard of God: it is but ka point to sempiternitie, l the time after de∣cease Page 87 that hath a beginning, but no ending; it is iust mnothing to eternity,nGods age, that hath nei∣ther beginning nor ending: And againe, that wee know not how soone death may come; o it is ne∣uer farre off indeede; pThe day present if it be not it, yet it is not farre off it: but it is neerer by much ma∣ny times then we are aware of; it is very neere at hand oft ere it appeare so to be; q it commeth fre∣quently without warning, and striketh a man starke-dead ere he be discerned to be dying: And lastly that when it commeth, wee must instantly come to our reckoning without further respit or delay: for rno man, saith Salomon, hath power ouer his owne Spirit, to retaine it in the day of death: there is no taking or gaining of further time then; s nor shifting off of the account that we are then called vnto, and shall be enforced, will we nill wee, then to giue vp: It could not choose but keepe vs con∣tinually waking and watching for it, as t death waiteth and watcheth euery where for vs; it would make vs the meane while walke wisely and wari∣ly, as those that desire to giue vp a good account whensoeuer they shall be called to it, which they are sure they shall, but vncertaine how soone they shall be.
uO, saith Moses, that men were wise: they would then vnderstand this, they would thinke vpon their end. As on the other side it is noted as a point of Page 88 folly in Gods people, and an occasion of their fall, that xthey minded not, nor remembred their end. Yea y did men seriously thinke on this, it would make them wise. z Were they so wise as to number their dayes aright, they would apply their harts to fur∣ther wisedome. Had they a with Ioseph of Arima∣thea their tombe hewed out in their garden, where b the vse was in those parts to solace themselues, and to make merry with their friends, that in the middest of their mirth, they might haue their end in their eie: or were they affected as that auncient Father was, that said, cWhether he ate or dranke, or whatsoeuer he did, he thought he heard in his eare that dreadfull sound of the last trumpet, Arise ye dead, and come to iudgement: it would keepe them waking amids their mirth, much better then the loudest musicke; it would make them, as the Apostle wil∣leth them, dWhether they bee eating or drinking, or whatsoeuer else they be about, to doe all so to Gods glo∣ry, as those that once must bee, and presently may be, called to render an account of that they then doe.
§. 51. To this purpose it is a good rule, vnder∣stood aright, that is commonly giuen, that eA man should so liue euery day, as if that day were his dying day: for thatfso it may proue, for ought he knoweth.
It is true indeede that an Heathen man saith, Page 89gHe liueth but euill, that knoweth not how to die well. And it is as true that, as one of the Auncients saith, hHe liueth not as a Christian man should, that is not fit euery day to come to Gods boord; so i hee li∣ueth otherwise then hee ought, that is not euery day prepared for death, that is not ready to goe to God euery day, if God should call for him that day; as who knoweth but that hee may? For k how many haue risen well in the morning, that neuer went to bed againe? l how many haue gone well to bed, tha neuer saw day-light againe? And m looke what hath befalne one man, may befall any man: n that may well fall out this day, that may fall out any day, and o that must needes come to passe one day.
But yet that rule of liuing euery day as if that day were a mans dying day, must bee conceiued for the manner of our behauiour and cariage, not for the matter and substance of it.
To make this more plaine. For the maine mat∣ter and substance of a mans imployment, that is, the workes, duties and offices to be performed of him, it is not true. For did a man know that this day should be his last day, or had hee some strong presumption that it were so to be; it were not law∣full for him to follow, either his lawfull disports & delights, or the ordinary works of his speciall cal∣ling; but rather leauing either of them, hee ought wholly to apply himselfe to the setting of his house in order, as pEsay willed Ezechias, and the making of all straight and euen betweene God and his owne soule, to praier and supplication, and such Page 90 holy meditations, as the present occasion should require.
But for the manner of a mans cariage in those duties that he is daily called vnto, or is conuersant about, it is true; a man ought continually so to be∣haue himselfe in them, in being q as carefull to eschew all euill whatsoeuer, or to repent him with∣out delay of whatsoeuer euill he hath beene ouer∣taken withall; and r to doe whatsoeuer worke he doth as sincerely and as circumspectly, as he would doe, if he were to doe such duties vpon his death∣bed or vpon his dying day, or as hee would doe them, if instantly vpon it hee were to answer, not before man, but before God, for the doing of them.
§. 56. And surely a speciall meane it would be to keepe vs in compasse, if wee could but thinke with our selues, when we are about to behaue our selues in ought otherwise then we ought, and then our conscience telleth vs that we should, Would I doe this, or doe thus, if this were to be my last worke; were I to die vpon the doing of it, or were I presently to giue vp an account, and to make mine answer before God for it? And s who knoweth but that that worke, whatsoeuer it be, may bee thy last worke? Who can tell but that thou maist bee taken a∣way in the very act of it, as t some haue beene in the very act of iniquitie? Oh how sincerely, how circumspectly would wee in all things be∣haue our selues, did such thoughts possesse our soules?
§. 57. A seuenth helpe to this watchfulnesse is*Page 91u to be oft sifting and examining our selues, view∣ing and surueying our hearts and our liues, taking account of our selues how we watch and how we walke, how the case standeth betweene vs and God, how wee goe backward or forward in the good waies of God, and how wee thriue or pare in the gifts and graces of his spirit. xIf wee would iudge our selues, saith the Apostle, we should not bee iudged. As y there is no surer way to preuent the iudgement of God, then by our iudging of our selues: so there is no better course to prepare vs for the iudgement of God, then by fore-iudging of our selues. zLet a man therefore, saith the same Apostle, examine himselfe, and so repaire to Gods boord. As examination of our selues is a meane to fit vs for Gods table, so is it a meane also to fur∣ther vs in our account, which wee are to giue vp vnto God. Wee should liue euery day, as wee would, if we were to goe that day to Gods boord; and we should so addresse our selues when we are to repaire to Gods boord, as we would if we were then to goe vnto God: and the diligent discussing of our selues and our courses is a good meane to further vs in, to fit vs for either.
§. 58. aStand in awe, saith the Psalmist, and sin not: examine your owne hearts on your beds, and bee still. And of himselfe else-where, bI considered my waies, and turned my feet againe to thy testimonies. And, csift or search your selues, saith one Prophet, and search againe and againe, (for so the words would there be read) before the sentence be executed, and yee be carried away as chaffe; before the fiercePage 92wrath of God come vpon you▪ and the day of Gods in∣dignation ouertake you. And, dLet vs search and fift our waies, and our courses, saith another, and re∣turne vnto the Lord. And, eProue your selues, saith the Apostle, whether you be in the faith or no: that ye may know whether Christ be in you or no; whe∣ther you be sound and sincere, or but fcounterfeit Christians. And againe, gLet each man trie his owne worke; that he may haue whereof to reioyce in himselfe and not in others: (h in that which hee knoweth by himselfe, not in that which others conceiue of him:) For euery man must beare his owne burthen: And it is ithe testimony of his owne heart concerning his estate, not the opinion or re∣port that others haue giuen him or had of him, that must one day before God either k excuse or accuse him, either l acquite or condemne him.
