A SERMON Preached upon the Gowry Conspiracy BEFORE KING JAMES.
PSAL. xli. 9.
Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lift up his heel against me.
THere is one way, says Plutarch in Demetrius, to make the whole world the better, one course to be taken to put shame into all mens faces that they dare not sin. It is but thus, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not to suffer the acts of evil men to pass unre∣gistred, let their names be known, and their deeds set forth in black colours, that they who could find pleasure in a sinful life, may be discouraged by an infamous memory. Cum de malo Principe posteri tacent, manifestum est eadem facere praesentem, says Pliny; It holds not only in Princes, but in the manners of all men. When we dare not speak of the vices of other men, it is a sign they are rise among ourselves. Can we then pass over this high and unsufferable wrong done to an innocent per∣son in my Text? Such a complaint as can hardly be match'd in all the Scripture. For say that one friend hath parted from another, as Demas lest St. Paul; or that Ziba being trusted did fail Mephibosheth; or that Jobs acquaintance, whom he fed with his Morsels, did shun him in the days of his sorrow; yet for all these crimes to meet in one man, disloyalty against friendship, treachery against trust, ingra∣titude against daily benefits, this is strange, quod nulla posteritas probet sed nulla taceat, fit to be blazon'd, that for infamies sake the most prostigate may fear to do the like. This is my Scope, there is the Center where I will fix the foot of my Compass, and whatsoever I do add more is the Circle drawn about it.
In the days of King Davids persecution, you would think the Text were sit for none but him. Expositors indeed are not all of one mind to say who it is that is pointed out for this disloyal enemy. Perchance his ungracious Son Absolon, an un∣timely Usurper; perchance Joab the Captain of his Host, trusted with the com∣mand of all his Forces, and yet complotting with Adonijah to supplant Solomon against the Fathers affection. But most likely, and you shall hear at this time of no other, it was the great States-man Achitophel, admitted into the secrets of his bo∣some, and rewarded with the best honours of his Court, even he, his own familiar friend, in whom he trusted, which did eat of his bread, did lift up his heel against him. In the Page 732 days of our Saviours humiliation the Text doth so fit his turn, and that St. John saw in the thirteenth of his Gospel, and did so apply it, that at the first blush you will say it doth directly serve to express his pittiful case, and the wickedness of Judas who did betray his Master. Judas that followed him when he had no where to lay his head, and could a friend do more? Judas that dispensed his Alms to the poor, sure∣ly the greatest trust that could be laid upon any servant by so charitable a Lord; Judas his guest at all times, and more especially a partaker of his Last Supper, take him with all these titles, and yet did he lift up his heel against his Master. One in∣terpretation more of this Text is revealed in this our Age. And it is verified in application to none so fitly as to our most renowned Soveraign in the happy and suc∣cessful deliverance, which God gave unto him this day against his enemies; his Companion in recreations, his confederate in counsels, of the same unanimity of Religion, that had broke the same bread at the Communion Table did rise up against the Lords Anointed. But he that lifted up his heel was supplanted himself and cast down, praised be God for evermore.
You see here are three examples of Traitors, so notorious, that we who live may almost be ashamed of Mankind: and there are three examples of them who suffered so innocently, that we may be proud there were men so good to endure it. Wherefore I will draw my discourse into such a method that neither Achitophel may be forgotten that wronged King David, nor Judas omitted that betrayed his Ma∣ster, nor those wicked Imps let alone in silence whom this day bath made notori∣ous to Generations. Achitophels treachery hath the precedency in time, and therefore it shall be handled in the first part, in whom you shall see three things: 1. How odious it is to violate friendship, yea, mine own familiar friend. 2. How hateful it is to wrong the trust reposed in us, My friend in whom I trusted. 3. How impious it is to forget the benefits we have received, to spurn against him that seeds us, He that ate of my bread hath lift up his heel against me. Judas his Apostacy is the second part of my Text, and in him let Hereticks discern, how grievous it is to wound their Saviour whom they have served, and let our Runnagates to Rome and Rhemes consider what a lamentable backsliding it is to leave the sincere Altar whereon they have eaten the body of Christ and drank his bloud. I would our own Island had not brought forth such men as make up the third part of my Text, in whose desperate attempt you shall see how the best alive are not only like to spill their good turns upon barren sands, but also to lose their life, their country, their liberty, even where they had cause to look for nothing but due homage and fideli∣ty. An first attend unto Davids complaint, &c.
Yea, mine own familiar friend; no vertue wins affection to it sooner than humility, and behold we have it here in the lowest degree; for David doth not reach out his Scepter, to keep his Servant at a distance, but draws him near unto his breast, and calls him the friend of David. The Shepherds in Sophocles complained of their Sheep, that although they held their Sheephooks over them as if they did com∣mand, yet in truth they did but wait upon the Flocks, and were their servants, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. So if we do truly examine it, it is the misery of all greatness; they that sit in the highest place as our Governours do perform more good offices for our use than if they were our servants; yet for the maintenance of Authority, and to keep Inferiours in awe of their power, they seldom stoop so low as David doth, Yea, mine own familiar friend.
