A BRIEFE TRACT CONCERNING ZEALE, wherein the properties of true Zeale are described, and the contrarie discouered,
GOdlie zeale is a vertue very requisite and necessary for all Christans: not so rare and seldome found: as pre∣cious and vsefull where it is found; as being the verie life and soule of sound Christianitie, and one of the principal Fountains & Well-heads, whence manie other vertues of the spirit doe spring and issue foorth.
The excellencie of this grace doeth appeare, as by manie other arguments, so by this, that the Saintes are thereby described; where they are saide to bee a peo∣ple [zealous of good workes:] this is the ende of their redemption,* and this is one speciall effect and marke of their iustification, that they doe not onely desist from their former euill workes, and fall to the practise of the contrarie good workes, but that they are zea∣lous, both to doe them, and in the doing of them: they shake off the sluggishnesse of the flesh, and striue for the feruencie of the spirit,* in all duties that they owe either vnto God or men.
Page 84 For this vertue, amongst many others, are the peni∣tent Corinthians commended:*Behold this, that yee haue beene godly sorrowfull, (saith Paul) what zeale it hath wrought in you! &c. Till such time as the Apostle had re∣buked them by an Epistle, they were either not at all, or very slightly touched with the sense of their owne sins, and therefore they set light by the offences of others, in∣somuch that when abominable incest (such as had not beene heard of amongst the Gentiles) was committed among them, yet they tooke it not to heart, nor at all mourned for it,* nay they let the offender goe vncensu∣red, who should haue beene (as afterwards he was) ex∣communicated, and deliuered vp vnto Sathan, for the healing of his owne soule, the preuenting of the like sinnes in others, and the stopping of the mouthes of wicked blasphemers, who would be readie heereupon to speake euill of the holy name of God, and of the pro∣fessours and profession of Christianitie. Thus cold and carelesse were they, till the Apostle had sharply reproo∣ued them: but after that they had well disgested his speeches, and thorowly considered of all matters, they fell to lament for their owne corruptions, and for the transgressions of others, and were zealous against all wickednesse, and for all manner of goodnesse in them∣selues and others. This was the effect of holy griefe in them, and this will be found in all that attaine to that repentance which is vnto life: in which regard, when the Lord would worke a cure vpon the luke-warme Laodicians,* he biddeth them, be zealous, and amend. That was their sinne, that they were key-cold, and euen fro∣zen in the dregges of securitie, exercising themselues in sundrie good duties (for that must needes be, because they were a Church) but neuer regarding with what loue vnto God or men they performed the same: there∣fore the Lord vrging them to reformation, willeth them [to be zealous, and amend] implying, that these two Page 85 euer goe hand in hand, to wit, sound repentance, and godly zeale: yet so, that as euery one is of greater growth in the body of Christ, so this grace is of greater strength in him: as is euident in Dauid, who speaketh thus of himselfe (and that by the inspiration of Gods holy spirit,* and therefore cannot but speake truely) My zeale hath euen consumed me, because mine enemies haue forgotten thy word. Weaker Christians haue some good motions of griefe for mens offances: but the Prophet was exceedingly wrought vpon by his zeale, so that it did euen spend him, and consume him, in regard of the fearefull breach of Gods commandements, which he obserued in his very enemies. And the like we find in another place:*The zeale of thine house hath eaten me: and the rebukes of them that rebuked thee are fallen vpon me. Thus was the holy man of God touched, yea tormen∣ted with the things whereby Gods glory was impaired, as if he had beene laden himselfe with reproaches and disgraces.
But most admirable was the zeale of Moses and Paul,* who for that feruent desire that they had of aduancing Gods glory, could haue beene content to haue had their names put out of the booke of life, and to be separated from the Lord, so that his great name might be magnified in sparing and sauing their brethren the Israelites.
Now because our hearts may easily deceiue vs in this matter of zeale, either by perswading vs that we haue it, when we are farre from it; or that we altogether want it, when in some good measure we haue attained vnto it: therefore will it not be amisse to set downe some rules, whereby we may trie whether our zeale be cur∣rant or counterfeit.