No better meanes therefore by the testimony of Gods Spirit to keepe vs in awe, to preuent Gods wrath, to restraine vs from sinne, to bring vs backe into Gods way when wee haue gone out of it, to stay vs from going out of it againe when we are once in it, to vphold vs in the state of grace, to afford vs sound comfort of our present estate, to preserue vs from the danger of selfe-deceit and of inward decay in good things; then m the oft view and surueigh of our owne workes and our waies, and the diligent discussing of our daily courses and carriage.
§. 59. We see how n carefull worldly men are in this kinde; I meane, of keeping duly, and oft casting vp their accounts. And not without cause: Page 93 they finde much benefit by it: they come thereby to vnderstand aright their owne strength and abi∣lity, which they might bee else mistaken in: and if in any matter of expence they haue gone beyond their compasse, or haue slipped vnawares into some course more chargeable then gainefull, they can soone come by this meane both o to discouer and to correct it betimes, ere it grow to a greater euill. And on the other side for want of due care in this kinde, men fall oft farre behinde hand be∣fore they bee aware of it; so that they are quite sunke many times ere they perceiue themselues sinking, they are gone past recouery ere they dis∣cerne that they are going. And were we p as care∣full for the state of our soules, as the children of this world are for their worldly estates; we would be as carefull (much q better cause we haue so to be) of keeping and oft casting vp our accounts concer∣ning the one, as they are theirs concerning the o∣ther: That which as it would much further our growth in grace, and by way of preuention pre∣serue vs from decay and relapse; so for want whereof many that haue made faire shewes haue fallen backward, and haue become spiritual banck∣rupts ere they haue perceiued that they were breaking.
§. 60. As Tradesmen therefore and those that haue much dealings in the world, are wont to haue their day-booke, to keepe particular account of each daies both receit and expence: So an excee∣ding great helpe would it be vnto vs in good courses, if we could bring our selues in a constant Page 94 course to r take euery day at Euen an account of our selues, how we haue spent that day, and what account we are able to giue of it vnto God. It is wisdome in worldly men so to doe, euen where they are not liable to account; because their worldly well-being dependeth much thereupon. But it were much more wisdome s for that man so to doe, that were to giue vp a strict reckoning of all his affaires & of his cariage in each of them, and that at an houres warning: •…hee should by meanes hereof haue his accounts ready by him vpon any occasion, hauing kept them thus dili∣gently from day to day. It is a point then of dou∣ble wisdome in vs t to be diligent in the daily pra∣ctise and performance of this duty; both for that our spirituall welfare dependeth much thereupon; as also for that wee are liable to the most strict ac∣count that may bee, to bee giuen vp, not at an houres, but at lesse then an houres warning, if it shall be so called for; which this course duly ob∣serued would be a speciall meane to fit vs for.
§. 61. This euen Heathen men haue done. They haue taught it their Schollers: they haue vsed it themselues. For so uPythagoras enioyned his dis∣ciples each of them to rehearse euery euening this verse to himselfe;
What good, or ill haue I done (this day)? or what not done, that I should doe? And x accordingly was it their vsuall manner at Euen euer to runne ouer what they had said, or heard, or done the day past. And Seneca, as y hee telleth vs of one Sextius a Stoicke, whose daily practise this was, to call himselfePage 95at Euen, to a reckoning, what euill hee had healed in himselfe that day, what vice he had withstood or sub∣dued in himselfe, wherein he was oughts better, being that he had liued a day longer: So z he professeth of himselfe, that it was his vsuall guise, euery night after he was laid in bed and the light out, when all was quiet about him, to cite himselfe as it were to appeare before himselfe, to render an account of his courses, and so priuately with himselfe to recount and record his whole daies worke, all his words and his deeds, pas∣sing such censure vpon each of them as the condi∣tion or quality of either did require. And a a La∣tine Poet describing a wise and a good man, maketh this his daily practise, Not to suffer his eyes to sleepe, till he haue runne ouer all his actions of the whole liue∣long day past, and taken notice what was well done, and wherein hee had faulted and failed, to approue himselfe in the one, to reproue himselfe for the other.
§. 62. Thus haue Heathen men done: And as hee sometime said, bShall they set so much by their glassie bugle, and not wee much more by our pretious pearle? Shall they be so carefull to vse these means for the furthering of themselues in matter of meere morality: and shall not Christian men much more doe the like for the helping of themselues forward in the practise of true piety? A shame it were for vs that they should take more paines and vse greater diligence about the nutshell, then wee should for the kernell; that they should bee ena∣mored more on the shadow, then we are with the Page 96 substance; they rauisht more with a dead picture then we with the person whose picture it is, and whose surpassing beauty and excellency the pi∣cture commeth farre short of; that meere ciuility and humanity should preuaile more with them then true Christianity and diuinity doth or can doe with vs.
As we are to thinke therefore daily of that ge∣nerall account; so l let vs call each one himselfe daily to a particular reckoning. m We shall walke euery day the more warily being to passe such a censure; wee shall sleepe and rest more freely, more quietly, more soundly, more sweetly, hauing past such a censure: wee shall bee sure, when wee haue ransacked our selues in this manner ouer night, to haue no knowne sinne vnrepented of lodge with vs till the next day. Yea hee that hath thus acquit himselfe ere he lay him down to sleep, shall bee sure to watch euen while hee sleepeth; and though hee were taken away sodainely in his sleepe, should be found spiritually awake. In a word, as the often rubbing of our eies is a good meane to keepe vs corporally waking: so the fre∣quent ransacking of our hearts and liues will proue a soueraigne helpe to keepe vs spiritually watching.
§. 63. An eighth helpe to further vs in this spi∣rituall* Watch is to be iealous of our selues and of our owne infirmitie and weaknesse, that we may soone be ensnared and easily surprised, foiled at least, if we be not exceeding wary, before wee be aware. As the feare of God will make vs carefull Page 97 to shun all sinne, and whatsoeuer is euill in it selfe: so this iealousie of our selues, and feare of our owne infirmitie, will make vs carefull to eschew all occasions of sinne, and whatsoeuer by meanes of our weaknesse may become matter of euill vn∣to vs. For as those that know themselues to be of a weake stomacke, ready to take checke at such meats as many other ordinarily are wont to di∣gest well enough, are very chary of their diet, and carefull to eschew and forbeare not such meats only as are simply vnwholesome, but euen such al∣so as they suspect or suppose to be hard of digesti∣on, and will not in that regard so well accord with their weaknesse: So e the man that is suspitious of himselfe, and iealous of his owne corruption, will be carefull to walke warily, and diligently to a∣uoid not those things alone that hee seeth and knoweth to be simply euill, and in that regard pre∣iudiciall to all in generall, but euen those things al∣so that, though indifferent, and in themselues o∣therwise not vnwarrantable, such as may be done by some sometime without hurt or offence, yet that in regard of the strength of his corruption, his naturall disposition, the weaknesse of grace in him, and his pronenesse to slip and bee ouerta∣ken in them, may in that regard proue dangerous and preiudiciall to him in particular, howsoeuer f others wiser or stronger, or not so affected as he findeth and feeleth himselfe, might without dan∣ger deale with them.
