A practical and polemical commentary, or, exposition upon the third and fourth chapters of the latter epistle of Saint Paul to Timothy wherein the text is explained, some controversies discussed, sundry cases of conscience are cleared, many common places are succinctly handled, and divers usefull and seasonable observations raised
Hall, Thomas, 1610-1665.
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An Epistle to the READER.

AMongst all the Tractates in Divinity written by English men in English (which are very many, and many of them very excellent, and highly esteemed even by learned men of other Nations) there are none more useful (in some respects) or more serviceable to the Church of Christ, then such of them which are Commen∣taries and Expositions upon the holy Scriptures. Witness Ainsworth upon the Pentateuch. Willet upon Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Daniel, Ro∣mans and Iude. Perkins upon the Galatians. Bifield upon the Colossians. Taylor upon Titus, & many others. Insomuch that if we had such like Eng∣lish Commentaries upon every Book in the Bible, I doubt not but it would very much tend to the right understanding of the Scripture, & thereby to the further propagation of Truth & Godliness throughout the whole Nation.

The Reverend, Learned and Religious Author of this ensuing Treatise hath undertaken to give us a Practical and Polemical Exposition upon the third and fourth Chapters of the latter Epistle of S. Paul to Timothy; of which it may truly be said, That it is both elaborate and judicious. And that he doth not serve the Lord with that which cost him nothing. There is in this excellent Commentary the sum of nigh 30 years studies, and the Epitome of all those choice things which this worthy Minister of Christ hath ever either heard or read. And therefore I doubt not but it will fully answer expectation, and be gladly entertained by the godly learned Readers.

Especially if they consider, That the Author of this Book is the same Per∣son who hath by former Books guarded the Pulpit from unordained Prea∣chers, The Font from Antipaedobaptists, The Schools by the defence of hu∣man learning; And the Ministery and their maintenance in a Latine Trea∣tise called Sal Terrae. His abilities are already sufficiently known to the world by these, and many other of his works, and therefore there is no need to add any thing more in way of commendation, Vinum vendibile non opus habet hederâ suspensâ.

My prayer to God is, That this large and yet pithy and learned Exposi∣tion may obtain the end for which it was written, That it may do good to future Generations and speak to the world, when the Author is gone out of it to enjoy the Kingdom provided for him from all Eternity▪

Thy servant in the work of the Ministery, EDM. CALAMY.

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A Practical and Polemical COMMENTARY Or, EXPOSITION UPON The Third and Fourth Chapters of the latter Epistle of Saint Paul to TIMOTHY.

WHEREIN The Text is explained, Some Controversies dis∣cussed, Sundry Cases of Conscience are cleared, Many Common Places are Succinctly handled, and Divers Usefull, and Seasonable Observations raised,

By THOMAS HALL, B. D. and Minister of Kings-Norton in Worcester-shire.

Versatur ob oculos nostros profanus ille Christianismus Aevi extremi, quem praesaga Pauli mens ante tot Secula penicillo Spiritús Sancti depinxit, Scult. in 2 Tim. 3.1.


Psal. 119.72.

The Law of thy mouth is better to me then thousands of gold and silver.


Rev. 12.12.

Wo to the Inhabitants of the Earth and of the Sea, for the Devil is come down unto you having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Imprimatur EDMUND CALAMY.

LONDON, Printed by E. Tyler, for Iohn Starkey, at the Miter at the North door of the middle Exchange in Saint Pauls Church-yard, 1658.

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[illustration]
Academiae Cantabrigiensis Liber.

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TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFUL Richard Hemming Mayor, Richard Vernon Sheriffe, with the Aldermen, the Reverend Ministers, the Common-Council, and the rest of the In∣habitants of the City of WORCESTER; T. H. Dedicateth this Practical and Polemical COMMENTARY, as a Testimony of his unfained Love and best Respects to that his Native CITY.

Dearly beloved in the Lord,

MY hearts desire and Prayer for you is that you may be saved, And since God saveth none ordinarily but by means, I here pre∣sent you with a Practical Book, which by the blessing of God may be a means to lead you safely through this Wilderness to the heavenly Canaan. Here you will finde Directions for all sorts, for Magistrates and Ministers, for Superiours and Inferiours. Here you have Antidotes against those nineteen sinnes (of these last and worst times) which are so rife both in City and Coun∣trey; for, where can a man goe but he shal finde such as are Self-Lovers, Covetous, Boasters, Proud, Blasphemers, False-accusers, Covenant-breakers, Vnholy, &c. So that Page  [unnumbered] the Treatise is very seasonable, the good Lord make it pro∣fitable.

To this end, First, You that are *Rulers must Rule for God, you must not bear the sword in vain; but you must be a Terror to Drunkards, Swearers, Sabbath-profaners, Whore-masters, Seducers, Blasphemers and all the rabble of Hell. 'Tis an old complaint that England hath golden Lawes, but Leaden Executioners▪ Be *Zealous therefore for God, we never lose by venturing for him. Remember that at the last day you must give an account of your Steward ships, of those Offices, Talents and Opportunities which you have received, and what good ye have done in your yeare, what Vices have been punished, what Goodnesse hath been promoted, and what disorders rectified.

A Zealous Magistrate is the best Common-wealths-man, such a Nehemiah is a means to keep off wrath from the City and Place of his abode. When Men punish, God spareth; but when men spare then God ariseth to execute judgement on the wicked. Mistake me not, I plead not for Cruelty, or rigour, but for Iustice; as Magistrates must be Clement and Mercifull (as occasion requireth) distin∣guishing of sinners, observing who offend through weake∣nesse, and who of wilfulnesse; So he must be just and sharp against incorrigible and incureable Offenders, least they infect others. Be Men of publicke Spirits, cast off all self-seeking and private-spiritednesse; I could wish that every Magistrate had Master Iacombs Sermon, on Acts 13.36. it is an excellent piece, and will teach you how to serve God in your Generations.

2. You that are Under-Officers must (in your spheere) be also active for God, little Birds we see sometimes set the greater on singing: your zeale may quicken others. Doe, but doe not over-doe your duties, least you bring an Odium upon Religion by your Pharisaical rigour and auste∣rity, but doe all in a Spirit of Wisedome, Love and Meek∣nesse, else you may sinne in over-doing, as well as in Under-doing.

Page  [unnumbered]3. You whom the Lord hath set as Spiritual Watchmen in the City, it concerneth you to promote his work with one shoulder and one consent. Unanimity is the glory of Societies, and maketh them * invincible. The Primitive Christians were of one heart and one soul, they had a holy conspiracy in the wayes of God,*Acts 4.32. When the shepherds are divided, the flock must needs be scattered, and Gods work hindred: If there be four Oxen in a Team, and these four draw foure several wayes, the worke must needs go backward;* but when all draw joint¦ly together, how comely, pleasant and easie is the work? The Application is easie. Take heed of that Rock of offence, and Roote of division,*The gathering of Churches out of Churches, which is indeed the destruction of Churches. 'Tis an uncharitable, and an unscriptural Practice,* There is no Pre∣cept nor President for it in all the Book of God.* The Dissenting Brethren were not able to produce one example out of Gods Word for the gathering of Churches out of Churches, though they were pressed to it by the Reve∣rend Assembly of Divines.

We read in Scripture of Gathering Churches from a∣mongst Heathens, but never of gathering Churches out of constituted Churches. Were England a land of Heathens, and no Church planted amongst us, it might be proper e∣nough to gather Churches here, but to put a planted, con∣stituted, setled Church into the condition of Heathens,* sa∣vours strongly of Pride and Censoriousness. Parochial As∣semblies (if the Parishes were but regulated and made more uniform and compact) are the best both for Pastor and People; when this gathering of Churches breedeth as ma∣ny Divisions in Families, almost as there are persons; e▪ g. The husband is a Presbyterian, and goeth to his Church, the Page  [unnumbered] Wife an Independent, and goeth to her meetings; the Sonne an Anabaptist, and goeth to his meetings, the Daughter a Quaker, and she hath her meetings, &c. What Rents this kind of gathering maketh, let the Reader judge: Besides the great inconvenience of having Church-members at such a distance; one at London, another at Dover, a third at West-Chester, a fourth at Yorke. I know some that dwell nigh an hundred miles off him whom they call their Pastor,* such sheep are like to be well fed and looked to that are at such a distance from the Shepherd. More∣over, it is a kinde of Sacriledge to rob godly Ministeres of the first-born of their Pray∣ers and pains, of the creame of their flockes, and the Crowne of their Ministery. If they will gather Churches out of the world (as they call it) let them first plow the world, and sow it, and then let them reap with Gods blessing, else he is but a hard man that reaps where he hath not sowen. There is supersti∣tion on the right hand as well as on the left, and the De∣vil cares not on which hand we miscarry so he can but get us out of the right way.

Be not over-righteous in making the Gate of the Church narrower then God hath made it, shut not out those whom God admitteth. Better be too Charitable, then too censo∣rious. Pitty the many hundreds of poore, ignorant, profane, uncatechized souls that are in your City, the great (I had almost said the greatest) part of a Ministers worke lieth out of the Pulpit.

I have experimentally found more good by week-dayes Catechising, then by many yeares Preaching, condescend to the Capacities of the weakest, by workes of mercy, and by all good means labour to win them to Christ: Be not high nor supercilious, be not harsh and censorious in cast∣ing off the greatest part of your flocke as dogs and swine; if they be ignorant, you should instruct them; if scanda∣lous, Page  [unnumbered] by all wise means you should labour to reclaim them. This rigorous casting off them and their Infants doth but harden them, and make them out of love with Religion; when a tender and compassionate carriage towards them, might have brought them into better order.

4. You that are Tradesmen be just in all your dealings▪ Plain honesty is the best Policie, though it gain but little, yet it keepeth the credit and the custome, when he that over∣reacheth and cozens me once, shall never cozen me a second time.

Much of religion is seen in our dealings with men (Psalm 15.2, 3, 4) Let a man professe like an Angel, yet if he be faulty here, all his religion is vain. Piety towards God, and Righteousnesse towards man are the best Walls and Bul∣warks of a City.

It is true, your walls are razed, but it is not the want of walls; but the * wickednesse of the Citizens that ruines a City. If Piety be within, God himselfe will be a wall of fire round about you to de∣fend you,* and offend your Enemies, and your glory in the middest of you▪ Zacharie 2.5. Isay,* 26.1. Good Citizens are the best fortifications. God hath blest you with the Nether-springs and given you a South-land, you have a rich and fruitful Soile, a River that bringeth you Treasure from farre, doe you as Achsah the Daughter of Caleb did, begg for a better blessing, even the Upper-springs also, for Grace and Glory, which will refresh you to Eternity, Ioshua 15.19.

The Riches of your City lieth much in cloathing, Oh get your Soules cloathed with the robes of Christ his Righte∣ousnesse for your justification, and the White Robes of In∣nocency, Integrity and Sanctification; these are the one∣ly true riches of a Christian, which can never be taken from him.

5. You that are young lay your foundations low if ever you would build high; with *Timothy, give up your selves Page  [unnumbered] to God betimes, fly the lusts of youth, mortifie the flesh with its affection and lusts, Redeem the seasons of Grace, know the day of your Visitation and improve it, remember your Creator betimes, the sooner the better, since the seasoning of our youth hath a great influence upon the remaining part of our dayes God hath blest you with many able & laborious Ministers, who are ready on all occasions, in season and out of season to dispense the Mysteries of salvation to you, (so that you cannot sin at so cheap a rate as formerly) happy are you, if you have hearts to improve the mercy, storing up in these dayes of Spiritual plenty, Truths against times of Errour, Light against times of darkness, and comforts a∣gainst times of discomfort. If Philip King of Macedon re∣joyced that his son Alexander was born in that time when Aristotle lived, that so he might be instructed by him▪ how should we then rejoyce who are born in such a time when the Gospel is so fully and freely publisht to the world, which is able to make us wise unto salvation.

Lastly, you that are Governours of Families, set up Religi∣on in the Power of it there, let them be Bethels, Houses of God; and not Beth-avens houses of Vanity & iniquity, lest God make them Beth-anys houses of sorrow and affliction. Lay injunctions on your Children and Servants, that they keep the way of the Lord, So did Abra∣ham (Genesis 18.19.) as you would partake with him in blessednesse,* so follow him in Obedience. Let not the greatnesse of your Families make you neglect the Dutie, Abraham had a great Family, above three hundred that could bear Arms, yet he Catechized them, and instructed them in the wayes of God, Genesis 13.14. The houses of the Primtive Christians were as so many little Churches, Romans 16.5. 1 Corinthian, 16.19. Clos. 4.15. Phi∣lem. 2. Solomon (in all probability) had thousands in his Court, for he had seven hundred Wives which were Prin∣cesses and their retinue must needs be great, he had fourtie thousand stalls of Horses, and these required many servants, besides the dayly provision for his house, sheweth the great∣ness Page  [unnumbered] of his houshold, 1 Kings 4.22, 23. yet it was so well or∣dered, that the Queen of Sheba was amazed to see it, 1 Kings 10 5, 8, 9. yea his servants were so seasoned with Re∣ligion, that about five hundred yeares after their Children are recorded by the Spirit of God to be the most eminent of their times for Religion, Ezra 2.58. Nehemiah 7 60. How will this shame us that have so few to looke to, and yet neglect them!

I am now come to my last Stage, I have no better Lega∣cy to bequeath to you, Gold I have none, and silver I have but little, but such as I have I give unto you. Now the good Lord blesse you and keep you, he purge out of your City every thing that offendeth, that the name of your City from henceforth may be, Iehovah-Shammah (Ezekiel ult lt.) The Lord (in his special love and presence) is there. This is and shall be the Prayer of

Your Servant in the Lord THO. HALL▪

Kings-Norton in Worcester-shire,Jan. 1. 1657./58.

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To the Reader.

THou maist wonder to see me once more in Print, and no wonder, for I wonder, (all things con∣sidered) at it my self. I was fully resolved to rest, and never to trouble the world any more in this kind; yet having finisht my other works for the Press, and finding experimentally that I had best health when I was most strongly imployed, and that my work was to me instead of Physick, I chose rather to spend my self with labour, then consume with rust and sickness. I saw that Master Bar∣low had finisht the two first Chapters of the second Epistle to Ti∣mothy, and perusing the two last Chapters of that Epistle I perceived the handling of them would be very useful and seaso∣nable (both in respect of Practicals and Polemicals) for these present times. Hereupon I would have had some abler Pen to have undertaken the work, and that failing, I would have got some assistance, but that would not be, I was constrained if I would have any thing done to do it my self. Vpon this I buckled to the work, and in less then two years space (notwith∣standing my double imployment) by the strength of God compleatly finisht both Chapters for the Press. I confess it hath cost me much pains, and more then at first I imagined, but if it may be profitable to Gods Church, I have my desire.

It is observed that many Posthumous work have had Supple∣ments excelling their Predecessors; this cannot be expected from me: All that I can promse thee is this; That there is not a Text, nor a word (of any consequence in the Text) but I have as plain∣ly, faithfully and fully explained it as possibly I could; I have broken every clod that I might find out the goldn Oar, * though such labour may seem small, yet the profit is great; a good foun∣dation is the strength of the building.

Page  [unnumbered]2. Many common-places are succinctly, yet fully handled. I have couched as much matter in as little room as possibly I could, being Naturally averse to tediousness.

3. Where any Controversies occurre, they are handled Pro and Con, the Truth is confirmed, and falsehood confuted; so that if thou art ignorant, this will help to instruct thee; if erroneous, to reclaim thee; if wavering, to settle thee; if poore, to enrich thee; if rich, to humble thee.

4. Where I am too short in the close of a Point, I give you re∣ferences to such Authors as will satisfie those who will be satisfied with Scripture and Reason. The Quotations are entire, I have scarcely so much as touched any of those which I refer to, because I studie brevitie; besides many of them are Srmons and such Books as have no Indexes.

I Quote the more Authours, that if any misse of one, yet happily he may have another to consult with, store is no sore. They may serve also as a Directory to young Di∣vines in the choice of their Bookes, it hath cost me a conside∣rable summe, before I could know them. For the perfecting of the work: I have perused the choisest Authors that could be gained for love or money.

If any aske what meaneth the Citation of so much Hu∣mane Learning?

I Answer, that I have been larger (in this Particular) with my Pen, then I was in the Pulpit, and have added many things here, which I omitted there.

2. Being versed in Humane Learning (by reason of my im∣ployment amongst my Nursery) I have made some use of it, if any dislike it he may passe it over, it may please some, sparinglie, and as I use it, it can justlie displease none.

I remember it is the wish f a Learned man, That every one of S. Pauls Epistles, Yea, every Booke of Holy Writ might have a Davenant to draw forth its Lineaments, nor do I know any work that would be of more general and singular use then a Practical Commentarie upon the whole Bible. Many have done worthily on a great part already▪

Page  [unnumbered]As, VVillet and Babington on the [Pntateuch,] Attersol on [Numbers,] M. Richard Rogers on [Iudges,] Topsel and Ful∣ler on [Ruth,] Caryll on [Iob,] Dickson and VVilcox on [Psalms] VVilcox, Dod and Taylor on [Proverbs,] Cotton, Robotham and D. Guild on [Canticles,] Vdal on [Lamentations] Greenhil on [Ezekiel,] VVillet on [Daniel,] Hutchinson and Trap on [All the 12 lesser Prophets] Burroughs on [Hosea,] Top∣sel on [Ioel,] Marburie on [Obadiah,] Abbot and King on [Ionah] Pemble on [Zacchariah,] Stock and Doctor Slatyr on [Malachie,] Ward and Trap] on [Matthew,] Hutchinson on [Iohn] Perkins on [Galatians,] Bain on [Ephesians,] Doctor Airy, on [Philippians,] Davenant, Bysield and Elton on [Co∣lossians,] Doctor Slatyr on 1▪ and 2. to [Thessalonians,] Bar∣low on [the 2 Epistle to Timothie,] Dr. Taylor on [Titus,] At∣tersol and Dyke on [Philemon,] Dr. Gouge and David Dick∣son on [Hebrewes,] Manton on [James,] Byfield and Rogers of Dedham on [1 Epistle of Peter] Adams and Sympson on [2 Epistle of Peter,] Cotton and Hardie on [1 Epistle of John,] Perkins, Willet, Jenkin and Manton on [Iude] Dent and Bernard on [Revelations.]

It were a work well becoming some learned Godly Divines to set upon the remaining Books which yet want a Practical commentarie on them.

To conclude, thou hast here mine All, even the Cream and Quin∣tessence of many years studies; which I the rather send abroad to the Eye, partly to recompence my natural swiftness in delivery.

2. As judgeing this way more beneficial in * some respects then speaking.

. What is written will last longer; what is spoken is Transient and passeth away, but what is written is permanent. Litera Scripta manet.

2. It is a more generall good, and spreadeth it selfe further Page  [unnumbered] by farre for Persons, Time and Place, then the voyce can reach, our Bookes may come to be seen where our Voice shall never be heard, Speech is onely for presence, but what we write may be usefull in our absence, yea, when we are * dead, yet by our writings we may still speak for the good of others.

If thou reape any benefit give God the Praise, and let him have thy Prayers, who desireth to live no longer then he ma be some way serviceable to the Church of God in his Gene∣ration.

THO. HALL.

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To the Reader.

IT is not long since the Learned Author of the Ela∣borate Commentarie on the two last Chapters of the second Epistle of Paul to Timothie, presented the World with a Latine Booke, called Sal Ter∣rae, The Salt of the Earth, which to this larger Vo∣lume so quickely following, methinkes representeth the setting of Salt on the Table, as the first Service before a Feast.

Of the former he desired me to be his Taster, and to at∣test how savourly it relished with me when I reade it, which I have done in the same Language. Now he and his Stationer having requested my Perusal and Testimony of the latter, I was the willinger; first to reade it, because the Author hath bestowed much paines, and given his Reader the summe and substance of nigh thirtie yeares Studies,* which be∣spake an expectation in me of so much sa∣tisfaction in the Book, as made me think it worthy both to be bought and read. On the contrary, I have ever had a contemptuous conceit of such Extemporary stuffe, as like Ionas his Gourd, groweth up in a night, and thinke it worthy to last no longer then it did, which perished in a night, Iona. 4.10. I deny not but sometimes there may be found a man of such a ready faculty as to be able to doe as much, and it may be more as well upon a sudden, as others upon long delibera∣tion; such a one was *Lucilius the first Latine Satyrist, who (as Horace saith) would dictate two hundred Verses in an Page  [unnumbered] houre, standing upon one foot; but this is very rare, and out of Rule, nor are there any Examples upon Record to match it. * He liketh that Verse better which is made with often scratching of the Head, and biteing of the nailes to the quicke; and * discommend∣eth such as have not taken up many dayes, and come under many blots, even to a Tenfold correction, and ordinarily it is with ingenious works, as it is with Me∣channicke Fabrickes, those are the fairest which are longest in building,* as the Tem∣ple of Diana at Ephesus, one of the seven Wonders of the World, was the worke of all Asia for two hundered and twentie years together.

Secondly, I may be the more willing to deliver my Cen∣sure of this Worke, because when I had acted the part of a severe Criticke upon it, the Authour testified his inge∣nuity, by returning me so much the more Thankes, as I found the more faults in it; which I liked the better, when it gave me occasion to renew the remembrance of a con∣trary acceptance of the like Office done to the Bishop of Co∣ventrie and Litchfield, a Prelate of as great Reputation for Learning and Religion as any of his rancke in this Na∣tion: who above thirtie yeares agoe, I presenting my ser∣vice to him at Ecclesell Castle in my return from London, to Great Budworth in Cheshire, he staid me certain dayes to read over (as a Censor) his Book which he entituled, *The Grand-Imposture: I took it for a great Trust and confi∣dence in me, and thought it my Duety to be answera∣ble to it by free Animadversions of any thing which I apprehended for an errour, and accordingly did so; When I shewed him mine exceptions, at the first he seemed somewhat angry and wrangled with me to excuse the Passage, (which I conceived did need Correction) we parted unperswaded, and I returned to my Taske with Page  [unnumbered] this Opinion, that he was therefore offended with the fault I found, because on the sudden he knew not how to mend it; after that, to the Errata, I added the correction of the first as well as of the rest, and then bringing my Pa∣per of the whole unto him, he shewed himselfe so well pleased, that he would needs fasten twenty shillings in Gold upon me for my pains, besides other courtesies.

Thirdly, I am content that my judgement of this Book should be Printed, not so much to gratifie the Author or the Stationer, as for other reasons.

1. Because the whole frame of the work doth not one∣ly fully answer the Frontispiece, (though it promise much) and so is not lyable to the * Exception taken up against a great Writer, which is, That there is more matter in the Title Page, then in the Book it self.

Secondly, Because though I were well satisfied with the matter of it while I read it in his Manuscript Original, yet I desire better satisfaction by a review of it when in a fairer Character from the Presse, I may reade it with less diffi∣culty and more delight.

Thirdly, Because it is not onely the * better halfe of the best Expository Trea∣tise that I have seen upon the Second Epi∣stle to Timothy, but I believe (for Con∣gruity with the Truth of the Holy Text; pertinency and fulnesse of profitable mat∣ter deduced from it or consonant to it) is the best that hitherto hath been extant in the Church of Christ. The Lord give the Pious and Painfull Pen-man of it the Re∣turne of his Holy labours herein, in the Prayers and Proficiency of his People, for whose edification chiefly it was undertaken, continued, and by Gods gracious assistance is now thus compleated.

Iohn Ley.

Page  [unnumbered]

Bookes formerly published by the AUTHOR.

  • 1. THe Pulpit Guarded in quarto.
  • 2. The Font Guarded in quarto.
  • 3. The Schools guarded or a defence of Humane Learning.
  • 4. The Beauty of Holiness; Octavo.
  • 5. A Treatise against long Hair, Painting, Powdering, and Periwigs, spots, Octavo.
  • 6. Wisedomes Conquest, A Translation of the thirteenth Book of Ovids Metamorphosis, Octavo.
  • 7. Phaetons folly, A Translation of the second Book of Ovids Metamor∣phosis, Octavo.
  • 8. Homesius Enervatus, or a Treatise against the Millenaries, Octavo.
  • 9. Sal Terrae, or a Guard to the Ministers and their maintenance, Octavo.
Page  [unnumbered]

Errata.

