A Sermon of repen∣taunce.
A very godly and profitable Sermon, prea∣ched at Lee in Essex, by Ar∣thur Deut, Minister of Gods word. And publi∣shed at the request of sundrie Godly and vvell disposed per∣sons. 1581. the 7. of March.
Ionah. chap. 2. ver. 8.
Imprinted at London for John Harison, and are to bee solde at the white Greihound in Paules Church-yard▪ 1582.
To the Reader.
ALthough I was moste vn∣willing that this poore Ta∣lent and trauaile of myne, should euer haue bene bro∣ched abroade, and come to light: both because it maye seeme as a Candle lighted at no one day: as also because many other mennes doinges might more worthely a great deale haue ben published, and committed vnto letters: Yet because diuers which heard it preached with a liuely voice, were very instant, yea, and more then importunate with mee to haue it published, vsing suche reasons as I coulde not well gainesay, I did at the last yeelde to their request, and so this vntime∣ly fruite is come abroade, to be solde in o∣pen markettes. Let no man be offended that I haue not strained my selfe to flye an high pitch, to fome out the froth of mans wisdome, and to make a great shew of lear∣ning, by blowing the bladder of vanity, till it burst with swelling. For that is not my vse. I seeke especiall the saluation of the Page [unnumbered] simple and ignorant, and therefore stoupe downe to their reach and capacitie. There∣fore I beseeche thee gentle Reader, accepte my good meaning: Reade this with∣out preiudice, like it as thou profitest, so shalte thou haue praise of God, & comforte in thy conscience.
Luke. 13. 5.
THE occasion of these wor∣des of our Lorde and Saui∣our Iesus Christe, was bi∣cause there were certayne that shewed him of the Ga∣lileans, whose bloud Pilate had mingled with their owne Sacrifices: That is, murthered them as they were sacrificing: and so their bloude was min∣gled with the bloud of the beastes whiche were sacrificed. Those men therefore, though that these Galileans were greater sinners then all other Galileans, because they had suffered suche thinges. And that those xviii. also, vppon whome the Tower in Siloam fell and slue them, were sinners aboue all men, that dwelte in Hierusalem. Wherein they did vtter a secret corruptiō naturally ingendred in all men, that is ve∣rie sharply to see into the sinnes of others, & seuerely to censure thē: but in the meane Page [unnumbered] while to flatter themselues, & to bée blind∣fold in séeing their owne sinnes. For these men thought, because the like iudgmentes did not fall vpon them, therfore they were safe inough, they were not so great sinners but rather highly in the fauour of GOD. According as many doe falsly suppose, that those are alwayes the worst sort of people whome God doeth moste strike, and presse with his punishing hande, hauinge forgot∣ten that God doeth not kéepe an ordinarie rate here belowe, to punishe euery man as he is worst, or to fauour and cocker him as he is best, but onely taketh some examples as he thinketh good, for the instruction and aduertisement of all others, and to be as it were looking glasses, wherein euerie man may sée his owne face, yea, and his owne cause handeled, & that God is a seuers re∣uenger of sin, that all men maie learne by the example of some, to tremble & beware, least peraduenture they bée worthily con∣strayned to kéepe their owne turnes, and to knowe what they haue deserued. These men whiche broughte these newes to our Sauiour Christ, had not taken foorth this lesson, wherevpon our Sauiour in iustlye Page [unnumbered] occasioned to correcte their erroneous, and sinister Iudgement, and to teach them that they must not reioice at the iuste punishe∣ment of others, but rather to bée instructed thereby to repentance.
And further to signifie, that God doeth not alwayes most punishe the moste noto∣rious offenders, as Murtherers, Théeues, Robbers, Whoremaisters, Blasphemers, Quarrellers, Scoffers, and suche like, but reserueth them vnto the iudgement of the greate daie, and as it wéere fatteth them a∣gainst the daie of slaughter: and therefore he answereth them negatiuely, and sayeth nay, or not so, but excepte you repente, you shal all likewise perish: as if he should say, are you of this opinion indéede, that onelie monstruous Sinners are punished in this worlde, & others let alone: or that the Ga∣lileans, and these eightéene vppon whome the Tower in Siloā fel, were greater sin∣ners then all others? Or doe you thinke because the same Iudgementes haue not light vpon you, therefore you shal steale a∣way in the darke, & escape the Iudgement of God? No, no, you are deceyued. For I saie vnto you, that, except you mourne and Page [unnumbered] lament for your sinnes, and fall to some a∣greement with God in time (you I say, e∣uen you whiche are so readie to condemne others, and iustifie your selues) shall not onely perish with the like iudgementes in this presente worlde, but be euerlastingly condemned in the world to come. So that our Sauiour in so saying, doeth thunder downe a moste dreadfull sentence vpon all our heades: for he concludeth and setteth it downe, that all men liuing vpō the face of the earth, whether they bee highe or lowe, rich or poore, young or olde, noble or vnno∣ble, learned or vnlearned, simple or poly∣ticke, of what estate, degree, and condition soeuer they bee liuing, and dying without repentaunce, shall perish: and bee damned in hell fire for euer: The Scriptures are full of suche Thunderboltes: Iohn. 3. 18. Hee that beleeueth not is damned alreadie. And 2. Cor. 13. verse. 5. Prooue your selues whether you are in the Fayth, examine your selues. Knowe yee not your owne sel∣ues that Iesus Christ is in you, except yee bee reprobates? Where the Apostle flatlie setteth downe, that all those whiche haue not Christ dwelling in their harts by faith Page [unnumbered] which is the houshold sister of repentance, are no better then reprobates, castawayes, and condemned persons. But because the most people in those dayes are groslye de∣ceiued in repentaunce, both concerning what it is, what it meaneth, what it woor∣keth, what bee the qualities, & conditions of it, which be the causes, and which be the lets and hinderances, and also why, when, and wherefore we should repent. Therfore I haue in presēt infent to teach first what is repentaunce. Secondly, which bee his qualities and effectes. Thirdly, when wee should repense. Fourthly, wherefore wee should repent. And last of all what letteth vs from Repentaunce: whiche order, and methode of teaching although some maye mislike (as indeede with me it is not ordi∣nary,) yet considering the matter I haue in hand, I thinke it not inconuenient. But the matter. Repentance is an inward sor∣rowing, and continuall mourninge of the heart and conscience for sinne ioyned with fayth and both inwarde, and outwarde a∣mendement: Inward I say in chaunging the thoughtes and affections of the hearte: and outwarde in chaunging the woordes, Page [unnumbered] and woorkes from euill to good. This re∣pentaunce no doubte was in Dauid, who whē he was couertly reproued by the pro∣phet Nathan, and his sinnes laid before his eyes, did not stubbornly defende them, and so iustle against God: nor yet secretlie ex∣cuse them, and daube them ouer, but cryed out in the bitternesse of his hearte: I haue sinned, and thervpon made the 51. Psalm. A Psalme indéed full of dolour and heaui∣nes: Wherein the Prophet bewayleth his falles, lamenteth his sinnes, and praieth e∣uen for a newe hearte, and a newe spirite, newe thoughtes, newe affections, newe purposes of amendment of life. So that in Dauid wée maie sée an inward sorrowing, a lasting griefe (as the booke of Psalmes doeth euerie where declare, whiche layeth him out as it were in an Anotamie) yea, and greate reformation, both in inwarde, & outward sinnes. Héere therefore beholde what is Repentaunce. Likewise S. Peter through infirmity hauing denied his Lord and Mayster Christ, and béeing punched of his owne conscience, & wakened with the alaram of a poore Cockes crowing, wente out of the Courte of Pilate with a heauie Page [unnumbered] heart wéeping bitterlie, & euer after stout∣lie professing Christe euen vnto the death. Sée then what is Repentaunce. The Pro∣phetes in the olde Testament exhortinge ye rebellious Iewes vnto Repentance, vse commonly an Hebrew verbe which signi∣fieth turne ye, or returne yee & come backe again, by the which Metaphore is meant, that like as a man that is strayed farre out of his way, must turne quite backe againe