THE ONLY REMEDIE.
AFTER a terrible Tempest,* a dark and discomfor∣table Storme, wherein neither Sunne, nor Starres appeared,*Paul stood forth, and said, Sirs, you should haue heark∣ned to me, and so haue saued this harme and losse. After many darke and discomfor∣table Page 2 Stormes, I may likewise say, you should haue harke∣ned to the Word of God spoken by the seruants of God, and then no doubt much losse and harme had been saued. There hath been Counsell heretofore giuen, to make vse of old Chastise∣ments by Repentance, that so the neede of New might be saued. I will instance in one particular application of this Counsell, for the preuenting of the New Pestilence by making vse of the Old, a yeer or two before the New came. And that I may be sure to make a right relation of it, I will here insert the wordes wherin it was deliuered. The punishment which I spake of,*is the Pestilence which almost de∣uoured Page 3 our chiefest Citie, and with the Sickenes of the Head, the Body of this Land was also distempered. I doubt not but some that haue forgotten it, will bee almost angry to haue it remembred; but it were better to haue a profitable remem∣brance of the same Plague, than to haue a reuengefull remem∣brance by another. It is the for∣getfulnesse of Gods old Cha∣stisements that makes vs so soone to haue need of new ones, &c. If this Counsell had bin followed, I verily beleeue, the Old might haue beene a preseruatiue against the New, and God hauing attai∣ned his End by the former, hee would haue saued the lat∣ter. And if we consider how it was staied, wee may well Page 4 thinke, that the same Repen∣tance and Humiliation may preuent a Plague, which can stop it when it is come. But this is the miserie, that though nothing in the world is more weighty than the word of God, and those ad∣monitions which are raised from that word, yet there is nothing in the world more lightly esteemed, by sensual, carnall and foolish mankind. Yea the folly of mankinde, which sets her owne colours on the wisedome of God, makes such monitions to look like folly: and so Lot telling his sonnes in law of the iudgement of God ready to light on Sodome for her sinnes,* seemed vnto them as one that mocked. Yet it is Page 5 most true, that the word of God is Fire, and Sinners are but Stubble: and as a man of Stubble should feare the breath of a Furnace, so and much more should a Sinner feare the word of GODS mouth when it pronounceth iudgements against him; For our God is a consuming Fire: But because this feare is too farre from vs, therfore Iudg∣ment laies hold on vs, yea Iudgement vpon Iudgement, that so the Lessons may bee beaten into vs by feeling, which we will not learne by hearing: Because we are like the deafe Fishes, that moue not for any voyce, but onely leape when they are in the net of GODS Iudgements, therfore Gods wrath is not Page 6 turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
But though the counsell of God, hath beene heretofore neglected, and wee haue bin too carelesse of warnings, to our losse and harme; yet euen by these losses let vs learne to bee more carefull hereaf∣ter. By the chastisments of Gods wrath that are past, let vs learne to flie from the vengeance to come. So shall a light arise to vs in the midst of darknesse, yea the darke∣nesse it selfe shall become to vs a meanes of light, while by chastisements wee learne that which freeth vs from chastisements. So shall the words and warnings of God sent by his Messengers, bee turned to our health and Page 7 safetie, whereas being despi∣sed they adde more to our sinnes, and so to our punish∣ments. For where Gods word doth not quicken, there it doth kill; being still either a quickening word, or a kil∣ling letter. And as fire, that which it doth not purifie by melting, it doth commonly consume by burning; so the word of God, whom it doth not clense by melting in Re∣pentance, it doth lay hold on to fret and consume vnto ru∣ine and destruction.
2. But if we hearken to the warnings of God,* besides the benefite of present safetie, God will continue to giue vs such warnings, and so conti∣nue our safetie. For such is the great goodnesse of God, Page 8 towards them to whom this goodnes is precious, that he is slow to anger, and his an∣ger goes on slowly to pu∣nishment; and commonly betweene the wrath and the punishment, there are cer∣taine forewarnings, that so the wrath may be stayed, and the punishment preuented. How often would hee haue gathered Israel vnder his wings, as a Henne gathereth her chickens?*The Lord God of their Fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising vp be∣times and sending them, be∣cause hee had compassion on his people. Neither hath he com∣passion on that people only, but in this point of good∣nesse, God who is a God of the Iewes, is a God of the Page 10 Gentiles also. To the Nini∣uites a Prophet was sent to giue them notice of a destru∣ction approching toward them. And Nebuchadnezzar being yet a man, was fore∣told of his being a beast, that hee might breake off his sins by righteousnesse, and his iniquities by mercy. Neither hath he left these parts of the world, without testimonies of his goodnesse; for euen the ends of the earth haue seene the saluation of God. Surely the men of this Nati∣on haue Prophets of their owne, that haue spoken to them, in the word of the Lord, and from thence haue both piped forth the mercies of God, and mourned forth his iudgements. And if wee Page 10 looke vp to former Ages, and beleeue the Records which wee reade of those times, we may reade of Gil∣das, that forewarned the Brit∣tons of their destruction by the Saxons. And I haue here∣tofore remembred that Re∣cord which speaketh of a man of God,* that named the sinnes of the Saxons,* or Eng∣lish, for which they should be punished. And if wee looke abroad, euen before this great desolation of Germa∣ny, wee may finde a premo∣nition giuen to that Nation. The noble and learned Ca∣merarius▪ in his Historicall Meditations,* hath a chapter vnder this title,*Of Drunken∣nesse and the euils that come thereby. This chapter he be∣gins Page 11 with the loathsome sto∣ry of a Gentleman neere Norimberg, who at his mar∣riage, caused a prize of Drun∣kennesse to bee played. For hee propounded a reward, for him that could best de∣serue that Woe,* which is de∣nounced against them that are mighty to drinke wine. And these wages of iniquity were wonne by one that dranke the sixth part of a Pipe of wine. Hereupon hee inferreth, Such detestable, and drunken trickes are not to bee tolerated in a well-gouerned State or Kingdome, much lesse among those that are called Christians: and it is greatly to bee feared, they will draw downe a sudden destruction vp∣on Germany.
Page 12 Behold their sinne pointed out to them, and a iudgement attending at the heeles of their sinne. And O that they had known the things which belong to their peace, & that their sinne had not beene so rooted in the people, that the people it selfe must be roo∣ted vp, to pull vp that sin by the rootes. For so stands the case, when the people & the sinne are so knit together that the one will not part from the other. Though Israel had sinned, yet Iudah should not haue transgressed. Though the ignorance of Poperie might haue fostered such a sin;* for,*they that are drunke, are drunke in the night: yet the light of the Gospell should haue shamed it out of Page 13 sight: for they that walke in the day, should walk decent∣ly; not as fooles, but wisely. And as no man that doth e∣uill commeth to the light, so no man that commeth to the light should do euill, because the light discouereth and re∣proueth his euill: And how can the Light look vpon this euill, but it must needes re∣proue it? An euill to which the Gospell of Light is most contrarie, as the increasing of light is to the diminishing of light; as the lifting vp of a man into the station of Saints and Angels, is to the debasing of a man below the state of brutish beasts. A state wherein a man is neyther good for God, for the Com∣mon-wealth, for his family, Page 14 for his soule, for this world; but only for hell. But if there bee yet anie of those beasts, that after the Lion hath roa∣red in the Thunder of warre, are not yet affraid to conti∣nue in this sinne, I pray God to awake them by his spirit, which only openeth the eare to heare, what God speaketh to the Churches, in the Lan∣guage of his Chastisements. And being awaked, I pray that they may take this sinne for which this great Tem∣pest is vpon them, and cast it into the Sea: For then the storme may cease, and the Guilt of sinne, with the sin it selfe, may be buried in the Sea.*For God retaineth not his Anger for euer, because hee de∣lighteth in Mercy. Hee will Page 15 turne againe, and haue com∣passion on them: Hee will sub∣due their Iniquities and cast all their sinnes into the Depths of the Sea.
And now to shut vp this point of Gods mercifull Dis∣pensation, in forewarning men of Euils to come; It is so manifest, that they who searce acknowledge the cause, yet confesse the effect. The great Achitophell of these latter times, that makes little oddes betweene God and Nature, Intelligences & Angels, Southsayers and Saints, yet hee acknowledge∣eth, that by-Saints as well as by Soothsayers, such war∣nings are giuen. And when you heare him speake, ima∣gine you heard the Diuell Page 16 confessing Christ. His words are these:*I know not whence it commeth, but it is euident¦ly seene, both in ancient and moderne stories, that there ne∣uer commeth destruction, deso¦lation, or any other grieuous Harme, vpon a City or Coun¦trie, but there are ( ) holy Per∣sonages to whom it is reuealed long before.
3. But if it bee replyed,* That forewarnings of iudge¦ments if they bee true, they are of little vse, because they are sure to come to passe, and so a man gains but the longer knowledge of his Miserie, by knowing it before it come. To this I might answer, That a wise Man doth thereby ra∣ther increase his Fortitude, than his Sorrow: yea by the Page 17 increase of inward strength, hee diminisheth his sorrow. For the soule being strongly resolued before hand to suf∣fer what will certainly come, shee putteth on patience, and patience putteth off sorrow. But I say rather, that those fore-warnings which are sent by God, though see∣ming to shut vp a Nation round about with a wall of Brasse, yet haue they general∣ly a secret Doore & Issue for those that are shut vp. With how many prophecies were the Iewes hedged in, and by how many Prophets? yet e∣uen at the last cast, when the sword was whetting, and rea∣die to strike, a Doore was o∣pened to them: Amend your wayes,*and your doings, and o∣bey Page 18 the voyce of the Lord your God, and the Lord will repent him of the euill, that hee hath pronounced against you. What could bee more peremptorie than the prophesie of Ionah against the Niniuites? A day was prefixed, which stood before them and seemed to inclose them, that they should neuer goe beyond it. Yet their faith had espyed this doore of Mercy, as it were by a little Crany;*Who can tell, if God will turne and repent, and turne away from his fierce anger that wee perish not? Behold a strange Faith, that so much beleeued in Gods mercy, that it seemed to doubt of his truth. Nay, far bee that from so excellent a Faith. They beleeued both Page 19 the Truth and Mercy of God; for they so much be∣leeued and hoped in his Mer∣cy to penitent sinners, that they beleeued that the same Mercy had left some secret way of Truth by which it might passe vnto them, and they goe forth vnto it. And in this point their faith see∣med to exceed the faith of the Prophet: For the Pro∣phet thought his owne ho∣nour would bee lost, if so pe∣remptorie a sentence were not peremptorily perfor∣med: But these men beleeued it stood well with the ho∣nour of God, that a peremp∣tory sentence vpon penitence might be dissolued. And in∣deede, theirs was true faith, and his thought was but an Page 20 errour. For the word of God, whose Truth is a true ground of Faith, is the very founda∣tion of that which they be∣leeued: At what instant,*I shall speake of a Nation, and concerning a Kingdome, to plucke vp and to pull downe, and to destroy it: if that Nati∣on against whom I haue pro∣nounced, turne from their Euill, I will repent of the euill that I thought to doe vnto them. Thus we see in the denuncia∣tion of Gods Iudgements, there is an implied Reserua∣tion, and this Reseruation is the Doore at which the Ni∣neuites, and other beleeuing penitents may finde a way to escape. Yea, the peremptori∣nesse of the sentence which seemeth to hedge vs in, may Page 21 be the very meanes, to bring vs to the way of escaping. For the peremptorinesse of a sentence, strikes the sen∣tence strongly, as it were a spurre into the sides of resty, and dull flesh and bloud, and stirs vp mankinde hardly to labour for that Issue, which seemes so hard and almost impossible to be found. And indeede this finding, God v∣sually proposeth as the scope of his warning. He tells vs of Iudgements comming, that wee may finde the way to auoid them. If he meant to destroy, his readiest way were not to forewarne. It was Sauls case, when he was neere to the period of Ruine, The Lord answered him not, neither by dreames,*nor by v∣rim Page 22 nor by Prophets. Let vs therefore account premoni∣tions to bee Summons vnto Iudgement, but yet by a si∣lent and implied Reseruation, offering vs Mercie: And be∣tweene the time of denunci∣ation and full performance, let vs thinke that offer conti∣nued to vs. For the Time of warning is commonly a time of Truce betweene God and Man, and a time of Respite between Wrath and Punish∣ment. Therefore is it called The day of a person, or peo∣ple, euen a day of Grace,* wherin iudgement is suspen∣ded, and may bee preuented. And if in this their day, those things are not hid from their eies, which may make their peace with God, the peace of Page 23 God will preserue them, from the Iudgements of God. Wherefore let vs not thinke that euery forewar∣ning is a binding; for a pre∣diction ordinarily bindeth no farther than mens impeni tence bindeth it. For in it selfe, a premonition is an of∣fer of loosing, as well as a sentence of binding. There is a gate of Mercy in it, and man hath a Key wherewith to open it. Yea the Iudge himselfe, who seemes to in∣close vs in prison, calls vpon vs to make vse of it, and by the hardnesse and difficultie of escaping, stirs and spurs vs vp to an earnest seeking of the meanes of our Freedom.
4. If any man aske what is the Key, by which this gate Page 24 is opened;* he may plainly see it in the places alledged: In euery one of them it is Re∣penting, and Turning from euill waies. But flesh and bloud replies in the language of Belial; For as the men of Belial said of the King whom God had annointed, Shall this man saue vs? So flesh and bloud saith of the meanes which God hath sanctified, Shal such an ayerie and inui∣sible thing saue vs? Yet most true it is that inuisible things must saue vs, or wee cannot bee saued. Spirituall things are inuisible, and spirituall things must saue vs. And no wonder, for spirituall things worke our eternal saluation: and if they can worke the greater, why should they not Page 25 be able to worke out the les∣ser saluation? When a que∣stion is made concerning the great Saluation,*Men and Brethren, what shall we doe to be saued? The first word of the Answer, is, Repent. And why should not the same an∣swer serue for a lesser salua∣tion? Againe, if wee looke vpon the way wherein wee came to be bound, wee shall finde a spirituall way, to bee our onely way to loosing. If wee looke to heauen, we shall finde it is God that bindes vs there; and God is a spirit. Now,* according to the rea∣son of CHRIST himselfe, if God be a Spirit, it is a spiritu∣all meanes that can only bee powerfull with a spirit. And if wee looke below, we shall Page 26 finde it is sin that prouoketh God to binde man; and sinne is a spirituall disease, euen a deprauation of the Image of God in the soule and spirit of Man, or a fruit of it. Now it is plaine, that a spirituall re∣medy can only cure a spiritu∣all disease. The soule will not bee fed by the food of the body, neither by bodily physicke will it bee cured; Wherfore in regard of God who is offended, and in re∣gard of thy sinne that hath offended him, behold the word of God, turning thee from carnall, and visible, to spirituall, and insuisible Re∣medies:*Will the Lord be plea∣sed with thousands of Rams, or with ten thousands of Riuers of Oyle? shall I giue my first-borne Page 27 for my transgression, the fruite of my body for the sinne of my soule? Hee hath shewed thee O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to doe iustly, and to loue mercy, and to humble thy selfe in walking with thy God? Neither hath God herein giuen meere words, but his deeds haue beene as good as his words. The Scripture is full of examples, that this meanes which the world thinkes to be weaknesse, hath beene strong vnto manifold saluations and deliuerances. Yea the deliuerances haue in some sort borne the resem∣blance and proportion of the meanes. A piece of a deliue∣rance, hath followed a piece of repentance: and such was Page 28 that of Rehoboam,* whose heart was not perfect with the Lord;* and a temporary deli∣uerance,* a temporary repen∣tance, and such was that of Ahab; and a full deliuerance a sound and full repentance, and such was that vnder Asa.
