An exposition of the prophesie of Hosea begun in divers lectures vpon the first three chapters, at Michaels Cornhill, London
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.
Page  144


The First Lecture.

CHAP. 2. VER 1. 2.

Say 〈◊〉 your brethren, Ammi, and to your sisters, Ruhamah.

Pled with your mother, plead; for she is not my Wife, neither am I her husband, &c.

SOme joyne the first verse of this Chapter to the end of the former: and (according to a sense that may be given of the words, agreeable to the scope of the latter part of the for∣mer Chapter) it may seem more fit to be made the end of that, then the beginning of this.

In the latter end of the former, God was in a way of pro∣mising mercy to his people, that those that were not his people should be his people, and those that had not received mercy should receive mercy. Now he calleth upon all whose hearts were with God, to speake to one another of this great favour of God to his people, fo their mutuall encouragement, and for the praise of his Name. As if he should say, Well, you have been under dreadfull threats of God, your sins have called for dreadfull things; but my grace is free, and it is rich & powerfull, therefore you that were not my peo∣ple, and have deserved to be for ever cast off from being my people, you that had not obtained mercy shall obtaine mercy; Say to your brethren, Ammi, and to your sisters, Ruhamah, that is, O you that are godly, speak one to another, and tel one another, for the quickning of one anothers hearts; of this great favour of God of his free grace, Oh say, Ammi, Ammi, the peo∣ple of God, Ruhamah, Gods mercy: We were not his people, but now Ammi again, God hath promised to make us to be his people; we were re∣jected from mercy, but mercy is come again, now Ruhamah, O the mer∣cy of God, O that free grace of our God, that wee that have beene: so vile, so provoked the eyes of his glory, we that have so sinned against mercy it self, yet mercy should thus follow us, to make us his people, and to save us from his wrath!* It is a good thing to speake of the loving kindnesse of our God. Psal. 92. 1. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to be telling of the goodnesse of God in the morning, and his faithfulnesse every night. That Psalme is appointed for the Sabbath. It is a work of the Sabbath to be speaking one to another of the goodnesse of God: Especially in this case, when a people were afraid that they should have been for ever reject∣ed, Page  145 that now God should call them againe,*Ammi, my people, and say now againe that he will have mercy upon them. Psal. 145. 4. 5. One generation shall praiss thy name to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts; I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.

Mark what the wayes of God are toward his Church, when he commeth in the wayes of mercy; they are wondrous works of God, they are the migh∣ty acts of God, they are such wherein the honor of God appears, yea they are the honour of his Maesty, yea they are the glorious honour of his Majesty There is Majesty, honour of Majesty, glorious honour of Majesty, mighty works of God, wonderfull works of God. When these appeare, these are to be declared indeed; And for them to be able to say to one another, Ammi and Ruhamah, it was to declare the wonderfull works of God, and the glori∣ous honour of his Majesty. Yea it followeth further in that Psalme, verse 6.

Men shal speake of the might of thy terrible acts, and I will declae thy greatnesse. And verse 7. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodnesse. Euctaut, so Arias Mntanus renders it, they shall not be able to keep it in, but break orth in the memory of thy goodnesse.

Happy are those people that God gants such subjects of discourses unto, that they may say one to another, to their brethren and sisters, Ammi, and Ruhamah. It was not long since, that when we met with our brethren, we could not have such a subject of discourse as this is, but usually when Chri∣stians met together after their Salutations, their first question was; Oh! what shall we do? what shall we doe? what course shall we take? All the Newes almost that was in the Kingdome, and the subject of discourses (specially among the Saints) was this, Such a Minister silenced in such a place, such a one banished in another place, such a one imprisoned in ano∣ther place, such a one High-Commissioned in another place, such signes of the wrath of God upon us, we are afraid that God is going, if he be not quite gone already, we are afraid that he will not onely reject us from being his people, but reject us from being a people upon the fac of the earth.

But blessed be God, he hath changed the subject of our dscourses. Now Gods wayes have begun to be towards us as if he intended to make us again to be his people. Now we may when we meet together have plentifull sub∣jects of discourses about Gods grace & mercy, to say Ammi, Ruhamah, O the Lord manifesteth goodnes to an unworthy Nation & we have hope that yet he will owne us to be his people, we have hope that yet he will shew mer∣cy to us though never so unworthy. Who would have thought ever to have seene and heard of such things as we have seene & heard? who would have thought ever to have seene the hearts of the adversaries so daunted,* their power so curbed, their rage so quelled, the wicked in their own workes so ensnared; their hopes so disappointed? who would ever have thought to have seene the Saints so rejoycing, their liberties so inlarged, their hearts and expectations so raised? This is the free grace of God: Ammi, Ruha∣mah, we have obtained mercy, God hath dealt with us in abundance of grace.

Page  146 This we must not discourse of when we meere,* as matter of newes onely, but we must speake of it to the praise of God, for the sanctifying of our hearts. Our brethren in Ireland have another subject of their discourses at this day. When a brother or a sister meet this is the subject of their discourse, Oh my Father, my mother taken such a day by the Rebels and cruelly masa∣cred, such a kinsman, such a kinswoman taken such a day and fearfully mur∣thered, such houses were fired, such Cities and Towns were taken, and with what gaftly visages doe you think they look one upon another, when they are thus relating these sad things?* The word of God came out against En∣gland, but it hath lighted upon Ireland. O unworthy are we of these mer∣cies we enjoy, if when we meete together our discourses be frothy and light, about vain and trivial things, when God hath given us such a subject of dis∣course as he hath done by such gracious, and wonderfull, and glorious wayes of his mercy towards us in this latter age.

Say to your brethren Ammi, and to your sisters Ruhamah.

The mercies of God are to be inculcated upon our spirits,* we should not onely tell them one to another, but again and again inculcate them upon our hearts. Indeed Gods mercies at first they seeme to take impression upon our spirits, but the impression is soone vanished.

Say to your brethren. This is (according to some) Let Judah to whom God shewed special mercy, say to Israel, to the ten Tribes that were more threatned then Judah, for Judah was not so threatned as Israel was, to be cast off from being the people of God. Let Judah rejoyce in this, that their brethren are received again to mercy.

A gracious heart should rejoyce in Gods mercies towards others.* Gods mercies are an infinite Ocean, there needes no envying there, no grieving for that which others have. Indeed when one man is richer then another, a∣nother is ready rather to envy him then to rejoyce: A Courier is ready to envy the favour that another hath, why? because these are narrow things.

But when we come to Gods mercy there is roome enough there, that soul that hath beene made partaker of mercy, counts it a great happinesse that a∣ny way the mercy of God may be magnified.

Say to your brethren and sisters, &c.

These whom God hath received unto mercy,* we should receive into bro∣therly affection. Hath God shewed mercy to such and such, well may wee account them our brethren and sisters then. If God takes them to mercy we must be ready willingly to take them into brotherly society.

But now if we take these words as the beginning of the second Chapter, then we shall see them carried in some different way. And taking of them so (as most doe) I shall first shew you the scope of the Chapter in the parts of it, and then shew in what sense the words may be carried, as the begin∣ning of this Chapter.

The scope of thi••ond Chapter is much according to that of the first, viz.〈◊〉 shew unto 〈◊〉 their sinne and their danger, and secondly to pro∣mise Page  147 Gods aboundant grace and mercy again.* The first is especially from the beginning to the 14. verse, and the second, from the 14. verse to the end of the Chapter. Yet this is not an exact division. neither can we give an exact division of this no more than we could give of the other. Why? Be∣cause things are so intermixed; for they are the patheticall expressions of a loving, and yet a provoked husband, and therefore when he is comming to ••••vince his spouse who hath dealt falsely with him, and to shew her her sin and danger, whilst he is manifesting of his displeasure, the bowels of his compassion begin to yerne, and he must have some expression of love in the middest of all; then when he hath had some expressions of love, he falls a∣gain to rebuke her and to shew her her sin again, and then his bowels yerne again, and he commeth to expressions of love again. We have found it so in the former Chapter, and shall find it so in this: For though the beginning of this Chapter to the 14. verse is specially spent in convincing of sinne and threatning of Judgement, yet in the sixth and seventh verses there is promise of mercy and favour, and expressions of love, and then in the eighth verse he goes to threatning againe, and in the 14. ver. begins to express mercy again.

As God doth in this case, so should we. When we rebuke others that are under us, we should so rebuke them, as yet to manifest love to them, and when we manifest love, to doe it so as yet to take notice what is amisse and to reprove them. Many parents know not how to rebuke their children, but they do it, so as that there is nothing but bitternesse; and they know not how to manifest their love but they do it so as that there is nothing but cockering and immoderate indulgency. God mixeth both together.

Say to your brethren, &c.

Take it for the beginning of the first part of this second Chapter, for the shewing of them their sinne, and rebuking them, What then must be the sense and scope of the words, Say to your brethren, Amm, &c.

Then it is carried thus. Some thing must be supplied for the making up of the full sense. As if God should have said, Oh Ammi, you whom I have re∣served to be my people, you to whom I have shewed mercy, there is yet re∣maining a handfull of you, while you remaine to be may people, and others cast off, and you obtayning mercy, and others rejected, let it be your care to exhort, perswade, convince, use all the meanes you can to bring your bre∣thren and sisters on to that grace of God you have received: Say to your brethren, say, it is not expressed what they should say, but by that which fol∣loweth wee may understand what the meaning of God is, when hee saith Plead with your mother, &c. that is, you that have received mercy and are my people, there is a remnant of you; do not you think that so long as you scape and are well enough your selves, no great matter what becomes of o∣thers, oh no, but let your hearts be much toward your brethren and sisters, let your bowels yerne toward them, oh seeke if it be possible to draw them unto God that they may receive mercy too, labour to convince them, say and speake to them that they may not yet stand out against God and be ob∣stinate; Page  148say to your brethren Ammi, and to your sisters Ruhamah, you that are Ammi, and you that have received mercy do you speake to your bre∣thren and sisters. And this affordeth unto us many excellent Observations.

As First, That in the most corrupt times of all, God doth use to reserve a people,* to deliver some from the guilt of the generall corruptions of the place where they live.* For so this Ammi and Ruhamah, were a remainder, that God did deliver thorough his grace from the generall corruptions of the place where they were; for otherwise they had not beene fit to have said to their brethren or to have spoken to their sisters in this sense.

Secondly, those whom God delivers from the guilt of generall corrupti∣ons are to be acknowledged the people of God, such as have receiv•• mercy from God in a speciall manner; It is free grace that hath made this differ∣ence between you and others; Augustin in his second book concerning pre∣servation, has a good note upon that Scripture, 1 King. 19. 18. I have left me seven thousand in Israel, God sayes not, there are left 7000, or they have left themselves, but I have left; It is the speciall work of God to pre∣serve any for himselfe in evil times.

Thirdly, the Lord takes speciall notice of such who are thus by his grace preserved in evill times. Ammi, Ruhamah, There are a people amongst these that are Ammi, my people, that have obtained mercy from me, mine eyes are upon them, my heart is toward them; there are a number that have kept their garments undefiled even in Sardis, and I will remember this for ever for their good.*Noah was a just man, prefect in his generation, Gen. 6. 9. and what then? Chap. 7. 1. Come thou and all thy house into the Ark, for thee have I seene righteous before me in this generation.

Fourthly,* Such as keep themselves from the corruptions of the times wher∣in they live, they and onely they are fit to exhort and reprove others.

Those that are not guilty themselves as others are, are fit to speak to others, to say to their brethren and to their sisters. They are fit to exhort, who per∣forme the duties themselves that they exhort unto.* We say it is a shamefull thing for one to be teaching if he be guilty himself; he cannot with freedom of spirit, say to his brethren and sisters.

Fifthly, It is the duty of those whom God hath delivered from the cor∣ruptions of the times, to seeke to draw all others to God; to seeke to con∣vince others of their evil wayes, and so bring them in to the truth. We eade Levit. 19. 17. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart, thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, & not suffer sin to lye upon him. Surely those who have obtained mercy, have the impression of Gods mercy upon their spirits, they are farre from having hatefull hearts; now it is hatred for any to suffer sinne to lye upon his brother, and not to doe what in him lyeth to help him. It is desperate pride for men to triumph over others in their falls, and it is wicked cruelty to suffer others to lye down when they are fallen if they can raise them. 〈◊〉-faring men who are delivered themselves from ship∣vvrack, and all is 〈◊〉 with them, if they see another ship ready to sink in the Page  149 sea; and those on ship-board shoot out to have them come to helpe to save them, though they be never so farre remote, yet if it should be knowne that they decline to goe out to help them, all the sea-men would cry out shame on such, and be ready to stone them for etting a Ship sinke when they might have helped: Certainly the same case-it is with those to whom God hath shew ed mercy, if others lye in their sins they do not what they can for their help.

6. Say to your brethren and to your sisters.* The neerer the relation of any is to us, the more should our compassion be towards them, in seeking to de∣liver them from their sins; There is more likelihood of prevailing with your brethren and sisters. Hath God converted you, and have you a brother or a sister not converted, or any of your kindred? goe and say to them, tell them of the danger of their evil wayes, tell them of the excellency of the wayes of God, exhort them to come in, to make tryall of the blessed wayes of God.

When a brother speaks to a brother, or a sister to a sister, it is the bringing a hammer of gold to work upon gold,* and of silver to work upon silver.

Lastly, Say to your brethren and sisters. Exhortations unto and repre∣hensions of others should be with much love and meekenesse. Say to your brethren and sisters, yet look upon them as brethren and sisters, though they have not yet obtained the like mercy that you have. Saint Paul, 2 Thes. 3. 15. speaking of one that walketh inordinately, from whom we are to with∣draw in respect of any private familiar society, yet saith he, admonish him as a brother. Those who reprove and admonish others with bitternesse of spi∣rit and evill speaking, are like a foolish fowler who seekes to get the fowle, but he goes on boysterously, and makes a noise; the way (if he would get it) is to goe on quietly, softly, and gently; so the way to gaine a brother, is not by boisterousnesse and violence, but sofness, and gentleness. It is observed by some of the Jews out of that 25. Exod. ver. 3. where the matter of the Tabernacle is said to be gold, and silver, and brasse: you doe not see nor hear of iron to be required for the building of it; No, iron, rigid, severe, hard dispositions are not fit either to be matter of the Tabernacle themselves, or to draw others to be the matter of it.

Yea but if saying will not be enough to doe the deed, then there followes pleading. That is the second. Say to them, admonish them, exhort them, but what if that will not doe? doe not leave presently, but Plead, yea and Plead with your mother too, not onely with your brethren and with your sisters, but with your mother.

Plead with your mother, plead, for she is not my wife, &c.

Pleade, Litigate, so some, Contendite, strive, the old Latine hath Iudi∣cate, Iudge your mother.* It may seeme to be a hard and harsh phrase at first, but we shall labour to acquaint you with the minde of God in it.

Here is an exhortation even to the private members of the Church, to all, one o other, to plead even with their mother, to plead even with the Church of which they are members, and so to plead as to deale plainly and to tell her that she is not the wife of God. Pleade with her,

Page  150 First, here we see Gods condescension, that he will have us pleade the ease betwixt others and himselfe,* as Esay, 5. 3. Iudge between me and my Vine∣yard, faith God. This sheweth the equity of Gods dealing. Pleade the case, perhaps some of you might thinke. I deale hardly with your mother in so re∣jecting of her, in bringing such judgements upon her. No, not so, but plead you the case, plead rather with her then complaine of me for my dealing with her.

Secondly,*Plead with her. When exhortations and admonitions will not doe, we must strengthen our selves and falla pleading. If there be any way more powerfull then exhortation and admonition we should take that way, and not presently give over, for though it is not said here, Pleade with your brothers and sisters, yet they are included in this when he saith, Plead with your mother.

Thirdly, It is a hard thing to convince Idolaters of their sin, and of the Justice of God comming against them for their sinne. Plead with your mo∣ther, plead, shee will not acknowledge it, she will stand it out, and say she hath not done so ill, shee is not worthy to be cast off, you had need pleade and plead hard with her, she will stand out else: Idolaters have so many di∣stinctions, so many evasions, so many shifts and pretences, that it is a thou∣sand to one ever almost to prevaile with them. When you deale with Pa∣pists about worshipping of Images they will have such distinctions of wor∣ship,*perse, and worship per accidens, of honouring the creature, Propter se, & propter aliud, Proprie, improprie, and a hundred of such kinde of di∣stinctions and evasions, till they distinguish out the truth, and scarce under∣stand themselves what they meane by their distinctions. Hence Idolaters scorne at judgements threatned, they thinke onely a company of foolish & timorous people fear such things, they cry out, say they, that we are Idolaters, Idolaters and grievous judgements of God are comming ••on us, a com∣pany of foolish melancholly people they feare their own 〈◊〉. Was it not so heretofore when we were going on in the wayes of Idolatry space? Was it not the jeere and scorne of all such spirits? If any did seeme but to make a question about Idolatry, they would never be convinced of such a sinne, nor never feare any judgements hanging over our heads, Though God hath prevented it through his grace, and hath shewed his preroation in the ways of his mercy, yet certainly there was signe enough of dreadfull wrath hang∣ing over us, and what yet may be we know not.

Fourthly,*Plead with your mother, pleade. It is a 〈◊〉 of forensecall word, and carrieth with it such a kinde of pleading, as must be a convincing, a powerfull pleading. God loveth to have people dealt withall in a convin∣cing way. The Lord doth not cry out to the Prophet or to these other good people that were free from that Idolatry that the people of Israel were gene∣rally corrupted withall, he doth not say, I say, bid them go and terrifie them, and cry out of the〈◊〉 speake bitterly unto them; but 〈◊〉 and plead the cause with them, seeke to convince them, doc not goe and 〈◊〉 upon 〈◊〉〈…〉 them.

Page  151 God loveth to have people dealt withall in a convincing way, Let not therefore any thinke it enough either Minister or other, that they can speak terribly to people, and cry out of the sinnes of the people, but let them la∣bour to convince them, to deale with them as rationall creatures, and to take away their secret objections and their secret shifts, and to make their sinnes plaine before their consciences. A convincing Preacher and a convincing Christian is such a one as may be very usefull, and doe aboundance of good to the Church of God.

Fifthly, Pleade with your mother. It is very fit that God should have some to pleade for him,* to pleade his cause as well as the devil hath to pleade his. The devill never wants pleaders. When was there ever such an ill cause came to a Bench, or to any society in any publique way, but found some that would pleade for it? A shame that the worst cause in the world should have pleaders for it, and many times the cause of God suffers by mens be∣ing mute that should pleade for it. God will take this very ill at their hands.

It is true, God saith, hee will pleade his owne cause, and wee are bound to pray according to that of the Psalmist, that God would arise and pleade his owne cause. And indeed if God had not risen and pleaded his owne cause better then we did, his cause would have been in the dirt before this.

Though it is true, God is raising up his own cause, no thanke to us; wee have cause to lay our hands upon our mothes as guilty, in that we did so basely and cowardly let the cause of God suffer, and God appearing so im∣mediately and gloriously, is the rebuking of us because we did not, wee would not before stand up to plead his cause.

Sixthly,* When any have found mercy from God, the sweetnesse of that mercy so warmeth their hearts, that they cannot endure to see that blessed God be dishonoured. Pleade you Ammi, Ruhamah; what, my people, those to whom I have shewed mercy, what though it be your mother, what though it be any deare to you, what though they be great ones, though they be a multitude, yet pleade, plead for me against them, this note is grounded upon the title that God giveth them who should plead Ammi, and Ruha∣mah, those that are Gods people, those that have found mercy from God.

Gods mercy is so sweet, it doth so inflame them, that they must plead for God against any in the world.

Seventhly,*Pleade with your Mother. That is, with the Church, called a Mother, because as the Mother is as it were the roote from whence chil∣dren come, divideth her selfe into branches; so the community of a Commonwealth or a Church, any community, is called in Scrip∣ture a Mother, and the particulars they are as severall branches that growe from that roote, they are as children. Therefore you have such expressions in Scripture as the daughters of Jerusalem oftentimes, and there is no great difference between calling Jerusalem, that is, the State, Mother; or Jeru∣salem, that is, the Church, Mother, for indeed the Church and State were mixed both together. From this expression we learne that it is lawfull for Page  152 children to plead with their parents. Though it is true, this aimeth at a high∣er thing then what is between natural children and their parents, yet from the expression this is intimated and implied, That it is lawfull for children to pleade with their parents. If children see their parents in an ungodly way, they may lawfully pleade with them,* and their parents are bound to hearken to their pleading Gods cause. It is a speech of Tertullians, the begetter is to be beloved, and we may adde, he is to be honoured, but our Creator is to be preferred.* Children must give due respect to their parents, yet so as prefer∣ring the Lord before them; and if the parents goe against God, even their children must plead against them. As it is a great sinne for parents to pre∣fer their children before God, so it is a great sin for children to prefer their parents before God. Do not think I come to set children against their pa∣rents in this, be but content to heare to the end (though I will not be long in this observation) and you will be convinced I suppose of it, that it is fit for children to plead with their parents when they go from God.

Thus we see it was with Jonathan, 1 Sam. 19. 4. there you shall finde that he pleaded with his father when he saw him so furious and in such a pas∣sionate mood as he was in, and in such a cruell way toward poor David, Let not (saith he) he King sinne against his servant: Let not the King, he gives him very respectufll words, and sheweth his due honour to his father, Let not the King sinne against his servant, and then goeth on and tells his father of the good service David had done, and that David did not deserve such ill usage from him. Thus when children shall see their Fathers or Mo∣thers to be in a f••ous rage or passion, it is fit enough for them, if they come in an humble and submssive way, in a beseeching way, I be seech you father or mother, consider that by these distempered passions, in stead of helping your self, you sinne against God, you have known it by experience that you have often in such passion so broken out, that many sinnes have broken from you, and you have grieved for it afterwards, oh doe not againe that which your Conscience hath so often checked you for. If children should come thus in an humble and submissive way to plead with their parents, they doe no more then their duty, and their parents are bound to hearken to them in it.

I confesse they should be very carefull in keeping their due respect to their parents, and not speake mallapertly, but with all reverence and submission to them, and to speak privately too, if possibly it can be, not to divulge their parents weaknesses. You know Cham was cursed for discovering his fa∣thers nakedness, though he was drunk he did not shew his due respect at that time to his father; but if he had sought to cover his fathers nakednesse, and after had come and pleaded the case with him, certainly he had not beene cursed, but received a blessing.

Yea and there is a great deale of reason that children should pleade with heir parents, and that you should give them leave so to doe, because you know, children are the worse for your sinnes, God thrtneth to visit the sinnes of the parents upon the children, unto the third and fourth generati∣onPage  153 there are many threatnings against children for the sinnes of their parents, therefore it concerns your children that they should plead with you, and that you should suffer them. For you say, Sirrah what have you to do with me? What doth it concern you? Yes, the child if he doth it in modesty and hu∣mility may say, O father it doth concern me, I may fare the worse for your sinnes, God may come upon me for them, therefore give me leave I be∣seech you to pleade the cause of God with you. And if you will not give your children leave in this, they may rise up as witnesses against you ano∣ther day. If children in an humble and submissive way plead with their parents, and they will not hearken unto them then, a very good pleading will be for them to burst out into teares before their parents, and it is a very sutable and powerfull pleading, that when children cannot prevaile in an humble and submissive way, then to burst out into teares before them.

We read in the story of King Edward the sixth, when Cranmer and Rid∣ley came to him, and were so earnest to let him give way to his sister the Lady Mary to have Masse, he stood out and pleaded the case with them, & told them it was a sinne against God, they used many carnall arguments to perswade the King, but hee withstood them a great while; at length when King Edward (who was but a childe about 15 years of age) saw hee could not prevaile with pleading against those grave men, he burst out into teares, and that so prevailed with them, that they went away and concluded that the King had more Divinity in his little finger, then they had in all their bodies, and so yeelded to him. Certainly in such pleadings the heart of a parent must needs be much hardned if hee will not breake and yeeld to his child. You that are parents, looke upon your childrens pleading with you, and consider with your selves, what doth God send one out of my loins, out of my own wombe to come and plead the cause of God with me, to draw me from the wayes of sinne, and to do good to my soul for ever, surely it is a mercy to have one out of my owne bowels to stand for the cause of God; surely God is in it, I see this child in other things walks humbly and obediently unto me. As indeed you that are children, that plead with your parents, you need be carefull so much the rather to be obedient to them and not take upon you in an unseemly manner to check and reprove them; and then it cannot but convince the heart of a parent. What a blessing will it be to your children if you that have received your naturall life from your pa∣rents, should be a means of the spiritual and eternal life of them.

Thus much for the expression. Plead with your Mother.

Now for that which is chiefly aimed at, Plead with your mother, that is, the Church and State. Hence the Note is,

Those that are Godly should not onely sacrifice themselves to do good to themselves or friends in private,* but they are to labour to doe good to the publique too. Not onely say to your sisters and to your brethren, but pleade with your mother. There are many narrow spirited men, who if they can discharge as they think their consciences with their families, and can plead Page  154 with their servants and children, or some of their own neere acquaintance perhaps, they have done enough, though for the publique they take no care at all.* Hence it is apparently implyed, that all those that are members of any Church, ought to be men of knowledge; why? because they are such as are called upon to plead with their Mother. It is not for an ignorant Sot to plead with a Church of God; and yet such should be all the members of every Church,* as in some cases they should plead with their mother.

Lastly, which indeed is the maine Observation of all, God giveth liber∣ty to some private members of Churches,* yea it is their duty in some cases to plead with the whole Church. This we must speak unto a little more.

Gods wayes and his Cause are so equal, that private Christians, though they be very weak,* yet they may be able to plead it with a Church. It is true, there is a great deale of disadvantage that a poore, weak, private Christian hath, when he is to deale with a whole Church, where there are many godly and learned: but where as there is a disadvantage one way, so the advantage is as much the other way, in regard that the Cause of God is one the one side, and not on the other. The goodnesse of the Cause is as great an advan∣tage as the abilities and number on the other side is a disadvantage.

And sometimes particular members of a Church have no other way to free themselves from the guilt of the sinnes of the Church, but onely by pleading with them; except they plead, they are many times inwrapped in the guilt, and therefore of necessity they must do it, though they be never so weak,

Yea and sometimes God hath blessed the pleading of some few, and of weak ones too, with a multitude. Perhaps you may have heard of that no∣table Story we have in Ecclesiasticall Histories of Paphnutius, who being in the Councel of Nice where there were 318. Bishops, and the businesse was about the marriage of Ministers, and generally they cast against it, that those that were single should not marry: only Paphnutius, one man, comes and plead against them all in that case, and God so wrought it that he car∣ried the Cause, and he, one man, convinced all these 318. Bishops. There∣fore this is no discouragement for one man to stand up and plead against a great many.* So Petrus Waldensis in the Story of Waldenses, though he was but one at first, yet he stood against many thousands, and God blessed that which he did for the conversion of thousands. And Luther you know he stood against all the world almost.

Yea and though this one man may be but a private man, a weake man. God may blesse that which he saith sometimes more then that which more learned men shall say. I remember I have read in the Centuries this Story: A company of Bishops being met together, there was a Phylosopher that stood out against the Christian Religion, and so reasoned against them all, that be seemed to have the better of it: amongst them there was one, a very godly and holy man, but a very weak man; he seeing the Cause of God like 〈◊〉 suffer, desired leave to speak and encounter with this Phylosopher; all the rest being troubled at it, thinking that Gods Cause would suffer more by Page  155 him, knowing he was a very weak man, but yet knowing withall that hee was a very holy man,* none would oppose, but let him speak: So he begin∣neth with the Phylosopher, reciting many Articles of the Faith, Tell me, saith he, do you believe these things are so? (and spoke with Majesty and authority) doe not so reason the case about these Articles of our Faith, but do you believe? Presently the Phylosopher acknowledged himselfe over∣come: Hitherto (saith he) I have heard words, and returned words, but now I feel the Divine power, and I cannot further answer; and so yeelded to be a Christian upon the pleading of this poor weak man, yet a very holy and godly man. God hath blessed the pleading of weake ones, though it be a∣gainst those that are very strong, therefore they must not be contemned.

I remember Oecolampadius hath such an expression as this, saith hee, * Christ should be contemned and dishoncured, if we should not heare, were it but a child speaking with his Spirit, though all the world should be against it. And in Esay. 11. 6. there is a promise that in the times of the Gospel, the spirits of men should be so brought down, that they should not stand upon their greatnesse and learning, but the Text saith, A child should leade them; that is, the humble temper that God would have under the Gospell.

But it may be said, Will not this argue self-conceit? What, for one man, a private man to plead with so many, with a Church? it is a signe that such a one is very well opinionated of himself, that should think that what he ap∣prehendeth should be sufficient to stand against the apprehension of so ma∣ny learned and godly men as are in the Church. How can this be freed from arrogancy and proud conceitednesse.

I answer, Not so, it may be conscience, and not self-conceit, for the rule of conscience is not the abilities,* nor the holinesse, nor the multitude of o∣thers, but it is that light that God doth let in to convince according to his Word.* Nay further, I suppose I may convince you that this pleading for God, may proceed from much self-deniall, and the not pleading may pro∣ceed from very vile, sinfull self-respect.

How will that appeare?*

Thus. For a private man when he sees the truth of God to suffer, certain∣ly if he be an humble and an ingengous spirit, it cannot but be exceeding grievous unto him to think, that he must contest with such a multitude of a∣ble and Godly men,* more able then himself, it cannot but be to him a very hard work that God putteth him upon. He would rather a hundred times, if he did look at his own quiet and ease, sit down: For, think he, if I come to speak, then by this I shall be endangered to be accounted self-conceited, I shall have the accusation of pride, I shall displease many of my friends, I shall make a great disturbance in my self, I am sure to my own peace, what∣soever I do to others, and how much bette were it for me to sit still and be quiet. An humble spirit would reason thus; but only? Conscience puts him upon it; I shall contract guilt to my self, if I be not at least a witnesse for Page  156 Gods truth, therefore though I shall suffer so much in it, yet rather then the truth shall suffer, rather then conscience shall plead against me, I will plead though never so much to my disadvantage.

Now if such an one carry it humbly and quietly, certainly he is rather to be accounted a self-denying man in it; for it is a very hard taske.

VVhereas on the other side, self-love is more like to think thus; It is true, these things are right, I see they are not according to the truth of God.

Conscience indeed would have me speak, but I shall trouble my self, and what will they think of me on the other side, where there are so many able and godly men? surely I shall be thought a conceited fool, and therefore I were as good hold my peace, and sleepe in a whole skin, and be quiet.

Thus because they have so much self-respect, and love their own quiet, and cannot endure to suffer any trouble, they will leave the truth to suffer, and their consciences to be pleading with in against themselves; rather then thus to plead for the cause of God.

Certainly they that are charitable should rather take things in the better part then in the evill. It is true, it is possible that men may through pride of spirit be pleading with others (I shall speak a word of that by and by) but yet you may perceive it in the carriage of such a one, in the generall course of his way. Now if in the generall course of the way of a man, hee doth carry himselfe humbly and submissively, that you see him yeeldable as much as ever he can in all lawfull things, and then when he commeth to plead against an evil he is not suddain, he is not rash, and he pleads not a∣gainst every light evil neither, but when he comes he comes with a great deale of trouble in his spirit, and carrieth it with all quietnesse and humility, It is your rigidnesse, and that spirit which doth not beseeme a Christian, that is not the spirit of Christ in this thing, for to judge of this to be pride. For cer∣tainly under this false judge ment the cause of God hath suffered exceeding much.* You will say, How can it be imagined, that one man should see more then many, more then others that are able?

To that I answer.* In a community where there are many, though they should be godly, yet many of them may have their spirits biased with pre∣judice, vvith selfe-ends, and so not come to see the truth though they be more able.

Again perhaps though they may be moreable in most things, yet in some one God may leave them.* Yea, though they may be more able at other times, yet for some one time God may leave a man in a thing that he is ve∣ry able in it another time. And perhaps a great many of them for the pre∣sent may have so much distemper of spirit, as they may not speak according to what they think themselves. Therefore it may be usefull for some one man to be pleading with many others.

I beseech you consider of this, it is very usefull. Men must not think that God doth dispence the knowledge of his truth alwayes according to natural 〈…〉. For want of this consideration many are led into much evill.

Page  157 For thus they think with themselves, If a man have more abilities to un∣derstand natural things then others have, therefore he must needs have more abilities to understand spirituall things then others have. There is a mistake in this. A great learned man that hath great abilities, understands the rules of nature, yet a poor weake man may have the mind of Christ more then he hath. For the promise is to them that feare God. Psal. 25. 14. The secret of the Lord is with them that feare him. It may be another man hath more abilities, but this spirit may be more soild, may be more distempered then the poor weake mans.*I thanke thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast re∣vealed them unto babes; even so Father, for it seemed good in thy sight.

If multitudes had beene an argument against the truth, then in the Primi∣tive times, when Christian Religion began, certainly very few should have followed JESUS CHRIST. Yea, and there is not more disadvan∣tage and disproportion between one or two private members of a Church and the whole Church, then there was at that time disadvantage and dispro∣portion between the whole Church then and all the world. And if we mark Saint Iohn,*We know (saith he) that we are of God, and that the whole world lyeth in wickednesse. We know. What a singular spirit was here? here was singularity indeed, if you talke of singularity; you are afraid you should be counted self-conceited, and singular in differing from others. We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lyes in wickednesse.

Thus we see the thing a little cleared, as this point had need be, but we have not done with it, we must not let it go so. There must be some rules given for this, or otherwise we should wrong the point in naming it.

Christians may plead, private members may plead with their Mother, yet they must observe these rules.

First.* They must not plead with her for every light thing. For the Scrip∣ture giveth us this rule, That Love covereth a multitude of infirmiies; We must not stand pleading for every infirmity with our brother,* but rather passe by many and cover them, much lesse then with the Church.

But if there be that which is notorious, or if I be called unto it, that I can∣not have communion with them, but in my communication with them, I shall be wrapped up in the guilt except I testifie the truth. Certainly then I am bound to plead,

The second rule is,* it must be orderly done, that is, if possibly it may bee, you must make the Officers of the Church to be your mouth in pleading, I say if it can be. If it come to such a way of rebuking or declaring the evill to the Church, it should rather (if it can be) be by him whom God hath appointed to be his mouth to the Church. For you doe it in Gods name, therefore the most orderly way to do it (if it may be done) is by him that is Gods mouth.

Thirdly, It must be so as you must manifest all due respect to that socie∣ty you are of,* to that Church, shewing in your carriage, that you are appre∣hensive Page  158 and sensible even at this time of that distance that is betweene you and that whole society whereof you are a member.

[ 4] Fourthly, You must do it in a very peaceable way, so as to manifest that you desire peace, and not to be the least disturbance to the peace of the Church, but that the peace of it is deare & precious to you. Therefore when you have witnessed the truth and discharged your conscience in it, you must be then content to sit down quiet, for so the rule is, That the spirits of the Prophets must be subject to the Prophets, in that case: But if it should prove that the Church should continue, if the evill be notorious and great as re∣quires departing, and the Church after all means used & all patience should continue in it, in such a case, you may desire to be dismissed from it and de∣part. But in as peaceable a way as possibly can be, yet continuing in due re∣spect unto the Church for all that, though you should depart, onely leaving your witnesse behind you. The Papists cry out against us for pleading a∣gainst them, and say it is an ill bird that will defile its own nest, and they tell us the curse of Cham is upon us for discovering our parents nakednesse.

They are to know this, that there is more liberty for a member of a Church to plead with a Church then for a childe to pleade with his parent. Though there be liberty for a child, yet there is more liberty for the member of a Church. For a parent though he should be never so evil, yet hee doth not lose his right over his childe. Though your parents should be very wicked, yet know, that their wickednesse doth not discharge you of your duty; that all children should take notice of But a Church may so fall off from God, as the members of it may be free from their duty to it, and therefore may have more liberty to plead then a child with his parent. That but onely in answer to them. And certainly so far have they fallen from God, as they have dis∣charged those that plead against them.

Well but if a member, a particular may plead with a Church, a whole Church,* with their mother; Certainly then, there is no one Member of a Church so high but he may be pleaded withall, even by private people in that Church. Colos. 4. 17. Say to Archippus, look to thy Ministry, It is an Ex∣hortation to all the Church to say to Archippus and admonish him to looke to his Ministry. For though the officer of a Church be nearer to Christ the head (of which you heard before) then other members are, as the Arme is nearer the head then the hand; yet if the arme shall send forth any thing to the hand that it hath not from the head (as in a flux of putrid humours that resteth in the arme) then it would be the strength of the hand to resist those ill humours that the arme sends forth. So if any Officer of the Church shall send forth that which he did not receive from the head, to any Member, but some putrid humour of his own, It is the virtue of that Member to resist the receiving of any such humour.

Certainly it is the pride of many that thinke it scorne for any private peo∣ple any way to have to do with them. It is I say a pride in men which tho∣rough want of that right order that should be in all Churches is growen to Page  159 that height, that those that take to themselves as proper the name of Clergy, they think it such a dishonor to them for any other that is not a Clergy-man (as they speak) to speak to them or admonish them of any thing, or to rea∣son with them about any thing, or when they have preached, to come to them for further satisfaction in somewhat that they have delivered, or if they be negligent in their duty, to tell them of it though never so submissively & meekly, their pride makes them rise so high.

And for that observe, because they do it upon that ground that they are the Clergie, which signifies Gods inheritance and Gods lot, and so contemn∣ing others as inferiour. You shall find in Scripture the people are called Cler∣gy in distinction from the Ministers, and never the Ministers in the New Te∣stament from the people, the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is not attributed to them to my re∣membrance, but I am sure it is attributed to the Congregation, to the pri∣vate members by way of distinction from them. That you shall see in 1 Pet. 5. 3.*Be not Lords over Gods inheritance. Doe not Lord it over Gods Clergy, over Gods Lot, so the words are, Now in that he saith do not Lord it, certainly that is spoken to the Officers of the Church, and they must not Lord it over Gods inheritance, that is, over Gods Clergy, for so I say the words are. The word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 therefore, from whence Clergy commeth, is you see attributed to the people. And we shall find in Scripture, Acts 18. 25. that Apollos an Eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, and a man of a fervent spirit, yet the Text saith, that Aquila and Priscilla, that were private people, tooke him unto them and expounded to him the way of God more perfectly. Where have you an Apollos now, an Eloquent man, a Schol∣ler, a great Clergy man, but would scorne and contemne that a poore man and his wife should take him home & instruct him in the way of God more perfectly? Yet Apollos an Eloquent man & mighty in the Scriptures tooke it well and was willing to receive further instruction from these people: And we finde Cant. 5. that in the time of reformation of the Church, the Church went to the watch-men, the watch-men beate her, shee had more reliefe from the daughters of Jerusalem then from them.

But we must not leave this so neither. It is true, there may be a notorious abuse of both these, and it is exceeding hard for a people to understand their liberty without abusing of it,* either against the Church or against the Offi∣cers of a Church. This power may be abused in people very much in too much pride, arrogancy, mallapertness, a spirit of contention in some, taking a delight in contradiction. There are many people I say that are of such a hu∣mor that it is their very delight to be in a way of contradiction, & they think they are no body except they have somewhat to say against their officers or against what is delivered, and upon that very ground will go quarrelling, not out of meere conscience, but that it may appear to others that for their parts they have a further reach than other men; It is true, such things are deliver∣ed, generally they are received: yea, but men must know that they look in∣to things further then others doe: And if they be in a community, they con∣ceive Page  160 that every one would think them no body if they stand still and say no∣thing, therefore that they may appeare to be some-body, they will speake, they will have somewhat to finde fault withall, though they scarce under∣stand what they say, or whereof they affirme, and shew it they will in a vi∣rulent spirit, in a domineering way, and brave it to the faces of those that God hath set over them. Certainly this is a grosse and abominable thing giving it may be reproachfull tearmes to such: Whereas the Rule of Christ is, Rehuke not an Elder, (1 Tim. 5. 1.) but intreate him as a Father, do not you think presently that because you may pleade with them, that Gods cause may not suffer by your silence; that therefore you may rebuke them in an undecent and unseemly manner. You may indeed in an humble way goe as acknowledging the distance betwixt you and him, hee being an Officer, and so inEreat him as a Father. Doe many of you so when you go and rea∣son the case with a Minister, whom you your selves will acknowledge to be Officers of Christ, yet it may be sometime through bitternesse of spirit you will be casting them off from being Officers of Christ before you have suffi∣cient warrant for it: and therefore the Apostle saith in the same Chapter ver. 19. Against an Elder receive not an accusation but before two or three witnesses; Marke, you must not receive an accusation, much lesse a con∣demnation, for the credit and honour of the Ministers of Christ are very deare and precious unto him, therefore take heed how through a violent and turbulent spirit you cast any dishonour upon those that Christ hath set over you. Thus I have indeavoured to discover the truth unto you, and so limi∣ted as I hope it may be for edification, and not for hurt at all to any.

Pleade with your Mother.

But what is this pleading? She is not my wife, neither am I her Husband.

It hath much bitternesse in it indeed if it be considered of, yet it is in as faire termes as can be set out. Shee is not my wife.

He doth not bid them say to their mother she is a whore,* but she is not my wife. You will say, why? what difference is there between her not be∣ing his wife and her being a whore? May we not call things as they are?

It is true,* the thing is the same, but hence the Spirit of God teacheth us an excellent note, that those who pleade against others must not give ill termes, especially when those they plead against are superiors, you may declare your mindes fully, but in as faire, modest, comely, the least provoking termes that can be. It is a foule evill in many if they see Ministers or Churches do things they ought not, presently to give reviling speeches, nothing is in their mouths but there is one of Baals Priests, and Antichristian, they cry out of every thing they dislike as Antichristian, whereas you are to study with your selves if there be any terme more mollising then other to make use of that terme, although the fault you pleade against might beare a harsher terme if rebuked by one in authority, yet you who are but private Christians should be very carefull in the fairest, gen••st termes that may be to erprove what you dislike. Again, ••ee is not my wife.

Page  161 For that point, that a people that have been Gods people, may prove not not to be Gods people, that we have already met withal in the former Chap∣ter. We shall not speak of it as then we did. Onely now wee have it more fully, that a Church may come to be un-churched.

Here is a difficult case, that is, when a Church may come not to be a Church. It is through Gods providence more then I did make account of when I began this Prophesie of Hosea, though I had spent some time in it before, yet little thought to have met with so many things so fully presented to me as I have found, that doth so neerly concerne us and the times.

I would not violently draw on any thing but what is so presented to us, as that I should be injurous to the Scripture and to you not to take notice of it: We have already met with as tickle points as can be almost, and this also is exceeding difficult. I desire in this to go as I have done, your own conscien∣ces witnessing with me as in the other, without the least spirit of contention and division, or medling with controversies, but laying the truth in the prin∣ciples of it plaine before you.

When may a Church come to this, that had God before to be her Hus∣band, now not to have God to her Husband.

I confesse for the Church of the Jews I cannot finde any thing to pitch up∣on certainly when they did cease to be a Church but onely this;* e••er when God did send them a bill of Divorce by some extraordinary men (as ever they had some amongst them, some Prophet) or that they did wholly leave off from being under the pedagogie that God put them under: For I finde this that their Idolatry was not enough to cut them off from being a Church actually. It is true their Idolatry was that which did deserve it. They broke the marriage bond by their Idolatry, but God did not alwaies take the ad∣vantage of that, hee did not alwaies send them a bill of Divorce when they did commit Idolatry. These ten Tribes had beene Idolaters a long time be∣fore God had said to them they were not his wife. Therefore barely Idola∣try did not cut off, no not the Jews. Neither do I think that all Idolatry (if it be through ignorance) cutteth of a Church now in the time of the Christi∣ans. The Lutherans certainly are guilty of Idolatry by consequence, and so other Churches may be through ignorance, and yet they not cease to bee Churches. Therefore in the time of the Jews, I say I do not finde any parti∣cular sin that did actually cut them off so long as they did keep under the pe∣dagogie of the Law, unlesse God by some extraordinary messenger sent them a bill of Divorce, they yet remained the people of God, Isa. 15. 1. Where is your bill of Divorce, saith God? It is true you have deserved it, but where is it? I have not given you a bill of Divorce, therefore they were a Church. But for the time of the Gospel this I think may very safely be as∣serted, that so long as there is a Communion of Saints imbodied, holding forth the profession of all fundamental truths, and joyning in all Ordinan∣ces, so far as they are convinced, so long there is a Church. Any commu∣nion of Saints imbodyed, holding forth the profession of all fundamentall Page  162 truths, and are willing to set up ordinances so far as they know to be Gods mind they should set them up,* this multitude though it should have abund∣ance of corruptions, though many wicked be mingled amongst them, yet they are a Church of God, though they should not set up all Ordinances, though perhaps through ignorance they are not convinced that such an Or∣dinance is an Ordinance, yea though they be convinced that it is an Ordi∣nance, and yet perhaps they are not convinced that it is Gods minde they should set it up, though this should be their error, yet this communion of Saints imbodyed, remaine0th a true Church of Christ.

But thus. Though it be a true Church of Christ, yet it may be such a Church, that perhaps you, nor I, nor another cannot have communion withall.

You will say,* How is that possible for any Church to be a true Church of Christ, and yet we may not have communion with it?

So far communion we may have as to acknowledge it to be a Church, and to have communion in some duties, but it may be a true Church of Christ, and I may acknowledge it so, & yet not have communion in all Or∣dinances. In what cases may that be?

First, If this Church shall so mingle any Ordinance, any work of their publique communion, as I for the present cannot joine without contradict∣ing guilt upon me,* as not seeing Gods will in it, I cannot have communion [ 1] with them now in such Ordinances.

[ 2] Yea secondly, If a Church shall require me to yeeld in my judgement, and subscribe to such and such things that I cannot satisfie my conscience in, they put me off communion with them, it is not my fault, but they violently keep me off. That is a second case.

[ 3] Thirdly, When they shall not suffer me to do the duty that God requires of me, I cannot have communion with them there neither, because if I should joine with them, not doing my duty which my conscience tells me I am bound to doe, I thereby contract guilt.

Nay further, A man may be of a Church, and perhaps they may not be so ill, but it may be lawfull to have communion with them in many ordinan∣ces, and yet for those that are free,* and are not by any speciall call of God ty∣ed to such a place, they are bound in consciences in some cases not to joyne with them as a member of them in a constant way. As thus.

First, when I cannot enjoy all Ordinances with them, but God openeth a door to another place where I may have communion in all Ordinances, I may receive Sacraments with them upon occasion, and yet not be constant∣ly with them as a member of that Church.

[ 1] It is true, if God did shut the door that I could not enjoy all Ordinances any where, then it were better to joine with a Church that hath not all, though I doe but en joy some.

[ 2] Secondly, when God offereth 〈◊〉 else where that I may enjoy the Ordi∣nances with more power and pu••, and with more freedom of spirit, and 〈…〉 (I suppose one to 〈◊〉 and not to be tied) then if there be no∣thing Page  163 but outward accommodations that shall cast the ballance on the one hand, and the purity and power of the Ordinances on the other, if I shall ra∣ther chuse the one then the other, it will be apparant that I love my body bet∣ter then my soule: In this case Conscience biddeth me to shew more re∣spect to my soul then my bodie.

This can be no controversie, for it is generally acknowledged by all that if one will but remove his house from one parish to another, he may go and joine with that parish. But that which I affirme is not so far as that, I doe but suppose that a Man is free and not yet actually joined, he is then if he be free to regard more the puritie and power of the Ordinances then outward accomodations.*Let her therefore put away her whoredoms.

The end of all pleading and exhortation,* is reformation, & not contention.

Plead with her; to what end? Let her put away her whore domes. Plead with her that she may reforme, oe not plead for contentions sake. There are many Men that will rebuke others, and plead with others, but what for? meerly in a spirit of contention, meerely that they may brave it over them, that they may upbraid them, shame them, and not out of love to reforme them, they care not whether they reforme or not;* if they have vented their gall and malice they have what they would have.

But how will you know that? how can you know a Mans heart? [ 1]

Thus. You shall know that Men come not to plead for reformation but for contention, first, if they rather make it appeare that they are glad of the sinnes of their brethren and doe not grieve for them. You shall have many a Man come in a sury and rage to rebuke Men they have advantage against,* but not with a spirit of sorrow and mourning; if you came to plead and re∣buke them for reformation, you should have come with a mourning spirit, You should have mourned that such a one should be taken away from you, [ 2] saith the Apostle to the Corinths. You should mourne at your very heatts that Church or the Member of it hath offended.

Secondly, VVhen Men are partiall in their pleading, when they will re∣buke others and that sharply too that are afar off, but such as are neere to them they are carelesse of. Ezek. 18. 32. Turne yee, turne yee that ye may not dye; (say your bookes there) turne your selves and live. Now the word is Reverti facite,* for so it is in Hiphil, Doe you make to returne, and so it may well be read. So Arias Montanus reads it, make others to returne.

You must plead so as to desire reformation, not that you may get the vic∣torie and have the better of it by your pleading, but with bowels of compas∣sion to seeke Reformation you must not cut as an enemie to conquer, but as a Chirurgian to heale: Therefore before you goe to rebuke and to plead you must goe to prayer, that God would blesse your rebuking, and your exhor∣tation to your brethren, and when you have done pray againe to God for a blessing upon it. And look after your reprehensions, and see what becom∣eth of them; and if they doe not prosper to Reformation, then mourn, and crie to God for your brethren; and if it do prosper, then blesse God that you Page  164 have converted a soule. Thus it was with the Tribes on this side Jordan, when they pleaded with the Tribes on the other side Jordan, you shall finde in the story that when they heard the answer of their brethren they blessed God when they saw that their brethren were free from sinne:* so you should do, you should goe and plead with your brethren, perhaps your brethren may have the better of it and may convince you that that which you appre∣hend to be a sinne is not a sinne, now many men perhaps are angry & will not be convinced that it is no sinne, then I shall goe a way with the shame, what dloe I rebuke him of a sinne, and it is no sinne? Many a man holds on in an argument what he hath begun, and is loath to yeeld that it is not a sin, whereas he should be glad to yeeld it. If a Minister plead or preach that men do any thing that he conceives is a sin, if another should come and convince him that it was no sin, it is a vile spirit in any Mnister not to blesse God that he is mistaken, why? Because now the g••ilt of his brother is removed in his heart. If I had not beene mistaken, tis true, my credit had beene some∣what, but I am mistaken, the sin is removed from my brother, Oh blessed be God that my brother is not guilty, though I am mistaken; if we plead a∣gainst others with such a spirit as this, God will blesse us.

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.

The Third Lecture.

HOSEA part of the third verse and verse 4.

And make her as a wildernesse, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.

And I will not have mercy upon her children, for they be the children of whoredomes.

IN the first part of this second Chapter, wee have already shewed part of Gods threatning, even to strip his people na∣ked as in the day wherein they were borne, to bring them into as low and mean a condition as ever they were in.

Now that which was more generally exprest the last day, we have in the latter end of this third Verse more particu∣larly set forth unto us. And make her as a wildernesse, and set as a dry land.

God would bring this people that dwelt in the land of Canaan flowing with milke and honey; that were in regard of the beauty that God had put upon them, excellent for beauty, now to be as a wildernesse.

In the former Chapter you heard that the state of the Ten Tribes vvas set out by Hoseas wife, her name was Gomer, ad this Gomer was the daughter of Diblaim. Gomer signifieth perfection, and what Diblaim signifieth I told you then.

Page  189 But now there is another signification of this Diblaim,* that we are to re∣fer unto this expression of the Lord in this place, that he will make her as a wildernesse, for you shall finde Ezek. 6. 14. that there is mention made of a desolate countrey and a wildernesse that was towards Diblath, to which this that the Prophet speaks of the mother of Gomer may seem to have reference.

Diblath then, it appeareth, was a place where there was a very desolate, waste wildernesse, and Gomer was the daughter of this Diblath, from whence Diblaim, that is, Though the ten Tribes were as Gomer in regard of their beauty, perfect, for so they were; yet she was the doughter of Dib∣lath, or Diblaim, that is, she came forth out of a low and meane conditi∣on, and was even brought out of a wildernesse, now shee shall be brought again into the same estate wherein shee was, for I will set her as a wilder∣nesse.

As a wildernesse.

The Church of God is in it selfe Gods garden, a garden inclosed, and so it is called Cant. 4. 12. As a garden inclosed is my sister, my Spouse. It is the place of Gods delight, not a place for beasts to come into, but inclosed, they are to be kept out of it; a place where very precious fruits doe grow, that are very pleasing to God,* a place that hath the dew, the showers of Gods blessing, the dew of Hermon, the dew that descendeth upon the moun∣tains of Zion, there God commandeth his blessing, even life for evermore. But now she must come to be a wildernesse.

For first, the hedge, the pale, the wall of Gods protection shall be taken a∣way from her, and she shall be laid open, lyable for all wilde beasts to come in and to devoure her. They loved liberty, and were loth to be inclosed, though it were in Gods garden, though it was with the pale & wall of Gods protection; Well, seeing you will have liverty, you shall have liberty, and this pale and wall of my garden shall be taken away, and your condition shall be like the condition of the beasts in the wildernesse.*

Againe, you shall be as a wildernesse. There shall no good grow among you. There was no good grew amongst you, that was your sin; and there shall no good grow among you, that shall be your plague and punishment.

The blessing of God shall be taken away from you, you shall not have those showers of blessing as formerly you were wont to have, but you shall be as a wildernesse, Jer. 17. 5. 6. Cursed be that man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arme, and departeth from the Lord: Why? For he shall be as the heath in the desart, and shall not see when good commeth, and he shall inherite the parched places of the wildernesse in a salt land.

Vatablus interprets this judgement upon the hearts of Idolaters; they are dry, unsavory; they are destitute of all spirituall good.

And I will set her as a dry land.] So the Septuagint read it, I will order you so. Your sinnes bring you out of order, but Gods plagues order that which sin doth disdorder. At a dry land. This is contrary to the blessing of a godly man, for he is said to be as the tree planted by the river of water.

Page  190 The graces and comforts of Gods Spirit are compared to waters in the Scripture, Psal. 87. 7. All my springs are in thee, All my comforts, all the gifts that I have, all the graces that I have are in thee. But now God will set them as a dry land, he will take away his gifts, and take away their com∣forts from them, and so leave them wast and desolate.

The Observation then from hence is,* That sinne is of a wasting nature: sinne layeth wast Countreyes and places that people live in. VVee have a most remarkable place of Scripture for that, Zach. 7. 14. They laid the pleasant land desolate, They, who are they? you shall finde it ver. 12. Those that made their hearts as an Adamant stone,*lest they should heare the law, and the words which the Lord of Hosts had sent in his spirit by the former Prophets, They made the pleasant land desolae.

VVe cry out of those that make stripe and waste, and there are actions commenced against them. O let not us lay waste this pleasant land, this good laud of ours, this garden of the Lord. It is indeed as an Eden, as a Pa∣radise, our fore-fathers have left us this our land as Gods garden; let not us through our sinnes leave it to our posterities as a wildernesse and a dry land, Psal. 107. 34. there is a threatning that God will make a fruitfull land bar∣ren for the wickednesse of them that dwell therein. Sinne hath heretofore laid wast as pleasant and fruitfull Countreys as ours. Those that travell in Germanie, their hearts even bleed within them sometime to see where fa∣mous Towns have stood, now the places are overgrowne with nettles, they are laid wast as a wildernesse. Aud in this God threatneth after the man∣ner of great Kings who when their Subjects obey them not, threaten to lay their Countreys wast and to destroy their Cities, as Ecclesiasticall Stories tell us of Theodosius, that had layed great taxes upon the City of Antioch at which they were much grieved, and imagining it seemes that the Queen had a speciall hand in it, they pulled down the brazen statue of the Queene that was in the Citie in a kinde of anger upon this, Theodosius threatneth to lay the Citie and Countrey wast as a fruite of his displeasure. It is a fruite of the anger of a Kings according to their power, to manifest it that way, not onely upon particular men, bnt to lay whole Countreyes wast.

God is the great King, and he threatneth this against his people for their sinnes, that he will lay them wast as awildernesse. God had rather that the wilde beasts should eate up the good of the land, then that wicked stubborn sinners should enjoy it: God had rather have a land under his curse, to have nothing but thornes and bryars brought forth of it, then that wicked wretches should partake of the sweetness and fruit of it, for sin doth not on∣ly pollute the sinner, but the land, and putteth both the sinner and the land under a curse.

And say them with thirst.

In the 36. Psal. ver. 8. VVe have a full expression of the plentifull provi∣sion of Cods people that dwell in the house of the Lord.he Text saith,

Page  191They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fulnesse of thy house, and thou shalt make them to drinke of the river of thy pleasures, O what a sweet promise is here to those that dwell in Gods house, and walke with God as beseemeth those that are in his house! they shall have fatnesse, and drinke of the river of his pleasures: but here is threatned slaying with thirst, that God will not onely take away those rivers, but even drops of water, they shall not have a drop to coole their tongues, but shall be slaine with thirst.

There was a time wherein God had such pittie upon his people, that hee would cause water to gush out of the rock, rather then their thirst should not he satisfied: But now God threatneth that hee will make the heavens as brasse, and the earth as iron, and though a little water might save their lives, they should not have it, He will slay them with thirst. Oh what an alterati∣on doth sin make in Gods administrations of his wayes towards us!

It is a great judgement thus to be slayn with thirst. I knew my self a man once that lying in a burning feaver, professed that if he had all the world at his dispose, he would give it all for one draught of beer. At so low a rate is the world at such a time as that is. If the want of a little beer or water to sa∣tisfie thirst for a little while be so great a judgement, Oh what is it then for all good to be eternally with drawn from all the faculties!* I have read of Da∣rius, that when he fled from his enemies, and being in great thirst (though those Kings had a delicate drinke that was peculiar to them which they called Coapsis, and others 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) he met with a dirty puddle of water with carry on lying in it, and he sucked in that and dranke very heartily of it, and profest, that it was the sweetest draught that ever he dranke in his life.

This meditation may be very usefull upon this evil of thirst, that if a little puddle water can afford so much comfort when the faculties are in such a disposition as they are fit to draw out that comfort that is in this puddle wa∣ter, Oh then what comfort and goodnesse is there in an infinite God when he shall communicate to his creature all that good that is communicable, and when all the faculties of soul and body shall be in a full disposition, to receive all the good that is communicated, and not put into a disposion by reason of want, but by reason of the excellency of the faculty raised to such a height, and inlarged to receive what good God himselfe hath to communi∣cate to his creature?

But further, it is observable. Though God did bring them into a wilder∣nesse, and set them in a dry land, yet if they might have some drinke, though but water to refresh them in this wildernesse, and in this dry land, it were not so much.* Though they were in a scorching Countrey, in the wilderness, parched with heat, might they have but some refreshment there, the judge∣ment were not so great: but they shall be in a wildernesse, in a dry land, and there they shall be scorched with heat, and then God shall deny them all suc∣cour, all helpe. He will slay them with thirst.

God useth thus to deale with wicked men, to bring them into extremity, and there to leave them destitute of all succour, of all helpe,

Page  192 VVe have an excellent Scripture for this, Ezek. 22. 20. I will gather you in mie anger, and in my fury, and what then? I will leave you there and melt you, saith God. This may be a Comment upon this Text. I will bring into the widernesse and set them in a dry land and slay them with thirst.

The Saints may be brought into great extremity, but God leaveth them not there. God makes their extremity his opportunity for mercy, he bring∣eth refreshing to them then, they never have more sweet refreshings from God, then when they are in the greatest extremities in regard of trouble and affliction. God promiseth, Esay, 4. 6. that he will be a shadow for them in the day time from the heat, and a covert from storme and from raine.

This is Gods peculiar mercy to the Saints; perhaps they have no shelter now, but when the storme commeth they have a shelter then, and they have a shadow when the heat commeth; in their extremity they have comfort.

But it is otherwise with the wicked, the wicked perhaps may have many shelters before the storme commeth; but when the storme commeth, then they are destitute, they may have many shady places before the heat cometh, but when the heat commeth, then they are left fuccourless, then they are slain with thirst. When wicked men are in prosperity, then there may come one blessing after another (I meane that which is in it self a blessing) heaped upon them, but when they come into adversity, when they have most need of comfort, then they are left destitute.

This slaying with thirst is applyed by some spiritually; I will bring a spi∣rituall famine upon them. When they shall be in a wildernesse, in a dry land, when they shall have most need of comfort for their soules, they shall be deprived of it. Many men in the time of their health and prosperity have many sweet promises of the Gospel revealed unto them, many blessed mani∣festations of Gods free grace and goodnesse in his Christ made known un∣to them, but they slight and disregard them: But when God shall bring them into the wildernesse, when God shall cause them to be under the tor∣ment of a scorching conscience, when conscience shall be burning, and scal∣ding, then perhaps they may long, Oh that I had one drop of water, one promise out of the Word to comfort me! Oh that I might have but never so little refreshing! Oh that I might heare againe those things I have here∣tofore heard and neglected! But then God may deny one drop of water to coole their scorching consciences and stay them with thirst, slay their soules with thirst at that time: And thus many poore creatures are slain with thirst, that did so little regard those rivers of consolation, that in the time of their prosperity they might have had.

Ver. 4. And I will not have mercy upon her children, for they be the children of whoredoms.

I confesse at the first view, looking upon this verse I thought I might quickly passe it over, the rather because we had some such expressions in the former Chapter, where God threatned that he would have no more mercyPage  193 upon them: But the Scripture is a vast depth, and there are many excellent treasures in it, there is alwayes aliquid revisentibus, something for those that come to see again and looke again, and this something will appeare to be much, that we shall see out of these expressions further then before hath been observed.

And I will not have mercy] This Particle [And] hath much in it, it is a most terrible And. This conjunction many times in Scripture is as a ple∣onasme, and doth not serve for much use, but here in this place it is of great use, and it is filled with terrour as full as it is possible for such a little particle to hold.

I know there may be many curiosities sometimes in observatious of par∣ticles, of conjunctions: but we shall not meddle with any curiosity, but speake of that which is plain, and the intention of the Holy Ghost here. I say this And is a most dreadfull And; marke the conjunction, you had foure Ands before, saith God, I will strip her naked, [And] set her as in the day wherein she was borne, And] make her as a wildernesse, [And] set her as a dry Land, [And] slay her with thirst. Is not here enough? Oh no, there cometh a fifth And, and that is more terrible then all the former foure [And] I will have uo more mercy upon her children.

This addeth terrour to all the rest. Suppose that all the other foure had beene, and if this had not come, there had not beene such a grievous threat∣ning, If God had said, I will strip her naked & set her as in the day where∣in she was borne, and I will make her as a wildernesse, and set her as a dry land, and slay her with thirst, yet if there might be mercy in all this, their condition had not beene so miserable, but (saith God) I will doe all these, And I will have no more mercy upon them. Oh this hath that terrour in it, that it is impossible for the heart of a man that apprehends it to stand under it.

And for the opening of this I shall shew you how that all the former foure not only may stand with Gods mercy, but they have stood with Gods mer∣cy; that God had heretofore shewed mercy to them when they were in such a low condition in which they were borne, when they were in the wildernesse, when they were in a dry Land, yea when he did slay them, he shewed mer∣cy unto them. But now he saith, he will do thus and thus, and shew no mer∣cy unto them. So that then though this And be conjunctive in Grammar, yet here in Divnity it is a disjunctive, and a most dreadfull disjunctive to part them and mercy a sunder, yea and to part many of them and mercie e∣ternally asunder.

To shew you therefore the soure former, that though they were in such a condition heretofore, yet God did shew them mercie; now what a conditi∣on is that God will shew them no mercie. As

First, In the day wherein they were borne, that (as you may remember) I shewed you out of the 16. Ezek. what a low and pittifull condition the people of Israel were in, they were cast out in the field, & they were in theirPage  194 blood, and not washed, and the like: But mark in the 8. ver. I passed by thee and looked upon thee, behold the time was a time of love, and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakednesse, yea, I sware unto thee, and en∣tered into covenant with thee, and thou becamest mine. Here are the high∣est and the fullest expressions of Gods grace that could be. First, I looked upon her, and then the time was a time of love, and then, I spread my skirt over thee, and I entered into covenant with thee, and thou becamist mine: Here are all these expressions of mercy, even at that time when they were cast out as forlorne in the open field, and no eye pitted them: but now they are threatned to be cast out into the open field againe, and no eye to pittie them in heaven or in earth, no, nor the eye of God to pittie them: now God threatneth to cast them off for ever, so as he will see them in their blood, but it shall be no more a time of love, but a time of wrath, and he will no more enter into covenant with them, neither shall they be his.

2. When God brought them into the wildernesse, God there shewed them mercy, for that you have a marvellousfull Text, Deut. 32. 10. Hee found them in a desart land, and in the wast howling wildernesse; but mark, he led them about, he instructed them, he kept them as the apple of his eye. Though they were in a wast howling wildernesse, yet they were as deare to God as the apple of his eye. Yea further, ver. 11. As an eagie stirreeth up her nost, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings, so the Lord alone did lead them. It is the note of Paulus Fagius, citing for it Rabbi Solomon upon this, as the Eagle carries her young ones, not as other birds, for other birds it is observed carry their young ones in their claws, the Eagle bears hers up∣on her wings, and this is the reason that is observed, because the Eagle is more tender of her young ones then other birds are, why? for other birds carrying their young ones in their claws, if any shoot at them, they hit the young ones, and kill them first, but may misse the old one; but the Eagle carries hers upon her back, upon her wings, that whosoever shoots at her young ones, they must shoot through her first: So saith God, I carried you in the wildernesse as the Eagle carries her young ones upon her wings, that if any shoot at you to hurt you, they must shoote through me first be∣fore they can come at you. This was Gods mercy to them when they were in the wast howling wildernesse, here is not such an And, they were in a wil∣dernesse, yet God had much mercy upon them.

