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 Eighth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 11.

I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast dayes, her New Moones, and her Sabbaths, and all her solemne feasts.

THe Lord proceeds still in his threats against Israel, in this verse we have as sore a threat as any, for it is in part spi∣rituall.

Her mirth,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, so the Seventy reade it, the word signifieth the right temper, the right posture of the minde, when the minde is in a right frame, then it may be merry;*Whosoever is merry (saith S. James) let him sing; there the word though not the same, yet signifying the same thing; who ever hath his minde in a right frame, let him sing. No man can be truly merry except his minde be in a right frame.

Page  283I will cause [all] her mirth.* God many times takes away from his Saints much of the matter of their mirth, but never takes away all. This is a dreadfull threat to cause all their mirth to cease.

I will cause it to cease.

I will turne it away, so the Seventy. I can soone have all their mirth down, they shall never be able to rejoyce more if I please; it is gone all with the turn of a hand.

It appeares that Israel, though an apostatizing people, though a people of Gods wrath, designed to dreadfull judgements, yet was a merry jocund people, they went on still in their mirth and joviallity.

That which is here implyed, is more fully exprest in Amos Chap. 6. 4. who was contemporary with Hosea, and hee was the Prophet of the ten Tribes as Hosea was, now see there how Amos setteth forth the mirth of this people, They lye upon beds of Ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eate the Lambes out of the flock, and the Calves out of the middst of the stall, they chaunt to the sound of the Violl, and invent to themselves instruments of musick like David, they drinke wine in bowles, and anoint themselves with the chiefe oyntment. This was their condition when they were under such fearfull guilt and in such dreadfull danger.

Sensuall men,* while they prosper, they looke upon themselves as above the word, and blesse themselves in the satisfying of their own carnal desires, as if it were but a poore low and meane thing for them to be under the pow∣er of the word, to feare sin and threatnings, it is too low for such brave spi∣rits as they have; But, come let us sing away all care, let us live merrily, let us take our pleasure for the present, and crowne our selves with rose-buds.

This is the disposition of carnall hearts under all their guilt and danger; They swim delightfully in that River of Jordan, and suddenly fall into the Dead Sea; they spend their dayes in pleasure, and in a moment go down in∣to hell. This is all the portion of their cup they receive from the Lord: They have a little joy here, this is all they are like to have, and therefore they will take their fill of what they have.

But this will not hold.

I will cause this mirth to cease.

Sinne and mirth can never hold long together;* there must be a separa∣tion between them. The union that there is betweene sinne and mirth at any time, it is a forced union; God never joynes them together, and if you will joyne those things God never joyned, your joyning cannot hold: Sinne is of such a canker-fretting nature, as it will soone fret out all the varnish of mirth and joy that is upon it.*

If you will not take away sinne from your mirth, God will take away mirth from your sin. It is indeed the happinesse of the Saints that they shall have everlasting joy, the pleasures at Gods right hand are for evermore, but the pleasures of sin must cease.

Thirdly,* when afflictions come upon the wicked they are all Amort, Page  284 their joy, their mirth is gone. We say of fire, it congregates things of the same kinde, and separates things that are of diverse kinds. So it is with the fire of affliction, it congregateth things of the same nature, as thus, sinne and horror, trouble, anguish, sorrow, vexation, accusation of conscience, condemnation, these are of the same kinde; sin and these are Homogenall; now when affliction commeth, it congregateth all these; Here is sinne, yea but sorrow, and anguish, and horror of conscience seemeth now not to be together with your sinne, but when the fire of affliction comes it joynes all these together. On the other side, sin and joy, and prosperity, and peace, these are Heterogeneall, things of another kinde, now when the fire of af∣fliction comes, it separates these Heterogeneall things; then the hearts of the wicked sinke as lead, they lye down in sorrow, the candle of the wicked is blown out, all their mirth and joy it is but the light of a candle, affliction makes all to be but as a stinking snuffe. And indeed ungodly men when af∣fliction comes are men of the poorest spirits of any men, they quickly dye, they succumb, they fall downe under the least weight of affliction; They seeme to have brave spirits, to out-brave the word of God, but they have poore, meane, and low spirits when they come to beare Gods hand upon them; Affliction takes away all their good, that they conceive and under∣stand good. There is nothing within them to support them, there is nothing but darknesse and blacknesse within, nothing but guilt and gnawings of the worme; And they looke upon every suffering they indure but as the begin∣ning of eternall suffering; And there is the venome and curse of God goes together with their affliction, which drinks up their spirits.

Oh the happy advantage the Saints have in their afflictions over that the wicked have in theirs! They have spirits indeed that well may be called brave spirits,* that can stand under the greatest weight of affliction, and that with joy, in the midst of them; Paul can rejoyce in tribulation, yea and glory in it too. They have comfort in the creature, but they are not behold∣ing to the creature for comfort; they depend not upon the creature for com∣fort, their joy is a great deale higher; That is precious light indeed that no storme can blow out. See an example of a brave spirit that way, that in the midst of affliction can have the light of joy, Habak. 3. 17. Although the Figtree shall not blosome, neither shall fruit be in the Vines, the labour of the Olive shall faile, and the fields shall yeeld no meate, the flocke shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stals; What then? Yet I will rejoyce in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation: All their joy shall not cease; perhaps in times of affliction, in sad dismall times, they may abate somewhat of their outward joy, but all their mirth shall not cease, there shall be joy within, though none without.

Lastly, I will cause all the mirth to cease.

