An exposition of the prophesie of Hosea begun in divers lectures vpon the first three chapters, at Michaels Cornhill, London
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.

The Second Lecture.

HOSEA The latter part of the second verse and verse 3.

Let her therefore put away her whoredomes out of her sight, and her adul∣teries from between her breasts.

Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day wherein shee was borne, and make her as a wildernesse, &c.

PLead with your mother, and plead so as to tell her plainly that she is no more my wife, she hath her bill of Divorce, shee is now none of mine. Well it seemeth then there is no hope, no helpe, God hath left us, forsaken us, hee hath said we are no more his wife, wee have our bill of divorce and we must be gone. Not so neither, but now it followeth, Let her put away from her sight her whoredomes, and her adulteries from betweeen her hreasts.

Herby insinuating at least, that her condition, yet notwithstanding the greatnesse of her sin and the fearfulnesse of the threat, is not altogether hope∣lesse, but he would have those that plead with her, yet to exhort her and to bid her put away her whoredomes. It is true, when a man puts away his wife for whoredom, and giveth a bill of divorce, he will never take her againe, upon no termes. Jer. 3. 1. Will a man when he putteth away his wife, re∣turne unto her again? As if he should say, no certainly, no man will do it; Yet returne unto me saith the Lord, and I will receive you againe.

Gods mercies are beyond mans.* It is a most excellent and usefull observa∣tion that we have from hence. There is no such dreadfull threatning against Page  165 any in the word of God for any of their sins (only we except that sin against the holy Ghost) but there is a dore of hope left for those sinners.*

Here seemeth to be the greatest sin, of Idolatry and forsaking of God as could be, the most dreadfull threatning, she is not my wife, shee is divorced from mee. Yet here is insinuated a hope of mercy.

I will give you one Text which is as notable for this as any I know in the booke of God,* that is in Judges 10. 13. 14. compared with ver. 16, In the 13. and 14. verses, saith God, You have for saken me, & served other gods. What then? I will deliver you no more. I am resolved against you now, I have delivered you often, but now I will deliver you no more; Go your wayes, Cry unto the gods you have chosen, let them deliver you in the time, of your tribulation. One would thinke this people to be in an ill case, of whom God saith thus much; For observe these foure things here. First, God chargeth them with the greatest sinne that could be, they had forsaken God and turned themselves idols. Secondly, This great sin is aggravated with the most aggravating circumstance almost that could bee, implyed here, this they had done notwithstanding God was wonderfull mercifull to them, and had often delivered them, yet they had still forsaken him & ser∣ved other Gods. Thirdly, Here is one of the most peremptory resolutions against shewing mercy that we can imagine, saith God, I will deliver you no more, now I have delivered you so oft. Fourthly, Here is a most bitter Sarcasme, a biting, upbrayding, taunting speech for their serving other gods.

As if he should say, what doe you come now? Now do you cry & howle to me now you are in trouble, in your prosperity I was no God for you, you let me then for other gods, and now I will be no God to you, to other gods I leave you, go now and cry to those other gods, and see whether they will help you. Put these together and one would thinke this people were in a hopeless condition. Is there any help for this people yet? Are they not a lost people? Is not repentance too late for this people? No, for all this, repen∣tance is not too late for such a people as this, for mark, the Text saith in the 15. ver. And the children of Israel said unto the Lord, we have sinned, do thou unto us what seemeth good unto thee, and ver. 16. They put away their strange gods from among them, and served the Lord. They do not now lye downe sullenly in their sinnes and say, there is no help, therefore we were as good go on in our sinfull wayes, but they venture to put away their strange gods, and crye unto the Lord, and tell him that they had sinned. What then? the Text saith, The soul of the Lord was grieved for the misery of Israel. Though he had thus pronounced against them, yet his soule was grieved for them, they were not the same they were before.

It is true, I will deliver you no more, you impenitent ones, I will deliver you no more, but God did not say he would not give them repentance; but when they had put away their strange gods, though they had grieved Gods Spirit with their sinnes, yet God was grieved for their affliction now, and though God had thus threatned them, yet his bowells now Page  166 do yerne towards them, and hee comes in again with mercie; and subdues their enemies under them, the children of Ammon were conquered, and God gives them twenty of their Cities, as Chap. 11. 33.

God never threatneth any people, but the condition of mercie upon re∣pentance, it is either expressed, or implyed. It is therefore the frowardness and the fulness of the hearts of sinners, to give over all upon the thought of the greatness of their sins, or the severity of Gods threatning against them, O no, you great sinners, that have beene guilty of many horrible sins, come in and repent, I may say to you as Secaniah did to the people in another case, of a grievous sin, Ezra. 10. 2. There is hope in Israel concerning this thing.

It is the cavill of many carnal hearts against many faithfull and Zealons Ministers, that they do nothing but preach judgement, and they threaten damnation, and say people shall be damned, and go to hell, aud the like.

This they speak against them, not mentioning at all the conditions upon which damnation and hell is threatned. Certainly there can scarce a Mini∣ster in the world be found that threatneth damnation or hell absolutely, but upon those termes of impenitency. I will give you one Scripture to shew you the most absurd perverse spirits of men in this kinde, how they will take a piece of the words of the Prophets and separate the threatning from the condition, on purpose that they may cavill at the word, it is in Jer. 26. 4. saith God to the Prophet there, Thou shalt say to them, Thus saith the Lord, If you will not hearken to me to walke in my Law which I have set be∣fore you, o hearken to the words of my servants the Prophets whom I sent unto you;*then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make their Citie a curse to all the nations of the earth. See how fairely the words of the Prophet go, If you will not hearken to me to walke in my lawes, and the words of my Prophets whom I sent unto you, then I will do so and so. The Prophet delivers his message as faire as can be. But see now their pervers∣nesse in the 8. ver. It came to passe that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord commanded him to speake unto all the people, that the Priests and the Prophets and all the people tooke him, saying, Thou shalt surely dye. What is the matter? Why hast thou Prophecyed in the name of the Lord, saying. This house shall be like Shiloh? They leave out, [if,] whereas he said, If you will not return and heare the words of the Lord, this house shall be as Shiloh; They come and lay hold upon him with vio∣lence, Why hast thou said this house shall be like Shiloh? and leave out the o∣ther. This is the perverseness of the hearts of men.

Well then, the conclusion of this Observation is this, that the worst plea∣ding against any for their sinnes, it is not to sinke the hearts in despaire, but to turne their hearts towards God that they may receive mercy; Let her put away her whoredomes.

Secondly, Let her put away her whoredomes. After such a kinde of plea∣ding that included a most dreadfull threatning in it, She is not my wife, yet God exhorteth. Hence the Observation is this.

Page  167 While God is pleased to speak to a people and call upon them, and exhort them to turne unto him,* the condition of that people is not desperate. Exhor∣tations from God do argue that the condition of a people may be hopefull.

So long as the King is but speaking to a Traytor, especially giving of him good counsel,* there may be hope: If he turne his backe upon him, and will speake no more, then he looks upon himself as a gone man. Many people are troubled that God doth so continue exhorting by his Ministers and o∣thers, and they cannot be at quiet. If thou hast such a quiet as God should leave exhorting and drawing thee from thy sinnes, woe to thee, thou art a lost creature. Make much of exhortations and threatnings.

Come we now to the Exhortation it selfe, Let her put away her whore∣domes out of her sight, and her adulteries from betweene her breasts. It is in the plurall number, her whoredomes, and her adulteries. They were ma∣ny, shee must put them away all. If a wife that hath been naught shall be contented to forsake divers of her lovers and retain but one there is no re∣conciliation, all her adulteries must be put away.