In such a Volume as this we cannot but expect some Errata, those of greatest consequence▪ are here corrected; such as are obious I leave to thy own correction.] Page 9. line 1. read Lay∣landers. p. 21. l. 37. r. stay. p. 33. in Marg. r. Glutinant. p. 37. l. 40. r. Cap. p. 48. l. 20. r. All. p. 49. Marg. r. Ignavissimus. p. 49. Marg. r. Stor. p. 52. l. 7. r. Iohn p. 52. marg. r. Infamia p. 53. marg. non aliis. p. 53. l. 18. r. Shew. p. 56. l. 1. Prudence. p. 28. l. 40. Observe. p. 29. l. 25. Vniversal. p. 60. l. 10. r. irresistible. p. 71. l. 25. r. promises. p. 76. l. 20. r. Apostasie. p. 86. l. 5. r. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. p. 87. marg. r. quum. p. 88. l. 14. r. Psal. 10. l. 16. r. theres. p. 91. l. 46. r. Amos. p. 98. l. 22. forget. p. 105. marg. Aegyptus. p. 106. marg. r. Proxineta. p. 10.103. l. 22. r. 13. p. 147. Gravatas. marg. p. 168. l. 37. r. Dorchester. p. 171. l. 21. r. Apostles & 15. p. 174. l. 27. r. Practical. l. 28. r. Oeconomical. p. 197. marg. r. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. p. 217. l. 35. r. mirror. p. 219. r. delectatione. p. 222 l. 14. r. Pillar. p. 231. r. Polyptoton. p. 234. l. 5 dele All. p. 259. l. 17. r. Question. p. 267. l. 12. r. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. p. 28.4. r. ultro. in. marg. p. 311. l. 40. declaration. p. 133. l. 20 acrei. p. 339. l. 6. Beoph∣man. p. 366. l. 26. add David had 3 enemies, Saul, Goliah, and Absalom. p. 375. l. 38. r. reproaching. p. 380. in marg. liberam for liberalitatem ex parte dantis.

Page  1

AN EXPOSITION Of the third Chapter OF THE Second Epistle of PAUL TO TIMOTHY.

2 TIM. 3.1. &c. This also know, That in the last dayes perilous times shall come.

THE Apostle, having in the two fore-going Chapters fore-warned,* and so fore-armed, his dear son Timothy against those Schismaticks, Hereticks, Hypocrites, and false Teachers which were then arising and creeping into the Church; he comes now, by a Propheticall in∣stinct, to fore-tell of greater evills, and of more false Teachers and Seducers, which should yet arise, especially towards the end of the world.

In this Chapter we have 1. A Prediction,* or prophetical narration, of the men and manners of the last times, from verse 2. to verse 9.

2. The better to avoyd them, we have here the marks whereby the Se∣ducers and Impostors of the last times, may be knowne.

1. They are glozing Hypocrites, verse 5. they have a form, and but a form, of godlinesse.

2. They are of an insinuating disposition: they slily and secretly creep in∣to houses, verse 6.

3. They are subtle: they set first on the weaker vessel, like the devil their fa∣ther, that first set on Eve, that he might by her the better deceive Adam, v. 6, 7.

4. You may know them by their opposing the Truth, and the faithfull Ministers thereof, verse 8.

5. By their corrupt principles and practises, verse 8.

6. By their Apostasy: they fall away more and more, and grow worse and worse, verse 13.

3. Lest Timothy should be discouraged, here is first a consolatory promise for the bounding and breaking of the follies, and fopperies, of the malice and madness, of these Impostors, verse 9.

2. The better to encourage him, Paul sets before him his own Example, and shews him what troubles and persecutions he under-went, and how the Lord delivered him out of all, verse 10, 11. and withall tells him that persecution Page  2 was not peculiar to him, but that it was the common lot of all the godly, whilst they live in this world.

4. He exhorts Timothy to constancy and perseverance in the doctrine which he had received, verse 14, 15, 16, 17. and withall to a diligent study of the holy Scriptures, which he adorns with a most elegant Encomium, drawn

  • 1. From their divine Authority.
  • 2. From their singular Utility.
  • 3. From their compleat Perfection.

This also know.] q. d. O Timothy, my dearly beloved Son whom I have begotten in the faith, I have armed thee before against present dangers, and against those enemies to the truth, which are already risen up in my life time;* such as Alexander, Hermogenes, Hymenaeus, Phyletus, &c. I come now by a spirit of Prophesie to foretell thee of future troubles, which shall befall the Church of God, not only immediately after my death (for even then from a∣mongst your selves, shall ravenous Wolves arise, Act. 20.29, 30. such as Menan∣der, Carpocrates, Cerinthus, &c. who shall have a form of godnness, but will deny the power of it) but especially towards the end of the world: those last dayes will be the worst, iniquity will then abound, and the love of many shall wax cold. Be not therefore, my son, discouraged, neither let any of Gods faithful Ministers, thy Successours, be dismayed, or take offence at the Sects and Schismes, at the Heresies and Blasphemies, which shall in those last and loose dayes arise; do not wonder at them, as if some strange and new thing were come into the World; for this also you must know; That in the last dayes perilous times shall come.

*In the last dayes.] That is, all the time from Christs first coming in the flesh, till his second coming to Judgement. In scripture the latter or last times, are taken two wayes: 1. More generally for all Gospel-times, from that time since Christ came in the flesh and publisht the Gospel; this is called the Gospel-time in opposition to the Legal administrations: and this is fre∣quently in scripture phrase called, The last time, and, The last dayes. This appeares by those parallel Texts. Ioel 2.28. compared with Acts 2.17. Heb. 1.2.* 1 Pet. 2.20. & 2.3.3. Isai 22. Hos. 3.5. Mich. 4.2 & 33. Thus we may un∣derstand that saying of Iacob to his sons. Gen. 49.1. Gather your selves together; that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last dayes. (i.) at the coming of the Messiah, or when Shiloh comes, v. 20. Hence Gospel-times are called, The end of the world, 1 Cor. 20.11. Heb. 9.26. and the last houre. 1 Iohn 2.18.

Now these are called The last dayes.

1. Because all was then consummated which was prophesied concerning the work of mans Redemption, and so is the perfection of all times, or, as the Apostle cals it, The fulness of time. Gal. 4.4. Nothing now remains but a looking for the day of judgement, which how soon it may come, we know not.

2. Because the whole time of the worlds continuance being distinguished into three great Periods, the Gospel-time is the last of The three. The first was from the creation to the giving of the Law upon Mount Sinai. The se∣cond from the giving of the Law, till the Appearance of Christ in our nature. The third from that Appearance in Humility, till his Appearance in Glory; and this is that which in scripture is oft called the Last time, because after it there shall be no more.

*3. Comparatively, in respect of the precedent times which have past since the beginning of the world, those times were longer than these Gospel-times are like to be.

4. By the last times more especially is sometimes meant the times that are somewhat near the end of the World, which are the latter times of these last dayes; when people shall give themselves to luxury, and secu∣rity, Page  3 and all manner of vices. Mat. 24.24, 37, 38. and thus it hath relation to the times we live in, wherein iniqity abounds, and love to God, his people, his Ministers, and Ordinances abates. Apostolicall times were bad, but these dregs of dayes,* and this dorage of the world will be far worse. This also know, That in the last days perilous times shall come.

Perilous times shall come.] That is, hard, hurtfull, hatefull, heavie, pernici∣ous, perilous; troublous times shall come.

On this clause there are almost as many Opinions, as there are Writers; and as many Interpretations, as there be Interpreters. Yet in all this Variety there is no contrariety, they may easily be reconciled, tending all to one and the same end. I shall therefore take them in all; for it is a Rule in expounding Scripture, That when a Text admits of many (but not contrary) senses, it is a safe way to take in all, lest we misse the meaning: where no reason doth con∣strain, we are not to restrain the words, but may take them in the largest sense; especially when neither matter, phrase, context or scope do hin∣der us.

1. The last dayes are called perilous, because of those perilous, pestilent, wicked men, and wicked manners that shall then abound. This sense is ge∣nuine, if we consider the context; The last dayes shall be perilous: and why so? not so much because of the sword, plague, famin, persecution, or any corpo∣ral distresse that shall molest men, but bccause of those perilous sins which shall then over-spread the face of the Church. This Reason is clear, verse 2. For men shall be lovers of themselves, covetons, boasters, proud, blasphemers, &c. These, even these are the things which make the times truly perilous, and really pernicious: And therefore Grotius and his followers are much mista∣ken, who place the perill of the times onely in affliction and sharp persecuti∣ons, citing Gen. 47.9. Psal. 49.5. whereas the Context clearly evinceth the contrary.

2. They shall be troublesome times,* because of the predominancy of sin, which will create much trouble to the godly: for there is nothing more grie∣vous to a gracious soul than sin; as nothing is dearer to such a man than the glory of God, so nothing affects him more, than Gods dishonour; and as the last dayes will be troublous to all the godly in generall, so especially to Gods Timothies, to his faithfull Ministers, who are bound, by their place and cal∣ling, to witnesse against them. 2 Cor. 12.26.

3. The last times will be sharp and sad times to the godly,* who are the light of the world, and so hatefull to these Owles, as the light is to the thief, which discovers him.

4. Cruell and outragious times,* because of those outragious sins and sin∣ners, which shall then be rife. Thus the Devils are called [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Saevi valdè] Mat. 8.28. exceeding fierce, The men of the last times shall resemble this their Father; for, as the godly are holy because God their Father is so: so these shall be fierce and furious, because the devill their father is so. Hence the way of transgressours is said to be harsh and hard, Prov. 13.15. they are men of fierce and furious spirits, full of malice, hatred, envie, and all manner of cruelty. 2 Tim. 3.3.

5. Difficult and dangerous times,* wherein it will be very difficult to di∣scern what counsell or course to take, and how to behave our selves amongst such monsters rather than men, as shall arise in the very bosome of the visi∣ble Church.

2. They may be called hard times, in respect of the men that shall live in those dayes: they will be hard-hearted, impudent, impenitent sinners, these are called [duri facie, & duri corde. Ezek. 3.7.] brazen-faced men; hence Tyrannicall government is called hard and cruell government: Dan. 2.40. Page  4 because Tyrants use to rule with rigour and cruelty. Hard things cannot be bowed or bended:* you may break them sooner than bend them; a hard Ada∣mant no fire can melt it, no hammer break it: So the last dayes shall be perilous, because men will be so hardened in sin, that all that mount Sinai, or mount Sion, can afford, neither the curses of the Law, nor promises of the Gospel, can work upon them.

3. They shall be hard times, in respect of the proud, boasting, blasphemous speeches, which men shall utter; these are called hard words in Scripture, as 1 Sam. 2.3. talk no more so exceeding proudly, let not arrogancy [or hard words] come out of your mouth: thus blasphemous Atheists are said to ut∣ter hard things. Psal. 94.4. Thus in the last dayes men shall be proud, boa∣sters, blasphemers, exalting themselves, and their own By-wayes as the only way, blaspheming God and his Ordinances, and slandering his faith∣full messengers. For these hard speeches they must one day answer, Iude 15. 'tis these sins that make these last times so hard, 2 Tim. 3.2.

4. They will be hard times, because it will be hard for a man to keep himself free from the infection of the sins of those times: all that live in them will be in danger of being partakers of the sins of those about them, either by complying with them, or conniving at them, or not mourning and wit∣nessing against them, It will be very hard to keep our selves pure in the midst of such an impure generation.

*5. They will be sad times, and therefore hard times: for sad things in Scripture are called hard things. Thus those that are sad and troubled in spirit, are said to be of an hard spirit, 1 Sam. 1.15. thus Hannah is said to be a woman [duri spiritûs] of a sorrowfull spirt. So a sad messenger is cal∣led an hard messenger, 1 Kings 14.6. I am sent to thee with hard tidings (i. e.) with sad newes. In this sense also the last times will be hard times, by reason of those sad tentations and oppositions, which the godly will meet withall from that degenerate generation; and because of those abounding sins and errours, which will much sadden the hearts of Gods people.

*6. They will be grievous times: grievous things in Scripture are called hard things. Thus the grievous servitude of Israel in Egypt, is called a Hard bondage. Exod. 1.14. and 6.9. and the yoke of Tyrants is called a hard and grievous yoke. 1 Kings 12.4. So the last times will be hard and grievous times; not onely in respect of the opposition of Tyrants on the one hand, who like wilde boars will endeavour to root up the Lords Vine-yard, Psal. 80.14. but also in respect of subtle seducers, and pernicious Hereticks, who like Foxes will endeavour to destroy Christs Vine. Cant. 2.15.

*Thus those perilous times which then were instant, are now extant; no sooner do the last times come, but perilous times are presently come. This also know, That in the last dayes perilous times shall come.

There are yet two Questions to be answered, and then I come to the Ob∣servations.

1. Quest. How can the times be said to be perilous, hard, hurtfull, &c. since Time in it self is good, being given us by the God of goodnesse, for good Ends and Uses?

*Answ. 'Tis a Metonymicall speech, the times being put for the men that live in those times; a Trope very frequent in scripture. Psal. 49.5. Ephes. 5.16. the dayes are evill (i. e.) the men living in those dayes. So in our common speech we cry; O tempora! O wicked times! when we mean the wicked men that live in the times. [See more in my Schooles Guard. p. 172.] So Amos 5.12, 13. the Prophet calls the time wherein many crying sins reigned, an evill time, by reason of an evill and ungodly generation which made it so.

2. Quest. How can the last dayes be called perilous, when the Scripture so Page  5 frequently proclaimes them glorious? Isay 2.2, 3. & 11.9. & 60.6, 7.10.18. & 62.5. &c. Hosea 1.11. & 3.5.

Answ. The last dayes may be said to be both glorious and perilous in dif∣ferent respects. 1. They may be said to be glorious, in respect of the great light, liberty, knowledge, company, commentators, encouragements, clea∣rer manifestation of the Gospel, and many other gloriou priviledges, which former ages never enjoyed.

2. Yet they will be perilous times in respect of the sad abuse of those glo∣rious priviledges, and sinning against such great light and love. Iohn 3.19. the higher we are lifted up with priviledges, the greater will our fall be if we a∣buse them, Mat. 12.23. we cannot sin at so cheap a rate in these last times, as formerly men did. The sinners of the last times will have the lowest place in hell.

Besides, they will be perilous times, in respect of the swarmes of sinners and seducers, which will then over-spread the face of the earth, going up and down (like the Devill their Master, that grand Peripatetick) seeking whom they may devoure; Vermine of this kind will then abound every where: weeds grow no where so rank, as in a fat soyle.

So that if we take the words in the largest construction, yet the Text is ours; as our Saviour said sometimes of a Text in Isay, so may I say of this Text in Timothy; This day is this Scripture fulfilled in our eares: our times are a Comment on this Text. I appeale to all that know them, whe∣ther they be not perilous, pernicious, troublous, hurtfull, hatefull, hard times.

I come now to some practicall Observations.

1. Observe from these words, [This also know] That it is our duty to take notice of the Prophecies delivered to us in the word of God. As they are not sealed by him, but left open for our use; so they must not by our negli∣gence be as a sealed Book to us. Deut. 29.29. we must not barely read, but search out the meaning of the word. Iohn 5.39. So did Daniel [9.2.] though he were a great and excellent Prophet, yet he doth not disdain to read: and when by reading the Prophet Ieremy he understood that the time was come for the accomplishment of Gods propheticall promises, then Daniel begins to pray for the fulfilling of the promises. The Book of the Revelations is an excellent prophecie of the downfal of the Churches enemies, and of the great things which in the latter dayes God will do for his people, even to the end of the world; and therefore the Lord would have us attentively to consider, and humbly and accurately to weigh what is written there; that so our faith may be strengthened, and we may be quickened (by remembring his pro∣mises) to serve his providence, acting and praying for the downfall of Baby∣lon, which God hath so clearly promised shall come to passe. And to encou∣rage us to read, the Lord hath pronounced them blessed that read the words of that prophecie, viz. with attention, affection, application and practice, Revel. 1.3. God takes it ill when he shall write to us the great and glori∣ous things of his Law, and we shall count them as strange things, that con∣cern us not, Hos. 8.12. this makes people (especially in the Churches distres∣ses) so faithless, prayerlesse, comfortlesse, and carelesse. The Evangelist gives this as a Reason why the Jewes committed that great sin in crucifying Christ, it was because they knew him not to be the Messias, nor did they un∣derstand the prophesis of him, [Acts 13.27.] though they were read to them every Sabbath day.

This should startle us, and make us not only to enquire into the precepts and promises of God, but also into the prophesies which he hath publisht for our good: for this is one great reason why so many stumble and take offence at Gods wayes, because of the Heresies and Apostasies of many: they forget Page  6 this prophesie of the Apostle, viz That the last days should be perilous times; and therefore This also know.

2. Observe. The people of God, and specially his Ministers, his Ti∣mothies, should be so prudent as to know and observe when perilous times are approaching: as the prudent man foresees the evill of punishment before it comes, [Prov. 22.35.] so he more especially improves his spirituall prudence in foreseeing the evill of sin and error; and having by certain sins and signes discerned a tempest in the clouds, he hides himself in the chambers of Gods special protection and providence. Isay 26.20.

This spiritual prudence can hurt neither Pastor nor People, but will advan∣tage us much.* This pre-vision is the best meanes of prevention; in vain is the snare laid in the sight of a bird. It will make us pray more fervently, watch more diligently, gird on our armour, and walk more humly: and this singular priviledge we shall have, that we shall more quietly and calmely un∣dergo these trials by false Prophets,* which God shall be pleased to exercise us withall; we shall not fret and fume as the wicked do, but in an holy silence we shall submit to the hand of God, considering this, that which we have long since foreseen,* and prepared for. Foreseen evills come no whit sooner, but far the easier to us when prepared for, Acts 21.13. Darts foreseen are dintless: that which suddenly falls on a man, may trouble a constant mind, but that which is long expected, is more easily borne; and therefore This also know, that you be not offended at it. It was a good resolution of Peter (had he not taken it up in his own strength) Though all men should be offended at Christ, yet would he never be offended. Matth. 26.33. Let us take up the like in the strength of divine assisting grace, Though many be offended, though all should be offended at Religion, yet so will we not be: though never so many scandals be given by others, yet shall they not be taken by us, so as in the least to distast the wayes and truth of God. To this end God would have us acquainted with these things before hand, that we may not be offended when they come, nor think it strange vvhen vve hear of Errors, Schifmes, He∣resies, false Teachers:* thus it hath been, thus it is, and thus, vve see it foretold in the Text, it shall be. There was of old a Iannes and a Iambres to resist Mo∣ses; an Hananiah against the Prophet Ieremy; 400. false Prophets against a good Micajah; an Alexander, chief Priests, and Pharisees against Paul. Where ever God hath his Church, the Devill will have his Chappell; where God hath his true Prophets, the Devil hath his false ones to oppose them. From hence vve may yet gather this encouragement, That we have the true Church of Christ amongst us, because the Wolves are so busie: where there are no Sheep, the Wolf seldome appeares; but where the folds are full, there the Wolves are busie. Iohn 10.12. and therefore think it not strange, but this know, and know for certain, That the last dayes will be perilous: we think it strang to hear of Arrians, Arminians, Socinians, Anabaptists, &c. but they are not new nor strange to Germany, no, nor to the primitive Church; for in S. Augustins time we read of many old Heresies which now go under the name of new light, when 'tis neither light nor new, but onely old error new vamped, an old Hag put in a new dresse.

3. Observe Gods singular love unto his people, in that he warnes them of perilous times long before they come. He will do nothing against his Church and people, but he will first reveale it to his Prophets, that they may reveal it to his people. Amos 3.7. Not that the Lord is bound to observe this Method: for he may execute corporall and spiritual judgements when and how he pleaseth, without revealing it to men or Angels: onely it pleaseth him out of his tender love and gracious condescension to his people, ordina∣rily to observe this Method: First to shoot off his warning pieces, before he Page  7 shoot off his murdering-pieces, Hence he tels Abraham, Ioseph, Noah, Lot, Daniel, &c. of dangers before hand; he makes them of his privy Counsel: and as Gods Love appears in fore-warning us of corporal judgements; so his tender care over us especially appeares in fore-warning and fore-arming us against spi∣rituall judgements, and spirituall enemies, which hunt for the precious soule. Now, that we might prepare for the battell, and fear no dangers nor difficul∣ties; that we might not be despondent, Christ foretells us thrice in one Chap∣ter of false Prophets, and admonisheth us to beware of them, Matth. 24.4.11.24.25. So Matth. 7.15. Mark 13.23. Iohn 16.1. And that we might not be seduced by such Impostors, the Apostle also is frequent in admonishing us against them. Acts 20.30. 1 Cor. 11.13. 2 Tim. 2.17.18. & 1.4. 1. Phil. 3.2. Rom. 16.17, Gal. 1.7, 8, 9. and Iohn frequently in his Epistles admonisheth us to beware of deceivers that should arise in the last times, 1 Iohn 4.1.3.5, 6. Peter doth excellently characterize them; that we might the better know them and avoyd them. 2 Pet. 2.1.10.13, 14, 15, 18, 19. so doth Iude 4. to verse 20. he spends almost his whole Epistle (it being an Epitome and summary of the second of Peter) in describing false Teachers, and counsel∣ling us against them. This must inlarge our Love and Thankfullnesse to our God, who is thus carefull, over and over to caution and counsell us, and to fore-tell us of perils long before they come; with a This also know.

In the last Dayes.

Whence observe, That the dayes we live in, are the last dayes. Our times are the last times, they are oft so called in scripture. This is the last hour, 1 Iohn 2.18. and upon us the ends of the world are come. 1 Cor. 10.11. the Coming of the Lord is said to draw nigh. Iames 5.8. and the Day of the Lord approacheth, Heb. 10.25. 'tis but a little while ere Christ come to judge the World; hence he's said to come quickly, Rev, 6.11. & 22.12. and the time is at hand: Rev. 1.3. and our full Redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21.28. and the end of all things is at hand, 1 Pe. 4.7. If the Apostle thought the day of the Lord was at hand 1600. yeares agoe, we may well conclude that it is neer now. The Apostle, seeing Christ come, all the Prophesies of him fulfil∣led, the Gentiles called, and the Mystery of iniquity beginning already to work, he concludes the day of the Lord was near, and so it was.

1. Comparatively, in respect of the times before Christ: it was nearer than to those under the Law.

2. In respect of the certainty of it: the day of the Lord will as surely come as if it were come this day. 2 Pet. 3.9, 10.

3. In respect of God; to whom a thousand years are but as one day. Psal. 90.4. 2 Pet. 3.8.

4. In respect of Eternity: a thousand yeares, or two thousand yeares, are as nothing, being compared with the time to come; 'tis but as a little drop of water to the whole Ocean. So that this great day of the Lord which was near in the Apostles time, is much nearer now: then began the last time, but now is the end thereof. It cannot then be long to the day of judgement; for all the Signs and Fore-runners of it are accomplisht, excepting the ruine of Rome, which falls apace; for, as Rome was not buil't in a day, so she shall not down in a day: but as she rose gradually, so shall she fall gradually; in England, Scotland, Ireland, Poland, Holland, and France.

2. There wants but the destruction of the Turk, and the calling of the Jewes, and then comes the End.

Now, since the time is short, and we live in the last dayes, this should wean us from the world, and take off our hearts from these fading, perishing things, Page  8 and make us labour for grace, which is durable riches. 'Twas an aggrava∣tion of their sin, Iames 5.3. That they heaped up treasure for the last dayes. When they were going out of the World, then they were drowning them∣selves in the World. We should labour to do much good in a little time: and as at all times we ought to be carefull and conscionable in fitting our selves for our Masters coming; so then especially when we see the day of the Lord draw nigh: then we must double our diligence, as a ser∣vant will when he knowes his Master is at hand. They that lived a thou∣sand yeares agoe were bound to lead holy lives but we that live in the clea∣rest times, and the nearest to judgement, ought to lead more holy and hea∣venly lives; that our Lord when he comes, may find us prepared.

2. It may teach us patience under all tentations and afflictions: 'tis but yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and he will not tar∣rie. Heb. 10.36, 37. Let therefore your moderation and equanimity be not only in your brest, but let it be visible and knowne, not to one or two, but to all men, both friends and foes; why so? for the Lord is at hand, ready to help you, and to judge your enemies. Phil. 4.5. Iames 5.7, 8. [See in Sangar. his morning Lect. p. 225.226.]

Perilous times shall come.

Hence note, That the last times will be the worst times.

Though in respect of the clear light of the Gospel, (which shall then a∣bound) they will be glorious times: yet, in respect of the contempt and abuse of the Gospel to Libertinisme and profanesse, they will be inglorious and pe∣rilous times; so bad that it will be dangerous say∣ing how bad they be; hence Bernard long since cal∣led them, The last and worst times. These last dayes will be the common sink and sewer, the very receptacle of all the vile abominations and heresies of former ages. As all the creatures met in Noahs Ark, and all the waters meet in the sea; so all those prodigious enor∣mities, and flouds of error,* which have appeared in former ages, will meet in this Ocean. They will come forth in a Third Edition, Auctiores, non Emenda∣tiores: enlarged, but nothing bettered. The Sinners of former times were but children in wickednesse, the Sinners of the last times shall be men. As that old Serpent the Devill, the older he growes, the more subtle and experien∣ced he is; so it is with the wicked who are the Seed of the Serpent, the elder they grow, the more skillfull Practitioners they be in sin; they are witti∣ly wicked, and understand more how to contrive Sin, and defend Er∣rours by the improved experiences of their own, and former times. As it is in every Art, by length of time, custome, and experience, it is improved to a greater degree of finenesse and exactness: so it is in this of sinning; time and experience make men more cunning in wayes of sin, and more subtle to de∣fend them. Those Sins and Errors which formerly were dammed up, shall, in these last and loose times, break forth with greater violence. Now Heresie, Blasphemy, Envy, Pride, Atheisme, Hypocrisie, Apostasy, contempt of the Gospel, prophanation of holy things, &c. will exceedingly abound. The Devill is broke loose, and now there appeare amongst us with open face; Ar∣rians, Arminians, Socinians, Anabaptists, Familists, Separatists, Mortalists, Perfectists, and (a compendium of all these in one) Quakers. The common crying Sins of other nations, are rie amongst us: here you may find the Drun∣kennesse of the Dutch, the Lust of the French, the Italians Ambition, the Spa∣niardsPage  9 Treachery, the Laylanders Witchcraft, the Covetousness of the Jew, the Cruelty of the Turk, and the Monsters of Munster.