All our mirth depends upon God,* he can take it away when he pleaseth. God is called in Scripture, The God of all consolation; Joy is Gods propri∣ty, he gives it when he will, and takes it away when he will.

Page  285 Tou have an excellent Text for Gods hand in taking away joy from the hearts of men when he pleaseth, it is Lamen. 3. 65. Give them sorrow of heart,*thy curse upon them: Marke it; Now that word that is translated sorrow of heart (I especially take the note from thence) A word that comes from that that signifies a helmet, or a shield to fence of any thing, or to co∣ver a thing as a thing is covered by a shield and helmet; And it doth note to us that disease which Physitians call Cardiaca passio, a kinde of disease whereby the heart is so opprest, and there is such a stopping, that it is as it were covered sicut scuto, as with a shield, there is a lid as it were put over the heart, a shield to keepe out all things that should comfort, and to fence off all things that may be taken to be any refreshments to the spirits; let the most precious Cordials in the world be given to those that have that disease, they cannot be refreshed by any of them, and so the heart comes to be suf∣focated with sorrow. This is the meaning of the word here, Lord give them sorrow of heart; Put them into such a condition, as that their hearts may be so stopped and stifled with sorrow, that what ever meanes shall be used to bring any comfort to them, let it be kept off, that no creature in the world may be able to afford the least refreshment to them; They were wont to shield and fence off thy VVord: when thy word was used to be deli∣vered to them, wherein the treasures of thy mercies were, and they heard the sweet promises of the Gospel opened, yet they fenced off thy word as with a shield; Now when they are in affliction let their hearts be choak∣ed so, and let there be such a fence put upon their hearts, that though there be never so many promises brought to them, they may be fenced off by the secret curse.

As, Doe we not finde many wretches who have lived under the Gospel, and fenced off the treasures of mercies opened to them, when they have beene in affliction they have beene in horrible desperation, and whensoever any thing out of the Gospel hath been spoken to them for their comfort, they have had strange kinde of fences to put off such things; As those that reade the story of Spira, may wonder what a cunning fencer he was to fence off all comfort that was brought to him. This was from the Lord, Lord give them sorrow of heart, that is, Lord put such a shield upon their hearts, as all comfort may be fenced of from them.

We see (my brethren) how we depend upon God for comfort, we all cry out for comfort, let us know and take to heart our dependance upon God for it, God can fence our hearts from comfort when he pleaseth, let us take heed we doe not fence of his word form our hearts.

I will cause all her mirth to cease, her feast dayes.

These two are put together, for the hearts of men when they enjoy a more liberall use of the cheature then ordinary, and are amongst cheerfull com∣pany are warmed, raised and inflamed at such times, If the heart of a man be gracious, and hee feasts in a gracious way, his heart is warmed, and cheered, and inlarged in things that are good; so the heart of the wicked Page  286 when they are at their feasts, all their lusts are warmed, and their spirits are raised & strengthned in the things that are evil. You have a notable exam∣ple of the cheering and raising of the hearts of men in good things in the time of feasts, 2 Chro. 30. 21. the feast that Hezekiah made for the people of Jerusalem in that great Passeover, the Text saith that they kept the feast of unleavened bread seven dayes with great gladness, and vers. 23. the whole Assembly tooke counsell to keep other seven days, & they kept other 7 dayes with gladness. Now mark how their hearts were raised, and mightily up upon this, Chap. 31. ver. 1. When all was finished, all Israel that were pre∣sent went out to the cities of Iudah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw downs the high places and the Altars out of all Iudah and Benjamine, in Ephraim also and Manasseth, untill they had utterly destroyed them all. Their hearts being up, and their feasts being in a gracious way, they were so inflamed, that now they tooke upon them a mighty courage in doing great things for God.

It were well if it were always so with us when God calleth us to feasting, (as sometimes he doth, though not now) that our hearts were alwayes up in our feasting, warmed and inlarged to do much good. It is that which hath been the honour of this Citie, that in their Companies feasting yearly, they were wont heretofore usually when they had rejoyced one with another, when their hearts were up, to consult together what good to do for their coun∣tries in which they were borne, and then to resolve to send the preaching of the Word to such a great Town where most of them were bred, and to such another Towne. This was a gracious feasting, and for this they were much envyed at: And though these feasts were prohibited upon other pretences, yet the hindering this good done at those times, lay in the bottome of that prohibition.

Feasting also warms the lusts,* and desperately inflameth wicked resoluti∣ons of ungodly men. When a company of ungodly men met together in a Tavern, and there have drunk and eat liberally, how desperately are they set against the ways of godlines! then they scorn and jeer godly Ministers, and Parliament, and Christians; they are then as if they were above God, their tongues are their owne, and who shall controule them? and all when their lusts are heated with wine and good cheer. Mark that Scripture, Ps. 35. 16. With hypocriticall mockers at feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth. Here is scorning and violence, gnashing upon the Psalmist with their teeth, and this at their feasts. Hos. 7. 5. In the daye of our King, the Princes have made him sick with bottles of wine, he stretched out his hand with scorners. They brought bottles of wine, and when his lusts were heated with wine and good cheere, then hee joyned with them in scorning the wayes and worship of GOD; they scorned at all those that would goe up to Jeru∣salem to worship according to the institution, these must be so precise that they will not joyne with us, as if wee had not the worship of GOD among us, they tel tales to Jeroboam and the other Princes of Page  287 the godly who would not yeeld to their idolatrous wayes of worship, they scorned at their precisenesse; Now saith the Text, The King stretched out his hand with scorners, takes them by the hand, and encourageth them in that way, and tells them he will take a course with them, not one of them shall be suffered to live in his dominions.