the contrary way: So those yt haue stray∣ed from the wayes of Godlinesse, to the way of sinne, must come backe againe, as fast as euer they went forwarde, & altoge∣ther change the course of their life: so that Repentaunce is an earnest turninge vnto God with all our hearte, soule, and minde. Saint Iohn Baptist, and the Apostles in the Newe Testament exhorting vnto Re∣pentaunce, vse a Gréeke woorde which sig∣nifieth a chaunging of the minde after∣warde, or afterwitte, so that those whiche through their follie & want of former wit, haue slipped into the déepe pit, and daun∣gerous gulfe of sinne, when they come to themselues, & haue recouered their wits, will bée wise afterward, & take héede they Page [unnumbered] neuer come there againe according to the Proneth: The burnt childe will take heed of the Fire. By this time I hope you see what is repentaunce. It is not euery sor∣rowe, but sorrowe for sinne, not for some sinne, but for all sinne, not for an houre, but for euer, not for a day, but continually, not for a week, but as longe as we liue. Some thinke euerie sorrow is repentance: but so should worldlinges repent. Some thinke euery litle pante for sinne is repentaunce: so should Pharaoh repente. Some thinke all weeping and lamenting for sinne is re∣pentaunce: so should Esau, Iudas & Caine, repent. Some thinke euery litle humbling of our selues is repentaunce: but so should Achab repent. Some think yt good woords, and good purposes is Repentaunce: but so shoulde euerie sicke man repent. Some thinke ye reformation of words and deeds, is Repentaunce: but so shoulde ciuill men repent. Some thinke that crye God mercie is repentaunce: and so shoulde euerie foole repent. You see therfore hows many are de∣ceiued in repentaunce: but if you will see what it is indeede, looke backe to yt which hath beene said afore. For hee that will re∣pent Page [unnumbered] in good earnest, must not hang down his head like a Bulrushe for a daye onely, and so haue doone, nor crie from the teeth outwarde, Lord haue mercie on me, and so away: but he must make a back reckoning with diligente consideration of his former life. As did the Prophet Dauid. Psal. 119. ver. 59. I haue considered my wayes and turned my feete vnto thy testimonyes. So must euerie one that meaneth to repēt sinke aside into some corner or out place, that there hee may haue roome enough to beate his owne conscience, & to make his heart smart for his sinnes, by aggrauation thereof, & weighing all the circumstances, as in the 9. of Daniel: The Church of God confesseth her sinne, not lightlye but with woonderfull great exaggeration, and hea∣ping of one thinge to another. So that it is not enough to say I haue sinned, but to say I haue most traitrously sinned, I haue most obstinatly, carelesly, and rebelliously sinned, I haue mōstrously offended in such a place, in such a houre, in such companie, in such a day. In suche a corner in the darke I committed adulterie closly, when I thought none had seene mee: In suche a Page [unnumbered] Chamber I defiled my neighbours wife? mine owne conscience doeth accuse me of it. In suche and such companie I haue bene dronke, I haue spoken and railed a∣gainst Gods worde, I haue mocked the preachers, I haue spared no othes, nor fil∣thy spéech, and now O Lorde, Lorde, what an vgley monster, and wretched villaine am I. Here I stand before thy presence all naked, blinde, wounded, poore, wretched, and miserable, hauing deserued a thousand damnations, if thou shouldest enter into iudgement, and trie the lawe with me. Therefore I beséeche thée shewe pitie, and compassion vpon me. Ancient my woundes with the oyle of mercy: restore mee my sight, cloath my nakednes, enrich me that am poore, strengthen me that am weake: helpe mee that am fallen: oh bid me not farewell. The infant ouercōmeth his mo∣ther with crying, the child his father with wéeping, & the seruant his master by en∣treaty, & wilt not yu be intreated O Lord? Thus I say if euerie man would speak in his conscience to God, & thus narrowly or more narrowly, examine himself, vndoub∣tedly he were in the way of repentaunce.
Page [unnumbered] But alas it is a worlde to sée how the blinde Bussards, and crooked cancrewor∣mes of this worlde, go awrye from this rule, deceiuing themselues with the bare title and naked name of repentance. Ma∣ny in déede can talke of it: but few walke it it. Many speake of it: but fewe féele it. Many describe it: but fewe know it. It is hidde and locked vp from the worlde, and reuealed onely to Gods children. Many think they haue caught it, when they haue but the shadow of it. It is so high that few can reache it. It is so déepe that few can come to the bottome of it. It is so narrow that fewe can pearce into it. So wide that few can comprehend it. So slippery that fewe can holde it. So scerete that few can finde it. Therefore my deare brethren, I beséech you let vs pray vnto our God, that hee woulde reueale vnto vs this mystery which is hid from the world, that we may truly sée it, and know it, find it, & féele it to our endles comfort, through Christ Iesus: which grace he graunt vs.
But now to the seconde point concer∣ning the qualities, and fruites of repen∣tance. One speciall qualitie of repentance Page [unnumbered] is alwayes to bringe with it remission sinnes: for where true repentance 〈◊〉 before, there remission of sinnes muste ••∣cessarily followe after, not that repentance deserueth remission of sinne: but because where God worket• repentance, there hee pardoneth sin because of his promisse. At in Ezech. 1827. When the wicked tur∣neth awaye from his wickednesse that hee hath committed, and doeth that which is lawfull and righte, he shall saue his soule a∣liue. And againe, Esay. 55. 7. Let the wic∣ked forsake his wayes, and the vnrighteous his owne imaginations, and returne vnto the Lorde, and hee will haue mercy vppon him. So here we see to whom forgiuenesse of sinnes, and the mercies of God belon∣geth: Namely to the penitent sinners, to those that leaue sinne, and imbrace Godli∣nes: to those that forsake his owne waies, and imaginations, & turne vnto the Lord. And as for such as walk on in their owne wayes, and follow ye delightes of sin with∣out any sorrow, or purpose to leaue them, they haue nothing to doe with the mercie of God: & though Iesus Christe had •••∣•red an hundred deathes (which could not Page [unnumbered] bee) yet shal no vnpenitent sinner haue re∣mission of his sinnes by his death, nor any other benefites of his Passion, for they be∣long onely to his Churche, and chosen peo∣ple here vpon the earth. He therefore that is not of the Church, he that is not grafted into Christ by fayth, he that is not a mem∣ber of his mystical hody, can inioy nothing by Christes death. If any man abide not in me, he is east foorth as a braunch, and wi∣thereth, and men gather them, and caste them into the fire, and they burne. Iohn 15. 9. We reade in the 29. of Deuteronomie, Howe God barreth all stubburne sinners from his mercie, and doeth most terrible shoote out against them. Hee that heareth the wordes of this curse, and blesseth him selfe in his heart, saying, I shal haue peace although I walke according to the stub∣burnnes of our owne heart, thus adding dronkennesse to thirste: the Lord will not be mercifull vnto him, but then the wrath of the Lorde, and his iealousie shall smoke against that manne, and euery curse that is written in this booke, shal light vppon him. So that God saith playnely, hee hath no mercie for such as walke in the vayne Page [unnumbered] delights of sinne, and in the stubbornes of their owne heart, adding drunkennesse to thirst, that is one horrible sin to another. Yet for all this it is a wonder to sée, how ye blind wormes of this earth deceiue thē sel∣ues. For they thinke whatsoeuer they say, whatsoeuer they doe, be it good, be it euill, whether they repēt, or not repent, yet they shalbe saued by christs death, as thogh they would make it a baud to their sinnes, & so worke that villany against Christ. I hope to be saued by Christs death, aswell as the best of them all sayth some. But where is thy repentaunce thou miserable wretche? Doest thou thinke that Gods mercy is common to all? and Christs death a baude for thy sinnes? No no, when it conuneth to the vpshotte, thou shalt stoppe shorte. For it will proue farre otherwise: for thou shalt finde Gods mercye turned into Iustice: and Christes death into Wormwood: be∣cause thou hatedst knowledge, and choo∣sedst not the feare of the Lorde. Thus you