5. Wherefore I said to the foolish,* Deale not foolishly, and speake not with a stiffe necke: Say not, Ashur shall saue vs, and wee will flie into Egypt. Naturall helpes are like the Egyptians, who are weake for that very reason for which thou thinkest them strong, and the inuisible meanes are strong for that very reason for which thou thinkest them weake. And herein let God himselfe bee Page 29 iudge betweene vs:*The E∣gyptians are men, and not God, and their horses flesh, and not spirit. Wherefore behold the issue; When the Lord shall stretch out his hand, both hee that helpeth shall fall, and hee that is holpen shall fall downe, and they all shall faile together. Men and horses are things visible, God and spirits are things inuisible, and there∣fore doe visible men faile to helpe, because they are not equall in power, to the inui∣sible God: and therefore shall horses faile, because they are not equall to spirituall and inuisible strength. Where∣fore henceforth doe thou e∣specially choose those helps which are spirituall and in∣uisible, because they are Page 30 strongest; and beleeue more strength to bee in the weak∣nesse of God, (which there∣fore only seemes weaknesse, because the strength of it is not perceiued by the fleshly eye) than in the strength of man.* And if thou seest not the spirituall things to bee strongest, doe not blame them for weaknesse, but thy selfe for blindnesse; and pray to God to open thy eyes, for then shalt thou see a most mighty power in them; and that when spirituall helpes are on our side, There are more with vs, than there are with them that haue earthly and visible helpes. Wherfore henceforth farre be from vs, the trust and rest in naturall things, which is the common Page 31 and first refuge of flesh and blood when it is pressed with troubles.* And let those thoughts & words be loath∣some to vs, which ordinarily issue from this fleshly blind∣nesse and error. One thinkes, that Armies can subdue all enemies, and another that Parliaments can cure all po∣liticke diseases; a third (and I wish it had not beene spo∣ken before the late pestilence in my hearing) that the new Riuer had washed away the plague for euer from the Ci∣ty. But I thinke, I need not to tell them that they are de∣ceaued. And no wonder; for all outward helpes, are but the body of helpe, but spirituall helpes are the soule of helpe; and as the body Page 32 without the soule is dead, so all bodily helpes, without spirituall helpe, are without life and power. Wherefore wee must striue by putting our selues into a right spiri∣tuall estate, to get the fauour of the Highest spirit, that he may breathe life into these dead helpes; and then they shall haue life and strength as well as the dead bones, when he said,*Come from the foure windes, O breath, and breathe vpon these slaine that they may liue. This is the true order, to come by the spirituall helpes, to the vse of the tem∣porall, to begin with God and to end with man. In this case wee must proceed De∣scendendo, not Ascendendo; wee must get helpe first from Page 33 the Creator, and then wee may descend to the vse of the Creature, but wee must not begin to seeke helpe of the Creature, and then thinke wee may be either confident or carelesse of the helpe of the Creator. It is the maine wisdome, and successe of the Creature, to goe with the Creator. He that goes with∣out him, goes without strength, and he that goes a∣gainst him, runnes against the rocke of Omnipotence, and is sure to make most hor∣rible shipwracke. Wherefore Moses saith wisely;*If thy pre∣sence goe not with mee, carry vs not vp hence. There is no going nor stirring, if God goe not with vs: But if God bee with vs, who shall bee Page 34 against vs? If God be with vs, we may be saued without Meanes, for God is able to saue being alone. He can also raise vp meanes where are none, and hee can blesse the Meanes where are some, and he can make the Meanes of our destruction to become the meanes of our preseruati∣on. The last seemeth most difficult, yet doth hee often doe it. The Syrians had brought a most deadly fa∣mine vpon Samaria, so that the same bowels were fed by that which receiued life from them: And by the same Syrians Samaria was so deli∣uered from the famine, and stored with plenty,*that a Measure of fine floure was sold for a shekell. The same Page 35 Egyptians which kept Israel in a most cruell bondage, were made to bee the men that should bee vrgent vpon Israel to haste away out of bondage,* yea, they suffered them not to goe empty, but spoyled themselues, to en∣rich those whom they had spoyled. Euen Death it selfe, which the Diuell intended to haue made a Gate to eter∣nall destruction; the out∣stretched arme of God hath made a gate to eternall salua∣tion.* So that a voyce is heard from heauen saying, Write, Blessed are they that dye in the Lord. Now if God be so ab∣solute a Lord of all things, that of contraries he can pro∣duce contraries, we may see that hee hath taken all trust Page 36 from the creature, and reser∣ued it to himselfe; and that the power which is in the Creature, being giuen it by him, can at his pleasure bee taken away from it, and a contrary power put into it. Theeefore our eyes are to be fixed on God, and to looke vp first to him, to see whether he will suffer the Creature to retaine the power of Helpe, which hee hath giuen it; yea and when helpes faile, to see whether hee will raise vp helpes, yea farther, whether he will helpe without helpes, and yet farthest of all, whe∣ther he will turne our hinde∣rances and punishments into helpes. And thus depending on God, and laying the foun∣dation of our hope & help, in Page 37 the name of the Lord, we may safely and comfortably vse the meanes which hee giueth vs. And if hee giue meanes, with a blessing put vnto them, they may be of abso∣lute necessitie, when they haue receiued such blessing and power from him. Many points of this doctrine are to bee found in the voyage of Paul.* Naturall helpes can do nothing without God; so the Mariners could not saue Pauls company: for they are lost in regard of Naturall helpes, whom God of his meere grace bestoweth vpon Paul. Yea naturall helpes, be∣ing opposed against spiritu∣all, are ready helpes to de∣struction; so the Master and owner of the ship being be∣leeued Page 38 against Paul, become the meanes of the ships de∣struction. Naturall helpes, if they bee not stayed and held by spirituall helpes, will then runne away from vs, when we haue most need of them: so the Mariners would haue run away, when they might haue stood most in steed, if Paul had not stayed them. Spirituall helpes, are they that saue vs when naturall helpes doe faile vs; so the loue of God to Paul saued both him and his compani∣ons, when they were desti∣tute of the helpe of man. And lastly, when spirituall helpe and blessing is giuen to the meanes, then the meanes can saue vs, yea then the meanes are so necessarie, that Page 39 without them we cannot bee saued. So when God is plea∣sed to giue successe to the seruice and helpe of the Ma∣riners, then they are vsefull to bring the ship where the passengers may bee saued; Yea they are then so necessa∣rie, that without the Mari∣ners, they cannot bee saued. Thus wee see that spirituall helpes, are the strong hel∣pers, and outward helpes are themselues holpen by them. Spirituall helps are the foun∣dation, and temporall helpes are a building vpon that foundation. Wherefore if we will be wife builders, first let vs bee sure to make the foun∣dation strong, and then may we hopefully reare vp the walls. Let vs by penitence Page 40 draw neere vnto God our Rocke, and being spirituall, fetch strength and helpe from the Almighty Spirit. Then may wee say and not till then, The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusted in him, and I am helped. Yea he is a Sunne as well as a shield;* and when this Sunne returnes,* then there comes a spring vpon a Nation.
6. Being thus put vpon spirituall helpes,* and parti∣cularly vpon Repentance, as vpon that which reconcileth to vs the strong and All suf∣ficient helper,* let vs giue all diligence to make this re∣pentance sure vnto vs. And sure it is made to vs, by ma∣king it our owne: and it is Page 41 made our owne, when wee our selues doe practise it. For then repentance only can heale vs, when by particular applying of it to our owne soules, we make it our repen∣tance. And as it should bee a sure repentance, so should it bee a full repentance; For then is it most sure in it selfe to heale vs, when it is most entire and perfect. And so be∣ing sure in it selfe, and sure to vs, I hope we may be sure to bee saued. Now to come to this fulnesse of repen∣tance, let vs view the parts of it, yea let vs view some Ac∣cessions, and necessary im∣prouements of it, yea let vs see the Crowne and consum∣mation of it. And let vs not only see, but doe, that wee Page 42 may bee blessed in the Deede of it.
The parts of it,* I haue heretofore shewed: They are a Sight and Acknowledg∣ment of Sin, a Detestation of Sin, and, a Turning from Sinne to the contrary Righ∣teousnes. And first the Sight and Acknowledgement of our sinne is absolutely neces∣sary. It is necessary in respect of God, and in regard of our selues. In respect of God it is necessary; for thereby we giue the glory that is due to the Iustice of God: When we see our sins and acknow∣ledge them, we confesse that God is iust in his punish∣ments, and that he hath right∣ly afflicted vs.*We haue sinned (saith Daniel) and haue done Page 43 wickedly, and haue rebelled, e∣uen by departing from thy pre∣cepts and iudgements. And therupon he inferres, O Lord, righteousnesse belongeth to thee, but to vs, Confusion of Faces, as at this day. And a little after; Therefore hath the Lord watched vpon the E∣uill, and brought it vpon vs: for the Lord our God is Righte∣ous in all the workes that hee doth; for wee obeyed not his voyce. Thus from the Ac∣knowledgement of sinne, ari∣seth Glorie to Gods Iustice in punishing Sinnes; and this Glorie hee expecteth before the Sinner be dismissed. Hee will haue an acceptation of his punishments, as of things iustly due vnto vs: and it is an excellent degree toward Page 44 Mercie, to say with the peni∣tent Thiefe on the Crosse, We are righteously here,*and re∣ceiue the reward of our deedes. Yea with that holy Man, Thou, O God,*hast punished vs beneath our iniquities. But if this be the fruite which God expecteth of his punishments for sinne, that his Iustice should be so farre approued, that the punishments should bee accepted, how contrary an effect doe men commonly returne to God, who in stead of acceptation returne no∣thing but murmuring and repining? They employ their thoughts most on the stones that are cast at them, and they bound their imagi∣nations with the euills that presse them. And they are Page 45 so farre from this right fruite and vse of them, that they neither see them as punish∣ments for sinne, neither doe they see the Iustice of God in sending these punishments, yea they doe not see God at all in them; but (which is most lamentable, and feare∣ful, because it is the very cha∣racter of the wicked ones) God is not in all their thoughts.* But while thus wee looke downeward to Effects, with∣out looking vp to Causes, we look on our punishments, rather like beasts than men. And whatsoeuer toile wee take about the Effects, if wee doe not remoue the Causes, it is but losse of labour. But how can we remoue the Cau∣ses, when we doe not see Page 46 them? Sinne is that which moues Gods Iustice to pu∣nish vs; and God will haue his Iustice approued and ac∣cepted in the punishment of Sinne, before he will remoue those punishments. And if it be our owne sinne, and the Iustice of God, that lay these euils vpon vs, I wonder what good thou dost toward the cure of these euils, by biting the stone that by these is throwne at thee. For if thou shouldst bite it to powder, as long as the Iustice of God remains vnappeased, because thy Sin remaines vnacknow∣ledged, the great God of Iustice, who in Mercie can turne stones into children of Abraham, in Iustice can turn any sonnes of Adam into Page 47 stones to batter thee. Yea I will tell thee farther, that as long as thou standest off from God, and doest not take no∣tice of him, and much more while thou standest out a∣gainst God, and only snarlest at his punishments, he wil de∣fend euen his punishments a∣gainst thee. The punishments of God, while they are in Gods businesse, and till they haue done their errand, are the seruants of God, & God will mainetaine them in that seruice, vntill it bee done. Therefore whatsoeuer be∣come of Nebucadnezzar when his worke is done, yet in doing of Gods worke, God himselfe doth call him, My seruant Nebucadnezzar.* And for this very reason, Page 48 when God bids Shimei to curse Dauid,*Dauid durst not to meddle with him; for he knew, he that set him on worke was to be feared, and could not be resisted; but as long as God pleased to em∣ploy Shimei, Dauid thought it fitter to submit himselfe vnto God, and so to appease him, than to fly into the face of his chastisement, before he was appeased. When a Fa∣ther corrects his sonne for a fault, if the sonne in stead of confessing and amending his fault, and thereby acknow∣ledging the iustnesse of his correction, doe nothing else but fly vpon the Rod, and teare it in pieces, doth not this increase his fault, and so increase his punishment? Page 49 Wherefore lift vp thy head, and looke on thy Chastise∣ments, like a man, and not like an vnreasonable creature. Come down by the Causes, to cure the Effects, hauing in the Effects beheld the Cau∣ses. When thou seest the Rod, see withall who hath appointed it. It is God that sendeth it:*For is there any. E∣uill (of punishment) and the Lord hath not done it? And why are the Euills of punish∣ment laid vpon vs, but be∣cause of our sinnes: We waite for light, but behold obscurity; for brightnesse, but we walke in darkenesse, &c. The Cause is annexed:*For our Trans∣gressions are multiplied before thee, and our sinnes testifie a∣gainst vs. So to take the right Page 50 course, wee must begin with the first Cause, and take no∣tice thereof; and that is our Sinne. Therfore it followes,*Our Transgressions are with vs, and as for our Iniquities we know them. Wee must know our sinnes, and by acknow∣ledgement of our sinnes, giue glorie to Gods Iustice in the punishing of our sinnes. And when by this Confession Gods righteous iudgements are approued and accepted, this is a right step, and a good degree of Repentance, to∣ward the abolition both of sinnes and punishments.
Another reason of seeing and confessing our sinnes, is in regard of our selues. For how shall wee come to loath and forsake those sins, which Page 51 we doe not know & acknow∣ledge? And if wee doe not come to forsake them, wee can neuer come to bee cured of them, and the euills that attend them. Therefore Sa∣lomon,* maketh his Cure of sinnes, to begin in Confessi∣on of sinnes; and so he goeth on to forsaking, and so to the finding of Mercie. And sure∣ly, if we did clearly see them, they would appeare most loathsome to vs, & we should plainely finde, that the sight of sinne is the way to the de∣testation of sinne. But sinne being a spirituall defect, or spot, it must bee spiritually discerned. And for lacke of this eie, it comes to passe, that sinne doth not appeare out of measure sinfull. For if a clear Page 52 spirituall eie, did see the spots of sinne in the glasse of Gods Law, it would appeare as blacke as an Aethiop, and as loathsome as Leprosie: Yea, the righteousnesse that hath but a tainte of it, would shew like filthy cloutes, and the soule would hate euen a garment spotted with the flesh. But because wee are darkenesse, therefore all co∣lours are like to vs; for dark∣nesse takes away the diffe∣rence, euen of contraries. Therefore Laodicca,* when one of her miseries is blinde∣nesse, she thinkes her self rich and to haue need of nothing, though indeede she be mise∣rable, and poore, and naked; and what is the reason? be∣cause being blinde she knowes Page 53 it not. Therefore her way to finde her owne misery, that so she may be cured of it, is to beg of Christ Iesus that eye-salue, with which her eyes being anoynted, she may see. And when she seeth, she cannot but see her nakednes, and seeing it, she cannot but loathe it, and loathing it de∣sire to bee clothed with the grace and righteousnesse of God in Christ Iesus.
7. But of the true sight of sinne,* I haue elsewhere more fully spoken, and likewise of the detestation of sinne. Yet this I adde, That if we cannot detest sinne à priori, by loo king it in the face, and seeing the vgly and hideous shape of it, yet let vs detest it, à po∣steriori, by seeing, yea by Page 54 feeling the miserable effects and consequences of it. All the torments of a distracted* soule,* the racke of the con∣science, the terrours of hell in the minde; All the disea∣ses of the body, feuers, pe∣stilences, and rottennesse of the bones; All the fearefull stormes that light on the things of this life, lightning and tempest, cold and fire, wracke of estates by Sea or Land, they are some small resemblances of sinne; the e∣uill of doing, being a little (though not at full) repre∣sented in the euills of suffe∣ring. If then there be such a loathing and detestation of such euills being suffered, know, that the euils are more loathsome for which they Page 55 are suffered: for God doth not goe beyond justice in the punishment of mankinde, yea, he is yet farre short of it. For after all these euils, at∣tending sinne here on earth, the Lord shall come in flaming fire,*taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the Gospell of our Lord Ie∣sus Christ, who shall bee puni∣shed with euerlasting destructi∣on. Wherefore as deepe as the loathing and hatred of all paines and torments, both on earth, and in hell, doth enter into thy heart, so deepe let the detestation of sin enter; yea a little farther, as an euill cause deserues some more hatred, than that euill which is made by it. And indeed thou must take notice, that Page 56 this detestation must goe deepe with thee, euen to the bottome of thy heart; for it being the needle which makes way for conuersion from sinne, that conuersion will not come, but where this detestation hath gone before. And here should I come to speake of the true expressions of this hatred of sinne, in selfe-reuenge, by fasting and other exercises of humiliation: but of these also I haue already spoken; only in some other place, I may haue occasion to speake of the excellent vse, and po∣wer of fasting, being ioyned to the substantiall parts of repentance.
8. And now come wee to* the turning from sinne vnto Page 57 the contrary righteousnesse:* and I would to God we were indeed come home vnto it. For this is the maine worke of repentance, that sets the soule, yea all things in ioynt againe, and makes a full a∣greement between God and vs; for sinne hauing separa∣ted vs, the wall of this sepa∣ration being drawne downe, there is entercourse between God and vs. The Image of God in vs lookes cheereful∣ly vpon God, whose Image it is, and God lookes cheer∣fully on this Image, because it is his. Likenesse breedes loue, and on the loue of God attend all blessings, and the remouing of all curses. And indeed why should wee not leaue sinne? what is there in Page 58 it, or with it, that we should not leaue it and loathe it? Surely if wee looke neerely and cleerely vpon sinne, wee shall see all the reason that may bee, to cast it from vs, and vtterly to abhorre it. A∣mong others, let vs consider the deformity of it (mentio∣ned before) the vanity of it, and the miserie of it. The deformity of it should espe∣cially bee looked on, as that whereby God is offended; and the offence of God should chiefly bee regarded. Surely sinne is an ill-fauou∣red thing: and it cannot bee otherwise; for it is contrary to the most absolute pure∣nesse, beauty, and glorie of the Deity; it crosseth the will of God, the Rule of righte∣ousnesse; Page 59 it crosseth and op∣poseth God who is light, be∣cause it is darknesse; it is a blot and spot vpon the I∣mage of God; and it cannot but bee a thing odious and hatefull to God, to see his Image and superscription blotted & defaced; it turnes men into a generation of Vi∣pers, it makes them rauening Wolues, it makes them like the Horse and Mule which haue no vnderstanding. Yea, it makes them worse than the beasts that perish:* For the Oxe knoweth his owner, and the Asse his Masters cribbe; but Man by sinne casts off his owner and Master, euen the high Lord and Master of the whole Creation, because the sole and whole Creator Page 60 of it. And what doe we now, to saue this sinne from death and destruction, which makes vs fit for nothing, but the wrath of God, & the plagues that attend it? And if we be∣hold the vanity of sinne, that may make vs weary of it, and willing to forsake it. For the maine cause of kee∣ping our sinnes, are certaine pleasures with which the di∣uell hath bayted them; and wee so loue this bayte, that wee take downe the hooke with it, and by taking it, we are taken. And indeed if we could see sinne stripped of this pleasure, that is, the hooke without the baite, wee should both feare and hate it. And of this men haue some sight, in the end of pleasures, Page 61 and in the day of sicknesse, and death. But looke vpon them now in the very time of thy health, if thou canst but bring thy flesh a little on sleepe, while thy soule is wa∣king. For if thy flesh would be quiet, while thy soule is in this contemplation, thou mightest answer, out of thy owne knowledge, vnto this question of the holy Ghost, What fruite haue yee of those*things whereof yee are now a∣shamed? Take all the plea∣sures that are past, & squeese them with all thy might, and see what drop of fruite thou canst wring of them. They are past and gone, and there remaines no one iot of them, but they are perished with the vsing.* And as these haue Page 62 dealt with thee that are past, so shall they serue thee that are to come. There is no∣thing left of the former, nei∣ther shall there be of the lat∣ter, but they shall be all swal∣lowed vp of one emptinesse and nothing. But in stead of the pleasure of sinne which is vanished, thou maist haue a sting of sinne that will not easily vanish; and this meere naturall reason hath told vs.