Their hearts were put all agog with their feasts, but God hath a time to take away feasting times from a people, a time when those who have de∣lighted themselves so in the use of the creatures, shall have all those merry meetings and brave times cease, never feast more, never meet with such merry company more;* As that Pope Adrian said when he was a dying, O my soule whither art thou going? thou shalt never be more merry.

For Kingdomes also, though there be times for feasting, yet there is a time of mourning; and God seems this day to be comming to us to take a∣way our feasts, to call upon us to spend our times in another way; It were good for us to do what we can to prevent God, by humbling our selves in a voluntary way, to take away our owne Feasts, and to change our Festivities into Humiliations. The times call for fasting now, rather then feasting;* and it is a most dreadfull sin then for men to give liberty to themselves for feasting, when God calls for mourning and fasting. It is not at your liberty to feast when you will.

Isa. 22. 12. is a most dreadfull place, that might make the hearts of those who are guilty in this kinde tremble. Vers. 12. And in that day did the Lord of hosts call to mourning, and to girding with sackcloath, and behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, killing sheep, drinking wine. Surely this ini∣quity shall not be purged from you till you die, saith the Lord God of Hosts. While the bread is taken away from our brethren, and the land is so misera∣bly spoyled, and when such a black cloud hangeth over our heads, here is no time for Festivities. Whatsoever your customes have been, at this time now coming (I mean that which you call your Christmas Festivity) you are certainely bound now to turne it into a time of mourning; For if wee should grant it lawfull for men to appoint Holy-days that way, for feasting, (of which more by and by) yet certainly it cannot be but a sinfull thing, so to set those dayes apart, as whatsoever providence of God falls out, yet they will continue what they themselves have set. You will all grant this, that if it be lawfull to keep this time of Festivity, yet this not that that God himselfe hath set apart and enjoyned. We never have it required by Christ, or by his Apostles, that at such a time, just when the yeer cometh about, that wee should have solemn dayes of Festivity. Well then, at the most, if we suppose it lawfull, it is but the institution of man; if it be mans institution, then cer∣tainly it must give way to Gods work, to providence. For man to put so much upon his institution, because hee hath appointed such a day when the yeer cometh about to rejoyce in, that whatsoever worke of God falls out in the mean time, that calls for humiliation and fasting, yet hee will hold to his own institution; what is this my brethren but to make the commandements Page  288 of God to be of none effect through mans tradition? It is apparent breach of that Scripture. For this is certaine now that it is the commandement of God that you should mourne and fast, if then because of mans institution you will put by the command of God, and now spend time in feasting and re∣joycing, which ought not to be but in such times when God shines upon a Kingdom in wayes of mercy, know this is sin unto you. If you can say that God shines upon us now in present extraordinary mercies then we may feast. I confess they are extraordinary mercies in regard of what wee may hope to be the event and effect of them; but for the administrations of God towards us, they are such as if ever they called for fasting, they call for it at this day. Therefore here by Gods works amongst us, wee know we have Gods will revealed to us, namely to fast; the other at most is but mans institution and tradition. Now the traditions of man must yeeld to the commandements of God.

With what conscience now can you take such a plentifull use of the crea∣ture, and suffer your brethren to want cloaths and bread? If God have yet granted to you such a comfortable estate that you have so much to spare as to feast, know you are bound in conscience then to lay out that in relieving your brethren who have been so cruelly used, therefore God brings them to you to be objects of your compassion. It would be very acceptable to God if so much as any of you have usually spent in feastings, or intended to spend in these twelve dayes, you would set it now apart for the reliefe of those who want bread, and set the time apart also for mourning in your families, that God would pardon the sinne of these times formerly committed. And now not only feasts in private Families should cease, but the feasts of Companies in your publique Halls likewise.

What abundance of poor plundered people might be relieved, if all that were spent in one yeere in the feasts of your companies, were laid aside for their use! These are times for mercy, not for festivity; if wee will not cease our feastings, let us know, God hath thousands of wayes to take away feasts from a kingdome, and to bring cleanness of teeth among us, I will take a∣way their feasts, saith the Lord.

The main thing in this verse to be opened to you, is, what these feasts of the Jews were.

In the opening of all these we shal be put upon the opening of much Scrip∣ture, and therefore I shall not make hast out of this verse.

The words here are Feasts and solmne Feasts;* they are Feasts both in your English, but the words in the Hebr. differ much, the first comes from a word that signifies to rejoyce and leape, the second from a word that sig∣nifies a stated, a setled time. Our English word Feast comes of the Greek 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 a goddes, as the heathen so called, that which the Latines call Vesta, the goddess both of earth and of fire.

The Jewes had their Civill feasts, and their Holy feasts.

Amongst their Holy feasts, some were of Gods appointment, and some of their own.

Page  289 Of Gods appointment, some were more solemn, some lesse.

Their Civill feasts were times wherein they tooke a more liberall use of the creature, in rejoycing one with another upon some specially occasion, this they called a Good day, not a Holy day, so you have it, Esth. 8. 17. The Jewes had joy and gladnesse, a feast and a good day, so they were wont to expresse the day of feasting, facere Bonum diem, to make a Good day to their brethren, it will appeare by examining that Text of Esther, that that day thought it was set to be kept every yeer, yet it was but as a good day to them, and could not be said to be a holy-day; we do not read of any religi∣ous solemne exercise that they had for the day: Such a day I take to bee our fifth of November, a Good day, not a Holy-day, wherein wee have a more liberall use of the creature then at other times, and remember the mercies of God with thanksgiving: But wee know the day is not set apart for this end, so as it is unlawfull to be exercised in any other thing, and we shall shew af∣terward, how that dayes cannot be set apart Annually, or be made holy by men.