This religious iealousie had Iob of his children, Page 98 when they were feasting together, knowing how prone youth are to ouer-shoote themselues in mirth and disport: gPeraduenture, saith he, my sonnes may haue sinned, and (blessed, that is, as the Hebrewes vse the word h by a kinde of fairenesse and finenesse of speech) blasphemed God in their hearts. And the like godly i iealousie of our selues it is good for each of vs to haue, as to say with our selues, when we are moued or solicited to some ieopardous course, though wee cannot condemne it as simply euill; Peraduenture I may sinne, and bee ouertaken 〈◊〉 I be aware; I may faile in it or fall by it, though other stronger then I may deale in it without danger. Yea the like iealousie had Iob of himselfe: he was no lesse suspitious of himselfe, then he was of his sonnes. kI was afraid, saith he, of all my workes; knowing, that if I did wickedly, thou woul∣dest not acquite me. And this suspitiousnesse of himselfe no doubt was it that caused him to lmake a Couenant with his eies, not to seize on such ob∣iects, as might proue occasion vnto him of any spi∣rituall euill.
§. 64. mWatch and pray, saith our Sauiour, that ye enter not into temptation: the Spirit indeed is rea∣dy; but the flesh is weake. As if he had said more at large; Considering your owne infirmity and feeble∣nesse, ye haue great neede to take heed and earnestly to desire, that yee may not so much as touch vpon any temptation: For such is the pronenesse of your corrupt nature to giue way to them, that if you doe but enter in∣to any temptation, though the Spirit purpose otherwise,Page 99yet the flesh faltring with you, it is an hundred to one that you come not out as you went in, but you receiue some foile or other.
Doe we not see how carefull they are that haue gunpowder in their houses, to looke that no fire or candle come neere where it is? And in like manner n did wee consider that our corrupt heart is like tinder or gunpowder, apt in temptation to bee soone fired and inflamed, it would make vs the more carefull to keepe aloofe of, and fearefull to come nigh ought that might be a meane to tempt or to intice vs vnto euill. And on the other side, as those that set such materialls to drie before the fire, as are apt soone and sodainely to take fire, by the suddaine lighting but of a little sparke in them, though they be neuer so heedy, though they stand still by them and haue their eye euer on them, may chance to haue all on a light fire, ere they can helpe or preuent it: So falleth it out heere not seldome, that o while we venture too neere, and presume as pPeter sometime did to stand bathing himselfe against the fire in the High-priests Hall; wee are suddainly caught, as he was, ere we thinke on it, we haue by some sudden iniection our affections so fired, that the very frame of our heart is all on a flame, ere we are aware of it, or are able now well either to preuent it, or easily to suppresse it.
§. 65. Againe, this iealousie of our owne weak∣nesse will make vs the more carefull, as to shun all occasions, whereby we may bee endangered; so, because it is not in our power euer to auoid them, Page 100 to vse diligently all good meanes, whereby wee may be supported and strengthened against them. To which purpose our Sauiour ioyneth watching and praier together, as r there, so s elsewhere: as also t his Apostles oft couple them the one with the other. uNo man, saith one of the Auncients, is enabled by God, that is not enfeebled first in him∣selfe. And no maruell; For so long as wee finde our selues (as wee suppose) strong enough to stand alone on our owne legs of our selues, wee thinke scorne to vse crutches, or to be supported by others: so long as wee thinke our selues wise enough and able to wade well enough thorow with our affaires, x wee regard not to take aduice or to seeke helpe and aid from others: So here, so long as we misdoubt not our owne weaknesse, as we are ouer-forward to presume vpon our owne strength, so we are ouer-backward and carelesse of vsing those meanes whereby we might attaine true strength indeed. And on the other side, the more conscious men are to themselues of their owne wants, the more diligent are they wont to be in re∣sorting to those by whom their wants may bee supplied: and the more suspitious wee are of our owne infirmity and weaknesse, the more carefull will we be daily and hourely to repaire vnto him, who alone is able to confirme and strengthen vs, yea who is able so y to enable vs notwithstanding our weaknesse, that z his power and might shall appeare in vs amids our feeblenesse, and a our ve∣ry infirmity shall make much for his glory. And Page 101 surely, bIn this kinde, as one well saith, it is more behouefull for a man to be somewhat too fearefull and heedy, then to be a little too confident and foole-hardy: to take notice of his owne weaknesse, that hee may be∣come strong, then while hee thinketh himselfe strong in his owne conceit, to proue weake. In regard where∣of also the Wiseman, as we said formerly, not vn∣worthily pronounceth him chappy, that continually standeth in feare: as d afraid, though he may seeme to stand fast and firme, lest through infirmitie he should chance to fall.
§. 66. The want hereof hath beene the fault, and hath proued the fall of not a few. For, to passe by that fearefull downefall of our first Parents hereby occasioned: What but this was the maine ground of Peters miscariage? but e this presump∣tion, I meane, of his owne might, and neglect of those meanes whereby hee might haue beene ena∣bled to stand, while f hee trusted to his owne strength? A threefold offence some haue obser∣ued in his behauiour in that businesse; thatghe op∣posed himselfe to our Sauiour forewarning him of his fall, he preferred himselfe indiscreetly before the rest of his Fellow-disciples, and he tooke the matter wholly vpon himselfe, as that which hee knew him∣selfe able well enough to goe through with. hThou wilt deny me, Peter, saith our Sauiour, Nay, but I will not; saith Peter. Though all should deny thee, yet will not I deny thee: I will neuer deny thee, though I die for it. And no doubt of it but that Page 102iPeter then both meant as hee spake, and spake what hee thought; hee misdoubted not himselfe, nor his owne inability, but hee would and should doe as then hee said. But k the Physitian felt Peters pulse, and discerned that in his Patient, which the Patient did not, nor could then see in himselfe.
And surely, as it befell Peter, so falleth it out with many other. They are like sicke men, l that when they haue had a good day or two after some fits of a feuer, thinke they are now perfectly well recouered againe, and so presuming contrary to the Physitians aduice to venture abroad into the aire, or to cast off their sicke kerchiefe, or to mis∣diet themselues, either they catch cold or take sur∣fet, and so fall backe by relapse into their former disease, handling them then more fiercely by far, and endangering them much more then before. And so is it here with a many: they thinke them∣selues strong enough to encounter with Satan, e∣specially if they haue stood out and come off well (as they thinke) in a temptation or twaine, and so m grow carelesse either of eschewing the occasi∣ons of euill, or of vsing meanes whereby they may be enabled to withstand them when they are offe∣red: Which when they so doe, it is iust oft with God to leaue them to their owne strength, as the nurse doth the childe that will not endure to bee lead, and so to suffer them to fall, as soone then they will, sometime to their eternall ruine, that Page 103 they may deseruedly perish through their owne folly and foole-hardinesse; sometime to their pre∣sent paine, but their future amendment, that ha∣uing had experience of their owne feeblenesse and inability to stand of themselues, they may in time to come be more wary, more distrustfull of their owne strength, and more carefull to resort from time to time vnto him, from whom onely true strength is to be had.