9. But if we meane through∣ly to leaue sinne,* wee must leaue sinfulnesse; wee must not plucke off the branches, but plucke vp the rootes of it. Wee must not heale sinne downeward, but vpward; we must goe to the bottome of it, and begin to purge and heale it at the bottome, and so come forward to make it whole at the top. If wee pull vp the roote of it, the bran∣ches will die, but if we do but breake off the branches of it, the root will bud againe, and bring forth both branches Page 65 and fruit. The tree of know∣ledge of good and euill that brought-in lust to be the law of our hearts, which is a con∣trariety to the law of God; must bee pulled vp by the rootes. And why should it not? For when this is done, a man is in no worse case by it, than Adam was in his per∣fection, euen when hee was happy, and before his vnhap∣pinesse. Yea, thou shalt here∣by free thy selfe from a most miserable bondage; and so let thy libertie, as well as the excellencie of this estate, moue thee. Thou art now a slaue to thy lust, euen an E∣gyptians bond-slaue; if it bid thee goe, thou must goe, if it bid thee come, thou must come; and wouldst thou not Page 66 rather choose to be free from so blinde and base, and impe∣rious a master, to serue the highest, and most glorious Creator, euen the true and liuing God. True it is, that sinfulnesse is rooted some∣what strongly in thy nature, but there is a mighty power that is able to roote it out, e∣uen the same power that first created Nature, and that can raise the dead, yea which rai∣sed Iesus Christ.* This migh∣ty power and outstretched Arme, is that which helpeth soules in their passage from Egypt, and giues them safe conduct into the glorious li∣berty of the sonnes of God. Wherefore feare not to in∣counter the power of sinne, and to cast off the yoke of it; Page 67 for thou hast a mightier po∣wer to make good thy free∣dome, euen a power against which Pharaoh & his hostes,* the diuell, sinne, and the gates of hell shall not bee able to preuaile. The Lord in his mer∣cy*leades forth the people whom hee hath redeemed, and guideth them in his strength vnto his holy habitation.
10. Neither must we on∣ly put off sinne,* but wee must put on righteousnesse. There are certaine fruits, which are worthy or sutable to amend∣ment of life, and these must bee brought forth. For when the Axe of Gods iudgements is laid to the rootes of the Trees, none but the tree that beares good fruite, shall e∣scape hewing downe and ca∣sting Page 68 into the fire. But the righteousnesse of outward workes, is neither true nor lasting, without a seed and nature of Righteousnesse. Therefore to make the fruite truely and continually good, the tree must be made good. For the good tree only bea∣reth good fruit, and ceaseth not to beare it. Wherefore as the roote of sinfulnesse must be pulled vp, so a roote of Righteousnesse must bee planted. As the old man must be put off, the new man must be put on.* This New man is borne of the spirit, as the old man is borne of the flesh.*For that which is borne of the flesh, is flesh, and that which is borne of the spirit is spirit. And if that which is borne of the Page 69 spirit be in vs, then haue wee in vs a roote of Righteous∣nesse. For the fruite of the spi∣rit is in all goodnesse,*and righteousnesse, and truth. This is the roote of the tree plan∣ted by the riuer side,*that bringeth forth his fruite in his season: his leafe also shall not wither, but whatsoeuer he doth shall prosper. This is the seed that falls into good ground, yea it makes the ground good into which it falls,*so that it bringeth forth hearbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, and receiueth blessing from God. And in∣deed no wonder if it receiue blessing from God, and turn away the curses of God; for when the hart of man is thus made good ground, fruitfull Page 70 earth, and a good tree by the vertue of Gods spirit; the heart of Man is according to the Heart of God; And from this harmonie & agreement, issue all blessings and bles∣sednesse. There is friendship betweene God and man, when face answereth to face, the face of mans soule, to the face of God, to whose Image it was first created, and after the fall it must bee re∣newed.*Then will God delight to dwell among vs, hee will walke with vs, hee will bee a Father to vs,*and wee shall bee his sonnes and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.*The Lord shall open to thee his good trea∣sure, the heauen to giue the raine vnto thy land in his sea∣son, and to blesse all the worke Page 71 of thine hand: And thou shalt lend vnto many Nations, and shalt not borrow: And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the taile, and thou shalt bee aboue only, and not beneath, if that thou hearken to the Commandements of the Lord thy God, to obserue and doe them. Infinite is the bles∣sednesse, and infinite are the blessings which follow this new creature and Image of God: And places of Scrip∣ture are almost endlesse that expresse them. Briefly and for a summe, Godlinesse is pro¦fitable vnto all things,*hauing promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Now what shall I inferre hereupon? yea, let God him∣selfe make the inference, by Page 72 his blessed Apostle: Hauing therefore these promises,*deare∣ly beloued, let vs cleanse our selues from all filthinesse of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holinesse in the feare of God. Let vs put on the New Crea∣ture, and walke by that rule: for as many as walke by that*rule, peace shall be vpon them; Peace betweene God and vs, peace betweene vs and our owne soules, and peace be∣tweene vs and the Crea∣tures.
10. Hauing thus put on* the glorious and blessed I∣mage of God, in our repen∣tance from dead workes, and the body of sinne, let vs crown and consummate this happy worke with a Coue∣nant. For thus did the ancient Page 73 Conuerts; they bound vp their Repentance in a Coue∣nant, that entring into a Co∣uenant with God, God might enter into a Couenant with them, and so the knot of Happinesse & Loue might bee knit and made sure be∣tweene God and Man. The heart of man is very deceit∣full and backsliding, and it is not enough to put it into the way of agreement with God, but being there, it must be bound by strong resoluti∣ons, yea those resolutions haue beene bound with an oath. And thus our will binding it selfe to the will of God, by a settled resolution, and vow, it continues the closer and more vnseparable, since as soone as temptation Page 74 commeth, it dasheth it selfe in pieces against the Rocke of this Couenant. The heart being as it were hardned and steeled with Resolution, is in vaine assaulted, and the Bil∣low of temptation flying a∣gainst it, non frangit, sed fran∣gitur, the Billow is broken, but the house or the heart falls not, because it is become rocky being firmely built on the Rocke Christ Iesus. Yea Sathan seeing the soule set∣tled and resolued to resist him, flyes away, and remoues his engines to places and persons of lesse resistance. But on the other side, God seeing the heart bent, and resolued, and bound, to a constant seruice of God, hee meetes it with a constant Page 75 loue, and the kisse of perfect peace is betweene them. I might bring forth diuers ex∣amples of Couenants. There was a Couenant vnder Mo∣ses,* vnder Ioshua, vnder Iosiah,* vnder Ezra,* but I especially propose the Couenant of*Asa, because it was the pat∣terne of a perfect Couenant, and a happy successe. And because I wish the later, I propose the former. This Couenant is thus described. There came a Prophet and spake vnto Asa,* and all Iu∣dah and Beniamin: Hee told them of the miseries of those which were without the true God, a teaching Priest, and without law: That forsaking God, they were forsaken of God: And in those times there Page 76 was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were vpon all the Inhabitants of the Countries: And Nation was destroyed of Nation, and Citie of Citie, for God did vexe them with all aduersitie. On the o∣ther side, The Lord is with them, while they bee with him, and if they seeke him, hee will bee found of them. Yea being vexed for their sinnes, when in their trouble, they did turne vnto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, hee was found of them. Thereupon the Pro∣phet inferreth, Bee yee strong therefore, and let not your hands bee weake, for your worke shall be rewarded. And Asa indeed grew strong; for the Scripture saith, Hee tooke Page 77 courage and put away the ab∣hominable Idols out of Iudah and Beniamin; he renewed the Altar of the Lord, and offe∣red a great sacrifice to God: And to binde vp this new obedience, and to make it sure by setting a seale to it; They entred into a Couenant to seeke the Lord God of their fa∣thers, with all their heart, and with all their soule. This Co∣uenant they binde with a high penalty; yea, they binde it farther with an oath. Nei∣ther was this oath taken with a grudging, and repining heart, (such as too many of our hearts be, that are affraid to bee too farre engaged in the seruice of God, though it be to our owne preseruati∣on) but knowing that God Page 78 loueth a cheerefull giuer; They sware vnto the Lord with a loude voice, and with shouting, and with Trumpets, and with Cornets. And when they had sworne, they were not sorry they had done a good deed, (which kinde of repentance to bee repented of, is too common among vs,) But Israel, yea, all Israel reioyced at the oath: and be∣hold the reason; For they had sworne with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire. And now be∣hold the happy successe; God was found of them, and he gaue them rest round about. Behold here a path, that leades to rest. And the men are named, that haue already trauailed in this path, and by Page 79 it came vnto rest.* And wher∣fore doth the Scripture so punctually trace out this path? but that ages to come might learne by this exam∣ple, in the same path to come to the same rest. The same seeking the Lord with the whole heart, and binding it with a Couenant, and bin∣ding the Couenant with an Oath, or solemne Vow, are things which may bee done, and being done, they are fol∣lowed with rest. What re∣maines to bee said, but that rest stands before vs, and the way to rest is also open to vs, and the Spirit encoura∣geth vs by these examples, and saith; This is the way, walke in it, and ye shall finde rest to your soules? If it seem Page 80 heauy to vs, it is because we doe not seeke God with all our heart, and our whole de∣sire: for wee see that they who seeke the Lord with their whole heart and desire, reioyce at the Couenant, yea at an oath vpon the Co∣uenant, at a Bond vpon a Bond. For they thinke that all Bonds are little enough to binde the heart to him, whom all the heart doth seeke and desire. If a woman doe affect a man with all her heart to make him her Hus∣band, surely she will account it a very ioy full thing to bee bound to him by a solemne Matrimoniall vow. For it is nothing else but to binde the heart to him aboue all, whom the heart doth affect aboue Page 81 all. It is a pleasure to bee bound to that which wee loue. Wherefore if we loue God, we will take a pleasure to be bound to him, yea wee will not only cry with the Spouse, Draw me, but binde mee to thee,* with cords of loue, and I will runne after thee. Neither is it any new thing to binde our hearts to God by a Couenant, for it is but a repeating of the same Couenant which wee made in our Baptisme: And it bin∣deth vs already, if wee doe not renouce our Baptisme, and so our Christianity. Yea, the same Couenant wee re∣new and repeate in the Lords Supper. For the whole work of Grace working in the Church Militant, is compre∣hended Page 82 and bound vp in a Couenant, which wee reade to bee thus summed vp in the Scripture. God forgiueth our sinnes,* and writeth his Lawes in our hearts by his Spirite, and so hee becomes our God, to direct, protect, and blesse vs, and we become his people, to serue, loue, and obey him. This Couenant wee enter into in Baptisme,* vndertaking then to bee led by the Spirit of Regenera∣tion, and not by the Flesh, the World and the Diuell. Now the Lords Supper is a seconding of this Couenant: Therefore saith our Sauiour,* This Cup is the New Testa∣ment, or Couenant (for so the words are enterchanged, Heb. 8. 8. & 9. 20. & 12. 24.) Page 83 in my bloud. And indeede because by the frailtie of the flesh, whose reliques remaine after Regeneration, though the Reigne be abolished, wee often goe aside from the Rule of the Spirit, (wee goe aside, I say, as a ship goes aside and fals off from the rule of the Needle or Compasse, though the Compasse be not cast ouer-boord, neither fall out of the ship) therfore this Sacrament is appointed to bring vs againe into the path of the New Couenant, the guilt of those frailties and er∣rours being washed away by the bloud of Christ, and the spot by the spirit of Christ. Which spirit of Christ also refresheth and reuiueth the Law of God written in our Page 84 hearts, and strengthens vs to a more perfect walking and abiding in this Law. So the Iudgements of God doe but call vs to the same Couenant to which the Sacraments binde vs: but indeede they call vs to a more reall perfor∣mance of that Couenant, which hauing vndertaken in the Sacraments, yet we haue failed to performe. For this Cause, saith St. Paul, many are weake and sickly among you,*& many sleepe. And the Lord by his Prophet,*Therefore I will bring vpon them all the words of this Couenant, which I commanded them to doe, and they did it not. And if hee, That despised Moses Law, died without mercy,*of how much sorer punishment suppose yee Page 85 shall he be thought worthy, who hath troden vnder foote the Sonne of God, and hath counted the blood of the Couenant, wherewith hee was sanctified, an vnholy thing? And thus while iudgements come vp∣on vs for the breath and con∣tempt of our Couenant with God, the same iudgements call vs to a Cure by the con∣trary, that is, by renewing our Couenant againe, and stedfast keeping it.* For if we would thus iudge our selues, wee should not bee iudged of the Lord. Behold, here is life and death set be∣fore vs, and there are exam∣ples of both. The breach of the Couenant is iudged and auenged with destruction: An example of that breach Page 86 and iudgement, are Iudah & Ierusalem, who besides their many breaches, after many renewings, brake one, euen a little before their Baby lo∣nish* Captiuitie. The making of a Couenant with the whole Heart, is followed with Rest and Prosperitie: and an example of that is A∣sa with all Iudah and Benia∣min. What shall I say? Choose life that ye may liue! Euery ones heart, I thinke, should say so to it selfe. And the speech of another should be preuented or stopped, as Elisha put to silence the chil∣dren of the Prophets: I knew it,*hold you your peace. But then I say as Iacob to his sonnes: Why doe yee looke one vpon another? I haue heard Page 87 there is Corne in Egypt, get yee downe thither, and buy for vs from thence, that wee may liue and not dye. Why stand yee still gazing on Gods chastise∣ments which yee see vpon your selues and others, and doe not goe about to cure them? Our Ioseph, euen Iesus that deliuers vs from the wrath to come, whose coate was dipped in his own blood,* euen the coate of his Humanitie, wherin the Diui∣nitie was apparrelled like a Man, yea like a Seruant; He, euen hee hath prouided the food of eternal life, to which all temporall blessings are annexed by promise: for those who in this Egypt, this sinfull land, or world of sin, doe goe downe to the Vallie Page 88 of Teares, in a full and hear∣ty repentance; what re∣maines, but that with a full and whole repentance, wee purchase these temporall and eternall blessings, that wee may not die but liue?
11 This full and consum∣mate* Repentance should be followed with Inuocation, or we may rather say, it doth follow it. For Inuocation and Prayer is indeede the na∣turall Issue of true Repen∣tance. For sinne being put away by Repentance, which stood as a Cloude betweene God and the soule, and did hide the Face of God from the Eyes of the soule, now the light of Gods counte∣nance shineth on the soule, and the comfortable beames Page 89 of his fauour doe refresh her. God doth meete the soule with a fauourable aspect, from which, gathering cou∣rage and comfort, shee dares speake vnto him, and say,*A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise: Doe good in thy good pleasure vnto Sion, build thou the walls of Ierusalem. When the soule feeles the weight of sinne a∣bated, and lightned by Re∣pentance, hope of pardon increaseth, and from hope in∣creasing ariseth confidence, & then from this confidence springeth vp prayer. Againe, when the bodie of sinne is diminished and brought low by Repentance, then the new man flourisheth and prospe∣reth. The flesh and the spirit Page 90 are like two seales, whereof one being depressed, the o∣ther mounts vp; and now the flesh being put down by Re∣pentance, the spirit riseth vp and growes strong; and the spirit being strong, vttereth strong cries and grones that cannot bee expressed. Shee speakes to God in the very language of Heauen, which flesh and blood vnderstands not; but he knowes the mea∣ning of the spirit, who gaue the spirit vnto man. There is an Abba, Father, which no man knowes but he that hath it, and he that hath it cannot expresse it: it is like the ear∣ning of a Lambe, whereby she owneth her Damme; by which she owneth her, but knowes not her selfe where∣by Page 91 by she owneth her. There is a secret earning and owning of God for a Father, put into the soule of a sonne of God, by the Spirit which new-be∣getteth him, and thereby he calls God Father; and yet not he, but the very feed and spi∣rit of his Father in him. And when this call ascends vp vn∣to God, it moueth his bow∣els of compassion: So that if a mother could forget her childe, yet God cannot for∣get his sonne.* It is it selfe a forcible motiue to bring down blessings, and it makes way for other preuailing pe∣titions; and therefore Christ doth set this word of Father, as an head on his absolute praier, that by it the petitions following may pierce like an Page 92 arrow, and enter into the presence and acceptation of the Almighty. Wherefore ha∣uing our hearts sprinkled from an euill Conscience,*and our bo∣dies washed with pure water, let vs draw neere with a true heart in full assurance of faith. Hauing repented let vs aske mercy and forgiuenesse, and that remission of punish∣ments which followes the remission of guilt. Yea, if our hearts bee hard, and can∣not repent as we desire, let vs aske the grace and spirit of Repentance. For on the one side it is condemned in the Iewes, that they pray not for Repentance in their punish∣ments for sinne. So saith ho∣ly Daniel:*All this euill is come vpon vs, yet made wee not our Page 93 Prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turne from our iniquities, and vnderstand thy Truth: Therfore hath the Lord watched vpon the euill, and brought it vpon vs. And on the other side, it is said, All things that yee shall aske in Praier,* beleeuing, ye shall receiue.* Yea, God will giue the Holy Ghost to them that aske him. Pray then for the Spirit of Compunction and Re∣pentance, of him that hath promised to giue it, and pray for the Compunction and Repentance, when thou hast the spirit, making this the burden of thy Psalme, Turn vs againe O Lord of Hosts. And not onely so, but adde hereunto,*Cause thy face to shine, and wee shall bee saued:Page 94 that is, pray for Repentance, and hauing repented, pray for the fauour of God, and the Saluation or Deliuerance which attend it. And indeed so inseparable is Deliuerance from Prayer, that if God doth promise to send a Deli∣uerance, yet he expects that Prayer should come to fetch it of him. God had promised a Deliuerance to the Iewes from the Captiuitie of Ba∣bylon after seuenty yeeres. Yet he saith;*Then shall you call vpon me, and shall goe and pray vnto me, and I will hear∣ken vnto you. And euen vpon this foundation did Daniel* build his excellent prayer vnto God for his Nation. Wherefore let vs take Gods owne way which he points Page 95 vnto vs, to come to his owne Blessings: A way so often beaten and tried to leade as∣suredly to blessings, and euen to the blessing of Deliue∣rance from the punishments of sinne, that the storie of the Iudges is full of continuall patternes.* These Nehemiah summeth vp: When they cried to thee, thou heardest them from Heauen, and according to thy manifold mercies, thou ga∣uest them Sauiours, who saued them out of the hand of their Enemies. Yea he saith again: When they returned and cried vnto thee, thou heardest them from Heauen, and many times didst thou deliuer them, accor∣ding to thy Mercies. Where∣fore since crying to God is the way to deliuerance, let Page 96 vs neuer leaue going in this way vntill we come to De∣liuerance.