The Reasons are obvious. 1. In respect of Satans rage, the last times will be the worst. The Devills time now growes short, and therefore his wrath grows great. Revel. 12.12. Satans malevolence is a Spur to his diligence, and he labours to supply the shortness of his time with the sharpness of his assaults: insomuch that the Devills themselves seem to be possest of far more violent Devills;* they rage above their ordinary rate, since their Kingdome is so near an end: Dying creatures bite most fiercely. Besiegers make their last onset upon a Town or Castle, the most resolute and terrible of all others. Satan now sets upon Soules by seduction most furiously, because when these Times are at an end, his Work is also at an end, in this kind. He's like a malicious Tenant; who, perceiving that his Term is almost expired, doth what he can to ruine the house. Or like a bloudy Tyrant; who sus∣pecting the loss of his usurped Soveraignty, makes havock amongst his Subjects.

2. This is the Worlds Old age, 'tis its last and worst time; for Old age is the Winter of a mans dayes,* the dregges of his life, full of weaknesse, coldness, diziness, and virtiginous; all our dayes are few and full of mi∣sery: but Old age (in respect of those diseases and infirmities, which op∣press both Soul and Body) is most miserable, and therefore Solomon calls it, an Evill day, Eccles. 12.2. This evill day (in a spiritual sense) is come upon the World, it's come to its Old age, I had almost said, to its Dotage; it drawes upon the Lees, and its dregges are apparent. 'Tis now Winter with the World, it growes old and cold, according to the Prophesy of our Sa∣viour, Matth. 24.12. speaking of the Fore-runners of the end of the World, he sets down this as one speciall Sign, That iniquity shall abound, and the love of many shall wax cold. That Sin abounds and superabounds, none can de∣ny; that Love waxeth cold, there are many complaints. Where's our fervent love to God, his Ordinances, his Wayes, and People. The World (saith one) hath been once destroyed with Water, for the heat of Lust, and shall be again with Fire, for the coldness of Love. Latimer saw so much lack of Love to God and goodness in his time, that he thought verily Doomes-day was then just at hand; what would he have thought, had he lived in our age, wherein it were farre easier to write a Book of Apo∣states, then a Book of Martyrs▪ yea so grossly degenerate shall the last dayes be, that Christ makes a question whether he shall find Faith in the Earth, when hee comes. Luke 18.8. false Prophets will so a∣bound, (in those last and loose dayes) that if 'twere possible, they would deceive the very Elect, Matth. 24.24. 2 Pet. 3.3, 4. 1 Pet. 4.1. 1 Iohn 2.18, 19.

2. Old mens Heads, by reason of weakness, are full of Phantasies, so the World in this its decrepit Old age, and declining time, abounds with fantastick fopperies,* and follies. The world is crazed in its Intel∣lectualls, and Crazed in Moralls; crazed in its Doctrines, and cra∣zed in its Discipline. It hath many gray hayres (Signes of old age, and death approaching) yet such is its Security, that it is insensible of them; She knowes it not. Hos. 7.9. but as it was in the dayes of Noah, so it is, and will be in these last dayes, Men give themselves to eating, drinking, marrying, &c. and other sensual delights, till judgement arrest them. Matth. 24.37, 38, 39.

Yea so prolificall and fruitfull are the vaine Fancies of these last do∣ting times, that they may not unfitly be compared to a Mathematicall Page  10 line, which is semper divisiblis, in semper divisibilia, and hath no end.

We are so divided, and subdivided, that Love and Unity are fled the land. Non enim partes solùm sunt inter nos, sed partium novae partes. This should be matter of Lamentation to us, and cause sad thoughts of heart.

3. Old age is testy and troubled with morosity: old persons usually are froward, and hard to please. So in this dotage of the World, men are very froward and perverse; they cannot endure sound doctrine, but are ready to fly in the face of a Reprover. 2 Tim. 4.3.

4. In Old age the Senses decay. Seeing, Hearing, Tasting, are impaired. 2 Sam. 19.35. So in this decrepit age of the World, it's Spirituall senses are lost, 'tis so blind, that it cannot discern between Light and Darknesse, Truth and Errour; so deaf, that it cannot hear the voyce of the Charmer, charme he never so wisely: so senselesse, that it cannot savour the things of God.

Vse. Whilst we complain of the badnesse of the times, let us not make them the worse for us;* but let us so walk, that we may make these last times, the best times; and these Perilous times, Glorious times. Get convincing lives, be burning and shining lights. Walk up unto your Priviledges, answer your Gospel-light, with Gospel-lives; how oft is this duty prest upon us? Eph. 4.1. Phil. 1.7. Col. 1.10. 1 Th. 2.12. We should all make the times and places we live in the better, and not the worse, for u. Magistrates should be so zealous against evill-doers, and Ministers so active against Sin and Error, and Governours of Families so carefull to Rule for God, that they may live desi∣red, and dye lamented;* that so when you are dead, it may be said, We misse such a man, he was zealous against Sabbath-Prophaners, Drunkards, Swearers, Sectaries, &c. He was forward to works of Piety, and Mer∣cy, and ready to every good work. 'Twas Davids commendation, Acts 13.36. that he served God in his Generation; he did not seek himself, nor serve God for a day or two, but he served him his whole Generation, as Noah did. Gen. 6.9.

God hath abundance of dishonour done him by profane persons, and Religion suffers much by them; now we should labour to repair the disho∣nours done to his name, by being blamelesse and harmlesse, shining like lights before a perverse nation. The worse the times we live in are, the greater will our honour be, if we be faithfull. 'Twas Lots commendation that he was good in Sodom, and Job in an Heathenish Vz. The more Sinne a∣bounds, the more our Grace should abound; and the more Sin appears in the World, the more should we appear against it.

The Lord hath done more for us of this last age of the World, then ever he did for our fore-fathers, and therefore he expects more from us, then he did from them; where he bestowes much, he looks for much a∣gain: where we bestow double cost, we look for a double crop. Christ is now more clearly preached to us, and we enjoy the helps and advantages of former times.* A Pigmy set upon a Gyants shoulders, may see fur∣ther then the Gyant himself. It's a shame for us if we do not our work better by Sun-light, then others that have had but Twy-light. God takes it very ill to be wounded in the house of his children and friends; for when he hath done so much, Isai 1.2, 3. Zach. 13.6. Will ye also forsake me, said Christ to his disciples? will you, whom I have redeemed and loved above all the people of the World, you whom I have brought forth in dayes of greatest Light and Love, when 'twas free with me to have brought you forth in Mid-night of Popery and Superstition; will you also rebell against me? There is nothing renews the Gospel so soon as this contempt; it makes Page  11 the Lord repent of all the kindnesse he hath shewed us.

2. Note.2 We must not look for a Church in this World without its im∣perfections and corruptions, if ever the Church on Earth shall be pure and glorious, it shall be in the last dayes; yet we see the spirit of God tells us here expresly, that these last dayes shall be perilous times, by reason of the swarms of wicked men,* which shall be in the very bosome of the Church; who shall indeed pretend to much Piety, yet shall be full of Impiety, and Hypocrisy; they shall have a form of godlinesse, but they will deny its power. v. 5. There will be to the end of the World a mixture in the Church of God, there will be Tares and Wheat, good and bad in the Church alwayes. Mat. 13.25. One told the Emperour Frederick, that he would go to a place where no Hypocrites were, then (said he) you must go beyond the frozen Ocean, where there are no Inhabitants; and yet thou wilt find an Hyprocrite there, if thou find thy self there. He that looks for a perfect Church in this World, or for such a Church wherein there shall be none but Reall Saints,* may look till his eyes rot in his head, before he see that day. Christ had but twelve, and one of them was a Devill; and the rest that were sin∣cere, yet had their failings. The Apostle tells us that in the bosome of the Church, there shall be seducers. Acts 20.29, 30. from amongst your selves shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw disciples after them. All the Churches we read of in the Scripture, have had their failings and blots, as the Church of Ierusalem, Corinth, Galatia, and the seven Churches of Asia: yet Christ owned them, and communicated with them still, and sent his disciples to them; and therefore be not offended, when you see defects, corruptions, and disorders in the Church; perfection indeed is to be wisht for, but it is reserved for Heaven. No Church ever was, is, or shall be perfectly free from sin on Earth.

Let us not then forsake the Lords Floore, because there is some Chaffe in it; nor run from Sion instead of Babylon, as many in our dayes do, that cry out against the Church of England as a false Church (though all the Churches of God in the World own her for a true one) and run from her as from Babylon, and so run into Babylon: from a supposed, into a Reall, Babylon. Babylon signifieth Confusion; now amongst those that separate what sad confusion is there? Division upon division; separation upon se∣paration, &c. till they have broken themselves all to pieces, and at last are faine to sit, like Owles, alone. These are they that abhorre a mixt company, yet flye from Reall Saints. This they call new Light, when it is no∣thing but an old Error of the Catharists,* and Donatists, who, out of a conceit of their own exceeding holinesse, did separate themselves. [Perfectionem justi∣tiae & Angelicam sanctitatem hic ab hominibus requirunt Donatistae; quam etiam se, suosque illos impuros coetus habere jactant, & profitentur; tam sunt arrogantes, coeci, & à vero suae infirmitatis & rebellionis sensu alieni. Danae∣us loco citato, ubi plura.] Causelesse Separation (saith a learned * Divine) from established Churches walking according to the Order of the Gos∣pel (though perhaps failing in some small things) is yet no small sin. Let such consider.

1. That the Root of this separation is bad,* and therefore the fruit cannot be good. It springs from Pride and Censoriousnesse, as we see in the Pharisees, who were great Separatists, and have their name from thence.

2. Such are Schismaticks, and in a short time they will he Hereticks; for, Schisme is the way to Heresy: they make a Rent in the Church, whose Peace should be very dear to us; for, though Peace be not the EssePage  12 and being of a Church, yet it tends very much to its bene esse, and well-being: for as a Kingdom, so a Church, divided, cannot long endure.

3. The Pretences made for Separation are now removed, there's no Bi∣shop, Surplesse, Cross, Common-prayer, &c. for them to stumble at; and yet separation was unlawfull then, but now its farre more vile, and therefore the Lord punisheth the Separatists of this age more severely, by giving them up to viler opinions than formerly.

4. 'Tis a scandall and wrong to a Church: 'tis ill to forsake the society of one good man without a cause; but to un-church a whole Church cause∣lesly, now great is that sin?

*5. They cannot escape the revenging hand of God. Though men may suf∣fer them, yet God will not; one of the saddest judgements that we read of in the Scripture, befell schismaticall Corah, and his company: Numb. 6.16. they thought to have levelled all, but God levelled them; they would destroy both Magistracy and Ministery, but God destroyes them; they made a rent in the Congregation, and the Earth rent and devoured them: all this is done for a memoriall to succeeding Ages, that they take heed how they make rents in the Church of God. verse 40. So Cain, the first Separatist that we read of, Gen. 4.16. he went from Gods presence (i. e.) from Gods Church and Ordinances, and then he becomes a Vagabond.

*He that would see more against this Sin, let him peruse Mr. Perkns on Iude 19. Mr. Robert Bolton's Saints Guide▪ p. 126. Mr. Pagits Arrow against Separation. Mr. Rutherfords Plea for Presbytery, p. 120. Mr. Bernard a∣gainst Smith, D. Hill's Fast Sermon, 1644. on 2 Cor. 6.17, 18. Mr. Blake on the Covenant, chap. 31. p. 228. &c. and on the Sacrament; chap. 8. Sect. 3. p. 314. Camero Praelect. de Ecclesia mihi. p. 322. and above all, Mr. Brinsly of Yarmouth, His Arraignment of Separation.

A fourth Observation.

That the doctrine of the Millenaries is a meer fancy. The Text is clear against it; for it sayes expressely, The last dayes shall be perilous times. Ma∣ny dream of peace and joy, and, I know not what, golden, glorious, flouri∣shing times, wherein they shall be free from Sin and Sinners, and live in this World without tentations and troubles. But do not you deceive your selves with such vain conceits, for I tell you (saith the Apostle) the last dayes shall be very perilous, wherein all manner of Sins, and Sinners shall abound; men shall be Covetous, Proud, Blaspemers, &c. verse 23. Now whether shall we believe Paul, or these Dreamers; that say, Christ shall come from heaven, and shall reign visibly and personally in Ierusalem a thousand yeares, as an earthly Monarch, in outward glory and and Pompe, putting down all Monarchy and Em∣pires. Then shall the Church of the Iewes and Gentiles live without any Trouble or Enemy, without Sin or Sorrow, without Word, Sacraments, or any Ordinances. They shall passe this thousand yeares in great worldly delights, eating, drinking, building houses, planting vineyards, and eating the*fruit of it, Marrying wives, getting children, and enjoying all the lawful pleasures which all the creatures, then Redeemed from their ancient slavery, can afford? In this earthly happiness shall the Church continue till the end of thousand yeares, and then comes the day of Judge∣ment. Upon this point I find so many men, so many opinions, 'tis a harder thing to find out certainly what they hold, then 'tis to conquer them. Pisca∣tor saith, The Martyrs shall rise a thousand yeares before others, and shall reign with Christ in heaven. Alsteed comes, and he saith it shall be on Earth, yet after the day of judgement. Mr. Mede with his new light differs from all the rest, affirming, That this reign shall be in and during the day of Judge∣ment, Page  13 which shall continue a thousand yeares.* [Chimaera Chimaerssima] a ve∣ry fiction without foundation in the Word of God. Thus these builders of Babel, are divided and confounded amongst themselves.

The first opinion I find to be most generally received hy the Millenaries. Indeed such carnal Doctrine, suits well with such carnall Saints, This is some of the new light of our times; being nothing but an old errour broached by Cerinthus the Heretick in the first Century,* 1500. yeares agoe. He was a loose Libertine, and therefore he invented this loose Opinion, to up∣hold his riotous practises. S. Augustin opposed it. It hath layen dead for a long time, till some some Libertines and carnall Anabaptists of late have revived it, and put a new gloss upon it.

The vanity of this opinion will appear by the arguments in my Chiliasto-Mastyx against Doctor Homes.

VERSE 2. For men shall be lovers of themselves, Covetous, Boasters, Proud, Blasphemers, disobedient to Parents. unthankfull, unholy, &c.

THe Apostle, having told us, verse 1. in General, that the last dayes should be perilous;* he comes now to particulars; verse 2, 3, 4, 5. and sets forth in their proper colours the Sins and Sinners, the Men and Man∣ners of the last times. I wish they were not a true Map of our times. I may tru∣ly call these 19. sins, Englands Locking-glasse, wherein we may plainly see the true cause of all our miseries, and what it is that hinders the work of Refor∣mation, and turnes away good things from us. These are the 19. Weeds which deface Gods Garden, the Church; the good Lord root them out of all our hearts, that our names may never be found in this black Bill, and cursed Catalogue, to be such as make evill times, bad; and bad times worse.

'Tis worth our noting, that the Apostle doth not place the Perill and Hardnesse of the last times, in any externall calamity, or penall evills; as Sword, Plague, Famine, Persecution: but in the prodigions sins and enor∣mities, of such as professe Religion. Let the times be never so successfull and prosperous, in other respects; yet if Sin abound, they are truly perilous and per∣nicious times: for 'tis Sin that sets God against us, and the Creatures against us, and conscience against us; Sin is the Fundamental & Meritorious cause of all our miseries and perills, as appears, Deut. 28.15, 16, &c. Sin is the evill of evills, and brings all other evills with it. Let the times be never so mise∣rable, and the Church lye under sad persecutions; yet if they be not sinfull times, they are not truly perilous times, but rather purging and purifying times.

From the Connection of this verse with the former, Observe.

That nothing is so perilous and pernicious, so hard and heavy to a gra∣cious soule, as the Sins of the times he lives in. [This I have cleared in the opening of the last clause of the first verse.] As nothing is dearer to Gods peo∣ple, than Gods glory; so nothing goeth nearer their hearts, than Gods disho∣nour; As Gods soul is said to be afflicted, and his heart to be broken with the Idolatries and Apostasies of a back-sliding people. Ezek. 6.9. so 'tis a great grief and heart-breaking to the people of God, to see their God dishonou∣red; Hence Lots righteous soul is said to be vexed [or tormented, as the word Page  14 signifieth] with the abominations of the Sodomites, 2 Pet. 2.7, 8. The Mourners sigh and cry for all the abominations of the times they lived in, Ezek. 9.4. Ieremy [13.17.] weeps in secret for the sins of the people. Davids eyes run down with rivers of teares, bec••se men forget Gods Law, and his soul was grieved because of the Transgressors, Psal. 11.9.53.136.158. Christ wept over Ierusalem because she knew not the day of her Visitation, Luke 19.41, 42. Paul is troubled at the Idolatry of the Athenians, Acts 17.16. and weeps to consider the sad condition both of the Seducers, and the Sedu∣ced; Phil. 3.18. the two Witnesses mourn to see so many bewitcht with Anti∣christs delusions. Revel. 11.3. 'Tis true, we ought to be sensible of the judge∣ments of God, and to be humbled under them; so was David. Psal. 119.120. I am afraid of thy judgements. So Iob [31.3.14.] was awed by seeing Gods judgements on the Wicked, and 'tis made a note of a wicked man, that he cryeth not [in Prayer to God] when the Lord binds him with the cords of af∣fliction, Iob 36.13. These corrections are harsh and hard to flesh and blood; but that which should most affect us, is Sin: for God is honoured by his judg∣ments on men,* but Sin is a despising and despiting of him. 2 Sam. 12.9.14. and therefore Gods people had rather live in times of judgement and com∣mon calamity, when Sword, Plague, and Famne are abroad; than in times of generall and common sinning: for those are but Penall evills, and may drive us to God; but sin is the evill of evills, and makes us run from him, as Adam did Gen. 3.8. and Cain. Gen. 4, 16.

Before I can proceed, two Questions must be answered.

1. Quest. Of whom doth the Apostle here speak, when he saith, In the last dayes men shall be Lovers of themselves, Covetous, Boasters, &c.

Answ. 1. Negatively, he speaks not here of Turks and Tartars, that are without the Pale of the Church, and do openly oppose the Gospel of Christ. But affirmatively, he speaks of such as shall live in the bosome of the Church, and shall partake of the external Priviledges of it, verse 5. they be such as will have a form of godliness: they will be great pretenders to Piety, though their lives abound with all manner of Iniquity.

1. The Text may have relation to the Pharisaical Papists, and Popish Se∣ducers, who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women. How do all the Vices, which the Apostle doth instance in, reign especially in the Popish Cler∣gy? In all their doctrine and service, how do they seek themselves? Papists are natural men, and so must needs be full of self-love. In their preaching, they cry up the Popes Supremacy, and exalt him above Kings: for the Pope can give them Deaneries, and Bishopricks, which Kings cannot do, without him.

2. They are exceeding Covetous, they cry up Purgatory, Indulgencies, Masses for quick and dead; all's for money. Rich men have store of Masses and Trentalls said for them, for which they pay dear; but the Poor have none said for them, they may dye good cheap.

*3. They Boast of their Holy Mother the Church [yet fight against the true Church] they boast of their holy Relicks, holy Ragges, holy Bones, holy Stones, holy Wood, holy Bloud, holy Blocks, holy Stocks, &c.

4. The *Pride of the Pope and his Clergy is known to all the World; how do they insult over Kings, and Emperours, 2 Thess. 2.4.

5. Their Blasphemies are known to all; they take upon them to forgive Sins, and for a reward can dispense with the manifest breach of all Gods Commands.

6. How disobedient to Parents are their Nuns and Friars? amongst whom many, contrary to their Parents liking, even in their Minority, are seduced, and so become unthankefull to those that bred them. So the Jesuits, how diso∣bedient and unthankfull have they been to their Superiours of those Nations Page  15 that entertain them, by plotting their ruine. As for the unholinesse of Rome, all the World that knowes her crieth shame on her.* What is the Pope their head but that man of sin? 2 Thess. 2.3. merum scelus, a man compounded of Sin, and made up of Wickednesse, one that is Sin it self in the Abstract. Hence Platina (one of their own) tells us of 13. Popes that were Adulterers, 3. common Brothellers. 4. Incestuous ones, 11. Sodomites, 7. Whore-masters, and erecters of Stews, where every Whore payeth weekly a Julian penny to the Pope, which many years amounts to 40000. Ducats. Thus by the Rotten∣nesse of the Heads of their Church, we may guess at the unholiness of their Members. This made Mantuan long since bid adiew to Rome, telling her He would never return to her again, till he went to be a Baud or Brotheller. 9. They are voyd of naturall affection, witness their bloudy Inquisition, and cruell persecuting of their nearest Relations, if they be (as they call them) Hereticks, (i. e.) faithfull Servants of Christ. A Turk, a Jew, a Pagan shall find more favour with them then a zealous Christian. 10. Covenant-break∣ers, they are notoriously guilty of this, witness their late dealing with the Pro∣testants in Savoy. No Bonds can bind them, no Oaths can hold them, they deal with them all as Apes do with their Collars, which they can put off and on at pleasure. The Popes Holiness can easily absolve them from the faith which they have promised to Hereticks.

11. False accusers,* their lying and slandering of Protestants, is one of the four main Pillars of Popery.

12. Their Incontinency is notoriously known to the World: what hath been the practice of their Friars and Nuns, the sculls of children that have been found there, doth evidence. Corporal whoredome, and Spirituall, oft go to∣gether. Hos. 4.13.

13. Their Fiercenesse appears by their cruell Massacres in England, Ireland France, Savoy, and amongst the poor Indians.

Their Heady desperate Treasons are knowne to the Nations. How oft did they attempt the life of Queen Elizabeth, and by Gun-powder would have blown up King Iames.

Their hatred to those that are good, is so implacable, that they cannot once name them without some opprobrious Title, as Hereticus Lutherus, Im∣pins Calvinus. Hence Azorius the Jesuite [Moral. l. 8. c. 16.] affirmes, That the names of Reformed Writers must not at all be mentioned, unlesse it be to their disgrace. They are voluptuous persons: they love their Sensual delights more then God; and with that prophane Cardinal, they prefer their part in Paris before their part in Paradise.

Lastly, they, have a form of godlinesse, and that's all. All their Religion is meer formality, lip-labour, and grosse Hypocrisy. Under the name of Christs Spouse they play the filthy Harlot. Under the Title of the Church, they fight against the Church. Under a Shew of godlines they cloak a World of wickedness. Under pretence of vowed Chastity, they lived in Adultery; under the cloak of professed Poverty, they got the goods of the Temporalty, and under the vizor of being dead to the World, they not onely reigned in the World, but also ruled it: creeping not only into mens Purses, but also into their Consciences; they heard their confessions, they knew their secrets, and ruled men as they pleased. Thus we see the whole Catalogue is theirs with∣out any straining; and though we cannot excuse our selves, yet they are the unfittest persons to accuse us in the World.

2. Yet the Text hath an eye (in my judgment, and in the judgment of bet∣ters) more especially and properly to these last times wherein we live; and to those that shall live in the bosom of the true Church; who shall have a Form of godliness, and shall make an extraordinary profession of Piety, ingrossing Page  16 the Name of Sanctity to themselves and their party, as if they only were the holy Ones: yet will they deny the Power of it in their lives; being full of Self-love, Covetousness, Pride, &c. creeping into houses, and seducing silly wo∣men, as our Anabaptists and Quakers do. To these doth every piece and parcel of this Character of these last times, most properly belong, as will ap∣pear in the handling of them.

Quest. 2. The second question is this. Have not men in all ages been Covetous, Self-seekers, Proud, &c. what wonder then is it, if they be so in the last dayes?

Ans. 'Tis true, in all ages men ever have ben, and will be, Self-lovers, Covetous, Proud, &c. I, but in the last dayes these Sins will super-abound, they will then appear in a more eminent manner, they will be acted more vi∣sibly and violently then in any Age before. The Sinners of the last times will be the vilest Sinners: because they will sin against the greatest Light, and the greatest Love, &c.