Their Religious feasts which they presumed themselves to make holy, were [their] feasts rather then Gods, and for that you have the example of Jeroboam, he appointed a feast even of his own head; it is in 1 King. 12. 32, 33. And Jeroboam (saith the Text) ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast which is in Iu∣dah, so hee offered upon the Altar which hee had made in Bethel,*the fif∣teenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which hee had devised of his owne heart, and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel. Marke here, Ieroboam is rebuked for appointing a feast of his owne heart, like the feast God had appointed; this is no excuse that he would be an imitator of God. This reason many think will justifie their superstitious way, they do but imitate what God did, as thus, God had an Ephod for the Priests, there∣fore they will have a holy garment; God had a Temple consecrated, they will have one so too God had his feast days and holy-dayes, they will have theirs too in imitation of God. This very thing that Ieroboam did, hee is rebuked for, that he would set up a thing like unto Gods.

Where God hath set his stamp upon any thing, wee must take heed wee presume not to set our own stamp. Suppose any one should take a piece of silver, & should set just the same stamp as neer as he can that the King doth upon his coine, be it but a two-pence, the silver is his owne; well, but if he come to be examined, Why do you thus? What hurt saith he is there in it? I have done no more then the King, I have done but as he did; Why, may we not follow his example? will this answer think you serve his turne? It is as much as his life is worth: Just such a plea is this, they will doe such and such things in Gods worship, why? God hath done so before, and they doe but imitate God; There is as much strength in the one as in the other. Therefore that word here [devised of his owne heart] in the Hebrew comes from a word that signifies to lye,*Ieroboam did lye, Isa 44. 25. He frustra∣teth Page  290 the tokens of the lyars, it is the same word: Jeroboam indeed in setting this day apart, he did it under a pretence to honour and worship God, but though it might seeme to make Gods honour and worship better then be∣fore, yet the Scripture puts the lie upon it, so the word is; I thinke this was the reason he set it apart in the eighth month, the Feast of Tabernacles was the fifteenth day of the seventh month; now he would not alter the day, but have it the same day that Gods was, but in the eighth month, for the Feast of Tabernacles was appointed for this end, to praise God for the in-gathering of the fruits of the earth, and it was as upon our September; Now because upon the fifteenth of September perhaps all the creatures were not gathered in, there might be some remaining abroad, therefore Ieroboam might have this device, he would stay till every thing be gathered in, till they had it in their barnes, and in their vessels; when they had it all fully in, and it was fit to eate and drinke, then saith Ieroboam, now it is the time to praise God, you praised God before when you were taking in of the fruits, but you have not taken them all in, you cannot come to use them, but now having them all in, and now being able to make use of them, now is the time to praise God.

This was Jeroboams wisdome, and he thought to make a Feast to take the people rather then Gods Feast. There are no superstitious men but will have some argument and plea for their wayes, to take the hearts of people to embrace those wayes rather then Gods simple, plaine and pure Ordi∣nances. Well, but though Jeroboam did it under this pretence, yet hee lies still; so those men that will take upon them to sanctifie dayes, or places, or garments, or any gesture that God never did, though they say they doe it for Gods honour, to make Gods worship more glorious and decent; yet it is a lie: Just as those who will make Images, brave golden Images of God, O say they, it is for the honour of God, but marke what the Text faith, Hab. 2. 18. What profiteth the graven Image that the maker there∣of hath graven it, the mlten Image and a teacher of lyes? If Images be lay mens bookes, they are books that have abundance of erraes in them, they are full of lies.

Here now ariseth the Question about mans appointing Feasts, whether there may he holy Feasts (taken so in a proper sence) by mans appointment? Ieroboam is accused for it plainly: and Gal. 4. 10. there is a charge upon the Galatians, and that very severely. You observe dayes, and months, & times, and yeers, I am afraid of you let I have bestowed upon you labour in vaine.

It appeares by this that peoples hearts are mightily set upon their Feasts, their dayes, and months, and yeeres, they were loath to be taken off from them, so that the Apostle speakes with a deale of bitternesse of spirit, I am afraid of you that I have lost my labour; and indeed when godly Ministers take paines amongst people whose hearts are set upon such things as these, for the most part they loose their labour, little good is done.

Yea will some say, to observe the Jewish dayes after they were abolished by God, that was sinfull and dangerous, but we doe not keepe Jewish days.

Page  291 But mark what these men say, God abolisheth his owne, and yet they thinke hee gives liberty to man to set up others. If this were so, that upon Gods abolishing his own, men should have liberty to set up theirs, then the Christians are under a more heavy bondage and grievous paedagogie then ever the Jewes were, for it is better to have a hundred days of Gods appoin∣ting, then one of mans, it is more honourable. Further, if God appoint, there needs no scruple, as there is if man appoint; yea, if God appoint, wee may expect a speciall blessing, and efficacy, and presence of God, we can∣not expect such things in mans appointment. Now if this were so, when God hath taken away Jewish Ceremonies, man might lawfully appoint o∣thers as he pleaseth, and when God hath taken away Iewish dayes, man might appoint other dayes, we may pray to God with good reason to bring us under the pedagogie of the Law again, rather then to be thus under mans power.