[ 3] Thirdly, milestone God brought them into a dry Land, in this wildernesse they wanted water, yet (though they were ready to murmure) he made them sucke honey out of the rocke, and oile out of the flinty rocke, Deut. 32. 13. You will say, when did God make them suck honey out of the rock? wee read indeed that water gushed out of the rocke in a dry land, but here the Scripture speaks, that he made them suck honey & oile out of the flinty rock. It is a note of Chrysostome speaking upon this very thing, of Gods making them sucke honey and oile out of the rocke: Not, saith he, that there was Page  195 indeed honey or oyle came out of the rock, but because they being in the wildernesse, and in such great want, the water that came out of the rock was to them as sweet and delightfull, as if it had beene honey or oyle.

Thence he gathered that note, that want and necessity will make every thing very sweet and comfortable, water will be as honey and oile to them that want. When you are at your full tables, This wine pleaseth you not, and that beere pleaseth you not; but if you were in necessitie, water would be as wine, it would be as honey and oile to you.

Yea but what say you to the fourth And, He will slay them with thirst? [ 4] Can you shew us any place wherein God did slay his people, yet shew mer∣cie to them? Yes, I can. There is a place where it is said, God slew his people, yet for all that at that very time he shewed abundance of mercie to his peo∣ple; when God did come with his sword in his hand, yet with abundance of compassion in his heart. The Scripture is in Psal. 78. 34. Marke what the Text saith there, When he slew them, then they sought him, and they return∣ed and enquired early after God, and they remembred that God was their Rocke. Well, they sought him, and they remembred this, that God was their Redeemer, but did God redeeme them at that time? Yes, verse 38. He being full of compassion for gave their iniquity, and destroyed them not, yea many a time he turned his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath, Or as the old Translation hath it, He called backe his anger, which here he will not doe: He was full of compassion, and forgave their iniquity, and called back his anger, though he did slay them at that time.

He denieth to doe it here, he letteth out his anger here to the full, and will not call it back, I will have no mercy upon them: And it is observable in this Scripture that yet the Text saith before that, they did but flatter God with their mouth: though they did but flatter God with their mouth, yet such was Gods mercie toward them, that he calleth back his anger.

My brethren, God hath a high esteeme of his worship in a Nation; though it should be but externall (but we must not rest in that) yet many times ex∣ternall humilliation and worshipping of God in a Nation hath beene ef∣fectuall to deliver them from externall judgements.

Therefore we have much cause to be incouraged, in that God doth stirre up our Nation at this day, yea and those particularly that are going in that expedition and service for the Kingdome, that God doth stirre them up to goe forth worshipping of him.

Our adversaries come against them with Oathes and curses, and they goe against them with fasting and prayer, not externally onely, but we hope internally many of them, and thousands that joine with them in our Nati∣on. And if God will shew so much mercy to them when they did but flat∣ter him with their mouth, surely then when as there are so many true wor∣shippers of him, yea those that are the instruments of the work; we have much cause to think that God will shew mercy to us, and that if anger were come out against us, yet God will call it backe.

Page  196 Thus then we see that so long as Gods people be Gods people, though they may be brought to great troubles (we cannot be secured from troubles) yet still there is mercie for them; so long as they are his people, so long as the knot is between God and them, and they are in Covenant, there is mercie for them. But now when they are cast off, now there commeth an and, I will doe thus and thus, bring them into these extremities, and I will shew no mercy to them, there shall be judgement without mercie. The observation then from hence is,* when God commeth upon the wicked with wrath, hee cometh with pure wrath. Wrath without mixture of mercie, and this is in∣tolerable. We have a remarkable place for this Isa. 7. 5. An evil (saith the Text) an onely evil,*behold it is comming. Marke, there may come an evil to the people of God, that which materially is evill, but it can never be said of Gods people that an evill, an only evill is comming: If an evil come, there cometh a great good together with that evil: but now it is upon the wicked, an evil, & an onely evil is coming. God threatneth Psal. 75. 8. that he hath a cup in his hand, full of mixture, the mixture of that is an aggrava∣tion of the wrath that is in it: but here there is a cup in Gods hand without mixture, and the want of mixture is the aggravation of the evil of this cup.

VVhen wrath is pure, then it is grown beyond anger, and grown to ha∣tred: [ 1] so long as it is but meere anger, it admitteth of mixture of love, but when once it is (as we may speak) grown to that height of sowerness that all the mixture of love is gone, then it is turned to hatred. There was a time when Israel spake in a murmuring way that God brought them into the wil∣dernesse because he hated them. Deut. 1. 27. But now God threatneth to bring them into the wildernesse and to hate them indeed, according to that Hosea 9. 15. All their wickednesse is in Gilgal, for there I hated them. David prayeth Psal. 6. 1. that God would not rebuke him in his wrath, neither chasten him in his hot displeasure; but what then? Have mercy u∣pon me O Lord: So long as God sheweth mercie he doth not chasten in his sore displeasure: but when God commeth with afflictions & denyeth mer∣cie, then he commeth in sore displeasure indeed, it is hatred.

[ 2] Secondly, When God commeth without mercie he commeth upon the wicked in the most unseasonable time for them that can be. That is the difference betwixt the evills that come upon the godly and the wicked.

There may be evills (that materially are so) upon the godly, but yet they shall come upon them when it shall be seasonable for them: but when they come upon the wicked it shal be when they are most unseasonable for them: As a husband-man if he would cut his Tree so as onely to lop it that it may grow and flourish again, he will be sure to do it in due time, as in January or February,* but if he would cut it that so it may dye, hee will lop it when it flourisheth most, at Midsummer. God indeed letteth wicked men grow up and flourish to the height of their prosperity, and then he commeth and loppeth them because then hee knowes they must die and perish. It were better to be lopped in January, in winter time before you flourish, then you Page  197 may live for your good; but if you stay till the summer, you die for it. You have an excellent Scripture, Zeph. 2. 4. They shall drive out Ashdod at noon day. In those Countries that were exceeding hot and scorching, she pheards and others that had their businesse abroad, used to keep their houses at noon day, or get into some shady places and sleepe. Now when God threatneth a judgement in wrath, and denyeth mercie, saith hee, they shall drive out Ashdod at noone day, in the worst time that possibly Ashdod can be driven out, in the middest of scorching. Because God intended to destroy them, he drives them out at noone day.

Again thirdly, When God commeth upon the wicked and denyeth mer∣cie, he regardeth not the proportion of any affliction or any evill, whether it be enough or not enough for them, what is that to him? When hee cometh upon his own people he weigheth out his wrath. Never did any skilfull Phy∣sitian or Apothecary more carefully weigh out to every dram what the po∣tion should be that is to be given to a child,* then God doth weigh out every affliction that he sendeth upon his children. The difference is just as if you should goe to the Apothecaries to take ratsbane to poyson or kill vermine, you doe not weigh out how much you should take, but give them it at ad∣venture, and let them take as much as they will, and let them burst: but if you take any thing for your child, if it have any strong vertue in i, or with∣out composition, it may be poison, you will take heed, you will not take a dram, a graine too much, but will be sure to weigh it out exactly.

Thus though when God commeth to his children hee weigheth out their afflictions, yet when he cometh with judgements upon the wicked, he cares not how much, how many or great they be, whether sutable to their condi∣tions or no, whether they can beare them or no, whether their backes breake or no, he cometh with judgements upon them to destroy them.

Fourthly,* When afflictions commeth without mercie upon the wicked, [ 4] God stoppeth his ears at all their cryes. If they cry when God cometh with judgements against them, he calleth their cryings howling. Hee tells them though they cry aloud, yea cry with teares he will not heare them,

Fifthly, God commandeth all creatures that they should deny help to [ 5] them. They may stand and be amazed, but help them they cannot. They all say how can we help, seeing God helpes not.

Sixthly, There is the curse of God mixed with every judgement to drive [ 6] them further from God, and to harden them more in their sinnes.

Lastly, One judgement is but the making way for another, yea all judg∣ments [ 7] in this world are but the fore-runners, and makers-way for eternall judgements. This is the portion of the cup of the wicked when God saith he will shew them no mercie. The afflictions of the Saints may seeme to be more grievous outwardly, but thus God never afflicteth them, there is mercie alwayes for them.

VVherefore all yee Saints of God who are under any affliction at any time, be patient and quiet, be contented under it, for though your afflictions Page  198 before and grievous,* yet God delivereth you from such afflictions as these wherein he saith he will shew no mercie.

But further. I will not have mercy upon her children.

Her children.] The judgement of God in punishing the sin of the fathers upon the children we spake somewhat of in the Chapter before, wee will wholly let that passe now: and onely consider children in another way then we did before, in a politicall consideration, for certainly that is the mean∣ing of the Text, I will not have mercy upon her children; that is, I will not have mercie upon the particular people that belong to Iezreel. Private and particular people are called the daughters of Jerusalem, the daughters of such a Country. So that the whole community together with the officers & Governours they are as the Mother, and the private and particular people they are as the children. So that when God saith he will have no mercy up∣on her children, hee doth not onely threaten the State and the Church, the Governours and the whole Community thus, but he threatneth every par∣ticular person of them, though you that are in the multitude perhaps thinke you may escape in the crowde; No saith God, I will looke to every one of you of the multitude of the private and particular persons of Israel, and my wrath shal not onely come out against those that are in higher places, but it shall come out against you also, I will slay her children.

It is true indeed, the heads and governours of places are usually most in∣velved in the guilt of the sins of nations, and their judgements are usually most dreadfull when God commeth with nationall judgements. As Num. 35. 3. 4. The Text saith there that Israel joyned themselves to Baal▪ Peor, and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and the Lord said unto Moses, take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the sunne. The Lords anger was kindled against the people, but he bade Mo∣ses especially look to the heads, and take them and hang them up be••re the Lord, that the fierce anger of the Lord might be turned away from Israel.

Certainly execution of wrath upon great ones, upon such as have beene heads in evill, is a Sacrifice exceeding well pleasing to God. But though God ay••e at them especially in nationall judgements, yet the multitude and private people must not thinke to escape, and that upon these grounds.

First, Because many times it is for their sins that God suffereth their Governours to doe so much evill as they doe,* As, Israel had sinned, and God was wrath with Israel, therefore David did what he did in numbring the people. When you see your Governours doe that which is naught, la∣ment for your own sins; doe not spend your time onely in crying out a∣gainst them, but look to yourselves, it is for your sinnes that God hath left [ 1] them to do as they have done.*

[ 2] Secondly, It may be the reason why Governours do not reforme, is, in the perversenesse of people, that they are not in a preparation to receive that good which otherwise our Governours had in their hands & hearts to bring to passe. As 2 Chron. 20. 33. it is cleere there, Howbeit the high places Page  199 were not taken away, why? For as yet the people had not prepared their hearts to seeke the God of their Fathers. Why? should they have pulled down the high places? no, but they should have beene in a preparation for the pulling of them downe. Certainly this is the great cause why our high places are not pulled downe, why Reformation hath gone on no better then it hath, and why we have so much evil remaining amongst us, because the people have not prepared their hearts, they are not in a disposition to receive the mercie that our governours have hearts to bring unto us.

They have hearts to work for us, but when we speake to them of what is fit to be done, their answer is, but is England in a fit disposition to receive such a thing as that is? so that the truth is, although you are ready to cry out of your Governours, you say, they have power in their hands, why doe they not reforme things? yet the guilt in great part devolves upon the people, they are not in a fit dsposition to receive such reformation: therefore God threat∣neth the childen, the peole here.

Again further, It may be it is from you that the Governours that are evil are so much incouraged and abetted in that which is evill: though you doe it not, yet you so much incourage them as the guilt redounds upon you.

Yea lastly, If you do but obey them in any thing that is evill, in doing of that, the guilt devolveth upon you, for you should not do it, but rather obey God then man.

Many thinke to make this their plea, they are commanded to doe thus and thus, and Governours would have them doe it, and it is Law and the like, and they thinke upon this plea they may do any thing in the world. This will not secure you, God may come with judgement without mercie upon the children as well as upon the Mother. And if Gods wrath should come in nationall judgements against England, let the people know that they are like to smart most dreadfully, for never was their a time in our dayes, nor in our fore-fathers dayes, that so much depended upon the people as at this day; never were they called to that help as now they are called to at this day.

So that the people now may have reformation,* they may have blessings, if it be not through their own default. As Cant. 7. 1. The Church is there described in her beauty, and it beginneth at her feete, How beautifull are thy feete? And Cant. 5. There Christ is described in his beauty, and it be∣ginneth at the head, His head is as the most faire gold.

God sometimes makes use of the people to be great meanes, and perhaps the beginning of means to bring beauty to the Church, though they cannot perfect it. Heretofore private persons could doe little: Alas though they were under grievous oppressions, they knew not now to help themselves.

Many men that had purses, and strength, and heads, and hearts and all, yet they knew not what to doe, but to make their moane one to another, and to heaven; but now it is otherwise, now you may do somewhat else besides making your moane one to another, yea besides making your moae to heaven: for you that have purses now you may see waies to employ them Page  100 for the publique good, for Religion, for liberty, you that have strength of body may know what to doe, you that have head-pieces, I mean parts, you are called to help, you may joyne together for God and the good of your Country, you may do much more then heretofore could be done.

Wherefore now if you should desert the Cause of God, and desert those that you have trusted, you must expect the most dreadfull wrath of God, and that without mercie, even upon the people that ever was upon any nati∣on since the beginning of the world, for never any nation that we know of, had more depending upon the people then there is at this day upon the peo∣ple of England, O consider of it, and oh that all the people of the land did but know what God would have them to do in such a time as this?

Again,*I will not have mercy upon her children: upon particular pri∣vate persons in the society. One note more upon that, It is a dangeraus thing for men in any societie to do as the most doe: If they be in a civill societie to give their votes and to do as the greater part doth; if you be in a Church societie, to do as the greater part doth without any examination of it, this dangerous. For though the greater part, the communitie may doe that which is evil, you shall not be excused by that, for you to say, why what could I help it, whn the most doth it? God commeth upon private and particular men, upon the children, even every one of them: And why?

For they are the children of whoredomes.

That is either passively or actively, passively, because they were begot∣ten of whoredomes and brought up, their education hath been in whore∣dome, they have had it from their parents, Or else they are the children of whoredomes actively, they live in the same whoredomes their Mother did.

From hence,

First,* There is little hope of children brought up in wicked education, who have wicked parents also. If the dye have beene in the wooll it is hard to get out of the cloth. If wickedness, if evill principles have beene dropped into children, there is little hope of them for good, especially of those chil∣dren that have been brought up in wayes of superstition and Idolatry,* their hearts being so soyled, and defiled, and hardned in superstitious and idola∣trous wayes, they seldome come to any good. Therefore that which hath been mentioned is very good, namely of wayes to take the children of Pa∣pists to bring them up in the education and knowledge of the truth.

Yet Secondly,* This shall not excuse children, though they be the children of whoredomes. It is no excuse for them to say they had it from their Pa∣rents, and they did as their Parents have done, and as they bade them, and according as they brought them up. No it excuseth not at all, for the wrath of God commeth upon them that are the children of whoredomes.

Then what a mercie is it for us to be brought up in the truth; to have Pa∣rents that doe professe the truth, and for our education to bee in the way of truth? It is a mercy that we do not consider of to give God the glory of it: How dangerous is it to have superstitious Idolatrous Parents, and to have Page  201 such kind of education! there is not one of ten thousand that altereth his reli∣gion: If they have Turks, or Jewes, or Papists to their parents, and such e∣ducation, it is not one of tenne thousand I say that altereth his religion. Therefore it is like our condition would have been the same if God had not cast it that our parents should be such as professe the truth, and our educa∣tion according to the truth. Blesse God for this. And you that are parents doe you look to your children, and bring them up in the truth. Children who have gracious principles dropped into them, and those watred by pray∣ers and tears, there is hope of them▪ and not of them alone, but of the nation where they live.

Lastly (which is the observation which mainely wee are to consider of) When Gods judgements come abroad in the world,* let the children of whoredomes look to it, God threatneth he will have no mercy upon them, or they are the children of whoredomes. The children of whoredomes are the butt of Gods wrath when his judgements come abroad in the world.

Isa. 27. 4 Furie is not in me, saith the Text, that is, it is not in mee to∣ward my Saints;* though I come out in a kind of fury, yet it is not in me to∣ward them, what then? Who would set the briers and thorns against mee in battle? I would goe thorough them, I would burn them together. When my wrath commeth against the briars and thornes, I will go through them, and burne them together; but for my children, fury is not in me toward them: When Gods wrath is abroad in the world, let not the children of the bride-chamber feare, but let the children of whoredomes feare and quake, let briars and thornes feare, but not the fruitfull trees in Gods garden: God∣judgements know how to make a difference between men, they are dis stinguishing things when they come abroad: God sendeth not his judge∣ments hand over head, but putteth into them a distinguishing quality. God hath a chamber of rest and safety for his people, wherein he will hide them till his indignation be over-past; but for the children of whoredomes, superstitious, Idolatrous, wicked and ungodly people, they are the peo∣ple of Gods indignation, they are like Idumea, the people of Gods curse, as you have it, Isa. 34. 5.

There are a people this day amongst us who are certainely the people of Gods curse, and let them look to it as well as they will. Rev. 14. 8. Babylon is fallen, is fallen (saith an Angell there) and mark what followeth. ver. 9. And another Angel followed, saying with a loud voyce, If any man wor∣ship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shal drinke of the wine of the wrath of God which is powred out without mixture into the cup of his indignation. It is according to that in the Text here, God will have no mercy, they shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God without mixture, without mixture of any mercy at all. And further, He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy Angels, & in the presence of the Lambe, and the smoake of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever, And they have no rest day nor night that worship the beast and his image.

Page  202 Here is a dreadfull threat against the children of whoredomes, against such as follow the wayes of the great whore of Babylon. Blessed are they that in these times have testimony in their own consciences, that it hath been their care above all things to draw themselves out from the guilt of all su∣perstitious and Idolatrous vanities, and to keep themselves (according to that light that God hath discovered to them) pure from the pollutions of that man of sin. Blessed I say are these, they need not feare this day; but for those that have involved themselves in the guilt of those pollutions, they have need to humble their souls before God, and to cry mightily, for wrath is going out against the children of whoredomes. This Text here spoken of, is not meant only of hell hereafter, but it is meant of judgement even in this world: And above all times that ever yet have been since Antichrist began, it is a most desperate thing to be a Papist in these dayes, because now is the time for God to make these children of whoredomes the very Butt of his wrath and indignation.

We heare of wars, and rumors of wars, and a great deale of stir there is a∣broad: My brethren, keep your hearts chast to God, and fear not, for God hath another manner of people to deal withall then you; you shall be sealed first, before the wrath come out. Though I cannot excuse you altogether from suffering some afflictions, these children of whoredomes may bring some trouble upon the Saints for the present; yea perhaps some of you may have your blood spilt, but God hath mercy to bestow upon you, but for them there is wrath, and wrath without mixture, God saith he will have no mercy upon the children of whoredoms.

Let such as are going forth then in this Service, for Religion and Liberty, go forth with courage and undauntednesse of spirit, why? for they fight a∣gainst none but those that God fighteth against. Who are they but the chil∣dren of whoredomes that they go to fight against, those who have shewed themselves to be open fighters against God and his truth, such as are most abominable swearers, cursers, and blasphemers, such as make no other use of the light of the Gospel that they have, but only to scorn and contemn it, such as are open despisers of God and his truth, and of his people? Cer∣tainly if there be a cursed generation upon the face of the earth, these are the people, whose mouths are full of curses, and certainely Gods curse is upon them who are so full of cursings themselves. If there be any of you here that are now, or hereafter may go forth in this service, your spirits should even rise with indignation against such monsters upon earth, and goe against them as David against Goliah, What shall this uncircumcised Philistine defie the hoast of the living God? Thus your hearts should rise if you have any love to God and his truth; Shall a company of cursed monsters that do nothing but blaspheme, and curse, and sweare, and defie God and his ser∣vants, and his Tabernacle, and worship; shall these uncircumcised Philistins go on thus defying God and his truth? If you have the hearts of men with∣in you, especially of Christians, me thinks you should not be able to beare it, Page  203 but goe forth against them with fulnesse of spirit and resolution, certainely God will make them a prey to you, they are not only such as not only have put off Christianity, and are become Atheists, but they have put off all kind of humanity, and are rather turned monstrous beasts, or devils. Fear them not, though their hearts be full of pride and rage, and though they beast ne∣ver so much what they are, or what they have done, or what they will doe; I say feare them not, for this is part of the curse of God that is upon them that though God fighteth against them, they will not see it, they shall not see it, because God intendeth to destroy them; though judgments are out a∣gainst them,* yet they will not repent. You shall finde it divers times in the book of the Revelation, that those that followed Antichrist, though they were tormented, all the judgments of God were against them, yet they re∣pented not. This I say is the curse of God upon such, God will not give them repentance unto life, for they are the children of whoredoms, whom God intendeth to have no mercy upon: therefore the higher their rage ri∣seth, the higher your hearts should rise against them.

But we must go on to the 5. verse.

For their mother hath played the harlot.

Their mother, that is, the State and the Church, for they were both in∣volved in one, hath played the harlot. This [For] hath reference two ways; either it may have reference to those words, I will not have mercy upon them, for not only they are, but their mother is defiled with whoredomes, she hath played the harlot: or secondly, it hath reference onely to the latter part, they are the children of whoredomes, for their mother hath played the harlot: either it referreth to the reason why God will not have mercy upon them, because their mother hath played the harlot: or secondly to the rea∣son why they are the children of whoredomes, for their mother hath play∣ed the harlot. And from both these references we have very usefull obser∣vations for us.

The first,* God cannot endure a succession in wickednesse, I will not have mercy upon them, their mother hath played the harlot, they are children of whoredoms themselves, and their mother hath plaid the harlot, there is a succession of wickednesse among them, and that I cannot beare. The ground is, because those that keep up a succession of wickednesse from the mother to the children, and so goe on downeward, they are guilty of all the wickednesses that went before them in that line; Else how can that be understood where Christ saith he will require all the blood from Abel to Zacharias upon that generation;* but because they continuing in that way of sin, kept up the succession of that sin, and so that generation was guilty of all the sins of that kind that went before even unto Abel. So the father is a whore-master, and the child he proveth to be one too, and so goeth on, the child is not only guilty of that sinne of his owne, but of his fa∣thers, and of his grandfathers, and hee is guilty of all that kind of sinne that is gone before, even up to the beginning of the world; why? because hee Page  204 keepeth up the succession of that sinne in the world. This is a most terrible thing to consider of, enough to wound the strongest heart in the world, es∣pecially of those that know they have had wicked Parents.

Again, For their mother hath plaid the harlot, consider this word For, as having reference to the reason why they are children of whoredomes, for their mother hath plaid the harlot. The observation is,

Children usually goe according to their parents, which way their parents goe, commonly the children goe. It is a usuall thing where there are prophane parents to have prophane children, if the parents sweare to have swearing children, if the parents be superstitious to have superstitious chil∣dren; if parents be scorners of Religion, to have children scorners too: we find it true in experience, in that new nick-name that is brought up on the godly in roome of the former, it is as frequent in the mouths of children as in others, because children go according to what their fathers formerly did: I will give you one notable Text of Scripture for this, it is 2 King. 2. 23. When Elisha the Prophet was going up to Bethel, there came forth little children out of the City and said unto him, Goe up thou bald-head, goe up thou bald-head. The thing that I note it for is this, that not only the children did it, and so were destroyed, (for two she-beares came out of the wildernesse and tare 42. of them) but what children were they that did this? If you observe the Text, you shall finde that they were the children of Bethel; and what place was that? That was one of the places where the calves were set up, and it was a place of much super∣stition, and the children were as superstitious as their parents: A place that had the name, the house of God, but a place exceedingly abused, and no place did more degenerate from the name then it, it was a Bethaven, a house of vanity and wickednesse. It was the place that was most superstitious, and those were the children that scorned at the Prophet: But we need no o∣ther proof but only experience, yet there is one notable Scripture further for it, Jer. 7. 18. The children (saith the Text) gather wood, their fa∣thers kindle the fire, and their mothers kneaded the dough: the children joyned you see: Pelagius thought that there was no sinne came into the world but only by imitation, children imitating their parents. Certainly imitation is of great power and force to prevaile with the hearts of children. You that are wicked parents, had need to looke to it what you doe before your children. He that sinneth before a child, specially a parent, sinneth doubly,* for a child will be ready to imitate it. What, will you not only sin against God, and be enemies unto him, but will you leave a succession, that when you are dead and gone, some must out of your loynes, and from your bowels, blaspheme God after you are rotten in your graves? Suppose you that are parents had a plague sore upon you, would you goe among your children, and breath upon them? this cruelty is much worse, will you goe into your families, and breath infection into your children, and so make them like you, and guilty of your sins, and of the plagues of God together Page  205 with you? oh cruell parents!

On the otherside, as therefore children of whoredomes, because their mother hath plaid the harlot, why then should not children be gracious and godly, who have gracious and godly parents? Why should it not be said, This childe is a godly childe, for his mother was a gracious woman, and his father a godly man? You that have godly parents, let this be your Encomium, You are godly and gracious children, and you had godly and gracious parents, this will be your honour before the Saints. But how vile is it, when it may be said, Here is a wicked wretch, yet he had a godly father, and a godly mother; here is an uncleane and filthy liver, yet hee had gracious parents? It is no wonder to say thus, This man is filthy, for his fa∣ther was filthy, and his mother was a harlot; but to look upon one, and say, Here is a whoremaster, yet his father was a godly gracious man; Here is a harlot, yet her mother was a holy woman; O how vile is that! I remem∣ber a speech of that reverend Master Bolton, who died not long since; It is re∣poted, that upon his death-bed he had his children come to him, & he speaks thus unto them, I doe believe, saith he, there is never a one of you will dare to meet me at the tribunall of Christ in an unregenerate condition. So let me say to you that are evill children of Godly parents, let me in their names speak to you, How dare you, with what face doe you think you shall dare to meet with your godly father and gracious mother before the judgement seat of Jesus Christ? at that day if your godly father stand at the right hand of Christ, how dare you appeare before that face in the guilt of those horri∣ble wickednesses that you now live in? Certainly the thought of this hath power to daunt your hearts.

She hath done shamefully.

The word in the Hebrew (it is in Hyphil, and so it may be translated transitively) signifieth,*She hath made ashamed, as well as done shamefully; and so I find it according to some thus rendered, Shee hath made ashamed her husband, she hath made ashamed her children, shee hath made asha∣med her self, and all these three may be meant. Yea I conceive the intent of the holy Ghost is to expresse them all.

Her husband first, the Church is the Spouse of Jesus Christ, Christ is the husband of the Church, and you know the Scripture saith that the wo∣man is the glory of the man. I remember I gave the meaning of that heretofore; So the Church being the Spouse of Christ, should be the glory of Christ: the woman should be the glory of the man, but yet being wick∣ed and filthy, she makes her husband many times ashamed. The evil of the wife is a shame to the husband, so the evill of the Church is a shame to Iesus Christ. The Church in Scripture is called the glory of Christ, 2 Cor. 8. 23. If our brethren be enquired after, they are the messengers of the Churches, and the glory of Christ. Isa. 4. 5. Vpon all the glory shall be a defence.

Page  206 It should be so, but when it commeth to be defiled, it shameth Christ, their wickednesse reflects upon Christ. Christ is said to walke in the mid∣dest of the golden Candlesticks, Rev. 2. 1. Every Church is a Candle-stick, and it should be a golden Candle-sticke, but if it come to be a filthy rustie Candle-stick,* it is a dishonour unto Christ who walketh amongst them.

Wicked men doe not shame Christ, but godly doe. My brethren let us take heed of that, It is an evill thing to bring shame to our selves, and one to another, but to bring shame upon JESUS CHRIST is the greatest e∣vil. Many of you perhaps are ashamed of Christ, take heed you be not a shame to Christ. They are ashamed of Christ that are ashamed to appeare in the cause of Christ; but as for you that are so, Christ hath more cause to be ashamed of you, for you are a shame to him.

It is true, I cannot deny it but many Churches of God, and that of late have brought some shame to Jesus Christ by their dissentions and fracti∣ons, and they must take shame to themselves, and they have taken shame to themselves, they have acknowledged it to the glory of Christ, and in that regard in some measure have washed off that shame that they have brought to Christ.

Againe further, a shame they are to their children. Wicked Parents are a shame to their children; when a child appeareth forward, towardly, and hopefull, and it be said, Would you not wonder to see him so forward? the father of him is a beastly drnkard, a filthy whore-monger, of a vile and malignant spirit;* now the child is ashamed to heare of the evil of his father, and of the evil of his mother. As foolish children are a shame to their Pa∣rents, so wicked Parents are a shame to their children. You that have gra∣cious children take heed you be not a shame to them, and so a shame to your selves.

And then a shame to her selfe, she hath plaid the harlot, she hath done shamefully. Wherein had she done shamefully? I will onely mention one particular. Certainly that shame of hers was especially in subjecting Re∣ligion to carnall policie. For what did she doe? what was the great sinne of the ten Tribes? It was this, because they were afraid that if they did go up to Jerusalem to worship, the people would then depart from the house of Jero∣boam, to the house of David, therefore out of politicall regards they would have the worship set up at Dan and Bethel, there they would have Calves, they must not goe up to Jerusalem the place which God had appointed to worship in, but at Dan and Bethel. This was a meere politique fetch, for they could not but acknowledg that God did require that they should wor∣ship at Jerusalem where the Temple was, and there was no other reason why they would worship at Dan and Bethel, but meerely out of State poli∣cie that they might prevent the people from going backe to the house of Da∣vid, and indeed they did professe so much themselves. Here then they did shamfully.

The Observation then from hence is, that for governours or any to sub∣ject Page  207 Religion to policie is a shamefull thing. It is shamefull to make Reli∣gion an underling, and to make policie the head. Perhaps they call this wisedome, a prudentiall way, wee must be carefull and wise to foresee in∣conveniences that may follow. But what if God give it another name? God may give it a name of base temporizing, a name of folly and wicked∣nesse: to subject Religion to policie it is shamefull, because it abaseth that which is the great honour of any Country, it makes it an underling: what is the excellency of man but Religion? what is the excellency of a Country but Religion? and what hath England been glorious for more then for Re∣ligion? Now to put the excellency of a thing under any inferiour, this is shamefull, to put the Crown that is for the head under ones foot is a dishon∣our to it: although a thing hath in it self but little excellencie, if it be brought beneath it selfe under other things that have not so great an excellency in them, it makes it vile.

And shamefull also it is because it holdeth forth this, that we dare not trust [ 1] God for our civill estate and for our peace, therefore Religion must come under.

Shamefull it is again because it is grosse folly, for there is no such way to [ 2] breede disturbance in a politicke state, no such way to undoe a State, as to make Religion an underling to policie. Was it not so here? That very way that they tooke to uphold their policie was the way to destroy their State, & did destroy it at last, even their corrupting of Gods worship.

What cause had they then to be ashamed of this, that God should take that which they thought to helpe themselves by, and make that the very thing that should cause their ruine? And certainly it will be so, they that are of the deepest and politikest ferches and reaches, if they thinke to secure themselves and preserve their peace, out of that principle, so as Religion must come un∣der, and must be serviceable, it will appeare at last they doe shamefully, God will make them ashamed of it one way or other, it will be the onely way to undoe themselves and us. I confesse in matters of Religion there are some commands that are affirmitive precepts: These though they doe liga∣re semper, yet not ad semper, there is not a necessity that at every time and instant they should be urged, so that it may be that a people may be in such a frame that men cannot but by degrees bring in a reformation to the height of it, and then it is not carnall policie to bring in such wayes of God gradu∣ally, as are commanded by affirmitive precepts; but negative precepts binde semper and adsemper, and the State must looke to that, that they do nothing against Christ out of policie that they doe not hinder by any positive Law the way of Christ, for though Christ may be willing to forbeare some Or∣dinances for a time, and he doth it out of mercy to a people, he saith he will have mercy and not sacrifice, but Christ will never beare that there should be any thing done against him in that time. If they should out of any State policie to preserve peace, or to gratifie an evill party, sacrifice any part of Religion, or any godly person, this will prove a shamefull thing, Christ ac∣counts Page  208 it so, and whosoever doth so will be ashamed of it at the last.

Now my brethren, why should not God be trusted? let us looke at Re∣ligion in the first place, and so pray wee that those who are our reformers who have power in their hands may never prove to be guilty of this shame∣full way of putting Religion under policie. I will give you a notable exam∣ple in Scripture about it. It is Josh. 5. When Joshua had brought the peo∣ple of Israel over Jordan (that you know was the very beginning of their entrance into Canaan) now as soone as they were brought unto the borders of the Land, they were to encounter with all their enemies, and you may i∣magine that when Joshua had passed the river the, people might thinke that all the Country would be about their eares, one would thinke then that po∣licy would have taught them to lay aside all thoughts of Religion, and to look to their enemies that were at hand, if ever they were outragious they would be then, and therefore now let us minde nothing but arming our selves a∣gainst them: But mark now God goeth another way to worke, as soone as they were gone over Jordan, and were upon the borders of the Land of Canaan, they must goe and circumcise themselves, and you know when they were circumcised they were sore that they could not fight. Simeon and Levi destroyed a whole City when they were circumcised, they were not then in a posture of fighting or defending themselves, but lay at the mercie of their enemies. But this was Gods wisedome. Nay further, they must go and keepe the passeover too, they must mind and tend Religion: And mark you shall finde in the latter end of the Chapter, that after they had been cir∣cumcised & kept the Passeover, then appeareth one to Ioshua with a drawn sword, and saith he, I am the Captain of the Lords Hosts. Then the Cap∣tain of the Lords Host appeareth to fight for them when they had once obey¦ed; whereas had they neglected Circumcision and the Passeover, & thought of fighting onely, they, might have missed of the Captaine of the Lords Hosts to have fought for them, and what would have become of them then? So you see God would have us minde Religion in the most dangerous times, and though we thinke we must mind our peace and safety, and lay our hands upon our swords or our defence, yet let us be carefull of our Religion, and then we shall have a Captain of the Lords host come and fight for us.

Marke 8. 15. we are charged to take heed of two sorts of leaven, The leaven of the Scribes and Pharises, and the leaven of Herod. The leaven of the Scribes and Pharises is corruption in Church affairs, the leaven of Herod is corruption in Religion too, but in order of the Common-wealth, in bring∣ing under things of God to the affairs of the State, for in this Herod was like Jeroboam, he was affraid of his kingdome as Ieroboam was, hee had many wayes and plots to keepe himselfe in that kingdom as Ieroboam had, and many did cleave to Herod in his plots, as Israel clave to Ieroboam in his, therefore saith Christ, take heed not onely of the leaven of the Scribes and Pharises but of the leaven of Herod. And it may be the Lord saw us to prone of sinfull compliances, even ready to have sacrificed much of his Page  209 worship and many of his Saints for the obtaining peace in the State,* and so to have fallen off from that reformation that both God and his people ex∣pected, hence hee hath taken the worke into his owne hands, hee will bring about his owne worke, though it may cost us deare, who knowes how much blood?

The Fourth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 5.

Shee that conceived them hath done shamefully; for she said, I will goe after my lovers, that give me my bread, and my water, my wooll, and my flaxe, mine oyle and my drinke.

GOds threats against Israel to make her as a wilderness and as a dry land, to slay her with thirst, in the 3. verse, to shew no mercy to her children, in the 4. ver. The reason because her mother had played the harlot, in the beginning of this 5. ver. we finished the last day. Onely in a word to give you one note from that title of Mother here, that wee ob∣served not before.

The Community of the Church and civill State is called Mother, in way of distinction from private people, and private people are as the children of that Mother, so we opened it in the second ver.

The Observation is,

The Community of a State and Church should be to particular persons as a Mother.* They should have the affection of children to it, they should take much to heart those things that concerne it, the sufferings of State or Church should be the sufferings of all particulars. There are children of Be∣lial that are risen up among us,* that are even taring the bowels of our Mo∣ther, a viperous generation that seeke to eate out the bowels of her Mother, let our hearts breake for this, as Psal. 35. 14. I bowed down heavily as one that mourneth for his Mother. Let not us lift up our heads and be jolly now, but for the present bow down heavily as those that are called (though in some respects to rejoyce,) yet in many others to mourne this day for our Mother. Yea let our hearts rise against these vile monsters that joyne with a Malignant party to bring such woefull confusion and trouble even to our Mother. We may say to them justly as Saul said unto Ionathan passionat∣ly, You children of the rebellious and perverse, why have you chosen to joyne with them for the confusion of your Mothers nakednesse. Let us do what we can to help. Shall we see her bowells torne and not stirre at all? She calleth now to us to come and help her, and let us know that if it go ill with her, it cannot go well with us.

Page  210 If the Mothers breast thorough some incurable disease must be cut off, the tender Father takes away the children and will not suffer them to be∣hold the torture of their Mother; Who knows but that this hath been Gods end in taking away his deare children in former times, because hee would not have their tender hearts to see so much sorrow and evill as should befall their Mother? And what God hath reserved us to see in the sufferings of our Mother we do not know. Howsoever let not her suffer by us, let not her suffer for want of our help, let not her suffer without us, let not us be so unnaturall as to be every one shifting for himselfe, for the private and parti∣cular, neglecting the publicke, the community, neglecting our Mother that should be as deare to us as the bowels out of which we came.

She hath done shamefully. VVe should have the affections of children to her though she hath done shamefully. [ 1]

But further, Here you have the amplification of her whoredomes, shee hath plaid the harlot, and so plaid as she hath done shamefully: The latter end of the verse is by way of probation of this amplification, for how doth it appeare she hath done shamefully? for she hath said, I will goe after my lovers, &c. For the first then, this amplification of her whoredome, her whoredome is such as is shamefull, Hence first observe.

That sinne,* but especially whoredome is a shamefull thing. Pro. 13. 5. A wicked man is loathsome, and commeth to shame: Pro. 14. 34. Sinne is a reproach to a nation, or to any people; Sinne of its owne nature let it bee what it will be, it is shamefull: Much more then whoredome, to play the harlot, for all sinne doth drowne a man, it brings him beneath the excellency of a man, it is contrary to the image of God in man, to that wherein true honor, beauty, glory doth consist. It makes men vile. I will give you but one Text for it, Dan, 11. 21. And there shal arise a vile person. Who was that? It was according to interpreters, Antiochus Epiphanes, the great King of Assyria, and yet a vile person. Josephus tells us that the Samaritans when they were in danger of suffering from him because he thought them to be Jewes, they wrote to him in this manner. To Antiochus the mighty God; and his very Epithet, Epiphanes, is as much in our English as Illustrious, Antiochus the Illustrious, the famous, bright in his glory: He that was so illustrious and so great a Prince, that was written unto as the mighty God, yet in the Scripture language being wicked he is a vile person.

It is a special note of one that is fit to dwell in Gods Mountain,* of one that is a Saint, Psal. 15. 4. to be able to see the vilenesse of sin thorough all the glory of the world, in whose eyes a vile person is contemned. Sin is a shame because it deceiveth a man, The way of the wicked shall deceive him, What profit have you now of those things where of you are ashamed? It is a good signe of grace to be able to see into the deceits of sinne, so as to be ashamed of it. But though all sin be shamefull, yet whoredome especially, and that either bodily or spiritual.

First bodily, the expression of shamefulnesse though especially it aymeth Page  211 at their Idolatry, yet it hath its rise from bobily whoredome, if that were not shamefull, the expression could not be full; that she had played the har∣lot, and done shamefully, Pro. 6. 32. Whoso committeth adultery with a woman, lacketh understanding, he that doth it destroyeth his own soul; a wound and dishonour shall he get, and his reproach shall not be wiped away. It makes one to be as one of the fooles in Israel. And I (saith Tamer when Amnon defiled her) whether shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee thou shalt be as one of the fooles in Israel. 2 Sam. 13. 13. Amnon though a Kings sonne, though a brave gallant, yet by his uncleannesse he makes him∣selfe as one of the fooles in Israel, Deut. 23. 18. Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, nor the price of a dogge into the house of the Lord; they are joyned both together, for Scripture language makes those to be doggs who are uncleane and filthy. When Ishbosheth charged Abner with the sinne of uncleannesse, 2 Sam. 3. 8. Am I a dogs head, saith he, that thou chargest me with a fault concerning this woman? Many Adulterers goe very fine and spruce, many young wantons are bravely drest, but in Gods esteeme they are as dogges thorough their uncleanness. It is not a harsher title then the spirit of God gives them. I have read of a people amongst the heathen that condemned this sinne with death, and with a shamefull death according to the nature of the sinne, the death was this, they would have the adulterers or adulteresses head to be put into the paunch of a beast, where lay all the filth and uncleannesse of it, and there to be stifled to death, a punishment fit for so filthy a sinne. And as this sin is ever shamefull, so especially the more lovely any yoke fellow is that is forsaken, and the more vile and fowle the whore is, so much the more shamefull is the sin: Athenaeus bringes in Pla∣to, bewayling himself in his own condition, that he was taken so much with a filthy whore. It is more shamefull for Christians then for heathens, because they know that the covenant of mariage is the covenant of God, as Pro. 2. 17.

But further, corruption in Gods worship is most shamefull, for that is aymed at especially here. The shamefulness of corrupting the worship of God is exprest in that most famous Text we have for this purpose. Exod. 32. 25. Aaron made the people naked unto their shame, how was that, but by false worship though it was of the true God? In false worship, there is shame because in that a man subjects his conscience to vile things.

Conscience that is not to be subject to any creature, only unto God him∣selfe is here made subject to low and vile things. Indeed it is not shamefull to subject our consciences to God in the use of creatures though never so meane appointed by himselfe, but those that doe subject unto creatures in wayes of false worship not appointed by God, subject not their consciences to God but unto those creatures, and that is shamefull.

In false worship though there may seeme to be a great deale of humility, yet there is notorious pride and presumption,* and therefore much shame.

For a creature to take upon him by his owne fancie and conceit to raise up creatures higher then ever God hath raised them, to put higher respects up∣on Page  212 creatures then ever God hath done, this is boldnesse and presumption, yea to presume so far as by his owne fancy and conceit, to raise up the crea∣ture so high as that God himself according to the humors of men must come to be nearer men, and to be more present with these creatures then other∣wise he would. Thus men presume to bring God to be under their fancies, and is not this shamefull.

Further it is extreame folly, for we contradict our selves when we thinke to honour God and yet goe against him, when wee put high esteeme upon such things as are abominable and detestable. Marke that excellent Scrip∣ture for this, Ierem. 44. 4. I sent unto you all my servants the Prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, O doe not this abominable thing that I hate. Marke, God cryeth out with a kinde of shrieke, all my servants the Prophets I sent, saying, O doe not this abominable thing; It is a delight∣full thing 〈◊〉 your eyes, but abominable in Gods. And Ezek. 22. 3. they are called by a word that signifieth the very excrements that come out of a man they glory in them,* but he saith, they defile themselves by them.

When God opens their eyes they will see false worship a shamefull thing, and when they doe so, God will shew them the Excellency of his own.

You have an excellent Scripture for this, Ezek. 43. 10. 11. Sonne of man shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their ini∣quities, and if that they be ashamed of all that they have done, that is, of all their false worship, what then? Then shew them the forme of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the commings in thereof, and all the formes thereof, and all the Lawes thereof, and all the Ordinances thereof, and write it in their sight that they may keepe the whole for me thereof, and all the ordinances thereof and doe them.

Marke my brethren, you see how God standeth much upon formes, all the formes thereof, and the forme thereof: Let not us slightly account of any thing in Gods worship, of circumstances for God standeth much upon his own forme in his own worship. Many who have no Religion but a forme, yet neglect Gods forme. Men love to stand much upon their owne forms, let them know God stands much upon his formes, and it is no hinderance but a furtherance to the power of Religion to keep close to Gods forme, and if we would come to know what are Gods Ordinances (we cry out, O that we could but know what is the right way) this is one way for you to know: First, be ashamed of what you have done, be ashamed of your former false worship, and then God will shew you the Ordinances of his House, and the true beauty of his true worship: till then there are so many distinctions, and evasions, and objections that they never come to understand it: when God humbleth the heart, and makes ashamed of what hath been naught be∣fore, all the distinctions, and evasions, and objections vanish away as the mist before the sunne.

And the more excellent the Lord is, and those Ordinances are from which we doe depart, the more shamefull is that ••lse worship that our hearts doe decline unto.

Page  213She hath done shamefully, why? she hath forsaken such a husband, she hath forsaken the Lord JESUS CHRIST who is so lovely, she hath forsaken the blessed Ordinances that God hath appointed,* and turned her selfe to vanities of her owne. Cant, 5. 16. Christ is there said to be altogether lovely, there is lovlinesse enough in Christ to satisfie the soul for ever. And Ezek. 7. 20. As for the beauty of his ornament (speaking of Gods Ordinances in his Temple) hee set it in Majesty, but they made the images of their abominations, and of their detestable things therein.

Oh how shamefull was this! This sheweth the shamefulnesse of it, be∣cause God set the beauty of his ornament in Majesty. The Ordinances of God that he appointed himselfe, they are Gods ornament they are the beau∣ty of his ornament, they are the beauty of his ornament set in Majesty; and shall these beautifull glorious things be forsaken, for vanities of our own in∣ventions? This is shamefull.

She hath done shamefully for she hath said thus and thus; Here is im∣plyed, that the thing done was not onely shamefull, but that she was shame∣lesse in that she had done. She hath played the harlot, and done shameful∣ly, for she hath said, &c.

From hence the Observation is,

Sinne,* especially whoredome either bodily or spirituall, being let alone to grow to a height, will growe to an impudencie; those that continue in these, will grow not onely to doe shamefully, but to be shamelesse in their doings, Ier. 6. 15. Were they ashamed they committed abomination? No, they were not all ashamed, neither could they blush. At first sin may seeme to be a little shame-faced, but afterward it growes brazen-faced; modest a little at the first, but bold, and impudent, and daring afterward. True, in∣deed if men should be told before-hand what they would doe afterward, they would be ready to say as Hazael to the Prophet, Am I a dead dog that I should do this? Their hearts would even shake at the thought of it: yet when sinne hath hardned their hearts but a while, they will doe it, and that with open face too. Whoredome you know at first, it is that that eve∣ry man blusheth at, but within a while, uncleane ones can make their boast of their filthynesse, But especially spirituall whoredome, the corruption of Gods worship at first may be a little modest, but see to what a height it growes if in time this be not prevented. I will give you a notable example of this, and that is of Solomon himselfe. At the first we shall finde Solomon very modest in the matter of Idolatry. 2 Chron. 8. 11. the Text saith there, that he brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the City of David to the house he had built for her, for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David King of Israel, why? because the places are holy whereunto the Arke of the Lord hath come. Marke how carefull Solomon was of any pol∣lution, of any thing that had any seeming holinesse in it; My wife shall not so much as dwell in the house of David, I have so much respect to the Arke of God, to the worship of God, to those places that are holy that my wife Page  214 shall not so much as dwell there; But oh what did Solomon grow unto af∣terward he suffered Idolatry most shamefully, as we shall finde 1 King. 11. 5. there the Text saith, that he went after Ashoreth the goddesse of the Zidnians, and after Mileom the abomination of the Amorites, and built a high place for Chmosh the abomination of Moa in the hill that is be∣fore Jerusalem, just there he built it too, as if it had been in defiance to the Temple of God and his true worship, and that for Molech the abomina∣tion of the children of Amm••; and thus he did saith the Text, ver. 8. for all his strange wives which burnt incense, and sacrificed unto their gods.

This shamefulnesse he was grown unto▪ And thus we see it in experience; how faire are men in their wayes of superstition at first? At first it is one∣ly decency, that is all they plead for; well, afterward it riseth from decency to significancy, that is a little higher, to put them in minde. Thirdly, from significancy it riseth to efficacy, to stirre up the dull mind of man: Fourth∣ly, from efficacy, it riseth to necessity, that now it must be done, and the worship of God cannot be without it, and there shall be no ordinance, no administration at all without it. Decency, significancy, efficacy, and ne∣cessity, thus it riseth to be shamefull at last. So amongst the Papists in their traditions,* surely at first only they would come with this argument, What, will you not regard them as you would doe other bookes and other Histo∣ries? they are the traditions of our fore-fathers; but at length they came to this, in the fourth Sexion of the Councell of Trent, the Synod doth take & honour the bookes of the old and new Testament, and the traditions of the Fathers, with equal affection of piety and reverence as they doe them. To this shamefulnesse they grew to at last. And so for worshipping of Ima∣ges, why, it is it for the decency of Churches to have them, and they are but to put you in minde at the most; but at length they came to this, these are the very words, the same honour is due to the Image and to the Exemplar.

Lastly, from this amplification that she hath done shamefully; VVhen men doe grow shamelesse, impudent in evil, there is little hope of them.

I will have no mercy upon them, Why? For they have done thus, they are grown thus impudent. It is a good thing to keepe the bridle of shame as long as we can upon our children and servants, and any of our inferiours▪ therefore take this one instruction with you, be not too ready to rebuke and chastise your servants, your children, in reproachfull manner before others, left you bring them to that, that they shall see they have no honour to lose, and then there is little hope of them: Evermore keep such a hand over your children and servants as they may see they have some respect to lose,* that they may not be so ashamed by you, as for them to thinke they cannot be worse, they cannot be more disgraced, there is no such way to bring them to grow desperate as that is. It is very great wisedome in Governours to keepe the bridle of shame still, and not to let those raines goe, and this is the reason that your Bride-well or Goale-birds seldome or never come to good, why? because they have no bridle to keepe them in, they have lost Page  215 all their honour and they can lose no more, and there is no rational creature but would have honour, there is not the meanest servant you have but hath a kinde of respect to honour, and that will doe more then blows except they be grown to be very beasts.

But how doth he prove that it is shamefull? Thus, For she hath said, I will go after my lovers that give me my bread and my water, my wooll and my flaze, mine oyle and my drinke.

For she hath said: Hence first. Deliberate sins are most shamefull sinnes.

This is a proofe of her shamefulnesse, because that which she hath done she hath done upon deliberation,* she said she would do thus and thus, she con∣sidered before what she would doe, and yet she would doe it. Wickednesse committed de industria, ex consilio, of purpose resolved upon, this is very shamefull. Gal. 6. 1. It is said of Godly men that they may be overtaken with a fault: If a man be overtaken with a fault. It is one thing to be over∣taken with a sinne,* and another thing to overtake a sinne; a gracious heart may have sinne overtake it, but it is a shamelesse heart that overtakes sinne.

Secondly, She hath said I will goe. Whoredome either bodily or spiri∣tuall is usually very wilfull: as if she had said, let all the Prophets say what they can, let them talke out their hearts, I will have my minde, I will follow my lovers still. Thus it is with bodily whoredome. Those who are guilty of this usually grow extreame wilfull. Prov. 2. 19. None that goe unto her return again;*neither take they hold of the paths of life: It is a most dreadfull Scripture against all adulerers & unclean ones, There is none, saith the Text, make it out how you will, there is none that goe unto her return a∣again; neither take they hold of the paths of life, those are the words of the Holy Ghost, I leave the words with you. So Pro. 23. 27. A whore is a deepe ditch, and astrange woman is a narrow pit: they cannot easily get out, nor will they easily get out they are so▪ plunged in, 2 Pet. 2. 14. Eyes full of a∣dultery that cannot cease to sinne: why cannot they cease to sinne? it is not because they have a heart but no power, but their wills is brought into that bondage and subjection that they cannot will otherwise: therefore Ezek. 47. 11. wee finde that though the waters of the Sanctuary were very heal∣ing, yet saith the Text, the miry places and the maershes were not healed, miry, filthy, uncleane hearts are very seldome healed by the waters of the Sanctuary,* I remember AElian reporteth that there was a whore that did boast that she could easily get scholars away from Socrates, but Socrates could get no scholar from her, none of her followers. It is true, that a whore is prevalent, and when she hath once gotten them it is almost impossible to get them away from her. Therefore that place Heb. 6. that speakes of that sinne that is impossible to have repent anoe, Tertullian interprets it to be no other but the sinne of uncleannesse: The Author of this Epistle (saith hee) knew no promise of second repentance to the adulterer and fornicator; that is his expression, shewing how ordinarily those that are guilty of that sinne and are given up to it, grow wilfull in it: And therefore in Ephes. 4. 19, Page  216 these two are put together, being past feeling, and having given themselves over to laciviousness and want onness, wantons usually grow past feeling.

And for spirituall adultery, that usually is very wilfull too, for those that are left by God to that way of false worship,* to Superstition and Idolatry, they seldome returne againe but grow exceeding wilfull in that wickedness.

You have a notable Text for that, Jer. 44. 16. 17. the people say there, The word that thou hast spoken to us in the name of the Lord we will not heare, but we well doe whatsoever commeth out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the Queen of Heaven. VVee will goe on in that way to burne Incense to the Queene of heaven talk as long as you will.

And so you have it Jerem. 20. 10. Goe (saith God) passe over the Isles of Chitrim, and see, and send unto Kedar, and consider deligently, and see of there be such athing; Hath a nation changed their gods, which yet are no gods? Men are setled in the wayes of Idolatry, and will never give o∣ver the worshipping of their gods; but you have forsaken me: therefore be astonished O ye heavens at this, and be ye horribly afraid, be ye very de∣solate, saith the Lord. So Micah. 4. 5. All people will walke every one in the name of his god: Their hearts are set upon it, they will doe it.

Spirituall whoredome doth mightily besot the heart. I suppose you know the sext, it is a very famous one, Esay 44. 19. 20. None considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledg nor understanding to say, I have burnt part of i in the fire, yea also I have baked bread upon the coales thereof, I have rosted flesh and eaten it, and shall I make the residue thereof an abomina∣••? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? He feedeth on ashes, a seduced heart hath urned him aside that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand. And so Rev. 16. 11. where, those that were gi∣ven up to Antichrist, though they were tormented, they blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their pains and their sores, and they repented not of their deeds.

Thirdly,* wilfulnesse in any sinne, but especially in these sinnes, is a very great aggravation of it: I will have no mercy upon them, I will give them up, why? They have done shamefully, and they have said, I will goe after my lovers. There are a great many who in their passion think it a brave spi∣rit to say, I will, and I will, and I will, and I care not, say what you can, or whatsoever becommeth of it I will doe, or I will have this and this: Espe∣cially men in place and of estates are not able to endure the controlling of their will in any thing, and therefore when their wills are but crost, they burst out into outragious speeches, and fall a blaspheeming, and swearing, and saying they will have their wills, though it cost them their lives.

Thus we find it in the people of Israel, 1 Sam. 8. 19, when Samuel from God came and told them in a long narration what hardship they should endure in having a King that was not them according to Gods minde, they 〈◊〉 him all that he said, and they doe not stand to answer any of Samu∣els arguments, but presently they break out into this resolution, Nay, but we will have a King.

Page  217 Those whom God leaveth to hardnesse of heart, and intendeth ruine to, he usually giveth them up to this wilfulnesse in their evill wayes.

The Scripture records Pharaoh for a famons example of one hardned and prepared for ruine. He was of a most wilfull spirit. Exod. 15. 9. you shall find his wilfulnesse expressed foure times there in that one verse, I will pursue, saith he; and then again, I will overtake, and thirdly, I will divide the spoile; and then fourthly, I will draw my sword: and there are two o∣ther expressions that come to the same effect, that are equivalent to the for∣mer even in the same verse, My lust shall be satisfied, my hand shall destroy them. Put all these six expressions that you have in that one verse, together, and where have you such an expression of a wilfull creature as Pharaoh was? and what became of him you all know.

Only one more example I find in Scripture paralleld to this, and that is the King of Babylon; Egypt and Babylon were two the most eminent for Ido∣latry and persecution of the Church that ever were in the world, and these are the two most famous examples for wilfulnesse that ever were, Esa. 14. 13, 14▪ you have in these two verses five times I will. 1. I will ascend in∣to heaven. 2. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. 3. I will si upon the mount. 4. I will ascend above the heights. 5. I will be like the most high. And what became of him afterwards you all know, yea the next wods tell you, Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, &c.

These two little words, [I] and [Will] doe a great deale of mischefe in the world. Luther I remember npon Psal. 127. saith, I am of that opinion, saith he,* and verily perswaded, Monarchies would longer time by farre en∣dure, if those that are high Monarchs and States would but omit this one Pronoun, I, this same Ego. It is true, in publique wayes they express them∣selves in the plurall number, We, but private resolutions are in the singular number, I. This for that little word, I.

The second is Will, I will, that is a little word too; But I may say of this little Will, this little word, as James saith concerning the Tongue, It is in∣deed a little member in the body, but it setteth the whole world on fire, and it selfe is set on fire of hell. So it is true that this same little Will it is but a little word, but it setteth whole Kingdomes on fire, it setteth whole Townes and Cities on fire, and it is it selfe ston fire of hell, Bernard hath an ex∣pression, Take away Will once, and there will be no hell. O the mischiefe that it doth in the world! I will only say these two things to those that keepe such ado with these two little words, I, Will.

First, That which thou dost so much pride thy selfe in, and thinkest thy selfe such a man that canst say, I will and I will, know, It may be as heavy a judgement of God upon thee as can befall thee in this world, for God to give thee up to thy will.*

There is nothing wherein God doth more let out his wrath upon the chil∣dren of men here in this world, then in this, in giving them up to their will. Therefore tremble at this when thou hast so many expressions, I will and IPage  218 will doe this. I will give you a Scripture or two for it, sutable to the busi∣nesse: shevving the wilfulnesse of those that had their will in wayes of false worship, perhaps some of you may be set upon this, that you will have this, and let men say what they can, you will have this used: The place is, Ezek. 20. 39. Goe (saith God) serve yee every one his idols, and hereafter also, if you will not hearken unto me. Goe, saith hee, you will not hearken to me, you heare out of the word what should be the way of my worship in the purity of it, oh say you, that is novelty, a new thing, and you will not have it thus,* you answer not any arguments, but you cast it off, and say, you will not have it, wel saith God, go and serve your idols, if you will not heare me, if you beset upon your will, go and serve your idols, and take your fill of your own wayes. And Psal. 81. 11. My people would not hearken to my voyce, Israel would have none of me, they were all upon their will, they would not, and they would not: Marke what followeth, so I gave them up unto their owne hearts lusts, and they walked in their owne counsels. You will have your owne counsels, and your own will, and so God giveth you up to them, and then woe to you, you are undone.

Secondly, you that are set upon your wils in that which is evil, know God is and will be as wilful toward you as you can be toward him. Marke that notable Text, Jer. 44. 25. that setteth out the notorious height of wicked∣nesse that was in the people of those times who were so wilfull, You and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, & fulfilled with your hand that which is evill, you vvill not say onely you will doe it, but will doe it indeed. Well saith God, you have done so, you have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hands, saying, We will surely perform the vowes wee have vowed, we have vowed it, and we will do it, we have vowed to burne incen use to the Queen of heaven, and to pour out drinke-offerings unto her; you will surely accomplish your vowes, and surely performe your vowes; you will goe on in your false wayes of worship; mark what followeth in vers. 26. Therefore heare ye the word of the Lord, I have sworn saith the Lord, you have vowed, and I have sworne, I have sworne by my great Name, that my Name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah, in all the land of Egypt: and vers. 27. Behold, saith God, I will watch o∣ver you for evill, and not for good, and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be confirmed by the sword and by the famine untill there be an end of them. God will be as resolute as you for your hearts, as the stoutest sinner that liveth: you will, and God will, who shall have their will think you? Answer to this you stout hearted that are farre from God, answer to this you stout children, and stout servants, and stout wives, you will and you will. A wilfull man never wanteth woe. If you will be resolute in any thing, my brethren, be resolute in that which is good, be resolute in the work of repentance: say with David, Psal. 32. I will confesse my sins, indeed I had many thoughts to come and shame my selfe, and open all un∣to God, but I could not get it off, at length I grew resolute, and said I willPage  219 and I have sworne to keepe thy righteous Precepts; and as they Mic. 4. we will walke in the name of the Lord our God; and as Joshua, I and my Louse will serve the Lord, doe you what you will, wee are resolute that wee will serve the Lord. This is a blessed wilfulnesse indeed. Oh that 〈◊〉outnesse and wilfulnesse of many people might be turned to this resolution for God and for his truth! especially carry this note home with you, you that have had such often expressions of your will, you will and you will, and turn it un∣to the willing of that which is good, I will follow my lovers, sayes the Apo∣state, from God; I will follow my Beloved, who is altogether lovely, let e∣very gracious soul say.

Fourthly, For she said: She profest what she would do. Profest sinnes are shamefull sins. It is an evill for sin to lye lurking in any ones heart, but for sin to breake out into open profession, this certainly is a great evil: This is to prove that she had done shamefully,* because she said she would doe so and so. There is a great deceite in the hearts of many men, they are ready to say, I were as good say so as thinke so, I say so, and perhaps others think so, it were as good for me to speake it as to keepe it in my heart. My bre thren there are two deceits in this kind of speaking.

First you suppose that when you speak so, that therefore it is not in your heart, and you make this comparison of what is in other mens hearts, and in your mouthes, as if the evil were in your mouthes onely, and in their hearts onely, as if the comparison lay thus, they think and doe not speak, and you speak and doe not thinke. Here is the deceit, for if you speake you have it in your hearts too, you both speak and think, for so the Scripture telleth us, that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh; if you speak malici∣ously you have a malicious heart, if you speake uncleanly, you have an un∣cleane heart, if oathes be in your mouthes, you have a profane heart.

Secondly, here lyeth the deceit, as if you should have lesse in your heart because you vent it; as your passionate people will say, I were as good vent my minde and then I shall be quiet. Thou deceivest thy selfe; the venting of the corruption that lyeth in thy heart will never lessen it but increase it.

It is not with the corruption of our hearts, as it is with liquor in a vessell, that the more is let out the lesse is within it; but as it is with a fire in a house, that when it is kindled within and burstech out, there is not lesse within be∣cause it bursteth out, no, the more it bursteth out and flames, the more still brneth within: and as it is with water in a fountain, when it bursteth out of the fountain, there is never a whit the lesse water in the fountain, it may rather have the lesse by stopping, and fire may be lessened by smothering. Know therefore that professed wickedness it is aggravated wickednesse. It is true, secret sins may be more dangerous in regard of the cure, but they are more abominable to God in regard of the open dishonour that is done to him by them. The aggravation of the blood that was shed by the people, that God speakes of, Ezek. 24. 7. it is set out thus, The bloud that was shed, saith the text, it was not poured upon the ground to cover it with dust, that it might notPage  220 cause fury to come up to take vengeance, you did not conceale the blood, you did not cover it, but set it upon the top of a rock; what then? Not being co vere, but being professed and lad open, this did cause fury to come up with vengea••• against them, Gods anger would have been against them if they had shed blood though they had covered it; but to shed blood & not to co∣ver it, it causeth the fury of the Lord to come with vengeance. So you know he saith in that place of Isa. Chap. 3. 9. They declared their sin as Sodome, and hid it not: Woe unto her soul, saith he, woe unto them when they shall presume to declare their sin as Sodome. And as I said before, God will be as wilfull in punishing a sinner, as a sinner is wilfull insinning; so here God will be as professed in plauging, as thou shalt be professed in sinning for thy heart. That you shall see in that forenamed place of Ezek. they did not co∣ver the blood, well marke it, saith the Text, I have set her bloud upon the top of the rock that it should not be covered; Woe therefore to the bloody City, I will even make the pile for fire great, &c. I will be as profest in my plagues and punishments as you are profest in your sins.

My brethren,* if we will be profest in any thing, let us be professed in that which is good, let us do that as openly as we can, 2 Cor. 9. 13. the text saith there that God is glorified for their professed subjection to the Gospel, for their subjection of profession, so the words are. It is not enough for to sub∣ject to the Gospel, but there must be a professed subjection to it: therefore Rom. 10. 10. Confession with the mouth is there made as necessary to sal∣vation as beleeving with the heart, they are put together. There may be times that confession may be called for as well as beleeving, and as necessa∣ry to salvation. I remember I have reade of one Gordius a martyr, who when his friends came to him, and would have him keepe his heart to him∣selfe, & only with his mouth to deny what in his heart he beleeved was true, Oh no saith he,* it is fit for my mouth that was made for God should speake for God: And Zwinglius is of the opinion that we may even as well wor∣ship the Altar of Jupiter or Venus as hide our faith and profession when we live uuder Antichrist, such a speech he hath. The way to honour Religion & bring it into credit, it is for those that are godly to professe what they doe.

I knew once one that was noble both in birth and grace, and having to doe oftentimes with those of his ranke, greatones, that would be scorning at Religion under the name of putirrnisme, he would usually take this course, when he was to come into such company he would begin himselfe & owne himselfe to be one of those that they called a Puritan, and so he prevented them, and by that meanes prevented much sin in them, and much scorne of Religion by thus owning of it. It is certain, that the best way for the hono∣ring of Religion it for every one to owne it, though there be ignominous termes put upon it. If ever we were called to profession of what we doe be∣leeve, we are now called to it in these dayes. Certainly God professeth for us, God doth not onely respect us, but he doth professedly, he doth it open∣ly, Page  221 in the eyes before the faces of our adversaries. Let us not onely have God in our hearts, but professe his name openly before the faces of our adver∣saries. It is time now to do it.* It had beenewell if. you had professed here∣tofore when Gods truth called for it. It may be many of you may be found to be guilty in betraying the truth of God for professing no sooner then you did, but however betray it not now for want of profession, be willing now to professe of what party you are, that as wee reade of Jonah Chapter 9. when he was in the storme, and the marriners awaking he saith unto them, I am an Hebrew that feare the God of heaven, which made the sea and the dry land, and so he goeth on in making an open profession of himselfe.