*1. Note, That Self-love is one speciall Sin, and Sign, of the last times. In all Ages men will be full of Selfe, but never so much as in the last Age. This sinfull Self-love is set in the Front, as the Leader of the File, and the cause of all those 18. Enormities which follow: 'tis the Root from whence these Branches spring, and the very Fountain from whence those bitter Streames do issue. This is that pregnant, prolificall Mother of those Mon∣sters which follow. First men shall be Lovers of themselves, and then they will be Covetous, Proud, Blasphemers of God, and disobedient to man. In∣stead of Christian love which takes care for the good of others, men will on∣ly consider,* and intend themselves; they will seek their own Profit, Pleasure, Ease; they will admire themselves, and all their own Opinions; they Deify themselves, and Vilify others. Thus all men [comparatively] seek their own, Phil. 2.20. contrary to that Apostolical precept, 1 Cor. 10.24. Let no man seek his own, but every man anothers Wealth. Most men enquire after no∣thing else, but Who will shew us any good? (i. e.) Goods and Riches. Psalm 4.6. referring all to themselves with the King of Babylon. Dan. 4.30, bles∣sing and approving of others in tat way. Psal. 49.18. This is made one speciall Mark of a wicked man. Psal. 36.2. he flatters himself in his owne Eyes (i. e.) he hath a good Opinion of himself, though he be never so nought; the Pharisees were so stuft with Self-love, that they thought themselves righteous, Luke 5.32. when they were most unrighteous. Thus Simon Ma∣gus was a great man in his own conceit, when indeed he was a Sorcerer, a very limb of the devill. Acts 8.9, 10. So Paul before his Conversion was alive. Rom. 7.9. he thought himself in a good Condition, being full of Pre∣sumption, and Self-confidence. So the Church of Laodicea had too good a conceit of her self; in her own conceit she was spiriually rich in Know∣ledge, Faith, Obedience; but Christ tells her she was indeed blind and na∣ked, wretched and miserable, Rev. 3.17. and this is the Sin; not of one or two,* but of every man by Nature, he is apt to think himself something, when indeed he's nothing, and so deceives himselfe. Gal. 6.3. as a good man in a desertion may think he hath no Grace, when indeed he hath it: so a natu∣ral man in his presumption may think he's full of Grace, when he hath none at all. Iames 1.22. So Prov, 13.7. some make themselves rich when they have nothing; of the two extreames, its far better and safer to under-value, than to over-value, our selves. So did Agur, Prov. 30.2. I am not a man. Paul in his own apprehension was the chief of Sinners, and least of Saints. This Page  17 is not so dangerous, nor so common, for where one thinks too ill of him∣self, there's ten thousand thinks too well of themselves; like those Levites, that really thought themselves true Priests, till the Records were searched, and they not being found there, were discarded, and put from the Priest∣hood. Ezra 2.62. This is the Root of much sin, and misery.

Iste mali fons est, tam sum Miser, ut miser ipse
Cum sim, me miserum non tamen Esse sciam.

Quest. But some may demand, is all Self-love unlawfull? are not we comman∣ded to love our Neighbour as our selves; and is not the Proverb, Quisque sibi proximus,* Charity begins at home, and every man is next Neigh∣bour to himself?

Answ. We must distinguish of Self

Love, it is three-fold,

  • 1. Ordinate.
  • 2. Religious.
  • 3. Inordinate.

1, There is an Ordinate,* honest, and natural Self, springing from an in∣stinct in nature, whereby a man loves himself, and seeks the preservation of his life; this is commanded. Eph. 5.28, 29. Men must love their own bodies, for no man [in his right wits] ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourish∣eth and cherisheth it. Thus a man may love himself as Gods creature, for God hath planted in all men the Love of themselves, which in subordination to God and the common good, is warrantable: so that Love of a mans elf is one thing, and Self-love is another: in the one love guides the man to make him love whom he ought, and as he ought; in the other, the man swayeth his love to make it serviceable to himself, and to love as he pleaseth: so that the Scripture doth not simply condemn Self-love, which is planted so deeply in our natures by the God of Nature; but sinfull and inordinate Self-love.

2. There is a Pious and Religious Self-love, considered in relation to God and the common good; thus a man may love himself as an Instrument of Gods glory, and as a servant for the good of others: else our Saviour would never set our love to our selves before us, as a Pattern of our love to our Neighbours. Now upon these grounds, and in relation to these ends, we may not only love our selves, but seek our selves too. This love spreads, and dilates it self, for God and the good of others. The more noble and excellent things, the more communicative and diffusive they are of themselves;* the Sun is herein a more noble thing then a Torch, and a Fountaine then a ditch. Christ emp∣tied himselfe of his Glory, not for his owne, but for our, benefit, Phil. 23.6. it will make us part with our own right for Peace. Genesis 13.8, 9. 1 Cor. 6.7. it will make us condescend to those of the lower sort. Rom. 12.16. not seeking our own profit, but the profit of many. 1 Cor. 10.33. yea, and though they be Free, yet Love will make them Servants to all,* 1 Cor. 9.19. On the contrary, Self-love contracts the soul, and hath an eye still at Selfe in all its undertakings. 'Tis the very Hedg-hog of conversation; that rolls and lap it self within its own soft down, and turnes out brisles to all the World besides: much like the fat Monk, who when the Abbies were Page  18 going down, and he had gotten his pension for life, stroaked his belly, and cryed, Modò hîc sit bene, if all went well there, 'twas well enough. This is, with the illy bird, to mind nothing but the building of our own nests, when the tree is cutting down; and to take more care of our private Cabin, then of the ship it self, when it is a sinking.

*3. There is a carnall, corrupt, inordinate Self-love; when a man admires himself, his Wayes, his Works, his Opinions, Contemning and Vilifying others: When a man so loves himself, that he loves neither God nor man truly, and as he ought, but prefers himself and his own private interest, before Gods glory, and his brothers good. Now this vitious and inordinate Self-love, is the great and Master-sin of these last and worst times. 'Tis an evill disposition that is naturall to us all, and so moves us strongly, delight∣fully, constantly, as naturall things use to do, and this makes it so hard, even where there's Grace to subdue it, and keep it within its bounds. Here∣ditary diseases are hardly cured,* Self-love is hereditary to us, we are apt to have high conceits of our selves from the very birth; till Grace humble and abase us, all our Crowes are Swans, our Ignorance Know∣ledge, our Folly Wisdome, our Darkness Light, and all our owne Wayes best, though never so bad. Even the Regenerate themselves are in part tainted with it, and have fallen by it. David to save himselfe, acts a weak part, and counterfets before Achish. Peter to save his life, de∣nies his Saviour. Let us therefore set our selves with full purpose of heart against this Epidemical, Soul-destroying, Land-ruining sin. To this end take these few considerations.

1. Consider, this Inordinate, Vitious Self-love, is the Root of many great evils, Covetousnesse, Contention, Unthankfulnesse, &c. are all Virtually, Seminally, Originally, Fundamentally in this cursed Self-love. This is morbus,*complicatissimus, a disease that hath many other diseases included in it, and so is more hard to cure. Hence spring all those Errors and Heresies, which are so rife in these last dayes, men have too high a conceit of themselves, and their own opinions, they imagin they can see more then all the Churches of God in the World.* There's more hope of a poor silly fool, then of such Self-conceited persons. Prov. 26.12. This made the Donatists think themselves spotless; and the Pelagi∣ans to cry up Nature, and cry down Grace. As a man that is in love, doth think the very blemishes in his love to be beautiful; so those that with Narcissus are in love with themselves, and doat on their own opinions, think their Heresy to be Verity; and their Vices Vertues. This will bring Vexation at last, it trou∣bles us to be cheated by others in petty matters, but for a man to cheat him∣self wilfully, and that in a matter of the highest concernment, is the trouble of troubles to an awakened conscience.

*2. 'Tis a Sin that blinds men so that they cannot see the Truth. Let a Minister never so clearely convince them, yet they will not be convinced; their deceitful hearts have a thousand evasions, no Jugler in the World hath so many tricks to deceive, as they have; many are blinded and deluded by Satan, he perswades men that they are in a good condition, and highly in Gods favour. Where he dwells, he labours to keep all in Peace, by himselfe, by false friends, and by false Prophets who are his agents. Thus deluded Ahab by false Prophets who bid him go up and prosper. Page  19 when they might more truly have said, Go up and perish, but usually men deceive themselves wittingly, and willfully. 2 Pet. 3.5.

No wise man will trust a known Cheater, yet such fooles are men that they trust too much to their own deceitfull hearts, which is the Grand Im∣postor of the World. *Ier. 17.9, 10. the heart of man (i. e.) the whole Soule, the Understanding, Will, Affections, &c. is Gnacob, crooked, crafty, de∣ceitfull, and desperately wicked. It tells men of gold, but gives them coun∣ters; it makes them dream they are Kings, when they are beggars; like a hungry man that dreams he eates, but when he awakes he is hungry. Isay 29.8. This makes men so indulgent to themselves, their sins and errors must not be toucht; these, Absolon-like, must be dealt gently withall, and which is the height of misery, it makes men insensible of their msery; they think themselves at the gates of heaven, when they are in the Subburbs of hell. This Self-indulgence spreads a vaile over the eyes, and blindes the judgement that it cannot see what is amiss in it self. Isai 44.20. a deceived heart hath turn∣ed him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul nor say, Is there not a lye in my right hand? A Self-conceited heart, is a self-deceiving-heart; it cannot endure any Self-Examination, Self-reflection, Self-judging; it cannot endure to put the question to it self concerning it self; he cannot, he dares not, say, Is there not a lye in my right hand? What have I done? Ier. 8.6. a gracious soul reflects upon himself, and cryes, Lord, is it I? Mat. 26.22. and 'tis I that have sinned and brought this judgement, saith David, 2 Sam. 24.10. but let a wicked mans sins be never so visible, yet he pleads innocency, and Not-guilty still Ier. 2 34, 35. The Priests and People in Malachies time were ve∣ry corrupt, yet when the Lord by the Prophet tells them of it, see how im∣pudently they cry three times together, Wherein have we done amsse? Mal. 1.6. and 2.6. and 2.17. and 3.8.13. See to what a height of shamelesnesse Self-excusation of the heart of man may transport him, even then and in those things when and wherein he is most guilty! and though we think this prodigious in them, yet it is but an instance of the over-weening partiality that is in us all by nature towards our selves. This makes so many to pervert the Scriptures, and to apply the promises to themselves instead of threa∣tenings,

3. This sinful Self overthrows Christian Society and Community, if one member be sick,* the rest of the members will sympathize with it; we are members one of another, Rom. 12.4. and should be sensible of the afflicti∣ons of Ioseph. Like Bees, when one is sick, the rest are sad. But Self-love hardens the heart, and makes it cruell to Father, Mother, Wife, Children, and Neighbours; whereas true love seeketh not her own, but the good of o∣thers. 1 Cor. 13.5. it makes us love our neighbours as our selves, now every man wisheth (or at least ought to wish) his own eternall good heartily and sincerely. 'Tis therefore an ungodly Proverb which is used by too many. Eve∣ry one for himself, and God for us all. But where every one is for himself only, there the Devill is for all. We must therefore change the Proverb, every one for his own, and for his Brothers eternall good, and then God will be for us all. Psal. 133. ult. There God commands the blessing, where Bre∣thren dwell in sacred amity and unity together.

4. Such are odious to God. The more lovely we are in our own eyes, the more loathsome in Gods; but the more we loath our selves, the more God loves us. Ier. 31.18▪ 20.

2. They are odious to men.* As a publick spirited good man (as much as in him lyeth) doth good to all, and so is beloved of all, insomuch Page  20 that some would even venture their lives for him,*Rom. 5.7. though for a rigid righteous man; scarce any will dye, yet for a good man who hath been usefull and serviceable in his generation, whose life and labours have bene∣fitted many; for such a one (saith the Apostle) some would even dare to dye. So on the contrary, a private spirited man, that is all for himself, and for his own interests, is slighted and abhorred of all.

3. This inordinate Self-love is in effect Self-hatred. We never loose our selves more, then when we seek our selves most. He that loves any thing better then Christ, shall loose it. Luke 9.14.17. Iohn 12.25. Henry the Third, King of France, forsaking God and turning to Idols, he became a Catholick, and lst all: for thinking to get the Monks on his side, by affecting their devotion; a Monk killed him, and he became contemptible to his People, Paris and all his great Towns revolting from him. That we may not ruine our s••ves, let us deny our selves, and all that's dear to us for Christ; this is the onely way to save all. As we must deny our Regenerate Selfe, viz. all our Grace, Services, and Sufferings, in point of Justification: so we must deny our Corrupt self in point of Mortification. We must deny our own car∣nall Reason,* and submit our selves to Gods counsell: in all our Wayes we must acknowledge him. Prov. 2.5. 2 Cor. 10.5. being ready to deny our selves in any thing, and to do what ever he commands us. Act. 9.6. We must be content to be ordered by Christ, as well as to be saved by him. Christs Mind now must be our Mind, and his Will our Will; now we desire to be men according to Christs heart: now we are Friends to all his Friends, and Enemies to his Enemies, for ever. Now we hate our selves for hating him, and take a godly revenge on our selves for our former rebellions.

[If any would see more of Self-deniall, which is directly contrary to that cursed Sin of Self-seeking; let him peruse D. Preston, His Treatise on Self-deniall. D. Reynolds Serm. on Matth. 16.24. Pinks three Serm. on Self-deniall Mr. Ier. Burroughs, His Treatise of Self-deniall. Mr. Ambrose his Media, Edit ult. Fenner on Luke 9.23. Fol. p. 151. D. Taylor in Folio, in fine p. 1. Mocket on Mat. 13.45.

6. Consider, that 'tis a great blemish to Religion, when the Profes∣sors of it are Self-seeking men; the Lord layes this as a blot on Ezekiels hearers, Ezek. 33.31. they gave him the hearing, but their hearts were set upon Covetousnesse. That But spoyled all; so we may say of many, They are eminent Professors, but they are Self-seekers, they are Knowing men, but Hard, Worldly, and love their own private interests too much. Away with these Buts, they are great blemishes, and cause Religion to stink in the notrills of the men of the World.* Labour therefore for Self-deniall, whereby we may advance Gods glory, and our Brethrens good, before our own pri∣vate ends, and interests; and let that good mans Prayer be thy daily Prayer. Deliver me O Lord from that Evill Man my Self.

[Against Self-seeking, see two excellent Semons. Viz. Mr. Ienkyn on Phil. 2.22. Preached Aprill 9. 1645. and Mr. Calamy on the same Text, at Pauls, 1654. Mr. Daniel Rogers, Naamans History. p. 98. &c. Mr. Iacombs Publick Spirit, A Sermon on Acts 13.36.

Covetous, Boasters, Proud, &c.

See here what a Concatenation of Sins there is, and how they are link't together, Self-Lovers, Covetous, Boasters, Proud, &c.

Page  21Hence observe, That Sins (especially great Sins) seldome go alone. As great men have great attendance, so great Sins have many followers; and as he that admits of a great man into the house, must look to have all his rag∣ged Regiment, and black Guard, to follow him; so he that admits but one great Sir into his heart,* must look for Gad, a Troop of ugly lusts to throng in after. Sin i like a Tyrant, the more you yield to it, the worse it Tyran∣nizeth over you. 'Tis insatiable, and knowes no bounds. E. G. Davids great Sin of Idlenesse, brings forth Adultery, Murder, Lying, Drukennesse, In∣humanity, Cruelty. So Lots Drunkennesse brought forth Incest; Peters Self-confidence brought him to a deniall of his Master, & every deniall was worse then other. Mat. 26.72, 74. Adams eating of the Forbidden fruit, brought with it a breach of all the Commandements (as Divines observe) and if it be thus with Gods children, who Sin with Reluctancy, oh how violently will Satan drive on his slaves, who give themselves up to Sin! Thus Iezabell coves Naboths Vineyard, but doth she stay there? no, but she subornes false witness against him: and takes away hi life. Iudas at first was a Hypocrite, then a Covetous Caitiffe, and at last sells his Master; so that what we say of Errors in Opinion,* is most true in matters of Practice; Concesso uno absurdo consequentur mille; Grant but one, and many will follow. As there is a Con∣catenation of Vertues, so that he who hath one in Truth, hath all. As 2 Pet. 1.5.6.7, 8. adde to your Faith Vertue, Knowledge, Temperance, &c. there is a golden chain consisting of eight Vertues, as so many Links; for the compleat adorning of a Christian. Here Faith hath the Precedency, it being the Root and Mother of all Grace, then see how many Maids of Honour attend her.

7. Vertue,* no true Faith without Vertue, no true Vertue without Know∣ledge, no true Knowledge without Temperance, no true Temperance with∣out Patience, no true Patience without Godlinesse, no true Godlinesse with∣out Brotherly kindnesse, no true Brotherly kindnesse without Love, This is that golden chain which God bestowes on those whom he doth more espe∣cially honour. As Christ was adorned with variety of Graces. Isai 11.2. so is every Christian in his measure, he receives Grace for Grace. Iohn 1.16. So Mal. 4.2. Rom. 8.30. there is Vocation, Justification, Sanctification, and growth in Grace, all linked together. So Luke 1.74, 75. Titus 2.12. Phil, 4.8. So there is a Concatenation of Vices, they are so linkt one in ano∣ther, that as in a chain, the drawing of one link causeth the following of the rest; so the admittance of one notorious Sin, brings with it another, and that a worse, unlesse God stay 〈◊〉 and restrain it: e. g. admit of Covetousnesse, then follow Usury, Bribery, Boasting, Lying, Forswearing, Murder, &c. So true is that, Iames 2.20. He that breaks one Commandement, is guilty of all. He that makes no conscience of breaking one, will, when a temptation comes, make no conscience of breaking any one; so that albeit he do not Actually beak them all, yet Habitually and Dispositively, he doth.

Oh then stop Sin betimes, resist the very beginnings of it, kill these Cocka∣trices in the shell, dash these brats of Satan against the stones, fly the very appearance of evill, else you will grow worse and worse, and fall away more and more, till you be ruined; for Sin is like to Water, give it a little passage, and it will eat a way for it self, till it become irresistible. Prov. 17.14. as little Thieves, let in at a Window, unbolt the dores for greater; so small Sins allowed in the Soul, will soon bring greater with them.

Page  22

Covetous.

This is the second Character of the men of the last times; they shall not only be Self-lovers,* but Silver-lovers, and Money-lovers, such as account gain to be godliness. 1 Tim. 6.5. In all their actings be they never so Pi∣ous, they have an eye at gain. One being asked what was the sinewes of War? he answered Money; being asked the same question a second time, he answered Mony; and being asked the third time, he answered still, Money. So if you ask me what is the moving and primary cause that makes so many leap out of a prophane course of life, into a great profession of Religion, without any proportionable measure of humiliation? The answer is ready, Money, Money, Money. 'Tis to get an office, or that they may be rising men; just like the Shechemites, they would be circumcised, why so? For their cattell and their substance will be ours. Gen. 34.22.23.* This sin of Covetousnesse, is Self-loves First-born. As all good comes from Love, which diffuseth it self for the benefit of all; so all e∣vill, and especially this of Covetousnesse, comes from Self and Private spiri∣tednesse, which contracts the Spirit, and sordidly makes it all for it self. This Sin is become generall, and so the more dangerous; like a Leprosy it hath overspread the land: as the Lord complained of Israel, so he may of Eng∣land. Jer. 6.13. From the least of them to the greatest, every one is given to Co∣vetousnesse. See what followes. ver. 19.

2. This sin is now commited against very great Light, which aggravates it much. The Ministers of Christ have testified against this sin by Preaching, Printing, Light, and Life, (however we are bespattered by the Libertines of these degenerate times) and yet men desperately break forth into it. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgement against the men of this generation, for they had but one Ionah to preach unto them, and they repented: but we have had many Ionahs, Ieremies, Daniels, Ezekiels, and yet we abide im∣penitent.

2. They had but one Sermon, and that a short one, yet they repented of their Covetousnesse and cruelty; but we have had many large ones, and yet we continue the same men still. Let such know that if Preaching will not mend them, Judgements will end them. If the old World will not re∣turn at the Preaching of Noah, the flood shall drown them: if Pharaoh will not hearken to Moses voyce, the sea shall swallow him: if Elies sons will not hearken to the voyce of their Fathers, 'tis a Sign God hath a purpose to de∣stroy him.

This Sin of Covetousnesse is a sin that the Scripture testifies against very much; there is scarce any sin that is branded with fouler Titles, and all to make us out of love with it.

1. 'Tis called Idolatry, Ephes. 5.5. Colos. 3.5. which is one of the grea∣test sins, and breaks the marriage knot. God bears with other sins, but this is a God-provoking,* and a Land-destroying Sin. When people once chuse new Gods, war and judgement will soon be in the gates, Iudges 5.8. when Idolatry comes in, God goes out. Now the Covetous man is a grosse Ido∣later, for he loves his money above God, he trusts in it, and saith to the wedge of Gold; Thou art my hope. Iob 31.24. He thinks himself more safe with his money in his bagges,* then all the Saints who have Gods promises for their Portion, and the losse of his money grieves him more then the loss of Gods favour. Hence Bernard compares Covetousness to a Lady riding in in a Chariot, whose wheeles are four Vices.

  • 1. Contempt of God.
  • Page  232. Inhumanity towards men.
  • 3. Forgetfulness of death, when they must part with all.
  • 4. Diffidence and distrust in Gods providence and promises.

2. 'Tis called the Root of all evill. 1 Tim. 6.10. nor money, but the inor∣dinate love of money is the Root of Pride, the Root of Theft, Murder, Bri∣bery, Perjury, Usury, Heresy; Apostasy, Oppression, false weights, false wares, &c. in a word, 'tis the Root not only of one or two, but of all evill. Then have at the Root (saith Father Latimer) and have at all; down with that, and down goes all; Preachers should not stand ticking at the bran∣ches, but they must strike at Covetousness, which is the Root. The Cove∣tous man,* whose aff••ctions are inordinately set on money, will not stick at the breach of any one Commandement, for gain. Hence Solomon setting forth the vile practis of lewd mn, Prov. 1.10. to 18. in the nineteenth verse he sets down the Root of all that; Murder, Theft, Villany, &c. So are the wayes of every one that is greedy of gain Hence Habbakuk [2.9.] calls it an evill Cove∣tousness. 'Tis easie to lead it through all the Commandements, for although the Covetous man do not actually break the mall, yet he breaks them habi∣tually and dispositively; there is an inclination and a disposition in him (when a temptation comes) to break them all. Hence David prayes. Psal. 1 19.36. incline my heart unto thy Testimonies, and not to Covetousnesse. Implying, that Covetousnesse drawes a way the heart, not from one or two, but from all Gods Commandements.

  • 1, The Covetous man is an Unbeliever, he trusts in his riches, and loves them more then God; if they increase, he sets his heart upon them. Psal. 62.10.
  • 2. He's a gross Idolater, Ephes. 5.5. He must worship Caesars Image, and makes a clod of earth his God. Iob 31.24. His Bills are his Bible, his Goods his God, and his Pictures, his Scriptures.
  • 3. For gain, he'l swear and forswear, he'l abuse the word and works of God.
  • 4. He thinks all time lost which is spent in the Service of God. Hence u∣sually they keep their Feasts, go to Faires, sell their Wares, visit their Friends, and send their servants on needless errands on the Lords day, they can spare no time for the Sabbath before it comes, to prepare themselves for it; Hence it is, that they come weary, drowsy, heavie to those sacred solemnities, and cry out as those cruell, covetou Jewes. Amos 8.5. When will the New Moon be gone, that we may sell corne.
  • 5. For Money he'l go to Law with his own Father, abuse his Mother, wrong Magistrate, Minister, any one for Money. This makes men cruell and unnaturall to their Relations.
  • 6. How many Murders are committed,* and all for Money; To get Mony, Iudas will sell Christ himself; and many Popes give themselves, body and soul, to the Devill. How many Covetous, cruell Land-Lords, by oppression, eat and drink the bloud of their Tenants, and their Families. Ier. 22.17. Exek. 22.13. and many by their excessive sorrow for the losse of their money, oft become guilty of their own deaths.
  • 7. For Money the Popes Holiness will erect a stew, and tolerate whores, and others cast off all modesty and chastity.
  • 8. For Money men will rob,* cozen, use false weights, false wares, &c.
  • 9. What Lying, Slandering, Back-biting, &c. and all for Money? Ie∣zabell will suborne false witness, to get Naboths Vine-yard.
  • 10. He's alwayes coveting his neighbours goods, and this Commande∣ment he breaks above all the rest: for though he cannot get a Kingdome, yet his Covetous heart may desire a Kingdome.

Page  243. Consider 'tis a sinne which the very Heathen, by the dimme light of Nature have contemned and condemned. Bion calls it the Me∣tropolis of all evill.*Cicero could say, 'tis a sign of a sordid spirit to love money. Themistocles could say, take up that gold, for I regard it not; Seneca could say, 'tis the property of a Noble mind to contemn those earthly things.