sée my deare brethren, that Repentaunce must néedes go before forgiuenesse of sin∣nes, & where it leadeth not the way, there the gates of Gods mercie are shutte vp, Page [unnumbered] and this is the first qualitie of repentance. It hath also another condition and that is, to alter and chaunge men from that they were before, not in the substance and pro∣portion of the body: but in the qualities & conditions of the minde. For whosoeuer hath truely repented, you shall by and by sée a moste marueilous, and wonderfull chaunge in him, so that he will not doe as he hath done, nor speake as he hath spokē, nor companie as he hath companied, nor play the good fellowe (as they terme it) as he was wont to do, nor runne to the same excesse of riot he was wont. And this is it that amazeth the world, and causeth them to bristle and fome at the mouth like wild Bores, and to speake euil of them that are turned vnto God. For the worlde loueth his owne, and cannot abide that GOD should plucke one feather frō his Wings, But repentaunce doth violently pull men out of the clawes of Sathan, and chaunge them from the conditions of the world, for it maketh of proude, humble, of hurtefull, harmelesse, of cruell, méeke, of Wolues, Lambes, of Lions, Sheepe, of adulterers, Chaste liuers, of Drunkardes, sober men, Page [unnumbered] of Swearers, reuerent speakers, of Ha∣ters, Louers, of Despisers, Imbracers, of Scoffers, Followers, of Earthly, Hea∣uenly, of Deuils, Sainctes. All this wor∣keth Repentance. Paul trauelled towards Damascus, a Woolfe, a Persecuter, a bloodsucker, an hater, a despiser: but ere he came there, he was quite chaunged, and cleane of an other mind. So mighty was he that met him by the way: When Iesus Christ sent downe the holy Ghost vpon his Disciples, according to his promise, there were some scoffers at Hierusalem, which mocked and said, they are ful of new wine: But the same men cryed out by and by af∣ter, men and brethren, what shal we doe to be saued. Here was a moste wonder∣full and sodaine chaunge. See then the force of Repentaunce, when God striketh it into the heart of man, and driueth the nayle to the head as they say. It effecteth that which all the wisedome and policie of man, is not able to bring to passe, no when they haue prolled he•her and thether, and ••ide their heades together, and sought al the corners of their wits, yet can they not tell which way to turne their hande, or Page [unnumbered] where to begin to chaunge the hearte of a man, and to conuerte him to God. There∣fore Repentaunce is stronger then all the whole worlde, and woorketh that whiche all men with their naturall wittes, 〈◊〉 heades, and deepe deuises can not com∣passe for the conuersion of a Sinner, is a woorke supernaturall. Here then we haue a glasse to beholde our selues in, whethereuer we haue Repented or no. For if wee find not this change and alteration in vs, we haue not repented, and so consequently remaine vnder Damnation. Therefore, let euerie man looke vnto himselfe, for marke how muche he is chaunged, and al∣tred from his former euill wayes, so much hath he repented. And he that is the same man he was three, foure, eight, nay thictie yeares agoe, surely, surely, hee hath not repented, and therefore abideth in damna∣tion. I maruell then howe those menne, which neuer felt anie change, or alterati∣on wrought in them, nay, whose conscien∣ces tell them, that they are not chaunged,ne knowe what it meaneth, can have any hope of saluation: Vnlesse peraduenture they beléeue not this doctrine, or think it to Page [unnumbered] be false. But I will sende ouer these men to suche as haue bene in the like case they nowe are, and yet thought they might doe well enough for all that, although both blinde in Iudgement, and corrupt in con∣uersation. I haue knowen and doe knowe men, which before their conuersion, and inward chaunge, were counted as honeste men, as euer brake breade, and as sub∣stantiall men as any coulde bée, as true dealers, vpright liuers, & good housekée∣pers as any of their neighboures, yea, and they had the same opinion of them selues too: And yet notwithstanding when they haue felte Repentaunce woorkinge this chaunge and alteration in them, through the power of the Spirite, at the preaching of the woord, and when they haue had new heartes giuen then to discerne better, and newe eyes to sée better, as men come out of a dampe, haue wondered and marueiled at the palpable and grosse darkenesse they were in before, and haue burst foorth into these woordes, that they woulde not bee in the same case they were afore, no not for al the worldes goodes, for if they should haue died in that case, they were sure they shold Page [unnumbered] haue béene damned: But I pray you what case were they in before, were they not good honest men, & well accounted of, and honest liuers, and well taken wheresoeuer they came? Surely they were so taken in the world, but nowe they thinke far other∣wise of thēselues, their eyes being opened, and their Iudgementes enlightened, for nowe they sée that they sawe not before, nowe they vnderstand yt God condemneth many, whome the worlde iustifieth. Mée thinketh this example shoulde make ciuill and worldely men sée and suspecte them∣selues, and knowe their owne miserie be∣fore God. For these men were as good as they before their conuersion, and yet af∣terwarde confesse yt they were plunged in the Bottome of Hell, and drowned in the deapth of Damnation. He that hath eares to heare, let him heare, and he that hath eyes to sée let him sée: For if menne wil still sooth them selues for all this, that they shalbe saued without féeling any chaunge, or worke of repentaunce:
It will cost them full deare in the ende, for Christ•s woordes will proue true, that whosoeuer repenteth not shal bée damned, Page [unnumbered] that is, whosoeuer doeth not feele in him selfe what is Repentance, and find in him selfe the qualities thereof that he condem∣ned. For where Repentaunce is, there be the qualities of Repentaunce, and where the qualities be absent, there is no true re∣pentaunce. So that where Chryst sayeth, Except ye repent yee shall all perish? It is all one, as if he had sayde, except ye knowe the truth of Repentaunce, excepte yee can proue vnto your consciences the forgiue∣nesse of your sinnes, excepte you feele a chaunge and alteration in the bottome of your heart, of all your former lewd waies and misdemeanour, you shall surely perish and be damned. But let vs yet a little fur∣ther search out ye qualities of Repētaunce, the Apostle in the seuenth Chapiter of the second Epistle to the Corinthians set∣teth downe seuen natable qualities, and effects of Repentaunce. The firste of them he nameth Care. For beholde saith he, this thing that you haue byn godlie sorie what Care it hath wrought in you, that is, an earnest studie, and as it were a takinge thoughte to please God. For where true Repentance hath once wrought, there fol∣loweth Page [unnumbered] great care afterward. Care I say to liue in the obedience of God, Care to keepe a good conscience, Care to reforme our housholdes: Care to instruct Wyues, Children and Seruauntes in the knowe∣ledge of GOD: Care to pray with them Morning and Euening: and generallye Care to perfourme all dueties belonging vnto God, so that Repentaunce is not a carelesse, but a carefull thinge. Let not men thinke therefore, that although they welter in the carelesnesse of the fleshe, and slepe in securitie all the dayes of their life, yet their repentance is good inough, yea and though they spend whole dayes, High¦tes, Monethes and Yeares in vanities, Playes and pastimes, in Idlenesse, fonde, delight, pleasure, and voluptuousnesse, in negligence of all dueties, forgetfulnesse of God, and contempte of all good thinges: Yet for all this they repēt for their sinnes, and hope to be saued as well as any other. But alas how can these thinges stand to∣gether, to repent for sinne, & to delight in sinne, to hate sinne, and loue sinne. to flie from sinne, and to follow after sinne. But these men I perceiue, would fayne make Page [unnumbered] Saint Paule a lyar. For he sayeth, a m•• hath neuer repented, except he bée carefull afterwarde to please God. They say they do repent, & haue repented: although they liue neuer so wretchedly, & carelesly. But when all licencious and leud liuers, filthie whoremongers, beastly belligoddes, and carelesse caitiffes, come to the kingdom of God, and are saued: then shall these men also come with them to be saued by careles repentaunce.