My brethren, if we be not in a present storme, yet the clouds grow black, therefore awake you sluggards, you that are secure awake out of your secu∣rity, and now professe what you are, I am an Hebrew that feare God, whatsoever they talke of such and such men under such ignominious terms and titles, I am one of them, and I am willing to appeare so.

Many times you will be like Nichodemus you will come to JESUS by night, you are affraid to be seene: You would give in money to the Parli∣ment, and help to forward that worke God hath in hand, but onely you are affraid to be seene. I know there may be possibly some occasion to keepe some men in from appearing, but not many, the cases are very rare; Ordi∣narily, certainly it is not enough to do it, but to doe it professedly, let it bee declared who you are, and what side you take,

She said I will goe after my lovers.

If you say we live in wicked and evil times, it is dangerous to appeare, I may not onely keepe my heart right, but I will doe as much as another, but why should I appeare?

The worse the times are,* the more thou shouldest appeare. Mark. 8. 38 Whosoever shal be ashamed of me in this adulterous generation, of him shal the Son of man be ashamed when he commeth in the glory of his Father, with his holy Angels, If the generation were holy, it were nothing to appeare, not to be ashamed or affraid; but wee must not be either ashamed or af∣fraid in the midst of an adulterous generation. 2. Why should wickedness have this advantage, that it dares appeare, but godlinesse dares not?

3. If all should reason as you doe, what would become of the Cause? why should others venture themselves more then you? What is your flesh, your estate, your liberty more then theirs?

4. You must appeare for examples sake, to provoke others. This is a duty as well as any. 5. If the adversaries prevaile, they will finde you out, except you meane to give up your consciences to them, and then you will escape no more then others; to be sure you will not have so much peace as others who have most appeared. Fifthly, I will follow after my lovers,

Who are they? Either first they who they were in association withall, as the Egyptians and the Assyrians, (and so I finde some Interpre∣ters carry it) or thefIdols, and that is especially aymed at, but the Page  222 the other may beare an Observation, and perhaps both may be included.

It is a dangerous thing, very sinfull and vile for the people of God to joyne in aff••ciation with Forraigners that are of a different Religion,* to think to have help from them. The people of God, Jer. 42. were set upon this, to have their association with Egypt, and they could not be brought from it; and if you read that Story, it will appear to be very vile and dange∣rous; they seemed to yeeld unto God, that they would doe what hee would have them, and they would not goe into Egypt if he forbade it; but in Chap. 43. when Ieremiah had told them the mind of God, that they should con∣tinue in the land of Iudah, and not goe down into Egypt, Then spake A∣zariah, and Johaan, and all the proud men, saying unto seremiah, Thou speakest falsly, the Lord hath not sent thee to say, Goe not into Egypt to sojourn there. They are loth to break off their association with Egypt. I remember Gwalter in his Comment upon Hosea, though not upon this Text, telleth a story of the Grecian Churches, that in the yeare 1438. be∣cause they were afraid of the Turks breaking in upon them, they sent to the Bishop of Rome, that they would be under his subjection, meerly that they might have the help of the Latine Churches to keep them from the rage and tyrannie of their adversaries; but within a few yeares they were destroyed, Constantinople and the Empire were subdued, so as Heathenisme and A∣theisme prevailed, and this is the fruit saith hee of seeking the association of others in a sinfull way. But because this is not the chi•• thing that is aimed at we passe it by.

She said she would goe after her Lovers,* that is, her Idols. What those were we shall see by and by.

Idolaters use to keepe good thoughts of their Idols. They call them their Lovers, they look upon their Idols as those that love them; and hence they used to call them Baalim, from Baal, a husband. So it should be the care of the Saints, evermore to keep good thoughts of God, to look upon God as their Lover, as one that tendereth their good. Idolaters doe so to their Idols, shall not the Saints do so to the true God? My brethren, let us not be ready to entertain hard thoughts of God, it is a dangerous thing. Gods great care is to manifest to us, and to all the world that he loveth us, and he hath done much to manifest to us here in England,* and to our brethren of Scotland, that he loveth us and them. In Revel. 3. 9. the Text saith of the Church of Philadelphia, that God loved them. Forty yeares ago Master Brightman interpreted that Text of the Church of Scotland; Philadelphia signifieth as much as brotherly love: You know how they are joyned in Covenant one with another, and wee see that those that said they were Iewes, they were the Church, the Church, but proved themselves to be of the Synagogue of Satan, are forced to bow before them; and if they were not madde with malice, they must needs acknowledge that God hath loved that Church. And since God hath done great things for us, to manifest that he is the lo∣ver of England, let us then keep good thoughts of God.

Page  223 Seventhly, Idolaters highly prize the love of their Idols. They do not on∣ly maintain good thoughts of their Idols, or thinke that their Idols are their lovers,* but they set a price upon them, they said I will follow my lovers, I must make account of their love, they must doe me good for ought I know more then any thing you speak of.

It is true both of bodily whoredom and spirituall whoredom, I will one∣ly make use of one Scripture to daunt the heart of whore-masters and un∣cleane wretches that so much prize the love of their whores and whore-ma∣sters. You prize their love, but what get you by it? you get Gods hatred by it. You rejoyce that you have the love of your whores, and upon that God hateth and abhorreth you. Marke that good you will say. Thus, Pro. 22. 14. The mouth of a strange woman is a deepe pi, he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein. What get you by this? your whores imbrace you, and God abhorres you. If there be any whore-master, any unclean wretch in this Congregation, either thou art an Aheist or this text must strike thee at thy heart. Art thou in that way and yet not repenting, thou art the man that this day God tells thee to thy face, that he abhorres thee.

But how then should wee prize the love of JESUS CHRIST our husband? Cant. 1. 4. The remembrance of thy love is better then wine.

The Church prizeth the love of JESUS CHRIST more then men in the world prize their delight in wine.* And my brethren doe you prize Christs love, and Christ will prize yours, and that is observable, according to the degree and way of your prizing Christs love, so Christ will prize your love. Cant. 4 18. you have there the same expression of Christs love to his Church, answerable to what hers was before, Thy love is better then wine saith the Church to Christ, How much better is thy love then wine? saith Christ to the Church:

Eightly, I will follow my lovers. In bodily and spirituall whoredome there is a following hard after those things they commit whoredome with∣all.* I will follow them and not onely say they are my lovers, but I will expresse it by following of them. The heart of whore-masters and Idola∣ters do follow hard after their uncleannesse in bodily and spirituall filthy∣nesse.

First for bodily filthyness, observe whore-masters how they follow their lovers, Josephus in his Antiquities tells us this strange story of one Decius Mundus, that offered to give so many hundred thousand Drachmies, that came to six thousand pound English money to satisfie his lust one night with a whore, yet could not obtaine his desire neither. Will not you be content now who have been guilty of spending a great part of your estate, in a way of uncleannesse, now to doe as much for Religion, for God, and Christ, and his Kingdome, as ever you have done for your whores? If there should be any in this place that have beene profuse for their uncleannesse, and yet now are strait handed in these publike affaires, such as these are fitter to be taken out of Christian congregations, and to be shut up in slies.

Page  224 For spirituall whoredome, I shall shew you how superstitious and Idola∣trous people as they prize their idols, so they follow hard after their lovers.

You know that story of the children of Israel when the Calfe was to be set up, upon proclamation all the men and women tooke off their ear-rings and their jewels, and brought them to Aaron to make the Calfe. What a shame will it be to us if we should keepe our eare-rings, and our jewels, and things perhaps that have not seene the sunne a great while, that we should keepe them now when God calleth for them! Let women do that for God & his truth, for your own liberties & posterities that they did for their Idols.

Though you have care-rings, and jewels, and rings that you prize much, yet let them be given up to this publicke cause. And it were a shame that gold-rings should be kept meerly to adorn the fingers when the Church and State is in such necessity as it is. Away with your niceties now and your fineness and bravery, and look to necessities, and to the preservation of the lives and liberties both of your selves and your children, If you should see a malignant party come with their spheares and pikes, and your children sprawling upon the toppes of them, and their blood gushing out, what would your gold-rings, what would all your niceties and braver doe you good?

I will give you for this (because it is a point of such concernment) foure notable expressions in Scripture about Idolaters eagerness and earnestness of spirit in following after their Idols.

The first is Isa, 57. 5. The Text saith there, that they were inflamed af∣ter their Idols, they were on fire after them.

The second is, Jer. 50. 38. They were madde upon their Idols.

Thirdly, You have a text more sutable to that I am speaking of; It is Isa 46. 6. it is said there, that they did lavih gold out of the bagga. They did not onely give their gold rings that were of no use, and part with that which they could well spare, but they did lavish gold that was in the bagge: they would not onely bring some of it, but they did lavish it, for so the word is; and they lavished not their silver but their gold, and that not a piece or two out of a paper, but out of the bagge, they brought their bagges of gold, and did lavish gold out of them, and this they did for their Idols, Oh what a shame is it then that any should be penurious, and not come off full in the publicke cause of the Church and Common-wealth?

The fourth Text is Jerem. 8. 2. and there we have five expressions toge∣ther of the pursuance of the heart of Idolaters after their Idols, the like wee have not in all the booke of God in one verse. Speaking of their Idols. First he saith, whom they have loved. Secondly, whom they have served. Third∣ly, after whom they have walked. Fourthly, whom they have sought. And Fifthly, whom they have worshipped: and all this in this one verse, O how are the hearts of people set upon the wayes of Idolatry! I remem∣ber Cambden reports of a King of England, Canutus, that spent as much upon one crosse, a the revenues of the Crowne came unto in a whole yeer, Page  225 he was so profuse in charges about his superstitious vanities.

Master Calvin in a Sermon of his upon that Text seeke ye my face, hath this expression. Foolish Idolaters when they endure much in their pilgri∣mages spend their money, waste their bodies, and abused in their travail, yet they goe on, and thinke all sufficiently recompenced, if they may see and worship some Image of a Saint or holy relicke: Shall the beholding, saith he, some dead carrion or apish Idol have more power to strengthen them then the face of God in his ordinances shall have to strengthen us?

My lovers that gave me my bread and my water, my wool and my flaxe, mine oyle and my drinke.

What were these Idols? The Idol that gave their bread was Caeres, shee was the goddesse that the Heathens did worship for corne. For their water, Luna, the Moone was the Idol they worshipped for their drinke, and all moist things.* For their wool and flaxe Ashtaroth was their god: And for their oyle Fryapus. The seventy translate that which wee say here wooll, clothes; and that which we say flaxe, they linnen; and they likewise for the fuller expression adde a word or two more, and all other necessary things.

So they, though their Idols gave them all, flaxe, and wool, and hempe and all things. Observe from hence.

Idolaters have a great many idols to supply their severall wants.*My lo∣vers, in the plural number. The idols of the Heathen do not supply all good, but one one thing, and another another thing. And that is the difference be∣tweene the true God and Idols. The excellency of the true God is, that he is an universal good, we have all good, flaxe, and oyle, and bread, and wine, and all in one, in our God, in our lover. And that is the reason that God chalengeth the whole heart. Idols are content with a partiall obedience, be∣cause they are but partiall in bestowing of good things, but God justly re∣quires the whole heart of his worshippers, because he is an universall good to them.

My Lovers that gave me my bread, &c.

Marke, The end that Idolaters ay me at in their worship is very low.

They follow their lovers and are very earnest, for what I pray? for their wool, and their flaxe, and their bread, and their water, their oyle and their drinke. These are the things they aime at; they desire no more, they look no higher, may their flesh be satisfied, give them but-liberty to sport on the Lords day, to have their feasts, their wakes, merry meetings and they care for no more. Their spirits are vile, and accordingly is their worship. There∣fore their worship is external, it is bodily, because their aimes are at exter∣nall and bodily things. As a mans end is, so is a man, either base or honou∣rable. There are many men that cry out as if they aimed at God and Reli∣gion in many things they doe, they make a noise about Religion, and God, and Christ, and his Ordinances, and the publicke good, but the truth is, their aimes are at gaine and credit, and at their wool and their flaxe, and herein they shew the baseness of their spirits, like the lapwings that make a loud Page  226 cry, as if they were come neere their nests, when their neasts are somewhere else.* VVhatever their cry be for God and the publicke good, but if you marke them, their neast is in their wool, in their flax, in their profit in their honour and preferment, in these outward things. But the end of the true wor∣shippers of God is a great deale higher, they soare aloft, there is a spirituall heighth of soule whereby they are raised upwards by the grace of God. A godly mans feete are where a wicked mans head is, that which he account∣eth his chiefe good, a godly man can trample under his feete. He lookes at God himselfe, at his service, he worshippeth the high God: he is a child of Abraham, not Abraham but Abraham, what is the signification of that? Pa∣ter excelsus;* a high Father, for he is the father of children of high spirits, not only of Children that are beleevers, but of those that have high & raised spi∣rits, so Abraham signifieth a high father. Cleopatria told Marcus Antoni∣us, that he was not to fish and angle for gudgeons and trouts, but for Castles, & Forts, and Towns; so I may say of a Christian, he doth not fish & angle, especially in matters of Religion, for wool, and flax, and oile, he hath no such low and base ends, but at God, and Christ, and heaven, and glory, and i∣mortality, he lookes there; he serves God not for these things, hee desires these things, that by them he may be fitted more to serve God. One that hath beene acquainted with the free grace of God in Christ will serve God for himselfe without indenting with him, he will be willing to go into Gods Vineyard, and not indent for a penny a day. You that will indent with God in his service and will have your penny, you who have such low and meane spirits, God may give you your penny and theres an end of you.

But further marke,* there is another observation flowes from hence.

There ends are ow, they looke no higher then corne, and flaxe, and wooll, and oyle.* Hence it followes, that that way of Religion that men can get most bread, and wool, and flaxe, and oile by, that is the way that most peo∣ple will follow, because the hearts of most people are low and base, and they aime at no higher things. That way of Religion that most estate is got by, that can please the sence, that is the Religion that pleases most people. It is the speech of one Pamchtius an Heathen, Make me a Bishop, saith he, and though I be now a Heathen yet I will bee a Christian as well as any other:* He saw in what pompe the Bishops lived, and by that he thought it was a fine thing to be a Christian. By outward pompe and glory Antichrist draw∣eth many followers, they go where they can have most wool and flaxe, they can get most preferment that way. I remember a story I have read of AE∣neas Silvius, hee observed the reason why the Pope prevailed against the Councel, though it was a general councell, which hee said was above the Pope, though afterwards when he came to be Pope himselfe his minde was changed, but how came it to passe that the Pope alwayes prevailed? this is the reason, saith he, the Pope hath a great many places of preferment and honour to give, the general councel hath none, the general Councel can en∣quire after the truth, and present the word, and can tell what is Gods mind, Page  227 but it hath no honour, no promotion, no preferment to give, therefore alas the general Councel prevailes little; the Pope getteth all, and all because he hath Bishopricks,* and Cardinals places, and livings, and great honours to bestow. Luther in his Comment upon Hosea, and upon this Text tells a notoble story of one that he knew that lived like a Noole man by his many Ecclesiasticall preferments, who when he was at his table, and bread and wine was brought to the table, that was excellent bread and wine, he (point∣ing to it with his finger) said these are the things tha make me that I can∣not leave this kinde of life, and so after he came to be a Bishop, who had se∣veral Canon-ships before. So certainly these are the arguments that pre∣vaile most in the world, arguments taken from bread, and flaxe, and wool and oyle, are stronger arguments then any taken from the Scripture, then a∣ny thing taken from the honour of the Father, Sonne, and holy Ghost, When men can come with Sauls arguments, 1 Sam. 22. 7. Will the sonne of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all Captaines of thousands, and Captains of hundreds? what will you follow him? can he prefer-you? O no, he can doe little for you; so I say when men come with this argument, you go along in this way, I pray what will this bring you in? what preferment will you get this way? you may get preserment in the o∣ther way, this drawes, this prevails. It was a speech, not many yeers agoe, in a publicke Commencement at Cambridge, made by the Vice-Chancel∣our, speaking to the young Scholars, wishing them to take heed of being Puritans, what can you get in that way saith he? you shall live poorely, per∣haps you may have some three halfe-penny benfice in following that way; but in the other way come to be children of the Church, and then you may be sure to have good benefices, you may come to be Prebends, to be Deans, to be Bishops: Thus he perswaded the young scholars to take heed of Puri∣tanisme. There is a mighty strength in this Argument upon the hearts of most.*

Hence the poverty of Christ is great scandall and offence to most people, when they see that Religion will not bring them flaxe, and wool, and oyle, but that they must live poorely, they scandalize at this exceedingly.

It is reported in the story of Charles the great, that he having war with an heathen King, Aygolandus King of Africa, because this King would make peace with Charles, hee made some profession as if hee would be a Christian, and Charles was very glad of this, and got him to his Court to parley with him; being in his Court he saw 30. poore people that Charles fed, who were halt, and may med, and blind, and in a very poore garb, Charles the great did it on purpose, because he would have poverty before his eyes continually, that hee might not be too high in, and proud of his prosperity. Now when Aygolandus saw them, who are these saith hee? These saith Charles are the servants of God: nay then replyed he, if your God will keep his servants no better, I will be none of his; I thought to be a Christian, and to serve your God, but seeing those that serve him have Page  228 no better food nor no better rayment then these, I will be none of those ser∣vants. Thus it is with many, thought their consciences are convinced which is the best way, yet because of the want of flaxe, and wool, and oyle, they will not come off.

Further observe,

It is a shamefull thing for men to make Religion to be in subjection to their wool,* and corne, & oyle. They have done shamefully in this. Many wil do this,* but this is very shamefull. Before I shewed that it is shamefull to subject Religion to politique affairs, to the publique State of a Kingdome, but now to subject Religion to our owne base sensualities, to our own par∣ticular ends, for profit and preferment, oh this is very shamefull. Gain got∣ten this way, it is filthy lucre, as the Scripture saith of it, yet hujusmodi lucri dulcis odor, the smell of this gaine is very sweet unto many. What, is thy Religion serviceable to gain, to a trade, to sensuall lusts? what is this but to stop the holes of a mudd wall with diamonds and precious pearls? That were a folly you will say, that because you have a hole to be stopped in a mud wall, to put in diamonds and pearls to stop it, and to make such preci∣ous things serviceable to such base ends, thou dost as much, thou wouldst have that which shall be a content to thy flesh, and thou wilt make Religi∣on subject to that, thou art as base and vile in this. Religion my brethren is the glory of a man, the glory of a nation, and shall we turn this glory into shame? It is a base thing in Magistrates to subject the acts of justice to their base ends, for gain and profit; for a Judge, or a Justice of peace, or a Prelate to shew most favour where there is most flaxe, and wool, and oyle, where Butts, or rundlers of Sack, or the like are to be got, this is basenesse in them: But to subject Religion to such base ends as these, this is the villany of all basenesse. A generous spirit is far from this. It is observed of the ge∣nerous spirit of Luther, that when a Papist was vexed at him for his prea∣ching and writing, faith a Bishop, there is such a stir with this Luther, why do you not stop his mouth with preferment? As it hath been the speech of a Bishop here in this land, that hearing that a Kinsman of his was a zealous Preacher;* well falth he, let me alone, I will silence him; and indeed hee did, How? He gave him two livings, and that silenced him presently. So here, why do you not stop this Luthers mouth with preferment? He presently answered, That Germane beast cares not for money, he is above money. He called him beast in his anger, whereas he might have called him an An∣gel, because his spirit was above these things, his mouth would not be stop∣ped with them. Some mens lust of malice goes beyond their lust of cove∣tousnesse, like those Cockatrices,*Jer. 8. 17. that will not be charmed, it is a shamefull thing then that our zeale for God should not goe beyond our lust for gaine, to subject your Religion to flaxe, and wool, and oyle, it com∣meth from a base diffidence in God, as if he would not provide for us such outward things, therefore Luther hath this expression in his Comment up∣on Hosea. They followed their idols for bread, and wool, and flaxe, and Page  229 oyle, as if God would not give bread to his Church, or as if it were more safe to goe to the Devill for it, as if we could not have wool enough, and flaxe e∣nough, and oyle enough from God. Oh let us trust God for all, for our cloaths, for our meate and drink, for our estates, for our children, God cer∣tainely will feede his Church. And yet those men that have hearts so base themselves, they thinke it impossible for any man but to be taken with such arguments: They may talke of Religion and conscience say they, but I will warrant you they may be taken off with money, and preferment, places of profit and honour. They think it impossible for men to stand against these arguments. It putteth me in mind of that speech that Balaak used to Ba∣laam, Did not I earnestly send unto thee to call thee, wherefore camest thou not unto me? Am I not able to promote thee to honour? As if he should have said, Thou art a strange man indeed, did not I send thee word that I would promote thee to great honour, and give thee silver and gold, or whatsoever thou wouldst have? What will not preferment and money tempt you? I thought this would have tempted any man in the world. Thus many think that whatsoever mens Spirits are, they may be taken off with promotion and money: But let all such know that there are a generation of men in the world of true generous Spirits, that are above all these things, and take as much delight, and have as much sweetnesse in denying these places of honour and preferment, and gaine, as those that offer them have in the enjoying of them. It was a notable speech Plynie had concerning Ca∣to (It is in his Epistle Dedicatory to his naturall History) speaking of what a notable spirit he was, Cato (saith he) tooke as much glory in those digni∣ties and honours that he denyed, as he did in those he did enjoy, Certainly it is so with the Saints, the true generous spirit of Christians take as much content in those places of preferment they deny for Christ, as in any gaine they enjoy. There is no tempting of such men.

Let us pray therefore for those that are intrusted by us, not onely for ci∣vill things, but for matters of Religion, that temptations for bread, & corne, and wool, and flaxe, and wine, and oilemay never tempt them, that the pre∣ferment, and gaine may never byasse their spirits, may never sway them.

These meanes have been assayed (certain it is) totempt some of them with, such wayes have not been left untryed by some, and have prevailed, but tho∣rough Gods mercy he hath preserved others, and he hath made the world to know that Christ hath a people to whom Religion and the publicke good is more deare then all the flaxe, and wooll, and wine, and oyle in the world, then all the estates, and high places, and great preferments that can be offer∣ed them. And now the Lord our God keepe this in their and in our hearts for ever.

Page  230

The Fifth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 6. 7.

Therefore behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not finde her paths.

And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and shall seeke them, but shall not finde them: them shall she say, I will goe and returne to my first husband; for then was it better with me then now.

THe last day (you may remember) wee spake of that reason that God giveth in the former verse, why he would shew Is∣rael no mercy, because that she hath done shamefully, and said she would go after her lovers that gave her her bread and her water, her wool and her flaxe, her oyle and her drinke.

There are yet one or two observations (that time would not give us leave to speak of the last day) in those words. I will onely give you a hint of them, and passe suddenly to these two verses.

The first is this,* Prosperity and successe in an evil way is a great hardning of the hearts of men in their evil. I will follow after my lovers, for they give me bread,*and water, and wooll, and flax, and the like. I remember Euse∣bius reports that Maximilian the Emperour in an Edict of his against the Christian, crying out of Christian Religion as an excrable vanity, & seek∣ing to confirme the Heathens in the worshipping of their idol gods. Behold saith he, how the earth bringeth forth fruit for the husbandman in abund∣ance, how our medows are adorned with flowes and hrbs, and moistned with the dews of heaven, what health we have, and what quiet and peacea∣ble lives; and thus he goeth on in seeking to conforme the hearts of Idola∣ters in their wicked wayes. Prosperity in a wicked way is exceeding hard∣ning. That story of Dyonisius is famously known, having committed sa∣crledge against their Idol-gods, robbing their Temples, yet his voyage be∣ing prospetous, after he had ended his journey, hee boasted himselfe that though he did not worship the gods as others did, yet he prospered as much as they. In that yeere when those Innovasions in Gods worship were prin∣cipaly brought in amongst us, especially in that Diocese of Norwich, is pro∣ved to be a very fruitfull yeere; and one Commissary among the rest in his Court, after the harvest was taken in, speakes to the Countrey-men in this way, Doe you not see how God prospereth us? What a plentifull harvest have we had this yeere? This is since you began to worship God with more decency then you we•• wont to doe. Thus attributing all the goodnesse of God to that way. Let it be all our prayers, that God will never prosper us in asinfull way.

Page  231 Further, It is very observable how often this word My is iterated: Give me My bread, and My water, and My flax, and My oyle, and My wooll, nothing but My. We noted the last day, what hurt those little words, those particles [I] and [Will] doe: Now we are to consider what evil there is in this particle [MY]

Hence the observation is,* That carnall heatts looke upon what they en∣joy as their owne, and thinke they may use it as their owne; and especially such as are Idolaters. Though they will acknowledge that that they have commeth from the Idols, (as here they did, for they said their Lovers gave it them, yet when they had these things, they thought they might do with them what they would, then they were theirs, Mine, and mine, and all is mine.

Thus it is usual for carnall spirits to acknowledge in the general that that they have commeth from God, but when they have it, then it is their owne they think; they little thinke that God reserveth the propriety of what they have after he hath given it them. You mistake if you think that that is all the acknowledgement you owe to God for what you enjoy, that you had it from God;* but you must acknowledg like wise that God reserveth his pro∣priety after he hath given it you. God doth never give any thing in that way that one friend giveth to another; a friend may give you a gift, yet when you have it, it is your owne, and you may use it as you please, your friend parteth with his own propriety. God never giveth any thing so, as to part with his own propriety; though he hath given it you, yet you cannot say it is Mine, in respect of God, it is still his. There is no such bond upon consci∣ence as to use all the comforts we have for God as this, & see that all comes from him in the way of a covenant of grace. I say this it is that will lay a bond upon conscience, to make use of your estates, and of all you enjoy for God, and not thinke to employ them for your own ends: It is not the slight acknowledgement that Idolaters have, that all comes from God, will doe it; Carnal men looke upon that they have, comming from God through se∣cond causes, and no further; but a Christian lookes upon that which he hath as coming from God in a covenant of grace, and this engageth the heart strongly to use all for God, from whom all is received in such a way.

Verse 6. Therefore behold, I will hedge up thy way with thornes, and make a wall, that she shall not finde her paths, &c.

These two verses are the workings of Gods bowels of mercy towards his Elect amongst Israel, in the midst of the most dreadfull threatnings against her. They are as it were a Parenthesis of grace (in the Chapter) to the E∣lect, though mingled with some severity.

They are indeed the Epitome of the whole Chapter, for I told you in the division of the Chapter at the beginning, that those were the two parts, declaring Israels sinne, with threatning judgement, and yet pro∣mising mercy unto the Elect, unto some amongst them. The first part is from the beginning to the 14. verse, the second from the 14. verse to the Page  235 end; Only this 6. and 7. ver. commeth in the midst, as it were a parenthe∣sis, and containeth the sum of all the other; for hee was in a threatning way altogether in the 4. and 5. verses, and you shall finde him in the 8. vers. and so on, going in a threatning way again: Onely in this 6. and 7, verses is a∣budance of grace, though mixed with some severity, as you shall see in the opening of them.

For the explication of the words.

Therefore. This must have reference to some-what before, and answer∣eth to a Wherefore, Therefore, Wherefore? Because I have dealt with you by the way of my Prophets; in convincing, in admonishing, in threatning, and all this will not doe, therefore I will deale with you in another way.

Therefore behold.] That way of mine that I now speak of, it is a singu∣lar way, you shall find much of the grace of God in this way, a wonderfull way that I will deale with you in now, Behold.

I will hedge up thy way.] There is a two-fold hedge that God makes a∣bout his people; There is the hedge of protection to keep evill from them, and there is the hedge of affliction to keep them from evill.

First, the hedge of protection, that you have in Isa. 5. 5. where God threatneth that he will take away the hedge from his vineyard, he will take away his protection; and so it is said of Job, that God had hedged him a∣bout; but that is not the hedg heer meant, it is the hedg of affliction. I will hedge up thy way, that is, I will bring fore and heavy afflictions upon you, but yet in a way of mercy, these afflictions shall be but as a hedge to keepe you from evill, they shall not do evill to you, or bring evill upon you.

I will hedge p thy way with thornes.] That is, I see you will be going on in these wayes of Idolatry and false worship, I will make them difficult to you, you shall goe through thornes; if you will goe to your Idols, you shall not get to your Idols, but you shall be pricked. It is a Metaphor ta∣ken from a husband-man, who when the cattle will break over pastures, makes thick hedges that they shall not get over, they shall be pricked, it shal be with much trouble if they do goe over. So I will deal with you saith God. Or when a husband-man seeth passengers make a path in his ground too broad, and so spoile the grasse or the corn, hee layeth thornes in the way that they cannot goe into his corne; or if they doe, they shall goe with some trouble: so saith God, I will hedge up your way with thorns.

And make a wall.] Maceriabo Maceriam, I will wall a wall, so the words are. It may be they will get through the thorns, but though they do get through I have another way to deale with them, I will come with stron∣ger afflictions and they shall be of more power to keepe them from their same, they shal be as a wall, and though they get through the thorns, they shal not get over the wall.

That she shall not find her paths.] Mark the change of the person, that is observable, I will ••dge up thy way, first, and then I will make a wall, and she shall not find her paths; the person is changed, and so wee have it often Page  233 in Scripture, that is to signifie some kind of perturbation of spirit, that man∣ner of speech is usuall amongst men when their spirits are troubled, they speak sometimes in one person, sometimes in another: And indeed the Lord here speaks after the manner of men, as if his Spirit were troubled at the per∣versenesse of his people. Besides the change of the person here is to expresse some indignation of God against their perversenesse, therefore he speakes as if he would turn from them, and rather speake to some body else, as if hee should say, I speake to these, yet they are stubborn and stout, well I will speake to all that are about them, to all the beholders, take notice of their stubbornesse, and perversnesse, and judge between them and me.

And she shall follow after her lovers, but shee shall not over take them; and she shall seeke them,*but she shall not finde them. In the 5. ver. it was but I will goe after my lovers, Vadam, but here it is, shee will follow, from that root which signifieth persequor, to follow with eagernesse, it is not on∣ly sectari, but insectari, the word is the very same that is used for persecu∣tors, who eagerly pursue those that they doe persecute. Psal. 7. 5. David speaking of his enemies following of him, the same word is used that is here, save me, saith he, Lest the enemy persecute my soule, It is the same, and so the Seventy turn it.

Yea, and beside the form of the word, it being (in Piel) that signifieth to do a thing auxiously, and diligently, carefully, whereas (in Cal.) it signi∣fieth onely a bare doing of a thing: but when it commeth into forme, as those that are skilfull in the Hebrew tongue know that fignifieth to doe a thing with care, that solicitiousnesse, and diligence, so therefore it is turned by Polanus, anxie prosecutus est, She hath prosecuted or followed with a great deale of care. So that this is more then the other, for it seems that after she had some affliction she grew worse for a while, and was more eager up∣on her Idols then she was before.

But she shall not over take them. Though she be never so much set upon that way of evill, yet I will take a course to keep her from it, she shall not o∣vertake them. Yea

She shall seeke them,*but shall not finde them. The word signifieth to seeke with a great deale of endeavour, not onely to seeke in ones thought and minde, but to goe on to walke up and downe that wee may finde it, is by the Seventy turned by divers words that signifie a seeking more then ordinary.*

But shall not find them. Let them be never so set upon their ways of Ido∣latry, yet I will keep them from them.

Then shall she say, I will goe, &c. This shall be the effect of it.* One would think all this were nothing but threatning, oh no, it is mercy, for it is for this end, that she might at length say, I will goe and returne to my first husband, &c.

You may take them in the meaning of these versus, and the scope of them in this short paraphrase: As if God should say, Oh you Israelites, all you Page  234 have grievously sinned against me in forsaking me, and following of your lovers, sore and heavy evills are ready to befall you, even you my elect ones, upon whom my heart is for good, you have involved your selves in the com∣mon guilt of this wickednesse, therefore even you must expect to be invol∣ved in the common calamity that shall come upon the nation, and when you are under those calamities, know that I know how to make a differ∣ence between sinner and sinner, though guilty of the same sin, though under the same affliction, that what shall be for the destruction of some, shall be in mercy to others, it shall be but to hedg up your ways, to keep you from further sinning, to make your wayes of sinne difficult, that so your soules might be saved: and although your hearts will be a long time perverse, and will not come in and submit to me, yet I will so order things in the way of my providence, that at length I will so worke upon your hearts, that you shall come in and return unto me, you shal bethink your selves and remem∣ber what sweetnesse once you had in my wayes, and you shall take shame to your selves, and acknowledge that it was then farre better with you then it is now, and so I will remain to be your God, and you shall give up your selves to worship and serve me for ever. This is the meaning and scope of the words.

Now then having the words thus opened and paraphrased, take the seve∣rall observations, for they are exceeding full, and very sweet and sutable.

First,* from the generall the observation is,

Though such as are in covenant with God may for their sins be involved in the same judgement with others, yet God will make difference between them and others that are not in covenant with him: God will have other ends in his afflictions towards his people then hee hath towards others, though the difference be not in the things that they suffer,* yet the difference is very broad and wide in the ends for which they suffer. When the bryars and thornes are set before God, it is that they may be destroyed, the fire of Gods anger passeth through them to destroy them; but when God cometh to his people, though some anger be stirred up for a while, yet all the fruit thereof it is to take away their sinne.* See what difference God makes be∣tween some and some even under the same affliction, in that 24. of Jer. ver. 5. I do not know a more remarkable place in the Scripture for this pur∣pose, saith God there, speaking of the basket of good figges, I will acknow∣ledge them that are carried captive of Iudah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Caldeans for their good.* Though they be carri∣ed into the Land of the Caldeans, I will acknowledg them there to be my people, and it shall be for their good. Well now there was likewise a bas∣ket that had very naughty figs, and they were carried away captive too, both went into captivity, what doth he say of them? I will deliver them (saith he, vers. 9.) to be removed into all the kingdomes of the earth for their hurt. I will 〈◊〉 at their hurt when I deliver them into captivity.

This should be a mighty support unto the Saints under all their afflictions,Page  235 though the affliction be the same to sence and view with that of the wicked, yet you see the difference is broad. It is true, may the troubled heart say, there may be different ends of Gods afflicting some & others; hee may af∣flict some for tryall, and others for their sins; but what will you say if an af∣fliction come upon us for our sins? Is there a difference here? Yes my bre∣thren, though your afflictions come upon you from your sins, if you be in co∣venant with God, the difference still may hold, for so it is here, those afflic∣tions that here are spoken of, God calleth the hedge and the wall, they were fore afflictions, and they were for their sins, for their perversness, and yet God intendeth good and mercy to them in those afflictions: Here is the vertue of the Covenant of grace, it takes out the sting, and venome, and curse even of afflictions, that are not onely for tryal but for sin, they are to keepe you from greater misery; if God bring some misery upon you (it so appea∣reth unto you) yet being in covenant with him, this is the blessing of God u∣pon you, that those troubles are to keep you from greater misery that would befall you. That for the general.

Now for the particulars, as the words lye, Therefore behold. This infer∣ence therefore I told you it was as if God should say, thou wilt still goe on, notwithstanding all admonitions and meanes that I shall use by my Pro∣phets, therefore behold I will doe thus and thus, From hence we may ob∣serve, first,* There is even in the Saints such a slavish disposition remaining that they will stand out against God along time even against admonitions exhortations, convictions, and threatnings of his word. Not only the repro∣bate will doe so, but such is the perversnesse of the hearts of men, that even the elect of God will many times do so, this is a sore and grievous evill that it should be said so of them, for if there be ingenuity in the spirit of men, the very notice of the minde of God is enough to cause the heart to yeeld, and surely grace doth make the heart of a man ingenuous, and God expects that there should be melting of spirit at the very notice given of his displeasure,* yet behold even in the hearts of the godly many times there remaineth so much slavishnesse, that they will not come in but upon Gods dealing very hardly with them, they must have many afflictions, they must be whipped home before they will returne home, God must send the dog many times to worry his sheepe before they will come in. This God complains of Jer. 2. 14. Is Israel a servant? is he a homs-borne-slave? why is he spoiled? ver. 17. Hast thou not procured this unto thy selfe? So it may be said of many, even of the Saints when we see how the wayes and dealings of God are toward them, yea even God himselfe speakes thus, What, is such a one a servant? is he a slave? is not such a one my child? how is it then that hee must be dealt with like a slave, like a servant?

Secondly, Therefore, because one meanes will not do it, namely my Pro∣phets admonishing, and threatning, therfore I will do thus & thus, therefore I will consider of some other way to deale with you. The observation is.*

VVhen one means will not keepe from sinne either those that wee have Page  236 to deale with, or our selves, we must not rest there, but set even our braines on work to look after other meanes. What will not this do it? Is there any things else that possibly may doe it? That means then shall be used. Thus God (as we may speak with reverence) even studyes his administrations to∣wards his people when he is frustrated in one, and if that do not do it, he be∣thinks with himselfe, is there any thing else will do it? if there be any thing in the world can do it,* it shal not be left unattempted. God doth not present∣ly cast off his people, because they stand out against him in the use of one meanes. It is true, for others that are not in covenant with him, God is quick with them, and if they come not in presently, he cuts them off, and will have o more to do with them, but for his own people though they stand out long, yet God tryeth one meanes after another, and after that another.

This is the grace of God towards his own.

It should be our care to imitate God in this, when you are to deale with others that are under you, with your children or servants, do not satisfie your selves in this, I have admonished them, and threatned them, and perswaded them, What then? yet they will not come in: What will you have no more to do with them then? Will you cast them off presently? You should study what further course may be taken, study their dispositions, What do I think will work upon them if this do not? will faire meanes? will foule meanes? vvill any thing do it? if any thing will, you should labour to deale with them that way. So for your own hearts, when you are convinced of the evill of your own hearts, it is true your consciences will not be quiet unlesse you use some meanes against that sinne that is in your heart, well, but I have used meanes, I have layed the word to my heart, the threatnings, the promises to my heart, and I have followed Gods ordinances: will it not doe? will not my heart come off? Is there no other meanes to be used? what doe you say to the afflicting of your soule? Try that; you have layed the word to your heart, and you finde it doth not work, try the afflicting of your soules in humilliations, fasting, and prayer, for the overcoming of your sinnes.

Thus God doth, when admonitions and exhortations of the Prophets vvill not doe, yet saith God, I will try another way, I will bethinke me of some other course, I will hedge up their way with thorns, & I will see whe∣ther I can bring them in that way. These two from the inference Therefore.

From the note of attention,*Behold, we have an excellent usefull observa∣tion that naturally springeth up.* For God to make the way of sin to be diffi∣cult to sinners, is a most singular mercy. Howsoever alwaies it doth not prove so, but take it at the worst, yet it is better for the way of sin to be hed∣ged with thorns, & to be made difficult to us, then to have the smoothest way that possibly can bee. As it is one of the greatest judgements of God upon wicked men to lay stumbling blocks before them in the way of righteousnesse; so it is one of the greatest mercies of God to his chil∣dren to lay stumbling blocks ••d difficulties before them in the way of sin.

It is an 〈◊〉 way of Gods dealing even with reprobates, with those he Page  237 hoth no love unto, that in the wayes of godlinesse, in the way to life, he in his just judgement layeth stumbling blocks before them, and they ap∣peare very difficult to them, the hedge of thornes compasses about the way of righteousnesse to the wicked, therefore you shall finde it in Pro. 15. 19. that the way of the slothfull man is said to be as an hedge of thornes; that is, a slothfull man (who is a wicked man there) hee lookes upon any duty that he should perform as compast about with an hedge of thornes, God in his just judgement suffereth difficulties at least to appeare to him in the way of his duties, that makes him to have no mind to them. Now this is a grie∣vous judgement of God to cause the way of his feare to appeare so difficult, and so scare them from it, What should I medling with such & such wayes? I see I must suffer thus and thus, there are these and these stumbling blocks that I must go over, these and these troubles that I must meete withall, I were better sit still and be quiet, I shall never be able to goe through. Such stumbling blocks God layes in the way of godlinesse before the wicked, and they stumble at them & fall, and break their necks. On the other side, God in abundance of mercy casteth stumbling blocks in the way of sin before his people that they cannot get over, if they stumble, it is but to break their shins and to save their soules. But when the wicked stumble, they breake their necks, and damn their soules. But now the wayes of God are plaine to the righteous, Prov. 8. 9. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to him that findeth knowledge. Gods wayes are very plain to the god∣ly, and sins wayes are very difficult;* but on the other side, to the wicked Gods wayes are very difficult, and the wayes of sin are very plain. Oh un∣happy men, sayes Luther, when God leaveth them to themselves, and doth not resist them in their lusts! woe, woe to them at whose sinnes God doth wink, when God lets the way to hell be a smooth and pleasant way. That is a heavy judgement, and a signe of Gods indignation against men, a token of his rejection of them, that he doth not intend good unto them. You blesse your selves many times that in the way of sinne you finde no difficulty; if a whore-master, or a malicious man, who would accomplish his owne ends, find all things goe on as he desires, so that he hath not any rub in his way, no not so much as a prick, he blesseth himselfe. Blesse thy self? If thou knew∣est all, thou hast cause to howle, and wring thy hands, for the curse of God is upon thee, a dreadfull curse to make the way of sinne pleasant. On the other side, perhaps many of Gods Saints when they find the wayes of sinne somewhat difficult to them, they are troubled at it, that they cannot have their will. Troubled? thou hast cause to blesse God who hath thus crossed thee, for it is an argument of much love to thee. There is a Behold put to this, that God should be so mercifull to them, to make their wayes of ido∣latry and supersition difficult to them.

From hence these three observations:*I will hedg up her way with thorns.

First, there is much bruitishness in the hearts of Gods people. Not onely slayishnesse that was before, but bruitishness too: That is thus, they must Page  238 not only be dealt withall as slaves (hardly) and so be brought home, but as brute beasts, they must have some present evill upon them, or otherwise they will not return out of their evill way, except their sin be for the present grievous and troublesome to them. It is not enough (you know) to threa∣ten brute beasts, but they must have some present evill upon them, if wee would keep them from such a place we would not have them goe unto.* A man that hath some understanding, though he hath a slavish spirit, yet he may be kept for feare of future evils; but when a man comes to this, that nothing but present evils will keep him off, hee is worse then a slave in this, he cannot be kept from sinne by the exercise of his reason, God must also deale with him as a brute beast, God must come and let some present evill be upon him to prick him, or else he will goe on in an evill way. This is brutishness, even in the hearts of the Saints.

Secondly,* hence we may see the pronenesse of mens natures to Idolatry the way must be hedged up to keep men from it. It is not enough to fore∣warn men of it, but all means that can be used is little enough to keep off men. How wicked then is the way of many amonst us, who seeke to make the way of Idolatry too smooth, and plain, and open as they can! yea in stead of stopping such as have inclinations to it, they lay before them the inciting and intifing occasions which adde to their owne propension such delectati∣on as putteth them on forward with a swift facility.

Thirdly,* Afflictions to the people of God, are Gods hedges to keep them from sinne. The command of God is one hedge, and affliction is another. Therefore sinne is called by the name of Transgression, Transgression, what is that? That is, going beyond their bounds, going over the hedge; a man that sinneth goes over the hedge. And wee finde, Eccles. 10. 8. Hee that breaks the hedge a serpent shall bite him.;* It is true, in regard of the hedge of Gods command, he that will venture to break that hedge, must expect a serpent to bite him, must expect the biting of Conscience, the anguish and horrour of that: But when that hedge is broke, God cometh with another hedge to keep his people from sinne, so you have it exprest in Job 33. 17, 18. speaking of afflictions, By them, saith hee, hee withdraweth man from his purpose, and he keepeth back his soule from the pit. As suppose a beast be running to such a pasture, perhaps he doth not see the hedge, and it may be if he should run a little further, he would be plunged in a pit, and there destroy∣ed, but now the husbandman setteth a hedge there, and when the beast commeth just to the hedge, to the thornes, then it is withdrawn from what it was about, and so the life of it preserved; so it may be with a man that is running to such a place, when hee meeteth with something that hinders him, he is drawn from his purpose, and his soul is kept back from death.

You use to deale thus with your children, if you live in the Countrey neer ditches and pits of water, you will hedge about the pits, for feare your children should fall into them and so the hedge keepeth the Children a∣ive.

Page  239 As afflictions keep the Saints from sinne, as a hedge to them, so the diffi∣culties in Gods wayes keepes the wicked from God. VVhen difficulties therefore do fall out, it should teach us to consider what way we are in, why? for God useth to compasse about sinfull wayes, with difficulties, on purpose to keep his people from them. Well, I am in a way going on in it, I am sure I am compast about with difficulties, it may be these difficulties are but Gods hedges to keepe me from sinne; how shall I know that? for sometimes dif∣ficulties are but tryals of our graces, and they may be such as call for the stir∣ring up of our graces to breake through the hedge, so Pro. 8. 19. difficulties are said to be a hedge of thornes; they lye in the wayes of Gods people that are blessed wayes, then the worke of the Saints should be to stirre up their graces, and to breake thorough the hedge, though they be pricked, and their flesh torne, that is, their excellency, that they can breake thorough those difficulties, faith will carry through all difficulties in Gods wayes.

Therefore here is the triall, when I meet with difficulties, I must not for∣beare because there are difficulties, but I must examine, Is it the way of God or not? If it be the way of God, then lay aside the thought of diffi∣culties, if I have a rule for it let the difficulties be never so many, and the hedge never so thicke, yet I must breake through, and God is so much the more honoured by it: but on the otherside, if upon examination I finde the way I am in is not warrantable by God, then I must know that Gods end in laying difficulties in the way, is to stop my going on in it, and it is desperatenesse in me to seeke to breake thorow, in seeking to break thorow I may break my neck, therefore I must look to it that I have warrant from God for those waies I am in.

Oh that men would think of this when they meet with difficulties in their wayes! I might shew how the Saints have many times met with difficulties in their wayes, and yet have gone on with strength; That of Jacob is one of the most famous examples we have in the Book of God, the difficulties he met withall, and that in the way that God himselfe bad him go in. God bade him returne to his Father Isaac, and yet he met with sixe or seven pro∣digious difficulties, that one would have thought should have made him doubted whether he was in Gods way or not, and have caused him to re∣turne back againe. First, Laban pursueth him, and intends mischiefe gainst him; and Esau he in that journey comes to meet him with a purpose to destroy him,* his wives nurse dyed, and Rachell her selfe dyed in that jour∣ney, he had his daughter Diana defloured, his two sonnes committed that horrible wickednesse, in murthering the Sechemites: All these fell out in Jacobs journey; he might have said, Am I in the way that God would have me? Yes, Jacob was in his way, hee had an expresse warrant from God to goe that journey. Difficulties therefore must not discourage us, but we must breake through them; especially in these times. It were a low and poor spi∣rit, to be kept from a good way because of ••ew thorns, because of some dif∣ficulties that we meet withall in the way.

Page  240 If we know it be Gods way, goe through it in the name of God, let the difficulties be what they will. But if they be not warrantable by God, let the difficulties we meet withall stop us, for God intendeth them to be a hedge to keepe us from sin.

Againe, it should make us be content when any affliction befalls us; why, because it is more then we know that God intends abundance of good to us; It may be, if this affliction had not befallen thee, thou hadst undone thy self: If this affliction that thou doest sor riggle to get out of, and thinkest thy selfe so miserable under it, if it had not befalne thee, thou mightest have faln into the pit and beene lost, therefore be not troubled so much at the affliction, but examine whether it be not a hedge that God hath set, to keepe thee from a further misery. But it seemes that this will not serve, there must be a wall, as well as this hedge. Hence the observation is this,

The perversnesse of mans heart is such,* that he will breake through many difficulties to get unto sin.

We reade of Idolaters, who would cause their children to passe through the fire to their Idols, that was more then a hedge of thorns. We see it of∣ten that mens hearts are so strongly bent upon their sins, that though it were to passe through a great deale of trouble, though they prick and tare them∣selves, yet they will have their sin.* As that notable story that Ambrose tells us of, of one Philotimus who brought his body to grievous diseases, by un∣cleannesse and drunkennesse, and the Physitians told him, that if he did not abstain he would certainly lose his eyes, there was no help for him; as soone as ever he heareth this, he answereth thus, Valeat lumen amicum. Farewell O pleasant light, rather then I will deny my self in this, I will never see light more; he would venture the losse of his eyes, rather then lose the satisfacti∣on of his lusts. Thus it is with many, O what do they venture for their lusts! What an argument should that be to us to venture much for God, to indure hard things for the blessed God: though there be some hardship between us and our duty, breake through all to get to that duty; wicked men will break through great difficulties to get to their sins. There need be a wall as well as a hedge. VVell, if there be need of a wall, I will have a wall, saith God, I will wall up her way, though she may make a shift to breake downe the hedge, she shall not breake down the wall, it is too strong, and too high.

Hence the Observation is,

God when he pleaseth will keepe men from their sinnes in spight of their hearts,* they shall not have their way, they shall not have their desire do what they can. VVhen God sees Men set upon their wicked desires, if they be those that belong not to him, perhaps God may damne them for their wic∣ked desires, and yet they shall not have them neither; they shall goe to hell for them and never come to accomplish them. Saul, how desperately set was he to mischiefDavid? but God made a wall that he could not get to have his desire doe 〈…〉, Many, especially great Men, how strong∣ly are they set upon their desires! they must have it, and they will have it, Page  241 and they must and must, nothing commeth from them but must and will; well, they may be deceived, God knoweth how to crosse the most stub∣born and stout hearts that live upon the earth, that they shall not have what they would have in this world. I will make a wall. God doth thus make a wall about mens sinnes,* by sending sore and heavy afflictions, as about the drunkards way, when God brings some grievous disease upon his body, perhaps he is so stopped that he cannot drink, that is a wall about his sinne, that he cannot goe to it according to his desire: so the unclean person, God brings such a disease upon him, that hee cannot have the pleasure of his lust, though hee would never so faine: so when God brings poverty upon others, that they caunot follow their ambition and pride, doc what they can, these are as walls to them; but God doth not alwayes doe this in a way of mercy.*

I will make a wall. First, a hedge, and then a wall. Hence observe when lesser afflictions will not serve to keep men from their sins. God usu∣ally cometh with greater and sorer; I see some of them will break through the hedge, I will make a wall therefore, that is, I will come with stronger and greater afflictions, and so keep them off. Levit. 26. 18. If you will not for all this, saith God, turne unto mee, I will punish you seven times more, and I will breake the pride of your power; you thinke there is a power in your hand, and there is pride in your power, for power raiseth the heart up to pride; I will break it, I will never leave till I have broke your hearts in spight of you; and you shall find ein that Chapter four or five times mention of se∣ven times more. This is after the hedge, then there cometh a wall.

And they shall not find their paths.


God is able to strike men with blindness that they shall not see their way.* Though there be an evill way of mischief before them, yet God knows how to strike them with blindness, though there be nothing to hinder them in it, God can strike men with blindness one way or other, that they shall not bee able to see their way before them. We have this, this day exceedingly ful∣filled in our eyes, how doth God blind and befot our adversaries, that they cannot see their way? the truth of that Scripture, Job 5. 13. is this day be∣fore our eyes. He taketh the wise in their owne craft inesse, and the counsel of the froward is carried head long. How hath God taken wise men in their own craftinesse? & the counsell of froward men, their spirits are froward, be∣cause they are crost, they are vexed, & their counsell is carried headlong; God takes away their understanding, and doth baffle them in their own counsels. A notable Text we have in Psal. 75. 6. The stout-hearted are spoiled,*they have slept their sleep, and none of the men of might have found their hands. They are cast into a slumber, and know not what in the world to doe, they know not how to make use of that power they have in their hands; It fol∣loweth further in that Psalme, At thy rebuke O God of Iacob, both the charet, and horse are cast into a dead sleep.

Page  242 A strange expression, that a Charet should be cast into a deepe sleepe; the meaning is, they can no more tell how to make use of them, then if they all lay for dead, or asleepe. Let us not be afraid of the power of adversaries; suppose they had power in their hand, God can strike them with blindnesse, & they shall grope to find the door, they shall be baffled in their own waies, they shall not tell how to make use of their own power. Isa. 29. 14. Be∣hold (saith God) I will proceed to doe a marvailous worke, even a marvai∣lous work and a wonder: What is it? The wisedome of their wise men shall perish, & the understanding of their prudent men shal be hid: This is a won∣derfull thing that God will doe; yea, and he will mingle a perverse spirit in the midst of them, so you have it, Isa, 19. 11. Surely the Princes of Zoan are fooles, the counsell of the wise counsellours of Phaaoh is become brui∣ti; and verse 12. Where are they? where are thy wise men? And againe verse 13. The Princes of Zoan are become fooles, the Princes of Noph are deceived; and verse 14. The Lord hath mingled a perverse spirit it in the midst therof, they have caused Egypt to erre in his worke, as a drunken man that staggereth in his vomit. Here is the judgement of God upon Men, when he list he can blind them in their way that they shall erre in their worke, and they shall stagger in their own counsels and designes as a drunk∣en man in his vorit, they shall not finde their paths, they shall not know in the world what to doe.

VVell, Thus God dealeth with wicked men: But now let us consider this in reference to the Saints, to Gods own people, they shall not finde their paths; then the Observation is,

It is a good blindnesse for men not to see the way of sinne: It is promised here in a way of mercy, that they shall not finde their paths; this darkeness, it is not the shadow of death, but the way of life. It is rich mercy. I have read of one Maris, a Bishop of Calcedon, a blinde man, to whom Julius the Apostate giving some opproptious words, and calling him blinde foole, because he had rebuked Julian for his Apostacy; the good man answered thus, I blesse God that I have not my sight to see such an ungracious face as thine: So many may blesse God for their bodily blindnesse, because, it may be it hath prevented abundance of sinne that might have beene let in at the casements of their eyes; But especially for blindnesse, not to see the way of sinne, if we may call that blindnesse; It is a mercy that God doth not grant to all, it is a singular mercy to the Saints: For you shall finde there are a∣bundance of people exceedingly quick-sighted in the way of sinne that can finde the path there, and yet are exceedingly blinded in the way of God, and cannot find the path there: On the other side, that Saints are blinded in the way of sinne, but are quick-sighted in the wayes of God. How many men are wise to do evill, as the Scripture saith, they are able to see into the depths of Satan, they are profound to damn themselves, they can finde out such ob∣jections against the 〈…〉, & answer such things that are said against 〈…〉 devises & contrivances how to get Page  243 to their sinfull wayes, but when they come to the wayes of God, as blind as Moles, they cannot see such necessity of such strictnesse, they cannot under∣stand, men of great parts, great Rabbies, of great understanding otherwise, they have no skill in the wayes of God. I thank thee, O Father Lord of hea∣ven and earth (saith Christ) that thou hast hid these things from the wise and learned, and hast revealed them unto babes: Whereas on the other side, you shall find that the Saints are able when they come to Gods waies, to see farre into the excellency and glory of them, they have understanding there, though they be but weake otherwise, they can see into the great my∣steries of God,* into the beauty of his wayes, so that it dazeleth all the glory of the world in their eies, they are not easily catched with temptations, but can see into the subtilties of the devill that would draw them out of Gods waies; but when they come to the wayes of sin, there they want understan∣ding, and it is Gods mercy to them to doe so; there they are but bunglers, they do but grope as blinde men, they are not their crafts masters, they are not cunning artists in those waies, but as the Apostle saith, 2 Cor. 1. 1. Wee have not received the spirit af the world, wee cannot shift for our selves as the men of the world can, we cannot be so cunning to contrive such plots, & tricks, and devices for our owne ends as the men of the world can, but wee have received the Spirit of God, we can understand things there (through Gods mercy) to eternal life. There are many men cunning for their own destruction, they can find every secret path of sin, though sin be a labyrinth, they can goe up and down in it, finde out ever by-path in that way. When the waies of God are propounded to wicked men, there is a mist before their eyes, they cannot see, & when the wayes of sin are propunded to the Saints, God in mercy cafteth a mist before their eies that they cannot see. Eccles. 10. 15. The foole knoweth not how to goe to the City; wicked men they know not the path to the Church of God, to the Ordinances of God, they talke much about such and such Ordinances, and setting up of Christ in the way of his Ordinances, but they doe not see the way of it, they know not what the true worship of God meaneth; No, a foole doth not understand the way to the City of God, he cannot finde out that path.

But the Saints, though they know not the wayes of sinne, yet they can finde out the paths of God, they know the way to the City, Possidonius tells us a Austin, that when there was wait laid for his life, thorough Gods providence he mist his way, and so his life was preserved, and his enemies disappointed. So many times when you are going on in such a way of sin, perhaps you little thinke what danger there is in it; God in mercy therefore casteth a mist before your eies, and you misse that way and save your lives.

Ver. 7. She shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them, &c.*The Observation is,

Untill God subdues the hearto himselfe, men will grow worse and worse in their sinnes; yea, even Gods Elect ones to whom hee intendeth mer∣cy at last, yet till God commeth with his grace to subdue their hearts, Page  244 they may grow worse and worse: they would before goe after their lovers, and now here commeth afflictions upon them, yet still they will follow their lovers, and that with more eagernesse of affection, and with more violence then before. Afflictions in themselves are part of the curse of God, and there is no healing vertue in them, but an inraging quality to stir up sinne, till God sanctifie them by his grace, & God may suspend for a time the sancti∣fying worke of his grace to those he intended good to at last. Isa, 51. 20. The Text speakes of some whose afflictions were not sanctified, That they lye as a wild bull in a net in the streets, and they were full of the fury of the Lord; They were full of the fury of the Lord, and yet lay like a wild Bull in a net, in a raging manner. This distemper of heart proceeds from two grounds.

1. When outward comforts are taken away by affliction, the sinner ha∣ving no comfort in God, he knows not where to have comfort but in his sin, if conscience be not strong enough to keep from it, he runs madly upon it.

2. Because he thinks that others looke upon him as one opposed by God for his sin, therefore that he may declare to all the world that he is not daun∣ted at all, nor that he hath no misgiving thoughts, (though perhaps hee hath nipping gripes within) yet he will put a good face upon it, and follow his wayes more eagerly then formerly.

A second observations; She shall follow, but she shall not overtake,

A man may follow after the devises of his owne heart,* and may be disappointed; he may not overtake them. There is a great deale of diffe∣rence betwixt following Gods wayes, and our owne wayes; there was ne∣ver any in the world that was disappointed (if he knew all) in following Gods wayes, but he got, either the very thing he would have, or something that was as good, if not better for him: but in the wayes of sinne, in our owne wayes we may meet with disappointment; why should we not then rather follow God then follow our own desires? The desires after sin, as they are Desideria futilia, so they are Desideria inutilia, as one speakes; as they are foolish, so they are fruitlesse desires, they doe not attaine what they would have. How hath God disappointed men in our dayes they have not over∣taken what they greedily sought after; Our adversaries blessed themselvs in their designes, they thought to have their day, they propounded such an end, and thought to have it, but how hath God disappointed them! But whether God hath done this in mercy to them, (as it is spoken of here) that we know not, we hope God hath crost some of them in a way of mercy, though per∣haps he may deale in another way with other of them.

But further,

Disappointment in the way of sinne is a great mercy.*

As satisfaction in sin is a judgement of God, and a fearfull judgement, so disappointment in sin is a mercy and a great mercy, Prov. 14. 14. there you shall find, That the back-slyder in heart shall be filled with his own wayes: A dreadfull threatning to back-slyders and apostates; when God hath no Page  245 intention of love and mercy for backsliders, God will give them their owne devices, they shall have their fill in their owne wayes; you would have such a lust, you shall have it, you shall be satisfied to the full, and blesse your selves in your owne wayes. This is the judgment of God upon backsliders: but for the Saints, when they would have such a way of sin, God will disap∣point them, they shall not have it. We account it ordinarily very grievous to be disappointed of any thing, and many times I have had this meditation upon it; What, doth it trouble the hearts of men to be disappointed almost in any thing? Oh what a dreadfull vexation and horror will it be for a man to see himself disappointed of his half hopes! Remember when you are trou∣bled at any disappointment, what will be the terrour then and anguish of spirit if it should prove that any of you should be disappointed of your hopes for eternity! But those whom God doth often disappoint in the way of sin, they may have hope that God will deliver them from that great disappoint∣ment.

And againe yet further, Shee would have her Idols, but God will take them away, shee shall not have them saith God, though shee follow after them, and have a great mind to them, yet they shal not overtake them. God will remove them from their Idols, or their Idols from them, (that is the meaning) they should not come to their Dan or Bethel, they should either be removed far enough from their calves, or the calves from them.

Thus it should be with Governours,* they should take such a course as to take away Idols and superstitious vanities from those that will be worship∣ping of them, and sinning against God by them; Either take them away from those vanities, or their vanities from them, they should not so much as suffer those things to stand to be inticements and snares for the hearts of people, though they be very brave, and abundance of gold and excellent artificiall work be about such things, yet Deut. 7. 25. Thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein, but thou shalt utterly destroy it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it, for it is a cursed thing. You shall not look upon the bravery of the worke of their Idols, and upon the great cost that is bestowed upon them, and there∣fore spare them because of that, oh no, but take them away, that men may not be insnared by them; So God will do.

Further in the fifth place,*They shall follow after their lovers, but shall not overtake them. Idolaters hearts are after their Idols when they cannot get them.* Though they cannot get them, yet they will be following of them. It is of an excellent use for us, so it should be with us in the pursuing after Gods ordinances; though perhaps for the present we cannot enjoy the Ordinances of God, yet be sure to keep our hearts working after them. Ma∣ny deceive themselves in this, they think, we would have all the Ordinances of God, but we see we cannot, and so upon that we sit still & mind no more seeking after them, neither doe they labour to keepe their hearts in a burn∣ing desire after them; and hence many times it is, that the opportunities of enjoying them are let slip.

Page  246 But now if thou canst not have the beauty of an ordinance, if thou keep∣est thy heart in a burning desire after it in the use of all means for the attain∣ing it, know then, that the want of an ordinance is an ordinance to thee.

You shall finde in the English Chronicle of Edward the first, that he had a mighty desire to goe to the holy land, and because he could not goe thither, he gave charge to his sonne upon his death-bed that he should carry his heart thither, and he appointed 32000. pound to defray the charges of carrying his heart to the holy land, out of a superstitious respect he had to that place, though hee could not attaine it his heart should. Thus should our hearts worke after Ordinances.

And now we come to the close, and that is the blessed fruit of all this, she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them, and shee shall seeke them, but she shall not finde them.

VVhat followeth after all this? Now commeth in the close of mercy, for saith the Text, Then shall shee say, I will goe and returne to my first hus∣band, for then was it better with me then now. Now they shall returne, at length they shall bethinke themselves.

Hence we have likewise many sweet and excellent Observations.

As First,* In times of affliction the only rest of the soul is to return to God.

They keepe a rigling, and a stirre, and a shifting up and downe to provide for themselves, yea but they could finde no rest in what they did, but as a poor prisoner that is shakled keeps a stir with his chaines, but instead of get∣ting any freedom he galls his legs: but when the poor soul after all shiftings, and turnings, and vexings, comes to thinke of returning to the Lord, and of humbling and repenting it selfe before him, now it findes rest. Returne to thy rest, O my sole; so the words are. Remember after all your afflicti∣ons here is your rest in returning to the Lord.

Secondly,*Then they shall say, that is when they are so stopped in their way that they cannot tell in the world what to do, when they are hedged, and wal∣led, and cannot overtake their lovers, then they shall returne to the Lord.

Hence the Observation is, so long as men can have any thing in their sin∣full way to satisfie themselves withall, they will not returne to God: There is that perversnesse of spirit in men: Onely when men are stopped in the way o sinne, that they can have no satisfaction nor no hope, then they begin to think of returning to God.

This is the vilenesse of the spirits of men, they never or very rarely will come off to God till then. As the Prodigall, what shift did he make? hee goes to the farmer, to the swine, to the huskes to fill his belly, and it is likely if he had had his belly full of them he would never have thought of going to his father, but when he came to the huskes and could not tell how to fill his belly there, when he was in a desperate estate, then he beginneth to thinke of returning to his father. So you have it Isa, 57. 10. Yet saidest thou not, where is no hope, thou hast found the life of thy hands, therefore thou wast not grieved; thou wast not brought to such a desperate stand as to say the Page  247 is no hope, that noteth that till men be brought to such a stand that they can say, certainly there is no hope or helpe this way, they will seldome thinke of returning to God.* Thus is God infinitely dishonoured by us, It is very strange how the hearts of men will hanker after their sinne this way, and that way, till God take them quite off from hope of comfort by it, they will ne∣ver have a thought to returne unto God; God is faine to be the last refuge, we account our selves much dishonoured when we are the last refuge, when no body will I must. It seemes God is saine to yeeld to this, when no body will give satisfaction to the soul,* then men come to God, and God must.

But you will say, will ever God accept of such a one? Marke the next ob∣servation; returning to God, if it be in truth, though it be thus after wee have sought out for all other helpes, yet God is willing to accept of it.

This is an observation full of comfort, the Lord grant it may not be abu∣sed, but it is the word of the Lord, and it is a certaine truth, that returning after men have sought other meanes, and can finde no help, though they are driven to it by afflictions, yet it may be accepted by God. It is true, man will not accept upon these termes, but the thoughts of God are as sarre a∣bove the thoughts of men as the heaven is above the earth. It is true indeed some time God will not, nay God threatneth Pro. 1. 28. though they call upon him he will not answer, though they seee him early, yet shall not finde him. God is not thus gracious to all, therefore you must not presume up∣on it: God some time at the very first affliction hardneth his heart against men, that he will never regard them more, for his mercy is his owne; but those that are in covenant with him, though they come to him upon such termes, yet they may be accepted of him; therefore take this trueth for helping of you against this fore temptation, when you are in affliction, which will be apt to come in, Oh I cry to God now in my affliction, I should have done it before, surely God will not heare me now.