But the words are not onely in the plurall number, but those that under∣stand the Originall, well know, that there is somewhat in the words to ex∣tend the signification beyond the plurall number, and that is the duplication of the radicall letter, in the first word the second radicall letter which is [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] is double,* & in the second word the third radicall Letter [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] that is double.

It is the note of Tarnovius upon the place, saith he, the doubling of these radicall Letters shew the exceeding multitude of those whordomes and a∣dulteries that Israel was guilty of at this time. And indeed when once there is giving way to superstitious vanities there is growing to notorious whor∣domes and adulteries without measure, without number, ubi sistendum. We never know where to stop, if once our worship be corrupted.

Let her put away out of her sight.

The eye is the receiver of much uncleanness into the heart, and by it the un∣cleanuess of the heart is much exprest. The Scripture speakes of eies full of adulterie, Let her put her adulteries out of her sight, let them be abominable now in her eies, those things that before were delectable, let them now bee detestable. Let them cast away their Idols as a filthy menstruous cloath, and with indignation say, get yee hence.

Or from before her face, so it is in the Hebrew, noting her impudency in her idolatry, that it appeared in her very face. Though men at first may be a little wary, yet at length they grow to manifest outwardly their Idolatry in their very face. But what we shall meet with afterward.

And because Israel did not according to the exhortation of those that pleaded with her, put thus her whordomes out of her sight, God did put Is∣rael out of his sight, for so we have it, 2 King. 17. 22. 23. The children of Israel walked in all the sinnes of Jeroboam which he did, they departed not from them. Promises could not draw them, threatnings could not derer them. Vntill the Lord removed Israel out of his sight.

Page  168 They might have prevented this; if they had put their whoredomes out of their sight, God would never have put them out of his sight.

And from betweene her breasts.

Whores use to discover their filthyness much in their breasts, either in the nakedness of their breasts, or in those ornaments they hung about their breasts,* as they were wont to do in those Countreys, for the intsing of their lovers. Her breasts. Hypocrates sayes there are veins that goe from the belly to the breasts, and that is the reason he gives of the temptation to lust that is in the breasts. The whoredomes of the breasts in the nakednesse of them hath been condemned, not onely in the Churches of God, but amongst the heathen. Terrulian in his book de habitu muliebri hath this expression:

Women adorne themselves immode∣rately with gold, and silver, and preci∣ous apparell, this is, saith hee, crimen ambitionis, the sin of ambition; but for them to seek to adorne themselves solicitously carefull about their haire, and their skin, and those parts that draw the eyes, this is crimen prostitutionis, it is the sinnne of a prostituted whore so to doe.

Yea besides, Tertullian in another book of his, De velandis vergini∣bus, brings the Heathen, rebuking Christian women in those times: The very women of Arabia,* saith he, shall judge you, for they do not onely cover their faces, but even their heads, rather then they will have their nakedness ap∣peare, they will let the light but into one eye. Now if the Heathen did so, if they would not have their nakedness in any thing appeare, much more should Christians cover those parts that are incitements to lusts. That which is the Bedlams madness, and the Beg∣gars misery, namely, Nakedness, that is the whores pride, and the strumpets glory.

Let her put away her whordoms out of her sight, and her adulte∣ries from between her breasts.

That which is intended especially here, is, that they should not be con∣tent meerly with change of their hearts, to say, Well, we will acknowledge the Lord to be the true God, and our hearts shall wholly trust in him, but for these externall things what great matter is there in them? Oh no, they must abstaine from all appearance of evill; from the badges of Idolatry, there must not be so much as the garbe and dresse of a whore upon them, they must take away their adulteries from betweene their breasts.

The breasts of the Church are the Ordinances that are there, for out of them do the Saints suck sweetness and spirituall nourishment. So they are called in Isa. 66. 11. That you may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of consolation. Now certainly it is an evill thing for any thing that is whor∣ish Page  169 to be upon the breasts, to be in the Ordinances of the Church, to thinke to adorne them withall as whores do their breasts. No, the breasts are so neare the heart that it is pitty any thing should be upon them but Christ himselfe; it is most fit that he should lye there. Cant. 1. 13. A bundle of myrrhe is my wel-beloved unto me, he shall lye all night between my breasts, Myrrhe we know is a bitter thing, but though Christ were as a bundle of myrrhe, and brought many afflictions that adde bitternesse to the flesh, yet the Church would have Christ to lye between her breasts and she would re∣joyce in Christ, Christ was sweet to the Church though with afflictions, As a bundle of myrrhe is my wel-beloved. So many faithfull Ministers of God have been contented, yea joyfull to keep Christ between their breasts, and in the Ordinances, though as a bundle of myrrhe, though hee hath brought some afflictions to them, yet rather then they would endure any expression of that which is whorish upon the breasts of the Church,* upon the Ordi∣nances, the Word and Sacraments, Christ Jesus a bundle of myrrhe be∣tween their breasts hath been delightfull to them.

I finde another reading of the words in the Septuagint Translation.

Whereas we reade it, Let her take away her whoredoms from her sight, I finde that they reade it as a speech of God,*I will take away her whore∣doms from my face. And Ciryl reading the words according to the 70. hee hath an excellent note from thence. God (saith he) threatneth that he will take away her whoredomes from his face; as when a member of a body is so putrified that it cannot be cured by salves and medicynes, it is cut off, and so the disease commeth to be cured: so God laboureth to cure the people of Israel by admonitions, by exhortations, by threatnings, by promises of mercy, and when all would not do, then he threatneth to cure them by ano∣ther way, that is, by cutting them off by the Assyrians; I will send an ene∣my against them and he shall take them out of their owne land, and carry them into a strange land, & then they shal be farre enough from their calves, far enough from Dan and Bethel, so I will take their whoredomes from be∣fore my face. Thus many times doth God take away the sinnes of a peo∣ple or of a particular person from before his face.

As for instance, Thou drunkard, thou unclean person, thou hast had ex∣hortations, threatnings, many mercifull expressions from God toward thee from thy sinnes, to take away thy sinnes from thee; that will not do; God commeth with some noysome vile disease upon thy body that thou shalt not be able to act thy sinne any more, and God takes away the act of thy sinne at least that way in such a violent manner by his judgements: and so some∣times men and women that have estates, and will be proud, and vaine, and make their estates the fuel of their lusts, when the Word cannot take away their sinnes and the expression of their wickednesse, God by some violent judgement takes away their estates, that they shall not be able to com∣mit those sinnes that they did before though they would never so faine.

Page  170 This is a dreadfull taking away of sin. Yea when God shall come so to take away the sinne of men and women as to take away their souls together with taking away their sinne: for so it is threatned, Job. 27. 8. What is the hope of the hypocrite when God taketh away his soul? Thou that woul∣dest not suffer the word to take away thy sin, thou must expect that God wil take it away another way, even by taking away thy soule. Ezek. 21. 29. It may be said of some sinners as there God threatneth, The time is come (saith the Text) when their iniquity shal have an end. God will suffer them to live no longer to sin against him: he will take away their sinnes, but so as to take away their soules, they shall not sinne any more against God in this world.

Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day wherein she was borne.

There is much in these words, and because they are so exceeding sutable unto us (God still bringing points to hand sutable to our times) so long as this is, you must give me liberty to insist a while upon them, and not runne over them so fast as otherwise I would doe. I must not slightly passe over those truths that are so cleerly presented, and so neerly concerning us.

Lest I strip her naked, &c,

It seems by this that Israel had once been in a very low condition when she was borne, a very pittifull estate. But God had put many ornaments upon her, and now he threatneth to bring her again into the same condition, and to strip her naked.

In the day wherein she was borne. This I finde Interpreters to referre to divers conditions of Israel, but most refer it to the time of their deliverance out of Egypt: that is called here by God, the day wherein she was borne.