Hence 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, magnus; quasi 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. non terrae filius, non terrenus. Now shall not Faith do that which infi∣delity hath done? shall Nature excell Grace? and shall we come short of those that come short of heaven? There is no sin so unbeseeming a Saint, as this. Hence the Apostle would not have them once name it, with approbation, but only with detestation. Epes. 5.3. 'Tis obser∣ved, that he never read in all the Scripture, of any Saint that was ever bran∣ded for Covetousnesse. We read of their falls into other sins, as Aarons Ido∣latry, Lots Incest, Noahs Drunkennesse, Davids Adultery, &c. but I never remember any Saint in Scripture that fell by this sin. That they have the Root of this sin as well as of other sins, is clear by that Prayer of David, Psal. 119.36. but that any Saint was ever overcome by it, we do not read. Luther said of himself,* that of all sins he was most free from this, and in this respect I could wish we were all Lutherans. We should answr Temptations to this sin, as Nehemiah answered his Adversaries, when they would have had him flye, Neh. 9.11. Should such a one as I flye? so, shall such a one as I be covetous, that have God for my Father, the Promises for my Heritage, that have interest in Christ, and so by him have interest in all, I that am un∣der such speciall protection, and have such plentifull provision, should I be covetous? Let the Dogges of the World fight for these bones, and scramble for these scraps; let Esau, Laban, Ahab, Achan, Balaam, Iezabel, Iudas, Demas, Simon-Magus, feed upon these huskes: but let the Saints who are cloathed with the Sun, tread the Moon under their feet, Rev. 12.1. they must contemn these Sublunary, Transitory things; counting them all but dung, and dogs-meat, in comparison of Christ, Phil. 3.8, How oft do we read of the Saints bounty and liberality, but never of their rapine, usury, &c. Iob was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame, he never did eat his mor∣sels alone. Iob 31. David gave his goods to the Saints, and Millions towards the building of the Temple. The Disciples forsook all for Christ, and the Primitive Christians sold their houses and lands for pious uses, and how care∣full was Paul to shun this sin! 1 Thes. 2.5. 1 Cor. 9.12.

4. It besots men, it makes them unteacheable, and untractable; none so dull and uncapable of the things of God, as those that are besotted with the World. These thorny cares choak the good seed of the Word, Luke 8.14. and blind the understanding. Isai 56.11, 12. greedy dogs cannot under∣stand, because their minds run all upon gain. This sin so besotted the Pha∣rises, that they derided even Christ himself,* and blew their noses at him in contempt. Luke 16.14. we do not read of any other sinners, that they derided Christ, as these covetous Pharises did. Thus Ezekiels cove∣tous he arers derided him. Ezek. 33.30, 31. So that we may as soon expect a crop of corn on the tops of bar∣ren Mountaines, as a crop of Grace in the hearts of Covetous Cor∣morants.

5. It eates out that love and tendernesse, it destroyes that Society and sweet communion which should be amongst the Sons of men. It turnes men into Hogs, and Christians into Cannibals. It makes men churlish Nabals, Page  25 and renders them cruel and unnatural to the wives of their bosomes, to their own children, to Friends, Neighbours, and dearest relations.

6. It creates trouble to men and their houses. Prov. 15.27. He that is gree∣dy of gain, troubles his own house. He fires his own nest, when he thinks to feather it, and troubles all his own houshold with hast and hurry to get gain, he overworks both servants and cattell, he brings Law-suits upon himself, and at last a curse upon his posterity;* and so Passively, as well as actively, he is said to trouble his own house: what did Achan and Ahab get by their covetousnesse, but ruine to themselves and their posterity? So Geha∣zi by his covetousnesse brought a Leprosy upon himself, and upon his posterity. 2 Kings 5.26, 27. and King Iehojakim ruined himself by this. Ier. 22.17, 18. by this they provoke God to sell them into the hands of Tyrants and Robbers. Hab. 2.6, 7. and at last it robs them of inward peace, and brings trouble of conscience, which is the trouble of troubles. Isay 57.17. such pierce themselves through with many sorrowes.* 1 Tim. 6.10. they wound themselves on every side, as if one were stabbed all over from top to toe: in∣somuch that they are seldome free from vexing cares, tormenting fear, and toyling labours.

7. It makes a man odious to God; however the world may admire such, yet Gods soul abhorres them. Psal. 10.3. he dislikes all sinners, but he ab∣horres these. Hence God is said to pun his fists at such, as we do at those with whom we are angry, Ezek. 22.13, 14. compared with Numb. 24.10. and cryes Woe to them that load themselves with thick clay. [Hab. 2.5, 6.] (i. e.) with these earthly things which burden and oppresse the soule; therefore when God is angry with a man, and would punish him for his other sins, he gives him up to this sin amongst the rest. Rom. 1.29. This made the Apostle so carefull to warn all the Churches of God against it: as the Church of Rome. Rom. 12.8.13. the Church of Corinth. 1.6.9, 10. Gal. 6.6.20. So Eph. 5.3.5. Phil. 3.18, 19. Col. 3.5. and generally all the Churches. 1 Tim. 6.6, 7, 8, 9, 10.17. This made our Saviour not simply forbid this sin; but to use more Arguments a∣gainst it, then against any one sin whatsoever. Mat. 6.24▪ to the end of the chap.

8. It hardens the heart, so that such men seldom Repent. So long as men have any thing to trust in, they will not care for God: when people are grown to be Lords, they will not come near God, nor be ruled by him. Ier. 2.31. therefore the Lord outs his of their creature-confidences, and makes them sensible of their lost and fatherlesse condition, before he shewes them mercy. Hos. 14.3. other sins which are carnal and sensual, are more easily discovered, and conquered; but covetousnesse is a more close, cloaked [1 Thes. 2.5.] spi∣rituall sin; and so is more hardly discerned, and more hardly cured. And this amongst others is one Reason why,* for one covetous person which returnes there are twenty prodigals: which brings me to that Question, Whether a Covetous man be worse then a prodigal?

Answ. We must distinguish of prodigals.

1. Some are compounded ones, and have many other foul enormities mixt with them, as Idleness, Whoredom, Drunkenness, &c. and these aggra∣vated by long continuance in them; now there's more hope of a Temperate young Worldling, then of such a compounded Prodigall.

2. There is a single and simple prodigal, one that only spends beyond his estate, and wastes his means excessively, now (caeterisparibus) there's more hope of such a one, then of a covetous man; and that for these Reason.

  • 1. The prodigal man doth good to many; but the covetous man, is not good to himself.
  • 2. He gives (though he gives too much) and so comes nearer to liberality, whose act is giving; & is nearer to blessednes, according to that of our Saviour. Page  26 Acts 20.35. 'tis a more blessed thing to give, then to receive. But the Covetous man will part with nothing willingly.
  • 3. The prodigall hurts himself, yet benefits others; but the Covetous mi∣sr defrauds both himself, and others.
  • 4. The prodigall is more tractable, and sooner reclaimed by reason of his poverty, misery, and affliction, his eare is opened, to discipline, and he more ready to hearken to good counsell. Luke 15. But a covetous man, the more he hath,* the worse he is; and the older he growes, the harder 'tis to re∣claime him: other sins, age may bereave a man off the acting them; but co∣vetousness increaseth by age. How long may we preach to such before we can stir them; we speak to stones, and call to dead men. Hence our Saviour tells us that a Camel may sooner go through the eye of a needle, then a rich man (because so apt to trust in his riches) can enter into the Kingdom of heaven. Mark 10.24, 25.

9. It unfits a man for any employ∣ment, whether it be

  • Magistraticall,
  • Ministeriall,
  • Martiall, or
  • Domestical.

1. He's an unfit man to be a Magistrate, such a one will transgresse for a morsell of bread, any base reward will byas him, and therefore Iethro de∣scribing a right Governour, tells us [*Exod. 18.21.] that he must be,

  • 1. A man of Courage, a magnanimous man, one that fears not the faces or frownes of any, be they never so many or mighty; else he'l soon be daun∣ted and discouraged. The want of this made fearful and faint-hearted Re∣hoboam to be branded for a child viz. in heart and courage [2 Chron. 13.7.] though he were then above 40. yeares old, as appears 1 Kings 14.21. there∣fore God commands Ioshua [1.7.] to be strong and of good courage, and the like counsell David gives to Solomon, 2 Kings 2.2.
  • 2. He must fear God, or else he will fear the face of man, Deut. 1.17. the great fear of God will devour all base inferiour feares. Micajah fear'd not two great Kings sitting on their Thrones in Pompe, because he saw a greater then they, 1 Kings 22, 10.14.19. no man can be truly valourous, but he that is truly Religious; as we see in Ioseph, Nehemiah, Daniel. The feare of God is the Foundation of all Vertue; without it [non sunt verae virtutes, sed Vmbrae] they are meere shadowes.
  • 3. He must deal justly and truly, sifting out the truth, that the poor be not opprest.
  • *4. He must ate covetousnesse. Publick persons must have publick spirits, not seeking themselves, but the common good, else he'l take bribes, which blind the eyes of the wise, so that they cannot discern betwen a good cause & a bad: it makes them partial, & perverts judgement; making men passe sentence on his side, from whom he received the bribe. Hence the Lord so oft condemnes it. Exod. 23.8. Deut. 16.19. & 27.25. 1 Sam. 8.3. Isai 5.23. and 'tis made a note of a wicked man, Psal. 26.9. his right hand is full of bribes. These stop the eares,* tye the Tongue, and manacle the hands. No Vice so foul as this in a Magistrate; the bottle and the basket will make him to do any thing. So that if a Iudge should aske me the way to Hell (saith B. Latimer) I would shew him this way. First, Let his heart be poysoned with Cove∣tousnesse. Secondly, Let him then take bribes, and at last pervert judgement: there lacks a fourth thing to make up the Mess, which, so God help me (saith he) if I were Iudge, should be Hangum tuum, a Tyburne Typpet to take Page  27 with him; if it were my Lord chief Iustice of England, or my Lord Chancel∣lour himselfe, to Tyburne with him. As birds are caught with bird-lime, so are men with gifts:* and therefore men deale with such as we do by dogs, throw them a crust, that they may not bark or bite. This was one of those sins that helpt to ruine Jerusalem. Ezek. 22.12. Micah 3.11, 12. Isai 1.23, 24. many build them brave houses with their bribe, but God threatens to bring a fire on those houses. Iob 15.34. though bribes may build them, yet bribe-takers cannot protect them, for God hath said it; who is able to performe it,* that the Tabernacles of Bribery shall be consumed. This hath made Gods servants carefull to keep them∣selves pure from this sinne. 1 Samuel 12.3. Acts 20.33. and the Lord hath promised Life and Happinesse to such. Psalm 15.5. Prov. 15.27. Isai 33.15.

Quest. Are all gifts unlawfull, and may a man never take a gift?

Answ. We must distinguish of Gifts.

There are six sorts of gifts.*

  • 1. Gifts of Piety, to promote Gods worship.
  • 2. Gifts of Charity to the Poor.
  • 3. Gifts of friendship to preserve amity.
  • 4. Gifts of duty and gratitude from inferiours to superiours, to testify their Obedience, and Thankfullnesse.
  • 5. Gifts of bounty and favour from superiours to inferiours, to testify their love to them. Now there is no danger in such gifts, because they increase love, and help to preserve humane society.
  • 6. There are Gifts of iniquity,* that tend to the destruction of our Bre∣thren, and the perverting of Iustice; and this is that Bribery; and those Gifts which Gods word condemns. It doth not simply condemn the taking of a Reward, but the taking of a Reward against the Innocent, Psal. 15.5. So that 'tis not sinfull by way of Gratitude, either to send a gift, or to receive a gift: but to send a gift, to the end that Justice may be perverted, the eye blinded, and the Innocent condemned; so to send a gift, and so to receive a gift, is both a sin in the one, and the other.

He that would see more against Bribery, let him peruse Mr. Iohn Dow∣nam's 4. Treatises against Swearing, Drunkennesse, Whoredome, and Bribe∣ry. Willet on Exod. 23.8. Doctor Downam on Psal. 15.5.

2. It unfits men for the Ministery. Covetousnesse is odious in any man, more odious in a Magistrate; but most odiou in a Minister: who by his life and doctrine ought to witnesse against it. It troubles us to be abused by stran∣gers, but to have our menial servants, and such as are near to us, to pre∣ferre the trash and drosse of the earth before us, that is the highest and hor∣ridst ingratitude: insomuch that a dull Asse reproves Balaam for it, 2 Pet. 2.15, 16. With what face can a man reprove that in another, of which him∣self is guilty? therefore 'tis made one speciall Qualification of a Gospell-Minister, he must not be greedy of filthy lucre. 1 Tim. 3.3. Titus 1.7.11. 1 Pet. 5.2.* The man of God must not only go, or run, but Fly from this Vice, 1 Tim. 6.10, 11. for a Mini∣ster to be a Mercenary man, or a Market-man; or by flattery and dawbing, to curry favour, and get riches, this is that filthy lucre, so oft cendem∣ned in Scripture. Such are called greedy insatiable dogges, Isay 56.11. who for a slight reward prophane the Name of God, Ezek. 13.19. Paul knew what a blemish this would be to his calling, and therefore he was alwayes carefull to shunne the very appearance of it. He oft parted with Page  28 his right for Peace, & demanded not what was his due,* but laboured with his hands (in the Churches infancy and low condition) that he might not be burdensome to any. 1 Cor. 9.6, 7. 1 Thess..5, 6.9. We are soul∣diers, and therefore we must not entangle our selves in these low things. 2 Tim. 2.4. Caution, yet let no man accuse us of Covetousnesse, for demanding those dues, which by the Law of God, and the Lawes of the Land, are due unto us. The labourer is wor∣thy of his hire, saith Christ, Matth. 10.10. this Paul proves by many Ar∣guments 1 Cor. 9.7, 8, 9. 1 Tim. 5.17, 18. Many would have us Preach for nothing; when souldiers will fight for nothing, and Trades-men work for nothing, we will Preach for nothing. In the mean time let them know, that 'tis one thing to preach for money, and another thing to take money for preaching. Though we receive pay for our paines, and may justly de∣mand it for our great labour, yet we do not make that our end. The conver∣sion of soules, and not money, is the ultimate end of all our labours. but I have spoken fully to this point in another Treatise which is now Printed.*

3. He cannot be a good souldier, that minds money more then the cause of God; such a one will betray his trust, or plunder, and use violence: This S. Iohn foresaw, and therefore commands souldiers to do violence to no man, but to be content with their allowance. Luke 3.14. It's an ill Trade to go up and down killing men for eight pence a day; such fight with an ill conscience,* and so will fly in a time of triall. As the man must be good, and the cause good, so his end must be good, else he marres all.

4. He's unfit to govern a family, he'l make slaves and drudges of his chil∣dren and servants.* Better be some mens beasts, then their servants, for those rest on the Sabbath, while these are drudging for their covetous Masters. These men either cannot pray with their Families, or else the cares of the World will not suffer them; they savour nothing but Earth: they are meer Earth, Earth, Earth. Ier. 22.29. They are Earth by Creation, Earth in their Conversation, and return to Earth in their dissolution. They have earthen bodies, and earthen minds too, and so are meer Earth, and have their names written in the Earth, which shall be their Hell, as some con∣ceive. Ier. 17.13.

[He that would see more Disswasives from this sin, let him peruse Mr. Boltons Directions for walking with God▪ p. 289.288. &c. where you shall find 12. excellent considerations against it, and Mr. Palmers Me∣morials. p. 10.3. &c.]

Observ. We are free from this sin (say most men) though most men are guilty of it, yet few will acknowledge it. 'Tis a secret, subtle sin, that hides it self under the Cloak of good husbandry, frugality and thrift. 1 Thess. 2.5. I shall therefore give you some signes and characters of a covetous man. This sin may be discerned.

*By our

  • Thoughts,
  • Words, and
  • Works.

1. Try your selves by your Thoughts, this is the best way to know what you are, for as a man thinketh, so is he, Prov. 23.7. By these the Lord tries us, Psal. 139.23. 2 Sam. 16.7. Iob 42.2. and therefore by them we should try our selves; they are the peculiar acts of Gods eye, and greatest in his esteem; 'tis not so much our words and works, as the bent of our hearts and Page  29 spirits which he ponders. Prov. 16.2. and if he find them irregular, it displea∣seth him, Gen. 6.6. Prov. 6.18. Isai 65.2, 3, 5. Zach. 8.17. Ier. 4.14. Rom. 2.2.21. not only the works, but also the Thoughts of the wicked are an abo∣mination to the Lord. Prov, 15.26. and though Thoughts are free in re∣spect of the Courts of men, yet they are not free from the All-seeing eye of God, Isai 66.18. I know their thoughts.

2. They are not free from Gods word, it takes hold of them, Heb. 4.12. Exod. 20.17.

3. They are not free from his revenging hand. Ier. 6.19. Rom. 2.21. Revel. 2.23.

2. We should try our selves by the thoughts and devices of our hearts, be∣cause they are the more immediate issues of our hearts, and cannot so easily deceive us as words and works may. A man cannot so well judge of the goodnesse of a spring by the water which runs 7. miles off, as he may by go∣ing to the Fountain head: so we cannot judge so well of our selves, by our actions, which are as streams, as we can by our Thoughts, for there are ma∣ny Occurrences between the Act and the thought. These are the Master-wheeles, and first movers in the soul, and from them issue either life or death. Prov. 4.23. Isai 59, 7. Mat. 15.19. if a man be Malicious, Murderous, Covetous, &c. first, his thoughts are so, and thence come evill acts. These are the Root, and those the Fruit, these the Mother, and those her Daughters. In the time of the Law, the Lord required the first-fruits, and the first-born. Exod. 22.39. he calls not now for the first-born of our flocks, or bodies, but of our soules: these must be kept more especially for him.

3. They are the Universal Acts of the heart, which discovers it self most clearly by them.

4. They are the swiftest acts of the heart, nothing swifter then thoughts, we can think of a thousand things in a little space.

5. They are the consciencious things of the heart, Rom. 2.5. their thoughts accusing, or excusing them.

6. They are the freest acts of the heart, we do not alwayes as we think, or speak; but thoughts are free, we think as we please. When Peter denied his Master, if we look to his words, you would judge him an Apostate; but if a man could have seen into his heart, there he should have found. Rabboni, My Lord, at least,

7. They are the continual issues of the soul, and so we may the better judge of our selves by them. There is no judging of a Niggard by one great Feast which he keeps, but by his constant fare: So observe, what thy heart doth constantly and habitually run upon, what do'st plod most upon? as the li∣beral man deviseth liberal things, and by them is establisht; so the covetous man deviseth covetous things, and by them is ruined. Isay 32.7, 8. their end is destruction who mind, viz. inordinately, habitually, and excessively earthly things. When men can forget God, dayes without number, and he is seldome in their thoughts, but their minds run altogether on their Oxen, Farmes, Wives, Money; when their desires be greedy after those things, and their joy excessive in the enjoyment of them, and their sorrow excessive in parting with them; these are palpable evidences of a heart that Trades, and is exercised in Covetousnesse. 2 Pet. 2.14.

[Concerning Thoughts, see Doctor Goodwin, Vanity of Thoughts, Doctor Burges his Serm. on Ier. 4.14. Fenner on Philip. 3.19. Fol. p. 43. P. 1. and on Isay 55.7. Fol. p. 139. Mr. Angiers's Treatise. Doctor Preston on Rom. 2.18. Serm. 3. p. 69., 70. Hooker, Soules Preparation. p. 64, Church his Treasure, p. 353. Mr. William Burton, Anal. of Belial. Serm. 7.]

Page  30By thy Words. Out of the abundance of the heart doth the mouth speak. Matth. 12.34. What is in the Ware-house will appear in the shop, what is in the heart, the Tongue tells you. As is the man, such is his language; as we know what Country-man a man is by his language,* a French-man speaks French, &c. So we may guesse at men by their language; a good man hath good language, he speaks the language of Canaan; an evill man speaks the language of the World, Isai 32.6. discourse with him of that, and he is in his Element; he can talk all day of it, and not be weary: but talk to him of spi∣ritual things, and he is tanquam piscis in arido, out of his Element, he hath no∣thing to say. It's a sure sign men are of the World, when they speak onely of the World, 1 Iohn 4.5. when the summe of their talk is, Who will shew us any good. Psal. 4.6. (i. e.) who will shew us how we may get goods and riches, as they said to Peter, thou art a Galilean, thy speech bewrayeth thee; so these are Worldlings, their very speech betrayes them.

3. By thy Works, and walking towards

  • Thy Selfe,
  • Thy Family,
  • Thy Neighbours.

1. When a man lives besides his Estate, and can scarce allow himselfe Meat, Drink, Apparel, Rest, or things convenient: this argues a covetous spirit, for he that is cruell to himself, to whom will he be good? Solomon esteemed it a great evill for a man to have riches,* and no heart to use them. Eccles. 6.1, 2. like an Asse which carrieth gold for others, when it self feeds on thistles. This man is alwayes poor, and wants as well that which he hath, as that which he hath not. Like Tantalus, who sate up to the chin in water,* yet died for thirst. Poor men want many things, but the covetous all things. These are men sometimes of good Wills, but bad Deeds; they are so farre from being like Dorcas, who made coats for the poor whilst she li∣ved, [Acts 9.36, 37.] that they can scarce endure to make any for themselves.

2. By his walking towards his Family. He's base to his wife, and base to his children, they are bred like so many ignorant wild colts. They are like to be golden calves, and that's all. He's base to his servants, he ove-worketh and over-watcheth them. He never catechiseth, or instructeth them, he ne∣ver prayeth with them, or for them. He's cumbred about many things, and can spare no time for the service of God, either in his Closet, or Family.

3. Towards his Tenants and such as are under him, how cruell is he? he wracks them, he squeezeth them, he sucks them, till he hath got all the bloud out of their bodies, and money out of their purses. They grind the faces of the poor, as the Milner doth his corne, so long as there's any meal to be had out of them. Isai 3.15. yea so exceeding cruell are they, that they do not onely fleece, but flay them; Micah 3.2, 3. They pluck off their skinne from off them, and their flesh from off their bones, and break their bones, and chop them for the pot, and seeth them again in the Caldron. Ob∣serve the Method of these cruell Canibals, barbarous butchers, and cur∣sed Cookes.

  • 1. They flay off the skin.
  • *2. They eat the flesh.
  • 3. Like dogs they fall to gnawing the bones. They break the bones, they'l get somewhat out of the bare bones; they suck them, they beat them, they heat them again; to fetch out marrow; and at last boyle them again, to get out Page  31 the utmost drop of fatnesse. How do the Prophets thunder out Woes against unmercifull oppressors. Isai 5: 8. Amos 1.3. & 2.6, 7. Habbak. 2.11, 12. Mal. 3.5.

Yea,* the wiser sort of Heathens have abhorred such cruelty. Philip, King of Macedon, being counselled to increase his Revenew, wisely answered. I like not that Gardiner which pulls up his herbs by the roots. The like answer gave Tiberius Caesar to one that advised him to augment his Treasure. The Wool (said he) is sufficient, I will not have the Pelt too: For if the Wool be shorne, it will grow again, but if the skinne be pulled off, then fare∣well all.

2. When men are hard-harted to the poor. They have money for Pride, and money for their Lusts; but for the poor servants of Christ, they have nothing: like Churlish Nabal that hath abundance for himself, but no∣thing for a pious David, 1 Sam. 25.10, 11, 36.

3. It argues Covetousnesse, when men are over-reaching and un∣righteous in their dealing; when they have false Weights, and false Wares; when they work upon the ignorance and necessities of people.

4. When men murmur at just Taxes, justly assest; every penny of pay goes to their hearts, and comes like drops of blood from them. How many excuses do they invent? they be poor, in debt, have great Families, &c. for Pleasure, Pride, Purchases, they have Pounds: but to preserve Peace, and the Gospel of Peace, they have not Pence.

1. Let such know that there are Dues belonging to Caesar which must be freely and cheerfully paid:*Matth. 22.21. Luke 20.25. Give unto Caesar (saith Christ) what is Caesars due, give it as willingly, as if it were a free gift; so saith Paul, Rom. 13.7. render to all their Dues, Tribute to whom Tribute is due. Hence Christ, though he might have pleaded Freedom (as being of the blood) yet for Peace-sake,* and to avoid Scandall, he paid Tribute. Mat. 17.29. They have right to their Tributes both by the Law of God, by the Law of the Land, and by the Law of Nature. We enjoy great blessings un∣der them, both Temporall and Spirituall; we sit queitly under our owne Vines: no Plundering, Fireing, Crying, nor Killing in our streets. Now to preserve all these, there is a Necessity of Taxes, which are the sinews of a State, and without which no State can be long, kept in Peace. Nor can the Church, Common-wealth, Armies, Navies, Counsellors, Schooles, Uni∣versities, Hospitalls, &c. be maintained without Taxes, and therefore there is a great deale of Equity, and Necessity in their payment.