This may be a temptation; I confesse I cannot speake in this point with∣out a trembling heart lest it be abused, but the Text presents it fairely to you, and you must have the minde of God made known unto you though others abuse it,*Psal. 88. 9. Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction, Lord I have called daily upon thee: This is spoken of Heman, and God did accept of him as it is apparrent in the Psalm, yet he cryed by reason of affliction; and Psal. 120. 1. In my distresse I cryed unto the Lord and he heard me; though it were in my distresse, yet the Lord heard me.

Onely take this one note about it,

It is true, Though our being stopped in all other wayes may make us cry to God, and God may heare us, but when God doth hear us, he works more then crying out by reason of that affliction; though at first our af∣fliction be the thing that carryeth ns unto God, yet before God hath done withus, and manifest and any acceptance of us, hee workes our hearts to higher aymes then deliverance from our affliction.

Againe further, I will goe and returne.

Page  247 A heart effectually wrought upon by God is a resolute heart to returne to God. As they were resolute in their way of Idolatry, I will follow after my lovers; so their hearts being converted, they shall be as resolute in Gods wayes, she shall say, I will returne to my first husband.

When God will worke upon the heart to purpose, he causeth strong argu∣ments to fasten upon the spirit, and nothing shal hinder it, no not father, nor mother, nor the dearest friend. Perhaps the Lord beginneth to worke upon the child, and the father scornes him, and the mother perhaps saith, What shall we have of you now? a Puritane? This grieveth the spirit of the child, yet there are such strong arguments fastned by God upon his heart, that it carryeth him thorough, he is resolute in his way, he will returne.

Further, Those who have ever found the sweetnesse of Christ in their hearts, have yet something remaining, that though they should be apostates, will at length draw them to him. Christ hath such hold upon their hearts as at one time or other he will get them in again, there will be some sparkes under those embers that will flame and draw the soule to returne againe to Christ. Therefore if any of you ever had any friends in whom you were ve∣rily perswaded there was a true work of grace, though they be exceedingly apostatized from Christ, do not give over your hope, for if ever there were any true tast of the sweetnesse that is in Christ, Christ hath such a hold upon their hearts, that he will bring them in again one time or other.

Further, I will return to my first husband, for them was it better with me.

There is nothing gotten by departing from Christ.* You goe from the bet∣ter to the worse when ever you depart from him; What fruit have you in those things,*whereof you are now ashamed? I the Lord (saith God, Isa, 48 17.) teach to profit; sinne doth not teach to profit, you can never get good by that, but the Lord teacheth to profit. It may be you may think to gaine something by departing from Christ,* but when you have cast up all the gain, you may put it into your eye, and it will doe you no hurt. Job, 27. 8. It is a notable place. What is the hope of the hypocrie, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? Perhaps a hypocrite that is departed from God, a back-flider, that was forward before in the way of godlinesse, and now like Dema he hath forsaken those wayes and cleaved to the world, he thinkes he hath gained, and perhaps is grown richer, and liveth braver then before, yet what hope hath this back-slyder, this hypocrite, when God tak∣eth away his soul? then he will see that he hath gotten nothing. As it is said of the Idolater, Isay, 44. 20, A deceived heart hath turned him aside, he feeds upon ashes, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lye in my right hand? What shall there be more in a lust then in the blessed God? then in JESUS CHRIST who is the glory of Heaven, the de∣light of Angels, the satisfaction of the Father himselfe? Can a lust put thee into a better condition then Christ, who hath all fulnesse to satisfie the soul of God himself? certainly it cannot be.

Againe,* There must be a sight and an acknowledgement of our shame∣full Page  249 folly, or else there can be no true returning unto God; I will goe and re∣turn to my first husband, for then it was better with mee then now. As if the Church should say, I confesse I have plaid the foole, I have done shame∣fully, I have loft by departing from Christ, it was better farre then it is now. Ier. 3. 25. We lie downe in our shame, and our confusion covereth us, for wee have sinned against the Lord our God, saith the Church there; so it should be with all that come in to return to Christ, they must lie downe in their shame.

This I note as very seasonable in these times, we have many now who not long since have been very vile apostates, they have gone with the times, they saw preferment went such a way, and their hearts went that way; Now they see they cannot have preferment in that way they went, and God of his mercy hath changed the times, they will bee Converts: Wee have in England many parliamentary Converts, but such as wee are not to confide in.

Why should wee not confide in them?* If they will repent and returne, God accepteth them, and why should not we? It is true, such an one was before an enemy, and followed superstitious vanities, but now he is grown better, and preacheth against them, and why should not wee receive him?

To that I answer,* It is true, if deep humiliation have gone before that re∣formation, if together with their being better they have been willing to shame themselves before God and his people, to acknowledg their folly in departing from God, and be willing to professe before all that knew them, and have been scandalized by them.* It is true, God began with mee, and shewed me his wayes when I was young, I began to love them, and to walk in them: but when I saw how the times went, and preferment went, the Lord knows I had a base time-serving heart, I went away from God, they were no arguments that satisfied my conscience, but meerly livings and pre∣ferment, and now I doe desire to take shame and confusion of face to my selfe: Woe unto me for the folly and falsenesse of my heart, it is the infinite mercy of God ever to regard such a wretch as I. If they do thus take shame to themselves, and acknowledg their folly, this were something. We read in the Primitive times of one Ecebolius, who when he had revolted from the Truth, he cometh to the congregation, and falling down upon the threshold, cryeth out, Calcate, Calcate insipidum salem, tread upon me unsavory salt, I confesse I have made my selfe unsavory salt by departing from the Truth, let all tread upon me. This was a signe of true returning when this went before, we have done foolishly, it was better with us then now.

Againe, I will goe and returne, for it was better with mee then it is now:


Though acknowledgement must goe before,* yet returning must follow that. It is not enough to see and acknowledg, but there must be a returning: Page  250 For as reformation without humiliation is not enough, so humiliation with∣out reformation suffices not.* And I speak this the rather, because these are times wherein there is a great deale of seeming humiliation, and wee hope true humiliation: but you shall have many in their fasting days will acknow∣ledge how finfull,* how vile, how passionate they have been in their families, how worldly, what base selfe-ends they have had, and they will make such catalogues of their sins in those dayes of their humiliation, as causes admirati∣on: the thing itselfe is good, but I speak to this end, to shew the horrible wickednesse of mens hearts, that after they have ripped up all their sinnes, with all aggravations, acknowledged all their folly of their evill ways against God, yet no returning, after all this as passionate in their famlies, as frow∣ard, as peevish, as perverse as ever, as earthly as ever, as light and vaine in their carriage as ever. They will acknowledge what they have done, but they will not returne. Remember humiliation must goe before reforma∣tion, but Reformation must follow after Humiliation.

But the chiefe point of all is behind,* that is, The sight of this, how much better it was when the heart did cleave to Christ, over it is now, since depar∣ture from Christ, it is an effectuall meanes to cause the heart to returne to him. This is the way that Christ himselfe prescribed, Rev. 2. 5. Remem∣ber whence thou art falne, and repent. Thou wert in a better condition once then now thou art, oh come in and return, and that thou maist returne, re∣member whence thou art falne.

I will give but a little glimpse of what might be said in this point more largely.

The reasonings of the heart in the sight of this may briefely bee hinted thus:

Heretofore I was able through Gods mercy to look upon the face of God with joy.* When my heart did cleave to him, when I did walke close with God, then the glory of God shined upon mee, and caused my heart to spring within me every time I thought of him: But now, now, God knows, though the world takes little notice of it, the very thoughts of God are a ter∣rour to mee, the most terrible object in the world is to behold the face of God. Oh it was better with me then it is now.

Before this my apostasie I had free accesse to the Throne of Gods grace, I could come with humble and holy boldnesse unto God, and poure out my soule before him, such a chamber, such a closet can witnesse it: But now I have no heart to pray, yea I must be haled to it, meerely conscience pulleth me to it; yea every time I goe by that very closet where I was wont to have that accesse to the throne of grace, it strikes a terrour to my heart; I can ne∣ver come into Gods presence but it is out of slavish feare. Oh, it was better with me then, then it is now.

Before, Oh the sweet communion my soule enjoyed with Jesus Christ! one dayes communion with him, how much better was it then the enjoy∣ment of all the world! But now Jesus Christ is a stranger to mee, and I a stranger to him.

Page  251 Before, oh those sweet enlargements that my soule had in the ordinances of God! when I came to the word, my soule was refreshed, was warmed, my heart was inlightned; when I came to the Sacrament, oh the sweetness that was there! and to prayer with the people of God, it was even a heaven upon earth unto me: but it is otherwise now, the Ordinances of God are dead and empty things to me. Oh it was better with mee then, then it is now.

Before, oh the gracious visitations of Gods Spirit that I was wont to have! Yea, when I awaked in the night season, oh the glimpses of Gods face that were upon my soule! what quicknings, and refreshings, and inlivenings did I finde in them! I would give a world for one nights comfort I some∣times have had by the visitations of Gods Spirit, but now they are gone. Oh it was better then, then it is now.

Before, oh what peace of conscience had I within! whatsoever the world said, though they rayled and accused, yet my conscience spake peace to me, and was a thousand witnesses for me: but now I have a grating conscience within me, oh the black bosome that is in me, it flieth in my face every day, after I come from such and such company; I could come before from the society of the Saints, and my conscience smiled upon me: Now I go to wicked company, and when I come home, and in the night, Oh the gnaw∣ings of that worm! it was better with me then, then it is now.

Before, the graces of Gods Spirit, how were they sparkling in me, active and lively! I could exercise faith, humility, patience, and the like: Now I am as one bereft of all, unfit for any thing, even as a dead logg. Before God made use of me and imployed me in honorable services, now I am un∣fit for any service at all. Oh, it was better with me then, then it is now.

Before I could take hold upon promises, I could claim them as mine own, I could looke up to all those blessed, sweet promises that God had made in his word, and look upon them as mine inheritance. But now alas the pro∣mises are very little to me: before I could look upon the face of all troubles, and the face of death, I could look upon them with joy, but now the thought of affliction and of death, God knows how terrible they are to me. It was better with me then, then it is now.

Before in all creatures I could enjoy God, I tasted the sweetnesse and love of God, even in my meat and drinke: I could sit with my wife and chil∣dren, and see God in them, and looke upon the mercies of God through them as a fruit of the Covenant of grace; Oh how sweet was it with mee then! But now the creature is an empty thing unto mee, whether it come in love or hatred I do not know. It was better with me before then now.

Before I was under the protection of God where ever I went, but now I do not know what danger and miseries I am subject unto daily, what may befall me before night. God only knows.

Before the Saints rejoyced with mee in my company and communion, now every one is shy of me.

Page  252 Before I was going on in the wayes of life, now these wayes I am in, God knows, and my conscience tels me are wayes of death. It was better with me then, then it is now.

Now then put all these together, as I make no question these thoughts are the thoughts of many Apostates; if wee knew all that were in their hearts, we should find such thoughts as these. As the Prodigall, when hee was feeding upon the husks, he began to bethink himselfe; What, is not there food enough in my Fathers house? every servant there hath food enough, and here I am ready to starve, I feed upon huskes, when there is bread e∣nough in my Fathers house; So may many Apostates say, Alas! before I had seetnesse enough, and was satisfied with those abundance of plea∣sures that were in the house of God, in his Word and Ordinances, now I feed upon husks, and amongst swine, Oh that it were with me as it was be∣fore! As Job speaks in another case concerning his afflictions, Iob 29. 3. Oh that it were with me as in moeths past, as in the dayes when God pre∣served me, when this candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darknesse. Before I had some afflictions, but I could walk through all afflictions by that light which I had from God; Oh that it were with me now as it was then, as in the dayes of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle, when the Almighty was yet with me! It may be said of many Apostates, as Lam. 4. 8. They were once as polished Sa∣pirs, but now they are become as blacke as a coale.

But h that you had hearts to say, let me return, let me returne, because it was otherwise with mee heretofore then it is now! Oh that this day there might an Angel meet thee, as he met with Hagar when shee fled from Sa∣rah▪ the Angel sad to her, Hagar, Sarahs maid, whence comest thou, & whether wilt thou goe? So I say, oh Apostate, whence commest thou, and whither wilt thou goe? Marke, Hagar, Sarahs maid, whence comest thou? Dost thou come from Sarah? from Abrahams family where God is wor∣shipped? where the Church of God is? and whither goest thou? canst thou be any where so well as there? So I say to thee, Thou who wert a forward professor before, Whence comest thou? Dost thou come from such Ordi∣nances, from such communion with the Saints?* What hast thou gotten by those base wayes? Thou canst eate, and drink, and laugh a little, and have some esteem with such as are carnall; Oh whither wilt thou goe? Oh that God would shew you this day whither you goe!

There followeth yet another Observation,

Seeing there is so much grief and shame in complaining of our apostati∣zing when ever God awakeneth us, it should teach all that are not yet A∣postates to take heed what they doe, that they may never bring themselves into such a condition that they may not be forced to complaine. Oh it was better before then it is now. It is a note of Caution to you who are through Gods mercy in his way, you are now well, know when you are well, and keep you well. And you young ones who are beginning to give up your Page  253 names to God, take heed you do not decline from what now you doe, that you doe not apostarize and fall off from God afterward, lest this be your condition that you shall be brought to at best, for this is at best, thus to la∣ment the change of your condition, perhaps you shall goe on, and God will never cause you to see your shame and folly, till you be eternally undone; but at best you must be brought to this shame and confusion of face, to ac∣knowledg how much better it was with you before then now; how much better was it when I lived in such a family, under such a Master, in such a Towne, Oh it was better then with me then it is now! Oh the precious days that once I had when I was a young one, those dayes are gone, and whethr ever they will come again, God knows.

Yet further, when the judgement passeth on Gods side, that it was bet∣ter before then now, then the soul is in a hopefull way. So long as the judg∣ment holdeth for God and his wayes, though thou beest an Apostate, though perhaps thy heart be drawn aside from God, and thy affections be unruly, thou art not in a desperate condition, there is hope of thee. There are two sorts of Apostates. There are some Apostates, who though they are so through the unrulinesse of their affections, and the strength of temp∣tation, yet they keep their judgements for Gods wayes, and acknowledge Gods people to be best, and his Ordinances to be best, and themselves in the danger. But now there are some Apostates, who do so fall off from God and his wayes, that they begin in their very judgements to thinke that those wayes they profest before were but fancies, and that the people of God are but a company of humerous people, and blesse themselves in their owne wayes, and think that they are better now then they were before: oh this is a hideous thing. If thy judgement be once taken, that thou thinkest the wayes of sinn to be better then those wayes of God that before thou profes∣sedst, then Lord have mercy upon thee, thou art a gone man, wee doe not know that God will doe with thee, but in the judgement of man thou art even a gone man.

I remember Latimer in a Sermon before King Edward hath this pas∣sage. I have known (saith he) many Apostates, but I never knew any more then one that proved a scorner, and yet returned again. Take heed there∣fore, saith he, of apostasie. Though a man may fall off from God, and pos∣sibly return; but yet if he fall off, so that his judgement is taken that he is be∣come a scorner, that is a wofull condition, such a one scarce ever returneth. Many such Apostates you have in England, & I would challenge you all to give me one example of any one that ever returned again that so fell. I know many scorners are converted, but they that have beene forward in profes∣sing, and then fall off, and prove scorners, where have you any of them come in?

You have a notable place for this, Levit. 13. 44. there you shall finde when the Priest shall come and see a man that hath got the leprosie in his head, the Priest shall pronounce him utterly uncleane, for the plaguePage  254 saith the Text, is in the head. You shall observe in all the Chapter, when the Priest found uncleannesse in any other thing, he was to pronounce it un∣clean, but if the leprosie be in the head, he shall pronounce the party ut∣terly uncleane, for the plague is in the head, there is not that utter unclean∣nesse any where as when the plague is in the head, So I may say here, when a man falleth off from the wayes of God by some strong temptation or un∣ruly affection, this man is uncleane, verily he is uncleane; but when it com∣meth to the head, that his judgement is against the wayes of God, and so commeth to contemne them and those that follow them, and to thinke his own wayes better, this man is utterly unclean, for the plague is in his head, The Lord deliver you from that plague.

The Sixth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 7. 8.

For then it was better with me then it is now.

For she did not kow that I gave her corne, and wine, and oyle, and multi∣plyed her silve, and gold, which they prepared for Baal, &c.

THere remaines onely one Observation from the 7. ver. and the taking a hint of a meditation from thence concerning our present times,* of which briefly.

Upon returne unto God, Apostates may have hope of at∣taining their former condition; to be as well as ever they were, I will return to my first husband, for then was it better with me then now, by returning, I hope to recover to be as I was then, that is the meaning.

In this, Gods goodnesse goeth beyond mans abundantly, Ier. 3. 1. Will a man, when his wife hath committed adultery and he hath put her away, will he return to her again? But thou hast played the harlot with many lo∣vers, yet return againe to me saith the Lord: Hence ver. 22. the Holy Ghost exhorteth to return upon this very ground, Returne ye back-sliding children, and I will heale your back-slidings. Is there any back-sliding soul before the Lord? God now offereth to heale thy back-slidings, thou know∣est that it is not with thee now as heretofore it hath been, loe God tendereth his grace to thee that thou maiest be in as good a condition as ever; O that thou wouldest give the answer of the Church there, Behold we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God; truly in vaine is Salvation hoped for from the hils, or from the multitude of the mountain truely in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel. It is true, God might justly satisfie thee in those present wayes of Apostacy wherein thou art, as sometimes he doth Apostates,*The back-slider in heart shall be filled with his own wayes, he shall have enough of them, and Pro. 1. 31. They shall eate the fruit of theirPage  255 own way,*and be filled with their own devicss. But behold wisedom it selfe calleth thee now to returne again, and makes this faire promise, Pro. 1. 23. Turne ye at my reproofe, behold I will poure out my spirit unto you. There is not onely a possibility of being received into thy former condition,* but Christ doth wooe thee, and calleth after thee, hee promiseth to poure forth his spirit unto thee, yea and there would be triumph in heaven upon thy re∣turning.

But let me say thus much to thee, though there be a possibility of com∣ming again into as good a condition as thou wast in afore, yet first there had [ 1] need be a mighty work of Gods Spirit to raise thy heart to beleeve this.

It is not an easie thing for one who hath that fearfull sin of Apostacy set∣led upon him by God to beleeve that ever God should receive him and re∣turne in the wayes of mercy and comfort as before.

Yea second, Though there be a possibility to be recovered to mercy, yet [ 2] you must be contented to be in a meaner condition if God shall please, you must come unto God with such a disposition as to be content to be in the lowest condition that can be, onely that thou mayest have mercy at the last, as the Prodigall, Let me be (saith he) but as one of thy hired servants.

And know lastly, that if you doe not return upon his gracious offer, God may give thee up for ever, take thy fill and there is an end of thee; He that will be filthy, let him be filthy still. Yet further, this expression doth strong∣ly present occasion to digresse a little in the comparing our present times with former times, to examine whether wee can say, it was better with us heretofore then it is now? In these dayes there is much comparing our pre∣sent times with times past, and divers judgements there are about present times, some complayning and crying out of the hazards and dangers wee are in, in these present times, much better was it heretofore say they then it is now. To such as these let me say, first as the holy Ghost saith, Eccles. 7. 10. Say not thou, what is the cause the former dayes were better then these? thou dost uot enquire wisely concerning this thing. Certainly, those peo∣ple who make such grievous complaints of present times, comparing them with times past, doe not wisely enquire after this thing. It is true, there are many sad things for the present amongst us, things that our hearts have cause to bleed for, such mis-understanding betweene King and Parliament, some blood shed already, and danger of shedding much more; yet perhaps if we enquire wisely concerning this thing, we shall find, that notwithstanding all this, we have little cause to complaine that it is worse with us now, in compa∣rison of what was before, Consider, first▪ that which men do most complain of, which makes the times hardest now, it is but the breaking out of those mischievous designes that lay hid long before,* & would have done us a great deale more mischiefe if they had been kept in; Now they breake forth, and breake forth as the desperatenesse of the hopes of those who had such de∣signes; because they could now goe no longer underhand, but being brought into a desperate passe, they are faine to see what they can doe Page  256 in wayes of violence, and this certainely is better then that mischiefe should work secretly under board.

[ 2] Secondly, by this we have a discovery of men which way they stand, what was and is in their hearts, and this is a great mercy.

[ 3] Thirdly, with the breaking forth of these things, God grants that helpe now to England, that it never yet had in the like way, so fully, and putteth such a faire price into the hands of the people of England, that never yet was put into their hands.

[ 4] Yea, and consider farther, that the more violent men are now, the more doth it tell us what a lamentable time was before; for if now when there is such means of resistance, and yet the adversaries prevaile so much, what would they have been by this time, if this means of resistance had not been? What a case were we in then when they might do what they would, and we had no means to help our selves, what a danger were we in then? Certainely things then lay at more hazard then now.

[ 5] Fifthly, though there be many sad things amongst us, yet God hath been before-hand with us, we have had already even of free-cost as much mercy as these troubles come to.

[ 6] Sixtly, these troubles that we are in are making way for glorious mercies to come; though there be some pangs, yet they are not the pangs of death, they are but the pangs of a travelling woman that is bringing forth a man∣child: And certainly any Prince would think, that though his Queen should be put to some paine in travaile, yet her condition is better then when shee had nopaine, and was barren, or then that she should lye upon her sick bed, and her senses benummed, and she ready to dye: The pains of a travelling woman are better then a sensless dying.

[ 7] And yet further, if you thinke that you had better times heretofore then now, what times will you refer your selves unto in making the comparison? I suppose you will instance in the time of the first Reformation, then things were in a good way, when those worthy Lights of the Church, and blessed Martyrs had such a hand in the Reformation. Many there are that do mag∣nifie the ••nes of the beginning of Reformation,* for their owne ends, that they may thereby hinder Reformation now. This you know is the great argument that prevaileth with most; What, were not those Prayers com∣posed by learned godly men, as Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, and others? and can we be wiser then they? did not they seale their profession with their blood?

My brethren, we need goe no further to shew the weaknesse of this argu∣ment, but only to shew how it was in the Church in those times, and you wil find that you have cause to blesse God that it is not so with you now as it was then, and if that will appeare, then the argument you will see can no further prevail with rationall men.

Certainly those first Reformers were worthy Lights and blessed instru∣ments for God, I would not darken their excellency, but weaken the argu∣ment Page  257 that is abusively raised from their worth. It is reported of Mr. Grene∣ham that famous practicall Divine, who refusing subscription, in a Letter of his to the Bishop of Ely, gives his reasons, and answers that Prelates obje∣ction against him, namely, that Luther thought such Ceremonies might be retained in the Church; his Answer is this, I reverence more the revealed wisdome of God, in teaching Mr. Luther so many necessary things to sal∣vation, then I search his seeret judgements in keeping back from his know∣ledg other things of lesse importance: The same do I say of those worthy in∣struments of Gods glory in the first Reformation, & that it may be cleare to you that God kept back his mind from them in some things. Consider, whe∣ther you would be willing that should be done now that was then; As in the administration of baptisme, we find that in the book of Lyturgy in King Edwards time, which was composed by those worthy men; first the child was to be croft in the fore-head, and then on the breast, after a prayer used, then the Priest was to say over the child at the Font, I command thee thou un∣clean spirit, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Ghost, that thou comest out of this infant, thou cursed spirit remember thy sen∣tence, remember thy judgment, remember the day is at hand wherein thou shalt bee burnt with everlasting fire prepared for thee and thy Angels; & presume not hereafter to exercise any tyranny over this infant whom Christ hath bought with his precious blood. Then they dipped the childe thrice in the water, the Godfathers and the Godmothers laid their hands upon the child, and the Priest putteth a white vestment over it, called a Crysome, saying, Take this white vesture for a token of thine innocency, which by Gods grace in this holy Sacrament of baptisme is given to thee, & for a signe whereby thou art admonished as long as thou livest to give thy selfe to innocency. Then the Priest must anoint the Infant upon the head, saying, Almighty God, &c. who hath regenerated thee by water & the holy Ghost, who hath given thee remission of all thy sins, vouchsafe to anoint thee with the unction of his holy Spirit. Would you now have your children bap∣tized after this manner? yet these learned holy men thought that to be a good way. So at the buriall of the dead, the Priest casting earth up∣on the corps shall say, I commend thy soule to God the Father Almighty, and body to the ground: and in another prayer, Grant to this thy servant; that the sinnes he committed in this world be not imputed to him, but that he escaping the gates of hell, and pains of eternall darknesse, may ever dwell in the region of light.

You will say, things are otherwise now. True, therefore I say there is no strength in that argument, that those men that composed that liturgy were worthy lights in the Church; for they were but newly come out of Popery, and had the scent of Popery upon them, therefore it is too unreasonable to make that which they did the rule of our Reformation now, as if we were to goe no further then they did.

The like may be said of the Primitive times, which many plead for the Page  258 justification of their superstitious vanities, for the Christians then came but newly out of heathenisme, and lived amongst Heathens, and therfore could not so soon be delivered from their heathenish customes. I could relate to you sad things there were in Qu. Elizabeths dayes, in K. James his dayes, but I must not take too much liberty in this digression, onely let us hereby learn not so to cry out of evill times that we are faln into, as to be unthank∣full for present mercies; let us blesse God for what wee have had, and looke unto the rule for further reformation.

For shee did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oyle, and multiplyed her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal, &c.

The Spirit of God returneth here again to convincing, upbraiding, ac∣cusing, threatning Israel. The sin of Israel went very near to the heart of God, and God speaks here as a man troubled in spirit for the unkindenesse, unfaithfulness, unreasonableness of the dealings of his Spouse with him, it runneth in his thoughts,* his heart is grieved at it, and he must vent himselfe, and when he hath told his grief and aggravated his wrong, he is upon it again & again, still convincing, upbraiding, charging Israel for dealing so unfaith∣fully and treacherously with him, all shewing the trouble of his spirit.

For she did not know, &c. These words depend upon the 5. ver. (for the 6. & 7. they are as a parenthesis) She hath done shamefully, for she said, I will goe after my lovers that give me my bread, & my water, my wool, & my flae••e, &c. For she did not know, &c. She did thus and thus, for she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, &c. What was Israel worse then the Oxe or the Asse that knows his owner & his Masters crib? It is impossible but Israel (that was the onely people of God in those times, where God was most, nay we may say onely knowen in the world) should know that God was the cause of all the good they had, certainly they could not be ignorant of that, for in their Creed (as Buxtorfius and others make mention) they had 13. Articles, and this was the first Article, I believe with a true and perfect faith, that God is the creator, the governor, the su∣stainer of all creatures,*that he wrought all things, still works all things, & shall for ever worke all things. And at their feasts they had these expressi∣ons, Blessed be thou O Lord our God King of the world that dost create the fruit of the vine. The Mr. of the feast himself came in (he did not set a boy to it) publiquely to bless God for the fruit of the vine, and yet here the Text saith they did not know that God gave them wine. When they came to take bread they had this speech, Blessed be thou O God that art the King of the world,*that bringest forth bread out of the earth; And at the end of their feast this, Let us bless him who hath sent us of his owne, of whose goodnesse we live. The question answered, and blessed be he of whose goodnesse we live, Yea they used to blesse God solemnly for the sweete and fragrant smell of spices and herbs. This was their constant way, and yet God char∣geth them that they did not know that he gave them bread, and wine, and ••le, they did not lay it to heart.

Page  259 We shall see afterward of what great use this is unto us, to shew what pro∣fession they made of acknowledging that God gave them all, and yet God charges them that they did not know it.

That I gave them, what? Corne, wine, and oyle, & multiplyed her silver and her gold.

Here God expresseth himselfe more largely then they did before in that they received from their Idols, they talked in the 5. vers. of receiving from their Idols bread, and water, and wool, and flax, &c. but here is wine, & oyle, and silver, and gold, more then they had from their Idols. God set∣teth out his mercy to them, to upbraid them.

And they prepared them for Baal.

We must enquire here first what this Baal was. The name of him [Bag∣nal] it signifieth a Lord (and from thence signifyeth a husband) because they attributed such dominion that their Idols had over them,* acknowledg∣ing their Idols to be Lords,* therefore they called them by the name Bagnall, their Lords: And because they chose them as their husband, therefore also they had this name, it is all one with Bel too, for the Chaldee put out that letter [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] and the pricks being altered it is all one Baal and Bel.

Now this Baal either was some speciall Idoll, or else a generall name gi∣ven to all Idols; sometimes it is a name given generally to all, in the plurall number Baalim. Jer. 9. 14. They have walked after the imaginations of their owne heart, and after Baalim. But it likewise notes a speciall Idol, an Idol that was the same with that of the Zidonians, which they called Iupi∣ter Thalassius, or their sea Iupiter, that idol was called Baal in a speciall manner,

1 King. 16. 31. you may see how the worship of Baal came into Israel at that time. It is true, the worship of Baal had been in Israel a long time before, in Iudg. 2. 11. you shall find there that they served Baal, yet the i∣dolatry of Baal was often cast out by the people of God, but in that place of the Kings you shall find how it came in afresh, the Text saith, that Ahab tooke to wife Iexebel the daughter of Eth-baal King of the Zidonians, & went and served Baal, and worshipped him; That was the occasion that A∣hab matching with a Zidonian, to the end that he might ingratiate him∣selfe with his wives kindred, he would worship his wives God.

And this Baal hath divers additionall names. Sometimes you shall find in Scripture called Baal-zebub, or Belzebub (it is all one, for Baal and Bel is the same, only changing the points) and that signifieth their god of flies, & the reason why Baal had that name, was, because in those Countreyes they were extreamly perplexed with flies, and they attributed the power of dri∣ving them away, and of helping them against the molestation they had by them to their god Baal, hence they called him Baalzebub; you may see how much they attributed to their god for deliverance from flies, wee have other manner of deliverances by the goodnes of our God then this, yet for this Ba∣alzebub was one of their principall gods, therefore it is said of Christ, that he cast out devils by Belzebub the prince of devills, which is by the god of flies, Mat. 20. 25.

Page  260 He is called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Belzebul, which is as much as the dung, god, Zebel in the••y iac signifying Stercus, dung.

Then there was Baal-perazim, that addition was onely from the place, the Mountain where he was worshipped.

There was also Baal-berith,* that signified onely the covenant they entred into with that God. So that it seemes the very Idolaters did binde them∣selves to worship their god by solemne covenant or very strong arguments, to teach us to be willing to binde our selves in worshipping the true God by all the legall bonds we can,*** to make God to be the God of our Covenant, as their god here was. It is needlesse to name more who had this name.

I shall afterward shew how God himselfe had once the name of Baal, for the word signifying the name of husband or Lord was as due to God as to any other, and God himselfe tooke that name. But here we are to under∣stand it of their Idols.

They prepared them for Baal, they made them for Baal, so the word is. It importeth these two things.

First it importeth that they did sacrifice these thing to their Baal, for so fa∣cere, to make, is as much many times as Sacrificare, to sacrifice; And Bel∣la mine takes advantage from this word, when Christ saith, Hoc facite, do this, he draweth an argument that the Lords Supper is a sacrifice, for the word to doe is used somtime to sacrifice.

But secondly, they prepared them, that is, of their gold and silver they made Images of this their Idoll god Baal, they would not spare their gold and silver, but laid aside and prepared it to make images of Baal, and they thought that gold and silver thus laid out as good as any in their purses.

The Observations.


It is God that supplyeth all the outward good of his people.

They did not know that I gave them, &c. I gave them all the corn, and wine, and oyle they had, I did not onely give them mine Ordinances, but I gave them corn, and wine, and oyle, and gold, and silver.

It is the Lord himselfe that supplyeth all outward good to his people, he doth not onely prize the soules of his people, but hee takes care of their bo∣dies too, and outward estates. Psalm, 34. 20. He keepeth all his bones.

Yea, he takes care of the very haire of their heads. The bodies of the Saints are very precious in the eyes of God, the most precious of all corpo∣rall things in the world: The Sonne, and Moone, and Starres, are not so precious as the bodyes of the Saints, how much more precious are their soules?

VVe have an excellent note of Austin upon Psalm, 63. 1. where the Text saith, My soule thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee, &c.

Upon this he hath this Note: If the flesh hath any need of bread, of wine, of money or cattell, seeke this of God, for God giveth this too, for marke,

Page  261 Those who thirst for God must thirst for him every way; not only their soules••rst for him, but their flesh must thirst for him; for saith he, did God make the soul, and did the devills or any idols make the flesh? No, he that made both soule and flesh, he feedeth them both, therefore all Chri∣stians must say, My soule longeth after thee, and my flesh also. If then we can trust God for our soules, and our eternall estates that hee will provide for them, we must trust him for our bodies also, for our flesh, for our tem∣porall estates, that he will provide for them also.

Secondly thus. All that we have,* all our supply that we enjoy in this world, it is the free gift of God.

They did not know that I gave them corne and wine, &c. All of us live upon the meere Almes of God, the greatest man in the world is bound to goe to Gods gate and beg his bread every day; though he were an Empe∣rour over all the world,* hee must doe it to shew his dependance upon him, that he lives wholly upon almes: Men thinke it hard to live upon almes, and because they have maintenance, so much comming in by the yeare, such an estate in land, they thinke they are well provided for many yeers: But what ever estate thou hast, though by thy trading thou hast gotten so much by the yeare coming in, yet God requireth this of thee, to go to his gate, & beg thy bread of him every day; so Christ teacheth, Give us this day our dayly bread; And certainly if we did but understand this our dependance upon God for all outward comforts in the world, we could not but feare him, and seeke to make peace with him, and keepe peace with him, and it would be a meanes that our hearts would be inlarged to give to others who need our almes, and seeing every man and woman of us is an Almes-man, and an Almes-woman.

Thirdly, It is our duty that we owe to God to know and take notice of God as the author of all our good.*

They know not, that implyeth they ought to have knowne.

This is a speciall duty of that worship we owe to God: it is the end of Gods communicating all good to us, that he may have active glory from his rational creature as well as passive glory, and there is no creature else in all the world that God hath made capable of knowing any thing of the first cause but only the rational creature, therefore it is the excellency of such that they do not onely enjoy the good that they have, but they are able to rise up to the highest and first cause of all their good: There is a great deale of ex∣cellency in this. It is observed of Doves, that at every pick of corne they take in their bill they cast their eyes upward; and in the Canticles you shall finde the eyes of the Church are called Doves eyes, because they looke so much up to heaven upon every good they receive: They have not dogs eies, the men of the world have dogs eies, dogs you know looke up to their Ma∣sters for a bone, and when they have it they presently looke downe to the Page  262 ground; so the men of the world, they will pray to God when they want, but whn they enjoy what they would have, they look no more upward but all downward.

This taking notice of God to be the Author of all our good, and to give him praise, is all the rent we pay to God for what we enjoy, therefore it is fit we should doe that; and if we doe any thing for God, be sure God takes notice of that to the uttermost, yea though it be himselfe that enableth us to do it, yea though it be but a little good mingled with a great deale of evill, God takes notice of it, and will reward it, surely then we should take notice of the good that he giveth out to us.

This sweetneth our comforts to see that they all come from God, and for that observe the difference betweene the expression of Jacobs blessing, and Esaus blessing;* when Isaac came to blesse Jacob, hee expresseth himselfe thus, Gen. 27. 28. God give thee of the dew of heaven, and of the fatnesse of the earth, and plenty of corne and wine, &c. Now when he commeth to blesse Esau, marke his expression then verse 39. Thy dwelling shall be the fatnesse of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above, but hee never mentioneth God in that; It is not Esaus blessing. God give thee of the dew of heaven, and of the fatnesse of the earth, though it is true Isaac meant so, but yet he doth not mention the name of God so in Esaus as in Iacobs bles∣sing, Certainly my brethren, the seed of Jacob count their blessing to be a double, a treble blessing, that they can see God in it: carnall hearts do not much regard God, if they can have what they would have, if they can have their flesh satisfied in what they desire, from what hand it cometh that they doe not much care; but a gracious heart, a child of Jacob, rejoyceth more in the hand from whence it commeth, then in any good he can possibly en∣joy. Fourthly, They did not know.

God doth a great deale of good in the world that is little taken notice of,* or laid to heart.

Many of Gods dispensations are invisible, the Angels, Ezek. 1. are descri∣bed with their hands under their wings. God doth great things somtime so invisibly, as he cannot be seene; And when he doth great things that we might see, yet through onr neglect, stupidity, and drossinesse of our hearts, we doe not see them.

The most observing eye that is in the world, that takes the exactest notice of Gods mercy, and hath the greatest skill to set forth the riches of Gods goodnesse to himselfe and others, yet alas it is but very little that he takes notice of, no not of that he might doe. It is with the quickest sighted Chri∣stians as with a skilful Mathematician, a skilfull Mathematician takes no∣tice of and understands many parts of the world, and is able to set out the se∣veral parts distinctly to you in such a Climate, in such a Countrey, but yet when he hath done all, he leaveth a great space for a Terra incognita, for an unknown world, and that unknowne world for ought we know may be five times bigger then the known world; So they that have the most observant Page  263 eye of Gods mercies, and take the most notice of them, that can best set out the mercies he bestoweth,* spiritual mercies, temporall mercies, preven∣ting mercies, past mercies, present mercies, delivering mercies, &c. yet when they have done all, they must leave a great space for the Terra incognita, for the unknowne mercies of God.

The truth is, those mercies of God that are obvious to our knowledge e∣very day, one would thinke they were enough to melt our hearts, to breake them in pieces: but besides these mercies we take notice of, there are thou∣sands and thousands of mercies that we know not of. As we daily commit many sins that we know not of,* so daily we receive many mercies that we know not of likewise; And as in our confession of sins, we should pray to God first to pardon our sins we know, and so to name them in particular; and when we have done, then, Lord forgive us our unknown, our secret sins; So in our thanksgiving, first blesse God for the mercies before us, and when we have done. Lord blessed be thy name for all thy unknown mercies that I have little taken notice of.

We soone grow cold and dead if we doe good; and men take no notice of us, neither what we know, nor what we doe is any thing to us except o∣thers know it too, but this is the vanity and pride of mens hearts, it is Gods prerogative above his creatures, to doe all for himselfe, for his owne glory, and yet he doth much good in the world that none knows of; we are bound to deny our selves in that we doe, not to seeke our own glory; The most excellent peece in the most excellent of our workes is our selfe-denyal in it; why should we not then doe all the good we can doe cheerefully, though it be not known? we should doe good out of love to goodnesse it selfe, and if we would doe so we should be encouraged in doing good secretly.

Fifthly, and which commeth yet more fully up to the words, They did not know, &c.

In Gods account men know no more then they lay to heart and make good use of.*

The Schooles distinguish of want of knowledge, there is Nescientia, and Ignoratia; Nescience is of such things as we are not bound to know,* it is not our sinne not to know them; but Ignorance is of such things as we are bound to know, and that ignorance is two-fold; there is an invincible ig∣norance, let us take what paines we can, wee can never know all we are bound to know; and there is an affected ignorance, when we do not know, because out of carelesnesse we doe not minde what is before us, and when we have minded it so farre as to conceive it, yet if we lay it not to heart as we ought, still in Gods account we know it not, if we digest not what we know into practise, God accepteth it not. As God is said not to know when hee doth not approve, I know yee not, saith he, so when any man hath a truth in notion and it doth not get into the heart, when it is not imbraced there, God accounts that that man knowes it not; There∣fore you have in Scripture such an expression as the Seer is blinde; It is Page  264 a strange expression, it seemes to be a contradiction, such a thing as we call a Bull:*The Seer is blinde: But it is not so here, because God accounts those that have never so much knowledge, yet if it doe not sanctifie the heart so as to give him the glory, they are blinde, blinde as a Beetle; The know∣ledge of the Saints is another kinde of knowledge then other men have.

We have, saith Cyprian no such notions as many of your Phylosophers have, but we are Phylosophers in our deeds, we doe not speake great things, but we doe great things in our lives.

1 Thes. 4. 9. You have an excellent expression for this, you are taught of God to love one another, what followeth? And indeed so you do, That is an evidence that you are taught of God when it pevay leth with your hearts, when it may be aid, indeed so you doe: VVho is there in the world but knowes that wee should love one another? but men are not taught of God to love one another untill it may be said of them that indeed so they doe.

There is nothing more obvious to the understanding of a man then the no∣tion of a Deity, that there is a God, we may as it were grope after him as the holy Ghost speakes; but yet 1 Iohn 2. 4. He that saith he knowes him, and keepes not his commandements, is a lyar, and the truth is not in him; Any man who ever he be, though the greatest Schollar in the world, if he saith he knowes God and keepes not his commandements, he hath the lie told him to his teeth, hee doth not know God at all, though this of God be the most obvious thing to be understood that possibly can be, and yet Christ saith no man knoweth the Father but the Sonne, and to whom the Sonne shall reveale him.

Hence it is when a soul is converted,* you shall heare these expressions, I never knew before, I never knew what an infinite Deity meant, I never understood the infinite soveraignty and Majesty of the great God, I never knew what sinne meant before; yet if you had asked him afore, he would say, I know God is a Spirit, that he is infinite and eternall; I know that sinne is the transgression of the law; I never knew that Christ was before, yet before hee would have told you that Christ was the sonne of Mary,* and came into the world to dye for sinners. I remember an expression of a Germane Divine, when he was upon his sick bed, In this disease saith he, I have learned what sin is, and how great the Majesty of God is; This man though a Preacher, and doubtlesse he could preach of sinne and of the Majesty of God, yet hee professeth he knew not these things untill God came powerfully upon his heart to teach him what they were.

The Hebrews say, words of sense carry with them the affections, or else they be to no purpose: when men have notionall knowledge onely that comes not down into the heart, they are like men that have weak stomacks and weake heads, when they drink wine all flyeth up to the head & it makes them giddy, but if the wine went to the heart, it would cheare & warme it: so all this mans knowledg flyeth up to his head & makes him giddy, where∣as if it were digested & got to the heart, it would warme and refresh, yea 〈…〉

Page  265 The Text saith of Elies sonnes, 1 Sam. 2. 12. that they knew not the Lord; they were Priests of God, yet they were sonnes of Belial, and know not the Lord. Be not offended at great Schollars who have skill in the tongues, Arts and Sciences, do not you say these men that are great and knowing men, would they do thus and thus, if things were so as you speake; they are not knowing men, God saith that Elies sonnes did not know, the Lord, the things of God are hid from them. I thanke thee O Father Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid thess things from the wise and pru∣dent, &c.

Sixthly, They did not know that I gave them, &c.

Affected ignorance comming thorough distemper of heart is no excuse,* but rather an aggravation.

It is a high degree of ingratitude not to prize Gods mercy, but not to take notice of Gods mercies,* Oh what a high ingratitude is this! That which shall be part of Gods charge against sinners can be no excuse of their sinne, it is a part of Gods charge that they did not know, therefore their ig∣norance cannot be their excuse. God threatneth to cut people off, to have no mercy upon them for want of knowing as well as for not doing, They are a people of no understanding, therefore he that made them will have no mercy upon them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour, Esay 27. 11.**Ambrose hath this expression, Thou doest sinne greatly if thou doest contemne the riches of Gods long suffering, but thou sinnest most of all if thou doest not know it.

From the word [for] as depending upon the 5. ver. (for so it doth,) The Observation is,

The not taking notice and considering of Gods mercies, and laying them to heart, is the cause of vile, and shamefull evils in mens lives.

Therefore they did shamefully, therefore they went after their lovers, be∣cause they did not know, the cause of almost all the evill in the world it is from hence, They that know thy name will trust in thee, those who know the Lord will feare him and his goodnesse.

Esay 1. 4. Ah sinfull nation, saith God: God fetcheth a sigh under the burthen of it, his spirit is laden and troubled with it, Ah sinfull people, &c,

What was the matter? The Oxe knoweth his owner, and the Asse his ma∣sters crib, but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider, they were more stupid then the brute creatures. Oh sinfull soul, this is the cause of all thy inordinate walking, of all thy profanenesse, of all the ungodliness in thy wayes, because thou dost not know, thou dost not consider, thou dost not lay to heart the wayes of God towards thee.

Ier. 2. 5. God chargeth his people that they were gone from him, and ver. 7. that they had made his heritage an abomination. What is the reason that is given of both these? It is in the 6. ver. They did not say, Where is the Lord that brought us up out of the land of Egypt? &c. They did not take notice of what the Lord had done for them, therefore they were gone far from him, &c.

Page  266 If thou hadst but a heart to lay to heart what God hath done for thee, it is impossible that thou shouldst goe so farre off from God as thou dost. For these deductions are easie and obvious to any from such a principle.

1. Justice, common equity requires living to God, seeing we live by and upon God.

2. Common ingenuity calls for requiring good with good; the Publicans and Heathens will do good to those that do good to them.

3. If all be from God, then all still depends upon God.

4. How much good is there in God from whence all this good and mer∣cy comes, when God shall shew another day to men and Angels how hee was the fountaine of all good! it will confound those who have not laid it to heart.

8. She did not know that I gave her corne, and wine, and oyle, and mul∣tiplyed her silver and her gold.

God is more bountifull to his people then the Idols can be.*

The Idols by their owne confession gave them but their bread, & water, and flax, and oyle, &c. but God giveth them wine, & silver, & gold. God gives them better pay a great deale then the Devill doth; yet the Devill usu∣ally hath more servants to follow him then God hath, though his wages bee lesse and worse. It is usuall for men to get souldiers from adversaries, by givng them more pay: This is the way God takes, he offereth a great deale better pay to those that will follow him, then they have that follow the De∣vill, yet God can get few to follow him. This shews the vilenesse of mans heart against God.

9. She did not know that I gave her, &c. which she prepared for Baal.

When men get abundance, then they soon grow wanton. When I gave them corn,* and wine, and oyle, and multiplyed their silver and their gold, then they followed Baal. This is the reason of so many solemne charges of God, Take heed when thou art full, that thou dost not forget the Lord. As they that are neerest the sun are the blackest,* so those to whom God is nee∣rest in regard of outward mercies, are many times blacker then others. It is observed, that the fatter mens bodies are, the lesse blood and the fewer spirits they have; so the fatter mens estates are, many times the lesse spirit they have to any thing that is good; God hath lesse spirit from them, sinne hath much more.

We read of the sunne melting the Manna that fell downe, but the same Manna was able to bear the fire; so many a mans heart is able to beare af∣fliction, and the affliction doth good, prepareth for much good, as Manna was prepared to be eaten by fire, but prosperity melteth them, makes them useless. Many men when they were poor and in a low condition, were ve∣ry usefull; but when they grow high and rich, they are of very little use in the places where they dwell.

Trajan the Emperour was wont to liken a man growing to a great estate, to the Spleene in the body; for as the Sleene grows big, the body growes Page  267 lesse: so when mens estates grow bigger, they grow lesse usefull. Euagrius noteth it as a speciall commendation of Mauritius the Emperor, but not∣withstanding his prosperity he retained his ancyent piety: it is a very rare thing to see men advanced to high places, do so.

10. I gave her corne, and wine, and oyle, and I multiplyed her silver and gold which they sacrificed to Baal.

Even those creatures that wicked men abuse to their lusts, God gives them.

Though he doth not give them for that end, yet those creatures that they use for such an end are given of God.* If thou beest a drunkard, that wine or drinke that thou dost sacrifice to that lust of thine, who giveth it thee? Is it not God? thou hast a good estate more then other men, and all the use thou makest of thy estate is meerly that it might be but as fewell for thy lusts, who gave thee this thy estate? Is it not God? God giveth thee cloathes and thou sacrificest them to thy pride, thou hast more money then others, and so canst vent thy malice more then others, from whence hast thou this? Thou hast more strength of body then others and thou ventest it in unclean∣nesse, where hadst thou this? consider this, and let this meditation prevayle with thine heart to stop thee in thy sinful way, let it be seconded with the next; viz:* That is a most horrible wickedness and abominable ingratitude, for any man to take Gods creatures and abuse them against God.

What,*I gave them corne, and wine, and multiplyed their silver, and their gold, and have they prepared these for Baal? God speakes of this as of a monstrous sin, as if God should say, let all my people lament my con∣dition, that I should do so much for them, and they doe nothing for me but all against me, sacrifice all to Baal: As perhaps many of you have beene kinde to some of your friends, and have raised them, and made them, as we use to say; they have wanted nothing, but you have been bountifull to them, if now these men should turne your enemies, and that estate they have got by you, they should use it to doe you a mischiefe, would you not call in your neighbours and friends, to joyne with you in lamenting your condition? What, did you ever heare of such an example, that I should doe so much for such, and they turne all against me? you tell it as a most lamentable story to your friends; God doth so here; he makes this his grievous complaint.

This is as if a bird should be shot with an Arrow, whose feathers came out of her own body; we would even pity a bird in that case. Many men make no other use of their estates but to turne them against God; they are not as the slothfull servant that hid his talent in the napkin, if it were but so it were not so much, but they take their talents & imploy them against God. Would it not goe to your heart if one should sue you in law, and beare the charges of the suit out of your owne estate? VVe use to complaine such a man sueth me, and it is my owne money hee goeth to law with; So thou goest against God, and hee is fayne as it were to beare all the charges:

It is not against the light of Nature? the very heathens: Page  268 the publicanes and sinners will doe good to those that do good to them: Thou art worse then a publicane and sinner, wilt thou do hurt to God that doth thee good? When Julius Caesar saw Brutus come to give him a stab in the Senate house, he cryed out, What thou my sonne, wilt thou do it? But suppose that Iulius Caesar had given him the dagger with which he stabbed him,* then O thou my sonne, what stab me with that dagger I gave thee? If when Jonathan gave David his sword and bow, David should have turn∣ed against Jonathan and killed him with his own sword and bow, would not the unkindnesse or rather the abominable wickedness have pierced dee∣per into his heart, then any swords or arrows possibly could? If you can finde any creature that is not GODS to fight against him withall, you may doe it, but if all you have is from him, it is horrible wickednesse to take that and to sacrifice it to Baal. Certainly God giveth it for other ends, to goe crosse to Gods ends is an evill thing: VVhen God aymeth at such a thing, for us not to joyne with God in the same end he aymeth at is an evil, but for us to ayme at a quite contrary end, that is horrible wickednesse in∣deed.

They sacrificed to Baal.

When once superstition and Idolatry hath got into a place, though there be much done against it, yet it is not easie to get it out.

It is from hence that God doth so often complaine of Baal,* yet you shall finde in Iudg, 2. (I thinke that is the first place it is mentioned that they ser∣ved Baal) but it appeareth that they fell off from Baal, yet they fell to him againe, for in Iudg. 8. 33. After Gideons death it came to passe that the children of Israel turned againe and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god; It speakes as if it were a new thing now that they should fall to worship Baal after they had left worshipping him; After his death. And 1 Sam. 7. 4. The children of Israel did put away Baalim; and yet if you reade Chap▪ 10. 22. they fall a confessing that they had sinned, because they had forsaken the Lord and served Baalim; though they had put him away before, yet he had got up again; So in that place be∣fore named, 1 King. 16. there Ahah would serve Baal, it is brought in there as a new thing, as a novelty, because Baal had beene so much suppres∣sed, 2 King. 10. you find that Iehu sought to destroy Baal & all his Priests, but yet Baal was not got out for all this, but he got in againe, for in 2 Kin. 23. 4. the Text saith, that Josia who was long after that time, caused the vessels that were made for Baal to be taken away and burnt.

This is a marvailous use, and seasonable for our times. If superstition be opposed, though it be cast out as we thinke in a great degree, yet if there be not a thorough Reformation, it will winde in one way or other againe.

If we thinke it enough to cut things short, and to take away their strength, and their enormities, we deceive our selves; if there be nothing done but so, they will grow up againe; it is but cutting the weeds a little; if branch and root be not taken away, they will up again; Baal will put up his head one way or other.

Page  269 I remember Cluverus a late Historian, yet much approved of, bringeth in one that gave this councell concerning Rome, because it was much annoy∣ed with Wolves; saith he, there is no way to save Rome from Wolves, but to cut down the woods wherein these Wolves breed and live, for otherwise they might kill and kill, but they would breed agaiue. So sometimes when childrens heads are overrunne with vermine, the way to destroy the vermine is to shave the haire quite of off: So certainly, this is the way to destroy su∣perstition from amongst us, to take away the places and revenews of those men that have beene maintainers and upholders of superstitious wayes of worship; Let us by cutting down the woods, and shaving off the hayre de∣stroy these Wolves, and if they will needs be Priests, let them be Shave∣lings.

Which they sacrificed to Baal.

Lastly, Idolaters are very liberall to their Idols,* they are willing to sacrifice gold' silver, corne, wine and oyle, and all to Baal, but of that before.

The Seventh Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 9. 10.

Therefore will I returne and take away my corne in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wooll and my flaxe, given to cover their nakednesse.

And now I will discover her lewdnesse in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand.

IN the former verse, Israel is accused for abusing her silver and gold, &c. in the service of Baal; now it followes, Therefore I will take away my corne in the time thereof, &c. if there be a therefore, we must enquire wherefore it was, because they did prepare their corne, &c. for Baal, Therefore I will returne.

1. What is the meaning of returning.

2. What the meaning of the time and season thereof, I will take away my corne in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof.

3. What that phrase imports, I will recover my wooll.

For the first therefore. I will returne, that is, I will change the way of my administrations toward them, I will goe out of my way of mercy, and turne into my way of judgement, I will goe back againe; I was in a way of judgement toward them, and they cryed to me, and I turned into a way of mercy, but I will goe back againe into a way of judgement, I will re∣turne, Arias Montanus hath a good note upon the place, Whereas God hath heretofore bid them not to be afraid of all the tokens of the Southsayers Page  270 that is,* when they say by Astrology some signes of death that might follow, they were afraid; be not afraid, saith the Lord, but know your corne, and wine, and oyle depends on me, not on the second causes; though second causes make against, yet feare not, for I will give you come, and wine and oyle; but now it is quite contrary, though second causes promise all kind of plety whatsoever, that there shall be abundance of corne, and wine, and oyle, yet I will take away your plenty, there shall be a dearth of all things amongst you.

I will take away my corne in the time thereof: that is, first in the times of harvest just when their corne is to be taken in, and in the time of their vin∣tage, I will then take it away, whereas I might take it away in the seed, I will let it grow till the harvest, and then take it away.

2. In the time when they have most need of it, when they are in the greatest straits, and know not what to doe without these creatures,

3. In tempore suo, so some, In the time I have appointed, though I have let them goe on and enjoy the creatures in abundance, yet my time is come that I will take away all.

And will recover, the word signifieth, I will snatch it away, I wil spoyle you of it;* and it hath reference to two things.

First, I will recover it as out of the hands of usurpers, you have my corne, and wol, and flaxe as usurpers, but I will recover them out of your hands, as a man that hath his goods taken away from him usurped, hee by some meanes or other recovers his goods againe; so saith God, you have my corne, and wine, and as you have carryed the matter, you are but usurpers, I will sue you for them, you shall not enjoy them long.

Secondly, I will recover, it hath a reference to prisoners and bondslaves, when the enemy shall get any of ours into their power, and make them bond-slaves, a greater power goes against the enemy, and recovers them out of his hands, and gets them again; As Abraham recovered Lot and his goods, Gen. 46. 14. Or as if marriners should get those gally-slaves the Turks have gotten: and recover them out of their hands, as if he should say, these creatures of corne and wine, &c. they are in bondage, and I will recover them out of your hands, you know the creatures groane under their bondage while they are in the possession of wicked men, 8. Rom. my crea∣tures are in bondage to you, and they cry to me, and I will recover them out of your hands. There are many precious and choice truths to be presented to you out of the words.* First, Therefore I will, &c. Whence observe,

Though God gives mercy out of free grace without cause in our selves, yet he takes not away mercy without cause, there is a therefore for taking away mercy, but we have many mercies given without a therefore: When God takes away mercy we have cause to look into our selves to finde out a there∣fore, but you may find out thousands of mercies that God gives to us, and you shall finde never a therefore for them. It is not so great a wonder that thousand thousands are in misery as that any one enjoyes mercy, for misery Page  271 hatha therefore in our selves, for mercy there is reason only in the breast of God.* Secondly, I will returne. Sinne causeth God to change the way of his administrations towards his people. Though God be in wayes of mer∣cy, yet sinne may put him out of those wayes, and make him returne and go in a way of judgement agnine: how much better were it for sinners to re∣turne, then that sinnne should cause God to returne? Oh sinner, returne out of thy evill wayes, if God returne, it will be a sad returne. Not long since God was in wayes of judgement against us, and lately he hath come into wayes of mercy, and now he seemes to returne againe to his former wayes of judgement. Ier. 14. 9. Why art thou as a man astonished? A man a∣stonished stands still; or if he moves, it is up and down, as if he knew not which way to goe, though we have suffered hard things, wee cannot yet say God is returned, but he seemes as a man astonished, and knowes not which way to go. Thus God is pleased of himselfe after the manner of men, to speake; let us cry to him that he may not turne out of his way of mercy, into those sad wayes of wrath that he seems to be looking towards.

I will take away my corne, and my wine.

Abuse of mercy causeth the removing of mercy, 11 Zach. 17. Woe to the idoll shepheard that leaveth the flocke, the sword shall be upon his arme, & upon his right eye, his arme shall be dryed up, and his right eye shall be ut∣terly darkned. Hath God given any a right hand, any abilities? take heed God doth not strike that right hand, or right eye, any quickness of parts, let them take heed that thorough abuse it be not put out:* how many shepherds when they were young had many excellent parts, great abilities, but having abused them to their lusts, God hath taken them away! So in children, there is no such way to lose your children, as to abuse them, if your hearts be in∣ordinately set upon them, God takes them away. I will tell you of a speciall passage of providence concerning this, & I speak it the rather, because I was an eye and eare witnesse of it, living not far from the place, A godly man desiring his friends to meete to blesse God for his blessings in a plentifull Harvest, after dinner was done comes in a little child, who was indeed a very lovely child, Oh saith the father, I am afraid I shal make a God of this child; by and by the child was missing, and presently they went to looke him, and hee was found sprawling drowned in a pond. Consider this ye parents who have your hearts inordinately set on your children.

Againe, I will take away my corne, and my wine, and my wool, and my flaxe. Marke, before they made them their own, in the former verse, they said they are theirs, now God challenges them for his, here we have, My, My, My, repeated on Gods side, as frequent as before it was on theirs.

Fourthly,* God keepes the propriety of all that we have; though God gives all, yet he keepes the propriety of all in his own hand: God hath another propriety in our estates, then any Prince in the world hath.

Subjects have propriety in their estates, and enjoy them with as true a right as their Soveraignes, but no creature hath any propriety in Page  272 what it hath in reference to God, this great Soveraign of all the world holds the propriety of all his hands,** not onely what we have, but what we doe, and what we are is all Gods: yea sayes Luther, even our thanksgiving to God for gifts is a gift of God: It is therefore a very vile thing to attribute to our selves what is Gods, when God hath enriched us we adde this odious parti∣cle, sayes Luther, I have done it, yea, sayes he, men do so often say, Feci, Feci, I have done, I have done it, that Fiunt faeces, they are as dregs before the Lord; By this you may see they are not your goods that you abuse it is a great argument to be bountifull and free for good uses; because what wee have is Gods. I will give you a notable Text for this, 1 Chron. 29. 14. For all things come of thee, and of thine own we have given thee. David thought not much of his bounty towards the Temple, because all was Gods.

Therefore I will take away. This [Therefore] hath not onely reference to the abuse of them, but to that in the 7. ver. and she shall follow after her lvers, but shall not overtake them, &c. then shall she say, I will goe and return to my first husband, for then it was better then now. God makes this to be a meanes of working that frame of spirit in them of returning to their first husband. And from hence the note is.

Fifthly, The taking away those good things we enjoy, is a meanes of ma∣king us returne to God, it is a speciall meanes of conviction, to convince us of sinne, when God comes with some speciall worke of his against us, it workes more upon us when we see some reall expression of Gods displea∣sure, when God takes his mercies from us then when we heare the threat, now wee come to be sensible of our sinnes. You that are tradesmen and runne into debt, and your Creditors tell you they will come upon you, yet you goe on, till the Bailife comes into your shop and seizeth upon all, and goes into your house and takes away your bed from under you, and all your goods; when you see all goe out, then you thinke of your negligence, and then the husband and wife wring their hands. So though God threaten you for the abuse of the creature that hee will take it away, yet you are not sensible of it till God indeed takes away all, and then conscience begins to be awakened and fly in your faces.

VVhen David saw God taking away his people, then his heart smote him for numbring them; hee was told of the evill of that way of his before by Ioab, but he goes on in it. VVhen Samuel prayed for raine in wheat harvest, and there came thundring and lightning, then the people feared ex∣ceedingly, and acknowledged their sin in asking a King. Those who have abused their estates in these times, when the enemy comes, what gratings of conscience will they have? Then these thoughts will arise, Have I used my estate for God? have I done that I might doe? have I not satisfied my lusts with those things God hath now taken from me? There is usually a gra∣ting of conscience for the abuse of any thing, when God takes it away.

When God takes away a wife, if the husband hath a tenderness of consci∣ence, his first thoughts are, Have I performed the duties of my relation to Page  273 my wife as I ought? have I not neglected my duty towards her? and this causeth sad thoughts.**

And when God taketh away a child. Have I done my duty towards this child? have I prayed for it, and instructed it as I ought?

Againe, I will take away your corne in the time thereof, and your wine in the season thereof. This presents this truth to you.

That there is an uncertainty in all things in the world; Though they pro∣mise faire, yet they are ready to faile us, when they promise most. A hus∣bandman that hath a good seed time, promiseth much to himselfe, it comes up and thrives, and yet at harvest it is all blasted. Habak. 3. 17. Though the labour of the olive faile, The phrase is, Though the Labour of the olive lye, that is, the olive promised faire, it grew up, and looked very faire, and ripened, but it did lye, that is, it did not performe what it seemed to pro∣mise, for in the time thereof it vanished and came to naught. I had certain information from a reverend Minister, of a strange work of God this way; The thing was, in his owne Towne there was a worldling who had a great crop of corne; a good honest neighbour of his walking by his corne, saith he, Neighbour you have a very fine crop of corne, if God blesse it: Yea, saith he, I will have a good crop, speaking contemptuously and before he could come to get it into the barne, it was blasted, that the corn of the whole crop was not worth six pence. Here we see the uncertainty of the creature in the time thereof, when it seemes to promise never so faire, when wee are ready to take it into the barne, it depends on God, as well as when it is un∣der the clods. Oh the blessednesse of Gods servants, who are sure of their good for time to come! We may promise our selves certainty, even for the future in the things of Christ; but for outwards they are never sure, no not when men have them in their hands. Many things fall out betweene the cup and lip, as we have it in the proverb.

I will take away my corne in the time thereof, and wine in the season thereof. Hence Observe.

God lets out his displeasure many times to those that provoke him,* when they make account of the greatest mercy, when they are at the greatest height of prosperity, when afflictions seems to be the farthest off from them, then it comes heaviest upon them: When they thinke least of it, when they thinke all sure, then God comes upon them by his displeasure, when his dis∣pleasure shall be most biter to them: for that is the strength of the point, he will not onely take them away in the time thereof, but when the afflicti∣on shall be most grievous to them.

That in the 20. of Job, ver. 22. is a most notable Scripture for this, In the fulnesse of his sufficiency he shall be in straits. A man may seeme to have sufficiency of the creature, and may have his fulnesse of sufficiency, yet God saith he shall be in straits in the fulnesse of his sufficiency, I can give you another admirable work of providence in this very things wherein you may see God to come in sore affliction at such a time, when it is most bitter: Page  274 it came from that worthy Divine Doctor Preston, it was in the Towne where he was born; There was a man who of long time had no childe, but when God gave him one,* at the weaning of it hee called his friends and neighbours to rejoyce with him for this great mercy: and the Nurse going to dandle the child in her arme, and wearing a knife in her bosom, the point of the knife being upward, while she was dandling of the child, runs into the belly of the child, at that time when all his friends were about him to rejoyce with him. When men thinke the bitternesse of death to be past, (as Agag did) the curse of God comes on them. Ps. 78. 30. While the meate was in their mouths, the wrath of God fell upon them.

I have read of Pope John the 22. that he said he knew by the position of the Stars he should live a long time, and boasted that he could cast his nati∣vity, and the same night by the fall of a chamber he had newly built for his solace, he was sain. Another example in this kind I have heard credibly reported of a drunken fellow in an Inne was swearing most dreadfully, and one comes in and saith, Sir, what if you should dye now? saith hee, I shall never eye, and going down the stairs when he went out of his chamber, he presently feldown and broke his neck.

There is likewise a history of one Bibulus a Roman, that riding in tri∣umph in all his glory, a tyle fel from a house in the street and knockt out his brains. As on the contrary, Gods wayes and dealings with the Saints are such, as what time their condition is most sad, God comes in with mercy to them, when they are in the most dark condition and gloomish, Gods face shines on them; so when the wicked are in their prosperity, God smites them, When the irons entred into Iosephs soule, God delivered him. When the Apostle had received the sentence of death in himself, God comforred him 2 Cor. 1. 9. When Abraham was lifting up his hand to slay Isaac, the An∣gel of the Lord stayed his hand.

As it is observed in nature, a little before day breake it is darker then be∣fore, so a little before the happinesse of Gods people,* there are some great afflictions. Zech. 1. 7. At the evening time it shall be light.

I will recover. From this phrase of [recovering] observe, First, when men abuse mercies, they forfeit their right in their mercies, they come then to be but usurpers; they are not usurpers of mercies, meerely for the use of mercies, but for the abuse of them; they are not charged for their right to use them, but for their not right using them, there is great difference be∣tween these two.