And for this end no doubt hath the Holy Ghost left vpon record the foule slips and fals of many of Gods worthy Saints and Seruants, not that any should thereby bee incouraged or emboldned vn∣to sin; but nthat the ruine of such great ones might make weaker ones more wary; that where we haue seene them slip for want of watchfulnesse, there might we be more watchfull: that when we see o∣thers foiled farre stronger then our selues, it might make vs the more to distrust our owne strength: Which the more we distrust, the lesse shall we pre∣sume on it, and the more carefull shall wee be to vse all good meanes, whereby true strength may be atchieued of vs and increased in vs.
§. 67. A ninth Helpe to further vs in this spiri∣tuall Watch is a sincere hatred of euill, that we la∣bour not onely to condemne sinne in iudgement, but euen to hate and detest it in heart. oThe feare of God, saith Salomon, is to hate euill: not to forbeare it onely, but, as the Apostle speaketh, pto abhorre it. The seruile feare may make a man breake off the Page 104 practise of sinne outwardly in his life, (wicked men, had they but it, durst not goe on in their wic∣ked courses as they doe) but the filiall feare will doe more then that, it will make a man hate and detest it also inwardly in his heart: For this feare it is a louing feare, qa feare ioyned with loue, yea proceeding from the loue of him whom we feare. And rye that loue the Lord, saith the Psalmist, hate that that is euill.sDoest thou loue God, saith Augu∣stine; thou must hate then what hee hateth: Yea if thou louest him indeed, thou canst not but hate what he hateth.
Neither indeed can we tclosely cleaue to that that is good, till wee haue brought our hearts to detest and abhorre that that is euill. Which thing if it were once throughly wrought in vs, there should not neede much Rhetoricke to perswade vs to watch both against sinne and against all occasions of it: Wee would of our selues bee carefull enough to shun and auoid that, which our hearts abhorred, and could not brooke or abide. For as the meat that a man loatheth, he cannot endure so much as the sent or sauour of it, nay nor, it may be, the sight of it: so would it be with vs in regard of sinne, had we the like inward dislike and loathing of sinne in our soules. And u one maine cause of relapse into sinne, and of want of due watchfulnesse against it, in those that for some time haue surceased the pra∣ctise of it, is because they neuer hated it in heart, though they could not but in iudgement con∣demne it, being euidently conuinced in consci∣ence of the euilnesse of it: xtheir heart looked still Page 105after it (though their hand for feare or other re∣spect were for a while with-drawne and with-held from it) ready therefore when such respects as before staied and restrained it were at any time remoued, to giue friendly entertainment vnto it againe.
§. 68. Would wee therefore keepe a constant Watch against sinne? Oh let vs labour then to haue wrought in vs a true hatred of sinne; of such sinnes especially, as we haue beene most addicted vnto, or haue most delighted in before. The more formerly wee haue loued them, the more now let vs loath them: the more we haue for the time past delighted in them, the more for the time to come let vs euen detest and abhorre them. y As the meat that we haue sometime sursetted of, wee not only know now to bee euill for vs, but euen our stomacke riseth and goeth against it: so those sinnes that we haue formerly glutted our soules with, let vs not onely condemne now as the bane of our soules, but endeuour euen so to be affe∣cted towards them, that our very hearts may rise against them vpon the memory and remembrance of them. Let it be with vs in regard of them, as it was with Ammon in his affection to Tamar.z Hee loued her earnestly at first, though with an incestu∣ous loue, or lust rather: But after that he had abu∣sed her and defiled himselfe with her, a his loue was in a strange manner so turned into hatred, that the loue wherewith before he loued her, was not so great, but the hatred wherewith he then ha∣ted her, was farre greater. So for those sinnes that Page 106 wee haue formerly defiled our soules with, wee should labour to haue our loue in like manner turned into hatred; and b striue to bring our hearts to it, to abhorre them now as much, yea (if it were possible, as there is good ground for it and iust cause of it) much more, then euer wee loued them, or delighted in them before.
This could wee doe with Ammon; wee would doe further as he did. c He thrust Tamar instantly out at doores, when his affection was thus alte∣red; hee could no longer endure so much as the sight of her: and not that onely, but he caused the doore to be bolted fast after her, that shee might not haue any free or further accesse in vnto him againe. So were our hearts and affections estran∣ged from such sinnes, as they had beene linked and fastened vnto before, wee would not only bee carefull without further delay to dispossesse our soules of them, but wee would bee constantly watchfull to keepe the doore of our heart surely bolted against them, that they might neuer be able to gaine entrance againe with vs.
§. 69. The tenth and last helpe, that wee will* propound for the present, to further vs in this spi∣rituall Watch, is the diligent and constant practise and performance of good duties and offices.
Which helpe diuideth it selfe into two bran∣ches; the one opposing to Idlenesse, and the o∣ther to worldlinesse.
The former is the constant following of the* workes of our particular callings. dLet him thatPage 107stole, saith the Apostle, steale no more; but let him labour rather and worke with his hands some good thing or other, that hee may haue to giue to him that needeth. Let him that stole steale no more: that is well; but that is not enough. Let him steale no more, but labour rather: because else though hee leaue stealing a while, c if he liue idle, he will come to suffer want soone, (for *Slouth wasteth as well as excesse and riot:) and so bee falling anon to his former trade againe: Not to adde, that f hee that liueth so, euen in that he so liueth, liuing like a drone on the labours of others, is little better then a Theefe.
gSlouth, saith Salomon, causeth sleepe. And sure as we see it to be with drowsie persons, that if they sit still and doe nothing, they will soone fall a∣sleepe: so is it here; h if wee giue our selues ouer to idlenesse, we shall soone come to be ouertaken againe with this deadly sleepe of sinne. iFulnesse and idlenesse are noted to haue beene two maine causes of those filthy sinnes of Sodome. It is a com∣mon by-word with vs, that Of idlenesse commeth no goodnesse: And kBy doing nothing, saith the Heathen man, men learne to doe euill things.l It is easie slipping out of an idle life into an euill and a wicked life: yea an idle life, it is of it selfe euill. For man was made for action, not for idlenesse. And howsoeuer, saith one well, we count him Page 108ma good man that doth no euill, he is indeed rather nan euill man that doth no good.
oSleepe and death are said to bee brethren or Co∣sen-germanes: or the one at least to be pan image and a resemblance of the other. And as q those therefore that are deceased are said to bee fal∣len asleepe: so r they that lie asleepe may well be said to be in some kinde or degree of decease.
Now what difference is there s betweene him that lieth fast asleepe, and him that is idle though awake? saue that the one is restrained from action by the course of nature, whereas the other voluntarily restraineth himselfe: and that is no sinne therefore in the one, that is no small sinne in the other. Slouthfulnesse there∣fore not onely causing sleepe, but being it selfe of it selfe t a kinde of spirituall sleepe, it is consequently also u a kinde euen of spirituall death: And the idle and slouthfull may bee well said to bee not onely spiritually asleepe, euen when they are awake, but to bee spiritually Page 109x dead also, euen while they liue: their very wa∣king, while they so wake, being no better then sleepe, and their very life, while they so liue, no better then death: yea worse then naturall sleepe, (because against nature) for a man to sleepe wa∣king; worse then corporall death, for a man to be as dead ere he die, y to be his owne Bearer, to winde himselfe quicke, and to z bury himselfe yet breathing.