We must inquire first what was the condition of Israel in the day where∣in she was borne. Secondly, what ornaments God had put upon her after∣wards; and then we shall come to see the strength of the threat, that God would strip her naked, and set her as in the day wherein she was borne.

For the first two we shall not need to goe farre, we have them fully and most elegantly set out unto us in Ezek. 16. That Chapter may be a Com∣ment upon this, what Israel was in the day wherein she was borne, and what ornaments God had put upon her.

In the third verse, Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem, Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan, thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite, ver. 4. And as for thy nativity in the day thou wast borne, thy avill was not cut, &c,

We must a little open the expression there, or else wee cannot open this Text in Hosea. Thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite,

When thou wert borne thou wert in this condition. What, their father an Amorite, and their mother an Hittite, Abraham was their father, and Sarah their mother; why here an Amorite, and an Hittite?

Secondly, Because there were other nations besides Amorites & Hittites, the•• were the Jebusites & the Perizites; why rather an Amorite & Hit∣titePage  171 then a Jebusite and Perizite? These two questions must be answe∣red. First, Abraham was their father, yet because they were in such a dis∣position, so like to the Amorites and Hittites,* so vile and so wicked, now they deserve not to have the honour of Abrahams being their father, but to be called the children of the Amorite and the Hittite. As John Baptist cal∣leth the Pharisees the viperous, the serpentine brood, so those that are like the devil are called the Children of the Devil.

Secondly, Why the Amorite and Hittite rather then others?

For the first, the Amorite; because the Amorite was the chiefest of those nations in Canaan that were driven out. All the five were called by the name of Amorite: The sinnes of the Amorites are not yet full.

Secondly the Hittite, because they seemed to be the vilest of the five, and for that, there is a Text of Scripture that seemeth to infer so much. Gen. 27. 46. I am weary of my life (saith Rebekah) because of the daughters of Heth. She onely mentioneth the daughters of Heth, and those that were now called Hittites were of the daughters of Heth: And saith she, What good will my life doe, if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth? Why, there were other daughters besides them, but those were the vilest, therefore she onely mentioneth them.

Yea, but what was Israel at this time when they were delivered out of Egypt (for that is the time wherein shee was borne that is spoken of here) were they in so ill a condition, as that their father was an Amorite and their mother an Hittite at that time?

There are two most usefull Observations that flow from hence, before we proceed any further in the explication of the words.

Israel though they had been 400. years in Egypt under grievous afflicti∣ons, yet they continued exceeding abominable and wicked. The fire of their affliction did seeme to harden their hearts, as much as the fire of the furnace did harden the bricks: Their hearts were clay, foule, dirty hearts, and were hardned by their afflictions.

And secondly,* when God came to deliver Israel out of Egypt, God found them to be in a very wicked condition then; then their Father was an Amorite, and their mother an Hittite, then they were thus vile when God came to deliver them, in the day wherein they were borne, (for their deliverance is their birth.)

Oh the freenesse of Gods grace! God often told them that his grace was free,* and so indeed it was if hee found them thus as he did, for so you shall finde if you read the story of the people of Israel, that when God sent Mo∣ses unto them, they were a very wicked and stubborn people, even at that very time when God came with his deliverance.

Let us then raise up our hearts and looke up to the free grace of God even toward us. We are vile, we are wicked, mercies, christisements have hard∣ned us; and yet all this hindreth not the free grace of God for the deliver∣ance of a people. God hath begun in a way of deliverance to us; and when Page  172 did he begin it?* Certainly England was never since it was borne, since it was delivered out of spiritual Egypt, out of the bondage of Popery, it was never in a worse condition then when God came in with his mercies of late to us: Then if ever it might be said of us that our father was an Amorite, and our mother an Hittite, we were then in the very high way towards E∣gypt again when God came with his free grace to deliver us. As hee dealt with his own people, so he hath dealt with us, magnified be the free grace of God towards us an unworthy people.

Further, Thy Navill was not cut. That is the expression how he was in the day wherein he was borne.

First,*Thy Navill was not cut, The loathsomenesse of their condition is set out by that. Naturallists observe that the nourishment that the childe hath from the mother, it is by the navill: as afterward the childe sucks of the breasts and so is battned, but all the while it is in the wombe, it is nour∣ished by a string, in the navill that draws nourishment from the mother.

Now Israel even when God did deliver them from Egypt, had not their navill cut, that is, they did even still seeme, nay, not only seeme but still they did draw their nourishment from Egypt; they did batten themselves & suck out the Egyptian manners, and customes, and superstitions; and in their growth up they did seeme rather to have their nourishment from Egypt then from God, so God himselfe chargeth them, Ezek. 23. 8. Neither left she her whoredomes brought from Egypt, saith the Text, her navill was not cut, shee drew, she sucked still the Egyptian manners, customes, and su∣perstitions.

It is not thus in part with us? Let me a little speake of this by way of al∣lusion at least. Is our navill cut to this very day? It is true, God hath deli∣vered us from Popery, from Egypt, as he did Israel, but still do not we con∣tinue sucking, drawing nourishment from our old superstitious wayes of Popery? we seeme to live still upon them, and to have our hearts delight∣ing in them. Oh how just were it with God to come in a violent way and cut our navill, even by the sword! it is mercy he commeth not thus to cut it, and so to take from us all those secret hankerings that wee have after the old E∣gyptian customes.

Yet again, seeing it is such a full allusion, wee may apply it to those that seeme to have a new birth to be borne again, those that seeme now to make very faire profession of Religion, and to forsake many evill wayes that for∣merly they have delighted in: but yet their navill is not cut neither; they do secretly suck sweetnesse and battning from their former lusts; the curse of the serpent is upon them, upon their bellies they doe goe and dust they do eate, their bellies do even cleave to the dust. Neither wast thou washed in water.

This also sets forth the wofull condition of Israel when he was borne, he was not washed. The infant when it commeth first into the world, cometh from blood and filth in which it was wrapped, that (as Plutarch saith) it is ra∣thr 〈◊〉 a childe killed, then a child born: so bloody and polluted it is, that Page  173 were it not that there were a natural affection stirring in parents, they would even loath the fruit of their wombes. It is true, parents may see that with their bodily eyes, but there is more polution in their soules; they are wrap∣ped up in original sin and filth, more then their bodyes are wrapped up in blood and filth in the wombe.

Therefore infants are washed, but thou wast not washed, thou wast let goe in thy filth. I have read of the Lacedemonians, that when their children were borne, they used to throw them into the river, to consolidate their members and parts of their bodies, as they say, to make them strong, that was the custome of that barbarous people.

Thou wast cast out in the open field. What is the meaning of this? We cannot understand it fully without examining what the custome of the peo∣ple was in those times. We finde in Histories that the custome of divers of the Heathen was, when their children were borne, to observe by their coun∣tenance, by the making of their members, whether they were like to be use∣full to the Commouwealth or not; and if not like they threw them away, and if they were like to be usefull they nourished them up. They nourished up no other children but those that they judged by their countenance or mak∣ing, would do good to the Common-wealth: We finde it in divers Histo∣ries. Strabo tells us that the Indians and Brachmanes had certaine Judges appointed for that very end;* their Office was, that when any childe was borne, to judge by the countenance and parts of the body of the childe, whe∣ther it were like to do any good in the Common-wealth,* & so either to save it or cast it out. So likewise AElian in his Various Histories telleth us of the Thebanes, that there was an express Law made among them in these words, That none of them should cast out their children, noting thereby that it was wont to be the custome a••ngst them.* So Clemens Romanus telleth us that indeed the Jews, as a thing peculiar to them, amongst them the chil∣dren are not cast out.