It hath beene taught by many,* that all wicked men have no right at all to use any creature, but are to answer as usurpers before God. But certainely there is a mistake. It is certain man hath forfeited all, but God hath given a right to all that they do enjoy in a lawful way, a right by donation. They have not such a right as the Saints have, a right in Christ, once being in Christ we may challence of God all things that are good for us. Another man hath right, but how? as a malefactor is condemned to dye by his offence, being Page  275 condemned, he hath forfeited all his estate, and all the benefit of a subject; But if the King be pleased to allow him provision for a day or two, till the time of execution, he cannot be challenged as an usurper, for that he hath, he hath it by donation, and it is such a right that all wicked men have; all wic∣ked men in the world are under the sentence of condemnation, & have for∣feited their right, and all the good of the creature, only the Lord is pleased out of his bounty to give such and such enjoyments, they shall have such and such houses, and such and such lands for a time, till the day of execution comes.

This might daunt the hearts of wicked men: you look upon your selves as great men, you have your shops full, you have large estates, you are like some malefactors, who have a better supper before execution then others. But still your not right using may make you usurpers before God. You give your servant order to buy such and such commodities, suppose your servant run away with your money, or bestow it on his whores, &c. if he run away do you not follow him as a thiefe? you trust him with such a stock, to keepe such markets, now he hath right to use your estate; but if he run away with your estate, and use it against you, if you meet with him again, you will say, what a thief are you to run away with your Masters estate, and abuse it a∣gainst him? I will recover, &c.

All the time the creature serves wicked men,* it is in bondage, and God looks upon it with a kinde of pitty. God hath made all things for his owne praise, and he gives the children of men many mercies, but it is for his owne glory; but when these creatures which were given for the glory of God, are abused to thy lust,* the creature groanes under thee. Thou drinkest wine, but the creature groans under thy abuse; never any gally-slave did groan more under the bondage of the Turks, then thy wine and thy dishes on thy table groan under thy abuse, Rom. 8. 22.

As God hears the cry of the widow and fatherless, so he hears the groans of the creature.

Cornelius a Lapide tels a story that he heard of a famous Preacher, shew∣ing this bondage of the creature, brings in the creatures complaining thus, Oh that we could serve such as are godly! Oh that our substance & our flesh might be incorporated into godly people, that so we might rise into glory! but if our flesh be incorporated into the flesh of sinners, we shall go to hell, and would any creature go to hell? The very creatures shall be in hell eter∣nally, when wicked men consume them on their lusts, being incorporated into their bodies. Certainly, the creature one day wil have a kind of revenge upon ungodly men, & divers think that hell will be a turning all creatures in∣to a Chaos, into a confusion again as it was at the first, and the wicked put into that, and so tormented there, there shal not be an annihilation, but God shall take away the beauty, comfort & glory of the creature, and whatsoe∣vershal be for the torment of ungodly men shal abide, and so they shall bee tormented eternally by the creatures they do abuse.

Page  276 As in such a building as this is, there is lime and stone, and morter, but now the art of man puts a beauty upon them; but suppose all the art of man were taken away from this building, at an instant, what would become of us then? it would bury us in the rubbish of it; now it is usefull and delight∣full, but if the art were taken away, it would be our destruction. So the creatures of God have much of Gods wisedome, power and goodnesse in them, which God suffers wicked men to enjoy; but God will take away all his wisdome, beauty and goodnesse, so that nothing but the confusion & rubbish of the creature shall be upon the wicked to all eternity.

I will recover my wooll and my flaxe given to cover their nakednesse.

Whence observe,

God gives his blessings to us, not for luxury, but for necessity; I gave them to cover your nakednesse.* Therefore when our Saviour teacheth us to pray▪ it is for dayly bread, or bread which is for our substance, so much bread as serves for our substance,* and that but for a day neither. Most are abusive in their desires, after, and use of the creature, they looke at bravery rather then necessity; As Cyprian hath an expression, It is not the heat of their cloathes, nor calor, but color, the colour is rather regarded by many. God lookes now especially that we should cut of our superfluities, when our brthren want necessareis.

To cover your nakednesse. It seemes that our nakednesse needs a cover. Sin hath made nakednesse shamefull.* Hence therefore our bodies are cal∣led vile bodies; those bodies that we study so much to pamper and adorne, they are bodies of vilenesse, as the Apostle speakes, Phil. 3. 21. yea, of that vilenesse with an article, or of the vilensse; to be proud of our cloathes that cover our shame, that cover our nakednesse is an unreasonable thing.

Would you have your bodies adorned? labour for godlinesse, and then you shall have bodies like the glorious body of JESUS CHRST; you may have bodies that shall not need a covering.

Lastly,* when abundance is abused, it is just with God that we should want necessaries, I will take away their corne, &c. how many are there who have lavished out their estates, upon whom you may see Gods judgement so grievous, that they want a piece of bread; now you often tell your lavish wasting servants, they will be glad of a crust before they dye; It proves true often of Masters and Mistresses also, who out of pride and delicacy of spi∣rit, will be so fine & brave above their ranks, that God doth blast them that they have not to cover their nakednesse. Those in the third of Isa, who had that gorgeous and brave attire, are threatned with baldnesse, and grinding with sackcloath, ver. 24. and such as come to misery by their wasting super∣fluity have none to pitty them. I have read of Alfonsus a King of Spaine, who when a Knight falling into want and being arrested for debt, there was a petition to the King to succour him, I saith the King, if he had spent his e∣state in mine, or in the common-wealths service, it were reason he should be provided for, by me or the common-wealth, but seeing he hath spent all in rioousness, let him suffer.

Page  277 Consider this you who are so loath to part with your estates for the pub∣licke, you murmure at every thing that is required of you for that, but you are profuse in expences for your lust, God hath wayes to bring you low e∣nough in your estares.

Ver. 10. And now I will discover her lewdnesse.

And now, that is, when I recover my wooll, and flaxe, I will discover her lewdnesse, I will take their covers from their own eyes, and from the eyes of others. Wicked men, and especially Idolaters have divers covers for their lewdnesse. There are especially three covers that these people had for their lewdness. The first was their outward prosperity: do you speak so bitterly against us, as if we were Idolaters, as if we had forsaken God, are we not in as good a condition as Judah, who you say hath not forsaken God?

Secondly, Their externall worship is that yet they kept something accor∣ding [ 2] to Gods own mind, they yet kept the Sabbath and some solemn dayes according to the law, this cover they rested in; as if they should say, What doe you accuse us as if we did not worship the true God, have not we Gods service with us, and our solemne assemblies?

Thirdly, They had other services which were not Gods, yet they did cover [ 3] them, with glorious pompous shewes, they had pompous dayes of solem∣nity, pretended for God, but being of their own invention, they were hate∣full. Well saith God, I will take away your prosperity, and I will take a∣way those things you thinke to put me off with, I will take away your so∣lemnicies, and all the pomp in your services.

I will discover their lewdnesse.

The word lewdnesse,* that comes of Nabal, that signifieth to fall, it signi∣fies the falling of the spirit low, poor, vile, and unworthy things. Hence the Hebrews use that word for a foole, one that hath a vie spirit, set upon base contemptible things, is Nabal, a foole. Hence that speech of Abigail con∣cerning her husband, as is his name, so is he, he is Nabal, and folly is with him.* The Seventy turne this by another word, that signifieth uncleannesse, the mixture of their spirits with vile things that make their spirits to be un∣clean. The English word Lewd comes from Loed an old Saxon word, which signifieth one that is of a servile disposition, of an under spirit; some are of servile spirits naturally, they are born to a kind of servility, & bondage, they are inclined to baseness, and vileness, by their natural genius: others are of more sublime spirits naturally, as if they were borne for great things; these people are lewd, they have vile spirits, forsaking the blessed God, & his glo∣rious wayes,* turning to vanities that can doe no good. So we say of many, they are lewd base fellowes, that is, they are of such sordid dispositions, that they seeke only after such things as have no worth in them, & satisfie them∣selves in things beneath the excellency of a man, unbeseeming a ratio∣nall creature to take content in. Act. 18. 14. we finde this word lewdnes, the Greek word translated there lewdness doth elegantly set forth the dispo∣sition of a lewd man, namely, such a one as is easily drawn to any wicked way.

Page  278I will discover her lewdnesse in the sight of her lovers. In the sight; this is a great aggravation of their shame. God will cast filth on them, not be∣fore those that are strangers, but those before whom they would be honou∣red. It is a note of Calvin upon this, that seemes to reach the meaning of the holy Ghost, alluding to the way of whores, who having great men for their lovers, favourites with Princes at the Court, they rest on their power, and confide in their greatness, they care not what their husbands can doe a∣gainst them, and so grow proud against their husbands, because their lovers have great power. There was a remarkable example of this here in Eng∣land, that you may remember, it were but to ake in a filthy dunghill to mention it.

I will take away their confidence, though their lovers be never so great, the Assyrians, and Aegyptians, whosoever they be, they shall have no power to help you, but I will discover their lewdnesse before their face. From hence take these observations.

First, all wickednesse, and especially Idolatry, hath many covers for it; except we looke very narrowly to those that are superstitious and idolatrous, we shall not see the evill of that sin. Some covers are subtilly woven, but it may be said of them all as Isa. 28. 20. The bed is shorter then that a man can stretch himselfe on it, and the covering narrower then that he can wrap himselfe in it.

Secondly,* Prosperity in a sinfull way is a great cover; though it be a very vile and sinfull way, yet prosperity is a cover to it: This glisters so in many mens eyes, that the filth of sin is hid, many a foule hand is under a faire per∣fumed glove, an ill complexion may have a painted face, and prosperity is no other to wicked men,* then a painted face to a foul woman. As a pain∣ted face is no argument of a faire complexion, so neither is prosperity of a good condition. Crooked diseased bodies, halfe rotten, may have fine cloths. Green leaves on a tree may hide the rifts, the mossiness, and blackness of the body which appears in winter.

Many men are abominable false in all their wayes, cruell, and bloody in their hearts against God and good men, their spirits are invenomed, and they have given up themselves to most horrible sins, yet so long as they have power about them all is covered, were all their prosperity taken from them, and all their glory and greatness, and nothing but their falshood, and hatred of the wayes of God appeared, what dreadfull creatures would they bee? There is many a man that is taken with a strumpet, when shee hath painted her selfe bravely like Iezebel, but if he should see this whore whipped up & down the streets, and full of botches, how odious would this strumpet be in his eyes? take away her bravery, and she is to him the Ioathsomest creature upon earth.

Thirdly,* Retaining some truths in the way of worship is a great cover to much falsenes. When some of you are to pay a great sum, you can shuffle in a brasse six pence or shilling, or a light piece of gold: so some, though they Page  279 retaine many errors,* yet because they keep some truths, they think to cover much superstition. False wares will be holpen off amongst good, and a man that useth to lie will sometimes tell some truths to put off a lie.* A man that is a base selfe-secker, will many times deny himselfe; many times you shall have the proudest spirits that are, to bee as crowching and subject to those that are their superiours as any, and so by seeming humility, cover a great deale of pride. So the evill of ceremonies, and false discipline, passe without much contradiction, you must not trouble your selves about these things, and why have not we as wholsome soule-saving doctrine as in any Church in the world? because of this the corruption of the other is covered, much hypocrisie is covered under excellent gifts, the gifts are gifts of Gods Spirit, but they oftentimes cover much vileness.

Further observe,* Outward pompous devotion in Gods worship is a great colour of notorious Idolatry, as gilded Crosses, painted Churches, pompous Ceremonies: how hath it covered the most desperate hatred to the power of godlinesse that ever was?

I will discover thy lewdnesse.

God hath a time to discover wickednesse,* it shall appeare one day in its colours, vile and abominable wickednesse shall not always goe uncovered. God will not discover her infirmities, neither should we; wee should doe as God doth,* discover the lewdnesse of men, but not their infirmities Love co∣vers a multitude of faults, if they be but infirmities. And when you disco∣ver the lewdnesse of others, take heed you do not discover your owne lewd∣nesse in the mean time. Many when they go about to discover the lewdnesse of other men, do it with such bitternesse of spirit, and with rejoycing, that they have got any advantage against those that are religious, if they heare a∣ny reports against such, whether true or false they care not, they relate it con∣fidently, something will stick. This is for men to discover their own lewd∣nesse, when they cry out against the lewdnesse of others. Those who are wise and understanding, are able easily to see it; but if wee would not have God discover our lewdnesse, let us get such a cover as shall never be unco∣vered▪ You may have many shifts to cover your sinnes that are not large e∣nough, but I wil tell you of a cover that is large enough to cover all: What is that? The righteousnesse of Jesus Christ. Psal. 32. 1. Blessed is he whose transgresison is forgiven, whose sin is overed. There is a cover that covers from the eyes of God and man for ever.

I will discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers.

I will take such a way to manifest her vile lewdness before her lovers, that she shall neither prevail with them, nor be upheld by them.

Whence observe,

When God discovers mens lewdness,* they shal do little hurt. 2 Tim. 3. 6. But they shall proceed no farther, for their folly shall bee made manifest to all men. There are many who have secretly gained on the spirits of other men, by faire pretences, that they will doe nothing but thus and thus, Page  280 and they seek nothing but the publicke good,* and they desire the furtherance of the Gospel, but when opertunity shall serve, there shall be a ciscovering that their intentions goe another way then their words seemed to import, and then they shall proceed no further, for they shal be vile and contemptible in the eyes of those with whom they prevailed before.

Againe, further, I will doe it in the sight of their lovers.

When God sets himself against his enemies,* he will goe through his work in the face of all those that seekes the contrary, doe what they can. God needs no shifts, no tricks nor devices to carry on his work, but he can carry it on in the sight of his adversaries, he will carry on his worke, and shame them in the sight of their lovers,* and bring them downe low, doe what they can. God can make use of the wisedome and policy of men, and hee can make as much use of their indiscretion, as he hath done of late. The great workes of God amongst us of late have been carryed on with a high hand in the sight of those that have been our adversaries; what discoveries have there been of the filth of men? how hath their nakedness been made naked? what charges in their conditions? what contempt hath God cast in the face of those that were the great champions sor lewdnesse, and that in the very face of their lovers? Their lovers looked on them, and had as good a heart to them as ever, there was little or no change in the hearts of their lovers; and though their lovers were as eager for them as ever, yet their shame hath been discovered. This Scripture is as cleerely made good this day, as any Scripture in the Book of God. Againe, In the face of their lovers.

Dishonour before those we expect honour from,* is a sad, a great evill. Oh, saith Saul, Honour me before the people. Saul cared not much if hee were dishonored before strangers, but he would be honored before the peo∣ple. It is such a thing to be dishonoured before those that we would be ho∣noured before, that the stronger a mans spirit is, the more intolerable the burden is; one of a mean and low spirit, doth not much care for dishonour any where, but a man that hath strength of spirit indeed, counts it the worst thing that can be to be dishonoured before those that love him.

This we finde among many Tradesmen that are civill at home,* but if they get among strangers, oh how lewd are they in an Inne! those that love God and the Saints, are most afraid to have their evill discovered before God and the Saints, for a gracious heart desires honour from them most. One that is godly can beare disgrace, any contemptuous abuse from many of those that are profane, rather then from one that is godly. Wicked men care not for dishonour among the Saints, because they care not for their love. If dis∣honour before lovers be such a shame, what will dishonour before God at the great day be, and before the Saints and wicked men too who were your lovers? I will discover their lewdness in the sight of their lovers.

When I take away their corne, and wine, and flaxe, and these things, their lovers will be ashamed of them.

The way of carnall friends are to esteem of men when they are in prosperi∣ty, Page  281 but when they are down in adversity, then they contemn them.

Huntsmen when they would single out a Deer, they shoot her first, and as soon as the blood appears, all the rest goe out of her company, and push her from them. It is so with carnall friends, if a man be in affliction, if they see their friend shot, they look aloofe from him. Wee have had wofull ex∣perience of this of late, when many godly Ministers were persecuted, those who before had seemed to be their lovers, grew strange unto them. In a sun∣shine day, men that passe by look on a dyall, but in a darke stormy day, a hundred may ride by it and never look to it.* When wee are in a Sun-shine day of prosperity, men will look towards us; but if the gloomy day of ad∣versity come, then they passe by without regard to us. I a man of fashion come to a house, the dogs will be quiet, but when a beggar comes in raggs, they flye upon him. It is apparant by this, that men in their prosperity are not regarded for any thing in themselves, but for their prosperities sake, for their moneys sake, for their cloathes sake. Suppose any of you have a ser∣vant goes up and downe with you, and you know whither soever you goe, the respect that is given, is not for your sake, but for your servants sake, you go to such a house, and they use you kindly, only for your servants sake, you take it very ill. This is all the respect that men have from false lovers, it is not for any good in them, it is for their prosperity, for their servants sake; O how vaine is respect from the world! If you be gracious, God will not deal with you thus; if you have your estates taken from you, God will not despise you as carnall friends doe. Psal. 22. 24. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted. When the Saints are afflicted, God doth not hide his face from them, but when they cry to him he hears them.

Yet further we see here, carnall hearts have a great deale of confidence in many things they trust to,* in time of danger they will not believe but they shall escape. Let us not be troubled at the confidence our enemies have, they doubt not but to prevaile; this is from the curse of God upon them; their case is never so desperate, but they have something to shelter themselves in their own thoughts: Oh what a shame is it that any thing is rather trusted in, then God! the husbandman casts seed-corn that costs dearer then any other corne into the ground: The Merchant trusts all his estate to the winds & waves of the sea, & if they saile, all is gone; you trust servants with busines of weight. If you goe to Westminster, you trust your lives in a boat halfe an inch thicke, God is not trusted so much, that blessed God who is the only true object of soule-confidence.

Lastly, when God sets himselfe against a generation of men, or any par∣ticular, all the means in the world shall not help. Ezek. 9. the Prophet had a vision of six men with weapons of war in their hands; there were six prin∣cipall gates in Jerusalem, and God would set these sixe men with weapons in their hands at each gate, that if they run to this, or the other, or any gate, the man with the weapon in his hand should be sure to take them, they should not escape.

Page  282Amos, 5. 8. Seeke him that maketh the seven Stars and Orion; Why are these named seven stars and Orion; the one is the extreame of cold, and the other of heate; The Lord hath the power of both: if they escape the heat, the cold shall take them; if the cold, the heate shall take them: and I like∣wise, saith the Lord, can make both these helpfull to you as I please.

Hence there is such blasting of means, for the cursing of those whom God sets himselfe against; let us not be afraid of the great assistance that our ad∣versaries have, though they have great assistance, they are in Gods hand, and none can deliver out of Gods hand; all their strength is but as tow and flaxe before the flame of fire. If God be in a way of mercy, none can take out of his hands, Isa. 43. 13. There is none can deliver out of my hand, I will worke, and who shall let it?

Wherefore it is a fearfull thing to fall into the hand of God when he is in a way of wrath, and it is a blessed thing to be in his hand when he is in a way of mercy, for none can deliver out of either. Christ holds the stars, not on∣ly Ministers, but all his Elect in his hand, and none can take them out. I will give you a notable example in Gods preservation in times of danger: In the time of the Massacre at Paris, there was a poor man, who for his de∣liverance crept into a hole, and when he was there, there comes a Spider and weaves a cobweb before the hole; when the murtherers came to search for him, saith one, Certainly he is got into that hole: No saith another, he can∣not be there,* for there is a cobweb over the place; and by this meanes the poore man was preserved. The hope of the wicked, Job saith, is as the Spi∣ders Web; yet if God please he can make a cobweb to deliver his people.

The least things shall deliver when he will, and the greatest meanes of de∣liverance shall not deliver when he pleases.

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.

Page  300

The Ninth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 11.

I will cause all her mirth to cease, her feast dayes, her new moones and her sabbaths, and all her solemne feasts.

OF the Jewish new moons the last day, God threatens likewise to take away her Sabbaths. Sabbaths.]

Plutarch thought that the Sabbath of the Jews was from Sabbos,* a name of Bacchus, that signifies to live jocundly, and bravely, and merrily. Indeed the Sabbaths that many keep have such a derivation, their Sabbaths are sabbaths of Bacchus, to be merry, and to eate, and drinke, and play, is the end of all their Sabbaths.

But the word hath a better root. God would have us upon the Sabbath rest from all other works, that we may be free to converse with him: there∣fore it is so much the more inexcusable if when we have nothing else to doe we shall deny to converse with God as he requireth of us. If a friend should come to your house to converse with you, and he should know you have no businesse to take you up, yet you will scarce see him, or spend a little time with him, will hee not take it ill? If indeed you could have such an excuse that your businesse is extraordinary, though your time be lesse you spend with him, it would not be so ill taken; but when he knows you have nothing to do, and yet you deny time to converse with him, will not this be taken for a slighting him? Thus you deale with God; Had you indeed great occasions and businesses to doe upon that day, though you did not so converse with God in holy duties, it were another matter; God might accept of mercy ra∣ther then sacrifice. But when hee shall appoint you a day to rest, wherein you have nothing to doe but to converse with him, yet then to deny it, this is a sleighting of the Majesty of God.

Now the Jews had diverse Sabbaths, amongst others these were prin∣cipall ones. The Sabbaths of dayes, and the Sabbaths of yeers.

The Sabbath of dayes, every seventh day they had a Sabbath, and it was kept unto the Lord. Now this Feast of theirs had so me what in it Memora∣tive, somewhat Significative, and somewhat Figurative. It was a Memo∣rial, a Signe,* and a Figure. A Memoriall of two things.

1. Of the works of Gods Creation. After God had finished his works of Creation, then he rested, and sanctified the seventh day, and Psalm. 92. being appointed for the Sabbath, the Argument of it is the celebrating the Memoriall of Gods great works.

2. Of the deliverance out of Egypt, in remembrance of the rest that God did give them from their bondage. So you have it Deut, 5. 15. Remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God Page  301 brought thee out thence, through a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arme: Therefore he commanded thee to keepe the Sabbath day.

Secondly, it was Significative, a Signe, Exod, 31. 17. It is a signe be∣tweene me and the children of Israel for ever: And verse 13. It is a signe betweeue me & you, that I an the Lord that doe sanctifie you. God made it a signe, that as this day was by his command to be sanctified, set apart from other dayes, so God had set apart this nation of the Jewes from o∣ther nations.

Thirdly, It was Figurative, it did figure out or typific the rest that did remaine for the people of God, Heb. 4. There remaineth a rest to the peo∣ple of God, both here in the time of the Gospel, and in heaven eternally.

Now we are to know there was some speciality in this day of rest,* in this sabbath of the Jews more then in any other sabbath. As,

First, in the Antiquity of it. It was the most ancient of all the dayes, set apart for an holy use, being from the time of the Creation.

Secondly, it was written with Gods owne finger in the Tables.

Thirdly, God rained no Manna upon this day, and that even before the Law was given in Mount Sinai, for the honour of this day.

4. The whole weeke doth take denomination from the Sabbath. Luke 18. 12. I fast twice in the weeke, twice a Sabbath, so the words are in the Greek. So Marke 16. 2. The first day of the weeke, the first of Sabbaths, so the words.

5. This Sabbath is called an everlasting Covenant by way of eminency, as if nothing of Gods Covenant were kept if this were not.*Exod. 31. 16. Ye shall keepe the Sabbath for a perpetuall Covenant.

Yea 6. God puts a remembrance upon this day, and not upon any other sabbath. If a friend who would faine converse with you, send to you three or four dayes,* or a wecke beforehand, I pray think of that day, I will come to you then and converse with you, wee will enjoy communion together; now if when he doth come he shall finde you emplyed in unnecessary busi∣nesses, will he take it well? God doth so with you, saith God, I desire to con∣verse with your soules, and I appoint you such a day, think of it, remember that day that you and I may be together, and converse sweetly one with a∣nother; if God finde you then occupied in unnecessary businesses, he will not take it well.

This Sabbath the Jewes rejoyced much in, and blessed God for it, Nehem. 9. 14. as a great mercy. And Philo Iudaeus speaking of the fourth Com∣mandement saith, It is a famous precept, and profitable to excite all kinde of vertue and piety. And the Hebrews say we must sanctifie the Sabbath at the comming in and going out, and blesse God that hath given us this Sabbath: Yea it is called by some of the Hebrews, the very desire of dayes; And Drusius telleth of a Jew, who when the Sabbath dy approached, was wontto put on his best cloathes, saying, Come my. Spouse, &c. as being glad of tharday, as a Bride-groome of his Spouse.

Page  302 It is not my worke to handle the point of the Sabbath-day, or Lords-day now, but to open it as we have it here in the Text, to shew what kinde of Sabbath the Jews had; onely observe this one thing about this Sabbath; If you compare Numb. 28. 9. with Ezek. 46. 4. you shall finde that the offer∣ings in the time of the Gospel prophesied of, were more then those were in the time of the Law. In Numb. you finde but two Lambes, but in Ezekiel you finde six Lambs and a Ram for the Sabbath: This by way of type shewes, that in the setled times of the Gospell, Gods worship upon the Christian Sabbath should be solemnized more fully then it was in the time of the Law.

The next is the Sabbath of yeeres, and they were of two sorts. There was one to be kept every seven yeeres, and another every seven times seven, eve∣ry fiftieth yeere. Every seventh yeer there was a rest of the land; as every seventh day there was a rest of the labour of their bodies, so every seventh yeere there was a rest of the land. Exod. 23, 10. Six yeeres thou shalt sow thy land and gather in the fruits thereof, but in the seventh yeere thou shalt let it rest analye still, rhey must not prune their Vines, nor gather their vin∣tage one yeere in seven.* The Sabbath of dayes signified that they themselves were the Lords, therefore they ceast from their own labours: But the Sab∣bath of yeeres, the resting of the land signified that the land was the Lords, at Gods dispose, and that they were to depend upon the providence of God for their food in the land; God would dispose of the land, when they should plow, and when they should sow, and gather in the fruits thereof as he pleased.

We must acknowledge (that is the morall of it to our selves) that all lands are the Lords, & the fruit that we enjoy from the land it is at his disposing. If any man should aske, what should we eate that seventh yeere, seeing they might not plow, nor sow, nor reape, neither have vintage, nor harvest? The Lord answers them, Levit. 25. 20. 21. I will command my blessing upon thee in the sixth yeere, and it shall bring forth fruit for three yeeres. God you see will not have any to be losers by his service. Let us trust God then, though perhaps you have now one yeer in which you have no trading; Peo∣ple cry out, Oh this twelve-month we have had no trading in the City, we can get no rent out of the Country neither. Do not murmure, trust God; It may be God hath beene beforehand with many of you, you have had full trading formerly that may preserve you comfortably now: If not before, trust God for the next; the Jews were faine to trust God every seventh yeer, they had nothing comming in for one yeere in seven. If once in all your life time God take away your trading upon extraordinary occasion, do not murmure, do not give lesse to the poore now; I speak to those whom God hath blessed in former yeers, so as that they are not only able to subsist, but to give too; See for this Deut, 5. 9. Beware thou sayest not in thine heart the seventh yeere is at hand, and thine eye be evill against thy poor bro∣ther, and thou givest him ought, and he cry unto the Lord against thee, Page  303 and it be sinne unto thee. If now because you have not such a full Income as you were wont to have in your trading, if a company of poore distres∣sed plundered people come among you and desire your helpe, if you de∣ny to relieve them, if they cry unto God against you, it will be sin unto you.

Now this rest of the land was to put them in minde that there was a time comming when God will free them from labour; Now they were faine to eate their bread in the sweat of their browes, but God would supply them once in seven yeeres without the sweat of their browes in illing the land, shewing that there was a time where in God would bring his people to such a rest that they should have full supply of all things without labour.

But further, besides this there was a second thing, in this seventh yeere all debts that their brethren owed to them were to be released. Deut. 7. 15. it is called there, the Lords release, the Lord is mercifull to those that are in debt. God knowes what a grievous burthen it is for his people to bee in debt, it is indeed an inconceivable burthen; rich men who are full-handed do not understand what a burthen it is for men to hang upon every bush, to be in debt to every man they deale with, they cannot sleep quietly, they can have but a little joy and comfort in their lives, the burthen is so grievous.

Now God in mercy to his people that they might not all their dayes goe under such a burthen, and so have little joy of their lives, therefore he gran∣ted this favour to them, that once in seven yeeres their debts were to be re∣leased: But it was the debt of an Hebrew, Deut. 15. 30. Forraigners debts they were not bound to release: By that wee are to learne this in∣struction, that there should be more pity and commiseration shewen to those that are our brethren in the flesh, or our brethren in regard of Reli∣gion and godlinesse, in regard of their debts then others.

It is true, there is a complaint of many that are godly, that they have lit∣tle care and conscience in paying their debts: the justnesse of that com∣plaint I know not, but there may be a slothfulnesse in many, if not unfaith∣fulnesse, and if there be carelesnesse & unfaithfulnesse in some, it is enough to cast an aspersion upon all that are godly: but though those that are god∣ly should be more carefull of paying their debts then others,* but if they can∣not, you are bound to be more mercifull unto them then to others, because they are godly, and not to seeke to take advantage the rather upon them, be∣cause they are godly, this is a vile and a wicked heart, to take advantage so much the rather, if thou seest them godly & laborious in their calling, and it be meerely a providence of God, and not any negligence of theirs, thou art bound to shew much commiseration unto them. In that forenamed place, Deut. 15. 9. Beware there be not an evill heart in thee, to be lesse merciful to thy poore brother because of the seventh yeeres rest of the ground, or be∣cause the debt was to be released that seventh yeere, but (verse 10.) thou shalt surely give it him, and thy heart shall not be grieved, because for this thing the Lord thy God shall blesse thee in all thy workes, and in all that thou put test thy hand unto.

Page  304 Notwithstanding there must be a cessation of plowing, and sowing, and vintage in the seventh yeer, yea and notwithstanding thou wert bound to re∣lease thy debt in the seventh yeer, yet you must doe this, and not do it grudg∣ingly, you must not murmure and say, what doth God require of us that we must neither plow uor sow, and that we must release our debts and give too, nay and give, and not have our hearts grieved too, that we must not complaine of this? Oh my brethren, God loveth exceedingly cheerfull gi∣vers, and hearts inlarged with bowels of compassion, he doth no: love hearts grumbling and objecting against giving. Many men have no quicknesse of understanding in any thing else but against workes of mercy, how quick are they in their objections, and can finde such subtle wayes to save their purses that a man would wonder at it, against this there is a solemne charge, Deut. 15. 11. Thou shalt open thy hand wide unto thy brother, to the poore and needy in the land.

The third thing to be done once in seven yeers was the release of servants too, they must goe free, and they must not be sent away empty neither, as ver. 18. of that Deut. 15. It shall not seeme hard to thee when thou sendest him away free from thee, you must give them liberty, as ver. 14.

It is true, we are not bound to the letter of this, every seven yeers to doe thus, but there is a morall equity in it, when servants have done you faithfull service, you must not think that it is enough that you give them meate and drink, and cloth, but you must be carefull of your servants how they should live after they are gone from you.* This was the first sabbath of yeers.

But the second was most famous, and that was the rest that was every se∣ven times seven yeers, the fiftieth yeer, which was called the yeere of jubile, from that trumpet that they were wont to proclaime that yeer by, which as the Jewes tell us was a Rams-horne. In this yeere there were divers of the same things done that was in the seventh yeer, as the release of debts, the re∣lease of servants. But there are some things observable that were done at this time beyond what was done every seventh yeer.

As for servants, the release of them was not onely of such servants as had then served seven yeers, yea if they had served any time, they were then to be released, but besides there was order taken by God for release of some ser∣vants that would not be released in the seventh yeere, for when the seventh yeer came, though all servants might then be released, yet there were some that would not be released,* and there was an order taken by God for that, Exod. 21. 6. if there were a servant that loved his master and would not goe free, then his Master should bring him to the post of the door, and with a nayle bore his eare, and then the Text saith, he should serve him for ever: Now that [for ever] is by Interpreters interpreted but for a time of Jubile, and then he should have rest. Here it is to be understood of the 50. yeer, the yeer of Jubile.

Page  305 There are some kind of spirits that are so slavish that when they may have liberty they will not, they deserve to have their eares bored, to be slaves to the fiftieth year, if not for ever. Many amongst us this day have such spi∣rits. God offereth us a release from bondage, how many of us love servitude still! It is just with God that we should have our eares bored, and that we should be slaves even for ever, but we hope there will be a Iubile come at length for our deliverance, God would have a Iubile even to deliver those that were of the most servile spirits, and might justly be left to serve for e∣ver. It is true, when God began with us in the beginning of our Parlia∣ment, like the seventh year God offered to us a release, and we refused it then, and since we deserve that our ears should be bored; but God is infi∣nitely mercifull, though we be of servile spirits, and know not how to pitty our selves, we hope the Lord will pity us, and grant us out of free and rich grace a Iubile, even to deliver those who have a mind to be bond-slaves; I am sure God doth so spiritually. If God should not deliver those that are minded to be slaves, he should deliver none.

It was a great mercy so to provide for servants, that they might be deli∣vered. The greater, because servants then were not as they are now, there was a great deal of hardship that servants indured then more then now, they were bought and sold, not only other nations, but the Hebrews were bought for servants also, so you shall find it, Exod. 21. 2. Besides, servants were in such bondage then, as if the Masters did beat them with a rod untill they killed them,* yet they must only be punished, they must not have blood go for their blood, yea though he died under his hand, yet he was but to be pu∣nished, and if the servant lived but 2. or 3. days after, the Master was not to be punished at all, so you have it, Exod. 21. 20, 21. If a man smite his servant with a rod, and he dye under his hand, he shall be surely punished, notwithstanding if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his money.

Oh that servants would consider of this, and bless God for the liberty they have now more then servants had in former times! It was so likewise with the Romans, the word [servant] cometh à Servando, because the Romans used to have such for servants as were preserved in time of war, that should otherwise have bin put to death, whether they were those or others, yet the condition of all was very servile both amongst Iews and Romans, which may justly rebuke the pride of servants now, if they be but crost in their minds in the least thing, they make such a complaint as if they were exceed∣ingly wronged. Let servants rather bless God for their condition, then mur∣mur at a little hardship they indure, for the hardship of servants in former times was another manner of hardship then any you can indure who have the hardest masters. Hence it is that in the day of Iubile the servants did so rejoyce; Iewish antiquities tell us that nine days before their release, the ser∣vants feasted and made merry, and wore garlands, because of their freedom approaching.

Page  306 The second thing extraordinary in the day of Jubile, was, that not onely debts,* but lands were released. Lev. 25. 22. The land shall not be sold for ever. And there were divers reasons for this, why the land must not be sold for ever, but must return to the first possessors in the year of Jubile.

[ 1] One reason is in the Text,*Lev. 25. 23. For the land is mine, saith God, for yee were strangers and sojourners with me: God would hereby teach them that they must not account themselves absolute lords of the land, the land is mine; and you that are the greatest land-lords of all are but as stran∣gers and sojourners with God, the land is still Gods. And vers. 28. If a man bee not able to redeeme his land, nor his kinsman for him, it shall re∣main unto the yeer of Iubile, and in the Iubile it shall goe out, and hee shall return unto his possession. If he could redeem his land himself or a kinsman for him, he was to redeeme it before; but if a man should be so poor as he could not give any thing to redeem it, yet in the year of Iubile it should re∣turn unto him.

[ 2] God would not have his people too greedy to bring the possession of the Countrey in to themselves, to have a perpetuall inheritance to themselves and their posterity. This is the greediness of many covetous and ambitious men, oh that we could lay land to land, and house to house, to get a perpetuall inheritance for our selves and posterity! God would not have his people be of so greedy dispositions, for a few of them to get the whole Countrey into their own possession, therefore he would have no man that e∣ver had any possession, but once in fifty years that possession must return to that familie again.

[ 3] The land was to return to the first owner, that the distinction of Tribes might be continued, which was known much by the continuance of their possessions that belonged to every tribe & family. God had great care be∣fore Christs time to keep the distinction of tribes, that so it might be cleare out of which tribe Christ came.

But further, this year of Iubile aymed at a higher thing, it was a type of Christ, to set out the blessed redemption that we have by Christ. The trum∣pet of the Gospel which the Ministers blow is a trumpet of Iubile. That place Isa. 61. 1, 2. seems to have reference to a Iubile, there the Text saith, that Christ was appointed to proclaim liberty to the captives, & the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to proclaim the acceptable yeer of the Lord; now that acceptable year was the year of Iubile, there was the opening of the prison, and the releasing of them that were bound. Psal. 89. 15. saith the text, Blessed are the people that heare the joyfull sound, that hear the Ju∣bile. Oh blessed are our ears who live to such a time as we do, to heare the trumpet of Iubile blowing in one congregation or other almost every day! now we have a release of our debts & bondage, this is the joyfull sound. We are all by nature in debt (sins you know are called debts in the Lords pray∣er) every soul is bound over to Gods eternall justice to answer to the law, for not obeying the law; now cometh this Iubile and releaseth all debts. And we Page  307 are all bond-slaves, in bondage to sin, to the law, and to the devil, now com∣eth the Gospel, this Iubile, and releaseth our bondage, sets us at liberty. 3. We have forfeited our right to the crea ure, yea to heaven it self; now the Gospel comes and restores all, we have right now to the comforts of this world, and to heaven. Canaan was a type of heaven, and the loss of their inheritance, there was a type of the loss of heaven, and the bringing them a∣gain to the possession of it, a type of the restoring of right to heaven; Oh hap∣py are they then who hear this joyfull sound, not only with the eares of the body, but who have it sounding in their hearts, and that by the work of the spirit of God in them.

In this year of Iubile there is one thing further very remarkable, and that is the time when this trumpet that was to proclaim this yeer was to blow, Lev. 25. 9. the trumpet was to blow upon the tenth day of the seventh moneth. What remarkable thing is there in this, that the trumpet must be blown the tenth day of the seventh month? yes, there is this remarkable in it, the tenth day of the seventh month was their day of expiation (the day of their atone∣ment, their publique fast) This day appointed every year for all Israel to af∣flict their souls before God,* to humble themselves for their sins, and to seek for mercy from God (as we shal shew you more largely when we come to open the solemnity of that day) I only mention it now to shew that the trumpet of Iubile was to be sounded upon that day. It is a strange thing that upon that day wherein they were to afflict their soules before God, and to mourn for their sins, the trumpet of Iubile was to sound, that was to pro∣claim joy and mirth, things of a contrary nature to humbling and mourn∣ing. Yea but this affords us divers excellent instructions. As

First, God would have his people so to mourn as to know their joy is co∣ming. [ 1] In the darkest day they had, wherein they were bound to afflict their souls most, yet they were so to mourn, as to know there was a Iubile at hand. We are not to mourn as those without hope: in our most grievous & sorest mournings we must have our hearts sink in desperation, wee must so mourne as to expect a Iubile. Yea further, the Saints mourning [ 2] is a preparation to a Iubile o joy. Ioy then is neer at hand when the Saints must mourn in a godly manner. Did not the Lord deal graciously with us the last fast day when we were mourning before him? There was amongst our brethren in other parts a kind of trumpet of Iubile blown; the Lord was then working for us; what great deliverance did God grant that very day at Chichester? God shews that the mourning of his people doth make way for joy. Yea further, then indeed is the sound of the trumpet of Iubile sweet∣est, [ 3] when we are most afflicted for our sins. When we are most apprehen∣sive and sensible of the evill of sin, then the joy of God, the comforts of the Gospel are sweetest to the soul. When the trumpet of Iubile is blown in congregations, if it meets not with hearts afflicted sensible of sinne, they are not delighted with the sweet sound of this trumpet, it is not melody in their ears, it rejoy ceth not their hearts: But let a poore soul be brought down Page  308 and made sensible of the evill of sinne, and Gods wrath, then let but one promise of the Gospel be sounded forth, how sweet, how joyfull is it!

Again, pardon of sin is the only foundation of all Jubiles. For this tenth day of the seventh month, wherein the trumpet of Jubile was to be sound∣ed, was a day of Atonement. What is that? A day of covering (for so the word is) of pardon of sin to the people of God. Many men keep a continu∣all Jubile, live merrily and bravely, doe nothing but eate, and drink, and play, and dance, and laugh, and cannot endure these fadde melancholy peo∣ple. What is the foundation of this thy Jubile? Art thou sure there is an A∣tonement made between God and thy soule? Art thou sure thy sin is pardo∣ned? Is this the foundation of thy rejoycing? Know it will not last, it is not Gods, but the Devils Jubile, except there be an atonement made between God and thee as the foundation of it.

Yet further, in that the sound of the Jubile was at that time when the day of Atonement was. Note this,

When God hath pardoned us, then our hearts are in a fit frame to par∣don others. Now comes the Jubile, and now you must release your lands, your debts, and forgive those that owe you any thing. This is the day where∣in God testifieth his mercy in pardoning your sinnes, and they might well say, Now Lord command us what thou wilt in shewing mercy to our bre∣thren, we are ready to pardon, to release them, to extend the bowels of our compassion towards them, for thou hast pardoned our sins. The reason of the rigidnesse, of the cruelty, the hardness of the hearts of men, and strait∣nesse of their spirits to their brethren, is this, because God hath not witnes∣sed to their souls the pardon of their own sinns, an atonement between God and them.

Their solemn feasts.

Among their feasts, they had three that were especially very solemn feasts more then others: And they were

  • The Feast of
    • The Passeover.
    • Pentecost.
    • Tabernacles.

These three were very solemn, especially in this one regard, wherein they are all three united in one thing, that is, upon these three Feasts all the Males were to ascend up to Jerusalem to worship, to the place which God did choose, and so you have it, Deut. 16. 16. Three times in a yeere shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God,*in the place which he shal choose in the feast of unleavened bread, (that was the Passeover) and in the feast weeks, (that was Pentecost) and in the feast of Tabernacles.

But how could the ten Tribes then keep these Feasts? for they went not to the Temple.

You may as well say, how had they an Ephod? of which Chap. 3. Jero∣boam was wise enough to keep the feasts, though not in that way God ap∣pointed, he could tell them the going to the Temple was but circumstance of place.

Page  309 From this connection of these three together in this solemnity, upon which these three were especially called their solemn feasts, there are divers things to be noted.

First, we may see a reason why there were sometimes so many beleevers [ 1] at Ierusalem. An argument is brought by some from that place, Acts 21. 20. to prove that there may be in one Church more then can possibly assem∣ble together in one Congregation, for the Text saith there, Thou seest how many thousands of Iews there are which beleeve, how many millions it is in the Originall; now say they, there could not be so many millions to joyn in one Congregation: The answer to this is cleare, that the time of which this place speaketh, was when the people of the Jews were all assembled to∣gether at Jerusalem to keep the feast of Pentecost, for Chap. 20. vers. 16. the Text saith, that the Apostle hastned, if it were possible for him to be at Ierusalem the day of Pentecost; now reading the story on, it plainely ap∣pears, that in that journey in which he did so hasten, he did get to Ierusalem at the day of Pentecost, and being there at that time, no marvail that they said, Dost thou not see how many thousands of Iews there are that beleeve? For all the males of the people of the Iewes were got together at Ierusalem, according to the institution, so that they were there by reason of that Law that as yet they submitted to, they were not in a Church state at Ierusa∣lem, therefore there is no strength in that objection against congregationall Churches.

Secondly, where there is a nationall Church, there must be an uniting of [ 2] them in some way of Nationall worship. There is this Nationall worship that the Iews by institution from God were united in, three times in a yeare to go up to the Temple to worship: And except there shonld be some such kind of individuall worship, not in the same species, that is, as others are praying, so are we, and as others are hearing, so are we, for so all the Chur∣ches in the world may be joyned, but to joyne in one act of worship toge∣ther, as that was of going up to the Temple, there must be such a thing. And that made the Iews a Nationall Church, because we have no such in∣stitution now, no Nation in the world can in a proper sense be said to be a Nationall Church as theirs was; in some figurative sense we may so call it, but not in that proper sense as it was among the Iews.

Thirdly, there are some Ordinances that cannot be enjoyed but in the [ 3] way of Church-fellowship. The Iews could not enjoy these feasts as they ought (indeed it may be Israel, the ten Tribes would make a kind of patch∣ed up feast, but they could not feast so as they ought) unlesse they went to Ierusalem in that way God appointed. As among the Iews, there were some Ordinances they might enjoy in their Synagogues and private houses, but some which they could not enjoy but in the Temple; so there are some Or∣dinances we may enjoy in our families, but others wee cannot enjoy but in Church-communion, which Ierusalem is a type of. A fourth thing obser∣vable is, these three times wherein they were to go up to Ierusalem, were all [ 4] in the Summer time, not in the Winter.

Page  310 For the first, which was the Feast of the Passeover, was in the latter end of our March, and the beginning of April; the Feast of Pentecost was fifty dayes after, the Feast of Tabernacles was about the middle of our Septem∣ber. It was indeed a very laborious thing for them to goe up to Ierusalem to worship, but God did so commiserate and pitty them, that they were not to goe in the winter time. That is the reason of that phrase in Acts. 27. 9. Sayling was dangerous, because the Feast was already past, that is, the Feast of Tabernacles was past, which was about the fifteenth of Septem∣ber, and so it began to be winter. God would be so indulgent to his people that they should have the Summer time to go up to Jerusalem in. If it would be an affliction to goe up to Jerusalem in the winter, and therefore God would favour his people in that; Oh what an affliction is it then to flie from Jerusalem before our enemies in the winter time? We had need pray the more hard now for those that are in danger of the enemy, that God would be mercifull to them in this.

[ 5] A fifth note is when they did goe up to these three Feasts, they must not come empty, but full-handed, so you have it, Deut. 16. 16. Ye shall not ap∣peare before the Lord empty; Noting thus much, That when ever we come to acknowledge Gods mercy for any thing, we must come with full hands, and liberall hearts, with hearts ready to distribute, or otherwise we doe but take Gods Name in vaine.

[ 6] The last is, the wonderfull providence of God toward them, though all the males in the whole Countrey were to come up to Jerusalem three times in the yeere, yet their Countrey should not be in danger of the enemies: For the Jews had not such walls of Seas about their Country as we have, but they lived in the very midst of their enemies, they were surrounded with them, on the East the Anonites and Moabites; the West, the Phylistims; the South, the Egyptians. Idumeans; the North, the Assyrians, to whom the Prophet seemes to have reference, Zach. 1, 18. Now they might say, shall our males goe up to Jerusalem three times a yeer, why then our enemies that lie close in our borders, (for they lay as neere them as Yorke, or any other shire is to us) may come upon us and destroy us; therefore God laid in a caveat and provision for the incouragement of them, Exod. 34. 24. he tells them there, None shall desire thy land when thou shalt goe up to appeare before the Lord thy God thrice in thee yeere; God tooke care that none should de∣sire their land.

Let us goe on in Gods service, and hee will take care to deliver us from our enemies. Many times out of slavish feare of the danger of enemies, and what disturbance they are able to make amongst us, wee are ready to betray the cause of God, and neglect his worship. Let us learne from hence to goe on in Gods wayes, and not feare any hurt our enemies can doe us, God saith that he will take care when they are all at Jerusalem in the exer∣cises of his worship that none should desire their land.

Now for the opening these severall Feasts, in it you may be helped Page  311 fruitfully to reade much Scripture in the Old Testament, for much of it is spent in things concerning some of these.

The first was the Passeover.* You have the history of it Numb. 28. 16. 17. and in divers other Scriptures: That Feast was in the beginning of the yeere. It is true, our Scripture was the beginning of their Annus Civilis their yeere for Civill affairs, but the Month Abib, which was the middle of March, and part of Aprill, was Annus Ecclesiasticus, the Ecclesiasticall yeere, and it was so appointed, upon their deliverance out of Egypt when God commanded them then to celebrate their Passe-over, hee told them that that Month should be unto them the beginning of monthes, the first month of the yeere.

Noting thus much, That deliverance from great evills are mercies that we are highly to prize; the Jews were to begin their yeere in memoriall of the mercy they had upon that Month.

For the name [Passeover] from God sending forth destroying Angels that yet passed over the houses of the Israelites that night; he went thorough the land and destroyed all the first borne of the Egyptians, but saved the Is∣raelites, this Feast was also called the Feast of unleavened bread, Luc. 22. 1. because they were to goe out of Egypt in hast, and could not have time to leaven their bread, but tooke only a little flower and water together, and so carryed it upon their backs; Josephus tells us that they tooke onely a little flower with water together that might serve them with a great deale of spa∣ring but for thirty dayes, there was all they had for so many thousand thou∣sands onely for so many dayes, God put them to it, to depend upon him.

We are ready to murmure if we see not enough to serve us many yeers, if our armies have not enough for so long time: they had but a little meale and water that might serve them for thirty dayes, and they knew not where to have more when that was spent; no marvaile that it is said of Moses, Heb. 11. 27. by faith we went out of Egypt. This bread is called the bread of af∣fliction, Deut. 16. 3. and it was unleavened bread, not onely to typifie that we must not have our hearts leavened with malice, but to put them in mind of that sore affliction they were in, not onely when they were in Egypt, but when they went out of Egypt, that they had then but a little meale and water to serve them for thirty dayes.

Now this Passeover was partly Memorative, and partly Figurative.

Memorative, First to remember the deliverance of their first borne.

Secondly, to remember their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt.

When others are smitten (that is the morall signification) and we passe over,* this is a great mercy. [ 2]

Againe, Deliverance from bondage, and in that outward man and bon∣dage in respect of Religion and conscience is a mercy for everto be celebra∣ted. God is pleased now to offer us this mercy of deliverance from both these bondages, certainly we are a people devoted to misery if we shall not take Gods offer of mercy.

Page  312 We have beene in bondage in our estates and liberties, God offereth us freedome, and freedome also from Antichristian bondage which is worse then Egyptian bondage. The Text saith when they were delivered from the bondage of Egypt Moses sang,* and in the Revelation when they were delivered from Antichristian bondage they sang the song of Moses.

We were long since delivered from a great part of this bondage, now the Lord ostereth to deliver us altogether.* But to let that goe.

They were to eate this Passeover with their staves in their hands,* this was to note their hasty going out of Egypt. We should not when God offereth us mercy of deliverance, goe forth slowly. This is our misery at this day, the Lord offereth deliverance and we lye slugging on our beds, and are like that foolish child the Prophet speakes of that sticks in the birth: We have stuck these two yeers in the birth, whereas we might have beene delivered long be∣fore this. It concerns us all to consider what the cause is, and to lament it before the Lord that we may make our peace with him.

But further.* In thanksgiving for a mercy we are ever to remember what we were before that mercy. They must eate unleavened bread at this Feast, the bread of affliction, they must remember the afflictions they were in be∣fore they had this mercy, whereof this Feast was a Memoriall; when wee blesse God for a deliverance, we must really present before our souls the sad condition we were in before we were delivered.

Further, The speciall thing that is aimed at in the Passeover, was that it should be a type of Christ, who was that paschall lamb that was to take a∣way the sinnes of the world, he that was rosted in the fire of Gods wrath for our sinnes, as that Lambe that was to be eaten in the Passe-over was ro∣sted in the fire: And if ever the Angell of Gods vengeance do passe over us, it is thorough the blood of that Lambe sprinkled upon our hearts, which was signified by the sprinkling the blood of the Lambe upon the posts of their houses. In the Lords Supper we celebrate in effect the same Feast of the Passe-over they did: and by this we may learne this excellent note.

There is little comfort in the remembrance of outward deliverances,* except we can see them all in Christ.

They were in this Feast to remember their deliverance out of Egypt,* but withall they were in it to have a figure and type of Christ, that sweetned their remembrance that made the Feast a joyfull Feast, when they could see their deliverance out of Egypt as a fruit of Christs sufferings, when this Lambe that was to put them in minde of it, did put them in minde like∣wise of Christ the paschal Lambe.

In all deliverances from any kinde of affliction, if you would have the remembrance of them sweet unto you, you must looke upon them all in the blood of Christ, and so remember them, and then your hearts will be in∣larged to blesse God.*

This was the Ordinance of God in the Passe-over, but besides Gods Or∣dinance, the Jews added divers other things.

Page  313 The first thing observable that they added, was earnest prayer to God for the building of the Temple; which many of them observe to this day. Those who writ of the customes of the Jews tell us, that because the Temple is de∣stroyed where they were to goe up thrice in the yeere to solemnize these Feasts, therefore they pray so earnestly and mightily for the Temple in this manner: They cry altogether to God, Lord, build thy temple shortly, very quickly, very quickly, most quick∣ly in our dayes:* & then they go over it again, Mercifull God, great God, kind God, high God, sweet God, with di∣vers other epithets, Now build thy Temple quickly, very quickly, &c. Now, now, now, five times together, o Euxtorfius tells us. They teach us how much the Temple doth concern us. Here is onely their mistake, they rested in the materiall Temple, they did not consider that This Temple was a type of Christ, therefore as earn∣estly as they prayed for the building of their materiall Temple, so we are to pray for the building up of the mysticall body of Christ, now Lord, build quickly, doe not defer it, even in our dayes do it.

A second thing they added was the manner of casting out of unleavened bread, in this they observed three things, their inquisition, their extermi∣nation, their execration, first with a candle they would narrowly search e∣very corner of the house, to see if they had the least crumme of leaven, if any were found they cast it out with solemnity, and then they used to wish a curse upon themselves if there were any left in their houses that was not cast out.

This morall Observation wee may be taught from it, it should be our care when we are to receive the Sacrament, to make narrow inquisition, to get the candle of the word, and to search every corner of our hearts, every faculty of the soule, to see if there be no leaven in it. 2. Whatsover we see to cast it out of doores. And 3. to be so much set against sinne, as to be willing to take a curse upon our selves, if we should willingly let any knowne sin be in our hearts, and to acknowledge that God might justly curse us in his Or∣dinance, if we be false in this.

Thirdly, they used to shew forth all their brave rich things, if they had any [ 3] bravery in cloathes, in furniture, in any good thing, they would shew all at this Feast. By their superstition we may learne this note, that in the time of our comming before God, it is fit for us to manifest his graces, to exercise all those beautifull graces that the Lord hath endowed us with by the work of his Spirit, for there is the riches of a Christian, there is his brave cloathes, and his plate, all his excellencies are his graces.

The fourth thing they did was, after the Passe-over was at an end, they [ 4] Page  314 would fast three dayes, to humble themselves for their faylings in keeping that Feast. This was not Gods Institution, but it was their custome, and we may learne this from it, (though not to binde our selves to that they did) too looke back to our receiving the Sacrament, and to bewayle all our mis∣carriages; I beleeve if things were examined to the quick in our receiving the Sacrament, you would finde matter enough to fast and pray for the humbling your soules from your miscarriages.

[ 5] Lastly, in the Passe-over they used to reade the book of the Canticles, be∣cause that booke treats especially of the conjunction of the soule with the Messiah, which is sealed up especially in the Passe-over. And that indeed is a speciall meditation for us when we come to the Lords Supper, to meditate of our conjunction with Christ.

The next is the Feast of Pentecost.* This Feast is called also the Feast of Weekes, because there were seven weekes to be reckoned, and then at the end of them it was solemnly to be kept, you shall finde it, Levit. 23. 15. There you have the Feast of the Passe-over, and in that the first day of seven, and the last day of seven was solemnly kept; now they were to count from the morrow after the first Sabbath, seven Sabbaths, that is, seven weekes compleate; the first Sabbath of the Passe-over was the fifteenth day of the month Abib, and then the next day from that they were to count seven weeks, and at the end of seven weeks was the Feast of Pentecost to be kept. Now in this first day wherein they began to count their weeks (for the pre∣paration to this Feast of Pentecost) you shall find that the first fruits were to be offered up to God, it was a kinde of distinct Feast, called the East of the First-fruits, in which they were to bring a sheafe of the first fruits of their harvest unto the Priest to be offered to God; And the reason was, because new their harvest began: Assoone as ever the Passe-over was killed, and they had kept the first Sabbath of the Passe-over (for they were to keepe it seven dayes) they began their harvest, they must not put a Sickle into the corne, nor reape any thing of their ground untill they had kept the Passe-o∣ver; it affordeth auto us this instruction. We cannot enjoy any sweetnesse nor any blessing from any fruits of the earth,* but through the blood of Jesus Christ: After they had solemnized the memorial of the blood of Christ, then they might put a Sickle into the corne & reape it, and not before, & as soone as they had solemnized the remembrance of Christ in the Passe-over, they might goe with comfort and take the fruits of the earth & rejoyce in them, but not before. Now this was in the month of Abib, that is part of our March, & part of April, then began their harvest, & thence it hath its name, for Abib signifies an eare of corne. Now their harvest began so soone in the land of Canaan, not only because it was a hot Country, for it is observed that Africa was a hotter Country then theirs, and yet their harvest began not so soone;* but because of the blessing of God upon that land, therefore Ier. 3. 19. it is called a goodly heritage, because of the timely bringing forth the fruit; the words translated goodly heritage, signifies an heritage of comli∣nesse;Page  315 the same word that is here for goodly, signifies a Roe-Buck, to which this land was compared, and so it may be said to be a land of a Roe-Buck, because of the speedy and swift ripening of the corne.* The observation is, It is the blessing of the Church to have their fruit ripe betimes,* not to stay too long before they be ripe, for Canaan was a type of the Church. You young ones consider of this; the Lord loveth to have the fruits of Canaan ripe be∣times; if you grew in the wildernesse, though you did not bring forth fruit in your young time, God did not so much regard it; but if you live in his Church, in Canaan, the Lord expects you should beg in betimes, in the ve∣ry spring of your yeeres you should bring forth fruit un to God. Men doe much rejoyce in timely fruits, they are lovely: Yea and God rejoyceth in them too, Micah. 7. 1. My soul desireth the first ripe fruits, this is true of God himselfe. Your parents and Godly friends may say, our soule desires that grace may spring up betimes in these young ones, so it may be said of God, the very soul of God desireth to see the first fruits; fruit in young ones is that which is pleasing to Gods soule.

We may further note,* when we have had communion with God in holy things, then we may have a holy and more comfortable use of the creatures. As before we noted when we have solemnized the blood of Christ, then we may enjoy sweetnesse from the comforts of the earth; so now, when wee have enjoyed communion with God in his Ordinances, then it is a fit time to have a holy use of the creatures, yea then you must be carefull of having a holy use of the creatures; as soone as ever they came from the Passe-over the first day they were to celebrate the first fruits unto God,

From whence,

Thirdly,* After the blood of Christ is sprinkled upon the conscience, then men will be ready to dedicate things unto God. Then as Zacheus said, Halfe my goods I give to the poore; here are my goods, here is my estate, doth the Church, doth my brethren stand in need of helpe? Loe wee are ready to offer them up unto God.

Fourthly,* The first of blessings are to be offered up unto God. God gives them a charge, that the first of the first of all the fruits of their land should be offered unto him,* all that commeth afterward should be the more bles∣sed. Learne this you young ones, dedicate the first of your years unto God, the very first of your first, the dawning of your years.

Now assoone as they had dedicated their first fruits,* when harvest was done, then comes the Feast of Pentecost: then they rejoyced in the con∣summation of harvest. If you dedicate your young dayes unto God, when the consummation of your years comes, how may you keepe a Feast of Pentecost! The Jews first deditated the first fruits, fifty dayes before, and then at the fifty dayes end they kept their joyfull Feast of Pentecost, so might you if you dedicated your young yeares unto God, On the other side, what a sad thing will it be for old men that but now begin to thinke of God and Christ; it is well you do so; but you cannot doe it comfortably Page  316 as you might have done, if you had begun in your younger yeares. If the Jewes when their harvest was done had brought two loaves unto God, might God say, why did you not bring the first fruits unto me? God might so upbraid you, but however come into God and he will not upbraid you, he upbraideth no man, but yet the comfort will not be so much because your consciences will upbraid you.

Fiftly,* note this, Happy is the man that when he comes to reap the fruit of his actions, shall have a feast of joy. Thus is was with the Jews, the very beginning of their harvest was with a Feast, and the conclusion with a Feast toe. All the actions of our lives are a sowing of seed, if you sow sparingly you shall reap sparingly, and happy those men when they come to reap, that both the beginning and conclusion of their reaping shall be a joyfull feasting. Many sow merrily, but they reap horrour and anguish; but when the Saints come to reap, they shall have a Feast of joy. At thy right hand are joyes and pleasures for evermore.

6.* At the fiftieth day then they were to solemnize the mercy of God in giving to them the fruits of the earth for their harvest.

Hence this Note,

Much praise is due to God for the Fruits of the earth, for outward com∣forts, How much praise then is due for JESUS CHRIST, and all spirituall mercies in him? Though we ought to blesse God for the things of the earth, yet we should be so swallowed up in blessing God for his word & Ordinances, and spirituall mercies, as in comparison our hearts should be above the Fruits of the earth. Therefore it is observeable, that in Ezekiel where there is a Prophesie of the state of the Church, set out by the Jewish way of Feasts, though there be mention of the Passeover, and new moones, and Sabbaths, and of the Feast of Tabernacles, yet there is no mention of the Feast of Pentecost, no mention of keeping a Feast for blessing God for these things. Not but that they should doe so, but that their hearts should be so carryed up with abundance of spirituall mercies, that then all for Christ, and for heaven, and for eternity, their hearts should be wholly set upon spi∣rituall things.

7.* It was a great ingagement to them to use the creatures, when in the first beginning they had dedicated them unto God, and in the conclusion of harvest they had solemnized his mercy in giving them the creatures. For God did thereby teach them that they might be further engaged to use all creatures for his service. As it is a mighty engagement to any man if God give him a heart to dedicate the beginning of a mercy unto God, and when he hath got the mercy fulfilled, then in a solemne manner he blesseth God for it, to make use of this mercy for Gods honour. Certainly the reason why many are so loose in their conversations, and doe not employ the crea∣tures of God to his glory, is, because they do not in a solemn manner blesse God for that they enjoy. As in your trading, suppose you have some comfortable Incomes, perhaps you take these comforts, and thanke Page  317 God in a slight manner for them, how doe you use them afterwards? onely for your selves and for the flesh. But when you heare of Incomes of riches flowing in upon you, if you can then presently take the first. Fruits and give some part to Gods service as a testimony of thankfulnesse, and in your fa∣milies and closets in a solemne manner give God the glory for the good suc∣cesse you have had in your estate, this will be a mighty ingagement to you to use your estates for his service.

8. Mark at the first, in their preparation, they were to bring but a sheafe, but afterward, Levit. 23. 17. they were to bring two loaves; in the first they were to offer one he-lambe without blemish, but afterward seven lambes, & a young bullocke, and two Rams, &c. both burnt-offerings, and sinne-of∣ferings, and peace-offerings when they had received the full harvest.

Thence learne,* though you be forward to give God glory when you are young, the first fruit of your years, yet when you come to be old, you should flourish in the Courts of Gods house. First they offered but a little unto God, afterward abundance. Doe you so? I appeale to all old men that are here this day, if God did give you any heart to give up your young years to him, blesse God for it; but now when you are old, are you as forward as ever you were? You ought to be not onely so, but much more abundant in the work of the Lord. Nay cannot others witnesse against you, that there was such a time wherein you were more forward, and that now you begin rather to temporize? The LORD forbid this should be spoke of any old men.

God expects more afterward then at the first fruits; and though nature may decay, yet their is a promise that in their old age they shall flourish in the Courts of Gods house, and shall manifest the graces of his Spirit much more. VVe are ready at the first Fruits to offer unto God some what, when his mercy commeth first; but when mercy comes afterward more fully, we should be more in our offerings.

You will say,* what is the meaning of this, that there is a burnt offering, a sin-offering, and a peace-offering in the Feast of Pentecost? what is the difference of these three offerings?

The difference is this; The burnt offering was in testimony of their high respect to God, they wholly had respect to God in the burnt offering; that is, they tendred up something to God as a testimony of the high & honora∣able esteem they had of his Majesty, it was wholly to be given up to him.

Now in the other they had respect to themselves, the sin-offering was not to offer a sacrifice meerly to testifie respect to God, but to be a typicall sig∣nification of Christs sacrifice for sins; they were to looke through their sa∣crifice to Christ, and their sin-offering was to be an atonement for their sin.

The Peace-offering was in thanksgiving for a mercy, or when they would petition to God for a further mercy. All this must be done in the day of Pentecost. But besides this end of Pentecost, to solemnize the mercies of God in their harvest, there is an other that is constantly affirmed by the Jewes, and I finde many Divines making no question of it; but I finde it not so clearly laid down in the word.

Page  318 They say God in this feast did solemnize the giving of the law,* and this is their ground, because fifty dais after their coming out of Egypt was the time of Gods giving the Law, and so they say Pentecost was appointed to blesse God for giving the law. The Iews say that God dealt with them, as a King should deale with a poor man in prison, first hee releaseth him of his bon∣dage, and withall tells him, that after such a time he will marry him to his daughter; now say they, will not this man count every day, & long untill this time come? So when God did deliver us out of AEgypt, he told us that after such a time he would give us his law, and marry us to his daughter, which is the law, and this is the reason why wee count so disigently the very weeks, nay the days, as longing for that time when we are to be marryed to the law, when the Lord shall grant to us such a mercy.

From whence we may note,* that we are not only to keep Gods law, but to rejoyce in Gods law; not only to look at what is commanded as a duty, but as a high priviledg, and so blesse God for the law. It is a higher thing to love Gods law, and rejoyce in it then to obey it; Great peace shall they have that love thy law; David profest that he loved the law of God more then silver and gold, that it was sweeter to him then the honey and the honey combe. The Iews at this day do much reioyce when the law of God is read, and in their Synagogues when the law of God is brought out, they lift up their bodies in a kind of exlatation, reioycing that God gave this law unto them.

Further, the time of their Pentecost was the time of the descending of the holy Ghost upon the Apostles: as God at that time gave the law by Mo∣ses, so the Spirit at that time came by Christ, to shew that we are in the Gospel to receive the Spirit of God, to inable us to fulfill the law. They had the letter of the law, but in comparison of what we have, they had not the Spirit, but now the holy Ghost is come in a full measure; as hee then came upon the Disciples, so he comes now in the time of the Gospel in a fuller way then formerly, there is a continuall Pentecost.