§. 70. Idlenesse therefore, it is both euill of it selfe; and it exposeth men to further euils. aSatan where he findethbthe house vacant, that he had be∣fore quit, hee doth easily make a reentry againe. He doth as c the Crab, that desirous to prey on the Oister, but finding the fish enclosed and her selfe excluded with two such shels as all her pow∣er is not able to pierce, watcheth the time when she lieth bathing her selfe in the sunne and gaping to take in some pleasant refreshing, while the windes are calme, and the waters still; then shee slily and suddenly casteth in some sandy grit that keepeth her two shels from closing againe, and by that meanes commeth she to get in her cleyes, one after another, and so to prey vpon the fish. In like manner doth Satan, where he desireth to seize vpon the soule, but seeth some likelihood of resi∣stance; he watcheth mens idle times, and when he findeth the heart vacant & the minde free from present imployment, then is heé busie to iniect first idle and sandy thoughts, by which he maketh way for worse matters, and after wicked and noi∣some motions, by which he commeth many times Page 110 to take full seisen of the soule, and to worke its vt∣ter ruine. In regard whereof it is no vnnecessary counsell that one of the Auncients giueth, that dWe be alwaies about some good businesse or other, that the Tempter whensoeuer hee come, finde vs not vnoccupied.
§. 71. Yea for this cause is it that God hath or∣dained that euery man should haue some certaine course of life wherein to bee ordinarily imployed. eLet euery man, saith the Apostle, in that calling wherein he was called, thereinfwith God (or, in Gods name, as we vse to say) abide. There is a two∣fold calling by the Apostle there mentioned; gThe calling wherein a man was called, and the cal∣ling whereunto a man was called, when he was con∣uerted and became a Christian at first: there is the generall calling of a Christian, that whereunto hee was called; & there is the particular calling or spe∣cial course of life wherein a man liued, before (as it may fall out) he was called thereunto. A man must not imagine therefore, when hee is called to bee a christian, that he must presently cast off all worldly imployments, giue ouer the workes of his former vocation, & apply himselfe wholly (as some h He∣retikes sometime supposed, misled by i some places of Scripture misexpounded) to praier and contem∣plation, and meere matter of deuotion: but he must retaine the one calling still as well as the other, fol∣low the one still as well as the other, make consci∣ence as wel of executing the duties of the one as of frequenting the exercises of the other: & not thinke that vnder colour of following of Sermons & fre∣quenting Page 111 of godly exercises, he may lawfully neg∣lect those necessary duties that by virtue of his spe∣ciall calling he standeth in conscience bound vnto.
In a word, each Christian man that is able, must, as the Apostle willeth, kearne, and eat his owne bread,lworke with his owne hands, and follow his owne affaires, that is, such businesse as to his parti∣cular place and speciall calling appertaineth: else he is mbranded by the same Apostle for nan inor∣dinate walker, that is, a disorderly liuer; oa Deni∣er of the faith, not in word, but pin deed; and one little better, if not qworse then some Heathen and Infidels, that haue euen by natures dim light r con∣demned idlenesse in any.
§. 72. But here is great Caution to be vsed, and* due regard to be had, s lest while we shun a rocke, we fall into a whirle-poole: lest while we seeke to eschew idlenesse on the one hand, wee be swallow∣ed vp with worldlinesse on the other: lest while wee labour to keepe our left eye waking by the di∣ligent following of our worldly affaires, wee suffer our right eye to close and fall fast asleepe by neglect of religious exercises either publike or priuate.
tThe Angell that talked with me, came againe, saith the Prophet, and awaked me as one that is raised out of his sleepe. It fared with the Prophet when hee was attending on Gods Angell, as with a drowsie person, who though he be awaked & set to worke, yet he is ready to sleepe at it, and to be euer and a∣non slumbring, if he be not now and then iogged and stirred vp: And in like manner it is with our Page 112 drowsie spirits, and will be continually, u if they be not frequently rowsed and raised vp by the constant vse of religious exercises. In regard whereof Paul willeth Timothy,xto quicken by stir∣ring vp the grace of God that is in him,y as men doe embers that lie raked vp in the ashes.
§. 73. Now this is done by meanes either publike or priuate. First by frequenting the pub∣like ministery of the word at due times. aQuench not the spirit, saith the Apostle: despise not Prophe∣sie: as if the neglect, or contempt (and it is the con∣tempt of it that is the maine ground of neglect) of the one were a principall meane of extinguish∣ing and quite quenching the other. And vndoubt∣edly so is it. For either fire or light is put out, not by pouring on of water onely or some contrary matter; but besides that, either by withdrawing from it and denying that vnto it that should feede it; (for b if the fewell faile, the fire will of it selfe out:) or by neglecting to blow it, and to stirre it vp by times; as wee oft see it fall out that it goeth out of it selfe also, where yet there is wood and coale enough to haue longer continued, had some such industry beene vsed. And euen so is spirituall grace oft impaired and decaieth, not by the pra∣ctise of sinne and wickednesse only, as by water poured on it; but by neglect of the word, the meanes that should foster and feed it, and that by raising and rowsing vp our dull and dead spirits should c put spirituall life and alacritie, as it were, vnto vs. And no maruell then, if, as Salomon saith, dWhere vision faileth, there the people perish: if the Page 113 grace of God goe out, where these meanes are neg∣lected; if they fall fast againe into this deepe and deadly sleepe, though they were sometime awa∣ked out of it, that are not carefull to keepe within the sound of Gods eTrumpet, and to frequent the house of God where it may be heard, that, as at first f it did awake them, so should keepe them still awake.
§. 74. Neither are those free therefore from danger of discontinuing this their watchfulnesse, that out of a vaine presumption of their owne spi∣rituall parts, can content themselues with their owne priuate deuotions; supposing that they may as well, & as effectually sanctifie a Sabbath by rea∣ding and meditating and praying apart by them∣selues, as by being present at, and adioyning them∣selues to the publike assemblies of Gods Saints. It is a spice of intolerable pride and presumption for any to be so conceited of themselues. Dauid was of a farre other minde, and therefore led by ano∣ther spirit, then they are that so imagine. He was ga man after Gods owne heart; and a man of excel∣lent parts. The word of God not onely hdwelt plen∣tifully in him; but iflowed abundantly from him: he was able not tokadmonish himselfe alone, but lto instruct, direct, and edifie others: hee could not onely sing Psalmes, but mpen hymnes, both of praise and of praier: many holy and heauenly meditations had he in the time of his exilement, as may appeare by n those diuine ditties during it composed of him. And yet could not he content himselfe with these his priuate deuotions. But, as Page 114o it was the very ioy of his heart, when hee was at home, to repaire to the Temple, to the publike as∣semblies there held: so nothing made his banish∣ment, and his abode in forraine parts, more bitter vnto him, then this, that by meanes thereof hee was restrained of repairing vnto them, and of ioy∣ning with Gods people in such holy duties as were there daily performed. Read diuers of the Psalmes framed by him during that time; and consider well, p how bitterly hee bewaileth his restraint in this kinde; how instantly hee sueth to God for freedome of resort; how hee blesseth those that had liberty of repaire or place of abode there, euen the very birds themselues that had ac∣cesse but to build thereabout: and you will soone see a strange difference betweene that worthy man of God and these, that so highly ouer-prize their owne priuate deuotions, as thus to vnder-value the publike assemblies of Gods Saints, and the ministery of his word.