12 But let vs know withall* that he which said, Call vpon me in the day of trouble and I will deliuer you 〈◊〉 this also, And 〈…〉glorifie me. To glorifie 〈…〉 God, must 〈…〉 intended by vs, when we seeke a Deli∣uerance; and performed by vs, when wee haue it. Yea, hauing receiued some deliue∣rances already, let vs bee thankefull for them, and that is the way to get more. For when God hath the fruite of his Mercies, he will not spare to sow much, where he reapes much. First, we must intend the Glorie of God in the Praiers which wee make for Page 97 Deliuerance from troubles, or any other blessing. Yea, by this very point of Gods glory, let vs binde and adiure him: For that is a principall meanes, by which to preuaile with God, to make Gods glory the scope of our pray∣ers. Therefore our Sauiour who is the wisdome of God, makes the first petition, of his perfect prayer, That Gods Name may bee hallowed: For hee knew, that if in the first and chiefest place we doc de∣sire Gods glory, all the peti∣tions that come after, and are in order to this glory, must needs bee effectuall and po∣werfull with God. And for this reason, so many prayers of the Saints, in whom the Spirit of Christ conformed Page 98 their prayer vnto the prayer of Christ, doe so often ad∣iure GOD by his great Name, and for his Names sake, to grant their petitions. So Ioshua when hee went a∣bout to saue Israel, who was now ready to bee destroyed, hee had no mightier Argu∣ment, wherby to binde God to preserue them, than this,*What wilt thou doe to thy great Name? And indeed when you strike on Gods glory with your petition, you strike on that which is principall in the heart of God, and there∣fore principally toucheth & moueth him. You adiure him by that which is dearest to him, euen by that which is his owne end;* and is so parti∣cularly his owne, that he will Page 99not giue it to another. His wisdome he communicates, and his iustice he distributes, and his mercy hee bestowes, but his glory he will not giue away:* for all glorying is ex∣cluded, and hee that glories, may not glory in his wis∣dome, power, goodnesse, or any thing else, but hee must only glory in the Lord. And iustly is glory most precious to him, and hee may rightly challenge it as alone due to himselfe; for there is no fit end of God but himselfe. In all his Creation, in the worke of redemption, in the dispensation of his proui∣dence, & all that he doth both in heauen and earth, God on∣ly is a fit end of God, Gods glory of the workes of God. Page 100 Hee cannot but end in him∣selfe, what hee begun from himselfe; neither can he make a creature his end, whose ve∣ry beginning is from him. Therefore the Scripture rightly inferres,*Thou art worthy O Lord to receiue glo∣ry, and honour, for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were cre∣ated.* And, of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom bee glory for euer. So that as all things are of God, so all things are to him, and to him they are by the glory which ariseth from them; for this is the maine fruite, and returne that comes vnto God from his works. So that if you come to him this way, you come to him his Page 101 own way, & he wil walk with you in this way, vntill you come to the wayes end.*But can two walke together, except they be agreed? If you agree not with God in your petiti∣on, can you thinke to haue God to walke with you to the end of your petition? If your end be the Creature, or some perishing vse of it, and Gods end is himselfe the Creator, do you thinke God will leaue his end, to walke with you to your end? If your end bee your owne ease, or pleasure, or safetie, yea the quiet or safetie of a Coun∣trie, and Gods end bee his owne glory, exeept you le∣uell your end to his end, and so indeed make yours cease to be your end, by making Page 102 his end yours (for there can be but one vtmost end, which indeed alone is an end) doe you thinke your petition can be pleasing or auailable with God, while it goes not to the end proposed by God? Cer∣tainly a Nation is so farre from being Gods end,* that all the Nations of the earth are reputed as nothing before him,* that is, they are nothing in comparison of him. When God lookes vpon Man, and himselfe together, Man va∣nisheth away into nothing before him. Therfore Ioshua, when hee will saue his Nati∣on, goes not to moue God by the way of the Creature, as by saying, It is a great Na∣tion, it is pitty such a Nation should be destroyed; but hee Page 103 goes to the Creator by his owne way, euen by the glo∣ry of the Creator. But the contrary is the cause why we so seldome thriue in our pe∣titions, because wee make man the end of God, and not God the end of man. Wee will only make vse of God, to serue mans turne, and then it is well enough; but that man, being holpen, should af∣ter serue Gods turne, we lit∣tle intend. But let vs know, that this is the only way to haue our petitions, not only denyed, but despised: De∣spised, I say, because they haue such base ends; base in comparison of that great and glorious God, who only is the true end of all his Crea∣tures, and ought to bee so Page 104 proposed, when wee seeke a∣ny thing of him, for the good of the Creature. But this maine end being proposed, euen God and his glory, then wee may commendably and hopefully, pray for the good of the creature, yea we may binde God in our prayers, and contest with him for his owne glory. And this kinde of petition and prayers are most forcible with God: for wee may bee sure God will not be wanting to himselfe; his goodnesse, wisdome and power, shall neuer faile his creatures, when they may aduance the creatures to the glory of the Creator.
13. In a second place I must say,* it is some encou∣ragement to God to grant Page 105 new petitions, if hee haue receiued the glory due to him for granting the old. For how should hee hope for more glory of new benefites, if he haue not that which is due for the old? That man deserues not to haue a second good turne, that is not thank∣full for the first. But if God haue his end, that is, his glo∣ry, by his benefites past, our petitions may bee bold with him for blessings to come; for God will not sparingly sow, where hee doth plenti∣fully reape. It was the bar∣rennesse of the tree, that brought vpon it the fearefull sentence,*Digge it vp, why combreth it the ground? Both the people and the petitions, can looke for little other Page 106 end, who hauing receiued the grant of former petiti∣ons, doe not returne to God the fruites of glory and thankes-giuing. Glory and thanks-giuing are the fat of our sacrifices, and our petiti∣ons are leane and ill-fauou∣red, like Pharaohs latter kine, that haue not this fat.*If yee offer the blinde and lame and leane for sacrifice, is it not euill? offer it now to thy Gouernour, will he be pleased with thee? yet I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hosts. And indeed when wee speake to a King, and desire some grace from him, it is an vsuall thing to begin with praise and ac∣knowledgement of former fauours,* and goodnesse. Ter∣tullus did it to lesse than a Page 107 King, and Paul was not much behinde him in the same. But hee dealt throughly in this kinde with Agrippa, and so much praised him for be∣leeuing the Scriptures, that hee almost made him that, which was the end of his praise, euen almost a Chri∣stian. Now if God be a great King, let vs giue him great praises; hee deserues them, and wee shall be gainers by them. For as his greatnesse is, so is his goodnesse; and he that is good to vs in great things, deserues great prai∣ses: And if this debt be paid, hee will goe on in lending. Dauid knew this, and there∣fore when hee seekes new helpe in new extremities, hee begins commonly with prai∣ses Page 108 for Gods old and ancient goodnesse.*I will praise thee O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy mar∣uailous workes: They that know thy Name will put their trust in thee, for thou Lord hast not forsaken them that seeke thee: Sing praises to the Lord which dwelleth in Sion, declare among the people his doings. When hee maketh inquisition for blood, he remembreth them, hee forgetteth not the cry of the humble. And then comes prayer, when praise hath made way for it; Haue mercy vpon mee, O Lord, consider my trouble, which I suffer of them that hate mee, thou that liftest mee vp from the gates of Death. And both praise and prayer are followed Page 109 with successe; The Heathen are sunke downe in the pit that they haue made. In the net which they hid is their owne foote taken. The Lord is knowne by the Iudgement which hee executeth; the wic∣ked is snared in the worke of his owne hands, &c.* The Le∣uites also after their returne from the Captiuity, by prai∣sing God for his old bene∣fites, winde-in their prayer and petition for new. For they knew, that Gods eare is open to due praise and thanks-giuing; and when it is open to praise, then also may prayer enter, the doore of grace and audience being o∣pen. Behold the summe of both;*Now therefore our God, the great, the mighty, and the Page 110 terrible God, who keepest Coue∣nant and mercy, let not all the trouble seeme little before thee that hath come vpon vs. And surely if any Nation, this Na∣tion hath a faire way where∣by to come vnto God: For no Nation hath receiued greater fauours and more wonderfull deliuerances; so that a large doore is open to them, for their petitions to enter, if great praise and thanks-giuing, for great bles∣sings and deliuerances, bee (and so it should be) sent be∣fore to make way for them. Our Deliuerances haue bin many, and withall so emi∣nent, that the eyes of the world haue plainly seene the great power of God in them: and if others haue taken no∣tice Page 111 of them, how much more should they affect vs, who haue tasted the sweet∣nesse and benefite of them? The deliuerance of Eightie Eight, is a thing wondred at by the world; and the Dis∣couery of the Powder-Trea∣son, very neere, if not one with a Miracle. To these we may adde euen very late and New Deliuerances, and tur∣nings away of iudgements, whereof I desire to take a more full consideration, to∣ward the close of this work; it being one maine end of it, to continue the memorie of Gods goodnesse,* and of his wonderfull workes to the children of men: And not only the memory, but to make the memory vsefull, Page 112 by giuing God due glory for his mercies, and to make vs the fitter for new mercies, by a right vse of the old. For lamentable it is to see, how soone Gods benefites grow stale and dead to vs; so that wee shut vp our owne way, to new benefites, and to our prayers that are made for them, by forgetting the old. Wee are all for crauing, and nothing for thanks-giuing, and therefore our crauing is not heard, because it comes without thanks-giuing. Wee separate that which God by his blessed Apostle doth so often ioyne together, prayer and thanks-giuing.* Wee are all for our selues,* and nothing for God; and therefore it is no wonder if God doe no∣thing Page 113 for vs. We are like the Horse-leech euer crying, Giue, giue; yet this giuing which wee so much desire of God, we will not allow God to expect from vs. There is much oddes between giuing of benefites and giuing of thankes; yet we that expect so much giuing of the grea∣ter, will not affoord the lesser, yea though it be a ready way to procure the greater. In worldly things it is all the wisdome and indeauour of Trafficke, by a thing of lesse price to get a thing of grea∣ter value; only in spirituall trafficke, and in commerce with God, wee will not lay out little things, to obtaine his great things. But this a∣riseth much from a poyson Page 114 in our nature, which loseth the taste of things had, and reacheth out the appetite strongly to things not attai∣ned. Now the true way whereby to raise vp and to continue thankfulnesse, is to stirre vp and continue the true and first taste of Gods benefits. We must haue such a taste of them, as wee had when we first receiued them. Yea we should put our selues into the same case of danger or necessity wherein we were before wee receiued them; and then consider, how such a Deliuerance doth taste be∣ing receiued in such a danger. If thus thou taste the good∣nesse of God in his mercies, this goodnesse of God will fill thy soule as with marrow Page 115 and fatnesse, and from thence will naturally arise a due eructation of praise and thanksgiuing. And thus will be an endlesse Circle of Bles∣sings. The more blessings God sendeth vs, the more shall we blesse him; and the more we blesse him▪ the more blessings he will send vs. A∣men, Amen.
Thus the great Helpe of Miseries hath beene presen∣ted to view, with his Allies, and Associates. A Helpe which is able to helpe vs, without worldly helpes; a Helpe that helpes worldly Helpes; and a Helpe with∣out which no other Helpes will helpe vs. For this Helpe brings vs to the strong Helper, and gets him to re∣moue Page 116 his owne iudge∣ments. But without this all Helpes are vanitie, because they looke not vnto the Holy one of Israel,*neither seeke the Lord; yet he also is wise, and will bringeuill, and will not call backe his words, but will arise against the Helpe of them that worke iniquitie.
14 But because this Re∣medie doth call for Retur∣ning;* Returning from sinne vnto God by righteousnesse, you will aske perchance with the old Iewes,*Wherein shall we return? Surely a question too easie to be answered. We are all in manie sinnes, from which we should return; and the maine bodie of them is so tall and eminent, that like the pride of Israel, it doth te∣stifie Page 117 to our faces.* There are particular sinnes, of which it is rightly enioyned by that King of penitents,*Let them turne euerie one from his euill way, and from the violence that is in their hands. There are also particular-common sinnes, euen sinnes of particu∣lar persons, which by their hainousnesse bring a com∣mon iudgement, especially if they be fauoured and appro∣ued. The sinne of Achan be∣ing one mans sinne, brought a iudgement vpon manie; and the sinne of some men of Gibeah, approued by a Tribe, brought a iudgement vpon the Tribe: yea almost an vtter destruction. Con∣cerning these,* whosoeuer haue power of Reformation, Page 118 no doubt God expects it of them: but those that haue not this power, let them bee sorry for that euill which they cannot amend. And so while they turne their hearts from it and against it, it may be God will not punish them for that which they disal∣low; yea let them pray to God to reforme it,* and in the same praier say with the Ma∣riners, We beseech thee O Lord, wee beseech thee,*let vs not pe∣rish for this mans life; for the sinne, or sinfull life of another. There are also Na∣tionall, or at lest common sinnes, and indeed there is too great a sinke of these sins in this Nation. The abun∣dance of these euil humours, is that which lies heauie vp∣on Page 119 the heart of this Nation, and makes it sicke at the very soule of it. And though ma∣ny of these Diseases haue beene discouered by many, yet few are cured; and some there are which can scarse be beaten into the notice of those that are sicke of them. Besides numberlesse others, who haue sought the Health of this people, by shewing them their Diseases, I haue loued, if not furthered, the word and worke of the great Shepheard; I will seeke that which is lost,*and bring againe that which was driuen away, and will binde vp that which was broken, & will strengthen that which was sicke. And to this end I haue endeauoured to discouer their Sicknesses, Page 120 and to shew them the Reme∣dies. But alas! the Diseases liue, and the Remedies dye; they liue that are our destru∣ction, and they dye by which we should liue; and what will be the end hereof? There∣fore mine eye weepeth in se∣cret, and my heart is affraid,*Because their eare is vncir∣cumcised, and they cannot hear∣ken; behold the word of the Lord is vnto them a reproach, they haue no delight in it. Still doe the knowne & notorious sinnes call one to another, as the wilde beasts of the Ilands cry in desolate houses:* Luxu∣rie calleth to Drunkennesse, and Drunkennesse calleth to Blasphemie, and Blasphemie answers euery sinne, that it speakes with. And I wish Page 121 this sinne did not speake to those that speake not to it▪ but abhorre to heare it, and that it did not haunt the pas∣senger from one end of the City, yea of the Land, to another. A dry, barren, and saplesse sinne; he that would do any thing for God, or for his owne soule, would surely leaue such a sinne, which hath no tast of profite or pleasure in it: but hee that wil not leaue a few needlesse words for God, will certain∣ly doe nothing for him; yea they take a pride in this mad∣nesse. And wheras a man that feares God, feares to vse his Name vainely, though it were but in the vsuall and vnnecessary formes of admi∣ration; these men striue to Page 122 fill vp their speeches with many repetitions of the Name of God; that they may often name him, whom they doe not beleeue to bee at all: or if they beleeue that there is a God, their wicked∣nesse is the greater, because they wittingly dishonour him, whom they beleeue to be God. Let such men walke vnder what name they will, the name of Heathen is the least that belongs to them. For, can they bee other than Heathens, that doe not so much as sauour of the Lords Praier, and the ten Comman∣dements? in one of which there is a Petition, that Gods Name may be hallowed, and in the other a Precept, that his Name should not be pro∣phaned. Page 123 And if there be any oddes between such Christi∣ans and Heathens, the oddes of goodnesse is on the Hea∣thens side. For the Heathen knowes not this Praier, nor these Commandements; so that if hee offend, he offends against that which he knows not. But these false Christi∣ans, no question, haue known them, at least in their child∣hood, and so doe offend a∣gainst that which they knew. Now since Christ hath pro∣nounced a heauier sentence on these than the other, no doubt they are worse than the other: for he saith, The ignorant Heathens shall bee beaten with few stripes,* and these with many. But a∣gainst this and many other Page 124 sinnes, there hath sounded out the Word of God so of∣ten in vaine, that it may euen now truly bee said,*All the day long I haue stretched forth my hands vnto a disobedient, and gainsaying people. Which giues cause to feare, lest all the day long GOD also stretch forth his hand vpon a disobedient and gainsaying people. And I wish yet at length, that though they haue not taken it to heart when his hand is stretched out vnto them, yet they may lay it to their heart, when his hand is stretched out vpon them.