So that the holy Ghost alludeth to the way of the Gentiles and barbarous people, and telleth Israel that they were as a childe cast out, such a one as the countenance and feature promised no good, Thou wert cast out in the open field, because they never hoped to have any good of thee, and indeed (as if God should say) if I had regarded what I saw in you, I might have past this judgement upon you too, there was little hope of good from you. But what though the child be cast out in the field, yet there may come some by, accidentally (as Pharaohs daughter did) that may pitty the child, and have compassion on it. No (saith God) thou wast not onely cast out, but worse then so, thou wast cast out, and so cast out as no eye pityed thee. You have sometimes bastards & poor childred laid at your doors, and left there, some in baskets & otherways, yet when you open them & see a child, and a childe weeping, there is some pity in you, and you will take care some way or other that it may be fed & brought up. But saith God to Israel, You were cast out in the open field, & no eye pityed you, that is, all the heathen were against you, Page  174 and others in the land rose up against you,* the Egyptians they came out to destroy you, you had the sea before you, and them behind you, none had pit∣ty upon you. This was the condition wherein you were borne.

Now see what ornaments God had put upon them. They were in a sor∣ry condition you see when they were borne. But marke, that fore-named place of Ezek. ver. 8. I took the (saith God) and entred into covenant with thee, and then becamest mine. That is the way of a peoples becomming Gods, his entring into covenant with them. The Lord hath begun to enter into Covenant with us, and we with him in former Protestations, and if a∣ny farther Covenant binding us more strictly to God be tendred to us, know that God in this deals with us as he did with his own people. We are as chil∣dren cast out in the open field, and no eye pityeth us; but many plot against us, and seeke our ruine. If God will be pleased now to enter into Cove∣nant with us, and give all the people of the Land hearts to come close to the Covenant, to renew their Covenant with him, and that to more purpose then in former Covenants, the Lord yet will own us. The Covenant of God was the foundation of all the mercy the people of Israel had from God, and we are to look upon it as the foundation of our mercy; and therefore as in the presence of God willingly and cheerfully to renew it with him.

After Gods taking this people to himselfe as his own, it followes. ver. 11, 12. I decked thee also with ornaments, & I put bracelets upon thine hands, and a chaine on thy necke; And I put a jewell on thy fore-head, and ear∣rings in thine ears, & a beautiful crown upon thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver, and thy rayment of fine linnen, and silk & broi∣dred worke, and thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty. Thus God did with the people of Israel, he had added to what they had when they were born. Miserable they were when they were borne; but the mercies of God toward them are thus set out, And nowhee cometh to threaten that he will strip them naked and set them as in the day wherein they were born.

Yet further for the opening of this, we must know that it was the custome among the Jews, when any married, what they brought to their husbands, and their dowry was written down in a table: and if afterward he should di∣vorce his wife, except there could be proved some grosse and vile thing a∣gainst the woman, though she should go away, yet she was to go away with her Table, with her dowry and what she brought, she must not goe away naked. But if there could be proved some notorious villany that shee had committed, then she was sent away Sine Tabulis, naked without those ta∣bles wherein her dowry and other things were written, and destitute of all things, as being unworthy of them, because she had played the harlot.

Thus God threatneth this people. She is not my wife, but unlesse she put a∣way her whore doms from before her face, and her adultery from between her breasts, I will strip her naked as in the day wherein she was borne. She shal be se••ay without any tables, naked and wholly destitute. And thus you have th••pening of the words. The Observations follow.

Page  175 The first is, The beginnings of great excellencies are sometimes very low and meane. This plainly riseth up from the opposition of her condition when she was borne, and what she had gotten from God afterward, I will strip thee naked and set thee as in the day wherein thou wert borne. Therefore it is cleare she was born in a very mean condition, & gotten up to a very excel lent condition, though now they be high & glorious, yet once they were very low & mean. God many times raises up golden pillars upon leaden Bases, & the most glorious works of God have had the lowest beginnings. This beauti¦full frame of heaven & earth was raised out of a Chaos of confusion & dark∣ness. This is true, personally, or nationally, and that in regard of outward conditions or spirituall. How poor, and low, and meane, have many of your beginnings beene even in the world? who could ever have thought that such low beginnings could have beene raised unto such high things as some of you have beene raised unto in the world? It was not long since when you came hither to this City (which may be said to be the day wherein you were borne for your civill estate, though not your naturall) you were low enough, meane enough, you had but little to begin withall; you came hither with your staffe, and now behold two bands.

It is sometimes so likewise in regard of the spirituall estate. You may re∣member not long since, Oh what darkness and confusion was there in your mindes and hearts; what poore, low, meane thoughts had you of God and the things of his Kingdome, what unsavory spirits, when at first God was pleased to worke upon you? Oh what a poor condition were you in then? though you had some light put into you, yet you were as a childe new borne wrapped up in filth and blood, many noysome distempers and boisterous lusts there were in your hearts, as it is usuall with new converts, like a fire newly kindled where there is a great deale of smother and smoke that after∣wards weareth away. But now behold the shining of Gods face upon your soules, Oh the abilities that God hath given you to know his minde and doe his will! Oh the blessed communion that you have with God, & the spark∣ling of that divine nature! the glory and beauty of the divine nature is put u∣pon you. So for Nations, we will not goe further then our owne.

How low and meane were we at first? we were a most rude, barbarous, and savage people, almost as lived upon the earth. Brittons had their name frome hence, in the old Brittaine language, Birth signifies blew coloured, be∣cause those that lived here, instead of brave cloathes, as you have, they with woade besmeared their bodies with blew, they were from thence called Brittains; for [tania] was added as it is usuall in other Languages for the signification of such a Region or Countrey, as Mauritania, Lusitania, Aquitania, &c. so that Brittania is as much as to say, The Region of the blew coloured people, so called because they were thus painted: The best food that they were wnt to eate (Historians tell us) was barkes of trees and rootes. Hollinshed in his Chronickle sayes there were old men that he knew who told of times in England, that if the good man in the house had a matter∣res Page  176 or flock-bed, or a sack of chaffe to rest his head on, he thought himselfe as well lodged as the Lord of the Towne, for ordinarily they lay upon straw pellets covered with canvace, and a round log under their heads instead of a bolster, they said pillows were fit onely for women in child-bed, and in a good Farmers house it was rare to finde foure pieces of pewter, and it was accounted a great matter that a Farmer could shew five shillings or a noble in silver together. And Camden in his Britania tells of Ailesbury a Towne in Buckinghamshire, that there was in it a Mannour of the Kings, and the condition of holding certain lands there, was, that the possessor or holder of them should find straw for litter of the Kings bed when he came there, And Latimer in a Sermon before King Edward tells of his father whom he sayes kept good hospitality for his poor neighbours, and found a horse for the Kings service, brought him up at learning, and married his sisters with five pound or twenty nobles a piece for their portions. This was the poore and meane condition of these times. And Jerome contra Iovinianum, and Diodorus Siculus tells us concerning the people in Ireland, our neighbours, that the best delicates they used to eate in former times, were the flesh of young children, and paps of women; and the ships they used to have were sallowes wreathed together, and bowes twisted, and covered with the hides of beasts,* and the wives they had were common to all their brethren and pa∣rents. As for their Religion, they offered to the devll mans flesh, they wor∣shipped Apollo, and Jupiter, and Diana. And Gildas one of the ancient∣est Historians that relates the conditions of these Brittish people, hee sayes the Idols they had were such horrible, devillish, monstrous things, that they did even overcome the Egyptian Idols in number; and no people had so many Idol-gods, and so monstrous as the Egyptians, and yet these went be∣yond them. So saith he. Afterward, no people in the world more rent & torn with Civill wars then England hath been. And in the times when Po∣pery was here profeit and establisht, Oh the bondage we were under then! outward and spiritual bondage. Our bodyes, our soules, our estates, our con∣sciences were in miserable thraldome.