§. 75. And yet neither also is this sufficient in∣deed, that we frequent the publike meanes: pri∣uate helpes must be added and adioyned thereun∣to, of meditation, of conference, of supplication, of examination, of confession, and the like: that though much or most of the weeke be taken vp with our worldly affaires; yet wee reserue some time amids them constantly euery day for some spirituall imployment. For as it is with our clockes and our watches, that vnlesse they bee wound vp at certaine times, they will slacken their motion, yea by meanes of the heauy weights and Page 115 plummets of lead that hang on them, they will at length come downe to the ground, and so stand stone still: So is it with our soules; wee haue our earthy affections and our worldly thoughts, as heauy weights, hanging so at the heeles of them, that vnlesse they be at some certaine times wound vp, as it were, by the vse of some holy exercises, they will grow slacke and sluggish in their mounting vp to heauen-ward, yea at length, it may be, come to an vtter cessation of all ende∣uour in that kinde.
For this cause Dauid, as q he maketh this one property of a Blessed man, that hee maketh Gods law his daily, yea and his nightly meditation: So he professeth of himselfe, that it was r one of his dai∣ly exercises to meditate on Gods word; and s it was his nightly imploiment to be singing of Gods praises. He had certaine set times euery day for meditati∣on and inuocation, tat morning, at noone-tide, and at euen: And besides those ordinary set times, he tooke occasion oft extraordinarily, as opportuni∣ty was offered, euen useuen times a day, that is, ma∣ny times, to be lauding of the Lord, either for his iudgements, or for his mercies.
And the like should we doe euery one of vs, if we desire to keepe this spirituall watch fresh in our soules, and x would not haue them wholly dulled with or drowned in the world: wee should set some time apart euery day from our worldly affaires, to be spent in reading, in meditation, in conference (with God, at least) in prayer and inuocation of his name, in search of our soules, Page 116 in acknowledgement of our sinnes, &c. And so intermingle the one with the other, that by ouer∣eager attending the one we doe not wholly neglect the other.
It is that that would fit vs for the publike mini∣sterie, and make it the more effectuall with vs: As on the other side y it is well obserued, that the want of such priuate imployments maketh the publike ministerie altogether vnprofitable with many; z who heare much, and are at many Ser∣mons, but gaine little by any, because they are not carefull heereby, either to prepare their hearts before-hand, to receiue the seede of the word as into ground fitted for it, or to water and cherish what they haue taken in on the Sab∣bath, by a constant course of religious offices in the weeke following.
§. 76. Nor let any man alledge heere in way of excuse for himselfe, that for the workes of his calling, they are so many, so manifold, hee cannot possibly finde any spare time to spend thus in religious imployments. For (to omit what might be said further in way of answer here∣unto) did they esteeme so highly of holy things as the worth of them well deserueth, they would finde time for them as well as they doe ordinari∣ly for matters of farre lesse weight then it. Yea (that which is a foule shame to consider) those that will pretend such straites of time to shift off such imployments, can finde many of them time enough (if not more then enough) to fol∣low their vaine and idle disports. And canst thou Page 117 finde euery day almost spare time enough at large for the one? and canst thou no day almost finde the least spare time at all for the other? Vndoub∣tedly that day maist thou well esteeme but euill imployed, whereof thou spendest more part in thy vaine delights, then in the aduancement of thy spirituall good.
To conclude, if wee will watch aright and as wee ought; as the workes of our speciall cal∣lings must not be neglected, so our spirituall good, and those meanes either publike or priuate that tend directly to the nourishing and improuing of it, are to bee principally regarded: And therefore so are we to ply and follow the one, that yet euen amids them we take time for, and * ex∣clude not wholly all minding and meditation of the other; yea so warily in their due season to attend either, that neither wee bee surprised with slouth and idlenesse on the one side, nor yet with worldlinesse on the other.
And thus haue we seene both what it is to watch, why we are so to watch; the manner how we must watch; and the meanes whereby we may be ena∣bled so to watch in some measure.
§. 77. Now here, ere we end, would a Question* be answered. For may some say; But is it possible for any man liuing by this manner of watching to keepe euer waking; by thus watching against sinne, to keepe himselfe wholly free from sinne?
To passe by here that conceit of some Schoole∣men,* that a man cannot keepe himselfe free from all sinne in generall; but that he may from any one Page 118 sinne whatsoeuer in particular; that hee may, though not from all, yet from this or that sinne. Which they expresse by a similitude a of a man enclosed in a barrell full of holes let downe vnder water, that may with his finger or some other helpe stop any one hole and keepe the water out at it, which yet hee cannot auoide but that it will come in the whilest at the rest, any of which yet also he may stop if he will. But to passe by this, which I take to bee not all out so sound; for answer hereunto some di∣stinction must be made.
Sinnes therefore are of two sorts, either volun∣tary,* or inuoluntary; either with the will, or with∣out it.
Sinnes of pure or bare Ignorance I call those in which ignorance is simple or single, not affected, and c not a Companion onely but a Cause. It is not with men in them, as it is with those that affect Ignorance, and please themselues in it; and d that without checke of conscience they may more freely offend, are content so to continue: but they desire to bee informed a∣right, and vse the best meanes they can so to informe themselues; but yet are mistaken, and so doe that out of ignorance, e which for a world they would neuer haue done, had they knowne it to be euill.
Page 119Sinnes of meere Infirmity or frailty I call those, f that a man knoweth to be euill, and yet is not able by any meanes to auoide, though he doe what he can, euen as much as hee would or could if his life lay vpon it. Thus in hearing the word, a man, it may be, cannot listen so attentiue∣ly for any long time together, but that many by∣thoughts will come buzzing and fluttring about him, as g the fowles did about Abraham when he was offering of his sacrifice, and will oft, h pressing in vpon him in spight of his heart, disturbe him and hinder him in that holy exercise: yea sometime the more a man striueth and bendeth himselfe to banish and beat them away, the more hee com∣meth to be pestred and encombred by them, and his attention to bee tainted and infected withall. Thus in prayer oft i a man cannot shake off that deadnesse or dulnesse and drowsinesse of spirit, that possesseth his soule, and depriueth him of that alacrity and feruency that ought then to be in him. Thus a man railed vpon and reuiled, though hee can keepe his tongue from break∣ing out into euill language, and can stay his hand from striking in way of reuenge; yet hee cannot for his heart bloud, it may be, doe hee what hee can, k keepe downe his heart from rising, and lre∣belling against the law of his minde, or from swel∣ling and boiling with some wrathfull passion and inordinate motion within him. Thus m in di∣stresse or danger euen a godly man many times Page 120 cannot rest and rely vpon God with that firme∣nesse and confidence of faith, and with that quietnesse and tranquillity of minde, that hee ought, and not onely desireth with all his heart, but with all his might and best ability endeuou∣reth to doe.