A tyrannous insultation over servants is out of practice for the most part in our Kingdom, let it be censured at large among them whose insolency deserves it; their scourgings and tortures did but breed this Proverb amongst the Romans, So ma∣ny Servants so many enemies. An id Dominis parum est quod Deo satis est? Is not that sufficient for man which will content God? If obedience and good endeavour doth suffice the Lord, shall man be unsatisfied with his Servants diligence? Servi sunt? Imò humiles amici, non ministeriis sed moribus estimandi, says Seneca. Look not upon our families as upon men under the yoke, but as upon friends that profess lowliness, respecting rather the good disposition of their mind than the condition of their place. So David moderated his Court rather like a Society than a Kingdom; that as Plutarch said of the Syracusians being besieged, every man was more sollicitous for the safety of their Captain Dion than for their own escape, so in Davids afflicti∣on the whole Court mourned rather for his misery than their own, only the perni∣cious head of Achitophel revolted being his familiar friend.
〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, says Sophocles, a faithless friend is the so a rest bile that Page 733 can be toucht. Methinks as Jonathan laid aside his bow and arrows approaching to embrace David, so the name of friend should disarm the heart of man, that no in∣strument of malice should be left to give offence: It is like Gods Rainbow in the clouds, a sure token of reconcilement and preservation: it is the uniting of more souls in one, like the Rod of Moses, and the Rod of the Egyptians which were united into one Rod, Exod. 7. that as Joseph said of Pharaohs dreams, the dreams are two, but the interpretation is but one; so among friends the hearts are two, yet there is but one joy, one desire, and but one affection between them both. O what an accursed crime it is to cancel such a Bond, much more to falsifie and corrupt it? more unnatural than to divide one living Child into two dead parts like the un∣compassionate Harlot. St. Basil did so cleave to the familiarity of holy Nazianzen, whom he called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or his necessary friend, that he thought not his knowledg solid, or his study profitable, or the day-light to be clear without him. Zenophon was so enflamed with the love of Proxenus, dear to him as his own soul, that he changed his bookish life, and entred into a dangerous war, as he confesseth, that he might follow him as the shadow did the body.
Perfect Lawgivers, says Aristotle, have had more careful regard to settle friend∣ship in their polities, than to settle justice; for there is a recompence and satisfa∣ction for any fault that infringeth justice, put it is past our value and exceeds all estimation how to salve up an injury which abuseth friendship: besides there is prevention in all points of justice that an innocent may sustein no hurt, but the wounds of a false friend, how is it possible to avoid them? such an Achitophel is like hot iron taken out of the fire which neither gloes nor shines, but burns more vio∣lently than the flame that threatens. We have a Test to try gold says Euripides, a Touchstone to betray deceit in counterfeit mettals, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: but to know the mischief of a dissemblers heart, there's no mark or character to discern it: Moreover every man hath a share in his whole friend, in all his estate and faculties, but every single man hath but his part in that Common-wealth whereof he is a Citizen: then reason within your selves, can he that wrongs a friend, who is all and every whit his own, be true to that Kingdom wherein he hath but a share and moiety? As the Poet warn'd the Spar∣row not to build a nest in Medaeas Statue, for she spar'd not to kill her own young ones, and could the little birds, who were but Inmates, expect succour from her? so believe him not that he will be just to others, who was unjust to his other self: Let him be rooted out, let him be cut off like unprofitable Ivy that undermines the building upon which it creeps.
It is a solid reason in School Divinity, why Devils cannot inflict a corporal tor∣ture upon the Sons of men without some especial commission for the fact, because since immaterial spirits are always about our paths, and as near unto us as our garment unto our flesh, although they cannot be discerned, it might tend to our unavoidable destruction, if inability did not check their malice: It were well for us if a false friend had not more advantage against our life and safety than the Devil; his access unto us is as free as Satans, his mischievous intentions as little discerned: here is the difference, the Devil can hurt you but by fits, but a fair-tongu'd Hypocrite at all times. As David kill'd Goliah with no rugged stone, but with a smooth peble out of the brook, and when the Army of the Philistins could not prevail the embracements of Dalilah confounded Sampson: It is not the Majesty of Eglon that can save him, if Ehud come with ave rex, and courteous salutations. Abner is but a dead man if Joab encroach with ah my brother, and embrace him. Pope Sixtus Quintus, second to no man to make an Orator for the Devil, was much mista∣ken in the Consistory, when extolling the Parricidious Frier, who slew Henry the Third of France, made it a wonder that so mean a person in the form of a Petitio∣ner, should pass all the Kings Guard, and without resistance, execute that execrable treason. Quite otherwise say I, had he come armed, and reviled the King, and professed defiance, then it had been strange if the Guard had not cut him short, and defended their Soveraign: but in the habit of an humble Subject that bowed unto his King, in the form of a Beads-man that came praying in the shape of a supplicant that sued for justice, was this such a wonder that so Vile a Fox should strike the stroke? nay David knew that evil could not be avoided, when his own familiar friend did lift up his heel against him.