It is the most sordid, miserable slavery that it is possible for a rationall creature to be under, not onely to be bound to practice, but to be bound to beleeve for truth the dictates and determinations of men, yea and that upon paine of eternall damnation, to beleeve what they say, as the Articles of Faith upon which Salvation or Damnation depends, for Conscience to be under them, so as I must not question or scruple any thing; if any man that is a rationall creature should think there is any such distance between man and man, he debaseth himself beneath a man, and advanceth the other a∣bove a man. Better it is to be in slavery to another to scrape kennels, then to be in this slavery. And to have the Scriptures kept from us, the E∣pistle that God hath sent from heaven to us, that which enlightens the world, revealing the great counsels of God concerning eternal life; this is worse bond then to be ch•••ed up in dark holes all the dayes of our lives, to have Page  177 no Ordinances but according to the lusts and humours of vile men,* how great a slavery is this? The manifestation of the least suspition of the falsnes of the vilest errors, dislike of the basest practices, was enough to confiscate estate, to imprison, yea to take away life. Was not this a low condition, a base slavery that England was in? could any beare it but such as were slaves to their own lusts? But now what ornaments hath God put upon us!

No Nation under heaven more renowned then wee have beene, our re∣nown hath gone thorough the earth, England, O Angliquasi Angeli, and Albion, from our happinesse, we see now (by our selves) that glorious ex∣cellencies have many times low beginnings.

A second observation hence is,* when we have any excellency, and beauty upon us, it is Gods mercy that is all our beauty. I will strip you naked and set you as in the day wherein you were born. If you have any excellency it is my mercy. Gods mercie is a peoples beauty and glory, We have nothing belonging to us but shame and confusion, but misery, if we have any or∣naments, it is mercy, free mercy: therefore in the 14. ver. of that 16. Ezek. Thou wert perfect in beauty, How? through my comlinesse which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord. Let God take away but his mercy, we are quick∣ly left naked, and poor, and miserable; like the ragged walls in the Court when the King goeth away, and all the rich hangings are taken down, what a difference is there in their look from what was formerly? the beauty of the walls were the hangings when the King was there. So if wee have any thing that makes us beautifull, they are the hangings that God hath put up∣on us; his mercies are those hangings of gold, and silver, and needle-work, and when they are gone, we are poor, and ragged, and miserable.

Thirdly,*Lest I strip her naked, &c. God had said before that she was not his wife, she was guilty of whoredoms, yet it seemes shee was not yet stripped naked; she was left with Gods ornaments upon her, notwithstan∣ding her whoredoms. Hence the third Observation is,

Though sinners deserve great evils, to be stripped of all comforts, yet God in patience and clemencie continueth them a long time. They may be un∣der fearfull threatnings, and yet retaine many comforts; yea the truth is, it is possible for a people to be cast off from God, & yet to continue for a while in outward prosperity. The tree that is cut up by the roots, yet may have the leaves green for a while. Saul who was rejected of God, 1 Sam, 13. 14, yet after that (if you reade the Story you shall finde it) that God suffered Saul to prosper exceedingly in overcomming the Phylistims & the Amalekites

Fourthly,* The mercies that God bestoweth upon a Nation, the ornaments that God putteth upon a people that are but common favours, not spirituall graces, they are such as a people may be stripped of. Great mercies that a people have, they may wholly loose. Here is the difference between true spirituall graces, whereby JESUS CHRIST doth adorne his spouse, when Christ, not onely takes in an outward way a people to himselfe, but marries them to himself in a spirituall way, he decketh the soule with such Page  178 ornaments,* bestoweth suchmercies upon them, as shall never be taken a∣way. Such a soul hath no cause to feare that ever it can be stripped as in the day wherein it was born, you need not feare that you shall ever lose the jewels given you at that marriage day. It is true, common graces and gifts you may be stript of and made naked; as it is usuall in many professors that have not truth at heart, yet have excellent gifts, as of prayer and the like, but afterward they prove naught, God takes away their gifts from them, they have not that gift of prayer they were wont to have, though they have excel∣lent words, yet a man may perceive a shuffling in them, and such an unsa∣voriness mixed with their gifts, that it breeds loathing in others to joyne with them. As when the King goeth away from his Pallace, the hangings are ta∣ken down; so when God departeth from a soul (as from such he may) then their hangings, those excellent gifts are taken from them. But those gifts that are spirituall they are never stripped of them. We read in Ezek. 46. 17. when a King gave gifts to his servants,*they were to returne to him againe at the yeere of Jubilee, but when he gave them to his sonnes, they were to be their inheritance. There are many that are outwardly in the Church Gods servants, they have many gifts, but God will take them away and strip them naked of those gifts: but then there are his children, they shall have their gifts as an inheritance for ever. It is true, God may stay a while, as when the King is gone from Court, if there be any thought of his returne again the hangings do continue, but if the message come, the King will not be here this twelve moneths, or a long time, or it may be never any more, then the hangings are taken down; so though these gifts of the Hypocrite may stay a while,* yet they will vanish at last. The fifth Observation.—

Continuance in sinne, and especially the sin of spirituall whoredome, is that which will strip a Nation from all their excellencies, from all their or∣ments and beauty; the continuance in that sin especially; for so the words imply, Let her pnt away her adulteries from between her breasts, lest I strip her naked. &c. If she continue thus, certainly naked she shall be.

This alwayes brings nakednesse meritoriously, but if continued in, effec∣tually, it makes them naked. Exod. 32. 25. You may see there what made the people naked at that time, the Text saith, that Aaron had made the peo∣ple naked, that is, Aaron by consenting to the people to make the Calfe had made the people naked: naked, that is destitute now of Gods gracious pro∣tection, deprived of those favours from God that formerly they had. And as the Priest had made them naked, so you may finde it in 2 Chron. 28. 19. that the King made them naked too. The Lord brought Judah lowe, be∣cause of Ahaz King of Israel, for he made Judah naked and transgressed sore against the Lord. He made Judah naked, that is by countenancing I∣dolatry, by syding with those that were Idolaters, even he made Judah na∣ked at that time.