The next qualitie and effect of Repen∣taunce is named, clearing of our selues, that is, discharging of our selues, when sinne doeth accuse vs, and laye thinges to our charge, for when sinne and Sathan doeth terrifie the conscience of ye poore pe∣nitent sinner, by and by he fléeth vnto God and asketh forgiuenesse throughe Iesus Christ, and so cleareth himselfe, and ma∣keth his Apologie against sinne, and Sa∣than, like as a man that is presented into the Court, vppon suspicion of whoredome, or any other notorious crime, muste cleare himselfe by witnesses, of that whiche is layde to his charge. So the conscience that is cited by Sathan before the Iustice, and Page [unnumbered] Iudgement of seate of God, cleareth it selfe by Repentaunce, and asketh forgiuenesse through Iesus Christ. So that héere wee may see a wonderfull fruite of a penitente conscience, it cannot abide the accusations of sinne: It can not be quyet till it bée re∣conciled vnto God: & so haue peace with∣in it selfe. For this is to bée noted in the godly man, that when hée hath committed any sinne, and his conscience telleth him of it, by and by hée féeleth Leade within him, and is all heauie, and can not fléepe quietly, till hee haue got into some corner, where hée may mourne, and lament to the ful, and confesse, and lay open himselfe vn∣to God, and so cleare him selfe through Christ Iesus, his conscience bearing him witnes that his sinne is forgiuen. Where∣as contrariwise the vngodly man, when his conscience accuseth him of sinne, he di∣spatcheth away all suche thoughtes, and treadeth them vnder foote, and by and by calleth for a paire of Cardes, or Tables, and some merrie companion to driue away the time, and to put out all suche though∣tes out of his heade, and so indéede hee in∣creaseth them more and more, and causeth Page [unnumbered] them rankle inwardly.
The thirde qualitie is called indign•••| on, that is, a mortall and deadly hatred •∣gainst sinne, as when a man doeth shu•∣der and shake, and as it were grynde h•• teeth at the remembraunce of his sinnes for this is alwayes in the penitent person to loth and abhorre all sin from his heart both his owne sinnes, and the sinnes of •∣ther, and to hate it as the Diuel himselfe, which is the Author of it, and to flie from it, as from the very cutthroate, and hang• man of his soule, and to know it to be the onely thing that blindeth, that hardeneth, that separateth from God, and procureth all plagues, and diseases, both of bodye and soule against vs. Therefore he spitteth at it in defiance, and disdaineth it, and stop∣peth his nose at the stincke of it, wheresoe∣uer he smelleth it.
The fourth thing is feare, whiche is a certaine awe of God, when a man is a∣fraide to displease him. For the penitente person feareth alwaye, and beeing priuie to his owne infirmity and weaknesse (whē God neuer so litle withdraweth his grace, and leaueth him alone) worketh his Sal∣uation Page [unnumbered] with feare and trembling. He will not presume vpon former grace to commit any sinne, nor flatter himself in the mercy of God, and in the thinges that he hath al∣readie tasted of God, to yeeld to some litle sinne, thinking he may doe that, and bee the child of God wel enough, because some of Gods children haue fallen into greater, but rather he trembleth at the least motion of sinne, and is afraid of the temptations, whiche Sathan trumpeth in his waye, and is afraide when the temptations of sinne are vppon him▪ to satisfie the hunger of sinne, but rather he fighteth against sin, when sin fighteth against him, and presen∣teth the feare of God before his eyes (as godly Ioseph in the assault of Putiphars wife) to be as it were a Tower of defence & Welspring of life, to auoide the snares of Death.
The fift thing is Desire, that is a hun∣gring, and thirsting after righteousnesse.
For the penitent man is rauished with desire of good thinges. Hee desireth to be euery day better then other: He desireth to leaue euery day some sinne: He desi∣reth to praye. He desireth newe knowe∣ledge, Page [unnumbered] and newe vnderstanding of heauen∣ly things. He desireth to heare Sermons, and wil straine himselfe to heare thē. He desireth the company of the godly, he thin∣keth him selfe in heauē, when he is emon∣gest them. He desireth the saluation of his very enemies, and prayeth for them. All these and many other such like desires are in the penitent man.
The first qualitie is zeale, which con∣sisteth in the earnest imbracing of vertue, and hatred of vice, so that the penitent per¦son, is zealous in euery good thing. Zea∣lous of Gods glory in all places, in all cō∣panies, and emongest all persons, hee can∣not abide that Gods honour should be im∣peached, or his name blasphemed, or his glory trampled vnder foote by wicked mē, but he will open his mouth to reproue the wicked, and stand stoutly in the defence of Gods glorie. Hee is not like these Athe∣istes, and dissemblers, which are alwayes as is the companie, that is godly emongst the Godly: A Protestant emongest Pro∣testantes: wicked amongest the wicked, a Papist emongest Papistes, a worldling emongest worldlinges, and a Swearer Page [unnumbered] emongest Swearers, a Weathercocke that turneth with euery wynde. The pe∣nitent man I say, is not of this stampe, but he is constant and zealous in all good things. Hee is zealous both against the pleasures and profites of sinne, though he might winne a whole worlde, or pleasure himselfe neuer so much, by committing a sinne against God, yet will he refuse it, for he hath learned from Christes mouth, that it shall not profite a man to winne all the whole worlde, and to loose his owne soule.
The last thing is Reuenge, that is, the penitent person is so offended, with the sinne he hath committed, that hee will be reuenged of himselfe for it. As for exam∣ple, if he haue offended in gluttony, he wil Reuenge himselfe by fasting two or thrée daies after: If he haue offended in whore∣dome, hee will be reuenged of his lustes, by haltring, and bridling them euer after: If he haue offended in couetous catching and polling of other mens goodes, he will he reuenged of himselfe by restitu∣tion, as was godly and penitent Zacheus, and this in déed is a speciall fruite of Re∣pentaunce, Page [unnumbered] to reforme our selues in 〈◊〉 thinges, wherein we haue moste offended. Nowe then you see (my deare brethren) what lieth in the bellie of repentance, and which be her inwardes, so that wee must needes now come to the vnlasūng, and vn∣bowelling of Christes wordes. Except ye repent sayth he, ye shall all perishe, that is: except ye haue this forenamed care, you shall all be damned: Except ye haue this clearing of your selues, you shall be dam∣ned: Except you haue this indignation, you shall all he damned: except you, haue this feare, you shalbe damned: Except you haue this desire, you shal a• be damned: Ex∣cept you haue this zeale, you shall all be damned. Except you haue this reuenge, you shall all be damned.
For our Sauiour Christe doeth not speake of the bare name of Repentaunce▪ But of Repentance withal his •urn•••re, and appurtenances: so that who so euer hath not Repentaunce with all his quali∣ties and effectes, or at leaste some mea∣sure of them, he hath no Repentaunce in∣deed, and therefore shall be damned. For except ye repent ye shall all perishe. But Page [unnumbered] me thinketh I here some man say. Here is nothing but damnation, damnation.
You preach nothing but the law: Let vs heare of the Gospell. My brethren I pro∣test vnto you, that I speake of loue, what∣soeuer I speake, I desire the saluation of you all, if I could win but two in all this congregation, I woulde count my selfe happy, & thinke that God had greatly bles∣sed my labours.