First,* therefore touching the matter about which this holy zeale is to be exercised, it must be good: ac∣cording to the saying of the Apostle: It is good alwaies to [unspec 1] Page 86 be zealous in [a good matter:]* and it was before shewed, that Gods people must be zealous of [good workes:] o∣therwise,* if the matter be euill, the more earnest any is, the more sinfull: neither is such earnestnesse worthy the name of zeale, being nothing else but a diuellish and fleshly heate, or rather a kinde of frenzie and mad∣nesse. Such was the zeale of Idolaters that would man∣gle and cut themselues, and that would offer their chil∣dren in the fire in honour vnto their gods. Such was the zeale of the Scribes and Pharises,* who would com∣passe sea and land to make one a Proselite: that is, one of their owne sect.
With this violent and mad zeale was Paul carried be∣fore his conuersion (as he himselfe confesseth in plaine tearmes, Acts. 26. 11. and Phil. 3. 6.) when he was enra∣ged against Christians, and spared no paines nor cost to make them denie and blaspheme the name of Christ.
Heere then is to be condemned the zeale of ignorant Papists and Brownists, and such like, who are very hotte indeed (for he must needes runne whom the diuell driues) but in euill causes, as might easily be prooued, and may hence, if by no other arguments, be probably concluded, in that they vse the diuels owne weapons (to wit, lying, standering, railing, cursed speaking, and the like) in the pursute of the same.
But much more damnable and vile is their zeale to be esteemed, who against their knowledge and con∣sciences, doe violently and maliciously oppose them∣selues against the Gospell, and the professors thereof, and stand for falshood and wickednesse, and the practi∣sers thereof: as did those wretched Pharises that set themselues against our Sauiour, and committed the sin against the holy Ghost.*
A second rule is, that as the matter in which we are zealous, must be good in it selfe, so it must be knowne vnto vs to be of that qualitie. True zeale must begin Page 87 where the word begins,* and ende where it ends: for o∣therwise it cannot bee of faith, which is euer grounded on the word; and whatsoeuer is not of faith is sinne. We must not therefore content our selues with an honest meaning, and hope that wee haue a good zeale towards God, when we haue no warrant for our hope: but must so acquaint our selues with the Scriptures of God,* that our zeale may be according to knowledge.
Which rule discouereth the corruptnes of their zeale, whether close hypocrites, or weake Christians, who are led on meerely by the examples of good men, whome they affect, much to like of, and earnestly to stand fot such things, as they perceiue them in their practise to obserue, and to make conscience of: and if there be but a word spoken against any of the things that they haue taken a liking of, they are maruellously stirred with in∣dignation thereat, and grow passionate and vehement against the parties, though they haue neuer so good a meaning in that which they speake: Yet let them bee vrged to prooue out of the word the necessitie of those duties which they so earnestly presse, they can say little or nothing to the purpose for them; and so grow ma∣nie times either to dislike and forsake all if they bee hy∣pocrites, or at least to bee discouraged, and to bee at a stand, if they be weaklings in Christ Iesus. And whence proceed these inconueniences but from this, that they are zealous for things that in themselues, and vnto o∣thers are good and holie, but not thoroughly discerned of them to bee of that nature: the consideration where∣of, should make vs to sit sure in matters of godlinesse, not building vpon the example of good men, but vpon the truth of the good word of God, and then our foun∣dation shall neuer faile vs.
A third propertie of true zeale is, that it beginneth [unspec 3] in our selues,* and after proceedeth vnto others: for ne∣uer can that man be truely zealous to others, which ne∣uer Page 88 knew to be zealous to himselfe. Those are the most skilfull Physitions and best able to deale with others, that haue first wrought a cure vpon their owne soules. Therefore our Sauiours aduice is,*Cast out the beame out of thine owne eye first, and then shalt thou see perfectly to pull out the moate that is in thy brothers eye. We must then first of all iudge our selues, and cast the first stone at our selues, that so finding how vgly and noisome a thing sinne is, and that by experience in our selues, we may be at defiance with it, wheresoeuer we finde it, and neither flatter others in their euill courses, nor yet too rigo∣rously and vnmercifully rebuke them for the same. Those that haue beene pinched with sicknesse and are recouered, can by the smart which they haue felt, pittie others in the like case: euen so they which haue beene stung with sinne themselues, can more easily be moued to shew compassion towards poore sinners like them∣selues, because by the feeling of misery, men learne the practise of mercy,* in that Christ suffered and was temp∣ted, he is able to pittie and to succour those that are tempted.