15. The continuing of these and other roaring sins,* with a high, wilfull, and pre∣sumptuous hand, makes mee Page 125 to doubt, that the stocke of our sinnes, euen of the sins of this Nation, growes on to a fulnesse, and that the sinnes of our Ancestors com∣ming downe vpon vs by a continuall and vnbroken suc∣cession, the treasure of wrath growes to a fit and full mea∣sure for a day of wrath. And if these sins should descend vpon vs, one of them which I should especially feare, is Blood, and especially the Blood of the Martyrs. For this sinne stucke fast to Israel, and followed them, euen through the daies of good Iosiah, and hath this fearefull Doome set vpon it, That God would not pardon it.* And I suppose a man may see the blood of the Martyrs worke Page 126 on some Houses particularly; & if particularly, why not ge∣nerally? especially there be∣ing such a bending in many,* to touch with the whore, that is drunken with the blood of the Saints. And surely her touch doth defile those that are knit to her, with the blood of the Saints.* But a Remedie against this and o∣ther sins of our Forefathers is giuen by God himselfe: If he beget a Son, that seeth all his Fathers sinnes which hee hath done,*and considereth, and doth not such like, he shall not dye for the iniquitie of his Father. This is the way, which God himselfe hath shewed, whereby the sonnes may put off the guilt and pu∣nishment of their fathers Page 127 sinnes, euen by putting off the sinnes themselues. But we must know withall, that sinnes are neuer throughly put off, vntill sinfulnesse bee put off, euen the roote it selfe of sinne. But when this sin∣fulnesse is put off, then is there a diuiding and parti∣tion between the Sonne and the Father, the knife of Cir∣cumcision hauing cut off that, by which the sinne of the Fathers was deriued to the Children. For in Rege∣neration, which putteth off the old man and the body of sinne, we are cut off from the stocke of the first Adam, and graffed into the second A∣dam, and from thence our pedegree is reckoned from the second, into whom wee Page 128 are ingraffed, and not from the first, from whom wee are cut off. We are then beheld in him, in whom God is wel pleased, and not in him, in whom God is offended. Yea in stead of the guilt of the sinnes of our Fathers, the righteousnesse of Christ Ie∣sus descendeth vpon vs; and we are so farre from the guilt of those whose corruption we haue put off, that we are cloathed with the righteous∣nesse of Him whom we haue put on. In the very concep∣tion of Christ Iesus, the Ho∣ly Ghost stopped or cut off this streame of Corruption, that it should not descend vpon him; and that not de∣scending, neither did the guilt of old sins descend vp∣on Page 129 him. But what he had in his Birth, wee haue in our New-birth, when wee are New-borne of him: For then is the guilt of old sins cut off, the sinfulnesse being cut off by which it streamed downe vpon vs.* And thus doe wee come to the New Couenant, whereby the Lawes of God being writ∣ten in our hearts, not onely the sinnes of our Forefa∣thers, but our owne sinnes, are put away; for God for∣giueth all iniquities, and re∣membreth sinnes no more. And indeede to this very Couenant doth God call vs in those places of Scripture, where hee teacheth vs this way of putting off the sins of our Fathers. For though he Page 130 begins in the Law, yet hee ends in the Gospell: And we know that the Gospell is generally, though secretly, intimated in the Law,* which was a Schoolemaster to Christ. But here samewhat openly wee are called to the Gospell and New Coue∣nant. There are two places wherein God answers the Iewes that had set vp a Pro∣uerbe against his Iustice.*The Fathers haue eaten sower grapes,*and the childrens teeth are set on edge. As if they should say, Wee are righte∣ous, and haue not eaten the sower grapes of vnrighte∣ousnesse, but onely by our Fathers eating, the teeth of vs their children must be set on edge. Surely a terrible Page 134 taxe and accusation of the Equalitie and Iustice of Gods waies, That righteous Children should bee puni∣shed for the sinnes of vn∣righteous Parents. Heare the Force of their Argument, standing vpon this Assump∣tion, That they were righ∣teous: God ioynes Issue with them iust in that point, and tells them plainely, that if they bee righteous, they shall not dye, but liue. And because the Iewes by reason of the vaile on their eies, still groped for a Legall Righte∣ousnes,* and (as S. Paul saith) being ignorant of Gods Righte∣ousnesse, goe about to establish their owne (that is, a Legall) Righteousnesse; God know∣ing their meaning, talkes Page 132 with them in their own lan∣guage, and accepts their challenge, in their Legall termes.* Therefore he vseth the very words of the Law when he answers them; set∣ting forth to them a Legall Righteousnesse, and with the very Legall condition, Doe this, and thou shalt liue. But at length, because hee knew that the Law made nothing perfect, because it was weake, and did not powerfully change the heart, by the change and re∣newing whereof, sinne with sinfulnesse, may onely bee put off, hee remoues their eies from the Law to the Gospell. And therefore in Ezekiel, he calls vpon them for a new heart, and a new Page 133 spirit, without which all their legall Righteousnesse can neuer put off the sinnes of their fathers. And in Ieremy,* God plainly tells them how this new Heart is to bee got∣ten, euen by the grace of the new Couenant, whereby the lawes of God are written in our hearts; and the heart be∣ing changed by this grace, by a blotting out of sinful∣nesse, and writing of holi∣nesse, the guilt of sinnes passed, both ancient and mo∣derne, are all blotted out al∣also; for GOD forgiueth their iniquities, and doth no more remember their sinnes; for iustification is giuen to∣gether with sanctification, & where sanctification is not present, iustification is absent▪
Page 134 Wherefore, since God hath made known to vs this sound and sufficient remedy, against the sinnes of our fathers, let vs take it heartily, and put a∣way the sins and sinfulnesse of our fathers by putting on Christ Iesus, in the new and second birth.* For, there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Iesus: but in stead of the guilt descending from our fathers,* the righteous∣nesse of Christ Iesus shall de∣scend vpon vs; for by the o∣bedience of this one, many shall be made righteous. For as sinne aboundeth, so grace superaboundeth; the breadth of Mercy exceeds the depth of Iustice: for as Instice goes down to the third and fourth generation of them that hate Page 135 God, so Mercie spreades it selfe abroad vpon thousands of them that loue God and keepe his Commandements. The righteousnesse of one, if wee be one with that one, shall bee more auailable to our Iustification, than the sinnes of many from whose sinfulnesse wee are diuided, shall be powerfull vnto con∣demnation.
16. But while we are spea∣king of the sinnes to bee put off,* there presents it selfe to vs another sinne, which also hath beene the sinne of this Nation, and withall we may take notice that it was a sinne of Sodom. This sinne in the Scripture goes vnder the name of Fulnesse of bread, and in our Language is plain∣ly Page 136 called Gluttony. And this sinne hath beene so proper to this Nation, that one puts Voraces, for an Epithete of Angli, and another when he will say he is full euen to the brim, expresseth it thus, Si saoul comme vn Anglois; He is glutted like an English man. It may bee some men out of naturall Philosophy, will ga∣ther an excuse, that the cold Climates haue need of more food, because the heate be∣ing stricken in, and so by vni∣on made stronger, expecteth more fuell to feed it, and to draw it away from feeding on that stocke of naturall humidity, which is the lampe of life. But this only pleads for such a measure, which preserueth life; but we speake Page 137 of a measure that oppresseth life: A filthy, and vnreaso∣nable, and vnmeasurable measure, proceeding of a fil∣thy cause, and going on in a bruitish way, to a dange∣rous end. The roote of this sinne which we speake of, is Concupiscence, and this Concupiscence hauing con∣ceiued, infects both vs and our meate, and doth so turne our table into a snare, that it changeth wholsome meate into poyson, euen into the poyson both of body and soule. No reason in the world vseth meate beyond strength; for euen that allow∣ance which is for delight, if it goe a degree beyond strength, and passe on to a degree of weaknesse by op∣pressing Page 138 vs, it is fallen into a degree of sinne. Therefore the Wise man, when wisely hee iudgeth of eating,* he de∣scribeth that to bee the right vse and limite of eating, when eating is for strength. And indeed that fulnesse to which the lust of eating be∣ing followed doth leade, is a fulnesse, by which the strength of the body is so farre from increasing, that it is diminished thereby. Life and strength, like the light of a Lampe, are not fed, but quenched, when that which should feed them doth op∣presse and drown them. And in that case food is turned to an end, cleane contrarie to that end for which it was made, being made by vs Page 139 an instrument of death, whereas it was made by GOD to bee a nourishment of life. Yea it hurts the soule also; for, besides the indispo∣sition of the Body, by which it is vnfit to serue the soule, & besides the thicke cloudes and vapours, which ascend from fulnesse, and cast a mist about the soule, there is a cer∣taine secret poyson, that by fulnesse is instilled into the soule. This God foresaw, and therefore he forewarned his people, to fore-arm them against it. Hee saw such a mischiefe comming by ful∣nesse, and therefore hee calls to them, with a Beware; When thou shalt haue eaten,*and bee full, Beware lest thou forget the Lord. Yea hee saw Page 140 that notwithstanding these forewarnings, it would be so; And therefore in that song of Moses,* which hee was commanded to speake vnto Israel, to testifie against them, concerning the euills that would bee committed by them, and should draw euils vpon them; He foretells this euill, as the roote of them; Hee made him ride on the high*places of the earth, that hee might eate the increase of the fieldes, and hee made him to sucke honie out of the Rocke, and oyle out of the flinty Rock, Butter of Kine, &e. and thou didst drinke the pure bloud of the Grape. But Iesurun waxed fat, and kicked, &c. Then hee forsooke God which made him, and lightly esteemed the God Page 141 of his saluation. Therefore the wise man prayeth only for conuenient food; fore∣seeing this fearefull effect of fulnesse, which hee thus ex∣presseth, Lest I bee full and de∣nie thee.* O wretched and most vnreasonable conse∣quence, from most gracious premises. It is God that giues vs the food, by which we de∣nie him. He giues food to vs, and wee by the venome of fulnesse in the vse of this gift, doe so blinde our owne eyes, that wee see not the Giuer. Yea then we see him least, when wee feele him most. The gift should leade thee to the acknowledge∣ment of the Giuer, yea to blesse him, for the good Land,* and for the good of the land, Page 142which hee hath giuen thee. But in stead of blessing him for his gifts, thou denyest him, yea by the gifts them∣selues thou deniest him. Yet if there were no God, then shouldst thou haue had no gifts by which to deny him; but now because there is a God, there are gifts giuen to thee, and euen because he is, therefore thou denyest him. A senselesse and a horrible wickednesse, euen a monster of wickednesse, the very sight whereof, should bee a∣ble to fright vs away from it. But what should bee the reason of this vnreasonable vice? Surely this I thinke may be the cause of it: The lust of Man which Sathan brought in with the first ea∣ting, Page 143 is that law of the mem∣bers and wisdome of the flesh, which is enmity to God. For this lust is that which sets the naturall man, altogether to boast of his* hearts desire, and to put God out of his thoughts. Now when this lust is at the high∣est, then is the enmitie with God at the highest, and then is God most shut out of the thoughts of Man. But when the body is stuffed with ful∣nesse, then is lust at the high∣est. For in our eating there are two that eate at once. The body doth eate, and lust doth eate. And there are two sto∣macks, one of the body, and a second of lust: and this lat∣ter stomacke holds out, many times after the former hath Page 144 done. And this fulnesse by which this latter stomacke is filled, after the fulnesse of the first, is that which causeth the mischiefe whereof wee complaine. For from it a∣riseth that height of lust, which despiseth and denyeth God: yet to this end and marke doth lust aime in ea∣ting, euen to feede it selfe vp to that height, which denieth God. And for this very rea∣son, is moderation exceeding necessary, that we suffer not lust to carry vs on to that ful∣nesse, which denieth and for∣getteth God. Yea fasting is exceeding profitable, and a true medicine against lust; for as lust carries vs by ful∣nesse▪ out of the sight of God; so fasting brings vs backe a∣gaine Page 145 toward him, euen to a cleere sight of him. Where∣fore it were good that either of them were in more vse, as well for their particular and proper vses, and bene∣fites, as also because being contrary to the old vices of our Predecessors, we put off the guilt of old sinnes, in putting on contrary vertues.
But because wee haue not done this voluntarily, it hath beene done vpon many by necessitie, & pouertie hath in∣forced an abstinence, where grace could not perswade it. Yet is there one other Cure; but it is as bad as the Disease, yea it is so farre from a cure, that it doth adde other disea∣ses to it. And whereas this vice did formerly march vn∣der Page 146 the colours of a vertue, called Hospitalitie, now it marcheth vnder the colours of Pride and Prodigality. So are three vices brought together, to offend God by his owne blessings the more fully; but let men know that they are but a threefold Cord, to draw on iudge∣ments the more vnauoida∣bly. Excesse it selfe is bad e∣nough, and there is no need to bestow much money to buy a vice; yet to buy this vice some sell their estates, or at least straine beyond them: and when they haue done so, they are proud of it, euen of buying one vice with another. Thus excesse, bought with prodigalitie, bringeth forth pride, and sin Page 147 is heaped vpon sinne, as dish is heaped vpon dish. For such is now the Architecture of excesse▪ that there are lofty buildings reared vp of super∣fluous dishes, that what was made for the stomacke, may be put into the eye. And so wheras ancient gluttony did vsually intend most to please the lust of the flesh, this is fitted now to satisfie the lust of the eye; and not that only, but also the pride of life. And thus are all those things brought together,* which are of the world, and not of the Father, though it bee said withall, They that loue these things of the world, haue not the loue of the Father. Yea though the world shall passe away, & the lusts thereof, and Page 148 they onely that doe the will of the Father, shall abide for euer. For meates cannot make men Euerlasting, but there must be an end, and perchance the sooner for a∣busing them, and then there must come an account, euen for the abuse of them. But as these offend in an excesse of quantity, so others offend in an excesse of quality, and put as much sinne into a lit∣tle roome, as others doe into a great. A great summe of money is contracted into a single dish, and there is an ambition, to make vp a great excesse, in as little a forme as they may. Thus the shapes of vices are altered, but vices are retained, and there must bee new fashions in sinnes, as Page 149 in clothes. Surely the Na∣ture of these times, doth not call for these studies, and without study, this Art of Excesse cannot mount to this Height. When God calleth for pouerty, wee should not meete him with prodigalitie; when hee calls for humilitie, wee should not meete him with pride; and when he calls for fasting, we should not meete him with excesse of Riot. But let vs feare the Consequences of such incongruities, and let this feare teach vs to auoide them. Surely the Iudgement which God himself hath de∣nounced against them is fear∣ful; there wants nothing but faith to beleeue it, and then it will appeare as fearefull as Page 150 it is. In that day did the Lord of Hosts call to weeping, and to mourning,*and to baldnesse, and to girding with sack-cloth: And behold, ioy and gladnesse, slaying oxen, and killing sheepe, eating flesh, and drinking wine: Let vs eate and drinke, for to morrow wee shall dye. And it was reuealed in mine eares by the Lord of Hosts: Surely this iniquitie shall not bee purged from you till yee dye. But to those that tremble at the word of God, and conforme themselues to his will, as in all things, so in the right vse of his Creatures; the Scrip∣ture offereth more grace. For the Grace of God which bringeth saluation,* hath ap∣peared, and teacheth vs, That those who deny vngodliness Page 151 and worldly lusts, liuing god∣ly, righteously, and soberly in this present world, they may comfortably looke for the blessed hope, and glori∣ous appearing of the great God, and our Sauiour Iesus Christ. For verily there is a re∣ward for the righteous,*verily there is a God that iudgeth the earth.
