Gods providence, a sermon preached before the honourable House of Commons at their late solemne fast, Decemb. 28, 1642, in S. Margarets Church at Westminster by Ed. Corbett ...
Corbet, Edward, d. 1658.

REAS. 1. God seeth not as Man seeth.

The Lord beholds the heart,* he regardeth sinceritie and faith∣fulnesse, he loves a willing mind, a cordiall wish, when all things else are wanting: But men have base and bastard principles by which they judge and by which they are led, they look upon the Garment and outward appearances, either blessing themselves in their policie with Achitophel, or in their power with Nebuchad∣nezzar,Page  16 or in their full barnes with the Rich-man in the Gospell▪ soule take thy ease thou hast goods laid up for many yeares, when alas the whole world, is nothing to the happinesse of the soule & Gold can no more fill the spirit of man then grace can fill his purse. Eliab looked more like a King then David in the eyes of Samuel, yet David was elected and Eliab refused. 1. Sam. 16. v. 6.7. And that which is highly esteemed amongst men is abomination in the sight of God, Luke 16.15 How doth the face and outward splendor of the Romish Church prevaie with carnall minds? How many owe their Religion more to education then to the Scripture, and are rather born in good opinions then chuse them? veritas & veritas was never out of the mouth of the Manichees, when they spak those things which were most false▪ and their ma∣ny and great books were full of the Name of Truth when their hearts were emptie of the Nature.* Look upon those vast and Giantlike Volumes of Baronius, Vasquez, Suarez, and many o∣thers of that Ignatian Order: how are they composed with Iudg∣ment, strengthened with reason, confirmed with antiquitie? what tongue do they not speak, what art do they not know, what san∣ctitie do they not professe? And if you desire to understand what Policie they use to establish the Kingdom of darknesse, to en∣deere their name and credit to the world, I refer you to three books, the one intituled Arcana Jesutarum, the other, Mysteria Jesuitarum, the third Historia Jesuitarum. Proceed a little futher and take notice of those lesser, but no lesse pernicious works of Socinus, Volkelius, and some other pettie primer tracts of their ad∣herents: their rationall discourss would invite and feast any man who is not nourished with Grace and disciplin'd by Scripture, their smooth and insinuating language would deceive if it were possible the very Elect: So that if we should judge our cause and Religion by the face and eye of man, if Bulke or Policie or ex∣ternall glory were the only arguments of Truth, and characters of the Gospell, our state were desperate, and as the Apostle speaks in another case, we were of all men most miserable.

Saint Chrysostome in his third Hom. on the 1 to the Cor. compar∣ing Page  17Paul and Plato together prefers the Heathen before the A∣postle in point of reason and in the knowledge of Nature,* not∣withstanding gives the victory to Saint Paul and lays the Philo∣sopher in the dust. And I beleeve if we examine the whole Cata∣logue of Martyrs, and take an exact view of those good soules who did put on the whole armour of God, & have wrestled with the rulers of darknesse,* and spirituall wickednesse we shall find the unlearned but religious tradsemen professing Christ, and enter∣taining death when the Scribe and disputer have renounced their faith, and forsook their colours, we shall find the wisdom of the wise destroyd and sillie women and children putting their hands into those flames which the Doctors refused. An Ignorant laick at the Councell of Nice confounded and nonplust many Scholers. And how many of Christs Apostles were fisher-men, learned only in goodnesse, & better read in sinceritie then books? what can be more plaine then that of Saint Paul, not many wise men after the flesh, not many mightie, not many noble are called. And Saint Chrysostome will give us the reason, because the great, and studied Scholler blessing himself for the most part in the proud swellings of his deepe learning, stands upon his own strength and excellency, and will do nothing without a reason: when the illitterate Countryman, the poore snake abhors himself, is contemptible in his own eyes, and with all humilitie and fear casts himself down at the Almighties feet.* Saint Paul goes fur∣ther, and tells us that the wisdom of the flesh is death, is emnitie against God, neither is or can be subject to the Law of God.*Rom. 8. All which is to be understood of wisdom and knowledge so long as they continue carnall, carried away with pride, and self-sufficiencie; For we must know that many of Gods dearest chil∣dren have been and still are as able schollers, as glorious lights, and as eminent in every outward excellency as any in the world; who ever more eloquent then Esay? more profound then Saint Paul? more renowned for all learning then Moses and Salomon? wisdom and knowledge, are happy instruments of salvation when they are guided by truth and steered by Religion, they are great vertues in themselves, and if there were no other world but this, I would Page  18 account my study, my heaven, and my books everlasting life, but when the text tells me 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 not many wise: when Philosophie teacheth corruptio Optimi est pessima, when experience sheweth no wickednesse to the wickednesse of a Scholler, I must conclude that Piety is the greatest Policie, and the best Christian, the wisest Man.