Against this rule doe all hypocrites offend, who will wade very deepely into other mens soules, and very bloodily gore other mens consciences, who yet neuer once purged their owne vncleane sincks at home, nor drew one drop of blood out of their owne corrupt hearts. Such were the Pharises, who pleased themselues much in iudging and censuring our Sauiour and his Disciples;* but were so farre from condemning them∣selues as faultie in any thing, that they iustified them∣selues before God and men. Such also are the Brownists, which are readie to burst their bowels with crying out against disorders abroad, and yet neuer reforme their owne soules at home: for if they did, they would also reforme their liues and their families. But what kind of zeale these mens is, wosull and late experience still cri∣eth Page 89 in our eares: for manie of them being so zealous to others, but onely through some secret loue of the world, when they had that which they sought for, made knowne their hollow & their rotten zeale, in that with∣out griefe of conscience, they could suddenly rush into a profound worldlinesse: and without all godly sorrow, could (after they had satisfied their greedie and fleshly zeale) not onely more hardlie seare vp their owne con∣sciences, but also be so changed, that they could sowe vp their lippes, and spare their words from speaking in like manner againe to others, and so are neither zealous to themselues nor others.
Heere also are all such to be censured as faultie, that can prie and make a priuie search into the wants of o∣thers, accounting the same wants no wants in them∣selues. The father saith, this my childe doth amisse: and the childe, in this my father faileth: the husband knoweth, what the wife should doe; and the wife, what the husband should doe, &c: euery one in the meane time neglecting their owne duties; whereas indeed eue∣ry ones principall care should bee, to know and doe his owne dutie, and to be grieued where he commeth short of the same. And thus much for the third rule, that true zeale must beginne in our selues.
Now further we are to vnderstand, that there must be [unspec 4] an order kept in being thus zealous: namely,* that first and especiallie wee make conscience of the principall matters of the word, and after of the lesser, as our Saui∣our telleth the Scribes and Pharises: These things ought yee to haue done,* (that is, the weightier matters of the Law) and not to haue left the other vndone: viz. matters of smaller importance.
Which sheweth, that their zeale is verie corrupt and faulty, who as our Sauior saith, straine out a Gnat, & swal∣low a Camell; who are very hot about matters of cere∣monie, but altogether cold in matters of substance: as Page 90 also theirs that (on the other side) will crie out against them that rob by the high-wayes side, & yet they them∣selues make no conscience of pilfring, & cosoning, and secret defrauding of their neighbours: as if small sinnes were not to be left as well as great.
Another rule of true zeale is, that wee looke as care∣fully [unspec 5] to our hearts before God, as to our carriage before men: for so the Lord commandeth,*Clease thy heart, ô Ierusalem, &c: how long shall thy euill thoughts remaine within thee?* And againe, Purge your hands, yee sinners, and [your hearts] yee hypocrites.*
Which serueth to ouerthrow the hypocrisie of such Pharises, as make cleane the vtter side of the cuppe and plat∣ter, but within are full of bribery and excesse,* of pride, dis∣daine, selfe-loue, and hatred.
Now that wee may the better trie our selues by this rule, two things are to be obserued,
I. That wee feare to commit any sinne secretly, and when wee are alone, as well as when wee are in the pre∣sence of men. So did Iob, and so did Ioseph: and this mooued them so to doe,* euen that the Lord did behold them,* and could punish them for secret, as well as for o∣pen offences.
Which condemneth them of grosse dissimulation, that are loth to be accounted ill, and yet make no con∣science to be ill. What is this, but to be painted sepul∣chers, that are faire to looke vpon, but within full of rot∣ten bones? Wee may deceiue men,* but God is not decei∣ned: and therefore let vs beware of this hypocrisie: and so much the rather, because the Lorde hath fearefully discouered and plagued them, that in outward shew haue borne a great countenance of religion, and yet haue li∣ued in secret filthinesse, and other vile sinnes, which in time haue come to light to their shame and ruine.
