TO THE READER.
SEe heere (Reader) way made to the Hebrew Prouerbe: *Is Saul also among the Prophets? His friends held it strange to see him prophecying, or singing holy songs (as it is expounded:) and it will be as strange to all that know me, * to finde me in the Presse, both in re∣spect of mine insufficiencie, (in which regard the word is put vpon me by him that applies it to such smatterers) as also in regard of my disposition and affection, * who haue in others disliked this ouer∣printing, and for my selfe alwaies affected (it may be too much) priuacie and retirednesse. But see what importunitie can doe. In the second of the Kings, chap. 2. there is a very absurd motion made to Eli∣sha by well meaning men, and Elisha in the end yeelds to them in a sort against his will. And why? they were instant vpon him till hee was ashamed, vers. 17. This motion of printing was to me at first as that to him; yet now at last, (being ashamed to Page [unnumbered]be inexorable) I haue said with him, Send. Now if the Printer (the chiefe actor I meane in this busi∣nesse) returne as wise as they, hauing his labour (with them) for his paines, my answer is the same with the Prophets, Said I not, Doe not goe? Thou hast my defense (Reader) for the printing. If any thing offend thee in the Sermon preached, thou must remember, that I meant it to an assembly knowne, not to strangers vnknowne: and therefore doe not blame me for not vsing the Latine or Greeke tongue, vnlesse thou canst helpe my hearers to Latine or Greeke eares, and then I shall make no more scru∣ple of Latine then English: In the meane time I dare promise no more then that I thinke is as familiar to them as English, yea such English as they vnder∣stand; for some English is Hebrew to the vulgar sort. If thou take exception further at my naked margent, because it is so empty of humane Authors, I pray thee be satisfied with this answer: First, our Auditors in these parts are content to take Gods bare word, without any further band or testimonie: Secondly, I cannot discharge my selfe (I iudge not others that vse it) of pride and ambition, if I should be quoting: for all that know the smalnesse of my standing, weaknesse of my body, greatnesse of imploi∣ment, in a place vndertaken with as much feare Page [unnumbered]and vnwillingnesse, as it is vndergone with paine and heauinesse, doe well know that my reading can∣not be great; and my owne soule knowes, that there can be nothing to worke me to this practise (in these parts) vnlesse I would be ambitious: for to what end should I tell poore people of Fathers and Historians? What should mooue mee to it, when I know before hand, they will thinke neuer the better of me, nor of my doctrine, for so doing? (verb. gra.) In speaking of Iobs children, in the first point I allude to a place in Chrysostome: to what end should I amaze them with his name and his homilie, Ad pop. Antioch.? In a∣nother place, speaking of sinne in the godly, ad ago∣nem, I remembred Austins discourse about that matter. In speaking of Popes, I thought of Polydore Ʋirgils note in that behalfe: and the bringing in of Dauid speaking to his sonne, put mee in minde of Caesars patheticall speech to Brutus, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉and the very mention of Absaloms rockie heart, not yeel∣ding, brought to my remembrance Hannibals pra∣ctise with the rockes, to make them giue place. Now (I pray you) had not I little to doe, if I should thrust all these into a Sermon? If I should doe so in such an Auditory, would not my heart say, Now thou seekest thyselfe? What others doe, I know not; I iudge none; my heart would smite me for it in this place: Page [unnumbered]and therefore bold me excused (good Reader) till I see further reason for such a practise. In the meane time, if this Sermon be too plaine for thee, leaue it to them that loue plainnesse. If thou finde any benefit by it, blesse God, thanke the Printer, bestow one praier on mee, who desire increase of grace on thee, and on all the Israel of God.
Hanwell this 25. of August. 1610.
Thine in Christ, Robert Harris.