2. You that groan before you are sick,* and murmur without a cause, must know, that your Blessings are far greater then your Burdens. We en∣joy Houses, Lands, Wives, Lives, Children, Peace; and above all, the Gos∣pel of Peace; the Token of Gods speciall presence amongst us, for this mer∣cy alone: many of our fore-fathers would have given twenty times our Ta∣xes, and have thought it nothing: if one should give us a 1000 l. per annum, provided we would pay a Pepper-corn every yeare, to testify our Thank∣fulnesse, we would count him unworthy of so great a gift, who should deny so small a favour,

3. Suppose superiours should lay unjust Taxes on us, yet must we patiently undergoe them; remembring that 'tis the sins of a people which give strength to Tyrants. Things that cannot be remedied, must patiently be borne. When the Lord told Israel what their King would do to them, all that they must do, was to cry unto the Lord, and acknowledge their sin, 1 Sam. 8.11, &c, not that God approved of such doing, but shewing them what the might of a King would draw him to do.

4. Especially when Taxes are imposed on the Subject by Authority of Page  32 Parliament, the best and highest Court in the Land; they should cheerfully be paid. This is the fundamental and most proper Government in the Land. 'Tis indeed the glorious priviledge of our Nation,* above all other Nations. 'Tis that Government which the Lord hath wonderfully owned in all their set battles, and miraculously preserved in despight of all opposition. 'Tis observed by a great Master of the Law (Sir Edw. Cook) that no Prince ever prospered,* that did oppose Parliaments, and those that have been ruled by Parliaments, have flourished wonderfully; as King Henry the Eighth, King Edward the Sixth, and Queen Elizabeth. Tacitus observes that the Romans vanquisht the ancient Brittains for want of Parliaments.

Object. Parliaments have done very little good, Errors and Disorders, still abound, &c.

Answ. Omne invalidum naturâ querulum. Weak men are full of com∣plaints; when men faint in time of triall, it argues their strength is but small.

1. Know, Parliaments have done much, very much, considering the Mountaines of opposition which they have met with,

2. Had not my sins, and thy sins hindred them, they had done more. We oft murmur at Moses and Aaron, when 'tis our own Rebellion that keeps us in the wildernesse.

3. The Parliament never approved of those Errors and Disorders, which are now so rise amongst us. For

  • 1. They did expressly Covenant against them.
  • 2. They have publisht Ordinances and Acts in Print against them.
  • 3. We hope this present Parliament will take further Order for the sup∣pressing of them.

I have been the larger on this point that I may take off that scandal which the wicked (in all ages) have cast on the people of God.*viz. That they are enemies to Caesar, Factious, Seditious, Turbulent, &c. Thus Haman accu∣sed the Jewes for Breakers of the Kings Lawes. Hest. 3.8. Paul is coun∣ted a pestilent fellow, and a troubler of the State, Acts 17.18. & 12.26. & 24.5. and Christ himself was counted no friend to Caesar. But this I dare boldly affirm, That Superiours have no better Subjects in the Land, then such as fear the God of heaven. These obey for conscience sake, when others obey onely for Self, and out of Fear. These will sacrifice their Lives and Estates, in just and Honourable wayes, for their Governours; when those that serve them for their own Ends, will leave them, & forsake them. These pray, Pay, and Preach for Caesar, carefully obeying his just commands: whilest the wicked are Cursing, Swearing, Drinking, Murmuring at Taxes, and Transgressing their Lawes. The honour of Religion should be dear to us, and we should walk so wisely, that we should give no just cause of offence to any. Colos. 4.5. 1 Pet. 2.12. much less to our Superiours but by our wise, in∣offensive walking, we should labour to win their hearts to a love of the truth. As a wise and vertuous wife may be a means to win her husband, 1 Cor. 7.16. So holy, humble, wise-walking Christians, may be a means to convert, or at least to convince such as are a verse to the Truth. So did the Constancy, Courage, Patience, and Piety of the Primitive Christians.

2. We shall encourage the Lord to continue the Blessing of Government amongst us. 'Tis a great Government amongst us. Take it away, and you open the Floud-gates to all Licentiousness and Villany; men would be like Ishmael, wild men, every mans hand would be against his Brother. Gen.Page  33 26.12. when there was no King in Israel, every man did what seemed good in his own eyes, Iudg. ult. ult. Without Government, one man would be but bread for another, as in the Sea, the greater fih devoure the lesser. Hab. 1.14, 15.* Take away Government, and what Rapes, Rapines, Tumults, and Disorders, would there be? every mans lust would be a Law. Better have Tyranny then Anarchy, a Tyrant then no Government. Better live in a State where nothing is lawfull, then where all things are lawfvll to be done. 'Tis a very bad Government indeed, that is worse then none at all, where there is Magistracy, some may be opprest and wronged; but none can be righted, where there's none. Better poor people should sit under a scratching bram∣ble, then have no hedge at all to shelter them from the stormes of popular fury. Seeing then that the Magistrate is the Minister of God for our good, both Temporall and Spirituall.*Rom. 13.4. Seeing he is a meanes under God to preserve our blessings to us, and to increase them in our hands by a Peaceable enjoyment of them: there is all the reason in the world that we should freely and fully contribute to his necessities in the promoting of such just and pious designes. And they deserve to be branded for sordid Earth∣wormes (unworthy to enjoy any Priviledges in a Nation) that shall mur∣mur or repine at such just Assessements as tend to the preservation of the land both in its Being, and Well-being. I have insisted the longer on this Point, that the world may see, Religion is no enemy is to Caesar.

I come now to remove those more especiall Pretences,* and Fig-leaves, under which the Covetous would hide themselves.

1. Obj. 'Tis but a small sin (say some) 'tis Frugality, Thrift, Good-hus∣bandry, &c.

Answ. Is Idolatry, and spirituall Adultery a small sin? Is the root of all evill, and the breach of all the Commandements, a small matter? is it a matter of nothing that brought the Leprosy on Gehazi, and his posterity, stoned Achan, and brought Iudas to the haltar?

2. Know that the Devil puts the finest names upon the fowlest Vices. He∣resy is New-light,* Sottishnesse is Sanctity, Pride decency, Drunkennesse good-fellowship, and Covetousnesse good-husbandry; though it brings men to beggery. Prov. 11.24. there is that withholds more then is meet, and it tends to poverty.

2. Object. I do but make the best of mine owne, and that is no sin.

Answ. 'Tis true, in just and honest wayes, we may make the best of our own, but if you go about by Usury, Oppression, &c. to raise your self and yours, then you make the worst of your own. Hereby you get care to your selves, envie from your neighbours, become a prey to theeves, bring perill to your persons, curses on your children, Law for your Heires, and damnation to your Soules.

3. Object. We have a great charge of children, and many to provide for, now Parents are commanded to lay up for their children, and he that provides not for his own, is worse then an Infidell. 2 Thes. 4.12.

Answ. Some have no charge,* but themselves, yet they drudge, and are never satisfied. Solomon tells us there is one alone, and not a second, yet there is no end of his labours. Eccles. 4.8.

2. Suppose thou hast children, yet how dost thou know what thine heire may be? he may be a spend-thrift, and wast that in a short time, which thou hast toyled for all thy dayes. Eccles. 2.18.19.

3. Though Parents may & must provide for their own, yet it must be in a mo∣derate, prudential manner, not with a carking, vexing, distrustful care; pious e∣ducation, is the best Portion; that can never be lost. Piety hath the promise, & the promise virtually is every thing, this is the riches which God commands Parents Page  34 to provide for their children, Psal. 75.5, 6, 7. Deut. 6.6, 7. to teach them Gods Statutes,* and bring them up in his feare. Ephes. 6.4. We may love our children, but it must be In, and For the Lord; we may not to raise them, ruine our selves, nor to make them rich, make our selves poore; nor to get Temporalls for them loose Eternalls for our selves.

4. Suppose you do get riches for your children, yet how knowest thou whether ever thy children shall enjoy them? for as riches are uncertain in getting, and uncertain in keeping, so when we dye, 'tis uncertain to whom we shall leave them. Thine enemies may be thine heires, for ought thou knowest; many rich men of late have found it so, in many parts of the Land. Many times the riches of the wicked i laid up for the just, whom they most hated Prov. 13.22. as Nabals was for David, Hamans for Mordecai, and the Ca∣naanites for the Israelites. Hence Christ makes it the note of a oole, so to mind Temporalls,* as to lose Eternalls. Luke 12.16, &c. That rich fool, like a secure Epcure, sings a requiem to his soule, and promiseth himself many years, when he was not sure of one day. But what saith God to this co∣vetous Caitiff with his new Barns, when he might have laid up his corn more safely in the poors bellies? v. 20.

First he's called a fool for his paines. The World accounts such wise men, but in Gods Dictionary their name is Fool, and their folly appeares, in that they never think on the shortness of their lives,* the uncertainty of riches, and the great account which they must give for them.

2. God comes sudenly and unnexpectedly upon him. This night shall thy soule be taken from thee. Thou dreamest of many yeares, be∣hold in this night of thy ignorance, and darkness, in this night of thy security and negligence, whilest thou art glorying in thy riches, Bags, and Barnes, comes a Feaver, Plague, Sword, &c. and sweepes thee and thine away.

3. The devill fetcheth his soul against his will; a rich worldling is loth to dye; a good man patiently and quietly commits his soul to God, 1 Pet. 4.19. but a wicked mans soul is required of him. This night they, viz. the Devills, whom thou hast served, and obeyed, shall require thy soule: for as the good Angels do carry the souls of the godly into Abrahams bosome, so the evill Angels carry the souls of wicked men into hell. Lastly, his folly appears in heaping up riches when he knew not who should gather them. Then whose shall these things be, which thou hast provided? q. d. thou labourest and toylest for thou knowest not who,* whether for a Friend, or Foe, a Kinsman or a Sranger, a Wise man, or a Fool, a tem∣perate man or a waster; if thy Friends have them, they may do them good, and they may do them hurt; they may help, and they may hinder them; they may be blessings, and they be curses to them. How many have been undone by the estates that have been left them, and had been happy, if they had not been so happy; they might have been rich in Grace,* if they had not been so rich in goods.

4. Obj. We are Religious, and therefore not Covetous.

Answ. It doth not follow, for a man may practise all the duties of Religi∣on, and yet be a covetous wretch, as we see in Iudas, and the Scribes and Pharisees, who fasted, made long prayers, gave alms, & yet Christ taxeth them for covetousness. Mat. 23.14 So Ezekiels Hearers. Ezek. 33.31, 32. cove∣tousness is a secret sin, and cleaves close to the natures of the best. Hence Christ Page  35 warnes his own Disciples to beware of it, Luke 12.15. & 21.34. Yea the more pious any man is, the more the Devill will tempt him to this sin. This made St. Iohn write to those that were strong in grace, and fathers in Christs Schoole, to take heed of loving the world. 1 Ioh 2.15.

5. Obj. Men praise me, and therefore I am not so bad as you would make me.

Answ. Yet God abhorres them, Psal. 10.3. and though all thy fellow-prisoners praise thee, yet if the Judge condemn thee, thou art undone: for 'tis not he whom men commend, that is commendable, but he whom the Lord commends. Rom. 2.29.

[He that would see any more,* let him peruse M. Capel on Tentat. Part. 3. Sect. 8. p. 329. Edit. ult.]

Quest. But what Meanes must I use to overcome this sin?

Answ. You must first remove the Causes (as Physicians use to do) and then the effect wll cease. Now the the first cause of covetousnesse is Diffi∣dence and Distrust of Gods providence, and promises. This unbelief is the very Root of all those Vexing, Inordinate, Tormenting cares, which possesse mens hearts. They question whether God will provide for them, and there∣fore they are so excessively carefull to provide for themselves. The weak∣nesse of the Disciples faith strengthened their fear about food and rai∣ment, Matth. 6.30. The Lord foreseeing this, hath for our support pro∣mised, that he will never leave us,* nor forsake us. Heb. 13.5. there are five Negatives in the Text, to assure us of the truth of it. q. d. I will not, no, I will not; I will in no wise leave thee, nor forsake thee. He that provides for Sparrowes, and feeds the Ravens, will not faile his peo∣ple; man is a poor weak creature, and cannot live without some prop; and if he trust not in God, he will trust in uncertain riches. Prov. 18.11. For this the Lord who is a jealous God, and cannot endure a Corrivall; crosseth and curseth him, and sets an Ecce of detestation upon him. Psal. 52.7. Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength, but trusted in his riches. Let us therefore act and strengthen our faith,* for it fears no Famine, Dangers, or Difficulties. Get assurance of heavenly things, that will enoble your minds, and make you to contemne earthly things. If you be risen with Christ, and have set your affections on things above, they will dye to things below. Colos. 3.1, 2. He that is filled with sweet meats, cannot away with courser fare.

2. Discontent with mens present condition, man is a poor froward, way∣ward, perverse, dscontented piece. God hath much adoe with u.* IIsrael be in Egypt, he then longs to be in Canaan; let God bring them into Canaan, and then they long to be in Egypt again. Our present Callings, dwellings, Wives, please us not. The Servant would be a Master, the Maid a Mistris, the old man young, the single man mar∣ried, and the married man would fein be single again.

1. Consider that this discontent with thy present condition is a dange∣rous Temptation, It makes men unthankfull to God for present enjoyments, and to undervalue the blessings they have.

2. Discontent makes men like to the Devill himself, who is a proud discontented spirit, Iude 6. as contentation make us like to God, and partakers of the divine nature; so Discontent makes men like to Page  36 Satan. A gracious man is a Self-sufficient man; he rests contented with his little. Suppose all the creatures in the world should be destroyed, yet God would be El-shaddai, all-sufficient still, laying all happinesse in himselfe: So if God should take away all creature-comforts from a gracious soul, yet so long as he hath God for his portion, he hath all; and is as joyfull, as if he abounded with all creature-comforts. Hab. 3.17. Psal. 16.5, 6, 7.

*3. Discontent brings ruine, Ahab was not content with a Kingdome, but he must have Naboths Vine-yard too, and that ruined him. 1 Kings 21. This cast the Angels from Heaven, Adam out of Paradise; he would be like God, and made himself lower then man. Psalm 49. ult. Let the scratching bramble, and tearing 〈◊〉, aspire after Rue, and to be a King: but let the Vines of Gods planting content themselves with the wine, and sweetnesse which God hath given them. Iudg. 9.14, 15. when Israel was not content with Manna, but they must have flesh, they had it with a curse to boot. Numb. 11.31.33. Impatience may wrest a deliverance from God, but we had bet∣ter be without it. Such Preservations oft-tims are but Reservations to some greater judgement. This ruines men in Temporals: as a rolling stone ga∣thers no mosse, so a running, discontented head gathers no riches. 'Tis not those which are rich in an orderly way, but those that will be rich before their time, and that by unjust practises; such bring themselves into a snare, and do so drown themselves in perdition,* that they seldome or never rise againe. 1 Tim. 6.9. So did Balaam, Iude 11. and Achan, Ahab, Iudas. This ruines men in Spirituals. It robs the soul of that Peace and Joy, which it should find in God, it distempers the spirit, and makes it unfit for holy duties. It lays men open to many sad Temptations. What makes so many Witches? Discontent. What makes so many run to Withes? Discontent. What makes so many murder themselves? Discontent. This lets the Devill into mens hearts. Ephes. 4.27. He loves to fish in troubled waters, and care∣fully observes all excesses in us, whether of sorrow, or joy; and acts ac∣cordingly.

Here some object. If I had but such Gifts and Graces, as others have. I could be content, but it troubles me, that I come so short of many others.

Answ. You must know that God hath ordained some men for more emi∣nent places, and these he adornes with more eminent Gifts and Graces. Others are for lower service, and these he gifts accordingly. Some are to be Eyes, some Hands, some Feet, some little Toes in the body, yet all usefull and beautifull in their places. It's a great dignity to be the least member of Christs mysticall body.

2. Though thou be inferiour in some things, yet thou mayest excell in others. Another, it may be, may have more knowledge; yet thou mayest practice more. Another may have more Learning; but thou more Humi∣lity. Aaron excelled in eloquence, and freedome of speech; but Moses excel∣led in Wisdome, Solidity, and Meeknesse. God in his Wisdom hath so ordered it; that no man hath all things; but some excell in one thing, and some in another, that we might all be usefull in our way, and helpfull each to other.

Quest. But suppose the Lord should call me to a higher place, must I still con∣tent my self with my low condition?

Answ. As when the Lord calls us to a lower condition, to forsake all, as he did Abraham, to leave a certainty, for an uncertainty. Gen. 12.1. Acts 7.5. We must cheerfully obey. So when he calls us to Riches and Honour, as he did Ioseph, David, Hester, Daniel; We may and must with Thank∣fulnesse Page  37 accept it: or if the Lord by our industry, or by the death of Parents and Friends, shall enrich us, we may accept of them, and must improve them to the honour of that God, that gave them. As we have better wages, so we must do do more work.* As he hath exalted us, so we must exalt him. Like Iehosaphat, when God gave him riches in abundance, his heart was lifted up in the wayes of the Lord, 2 Chron. 17.5, 6. Such are not slaves to their Riches; they do possess it, but it possesseth not them.

Quest. But how shall I know when I am called to an higher place?

Answ. When the Lord gives Gifts and Qualifications sutable to the work which he calls us to; for God calls none to any imployment, but he gives them gifts, in some competent measure, answerable thereunto.

2. When we come not to our Places by Bribery, Simony, or any indirect meanes. When we make not money our end, but the glory of God; for many pretend a Call from God, when it's 100 l. or 200 l. per annum that calls them. This is Mammons call and not Gods, and such prosper accordingly; they have no comfort nor success in what they do. But when a man shall see (upon the improvement of his gift) a cleare hand of providence, leading him from a lower to a higher place, wherein he may bring more glory to God; and he can make it appear to others, that this is his primary end: then goe and prosper, and the Lord be with thee.

3. Carnal security, with hopes of long life, and thoughts that they shall live here for ever, Luke 12.17, 18. this made that rich churle so eager after the World. Such may do well to remember, that we are but strangers and pilgrims here. That our life is short and uncertain, like a Tale that is soon told. Psal. 90.9. a span that is soon measured, Psal. 39.5. like a shadow that soon passeth away,*Iob 8.9. like a vapour that soon vanisheth. Iames 4.14. Like a flower that soon fades. Isai 40.7. Iames 1.10, 11. Like the grasse that soon withers. 1 Pet. 1.24. Like a Post that hasts away. Iob 9.25. Like a Weavers shuttle, that flyes swiftly. Iob 7.6. Like a race that is soon run, Like a thought which quickly comes, and quickly goes. Psal. 9.9. Like a dream which quickly vanisheth. Psal. 90.5. Like a blast of wind which returns no more, Iob 7.7. Psal. 78.39. though a man should live a thousand yeares; yet in Gods sight, and compared with eternity, it is but as a watch of the night, which lasteth but three houres

Besides, Physicians observe that, within us, we are obnoxious to three hun∣dred diseases; besides many new ones which have not been heard of till of late; yea, how many have been killed by immoderate passions? as excessive Joy, Sorrow, Fear, Envie, &c.

2. Without us, there is the Sword, Plague, Famine, Fire, Water, Beasts, and wicked Men, who are worse then Beasts. Death is in our Cap, in our Pot, in our Meat, Drink, Gloves, Apparell: a Haire, a Flye, a Raisin stone, a Tile from an House, may soon end us; So vain a thing is man. Psalm 39.11.

This, seriously considered, is a notable means to mortify our affections to the World. Remember that all these creature-comforts, have aut fi∣nem suum, aut finem tuum, either thou must from them, or they from thee; how soon thou knowest not. 1 Tim. 6.7. 'twill be our wisdom therefore to wean our hearts betimes from these low enjoyments; that so when our last weaning by death shall come, it may not be better to us.

Page  384. False Notions, and delusive conceits about riches. This indeed is the prime Cause of Covetousnesse. Most men are blinded, they judge Riches to be that which makes a man and his Posterity happy. Hence it is, that they place their Comfort, Joy, Contentment, in these Perishing, low things.

They call them Goods, as if they were the only good Wealth,* as if it were well for all such. Profit, Gain, Treasure, Substance; as if there were an All-sufficiency in them.* They look upon a man as undone without them, but he that hath them, they look upon him as made, such a man hath a house and land gi∣ven him, he's made; when the man oft-times is marr'd: and by them is made more Idle, Proud, Luxurious, Covetous, and cru∣ell, &c.

As a remedy against this Soul-destroying Malady, Be sure to get your judgements rightly informed, that you may conceive aright of these Tem∣poral things. Regard not what the World calls them, for those things which are highly esteemed in the sight of men, oft times are an abomination in the sight of God, they call Darknesse Light, and Evill Good.

But observe what the word of God (which is truth it self. Dan. 10.21.) calls them, and accordingly judge of them. Now the Scripture calls these earthly things, which the World idolizeth, and so dotes upon.

1. Vanity; not only Vain, but Vanity it self in the Abstract.* Not only Vanity, but Vanity of Vanites, (i. e.) Vanissima Vanitas, exceeding Vain. And not only so, but they are Vexation of Spirit too; there's Vexation in getting them, Vexation and Care in keeping them, and Vexation in parting with them. But who tells you all this? Why Solomon, the wisest of men, who had expe∣rience of all creature-comforts, after much triall of them all, concludes. Va∣nity of Vanities, all is Vanity. Eccles. 1.2.

*[See Mr. Cottons Commentary on Ecclesiastes. Downams Warfar. lib. 2. cap. 8, 9, 10. p. 466, 467, &c. Doctor Reynolds, Vanity of the Creature. Mr. Hen∣ry Smiths Sermon on Ecclesiast. 1, 2. Sibbs Cordialls. Serm. 18. on 1 Sam. 19.3, 4. Edit. 1. Papillon on the Passions. cap. 3.]

2. Riches are called Snares. 1 Tim. 6.9. though in themselves they are good, and the blessings of God, yet accidentally, by reason of mans corrup∣tion, they become dangerous Snares to many, and the occasion of thei ru∣ine; as we see in Pharaoh, Ieroboam, Rehoboam, Nebuchanezzar, Darius, Na∣bal, Iesurum, Deut. 32.15. Herod, Dives,* how Proud, Luxurious, Unmerci∣full. Luke 16. The poor men were bad in Ieremies time, but the rich were far worse. Ier. 5.4, 5. and usually when we have most of the Creature, God hath least of us. Iob 21.7. to 17. Ier. 2.31. Hos. 4.7. & 13.6. Psal. 73.6, 7, 8. as they were increased, viz. in number, riches, and all manner of blessings, so they sinned against God:* and according to their Pastures they were filled, and their heart was exalted; not in duty and thankfulnesse, but in Pride and forgetfulnesse, How many, whilest poor and low, were active, and zea∣lous men; but the higher they have been promoted (like a Pope which I have read of) the worse they have been, when the Church was most perse∣cuted, it flourisht most. Plures efficimur, quoties metimur, said Tertullian. And Page  39 when Constantine bestowed great preferments on the Church, a Voyce was heard in the Ayer saying. Hodie venenum fun ditur in Ecclesiam. Now is the Church poysoned. Riot and Pride usually attend Riches. Hence that Ca∣veat. 2 Tim. 6.17. Charge them that are rich, that they be not high-minded; im∣plying, that rich men are apt to be so. Riches to a wicked man are like a sword in a mad mans hand, with which he doth much mischiefe. He's the more able to oppresse, and Tyrannize over his brethren, Psal. 52.2.7. Bulls and Beares, when they are fat and full, grow fierce and man-kin. Since therefore riches are such dangerous snares, we should rather fear them, then desire them; considering how many great men, yea and good men have fallen by them.

3. Riches are called Thornes.

  • 1. As those choak the seed that's sowen, they overtop it, and drop upon it. So the inordinate cares of the World choak the good seed of the Word, that it cannot prosper in our soules. Mat. 13.22. Luke. 8.14.
  • 2. Thornes are noysome, unprofitable things; so are riches, if they be not rightly used.
  • 3. Thornes, if they be carelesly handled, scratch and wound us, a man had need to be fenced with iron, and well harnassed, that goes amongst them. 2 Sam. 23.6, 7. So riches, if they be not wisely managed, pierce us with many sorrowes. 1 Tim. 6.9, 10.
  • 4. Thornes are perplexed and folded one within another: so are the cares of this World so linkt together, that one drawes on another.
  • 5. They are catching any thing that comes near them, Abrahams Ram was caught in a thicket, Gen. 22, 13. let a sheep come to them for shelter, and he's soon entangled, and leaves some of his fleece behind him: So they that will be rich, are quickly caught and entangled by them; they rob us of our Humility, Industry, Courage, Zeale: How many in times of triall to save their goods, have denied their God.
  • 6. They soon vanish, and are quickly extinct. Psal. 58.9. and 118.12. So riches flye suddenly from us, and are therefore called uncertaine riches.
  • 7. Thornes spring from the earth, and their heads run into the earth again: So Rich men have their Hearts and Heads in the earth.
  • 8. Thickets of Thornes are Receptacles and Dens of many noysome hurtfull creatures: so the hearts of worldly men, are Dens of Devills, and Lodges for noisom lusts.

4. Riches are called Vnrighteous Mammon,* Luke 16.9. and Treasures of wickednesse. Prov. 10.2. Because oft-times they are ill got, ill kept, ill spent. How many use unrighteous practises to gain them, and in the possessing of them, they become the baits and instruments of many sins, especially of oppression and unrighteousnesse. Not that Riches are unrighteous in themselves, but accidentally by the abuse of wicked men, they become the occasions of great unrighteousness.