[unspec 2] The second thing to be obserued, is, that we haue an eye to the priuie corruptions that lurke in our hearts, Page 91 and maintaine continuall warre against them, as Paul did, Rom. 7. and this we should the rather doe, because it is a fearefull, and yet an vsuall iudgement of God, and that vpon many professors, that making no conscience of entertaining wretched lusts and vile affections se∣cretly, they haue broken foorth to the committing of the grosse actions, and so haue shamed themselues pub∣likely. And this is a iust stroke vpon those that would rather seeme to be, then in truth desire to be godly, that making no conscience of their thoughts and inward desires, they should in time be so giuen vp, as to make no conscience of their words or deeds.
The sixth rule is, that wee be more strict vnto our [unspec 6] selues then vnto others,* and more seuere against our selues, then against others, giuing more libertie vnto them, then wee will take vnto our selues. And first con∣cerning seuerite vnto our selues, such ought to bee our acquaintance with our inward and outward corrupti∣ons, and so grieuous ought they to be in our eyes, that our heate being spent vpon our selues, wee may thinke the sinnes of others more tollerable, and so learne by the sight and sense of our owne sores, to deale more mildely and meekely with others,* whose corruptions (either for greatnes or multitude) we cannot so thorow∣ly see as wee may our owne.
Secondly, as we must deale most sharpely against our selues, so must we be ready to giue more outward liber∣tie vnto others then to our selues. And for this we haue the example of Abraham, who was so strict to himselfe, that he would not take of the King of Sodome so much as a threed or latchet,* and yet he would not denie Aner, Escol and Mamre, their liberty. So Iob, as he would not permit to himselfe,* so neither would he deny to his children their liberty of feasting. But especially the ex∣ample of Paul is notable for the confirmation of this point: for seeing that in some places he could not so Page 92 conueniently liue of other mens charges, as at Corinth and Thessalonica,* he would labour with his owne hands, rather then be chargeable to any of them: yet he would not that all men should be tied by his example to doe the like: and therefore he laboureth much in his Epistles about this,* that Ministers ought to be pro∣uided for: so strict was he to himselfe; such liberty left he vnto others.
Whence we may easily perceiue, that it is rather a Pharisaicall pride, then any Christian zeale, to be too tetricall and rough in vrging men so farre, that whoso∣euer in euery point is not so strict and precise as our selues, we cast them off as dogges and prophane per∣sons, and such as are vnworthy of any account or coun∣tenance.
[unspec 7] The next propertie of true zeale, is, not to be blinded with naturall affection,* but to discerne and condemne sinne, euen in those that are neerest and dearest vnto vs. That was it that made Christ so sharply to rebuke Peter,* and Paul to deale so roundly with the Galathians and Corinthians.*
Many offend against this rule, who will neuer re∣prooue sinne in their friends, till God reuenge it from heauen; wherein they are farre from true friendship: for whereas they might by admonishing them of their faults in time, preuent the iudgements of God, they do, through a false loue, pull the wrath of God vpon them whom they loue most dearely. Hee loueth most na∣turally, that hath learned to loue spiritually: and hee loueth most sincerely, that cannot abide sinne in the partie beloued, without some wholesome admonition.
But doe not manie now adayes seeme zealoussie to mislike sinne in strangers, who can winke at the same fault in their kindred, in their wiues, in their children, in their parents? as if the diuersitie of persons could change the nature of the sinne. This blind zeale God Page 93 hath punished, and doth punish his children. Isaac did carnally loue his sonne Esau for meat, & for a peece of venison.*Dauid was too much affected to Absalon and to Adoniah for their comely personage, so as his zeale was hindered in discerning sinne aright in them. Now Iacob was not so deare to Isaac, and Salomon was more hardly set to schoole, and made to take paines: but be∣hold, God louing Iacob, and refusing Esau, (howsoeuer Isaac loued Esau better then Iacob) made Esau more troublesome, and Iacob more comfortable vnto him. Absalon and Adoniah, brought vp like Cocknies, became corasiues to Dauids heart: Salomon more restrained and better instructed, was his ioy, his crowne, his successor in his kingdome. This disease is so hereditary to many parents, louing their children in the flesh, rather then in the spirit, that the holy Ghost is faine to cal vpon them more vehemently, to teach, to instruct, and to correct, as knowing how easily nature would coole zeale in this kinde of dutie. Indeed many will set by their wiues, chil∣dren, and kinsfolkes, if they be thriftie, like to become good husbands, wittie and politicke, or if they be such as for their gifts can bring some reuenue to their stocke, or afford some profit vnto them; how deepe sinners soe∣uer they be against God, that maketh no matter, it little grieueth them: whereby they bewray their great cor∣ruption, that they are neither zealous in truth of Gods glory, nor louers aright of their children, because they can be sharpe enough in reprehension if they faile but a little in thriftinesse, and yet are too too cold in admo∣nition, if they faile neuer so much in godlinesse.