Here we may see who they are that are like to strip us, if ever God should come to strip us. We have many amongst us that see false burthens of all the Page  179 miseries and troubles that come upon the nation; they cry out presently of the Puritans, and of others that they say are factious and seditious spirits, and turbulent,* and all must be laid upon them. Certainly whosoever hath eyes in his head may easily see who makes us thus naked as we are, and if we be made more naked, who will be the cause of all? Those that stand against the way of Reformation, those that will keep their whoredoms in their sight, and their adulteries between their breasts, those that will not be willing that the Church shall be purged from that filth and whorish attire that it hath; these are they that make us naked. We read in Lamen. 2. 14. Thy Prophets have seene vaine and foolish things for thee, and they have not discovered thine iniquity to turne away thy captivity; but have seen for thee the false burthens, and causes of banishment. Mark it, the Prophets have seene vaine ad foolish things, they have not discovered thine iniquity, they have not dealt 〈◊〉 inly with thy people, neither have they told them the reason of their captivity, but they have seene for them false burthens and causes of banish∣ment, The Prophets say it is a company of these precise and strict ones, that will not be obedient to authority, and will not doe what is commanded in such and such things, and (when there were wayes of corruption in Gods worship) they would not submit to such and such orders. The Prophets lay the blame upon them, but they see false burthens, saith the Text, and false canses of banishment. We have many such Prophets amongst us who see false burthens and causes of banishment, and they cry out of those that cer∣tainly are the causes of our peace and of the good of the kingdom. Tertul∣lian tells us that in the Primitive times, if they had but any ill weather, or any trouble at all, they would cry out of the Christians as the cause of it, and pre∣sently the voice was, Adleons, let the Christians be dragged to the Lyons, and devoured by the Lyons; it hath beene so amongst us. But may we not answer as Elijah answered Ahab, when Ahah told him that he was the man that troubled Israel, I have not troubled Israel, but it is thou and thy fathers house. May we not well say to them as Jehu to Iehoram when hee asked him whether there was peace, What peace so long as the whoredomes of thy mother Iezebel and her witchcrafts are so many? Those have been popish, certainly they have endangered us of being stripped of all. Who were the causers of the first disturbances amongst us, even of all the persecu∣tion here of Gods Saints, and of all the discontent among the people? Who were they that perswaded the bringing in of an Arbitrary vvay of govern∣ment? Who were the cause of laying such things upon the people that they could not beare? Who were the causers of the troubles in Scotland, & sen∣ding of bookes thither full of superstitious vanities? was it not the Prelati∣call faction? Who are those that hinderthe Reformation at this day? Cer∣tainly, if it were as apparent that they that are called Puritans had been the cause of such charge to the Kingdom & disturbances to the State as the Pre∣latical faction hath been; it had been impossible for them to go in the streets but they would have been stoned to death.

Page  180 I speake not this as though we should do the like,* but I speake it to shew what the virulencie of their spirits would have beene to them if it had beene apparent that they had beene such charge to the Kingdome, and such distur∣bers of the State. The truth is, vve may charge our Papists, and charge o∣thers that are of that way) and we know who are next to them) we may well charge them as the cause of stripping of us naked as we have been.

It is cleere enough, those that put not away their whoredoms from them, but continue still superstitious and Idolaters, they are they that endauger a people to be stripped naked.

A sixth Observation that presents it selfe fully and cleerely without any the least straining,* is, That it is time for people then to pleade, when there is danger of desolation. Plead with your mother, plead, why so? why should we not be quiet? Lest I strip her naked and set her as in the day wherein she was borne. What, you are in such a condition as you are in danger to be stripped naked and to be left desolate as a wildernesse (as it followeth in the Text) Is it not time then to plead? Oh pleade with God, and pleade with those that are in authority, and plead one with another, and pleade with all, stirre up your selves and do what you can;* let there be no sluggish spirit, no neutralizing spirit. It is not time for any to be newters now. It is time now for all to come and plead, not so much time now to dispute of things, but now time for every one to stand, and appear, & plead, not only verbally, but other∣wise as God calls them to it. Luke 3. 9. When John saith, The axe is laid to the roote of the tree, what then? then every one commeth and saith what shall we doe? you (saith he to some) that have two coates impart to him that hath none: and to the souldiers when they say what shall we doe? doe you no violence to any man, and be content with your wages. Mark, when the Axe is laid to the roote of the tree, every one comes in then and saith what shall we doe? You that are women and inferiour, doe you pray, and cry, and further your husbands in all good, be not you backward, do not you dravv them away when they would be liberall and forward, and adventure themselves, thorough your nicenesse and daintiness. And you that are men of estates, if you aske what you should doe? It is apparent, He that hath two coates let him impart to him that hath none, bee willing to part with much of your estates in such a cause as this. And so souldiers, if you aske vvhat you should doe, behave your selves so as you may convince others, of∣fer no violence, but according to an orderly way, and be content with your wages, perhaps it may not come in so fully afterwards, yet let it appear that it is the cause that strengtheneth you rather then your wages.

Thus every one should be of an inquiring spirit when the Axe is laid to the roote of the tree. When we are in danger to be stripped of all, it is not time then to stand about curiosities and niceties.

Seventhly,*Lest I strip her naked, &c. I have sent my Prophets already before, and they have offered mercie and denounced threatnings: Well, I will now come another way, I will strip her naked, &c. The observation is,

Page  181 That those that will not be convinced by the word,* God hath other means to convince them, he hath other wayes then the word; if the word will not convince them, pleading will not doe it it seems, and convincing argu∣ments will not do it, well then, stripping naked shall doe it: As the expressi∣on is usuall in Scripture, Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I do thus and thus.* As you use to doe with those that are of a sleepy dispositi∣on, if you call up a servant that is sluggish & sleepy, he answereth Anon, and then falls down and sleeps again, you call him again, and he answers & then sleeps again, at length you come up and pull the cloaths of him & leave him naked, and that will awake him. So God, he calls upon them to leave their whoredoms and Idolatries, and to repent, he threatneth, and he offers mercie, and they seeme a little to awake, but to it again. Well, saith God, I will come another way, and strip you naked, and that will doe i.

Eighthly.*Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day wherein shee was borne. Lest I doe it. Whatsoever the means be of stripping a Nation naked, it is God that doth it. It is God that gives, and it is God that takes away. But let that passe.

9. It is a grievous Judgement for one that is advanced from a low de∣gree to an high to be brought thither again.*Lest I strip her naked and set her as in the day wherein she was borne. Thus Job aggravateth his misery.

You have it in the 29. and 30. Chapters of Job, The candle of God shin∣eth upon my head, I washed my steps in butter, and the rock powred me out Rivers of oyle, my glory was freh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand, &c. But now (saith he) they that are younger then I have me in de∣rision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flocke. &c. Thus he aggravateth his judgement because he was brought into a low condition having once beene in a high one. The like aggravati∣on of misery have we Lameat. 4. 2. The precious sonnes of Zion, compar∣able to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers? and vers. 5. They that did feede delic ately are desolate in the streetes, they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghils,

Thus the Scripture is cleare in it, and your experience is enough to con∣firme it. For a man that hath beene a bondslave in the Gallies, and after he should be ransomed by the liberality of his friends here in England, if hee should be taken and brought back again to the gallies, oh how tedious and grievous would it be! but if he had lived long here, and flourished and got∣ten preferment and lived bravely, and had grown a great Merchant, & then after this to be brought againe to the gallies, how sad a thing would this be! it would be very terrible to him. If some of you that have beene beggars heretofore,* if God by some way or other should bring you to the same po∣verty you were in before, oh how tedious would it be! you would rather venture the losse of your soules and God and all, then be brought into such a condition, and we see it that many men that have beene raised from a low e∣state to an high, are so afraid of returning to a low estate again, that they will Page  182 venture soule, and conscience, and God and all, rather then they will endan∣ger themselves in the least degree in their estates.

Hence it is very observable that the chiefe curse that God threatneth the people of Israel with, is that they should returne to Egypt again, that the Lord would bring them back to the condition wherein once they were.

You shall finde that whole Chapter, Deut. 28. is spent in denouncing most dreadfull curses upon the people; now for the conclusion of all, as the chiefe curse of all the rest, saith the Text, there ver. 68. The Lord shal bring thee into Egypt again, with shippes, and there you shall be sold unto your ene∣mies for bond-men and bond-women, and no man shall buy you.

Were it not a sad thing for us who have been acquainted with the glorious light of the Gospel, and with the blessed priviledges that come in thereby, for us to be brought into Popish bondage and thraldome again? As Ezra. 9. 8. we may use his words, Now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, & to give us a nayle in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little re∣viving in our bondage; And shall we (as in ver. 14.) again breake thy com∣mandements, and joyne in affinity with those abominations? As for our selves who have had now of late a little tast of the sweetnesse of our outward priviledges and our liberties, for us to be brought into the bondage that wee not long since were in, it would be a very sad thing. Who could endure to be under that bondage that he was in three or foure years agon, under every Parator, Promoter, Pursevant, Commissary, Chancelour, and tyrannical Prelate as formetly? we could not have met together and enjoyed the li∣berty of such exercises as these; no, you could not have met in your families to pray, but one or other would have been upon you and indangered your e∣states. The bondage was intollerable, we may well complaine it was a yoke that neither we nor our fathers could beare.