Such friends as Achitophel was our unworthy Age is packt with, great observers in the time of our dignity, devoted to our good fortunes, shadows of our prospe∣rity: Page 734 but if Absalon the Usurper thrive, then they shrink like Sheba, we have no part in David, they are gone like the fishes in the small Rivers that come up into the Brooks at full tide, and return into the Sea at ebbing waters: Fugiunt amici cum pro∣bari debuerint, says Seneca, 'tis a hard case, friendship is but a mere name before di∣stress come to try it what it is, and when you come to catch hold of the succour of faithless men, you grasp water: and the rule is infallible, cui placet pretium in ami∣citiâ, placebit pretium contra amicitiam, they that love to taste some benefit in their friendship, may be induc'd to like a benefit so well as to betray friendship to ob∣tain it. Aelian and some other such scatter-stories as himself, do make more reports of Dogs and Elephants, of Birds and Horses, and some other unreasonable crea∣tures, that they did either compassionate or relieve, if they were able, the miseries of those Masters whom they had long attended, than of reasonable men What? have we lost both nature and good nurture, and have the beasts found it? This made the Prophet complain, Psal. xii. They speak vanity to their neighbour, and flatter with their double heart. This made Obadiah tell Hierusalem, that the men of her peace, and those that eat of her bread deceived her. This made Jeremy advise the Jews, Jer. 9. Take ye heed every one of his Neighbour, and trust not in a Brother, for every Brother will utterly supplant. This made our Saviour protest that a mans Enemies were those of his own House; this made King David decipher Achitophel in my Text, Yea mine own, &c.
Secondly, I proceed to consider in this complaint, how hateful a thing it is to wrong the trust which is reposed in us; My friend in whom I trusted. I cannot but break out abruptly with the Psalmist, I have hated the sins of unfaithfulness, and as the old Patriarch said of his Sons Simeon and Levi, that drew from the Sichemites the holy bloud of Circumcision, that they might the sooner spill their lifes bloud upon the ground, O my soul come not thou into their secret, into their assembly mine honour be not thou united. Let us instance in some points of trust. To betray a secret is fit for none but Doeg the Edomite, a Beast set to keep the Beasts of Saul. The Lacedaemonians sit∣ting in counsel had a Ceremony to charm their doors, as if no secret should get out of that circle, and Alexander says Plutarch was wont to set his Seal upon their lips, to whom he had committed his affairs of trust. Tertullian reports of the fi∣delity of an Athenian Woman, who was made privy to the counsels of Harmodius and Aristogiton, and being brought before a Tyrant that urged confession from her, rather than she would do it she spat her tongue in his face.
In matters of greater trust, if greater may be than silence, the old Roman Laws urged men to perform such faithfulness, that an orphan Child committed to the pupillage of a friend lay upon his charge to look unto it next to his own Pa∣rents, next to the Orphan the Client that had committed his Cause to his Patrons protection was to be respected, and both these before their own Brethren. Gellius abounds with testimonies to prove it, primum locum juxta parentes tenere pupillos, pro∣ximum locum clientes, says the Author. And the Poet Virgil in the detestation of that wicked Guardian which slue young Polydor for his Portions sake, makes the very trees to drop bloud that grew in the place where the child was buried. Did I say before, that Simeon and Levi broke fealty with the Sichemites? Did they deal any better with their own Father? Jacob put two things into their charge, his Flocks and their Brother Joseph: 'tis true, they did tend their Flocks, but you know their usage to their Brother. O ye fools, says St. Basil, if dreams be vain, why do you vex him for a dreams sake; if dreams be true and infallible, why do you think to thwart and hinder the Divine Providence.
If infidelity did only breed an ill opinion in that one disloyal party which commits it, the matter were not great; but for one Achitophels sake jealousies, evil suspici∣ons, wrong surmises are counted the wise mans character in this subtle generation. Epicharmus his saying went current with Tully for a most sage dictate 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: 'tis the very strength and sinews of prudence to di∣strust and be circumspectious. Thus Sycophants and Impostors have changed the face of the world, and the innocency of the Dove is nothing so much respected as the wiliness of the Serpent. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; let them that dare trust that man who is too much mistrustful. Have you been deceived? says St. Ambrose, do not dislike your self for that. So was our Saviour in his Apostle Judas, ut nemo aegre ferat erasse judicium, pertisse beneficium: and I see no reason, why he that is a wise man should seem a fool, because he that seemed an honest man is proved a knave. Simo∣nides was conceited of the Thessalians that no man could over-reach them, but did Page 735 he commend them for this? Take his reason with you, and you will say no. Sto∣lidiores esse quàm ut possint decipi. They were such gross Idiots, that no man knew their disposition how to practise upon them. I did ever think meanly of the wits of Sy∣cophants; all the glory that they reap is this, the Impostor had no faith, and he that trusted in such men had too much charity.
If the portion of the Fatherless be made over to thy custody, remember old To∣bies friend Gabael of Media, who delivered up to Tobias the Talents sealed. In the cause of the distressed Client be as trusty as Solomon was to the Harlot, and let her have her own. If thou hast betroathed a Virgin, remember what Jacob endured, with what constancy he persevered in the love of Rachel. Lastly, There is not a greater trust in the world, than to be deputed a shepherd over the flock of Christ. O be faithful and vigilant, break the bread of life which Christ hath bequeathed. But if the Portions of Orphans cleave fast to your hands, how can you hold them up to that Saviour, who committed himself to Josephs trust when he was a Babe, and was not deceived? If the cause of an abused Client rattle in your mouth, how can you plead for mercy to him, who did plead so well for the woman taken in Adultery, and she was acquitted? If the faith of some poor betroathed Virgin, whom you have wronged, cry for vengeance, how can Christ, the faithful Spouse of the Church, attend to your supplication? If your poor Lambs pine for want of milk, how shall the great shepherd Christ Jesus afford you the comfort of one drop of water? O the sobs of Orphans, the cursings of Clients, the tears of abused Vir∣gins, the bleatings of your Flocks, the revealing of secrets. Arcanique fides prodiga perlucidior vitro; and this Psalm of David against Achitophel his false Counsellor will ring over heaven, and cause judgment to fall down upon such who lifted up their heel against them that trusted too much to their slippery infidelity. Yea mine own familiar, &c.