And vndoubtedly, if I knewe any nee∣rer way to bring you vnto GOD, then by preaching the Lawe, to make you knowe your selues, surely, surely, I would vse it. Or if I could be perswaded, that the prea∣ching of the Gospel, and mercie would doe you more good: you shoulde heare of no∣thing, but Gospel, Gospel, mercie, mercie: But alas, I sée that euerie carelesse, and euerie ignorant man presumeth vppon Gods mercy, I sée that euerie filthy liuer, and notorious blasphemer abuseth Gods mercy, in applying it to him selfe without Repentaunce, so that they woulde make Gods mercie a cloake for their sinnes, I sée that euerie man would faine be flatte∣red in his sinne, & heare of it no more, but Page [unnumbered] haue the Gospell preached, which in déed belongeth not vnto them, continuing in their stubburnes: but only to the penitent sinner, which forsaketh himselfe, and gro∣neth, and panteth vnder the burden of his sinne. Therefore, when I sée you humbled with the conscience of your sinnes, and grone and pant vnder the burden of them, when I sée your faces blubbered with we∣ping, and your hearts mollified, and sorro∣wing with care, then will I comforte you, and cease to preach the lawe. But I praye you, will you steale, murther, and commit adultery, and yet heare of mercy? Will ye Mocke, Sweare, blaspheme, and Rayle, and yet heare of mercy? Will you serue sinne, hate vertue, and followe your owne lusts, and yet heare of mercy? Would you haue Plaisters before you haue woundes: Would you haue Phisicke, before you bee sicke? Would you be let bloud, before you haue néede? Would you not account him a foolish Physitian, that wil minister Phi∣sicke to a whole man? Woulde you not thinke him an vnskilfull Surgion, that will applie a gentle salue to an olde feste∣red sore, and not rather Corsie it? Then Page [unnumbered] knowe my brethren, that because you are ful of grosse humors, you must haue strong purgations: Because ye are full of olde fe∣stered woundes, you muste haue Corasiue Salues, for that is the beste for you, and the speediest way to recouer your healthe, and for as muche as you bée rough Horses: you muste haue a rough rider: And harde knobbie timber, must haue harde wedges, and hard strokes with a béetle. We preach the Lawe to driue you to Christe, Wee preach Iudgementes, to make you séeke Mercie: Wée preach damnation, to bring you to saluation. But to preache Mercie and forgiuenesse, before men see their sin∣nes, or knowe their miseries by the prea∣ching of the Lawe, is to preach the Gos∣pell vnprofitably. For, he that is ignorant of the Lawe, knoweth not what misery is in himselfe: nor what mercie is in God.
What father is there, who if his childe should play the stubborne boy, and disobey him in euery thing he commanded, would stroke his heade, and say hee were a good boy, and not rather seuerely correcte him, and whippe him with a rodde? What ma∣ster will commende his seruant for doing Page [unnumbered] what he list, and not what he commaun∣deth him? euen so wee may not disobey and do euill, and looke to he flattered too, and not rather chidden. Let vs know then that although God vse searing, launcing, corzing, and searching of the bones, and other violent remedies, yet in the meane while hee procureth our health by them. And let vs further vnderstand, that foras∣muche as there is none other meanes to drawe vs vnto saluation, but by cleansing of al our vices, and the same cleansing can not be done, but by violence, when we be warned by the doctrine of the Lawe, so as our owne consciences accuse vs.
Although we like well to be nowe and then flattered, and soothed, yet let vs séeke to be spoken vnto earnestly, and to haue our faultes tolde vs, and to be made asha∣med of them, and to haue our vnhonesty discouered, & not desire to be pleased. For it were the next way, to make vs rotte in our own filthines, if we should holde it so in secret: & it would cost vs deare the set∣ting on, if wee shoulde be so flattered by men, and in the meane season the heauen∣ly Iudge shall thunder downe vppon vs.
Page [unnumbered] Therefore, when anie man commeth to a Sermon, let him first and formost make his reckoning to be rebuked, as méete is, and let him vnderstande, that it is for his profit that he is not soothed. And if he haue itching eares, let him laye them awaye from him, assuring himselfe that else he is foreclosed, so as hée shall neuer receiue the doctrine to his profite and instruction. And let him be content to haue his soares rub∣bed and bewraied, that he may be brought to that, which is for his welfare. If a man please a sicke bodie, what shall become of him, shall hee giue him drinke euerie mi∣nute of an houre? Shall he giue him wine whereas he should giue him water? Shall hee giue him Sallets? It were the nexte way to poyson him. To bée shorte, it is cer∣tayne that a man doeth alwayes seeke his owne death, when hée would haue men to sooth him. But nowe which is better ey∣ther that hée whiche hath the ordering of a sicke man, should yéelde to all his desires, or that hée should bridle him, notwithstan∣ding that hee chafe and gnashe his teeth, because he may not haue his owne will in his desires? You see therefore how daunge∣rous Page [unnumbered] a thing it is to flatter, and rayse vp men with the preaching of mercie: before they haue bin cast downe with the sense of Gods Iudgements. Cease therefore to o∣pen your mouthes to make hue and crie o∣uer the Countrey, saying: they preach no∣thing but the Law, the Lawe, damnation, damnation, vnlesse yée will take in Christ too, and make him one of the number, and accuse him of wante of wisedome, because he preacheth & cryeth out, that whosoeuer repenteth not, shalbe condemned. For my part I preache the Gospell, to whome the Gospell belongeth, and the Law to whom the Lawe belongeth. I preache Mercie to whom Mercie belongeth, and Iudgement to whome Iudgement appertayneth. And therefore holde your peace, and be content to bee ruled by the wisedome of God. But nowe let vs procéede to the third generall point, which is the time when we shoulde Repent.
The holie Ghoste in the Scriptures pointeth vs to the present time, and exhor∣teth vs to make that the time of our Re∣pentaunce, as Ioell. 2. 12. Therefore also nowe the Lord sayeth, turne you vnto mée Page [unnumbered] with al your heart, with fasting, with we∣ying and with mourning. Likewise in the 3. Chap. to the Hebrues, exhorte one ano∣ther while it is called to daie, leaste anie of you bée hardned, through the deceiptful∣nesse of sin. And in the same Chapiter. To day if you will heare his voice, harden not your harts as in the prouocation. So that now, euen now, euē now, is ye time of our Repentaunce. Nowe whilest hée calleth, now whilest he speaketh, now whilest hee knocketh, let vs now therefore heare: let vs now therefore obey: Let vs now there∣fore redeeme this daie this present Wed∣nesday, whiche haue foreslowed so manye dayes, whiche haue so longe hardened our heartes, which haue let so many good thin∣ges run out, and spill besides. Let vs take vp this daie and make it the day of our re∣pentaunce. Although we coulde neuer bée moued with any Sermon hitherto, yet let vs now be moued once at last. Let vs now say, this shall bee my day of Repentaunce, I wil deferre it no longer. But now wil I turne vnto my God, and forsake all my former wicked waies, and mine own ima¦ginations, I will now chaunge the course Page [unnumbered] of my life, and beginne all newe againe. I will be acquainted with Gods woord, and take counsell there how to doe, and how to behaue my selfe in euery action. I will not onely reforme my selfe, but also my whole houshold, Wife, Children, and Seruaun∣tes, according vnto the same. Thus my deare Brethren, I beséeche you purpose in your heartes without anye further de∣laye, and bée not like to Epicures, and sla•ckgraces, whiche say youth will bee youthfull, and youth will haue his course, & what should we make it so holy, when we are young, tushe, there needs but a sigh an houre before death, let vs be merrie nowe, we shall neuer bee younger, wée will Re∣pent when wee are olde. As though poore soules, they had repentance in their sléeue, and at their commandement, and that they could repent when they liste. No, no, these fellowes shall paye for their presumption. For God will giue them ouer to hardenes of hearte, and impenitencie, because they tooke so muche vppon them, and made so long delaies, that in the mean season they might enioye the profites and pleasures of sinne. Therefore good brethren, let vs not Page [unnumbered] put it off from day to day, but let vs nowe séeke the Lord whilest hée maie bée found, and cal vppon him whilest hée is néere: let vs take time while time is, for time and tyde tarrieth for no man. Let vs knowe this to bée the time of our visitation. Our Sauiour Christe wepte ouer Ierusalem, because they knew not the time of their vi¦sitation. Hée reproueth the Iewes, because they coulde discerne the face of the Skye, but could not discerne the signes of the ti∣mes. And surely in the ende it will turne to our destruction, if wée will not knowe this to bee the daie of mercie, the time of Grace, wherein God stretcheth foorth his hande vnto vs, and wisedome crieth out in the stréetes.
