TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE, CHRISTOPHER PACK, Lord Major, AND The Right VVorshipfull Aldermen of the famous City of London.
THis ensuing Sermon was ordered by you to be printed, it hath stuck long in the birth, by rea∣son of multitude of intervening impediments: Now at last it is come into the world, and is*here humbly presented to you, as an expression of that respect and service which I acknow∣ledge to be due, and shall ever be ready to pay. The subject matter of it is to discover and Anatomize that ugly and de∣formed Monster of sinfull selfe-seeking, and •o shew the sinful∣nesse and cursednesse of it. There are two Cities (saith Austin) The City of God, and the City of the Devill: The City of God is begun and built up by the love of God, and in∣creaseth, even to the hatred of our selves; but the City of the Devill, begins from the love of our selves, and increaseth, even to the hatred of God, by the contempt of our brethren; for he that hateth and contemneth his brother, will in a litle while hate and contemne God. It cannot be denied, (no not by one made up of Charity) that there are many Citizens of this City of the Devill. Many who instead of loving God, to the contempt of themselves, love themselves to the contempt of Page [unnumbered] God: Many who seek their owne, and not the things of Jesus Christ', or which is as bad, if not worse, who seek their owne, under the hpocriticall pretence of seeking the things of Christ. It is reported of Cnidius a great Architectist, who building a sumptuous Watch-Tower for the King of Egypt (to discover the dangerous rocks by night to his Marriners) caused his owne name to be engrav'd upon a stone in the wall in great letters, and afterwards covered it with Lime and Morter, and upon the outside wrote the name of the King of Egypt in Golden Chara∣cters, as pretending that all was done for his glory and honour: But herein was his cunning, he knew that the water in a little time would consume the plaistering (as it did) and then his name and memory should abide & continue to after Generations. There are many such in this Nation, who in their outward discourse and carriage, pretend to seek onely the glory of God, the good of his Church, and the happinesse of the State. But if we had a window to look into their hearts, we should finde nothing there written, but selfe-love and selfe-seeking. My care hath been in the following discourse, to set out the greatnesse and grie∣vousnesse of this sinne, and how destructive it is both to Church and Common-wealth. Besides what is there said, give me leave to adde:
1. That it is one of the greatest curses under Heaven, for God to give a man over to his owne hearts lust, to doe what∣soever seems good in his owne eyes, to make himselfe the principle, rule, and end of all his actions. Better be given over to the Devill, then to our selves. I read of one given over to Satan for his Salvation, but never of any given over to him∣selfe,*but for his ruine and destruction.
2. That this sinfull selfe-seeking is not onely a sinne that makes the times perillous, but our condition damnable. *It shuts the man who is guilty of it unavoidably out of Heaven. When he dyes his Motto may be,
Here lies a Man-pleaser, and a selfe-pleaser, but not a God-pleaser, who sought himselfe while he lived, and lost himselfe when he died. Who loved himselfe for a minute, and hated himselfe to all eternity:
Page [unnumbered]Or thus,
Here lies a man who lived in ease while he lived, and now lives in easelesse torments: Who by over-pampering his bo∣dy, destroyed his Soule: Who lived undesired, and dyed un∣lamented, who lived to himselfe, and thereby undid him∣selfe.
The Lord preserve you from this sinne, and make you true*Common-wealth (not private-wealth) men. It becomes him, (saith a wise Heathen) who would be a great man to love neither himselfe, nor any thing that is his, but just things, whe∣ther done by himselfe, or by another.
I have made bold to adde a few lines to that discourse which I had before you concerning the blessed and heavenly self-seeking, wherein I shew, That a selfe-denying, selfe-examining, selfe-judging Christian, is the truest selfe-seeker. That he that pre∣ferres the keeping of a good Conscience before the keeping of his Estate, or Life, the good of Church and State before his own good, is a blessed selfe seeker. He that loves himselfe and not God, loves not himselfe, and he that loves God and not himselfe, loves himselfe; according to that excellent saying of A•st. Nescio quo inexplicabili mod•, &c. I know not by what * unexpressable way, but sure I am of this truth, That he that loves himselfe, and not God, loves not himselfe; and he that loves God, and not himselfe, he loves himselfe. For he that cannot live of himselfe, dies presently by loving himselfe; but when he is loved from whom, and by whom we live, in not loving himselfe, he loves himselfe the more, because therefore he loves not himselfe, that he might love him by whom he lives.
The Lord make you such selfe-seekers: Such a one was Ne∣hem•ah, of whom it is said, that he sought not his owne, but the * welfare of the people of God; Such another was David, who preferred Jerusalem before his chiefe joy: Such were Old*Page [unnumbered] Ely, Ezra, Jeremiah, Daniel, &c. Such ought you to be.
It is not long since you kept a Fast, to humble your selves be∣fore the Lord, in reference to the many sad, lamentable, and unusual Fires kindled amongst us. Now it ought to be your care (as the true fruit of this Fast) not onely in your personall capa∣cities to abstaine from, but as you are publique Magistrates of this City, to indeavour (so far as your power will reach) to sup∣presse all those sins for which God hath threatned this great Judgement. This is a divine, blessed, and most heavenly self-seeking. God hath threatned to destroy a Nation by fire,
- 1. For Sabbath breaking, Jer. 17. 27.
- 2 For despising and misusing the godly Ministry, 2 Chron. 36. 16. 19.
- 3. For assuming the Office of the Ministry without a law∣full call. Numb. 16. 16, 17, 18, 35.
- 4. For worshipping God after a false manner, Lev. 10. 1. 2.
- 5. For breaking the Brotherly Covenant, Amos. 1. 9, 10.
- 6. For pride, Idlenesse, fulnesse of bread, uncharitablenesse, for giving our selves over to Fornication, and going after strange flesh, which were the sins of Sodom (Ezek. 16. 49. com∣pared with Jude 7.) and for which God raigned fire and brim∣stome from heaven for their destruction.
The Lord cloath you with zeale as with a Garment, and in∣able you to be instrumentall to quench the burnings which these sins have kindled, and to make this famous City a habitation of Justice, and a Mountaine of holynesse, Jer. 31. 23. That the name of it, from this day may be, The Lord is there, Ezek 48. 35. So prayeth
Your Servant in the work of the Lord, Edm: Calamy.