Now the third complaint is sorest, he that did eat of my bread, Magnificavit do∣lum, did exalt mischief against me. It hath been said in scorn of the Epicure, that the palate of his mouth was more sensible than his heart, it is well that somewhat would please him. But Achitophel had neither feeling of Davids true love in his heart, nor any taste of his benefits in his mouth, friendship and food were both lost upon him, Comedebat panes, and yet he is his enemy. As in the overflowings of Nilus the corn fields are the better, and the fatter for it, but Serpents and Vermine grow out of the fruitfulness: So the overflowing of benefits begets nothing in an ill disposition but Worms and Cankers: 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, says St. Bazil. Not a Cur so fierce but will fawn upon you, and lick your hands if you feed him; Birds are not so wild but by giving a little meat unto them, in time they may be brought to pick up crums at your Table; what a brutish thing is ingratitude, that the beasts may be won with that which would not win Achitophel? Nay, there are such, says the Father, that you lose them when you bestow kindness upon them, and envy will repine that you have ability to supply their wants. Jupiter hospitibus num te dare jura loquuntur, &c. The Table of hospitality was ever accounted a sa∣cred thing. And St. Austin thinks that Christ did reveal himself to Cleophas and the other Disciple in breaking of bread, rather than in any other sign, because they offered him part of their own entertainment at Emmaus. And Salt was a Symbol of friendship among the Heathen, because feeding at the same board was an uniter of affections and amity. The Greek Proverb makes it the basest kind of love, to have the relish of a Parasite in a mans mouth, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. to love no longer than we are fed. But here is a canker worm that devours the sap of the tree that feeds him, like unnurtured beggars, served plentifully at rich mens doors, and yet take advantage how they may break in and rob the house where they were relieved.
You may as soon reduce the babling of a mad man to reason as to take any mea∣sure of this vice of ingratitude. Can you search the depth of that which hath no bot∣tom? It is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a Sive or Colender which contains nothing that you pour into it. It is gone like the wind which passeth by our ear, and you shall hear of it no more. Take the great instance from him whose case was most pitiful. Why was our Saviour put to death? For envy. Why was he envied? For his good Works. What good Works had he done? He fed the hungry, and this bountiful Lord hath Gall and Vinegar presented to him. He raised the dead, divers of their own Nation, and yet the giver of life is put to death; Devils were cast out of ano∣ther, and the cleanser of the house is defiled vvith spittle. Can any reason be Page 736 given for this? We may say indeed, as one did, to our own shame, that there are a sort of men, Divites aliorum jacturis, immortales funeribus; such as are rich by other mens losses, and immortal by other mens funerals: but what reason can we yield for that? none at all. It is a sin without a bottom, and therefore it hath the grea∣ter affinity with Hell and damnation.
I have thought it one of the Devils principal projects, that since the story of the Athenian and Roman Commonwealths were the most likely to be turned over and perused, you shall not pass the Annals of five years but some memorable example of ingratitude will cross your way. In Athens it was malum epidemicum; their all de∣serving Miltiades, Cimon, Aristides, Themistocles, discarded, disgraced, imprisoned, a City full of severe Laws against ingratitude, Sed moribus suis quam legibus uti malu∣erunt, full of opposite practice to the Laws. In the Roman Polity Camillus, Africa∣nus, Scipio, Manlius, many more either dethroned from dignity, deprived of life, or banisht their Country; wherefore Africanus spat in their face again, when dying in exile he did appoint this Epitaph for his Tomb, Ingrata Patria, ne ossa quidem mea habes; he did not bequeath so much as his bones to his ingrateful Country. These are the Devils Land-marks to guide after Ages by such disloyal presidents; we want not history then to pattern this vice by example, but if you ask for reason, as I said before, it is deeper than the Sea, and you cannot sound the bottom. Unless this may give a little satisfaction to the curious, that the flower of vertue hath been always untimely cropt in Popular Government, when the multitude are more prone to darken glorious deeds with envy than to make them famous by reward. And I could never find in my reading, that a deserving person found a due recom∣pence in any State but by the bounty of a Monarch. And therefore it is a thou∣sand pities, that our 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, our Kings and Princes, that appoint prizes to them that best behave themselves in the Combate, that they should light upon ungrate∣ful Courtiers, like Davids undermining Achitophel, his familiar friend, that eat of his breads &c.
I hope the truly noble and magnificent mind will say to this, Non nova mî rerum facies inopinave surgit; that he full well knew and foresaw he must lose many good turns when he bestowed them among men. Est tanti ut gratum invenias experiri vel ingratos, says Seneca; One thankful man is so precious a jewel, if you find him out, that it will quit cost to try twenty that are unthankful. Shall a good man lose the employment of his bounty because evil men have forgot the retribution of grati∣tude? God forbid. Shew me an Usurer that hath broke up trade for being cast be∣hind by one bankrupt; Shew me a Seafaring man that leaves to traffick for one losing voyage. Post malam segetem serendum. You cannot shew the man that will hold his hand from the seed hereafter, because one crop did not answer expectation. Nay, I had rather preach, that there was never more than one covetous Judas in the Church, who loved thirty pieces of silver better than a thousand blessings of his gracious Lord. I had rather perswade you, there was never more than one project∣ing Achitophel, who would contrive subtilties against David, who advanced him to the highest honour of his counsel; I will say that there is no mouth but doth bless him that feeds it, no needy soul but doth pray for him that relieves it, rather than discou∣rage the liberal Benefactors, & weaken the hands of them whose hearts are enlarged to help the poor with their plenteousness. Again, the truly charitable delights in his own good deed, because it is given and bestowed, not because it is returned. The glory of the Roman Commonwealth, says M. Antony in Plutarch, appears not by the rich tributes they receive, but by the chargeable succours which they afford to their distressed Confederates, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Lastly, If you shut up your compassion against all men, because a few unthankful have put up your kindness in the dark, taking no notice of your hand that gave it, you commit not only rigour, but great injustice, to punish more than have offended.