Well, let these fleshly zealous men lay to their heart the blinde affection of Heli,* who being the deare childe of God, was seuerely punished of the Lord, for that he was not zealously affected to punish the grosse and foule offences of his children: but blessed are they that can forget their owne cause, and euen with ieopardie of Page 94 nature can defend the quarrel of God, labouring hence∣foorth to know no man after the flesh, nor suffering a∣ny outward league so to bleare and dazle their eyes, as that they should not espie sinne in their dearest friends to reforme it, or that they should not discerne vertue in the greatest aliens to reuerence it.
[unspec 8] Now whereas many haue great courage to rebuke such as either cannot gainsay them,* or gainsaying them, cannot preuaile against them, heere commeth another property of zeale to be spoken of, and that is, that it fea∣reth not the face of the mightie, neither is it dismaied at the lookes of the proud and loftie, Such was the cou∣rage of Iob, who besides that he made the young men ashamed of their liberty, & afraide of his grauity, made euen the Princes also to stay their talke,* and to lay their hands on their mouthes. And yet heere we must beware of their hasty zeale, who will not sticke to charge the children of God to be without zeale, if presently and abruptly they rush not into an open reprehension of men that are mightie in authoritie, as though no regard of time, place, or persons were to be had: which opinion many by weakenesse of iudgement defending, find nei∣ther fruit in others, nor comfort in their owne consci∣ences, when they doe admonish in that presumptuous maner: for that hunting after feruentnesse without the spirit of meeknesse, and casting off all consideration of a godly opportunitie, they rather exasperate then hum∣ble the parties admonished: and they themselues ra∣ther depart with confusion and shame, for such posting on without warrant of wisedome, then with comfort of heart for any duty done, Neither am I heere ignorant how great danger of trouble of minde commeth to ma∣ny, in that they, being so curious obseruers and waiters of opportunity, doe for some ease of the flesh, vnder the cloake of this wisedome, altogether leaue off that godly dutie. Wherefore, as we affirme that wisedome Page 95 and loue mixed together do deeply enter into the most prefract & prodigious spirits; so we mislike their feare∣full delay of duty, who hauing a meane occasion offered them from the Lord, doe not zealously and earnestly rebuke sinne, though in some higher personages.
Out of this may issue another frutit of holy zeale, namely when we are zealous in their behalfe who can neuer recompence vs againe, and that in defending their right against oppressors that are craftier & migh∣tier then they. Thus Iob deliuered the poore that cried,*the fatherlesse and him that had none to helpe him. He was the eyes to the blinde, and feet to the lame, at whose hands no re∣ward was to be looked for.
Another most excellent and glorious propertie of [unspec 9] pure zeale is,* to be humbled in our selues for those sins which we espie and censure in others, and so to nourish an holy compassion towards them.
Heere is an excellent and infallible difference be∣tweene godly zeale and fleshly heat, viz when our an∣ger for our brothers falling doth not feed it self vpō the party, because of our wrath, but vpon his sinne, because of our zeale; we still retaining a tender affection to∣wards the person of the offender. When our Sauiour Christ went about to heale the man that had the withe∣red hand, the Pharises that stood by murmured, because hee would heale on the Sabbath day: herevp∣on it is said, that he looked about him angerlie, & yet it is added, that he sorrowed for the hardnes of their harts. Marke here in this notable example,* how anger and sor∣row meete together: Anger, that men should haue so little knowledge of God, and loue of ther brother: sor∣row, that through ignorance they were so foulie ouer∣seene.* So likewise in zeale of his father,* Christ looked on Ierusalem, with an hatred to their sinne, and yet with pittie of their miserie which was at hand, which appea∣reth Page 96 in that he wept ouer it.