Thus farre we grant, that upon any speciall work of God, the very revo∣lution of the yeare hath a naturalnesse in it to put me in mind of such a thing, and so farre as there is a naturalnesse in it, there is good in it, I may make use of it. Therefore I dare not say that is altogether unlawfull at such times to have some outward rejoycing, when God doth not call for mourning some other way, (except the argument from the extraordinary abuse there hath been of it may be of force) Nay that there may be advantage taken of the peoples leasure, to preach the word, and to heare Sermons upon such dayes we deny not. Wee know that Christ was in the Porch of the Temple at the feast of Dedication, which was one of the dayes of their owne appointing, not that he was there to countenance or honor the Feast, but because he had been there before at another Feast of Gods appointment. Now there being a multitude of people at that time also gathered together, he takes advantage of the concourse of the people to come to the out-porch to preach to them. So much therefore as we may grant, we will not deny.

For the understanding of this point, the setting apart days, I suppose there are these two things will be questioned.

First, Why may not governours of the Church set apart dayes, as well as appoint times for preaching, or as well as others of themselves will appoint such times, as once a week so much time set apart for a Lecture?

Secondly, VVe may appoint fast dayes, and dayes of thanksgiving, these are set apart by man, how cometh it to passe then that this can bee cleare that a man may appoint a time for preaching constantly once a weeke, and he may appoint times of fasting, and dayes of thankesgiving, and yet not have this liberty, to make a day that may be properly called a holy-day?

VVe must cleare that point from this objection, or else we do nothing; and for the clearing this wee must know there is a great deale of difference in these three things, the right understanding of which will cleare all the matter.

Page  292 Between deputation, and dedication, and sanctification of a thing.

I may depute a creature to be made use of to help me in holy things, and yet still this creature is not sanctifyed by its deputation,* and so we do a time for a Lecture, such an houre in such a day deputed, but the time is not made holy by it the place is deputed, but is not made holy by it.

Yea I will appoint such a garment that I have when I am in such a ser∣vice such a day to weare, but yet the garment is not made holy by it. A crea∣ture is not made holy meerely by being made use of at holy exercise or in a holy thing. As thus, suppose I goe to reade the holy Scripture, I make use of a candle to reade it by, I doe not make the candle holy by this, because I make use of it. If the making use of a creature in a holy duty did make the creature holy, then it would fall out generally in all creatures. I make use of the very light and the ayre when I am reading and speaking holy things in publicke assemblies, I do not make the light and ayre holy, because I make use of them in holy things; so I make use of this houre to preach in, though I make use of it in a holy duty, I make it no further holy then a man doth his spectacles that he useth to reade the Scripture by. A deputation is this, when such a creature as I shal think most commodius for such a service shal be put a part for such a service, or when such a creature, as I have use of for such a service, will be a naturall and usefull help to me, to appoint it for that service upon that ground.

The second is dedication, that is when I give a thing out of my own pow∣er,* for a pious use, that I cannot make use of for any thing again. As when a man hath given so much of his estate to build a School or an Hospitall, it may be said to be a kinde of dedication, he hath devoted, given so much of his estate to that end, so that hee cannot make use of it himselfe to another end. Now we doe not so set apart the time of preaching, as that we cannot make use of this time for any other end, wee may as wee see cause alter it, where it is from 9. to 11, we make it from two to four, whereas if it were a thing that we had dedicated, that is given out of our own power then it can∣not be changed by us. That is a second degree, this is not sanctifying yet.

Now sanctification is beyond dedication, that is when any creature or time is so set apart for holy things as it must not be used in any thing but that that is holy;* and though the same holy actions be done at another time, and with the use of another creature, they shall not be accounted so holy as at this time, and when this creature was made use of.

This is the proper sanctification, and the setting apart of any day thus, that is, such a day God giveth to me to make use of for my occasions, if I shall thus set it a part, so devote it for such a businesse, as it may not without sin to me (whatsoever falleth out) be used to any other occasion.

And secondly, when I have set it apart I shall put so much in it as if the same holy actions be performed to another time, they shall not be accoun∣ted so holy as at this time, although that time hath as much natural fitnesse in it, now I sanctifie time to my selfe, but thus I cannot doe without sin.

Page  293 You shall finde that there are these two things in all holy feasts, and in∣deed in all things that are accounted holy.

First, it was a sinne for them to make use of that time for any other thing, or any other wayes then God had appointed: Secondly, the actions that they did at that time were such as were more acceptable to God then if they had done the same thing at another time. Yea it was so in their very days of humiliation, that were once a yeere, a day of Expiation, this day must not be used for any thing else; and if they humbled themselves or fasted u∣pon another day, that would not have beene so acceptable to God as upon this day.

So wee shall see it in all superstitions of men when they set apart either dayes, or places, or things, they put these two upon them.

As for places, They say we appoint a place for people to meet in a reli∣gious way; yes, but when comes it to be superstitious? Thus first when it comes so to be set apart, so as I shall make conscience of using it to any o∣ther use but this; Secondly, when I shall be perswaded in my conscience that God accepts of service done him in this place better then in any other though as decent as this. So for superstitious garments. You will say, may not Ministers be decent? I have heard a great Doctor give this argument for a surplice; somtime saith he I ride abroad to preach and my cloake is dirty, is it fit for me to come into a Pulpit with a dirty garment? and there∣fore there is alwayes appointed somewhat to cover it; it is decent.