Therefore, nowe whilest wée haue the light, let vs walke as children of the light: the nighte commeth when no manne can woorke. It shall be too late to call for mer∣cie after this life, when the gates of mercy are shut vp, and Repentaunce will bée too late. Oh deare christians, let vs remember the fiue foolishe Virgins, whiche because they forslowed the time, had heauen gates barred vp against them. Let vs also remē∣ber Page [unnumbered] the fearefull & dolefull example of the riche Glutton, which beeing in Hell tor∣ments yelled, and yelped for the least ease and help that might be, and could not haue it. An hundred thousande times therefore, better it is for vs to leaue our sinnes now to mourne for them now, and now to Re∣pente, then hereafter alas when it shall be too late. Better nowe a great deale to take some paine, to strayne our selues to leaue our sinnes, and to make our hearte smarte for them, then to bee condemned for euer, and to cry in the bottome of Hell, we haue wearied our selues in the way of wicked∣nesse and Destruction, and wee haue gone through daungerous waies: But we haue not knowen the way of the Lorde. What hath pride profited vs? Or what profite hath the Pompe of riches brought vs? All these thinges are possed awaie like a sha∣dowe, and as a Paste that passeth by. We haue set our selues against the children of God, we had them in derision, and in a pa∣rable of reproch: Wée fooles thought their life madnesse, and their ende without ho∣nour: but loe they are counted emongst the children of God, and their portion is Page [unnumbered] emonge the Sainctes. Therefore let vs knowe the tyme of our calling, and let vs not be worse thē the foules of the ayre, the Storke knoweth her appointed tyme: the Turtle, the Crane, and the Swallowe ob∣serue the time of their comming. The Husbandman taketh his times. The Ma∣riner watcheth his tide. Therefore let vs also take the time, & turne vnto the Lorde whilest it is saide to day, which grace God graunt vs.
Nowe let vs returne vnto the fourth pointe, concerning the causes which may moue vs vnto Repentance. Herein I haue obserued nine especiall thinges. First, the great mercie of God, leadeth vs vnto Re∣pentaunce. As Rom. 2. The bountifulnesse of God leadeth vs vnto Repentance, sayth the Apostle. God doth continually followe vs with his mercies and benefites, both concerning our soules & bodies, wée haue no good thinge which wee haue not recey∣ued at his hands, we hold all that we haue of him, and to him wee are beholding for all. Great is his mercie towarde our bo∣dies, but much greater towardes our sou∣les, and euerie mercie and benefit, eyther Page [unnumbered] towarde soule or body, calleth vs to repen∣aunce. Hée giueth vs meate, drinke, and clothing, these call vs to repentaunce: Hée kéepeth vs at his owne costes and charges here below, this calleth vs to Repentance: the Sunne, the Moone, and the Starres, calleth vs to Repentance. The birdes of the ayre, the fishes of the Sea, & the fruites of the yearth crie out vpon vs, both loude, and shrill: Repent, repent. All creatures mooue vs to Repentaunce. Our creation calleth, our redemption crieth, our sanctifi∣cation knocketh, and our Election moo∣ueth to Repentaunce. What could God do more for his vineyard, y• he hath not done? Therefore let vs repent.
Secondly, the iudgements of God moue vs vnto repentance, for al ye thunderbolts, plagues, and punishments which God hath throwen downe vppon obstinate sinners, from the beginning of ye world, are so ma∣nie warning péeces vnto vs, to awake vs out of the dead sléepe of sinne, & to prick vs to Repentaunce. As in the 1. Cor. 10. When the Apostle hath cited diuers greate iudge∣mentes of God against the olde Israelites for diuers sinnes, Page [unnumbered] he concludeth: now all these things came vnto them for examples, and were writtē to admonishe vs, vppon whome the endes of the worlde are come. So that all the Iudgementes wee reade of in the Scrip∣tures, are so many admonitions, and as it were carteropes to drawe vs to Repen∣taunce. All the iudgementes we haue read of, heard of, do sée and heare of euery day, knocke & with mayn strokes beate downe right vpon our consciences to repentance. The vgly monsters, straunge byrthes, fiery constellations, vnknowen Cometes, sodaine deathes, marueilous droughtes, vnwonted snowes, horrible inundations, forraine wonders, straunge apparitions, threatning of heauen aboue, we streaming and shooting fire, trembling of the earth vnder our féete, and our houses ouer our heades, as of late dayes. What are al these but as it were great Cranes with beams, and Cable Ropes, to drawe vs vp to the Lord by Repentance.
Thirdly, the word of God haleth vs to repentance. For as God in olde time sent his Prophets both early and late, to call the rebellious Iewes to Repentaunce: so Page [unnumbered] he sendeth abroad his preachers, and mes∣sengers in those daies, to sounde vp the trumpe of his word, & to ring the swéet bel of Aaron emongst thē to awake thē to re∣pentance, but alas how lightly are they re¦garded? Who heareth their voice? But surely this is the last remedie yt God hath apointed, & if this wil not moue vs to re∣pentance, if this wil not cure vs, then are we altogether vncurable.
Fourthly, the infinite number of sinnes we haue committed, ought to be so manie spurres in our sides to pricke vs to repen∣taunce. It is sufficient saith Saint Peter, that we haue spēt the time past of our life after the lustes of the Gentiles, walking in wantonnesse, lustres, drunkennes, glut∣tonie, drinkinges, and abominable Idola∣tries. Therfore it is time now to repent. Oh that men would looke backe to them∣selues, and consider themselues as they were fortie, thirtie, twentie, or ten yeares ago. Oh that they would call to mind theyr open & secret sins, & me thinketh it should make their heart bléed within their belly to thinke vpon them. Oh yt they would con¦sider how much time they haue mispent, & Page [unnumbered] how many good things they haue neglec∣ted, and altogether omitted.
Fiftly, the shortnesse of our life calleth earnestly vpon vs to repent. The time of our life is sixtie yeares, & ten, & if they bee of strength eightie yeeres, yet the strength is but labour and sorrowe, so it is cut off quickly, and we flie away saith the Pro∣phet Dauid, we haue spent our yeres as a thought, Therefore he addeth. Teach vs to number our dayes, that wee may apply our heartes vnto wisdome. Our life for the shortnesse and inconstancie of it in the scripture is compared to grasse, to a va∣pour to smoke, and to a Weauers shuttle which glideth away swiftly. Euen so the daies of man passe away no man knoweth how. Man is of short continuaunce saith Iob, & full of trouble. Experience teacheth, that to day a man to morowe none. Hence away we must al, here is no abiding place for vs, how soone we know not. Therefore let vs repent.
Sixtly, the small number of those which shal be saued: ought to thrust vs forward to repentance. Striue to enter in at the nar∣row gate, for many I say vnto you, will Page [unnumbered] séeke to enter in, and shal not be able saith Christe Luke. 13. 24. And in an other place he saith, the gate is straight, and the way narrowe that leadeth vnto life, and fewe there be that finde it. If men would consider of this, it would make them looke better about them, and trie with them sel∣ues, whether they be of that small number or no.
Seuenthly, Death threatneth vs, who is very terrible to the flesh, and the remem∣braunce of it very bitter to a man that is soused, and soked in the pleasures of this worlde. It flattereth no man, it regardeth not persons, it weigheth not friendship, it careth not for rewardes, it is very grim, vglie, and cruel, and killeth downe right where it hitteth. Therefore let vs repent.
Eightly, the day of iudgement and seconde appearing of the Sonne of man ought to quicken vs. The day of the Lord will come as a Théefe in the night, in the whiche the heauens shal passe away with a noyse, and the Elements shall melt with heate, and the earth with the workes that are therein shal be burnt vp, séeing there∣fore that all these things must be dissolue•Page [unnumbered] what manner of persons ought ye to be in holy conuersation and Godlines saith S. Pet. 2. 3. The Lorde Iesus shall shewe himselfe from heauen, with his mighty an∣gelles in flaming fire, rendering venge∣aunce vnto them that know not God, and obeye not vnto the Gospell of our Lorde Iesus Christ, saith the Apostle. 2. Thes. 1. I sawe saieth Saint Iohn. Apoc. 20. A great white Throne, and one that sate on it, from whose face fledde away both the earth and the heauen, and their place was no more founde. And I sawe the deade both great and small stand before GOD: and the bookes were opened, and ano∣ther booke was opened, which is the booke of life, and the dead were iudged of those thinges, which were written in the bookes according to their woorkes. And the Sea gaue vp her deade, whiche were in her, and death and hell deliuered vp the deade, which were in them, and they were iudged euery man according to his woorkes. In these places we sée both the sodainnesse, the fearefulnesse, and glory of Christs comming. For he shall not come poorely, and contemptuously as Page [unnumbered] in his first visitation, but he shall come ve∣ry princely, royally, and triumphantly, to the great terrour of all his enemies, when a consuming fire shall goe before him, and ten thousand thousands of Angels waite vpon him: at what time the Kinges of the earth, & the great men, and the rich men, and the chiefe Captaines, and the mightie men, and euery bondman, and euery frée∣man shall hyde themselues in dennes, and amongest the rockes of the mountaines and say to the rockes and mountaines fall on vs, & hide vs from the presence of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lambe, for the great day of his wrath is come, and who can stand? A∣poc. 6. Therfore let vs repent.