Marke this in all the Prophets from time to time, as in Isay, Ieremie, Ezekiel, Daniel, &c: whether they did not vtter their message in heauinesse of spirit: and when they most threatned the people for their sinnes, ob∣serue if they were not most grieued and feared, least they should be executed vpon them. This is a blessed temperature, thus to mingle griefe with zeale: but that is an ouer-reaching zeale, that feedeth more on the per∣son then on the sinne.
Wherefore wee must craue this speciall grace at the hand of God by prayer, to be gouerned by a right zeale, and that we may trulie discerne the difference betweene fretting anger, and pining zeale. Which if all sorts of men would labour for, receiuing this rule in iudgement, and obseruing it in practise, it would breede a great deale more conscience in ministers, magistrates, and masters, when they are to admonish their inferiours. Alas wee see manie, who can mangle and martyr a man for some offence, who neuer learned for conscience sake to mourne for those in firmities, which so bitterly they in∣ueigh against in others. The Apostle Paul was of ano∣ther temper:*I feare (saith he) to the Corinthians, left when I come, my God abase mee among you, and I shall bewaile ma∣ny of them, which haue sinned already, &c: he knew nothing by himselfe, (as hee telleth them in another place) yet could he not but lament and be humbled for their of∣fences, who were a part of his Apostolike charge. So Samuel, in the zeale of Gods glorie, spares not flatly to tell Saul of his sinne, notwithstanding his great autho∣ritie: and yet in loue and compassion to his person,* hee was alwayes bent to lament Sauls case, and earnestly to pray for him, till the Lord forbad him to doe so anie longer, 1. Sam. 16. 1.
If wee could keepe this golden mixture, wee should stop the mouthes of the aduersaries, who accuse vs to be Page 97 full of rancour and malice, if wee be angrie as enemies to their sinne, but grieued in that for sinne they are be∣come enemies to God.
Further, wee must know, that true zeale maketh vs as [unspec 10] willing to be admonished,* as carefull to admonish: and that not only of our superiours, which is an easie thing, because there wee must of necessitie yeeld: but also of our inferiours, whom we may seeme to contemne. All men will graunt, that a childe ought willingly to be ad∣monished of his father, or a seruant of his maister: but fewe will in practise giue this, that a father should listen to the aduertisement of his sonne, or that a maister should receiue an admonition of his seruant. Howbe∣it Iob saith, hee durst not contemne the iudgement of his seruant or of his maide, when they did contend with him, because in a dutie of pietie, he looked to them,* not as seruants, but as brethren; he looked not to the spea∣ker onely, which in respect of his calling was his infe∣riour, but vnto the things spoken in the ordinance of God, vnto whom Iob himselfe was an inferiour, and be∣fore whom he knew there was no respect of persons.
Howbeit to correct the preposterous boldnesse of some, wee adde thus much, that inferiours must rather aduise than admonish: aduertise rather then reprehend their superiours, that so still they may offer their pure zeale of the glorie of God in vnfained humilitie, left through their corrupt zeale, they do not only not pro∣fit their superiours, but most iustly exasperate them a∣gainst them.
Another rule is, that in pure zeale wee be patient in [unspec 11] our owne causes, & deuoure many priuate iniuries;* but hote and feruent in Gods causes. Manie can be as hote as fire in their owne priuate matters, who are as colde as ice in things that concerne Gods honor and glorie.
But it was otherwise with Moses: When anie priuate Page 98 wrong was offered vnto him by the Israelites, he was meeke as a lambe, and would with wisedome speake mildly vnto them to pacifie them, and pray earnestly vnto God to pardon them: but when they fell to Ido∣latrie, and worshipped the golden calfe,* (a matter which neerely concerned the glory of God) his wrath waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them in peeces, and burnt the calfe in the fire, and ground it to pow∣der, and made them drinke of it, being strewed vpon the water; and after caused a great number of the principall doers in this wickednesse to be slaine by the sword. This also is the commendation of the Church of Ephesus, that they had much patience, and yet could not forbeare those which were euill,*but examined them which said they were Apostles, and found them liars.
This rule well obserued, would sow vp the lips of the aduersaries, who though for a time they thinke vs to be cholloricke, and men out of our wits, madly reuen∣ging our priuate affections, yet one day they should confesse, that we sought not our owne commoditie, but Gods most precious glory.