But the works of God do not of themselves sanctifie any time, except we take that note with us, we may run into a thousand absurdities; if we argue thus, because the Iews had such a time vve may have such a time, or because there vvere such blessings at that time, therefore vve may sanctifie that day. No, the vvorks of God do not sanctifie any time of themselves, it must be the Word, some institution or other, either the VVord vvritten, or some immediate dictate of the Spirit that must sanctifie any day. Certainly the vvork of our redemption it self is not enough to change the Sabbath, if vve had not s me footing for a nevv institution. VVee usually give this ground for a change of the day, because of the greatnesse of the worke; but though the works of God be great, though never so great, it is not for us to sanctifie a day, it must be an institution of God, or else wee sinne in sanctifying any set and stated time for any such work, for Christs resurrection, or sending of the Spirit, except there come an institution, though the work be as great Page  319 as any thing God ever did for the Iewes, it will be but will-worship in us, and God will not be put off with this, What is not this as great a worke as that the Iewes had, and may not we celebrate the memory of it as they did? but God will say, Who required these things at your hands? Thus far you may do, that is, blesse God for those works all the dayes of your lives, but to sanctifie any particular day for them, certainly that cannot be done without sin; we have our warrant for the Lords day as well as the greatnesse of the work, because of the practise of the Apostles who were inspired by the holy Ghost.

The next is the feast of Trumpets, onely one particular about it at this time, because providence makes it so seasonable. In the seventh moneth, (which was the first moneth of their Annus Civilis) there were three feasts.

  • Festum
    • Tubarum,
    • Expiationis,
    • Tabernaculorum.

The first was the feast of Trumpets; now there was a three-fold use of Trumpets among the Iewes. 1. For the calling of the congregation toge∣ther, as we use to doe with bells.* 2. The calling of them to warre. 3. For the solemnizing of their feasts. This feast of trumpets you have, Numb. 17.

There are four ends given by Divines of the feast of Trumpets,* some I confesse are very improbable, but there are two very probable. The one is, this feast was to celebrate the New-yeer with them; as upon every new moneth, that was called the feast of the new Moon, to celebrate the begin∣ning of the moneth, so in the beginning of the yeare they had a feast to cele∣brate the beginning of the year, that was this feast, for it was on the first day of their civill yeare; so that it is very probable that feast was appointed to blesse God for the new yeere, as well as they had one to celebrate the new moneth. It was Gods instiution for that time to have the New-year con∣secrated by that feast, yet this can be no ground for us now to consecrate the beginning of every new yeer unto God: that was Iewish, and it is ceast, if we will have any consecration of a new yeer, it must be by vertue of some institution or other, let (who can) shew the institution: we must not thinke because it hath a shew of wisdome,* and it seemes to bee reasonable to us, therefore it may be this is not enough in matter of worship, you must strict∣ly tye your selves to an institution in matters of worship, in consecrating of times. As it is Iewish, so it is Heathenish, the Heathens consecrated their new yeer to the honour of their god Ianus, and we read in Concilium Antisiodorense, in France in the yeer 614. it was the judgement of that Councell that it is not lawfull to observe the festivities of the Gentiles, to keep their worship and observation of their Calends, (that is, the beginning of their months) to adorn houses with lawrel & bayes, for all these practises saith the Councell) savour of paganisme. And likewise an ancient writer Page  320 saith, that the Kalends of Ianuary are rather to be taken heed of, then to be accounted Kalends, and so to be sanctified; And further, hee saith, the Church hath appointed a solemn feast to be upon that very day, because o the notorious abuses there were wont to be upon that day. And Polydore Virgil saith, that these solemnities of Lawrell and Bayes, and masques, and mummings, and such vanities, they all come from the Heathens Bachanali∣a, and Saturnalia, that were wont to be at that time of the year. However therefore we put them upon Christ, and think we honour him, and call it the Circumcision day of Christ, yet by those customes we dishonour him, for they are rather Heathenish then Christian, To doe it, I say, because we think to consecrate ine; though there may be some naturall reason of re∣joycing, yet no ground for consecration.

Let no man object and say, these solemnities have beene a long time in the Church. It is true, these are ancient, but from whence comes the anti∣quity? It comes from hence, because Christians being newly converted out of Paganisme, they would keepe as much as possibly they might of the Pagan customes, only they would give them a turn, turn them to Christian solemnities, but the rise was from their Pagan customes: therefore all the argument of antiquity, either for these, or Ceremonies, or Prelaticall go∣vernment, it comes from this ground, because their pagan customes were so, and they lived among pagans, and having been lately pagans, they savo∣red and smelt of Heathenisme still. So now, many plead that such things were in the first Reformation: no marvail they retained them, for they were but newly come out of popery, and they savoured and smelt of popery. Indeed to plead the antiquity of these things, which men must shew when they are put to it, is one of the greatest arguments against them. Thus was they Feast of All-Saints turned from the Feast Pantheon, and so the Feast of the Virgin Mary, which they call Candlemas, the Heathens had the fe∣stivity of their goddesse Febru (who was the Mother of Mars) upon that day, from whence the name of our moneth February cometh, they did then celebrate that time with Candles, and such things, as papists doe now. This antiquity have you for celebrating of Candlemas.

The like may be said for the argument of antiquity for the Prelates. O say some, such a kind of government hath been ever since Christian Religi∣on hath been in England. Grant that there hath been some kind of Bishops ever since, but from whence came they? We find in Histories, that when the Pagans were here in England, they had their Flamins, and their Arch∣flamins, London was one, and Yorke was another, and when they were con∣verted to the Christian Religion, yet still keeping some of their Heathenish customes, instead of their Arch-flamins, they made Arch-bishops, and of their Flamins, Bishops, and that in their very places, as London and Yorke, and some say Chester, they kept their Bishopricks still. This is the very ••und of the antiquity of them; therefore my brethren, let not us be put off with such arguments as these, men delude you, they baffle you by these ar∣guments.

Page  321

The Tenth Lecture.*

HOSEA 2. 11.

And all her solemne Feasts, &c.

WEE began the last day to speake something of the Feast of Trumpets, you shall finde the institution of it in Leviticus 23. 24. You shall have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of Trumpets, Now there were divers ends of Gods insti∣tution of this Feast, I have spoken of one; the second rea∣son of that Feast, the Hebrews thinke, was a remembrance of Isaacs deliverance, when he should have been sacrificed, and the Ram caught by the hornes to be sacrificed in his stead; they drew it from this ar∣gument, because that Feast is called A memoriall, (say they) to remember the deliverance of Isaac, and it must be by the Trumpets of Rams hornes, to call this to remembrance, the deliverance of Isaac, and a Ram sacrificed in his stead; this is the Iews opinion of it, but it seemes to be farre from the meaning of the holy Ghost. A third reason of the Feast of Trumpets, some say, (Cajetan amongst others) was instituted for a memoriall of Gods gi∣ving the lay by sound of the trumpet; that is not likely neither, because this Feast was not kept at the time of Gods giving the law, if there were any time for the celebration of giving the law, it must be at the Feast of Pentecost.

A fourth, it was for a celebration of a memoriall of Gods goodness to them in the time of war, for all the mercies of God unto them in their wars, which was declared by the blowing of the trumpets. But I rather take another reason, to be a maine and principall reason of Gods institution of this Feast, to be a preparation to the Feast of atonement and expiation, and therefore (saith Calvin) it is called a memoriall, Levit. 23, for this reason, to put them in minde to humble themselves before God, to afflict their hearts in the day of atonement; and secondly, a memoriall before God, that God may remember them for mercy, so the Iews observe from the seventh day of the first moneth, unto the tenth day, there was more then ordinary exer∣cises in giving of almes, in praying, in going to their synagogues, they were ve∣ry devout for those ten dayes in way of preparation for the day of Atone∣ment, of Expiation. From whence note,

It is of this use to us to prepare for the day of Fasting; Ministers should blow their trumpets to the people to prepare them for that day: God hath accepted of those poore kinde of fasts that we have kept, abundance of mer∣cies we have received on them; there is scarce any one Fast day that is kept, but we presently hear good news after it; if we had kept Fast dayes as we ought, if we had been prepared as we should, O what might we have obtain∣ed of God by this time! if God accepts such poor things as we do, (as God Page  322 knowes they are poore and meane) if we had every time a trumpet blown before us to prepare us for the day of atonement, what atonements might England have made with God before this time!* to reade understandingly those things you reade about the Feast of Trum∣pets. The next Feast was the feast of Expiation, in the tenth day; I thought not to have spoken of that, because the Feast of Expiation is a Fast rather then a Feast, but that is meant here as well as any of the other, for this rea∣son, though it were a Fast, yet the Hebrew word here that is translated so∣lemne Feasts, signifies onely a setled, stated, solemn time.

And Secondly, It was a great mercy to them to have such a day of Fast; though the day of atonement, be a day of afflicting themselves, yet it is the cause of rejoycing to a nation, that God grants them such a day of atone∣ment; it is the speciall meanes to make way to the joy of a nation, and therefore this is included amongst the other: now the history of that, you have in these two famous Scriptures, Levit. 16. and Levit. 23. In this day of atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month, there are divers things very observeable, and usefull for these times.

[ 1] The first is, The solemn charge that God gave for the afflicting mens souls upon that day; you shall finde in a few verses three severall times a so∣lemn charge to afflict their soules, to humble their souls, Levit. 23. 27. 29. 32. God appointed one day in the year for all the Jews to afflict their souls, to make an atonement between God and them, in a day of Fast, and they were charged to be sure to afflict their souls then, and that soul that did not, God threatened to cut it off.

[ 2] The second thing observeable is, that the Priest was to goe into the Holy of Holies, where he was to go but once a year; Levit. 16. the beginning and the latter end compared together; you shall finde it. This may teach us thus much;* If ever we are to looke upon JESUS CHRIST in the presence of God, to go into the Holy of Holies, making intercession for us, it is in the day of atonement, in the day of publick Fast of the Kingdome, then are we to exercise our Faith upon Christ, as entring before God into the Holy of Holies for us, after we have charged upon our souls our sins, and afflicted our souls, we must likewise cast up an eye of Faith, beholding Je∣sus Christ our high Priest at that day before the Father making intercession [ 3] for us. The third thing observeable is, at that day the Priest was to make an atonement for all the holy things; in Lev. 16. 20. When he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, the Tabernacle, and the altar, &c. the Priest was not only to seeke to make reconciliation between God and the people, but to reconcile the holy places, even the Holy of Holies had a kind of pollution in it, and must be reconciled then, and the Tabernacle, and the Altar, all of them had a kind of pollution upon them: so infectious is the sin of man,* and all these were to be 〈…〉 a day of atonement.

〈◊〉 teacheth us, That in a day of Atonement, of Fsting, we are then 〈…〉 speciall care to sc••• mercy from God, to be ••conciled to us Page  323 in regard of all our holy things, our holy duties, and offerings; we are to seek then to get the best services that ever we performed in all our lives, to be cleansed, that God may be pacified in regard of the filth and uncleanness that hath cleaved even to them. You are not in the day of a Fast, onely to confesse your notorious sins to God, those that in their own nature are sin∣full, but you are then to examine all your holy duties, and to humble your selves before God, and to seek to make peace with God, in regard of the un∣cleannesse that hath been in them. This few thinke of, they 〈◊〉 the day of a Fast confesse such sins as are vile in themselves, but to be made sensible of the uncleannesse of holy duties, that is little thought of in the day of their Fasts.

4. In their day of Atonement, the Priest was to lay the sins of the congre∣gation [ 4] upon the scape goat. The story of the scape goat was this, The Priest must come and confesse the sins of the congregation, laying his hand upon the head of the goat, and then he must send this goat into the wildernesse.

The meaning is of great use to us; Jesus Christ he is the scape goat, and we are in the dayes of our humiliations to come and lay our hands upon Ie∣sus Christ, and to confesse all our sins over him, and look upon all our sins as laid upon him. Now the scape goat was to be sent into the wildernesse: What is that? That is, sent into a land of forgetfulness, so as the Iews should never come to see that goat again that their sins were laid upon, it signified to them, that their sins were now so forgiven them, that they should never hear of their sins againe. Thus are our sins upon Christ, as we shall never come to see, nor heare more of them, In the day of our Fasts we should thus exercise our Faith upon Christ.

A fift thing that was to be done, was to sprinkle the blood of the slaine [ 5] goat upon the mercie-seat, and before it. It is the blood of Christ that is up∣on, and before Gods mercie-seat, that procures mercy from thence for us.

The sixt thing. In the 16, of Leviticus, ver. 12. the Priest must take a censer full of burning coales of fire from off the Altar, and his hanfull of sweet incense beaten small. This he must doe in the day of Atonement; to teach us, That in the day of our solemne Fasts, we must be sure to get our hearts full of burning coales from the Altar, full of affection and zeale, full of mighty workings of spirit to God, although you that are godly, and so are Priests to God, at other times come with few coales from the Altar, a little affection, your affections are scarce heated, but in a day of Atonement you must come with your hearts full of coales, and be sure it be fire from the Al∣tar, doe not satisfie your selves in naturall affections then, but be sure you be full of spirituall affections; and then full of incense.

VVhat was that? it typically represented our prayer, you must be sure [ 6] to have your hearts full of prayer, to send up abundance of incense before God; the incense must be of spice beatou small, what is that? the prayer that we are to send up to God, in the day of Atonement, must come from much contrition of spirit, our hearts must be beaten small to powder, when Page  324 the hearts of men are beaten to powder, then they are able to send forth such incense, as is a sweet favour in the nostrills of God. Many of you in the day of a fast seem to be full of prayer, but is this prayer a sweet incense to God or no? how shall I know that? by this, God hath appointed the incense, upon the day of atonement, to be that, that must come from spices beaten, if thy heart be beaten to powder, and thy prayers be but the savour, and the odour of thy graces that are as spices, and heated by the fire of Gods spirit: then here is the incense that pleases God. First, graces, which are the spices, the contrition, that is the beating small, then the fire of Gods Spirit to cause the incense to rise up in the nostrills of God as a sweet savour.

Further, a seventh thing in the day of atonement was, the cloud of the in∣cense must cover the Mercy seate, ver. 13. and then the blood both of the bullocke, and the goate, must be sprinkled upon the Mercy seate, and that seven times, and ver. 15. the blood of the goat must be sprinkled not onely pon the Mercy seate, but before the Mercy seate; what is the meaning of this? must our mercy seat be clouded in the day of atonement? wee had need have it appear to us, and not be clouded; yes, in the day of atonement it must be clouded, but clouded with incense; the incense that was sent up, was a type of the sweet perfume of the merit of Jesus Christ; Now in the day of atonement we must look up to the mercy seate, as clouded with the merit of Christ, clouded, that is, the merit of Jesus Christ round about it, as a cloud, and covering the Mercy Seat, to teach us that no man must dare to look upon the Mercy Seat of God as it is in it selfe, but he must have the incense of the merit of Christ round about it, the reason was given why the Lord must have the incense as a cloud to cover the Mercy Seat, lest hee die; if he had entered into the holy place, and there looked upon the Mercy Seat, and not clouded by the incense, he must have died for it; those men that think to come into Gods presence, and look upon God out of Christ, and think to receive mercy from God out of Christ, they die for it, this is the damnation of mens soules, to look upon God as mercifull out of Christ, mercy is an at∣tribute of God, but if we dare (who are sinfull creatures) to looke upon this attribute of mercy, and not have the incense of Christ merit, it is the way to destroy our souls. O how many thousands are in hell for this! many who are afflicted for their sins, and cry to God to forgive their sins, and believe he is mercifull, and think to exercise their faith upon God as mercifull, and yet not looking upon the mercy seat as clouded with the merit of Christ, it proves the destruction of their soules. In a fast, when you come to look up∣on God, you must not look upon God as the Creator of heaven and earth, or as mercifull in himself barely,* but look upon Gods mercy in his Sonne, and so exercise your faith, or else you can never make an atonement, but rather will procure Gods wrath. It is not only dangerous, but horrible, once to think of God without Christ, sayes 〈◊〉.

Again, the blood of the Bullocke and the Goate must be sprinkled seven time 〈◊〉 the mercy seate, when wee come to make our atonement with Page  325 God, we must exercise our faith in the blood of Christ, and sprinkle it seven times, again and again upon the mercy seat; wee looking upon God when we pray to him as a God of mercy, and we present our selves in our humi∣liations before the mercy seat, but know this, that the mercy seat will doe us no good, without the blood of Christ; faith must take this blood of Christ, and sprinkle it, tender it up to God his Father, for the atonement of our souls and procuring mercy to us; and not only so, the blood of the Bullock & the Goat must be sprinkled upon the Mercy seat, but before the Mercy seat; we must not only thinke there can be no mercy obtained from God, but by the blood of Christ, but we cannot so much as have accesse to Gods Mercy seat without the bloud of Christ, we must not dare to enter but by the bloud of Christ, by him we have accesse to God; we must all know, that all sinners are banished from the presence of God, and must not have accesse to Gods pre∣sence as they are in themselves.

Lastly, this day divers times is called A Sabbath of rest, that is, A Sab∣bath of Sabbaths, so it is in the Originall, as one of the principall Sabbaths that they had; I did not handle it amongst the Sabbaths, because it comes in now more fully amongst these solemne Feasts; there must be more rest in the days of atonement, then in other of their solemn days: There was that permitted in other solemn days, that was not permitted in that day; this may teach us, that in the dayes of fasting, above any dayes, we must get our souls now separated from the world, there must be a rest in our hearts, a rest from sinne, a rest from the world, it must be a Sabbath of Sabbaths unto us.

Now notwithstanding God had given this solemne charge for this day of atonement, yet Theodoret tels us, that in his time they did so degenerate, that they spent this day in sports, and made it a day of mirth, God grant that the ordinariness of our days of atonement do not grow to this abuse, as in some places it is amongst us; the most solemne things that ever God gave charge of yet in time degenerates, this is the wickedness of mens natures.

One note more from this Feast of Expiation, it is very probable that the Grecians did use yearly in expiation of their Cities, in this manner from this we find amongst the stories of the Grecians, that yearly they were wont to have a kind of Expiation, in imitation of the ways of the Jewes (the Devill is Gods Ape) for their Cities, there was this custome amongst them, cer∣taine condemned persons were brought forth, with garlands in manner of Sacrifices, and these they were wont to tumble down from some steep place into the middst of the Sea, and so offer them up to Neptune the God of the Sea,* with these words, Be thou a〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉for us; The like was used by them in the times of publique infection, when they had a publique plague in their Cities, they used such a custome to make an atonement betweene them and their gods, there were certain men brought to be sacrificed to their Gods, for an expiation for ther whole City, and they were caled 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 this word was used to signifie that that man that was to expiate for all the sins of their Ci∣ties to their gods, Page  326 ing all their sins upon him, was as filth and 〈◊〉-scouring; and from these two words it is probable the Apostle in the first to the Corinthians 4. 13. hath that expression, by which we may come to understand the meaning of those two words there, We are (saith he) made the filth of the world, and off-scou∣ring of the people;〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉▪ in these alluding to the manner of the Grecians, We for our parts (saith he) are made as despicable and o∣dious in the sight of the people, and are as much loaded with the curses of the people, as those condemned persons that had all the sins and curses of the people put upon them, and so were offered to their Gods for expiation.

The Feast of Tabernacles.* The history of this Feast is Leviticus 23. 34. & soon; In this Feast the Iews were to take boughes off the trees, and make booths of them; and those that write the history in their manners, they tell us, they used to carry boughs in their hands, because they could not make booths & Tabernacles for all the people, therefore some of them thought it sufficient to carry boughs in their hands, and those boughes they carried in their hands they used to call Hosanna; Do thou fold, or prepare the Ho∣sanna,* so they used to speake, therefore when Christ came to Ierusalem, they cryed, Hosanna to the Sonne of David; the meaning was not a prayer, Save us O thou Son of David, as some would have it; but Hosanna to the Son of David, that is, we hold forth these boughs to the honour of the Mes∣siah, the Son of David, the Feast of Tabernacles was to point at the Messi∣ah; now for those boughs, ver. 40. there was a command of God, they should be goodly trees, palme trees, or willowes of the brooke, but why so? it noted that thereby they were to acknowledge Gods goodnesse to them, that whereas they had lived forty yeares in the wildernesse, in a dry place, they were now brought to a fruitfull land, that had much water, which was a great matter in those hot countries, and therefore they were to bring the willows of the brooke, and goodly trees, those that might most testifie the goodnesse of God to them in delivering them from the wildernesse, and in bringing them to a land, filled with sweet and pleasant brookes: Things observable in this Feast are, First. The end why God would have this Feast kept, he aimes at these three things chiefly.

[ 1] First, God would have them to blesse his name for his mercies to them in the wildernesse, when they dwelt in boothes; it was appointed by God, that they should once a yeare call to minde the great mercies of God, while they were in the wildernesse, and there dwelt in boothes, and had no houses, for so was the dispensation of God towards his people, for forty yeares they were to be in the wildernesse, and not to have a house in all that time, but dwelt in Tabernacles; this was a mighty worke of God, and manifested his exceeding protection over them, and provision for them, and his provi∣dence every way to provide necessaries for them, even as well as if they had had the strongest houses; that so many hundred thousands should live forty 〈◊〉, and never have a house built all that time, was a great work of God; God ould declare thereby, that the Church in this world is not to expect Page  327 any certaine habitation, any setled condition, but to be as men that dwell in tents, removing up and downe, and so seeke after a City that hath foun∣dations, as it is said of Abraham.

At this Feast the Jewes were wont to reade the Booke of Ecclesiastes, principally because it speakes so much of the works of Gods providence. All the while Gods people dwelt in boothes and Tabernacies, God himselfe would dwell in a Tabernacle; God would never have a house built unto him,* till he had brought his own people to be setled in houses of their owne; and therefore when David began to thinke that he had a house of Cedar, and therefore surely God must have one too, God tells him, Did ever I speake of a house for me? as if he had said, As long as my people went up and down in booths and Tabernacles, I was content to have a Tabernacle, and a booth for my dwelling, thus God is willing to suite himselfe with the condition of his people; Is the condition of his people in a fleeting way, then I will be so too, saith God; If your conditions be afflicted, and un∣setled, I will be so too; In all their afflictions, God was afflicted, in all their unsetlednesse, God seemed to be so too.

Indeed afterwards when Gods people came to be in a setled estate in Ierusalem, then God would have a house built him; God would hereby teach us, That if himselfe be content to be in a condition like us, then we must be content to be in a condition like him, as thus; when we are afflict∣ed will God be afflicted with us? when we are unsetled, will God be (as it were) unsetled with us? then let us not thinke it much, if afterwards God be in an afflicted way, his truth and his Gospell be in a suffering way; let us be willing to suffer with God; when God is magnified and praised, then our hearts should be inlarged too, and rejoyce in his praise; we should con∣sider the condition that God is in the world, & we must suite our selves with that. Again, would God have them once a yeare to celebrate the remem∣brance [ 2] of their dwelling in boothes and Tabernacles,* and that after they came to Ierusalem? From hence note. It is good to remember our low e∣states, to have a reall remembrance of our low & mean conditions we had heretofore; doth God now bring us into a more setled condition then here∣tofore? Let us not forget in what an afflicted condition we were in, how un∣setled, how ready we were to fleet up and down; If God should grant his people, that they should think themselves setled in their own kingdoms, yet let them never forget the time, when they were unsetled in this & other coun∣tries, there hath been a great part of the people of God, whose thoughts have been, what shall become of them, & whether shall they go, and perhaps to this day many have such thougts, unlesse there be some speciall mercies of God prevent it, yet may be the condition of thousands in the land, before a yeare go about; If God should prevent you, ever remember your fleeting condition once you were in; It was Gods great care of the people of Isra∣el, that they should never forget their dwelling in Tabernacles.

Thirdly, Note the time of their Feast of Tabernacles, they were to Page  328 dwell in booths, upon the fifteenth day of their moneth, it was but five dayes after their day of atonoment, so that being so presently after the day of pub∣lique atonement; this lesson may be learned.

After our humiliations for our sins,* and making up our peace with God, it is good to keep our hearts low with the meditation of the uncertainty of all things in the world. You have been humbling your selves, and making your peace with God, yet when your hearts are comforted with the hope of your alonement made, keep your hearts low, take heed of pride; the feast of Ta∣bernacles must be kept, presently after the feast of Atonement; this is one speciall means to keep your hearts low, to have a reall remembrance of the uncertainties of the comforts of this world. This lifteth up mens hearts to conceive some excellencies in things here; therefore goe into your boothes, and work your hearts down, keep your feast of Tabernacles.

[ 4] Fourthly, God would have their hearts kept low by the actuall going in∣to their booths and tabernacles, though they had faire and sumptuous houses in the City, yet they were to go out, and live in their booths a while; you might think, were it not enough for the Priest to tell them, and bid them re∣member their dwelling in Tabernacles, but they must go forth from their houses and abide in booths.

It is a good way to keep those men humbled,* that are raised from a low condition to a high, even actually to goe into those houses that are low and mean, go into the houses of poor men, look into the cupboards, see what provision they have, this will be a means to humble your hearts, when you consider, This was once my condition.

A second end of this feast was,* to blesse God for all the fruits of the earth they had received, when they had received all in, their Vintage and all. As the feast of Pentecost was to blesse God for their first fruits, and their har∣vest, but now all the fruits of the earth, Vintage and all were gathered in. Now they were to joyn all together, and to blesse God for all the fruits of the Earth. That this is Gods end, is cleare in Deut. 16. 13, 14. Thou shalt observe the feast of Tabernacles, after thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine, and thou shalt rejoyce, &c. because the Lord thy God shall blesse thee in all thy encrease, therefore thou shalt surely rejoyce.

From hence there is this lesson.

It is usefull to remember what a poor condition we were once in, and the uncertainty of all things that we have; even when we have got our riches in∣to our houses, when all things are in our possession, it is not so much to think how uncertain they are, when they are growing in the field, but after the Vintage was gotten in, then they were to keep the feast of Tabernacles, to remember the uncertain condition of all things in the world, this we are very loath to doe, it is unsutable to our natures, and therefore this feast of Tabernacles was much neglected among the Jewes untill such time as they 〈◊〉 been in captivity, after God had carried them into Babylon, and the•• bought them back againe into their own Countrey, then they kept the Page  329 feast of Tabernacles, more solemnly then ever they had done, as we finde Nehem. 8. 17. Since the day of Ioshua the son of Nun, they had not done so, they never kept the feast of Tabernacles so solemnly from their first com∣ming into Canaan, as then they did, now being come out of prison they could remember the uncertainty of all things in the world; men forget the uncertainty of all things in the world, but if they be driven from house and home, and lose all, then they remember what they have heard and confessed; of the uncertainty of all worldly things: some of our brethren who are plundered and driven from their habitations, if God should ever restore them to their habitations againe, then their hearts would be enlarged in blessing God, then they would be more sensible of the uncertainty of the comforts of the creature then ever before.

Thirdly, The Feast of Tabernacles had an aime at Christ and the state [ 3] of a Christian, it was to typifie JESUS CHRIST to come into the world, and to pitch his tents amongst us, as John 1. 14. he dwelt amongst us;* he came and pitched his Tabernacle amongst us, it is in the Greek, and the state of a Christian likewise, is an abiding Tabernacle, 2 Cor. 5. 1. If our earthly house of this Tabernacle be dissolved, till we goe where JE∣SUS CHRIST is gone before us, to prepare mansions for us, Iohn 14. our dwelling is in Tabernacles.

In the offerings that God appointed to offer in this their feast, Numb. 29. 12. there are some things very observable, but hard to finde the mean∣ing of, the feast was to be kept seven dayes, the first day was a great day, and the last day a great day, the first day there were 13. bullocks to be offer∣ed, and 14. lambes, the second day, there was but 12. bullocks, and the third day but 11. and the fourth day but 10. and so every day one decrea∣sed, (as you may see there) and the last day, there was but one offered,

Now divers Expositors have sought to finde out the meaning of this. I doe not finde any such thing in all the Scripture, as this is, but onely in this place, Calvin confesses when he speakes of this, that for his part he doth not understand the meaning of it, and rather then to make guesses of it, & un∣certainties, I will saith he be silent in it, & yet he ventures upon a conjecture a very unlikely one, therefore I shall not name it. That which is most like∣ly seems to be in two things. The first is, they must offer every day lesse and lesse, that is (saith another interpreter) to shew their increase in sanctifi∣cation, that they should grow to more and more perfection, every day of their feast, and so have lesse need of Sacrifices then they had before, and so it will afford a good note to us, that when we come to keepe dayes to God, every day we should grow more and more in sanctification, and have lesse and lesse sin to answer for, then we had before.

Another interpretation that is given, is, that it was to shew the cessation of the sacrifices of the Jewes, that they were to decrease day by day, and this I take rather to be the meaning, because the last day is but one bullocke that was offered, and yet the Text saith, that that was the great Page  330 day of the Feast, when there was fewest sacrifices to be offered. Ioh. 3. 37. The last and the great day of the feast, Jesus cryed, if any man thirst, let him come unto me; there is somwhat to be noted about Christ there, though it is true, it was the feast of dedication, which was their own Feast, from whence many would prove the lawfulnesse of holy daies, yet the truth is, up∣on examination you shall finde there is scarce strength enough, from that place to prove it, though it be lawfull to take the advantage of such times, but it will appeare there, that it was the Feast of Tabernacles, as in 2 Chro. 8. 9. Their Feast of the dedication of the Temple, was at that time that the Feast of Tabernacles was; one thing is to be observed from Christs being there at the Feast, the last and the great day, Jesus cryed, if any man thirst, let him come unto me; Why did Christ upon the great day of the Feast cry out thus, If any man thirst, let him come unto me to drinke? one reason may be, because when men are most strongly possessed with the uncertain∣ties of all outward things in the world, then they are fit to entertaine the gos∣pell, then fit to heare of JESUS CHRIST, when their hearts are taken off from the world, and they looke upon all things here as unsetled, the con∣clusion of that feast is a speciall preparation to the Gospell. Esay, 40. 6. 7, &c. The preparation to the good tidings of the Gospel, is the Proclamation that All flesh is grasse, and all the goodlinesse thereof as the flower of the field: yea the withering of the grasse, and the fading of the flower must be proclaimed again and againe. And then seasonably and acceptably it fol∣lowes, ver. 6. O Zion, that bringest good tidings, behold your God.

Tremelius thinkes that the reason of the expression of CHRIST at this time was, from the custome of the Iews at this Feast; at the feast of Taber∣nacles the Iews were wont with great joy to bring store of water out of the River of Shiloh to the Temple, where being delivered to the Priest, he pow∣red it out upon the Altar, together with wine, and all the people sung that of Isaiah, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation; though it were their own invention, Christ takes a hint upon it, they accustomed themselves to draw water, and powre it out, Christ saith, what do you stand upon this ceremony of yours, this your custome will die and perish in the use of it, but come to me and there you shall have water, I am the well of sal∣vation, a spring of grace shall be continually in the heart of that man that beleeveth in me. One note more is observable in this Feast, we have a pro∣phesie that in the times of the gospel, the feast of Tabernacles should be kept then, that is in the truth of it, not in the ceremony. In Zach. 14. 16. there is a Prophesy that when Christ cometh, the very truth of the feast of taberna∣cles, then all people shall worship the true God, and keep the feast of Taber∣nacles. Why is it there Prophesied that all people shall come and keep that feast? the reason may be this, this feast is named, because in the times of the gospel, men shall acknowledge their outward comforts to be from God, & 〈◊〉ertainty of all things here, and that they are strangers and pilgrims 〈◊〉 in the times of the gospell, this shall be made more evident to the hearts Page  331 of people, then ever before, the more JESUS CHRIST shall be known in the world▪ the more shall the hearts of men be taken up with the knowledge of God in every creature, and of the uncertainty of every crea∣ture, and have their hearts taken of from the comforts of the world, and never account any setled condition here, but account themselves pilgrims, and strangers; that is a signe that the Gospel hath prevailed with your spirits, if you have your hearts taken off from the creature, and you looke upon your selves, as strangers in the world, and looke for an abiding City, then do you keep in an Evangelicall sense this feast of Tabernacles.

Or secondly, if it be meant of the glorious setled condition God in the latter dayes shall bring his Saints unto, yet then they shall remember with thankfulnesse, what their poor unsetled condition once was.

Thus you have had a view of the chiefe of the Jewish Feasts, which God threatens here shall cease.

There are onely these three Observations to be drawn from altogether.*

First, Even those things that are appointed by God himselfe, if once they be abused, God will not own them, but then they are accounted ours rather then Gods, her sabbaths, why not my sabbaths? why not Gods sabbaths? God did appoint them, but because they had abused them, God would not own them; her sabbaths, and her solemn Feasts. The Ordinances of God, though never so good in themselves, if you pollute them, God rejects them, they are your ordinances then and not Gods, looke then that all ordinances be,* as God would have them.

Secondly, It is a grievous and lamentable affliction upon any people, for God to deprive them of his sabbaths and ordinances, his ordinances are included in their solemne Feasts, nay (saith God) you will goe on in your wickednesse, and would put me off with your sabbaths, and solemne meet∣ings, and with those things that were once my ordinances, you will satisfie me with them, though you continue in your wickedness, no, you shall be deprived of them, you shall have no more sabbaths, no more solemne Feast dayes; it is a sad affliction for a people to have no more sabbaths.

How many of you neglect solemne meetings of Gods people? time may come when God will rend these priviledges from you, and then your con∣science will grate upon you, O the sabbaths that once we had! O the solemn meetings that once we enjoyed! but our hearts were vaine and slight; we did not make use of them, and now they are gone, now perhaps thou art cast into a goale, or into a dungeon, and there thou keepest thy sabbaths & thinkest upon thy solemne meetings. O how unworthy is this land of sab∣baths? how did we set our selves to persecute those that kept sabbaths? there was never any such a thing in any Christian nation: other places though they are somewhat loose upon their sabbaths, yet they never persecute them that will keep sabbath: how justly might God have taken away our sab∣baths? let us acknowledge Gods free grace; what reproach hath it been in England to assemble to heare Sermons? how justly might God have taken Page  332 away these solemne Assembles from us long before this? let us pray that what ever judgement God sends upon us, he will not take away our Sab∣baths, nor our solemne assemblies, but that we may still enjoy those we have, and enjoy them to better purpose then ever we have done.

3.* God hath no need of our services; If God call upon us to worship him, it is for our good, not for any need he hath of what we doe. What do I care, saith God, whether I have any Sabbaths kept or no? I can provide for my glory, what ever becomes of your duties; I need them not, I can be glorious without you.

But these threats are but to take away things that are spirituall; carnall hearts thinke if they may live and prosper in the world, what care they for Sabbaths, and for solemn meetings? Tell them of taking away Ordinan∣ces, tell them of truth of Gods worship, what is that to them? Let us have our peace, our trading, and our outward blessings, and truth will follow, O no, a gracious heart will rather reason thus, O Lord, let us have thy Ordi∣nances, let us have thy Gospel, and then for our Vines and Fig-trees, our tra∣dings, and our outward blessings, we will leave them to thy dispose; if thou will give us thy Sabbaths, and thy Ordinances, we will trust thee for our Vines, and for our Fig-trees. But if the Lord be so angry to deny us his Ordinances, how can we ever thinke that he will be so mercifull to us, to continue our peace, or our civill liberties? No sure, if Truth be gone, Vines and Fig-trees will not stay long: The next words therefore are, I will destroy her Vines and her Fig-trees. The Lord may suffer those places that never had Sabbaths and Ordinances to prosper in their Civill eace a long time, but where these have, and the wrath of God be so incensed as to take away these, it cannot be expected that outward peace and plenty can hold long there, First seeke the kingdom of heaven, saith Christ, and all these things shall be added unto you: No, (say they) let us first seeke the kingdome of earth, and the things of heaven will be added to us; which shewes the sleightnesse of their account of heavenly things. As the paper and the thred in a shop, is given in to the commodity, it is added, if a man bargaine for the paper and thred, and think the commodity will be given in, what a folly were it? Many men have their thoughts altogether upon the things of this life, and they think the Gospel will be given into the bargaine, as if they have peace, they shall no question have truth, as if the Gospel were the paper and thred, and the things of the world were the commodities. It is your wisdome if you would enjoy outward peace, let your hearts be for Ordinances, cry to God for Ordinances, and then God will take care you shall sit under your Vines, and under your Fig-trees peace.

Page  333

The Eleventh Lecture.*

HOSEA 2. 12. 13.

And I will destroy her Vines and her Fig-trees, whereof shee hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forrest, and the beasts of the field shall eate them.

And I will visit upon her the dayes of Baalim, wherein she burnt incense to them, and she decked her selfe with her eare-rings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the Lord.

GODS threatning Israel, in taking away spirituall mer∣cies; their Sabbaths, and Ordinances, their solemne Feasts, you have in the former verse; but because they might not be much sensible of such a judgement, to be deprived of Sabbaths, and solemnities of worship, would not be so grievous to many, but the destroying of the fruit of the ground, the spoiling of their land, the losse of those things wherein their riches and outward comforts lay, would be more grievous, therefore God joynes this threat with the former, And I will destroy her Vines and Fig-trees; In these two, Vines, and Fig-trees, there is a Synecdoche, by these are meant, all her outward prosperity; I will not lop their Vines, I will not cut downe some branches of their Fig-trees only, but destroy them.

If God stayes long before a judgement comes,* hee comes fearfully in∣deed, he comes with destroying judgments, then he strikes at the very rooe of all a peoples prosperity, and leaves them hopelesse of ever recoveriug themselves; It concerns us to humble our selves under Gods hand, when he doth but cut off some branches of our vines and fig-trees, of our outward comforts, lest ere long there followes a destroying judgement, a cutting to the very roote: Doth God come in your families, and cut off a branch or two, a childe or two? Humble your souls before him, he may cut downe the tree, stub up the root ere long, he may come to the Mother, or the Fa∣ther, and so roote out the family: So in a Nation, it is a very remarkable place that you have, Ezekiel, 21. 27. I will overturne, overturne, overturn, when was this spoken, and to whom? It was spoken unto Israel, and to Is∣rael when they were in captivity, and yet God threatens them thus even there, I will overturne, overturne, overturne,

Whereof she hath said, these are the rewards that my lovers have gi∣ven mee;* The word that is translated reward, signifies Merces mere∣tricia, it comes of the Hebrew word that signifies hired with wages, but such wages as are given to harlots, and yet she is so impudent as to make use of that very word, these are my rewards; the word she useth here might upbraid her, but so impudent doth Idolatry make men to bee; Page  334 If we be guilty of whoredome, we have our rewards of whoredome then, (say they:) Whoremasters use to give rewards unto their whores; whore∣dome is a costly sin to many a man; Many men secretly wast, and consume in their estates, and their neighbours wonder how they come to be so low; Uncleannesse is as a Gangrene, as it will consume the body, so the purse, it beggars many men, when the world little thinks of the cause.

Secondly,*These are my rewards, these that you call Idols, give mee libe∣rall rewards, I have what I served them for.

God may suffer men in wickednesse to prosper, to gaine their hearts de∣sire.

Thirdly,* It is a dangerous thing for sinners to look back to their sins com∣mitted, and then to blesse themselves, as if they had gotten by them; In∣deed, before a sin is committed, the sinner by temptation may be perswa∣ded there is much gaine to be had in that way; and in the very act of co∣mission, the sinner may find some flashie false contentment and delight, but usually after the act is over, when the sinner looks back, he sees nothing but shame, guilt and horrour; Sinners scarce dare look back to their sinnes after they are committed, except such as are most desperately hardned in their sins, they dare not think of what they have done: but here you see, they look at what they have done, and blesse themselves, as if they had got a goodly reward by it: As the sight of the evil consequences of sin is a means to hum∣ble, so the apprehending of gayning by sin, is a speciall meanes to harden in sin. Judas thought it a brave thing to get the thirty pieces, yet when hee saw the evill fruit that his sin produced, he looked with horrour upon his sin, his soule sunk under the burden of it: If a Judas looking after sinn, hath his spirit filled with horrour, what hope is there then of such a one, as looking after it, blesseth himselfe as a gainer by it! If a man either prospers at that time he sins, or prospers more a little after he hath committed a sin, then he did before, or so prospers as that he conceives his sin to be some way instru∣mentall to bring in that gain that was got: this hardens exceedingly.

Fourthly,* These are the rewards that my lovers have given me.

It is a provoking sin to attribute the blessings of God to our own wicked sinfull ways, and thereby to harden our hearts in those ways. It is too much to attribute any of Gods blessings to second causes, to our lawfull endeavors, to our industry, to our care, to any instruments, but to attribute them to our wickednesse,* this is abominable, God expects glory in the acknowledge∣ment of every mercy, and improvement of it unto him: where then there is not only a deniall of this to him, but a giving it to his enemy, to wicked∣nesse, to the Devill, whom he hates, this goes exceeding neer to the heart of God. It is a great part of our sanctifying of Gods name in the use of all the creatures, to acknowledge him in all, that all depends upon him, and thereby to be quickned in his service: but to thinke all depends upon that which is contrary to God, and therefore if we want what we would have, to begin to think we have not served our lust enough, and to be put on to serve Page  335 them more, this exceedingly provokes. Ile give you one notable example of this wretchednesse of mans heart, and indeed it is a very dreadfull one, I had very credible relation from a Minister, who being at Hamburgh, hee was told this story. There was a consultation of many of the Ministers of Germany at that Town in the time of the sorest distresses and calamities that were in Germanie, the Ministers were Lutherans, they consulted to find out what might be the cause why the hand of God was so heavy upon Ger∣many, in those parts where they lived, that so they might reform what was amisse, and make their peace with God, the isse of their consultations came to this, that the reason of their calamities and troubles that were upon them, was because the Images of their Churches were not adorned enough: be∣cause there was not cost enough bestowed upon them, they were not deck∣ed as they thought they should have been: and therefore for the preventing of the continuance of those calamities in those parts of Germany, they una∣nimously consented to improve all the strength they had to beautifie and a∣dorn the Images in their Churches more: this was a sad thing for Ministers who professing against Popery, as the Lutherans do, they indeed keep I∣mages in Churches: But could it be thought that they should be thus vaine, yea wicked, as to attribute the want of their Vines and fig-trees to the want of their superstitious vanities, and to bring up their consultations to this conclusion, that if they were more zealous of the one, they should the more prosper in the other? was not this a sore and grievous evill, going neare to the heart of God?

Many attribute the increase of their estates to their lying, to their over∣reaching, their swearing, and rejoyce in this, this I have got by these wayes; Zeph. 1. 9. God threatens to punish those that leape on the threshold, and fill their masters houses with violence and deceit: That is, the servants of great men, who by oppression and by fraud bring in gain to their Masters houses, and then they leap upon the threshold for joy, applauding them∣selves in the successe they have had in their wicked wayes: It is usuall in whatsoever ways men are, if they meet with any prosperous success, to bless themselves, as if this success came in the rather because of those ways, let the ways be never so wicked: Of late have not some made the world be∣lieve they have had great success, & have made an argument that their ways have been good, and God hath blessed them, because they have done as they have, though we know their ways to be such as brings most fearfull guilt upon themselves, and their families, and we have all cause to have our hearts tremble within us, to think of them; and if it be through seducement, and not through a worse principle, to pray to God, O Lord forgive them, for they know not what they doe: and for the success they boast of, who would not if he might wish such success to his Enemy?

But if Idolaters can encourage themselves in those ways they are in,* from what good they suppose they have by them, for their rewards; how much more then should the Saints encourage themselves in the rewards that they Page  336 have from their lover, from the Lord Christ? Psal. 129. 56. This I had (saith David) because I kept thy word; this is the reward I have had from my lover; I blesse God, I have in some measure got my heart to breake be∣fore the Lord, and to melt after him, and the Lord hath come in mercifully to me, though indeed there be no worthinesse in what I have done, yet the Lord hath beene gracious, he hath encouraged his poose servant in his way; these and these mercies the Lord hath given me as a fruit of seeking him; he hath not said to the seed of Iacob, seeke ye me in vaine; I have sought for comfort, for peace, and at last it is come, I will call upon the name of the Lord, as long as I live; we should consider of Gods mercies we have, and rejoyce in them as the love-tokens that come from our beloved; These are the rewards, these are the love-tokens that come from our dearly beloved. Hereafter when the Saints shall come to heaven, how will they blesse God, and blesse themselves in their God, for those glorious things, those blessed rewards that they then shall receive from their beloved, and enjoy for ever with him! then they shall triumphingly say, the world said heretofore, What profit is there in serving of the Lord? But blessed be God, that I went on notwithstanding in the wayes of God, and now I see there is profit to pur∣pose; O these joyes! O this glory! O this crowne! this happinesse! these are the rewards that I have from my beloved.*

A fift,* what any man gets by sin, or lookes upon as gotten by sin, or uses as a meanes to harden himself in sin, the curse of God is in it, and it will rend it from him, he shall not ever enjoy it; I will destroy their vines & their fig∣trees, whereof they have said, these are the rewards that my lovers have given me, 1 Kings 21. 16. you shall finde that Ahab blessed himselfe in getting Naboths vineyard, by the device of Iezebel, the text saith, He rose up to goe to take possession, but verse 9. Thus saith the Lord, hast thou killed, and also taken possession? in the place where the doggs licked the blood of Nabeth, shall doggs licke thy blood, even thy blood; What, you have got an estate now, you have got the vineyard, you have got possession, how got you it? by wickednesse, though you blesse your selves in it now, as a reward of your vile wayes, certainly the Lord will either force you in the anguish and terrour of your soules, to vomit up those sweet morsells a∣gaine, you shall not hold them, or some fearfull judgement of God up∣you, will rend them from you; that which many have got by unjust and sinfull wayes, they have indeed rejoyced in for a while, but after a while that estate hath beene in their consciences as drops of scalding lead in the very apple of a mans eye; so terrible hath it been unto them.

For this I will onely give you an example, a late one, that came to my owne hands in restoring that that was wrongfully got many yeeres agoe, from one neere my selfe, I shall the rather name it because the par∣tie desired that the thing might bee made knowne to the glory of God, He sends that that he had wrongfully got; divers yeeres after, with a letter with these expressions; Many a throb of conscience had I about it, ma∣ny Page  337 an king heart, and many promises have I made of restitution, and thousands of times have I wished unto you your silver againe;* what shall I doe? to keep it, it is to continue in sin; to give it to the poor, alas, it is not mine owne; or at least the evill purchase of gaine hourded up in the stuffe of my iniquity; to send it home, the owner is dead, I would to God I had sent it before, that it might not have layne so hard upon me; but seeing that is past, and cannot be recalled, here I sent it you, I aske God forgive∣nesse, and pray you fayle not to pray for me; Sweet Jesus forgive me: It was kept divers years, but was biting all the while in the conscience of the poor man, and at length it must breake forth in such expressions as these are.

Consider of this, every one who hath got any thing by a sinfull way, and have blest himselfe in it, this is the reward I have got by such a cunning de∣vice, and such an unjust and deceitfull way, you got it cleverly, and have en∣joyed it, and been merry with it, well, one day it may thus lie grating in your conscience, O then how rerrible will it be to you! this is the best way to be rid of the rewards of sin, when they begin to cause aking in your con∣sciences, cast them out your selves, all your praying to God for forgivenesse will never ease you without this way; if you be able to restore, but if you will not doe it this way, God may come by some hideous judgement, and force them from you in spite of your hearts, and then how terrible will it be to you, when you looke upon them as going from you, as being rent by God from you! O now I must part with all that gaine, and sweetnesse that such and such wayes of sin have brought me in; the gain, the sweet is gone, but the guilt, the curse, the dregs, the filth, that remains upon my spirit, and for ought I know must stick by me to all eternity; Gods judgements will be upon you one day, but as strainers to let out whatsoever is sweet, & delight∣full to you, and to keepe in the filth and dregs; Remember this, you that have got rewards by sinfull wayes, your rewards of sinne may now delight you, but there is a time you shall have rewards for your sins, that will not please you. I will make them as a forrest.

God threatens his people to make them as a forrest,* the Seventy they reade it otherwise, I will put those things as a witnesse; you will say here is a great difference; I will make her as a forrest, and I will put those things as a witnesse; Those things, that is, those rewards; they rejoyce in the rewards that they have had of their iniquity, but I will make them to be as a witnesse against them; Certainly there is a truth in this, Those things that you re∣joyce in as got by sin, the Lord will make them to rise up, and witnesse a∣gainst you; be sure now you cast them out, they will be witnesses against you another day else; A man that is guilty, would be glad, when he knows one that would witnesse against him, were dead, or out of the way; have you got any thing by a sinfull way? have you got any thing by a sinfull course? put it out of the way, for otherwise it will bee a witnesse a∣gainst you, either upon your sick-bed, or at the great day of Judge∣ment; but how can thesee-two readings be reconciled, I will makePage  338 them as a witnesse against you,* and I will make her as a forrest? It is true, the words in the English seem to be very wide one from another, but there is an easie mistake that might cause the Seventy to read those words, so as to render them thus, I will put them as a witnesse, for [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] signifies a for∣rest in the Hebrew, and [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] signifies to witnesse, so it is used, Zach. 3. 6. Montanus reads those words, Contestabatur Angelus; now those that are skilful in the Hebrew know that there being no more difference in the words then in those letters which are so like one another, one is [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] the other is [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] there might easily be a mistake in that regard; but we take it as it is here, I will make her as a forrest. The Church is Gods garden, hedged in with Gods protection, but God here threatens to take away the hedge, and let in the wild beasts; Concerning the hedg of God about his Church we have spoken before: The wilde Beasts are one of Gods sore judgements often threatned: Those who will not be subject to the blessed holy God, they shall be subject to the ravening and rage of Beasts: And it is like the Seven∣ty understood it, even literally of that judgment of noysome beasts to be let in upon them; for I find that they add to these words [the beasts shall eate them] the fowles of the Heaven, and the creeping things of the earth shall devoure;* but though I find that in the translation of the Seventy, yet I do not find it in the Hebrew Text, and therefore we must let it passe, and only speak of what we have here, of the beasts eating: Now therefore by that according to most Interpreters, I incline to think, and am perswaded, that it is the intention of the holy Ghost to express a judgment beyond the judg∣ment of letting in of noysome beasts, namely the Assyrians, the adversaries of Israel, who should come upon them as ravening beasts to devour them; from whence the words being so opened, you have these three notes of great use concerning us.

The first is,* sin makes men like Beasts, the beasts of the earth, he meanes the Assyrians, great ones, and yet he calls them the beasts of the earth, to be like a beast, is worse then to be a beast; for to be a beast is but to be as God made the creature, it is no dishonour to it: but to be like a Beast, that is the corruption of a creature,* and the deformity of it, the worst deformity that possibly can be: Chrysostome shews it thus, Beasts (saith he) have but some particular evill, take the worst of all, as the Swine, sensuality, the Tyger, and the Bear, cruelty; the Fox subtlety, &c. But wicked men have all evills that all beasts in the world have in them. One wicked man hath the sensua∣lity of a Swine, and cruelty of a Tyger, of a Bear, the subtilty of a Fox, and whatsoever is set out Emblematically by any Beast, a wicked man hath it all in his heart; yea and farther, wicked men are worse then beasts in this, that they doe corrupt themselves in those things that they have common to∣gether with beasts, more then beasts do. As the Drunkard corrupts him∣self in his drink, which a beast will not do, a glutton corrupts himselfe in his mea••ore then ordinarily a beast will do, and that I think is the 〈◊〉〈…〉 in 〈…〉Iude, ver.〈…〉of that they Page  339 know not, and what they know naturally as bruit beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. As for their intellectuall parts, they will be spea∣king evill of what they know not, they will take upon them as if they knew much, but the truth is, they understand little, and yet they will speak evill of that they know not. It is a dreadfull Text against such as will be crying out against men and their ways, when as in truth they know not what they are; but further, in that they know naturally as bruit beasts, in that they corrupt themselves, that is, in things they do know meerly by sense, as bruite beasts do, they know by tasting, and by smelling, as bruit beasts do, in those very things they corrupt themselves more then bruit beasts, that is, by excess in meats and drinks.

Would not any account it to be one of the greatest judgments that could befall him,* if God should turne him into the fashion of a Beast while he lives here in this world, though he should still retain the mind of a man in him? Suppose God should inflict this judgment upon a Drunkard, he should still have his intellectuall parts as now he hath, but yet his body should be turned into the form of a Swine, or a rayler into the form of a dog, as they say Hecuba Priamus his wife was for her rayling; would not this be a fearfull judgment? It is an expression of a heathen, Lactantius hath it from Cicero, (saith he) If it would be such a judgment as a man would be willing to indure any misery in the world, rather then to have his body turn∣ed into the fashion of a Beast, is it not as great a misery to keep the fashion of the body, and to have the mind to become like a beast, to keep a humane shape with the soul of a beast? surely it is worse then to have the shape of a beast with the soul of man.

Secondly,* God looks upon wicked men who do great things in the world with a contemptible eye: the Beasts shall devour, that is, the great King of Assyria, and all his Courtiers about him, and Cavalliers with him, they shall come to devour them, they are but the beasts, God speaks in a con∣temptible manner, as he doth against Senacherib that King of Assyria, in Isa. 37. 29. God threatens to put a hooke in his nostrils, and a bridle in his lips, because of his rage and of his tumult, that is, he would use him as a beast, to hook his nose, & to put a bridle into his jaws. Mark likewise how contemptible God speaks of the King of Babylon, and his whole army, Ioel 2. 20. His stinke and his ill savour shall come up, because hee hath done great things; and so in Psal. 59. 7. They belsh with their mouths (saith David) and they goe up and down the Citie grinning like a dog: these are the expressions of David, and in that Psalm he means no other but those his adversaries, that were about Saul in his Court: and Ezek. 38. 3, 4. To the chief Prince of Meshech and Tubal, I will put hooks in thy jawes (saith God) and in Dan. 7. the four great Monarchs, Babylonian, Persian, Greci∣an, Roman, are set out by four beasts, & the fourth Monarchy which by most Interpreters interpreted the Roman Empire, Dan. 7. 7. it is described to bee dreadfull and 〈…〉 and strong exceedingly, & it had great iron teeth, Page  340 it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it, and it was divers from all things that was before it; Now this beast raged first in the heathen Empire, and after it gave its power to the beast Anti∣christ, as you may reade in Rev. 13. and that beast was like a leopard spot∣ted, full of uncleannesse and filth, or as some translate it, a panther, who by the scent of it drawes other beasts to him, but devoures them, and his feet like a Beare, and his head like a Lyon. Thus you see how God describes the great ones of the world, to be as beasts looking with a contemptible eye upon them.

Thirdly,* It is a sore and a heavy judgement for a people to be delivered up to the rage of cruell adversaries; the beasts shall devoure them. I will give you up to them who will bring you under, you will not be obedient to me, but to them you shall, I will let out cruell wicked men upon you. Hence David prayed, Lord let me not fall into the hands of men, when God would put him to his choyce, to choose what judgement he would have, he was quickly resolved what to refuse, hee would be sure he would not have that judgement, to be given up to the hands of men, that he knew was dreadfull; and Psal. 55. 6. he prayes, O that I had the wings of a dove, that I might flye into the wildernesse, and there abide. Into the wildernesse! Why hee should be among the wilde beasts in the wildernesse, and yet he cryes, O that he had the wings of a dove, he would abide in the wildernesse! VVhy what is the matter here? it was because of the cruelty of Saul, and his cour∣tiers, David apprehended them so cruell,* that he had rather fall into the hands of Tygers, and wilde beasts in the wildernesse, then into theirs. I could give you notable examples of people that would rather endure any misery in the world, then be given up into the hands of their enemies. That story is most famous of Numantia in Spaine, when Scipio came against it, and they were afraid it would be taken, all the young men first took all the old men in the City and killed them with as faire a death as they could; then they brought all the treasure and riches of the City to the market place, and set all on fire, and after that they all took poyson and poysoned themselves, and thus in one day old and young, and all in the City, were quite destroyed, ra∣ther then they would fall into the hands of their enemies. Psa. 22. 20. Deli∣ver my soul, saith David, from the sword, my darling from the power of the dog, the power of the dog, and the sword, is but one the interpretation of the other; and that text is observable, 1 Cor. 15. 32. That I have fought with beasts at Ephesus after the manner of men; some interpret this litterally, that he did indeed really fight with beasts, as being one way of torment they put the Christians to, to fight with beasts; but it is rather thought by most inter∣preters, that the meaning is with men that were beastly, with cruell men, and Esthius thinkes those men to be no other, but those that are mentioned in Acts 19. 9. of whom the text saith there, that divers were hardned, and spake evill before the multitude, Paul then departed from them, and 〈◊〉 he disciples, Paul says that it was a most 〈…〉 to get the Page  341 multitude to be gathered together, and there to speake against him and his doctrine, and against Christ, when all the multitude were got together, now their malice thought that a fit opportunity to vent all their venome against Paul and his doctrine, upon that the spirit of Paul was so provoked (saith the text) that he departed from them, and separated the disciples: he saw them desperately set upon it with malice that they would take such an ad∣vantage, so to speake against him and his doctrine before the multitude; it is thus with many, the more sedition is raised, the better are their designes furthered. Christ tells his Disciples, Marke 16. 18. that Serpents should do them no hurt, and drinking poyson shall not hurt them; yea, in the 19. of Luke the beginning, he tells them they shall have power over divels; Ser∣pents shall doe them no hurt, poyson shall doe them no hurt, they shall have power over Devils: but Mathew. 10. 17. Beware of men; they might say, why blessed Master, what need we be afraid of men? Serpents shall do us no hurt, we shall have power over Devils, and yet for all this, Christ bids them take heed of men; as if there weere more danger of hurt from wicked men, then from Devils, or from Serpents, and therefore S, Paul in the 2. of the Thessalo. 3. 2. prayes that they may be delivered from absurd men; so the words are, that those that had lost the very principle of reason, and were even as beasts. There are a generation risen up amongst us, who have sucked up the poyson of the old Serpent, and are sweld with it, who are set on fire of hel, and the poyson of Asps is under their lips, and in their hands, and as it was said of Romulus and Romus, the founders of Rome, they were suckled by woolves, so are these, who desire to build up Rome againe; much like the first founders of that Rome, they seeme to be men suckled by wolves, or as the Poets faine of Lycaon, turned into a wolfe for his cru∣elty; or as it is said of their S. Dominick, that was the Father of the Do∣minicans, that when his Mother was with child of him, she dreamed that she brought forth a wolfe, with a firebrand in his mouth; according to that representation she had in her dream of her childe, she proved afterwards; and if we look to the cruelty, and the rage of these kind of men, we may e∣ven think, that their Mothers have brought forth wolves with firebrands in their mouths; in these Satan rages, and we hope therefore his time is but very short, because he rages so much; had they prevailed, and brought all under their power, no Chronicle of any Nation under Heaven would afford the like stories of horrid cruelties, as the Chronicles of these times would have done; where they have prevailed, in Ireland, there have beene the beginnings of such barbarismes, as here would have risen to the perfecti∣on of all rage and horrible cruelties; they may be faire a little while, till they get more strength; but certainly had they their will, there would never be parallel examples of that horrible rage and cruelty as you would finde among them, the Lord deliver us from being scourged with these Scorpions; let us humble our soules before God, that God may not humble us before such beasts, that we may not say that England shall Page  342 be as a forrest, and these beasts shall devoure them; in the meane time let us not be offended at their prevailing in some places, for then we should be as beasts our selves, Psal. 73. 22. So ignorant was I, I was as a beast before thee, (saith David) Genesis 9. 5. God saith, He will require of the beasts the blood of his people, Certainly, God will require of these beasts, the blood that hath been shed, it is precious blood that they have drunke; had it beene corrupt blood, God would not so much have cared for it, but it hath beene the blood of his Saints; let us believe that God will turne the rage of man, the rage of beasts, to his praise, Psal. 76. 10. Surely the Lord cannot possi∣bly behold without indignation such vile beasts to worrie his Lambs, who are so deare to him, even such so precious in his eyes, to be torne and wor∣ried by such beasts as these are, the eyes of the Lord are purer then to behold such iniquity as this is, we may well cry out with the Prophet, Haback. 1. 2. 3. How long shall we cry out of violence and wrong? spoilings and vio∣lence are before me, wheefore lookest thou upon them that deale treache∣rously and holdest thy tongue, when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous then himselfe? The higher the scum ariseth, the nearer we know it is to the fire. I have read of Philo, when the people of the Iewes made use of him to apologize for them unto Cajus the Emperour, Cajus used him very ruggedly, when he came out of his presence, the Iews came round about him, well, (saith he, to encourage them) Surely Cajus will arme God against himselfe for us.

But it may be said by some, surely these men are not beasts, for they are skilfull warriers, they are not so bruitish as you take them to bee, but are skilfull enough in their wayes; marke that text of Ezekiel 21. 31. I will deliver thee into the hand of bruitish men, skilfull to destroy; they are skil∣full to destroy, and yet bruitish men; we have a promise from God, and our prayers should hasten the fulfilling of it, in Ezek. 34. 25. He will cause the evill beasts to cease out of the land, and ver. 28. the beasts of that land shal no more devoure them; O that that time were come! O that the Lord would so worke for us as to cause our beasts to cease out of our land, that they might no more devoure! Isaiah 35. 9. No Lyon shall be there, no ra∣venous beast shall be found there, but the redeemed shall walke there; there is such a time coming; let us be patient in the mean time, and comfort our selves in these Scriptures, though our brethren endure hard things, by these cruell beasts, and though God may perhaps bring some of us under the rage of them, yet there is an estate of the Churches, that will be ere long that they shall be troubled no more with such uncleane, such outragious beasts.

VERSE 13. And I will visit upon her the dayes of Baalim, wherein she burnt incense to them, and she decked her selfe with her eare-rings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, (saith the Lord.)

Here is the conclusion of the threatning part of the Chapter; Now God will come upon them for all their sinnes together, if a generation shall suc∣ceed 〈…〉 esse, God may justly come upon 〈…〉, for all the Page  343 suns of the former generations; all the blood from Abel to Zechariah shall be required of this generation; I will visit all the dayes of Baalim, ever since they served Baal,* let men take heed of continuing in the wayes of sin, who can tell what sin may put a period to the time of Gods bringing his judgement upon a Nation, a family, or a particular person? though God hath spared heretofore, upon the next sin committed, there may be such a period put, as God now may come upon the family, not onely for that sin, but for all the sins of the family, that ever have been committed since it was a family, and so upon a Nation, for all the sins of a nation, since it was a na∣tion, and all thy sins, ever since thou wast a sinner. Men goe on a while in the wayes of sin prosperously, but when God commeth to visit, what will become of them? Isaiah 10. 3. What nill you doe in the day of your visi∣tation, and in the desolation which shall come from far, to whom will ye flee for help? and where will you leave your glory? Now you are merry, and laugh, now you feare nothing, but what will you do in the day of visitation? what will become of you then? whether will you flee then? and where will you leave your glory?

I will visit upon them the dayes of Baalim; in the plurall number Baalim, by which some think and that not improbably, that it is meant of their un∣der Gods that they had, which they called Baalims, for the Heathen had their chiefe Gods, and their Dii minores, their lesser Gods, that were unto them, as mediators to their chiefe Gods, and so our Papists have, they have their Diiminores,* lesser Gods, who are tutelar Gods, either over Nations, or over families, or over particular diseases, &c. As they say, for England, S. George, for Erance, S. Dennis, for Ireland, S. Patrick, for Wales, S. David, for Scotland, S. Andrew, &c. These Saints they are in imitation of the Heathens, Baal, or in the Caldee dialect Bel, was the King of Baby∣lon after Nimrod, the first that was deified, and reputed as a God after death, whence those men that were deified after their death, and worship∣ped as Gods, as the Papists worship their Saints, they called Baalims, as from Iulius Caesar, the other that followed after, were called Caesars: This interpretation gives unto us much light to understand that Scripture that you have in the first of the Corinthians, 8. 5. 6. Though there be that are called Lords whether in heaven or in earth, as there be Gods many, & Lords many, but to us there is but one God the Father, and one Lord Iesus Christ; If the Apostle had spoke in Hebrew, it would have been thus, though there be many Baalims, there is to us but one God, and one Baal; for in Hebrew, Ba∣al is Lood, there are many Gods, (say they) there were divers greater Gods, and there were many Lords, many Baalims, that is, there are many a∣mongst the Heathens that are mediators to their other chiefe Gods; But to us (saith he) there is but one God, and but one Lord, but one Baal, we have not Baalims, wee have not many mediators, to mediate between us and God, but as we have but one God, so we have but one Lord, but one Me∣diator, who indeed in regard of his humane nature is inferiour to the Fa∣ther, Page  344 but yet such a Lord by whom are all things, and we by him, we ac∣knowledge not greater Gods, and lesse Gods: the Papists acknowledge but one God, but they have many Lords, many Mediatours, many that must be between God and them, but this is a heathenish opinion.

Again, Baalim in the plurall number. Another reason given by some, and not improbably, is, that in regard of the severall images they had of their Baal, in severall places, even in their private houses; for Idolaters would not satisfie themselves in worshipping their Gods in publicke, but would worship them in their private houses also.

Now though the Jewes had onely two Idols set up, one in Dan, another in Bethel; yet they had some representations of those images in their pri∣vate houses, which may be grounded upon that text Hosea 10. 5. Because of the calves of Bethaven,* that is of Bethel, calves of Bethel. Why, how ma∣ny calves were there? there was but one calfe set up there, and yet here it is in the plurall number: now the reason of that is given, because though there was but one calfe set up for the publicke worship, yet they had in their pri∣vate families, the picture of that calfe, and so would bring the worship of their Baal into their families. A good lesson for Christians, not to satisfie themselves with publicke worship, but to bring as much of the worship of God as they can into their families. Wherein she burnt incense to them.