Suppose it be so, but if it be so that this garment must be made use of for nothing but such a holy exercise, and secondly if I thinke the wearing of it doth honour the service, and that God accepts of the service performed in such a garment rather then in another, this is superstition; as in one place in Suffolke when that garment was lost, there was a strict injunction to the poore countrey men that there might not be any service or sermon till they had got another: for which they were appointed ten dayes, and this being upon a friday, there were two Sabbaths without any service, there∣fore it is apparent they put the acceptation of the duty upon it. So for days, for any man to set apart a day, so that it shall be a sin, that a mans consci∣ence shall condemne him before Ged as sinning against him, if he doe any thing upon that day but such holy duties. Secondly, That though the same holy duties be done upon another day, they shall not be accounted so accep∣table to God as done upon that day, this is superstitious. Yer certainly of this nature have many of our dayes been, for if you opened your shops, what a deale of disturbance was there in the city! It was a profaning of the day, e∣very Proctor and such fellowes had power given them to molest you: 2. did not they account it a greater honour to God for to have service read that day then to have it read upon an ordinary teusday or thursday? yea preach∣ing upon a Lecture day that was not one of their holy dayes, they accounted not so acceptable unto God as service upon that day. Here comes their insti∣tution, their institution puts upon it more then God puts upon it, so it com∣eth to be sinfull.

Page  294 So if you should set apart this time you call Christmas, so as you should make conscience of doing any other service or worke that day, and besides, you should think that to remember Christ and to blesse God for Christ up∣on another day is not so acceptable to God as to doe it upon that day, here comes in the evill of thus putting mans institution upon dayes.

Well, but this is not cleare except we answer another objection. But doth not the King and Parliament command dayes of fasting and dayes of thanksgiving, and are not they of the same nature? Will not you say it is sin for us to open shops upon these dayes.

I answer,* our dayes for fasting and thanksgiving have not those two in∣gredients in them, for first, if God by his providence call any particular man to any particular businesse in his family, then (let this man take heed he doe not appeare in a way of contempt) he need not have his conscience condemn him though he spend all that day in that businesse. They may set apart a day to be spent publickly, yet with this limitation, not to enjoyne every parti∣cular man, that whatsoever Gods providence calls him to in particular busi∣nesses, he must leave off all, & make as much conscience of doing this as up∣on the Lords day.

You will say, upon the Lords day, if we have any extraordinary thing fall out, we may go a journey or doe businesse, as a Physitian may ride up and down, workes of mercy may be done, therefore this makes no difference betweene Gods day and these of mans appointment.

I answer, Though a Physitian doe a worke of mercy upon the Sabbath day, yet he is bound to doe it with a Sabbath dayes heart, as a work of mer∣cy; whatsoever calls him off from those services that are Gods imediate worship, he must doe that thing with a Sabbath dayes frame of heart, he is bound in conscience to doe it so, and he sinneth against God if he rides up and down to Patients with such a heart as he may doe it upon another day, he may follow it as a businesse of his calling upon another day, but not so now; but if he do it with a Sabbath dayes frame of heart as a worke of mercy, he keeps the Sabbath in that. But if there were a necessity upon a Fast day to ride, a mans conscience need not to condemne him before God, if he went about that worke as the worke of his calling at that time. It is not therefore so dedicated but Gods providence may take us off to doe other civill acti∣ons, and that as the works of our calling. Secondly, Neither is it so sanctifi∣ed as if the same works done at another day were not so acceptable to God as done upon this day. As our fast dayes set upon the last wednesday of the Moneth, to thinke that the worke done upon another day were not so ac∣ceptable to God as done upon that day, this is a sanctification of the day, and such a sanctification is sinne. The same answer may be given for dayes of thanksgiving. Besides, yet there is another thing considerable, that is in the stating of the time. Though men may thus depute and appoint dayes to worship God, yet they cannot state any such dayes, but onely as Gods pro∣vidence calls them to it, according to the present occasion.

Page  295 Therefore it were certainly a sin if a state should appoint once every yeer to be a fasting day in a religious way, God did so, but men have no power to do so, the reason is this, because they doe not know but God may call them to rejoycing upon that day, they have not the liberty of the time. All that we can doe is this, when God calleth us to fasting, wee must appoint dayes of fasting; when God calls us to rejoycing we must appoint dayes of rejoycing. Therefore to appoint the time of Lent as a religious fast is sin∣full, and the Statute it selfe threatneth a mulct upon that man that shall call it a religious fast; for civill ends it may be, but stated fasts which are not limi∣ted by providence, are certainly evil; and so for these monthly fasts that are now injoyned, if we should say we will have a fast once a moneth upon this day these twelve moneths, or these two yeers, I perswade my selfe the State should sin: but to have it as long as Gods hand is upon us, as long as the oc∣casion lasteth, and Gods providence calls us to it, that is justifiable.

Our Brethren in Scotland wholly deny both stated Fasts and all other dayes: Nay they will scarce agree to this monthly fasting we have, because they are so loth to yeeld to any stat a jeiunia. And I remember I have heard of a speech King James once made in Scotland, blessing God that hee was borne at such a time, and was a member of such a Church; and the reason he giveth is this: For, saith he, the Church of Scotland exceeds in this all o∣ther Churches. England though it hath pure doctrine, hath not pure disci∣pline; other Reformed Churches have pure doctrine and discipline, but they retaine the observation of many holy dayes; but the Church of Scot∣land hath pure doctrine and discipline, and keeps no holy dayes, and there∣fore saith he, it is a purer Church then any in the world.

Thus I have endeavoured to shew you how far things may be set apart, & how far not, when it commeth to be a sinne for any one to sanctifie a day.