17 But to what purpose* doe I seeke to cut off the branches of particular sinnes by the sword of the Spirit, as long as there remaineth a∣mong vs a Roote of gall and wormewood, that can bring forth all sinnes at once? For if we cure sinnes one by one, and while one is curing many spring forth, the disease o∣uergroweth the cure. Yea, Page 152 euen that very sinne which we seeke to cure, after a little while will breake forth a¦gaine, because the Roote of it is still aliue. This Roote of Bitternesse, is a naturall pro∣phanenesse, euen a contempt of God, and the Truth of Religion. I say the truth of Religion; for there may bee an eye cast toward Religion, out of custome, or for com∣pany, or for some remaining impressions of the first Cre∣ation, that may make men to feare there is a God. But to loue Religion in the true shape of it, and because it is true, this is it that I find farre banished by this Roote of Prophanenesse. And though I much lament it, yet I doe not greatly wonder at it: for Page 153 I see a Cause of it, and there∣in I see, that while men are nothing but men, this will be their fashion. For Religion, in the Truth of it, must needs be Spirituall:* for it is the worship of him who is a Spi∣rit, and therefore cannot bee pleased by any worship, but of Spirit and Truth. Now if Religion bee Spirituall, how can it bee, but it must needs be contemned, yea, hated by men that are car∣nall? For, the carnall minde is enmity against God;* and the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other. And from this Contrariety ariseth that En∣mity; and from that Enmity ariseth▪ Persecution, euen Page 154 from the beginning vnto the end of the world. For this two fold seed of the flesh and the spirit hauing the founda∣tions of it laid in Paradise, the Enmity then also was en∣acted between them. And as then* (I meane as soon as men were borne) he that was born after the flesh, persecuted him that was borne after the spirit: so is it now. Now doth the flesh despise and oppose spi∣rituall worship, and spirituall worshippers: which oppo∣sition, so farre as it doth pre∣uaile, so farre doth the gene∣rall roote of sinne preuaile, and the sins springing from that roote. And because the Diuell is the Prince of this Enmity, hee fitteth weapons for this warre, wherwith the Page 155 sonnes of the flesh may fight his battells against the sons of the spirit. And of all the weapons which he hath pro∣uided in these last Ages, I thinke he neuer inuented any Engine made of words, more seruiceable to him, than one which of late hee hath brought into fashion. For it is a sharpe-pointed word, dire∣cted to runne into the very eye of true Religion; it is a Canon mounted to batter the very Kingedome of Christ, to lay wast all holi∣nesse of life, the fruite and effect of that Kingedome; and this word is then shot off, when a Saint is called a Puri∣tane.* And though King IAMES (a King higher than the Kings of the earth in Page 156 Learning and Iudgement,) tied the propertie of this word to Anabaptists & their Sectaries, it is now diuerted to Saints, euen to those that doe not walke in the broad way of common, and socia∣ble vices, and especially if they goe somewhat higher than ciuil and naturall Righ∣teousnesse. If the spirit doe but shew it selfe in some ex∣pression of a clearer light, or more heauenly vertue, than the darkenesse of the flesh comprehendeth, it is to bee beaten down, and quenched with the Title of Purita∣isme. Yet Christ plainely calleth his Disciples to excel∣lent things;* and Dauid calleth the Saints, by the Title of Excellent: yea, and for this Page 157 very Reason in them is all his delight, because they are Excellent: and for this very Reason doth the man of flesh hate and persecute them. And indeed in this very Ex∣cellence, wherin the spiritual man exceedes the carnall and naturall man, stands the glo∣ry of Gods Kingdome of Grace. For when men doe those workes which the car∣nall and naturall men doe not sauour, and therfore doe them not, then are mens eies turned away from the men that doe them, to God the Author of them; and so see∣ing their good workes to shine with a light diuine and supernaturall, they glorifie the Father in Heauen,* which is the chiefe and first worker Page 158 of them. But against this glory, and against the power by which this glory is attai∣ned, and against the king∣dome which standeth in this power, and against the spi∣rit which sets vp this king∣dome in the hearts of the Saints, doth the euill spi∣rit make warre; and as by all other mischieuous meanes, so by this malici∣ous word of Puritanisme. And no wonder,* for it is this spirit of Christ, that is the maine destroyer of the king∣dome of the euill spirit; and therefore against him is his greatest malice, and most fierce opposition. Hee cares not though there bee thou∣sands in a Nation, that ab∣staine from some particular Page 159 vices, or doe some carnall workes of ciuill Righteous∣nesse; for his kingdome yet may stand, and these toge∣ther: But if the Spirit of God come once to set vp a king∣dome of grace in mens hearts, this kingdome is set vp with power, and this po∣werfull kingdome of the spi∣rit hee cannot endure, be∣cause he knows, that by it the lesser power of his king∣dome must needs goe to wracke. And then he bestirs himselfe, and all his policies, to quench the smoaking flaxe of this powerfull Grace, which yet shall neuer bee quenched, vntill it come vn∣to victorie.*
18 But to come to some Remedies: Let the Diuell Page 160 and his Instruments know,* that in this, as in many other things, Malice doth out-run their wit, and so is not led by it, but leads it: For if the Diuell could get this spirit of Grace to forsake the earth, the fire would soone con∣sume and end it;* And when the Elements are melted, and consumed with that fire, there comes presently ano∣ther fire vnto which the Deuill is reserued in euer∣lasting chaines vnder dark∣nesse. And if the wicked ones, his instruments, could roote out of a Nation, those who are truly spirituall, sure∣ly they driue thence the ve∣ry Chariots and Horse-men thereof; and they were then fit for nothing but for an vt∣ter Page 161 destruction. It is no other piece of policie, than if the Sodomites should make hast to turne out Lot and his Fa∣milie, that Fire and Brim∣stone may make haste to de∣stroy them. Secondly let them know, that they know not that wherof they affirme; they censure that which they doe not vnderstand. For there may bee a holinesse, which themselues know not; there may bee a holy Ghost, though they see or feele him not, and that holy Ghost may reueale that truth, giue that power and heate of Ho∣linesse and Deuotion, which flesh and blood doth not re∣ueale and giue vnto them. And if there may bee such things, what folly is this, to Page 162 speake of that which they know not, yea what mad∣nesse to condemne it being vnknowne? Sure I am, they doe not know, that there are no such things, and therefore they doe not know, that they doe wisely in censuring such things, which may bee for ought they know; and if they be, they are certainly excel∣lent, and most vnworthy of contempt. Wherefore let men take heed, that they cast not vpon themselues, the title of folly or madnesse, when they call a Saint a Pu∣ritane. Thirdly, they giue men occasion to call them Brownists, I meane those that thinke them to be of any Religion. For these men that thus cast contempt vpon Page 163 purenesse and holinesse, cast contempt on the Liturgy and prayers of our Church. For there wee finde these ex∣cellent and godly Petiti∣ons, That our liues hereafter may bee pure and holy: Yea for the King himselfe, That God-will preserue him in holi∣nese and purenesse of life. Now to reuile this, which the prayers of our Church pray for, is to reuile the pray∣ers of our Church; and I thinke hee that doth it, hath a fauour if hee bee taken for a Brownist. Fourthly, to de∣stroy and batter this grace of the Spirit, is the only way to leaue no good works among vs, and so to bring the very name of Reformed religion into infamy. For the workes Page 164 which were brought forth by the errors and motiues of the flesh in the darknesse of Poperie, we haue sought to remoue. And now striuing to set a new roote and prin∣ciple of good workes, euen Grace the true roote and fountaine of them, this the Diuell by these words of malice and contempt, doth seeke to roote vp and de∣stroy. So that this is the way to leaue no roote at all of good workes. But farre bet∣ter were it to cherish the true and kindely roote of them, that so good trees may plen∣tifully bring forth the fruite of good Works. Yea it were to be wished, that it might be so watered, that it bring forth those great good workes of Page 165 buying-in Church liuings, and building of Churches. For the first many hungrie soules doe cry, complaining with the Eunuch;* How can I vnderstand, except some man guide mee? And some that complaine not, are in worse case than the other; for they lie speechlesse and more than halfe-dead, not feeling their owne misery, the Le∣uites passing by them, and leauing them in it. And in∣deed there is little outward encouragement to drawe them in, or at least to per∣swade their abiding, where there is scarce a little cham∣ber, with a bed,* a table, a stoole & a candlestick, to re∣ceiue them being come. And this while the people perish Page 166 for want of knowledge, and being without a teaching Priest,* they are not farre from being without God, as it seemes by the Prophet. For the se∣cond, I acknowledge that the true religion hath both built and repaired Churches: Nei∣ther is this chiefe Citie with∣out examples. But yet it were good the roote of this fruite were somewhat more wate∣red: For if these fruites did abound, a Church would not stand open to the raine, so long after a fire, and per∣chance those stones would bee put into their right pla∣ces, which now by many, no doubt, are turned into stones of stumbling and offence; For euen to remoue an of∣fence did Christ cause PeterPage 167 to cast in an Angle, and to fetch money from a fish. And surely if some would but cast an Angle into their superfluities, they might take vp such a piece of mo∣ney, as would saue such an offence. If it were to satis∣fie or serue the flesh, and for outward glory, we see how easily great summes are ex∣pended, and huge buildings are raised. And I thinke scarce any age of our Ance∣stors, hath equalled ours. But when wee doe so much for our selues, and so easily, so little and so hardly for God, doth not this shew, that the roote of prophanenesse, and contempt of God is too much watered, and the root of Grace too much starued Page 168 and pined? But let vs feare this building of our owne houses with the contempt of God and his houses; for hee hath blasted it with a Iudgement, and his owne mouth hath told it vs.*Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the Prophet, saying: Is it time for you, O yee, to dwell in your sieled houses, and this house lye waste? Now therefore saith the Lord of Hostes, Consider your wayes. And againe, Consider your wayes. You looked for much, and loe it came to little, and when you brought it home, I did blow vpon it: why, saith the Lord of Hostes? Because of mine house that is waste, and yee runne euery man to his owne house. Wherefore that Page 169 the Church spiritual, which is the house of God, and the Church materiall, which is the house of the hosue of God, may bee edified and built vp, yea that all good fruites, euen all good works may prosper and increase; let not the roote of pro∣phanenesse starue and keepe downe the roote of holi∣nesse: for hee that thus wa∣geth warre against good workes, by killing the roote of them, puts away from himselfe the name of a Christian, and puts on the title of a Libertine. Fourth∣ly, it is a thing most fear∣full, and followed with in∣finite misery: For they that fight against the grace of the spirit, fight against the spirit Page 170 whose grace it is. So when the Prophets were resisted by the Iews in whom Gods spirit instructed, and spake, S. Steuen saith,*Yee doe al∣wayes resist the holy Ghost. And S. Peter most plainely; The spirit of glory,*and of God resteth vpon you, which on their part is euill spoken of, but on your part hee is glori∣fied. Behold a fearfull thing, with which Gamaliel af∣frighted the hard-hear∣ted, and stiff-necked Iewes:*Lest yee bee found to fight a∣gainst God: For when the pot will fight with the Potter, wee know, it can expect no end, but breaking in pieces:*Thou shalt breake them with a rod of Iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a Potters Page 171 vessell. Wherefore kisse the sonne lest he be angry, and yee perish from the way. Kisse the spirit of the Son, by which spirit hee kisseth the soules of those that loue him, and are loued of him. This is the way to eternall happinesse and saluation. But if in stead of kissing, you kicke against his Spirit, bee yee sure yee shall perish from the way of saluation. For holinesse is the way to happinesse; and if we resist the spirit by which men are sanctified, yee put from you the Author of that holines, by which we walke to hap∣pinesse. It is a prayer of our Church, That our life may be pure and holy, so that at the last wee may come to Gods eter∣nall Page 172 ioy. Wherefore if pure∣nesse and holinesse bee the way to eternall ioy, why dost thou hate & stop vp the way, that leades to eternall ioy? Surely if thou stop vp this way to thy selfe and o∣thers, there remaines no o∣ther way for thee, but that broad way which leadeth to eternall destruction. Behold the end of Gods enemies; wherefore feare yee also, Lest yee bee found fighters a∣gainst God: and remember, that when you call Saints Puritanes, you are Gods e∣nemies, and the titles which follow that, are children of wrath, and sons of perdition.
But, though it be a righte∣ous thing with God to re∣compence tribulation to Page 173 them that trouble you,* yet to you that are troubled, rest shall be with the rest of the Saints, when the Lord Iesus shall bee reuealed from hea∣uen. And in the meane time follow the example of the same Lord Iesus: pitty their ignorance, and out of that pitty pray for them,*Father forgiue them, for they know not what they doe. If a man distracted doe raile on thee, thou art more sorry for him, than for thy selfe: Doe the like in a case not vnlike. Doe according to thy owne knowledge, and not accor∣ding to his ignorance. Se∣condly, know the Diuells aime in it, and then thou art safe. His aime is to take thy holinesse from thee, and to Page 174 quench the spirit, or some fruites of the spirit. Be thou most carefull to keepe, what hee is most carefull to take away; for be thou sure, that is a most precious Iewell which thy greatest enemie seekes most to take from thee. Thy enemie plainely tells thee the worth of it, by his endeauours to steale it: Wherefore let his malice be a very motiue to keepe that purenesse & holinesse which his malice setteth at so high a price. Thirdly, vnderstand the diuells language, & thou maist be very well pleased: for in the Diuels language a saint is a Puritane. Wherfore know, that when for so me good worke, hee calls thee Puritane, vnderstand, that in Page 175 his language he calleth thee Saint:* wherfore let this turn to thee for a testimoniall, that euen thy enemies being Iudges, thou art such a one as is truely honourable here in earth, & shall eternally be honoured hereafter in hea∣uen.* For, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
As for other sins, where∣with this Land is pressed downe, I wish they were so inuisible, that men should need to looke into bookes to finde them. It may not be doubted, but where such a bitter roote of prophane∣nesse and irreligion preuai∣leth so strongly, the cursed fruites of it are too plenti∣full. But men bend not their mindes to that counsell Page 176 of God,*Consider your wayes. Yea, the tree of knowledge of good and euill, hath so infected mens iudgements with a carnall wisdome, that they looke only for good and euill in outward and carnall things. If those things goe well, all is well. And euen for this very cause, doth God punish vs in outward things, that by the euills which we regard, wee may be brought to take notice of the euills which we regard not. For though the carnall man doe not see sinne to bee euill, but only thinkes that to bee euill which hee feeles, yet that e∣uill which he sees not, is the cause of the euill which hee feels. For there is an euill wayPage 177 of sinne, which drawes on the euills of iudgement;* and as they come together, so they goe together: For when man turnes from the euill way by repentance, God turnes from▪ the euill which he said he would doe, and doth it not. But of these euills of sinne I haue often spoken, and brought them before mens eyes: but I pray God to annoint our eyes with that eye-salue of his spirit, by which spirituall things are seene and discer∣ned, that rightly seeing our sinnes and rightly iudging them, wee may escape the iudgements of God.*
19. From the sinnes to be repented of; we passe to the persons that ought to be Page 178 principall Agents or Ad∣uancers of Repentance.* It hath beene formerly noted, that it belongeth to all, and among al, chiefly to the chie∣fest, by whom this dutie may be best communicated to all. And so notice was first taken of the Magistrate, as being first in Eminence.
And indeede the supreme Magistrate, ouerspreading all his people with a generall Authoritie, most fitly enioy∣neth, and spreadeth out a ge∣nerall humiliation. There∣fore we read that Kings were the Ordainers of generall Fasts; & Fasts being by them made generall, haue produ∣ced generall Blessings. And therefore is the Fast it selfe a great benefite, bestowed by Page 179 the Prince on his Subiects; it being a general Summons to Repentance and Humilia∣tion, whereby the Euills and Miseries which lye vpon the people may bee taken away and turned into Blessings. Yea, what greater benefite can there be, than to bestow that greatest and highest Re∣medy? which is able to cure a people, though sicke at heart; yea, when the vsuall Remedies are sicke them∣selues, it is able to cure them: and from thenceforth them∣selues being cured, they are able to cure vs. And here I cannot but extoll the fauour of God to this Nation, and the goodnesse of our gra∣cious King to his Subiects, who in the straights and suf∣ferings Page 180 of this people, gaue them this chiefe & soueraign Remedie. A gift, how euer carnall men may esteeme it, of principall value, and high∣est Consequence to a Nation labouring in an Agony, vn∣der the Iudgements of God. For as the greatest Tyranny is expressed in that Chara∣cter of Ieroboam, Hee made Israel to sinne;* since he that made Israel to sinne,* made Israel to perish: so is it the greatest Mercy and Goodnes of a Prince to draw the peo∣ple from sinne, by calling them to Repentance. For be∣ing turned from sinne, the perishing which attendeth sinne is also turned away. By this meanes did the King of Nineueh more good to his Page 181 Subiects, than all his Trea∣sures, all his policies, and all the power of a Citie of three dayes iourney, could haue done for them. For when God who is a spirit, comes to fight with a Nation, those carnal weapons are too gross wherewith to fight against a spirit; but spiritual weapons can onely serue the turne in a spirituall warfare. But wee need not to trauell farre, ey∣ther to ancient times or for∣reine places, to shew the be∣nefits and blessings, which a King procureth to his peo∣ple by calling them vnto publicke Humiliation: for e∣uen these late acts of Humi∣liation which haue been per∣formed by the Decree of our Soueraigne, haue beene fol∣lowed Page 182 with immediate bles∣sings, euen blessings that fol∣low them so close, that they doe more than point at their Causes;* for they doe touch them, and goe hand in hand with them. Yea these bles∣sings were affixed to them, as the Seales of the most High; wherby they were approued that are past, and others are inuited for the time to come. And as the publike Com∣mand of Humiliation, sent forth by the Magistrate, doth make way for a Blessing vp∣on his people: so also doth his particular Repentance and Prayer. For euen the particular vertues of a Prince are generall benefits. For as when a Prince doth some great sinne, God may breake Page 183 in by that sinne, vpon the sins of the people: so the Re∣pentance and Prayer of a Prince, may stand in the breach, and diuert the Iudge∣ments either broken in, or ready to breake in vpon the people. There is a president of both in King Dauid: for vpon the occasion of his sin in numbering the people, the plague brake in vpon Israel. And againe, by his humilia∣tion and praier, God staied the plague from breaking in vpon Iudah and Ierusalem. And indeed this Story teach∣eth Princes, by the example of a King according to the heart of the King of kings,* in publike Iudgements, espe∣cially to looke to their owne sinnes, and to say with Dauid, Page 184 It is I that haue sinned, but these sheepe what haue they done? As on the other side it teacheth the people especi∣ally to looke on their owne sinnes, since wee see by this example, that the sinnes of the people may be the occa∣sions of the sinnes of the Prince, and of those iudge∣ments that follow them. And thus the precious oyntment of sauing Health, beginning to bee powred on the head, may drop downe euen to the skirts of his garments: and by the fauour of God, it may be truly said of the Anointed of the Lord;*Vnder his sha∣dow we shall liue.