The last thing is Hell tormentes then the which nothing is more vntollerable. Therefore saith Christe, Marke. 9. If thine hand cause thee to offende, cut it off: It is better for thee to enter into life may∣med, then hauing two handes to goe into Hell, into the fire that neuer shall bee quenched, where the worme dieth not, and the fire neuer goeth out. The Scripture speaketh very terribly to our senses, con∣cerning Page [unnumbered] the estate of the damned persons calling it hel fire, damnation, the lake that burneth with fire & brimstone for euer. In 30. cha. of the prophesie of Esai, it is called Tropheth, and it is euen prepared of old, it is euen prepared for ye king: he hath made déepe & large, ye burning therof is fire and much wood: the breath of the Lorde like a Riuer of Brimstone doeth kindle it: these spéeches are terrible to our senses, & may maruellously amaze vs. But if I had the tongue of an hundred men nay of an hun∣dred Angels, yet were I not able to vtter them, as some shall one day féele them, much lesse were you able to conceiue thē. If al the tortures and cruel torments that can be deuised by the wit of man, were executed vpon some one, yet were it no∣thing to this. We poore wretches thinke there is no paine to a Collike, or a cruell Ague. But if all Collikes, Agues, and all other strange diseases could possibly light vpon one man, yet were it but a fleabiting to that which is to come. The pain is end∣lesse, easelesse, and remedilesse. The daies of their hellish torments shal neuer weare •ut, nor their yeares come to an ende, the Page [unnumbered] longer they continue, the lesse hope haue they. When as many yeres are expired, as there be men in the world, & starres in the heauens, when as many thousand yeares are ended, as there be stones, and sands by the Sea shore, yet still there be ten hūdred thousande times so many moe to come: Those that wil not now be moued in hea∣ring, shall then be crushed to péeces in fée∣ling. Al dronkards, swearers, whoremon∣gers, vsurers, extortioners, liers, mockers, contemners, secure persons, iolly felowes, roisting ruffians, lustie bloudes, the braue laddes of this world, and all other vnbele∣uers shal one day be apprehended, and ar∣raigned before the barre of Gods tribunal seate, where the Maiesty of GOD shall stand aboue them, with a naked sworde of vengeance, and a scepter of Iustice. The Deuil that olde Satanas shal stand on the one side to accuse them, and their own con¦science on the other side to condemne thē, and the gasping gulfe of Hell vnderneath them, ready to swallow them vp for euer∣more, Then shall the dreadfull sentence of eternall woe, and damnation procéede a∣gainst them▪ Go, ye cursed into hel fire, &c. Page [unnumbered] There they shall drinke as a iuste recom∣pence for their iniquitie, the bitter cup of Gods eternall wrath and indignation, in the kingdom of darknes, and in the feare∣full presence of Sathan, & all the cursed e∣nemies of Gods grace, where the dolefull Droome of Gods anger shall euer sounde through their eares, where shalbe wéeping & gnashing of téeth, where shall bée confu∣sion, woe, and endles lamentation. Their gripes shall bée so greate, their groanes so déepe, and their garboiles so vntollerable, that they shall grinne like a Dog in their infernall conu•lsions, and with howling, and yelling crie out, woe, & alas that euer I was borne: Oh that I had neuer béene borne, or that my mother had borne mee a Tode. For then should my condition haue bin better then it is. Cursed was the time I was begot in. The houre I was concei∣ued in, and the day that I sucked my mo∣thers paps. Cursed I was alwayes, cur∣sed I am, & cursed I shall be for euermore. Woe, woe, howe greate is my tormente, whose heart doeth not melte, whose eares doe not glowe, whose haires doe not stānd vppon his heade, to heare these thinges. Page [unnumbered] Therefore déere brethren let vs repent. If the mercie of God cannot allure vs; let his Iudgements scarre vs. If his Iudgemen∣tes cannot scarre vs, let his woorde moue vs: If his woorde cannot moue vs, let our sinnes amaze vs: If our sinnes cannot a∣maze vs, let the shortnes of our life dampe vs: if the shortnes of our life cannot da•••e vs, let the smal number of those that shal be saued affray vs: if that cannot affray vs, let death terrifie vs: if death cānot terrifie vs, let the daie of Iudgement shake vs: if that cannot shake vs, yet let Hell tormentes shudder vs, & rente vs in yeeres. For veri∣ly verily my brethrē, if none of al those cā preuaile, if we wil not for all this repent, but be obstinate, then wée shall all peri••e and be damned, according to Christs wor∣des. Now let vs procéede to speake of those thinges, which let and •inder vs from Re∣pentaunce, whiche indéede although they bée in number infinite, yet at this tyme I will laie foorth seuen especiall lettes; and hinderances vnto Repentance.
The first is vnbeliefe, that is, when men will not beléeue those things thāt are spo∣ken and proued vnto them, out of the word Page [unnumbered] of God. This is it yt vomiteth vp all good thinges, and poysoneth the very intrals of a man, & kéepeth all good graces from vs. As appeareth. Math. 13. 58. Hee did not manye greate woorkes there for their vn∣beleefes sake. And the 4. to the Hebrues, it is saide, Vnto vs was the Gospell prea∣ched, as also vnto them, but the worde that they hearde profited not them, because it was not mixed with fayth in those that heard it. So that here we may sée, although we heare neuer so muche, yet if wée bringe not faith with vs, wée shall neuer profite vnto Repentaunce. For vnbeliefe taketh vp our hartes for Sathan, and refuseth all the wholesome doctrine of saluation, and doth so harden them in the waies of sinne: that in the ende they become paste feeling, and cānot be touched one whit, either with the iudgementes or mercies of God: But count the one as blasts of wynd: and make the other a couert for their filthinesse. You shall note some men, who when they haue heard their sinnes straightlie ripped vp by the woord of God, and their iust damnatiō proued by the same, without spéedie, & ear∣nest repentance, will breake out into these Page [unnumbered] words of vnbeléef. If it be as the saith God helpe vs, I hope it is not so, I trust I shall doe well inough for all this, as longe as I haue a good faith in God, and doe in bodie no harme, shall I leaue my pleasures, and my profites for their sayinges? What, doe they thinke none shalbe saued, but such as read the Scriptures, and heare Sermons? God forbid but those which doe not goe to heare sermons, should bée saued as well as they. Why may not one serue God as wel at home in his house, hauing good Bookes and good Prayers, as by comming to the Church to heare sermons, and seruice? A∣las these men stand too much in their own light, and betray what folly and ignoranc• is in thē. For they do thinke to be saued by any other means thē God hath appointed. Or when God hath auouched anie thinge in his word, will they accept against it, & so make God a liar? When God hath once set down a thing, and proued it to their fa∣ces will they yet reply? When God hath told vs that the preaching of the worde, is the ordinary meanes of our saluation, shal we hope to be saued although we contemn it, and neuer or verie seldome heare it? Is Page [unnumbered] not this plaine infidelity & vnbeliefe, that when God saith one thing, we will say an¦other: when God saith, yea, we will say no I hope not so. Yes surely, that is it, that stoppeth the way vnto Gods graces, and barreth vs out from repentance.