By this we may see what a mercy it is to be delivered from those men who have robbed the Kingdome of so many dayes as they have, and put so many superstitious respects upon them, and so have involved us in much guilt, blesse God for delivering us from them, and for those dayes that God giveth us liberty to exercise our selves in his worship, let us know our liberty in them. Thus much for those Feasts that are called their Feasts, that were of their owne appointment.

Her new moons.

The ordinance of God in the new moons is in Numb. 28. 11. In the be∣ginning of your new moons you shall doc thus and thus,* &c. It was Gods or∣dinance that the Jews at the beginning of every month should have a holy day, when they had a new moon they should keep that day holy to God.

That which the Latines call Calends, were their new moones.

The holy solemnity of these dayes was in three things. First, the offerings that were there appointed by God particularly for that time, were many & [ 1] chargeable, two young bullocks, & one ram, seven lambs of the first yeer without spot, besides their flower & oyl for their drink offerings, and one kid of the goats for a sin-offering.

Page  296 Secondly, At these times they were wont to repaire to the Prophets for instruction, to know the mind of God. That you have 2 King. 4. 23. where the husband of the Shunamire said to his wife, wherefore wilt thou goe to him to day? it is neither new moone nor sabbath. Indeed if it were new moon or sabbath you may goe, but while it is neither, why will you goe? That implyeth that this was a thing in use among the Jewes to repaire to the Prophets for instruction, and to heare Gods word from them upon those dayes.

Thirdly, yea it was unlawfull to buy and sell upon those dayes, Amos. 8. 5. When will the new moone be gone that we may sell corn? they were wea∣ry of it, it seems, because they might not buy and sell in it.

These three things we finde in Scripture upon their new moones.* Now Euxtorphius who relates to us the Jewish way, hee tells us of three other things they were wont to doe in their new moones.

First, Those that were most devout among them, used to set apart a day for fasting and prayer to intreat God to blesse the new moon to them.

2. As soone as there was an appearance of the new moone, one steppeth up and cryeth, O thou Creator of the moone, be ever blessed, and so he goes on in the benediction of God for this creature.

3. They used to leap and to reach toward the moon so soone as they saw it,* speaking after this manner: We reaching to the moon, we cannot reach it; so all our enemies that reach at us, are as unable to reach us to our hurt, as we that.

But why did God appoint this feast of the new moone?

It was appointed for these 4. ends.

[ 1] 1. Because God would be acknowledged to have the government of all inferiour things in the world, and especially of all the changes of times. As the Sabbath was for putting us in minde of Gods creating the world, so the new moones were appointed for them to blesse God for the government of the world, for many nations have attributed much of the government of the things of the world to the moone; the tydes you know ebbe and flow ac∣cording to the moone, the great worke of God in the seas seeme to bee go∣verned by God in the use of that creature, yea things seeme to be governed more sensibly by this creature then by others, to the end therefore that they might not sticke in the creature, but give God the glory: therefore hee ap∣pointed the feasts of the new moone;* if they had any changes of times and seasons, God caused it, rather then this creature, and as the heathens, so they called the Moone the Queene of Heaven, and they would not be taken off from offering cakes to the Queene of heaven, they attributed all their pro∣sperity to her, as we reade in the Prophet. Now from this, God would take them off, therefore he appointed this solemn feast of the new moone,

Page  297 2. God would hereby teach, that the bringing of any light unto us after darknesse is meerly from himself, and he must be acknowledged in it. The [ 2] Moone is a glorious creature, and causeth much light, but soone after there is darknesse, and after this darknesse light springeth up againe. Here is the work of God, we are taught a morall lesson from this Feast, that is, Hath God at any time brought darknesse upon a Kingdome, or upon a Family, or upon a particular soul, doth he begin to bring light? He must be acknow∣ledged and praised for it.

3. God would teach them this also, that the beginnings of all mercies are [ 3] to be dedicated to him; when God reneweth a mercy, at the very first, be∣fore it comes to perfection, it is to be given up unto God; they were to ce∣lebrate this Feast upon the beginning of the light of the Moon.

And lastly, which is more, this aymed at Christ, as all other Ceremo∣nies of the Law did. It pointed out our condition in our depending upon [ 4] Christ, for our light must be renewed by our conjunction with Jesus Christ who is the Sun of righteousnesse; as the light of the Moone is renewed by her conjunction with the Sun, that gives the great light to the world. And as the light of the Moon increaseth, as it takes it from the Sunne, so doth our light increase as we take it from the Sun of Righteousnesse. Thus this feast was typicall, and thus we see these feasts were of speciall use.

But when they come to abuse these Feasts, saith God, I will take them a∣way, you shall have no more; and therefore Isa. 1. God professeth a loath∣ing of their feasts, and amongst others of their New Moones. Not but that they were holy in themselves, but when they came to abuse them, by adding their owne superstitious vanities, or else had not the due end for which God appointed them, then God is offended. Now saith God, you acknowledg darknesse to be from me, and light to be from me, and change of time to be from me, but what use do you make of your time? You seeme to give up the mercies you receive unto me, but you do not honour me with them, nor for them.

You seem to think of the Messias in these things, but your hearts are not with him, but all your wayes are after your lusts. I loath your feasts. Just as if a man comes to God, and prays devoutly, Lord lead me not into temp∣tation, and assoon as he has done, he presently goes into wicked company, God loatheth you for going quite crosse to your prayers; you pray, Lord give us this day our daily bread, as if you should say, Lord I depend upon thee every day for my bread, and for a blessing upon all my outward estate; and assoon as you have done, you cozen, and cheat, and goe presently to the Devill for your bread: God loatheth these prayers of yours, as God loatheth their New Moons, because when he appointed such a worship for those and those ends, yet they went quite contrary.