§. 78. Now sinnes of this kinde cannot bee auoided, be a man neuer so carefull, neuer so wary and watchfull: (a man cannot watch there, where hee suspecteth no euill; nor can his watching a∣uaile him beyond his ability:) which n God there∣fore in mercy vouchsafeth his children a daily pardon of course for, and is content graciously to passe by and put vp in them; though o in rigor of iustice he might deseruedly call them to a strict account for them. And yet by the constant vse of this religious watch hauing our iudgements better cleered, and our hearts confirmed and strengthe∣ned, we may come in time to be lesse subiect to the former sort of them, and lesse exposed also to the latter.
Other sinnes besides those are all more or lesse* voluntary, and are committed in part at least with the will of the committer: such are sins p of neg∣ligence and ouersight, escaping vs through care∣lesnesse; q of mixt infirmitie, proceeding from temptations of much terror; of r presumption, s pride, and t wantonnesse, occasioned by delight∣full obiects, and the like. Yea such are the most, if not all, outward grosse sinnes ioyned with know∣ledge, which euen a naturall man therefore might forbeare if he would; and which it were an vn∣iust Page [unnumbered]Page [unnumbered]Page [unnumbered]〈1 page duplicate〉Page 116〈1 page duplicate〉Page 117〈1 page duplicate〉Page 118〈1 page duplicate〉Page 119〈1 page duplicate〉Page 120〈1 page duplicate〉Page 121 thing for humane lawes to forbid and to pu∣nish offendors for, were it not in mans naturall power to forbeare.
And these voluntary sinnes are those that wee are principally to keepe watch against: which if we shall diligently and constantly apply our selues vnto, there will a twofold benefit redound there∣by vnto vs.
§. 79. First, u wee shall auoid many, euen a* multitude of sinnes, which for want of this watch∣fulnesse we may be, and are ordinarily ouertaken withall. * Nor should the enemie so oft as he doth preuaile against vs, and foile vs, if he found vs stan∣ding on our guard and keeping duly this watch. To exemplifie this by an instance or two:
Compare we first Dauid and Ioseph together, tempted both in the same kinde, though not with the like fiercenesse of assault: but the one foiled, where the temptation was weaker; the other vnvanquished, where the temptation was stron∣ger. Dauid a man x well in yeeres, and y a ma∣ried man too, hauing the remedie already by Gods ordinance prouided to releeue mans infir∣mitie in case of incontinency; yea enioying it z not sparingly, but somewhat a more freely then was fit, hauing not one wife alone, but b a many, beside c Concubines not a few; This Da∣uid thus furnished, d by chance espieth, not some single woman, but another mans wife, washing her selfe: he is not sought vnto by her, but he is to make suit vnto her, vncertaine of successe; and to vse messengers to her, that must therefore to Page 122 his shame and reproach, and his dishonourable en∣gagement to them, be priuy to his dishonest de∣sires and his adulterous designes.
On the other side eIoseph, a young man, f in the heat of his youth, in the prime and flower of his yeares; Ioseph a single man, not enioying yet the benefit of g mariage, that might helpe to sup∣port him in temptations of this kinde; being not to sue to any other, but sued earnestly to by ano∣ther, by a Superiour, by his Mistresse, by such an one as had no small command of him otherwise; opportunity offered for the doing of the act de∣sired with all priuacy and secrecie; no feare of danger to hinder, where none were neere to take notice of it; great hope of future benefit, to en∣tice and encourage, by liberty, or further ad∣uancement likely enough by her meanes to bee procured.
Now h in this great inequality of motiues and inducements on either side, what is the reason, why Ioseph standeth, when Dauid falleth; that hee holdeth out worthily, who is the more strongly assailed, when the other is so fouly and fearefully foiled, who is farre more weakely assaulted, or ra∣ther, is not so much assaulted, as is ready to exalt the honest of another: but that the one stood vpon his watch, when the other did not?
Page 123It was i no sinne for Dauid by chance to espie a naked woman, his neighbours wife, washing her selfe; neither was it a thing in his power (how should hee forecast it?) to auoid: but the ob∣iect being thus casually offered vnto him, Dauid, that ought (as hee praied sometime) to haue kturned his eyes away from it, l wilfully fixed them so long there, where they had occasionally seised, that his heart came to be tainted with fil∣thy concupiscence, and his affections all inflamed with lustfull desires; and so grew hee restlesse within himselfe, till he had brought that about, that m depriued him of true rest indeed.
On the other side Ioseph after motion had once in that kinde beene made to him by his Mistresse, was n both carefull to shun all occasions of that sinfull act whereunto hee was tempted; (hee would not indure to be so much as in company a∣lone with her:) and againe o as constant in with∣standing the temptation when it was offered, and p the occasion could not bee shunned: for though shee pressed him to it day after day, he would not hearken vnto her: yea he chose rather to hazard losse of liberty and life then to yeeld vnto her impious and adulterous desire. In a word, the one watched, and so did not the other; and therefore the one was not vanquished so, as was the other. And by watching with the one may o∣thers escape, and might that other haue escaped that, which for want of this watch hee was van∣quished in.
§. 80. Againe, as Machetes the MacedonianPage 124 appealed sometime from Philip, to Philip,qfrom Philip sleeping, to Philip waking: so compare wee now Ioseph and Ioseph together, Ioseph watching with the same Ioseph somewhat neglecting this watch. Ioseph himselfe that stood thus stedfast in a stronger temptation, yet slipped after swearing rby Pharaoes life in a feebler But the euill was not so euident, so open-faced in the one as in the other: and therefore s being not so carefully watched a∣gainst or regarded, by being oft heard grew fami∣liar, and gained admittance with him, who might otherwise in all likelihood haue kept himselfe free from it, with much lesse difficulty and danger then he did from the former.
This watch therefore duly and diligently kept, would keepe vs from many sins that we are daily ouer-taken with. And t the greatest part of out∣ward sinfull acts, that the godly fall into, may be iustly ascribed to the want of it as the maine cause of the most of them, u which by this course there∣fore were it constantly obserued of them, might be preuented and auoided.
§. 81. Againe, euen in those slips and faults ei∣ther* of mixt infirmitie and ouer-sight, yea or of presumption it selfe too, (for to sinne in con∣tempt of God xwith an high hand, I doubt much, whether Gods children euer doe,) that euen godly men themselues are oft-times ouertaken withall, yet there is great difference betweene the watchfull and the watchlesse Christian; betweene the party that ordinarily keepeth this watch, though not so carefully and constantly all out as Page 125 he ought, and such as keepe no such watch at all: and that in three things, ybefore sinne, in sinne, and after sinne.