As for him that rewards evil for good leave him to God to receive his judgment. Serpents can bear poison to envenom others, which doth not harm themselves, but the venom of the malicious shall be his own bane. The Viper dropt into the fire which hung upon St. Pauls hand, Acts xxviii. as if it had taken punishment of it own self, Quod nihil ad se attinens corpus attigisset, because it light upon a body which it should not have assaulted; but Achitophel, not so conscionable as this Viper, whom it irkt to have toucht the Saint of God, broke his own neck for madness, be∣cause he could not supplant David. When Scevola ran his Weapon at King Porsenna, but missed his mark; the good King intreated him so courteously, that he made Page 737 his enemy to say, Ego fortunae non succenseo quòd à bono viro aberraverim; I am not an∣gry at Fortune which turn'd away my Sword from so good a man: But this Politici∣an in my Text had not the grace to rejoyce and be glad that his Lord and King did escape his pernicious stratagem; but, ambitious of nothing but to seem wise, dispo∣seth his house in a prudent order and hangs himself. And because I cannot leave such a miscreant in a better place, here ends my treatise of Achitophel, of Davids complaint, and the first part of this exercise, Yea mine, &c.
And as Achitophel left himself hanging between heaven and earth for all men to gaze upon, so likewise hath Judas in the second part of the Text. I am now come from the complotting Statesman to the Apostaticall Churchman; from him that dealt perfidiously with David, to him that was the traitor against Davids Lord, The Lord said unto my Lord, Psal. cx. Corruptio optimi est pessima. That which is sweetest, when it is corrupted is most unsavoury; and by how much an Apostle of Christ was an office of more sanctity and faith than a Counsellour of King David, by so much the corruption of Judas is more soul than the corruption of Achitophel. To be called the Friend of his Creator, to be trusted by him who was the wisdom of the Father: to eat of the Paschal Lamb with him who was the Lamb of God, and yet to be the man that did ensnare his life, methinks the Devil did not enter into Judas, but Judas was more likely to enter and possess the Devil. Of every branch let me speak a little, as I did in the former complaint, Yea mine own familiar friend.
Origen was so astonied to see Judas have this honourable compellation, that he would make us believe in his 35. Hom. upon St. Matthew, that no good man is so called in the Scripture; Friend how camest thou hither not having a wedding garment? he was bad: to him that grudg'd that he received but one peny in the Parable, Friend I do thee no wrong, take that which is thine own and depart, he was stark naught. But Ori∣gen did not remember that Abraham was called the friend of God, or that the Lord talked with Moses as one doth with his Friend, or that John Baptist was called the Friend of the Bridegroom, for the honour of these Saints be it spoken, it is strange that Judas should be stiled his own familiar friend. But such reasons as I have pickt up I will briefly lay down before you.
1. Judas did bear himself as the friend of Christ, like a false dissembler. I will in∣stance only in that profane kiss, a sign unto those that should lead him bound unto Caiaphas. Why did not the Traitor say, him whom you shall see chiding and repro∣ving me, him that spits upon me, and accurseth me; no, he trusted too much to the lenity and gentleness of his Lord, therefore him whom you see me kiss hold him fast. St. Chrysostome knows not which he should blame most, whether the High Priests, for sending their Servants with swords and staves, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a sweet muster for Priests to make says the Father, I would the High Priest of Italy would mark it; or whether Judas that came to betray his Master with a kiss. If thou wert not ashamed of the fact, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is it possible thou shouldst not be ashamed to give thy accomplices such a token? But out of that mouth, which had bargained for the wages of iniquity, nothing could come from those lips but a sign of mischief. O let no false Brother be encouraged, that the Son of God did not detest the kiss of an hypocrite, Non ut simulare nos doceat, sed ne proditionem fugere vi∣deatur. It was not to embrace a false friend, but he would not thrust him back, lest he should seem to decline and avoid his Passion. Would you not think, but as Eli∣sha put life into the Shunamites Child by laying mouth to mouth, so Judas much more might have received life by laying his mouth to our Saviours? Had it not been pro∣bable, that since the woman was cured of her bloudy issue by touching the Hem of his Garment, much more Judas should be cured of a bloudy heart by this royal fa∣vour? No, beloved, they are not the lips that kiss him, nor the womb that bare him, nor the paps that gave him suck, that make any one happy, but a heart without guile, and love unfained. Small comfort it is to Judas, that upon this outward sign of courtesie he is called his own familiar friend.