20 A second aduancer of humiliation and repentance,* is the Minister; and he should Page 185 aduance it both in publike and particular, by his functi∣on, and by his life. And sure∣ly there are many that doe both, and are like Iohn Bap∣tist, who was both a burning and a shining light. Inwardly burning with that heauenly fire, wherewith the spirit baptizeth; from that fire shi∣neth forth the light, both of doctrine and life. And for these wee owe great thankes to the Lord of the Haruest, that hath sent forth such la∣bourers into his haruest. For these also with Moses,* stand in the breach, and keepe out the Iudgements of God, and that with violence. For there is no small might in a true Prophet of God to defend a Nation from the Iudge∣ments Page 186 of God: for if a Pro∣phet and a King may bee be∣leeued when they speake of such Prophets,*Elisha saith it of Eliiah,* and Ioash saith the same of Elisha. So that the encrease of these, are both a signe and cause of safety to a Nation: and the diminishing of these, a signe and cause of ruine and deso¦lation. For what were those times when there was no peace to him that went out,*nor to him that came in, but when Israel was without a teaching Priest? Wherefore to those Elders that doubly build, by life and doctrine, there be∣longs iustly double honour; and indeed by their two-fold building, there ariseth a two-fold safetie, both to Church Page 187 and Common-wealth. And as it is a pleasant & iust thing, that to the skilfull builders of this twofold worke there should be double honour; so it is a pleasant & good sight, to see those that haue this double honour, to doe this twofold worke. And first for the publicke; It was verie comely to see the formost is honour, to march in the head of the troupe in the late hu∣miliation, which was a holy warre against the iudgements of God. A right reuerend Father and a reuerend Deane diuiding the day, and the works of the day, both pray∣er and preaching, giue en∣couragement to the exercises of the day. And I hope that more places than one are not Page 188 without patternes of spiritu∣all Captaines, that did leade forth their souldiers into this spirituall warfare. For it is a hopefull and comfortable thing, when there is a zeale and feruency in this worke of Reconciliation, and if it be taken to heart as a thing in earnest, and especially by the Priesthood. For when God stirreth vp the Priests to weepe between the Porch and the Altar, and to say: Spare thy people, O Lord, and giue not thine Heritage to re∣proach,* he heareth that which is spoken by his owne stir∣ring and motion: And so it followes; Then will the LORD bee iealous for his Land, and pitty his people. But if any man withdraw Page 189 himselfe, the sicke soule of an afflicted Church or Com∣mon-wealth, can haue no pleasure in him, nor profit by him. He that withdrawes himselfe from sauing his flock by publike indeauours, (euen in these workes of Hu∣miliation) and in his perso∣nall sanctity, this man seemes to be a trespasser, by destroy∣ing that which hee ought to haue built. And for the late solemnities, it is a griefe and losse, if any able man, should out of coldnesse of zeale, or loue of ease, performe the seruice of those dayes, with that which cost him nothing. Euen the obdurate Iewes, when they saw Paul and Bar∣nabas in the Sinagogue, they called vpon them for a word Page 190 of exhortation. I deny not the Scriptures which allow the publike reading of the Scriptures, neither doe I de∣tract from the worth and va∣lue of that which Authorie sets forth, deriued from Scripture; But withall, I know, that when Christ a∣scended vp on high, he gaue gifts vnto men, and the gifts which hee gaue, were giuen for the edification of the Church: And I doe not know, yea I beleeue not, that it was the intent of men of higher place and authority, by their paines, and industry, to exclude the indeauours and industrie, of those of lower place, or that they did labour, that these might take their case. An able Minister Page 191 resident on his flocke, can apply the present worke of humiliation, to the sins and sicknesses of his flock, which in euery flocke, being some∣what different, it is impossi∣ble so to comprehend them all in generall exhortations, that the particular shep∣heard, may not yet haue something left to say, that may particularly concerne the flocke, wherof God hath made him ouerseer. Surely if preaching in season and out of season be enioyned, this time must needs bee one of them, and I take it, in season. For this day, should bee a day of zeale, of contending and stri∣uing with God; a day where∣in the hearts of men should bee torne and broken, that Page 166 from broken hearts, there may ascend vnto God the sweet and acceptable sacri∣fice of Inuocation & Prayer. Now the zeale of the Mini∣ster, expressed both in his la∣bour for the Word, & in the Word for which he labours, prouoketh & enkindleth the zeale of his people. And the word of God being applyed to the root of those very sins, wherewith a flocke is ouer∣growne, it is like a plough to turne vp those sinnes by the rootes, and to breake vp the fallow ground wherein they lay, and so to make broken hearts, which onely can offer vp that acceptable sacrifice.
And now for priuate pra∣ctice of holinesse, and edifi∣ing by conuersation without Page 193 the word, I wish there were no cause for God to say, I haue a few things against thee.* And I wish they were so few, that few words needed to be said. But if they bee not so few, though speaking may be offensiue, yet silence is more dangerous. Wounds indeed doe paine when they are tou∣ched by the Healer, but they kill if they bee not touched. And there is no comparison betweene the offence that may bee taken by opening a sore in the cure of it, and that which the sore giues, when it opens it selfe to the world by visible corruption. And then there is on this side also an odds and aduantage of mortall danger. For wee know that whereof it is said, Page 194 it cannot long stand with∣out, which is ruinous within. But if not of this time, yet let mee speake of S. Pauls time.* There were some in that time, of whom he spake weeping: And sure∣ly if there bee such at this time, hee that speakes duely, cannot speak without mour∣ning. For is it not a lamenta∣ble thing to heare a good fel∣low, complaine of good fel∣lowship, as if hee were put downe in his owne professi∣on? But I am affraid of Gath and Ashkelon: Only I wish, that such were so knowne, that they might not bee knowne, and that this Nayle may bee so fastned by the masters of the assemblies, that if the children hold their Page 195 peace, the stones doe not speake.
But to the Aduersary I say, What is the chaffe to the wheare? Shee which is cal∣led barren, and seemes to them to haue no husband, because her husband is in heauen, hath borne more children, than shee that hath an husband on earth.*God gaue the Word, and great was the assemblie of Preachers. Preachers,* that haue obserued thy word, and kept thy Coue∣nant; That teach Iacob thy iudgements, and Israel thy law.
And let these holy Le∣uites, and Ministers of the liuing God, neuer leaue cal∣ling on the Father of mercy, and God of all consolation, Page 196 vntill by his mercy they doe binde the hands of his Iu∣stice, so that Iustice it selfe be inforced to aske leaue of them to punish, and to say, Let mee alone.* Thus did Mo∣ses that excellent Leuite, pre∣uaile vpon God for the Is∣raelites, when they had com∣mitted that horrible sinne of Idolatry in the golden Calfe. For vpon the prayer of Mo∣ses, challenging God for his free goodnesse, by which he freely began to bee good vn∣to them; for his Names sake which should bee dishonou∣red among the Egyptians; for his Oaths sake, made to their fathers, to be mercifull to them;*The Lord repented of the euill which hee thought to doe vnto them. And so did Page 197 another Leuite, euen blessed Samuel; for when Israel had sinned, and was therefore in feare of the Philistims,*Sa∣muel cryed vnto the Lord for Israel, and the Lord heard him. And the power of such pray∣ers is so preualent, that God himselfe makes it the signe of a desperate estate, when a Nation is come to that point,* that Moses and Samuel will not be heard. Wherfore for Sions sake let them not hold their peace, yea for their owne sakes also: for besides their owne interest in the common good, or euill, it is a sinne in them not to pray for the people; therefore Sa∣muel saith,*God forbid that I should sinne against the Lord, in ceasing to pray for you.
Page 198 20. But because the same Samuel,* who accounts it a sinne not to pray for the peo∣ple, yet hath little hope of his prayers except the peo∣ple repent; hee addeth, Onely feare the Lord, and serue him in truth with all your heart: but if yee shall still doe wicked∣ly, yee shall be consumed. For though prayers of Pro∣phets and Priests be power∣full with God to draw down his mercy, yet there is no v∣suall course of mercy to bee expected by a sinfull and im∣penitent Nation. Wee reade and heare, that though God shew a great mercy, euen mercy vnto thousands, yet it is on them that loue him,*and keep his commandements: And the mercy of God, is vpon them Page 199 that feare him from generati∣on to generation. Therefore before Samuel vndertakes to offer sacrifice and prayer for Israel, hee speakes vnto Isra∣el, to put away their sinnes, to prepare their hearts vnto the Lord, and to serue him only: And when they had done so, and with fasting acknowled∣ged their sinnes,* then Samuel prayed, and the prayer of Sa∣muel was heard, and the Lord sent them a deliuerance from heauen. Wherefore let not the people thinke to cast all on the Ministers, and ima∣gine that good men in the Ministerie, will serue to saue bad men in the Laitie. But let them striue to be such by repentance and holines, that the prayers of the Ministrie Page 200 may bee heard for their pre∣seruation. For otherwise by their sinnes they binde the hands of the Ministers, which they desire should bee lifted vp for them, yea they cause God both to stop his owne eares, and the mouthes of the Ministers. For when they loue to wander, and refraine not their feet from euill, then comes forth that fearefull command;*Pray not for this people, neither lift vp cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to mee, for I will not heare thee. And for their owne prayer, that will not be heard, though it come with fasting; which also is, and hath beene otherwise an ad∣uancer of vndenyable pray∣er:*When they fast I will Page 201 not heare their crie.
Wherefore it concernes the people by turning from their sinnes, to make them∣selues capable of the prayers of their Ministers, and not to vrge them to speake, by in∣treaties, and to stop their mouthes by sinnes. Let eue∣ry particular man search his particular sinnes, according to directions already giuen; and especially when hee feeles any griefe, or sees any terrour, let them feele and behold it as a spurre to repen∣tance. So shall lesser iudge∣ments keepe off the greater; it being a great mercy of God to chastise with rods, to saue punishing with Scorpi∣ons, and a great wisdome in man, to make a right vse of Page 202 this mercy. Wherefore let the Land mourne for their sinnes, that it mourne not for an vtter desolation. All the families together,* and euery familie apart, and euery man apart: And then in that day there shall bee a fountaine o∣pened for sinne and vnclean∣nesse, to wash them away, and the iudgements that fol∣low them.
But howsoeuer the multi∣tude doe,* who most com∣monly are like the old mixed multitude, rather giuen to murmuring when their lusts are vnsatisfied, than to tur∣ning vnto him that smites them;* let the mourners that are marked,* doe the office for which they are marked. If they reply, that they are few, Page 203 and their fewnesse doth dis∣courage them: it may be an∣swered, The fewer they are, the more they should mourne, to supply that mour∣ning which is wanting in o∣thers; yea to mourne for that want. Againe, thou maist bee the man that may make vp the ten, the twenty, or thirty, euen that set num∣ber which may saue a So∣dome, a sinfull City, or King∣dome: yea sometimes one man may stand in a gap, and bee the repairer of a breach. Amos* was a man subiect to infirmities as we are, and hee was but one, yet a Iudge∣ment being denounced when he said, O Lord, forgiue I beseech thee, by whom shall Iacob arise, for hee is small?Page 204 Then, the Lord repented for this, It shall not bee, saith the Lord. Lastly, though thou seeme to thy self to be alone, and with Elias thou knowest no more, yet with Elias thou maiest be deceiued,* and there may bee seuen thousand which thou knowest not, that haue not bowed their knee to Baal; and thy mourning, ioy∣ned to the mourning of that remnant which the Lord hath left,* may saue vs from being like vnto Sodome and Gomorrha. Howsoeuer, do thy part; let the Souldier of Christ be found in his place, euen when iudgements are comming: If thou saue not all, thou shalt be sure to saue thy selfe; perchance tempo∣rally,* without doubt eternal∣ly.
Page 205 And now to summe vp all, I wish that both Magistrate, Minister and people may go so throughly with the truth of repentance, that sinnes and sinfulnesse being put off, the iudgements that cleaue vnto them may also be put off. And because this is not done but by putting on the spirit of Christ Iesus, by the power wherof the kingdome of Sa∣than is put downe, and the kingdome of Christ erected; I pray that wee may come to this point of putting on the spirit of Christ Iesus. All the rest is but the forme of god∣linesse, but in the spirit of Christ is the life of godlines: & howsoeuer men may flat∣ter themselues, they are not Christians except they bee Page 206 one spirit with Christ Iesus. For CHRIST being called* Christ because he is anointed* aboue his fellowes with the* spirit without measure,* wee are truly to bee called Chri∣stians by beeing annointed with the same spirit accor∣ding to our measure. But no annointing, no true Christianitie. But if this ointment dwell in vs,* then haue wee Christ Iesus, and with him all the promises of God;* for in Christ Iesus all the promises of God are Yea and Amen.* Then haue wee power to wrestle and ouer∣throw the principalities and powers which are often the Inflicters of the iudgements of God, and continually the Tempters, prouoking vs Page 207 to those sinnes, for which iudgements are inflicted. For it is the Spirit of Christ only that settles a Church, and makes it a pillar of Truth, vnremoueable by Sathan. And most commonly where a Church is thus settled, the Nation is also settled which containes such a Church; and the Diuell is not suffered to preuaile against the later, because of the former. But when a Church growes spi∣ritually cold, & turnes from the life and heart of godli∣nesse to an outside of profes∣sion, then God growes cold to vs in loue; but in wrath hee growes hote against vs. If a Nation turne from the spirit to the flesh, though they be as great as the gyants Page 208 in the old world, and as the Anakims in the new; yet they are but great pieces of flesh, and an ouerflowing floud will destroy the one, and a destroying sword will cut off the other. When the daies of persecution were en∣ded, wee receiued the word with ioy in the holy Ghost; wee did then runne well, who doth let vs from run∣ning so still? Yea then God mightily prospered vs, and made his owne word good vnto vs,*The Lord is with you, while yee be with him. Why then should wee not bee still with him, as at first, that hee as at first may stil be with vs? Those that are of God, the word and wisedome of God should moue them; for that Page 209 saith to them,*Inquire the old way, and, Remember from whence thou art fallen,*and re∣pent. And those that are of the world the wisedome of the world should moue; for thus saith their Oracle. It is more cleare than the day,*that such bodies (of Common∣wealths &c.) doe not endure except they bee renewed; and the manner whereby to renew them, is to bring them backe to their beginnings. And then comming to Religion, wher∣of hee discourseth vnder the name of Sectes, he saith, It is manifest that such renew∣ings are necessary, euen by ex∣periments in our Religion. And indeede by his owne Rule, if Religion decay, a Kingdome and Common∣wealth Page 210 will decay: therfore he aduiseth,*He that wil main∣tain a Kingdome in his entire∣nesse, must aboue all take care, that Religion doe not decay, and by little and little come to bee neglected.
Thus should Religion bee reuiued, and mainetained in ancient vigour by all. By those that know it truely, be∣cause of the goodness which is in it. By those that know it not in the inside, but onely some outward goood effects of it, because it is good for themselues, if the good of the Kingdome wherein they liue, be their good.
21 The great remedy of Repentance and Conuersion being taken downe into the hearts and soules of vs,* I Page 211 would not doubt,* but wee should see Paul standing forth againe, and heare him saying: I exhort you to bee of good cheere, for there shall bee no losse of any mans life among you. And I speake it not with∣out ground; for God him∣selfe hath giuen vs some ear∣nests of this safety. For as the same Paul gaue this for the reason of his Encourage∣ment; There stood by me this night the Angel of God: so may I say for a ground of our Comfort; Not onely the Angel of God, but the Lord of the Angels hath stood by vs in the night of our sufferings and chastise∣ments; and by a manifest grant of our petitions vpon humiliation, hath giuen vs Page 212 good proofe that more hu∣miliation may obtaine more safetie and deliuerance. Vp∣on a little humiliation, for a little space grace hath bin she∣wed from the Lord our God,*to leaue vs a remnant to escape, and to giue vs a nayle in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and giue vs a little reuiuing. The first Fast was followed with miracu∣lous successe. Neuer a grea∣ter pestilence in our greatest Citie, recorded in these later ages: and I thinke neuer so great a pestilence, so soone & so cleane swept away. Yea, though the Citie were not long after thronged with a double meeting, so that it should be thought, that the chambers of death were fil∣led Page 213 with the liuing; yet death being cōmanded to sheath his sword, could not touch life, though fallen into the armes of it. So death by Gods mer∣cy was turned to vs,* as Laban toward Iacob; though it had a hurtfull power, it had no power to hurt vs. But when the greatest Pestilence hath thus the speediest end, it is a very wonder, and plainely shewes a hand aboue Nature. And what hand doe we finde to be the cause of extraordi∣nary changes, but Dextera excelsi, the right hand of the Highest? And if wee looke below, by what lower meanes the right hand of the most High hath beene mo∣ued to make these changes, euen to repent of the euill,*Page 214which hee said hee would doe,*and did it not, wee finde that Humiliation with Fasting is a principall meanes. Where∣fore this way being taken by vs, and this effect following it, what can wee thinke but that by this way, Gods mer∣cy came vnto vs?
A second blessing follow∣ing a second Fast, was the stay and turning away of a Famine; And this also was strange and extraordinarie, euen by a strange and extra∣ordinary change. For the Famine was posting apace towards vs, yea it flew on the wings of the cloudes, which dropped downe death and destruction, by destroying the fruites of the earth. Yet in the very speed of this Page 215 blacke Horse, the Fast gaue it a stop, and the word of God set that day for a bound to it; And concerning that day, a command came to the cloudes, Thus farre shall yee goe, and here shall yee stay your destroying waters. For wee know, that this very day was the end of that iudge∣ment. Now when wee see a Iudgement stop in such a day, what shall we thinke, but that the worke of that day, was the stop of the iudge∣ment? For otherwise, that day wherein wee were relie∣ued had no more vertue, than the dayes wherein wee were punished. Besides, by both rule & patterne in the Scrip∣tures, wee finde, that this ef∣fect by such causes may bee Page 216 produced. The Scripture saith,*If wee iudge our selues, wee shall not bee iudged. God was readie to iudge vs with a Famine, which is a Fast of necessitie; We vnder∣went a voluntary Famine by a voluntary Fast: So the Fa∣mine meeting with a Fa∣mine, went no farther, but dyed in it. The businesse which it should haue done, was done, and the end being attained, that which moued to the end, rested. And it is not without patterne, that spirituall workes, haue boun∣ded the iudgements of God with a day. Yea God him∣selfe doth call vs to set a Marke on that day; and by that, on others that are like it. When the Iewes for the Page 217 neglect of a worke that ten∣ded to Gods glory, were pu∣nished with pouerty and scarsitie; yet in that very day wherein they began that worke which God required, there was a change of curses into blessings: whereupon God calls vpon them; Consi∣der from this day,*and vp∣ward; from this day will I blesse you.