Incense was a typicall signification of prayer, in two respects. First, in the sweet savour of it. And secondly, in the ascending of it by fire, so all our prayers should be as incense, sweet before the Lord, and ascend up with the fervency of zeale, and Faith; it is properto God alone to have incense burnt unto him in a religious way, the heathens burnt incense to their Idols, imita∣ting the worship of God. She decked her selfe with her eare-rings, and her jewels: they worshipped their Idols in sumptuous manner, adorning themselves with as costly apparell as they could, especially their foreparts: the word that is translated jewels, signifies the nose jewel, the same word that you have in Isay, 3, 21. nose jewels, they hanged upon their faces, jew∣els to make themselves beautifull before their Idols: whores use to adorne themselves more pompously then grave matrons, by this many simple peo∣ple are drawn to the love of Idolatry,* which is spirituall whoredome; out∣ward braveries draw the sences; they thought God would accept of their service the rather, because of their costly jewels, that hung about their eares and nostrills. From hence this note.

To thinke that God will accept our service the rather,* because of any ap∣parel, or any thing of our own devising, is to deale with God as the heathens with their Idols; we must take heed of that: the Heathens instituted gar∣ments, that so they might be accepted. There was a Councel in the 333. year of Christ, that hath this Canon in it, it anathematizes all those that shal judge one vesture, one garment more holy then another, & make more for piety then another doth. We are to learn from Idolaters thus much, to 〈◊〉 adorn our souls, when we come into the 〈◊〉 of God; did they Page  345 deck their bodies, and hang jewels about eares and noses when they came before their Idols for acceptance?* Let us beautifie our souls every time we come before the living God; and would you know what fine cloathes you should have, when you come into Gods presence? I will tell you, and espe∣cially women who delight so much in fine cloaths, 1 Pet. 5. 5. Be yee cloa∣thed with humility; so the word is to dresse with a dresse that Gentlewomen used to weare in those times, with ribband; about their heads; well (saith the Apostle) would you have a fine dresse ye women? be ye cloathed with hu∣mility; the finest dresse you can possibly have: and I will tell you another dresse too, in 1 Pet. 3. 4. Adorned with a quiet and meeke spirit, which is with God of great price;* it is much set by of God, so translated in some of, your books. You love to be fine, if you come into Gods presence with qui∣et and meek spirits, and cloathed with humility, you will be as fine as can be in the very eyes of God; but withall remember, both men and women, the robes of Christs righteousnesse, except you come cloathed and decked with that garment also, certainly you can never find acceptance.

They followed after their Idols, but forgot me (saith the Lord.) Their lovers were remembred, but I was forgotten, saith God; God speakes here in a lamenting way, as a man bemoaning his sad condition: as if he should have said, how am I flighted by my people? the Idols can be followed, they can be remembred, but I am neglected, I am forgotten, they have a∣ctivity for their Idols, none for mee, memory for them, but none for mee.

God takes it very ill,* when men can find memory, strength, and activity enough for their sinfull wayes, but none for him; many complain of strength, they are weak, but who was ever so weak, but had strength enough to sin? though memories be weak, yet sinfull ways can be thought on.

Forgot me, that is, First, they have forgot what a God I am. Secondly, what I have done for them, the great works I have done befor them. Third∣ly, all their engagements to mee; many follow wicked wayes, yet so as sometimes they have checks of conscience, they have somewhat of God yet sticking upon their hearts, some remembrances of God, and so long there is hope; but when a sinner hath so far departed from God, and follow∣ed on his ungodly ways, as God is quite worn out of his thoughts, then hee is in a sad case indeed. I appeal to you, is it not the case of some here? there was a time that you had mighty impressions of God upon your spirits, and then you could never go up and down in your shops, streets, fields, but the thoughts of God were in your minde, and when you awaked in the night season, the thought of God was in your hearts; but there was some haunt of wickedness that your hearts hankered after all that while, temptation came, and you have given way to it, and now (friend) you can go up and downe, one day after another, and scarce think of God at all? what is the matter that you have no thoughts of God now, as you were wont to have? yet perhaps you are not gone so farre, but that now and then there commeth Page  346 in some darting thoughts of him,* but so as your conscience knowes they are very terrible to you, you can never now have a thought of God, but it is as a clagger at your heart, and indeed it must needs be terrible to a guilty consci∣ence that is departed from God. Well, take heed what thou doest O thou sinner,* goe not on so long in thy sinfull wayes, till thou wearest out all the thoughts of God, for some have done so, though they had checks of consci∣ence, when they have beene in wicked company, God hath come into their thoughts, and troubled them, but they have gone to wicked company a∣gaine, and some thoughts of God have yet followed them, but they have gone again and again, and now they have forgot God, as if there were no God at all in heaven, as if God had nothing to doe with them, and they no∣thing to doe with God, O this is a sad condition indeed. If any of you be de∣clining into such a condition as this is, the Lord stop you, this day the Lord awaken your consciences. Ordinarily the more prosperity men have, the more forgetfull they are of the Lord; They forgat me, as Genesis 48. 20. Jacob set Ephraim before Manasses, first Ephraim, then Manasses; E∣phraim signifies fruitfulnesse, and Mansses signifies forgetfulnesse; thus it is with men, Ephraim comes first, fuit fulnesse, God is fruitfull to you, and blesseth you in your estates, & then comes Manasses, forgetfulness; you are forgetfull of his goodnesse to you:

My brethren, if always we had such impressions of God, as we have some∣times, O how happy were it! It will terrifie hereafter, when God shall a∣gaine so present himselfe to you, and cause you to remember what impressi∣ons of his divine Majesty once you had; let us hold forth our continuall re∣membrance of God, so as all that behold our conversaions, may say, sure∣ly the thoughts of God are mighty upon the spirits of these men; thus we should live before our brethren: I will give you this one rule for your lives; Live such lives as by them you may hold forth before your brethren such re∣membrances of God, as they may conclude by that they see in your con∣versations, Certainly there are deepe thoughts of God upon the heart of this man, there was a time indeed he walked lightly; vainly, foolishly, but now he is serious in his way, he is considerate, he is heavenly, he walks with feare; Certainly there are great impressions of the divine Majesty upon his heart; if it be so with us, how joyfull will it be to us hereafter, when God shall ap∣peare in his glory, then to have our consciences tell us, the impressions of the Majesty of this God, that now I see so high and great have beene upon my soul, in the whole course of my life, I now see the glory of the great God shining, and blessed be his name, even this God that appeares so glo∣riously, hath appeared often to my soul before, and I have kept the im∣pressions of his glory upon my heart, and he was continually in my thoughts. It is a wonder that God should ever thinke of us, who are so forgetfull of him as we are; Psalm 8. What is man that thou remembrest him? (saith the text) what is man? The word there that is translated man, some would bring forth the Hebrew roote which signifies forgetfulnesse;* I finde Eusebi∣usPage  347 taking it thus, What is man O Lord, that thou shouldst remember him? that is, what is forgetfull man, that thou shouldest remember him? yet I confesse the Hebrew word that is there translated man, comes from another roote that signifies weakelinesse, sicklinesse; what is weake man, what is sick-man; yet if this word come not from that roote that signifieth to forget, yet I am sure there is a word that commeth from that roote that signifies to forget, that is used for women, because of their forgetfulnesse; we would be glad to have God remember us, in the day of our adversities, let us remember God now; all you young ones, remember God, remem∣ber your Creator in the dayes of your youth; you old people, whatsoever you forget, forget not the Lord; let us all remember the Lord, who hath re∣membred us all; who hath remembred England, in its low estate. for his mercies endure for ever.

We have done with the threatning part, now it followes, Therefore, be∣hold I will allure her, bring her into the wildernesse, and speake comforta∣bly to her; [Therefore] Beloved, it is a strange therefore; what, they fol∣lowed after their Idols, they have said, that all their prosperity was a reward of their Idols, they have forgot the Lord, they have decked themselves with their jewels, to honour their Idols; (and marke) it comes presently, There∣fore I will allure her, and I will speake comfortably to her; one would ra∣ther have thought it should have followed; Therefore I will yet plague her, therefore my judgements shall pursue her, and cut her off; but marke it fol∣lowes, Therefore I will allure her, and speake comfort ably unto her; O the rich and free grace of God to his people! But of that the next day.

The Twelfth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 14.

Therefore behold I will allure her, and bring her into the wildernesse, and speake comfortably unto her: and I will give her her Vineyards from thence,

HEre begins the second part of this Chapter; the former was in conviction, threatning, pronouncing judgements: this from verse 14. unto the end, is the opening of the free and rich grace of God to Israel. It may be said of this Chap∣ter, as Psalm 85. 10. Mercy and Peace are met to∣gether, Righteousnesse and Truth kisse each other,

There is a blessed conjunction betweene threatning of judgement, and proffering mercy; but where is the copula of this conjunction?

Page  348 What is that knits these two together? Here is a conjunction, but it is very wonderfull, it is in the first word, therefore; that is the copula, [therefore] I will allure her; Wherefore? This therefore hath a very strange and won∣derfull wherefore, if we consider of what went before; the words immedi∣ately before were, She went after her lovers, and forgate mee, saith the Lord, [therefore] behold, I will allure her; there needs an Ecce be put to this [therefore] be hold; Behold, I will allure her. Lyra could not see how these things could bee joyned together, therefore hee thinks that this verse hath not reference to that that immediately went before, but to the words in the beginning of the Chapter, Say to your brethren, Ammi, my people, and to your sisters, Ruhamah, shee that hath obtained mercy, therefore: And Cornelius à Lapide not understanding the cause of such a connection, he would referre the beginning of this verse to the end of the seventh verse: She shall say, I will goe to my first husband, for then it was better with mee then now, therefore also I will allure her; these two, though learned men, yet are Papists, and therefore understand but little of the free rich grace of God, and hence are put to it, so much, to make a connection betweene that that went before, and this therefore; but wee need not go so farre, the right knowledg of the fulnesse, and the riches of the grace of the Covenant, will help us out of this difficulty, and tell us how these two, the greatnesse of mans sin, and the riches of Gods grace may have a connection one to another, and that by an Illative therefore.* I confesse the Hebrew word is sometimes con∣junctio ordinis, rather then causalis, a conjunction that only sets out the or∣der of a thing, one thing following another, rather then any way implying a∣ny cause, but the reading here by way of inference, I take to be according unto the scope of the Spirit of God, and it gives us this excellent note.

Such is the grace of God unto those who are in Covenant with him,* as to take occasion from the greatnesse of their sinns, to shew the greatnesse of his mercy, from the vilenesse of their sins, to declare the riches of his grace. And the Scripture hath divers such kind of expressions as these, as Gen. 8. 21.*The Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for mans sake; VVhy? For the immagination of mans heart is evill from his youth: A strange reasoning; I will not curse the ground for mans sake, for the imagination of mans heart is evill from his youth. One would have thought it should have been rather, I will therefore curse the ground for mans sake, because the imagination of mans heart is evill from his youth; but the grace of God knowes how to make another manner of inference then we could have imagined: So likewise, Isa. 57. 17, 18. For the iniquity of his covetousnesse was I wroth and smote him, I hid me and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart; I have seen his wayes (saith God) Now one would have thought that the next word should have been, I will therefore plague him, I wil destroy him, I will curse him; but mark the words that follow, I will heale him, I will 〈◊〉 him also, and restore comforts unto him, and to his mourners; I will Page  349 create the fruit of the lips, peace to him. This is a consequence at least, if not an inference. David understood this reasoning to be indeed the true rea∣soning of the Covenant of grace, and therefore he pleadeth thus with God, Psal. 25. 11. Pardon my iniquity, for it is great; Lord my iniquity is great, therefore pardon it. Hearken you Saints, (hearken I say) this is the great blessing of God unto you who are in Covenant with him, whereas o∣therwise your sins should have made you objects of Gods hatred, your sins now render you objects of his pitty and compassion, this is the glorious fruit of the covenant of grace.

I would only the Saints heard me in this thing, but why doe I say so? I will recall my word, let all sinners heare me, let the vilest, the worst sinners in the world heare of the riches of the grace of God in this his Covenant, that if they belong to Gods election, they may see the fulnesse, the glory of Gods grace, to be inamoured with it, their hearts ravished with it, that they may never be at rest till they get evidence to their soules, that God indeed hath actually received them into this his Covenant. If then God be pleased in the riches of free grace to make such an inference, therefore let us take heed that wee make not a quite crosse inference from the greatnesse of our sins, nor on the other side, from Gods grace. As thus, You have followed your lovers, you have forgot me, therefore will I allure you. An unbelieving heart would make this inference: I have followed my lovers, I have follow∣ed after vanity and folly, and therefore God hath rejected mee, therefore God will have no mercy upon me, therefore I am undone, therefore the gates of mercy are shut against me, unbelieving heart do not sin against the grace of God, he saith, you have forgotten me, therefore will I allure, and speake comfortably to you; doe not you say, I have forgot the Lord, and therefore the Lord will for ever reject me; these discouraging, determi∣ning, despairing therefores are very grievous to the Spirit of God.* God would have us have all good thoughts of him. It is a maine thing that God intendeth through the whole Scripture that his people should have good thoughts of him, and that they should not think him a hard master. It is an excellent expression of Luther, (saith he) the whole Scripure doth princi∣pally aime at this thing that we should not doubt, but that wee should hope, that we should trust, that we should believe, that God is a merciful, a boun∣tifull, a gracious, and a patient God to his people. It is an excellent expres∣sion that I have read of Master Bradford, in one of his Epistles, (saith he, O Lord sometimes me thinks I feel it so with me, as if there were no difference between my heart and the wicked, a blind mind as they, a stout, stubborn, rebellions spirit, a hard heart as they, and so he goes on; shall I therefore conclude thou art my Father? nay, I will rather reason otherwise; saith he, because I do believe thou art my Father, I will come unto thee, that thou mightest enlighten this blind minde of mine, that thou mightest soften this hard heart of mine, that thou mightest sanctifie this unclean spirit of mine; I this is a good reasoning indeed, and is worthy of one that professes the go∣spel of Jesus Christ.

Page  350 Again, as the inference of this unbelieving heart is grievous to Gods spirit, so the inference of a prophane heart, an unbelieving heart makes his there∣fore from the greatnesse of sin against Gods mercy, and the prophane heart makes his therefore from the greatnesse of Gods mercy, to the hardening of his heart in his sins; what, shall God make his therefore from our sin to his mercy, and shall we make our therefore from his mercy back again to our sins? where sin abounds, grace abounds, but where grace abounds, sin must not abound, because God is mercifull to us who are very sinfull; let not us be very sinfull against him who is so mercifull. God takes occasion from the greatnesse of our sins, to shew the greatnesse of his mercy; let not us take occasion from the greatnesse of his mercy, to be emboldened in greatnesse of our sins.

Therefore [behold.]

Behold. Here is a wonder to take up the thoughts of men and Angels, to all eternity, even that that we have in this inference, behold, notwithstand∣ing all this, yet you men and Angels behold the fulnesse, the riches of Gods grace, I will allure her; what will not God cast us away notwithstanding the greatnesse of our sins? let not us reject Gods ways, notwithstanding the greatnesse of any sufferings we meet with in them; there is a great deale of reason in this that I speak; you may as well beare with sufferings in Gods wayes, and yet embrace them, as God doth beare with sinns in your hearts, and yet embrace you;* but it follows, therefore I will allure; the Heb. word translated allure, signifies to entice, and is used many times in the ill part, blandiendo decipere, to deceive by subtle enticing: the Seventy in their tran∣slation, thus, Therefore also I will deceive them, and the old Latine lacta∣bo, and others seducam,* therefore also I will seduce them, so sometimes the word is: God makes use of this word to expresse a very gracious affection to them, the sweete and gracious wayes that God intendeth to deale with them in.

What God means by alluring of his people, when once he is reconciled unto them, may be expressed in these three things.

[ 1] First, I will open the beauty and excellency of the infiniteness of my grace and goodnesse, and I will set it before them to allure them. I will spread be∣fore their soules the beauty, the glory of the riches of my grace.

[ 2] Secondly, I will out-bid all temptations of their lovers, whereas before they went a whoring from me, because their hearts were allured by their lo∣vers, their lovers proffering unto them such and such contentments,* and so did subtilly draw their hearts from me, I will now deal with them in a more powerfull way then their lovers possibly could, and I will out-bid them all. Did their lovers proffer to them comfort? I will bid more then they; did their lovers proffer gaine? I will bid more gaine; did they proffer more ho∣nour and respect? I will out-bid them in this too: I will bid more honour, and more respect, so as I will perswade their hearts that they shall come to enjoy more in me then possibly they could com•• enjoy in whatsoever Page  351 their lovers could doe for them. And indeed then hath the Gospell the true, full, gracious worke upon the heart of a man or woman, when it yeelds to the profers of the Gospel, as finding that all that the world can bid is now out-bidden; I have a better bargaine here in Christ then the world proffers to me. You know when one comes to offer so much for a commodity, and another out-bids him,* he carries it away: so when the world, and lust, and sin proffers to the soul such and such contents, then comes God, and out∣bids all, and so the bargaine is made up, God carries away the heart.

Againe, further, I will allure, that is, I will come upon them even una∣wares, and as it were steale away their hearts, by a holy guile; as S. Paul tells us, that he caught the Corinthians as it were by guile. I will se∣cretly insinuate my selfe unto them, and I will draw their hearts in such a sweet way, in such a secret hidden way, that I will take them before they are aware.

So it is with many a soule; God takes it before it is aware, though it is true, that afterward the soul comes to understand things more clearely a∣bout Gods grace, but at the first, God hath taken the heart even almost be∣fore it thinks of him. Indeed the sinner sees himselfe, he is not where he was before, surely there hath been here something working upon my heart; I finde it otherwise with me now then it hath beene, but how this comes to passe, I scarce understand for the present, but shall understand more; like that expression we have in the 6. of Canticles, ver. 12. Ore ever I was a∣ware, my soule made me as the chariot of Aminadib: That is, the chari∣ots of a willing people, so the word Aminadib signifies. My heart was caught, and run amaine to God, and this was before ever I was aware, there came such wayes of Gods grace into my heart more then I thought of, and caught my soul, that my soul run mighty freely, swiftly after the Lord, and this is a blessed deceit, when the heart is so deceived, so allured, so enticed; As sometimes it is with an Adulterer, he doth but give a glance of his adul∣terous eye, and catcheth the Adulteresse before she is aware; it may be she never thought of any such thing; but there is a glance of an uncleane eye that catcheth the heart secretly. Thus with Christ, hee sometimes gives such a glance of his eye upon the heart of a sinner, as takes the sinner before he is a∣ware; the sinner is brought in love with the wayes of God, and with the truths of God, even before he thinks of it. We are to know that the grace of God hath a subtilty in it, as well as the Serpent; The Scripture, Pro. 1. 4. attributes a subtilty to Gods grace; It is a blessed thing to be thus out-sub∣tilled, (as I may so speake) for the grace of God to be too subtile for our sins; As I remember Luther, when he was charged for Apostacy, he ac∣knowledged it, (saith he) I confesse I am an Apostate, but how? an Apo∣state from the devil, falling off from the devill, & returning unto God, such an Apostate I am; So many a mans heart may be deceived, but if he can say, Blessed be God, I am deceived indeed, but so deceived that my sin is beguiled; I am seduced, but it is out of the wayes of sin, into the wayes of God.

Page  352 Many are easily allured by temptations, they are presently taken by the de∣vills allurements, but they are very subtile in objecting against all the allure∣ments of Gods grace, but he is subtile enough to put off the allurements of sin and of the devill.

Therefore behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wil∣dernesse.

Here is some difficulty in this; how comes this in? Therefore I will al∣lure her, and bring her into the wildernesse, and speake comfortably to her. How can this,*to bring into the wildernesse, be between alluring, and speaking comfortably? I told you, that this second part of the Chapter was altogether mercy: what can be meant then by bringing into the wilderness? Some for the shewing that yet it is a way of grace that God intendeth in this phrase, I will bring them into the wildernesse, translate the words, After I have brought them into the wildernesse, Postquam per duxero eam, so Temelius, he was a Jew, and therefore could well understand the Hebrew tongue, he tels us that Vau, that is translated and, is as much as postquam, after I have brought them into the wildernesse, and then the meaning is thus. After I have humbled them throughly, as I did their fore-fathers in the wildernesse, then will I speake comfortably unto them: God humbled their forefathers in Egypt, yet that was not enough, hee humbled them af∣terwards in the wildernesse, and then he brought them into Canaan; many times God brings one affliction after another upon his own people to break their hearts, to humble them throughly, and at last he speaks comfortably to them. It hath been so with us, the Lord not many yeares since brought us into bondage, it might have humbled us, & broke our hearts before him; but when wee began to bee delivered a little out of our bondage, the Lord brings us into the wildernesse, and follows us with afflictions to this day, that he might throughly break us, and yet we hope all this while, it is but making way unto Canaan.

But in the second place, take it as you have it here, I will allure her and bring her into the wildernesse. Then wee may take the scope of it to be not the afflicting part of the wildernesse, but only the manifesting this unto Is∣rael, that he would shew unto them great & wonderfull works of his power, & wisdome, and goodness, as he did unto their forefathers in the wildernesse. What ever your conditions shall be into which you shal be brought, yet you shall have me working in a glorious way for your good and comfort, as ever I did for your forefathers when they were in the wildernesse: and this ex∣position is rather strengthened from that we have ex Thargum Ionathae,* I will work miracles, and great wonderfull, famous things for them, such as I did work in the desert: hath God wrought gloriously for his people hi∣therto in the wayes of his mercy? if reconciled to him, they may expect the fame wonderfull works of God for their good even to the end of the world We may read the stories of Gods wonderfull power in deliverances of his people in their straits in the wildernesse, and make them to be our own, and Page  353 pleade with God, that he would shew forth that old, that ancient power, and wisdom, and goodnesse of his, as he did unto his people formerly,* this is the ground of that excellent prayer, that we have Esay 51. 9. 10. Awake, awake, put on strength O arme of the Lord, awake as in the ancient dayes, in the generations of old; Art thou not it that hast cut Rahab, and wound∣ed the Dragon? Art thou not it that hath dryed the sea, the waters of the great sea? Awake, awake, thou art he who hast done such great things for∣merly; it is a great help to our Faith to consider what God hath done for the Church of old.

But further, Poreus saith this expression is taken from the condition of a poor man that is drawne aside out of his way by a thief, a thief comes and entices him out of his way, and carries him into some desolate place, & when he hath carried him thither, then the manbegins to bethink himself, where he is, and sees himself in a sad condition, and knows not what in the world to do, and yet at that time there comes in supply, comfort, and help for him; so (saith God) I will bring you into the wildernesse, that is, I will put you into the same condition, that such a poor man is put into, I will allure you, as the thief allures, I will make proffer to you of abundance of good, and by that I will draw you into such and such wayes, wherein you shall meet with very great straits, for a while, and you shall be put into an amazed condition, as not knowing what in the world to do, and when that is done, then I will come with the fulnesse of my grace, and speake comfortably to your hearts.

Thus though God speakes of bringing into the wildernesse, yet still it is with an intention of shewing mercy there; and is not this just to a very haire for all the world our condition? have not the ways of God toward England for these two or three years been alluring wayes? God hath made proffer unto us of a great deale of mercy, and raised the hopes of his people, and the Ministers of God have spoken encouraging words to his people, that surely the Lord intends great goodnesse to us, and because Gods wayes have been such towards us, as they have been, we have endeavoured (God knowes) to follow him in those ways of his, to do that, that for the present those present ways of his called for: and yet we are even brought into the wilderness now, even into a kind of desolate condition,* that for the present we even are at a stand, & we see afflictions to be round about us, & the very beasts to be rea∣dy to come & teare us, and pull us in pieces, and yet we can say to the com∣fort of our hearts, Lord, if we be deceived, thou hast deceived us, for (Lord) thou knowest that whatsoever we have done, it was our duty to doe, and al∣though we be brought into great straits, for the present, yet we repent not of what we have done, nor of what we have said, for thou hast allured us into this condition, thy gracious wayes of mercy towards us in the beginning of the Parliament, and so on hath allured us, and hath brought us into what we have done. Wee will not therefore say, what is now become of all our hopes? but wee expect God even in this wildernesse, to speake comfortably unto us, let not men upbrayde us for what wee have done, Page  354 we would doe as we have done, if it were to do again, for God hath brought us into these wayes, and if he hath allured us into the wildernesse, the next words shall be made good unto us, he will speake comfortably to us: if we be in no other then that wildernesse he hath allured us into, then we may ex∣pect fully that he will speake comfortably to us.

Here is the difference betweene men bringing themselves into trouble; or being brought by the Devils or worlds allurements, and by Gods. In the one we cannot expect comfort, but in the other we may confidently.

Further, There is yet another interpretation that I think is most genuine, and full; For the ground of that I shall say in this, we must know that from the beginning of this part of the Chapter to the end, God is expressing himselfe unto his people in a conjugall way; that is, whereas his people had gone a whoring from him, yet he would receive them againe into a conju∣gall affection, and communion: all along God expresses himself thus, from the fourteenth verse to the end. Now this being laid for a ground; In this expression of Gods bringing into the wildernesse, the Prophet alludes unto the custome of the Jewes, that they had in their marriages. Their custome that I reade of, was, that the Bride-groom used to take his Bride, and carry her out of the City, into the fields, and there they had their nup ti∣all songs, and delighted themselves in some place there, one with another, & afterward he brought her back againe, leaning upon him, into the City, to his Fathers house, and there they rejoyced together, and solemnized the fur∣ther nuptials: now these fields are called the wildernesse, either because they might be some champion dry fields that were about the City; or otherwise, let them be what they will be, yet because he would allude unto the mercy of God in bringing of his people out of Egypt, into Canaan, and would put them in minde of that mercy of his, therefore he gives these fields this title, calls them by this name, and this custome of the Jews seemes to have war∣rant from Scripture it self, Canticles 8. 5. Who is this that commeth up from the wildernesse, leaning upon her beloved? That was the way of mar∣riage, they came out of the fields, leaning upon their beloved, and so were brought unto the Bridgegroomes Fathers house: So Christ brings his Spouse through this world, which is as the wildernesse, and Christ is here solemni∣zing his espousals, and hath his nuptiall songs in this world; and the Church leanes upon Christ, all the while she is in the world, but Christ is carring her to his Fathers house, and ere long we shal be with him there, solemnizing the marriage of the Lambe in a more glorious way: This expression goes on clearly thus, I will allure her, and bring her into the wildernesse; As the Bridegroome speakes sweet and comfortable words to his Bride, and car∣ries her abroad into the fields, and there solemnizes the nuptials, and so comes back againe, having his Spouse leaning upon him, and bringing her to his Fathers house; so I will deale with you in the fulnesse of my grace. I will performe all the nuptiall rites with you. I will be married againe unto you, and looke what the most solemnity in your City of Jerusalem, or any of Page  355 your Cities, there is in any nuptials, I will make as great a solemnity in the nuptials betweene you and me: It is true, when a marriage is such as peo∣ple are loath to make it known, then there is no such solemnity, but when it is a great marriage indeed, and such as marry together with their friends would glory in it, then there is the more full solemnity; so saith God, I will not be ashamed to take you againe, but I will take you openly; I wil have the solemnity of my marriage with you as publickly as may be, I will car∣ry you abroad into the fields; and look what rights soever there are in the most solemne marriages amongst you, those rights I will performe unto you, that it may be a most glorious marriage solemnity between you and me again: thus I will bring into the wildernesse, and speake comfortably unto them.

And speake comfortably to her.

These words that are translated here,*speake comfortably, in the Hebrew are, loquar super cor, or ad corejus, I will speake to her heart, I will speak to her, either so as to prevaile with her heart, or speake to her so as to do her good at the very heart: Many Scriptures may be brought to shew, that speaking kindly, friendly, or comfortably, the Hebrews expresse by speak∣ing to the heart; I will give you two or three instances, Genesis 34. 3. She∣chem spake kindly to the Damosell, the words are in the Hebrew, Shechem spake to the heart of the Damosell; So Ruth 2. 13. Thou hast comforted me, for that thou hast spoken friendly to thy handmaid; thou hast spoken to the very heart of thy handmaid; there are two more remarkable places for this, one is Esay 40. 2. Speak comfortably to Jerusalem, the words are, speak to the heart of Jerusalem; What should be spoke to the heart of Jerusa∣lem? Cry unto her, her warefare is accomplished, her iniquity is pardoned; These are the comfortable words that God required should be spoke to the heart of Jerusalem: O that God would speak thus to England! this would do good at the very heart, if God would speake thus from heaven, Her ini∣quity is pardoned, and her warefare is accomplished. But yet a place that is more suitable unto this expression in the text, it is Iudges 19. 3. There you have the story of a Levite, whose wife having played the harlot, yet he was willing to be reconciled to her, & the text saith, that he went & spake friend∣ly to her; Now the words are in the Hebrew, Hee went and spake to her heart; And indeed it is a word to the heart of an adulterous spouse, if her heart be humbled, when she knows that her husband will be willing not∣withstanding her playing the harlot to be reconciled to her, this was the con∣dition of Israel, who had gone a whoring from God, yet when God promi∣ses a renewall of the marriage rites he saith he will speake to her heart; from whence we might observe this note.* That an Apostatizing people, or an A∣postate soul, had need have words of comfort spoke to their hearts, or else there can be little ease to their terrified consciences. We read of Spira that fa∣mous Apostate, he had words of comfort enough spoke to his eare, but they did him little good, God did not come in and speak to his heart, therefore Page  356 his conscience could not be quieted, the throbs of it could not be eased: How many lie under the troubles of an accusing conscience,* and have the throbs and bitings of a guilty spirit, because they have been back-sliders from the truth; and though they come to Sermons, one after another, & hear the Cove∣nant of grace opened to them in the fulnesse of it, & the riches of Gods good∣nesse set before them in the beauty of it, yet they goe away without com∣fort, why the words come to the eare, God all this time speaks not to the heart; sometimes it pleases God to take but the hint of a truth, and dart it upon the heart of a troubled sinner, that he feeleth it at the heart, and sayes, Well, this day God hath spoken to my heart, so he goes away rejoycing, eased, comforted, pacified; when as perhaps such an one had heard a hun∣dred Sermons before, wherein there were blessed and glorious truths presen∣ted to him, and it did no good untill Gods time; and when the time of Gods love is come, some little hint of a piece of a truth God darteth to the hearts and that doth the thing. God shews hereby that it is not in the word of man to comfort an afflicted conscience.

Hence an expression Luther hath in his Comment upon Genesis,* It is far harder to comfort an afflicted conscience, then to raise the dead; you think it is nothing to Apostatize from the Lord, you thinke it is easie to re∣ceive comfort, you will find it is not so easie, you will find it as easie to raise the dead as to comfort your afflicted consciences. But you told us before, how rich the grace of God was, that God tooke advantage from the great∣nesse of our sins, to shew the riches and greatness of his mercy: grant it, let the grace of God be never so rich, but till this grace be applyed to the heart, till God be pleased to speak himself to the heart of a sinner, it will not do. I remember a story of one who had made profession of Religion, and after∣wards Apostatised and made little of it, when his acquaintance told him that those things he now did he would smart for one day, he thought because he had some knowledg in the Gospel, that it was but to believe in Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ came to pardon sinners, &c. when he came upon his sick bed, he was in great torment of conscience,* and grievous vexation, and cryed out bitterly of his Apostacy, there came some of his acquaintance to him, and spake words of comfort, and tells him that Christ came to save sin∣ners, and he must trust in Gods mercy, &c. At length he begins to close with this, and to apply this to himself, and to have a little ease, upon which his companions began to be hardned in their ways, because they saw after so ill a life it was so easie a matter to have comfort; but not long before he dyed, he brake out roaring, in a most miserable anguish, O! (saith hee) I have prepared a plaister, but it will not sticke, it will not sticke: wee shall find though the grace of God be rich, and the salve be a soveraign un∣lesse God be pleased to make it stick by speaking to our hearts, nothing can be done. From hence further, learn this note.

As when God speaks comfortably to his people,* he speaks to their hearts: so Gods Ministers, when they come to speak in Gods name, should labour Page  357 to speak so, as to do what they can to speak to hearts. It is true indeed, it is impossible that any man of himselfe can speake to the heart of another, but yet he may endeavour, and aime that way, there is a kind of speaking that God doth assist, so as to bring it to the heart of his people.

What speaking is that? you will say.

That that cometh from the heart, will most likely go to the heart, though I know God can take that which comes but from the lips, and carry it to the heart when he pleases, yet ordinarily that that comes from the heart, goes to the heart, therefore Ministers when they come to speak the great things of the Gospel, they should not seeke so much for brave words, and enticing ways of mans wisdome, but let them get their own hearts warmed with that grace of the Gospel, and then they are most like to speak to the hearts of their Auditors. It is a good note that I have met with from Ribera, let Minist∣ers remit (saith he) of their care of fine curious words,* of brave neate phrases, and cadencies of their sentences, but let them bend their studies to manifest humility, and mortification, and to shew love to the soules of people; otherwise, though they speake with the tongues of men and Angels, they shall become but like the sounding brasse, and the tinckling cymball: this is an expression even of a Jesuite, it were then a great shame that Gods Ministers should not labour to speak so, as that they may speak to the hearts of people: you must be de∣sirous of such kind of preaching as you find speaks to your hearts, not that that comes meerly to your eares: how many men love to have the word jingle in their ears, and in the mean time their hearts go away, and not one word spoke to them? but when you finde a Ministry speake to your hearts, close with it, bless God for it, and count it a sadd day when you goe from a Sermon, and there is not one word spoke to your hearts in that Sermon.

From the connection of these two, I will bring them into the wilder∣nesse, & speak unto their hearts: if we should take the wildernesse for brin∣ging into affliction (because there are so many interpreters that are very godly men, & learned men, go that way) I dare not wholy reject it, but that there may be some intention that way.

Hence the first note is,

Afflictions make way for Gods word to the hearts of sinners;* there are many obstructions at the hearts of men while they are in prosperity, but when afflictions come, God by them opens those obstructions, and so gets his word to their hearts; afflictions cannot convert the heart, but they can take away some obstructions that did hinder the word from coming to the heart. Many of you have heard thousands of Sermons, and scarce know of any one that hath come to your hearts, but when God casts you upon your sicke beds, and you apprehend death, then you feele the same truthes, Page  358 that you were not sensible of before, they lie upon your hearts, the threatning word of God, that went but to the ear before, now it is got to the heart, now it terrifies, now you cry out of your sins, and rellish the sweet promises of the Gospel that afflictions make way for. I remember an expression that I have read of Bernard, he had once to a brother of his, who was a Souldier, but riotous and prophane, Bernard gives him many good instructions, wholsome admonitions, and counsels, his brother seemed to slight them, he made nothing of them, Bernard comes to him, and puts his hand to his side; one day (saith he) God will make way to this heart of yours, by some speare, or launce, he meant God would wound him in the Wars, and so hee would open a way to his heart, and then his admonitions should get to his heart, and as he said, so it fell out; for going into the Wars, he was woun∣ded, and then he remembers his brothers admonitions, they got to, and lay upon his heart to purpose. It God should let the enemy in upon us, their swords or bullets may make way to our hearts, that so Gods word may come to have entrance there, the Lord rather pierce our hearts by his spirit, then that way to our hearts should be made thus.

Secondly,* when we are brought to great affliction, that is the time for Gods mercies. This should make us not to be so afraid of afflictions, how afraid are we? how do we hang back when we see afflictions coming? why art thou so loth, O thou Christian, to come to affliction! the time of afflicti∣on is the time for God to speake to the heart of a sinner; many sinners may say that their condition hath been like Jacobs, he never had a more sweete vision of God, then when he lay abroad in the fields, with no other pillow under his head then a stone, it may be God will take away all your outward comforts, and when they are all gone, then may be Gods time to speake comfortably to your heart.

Thirdly, the words of mercy, O how sweet are they, when they come to the heart after an affliction!*Psam 141. 6. Thy Judges shall be over∣thrown in strong places, they shall he are my words, for they are sweet.

If the words be taken, for bringing into the wildernesse, that is, for Gods wonderfull workings for the good of his people, then the note is,

When God works great and wonderfull things amongst a people,* then God speaks to the heart of that people: then surely God hath spoken to our hearts, for he hath done great and wonderfull things amongst us; he did not more wonderfull things amongst his people in the wildernesse, then he hath done omongst us here in England. But from that meaning, of bringing in∣to the wildernesse, as the custome of marriage, of solemnizing of nuptials, then the note is this,

When God is reconciled once to a people,* they may expect full manife∣stations of his love unto them, one manifestation after another, as alluring, and carrying abroad into fields, and nuptiall songs, all kind of manifestati∣ons of Gods love: A people, a soule that was never 〈◊〉 sinfull before, and is new reconciled, may expect it.

Page  359 Let all back-fliders then, whom God is about to draw again to himself, listen and hear what God saith unto their hearts; if they come in and repent let them know that God is willing to manifest all expressions of love and goodnesse to them.

Againe, there is yet one note more from this expression of bringing into the wildernesse, and speaking to the heart; yet because it is the most im∣probable, I will onely but mention it to you, there may be yet some good use made of it, and therefore I will set it before you; I finde divers going that way, it is this (say they) by bringing into the wildernesse, God meanes that he would take them off from their engagements in their own Country, carrying them to a strange place, and so take them off from their houses. lands, shops, estates, friends, acquaintance, from the pomp, the glory, and all the clutter of the world, that they enjoyed, and were snared by in their owne Countrey, and so he will carry them aside into desolate places, and there he will instruct them, when he hath got them as it were alone; That hath been Gods way in making himself known unto his people, whom hee hath had a love unto, to draw them aside from the clutter of the world, from their engagements, and there to speak to their hearts. We have a fa∣mous place for that, Mar. 8. 23. the poor blind man, whose eyes Christ in∣tended to open, the Text saith, Christ took e him by the hand, and carryed him out of the City, and there fell a working upon him, and opened his eyes; he carryed him from the clutter of people, from his friends and acquain∣tance, and there opens his eyes. While we are in the midst of engagements here in our owne land, while we have our estates, and all well about us, wee are scarce fit to hearken what God hath to say to us: Many of Gods people have found it by experience, that whereas there were many truths of God, that they had some incklings 〈◊〉 while they were here, and read books about them, and heard much of them, yet they could not be convinced of them, and their consciences tell them, while they were here they did not go against the light of their consciences, but how ever it came to passe, convinced they were not; but when God took them aside from their engagements, and from the pomp and glory of their land, and carryed them into the wildernesse, or into some remote places, where the glory of their own Countrey did not so glister before their eyes, they then could see into truths, that they never saw before; those things that could not get into their hearts before, now when God drew them aside got in; and it is not now their conceit, but they knovv certainly,* that they do understand much of Gods minde, that they did not understand before; vvhen God hath taken them aside, then God hath ope∣ned their eyes.

Vers. 15. I will give her her vineyards from thence.

Vinatores, so some translate the vvord, her vine-dressers, and indeed the Heb. vvord that is for vine-dressers, & vines, or vine yards, is the very same letters, only the puncta are different, but vve vvill read it as it is here, from thence; illinc, ibi, either from that time that they are in the vvildernesse, or Page  360 from that condition of their affliction in the wildernesse, wherein I will speak comfortably to her, thence I will give her her vineyards; God threatned to destroy her vineyards, now God saith, he will give vineyards.

Observe, God can as easily restore, as he can destroy: It is an easly thing for men to make havock, to do mischief, but it is not so easy a thing for them to restore all again; they can easily spoile a Country, but they cannot so ea∣sily raise a Country again. Psal. 52. 1. Why beastest thou thy selfe in mis∣chiefe, O mighty man? There is no reason that a man should boast that he can do mischiefe; we have some who make their boasts in nothing but this, that they can go up and down the Country, and plunder, spoile, and make havock,* but can they make all up againe, that they undo? Plut arch tells us of one commending the power and valour of Philip, for that he had utterly destroyed Olynthus, a City of Tracia; a Lacedemonian standing by ans∣wered, but he cannot build such a City. A foole may breake a glasse, and all the wise men in the Countrey are not able to make it up againe. Men may do a great deale of hurt and mischiefe, but it is not their lives, nor the lives of a thousand such as they are, can make up againe what hurt is done by them: But it is Gods property, he can destroy vineyards, and he can re∣store them againe; I will give them their vineyards againe, when I am re∣conciled to them: Suppose there be the greatest Pacification that can be, yet all this while, who shall make up the hurt is done? if there be reconcili∣ation with God, he will make up all our hurts again.

Secondly, I will give her her vineyards. It is a note of Calvin, God saith not, I will give them their corne, that is for necessity, but I will give them their vineyards, that is for delight: the note is,

When God is reconciled to a people, hee will not onely give them sub∣stance, but abundance, even for delight, as well as for necessity.

Thirdly, When God is reconciled to a p••ple, he comes with present reall evidences of his love,* he reserveth indeed abundance of mercy after∣wards, but he is never reconciled, but he comes presently with some reall e∣vidences and demonstrations of love; God saith not onely, I will speake comfortably to them, and there is an end, and they shall expect mercy along time after; No, but I will speake comfortably to her, & I will give her her vineyards againe: I will give unto them reall manifestations of my love; so it should be with us, when we come in to God, to be reconciled to him, we should come in with reall expressions of our repentance, of our respects unto God. Here is a deceit, (I beseech you confider of it) many when they lye upon their sick beds,* will promise what they will doe for God, if God re∣store them, but they doe nothing for the present, and so they are deceiv∣ed. When you therefore finde your hearts wrought upon, broken, and melting, take heed of this deceit, doe not satisfie your selves in promising what you will doe for God, if you be in such a condition, and such a conditi∣on, but doe something presently, set upon the work presently, and so engage your hearts to God; if once you be engaged by doing something, the Page  361 worke will goe on:* It is a great matter when we can engage the heart of a man to God in any businesse, suppose a man promise to doe this or that, yet if all this while he have done nothing, he lookes not upon himselfe so re∣ally engaged, as when something is done, he therefore sooner flies off again; but if together with his promise he be brought to do, hee will not so readily flye off; God doth so with you, he together with his promise, gives some re∣al evidences of his love.

Againe,* After God speakes to the heart, and then restores vineyards, then they are blessings, then they are sweet indeed, for then God restores them as fruits of reconciliation with him; Many a poor afflicted soul know what belongs to this comfortable note: I thought my sinfulnesse forfeited all my comforts, all mercies, and God indeed tooke away this, and the o∣ther comfort from me, but it pleased God to come in graciously upon my heart, and to speake to my heart, and in some measure to breake it, and to humble it before him, so that I hope peace is made up, and notwithstanding those great offences of mine, he hath now restored mercies; he took away a childe, but he hath given another, a be••e; he hath took away one mercy, & he hath given a better; & this I can (though with holdness, yet with humility) say it is as a fruit of my reconciliation with my God; O how sweetly may such a one enjoy that mercy from God! If after the meltings of thy heart af∣ter God,* he then comes in with mercies to thee, thou mayest take them, as tokens of love to thee; now thy house is a comfortable blessing to thee, & thy yoake-fellow, & thy children about thee; O how comfortable blessings are they! yea, the meat on thy table, is sweet with a double sweetness, when thou canst looke upon all, as the fruit of Gods reconciliation with thee; As the Christians Acts 2. 46. 47. when they once believed in Christ, they did eate their bread with gladnesse & singlenesse of heart, praising God. We may enjoy all our common mercies in another manner then other men can they will be blessings doubled, yea a hundred fold encreased; I will speake to her heart, and then, I will give her her vineyards.

Perhaps God hath given thee an estate in the world, more then thy neigh∣bors, more then thy brother; But hath God spoke to thy heart? Are Gods blessings upon thee as a fruit of Gods speaking to thy heart, in away of re∣conciliation with thee? otherwise it is but a flat dry comfort, to have an e∣state, and not to feele God speaking to our hearts.

I will restore unto you your vineyards from thence: From whence? From the wildernesse. There the Note is,

God can bring vineyards out of wildernesses.* Let us not be afraid, onely let us make up our peace with God, and then though we be in a wilderness, God can from thence bring us vineyards. Our brethren have found vine∣yards in the wilderness, and many of Gods people in the midst of their straits have found abundance of mercy.

Further,* From the wildernesse; they shall have more love, mercy wor∣king more strongly for them now it seems, then they had before; They Page  362 had vineyards before,* but they had none in the wildernesse. Now God will dravv mercies out of those things that were unlikely, he will bring forth good unto them, out of things that seemed to goe quite contrary to them: the Lord hath done so for us, out of those things that seemed to goe quite con∣trary to us, God hath brought much good to us, as if hee had made vine∣yards to spring out of a wildernesse. But the close of all is.

Those mercies that come to us out of great difficulties,* and seeme to be rai∣sed out of contraries, are the sweet mercies indeed, those we are to rejoyce in; and therefore it followes, and they shall sing. Deut. 32. 13. God made them to suck honey out of the rock, and oyle out of the flinty rock; When did God doe so? where did you ever reade, that God did cause his people to suck honey out of the rock, or oyle out of the flinty rock; wee reade indeed, that the rock was smote,*and the water did gusb out of it, but when did we reade that ever oyle or honey came out of the rock? there was never any such thing that we reade of; but the meaning thereof is, because they be∣ing in necessity, God brought forth water, yet being brought out of the rock by such a mighty hand of God, it was oyle, it was honey to them, it was as good as if God had given them oyle and honey; Why? because it came out of so much difficulty: So all the mercies that God gives to his people, when he brings them out of difficulties and straits, they are sweet and glorious mercies. Let us be patient a while, though we seeme to be in the wilderness, and we see nothing to fetch out water from, but onely rocks, stones, and dif∣ficulties, yet God at length will bring mercies out of those difficulties, and they will be honey mercies to us, then we shall sing and praise the name of our God with joyfull hearts.

The Thirteenth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 15.

And the valley of Achor for a doore of hope, &c.

THe words are an excellent expression of mercy to Israel; For the opening of which these three things are to be enquired into.

  • 1. What this valley of Achor was.
  • 2. The reason of the name.
  • 3. Why this is said to be a doore of hope.

For the first, Achor was a very pleasant, delightfull, fruitfull rich valley, and lay neer Jericho; The first place that Israel came into, in the entrance upon, and taking possession of the land of Canaan, Esay, 65. 10. And Sha∣ron shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lye down in, for my people that have sought me. First it is joyned with Sha∣ron, Can. 2. 1. I am the rose of Sharon, that was a sweet pleasant place.

Secondly, It is said to be a place for the herds to lye downe in; a fat pa∣sture that they shall even tumble in. And thirdly, It is promised as a bles∣•••〈…〉the Lord.

Page  363 The reason of the name Achor.* That hystory we have Iosh. 7. sheweth Achan, who 1 Chron. 3. 7. is called Achar, having taken the accursed thing,* God left the Campe, and Israel fell before the men of Ai, which was the first battell that ever they fought for the possession of Canaan, upon that their hearts were exceedingly troubled, as if the whole worke had been at an end; so fraile is mans nature, so soone discouraged when it meets with op∣position, notwithstanding all the experiences of Gods mighty power going along with them, so lately bringing them over Jordan so wonderfully, and given them Jericho so miraculously,* yet now at the losse of 36. men, their hearts begin even to faile, Ioshua falls with his face upon the earth; and Jo∣sephus in his hystory of the Jewish Antiquities, sets down Ioshuahs prayer at large, these are some expressions, Beyond all expectation, having receiv∣ed an overthrow, being terrified by this accident, and suspitious of thy pro∣mises to Moses, we both abstaine from war, and after so many enterprises, we cannot hope for any successfull proceedings, by thy mercy relieve our pre∣sent sorrow,*and take from us the thought of despaire, wherein we are too farre plunged.*

Now God comes to him and askes him, Why he lay upon his face, and bad him get him up, for Israel had sinned in the accursed thing; upon search made, Achan was found out, whereupon Joshua tells him, that he had troubled the Hoast of Israel, and God would trouble him; upon which they stoned him, and from thence it was called the valley of Achor, vers. 26. that is, Va••is tribulation is, the valley of trouble.

The third thing is the principall, why this valley is called a doore of hope. Herein two things, First, how it was a doore of hope to Israel then, when they first came into Canaan. Secondly, how it is promised to be a doore of hope to repenting Israel in after-times.

For the first, It was a doore of hope to them in two respects.

First,* because it was the first place wherein they tooke the possession of Canaan, when they began to have outward means of substance, to eate of the corne of the land, all the while they were in the wilderness although God provided wonderfully for them, by sending them Manna from Heaven, yet because they had no way of substance by ordinary means, they always fea∣red lest they should want upon any strait they were brought into, their hearts began to sinke. Now in this valley God gives them outward means, & this raises hope in them, that their danger was over, and that they should do well enough.

This is our nature when ordinary means fayle, our hearts fayle, yea though in regard of Gods extraordinary workings, we have never so many gracious encouragements, and when God grants means againe, then we hope. Secondly, God made their great trouble there a means of much good unto them, for by that they were brought to purge their Campe, they learned to feare the Lord, and were prepared more then before, for so great a mercy as the further possession of that good land. The Septuagint instead Page  364 of those words a doore of hope, have these, to open their understanding for there indeed they learned the dreadfulnesse of God,* who for one mans sin was so sorely displeased; there they understood to purpose, that the God that was amongst them, was a holy God, and that he would have them to be a holy people.

But how should this valley of Achor be a doone of hope to Israel in after times?*

First,* the Jews think that Israel shall return into their own country againe, yea and the same way, they shall come again into Canaan by that valley which shall be a door of hope to them.

Secondly,* but rather by way of Analogy, as God turned this valley of trouble to much good unto them, so he would turn all the sore afflictions of Israel in after dayes to their great advantage, grievous afflictions should make way for glorious mercies.

Thirdly,* But especially thus, in this expression, God followes the Allegory of marriage; now it was the custome of the Jewes in their marriages, that the Husband gave his Spouse according to his quality, as a dowry, some peece of ground, rich as he was able, and this he gave as a pledge of his love to her, to assure her that whatsoever was his, she should have the benefit of it; so saith the Lord, although you have gone a whoring from me, and may justly expect that I should for ever reject you, yet I will marry you to my selfe, and I will fully perform all marriage rights for the expression of my love towards you to the uttermost, you shall know that you are marryed to a Husband who is rich, I will give you a rich and plentifull dovvry, and this but as a token and pledg of further love, mercy, riches, that you shall en∣joy by me, it shall be that valley of Achor, that rich, delightfull, fruitfull valley. By this he means he would bestow some speciall choise mercy up∣on them, at his first taking them into his favour again, and that should be a pledg of, and making way to much more mercy, that he intended for them a doore of hope to let in greater things, as the first fruits of all those glorious things that he had treasured up for them.*

From this valley of Achor,* as it concerned Israel before.

First, Sometimes when God gives men their hearts desires, when they think themselves happy, as if all trouble were past, then he comes in upon them with great and sore afflictions.

Secondly,* although God hath been humbling mens hearts with sore and long afflictions, yet just before he bestows great mercies, he afflicts againe, to humble and break their hearts yet more.

Thirdly,* sin will make the pleasantest place in the world, a place of trouble.

Fourthly,* the afflictions of the Saints do not only go before mercies, but are doors of hope to let in to mercies, means to further the way for mercies. God commands light to shine not only after darknesse, but out of darkness. Josephs prison, Davids persecution, Daniels den, made way for glorious mercy God had in store for them; that which once The mistocles said to his Page  365 children and friends, the Saints may much more say to theirs, I had beene undone,*if I had not been undone; had it not been for such a grieyous affli∣ction, I had never come to the enjoyment of such a mercy. Hence we must learn not only to be patient in tribulation, but joyfull.

But the especiall thing intended in this expression is this:* When God is reconciled to his people, then present mercies are doors of hope to let in fu∣ture mercies; the Saints may look upon all mercies received as in-lets to fur∣ther mercies to be received. Every mercy a door to another mercy, and all mercies here put together, are a door to eternall mercy. When Rachel had a sonne she called his name Joseph, Gen. 30. 24. saying, The Lord shall add to me another sonn. Every mercy the Saints have may well be called Ioseph, it brings assurance of mercy to be added, this is the high priviledge of the Saints: every mercy that a wicked man hath, he may look upon as his ut∣most, as his all, he may write a ne plus ultra upon it; one misery, one judg∣ment upon a wicked man makes way toanother, but not one mercy: how∣soever God in his bounty may lengthen out mercies to him, yet it is more then he can expect, he rather hath cause to wonder he hath so much, then ex∣pect more, but God ever draws out his loving kindnesse to his Saints. Psal. 36. 10. Draw out thy loving kindnesse unto them that know thee, and thy righteousnesse to the upright in heart. First, the good that others have from God is bounty, patience, but that which the Saints have is loving kindnesse. Secondly, that which others have is no ways tied to them by promise, but that which the Saints have they have by promise. it is righteousness, Ps. 23. Thou makest me lye down in green pasture, thou anointest my head with fresh oyle, my cup runneth over. Here is a great deal, but is here all? no, ver. 6. surely mercy & goodnesse shall follow me all the dayes of my life. That we read of David, 2 Sam. 5. 12. is very observable, from Gods prospering him in his present way, he draws an argment to confirm him in the assurance for the future, that his Kingdome was established to him, why? did not Saul prosper at the beginning of his raign as well as David? & yet it was no evi∣dence of his establishment; but David could see Gods mercy coming to him after another manner then Saul could, all mercies the Saints have come from the covenant in which there is a rich treasure of mercies, a blessed connexion of the mercies. The covenant between David & Ionathan was, 1 Sam. 20. 15. That loving kindnes must not be cut off from the house of Ionathan. The covenant between God and the Saints is, that loving kindnesse shall never be cut off from them, but the links of mercies shall be fastned one to another, so as they shall reach eternity.

Mercies to the Saints come from love, & amor nescit nimium, love knows no such thing as excesse. The Saints understanding this mistery in the way of Gods grace towards them hence they follow God in seeking his face then, especially when he is most in the way of mercy; whereas the men of the world who know not this, seldome seek after mercy, but in times of affli∣ction, when God is in a way of justice and wrath, this is their folly.

Page  366 Infinite reason there is; O ye Saints of the Lord, that one duty should for ever make way for another, seeing on mercy makes way for another: here lyes a great difference between doing duties from the strength of common grace, and from sanctifying grace: in the one the spirit by doing some things is wearied and thinkes now it may rest, but in the other, the very doing still encreaseth strength, and puts the heart upon doing more.

But may not security promise continuance of mercy?*

Yes,* but if so, then when affliction comes, the heart will sinke for feares of continuance in misery, as well as before it hoped for continuance of mer∣cy.

When then may we assure our selves that our mercies are doores of hope to further mercies.*

First,* When they are created mercies wrought by a more imediate hand of God, generation may be imperfect, but creation never; omne creatum est perfectum, Esay, 26. 12. Lord thou wilt ordaine peace for us, What is the argument? for thou hast wrought all our workes in us.

Secondly,* When they are spirituall mercies, Ezek. 39. 29. Neither will I hide my face any more from them, VVhat is the argument? For I have powred forth my spirit upon the house of Israel; but is not this your private opinion that this argument will hold? No, the words following are, Thus saith the Lord God.

Thirdly,* When mercies carry us to the God of mercy, and are turned duties, as if we can turne our duties into mercies, that is, account every duty a mercy, that is a good argument that we shall hold out in duty, when wee can turne mercies into duties, that is, make every mercy an engagement to duty, that is a good argument that mercy will hold out.

But are there not interruptions many times in the wayes of Gods mercy to his own people?* VVe sometimes think there is an interruption, when if we knew all we should see a blessed concatenation, but it must be granted that there may sometimes be some kinde of enterruption in such a parti∣cular. After Israels returne from captivity and beginning to build the tem∣ple, there were such enterruptions as it was seventy years before it was fini∣shed: but though there may be enterruptions for a time, yet not a quite breaking off, there is yet a strength in the grace of the covenant that carries the work on and perfects it at last; by ceasing in one way of mercy, God prepares for another; the very ceasing in such a way may be a mercy; we our selves at this day are a sad spectacle of the interruption of the wayes of Gods mercies towards a nation.

Mercy that ere while shined in her beauty upon us, hath now seemed in a great measure to have withdrawn the beames of her glory; our doore of hope that we thought to be so wide open, seems almost shut against us. I dare not say that it is shut, lest I should wrong the present grace of God yet continuing to us. But

First, Sinne, yea our many and fearfull sins, lyes at this our door, Gen. 4. 7.

Page  367 Secondly, And now a crowd of difficulties seeme even to stop up the door, they come thronging still to it, as if they would certainly stop it up a∣gainst us.*

Thirdly, As the Prophet Ezek. 11. 1. 2. saw at the door of the gate five and twenty men, amongst whom there were some chiefe ones, who devised mischiefe and gave wicked councell in the city, so may we at this day, see many even of the chiefe ones, devising mischiefe, and giving wicked coun∣sel, by which they labour to shut, yea to lock, and bolt up this our doore of hope.

Fourthly,* VVe hoped that this our door of hope would have been like the doors that entred into the oracle, of which we read 1 Kings 6. 31. made of the olive tree, yea the side-posts and lintels were of olive tree, & carvings of palm trees & cherubims, all overlaid with gold, but now our door seems to be of Iron, the way to our help and mercy must be through the Iron gate, we must get to it by suftering hard things.

5.* Our door that was wide, whereat mercy began to come flowing in a∣pace freely, now it seemes to be straitened, it is now the strait gate, we must be content to strip our selves of a great part of our estates, of many of our outward comforts, yea we must venture them all, and well if possibly at length we may crowd in.

6.* Yea, our door-posts are like the Israelites in Egypt, besprinkled with blood, the keeping up of our meanes of mercy hath cost much blood, and may cost more.

7.* Now when we knock, when we would step in the dogs bark at us, and are ready to flye upon us, yea it may be the servants, yea some of our bre∣thren are discontented at us, frowne upon us, speake against us.

8.* Alas we have rejected the right key that should have opened this our door,* no marvaile then though we stand blundring at it, and it opens not un∣to us.* VVhat is that right key that would have opened it before this time, had we made use of it? That key of David that we reade of, Apoc. 3. 7. That openeth and no man shutteth. This key the Church of Philadelphia had, therefore it followes, ver. 8. I have set before thee an open doore, that no man can shut.* But what is this key of David? It is the ruling power of Jesus Christ in his Church; David in his government was a speciall type of Christ, the first godly King over his people that ever was: Government is emblematically set forth by a key, Esay, 22. 22, God promised Eliakim to commit the government to him by that expression, The key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder, Esay, 9. 6, 7. The government is said to be upon Christs shoulder, and he sits upon the throne of David; that is observable that to Eliakim there was promised, but the key of the house of David; but to Christ the key of David himselfe; the one was to governe but as a steward, the government of the other was to be Princely. If we had been the Church of Philadelphia, united in brotherly love, and had had this key of David amongst us, we might before this time had had a door set o∣pen Page  368 amongst us, that no man could have shut against us; but woe unto us, how many amongst us say of Christ, We will not have this man to rule o∣ver us? Mr. Brightman more then thirty years since paralelld this Church of Philadelphia with the Church of Scotland, he made it in a typical way to set forth the wayes of God towards that Church in after times; and indeed they have been very like one another divers wayes, and God ways towards the one hath been the same with his ways towards the other in many things.

1. They are both Philadelphians, united so in a brotherly covenant, as no Churches in any kingdome more. 2. It was said of Philadelphia, it had but a little strength, and yet it kept Gods word. VVhat Churches in any Nation have beene more contemptible, then those in Scotland? They have beene accounted a poore beggerly people, despised of all, and yet God hath enabled them to doe great things. 3. God hath caused their enemies to come and bow before them, and to know that he hath loved them, even those who said they were lews and were not, that they were the onely Church, when in∣deed they were the Synagogue of Satan; & they have rejected false govern∣ment, and have received much of the government of Christ, the key of Da∣vid is more received among them then in any kingdome in the world; no marvaile then though their doore be so opened that none could shut it, tho∣row Gods mercy; our Houses of Parliament have cast away the false key, (The Lord deliver them and us) for ever medling with it any more whatsoe∣ver come of us. They have further professed their desires to enquire after the true key. This door of hope we hope will open to us in due time, so as none shall shut it. 9. We have lost many opportunities for the opening this door, never had a people fairer opportunities for mercy then we have had, we can∣not looke back upon them without trembling hearts, we may see cause to lament the losse of them with teares of blood, even this hath cost much, and is yet like to cost more blood.

10. Yea woe unto us, out father comes forth and seemes to be angry with us, and bids shut the doore against us, yea hee shuts us out himselfe; is not that complaint of the Churches, Psal. 80, 4. truly ours, O Lord of Hoasts how long wilt thou be angry with the prayer of thy people? If God be angry with out knocking, what shall we doe?

11. And well may God bid shut the doore against us, for we have shut it upon our selves: This our doore of hope hath a spring lock, it is easily shut too, but it cannot so easily be opened againe: we have stood wrangling and strugling one with another, and have clapt to the doore upon our selves before we were aware. That Scripture Hos. 7. 1, is as truly ours, as ever it was Israels, When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephra∣im was discovered, and the wickednesse of Samariah. VVhen the Lord would have healed England, then the iniquity thereof hath been discovered more then ever. There is the vilest spirit of malignity, against godlinesse, against the Saints, against the way of Christ in his Ordinances, that ever was upon the face of the earth. Now men care not though they ruin them∣selves, Page  369 though they bring themselves and posterity to be bondslaves, so they may but have their wills upon those that are godly to suppresse them. The controversie now is almost grown to that height, that the kingdome divides it selfe into those who have some shew of Religion, and the haters of it. Those times complained of in Micah are even ours, Chap. 7. 5. Trust ye not in a friend, put no confidence in a guide, keepe the doores of thy mouth from her that lyeth in thy bosome; Yea, it is almost come to that in the fourth verse, The best of them is a bryar, the most upright is sharper then a thorny hedg. There is much frowardnesse, much perversnesse even in the best, many con∣tentions and grievous breaches even amongst them; they cannot endure you should be jealous of them, and they give cause of jealousie daily. This generation for a great part of it, shew themselves to have such sullied, such puttid spirits, so defiled with superstitious vanities, so imbittered with a spi∣rit of malignity, that we may feare God hath no pleasure in the generality of it: yea Moses and Aaron have sinned, the best have so sullied themselves with Antichristian pollutions, that just it were with God that this whole ge∣neration should be first taken away, and that the young generation that is comming on, who have not so defiled themselves, should have this doore that lets into Canaan opened to them, that they onely should goe into, and possesse that good land, but our carcasses should fall in the wildernesse.

You who are godly young ones, whose hearts began betimes to yerne af∣ter Jesus Christ, know the heart of Jesus Christ yernes after you: and al∣though some of you may fall in fighting for your brethren, & so be received to heaven, yet you are of that generation God will open this door of mercy unto, you shal go in & possesse Canaan, all this valley of Achor is but a door of hope to you; continue you on in your sincerity, God will reveale him∣selfe more fully to you then he hath done to us, if we be cut off before those treasures of mercy that God has ready for his people be opened, we must accept of the punishment of our iniquity, and even beare this indignation of the Lord because wee have sinned against him. 12. Yea the Lord hath strucke us with blindnesse at the doore, we grope up and down and we can∣not finde it, as Gen, 19. 11. Never were a people at a greater losse, in a grea∣ter confusion then now we are; every man runs his owne way, wee know not what to doe, nay the truth is, we know not what we doe.

13. Yea many because they have found some difficulties at the right door, they have gone away from it, and have sought back doors to help themselves by, even base, false, shifting, treacherous ways, seeking to comply for their own private ends, as if their skins must needs be saved, whatsoever becomes of the publique.

14. This is yet a further misery, that we are groping up and downe at the doore, and night is come upon us, stormes, tempests are rising, dangers are approaching, and yet God opens not to us.

15. Above all our misery this is yet the greatest, that even our hearts are shut up too, there lyes a stone rowled at the doore of our hearts, and such Page  360 a stone, as is beyond the power of an Angel to rowle away, were it that af∣ter all our hearts were but open, our condition yet had comfort in it.

Oh now what shall we do

1. Let us resolve to waite at this doore, ••aite upon God in those wayes of helpe that yet in mercy he affords unto us; Certainly we are at the right doore, let us say with Shecaniah, Ezra. 10. 2. We have sinned against the Lord, yet there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.

Let us resolve whatsoever becomes of us not to goe from our fathers door, if we perish, we will perish at his gates.

2. Let us worship the Lord at this our doore, though we be not entred in; yet let our hearts bow before the Lord in the acknowledgement of his great∣nesse, power, dominion that he hath over us; to doe with us what he plea∣seth: as Ezek. 46. 2. it is said, The Prince shall worship at the threshold of the gate, and the people of the land shall woship at the doore,

3. Let us look in at the key-hole, or at any crevise that wee can, to see something of the riches of mercy that this door opens into. Within on the other side o the door we may see what liberty of conscience, what enjoy∣ment of Ordinances, the blessing of Gods worship in his own way, we may see the wayes of God and his Saints would be made honorable in this king∣dome, yea in a higher degree then any where upon the face of the earth; yea we may see many sweet outward liberties, the free enjoyment of our e∣states, peace, plenty, prosperity in abundance, all these, and more then we can think of, if this door were but once opened to us; howsoever it is good 〈◊〉 looke in, to quicken our hearts, and set on our desires and endeavours the more strongly in the meane time. Oh how happy were we if we had these mercies!

4. Let us yet knock lowder, and cry lowder at our Fathers doore.

But did not you tell us our Father seemed to be angry at our knocking?