5. They are called Deceitfull riches, Matth. 13.22. Iude 11. Because they deceive such as trust in them. They are like a painted harlot, that pro∣miseth pleasure, but brings pain; they deal by men, as the devill doth by his witches; he promiseth them delights, but gives them torments; promiseth them liberty, and brings them to prison: promiseth them life, and brings them to death. Riches frustrate the expectation of such as rest upon them. They are like the gross Idolater, which feeds on ashes, and rests on a lye. Isay 44.20. yet are they so bewitcht with them, that they cannot say, Is there not a lye in my right hand? they cannot so much as question with them∣selves, Are these the things I was born for? are these my chiefest good? if Page  40 they could once but thus reason with their hearts, they would soon loath them.

6. Riches are called Nothing, Prov. 23.5. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? or which is nothing? (as the former translation reads it) most men idolize riches,* and look upon them as great matters, but in Christs Inventory they are set amongst the least of goods. Luke 16.10, 11. Solomon goes further, and reckons them amongst the things that are not. The whole Turkish Empire (saith Luther) is nothing else but a crust, cast by hea∣vens great House-keeper to the dogs of the world.

1. Observe how sharply Solomon reproves men for looking after Riches. Wilt thou set thine eye on that which is not? q. d. Thou mayest not do it, they are not worth the looking after, and therefore do not so much as cast an eye upon them.

1. Because man is a rationall creature, he useth convincing Argumnts to disswade him.

1. Consider they are Nothing. Nothing in Gods eye, and esteem; Nothing in comparison of Grace and Gods favour; Nothing in respect of any Reall comfort; they profit not in a day of wrath, when trouble is upon our selves, or upon the Nation; they cannot help us, but they forsake us, when we have most need. Prov. 11.4. Iob 36.18.19. Zeph. 1. ult. They are so vain, that they deserve not the name of a Being, they are not, they are a meer non-entity, a purum nihil, call them any thing, and you call them too much.

2. They are exceeding Mutable, they flye suddenly and swiftly from us, they have not Sparrowes, but Eagles wings to fly aloft out of our reach.* There is no keeping them, we daily see how they flye from one to another.* Hence the Apostle calls them uncertain Riches 1 Tim. 6.17.

3. They make themselves wings, we need not invent wayes to make them fly, they have wings enough of their own to flye from us: by the wings of fire, by the wings of Theeves, by the wings of Taxes,* Suretiships, Souldiers, Plunder; by Rust, Rats, Moaths, Mice, Pirates, Shipwrack, &c. So that he who was Dives to day, may be Lazarus to morrow.

Thus let us get our judgements clearly convinc't of the Vanity, Inanity, Mutability and Dagner of Riches; then will not our hearts be easily deceived by them: to this end remember what our Saviour calls them. Luke 10.41. They are many things, (i. e.) they require much labour and trouble. to get them.

  • 2. They are unnecessary things, one thing is necessary.
  • 3. They will be taken from us.
  • 4. They are not the best part.

2. Having removed the Causes of Covetousnesse; in the next place; Gt an Hatred of it in thy Heart. Do not plead for it, do not extenuate it; but remember 'tis Idolatry, the root of all evill, it makes us hatefull to God, odious to men, a burden to our selves, and abusive to our Relations. This will make us to flye from it as from the face of a serpent. 1 Tim. 6.20, 21. Shun it with all speed, that you be not tackt or tainted with it. But how may I do that? why study ye the contrary graces. verse 11, 12. for as Diseases, so Vices are cured by their contraries.

*3. Pray much against it. Without this, all other meanes are vain. This hath a speciall influence on all the other pieces of our spirituall armour, with∣out Page  41 it all the rest are unserviceable, and therefore the Apostle addes in the close of all, praying alwayes. Ephes. 6.18. Spread thy misery before the Lord and say, Lord what a heart have I? how full of distracting cares, and inordi∣nate feares, how dead and dull to the best things? If Riches increase, I can reioyce in them, or if my substance decrease, I am sensible of that; but in matters of spirituall concernment, how stupid and senselesse am I? oh thou the Heart-making, be to me the Heart-mending God. When David did but feel this sin stirring in him, he goeth presently to Prayer against it. Psalm 119.36. and so doth Agur. Proverbs 30.8. We have no power of our selves against this Goliah, we must therefore goe forth in Gods Name against it; and then, though it be a strong, habituall, connaturall sinne, yet God is, El, the strong God, and there is no∣thing too hard for him. Though the sonnes of Zerviah may be too strong for us, yet they are not too strong for him. Prayer is a speciall meanes to ride our hearts of all distrustfull, dstracting, tormenting cares. Phil. 4.6, 7. in nothing be carefull, viz. with a care of iffidence, though we may with a care o diligence. But what would you have us do? Why? Pray, saith the Apostle, that's 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a Catholicon, an Uni∣versall remedy for any malady. Iames 5.13. 1 Kings 8.31.33.35.37. Psalm 107.13.19.28. it hath virtutem pacativam, a settling, and compo∣sing virtue, 〈◊〉 quiets and stills the distempers of the soule; as sleep com∣poseth the distempers of the body; it guardes our hearts,* and keeps us as safe, as in a Garrison. Hence Luther called Prayer the Leeches of his cares. When Hannah was in distresse, she goes to prayer, and then was no more sad. 1 Samuel 2.18. Pray saith Christ, And your joy shall bee full. Iohn 16.24.

4. Get interest in God,* and assurance of his favour, and thou hast all; He that serves God, all the creatures delight to serve him. He is too covetous, whom God cannot content. He that hath the Sunne, needs not complaine for want of the Starres. He that hath ta∣sted the sweetnesse of better things, will easily contemne these low things. Let us therefore turne our Covetousnesse the right way, and if we will covet;* let it be the best things. 1 Cor, 12.31. and 14.1.

Let it be the chief of our care, first to get Grace, and then Riches will follow. Matth. 6.33. Prov. 22.4 Psal. 112.1.3.

To this end et us compare Grace and Riches together.

1. These temporall Riches are but drosse and dogges-meat; repro∣bates, for the most part, have most of them; they are common bles∣sings. But Grace is a choyce blessing, and peculiar onely to the people of God.

2. Riches are Transitory, they may be lost or spent, the more a man spends, the lesse he hath: but Grace is true Treasure, durable Riches, that better part which cannot be lost. Matth. 6.19, 20. Luke 10.42. This increaseth by spending. Matth. 13.12. To him that hath shall be given (i. e.) he that shewes his Grace by Practising of it, shall have more.

3. Riches hinder many from Heaven; few rich men shall be saved, 1 Cor. 1.26. some, but not many. Corpulent birds seldom fly high▪ These many things cumber them, and this thick clay clogges, and defiles them▪ Luke 10.41. Hab. 2.6. But Grace is the Path-way to Peace and Glory.

4. Riches breed discontent,* the more men have, the more un∣quiet they be, they are still unsatisfied. Eccles. 5.10. But Piety breeds contentment, and therefore 'tis called Great gaine. 1 Timothy 6.6. Page  42 Godlinesse, in the Power and Life of it, is Gain, 'tis no aiery, notional, empty thing; but 'tis that which brings Reall profit to them that have it. Now gain is Argumentum cogens, 'tis an argument that takes with all men; why? get godlinesse, and you get gain.

2. 'Tis great gain, there's none like it; hence it's said to be profitable, not for some things, but for all things, having the promises of the blessings of this life, and that which is to come.

3. 'Tis great gain in respect of the Effect which it produceth, viz. con∣tentment. When the soule is once acquainted with God, a very little of these outward things will content us. Psal. 16.5, 6. and 23. 1 Philip. 3.8. This is the rare priviledge of Godlinesse, that it can make us Rich with∣out Riches, as we see in the Church of Smyrna. Revel. 2.9. I know thy po∣verty, but thou art Rich. Though she were poor in goods, yet she was rich in Grace, rich in contentment, rich in Capite, in Christ her head, in whom all is Hers; Rich in Bills and Bonds (i. e.) in the promises, and Rich in Reversion; having Title to Heaven and Happinesse.

5. Exercise your selves daily in Acts of Love to your Neighbour, and pitty to the poore; this will losen your hearts from the World; for as when money increaseth, our love to it increaseth. [Crescit amor nummi, quantum, &c.] So by accustoming our selves to give, our love to money is lessened,* as our money is lessened. Many Acts beget an Habit, and habits become strong and delightfull.

6. Get contentment with your present condition, what ever it be; when the Apostle had disswaded men from Covetousness. Heb. 13, 5. Let your cenversation be without Covetousnesse, let not onely an Action or two (for one Action doth not denominate) but let your whole conversation, the series and course of your life, all your Buying, Selling, Trading, trafficking, must shew that you are free from Covetousness. But what means must wee use against this sinne? Be content with present things. Doe not carke nor care for hereafter, but rest quiet and content with the present estate and condition of life, which God hath allotted thee. Be it little, or be it much, high or low, a doing or Suffering condition; be it sick∣ness or health, plenty or poverty; still know that the present condition which God allottes thee, is alwayes the best for thee; because 'tis that condition which the onely, and infinitely wise God hath assigned to thee; he knowes what's best and fittest for us. The little childe would have a piece as bigge as the Plow-man, but the wise Parent knowes he would but spoyle it, if he had it. God knowes our strength, our Parts, and a∣bilities, and therefore that condition which he sets us in, is ever the best for us.* Hence He commands us, Having food and raiment, to be content. 1 Tim. 6.8. Having food, not dainties; and raiment, not ornaments; if we have things necessary for us and ours, though we have not abun∣dance, we must rest quiet and contented. A shooe too bigge for our foot, overthrowes us. Nature is content with little, and Grace with less. Bread and Water with the Gospell (said Master Greenham) is good cheere, The Lord checkes▪ Baruc for seeking great things for himselfe, especially in troublous and calamitous times. Ierem 45.5. Hence 'tis, that the holiest men have ever been the most conten∣ted men; and if there be any Heaven upon earth, it is con∣tentment, and inward Peace. 'Tis a flower which growes not in Natures garden, it cannot reach it, it is a Supernaturall Page  43 lesson taught us by the Spirit of Grace; and he's a good proficient in the Schoole of Christ, who hath learned it. Paul had it. Phil. 4.11, 12, I have learn't to be abased, and to abound. Two hard Lessons.

  • 1. To know how to want Food,* Health, Wealth, Li∣berty; to be stript of all earthly comforts, and yet to sit down quiet and content is a high and a hard Lesson.
  • 2. Sometimes the Lord gives abundance to his people (as he did to Abraham, David, Solomon, Iob, Iehosaphat, &c.) and then to know how to abound, is harder then to know how to want, yet the Apostle was so exact a Schol∣lar in the Schoole of Christ, that he had learn't his Lesson both wayes, both backward and forward; he could abound, and he could want. Benjamin was called Ithar jad, because he could use both hands, and they were a nota∣ble Tribe: but to know how to use both estates well, is a far greater praise. Iacob who was little and low in his own eyes, Gen. 32.10. desires no more but food and raiment, and tells his Brother that he had enough. Gen. 33.9.11. Esau could say, I have Rab, multum; but Iacob sayes, I have [Col, omne] all things, for contentment is All in All; None so content as the Humble man, who seeth himself to be less then the least of Gods mer∣cies, This made the Church quietly to bear, not onely the Anger, but the Indignation of the Lord: when she considered how she had sinned a∣gainst him. Micah. 7.19. Lam. 3.22. Humble David counts it an ho∣nour to be but a door-keeper in Gods house, and the prodigall desires to be an hired servant there.

2. Consider, thou hast more then many of thy betters. How many of Gods deare servants have been in a lower condition then thou art in. Con∣sider Iobs afflictions, Pauls trialls, our Saviours Poverty, who had not a house of his own to dwell in, nor a bed of his own to lye on. Matth. 8▪20. and barley bread for his followers. Iohn 6.9.

3. Contentment is the onely Riches, 'Tis not Mo∣ney, but the Mind which makes men rich.* Hence Socrates calls contentment the the Soules Riches. We all desire Riches, behold the way. How ma∣ny, by over-reaching, and being over-eager after the world, have lost all? This sweetens our little, and makes it more comfortable to us, then the great heapes of Riches, which the wicked have with vexation and discon∣tent, Prov. 13.25. and 15, 16, 17. and 16.8.* A good man rests as well con∣tented with his little, as if God had made him a King, or an Emperour, and when they have nothing, yet they have all; because they have the God of all. 2 Cor. 6.10,

4. 'Tis a singular, comely, well-pleasing Grace; it adornes our pro∣fession, and winnes much upon the Spirits of men. As Covetousnesse of all Vices is the basest,* so contentment of all Vir∣tues is the most excellent. 'Tis the greatest happiness that we can attain to in this world: perfect happiness consists in communion with God immediately; but imperfect happiness consists in contentment, when we enjoy God in his Creatures and Ordi∣nances; and this is the highest degree of happiness, which this world af∣fords. This is Heaven upon earth: Heaven is nothing else but a sweet and quiet Spirituall rest and satisfaction in the great God. So that this is not onely our Duty,* but our Glory. 'Tis the orna∣ment of a Christian, and makes him lovely, even in Gods eye. 1 Pet. 3.4. When your Wills are submissive to his Will, and we can be content to be what God will have us to be, and to suffer what ever Page  44 he will have us to suffer, this is our Glory, 1 Pet. 2.20.

*5. Its a sign of a magnanimous raised spirit, when we can do well, and yet be content to hear ill, when we can passe through bad report, as well as good, and through losses, crosses, trialls, and make nothing of them; yea, can bless God in the losse of all. Iob 1.21. this is Noble and Heroick indeed. 'Twas So∣crates commendation, that though his condition oft changed, yet he never changed, but was still the same. And if Heathens that had but the dimme light of nature for their guide, have loved and practised (in their way, and according to their light) contentment; then we that have received more Light and Love from God, should do more then they. Matth. 5.47. for he that cannot submit to God in Passive Obedience, the sincerity of his Active Obedience is justly to be suspected.

Obj. This is a hard and a harsh Lesson, who can learn it?

*Answ. The way to heaven is a hard and a straight way to flesh and blood. Mat. 7.14. All Gods pleasant commands yet seem harsh and hard to wick∣ed and unwilling men. If God command liberality, then the covetous man is angry; if Frugality, the Prodigall; if Humility, the Proud; if Chastity, the Incontinent; if Sobriety, the Intemperate. But get thy nature changed, and get in Love with contentment and goodnesse, and then the good wayes of God will never displease thee. Micah 2.7.

Obj. But I am sick and poor, I am lost, and low.

Answ. It may be thou hast had a moneth or two of sicknesse, but hast thou not had yeares of pleasure and health? now shall we receive so much good at the hands of the Lord, and shall we not endure a little evill of affli∣ction, especially since 'tis for our good? Iob 2.10.

2. Be content with thy Poverty, in some respects it may be better to thee then the riches and plenty of the wicked. Many esteem poverty the greatest evill,* and therefore to avoid it they run into sin. Whereas Poverty (if it be not in extremity) is the Nurse of Arrs, the Schoole of Patience,* a Teacher of diligence, a Bridle to Vice, a Spur to Vertue; such are apter to receive the Gospel, and so more capable of grace and true contentment, Zeph. 3.5.*Matth. 11.5. Iames 2.5. The middle con∣dition between extream Poverty, and the height of riches hath alwayes been accounted safest and best. Prov. 30, 8, 9.

3. Consider, though Poverty be a crosse, and sometimes a curse for sin. [Deut. 28.43, 44. Psal. 109.10.] yet 'tis no sin, for Christ himself was poor, that he might sanctify our Poverty in his own person, and honour it with his own example,* 2 Cor. 8.9. For our sakes he became poore, though not so ex∣tream poor, as to beg his bread, for that was forbidden y the Law, Deut. 15.4. and restrained by all Well-governed Common-weales; yet he was so poor as to borrow, he had not so much money as a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to pay the Taxe with Matth. 17.24. which was about ten pence say some, fifteen pence say others.

4. You that are Poor, are freed from many dangers, which rich men are exposed to; as Poysening, Plundering, Fining, Envying, &c. How many Kings,* and great ones, have been poysoned in their golden cups; when thou fearest nothing in thy earthen dish.

—Nulla aconita bibuntur Fictilibus.

Juven.

Page  45In times of war, the souldier inquires not where dwells the poor man;* but where dwells the rich man, the Usurer, and the great man? The finger is cut off for the golden ring: when Zedokiah King of Iudah, and the great ones were in distress, yet the poor were spared,*Ier. 39.10. So 2 Kings 25.7.12.

2. Thou art freed frow many dangerous Temptati∣ons and snares, from many cares and fears which annoy the rich.

1. They are apt to Pride,* 2 Chron. 26.16.

2. To forget God. Deut. 8.16. Prov. 30.9.

3. To security and riot.*Luke 12, 19. Besides, great wealth brings great cares, great feares, and at last, a great account; they that have much, of them shall be much required. As thou hast less; so thy cares, feares and ac∣counts, will be less.

5. The Lord can supply thy want of Temporall blessings with Spirituall ones, and though you be not so greatly blest in earthly places as others are, yet he can bless you in Heavenly places. Eph. 1.3.

6. He can and will provide even Temporalls for thee and thine; so far as shall be for thy good, and will work Miracles, rather then such as fear him shall want. We have an excellent instance, 2 Kings 4.1, 2, &c. the dead Prophet was a man that feared God, and served him in his generation, he durst not Temporize, as did those false Prophets which sate at Iezabels Table: but chose rather to dye in debt, and leave his children in extream poverty, then to use any indirect means to get out of debt. Now see the goodness of God, rather then such a mans wife and children shall want; the Prophet Elish shall work a miracle for their supply and comfort. Verse 7. Go sell the Oyle, and pay thy debts, and live thou and thy children on the rest. So tender is God over his, and so carefull to succour them in their extremities. God can and (when he sees it good for his) he will raise the poor out of the dust, and set them with the Rulers of his people; we have a notable Example in our own Histories of the Lord Thomas Cromwel, who was at first but a Black-Smiths sonne, then a souldier at the sacking of Rome, after that, Cardinal Wool∣sies Favorite, then Earle of Essex, and Counsellor to King Henry the Eighth.

7. Thy poverty cannot separate thee from Christ,*Rom. 8.35. nor barre thee from heaven. Christ and his Apostles, and Lazarus, were poor; yet are now in heaven, and so are those poor Martyrs that wandred up and down, destitute, afflicted, tormented. Heb. 11.37.

Now he that would attain this rare Jewel of contentment, and so be freed from Covetousness, must labour for Reall Godlinesse. 1 Tim. 6.6. For

  • 1. This will convince us of the Vanity of the Creature.
  • 2. 'Twill teach us to deny our selves, our own wit, and will; and to re∣sign our selves unto Gods disposing; what ever God doth with him, yet he is silent still; let God raise him, or ruine him, make him or marre him, his soul keeps silence unto God still. Psal. 62.5. he doth not only forbear mur∣muring speeches, but even his soul is silent.*
  • 3. Piety purgeth out those ill humours of Pride, Passion, Envie, Emula∣tion, &c. and so calms, and quiets the soul.
  • 4. Godliness will teach us to set light by the Censures of others. That which disquiets many, is the censures and reproaches of the wicked; but a gracious soul,* that is little and low in his own eyes, will not be troubled to be little in the eyes of others. He can never live quietly and contentedly, that hath not learned to bear the slightings, and contempts of the wicked, with an holy disdain. Paul esteems it a very small matter to be judged of man, 1 Cor. Page  46 4.3. q. d. This is but mans day, and mans censure, and mans judgement, but I expect another day, when the judgements of men shall be reviewed, and judged again.
  • 5. Godliness will make us love God, and love will bear all things patiently and contentedly. Love thinks no evill. 1 Cor. 13.5. it hath not hard con∣ceits of God, it takes not his acts and dispensations in an ill sense; but seeth all workiug together for good.

[1. If any would see more against Covetousness, let him peruse Doctor Preston on Colos. 3.5. Mr. Fenner on Philip. 3.19. Papillon on the Passions. chap. 18. Capel on Tentat. P. 3. c. 3. p. 289, &c. D. Stoughton on Luke 12.15. Downams warfar, p. 430. to 916. Mr. Ier. Dyke's Serm. on Luke 12.15. Prin∣ted 1652. Mr. Clerks Mirror. cap. 33. Edit. 3. Mr. Burroughs on Psal. 17.14. The misery of those that have their portion in this life, and on Phil. 3.19.]

[2. If for Contentment, See Mr. Henry Smith's Serm. on 1 Tim. 6.6. Mr. Burroughs Rare Jewell of contentment. Mr. Hen. Mason. D. Ier. Taylor's Rules of Holy Living. chap. 2. Sect. 6. D. Sibbs Cordialls on Phil. 4.11, 12. Downams Warfar. l. 2. c. 19, &c.]

3. Boasters. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

A second Branch that sprouts from that accursed Root of Self-love, is Boa∣sting. This sin is fitly linked to the former; for when men by covetous Practi∣ses, have gained Riches, then they begin to boast and glory in them, [Prov. 18.11, 1 Tim. 6.17.] because of the supposed good which they think riches will procure them, as Friends, Honours, Fine Cloaths, Fine Buildings. The Lord foresaw this, and therefore hath forbidden all glorying in Riches, and commands us onely to glory in him, who is our Life, our Light, our Sun, our Shield, and exceeding great Reward. Ier. 9.23.

*The Greek word is diversly rendred, yet all tend to one and the same thing, and are coincident; for he that is a Boaster, is usually a Vain-glorious, lofty, insolent, arrogant man: it notes one that is inordinately lifted up with an high esteem and admiration of his owne supposed, or reall excellencies; and thereupon arrogates and assumes more to himself then is meet; or, one that boasts of the Learning, Vertues, Power, Riches which he hath not, and brags of Acts which he never did.* Such we call [Thrasones & milites gloriosos.] vain-glorious Thraso's. The proud man boasts of what he hath, and the Boa∣ster braggs of what he hath not. This Vice is opposed by Aquinas and othets, to Verity; and in proper speaking it consists in Words,* rather then in the Heart; for as Pride, in ex∣act and proper speaking, hath relation to the heart, ra∣ther then the words; so this sin of boasting hath rela∣tion to our words, rather then our hearts: so that this sin is the daughter of Pride, (and though by an Hy∣sterosis, it be placed here before it,* yet Rom. 1-30. Pride is set immediately before Boasting, as the proper root of it) for when Pride lyeth hid in the heart, it shewes it self by arrogant boastings, and high flowen words.

Quest. Doth the Scripture condemn all kinds of Boasting, and is it unlawfull in any case to Boast?

Page  47Answ. We must distinguish of Boasting. There is

  • 1. A Religious Boasting.
  • 2. A Necessary Boasting.
  • 3. A Vain-glorious Boasting.
  • 4. A Diabolical Boasting.

1. The Scripture mentions a Pious and Religious Boasting, when the soul makes her boast of God. Psal. 34.2. whilest others are boasting of their Riches, and Babels, which they have built, a gracious soul triumphs in God, as if it had found some great spoyles, and rich Treasure. Psal. 27.1, 2, 3. So Paul having a holy confidence in Christs merits, Glories therein. Rom. 8.37, 38. So he Glories in his sufferings for Christ. Gal. 6.14. and all Believers glory in their tribulations for him. Rom. 5.3. So Paul glories in the Prospe∣rity of Gods people. 2 Cor. 7.4.14. and 2.9.2. and 2.2.16, 17. This is comendable Boasting, and is commanded. Ier. 9.24. Isay 41.16. and 45.25. 1 Cor. 1.31. and 2.10.17. he that Glories must glory in the Lord: he dares not sacrifice to his own net, nor kiss his own hand, Iob 31.17. he arro∣gates nothing proudly to himself, but gives all the glory of all his Goods, Gifts, and Graces, to the God that gave them.

2. There is a lawful Boasting for necessary defence, being urged thereto by the slanders of wicked men; on this account Christ apologizeth for him∣self, and defends his innocency against his adversaries. In Matth. 12.6.41, 42. So Iob spends some Chapters in Apologizing for himself against the false accusations of his friends. Iob 29. and 31. So Nehemiah 13. Paul spends 17. Verses at least in a forced commendation of him∣self, in relating his Service and Sufferings for Christ.* 2 Cor. 11.16. to 33.

3. There is a Vain-glorious Boasting and Ostenta∣tion of what we are, and what we have done, that the world may take notice of us, and we may be admired as some great men in the world. Thus Simon Magus gave out, that he was some great man. Acts 8.9. he made himself his own Idol, and therefore he expected that all the be∣holders should fall down and worship it, which they are ready to do. V. 10. Thus when men set a high rate upon their own Parts and Perfections, they be very impatient and discontented, if others will not come to their price, and because other men will not,* they will Canonize themselves for Saints. So did the proud Pharisee, when he boasted of his own perfection, and con∣temned the Publican. Luke 18.11. So Matth. 6. and 23, 5. Iohn 12.43. and this is the Boasting which the Apostle here, and the scripture elsewhere oft condemnes. Prov. 27.2. and 20.6. 2 Cor. 10.18.