And to stretch this examination of our hearts one degree further, let vs beware of that corruption, which, springing from selfe-loue, will giue vs leaue to reioyce in good things, so long as they be in our selues, but re∣pineth at the sight of them in others: which will per∣mit vs to be grieued at euill things in our selues, and yet make vs to reioyce to see the same in others.
True zeale (hauing Gods glory for the obiect there∣of) loueth good wheresoeuer, and in whomsoeuer it is: true zeale hateth sinne wheresoeuer and in whomsoe∣uer. True zeale loueth friends as they be Gods friends: true zeale hateth aduersaries, so farre as they be Gods aduersaries: true zeale loueth a good thing in the most professed enemie: true zeale hateth sinne in the most Page 99 assured friend.
If wee be perswaded that our enemies bee Gods children, howsoeuer wee disagree in some particulars, yet wee must swallow vp manie priuate iniuries, and more reioice in them as they be Gods seruants, then be grieued at them, as they haue iniuried vs.
Indeed true Zeale is most grieued at the sinnes of the godly, because so much are their sinnes more grie∣uous then the sinnes of others, by how much they came neerer to the image of God then others.
The last rule is, that wee keepe a tenour of zeale in [unspec 12] both estates,* to wit, of prosperitie and aduersitie. Wee must especiallie looke to that whereunto wee are most readie, that is, whether wee be more zealous in prospe∣ritie, and fall away in aduersitie; or whether we be more feruent in affliction, and ouer-whelmed in abundance: whether by the one we are not puffed vp with securitie and secret pride, and whether by the other we be not too farre abased and discouraged; or, which is worst of all, quite driuen out of the way: for many in time of peace are religious, who seeing persecution to follow the Gospell, begin (like those that are compared to stonie ground) to step backe,* and at last vtterly to re∣nounce their former profession.
Others so long as they may haue credit by embra∣cing the Gospell, will seeme to goe farre; but when dis∣credit comes, they forsake all: contrarie to the pra∣ctise of Dauid, who saith, The bandes of the wicked haue robbed mee, yet haue I not forgotten thy Law.*
Princes did persecute mee without cause, but mine heart stood in awe of thy Word.*
And for disgrace hee saith,
Others on the contrary part, so long as God exerci∣seth them with any crosse, are zealous professours, who beeing set aloft, and comming once vnto promotion, begin to grow secure and carelesse of all duties towards God or men, as is to be seene in the lsraelites from time to time.
We see manie in time of their miserie to hee much humbled;* and whiles they want liuings and prefer∣ments, we see both Preachers and people in outward ap∣pearance very godlie,* who hauing obtained that which they sought for, haue their zeale vtterly choked.
Doe not many pray for the continuance of the peace of the Gospell, that they themselues might continue in peace and prosperitie? Doe not manie mourne in the aduersitie of the Gospell, because they are grieued for their owne aduersitie! Oh great corruption of our hearts! Oh bottomles pit of hypocrisie! If wee were ashamed that wee are no more grounded on the word, and that wee can bee no nore holie and vpright in our hearts, surely the Lord will so gouerne vs; that he would not suffer either prosperitie to quench our zeale, or ad∣uersitie to discourage our hearts.
This is then our triall herein, if when we are in grea∣test prosperitie, we can mourne with them that mourne in the Lorde; and when wee are in greatest aduersitie, wee can reioyce with them that reioyce in Christ.
This is a sure token wee loue not the Gospell, nor fa∣uour the word, because wee haue a loue to prosperitie, neither are zealous to see the word contemned, because wee haue an hatred of aduersitie. Daniel concerning outward things was an happie man, as being neere to the Crowne: and yet when hee saw the God of Israels glory to be defaced, and his seruants and seruices to be Page 101 trodden vnder foote, hee could content himselfe with nothing so much, as with fasting, weeping, and prayer.*
And Paul on the other side being in bonds for the testimonie of Iesus Christ, and concerning his outward man in a miserable case, reioyced greatly, and was as it were reuiued when he heard that the Gospell flouri∣shed, and that the faith and loue of the Saints was still continued.* This zeale should we much labour for, that in all estates we might be rightly affected towards God and men.