Secondly, Judas doth pass current with this mighty name because Christ did use him as a friend. Bad as he was, the Spirit of God is not ashamed to call him one of the Twelve, Ne tam exiguus numerus esset sine malo, says St. Austin; that we may see how corrupt the world is, since in so small a flock there is a Wolf in sheeps cloath∣ing. The time will give me leave to make but one instance of our Saviours good offices unto Judas, and that is the washing of his feet. Nay, Lorinus tells it as a received tradition of the Church, that among all the Disciples Judas was the first whose feet our Saviour washed, to satisfie his aspiring ambition. Sed quod lavit gra∣tia Page 738 inquinavit perfidia, says St. Ambrose; Grace would have wash'd him clean, but that perfidiousness stain'd him like a Blackamore. And could Judas lift up his heel against him, whose precious hands had wash'd those heels in all humility? Like Sciron the murderer, who placed his Throne by the Cliffs of the Sea, and constrai∣ned Passengers to kiss his feet, whom he spurned down the Rocks, and broke their necks. Could those feet be swift to shed bloud? Could they find the way into the High Priests Hall after they had been bathed and wiped with the hands of a mighty Prince, which notwithstanding cast themselves under the Traitors feet? What could the mighty God do more, than to draw poor dust and ashes to him with this title, Yea, mine own familiar friend?
Thirdly and lastly, the name of friend is not pluckt away from Judas, because Christ stretched out his arms, and was ready to receive him into friendship if he had repented. Whither doth this lost man run with his thirty pieces of Silver? Is there not an High Priest to go to greater than all the Priests in Jerusalem, that he runs to Caiaphas to cast them before him in desperation? As Tacitus said of Claudius Apolli∣naris, a vain inconstant man, Neque fidei constans erat, neque constans in perfidiâ; so Judas knew neither how to be faithful to Christ, nor how to behave himself when he was treacherous. When he had trained a Plot to betray his Lord, he knows not how to make amends to renounce the treachery. Had he but stood and wept among the Daughters of Jerusalem, or ran to Golgotha to learn repentance from the con∣verted thief, then surely he that bore the iniquities of all the world upon his Cross would have felt no more burden, if he had carried the sin of Judas. And so much for the last reason, because our Saviour is ready to be reconciled to every contrite man, therefore he did expect this fruit from Judas, and calls him his own familiar friend.
I proceed to the next branch of his crime, He whom I trusted did lift up his heel against me. But because our Saviour knew before what was in man, or in the heart of man, it must stand as a question to be debated, why he would lay himself so low as this humility, to trust in Judas?
1. Bucer comparing this place of the Psalmist with the same as it is cited, Joh. xiii. 8. finds these words to be left out in St. John, the man in whom I trusted, and so re∣jecting Judas as never worthy of our Saviours trust, applies himself to give no answer.
2. Leo and Euthymius varying from some stories, which cast infamy upon Judas, that he slew his Father, and was incestuous with his Mother, to the end that he might honour our Saviours choice in the twelve Apostles, inclines to that opinion, that Judas was once good, and worthy of our Saviours trust. Yea, Theophylact is wil∣ling so far to excuse the Traitor, as if he did not sell his Master, thinking to bring him to the death of the Cross, but having had experience, both at the brow of the hill, when the people would have cast him down, and likewise when he escaped stoning in the Temple, by passing away in form invisible, how it was in his power to delude his enemies, I say Theophylact conceits of Judas, that he did expect Christ would now have acquitted himself from the judgment of Pilate. Beloved, this is my rule; Where men cite conjecture, and not reason, it is free to gainsay or in∣cline to their authority: But where the Scripture gives up a spark, it is enough for us to light a Candle by. Now says Christ, very early after he had chosen his Apostles, John vi. Have I not chosen you Twelve, and one of you is a Devil? This me∣thinks disables Euthymius his opinion, and from the beginning there was no grace in Judas.
3. The common current of Expositors confine the trust which this man had to the credit which was given him to bear our Saviours Purse of Alms and Charity. What they say cannot be disallowed as improbable; yet it seems Christ put little trust in such an officer, for when a payment was to be made of Tribute unto Caesar, the money was borrowed of a Fish, and laid in the hand of his true Apostle St. Peter to disburse it.
4. This is the construction of the Gloss, Christ had that eye of trial over all things, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and therefore it could not be verified in him, that he put any confidence in so ungracious a practiser. Sed membra crediderunt. As Christ was persecuted in the person of the Church, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? So he trusted in Judas in the person of the Church, which did whilom believe in him for a true Apostle. Yea, Leo tells it with as much confidence as if he had seen it, that no Apostle did cure more diseases, or cast out more Devils than Judas; and he passeth Page 739 in old stories for no indiligent Preacher. O how often do such false Teachers enter in passing for Seeds-men, and sowing Darnel in the field. So that the Church may say of such Labourers, Yea, mine own, &c.
5. St. Ambrose his judgment shall be the close of these opinions, and, as I conceive, it carries weight, Periclitari maluit judicium suum Christus quàm affectum; Christ had ra∣ther we should conceive hardly of his judgment than to think he is not of the same affections with us. He had undertaken our frailty, and would shew it in this part of his humility. He that hungred could have contented nature without meat; he that slept in the Ship could have satisfied nature without a slumber; he that is more inward to our heart than our own selves could have displayed the secrets of Judas openly: yet it did please him otherwise, to shew his agreement in civil commerce with the frailties of men. St. Chrysostom, preaching upon St. Paul being struck blind from heaven, hath this Moral upon it, Nemo meliùs videt quàm qui caecuttit; No man sees better than he that hath been once blind: According to which I say, No man is more prudent than he that hath been once deceived. Therefore that we may patiently suffer our judgment sometimes to be abused, our Saviour put himself in the way to be a mirrour of that humility, And his own familiar, &c.