The seconde let is the presumption of Gods mercie, for if men be sharply reproo∣ued for their sinnes, and exhorted vnto re∣pentance, by & by they take couert, saying. God is mercifull, God is mercifull, as though God were made all of mercie, and that ther were no iustice in him at al: and thus the wicked make Gods mercie an oc∣casion to sinne, which thinge the Prophete Nahum in the first of his Prophesie doeth sharply reproue. The Lord saith he, is slow to anger, but he is great in power, and will not surely cleare the wicked. But because I haue spoken afore of this presuming and misapplying of Gods mercie, I will héere passe it ouer, willing you to note it as one special let vnto repentance.
The third hinderance is the example of the multitude, for that doth harden, & im∣bolden men vnto sin. As when many bir∣des flicker and flocke together, they fall v∣pon Page [unnumbered] the net without any feare, but one or two alone wilbe afraid. Euen so the exam∣ple of manie, and many sinne companions do imbolden men to run through ye snares of Sathā without any mistrust. Therefore it is said in Exod. 23. Thou shalte not fol∣lowe a multitude to doe euill. This is the thinge that hindreth a great number from God, for they neuer looke vp vnto God, or to his worde, but stare vppon the common doinges of most men, and examples of the world, thinking if they do as the most men doe, as their forefathers haue doone be∣fore them, they are Cocksure and of an euē groūd. And herevpon ariseth their diuelish Prouerbe, doe as the moste men doe, and ye fewest will speake of you, but they haue forgotten S. Paules rule. Rom, 12. Fashion not your selues like vnto this world. These fellows that stand vpon the multitude wil reason thus: We sée none of ye great ones of the world, none of the noble, none of the rich, none of the wise, and prudent receiue this doctrine, but onely a fewe shackrags & beggerly rascals, and therefore it is a to∣ken that it is nothing worth, and that it is doubtfull, and not for vs to 〈◊〉 withal. Page [unnumbered] Lote what thoughts may créep in our head •es, and how slily Sathan maie trumpe in our way, & blindfold vs, and lead vs away in ye darke, by doting vs with the example of ye multitude: Therfore let vs take héede of those pitfalles, which Sathan layeth in out way, & not be carried away with these thoughtes and reasons. The wicked beare themselues in hand that they shal win the game, & that the goale goeth on their side, and there is nothing but crowing long be∣fore it bee daye, and greate triumphing e∣mongst them before any stroke be striken, & that because wée be but a handful of peo∣ple, and they a great multitude, & that in a maner the whole world agréeth we them to practise our death. Thus the diuell doth cast a mist before their eies, and closly lead them away from repentaunce. Therefore •éere brethrē, let vs stand fast in the word of the Lord, and not be caried away, or bo∣wed quite down with this raging stream of the multitude: but let vs knowe it to be one speciall engine of Sathan, whereby he driueth vs from repentaunce.
The fourth let vnto repentance is long custome of sinne. For that taketh away all Page [unnumbered] sense & féeling of sinne, & making it as 〈◊〉 were another nature vnto vs: So that we may aswel alter nature as shake it of, whē it is once thus soldred vnto vs through lōg custome. Therefore it is saide Iere. 13. 23. Can the blake-More chaunge his skin? or the Leopard his spots? thē may ye also doe good that are accustomed to do euil. Here the Prophet affirmeth, that it is as hard to cure an old disease that is bred in the bone and to remedie a sinne that hath béene hat∣ched, and brought vp with vs, as to washe a black-more white, or to change the spots of a Leopard, which cannot be with out de∣stroying of nature. And surely, trie it who will, hee shall finde it as harde a matter to leaue an old custom, whether it be of sw••∣ring, of gaming, of lying, of whoring, of e∣uill company, or of any other sinne, as to wash an Aethiopian. Therfore it is writ∣ten, Prou. 27. Though thou shouldest bray a foole in a morter, emonge whea•e brayed with a pestell, yet will not his foo∣lishnes depart from him. So that as longe as we are in custome with sinne, the doore of repentance is barred vp against be.
The fifth hinderance is long escaping of Page [unnumbered] punishmēt for the wicked therby are sta•∣••ed in sinne, and driuen of from repen∣tance, euen as an olde théefe that hath stol¦len a long time, and escapeth both prison, and gallows, is animated more boldely to procéede in his wickednesse, thinking he shall so alwayes escape. So many filthy & loose liuers go forward in their abhomina∣tions without repentaunce, thinking that because God doth not incontinētly punish them, and shew some manifest iudgments & signe of his wrath vpon them, therefore they shalbe acquited for altogether. Wher∣as contrariwise, if God should by and by strike th̄ down assone as they had sinned by thundering vpon one, and lightning v∣pon another, and raining fire, & brimstone vpon the third it would make them afraid. Hereupon it is said in Pet. 2. 3. 4. This first vnderstand that there shal come in the last dayes mockers, which will walke af∣ter their lustes, and say where is the pro∣mise of his comming? For since the fathers died al things continue alike from the be∣ginning of the creation. But let these men well knowe, that when God hath delayed along time, & prolonged the terme, of the Page [unnumbered] wicked, at length he will shew yt although• he waited for their repentance, yet he fo••∣gate not their misdéedes, but registre• them before him, and packed them vp 〈◊〉 a great heape, to increase the terrour o• his wrath.
The sixt hinderance is the beholding 〈◊〉 other mens endes. For when some me• that haue liued a wicked, & an vngratiou• life, and haue bene notorious sinners euen to the worldward, so that euery man cou• point at them: yet, if vpon their death 〈◊〉 they can say a fewe good wordes, and crye God mercy, and say their praiers, and for| giue al the world, and so die quietly: It is merueilous to heare howe the foolish peo∣ple of the world will exalt them, & iustifye them saying, hee made a very good ende, as any man could make, and died as qui•• as a Lambe, & set all things in good or••• before he died. Herevpon an other w••∣ked & monstrous verlet is encouraged 〈◊〉 sinne. For thinketh he, such a man liued 〈◊〉 loosely as I, or any man else, and yet 〈◊〉 made a verie good ende, and why may not I do so too? But alas these mens eye• are bleared. For to die quietly is no to 〈◊〉Page [unnumbered]〈◊〉, to crie God mercie for fashion, is not to haue God mercifull, to say a fewe •••yers with téeth outwarde, is not to die in the faith of Christ, for many may doe all this, and yet die miserably.
The last let is hope of long life, for while men féede, and besette them selues in this hope, they waxe dronken in sin, and defer the day of Repentance. As the riche man in the Luke. 12. dreaming of his long life cast off all thought of God, and of the other life, and of Christes comming, and of Re∣pentaunce, and all good thinges, and sayid within himselfe: Soule thou hast muche goods laid vp for many yeres, liue at ease, eate, drinke, and take thy pastime. Thus the bleareyed men of this world, choke vp Repentance, & quite smother it, by doting themselues with hope of long life. There∣fore my deare brethren, I beséech you by the mecies of God in the bowels of Iesus Christ, that none of all these common lets may stay you from spéedy, and vnfeigned Repentance. But that you may ouerstride them all, least vnhappily you being found without Repentance, and taken tardie in your sinnes, should all perish, and be dam∣ned Page [unnumbered] according to Christs sentence. Wh••• fore in conclusion, let vs with godly E•∣chias be afraide of Gods threateninges, sorrow aforehand, stand in awe of GOD examine our conscience, mourne for our sinnes, & lament inwardly, that when the wicked which haue swimmed in pleasures here belowe, shall enter into their eternal paynes, we may then, I say there, haue e∣uerlasting peace, & rest, that when Iesus Christ shall appeare from heauen with all his holy Angels, we may haue crownes of glory, and victory clapped on our heades, and raigne with our God, & our sauiour his sonne, and all his Sainctes and An∣gels, in the middest of all ioy▪ in the hea∣uens for euermore. To the which ioy he bring vs all, which hath so bearely bought vs, Iesus Christ the righteous: to whom with the father & the holy Ghost, be all ho∣nour, glory, praise, power, empire, and do∣minion, now and for euermore. Amen.