Mark what we have in that very Scripture, where the Church complains that God is angry with her prayer, Psal. 80. 4. How long wilt thou be an∣gry against the prayer of thy people? Yet ver. 7. Turne us againe, O God of Hosts, and cause thy face to shine▪ And ver. 14, Returne we beseech thee, O God of Hsts, look down from heaven, behold & visit this vine: ver. 19. Turne us againe O Lord God of Hosts, cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.

5. Let every one take away his sinnes that lye at this door, let every one sweep his owne door, Zech. 8. 15. 16. Again have I thought in these •••yes to doe well unto Jerusalem, and to the house of Iudah, feare not. But yet mark what followes, These are the things that ye shall doe, Speake ye every man the truth to his neighbour: execute the judgement of truth and peace in your gates. Let none of you imagine evill in his heart against his neigh∣bor. Both private men, and men in publick place must reforme, How far are we from this? Never more plottings, more heart-burnings one against another, & those in publike place neglect the execution of judgement; they Page  371 would have their policies beyond Gods wisdome. God puts these two to∣gether, and commends one as a meanes to the other, the execution of judge∣ment and peace; but they have a further reach they will not exe cur•••dge∣ment for feare of a breach of peace. It is just with God that we should never have peace, till we can trust God for it in his own way.

6. Let us seek to God againe, and call to him for the right key. Lord re∣veale the way of thy worship, and thy government to us, and we will yeeld our selves unto it.

7. Stir we up our selves against all difficulties. Things are not yet so bad, but we may help our selves, if we have hearts. Our Father heares us, he can command many Angels to come to help to rowle away the stone; yea he hath opened divers doores to us already. We are indeed come to the ron gate, the Lord can make that at length flye open of its own accord, as Acts 20. 10. The Church was praying, and after the pr••on dooes were opened to Peter, and he had passed the first and second gate, he came unto the iron gate that led into the City, and there he found as easie passage as any where else. In the mount will the Lord be scene.

8. Let us exercise Faith in the blood of Christ, let us as it were besprinkle this our door with the blood of the Lambe; yea looke we up to Christ as the true doore to let into all mercy; let Faith act as well as Prayer.

9. Let us now especially watch all opportunities of mercy, and take heed we neglect no more as we have done many very foulely, lest hereafter wee knock, and cry, Lord open to us, and it proves too late.

10. Let us open to God who knocks at our doores; it wee would have him open to us,* God knocks at the doore of every one of our hearts, open we to him fully, set all wide open for him, Openye gates, stand open ye ever∣lasting doores, let the King of glory come in. These who doe thus are the true generation of those that seek the Lord; let England open, for God yet stands at the doore and knockes, and if we will yet open to him, he will yet come in and suppe withus, and we shall suppe with him. It is true God re∣bukes and chastens severely, so he did Laodicea at that time when he stood at her doore and knocked, Apoc. 3. 19. 20. if any Church be or ever was like to that of Laodicea, we have been; luke-warm as that was; a mix∣ture of Gods worship hath beene amongst us, more then in any reformed Church; we have beene a proud people, we have thought our selves rich, & wanting nothing, whereas we knew not that we were indeed wretched, mi∣serable, poore, blinde, and naked: and those who would be Angels of this Church, how hath God spud them out of his mouth! they are cast out as filthy, they have laine upon the stomack of God and his Saints a long time; they with all that belonged to their Courts, have made themselves a most oathsome generation of men; and now God is at our doore & knocks, cals to us to let him in, that he may come and rule us, that he may bring peace & salvation unto us; But howsoever whether Christ be admitted by the State yea or no, yet let the Saints who are willing that Christ should rule over Page  372 them, hold on to the end, the promise is even to those in Laodicea, to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my Throne even as I also o∣vercame, and am set down with my Father in his Throne.

11. et us encourage what we are able; all our faithfull doore-keepers, those who are the publicke instruments of God for our good, upon whom so much of the great affayres of the kingdom, under God depends.

And for the quickning of our hearts that we may doe all we can, that this our doore of hope be not shut against us, Consider further,

First, This doore was opened to us when we began to think, yea almost to conclude that all doores of hope had beene shut against England, when we were ready to give up all for lost.

Secondly, It was opened to us after much knocking by prayer. If ever there were a Parliament of prayer since the world began, this was, and is, How dreadfull then would it be to have this doore shut against us!

Thirdly, It was opened by a mighty hand of God. Josephus tells us of a doore of the Temple that used to have thirty men to open it, and yet as a prognostication of some great thing to fallout, it opened of its own accord: This our door was more hard to be opened, thousands of men could not have opened this, it was the mighty work of God to doe it.

Fourthly, It is a door that opens to the greatest mercies that ever England had: how happy would England be in the happy success of this Parlia∣ment!

5. It is a door that our adversaries have laboured all they can to shut by policy, and by force, and thorow Gods mercy, yet they cannot.

6. How sweet have the manifestations of God been to us, in the begin∣nings of his goodnesse, and our endeavours! Can. 5 4. 5. My beloved put his hand at the door, & my bowels were moved, my hands dropped myrrhe, and my fingers sweet smelling myrrhe upon the handles of the locke, the be∣ginning of reformation: but the hand upon the door is sweet, what would the work compleated be?

7. If this doore should be wholly shut against us, what a miserable peo∣ple should we be? if these men have their wills, then never expect Parli∣aments more, or never good from Parliaments, They will be the most contemptible and servile things that can be, if any, they will be doores to let in all misery, to frame mischiefe by a law; then what are we and our poste∣rity but slaves? the Popish party must, yea will be gratified, their designe will be effected; what contempt of the Saints, of Religion? what hatred? what persecution will then follow? what horrid blasphemies? how will they be hardned in all manner of wickednesse? our estates, our liberties, our Religion are then gone, yea it is like our lives, and if not so, so miserable would our lives be, as we had better have the grave open her mouth upon us, and we be shut in it, then to live to see, hear and feele such things as we and our friends, are like to heare, see, and feele.

It would be the most horrid judgment that ever was against a nation, it Page  373 may be told to all the nations of the world, God gave England a fair oppor∣tunity to help it self, to be a most happy nation, but they had no hearts, they were blinded, their hearts were taken from them, those worthies they chose, who ventured themselves for them, they basely deserted, and betrayed, they have also vilely betrayed themselves, their liberties, their Religion, their po∣sterity, and now are become the most miserable nation, the most fearful spe∣ctacle of Gods wrath upon the face of the earth. Wherefore beloved in the Lord, let us make sure of Christ, who is our hope, and who says of him∣selfe that he is the door, as indeed hee is to let in all mercies of God into us, that whatever disappointment we have of our hopes here, yet we may not be disappointed of our last hopes, though it should prove that here looking for light, behold darknes, yet we looking for the light of Gods face eternally, we may not be driven out to everlasting darknes. But shall I end thus? nay the close of all shal rather be the close of the 31 Psal. Be of good courage and he shal strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord hope yet that God will make the valley of Achor adoor of hope unto us. The next words in this Scripture are words of joy, She shall sing as in the dayes of her youth. Was there ever a time wherein shee had cause to sing praise to God? there are times coming that shall be as joyfull as ever yet times have been, God hath mercy for his people, he hath singing times for them.

The Foureteenth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 15.

—And she shall sing there as in the dayes of her youth, & as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

YOu have heard formerly of the valley of Achor, that God gave to his people to be a doore of hope. This day you shall heare of Gods people standing singing at this door of hope. Though it be but a door of hope, yet at that day they shall there sing, as in the days of her youth, when they came up out of the land of Egypt.

There are six things needfull to be opened for the meaning of Gods mind here in this their singing at the door of hope.

First, the reading of the words are to be cleared. 2. The scope is to be shewed. 3. What the dayes of youth that are here spoken of are, is to be opened. 4. What was the song that they did then sing in the dayes of their youth, is to be declared. 5. What cause they had to sing in this the day of their youth, is to be enquired after.

Lastly, how this is applyable to repenting Israel, and what time this pro∣phesie ameth at, likewise is to be manifested.

Page  374 For the first,* the reading of the words, you have it in your bookes [they shall sing as in the dayes of their youth] There are only two words that have need of opening.

First, the word translated [singing.]

Secondly, that which is translated comming up out of the land of Aegypt.

For the word [singing] the Septuagint have it thus, She shall be ••mb∣led; A strange translation you will say;* how much different is it from this in our books, She shall sing! I find divers translate the word so [she shall be humbled) Cyril, Theodoret, and he caryeth it thus, that she shall be hum∣bled by the Assyrians, as she was before humbled by the Egypians. But certainly the words cannot be carryed so, for it is spoken of ascending, of co∣ming up out of the land of Egypt.* But they might easily mistake in transla∣ting the words, because the Hebrew word signifieth both humiliavit, and it signifieth likewise ceinit and contavit, both to be humble, and to sing. The Hebrews divers times by the same word set forth contrary things; As 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifieth both to blesse and to curse, many there might be named in the same kind.

This word likewise that is translated singing, signifieth, (and so it is tran∣slated by some) Respondebit, she shall answer, and I finde a very excellent note from it in Cyril, and some others: Shee shall answer as in the dayes of her youth: What answer did shee make? Thus, God in the dayes of her youth, when she came out of Egypt, did bring her to his Covenant, and gave his land to her, as Exod. 19. 5, 6. Now therefore (saith God) if you 〈◊〉 obey my voyce indeed, and keepe my Covenant, then ye shall be a pecu∣liar treasure unto me above all people; (A sweet promise to all in Cove∣nant with God, that they shall be a peculiar treasure unto him above all peo∣ple.) Now vers. 8. All the people answered to gether and said, all that the Lord hath spoken we will doe. Thus they answered him in the days of their youth, so some would carry it, they should answer as in the dayes of their youth, when they came up out of the land of Egypt, as if the meaning should be thus; whereas God in the dayes of their youth did tell them, that if they woul keepe his Covenant, they should be a peculiar treasure unto him a∣bove all people of the earth, they all with one consent answered, All that the Lord hath spoken that will we doe. So saith God, when I shall againe convert them to my selfe, I will renew my Covenant with them, and upon the declaration of my Covenant to them, they shall freely, readily, and wil∣ingly answer, Lord we accept of thy Covenant. Thus it is carryed by some, and the exposition is very sweet.

But we shall joyne both the significations of this word together, both ••∣ing, and to answer; And that I take indeed to be the meaning of the Spirit of God, they shal sing by way of answering: Thus, they were wont to sing, lternis choris, they were wont in their joyfull songs to answer one another, his praecinentibus aliis succinentibus, some singing before, and some an∣swering. So that it was not a bare singing, but a singing of a Canticum dra∣maticum,Page  375 or such a kind of song, as they did answer one another in their singing. And thus (saith God) shall be the melody of my people, when I am again reconciled to them upon their repentance, there shall be mutuall singing, one singing to another, and the others answering in a joyfull way.

The other word to be opened, is that which is translated, coming up out of the land of Egypt.* The word you have in your books [came up] it is ascend∣ed, as in the day when they ascended up out of the land of Egypt. And wee are to take notice of the manner of the expression, because it will afford to us a profitable note anon. They ascended out of the land of Egypt, partly because Egypt was a Countrey that lay very low, and in that respect they may be said to ascend. But that is not the chiefe, they were in a low conditi∣on, they were in a state of bondage, and in that regard they were said to ascend.

The second thing to be shewed is the scope, what the Spirit of God aym∣eth at, They shall sing as in the dayes of their youth, when they ascended out of the land of Egypt. Read it so, and

It is a further expression of the nuptiall solemnity that there should be be∣tween God and his people, in the time of their reconciliation (for so I have told you formerly, that God goeth along in this second part of the Chapter, in that continued Allegory, to shew his bringing of his people to him in a way of marriage, in a betrothing way, which afterward is exprest more ful∣ly; and all the way God expresseth it, is in the manner of Nuptiall solem∣nities:) As if he should say, Marriage is an ordinance I have appointed for mutuall joy and delight that the man and wife should have one in the other, so I will bring you and marry you to my self, and there shall be a great deale of joy that I will have in you, and you shall have in me; there shall be the singing of the Epithilamium, the Nuptiall long between us; there shall be a time of abundance of rejoycing between us, when I shall take you again to my selfe. Doe you think with your selves, when was the greatest time of joy that ever you had in your lives; Know I will bring you to as much joy as ever yet you had. Looke what mercy you had when you came out of the land of Egypt, and rejoyced in it, you shall hereafter have mercies as great as that. Did I then appear in a miraculous way to you? I will do so again. Had you mercies that were promised long before, and rejoyced in them? you shall have the like again. Had you mercies that you a long time pray∣ed for before? you shall have the like againe. Did Moses and Miriam goe before you in singing, and you followed after? there shall be the like time a∣gain, when both Governours and people shall joyne together in singing and praysing the name of the Lord. This is the scope.

The third thing is, what is meant by the dayes of their youth? The dayes of their youth is the same that after wards is exprest, and the day when they came up out of the land of Egypt, that is, the time when they were deliver∣ed out of bondage, after they had passed through the Red-sea, and had seen the great works of God in their deliverance, then was the day of their youth. Page  376Jer. 2. 2. I will remember the kindnesse of thy youth when thou followedst me in the wildernesse. The time that this people were delivered from Pha∣roah, and saw the great works of God in the wildernesse, is the time of their youth, in the time of their bondage; they did not outwardly appear to be the Lords; but when God manifested himself so gloriously in their deliverance, then God did as it were take them again to be his people, and they did seem as it were then to be born againe, and the time of their being in the wilder∣nesse was Gods training them up as it were in their youth. For a people that are under bondage can scarce be said to be born, they are but as the Enbryo at least in the womb in that prison. They cannot be said to be a people when they are under bondage, at least they are not a living people. Hence Chap. 13. of this Prophesie, when they were in bondage under Jeroboams wicked commands, the Text saith, vers. 1. that they died. When Ephraim spake, trembling, in Israel he exalted himselfe; but when he offended in Baal, hee dyed. A people under bondage are as a dead people; before they have their liberty, they are to be accounted as not born; and if they lose their liberty, they are to be esteemed as if they lost their lives.

But here a question ariseth. How can God have reference to this time, and tell them they shall sing as then, whereas in the beginning of the Chap∣ter we find that when God threatneth them, he telleth them he will set them as in the day wherein they were born? so that to be brought to the same con∣dition they were in, is a threatning; How then is it here a promise?

The answer to that is, it is true, the time when they came up out of E∣gypt was indeed a time of much mercy, but they were in great straits in regard of externall helps, as a succourlesse, helplesse, and shiftlesse people, when therefore God threatneth to set them as in the day wherein they were born, he only aymeth at that, that is, to bring them into a succourless, help∣lesse, and shiftlesse condition in regard of creature-helps as formerly they were. But when God promises mercy, and telleth them he will bring them into that condition they were in their youth, hee doth not consider of their succourlesse & shiftlesse condition, but rather looks at all the mercie they had in their deliverance out of Egypt. As it is a great affliction for a people to be brought into the same condition that once they were in, that is, to have all the sowr & bitter without any of the sweet, so it is a great priviledge for a people to be brought into a former condition, when they shall have all the sweet without the sowr, when God shal take away all the branne, & give them only the flowr, strain out all that is evil, & give them all that is good, that is a com∣fortable condition; but when God shall strain out what is good, and give them what is evill, that is a sad condition, and that is the threatning before, and this is the promise now.

The fourth thing for explication is, what the song was that they did then sing in the daies of their youth when they came up out of the land of Egypt.*

That song of theirs you shall find, Exod. 15. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, &c. And afterwards you shall Page  377 reade that Miriam and all the women sang likewise. In this song of theirs, there are these five things Observable.

First, this song o Moses, Exod. 15. was the most ancyent, the first song that ever was in the world that we know of. Orpheus, Musaeus and Linus, the most ancyent of the Poets were 500, yeares after this time.

Secondly, It was a triumphing song; Then sang Moses and the children of Israel, the Lord hath triumphed gloriously, &c. When they saw Gods judgements upon the adversaries, then they sang in a triumphing way. But you will say, how could they sing thus when they saw such a dreadfull spec∣tacle before their eyes? What, sing at such a lamentable object, when the Egyptians were so miserably destroyed, when they were sprawling up and down in the water, and it is like they heard their shriekings, their dolefull cryes, and saw their bodyes how they were cast upon the shore; And then shall Moses and the people of Israel sing? O cruell hearted people that should sing at such a lamentable object as this! What, to triumph over their adversaries thus fearfully perishing?*

To that we answer. We must not be more pittifull then God is, Psa. 58. 10. The righteous shall rejoyce when he seeth the vengeance, he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.

But you will say, this is austerity, they are cruell hearted people that shall doe so. Not so neither. Moses was the meekest man that ever lived up∣on the face of the earth, the lovingst man except Christ that ever was; yet Moses sang thus when he saw the Egyptians destroyed; so that to rejoyce in Gods judgements against the ungodly, may stand with meeknesse & qui∣etnesse of spirit, with a loving and sweet disposition as Moses had.

It is true, we ought not to insult over wicked men in way of revenge, in respect of our selves, but when we consider the righteous judgments of God upon his adversaries, we may be swallowed up in the consideration of Gods justice, and rejoyce in it; But so, as not altogether to be without some pit∣ty and commiseration of the persons perishing: As Titus Vespation is said to weep, when he saw the destruction of Jerusalem, though his enemies.

But there is a time comming when all the Saints shall be so swallowed up with God, so as they shall rejoyce in the destruction, yea in the eternall damnation of the wicked, without the least pitty & commiseration of them; they shall wholly mind God and his glory without pitying of them, yea though they were the fruit of their own bodies, and came out of their owne loyns. But for the present, though wee are to rejoyce and triumph in the works of God and his judgements upon the wicked, yet with some mixture of pitty and compassion towards their persons.

And mark by the way some difference between Gods affection toward his people, and toward wicked men. It is very observable, that when Gods people come to be in an afflicted condition, if there shall be any that dare to be so wicked as to rejoyce in that, God will avenge himself on them; yea if they doe but looke upon his servants that are in affliction with any Page  378 kind of contentment, the Lord will be avenged on them for it. But when the wicked are destroyed, God doth not onely give us leave to look at them, but to rejoyce and sing praises to God for their destruction.

I will give you a Text for this, Obad, verse 12. Thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother, neither shouldest thou haeve rejoyced over the children of Iudah in the day of their destruction. Mark, God hath a quarell against them that did but look upon the day of their brothers distress, and rejoyce. But when destruction commeth upon the enemies of God, then the people of God may look, and rejoyce, and triumph.

Thirdly, It is a song most excellent, in regard of the elegancy of the ex∣pressions, and variety of the matter. For verse 1. He hath triumphed glo∣riously, or thus, He is become gloriously glorious, or, in magnifying himself, he hath magnified himself. What an elegant expression is here, He is mag∣nifyed above the magnificent, so some. All Gods works are glorious, but some are gloriously glorious; and so is this work of God towards his peo∣ple.

Rivet hath a good note upon this: The greatest glory of God, where∣in he is most glorious, it is in doing good to his own people; so (saith he) great men should account it their glory not in spoising others, especially those that are their owne, but in doing good, that was the great glory of God wherein he was gloriously glorious, in delivering of his people, not in spoil∣ing them. In Esay, 14. 20. there is threatned a dishonourable buriall to the King of Babylon, upon this ground, saith the Text, Thou hast destroyed the land, and slaine thy people: Yea he threatneth his seed, The seed of evill doers shall never be renowned, because he had destroyed his land, and spoil∣ed and slaine his people, his owne people.

Againe, the elegancy of this song is in those expressions that are in the ab∣stract; He is Fortitudo mea, and Laus mea, and Salus mea: Hee is my strength, and my praise, and my salvation, all in the abstract.

So in that elegant Epiphonema, or patheticall eruption of spirit, which though it should have beene in the close as comprehending all the rest, yet he breakes forth in the midst of the song, verse 11. Who is like unto thee, O Lord? glorious in holinesse, fearfull in praises, doing wonders. In many o∣ther particulars, we might shew abundance of elegancy in this song.

Fourthly, it is not onely narrative of what was, but propheticall of what is to come. A Propheticall song, The Dukes of Edom shall be amazed, the mighty men of Moab trembling, &c. ver. 15. Fiftly, it is typicall, that is, a song that doth typifie out the rejoycing of Gods people in after time, when the Saints shall overcome Antichrist, then the song of Moses shall be sung o∣ver again: That is a very observable place, Rev. 15. 2. 3. of those that over∣come the beast, the Text saith, They sung the song of Moses, that is, they sung that song, which this of Moses was but a type of.

Sixtly, according to some, this song was a miraculous song, so Augustine hath it in his Tractate, De mirabilibus Scripturae, a miracle worthy of ad∣miration without measure.

Page  379 Wherein did he think the Miracle of this song to be?

In this,* that he imagined that both Moses and all the people, were at one instant inspired by God to sing this song: this is that which hath beene thought by some. But we are not able to make out that there was such a mi∣racle at this time, but rather God inspired Moses onely, and the other peo∣ple followed Moses as he sung this song.

I note it the rather for this, because here by we may see that singing is an Ordinance in the Church of God, not onely in the time of the Law, but in the time of the Gospel, for this place, She shall sing as in the dayes of her youth, is spoken of the time of the Gospel, Therefore not onely when one man hath an extraordinary gift, (as the Scripture speakes, if any one hath a Psalme, an extraordinary gift in the Congregation of making a Psalme) that he should sing, but it is an Ordinance to joyne with others who have the gift of making a Psalme; so were the people to doe here.

The fifth thing to be enquired after is, the reason of their singing, what cause they had thus to sing in the dayes of their youth. The reason was be∣cause of their great deliverance they had from Egypt, and therein indeed are many things considerable, that will afford unto us many excellent observa∣tions. First, then they sang because of their freedome from outward bon∣dage. Bondage hath three things in it.

1. When any one is under the power of another, under any Law without his consent given, either explicite or implicite.

2. When he serveth another without any respect to his own good; on∣ly ayming at the satisfying of the will of him whom he doth serve.

3. VVhen he is forced to doe what he doth with rigour.

Here you may see the difference between a free subject,* and a slave; no [ 1] free subject is bound to any laws of men, as mens laws, but such as some way or other he giveth his own consent unto; thus it is with us in England, that is the difference betweene us and the Turks, who are slaves, they are bound meerly to the will of those above them; but in England, every free∣holder, some way or other gives consent to whatsoever law he is bound un∣to, therefore there is none can challenge any further power over him by any Law, but what he hath either explicitely or implicitely given his owne con∣sent [ 2] unto. Secondly, he is a slave that is forced to obey, without any re∣spect of good to himselfe, but onely to satisfie the will of him whom he doth obey. There is no such distance betweene one man and another, that one should serve another, without respect to his own good. Indeed there is such a distance betweene God and us, that the more we are swallowed up in aim∣ing at God, and the lesse we ayme at our selves, it is the better service; but there is not such a distance between men and men, we are not bound to serve men, but in some ayme and respect to our own good, so far as it concernes men, Therefore in England when any thing is granted to the King, it is usu∣laly so, as to send up some other Bill, that may be for the good of the subject, as giving him somewhat, but withall expect some good and benefit from him to them.

Page  380 Indeed in our service to men, we are to ayme at God, and in the conditi∣on God hath put us, to seek to glorifie him, more then to provide for our selves; but so far as our service hath regard to man only, and looks no fur∣ther then him, we are not bound to serve him, further then with respect to our selves and the good of others. Wherefore subjects may know that they are not made meerly for the will of those that are above them, they indeed serve them, but they serve them for the good they expect from them.

[ 3] The third is to serve out of love, and not to have only rigorous Lawes to force them to such service.

Now the people of Israel were under bondage in all these three respects. First, they were forced to serve without any consent at all. Secondly, they that did governe them, did not at all ayme at their good; It is no matter for them, let them perish as dogs, we will have our worke done, and well done too. VVhen men shall governe so as they care not what become of thou∣sands of others, so they have their wills satisfied, this is to make free subjects bondslaves. And thirdly, all was done out of rigour, they forced from the people what they did, as for their love they cared not for that. Wherefore when they were freed from these three things, they sung, and they had cause so to doe.

[ 4] Secondly they sung when they came out of the land of Egypt, because they were not only in bondage in Egypt, but in bondage under such a King as they were. For, consider who it was they were in bondage unto, and then to be delivered from such a one, you will see a great deale of cause of singing.

[ 1] First, They were bondslaves to a King of another Nation. Sometimes Country and kindred sake moves compassion, but being they are another people, to whom I have no relation, but only to serve my own turn of them, it is no matter what becomes of them; let become of them what will, I will have my will satisfied.

[ 2] Secondly, They were bondslaves to a King that ruled by an arbitrary government, there was but only his will for the Law, he would impose what work and taskes he pleased, how many bricks they should make, and when he pleased take away their straw, and yet tye them to the making of so ma∣ny. He governed them not by Law, but by Will.

[ 3] Thirdly, They were in bondage under a cruell King, for the King of E∣gypt in the Scripture is called a Dragon, for his cruelty, Ezek. 23. 3. I am against thee Pharaoh, King of Egypt, the great Dragon.

Fourthly, They were in bondage to a King that was an unnaturall King; [ 4] unnaturall in this, that whereas the predecessors of the Israelites had saved Egypt from perishing, saved the King and his family from destruction; yet now, without any regard to what was done in former times by their prede∣cessors, having this power over them, he oppresses them in such an unnatu∣rall way, so as not to care what becomes of them. Fiftly, they were in bon∣dage under a King that extreamly hated them, & that is a sad thing. The text [ 5] saith, Gen, 43. 32. The Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is abomination to to the Egyptians.

Page  381 Sixtly, They were in bondage under a wilfull King, under one who was ex∣treamly set upon his will; we scarce read of any one that ever was so set upon his will as this King was, therefore they expresse this in their song which they sung when they came out of Egypt. Exod. 15. 9. blessing God that they were delivered from such a wilfull Prince as he was. In the 9. ver. four times he saith [I will] I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoile, I will draw my sword, and the 5. time, my lust shall be satisfied upon them, but of this before, to be slaves to such a one, so wilfull, was a very hard condition, the like wilfulnesse hath beene already noted of the King of Babylon, and none the like to these two; the Text speakes from their deliverance in part from under the King of Babylon also, as if he should say, you did sing when you came up out of Egypt merrily, and joyfully, because you were delivered from such a cruell wilfull King, you shall sing so again, for you shall be deli∣vered again from as cruell and wilfull a King as he was; for though not all the ten Tribes came back, yet it was in part fulfilled by many of them. [ 7]

Lastly, They were in bondage under a suspicious and jealous King, lest they should grow to a head, and so rise against him, one that thought he could not confide in them. It is a sad thing when there are such suspitions between King and people, or people and King, that they cannot tell how to confide and trust one in another.

VVell might they sing therefore in the dayes of their youth, when they came up out of the land of Egypt.

Thirdly, They sang when they came up out of the land of Egypt, because [ 3] they were freed from what hindered them in the exercise of Religion. Hence Moses told Pharaoh, that they must goe three dayes journey in the wilder∣nesse to sacrifice unto the Lord their God; they could not sacrifie in Egypt, therefore when they got freedome to sacrifice to God, this being a great mercy they sang praises. Fourthly, They sang, because their deliverance [ 4] out of Egypt was wrought with a mighty hand. The Lord hath triumphed gloriously, hath been gloriously glorious; so the words are. And ver. 6. & 7. marke what the Text saith, Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power. The hand of God is God, strength, but the hand of God in power is a greater expression. Thirdly, Gods right hand in power. Fourthly, the right hand of God is glorious in power, this is a mighty expression, surely great was the work of God in their deliverance. Yea and further, ver. 16. it is said, by the greatnesse of his arme, not onely Gods hand, but his arme, and the greatres of his arme was in this work. And ver. 7. In the greatnesse of thine excellency, Mulititudine celsitudinis excellentiae, superbiae elationis, in the greatness of thine excellency, in the multitude of thy height, of thy elation of the lifting up of thy self in a kind of pride, (for the word that is translated ex∣cellency there signifies pride too.) Now God did this in the multitude of his excellency, that is, he did such a work toward his people, as had a multitude of glorious works in it, which if you could analyse, anatomize, you should find a multitude of glorious excellencies in it. Well might they sing, when God did manifest himself thus.

Page  382 All these will afford us excellent and sweet observations by and by.

[ 5] Further, they sang when they came up out of the land of Egypt, because this mercy was the fulfilling of a promise made long before. Therefore the Scripture telleth us, That at the end of 430. years, even the selfe same day, the hoasts of the Lord went out of the land of Egypt; which hath reference to a promise, and sheweth us that God kept his word to a very day. Hence in vers. 2. of that 15. of Exod. He is my God, I will prepare him an habita∣tion, my fathers God, and I will exalt him; As if hee should have said, O Lord thou didst make promises to our forefathers, now thou hast fulfilled those promises, thou art our God, and our Fathers God. This made them sing so merrily.

[ 6] 6. It was a mercy that was got by much prayer, for Exo. 3. 7. it is said, they cryed unto God by reason of their afflictions, there were many cries sent up to God before their deliverance, and now being delivered, this made them sing.

[ 7] 7. It was a mercy that came after a sore and long bondage.

[ 8] Lastly, It was a mercy that they had in order to that great mercy of lead∣ing them into Canaan, therefore this they mention as the especiall cause of the joy of their hearts in the 13. vers. Thou hast guided thy people in thy strength to thy holy habitation, and ver. 17. thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountaine of thine inheritance. The holy Ghost speaks here as if the thing were done already, as if he should say thus, O Lord thou hast indeed granted unto us a great mercy in delivering us out of Egypt, but herein we prize thy mercie that it is in order to the bringing us to thy habita∣tion, and it will bring us at length to the mountain of thy holinesse; it is not so much that were are delivered from bondage, as that wee expect to bee brought to thy holy habitation.

Now saith the Lord, you shall sing as you did then, look what causes you had then to sing, you shall have the same causes to sing again, when I am re∣conciled to you.

The last thing for the explication is, when this was fulfilled, or to what time this is to be referred.

There are four times that this prophesie aims at, and refers unto.

[ 1] First, It began in some degree to be fulfilled at their returne out of their captivity from Babylon, though it is true few of the ten tribes returned, yet it is clear in Scripture that many of them did then return, and had the begin∣ning of this mercy, and there was joy and singing. Isa. 12. the whole chap. is a song blessing God for their return from the captivity, Jehovah is my strength, and my song, he also is become my salvation, &c.

[ 2] 2. This prophecie aims at spiritual Israel; so in Rom. 9. it is applied to the calling of Jew & Gentile together; when the Gospel was first preach∣ed, Jewes and Gentiles being called home, became the spiritual Israel of God, then there was singing, Rom. 15. 20. Again he saith, rejoyce ye Gen∣tiles with his people.

Page  383 The third time that it refers unto, is the delivery of Gods people from un∣der the tiranny of Antichrist, typified by the tiranay of the Egyptians: for that, the former place is very full, Rev. 15. 2. there you shall observe, Those that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his marke, and over the number of his name, stood upon a sea of glass mingled with fire, having the harps of God in their hands, and they sang the song of Moses, & the song of the Lamb, saying, Great & marvellous are thy works Lord God almighty, just and true are thy ways thou King of Saints, &c. In this song, which I make no question but this Scripture hath reference unto, there are divers things observable. To take them up briefly by the way.

1. That they that sung were those that had gotten victory over the beast, over his image, and over his mark; that is a full victory, not only abomina∣ting Antichrist himself, but any image, any character of him, any thing whereby they might seem to allow of him, to be owned by him.

2. They stood upon a sea of glasse mingled with fire. The sea of glasse, I [ 2] find interpreted, Christian doctrine, so called, for the clearness of it, though not so clear as afterward it should be, for there is some darknes even in glass, but clear in comparison of what it was before; for 2 K. 25. 13. The sea was of brasse, which is far thicker and darker. But there was fire mingled with this sea of glass, that is, though they had a clearer doctrine then before, yet there were many contentions in the Church through many different opini∣ons, and much division there was even amongst the godly. It was a sadde condition indeed, yet it is ordinary, especially when Doctrines come to be first cleared, to have great contentions grow in the Church among godly men. It is no wonder though good men should be of different opinions, yea and have some heat of spirit one against another, when the light first breaks forth. When men are in the dark they sit together, and walk not at such a di∣stance; but when light comes, it cannot be expected but there will be diffe∣rences. But yet mark, the godly then, they did not reject the doctrine, be∣cause there was fire mingled with it, because there was heate of contention, but the Text saith, they were there with their harps in their hands, they were professing this doctrine and rejoycing that ever they lived to that time, to have the Gospel so clearly revealed unto them.

And they sang the song of Moses, and not only of Moses, but the song of the Lamb too. What was that? First, great and marvellous are thy works, in that we see we are delivered from Antichristian bondage, as the people of Israel were delivered from Egyptian bondage with a mighty hand of thine; Oh it is a marvellous worke of God that wee are thus at liberty. Therefore know this, that whensoever the Church shall be delivered from Antichristi∣an bondage, it shall be a marvellous work of God, therefore we may not be discouraged, because wee meet with some difficulties by the way, for wee shal never be delivered, but so as it shal appear to be a wonder; if we should be delivered without difficulties, we should not see the marvellousness of the worke.

Page  384 Further, Iust and true are thy wayes. God in that deliverance will shew the fulfilling of all his promises, and he will fully satisfie the hearts of his peo∣ple, who have been a long time seeking him, and suffering for him. Whereas the adversaries, because God did forbear a while in his patience and let them prosper, thought there was no God in heaven that looked upon them, they scorned at the fastings, and prayers, and faith of the Saints; But though the hearts of the Saints were ready to faile, yet at last they shall say, Iust & true are thy wayes, Lord we now see all thy good word fulfilled, all thy promises made good; now we see it is not in vaine to seek thee, it is not in vain to wait upon thee, for just and true are thy wayes.

O thou King of Saints. God will appear then to be a King of Saints. He is indeed the King of the world now, and the King of his Saints, but he doth not appear so clearly, the kingdome of Jesus Christ as King of Saints hath been much darkned in the world; We have some what indeed of the Priestly and Propheticall office of Christ made known to us, but very little of his kingly office; but when God shall fully deliver his people, then they shall magnifie Jesus Christ as the king of Saints in an especiall manner.

Lastly, they shall say, Who will not feare thee thou King of Nations? As if they should say, wee see now it is good to feare God, wee see now God hath made a difference between him that feareth him, and him that feareth him not. The Angel that John saw, Apoc. 14. 6, 7. Flying in heaven, ha∣ving the everlasting Gospel to preach, cryes with a loud voyce, Feare God, and give glory to him; The feare of God will be mighty upon the hearts of the Saints in those times. This shall be the song of Moses that this Scripture aymeth at, they shall thus sing as they did in the dayes of their youth, when they came up out of the land of Egypt, yea and the truth is, their song shall be much more glorious.

[ 4] The last time this prophesie aymeth at,* is the great calling of the Jewes, then the Scripture saith, Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads, they shall obtain gladnesse and joy, and all sorrow and mourning shall flee away. They shall so sing, as never mourn more in this world, in regard of any malice and rage of their adversaries. This was not fulfilled at their return out of the Babylonish captivity, therefore there is yet a time for the fulfilling of it, and the Scripture is clear about the fulfilling it, even in this world; that place Rev. 21. 4. is a repetition of that prophecy, he saith there, God shall wipe a∣way all teares from their eyes, and there shall be no more sorrow nor crying. When Jews and Gentiles shall joyne together, then they shall siug indeed to purpose, as they did in the dayes of their youth, when they came up out of the land of Egypt.

First, it is a great mercy for people to be delivered from outward bond∣age.* It will be found a great mercy when the world shall be delivered from their outward bondage, when men shall see they were born free-men, and not slaves, though Subjects, yet not slaves, when men shall see that the world was not made for twenty or thirty to doe what they list, and they Page  385 to account all the rest as beasts, yea dogs; as if it were not so much for the lives of thousands of them to goe, as for their humours and lusts not to be sa∣tisfied; but when men shall know, that they are men and not beasts, and so shall live like men,* and not like beasts, to be at the will of others, this will be a great mercy. But to be delivered from Antichristian bondage, is a greater mercy, then it was for the children of Israel to be delivered from their Egyptian bondage. For,

First,* when they were in the Egyptian bondage, we reade not that their [ 1] consciences were forced, that they were forced at all to any false worship. Pharaoh did not this, but Antichrist forced to Idolatry.

Secondly, Though Pharaoh layed heavy taskes and burthens upon them, yet he did not kill them, indeed at length they killed their first borne, but the people of Israel themselves might have their lives still, though with hard∣ship. [ 2] But Antichrist thirsts for blood; Papists are bloody men.

Thirdly, It was the affliction of Gods people to be in bondage in Egypt, [ 3] but it was not their sin: But to be in bondage under Antichrist, is not onely an affliction, but it is sin, and that of a high nature too.

4. Though they were under Egyptian bondage, yet they were delivered [ 4] from Egyptian plagues; but those that are under Antichristian bondage, shall come under Antichristian plagues. Come out of her my people, lest you be partaker of her plagues. You must not think to escape so as they escaped out of Egypt; if you stay in that bondage, you will be involved in their plagues. With what an eye therefore should we look upon those who would bring us into this bondage againe, when God hath begun to give us a little reviving? Jer. 37. 20. O my Lord the King (saith Jeremy) let my supplica∣tion, I pray thee be accepted before thee, that thou cause me not to returne to the house of Ionathan the Scribe, lest I die there. So let us ery to the King of heaven and earth, O Lord our King, let our supplication be accepted be∣fore thee, since wee are begun to be delivered from that bondage, doe not cause us to returne to that house againe.* The second is, A reconciled con∣dition is a singing condition. When there is a harmony between heaven and the soul, between God and a sinner, there is a sweet melody indeed, there may well be singing, Esay, 35. 10. The rasomed of the Lord shall returne and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. And E∣say 44. 23. Sing Oye heavens, for the Lord hath dne it; sout yee lower parts of the earth, break forth into singing ye mountains, We being justified by faith having peace with God, saith the Apostle, we not only rejoyce in hope of glory, but we even rejoyce and boast in tribulation: Having peace with God, though war withall the world, we rejoyce.

Thirdly,* It is a great mercy, when Magistrates and people shall generally joyne together in praising God, when they shall sing as they did in the dayes of their youth, (for that is the promise.) How is that? Moses beginneth, and Miriam followeth, the leaders of Israel, and then all the people joyne together, and answer one another in their singing.

Page  386 When that day shall come that God shall stirr up the hearts of Magistrates and great ones, that there shall be singing Hallelujahs to him that sitteth up∣on the throne, and the Lamb for evermore; and when God shall generally move the hearts of the people, that they shall answer one another in their singing, and so joyne in a sweet melody; this will be a blessed time indeed. Now perhaps in one place there is singing, and blessing God for what is done, in another place there is cursing, and cursing those that do sing. Some mens hearts are rejoycing in the great things God doth, other mens hearts fret and rage when they heare of the great works of the Lord, this makes no melody in heaven. Perhaps now in the family the Husband singeth, and the wife frets; perhaps the wife singeth, and the malignant husband is inra∣ged; the servant rejoyceth, and the master chafeth; the children sing, and the parents vex; this is harsh musique. This is our condition at this day; there are better times coming, when Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, and all the people shall joyn in singing praise to our God.

4. Thankfulnesse to God,* for mercy cannot be without joyfulnesse. A grumbling, pensive, sadde, dumpish disposition, cannot be a true thankfull heart as it ought. God will not accept in this sense of the bread of mourn∣ers. It is grievous to the Spirit of God, that we should be pensive and sad in the midst of abundance of mercies.

5. They shall sing there. There, where? at the door of hope in the valley of Achor. You may remember in the opening of that valley of Achor, I gave you what might be understood by it according to the most, that is, that God would make the greatest trouble and affliction of his Church to be a door of hope, to bring mercy to them: And if you take it in that sense, here rises an excellent observation.

When God brings into straits,* yet if he shall sanctifie our straits, making them means of good to us, we have cause to rejoyce. You have an excellent Text, Isa. 35. 6, 7. For in the wildernesse shall waters breake out, and streams in the desart, and the pached ground shall become a poole, and the thirsty land springs of water. Those things that seem to goe most contrary to you, I will work good unto you out of them, saith God. VVell, what is the fruit of this? This is set as the reason of the words immediately before, Then shall the lame man leap as an Hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing. Because the Lord shall make the parched ground become a poole, and the thirsty land springs of water, this shall make the lame to leap as an Hart, & the tongue of the dumb to sing. Though our tongues be dumb, yet it should make us sing when we see God working good out of contraries, when wee see things that of themselves tend to our ruin, and would bring us to misery, that are as the valley of Achor, yet God working good out of them; if wee have the hearts of men in us, much more the hearts of Christians, though we were dumb before, this should make us sing. Yea all this is brought in as an argument to strengthen the weak hands, and the feeble knees, and as a reason why those that have weake hearts should not feare, because God Page  387 workes good out of that which seemeth the greatest evill; vers. 4. Say to them that are of a fearefull heart, be strong, feare not, and then followeth this in the 6. verse.

Are we in the valley of Achor,* a place of trouble and straits? wee have cause to sing even in this valley of Achor, for we have not yet been brought into any straits, but God hath brought good out of them; he hath turned the parched ground into a pool, and the thirsty land into springs of water. It is our great sin, that when God calleth us to singing, we are yet concluding of rejecting; we are ready to think if we be brought into the valley of Achor, we are presently cast off: Oh no, God calleth you to singing, nothwith∣standing you meet with difficulties. Isa. 49. 13. Sing O heavens (saith the Text there) he joyfull O earth, breake forth into singing O mountaines, for God hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted; But mark now the next words, But Zion said, the Lord hath forsaken me, & my God hath forgotten mee. At that very time, when the Lord was calling for singing, even then they were concluding of rejecting. Take we heed this be not our condition.

But take the words as then I told you as I conceived them to be the mean∣ing of the spirit of God, that this valley of Achor was some speciall mercy that God gave at first as a door of hope to further mercies he would give af∣terward, and there they shall sing.

Then the observation is,

When the Lord is beginning with his Saints in the ways of mercy,* though they have not all that they would have, yet it is a singing condition. Though you be but yet brought into the valley of Achor, and be but at the doore of hope, and not entred into the door, though you have not yet got the possessi∣on of all the mercy God intendeth for you, yet God expects you should sing. You must not stand grumbling,* whining, complaining, and murmuring at the door, because you have not what you would have; though God makes you wait at the door, you must stand singing there. It may be said of Gods mercy as of his word in Psal. 119. 130. The entrance into thy word giveth light, so the entrance of Gods works of mercy giveth light. Psal. 138. 5. Yea they shall sing in the wayes of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. In the ways of the Lord they shall sing, though God be but in the wayes of his mercy, and they have not what they would have, yet they shall sing.

This is certainly one great reason why our doore of hope is not yet opened to us as we desire, or at least that we have not that entrance that we would have at that door, because we stand murmuring; yea we stand quarrelling one with another at the doore, whereas God expects that we should stand singing and praising his name there. Though wee have not what wee desire, yet let us blesse God that ever we lived to this day, to see so much of God as we have done, though we should never see more, though the mercy we look for should be reserved for the generation that shall follow, yet we have cause to blesse God while we live, that we have seene and do see so much of God 〈1 page duplicate〉Page  384〈1 page duplicate〉Page  385〈1 page duplicate〉Page  386〈1 page duplicate〉Page  387Page  388 as we have done & daily do.* Let us stand at our Fathers door singing, and if we must sing at the foot of Zion, what song shall we sing when we come to the height? Ier. 31. 12. They shall come and sing in the height of Zion they shall flow to the bountifulnesse of the Lord. If there be any one with whom God is dealing in a way of mercy, though you can see but a little light tho∣rough the key-hole, yet you should sing there. There are many poor souls, with vvhom God is beginning in very gracious ways, yet because they have not their minds inlightned, their hearts humbled as they desire, power over corruptions, abilities to performe duties as they expect, they are presently ready to conclude against themselves, surely the Lord will not have mercy, we are rejected. They think they have nothing, because they have not what they vvould. O unthankfull heart! This is the very thing that keepeth thee under bondage, because when the Lord is setting open a door of hope unto thee, thou wilt not take notice of it, but art presently murmuring and repin∣ing, because thou hast not all that thou wouldest. Wouldest thou enter in at this door, and have God perfect the mercy he hath begun? take notice of the beginnings, and blesse God for what thou hast. This would be an obser∣vation of marvey lous use to many a drooping soul, if they would learne by this dayes coming hither, to sing hereafter at the doore of hope.

Yet further,*They shall sing there as in the dayes of their youth. It is the condition of Gods own people many times, when first they enjoy liberty, then to be in a singing condition,* but afterward to lose their joy. At first in∣deed when Gods mercies were fresh to them, in the dayes of their youth, O how their hearts were taken! how then they sung merrily and chearfully, Moses and all the people!* but in processe of time it appeareth they had not kept up this singing, this harmonious, this melodious heart of theirs, there∣fore God promiseth they should sing as in the dayes of their youth.

We finde it so in people, when they first come to enjoy liberty out of bon∣dage, Church liberties, Oh how they rejoyce in them! how do they blesse God for them! O how sweet are these mercies at their very hearts! they re∣joice that ever they lived to this time; but within a while the flower of their youth is gone, and they soone have the teats of their virginity bruised. At first indeed, O the sweetnesse! but stay a while and you shall finde conten∣tion or scandoll arising amongst them, or deadnesse of heart befalling them. Oh the blessed condition that God hath brought us to, to have these liberties and ordinances according to his own way! but within a while we may say as the Apostle to the Galatians,*Where is the blessednesse you spake of? They would have pulled out their eyes for Paul, What is become of all now? All their beauty & glory is quite damped, let us take heed that when our hearts seem to be raised and mightily affected with mercies, we do not soon loose our vigour & heat. It hath been so with England, when they have had fresh mercies at first, they rejoyced in them exceedingly. I have read of the City of Berne, when they were first delivered from Antichrist, they wrote the day of their deliverance upon pillars with letters of gold. Was it not so with us here in England?

Page  389 I will only instance in that deliverance upon the fifth of November,* how mightily was both King and Parliament affected with it! their hearts were exceedingly up, then there was blessing God, for their deliverance from Pa∣pists, then there were prayers and thanksgivings set forth, and in them, this expression against Popery, Whose faith is faction, whose Religion is rebel∣lion, whose practice is murthering of soules and bodyes; When the mercy was fresh, how did their spirits worke? then they profest against all kinde of Popery. Reade but the Proclamation about the solemnity of that time, and the expressions of the prayers then set forth, and one would have thought verily then that Popery should never have prevailed in England again; who would ever have thought it possible that a Popish Army should ever have had any countenance in England more? Certainly, if a Popish Army had been raised at that time when mens hearts were so up, all the people of the land (if it had been but with clubs) would have risen and beaten them to pieces.

It is so with many young people, when God first beginneth to worke upon their hearts, O how are they for God! then their spirts are mightily up for Christ, Psal, 90. 14. O satisfie us early with thy mercies, and then we shall be glad and rejoyce all the dayes of our lives; It is a sweet thing when the latter part of that prayer followeth, when God satisfieth young people with his mercy, and that satisfaction abideth, so as they rejoyce all the dayes of their lives afterward. The Lord doth many times satisfie young ones with his mercy, but they quickly grow dead and cold, and their hearts are soone hardned and polluted,* and they doe not rejoyce all the dayes of their lives. Another Observation, that restored and recovered mercies, are very sweet and precious mercies. They shall sing as in the dayes of their youth; They were once in a blessed sweet singing condition, they had lost it, but now God promiseth to recover them. Iob 29. 2. O that I were as in months past, as in the dayes when God preserved me, when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I warlked thorough darknesse; as I was in the dayes of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my Tabernacle. Iob de∣sireth this earnestly, that he might have restored, recovered mercies; What a happy condition should I be in then, saith he, if it were now with me as in the dayes of my youth! May not many in this place say so? God hath been gracious to them in former dayes, he hath given many sweet manifestations of his love, many soule-ravishing communications of himself unto them! but how have they lost them! They may well say, O that it were with us as in the dayes of our youth! Oh that God would restore to us what mercy we once had! what a blessed condition should we be in then! But God here giveth a gracious promise, that he will restore them, that he will give them that which is the petition of David, Psa. 51. Restore to me the joy of thy sal∣vation; Lord I have lost it, O that I might have it againe! How happy should I be! So Ps. 132. 1. By the Rivers of Babylon there we sat down, yea we wept there when we remembred Zion, we hanged our harps upon the willowes.

Page  390 They were in this sad condition, but if one should have come to them and have said, what will you say if you shall be restored againe and goe to Zion, to Jerusalem againe, and have songs there, as much and as delightfull as be∣fore? their hearts could not have held in them. This mercy would be like that wine mentioned, Cant. 7. 9. that is so sweet, that it causeth the lips of those that are asleepe to speake; If there be any life left, such a mercy will raise and actuate it. Psal. 126. 1. 2. When the Lord turned againe the cap∣tivity of Zion, our mouthes were filled with laughter, and our tongues with singing, when God granted them a recovered mercy. As a poore prodigal, that hath left his fathers house, and afterward is come to beggery and mise∣ry, and is under bondage, & is almost starved; he sitteth down under a hedg, wringing his hands, falleth a lamenting the losse of his Fathers house, and considering what comfort he had in his Fathers presence, cryeth out of his folly and madnesse; but if one should come and say to him, what will you say if your Father should be reconciled to you, and send for you home, and promise to put you in as comfortable a condition as ever? O how would this cause singing in his heart! Thus God promiseth to his people, that he would restore them to that singing condition they had lost.

They shall sing as in the dayes of their youth.

That which made this mercy so sweet, was because it was a promised mercy. Hence this Note.

Promised mercies are sweet mercies.* Luke 16. 61. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up a home of salvation to us, in the house of his servant David, as he spake by the mouth of all his Prophets. And ver. 77. To performe the mercy pro∣mised; there is the cause of singing, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, that hath performed the mercy promised.

Giving out of a promise is sweet to a gracious heart, it can sing then; much more sweet is the promise when it cometh to be fulfilled. 2 Chron. 20. 17. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, there is the promise. Mark now how Jehosaphat and the people were affected with the promise: And Jeho∣saphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Iudah and the Inhabitants of Ierusalem fell before the Lord, worshipped the Lord. And the Levites, and the child en of the Koathites, & the children of the Kor∣hites shall stand up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a loud voyce on high. And ver. 21. He appointed singers unto the Lord that should praise the beauty of holinesse, and to say, Praise the Lord, for his mercy endureth for ever. Jehosphat had not got the promise fulfilled, it was only made; they had not got the victory over their enemies, but onely a promise that God would be with them, & presently Jehosaphat & all the people fell a singing.

A gracious heart seeth cause enough to sing, if he have got but a promise, but much more when he hath got the performance.

If the promise of a mercy hath such sweetnesse in it, what sweetnesse then hath the mercy of the promise?

Page  391 But the promise was not only barely fulfilled, but fulfilled with a high hand, and that made them sing. This may be another Observation:

When God appeareth remarkably, with a high hand in delivering his peo∣ple, then the mercy is to be accounted a precious mercy indeed, and all the people of the Lord should sing and praise him. Esay 43. 19. 20. mark there, when God had told of an extraordinary hand of his in a way of mercy, saith he, I will plant them in the wildernesse, and so goeth on: Then (saith he) shal this be, that they may see, and know, & understand, & consider, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it. When Gods imediate hand doth a thing, when it helps a people in an extraordinary way, he expects that they should see, and know, and consider, and understand together: All these expressions are heaped one upon ano∣ther. And if any people be called to this, we are at this day; God hath ap∣peared extraordinarily to us. Oh that we had eyes to see! Oh that we had hearts to consider and understand, that we might give God the glory that is due to him!

The Fifteenth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 15. 16.

—And she shall sing there, as in the dayes of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.

SOme few Observations are to be added to the 15. verse.

Mercies that have been much sought for, that have had many cryes sent up to God to obtaine, when once they are granted, should cause singing forth the praises of God. The people of Israel cryed much, before God granted them de∣liverance from Egypt, Exodus 3. 7. I have heard their cryes, saith God: And God sayes here, They shall sing as they did when they came out of Egypt. Psal. 22. 26. They shall praise the Lord that seek him. The more we seek God for any mercy, the more we shall praise God when we have obtained that mercy. Psal. 28. 6. 7. Blessed be the Lord, be∣cause he hath heard the voyce of my supplication; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped.* What followeth? Therefore my heart greatly rejoyceth, and with my song will I praise him. Because God had heard the voyce of his supplication, therefore with his song he would praise him. Those mer∣cies that we get by crying unto God, those are singing mercies indeed. Such mercies as come to us only through a generall providence, without seeking to God, they are not such sweet mercies; as Hannah said to Eli concern∣ing her son whom she had got by prayer, (and therefore named him [Samu∣el,] Sought of God) As thy soul liveth, this is the son, this is the child that I was here praying for, and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him.

Page  392 This she spake,* triumphing in Gods goodnesse. Mercies got by prayer may be triumphed in. When you want a mercy, pray much for it; the more you pray for it, the more you will sing when you have it, and the lesse pray∣er went before, the lesse singing will follow after.

Further;* Mercies that make way for the enjoyment of Ordinances are very sweet mercies, singing mercies, They shall sing as they did when they came up out of the land of Egypt. Why did they sing when they came up out of the land of Egypt?* Because that mercy, that deliverance from Egypt made way to that rich mercy of the injoyment of Gods worship in his Or∣dinances. How doth that appear? Thus, Exod. 15. where they sung when they came out of Egypt, ver. 2. I will build him an habitation saith Mo∣ses, together with the people; they rejoyced in that, that now they were go∣ing on in the way to build God an habitation; but more, ver. 13. Thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation: as if Moses and the Israelies should say, this indeed is a great deliverance that we are delivered out of bondage, but what is this but in order to a higher mercy that we looke at yet further, that is, guiding of thy people in thy strength to thy habitation? we looke upon this present mercy of our deliverance, for which we doe now sing and give thee praise, but in order to the guiding of thy people to thy ha∣bitation, and that in thy strength: as if Moses should say, Lord there will be a great many difficulties between this and our comming to enjoy thy ha∣bitation, but thou wilt guide us in thy strength, thy strength shall carry thy people along till it bring them to thy habitation; this was that which made them sing so chearfully as they did. And again, v. 17. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountaine of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. This was that that made them so sing. So David, Psa. 27. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seeke after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the dayes of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, & to enquire in his Temple; That is a choice mercy, therefore all mercies that make way for that mercy, are indeed sweet mercies. So we should looke upon all our deliverances, from outward trou∣bles, and whatsoever peace God giveth us to enjoy, as sweet and comforta∣ble, in order to this mercy of enjoying Gods mountaine, of living in God habitation, that we may dwell there all the dayes of our life.

A third Observation is,

New mercies should renew the memory of old. They shall sing as in the day when they came up out of the land of Egypt, that is, I will grant to them yet further mercies,* and that mercy that I shall grant, shall renew the me∣mory of all the former mercies they have enjoyed from me. As new guilt renews the memory of former guilt, so new mercies the memory of former. Hath God delivered you from any danger now? were you never delivered before? if but when you were a childe, those deliverances you now have should bring into your memory what then were.

Page  393 So in a nation, doth God grant to a nation any new mercy? this new mercy should bring into the memory of that nation all the former mercies that ever that nation hath received. Psal. 68. 26. Blesse ye God in the con∣gregatations, even the Lord from the fountaine of Israel. Not only you who are true Israelites, but in your blessing God now, let present mercies be to you but as streames to bring you to the fountaine. Consider of all the mer∣cies along till you come to the fountaine, even that Covenant that God hath made with Israel.

A fourth is,* All former mercies to Gods people should help Faith in be∣leeving future mercies. That is raised from hence. Why doth the Prophet tell them or comming out of the land of Egypt? He speaks of some mercy that was to come to Israel;* now hee names this coming out of the land of Egypt, that he might helpe and strengthen their Faith in the beleeving of what mercy was to come: As if he should say, That God that hath wrought so wonderfully for you, in delivering you out of the land of Egypt, is able, and willing to make good his word in granting to you deliverance for time to come. We have excellent Scriptures for this, as Psal. 66. 6. He turned the sea into dry land, they went thorough the flood on foot, there did we re∣joyce in him. Marke, they went thorough the flood, and there did we rejoyce in him: How did we rejoyce in him? it was many hundred yeares after that we came to rejoyce: But upon the manifestation of Gods great good∣nesse to his people in former dayes, our faith commeth to be strengthened in Gods mercies for our times, and there did we rejoyce in him, we did rejoice in the worke of God when they went thorough the Red-sea upon dry land, for it is an argument of Gods mercy to us of the power, goodnesse, and faith∣fulnesse of God to us. Another temarkable Text is, Hos. 12. 4. Hee had power over the Angel,*he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us: Marke, he had power over the Angel, he found him in Bethel; VVho was that? It was Jacob, who many years before, but there he spake with us, hee did not speake with Jacob onely, but there hee spake with us, that is, whatsoever goodnesse the Lord did shew to Jacob in Bethel, it concerned us for the strengthening of our faith, Mat. 22. 31. 32. Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Iacob? This was spoken to Moses many hundred yeares before; but that expression of Gods grace then, was a strengthening the faith of the godly, when Christ spake, and is the same to us now.*

A fifth is, where there is a proportion of mercies, there ought to be a pro∣portion of thankfulnesse. They shall sing as they did in the day when they came out of Egypt. I will grant unto you as great mercies as they had, and I expect as great thankfulnesse from you as I had from them; as they sung to my praise, so must you sing too. God sheweth as much mercy to you now, as he hath done heretofore, I appeale now to you, nay God appeales to your consciences, Is there a proportion of thankfulnesse as of mercies?

Page  394 There hath been a time when you have sung to the praise of God, when your hearts have been inlarged to give God praise, why should it not be so now? A sixt observation is, deliverance out of Egypt is an ascending conditi¦on, That ariseth from the words as they are in the Originall, They shal ascend out of the land of Egypt, so I told you the words were in the Hebrew; as then God would never rest till he brought them up to Mount Zion, so when God beginneth to deliver his people from Antichristian bondage, they should ne∣ver rest in their spirits, untill they be got to the height of Reformation, to the height of their deliverance, that is, to come to enjoy Gods Ordinances in his own wayes, in the purity and the power of them. This is our misery and our bsenesse, that upon some little deliverance we presently are ready to rest, whereas we should rise yet higher and higher, and expect that God should goe on still with us, and raise us in the wayes of mercy, untill he hath brought us even to the top of Mount Zion.

Seventhly, From the connection of these words with what followes, They shall sing as in the day when they came up out of the land of Egypt, and they shall call me Ishi, and shall call me no more Baali, for I will take even the very names of Baalim out of their mouths, and they shall remember them no more, that is, there shall be a most glorious reformation, & they shal be deli∣vered from all the remainders of their Idolatrous worship, they shall not so much as remember their very names, the Reformation shall be so perfect;

From thence the Observation is,

When God raiseth the spirits of people to rejoyce in his mercy, then is the time for them if ever, to set up a through Reformation; then when their hearts are warmed, inflamed, and inlarged with the goodnesse of God un∣to them, then is the time to cast out all the remainders of all superstition, of all kinde of false worship. I will give you two excellent Scriptures for this, the one is, Esay 30. 19. Thou shalt weep no more (saith he) he will be very gra∣cious unto thee at the voyce of thy cry; The Lord promiseth abundance of mercy, he tells them that they shall weep no more, he will be very gracious; now marke what followeth in the 22. verse, Ye shall defile the covering of thy graven Images of silver, the ornaments of thy molten Images of gold, thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth, thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence; The other Scripture is, 2 Chron. 30. 26. there you finde that there was great joy in Jerusalem, such joy as the text saith, was not since the dayes of Solomon, it was upon the celebration of their Passe-over, there had not beene the like; Marke then in the beginning of the next Chapter, saith the text, when all this was finished, that is, when they had celebrated a Passe∣over so full, and had such abundance of joy, such a joy as had not beene in Jerusalem since the time of Solomon; Now all Israel went out to the Cities of Iudah, and brake the Images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places, and the Altars out of all Iudah & Benjamin. Their hearts were inflamed with the joy they had, & they went with resolu∣tion and brake down 〈◊〉••ages, &c. And marke it, the Text saith, it was 〈…〉 that did this; 〈◊〉 went out into the Cities of Iudah, and brake the Page  395 the Images in pieces, and threw down the high places, & the Altars out of all Iudah: What had Israel to doe with Iudah? Iudah and Israel were di∣vided; But now their hearts were so inflamed for God, that they were not able to abide any false worship amongst their brethren, though it belonged to Judah, yet they would goe help their brethren to cast down all their Ima∣ges, and to cut down their Groves and Altars, this was when their hearts were warmed with joy in blessing the name of God. VVhen God once warmeth the hearts of people, it is much what they will doe for God then: They will not stand examining every nicety, but they will fall upon the work directly; the joy of the Lord was the strength of their hearts at this time: as it is with the lusts of wicked men, when they get into company, at feasts, in Taverns, and there they are drinking, while their lusts are warmed, then what desperate resolutions have they to doe wickednesse! So when Gods Saints are exercised in Gods Ordinances, and are refreshed with the sweet love of God, when that lies glowing at their hearts, what strong resolutions have they for God! then they can doe any thing for God.

Now the very name of Baalim must be taken away.

VERSE 16. And it shall be in that day, saith the Lord, that thou call me Ishi, and shalt call me no more Baali.

17. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, & they shall be no more remembred by their name.

Here we have as full a Prophesie and promise of as thorough reformation of the Church, as any I know we have in Scripture, God hath a time to re∣forme his Church thorowly, the very names of their Idols, the very remem∣brance of them shall be taken away. This reformation is ods worke, I will doe it saith God, I will take away the names of Baalim

They shall call me Ishi, and no more Baali.]

Why? what great difference is there betweene these two names Ishi and Baali, that God will have one but not the other?

The truth is, both of them signifie even almost the same thing; Both of them are names very fit for a wife to call her husband by, Ishi is my hus∣band, and Baali is my husband too. But the word Ishi cometh from a word that signifieth strength, the woman being the weaker vessel, therefore shee calls her husband Ishi, my strength; for the husband should be strength to the wife, he should live with her as a man of knowledge, he should be a pro∣tection to her, he should help her in all her weaknesses, & afflictions. Baali signifieth my Lord, as well as my husband; it is a word that moteth rule and authority, Ishi is a word that hath more love and familiarity in it; Baali is a word that noteth the inferiority of the wife to the husband. Now God saith he will be called Ishi, but not Baali; why? there is no hurt in the word Baali it selfe; the word Baali is a very good word, and hath a good signification, & it is proper to God, as any word that can be given to him by the Church (but that God did forbid it here) for it is no more when the church cals God Baali, then if the Church should say, O God that art my Lord, my husband, who art to rule & govern me;

Page  396 Yea and we find that God gives to himself this name, Isa. 54. 5. Thy Ma∣ker is thy [husband,] so it is in your books, but the word in the Hebrew is the same that we have here, Thy Maker is thy [Baali,] so that husband and Baal is the very same. But now because they had abused this word Ba∣al, and given into their Idols, therefore God would have no more of it; though it was a good word, a significant word, and as proper to God as any was. As the word Tyrannus was a name once for a King, Kings were cal∣led Tyrants, without any such ill signification as now it carries with it; but because they had gotten the sole power into their hands, they did so oppress, abuse their power, therefore oppressors were called Tyrants. So the Latine word fur, which is for a thiefe, it was once the ordinary word for a servant, Fures, and Servi were wont to be the same, and without any ill significa∣tion; but because afterward many servants grew to be false, to steale from their Masters, therefore fures was altogether taken in the worst part, onely for theeves. So Sophista, a Sophister, was one that studied wisdome, but because they did so much degenerate, many under the colour of the study of wisdome, deceived others, therefore the name Sophister was used in the worst part. I might instance in many other.

For further opening this. May not the name Baal be mentioned? God tells them that he would take away the name of Baalim out of their mouths. VVhy may not we use this word Baali in our mouths?

To this I answer, Yes, it is not unlawfull for us to mention the word, notwithstanding this, for the holy Ghost a long time after this mentions the word in an historicall way: Rom. 11. 4. hee speaks there of those that had not bowed their knees to Baal, the word you see is mentioned & remembred by the spirit of God, therefore it was not a sin; nay not only the word Baal, br it is not unlawfull to mention the names of any Idols of the heathen, for the holy Ghost doth so likewise, Acts 18. 11. speaking of the ship that they sayled in, he saith there, whose signe was Castor and Pollux, the names of two heathen Idols. And you may observe that here in the text the rememb∣ring is as much forbidden as the mentioning. Now if it were a finne meerly to mention the names of the heathen gods, it were a sin to remember them. Therefore God means the mentioning of them Honoris gratia, any way for their honour, or without detestation of them.

The words being thus opened, you have many excellent observations out of them very usefull and seasonable for our times.

First,* There is a great deale of danger in words and names. You shall call me Ishi, I will not have you call me Baali, I will not have that word used; the Devill hath got much by words and names, heretofore by the word Pu∣ritane, though 〈◊〉 knew not what it meant; now by this new name that he hath of late invented;* the devill hath alwayes some words, some names for distinction of men, in which he sees advantage is to be had. The speak∣i••f the ways of 〈…〉 the language of superstition doth much hurt. 〈…〉 a notabl〈◊〉etion from the Papists themselves concerning Page  397 that, it is in the Rhemists Testament in their notes upon that place, 1 Tim. 6. 20. Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoyding prophane, and vaine bablings, so we translate it, they translate it, prophane novelties, this is their note upon it; Let us (say they) keep our fore-fathers words, and we shall easily keepe our old faith; you shall see that wee had not long since the very spirit o