He that did eat of my bread: Here is another Article to fill up the measure of Judas his Enditement. What, another obligation? And yet betray his Lord? I am ashamed to say there is so much iniquity in the nature of man: But it is too true, that a small kindness, as it will work no good, so it will work no hurt upon the worst men, whereas a multitude of benefits provokes ingratitude to hate the Au∣thor. Beneficia eo usque laeta sunt dum videntur exolvi posse, says Tacitus; That which may be repaid is well accepted of, but some are so devillish, that instead of good will, they return hatred, when they know they must die ingrateful. So did this false Apostle, who, not contented to be an under confederate, was Dux eorum, says St. Peter, Acts i. 16. the Ringleader, the Captain of them that took Jesus.〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, says my Text, He did lift up and exalt his power; Magnificavit dolum, says the Chaldee Paraphrase. He did advance his treachery, not like Dan, An Adder in the path lurking to bite the horse heels, to make the rider fall backward, Gen. xlix. 17. no such lurking Ad∣der, but as a flying Serpent, magnificavit dolum, he lift up his heel, he triumphed in his ungodliness. And yet will you know what interest he had in his Masters favour? Comedebat panes meos, he did eat of my bread.
If we follow the interpretation of the Gloss, it is to be understood de buccellâ quam intinxerat Iesus, of the sop which was dipt, and given into his hands with this re∣proach, To whom I give the sop he shall betray me, John xiii. 26. If we follow Cassiodor, he says this bread is Doctrina in quâ spiritualiter epulamur, Christs continual preaching and instruction, which is the food of the soul. So David, repeating my Text in a Paraphrase, p. 55. turns it thus, We took sweet counsel together, there was the trust; and walked in the house of God as friends, there was the bread which was eaten. But if we follow St. Hierom, and a list of Worthies after him, it is to be understood of the blessed Sacrament. Say it were the Sop, and did you ever hear of a Conscience so feared up? That durst be treacherous when he was branded with the suspicion, Tu es homo, Thou art the man. Say it were the preaching of the Word, and what Adder would have stopt his ears except this Serpent? When that voice charm'd him so often, at which the Angels are astonished, and hide their faces. Say it were the bread of the Celestial Communion, and how stubborn was this unbeliever that could not relish how precious the body of Christ was before he did betray it.
Beloved, I would that Judas were to be blamed alone. But if we could consider what things the Lord hath done for our peace; who is he among us all that hath not had his •op, that is, some particular token, some especial means, Gods hand reaching out a good occasion unto us as well as unto Judas? We have not the lively voice of the very Oracle, but we have the Letter of the very Oracle, and the true Prophets of the very Oracle, reading the Law in the Congregation, expounding faith and good works from the Pulpit, giving to you all 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the portion of your food. And we cannot say but there is a Pot of Manna in the Ark; the holy Supper pro∣vided at solemn Feasts, heavenly meat dispensed in due season, whereof we have been partakers. Now if after particular warning, a token best known to every mans conscience, if after the Word preach'd, if after the Sacrament of Christs own body, we wax stubborn and rebellious, as David charged Achitophel, as Christ impeached Judas, so will God endite thee, Yea mine, &c.
Page 740Had I not read of the poysoning of an Emperour with the Cup of the Eucharist, and of a suspicion that a Pope was made away with the consecrated Host, I should have thought that none had come to the Communion Table with a murderous heart, but only Judas. But now I have considered, that to enter into conspiracies with the Sacrament set before them, is as solemnly kept, and as usual with the Jesuits, as to tune Instruments before Musick. I can give an instance for what I say in that exe∣crable Powder Plot; they that have transubstantiated the Wine into bloud, and the Cake into raw flesh, are fed for nothing but to prey upon the flesh of their ene∣mies, like Diomedes horses, and to drink their bloud. Tam bibit hoc avidè, quàm bibit ante merum. They are not beholding to the Devil for his temptation, Mat. iv. To turn stones into bread. Let the Devil rather be beholding to them, and learn how to turn bread into stone, and brain there our familiars. Melchisedech brought forth bread and wine for Abraham after the slaughter of his enemies, if you would mo∣ralize it, after the mortification of his sins; but was ever such an holy Table spread to furnish any man to go out to battel to kill his Friends and Confederates? I have not many words to speak against this violent sin, the extinguisher of all grace, and the shame of nature; but I will speak home. Whosoever frequents this Supper, and beats out Plots upon this Table as upon the Anvile of malice, like Judas, like the Jesuits, the root is Hell, and the fruit is certain condemnation.
St. Austin, in his twelfth Sermon upon St. John, hath given me the hint to go one step further; The good members of the Church, says he, are set forth in the per∣son of St. Peter, In Judae personâ reprobi, the lost part, the Reprobates are charactered in the person of Judas. Wherefore there is great reason from hence to cry after col∣lapsed Hereticks who renounce the Faith which once they professed in sincerity, and to summon those discontented Runnagates who fall off from our Church to the glorious superstition of the Papacy with this compassionate verse, Yea, mine own fa∣miliar friends; yea, my Children that have suck'd my breasts have drawn bloud from me: such upon whom I have laid hands of Ordination have broken the Covenant, and smote me with the Palmes of their hands, their Pen hath wounded me with bitter Motives: Such as have eaten my bread, and compassed my Communion board like Olive branches of peace round about my Table, they have called me the Seed-plot of new Doctrine, and the Mother of Sacriledge, they have lift up their heel against me, and kiss'd the proud feet of my Adversaries. We have no such enemies against our peace, no such slanderers of our Church, no such forgers of Calumniations almost incredible, as among those fugitives that have skulked to Rome and Downy, to worship the Gods of the Groves. As if they could not prove themselves to have forsaken us, unless they had forsaken natural affection, and the ingenuous colour of modesty.