First, before sinne: For the one, a his maine de∣sire* and purpose, his generall resolution and en∣deuour is not to sinne at all, howsoeuer b of in∣firmitie, or c through ouer-sight, or d through violence of temptation, or e strength of corrupti∣on, he slip and slide into, or be pusht vpon, or en∣ticed vnto and ensnared in sinne oft ere hee bee a∣ware: whereas the other standeth indifferently af∣fected to sinne or to forbeare sinne, as occasion shall be ministred and offered of either; or rather inclining, as his corrupt heart naturally carieth him, to the ready imbracing of any euill that op∣portunity is offered of, and that standeth with his owne naturall desire. So that the one is like vnto a Watchman that being appointed to watch, so soone as hee commeth to the place where hee should watch, f laieth himselfe downe to sleepe, or sitteth rechlesly, not regarding whether hee sleepe or keepe awake. Whereas the other is like one that being set to watch, g striueth to keepe himselfe waking, and desireth so to doe, but yet through the drowsinesse of his disposition and long continuance without rest, chanceth sometime to slumber, though he purposed it not. Or the one is like a man that goeth to Church to trie if he can catch a nap there, and so soone therefore as he is in his seat setteth him to sleepe, which the soo∣ner he falleth into, the sooner hath hee his desire: The other is like hEutichus, that came not, in all Page 126 likelihood, to Pauls Sermon with a purpose to sleepe at it: (if he had purposed it, he would neuer haue made choice of the place hee did to sit in, where he should no sooner slumber but he should be in danger of downefall and of as much as his life was worth:) but yet through Pauls long prea∣ching, and his owne long waking, hee was a•… length ouercome with sleepe, though hee little thought or meant, it may bee, when hee came in, that hee so should. Like the former is that man that keepeth not watch at all, like the latter hee that keepeth ordinarily some watch ouer his soule. The one i sleepe findeth; whereas the o∣ther seeketh sleepe.
§. 82. Againe, in the very act of sinne there is* no small d•…ference betweene these twaine. For the one ksleepeth wholly, as he saith: he sleepeth a deepe and a dead sleepe: hee is caried with full swinge of heart and will vnto sinne. l The other sleepeth but vnquietly, like the Watchman that against his will in part falling asleepe, hath but an vnquiet sleepe of it, and euen watcheth in some sort in his sleepe, he is dreaming of the danger that he is or may be in, and of the enemies approach, whom he is set to watch against. It is that which wee may obserue in the Churches sleepe in the Canticles; mI sleepe, saith she, but mine heart isPage 127awake. We vse to say of children, that their heart is asleepe euen when their eies are awake: contrari∣wise it is said of the children of God, that their eies oft are asleepe when their heart is awake: so that though they be outwardly borne-downe and cari∣ed away with the stiffe winde, or the strong streame of some violent and vntoward temptation, yet their heart inwardly is not wholly surprised with it, they sinne not with a full and an absolute con∣sent of will in it; there is some secret mislike still of themselues in that they doe, and some inward strife and reluctation (though not at all times alike sensible) more or lesse against it, euen in the very act vsually of committing it. In a word, n the one willingly falleth fast asleepe; the other vnwillingly in some sort, slumbreth rather then sleepeth.
§. 83. Lastly, after sinne committed; the one* as he wilfully laid himselfe downe to sleepe, and fell presently fast asleepe, so o hee lieth sleeping and snoring, securely snorting in sinne, without touch or remorse vsually, till by some extraordi∣nary accident of outward affliction, danger, di∣stresse, or the like, as by his Generalls alarum or the enemies assault, hee be waked againe and rou∣sed vp out of his sleepe. Whereas the other, as he fell asleepe beside his purpose, and was neuer indeed thorowly or soundly asleepe, but in a slumber rather then any deepe or dead sleepe; so he is easily awaked, as those are that are but slightly asleepe, yea q his own very vnquietnesse, if nothing else, ere long awaketh him againe, like Page 128 one in a fearefull dreame, whose very feare many times is a meanes to awake him, and to free him from his feare. Dauids heart smote him, saith the holy Ghost, asr after his cutting of the skirt of King Sauls coat; so presently s vpon his at∣tempt of taking the number of his people: and immediatly thereupon, as one start out of his sleepe, hee beginneth to rub vp his eies and to looke about him; and in most hum•…le and sub∣misse manner betaketh he himselfe vnto God, con∣fessing his fault, crauing forgiuenesse of it, and ne∣uer resting till by renuing of his repentance he had recouered himselfe, and returned againe to his former watch. The one sleepeth soundly till he be raised out of his sleepe againe; the other awaketh againe eft-soones euen of himselfe. And thus much briefly of the benefit that wee may reape by this watch, and how farre forth wee may be helpe of it keepe our selues free from sinne
§. 84. Now to draw to an end, and tto trusse or tucke vp as it were in few words, after our Sa∣uiours owne example here, the summe of all that hitherto hath beene handled: Considering the drowsinesse of our owne naturall disposition, and how easily in that regard wee may againe fall a∣sleepe; and the diligence of our Aduersary watch∣ing continually against vs, by whom wee may soone be surprised if at any time we doe sleepe; as also the necessity of perseuerance, that if we hold not out in our watch to the end, it is all in vaine and to no end; and the danger of relapse, if wee Page 129 fall backe into this spirituall Lethargie, likely to be in worse case and more irrecouerable then wee were at the first: Let it not suffice vs, that we haue beene awaked out of our sinfull and secure cour∣ses, but let vs bee carefull by all good meanes to keepe our selues so waking and watching; by due examination of our seuerall actions ere we enter vpon them; diligent obseruation of our speci∣all corruptions that we may contend and striue a∣gainst them; carefull auoidance of the occasions of euill, that they be not offered; and constant resistance of temptations vnto euill, when we are therewith assaulted: And that we may the better so watch and hold out in this our watch; let vs la∣bour to keepe an holy moderation and sobriety in the vse of all Gods good creatures; hold fellow∣ship with the godly that may haue an eye to vs; shun the society of wicked ones that may taint and infect vs; striue to preserue the feare of God fresh in our soules; endeuour to perswade our hearts of Gods presence euer with vs; thinke oft on our end, and our account to come after it; be oft casting vp reckonings betweene God and our soules; haue a iealousie of our owne infirmitie and procliuity vnto euill; labour to haue a sincere hatred of sinne wrought in our hearts; and lastly be diligent in the duties of our particular vocati∣ons, and constant in frequenting of religious exer∣cises as well publike as priuate. Thus watching we shall preuent and escape many euills, that for want of this watchfulnesse, to our woe afterward, we might otherwise be ouertaken withall; we shall Page 130 haue s a pardon of course daily signed vs vpon ge∣nerall suit, t for those that either through igno∣rance or meere frailty escape vs: wee shall neuer sleepe wholly, nor rest obstinately in sinne, howso∣euer wee may chance sometime to be ouertaken therewith, but shall recouer our selues eft soone a∣gaine by renewed repentance: & we shall be con∣tinuallyu prepared for Christs second comming, so that,x whether we sleepe or wake,y liue or die, his we shall be both in life and in death, and with z the wise Virgins, whensoeuer he commeth, being found spiritually waking, shall be ready to enter in with him into the Bride-chamber of immortality, * there to abide with him in eternall felicitie.