Thus by the good hand of God vpon vs, there hath beene a change and deliue∣rance from two of the great scourges, wherewith God professeth that hee scourgeth the sinfull Nations of the earth.* And if in two euills hee haue deliuered vs, why may we not hope, that hee will deliuer vs in the third? Page 218 If he haue deliuered vs from the Beare and the Lyon, why may wee not hope that hee will deliuer vs from a third, though it be as bigge as Goli∣ah? It is a sure signe, that Gods eare is yet open to vs; and while his eares are open, there is hope for a Nation: only let vs come to make sure this hope to vs, by ma∣king sure and right steps vnto it. A first should bee, praise and thanks-giuing, for these great saluations which wee haue already receiued. It hath beene shewed before, that by thankfulnesse for old benefites God is moued to giue new, and that where hee reapeth plentifully, he will plentifully sow. Therefore we must be thankfull for the Page 219 former, it wee will hope, vp∣on sure grounds, to receiue the latter; and wee must giue thankfulnesse for blessings past, as a pledge and pawne vnto God, that hee shall not lose his due thankes and praise for benefites to come. And that our thankfulnesse may bee hearty, it must pro∣ceed from the loue of God; for the true taste of Gods goodnesse in blessings, can∣not but much moue vs to loue him whose sweetnesse wee taste. Therefore the Psalmist saith,*I loue the Lord, because hee hath heard mee. And surely true loue will bring forth true obedience. Christ who is truth, hath said; If a man loue mee, he will keep my words.* And indeed obe∣dience Page 220 is the best thankful∣nesse. It is better than the sa∣crifice of praisein the calues of the lips; But both toge∣ther are best: For, who so of∣fereth praise, honoureth mee, and to him that ordereth his conuersation aright,*will I shew the saluation of God. Where∣fore our Liturgie doth make an entire thanks-giuing, for a deliuerance from the Pesti∣lence, when it offers the soules and bodies deliuered, to be a liuing sacrifice vnto God, and withall praiseth and magnifieth Gods mer∣cies in the midst of the Con∣gregation.
A second step to a sure hope, is perseuerance and constancie, in the vse of those meanes by which wee attai∣ned Page 221 these blessings already receiued. The same meanes to which Gods eare hath beene open, it will still bee open; yea being now ope∣ned already, it is much easier to keepe it open, than if it were shut, to open it. Where∣fore this doore of mercy be∣ing open, let vs by pressing into it, not only keepe it o∣pen, but open it wider, vn∣till all mercies bee obtained, that may heale our miseries. And as repentance and inuo∣cation, should by euery one particularly, and continual∣ly bee set on worke, to moue God to continue and perfect his good worke of mercy in vs, and vpon vs, so it is hum∣bly and heartily to bee desi∣red, that the same publike Page 222 meanes, and manner of hu∣miliation may not long bee intermitted, vntill God make his face to shine on this Na∣tion, in a full deliuerance, from generall troubles, dan∣gers and straites: For why should wee leaue to seeke God by those meanes, wher∣in God doth not leaue to heare vs? And why should wee leaue to vse medicines, as long as there remaine di∣seases? God hath shewed vs the way how to bee heard and healed. Yea hee hath assured vs of healing this way, by the earnests of health which this way hee hath sent vnto vs: And shall sicknesse giue ouer the Physi∣cian, before the Physician giue it ouer? shall Need bee Page 223 weary of asking and recei∣uing, before Bounty is wea∣ry of hearing and giuing? O let vs not shut vp Gods mercies against our selues, before God doe shut them vp against vs, but while the oyle of mercy is running, let vs by humiliation, re∣pentance and inuocation en∣large our vessells, and open our mouthes wide, that hee may fill them. If God had denyed vs, the example of the Canaanitish woman would haue inuited vs to seeking, whose faith was commended, and rewarded with a miracle, for importu∣nity after rough denyalls. But now God hath granted and heard vs, were it not a great neglect of Gods good∣nesse, Page 224 and our owne happi∣nesse, not to goe on in spea∣king? For as it is very fit to be said when the Lord spea∣keth, Speake Lord, for thy ser∣uant heareth; so it is fit to be said, when the Lord hea∣reth, Speake seruant, for the Lord heareth.* Thus did A∣braham, continue praying for Sodom, because God continued hearing, and ne∣uer left, vntill hee brought the conditions of Sodoms deliuerance to bee so easie, that for tenne righteous all Sodom might haue beene spared. And surely if our perseuerance in humiliation and prayer shall not stop, it may worke the like effect, and so our hope may bee sure.* For experience saith the Page 225 Apostle, breedes hope, and such hope as doth not make ashamed. And if hope bee the fruite of experience, surely wee had experience that God heareth our pray∣ers, and why then shall wee not also haue hope that hee will heare the like prayers hereafter? The Apostle that teacheth vs this fruite of ex∣perience in his doctrine, teacheth it also by his pra∣ctice. For when he hath had experience of Gods good∣nesse, hee inferreth that trust vpon it, which is the ground of things hoped for: Who deliuered vs from so great a death, and doth deliuer:* And now behold his confidence and hope: In whom we trust that hee will yet deliuer vs.
Page 226 22 Neither may our pre∣sent lowness,* or the lownesse of those that haue reformed Religion, and purged it from Idolatrie, take away the hope of Recouery: For lownesse is the very way to exalta∣tion, and Weakenesse to Strength. Wee see here that before St. Paul came to this experience of Gods deliue∣rance, from whence hee ga∣thers sure hope for deliue∣rance to come, he receiued in himselfe the sentence of death. So that a pressing a∣boue measure, and such a pres∣sing as makes an impression of the sentence of death, is the way to deliuerance. And there are diuers reasons why it should be so. First on Gods side: God himselfe Page 227 professeth,*My strength is made perfect in weakenesse. So that weakenesse is a fit subiect whereon God vseth to glo∣rifie his strength: therefore weakenesse may encourage men, if they be like-minded to St. Paul; for hereupon he saith, I will most gladly glory in my infirmities: for when I am weake, then am I strong. He is so farre from being dis∣couraged, that he is encou∣raged by his weakenesse, be∣cause weakenesse drawing to it the power of God, be∣comes stronger than the strength of men without God. Hee that first brought light out of darkenesse, and in Christ Iesus hath brought life out of death, he goes on commonly to all his great Page 228 Workes in a way of contra∣ries; that one contrary ari∣sing out of another, all the honour of the worke may be wholly reserued to God, and all eyes turned wholly to him: for there is nothing on earth to looke on for a Cause, but a contrary; and that euen common Reason will tell plainly, cannot pro∣duce his contrary. And this course of God is so vsuall, that he hath Titles affixed to him, expressing it: God who raised the dead, and, God who brought light out of darkeness, and, God who comforteth the Abiect. Againe, the Low∣nesse of Gods children giues God all the glory in the de∣struction of their enemies. So as God was glorified in Page 229 raising vp their Lownesse, so is hee also glorified while by their Lownesse hee takes downe the Height and Pride of the enemie. For the weak∣ness of those who ouercome, giues away the glory of ouer∣comming from themselues vnto God, who by weaknesse ouercometh power. This God plainely sheweth to bee a way by which hee workes out his glory, in that storie of Gideon: For as long as Gideons armie had in it the strength of a multitude, the multitude was a hinderance to this glorie. For so the vi∣ctorie might haue been taken from God, and giuen to men, because they were many. Therfore he findes fault with his armie, as being vnfit for Page 230 his glorie, while there was any such number in it, as might possibly take away the glorie of the victorie from God, to it selfe. Ther∣fore he saith, The people that are with thee are too many for me to giue the Midianites into their hands,*lest Israel vaunt themselues against me, saying: Mine own hand hath saued me. Wherefore God pares his armie, and makes it fit for his glory, by many diminutions; neuer leauing vntill hee brought it to so few hun∣dreds, that there was left no ground of glorying in it self, but that hee who glorieth, must needes glorie in the Lord. The Israelites were kept downe by the Egypti∣ans in most cruell slauery and Page 231 bondage: for they made the Israelites to serue with rigour,* so that they sighed and cried by reason of their bondage. And when they did but speake for libertie, their burdens were encreased, and that so heaui∣ly, that they were in meere despaire and deadnesse of heart; so that when Moses told them of freedome, they hearkned not vnto Moses for*anguish of Spirit and for cruell bondage. But for this hope∣lesse and distressed Nation, which had no helpe nor hope in it selfe, did God glo∣rifie his power vpon the pride of Pharaoh, and the strength of Egypt: So that for the victorie which God alone gaineth vpon the E∣gyptians for Israel, but with∣out Page 232 out Israel, Iethro duely glo∣rifies him:*Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they delt proudly, he was aboue them. God that taketh down the proude, when there is no helpe in man to bring them downe, getteth to himselfe the glorie of their abasing. It were infinite and endlesse to produce the patternes and presidents of this kinde of working, by which God workes out his glory. When Kingdomes and Empires are at the greatest, then GOD takes them downe common∣ly, by low and contemptible meanes. And so euen at the height of the Romane Em∣pire, that Empire was taken down by the Northren peo∣ple, Page 233 whom they in contempt did account and call Barba∣rians. And if it please him, so can he take down the pre∣sent pride of the Romane Empire: which I especially place in that man of sinne, who is the veriest Emperour of Rome; surmounting the other in his owne opinion, and in the opinion of his Disciples, as much as the Sun excelleth the Moone in glo∣rie. And therefore most blasphemously this title is ascribed to him, The King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. But let vs remember, that God himselfe saith, All the Tyees of the Forrest shal know,*that I the Lord haue brought downe the high Tree, haue ex∣alted the low Tree, haue dryed Page 234 vp the greene Tree, and haue made the dry Tree to flourish, I the Lord haue spoken, and haue done it. Wherfore let Israel trust and hope in the Lord, euen hope against hope, that though they bee humbled e∣uen to the earth, and Pharaoh mount vp with his pride to heauen, and against heauen, saying, who is the Lord? yet the Lord will bring Israel out of Egypt, and will tri∣umph ouer Egypt and Pha∣raoh with a mightie power, and out-stretched arme: So shall Israel say; Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glo∣rious in power, thy right hand, O Lord,*hath dashed in pieces the Enemy. And in the great∣nesse of thine excellency thou hast ouerthrowne them that Page 235 rose vp against thee. Yea much people in Heauen shall say: Alleluia, Saluation and Glo∣ry and Honour and Power*vn∣to the Lord our God, for true and righteous are his iudge∣ments: for he hath iudged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornica∣tion, and hath auenged the blood of his seruants at her hand. And surely great glo∣ry must needs arise vnto God both from heauen & earth, when God by his Church, being low and little, iudgeth the great Whore. Little and weake things when they pro∣duce great effects, it plainely appeares that they haue bor∣rowed power from else∣where: and from whom can the creature borrow power, Page 236 but of the Creator, the foun∣tain of power? whose weak∣ness, that is, whose least pow∣er being added to the crea∣ture,* is stronger than men, e∣uen than all the strength of men. God and three hun∣dred are able to ouercome an Host,*that are like Grashop∣pers for multitude: yea God and Israel, onely by walking about a towne, and fighting with no other weapons but Trumpets of Rams hornes, can make the strength of Ie∣richo to fall before them. God and a woman, euen De∣borah, can iudge Israel, and deliuer them from a King that hath nine hundred cha∣riots of Iron. But when by weakenesse God ouercom∣meth strength, it cannot bee Page 237 the strength of weakenesse that ouercommeth, but the strength of God. Therefore all glorying here also is ex∣cluded from man, and re∣ferred vnto God. And ac∣cordingly Deborah rightly giues God the glory, say∣ing;*The Lord made mee haue dominion ouer the Mighty.
Secondly, God suffers his Church to bee low and weake, before hee exalt it, in regard of Man. And first we may take notice, that in the lownesse of the Church God hath an eye, and leuells as it were at the very ene∣mies of the Church; which are indeed his owne ene∣mies. For by the lownesse & weaknesse of the Church,* hee drawes out these ene∣mies, Page 238 vnto a full and finall ouerthrow. Hee encoura∣geth and hardneth them to a full aduenture in a warre against God, that God may fully bee auenged of them, and fully triumph ouer them. The Lord knoweth, that the distressed estate of the Church, doth engage their enemies in great and full prosecutions of them, that so comming forth with their whole forces to ouer∣throw the Church, their whole forces may bee ouer∣throwne. The Lord him∣selfe sheweth vs this his di∣spensation; For hee profes∣seth, that therefore hee brought Israel into straites, betweene the Mountaines and the Red Sea, because Page 239Pharaoh will say,*they are in∣tangled in the Land, the wil∣dernesse hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaohs heart (saith the Lord) that hee shall follow after them, and I will bee honoured vpon Pha∣raoh, and vpon all his host. When the men of Israel haue once beene smitten by the men of Ai, and doe the second time flee before them,*They will come out after vs (saith Ioshua) till wee haue drawne, (or pulled) them from the City: Then shall yee rise vp from the Ambush, and seize vpon the Citie, for the Lord your God hath deliuered it in∣to your hand. By this baite of infirmity, doth God draw his enemies to open their mouthes to swallow Page 240 the Church, but then the hooke of Omnipotence that lyeth hid vnder it, taketh and killeth them. And euen now in the distresse of Gods Army wee see that done which Iohn saw before would bee done; I saw the Beast,*and the Kings of the earth, and their Armies ga∣thered together, to make war against him that sate on the horse, & against his army. And why should we not hope to see that euent, which Iohn also saw following this ga∣thering together? And the Beast was taken, and with him the false Prophet. A second regard hath God to men in this lownesse of the Church, and that is a regard to the Church it selfe. For when Page 241 God doth prepare a glorious victorie for his Church, his Church must bee duely pre∣pared for the receiuing of this victorie. And this low∣nesse doth diuersly prepare her. First, it calls her to the life of faith; to liue by faith, and not by sight. For when visible things faile her, then is shee forced to run by faith to things inuisible: when that failes her which she sees, then she cleares vp the eye of faith, that she may haue some euidence of things not seene.* So St. Paul saith of the wi∣dow,* that being desolate shee trusteth in God. And as soon as Iehosaphat hath said: Wee haue no might against this great company that commeth against vs, neither know wee Page 242 what to doe: it presently fol∣lowes,*But our eyes are on thee.* And St. Paul hauing receiued the sentence of death, trusteth in God that raiseth the dead. Thus when the outward eye seeth no helpe in the creature, the in∣ward eye of faith is awaked to look only on the Creator. And indeed nothing but faith is fit to receiue a mira∣culous Mercie. When God makes bare his Arme in some great and wonderfull deliue∣rance, hee will haue his peo∣ple by faith to looke vp to this arme, and wholly to de∣pend on it. Therfore Christ Iesus, when he is ready to be∣stow a miraculous healing, he vsually calleth for faith to receiue it. And euen now Page 243 by the distresse of the Church, doth God call the Church to this faith. And no question if by this faith we be duly prepared, for the great worke of Gods mercy in the deliuerance of the Church, wee shall heare that gratious answer which the faithfull vsed to receiue: Goe in peace, thy Faith hath saued thee. Lastly, by the weake∣nesse of the Church God calls the Church to Repen∣tance, and so prepareth her for victorie. Hee calls her by the fire of affliction from drosfe to puritie, from wan∣tonness to the grace of God, from the forme of godlinesse to the power thereof. There growes much drosse of Car∣nalitie about a Church in the Page 244 time of ease, and men turne the grace of God into wan∣tonnesse. There is wanton liuing, & wanton preaching, and wanton hearing. Men play with Religion, and are not in earnest when they are about religious things. Yea, when they haue formally & falsly done religious things, they fall heartily to things of the world; the false pro∣fession of true Religion, be∣ing not much vnlike the pro∣fession of a false worship; the consequence wherof is this,*The people sate downe to eate and drinke, and rose vp to play. But is such a Church fit for a glorious and miraculous de∣liuerance? Can wee expect that God should make bare his arme to saue a Luxurious, Page 245 a Gluttonous, a Drunken Congregation: No, it must bee purged from these, and made white, before God wil deliuer it, and crowne it with victorie. Therefore by this* affliction shall the Iiniquitie of Iacob be purged; and this is all the fruite, to take away their sinne. The Church is scoured and purged by affliction, and being purged then may shee heare,*Hath hee smitten him, as hee smote those that smote him? or is hee slaine according to the slaughter of them that are slaine by him? For the Iudgement that begins with the house of God but as a fiery triall,* shall end with the sinners and vnrighteous like a consuming fire. When the first appeareth more pure & Page 246 glorious, the second shall not appeare at all. Wherefore if wee by our Corrections, the Church of France by her late Chastisements, and Ger∣many by her present Scour∣gings, would turn to him that smites them, by turning from their sins to his righte∣ousnesse, surely,*to the righ∣teous light should arise in the midst of darknes.* For the work of Righteousnes shall be peace, and the effect of Righteousnes quietness & assurance for euer.* And then withall followes a Woe to thee that spoylest, and thou wast not spoyled; when thou shalt cease to spoile, thou shalt be spoiled. Let God then haue of his Church the end of his chastisements, euen true, spirituall and sincere ho∣linesse, Page 247 and then the chastise∣ments of his Church will end. But then will he begin with the enemies of his Church: hee will awake as a Gyant refreshed with wine.*Hee shall speake to them in his wrath, and vexe them in his sore displeasure:*Thou shalt seek them, and thou shalt not finde them, euen them that conten∣ded with thee: They that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of naught. And thus while the Church by her lownesse is brought to puritie, puritie brings her to victorie.