Away with them rebellious tongues, let them pack to other Kingdoms, we are not afraid as Pyrrhus was, that they who spoke evil of him at home, would backbite him worse if they were banisht and sent abroad. No, I am glad there is Sea enough about the Island to purge away such filth from the shore retrimenta populi. Let them who abide with us be more couragious, like the remnant of Gideons army, and be confident, that although some, which were harnessed and carried Bows, have turned their backs from us in the day of battel, yet by the hands of the resi∣due the Lord will give victory to his chosen people. But as Cyrus in Xenophon speaks of the manner of the Median hunting beasts in Gardens, that they did 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, hunt beasts that were bound; so to follow these turncoat Fugi∣tives, which have sheltred themselves in Cloisters, and are sworn to do us mischief, it were vincta venari, to pursue that which was entangled, therefore I leave them with Judas and this brand upon both their foreheads, concluding the second part of my Text, &c.
I am now descended in the third place to the stratagem of this day, and am faln upon the haters of my Lord the King. A King who is an uniter of Kingdoms into one body as David was of Judah and Israel, none more zealous, no not David himself, for the prosperity of Jerusalem, and the magnificence of the holy Temple. Under Christ not only the Supreme Head, but under Christ the most careful Watchman of our Churches; and as Christ did tenderly affect his Apostles above all other men, so the Successors of the Apostles, the Reverend and most holy Bishops of our Church, have found not the smallest place in the love of our gracious Soveraign. Surely above all men if the Clergy be not careful to set forth the honour of this day with great joy and solemnity, it is their ignorance, or their negligence. Igno∣rance Page 741 is the very annihilating of a Scholar, negligence the foulest fault in a La∣bourer.
Had these furious Sword-men that laid their weapons to his throat sound an au∣stere Master, nay, a Tyrant, they must have born with it, and not touch the man that bears the character of the Lords Anointed. But his Peers are verè par•s, wel∣com as his equals, his familiar friends. Had they been out of the lists of counsel, not acquainted with secret affairs, what should they do but be thankful for the peace which they enjoy without trouble, and pray for that Government which fills them with plenteousness without their labour, but they were familiars in whom he trusted, adventuring his Royal Person not only under their roof, but under their locks and custody. Lastly, had his bounty no way flown into their Coffers, (and whose bounty among all the Kings of the earth hath replenished more?) yet their bodies are secure by the protection of his Laws, their souls secure by his mainte∣nance of true Religion, their goods secure by his Courts of Justice, and yet his own, &c.
Did eat of his bread, that is true. But to feed upon the Kings hospitality is a curte∣sie every day common to thousands that visit the Court: But for a mighty Monarch to grace his Subjects Table with his Royal Presence, and to eat of his bread, this is not the felicity of every one; Pauci quos aequus amavit Jupiter, it is a respect of high honour where it lights, and the glory of an illustrious Family. And out of doubt that mind must be very sordid and avaricious, that esteems it not the more noble grace, to make their service find acceptation that they may expend somewhat rather than receive somewhat of a mighty Potentate. I can spare no more time to publish the black sin of the Authors of this treachery. It was Dionysius his saying to Plato, that if he should dismiss him, and give him leave to depart for Greece, Plato would make him the common talk of Athens; Do not think O King, says Plato, that we have so little care of learned conference that we would chuse you for our discourse. So I hope, beloved, that our hearts are so full charged with thankfulness to God for this days deliverance, that in twenty years and more we have no leisure as yet to think of the Malefactors. Let this day be spent, and many days following, only in Prayer, and Supplication, and Thanksgiving to that God who hath given victory to his Anointed, and will do to his Seed for evermore.
Nay, let me add one thing coronidis vice, and I have quite done; we have found this verse to tax Achitophel, to condemn Judas, and lastly, to lie at their door who perished deservedly this day in their own fury. Bonaventure hath yet smelt out an∣other enemy, and such a one, as none more familiar, none more intimate to any of us all. Is not this fair warning beloved? And will you know who it is? O man it is thy self. He that prays to God to bless him from his enimies is afraid of ma∣lice, indeed it is a dreadful thing. He that prays to God to bless him from his friends is afraid of treachery, and indeed no mischief less avoidable. But let me pray to God to bless me from my self; no enemie so full of flattery, so like to prevail, so cunning in tentation. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, it is the Civil War which wastes the inward parts, it is the carnal man against the spiritual. Self-love is every mans disease. Why? You are your own familiar friend. Confession of sins can hardly be ex∣torted from us. Why? We trust to our selves too much. Gluttony and Riot are within our Walls. Why? We feed our selves, and are our own carvers. From our enemies defend us O Christ, from Forain Invasion, from Domestical Conspiracy, from the malice of Satan, and from the corruption of this vile Flesh, the body of death which we carry about, Good Lord deliver us. AMEN.