The last Observation,* and the way to prevent all is, When God hath de∣livered a people out of misery, and bestowed upon them great mercies, it is their duty often to thinke of the poor condition which once they were in, & to use all the means they can that they may not be brought thither again.

God loveth this, that we should remember and seriously take to heart, what once we were, so it is here, Lest I strip her naked and set her as in the day wherein she was borne; as if he should say, I would have you consider what condition you were in when you were borne, what a low condition it was, and consider of the danger you are in to be brought thither again, and to looke about you, and to seeke to prevent it if you have the hearts of men in you. This we shall finde in Deut. 26. 1. 2. When thou art come into the land which the Lord giveth thee for an inheritance and possessest it, thou shalt take of the first of all the fruite of the earth,*and thou shalt put it in a basket, and shalt goe unto the place which the Lord thy God shall chuse; and ver. 5. Thou shalt speake and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and became there Page  183 a nation, and the Egyptians evil intreated us, and afflicted us and layed u∣pon us hard bondage. And Isa. 51. 1. Looke to the rocke whence you are hew∣en, and to the hole of the pit whence you are digged. It is very usefull for us to consider of our former low condition. It was a speech Master Deering in a Sermon that he preached before Queen Elizabeth, hee hath this bold ex∣pression to her, If there were a time that you thought your self Tanquam o∣vis, as a sheepe ready to be slaine, take heed that the words of the Prophet be not now true that you be not Tanquam indo mita Iuvencula, as an unta∣med heifer. You may note the difference between the spirits of men in for∣mer times in their plainness and boldness; and if there were an excesse that way, how far the other way are our Court Sermons now? Qeen Elizabeth was once in a very low condition indeed, and she thought her selfe to be as a sheepe appointed for the slaughter. It is usuall for men raised up from a low condition to forget God and themselves,* and to grow proud & scornfull.

Nothing is more sharpe then a low thing when it getteth up high; so there is none that have more proud and scornfull spirits then those that are raised from the dunghil and gotten up high, they know not then where they are; As the Proverb is, Set a beggar on horse backe, and he knowes not how nor whether to ride.

Thus it was with Saul, the vvay to humble Saul was for him to consider what he once was, and that is the way to humble us all who are subject to be proud of our prosperity that God hath raised us unto. When thou wast little in thine own sight, then thou wert made the head of the tribes of Israel. There was a time that he was little in his own eyes, and I beseech you observe the difference between the spirit of Saul when he was in a low condition, and his spirit vvhen he vvas raised. When Saul was in a low condition his spirit vvas low, therefore 1 Sam. 10. 27. you shall finde that though there vvere some children of Eelial that would not have Saul to reigne over them;

What? (say they) how shall this man save us? and they despised him and brought him no presents. But Saul (the Text saith) held his peace. And Chap. 11. 12. When Saul had gottensome credit and honour by his vic∣tories, some of the people said, where are they that said, shall Saul reine o∣ver us? Bring the men that we may put them to death. No, saith Saul, There shall not a man be put to death this day. O how meeke was Saul! what a quiet spirit had he before he got up high! But afterward when he got up and had many victories, then vvhat a furious and outragious spirit had Saul! You know the story of the four-score and five Priests that must be slaine in the City of Nob, and the whole Citie, men, women, and children, sucklings, Oxes, Asses, and sheep must be put to the sword, Why? because one of them did but give a little refreshing unto David. What a strange spi∣rit is here in Saul, different to that he had when he was low.

Is it not so with many of you? when God hath brought you low, you seeme to be humble, and meek, and quiet then, and then you are content with eve∣ry thing, and prize every little mercie. Oh the tenth, the hundreth part of Page  184 that will not serve your turne now, you vvould have been glad of then, and blessed God if you had had it; But now you know not your selves, your hearts are raised up as: your estates are. VVell it is good for you to looke to the condition that once you were in, vvhen you were low; As vve reade of Agathcles, that King, that was a Potters sonne, and after advanced to a kingdom, he vvould alwayes be served at his table in earthen vessels, to put him in mind of that condition he was in before: certainly if in any place in England it be seasonable to speake of this, it is here in London, where many that have been Potters children, and in a low degree, have been raised up high, and have gotten great estates. Let them remember in what condition once they were, that they may be humbled, and so may prevent that danger of being brought thither again. Many put others in mind of it in a taunting vvay, I know vvhat you were not long agoe, I know vvhat your father vvas, &c. But doe you put your own soules in mind of this in an humbling way? This is the vvay to continue mercies.

But now apply vve it a little to our selves for the generall and then vve shal conclude all. Let us vvork this upon our hearts. Look vve back to vvhat we vvere lately, and let us check our hearts for any discontent in our present e∣state. Not long since vvould not many of us have beene willing to have laid dovvn our lives to have purchased that mercy we have had this yeer or two? God hath granted to us our former mercies, & raised us from our low con∣dition of free cost hitherto. God hath been afore. hand with us; and what if those mercies that are to come will be at some vvhat a dearer rate then those vvee have had already? Those mercies vve have had already have been very precious and sweet; but surely they that are to come are more precious and sweet, and therefore vve may be content though they cost us deare.

Yet hovv vile are the spirits of men in forgetting the condition the sad con∣dition they lately were in, forgetting the Taxes and Monopolies, and un∣certainty of enjoying an thing that was your own; and now if there be but a little charge comming, you presently fall a murmuring and repining, Oh these are heavy burthens, the Parliament burthens the kingdome and the Couutrey, and as good have ship-money and other taxes as these burthens. Oh unworthy, unworthy are you to live to see the goodnesse of the Lord in these dayes: unworthy to have thine eyes open to see what God hath done, and thus to murmur. Thou shouldest magnifie Gods mercies, and not mur∣mur at his proceedings.

VVe have a notable parallel to this Numb. 16. in the story of Corah, Da∣than and Abiram, those murmurers, when they were but in a little strait, they come to Moses, and say, ver. 13. Why hast thou brought us up out of a land that floweth with milks and honey? What land was that, that Mo∣ses brought them up out of, that they said flowed with milke and honey? It was the land of Egypt, the land of their bondage indeed they were promised a land of Canaan that should flowe with milke and honey, and they put that upon the land of Egypt; though they had been in bondage and slavery in E∣gypt Page  185 and were now going to Canaan,* yet when they did but indure some trouble in the vvay, and had but some opposition, and were put to some straits, then Egypt was the Land that flowed vvith milke and honey, and who would come out of Egypt? So though God be bringing us to Cana∣an, to a blessed Land that floweth with milke and honey, yet because there are some straits in the way, some difficulties, some oppositions, that may cost us somewhat; now how doe men cry out we vvere better before, you talke of Reformation and such and such things, but for our parts would vve might have but vvhat we had before, and be as quiet as vve were then, why will you bring us out of a Land that floweth with milke and honey? Oh base murmuring and discontented spirits that forget what once they vvere, and rather prize the bondage they were in before, then are thankfull for Gods present mercies.

For us not to look back to Gods former mercies, it goeth to the very heart of God. God hath an expression that it frets him to the very heart: You have it in Ezek. 16. 43. Because thou hast not remembred the dayes of thy youth, but hast freted me in all these things. It is a thing that frets God at his heart to see a people so unworthy of mercie, when God commeth in such wayes of mercie to them as he doth. My brethren, God hath done great things for us whatsoever others say and thinke: Let them murmure, and repine, and say what they will, let us say God hath done great things for us: Let us lay to heart the condition we lately vvere in, that so we may be stirred up now to seeke after God, that wee may never be brought into that condition any more, if they would have it again, much good may it do them, but for us let it be our care to seeke God, and to use all lawfull meanes to prevent our bringing back to it again.