Yet there are two thngs exceeding observable about these New Moones. We often read of these things, but we passe them over and do but little mind them.

Page  298 First, God will have the glory of his creature, of the New Moone, and that solemnly, yet it must be at that time when the Moon is very little, scarce any at all, it must not be at the full, when the Moon is most glorious, God doth not call to be glorified in that creature when it is fullest of glory; but when that creature is (as wee may say) in the meanest condition, when it hath but a little light beginning, scarce any at all, then God will be glorified. This is the instruction and morall lesson from hence, which is no strained one, but I think intended by God himselfe, in appointing this feast, in that God will have the glory due to him from this creature in the beginning of its light, rather then at any other time. We are taught in this,

That there is a great deale of danger when we are giving God the glory of the creature,* of sticking in the creature, and not passing through the creature speedily enough, and going from it to God. God is very jealous of his glo∣ry this way. God hath made many glorious creatures indeed, & he would have his glory from all his creatures, he would have us give due esteeme to his creature; but when we esteem it for any excellency there is in it, God is jealous lest any of his glory should stick in the creature, therefore he cals for it at that time when the creature is most meane. That is the reason that Gods Ordinances are so plain, we have but plaine bread, and plain wine, and a plaintable, and no brave pompous attire, because God saw that when wee are to deale with him spiritually, if we had pompous things we would sticke there; and we see men that are taken so with pompous things, they give not God that glory that is due to him, but they stick much in the creature, and honour it rather then God. It seems that the Heathens making the Moone to be their goddesse, especially looked at it when it was most light, as ap∣pears, Iob 31. therefore Iob to cleare himselfe from that idolatry, saith, If I beheld the Sunne when it shined, or the Moone walking in brightnesse: They used to worship the Moon thus when they saw it walke in brightnes, because they could not reach the Moon, they kist their hand, and so bowed to the Moon in acknowledgment of a Deity, therefore Job would free him∣selfe from that, If I beheld the Moone walking in brightnesse, or if my mouth have kissed my hand, that is, saith he, I have not worshipped this cre∣ature. This is it I note it for, that when the creature is most glorious, there is danger of giving God the lesse. It is thus with us many times, God hath many times more glory from us when our estates are little, then when they are very great; there is many a man, who when hee hath beene in full light of prosperity never minded God, bus when God hath brought him into darknesse, then he hath given God glory, and then it hath been indeed most acceptable, because then he sees Gods hand helping him without the creature.

Further, God had most glory from the Moon when it had the least light, so God may have glory from us though our light be extinguished, it is no great matter.

[ 2] There is yet another thing that is remarkable concerning this Feast. You Page  299 shal observe what difference there is between the Feasts of the new Moones by Gods appointment under the Law,* and the Feasts of the new Moones as they are set forth to us in Ezek. I lay this for a ground, that those Chapters in Ezek. from the fourth & so on, though they seem to speak of the Iews cere∣monies, and Temple, and Feasts, yet the scope of those texts is to set out the glorious condition of the Church of God in the time of the Gospel; As in I∣sa. 66. 22. Then they shal worship me from Sabbath to Sabbath, and from Moon to Moone, that is, their constant worship shal be in comparison as a Sabbath, and they shal not only worship me at the beginning of the Moon, but all times, their worship shal be so full & so constant: Therefore though in that place of Ezek. there be speaking of new Moons & other Feasts, yet it is to set out the condition and blessed estate of the times of the Gospel under those shadows & types, the Prophet speaking according to the Jewish lan∣guage in that way. This being granted, let us compare the institution of the Feast of the new Moon, In Num. 28. with what is laid in Ezek. 46. in Num. 28. they were to offer for a burnt offering two Bulloks, one Ramme, & seven Lambs, but in Ezek. 46. 6, In the daies of the new Moon there should be but one bullock & six lambs. God himself had said, that in their new Moons they should offer two Bullocks & seven Lambs, yet when the Prophet would set out a more glorious condition of the church, he saith, they should not offer so much as they did before, they should offer but one Bullock and six Lambs.

What are we taught from this? We are taught by this two excellent les∣sons, [ 1] which are the reason of the difference. First, that there is such a blessed estate of the Gospel coming, that shall not be subject to such changes as hath been heretofore, but a more setled condition of peace and rest, so that they shall not have such occasion to blesse God for his providence in the chan∣ges of times as before they had. Their solemnity of the new Moon, that is, of doing that spirituall thing that was done in a ceremonious way, that was to give God the glory for the change of times: now in the times of the Gos∣pel they shall not have so many Sacrifices, to make it such a solemn business as it was then, Why? because the Church shall be in another condition of more rest & safety, and more constancy in their wayes, not hurried up and down by mens humors, and lusts, and wills as before. Secondly, that the state of the Gospel shall not be so subject to danger neither as it was before, there shall not be that occasion to blesse God for bringing of light presently after darkness, for that is one end of the Feast of the new Moon, that when they could not see the Moone a great while, and it was darke, as if that crea∣ture had been lost out of Heaven, now they see it againe they were to blesse God for it: But in the time of the Gospel that is comming, there shall be no such darknesse, this time is not yet come, we yet had need to have our se∣ven lambs and two bullocks for we have much darkness, those places in E∣zek. aime at some speciall time more then other, there is a glorious time of the state of the Church, when there shall not be such occasion of blessing God for delivering us from darknesse as there hath beene.