For even the very straits we now are in are an aggravation of our former misery and present mercie, it should not therefore make our former mise∣ry or present mercie seeme lesse, but greater.

How is that you will say?

Thus, If now wee have so much helpe and power to hinder a malignant party that seeke our ruine, yet they have so much strength and resolution, what would have become of us if this had been before, when we had no way nor no meanes to help us? If men complaine now, what vvould they have done then? Therefore whereas we make use of our straits, to make us thinke that our former misery was lesse, and we are now in a sadder condi∣tion then before, rather let us make it an aggravation of Gods mercie to∣wards us, and if wee be in such straits now when God hath raised up such meanes beyond all our thought to resist the flowing in of misery upon us, Lord whether were wee a going? what would have become of us if the streame which hath been so long a swelling had broke in upon us when there was no meanes to have resisted it? VVe may well see now that if their in∣tentions and resolutions be so strong for mischiefe as will not be hindered, notwithstanding the present strength God hath granted us to oppose them, Page  186 surely they had most vile intentions,* and dreadfull things were determined a∣gainst us, which would have brought us low indeed, and have made us the most miserable people upon the earth, if God had not come in so mira cu∣lously for our help as he hath done at this day.

Therefore as we read of Jeremiah, Chap. 37. 18. Let my supplication, saith he to the King, I pray thee be accept able before thee, that thou cause me not to returne to the house of Jonathan the Scribe, lest I dye there. So let us present our supplications to the King of heaven, that wee may not be sent back to that condition we were once in, that God may not strip us and leave us naked. Wee have many blessings, Lord do not strip us, doe not strip us of all the ornaments thou hast put upon us.

And would you not have God strip you of your ornaments? be you wil∣ling to strip your selves of your ornaments. Ezod. 33. 5. God calleth upon the people there. Put off your Ornaments from you that I may know what to doe unto you.

This is true and seasonable at this time in the literall sense, you are called now to strip you of your Ornaments. Strip from your fingers your gold∣rings now when there is neede of them, perhaps one gold-ring that you have upon your finger would serve to maintain a souldier a month or five weeks or more, and yet you may have the benefit of it againe afterward. Strip your Cup-boards from that pompous shew of plate that was wont to be up∣on them. It is much if you should not be willing to have your fingers strip∣ped naked when we are in danger to have the State stript naked of all our comforts and ornaments: Is it such a great matter to have your cup-board naked of plate now? what if a white cloath were upon it, and all that gliste∣ring shew taken away, were that such a great matter now when God is a∣bout to strip us naked, and set us as in the day wherein wee were borue? certainly all of you that shall keep your plate now for the pompous decking and adorning of your cup-boards you cannot but be ashamed of it in these times, surely you must rather keep it up in your trunkes and hutches, it can∣not but be both a sin and a shame to see such glistering pomp and glory in such times as these are.

Strip your selves of your ornaments that God strip you not; and not on∣ly outwardly, but strip your selves of your ornaments by your humiliation, for that is the meaning of that place in Exodus; Oh come and humble your selves, and come now with naked hearts before the Lord, open your hearts before God, bring them naked and sincere before him, lest he strip you and the Kingdom naked! Crie unto God for mercie, O Lord thou knowest what a vile heart I have had, a base time-serving heart, yet Lord I desire to take away all those clokes now, and to rend and bring this heart naked be∣fore thee, though it be a filthy heart, yet open it, Lord thou knowest those vile things, those innovasions, those superstitions, those horrible wickednes∣ses that were in danger to be let into the Church and Comman-wealth, yet they were things that could goe down very well with me, I could make shifts Page  187 to swallow them, and I had distinctions to colour them, but Lord it was my base heart that I could not trust thee, but now here I open it naked be∣fore thoe.

O Lord for these Ordinances of thine in the purity and power of them that others spake so much of, they have bin things unsavory to me, I had no skill in such things, Thou knowest I had a neutrelizing spirit, I looked which way the wind blew; how just were it for thee to give me upto be of a desperate malignant spirit! Now Lord I come as a naked wretched crea∣ture before thee, in the shame and guilt of my sin, and here I acknowledge thou maiest justly strip me naked of all the comforts of my estate, and leave me in the most miserable condition that ever poor creature was left in; And now my heart is open before thee, doe but shew me what I shall doe, and if thou doest reserve any of my estate and comforts which I have forfeited, in testimony of my humiliation for my former sinnes I bring it before thee, and am willing to give it up for the publique good, and to prevent that evill and mischiefe that I am sure my sinnes call for, for my sins cry for wrath a∣gainst the Land, that thou shouldst strip it naked; and if all had beene such base spirits as I have beene, what would have become of the Land by this time? In testimonie therefore of my humiliation for my sins, here I bring in this of my estate, though indeed if I had not been guilty of such sins, yet out of common prudence, and respect to my own security, I might bring some part in, but here is so much the more of my estate, because my consci∣ence tells me of my former guilt. And Lord for the time to come I am re∣solved to doe the uttermost I can for Thee and thy Cause. And those Wor∣thies that carry their lives in their hands for me, God forbid that I should have the least hand in betraying them, in withdrawing my hand and assist∣ance from them. Lord here I give up my self to thee, and my estate, I sur∣render it to thee in an everlasting Covenant.

This is to come with a naked heart indeed before the Lord.

Were it not better that we should be willing to strip our selves naked, then that God should doe it by violenee, that God should send Souldiers in∣to our houses to strip us naked, as they have dealt with our brethren in Ire∣land? they took not away their estates onely, but all their clothes, and sent them in droves as naked as ever they were borne. VVee know wee have deserved the like. If you will not strip your selves of your super ••uities, God may justly by them strip you naked as ever you were born; and not onely bring you into the same condition you were in, but into a far worse, for so he threatneth in that 28. Deut. You shall not onely be carryed backe a∣gaine into Egypt, but there you shall be sold for bondmen, and no man shall buy you; they should be in a worse condition the when they were first in Egypt. So if there be any of you that are willing to sell your consciences in hope of preferment; Oh the other side may get power and prevaile, and so out of hope to be, preferred, to sell your consciences, you may be disappoin∣ted, not only be brought into as ill but into a far worse condition; & perhaps Page  188 though you would have sold your selves, yet no bodie will buy you; if the Papists corne to have the power of your bodies and estates, you may misse of that preferment that you thinke of. So saith Ezra, Chap. 9. 14. after he had spoken of Gods mercie in giving them liberty, and remitting their cap∣tivitie, Shall we (saith he) yet continue in sin, & break the commandements of the Lord, would he not be angry with us till we were utterly destroyed?

And certainly if God do not awaken the hearts of people now, if God do not give the people throughout the Kingdom a heart to stick to the Cause of the Truth, and to those whom they have intrusted with their estates, liber∣ties and lives in every good way, it were the heaviest judgement of God that ever was upon a Nation since the beginning of the earth, it would never be paralleld, that ever a people should have such an opportunity put into their hands to help themselves, aud to vindicae themselves from slavery and bondage, yet out of I know not what respects to betray all those that have ventured their lives for them, and to have their blood shed; I say it were such an example as were not to be paralleld since the beginning of the world.

Therefore I beseech you my brethren let us lay this to heart, and the Lord make known to us all what is to be done in such a time as this, that we may not be stripped naked, and set as in the day wherein we were borne.