4. There is a Diabolical Boasting, when men boast of their wickednesse; like that Tyrant who boasted what mischief he could do. Psal. 52.1. So did Stockly B. of London, who lying on his death-bed, rejoyced that he had burnt 50. Hereticks. These declare their sin-like Sodom, openly and impudently. Isay 3.9. and rejoyce to do wickedly. Prov. 2.14. Ier. 11.15. The Idolater glories in his Idols. Psal. 97.7. Hos. 10.5. The fornicator of his Harlots, the Drun∣kard of his Dozens, and how many he hath laid asleep. Impudent beasts! that instead of being ashamed of such glorying; they glory in their shame, and are ashamed of [grace which is] their glory, their end is destru∣ction. Phil. 3.19. These are ascended to the highest degree of wickedness.* It's dangerous to excuse and de∣fend sin, but to boast of Vices, as if they were Vertues, is the height of Villany.

By the abounding of this sin amongst us, 'tis evident we are fallen into the last times. How is the land over-spread with impu∣dent, Page  48 insolent Boasters, from Dan to Beersheba, from North to South; they swarm amongst us like the flyes in Egypt. The Papist boasts of his Traditi∣ons and Mracles, the Anabaptist of his Revelations, the Quaker of his Per∣fection, extraordinary Sanctity and Sufferings:* never did any Hereticks speak greater swelling words of Vanity, and more cry up themselves, and cry down others, then this generation of perfect Pharisees, They boast of themselves that they are equall to the Apostles of Christ; yea to that blasphemous impu∣dency are they ascended (for want of Punishment) that some of them say they are Christ himself, and that their Iames is become a Iesus, the King of Israel, the Judge of the world; and therefore they worship him, kisse his feet, and strew their garments before him, &c.

Whither will not Toleration and impunity lead people!

Others boast of their own Sincerity, Sanctity, Innocency, Amiableness, and Moderation; they call themselves men of a Choyce anointing, the on∣ly spiritual people, the close walking ones, the meek and quiet of the earth. Reall Saints are humble, modest men, and dare not give themselves such high Titles. Isai 6.5. Dan. 2.30. Prov. 30.2. they are content that another mans mouth should praise them,* and not their own, Prov. 27.2. they are sensible of so much sin and corruption in themselves, that they are little and low in their own eyes. Others boast much of their extraordinary Gifts, and ll to Preach, when upon triall they have neither the one, nor the other: but are meerly stuff't with ignorance and impudence,* like those self-confident ones, that thought themselves fit to be guides of the blind, before they had learned themselves. Rom. 3.19, 20, 21.

They boast much of the spirit; I, they are as full of it, as a Barrell is of wind. This is the Basis of their Pride, and the shelter for their Sin. Ask them how they dare presume to Preach without a Call? their Answer is ready, They are called extraordinarily by the Spirit: and yet they cannot shw it, by so much as ordinary Gifts. Let us therefore try these Spirits by the Touch-stone of Gods word, and they will appear to be Satanicall, deluding spirits: For those that are Sensuall, and Separatists (as these men are) have not the Spirit of God. Iude 19.

Against the sinne of Vain-glorious Boasting, take these few conside∣rations.

  • *1. Consider that all such Boasting is evill; evill in its own Nature, and the cause of much evill. Iames 4.16. God will not have the wise man to glory in his wisdome, as the Phylosophers did: nor the strong man in his strength, as Lamech did, Gen. 4.23. nor the Rich man in his Riches, Psal. 49.6. Luke 12.19. nor any man in men; 1 Cor. 3.21. but he that glories, must glory in this, That he knoweth experimentally, and savingly, the Lord his God, Ier. 9.23, 24.
  • 2. Consider the Judgements of God on such as have boasted of their own strength and power, as Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. 3.15. and 4.27.30, 31. and the Israelites. Amos 6.13, 12, So the Gentiles, and Philosophers that gloryed in their own wisdome, were punisht with spiritual judgements, and given up to a reprobate sense. Rom. 1.22, 23, 24. Remember Gods judgements on vaunting Pharaoh. Exod. 5.2. Senacherib, 2 Kings 19.23. Haman, Hest. 5.11. Goliah, 1 Sam. 17.8. Absolon, 2 Sam. 15.4. and generally God hath threatned that all such as glory in Idols (and such are all those that glory in creatures) shall be confounded, Psal. 97.7. Now, as Judges hang up some in Gibbets, to make others fear; so, Gods Judgements on those, should make all to fear.
  • 3. 'Tis a Sign of a Proud Heart; out of the abundance of the heart doth the mouth speak. Our discourses are discoveries of what is within.
  • 4. It makes men like the Devill, who boasted what great things he had Page  49 to give. Matth. 4.9. when he had nec ditionem, nec dationem, neither right to them, nor power to dispose of them. Mens gifts they boast off, are none of their own, what have we, that we have not received? 1 Cor. 4.7.
  • 5. When mens mouths are so full of their own praise,* it argues an empti∣nesse of Grace within; full Vessels make little noyse, when empty ones sound loud. Empty Carts make a great rattle, when the loaded ones go quietly by you; your poor Pedlars that have but one Pack, do in every Market shew all they have, when the rich Marchant makes but a small shew of that where∣of he hath great plenty within. The worst mettle rings loudest, and the emptiest eares of corn stand highest. Labour therefore for the contrary grace of Modesty, whose excellecy you may find in that usefull Peace. Mr. Robinsons Essayes. Observation 58. p. 511.

4. Proud. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉

This is a third branch of Self-love, viz. Pride in Heart. As arrogant Boa∣sters shew their Pride by their words, so these have it in their hearts, and shew it in their actions, by contemning others, and exalting themselves.* This sin is the daughter of Covetousness. Hence the Apostle would have rich men take heed of being High-minded. 1 Tim. 6.17 thereby implying, that Riches are apt to engender pride, Proud persons are like to Oyle: which loves to be above; in their own conceits, they are wiser than all the world besides.

And is not this the Master-sin of this last and loose age of the world? when did pride ever more abound in City and Country, in Body and Soule, in Heart, Head, Haire, Habit; In Gestures, Vestures, Words, Works? what Painting, Poudring, Patching, Spotting, and Blotting themselves? How are men loaded, and bedawbed with Variety of Ribbons, before and behind, above and beneath, with yellow, red, black, blew; they have more colours then the Rain-bow, and are more like Morrice-dancers, then Pro∣fessors. These fantastick garbs, argue fantastick hearts. They say to their fine cloaths, as Saul said to Samuel, Honour me before the people: to this end every finger must have a Ring, and every joynt a Jewell; what sad Bills of In∣dictment will one day be put up against such persons? Imprimis 20 l. for brave cloathes, but not 20 s. for a pious use. Item 10 l. for Gold and Sil∣ver lace, but not 10 s. for the poor. Item 5 l. for Gew-gaws, and Ribbons, but not 5 s. for the needy. Item 20 s. for a pair of silver-laced shoes, and scarce 20 d. to the poor.—How will these one day curse themselves for their folly, and cry out when 'tis too late; What hath pride profited us? and what comfort (yea what discomfort) have these Vanities brought upon us? Be wise now therefore in time, and Honour the Lord with your Riches, which is the best way to keep and increase them; but waste them not on your lusts, lest you loose them. Hos. 2.8, 9. The plainnesse of former times will condemn our Vanity.* the very trimming that some in our dayes wear, would have bought our ancient Kings a whole suit of apparell. Our Chro∣nicles tell us that William Rufus (who in his time was accounted sumptuous in apparell) when his Chamberlain had brought him a pair of Breeches, and he demanding what they cost? it was answered, 3 s. The King bad him be gone, and bring him a pair of a Mark price. Heu prisca simplicitas! Whi∣ther is our ancient Simplicity fled!

2. For spirituall pride, which is the worst sort of pride, as fighting more directly against God, who is a Spirit, when did it more abound then at this day? There is amongst us. 1. Superbia de Religione, men are proud Page  50 of their religious duties, as the Pharises were.

2. There is Superbia in Religione, Religious duties are proudly performed amongst us.

3. Superbia cum Religione. Pride conjoyned with Religion, the Profes∣sors of Religion are men of proud lives, and haughty spirits; and this is the very Mother of all those Hell-sprung Heresies, which have of late over∣spread the Land.* Make a man proud, and he will quickly be erroneous. 1 Tim. 6.3, 4. Simon Magus that great Haeresiarch, was a very proud man; his picture had the Inscription, Simoni Sancto Deo. Arrius also that Arch-Heretick was notorious for Pride. The Gnosticks of old conceited that they knew more then all the world be∣sides,* boasting that God had made them of his privy Counnsell, and had revealed those secrets to them, which others knew not, (this is the song of our Quakers now) but none were a greater scandall to Religion then these Gnosticks. 'Tis spiritual Pride which is the Root of all that separation and Semi-separation, of all those Divisions, and Subdivisions, which are amongst us. The proud Pharises were great Separatists. Men of late have gotten very high conceits of themselves, they say even to the reall Churches of God, stand off, for we are holier then you. They are so afraid of Popularity, that they run themselves into Singularity. Young Ministers are much to be blamed for their Pride and Self-conceitednesse; every Novice now thinks himself wiser then the aged, Pious, experienced Ministers of the Land, yea then all the Churches of Christ in the world, I had almost said then Christ himself, These want a Rod, I mean the Disciplie of Christ, to curb their exorbitancies.

*'Tis spirituall pride which makes so many boast of their perfections▪ when he that hath but half an eye, may see their grosse imperfections.'Tis this sin which makes so many to transgresse the bounds of their callings, and to become Teachers, when themselves had need to be taught the funda∣mentalls of Religion. These are wiser in their own conceits, then seven men that can render a reason. Prov. 26.16. though they were the seven wise men of Greece, yet were they all but fooles to them. They know more by the the Spirit, of which they boast (they never boast of their learning, I cannot blame them, they are loaded with so little of it) then their betters can know by twenty years study, who yet have a greater measure of the spirit then they. The people of England were never poorer and prou∣der then at this day; even now when the Lord is beating us for our pride, and is staining the pride of all our glory, and hath brought into contempt the Honourable of the earth, Isai 23.9. yet (such is the height of our rebel∣lion) that we sin under the Rod, and are the worse for beating; when the body swells, 'tis a sign it is diseased: the Tympany of pride, which is now in the land, is a sad symptom, that all is not well with us; I wish our State Physitians, and Spirituall-Physitians, may see to it betimes, before the dis∣ease become Chronicall, and incurable.

3. That inundation and overflowing of all manner of sin, too clearely shewes the pride of the land. There is a kind of tacite interpretative pride in every sin:* for in sinning we prefer our own wills before Gods will, and seek to please and advance our selves, rather then God. Pride affronts God, it stops the eare against his commands, and will not suffer mon to submit their necks to Gods Page  51 yoak. Ier. 13, 15, 17. and 2.31. Hence sin is called a despising, and con∣tempt of God. 2 Sam. 12.9, 10. The voluptuous man saith, God shall not rule over me; and the worldling saith, He'l not leave his profit to be com∣manded by him; and every rebellious sinner stands it out against God, and saith, We will not have him to rule over us. Thus when men are stout in heart, they are far from righteousnesse. Isai 46.12. as we see in Pharaoh, Absolon, Haman, &c. Pride is the Nurse of Covetousnesse, the Root of strife, envy, and cruelty; the Mother of Murder, this put Athaliah upon slaying the seed Royall, that she might get the Kingdome to her selfe. 2 Kings 11. In a word, 'tis the Root of all evill, which made Solomon to joyne pride and the evill way together.*Prov. 8.13. as Humility is the foundation of all Vertue, so is pride of all Vices; and as that is the badge of Gods children, so is this of the Devills. 'Tis so base a sin, that even the proud themselves hate it in others.

4. The great contention that is in the land, shewes there's much pride in it; for by pride (saith Solomon) comes contention. Prov. 13.10. and 28.25. Pride makes men drunk with their own conceits, Hab. 3.5. and drunkards we know are quarrelsom. The strife that is in Church, State, Families, comes from hence. Men should strive to love, but now men love to strive; not that 'tis a sin to contend for the truth, for that's our duty, yea our glory, and is commanded. Iude 3. but when men shall contend against the truth, and the true Churches of Christ, for Vanity and Heresy, making lyes their Reuge: this argues pride with a witnesse.

5. Naturally we are all as full of pride, as a Toad is of poyson. The Sea is not more full of Monsters, the ayre of Flyes, the earth of Vermin, and the fire of sparkles; then our corrupt natures are of proud, rebellious imaginati∣ons, against God. 'Twas the sin of our first Parents, Gen. 3.5. and we their children resemble them in it. 'Twas not only the sin of Pharaoh, Haman, He∣rod, Sodom, Ezek. 16.49. but Gods dearest servants have been tackt and tainted with it. David out of pride numbers the people, 2 Sam. 24.1. Hezekiah's heart was lifted up with his Treasures and Riches, 2 Chron. 32.25. Peter had two good a conceit of himself. Mat. 26.33.60. even Christs poor disciples dreamt (as our Millenaries do) that Christ would set up an earthly Kingdom; upon this they begin to dispute, who should be the greatest amongst them? Mark 9.34. Hence 'tis, that the Lord lets corruptions and infirmities cleave even to the best, to keep them low in their own eyes. Paul, that holy, mortified man, must yet have a Thorn in the flesh,* a messenger of Sa∣tan to buffet him, and keep him humble. 2 Cor. 12.7. Naturall and Hereditary diseases are hardly cured; when a man is born blinde, deaf, lame, &c. such are seldom cured. Pride is very pleasing and connatural to us, 'tis deeply rooted in our natures, we all carry a proud Devill within us, till the spirit of rege∣neration dispossesse him.* For the expelling of this poy∣son, take these four Antidotes.

  • 1. Consider that Pride is a sin which more especi∣ally fights against God, and God against it. The Proud do as it were challenge,* and provoke him to set upon them; God accepts the challenge, and sets himself in battle array against this chaffe and dry stubble. They resist God, his Word, Ministers, Chastisements; and God resists them, and comes against them as an armed man. Iames 4.6. 1 Peter 5.5. Other sinne is a turning from God, but this turns against him, and fights with him; in other sinnes we flye from God; in Page  52 this sin we flye on him: and God lets flye at such, he dischargeth all his Ar∣tillery in the very face of it. He resists them, this resistance presupposeth an assault, and did ever any man assault God and prosper? let the Potshards strive with the potshard of the earth, but wo unto him that striveth with his Maker. Isay 45.9. whose hands can be strong, and whose heart can endure in the day when God shall deal with him? Ezek 22.14. what they said of Iohn, is much more true of God. 2 Kings 20.4. Behold, two Kings could not stand before him, how then shall we? So, not two, but ten thousand Kings, and men of might have not been able to stand before him, how then darest thou contend with him? 'Tis madnesse for a man to provoke Angels, or a potent Host against him; but by his Pride to provoke the great Lord of Hosts, and God of Angels, is the height of madness. These are six things which the Lord hates, yea seven are an abomination to him, a Proud look is the first. Prov. 6.16, 17. and 16.5. he'l have no communion with such,* he cannot en∣dure the breath of them. Hence he is said to behold them afar off, Psalm 138.6. and if David could not endure that the Proud should stand in his sight. Psal. 101.5. let them not think of coming into Gods Kingdom.
  • 2. Consider how severely God hath punisht such in all ages, with remark∣able judgements. They go about to rob him of his glory, which is as the apple of his eye, and which he will not part with unto any. Isa. 41.8. and therefore God is more quick in cutting off Proud persons, his patience waits on other sinners, but his justice suddenly finds out these. Iob 40.11, 12. Dan. 4.27. Psal. 18.27. and 119.21. when once Pride begins to bud and shew it self,* ruine is not far off. Prov. 16.18. and 29.23. Isai 3.24. Ier. 13.9. Ezek. 7.10, 11. when mens hearts are lifted, it is to their own destruction. 2 Chron. 26.16. If Herod once assume Gods glory to himself, an Angell shall suddenly smite him dead, and he's devoured of lice, Acts 12.22, 23. God spared him, whilest he persecuted the Saints, (though that was a crying sin) but when once he assumed divine honour to himself, down he comes; God loves to levell such, and lay them low. Matth. 23.12. He pitties the poor, weak bended reeds, but 'tis the Cedars of Lebanon and the Oaks of Bashan (i. e.) men that in their own conceits, and in the worlds eye, are as tall as Cedars, as strong as Oakes, as invincible as walls of brass, 'tis these God loves to be dealing with, that he may bring them down. Isai 2.12, 13. to 18. when Pride is in the Premises, destruction is ever in the conclusion. This sin turn∣ed Angels into Devills. Sodom into ashes. Ezek. 16.49. drowned Pharaoh, hanged Haman, turned Nebuchadnezzar a grazing with the beasts. This de∣stroyes mens dwellings,*Prov. 15.25. and is oft punished with madness. There is but this difference between a mad-man, and proud-man, we hate the one, and pity the other.
  • 3. Consider that Pride is Partus Satanicus, the Devills first-borne, where∣with he layes his plot for our downfall. Gen. 3.5. For as God abaseth men that he may exalt them, so the Devill puffes men up, that he may de∣stroy them; blowes them up, that he may the better break them. 'Tis the first Book which the Devill reads in his School. Hence Pride is called the Devills Grammar, which teacheth ill construction, and ill ver∣sifying. viz. to measure our selves by a large ell, and others by a short one; it makes long short, and short long: this Grammar also makes ill Declensi∣ons, teaching men to decline from good to evill.
  • 4. 'Tis the Poyson of vertuous Actions; the meat may be good in it self, but if there be poyson in it, it becomes deadly. Praying, Preaching, Almes, are good in themselves, but if pride get into them, it levens and sowres the best performances. It's a worme that devoures the wood that bred it. He that's proud of his Graces, hath no Grace; his Pride hath devoured it all, as we Page  53 see in the Pharisee. Luke 18.11.14. other Vices feed on that which is evll, but this feeds on good things. Many are proud because they are not proud: a man might see pride through the holes of Diogenes's old Cloak;* and see him tread on Plato's pride, with greater pride. This makes some they will be called Goodman, rather then Master, and sit lowest, that they may more solemnly be set highest: when other sinnes are consumed to ashes▪ yet out of those ashes, will pride spring. 'Tis a secret poyson, a hidden pestilence, the Canker of holinesse, the blinder of hearts,* turning remedies into diseases. Every sin is a Theefe, and robs us of our Grace, but pride is the grand Theefe; for whereas Luxury robs us of our Chastity, Covetousnesse of Mercy, Anger of Patience, and Envy of Love; Pride robs us of our Humility, which is the Founda∣tion of all Vertue.

Quest. But how may I mortify this sin of sins, this pesti∣lent evill which makes us so lke to the Devill?*

Answ. 1. You must shew the Causes of it; The first and principall cause of pride is Ignorance, 1 Cor. 8.2. 1 Tim. 6.4. the Church of Laodicea was Self-con∣ceited, and thought her self rich in Grace, but what was the ground of it? She knew not her spiritual nakedness and misery. Rev. 3.17. who prouder then the ignorant Pharisees,* whom Christ calls blinde guides? Matth. 15.14. and 23.16.24. Paul, whilest ignorant and uncon∣verted, had a good conceit of himselfe, Rom. 7.9. he thought himself alive, and as good as the best, in respect of his own Righteousness and Duties. Phil. 3.6. but when the Law came in the spirituality of it, he was dead, and saw there was no trusting to them. Whilest men are in a dark roome, they see neither atomes, nor beames; but let the Sun shine into it, and then we see the least moat there: So whilest men live in a state of Ignorance, they are pure in their own eyes, but when the spirit of God shall enlighten the soule, we shall see the least moats and spots of sin, and this will take down pride. When God had discovered himself more fully to Iob, and given him a clearer manifestation of his Wisdome, Power, and Purity; it makes him dislike himself, even to abhorrency, which implyes a vehement dislike, and extream disesteem of himself▪ Iob 42.5, 6. So Isai 6.5, 6.

2. Shun Idlenesse, this breeds pride, who prouder then lazy Gentle-folks? these were two of those sins that turned Sodom into ashes. Ezek. 16.49. like stones in an Arch, they help to uphold each other: get therefore a calling, and labour in it. It is an humbling thing, and requires some stooping; it helps to bring down our hearts. Psal. 107.12. and therefore God who knows what is in man, and knowes our hearts better then we our selves, hath or∣dained, that every one should serve him in some calling, to keep him from pride and rusting.

3. Look not upon thy Gifts and Graces as thine own; remember they are but Talents lent us by our Master, to be improved for his honour, and are rather for service, then for ornament; for Gods praise, and not for ours. Glorying is for owners, and not for borrowers. The Apostle with one Que∣stion blasts all our pride. 1 Cor. 4.7. Who made thee to differ, and what hast thou; that thou hast not received? We have no reason to be proud of our bor∣rowed feathers; if the Sheep had his Fleece, the Silk-worme her Excre∣ments, the Fowle his Feathers, the earth her Corn, Wine, Gold, Silver, &c. and the Taylor his Fashions, what poor, naked creatures should we be?

4. Labour for Humility. As one nayle drives out another, so contraries Page  54 expell each other: as Grace comes in, so high conceits go out. The way to make a stick straight, is to bend it as much the contrary way. Get thou Hu∣mility, which is the Grace of our Graces. It's not only our Duty, but our Glory;* Hence it is called a garment. 1 Pet. 5.5. Be cloathed with humility. Now garments are orna∣ments, a naked man is a loathsome man; so Humility is a most lovely and adorning grace; he that wants it, is loathsome in the eyes both of God, Angels, and men. 'Tis the most attractive, winning grace; by this Hester gained on Ahasuerus, and Abigail on David. This distinguisheth between Saints and Sinners; Pride is the Character of the De∣vills children, as humility is the most proper badge of Gods Children: and therefore of all Lessons, learne this Lesson; 'tis the A.B.C. the very first Lesson which God teacheth us. When one ask't Demosthenes what was the first part of an Oratour, he answered, Pronunciation; and what the second and third, he answered still, good Pronunciation and Action. So if you ask me what is the first Lesson of a Christian? I answer, Humility, and what the se∣cond? Humility, and what the third? Humility. Look what the sweet Violet is amongst the flowers, the Diamond amongst the Pearles, and Gold amongst Mettals; the same is Humility amongst Graces. 'Tis not an aery, notionall, empty, speculative thing; but it consists in practice. Christ will have us learn of him to practice it, and not barely to know it. Matth. 11.29. Iohn 13.14.17. To quicken you, take these eleven considerations.

  • 1. Consider Humility is a Radicall Fundamentall Grace, when the soul is once truly humble under the sight and sense of sin, then is the Foundation laid for all Grace.* Humility never goeth alone, 'tis the root of Sanctity, Sin∣cerity, Peace, and Wisdom. Prov. 11.2. The empty vessell is capable of filling (Elisha filled onely the empty vessels) the low valleyes of enriching, and the plowed ground of sowing. 'Tis a great part of our holinesse. The more Holy any man is, the more Humble: as we see in Abraham, Gen. 18.27. Iacob. Gen. 32.10. Moses. Isay 6.5, 6. Dan. 9.8. Ezra 9.6. Iohn 1.27. Mat. 15.27. Ruth 2.10. Psal. 131.2. 1 Sam. 25.41. Luke 1.38.43.48. and 15.21. and 18.13, 1 Cor. 15.8, 9. 1 Tim. 1.15.* To these the promises be∣long; when the soule is thus qualified, it may challenge them as as its Heri∣tage. Psal. 119.111. Prov. 3.34. Iames 4.6. 1 Pet. 5.5. Luke 1.53. God gives his Grace onely to the Humble, not to such as have onely a Morall Humili∣ty, which springs from nature, and is mixt with much Self-seeking, and Vain-glory; this is but a shadow, like the apples of Sodom faire to the eye, at contacta cinerescunt, touch them, and they fall to ashes. True humi∣lity is a holy, spiritual, supernatural grace; 'tis a brokennesse of heart for sin, as 'tis sin. Quia offensivum Dei, aversivum à Deo, because 'tis offensive to God. These empty soules God fills full of spiritual bles∣sings; for as in Nature there is no Vacuum,* so neither doth grace admit of any.
  • 2. 'Tis the conserver and keeper of all Grace. We lay up the richest Wines in the lowest Cellars, and God lays up the choycest mercies in the lowest hearts. The lowest combes are fullest of honey. 'Tis a rich Treasury, and Store∣house of Vertue; every grace hath some mixture of humility, there's no The∣ologicall grace can be separated from it. This keeps the soule free from the dint of Satans darts, as the low shrubs are from the violent gusts of winde which shake and rend the taller trees. These are not affected with Sa∣tans proffers▪ nor terrified with his threatenings: so that he can hardly fa∣sten a Temptation on such. I have read of one, that seeing, a Vision, many snares of the Devill spread upon the earth, he sate down and mourned, and Page  55 said within himself, Quis pertransiet ista who shall pass through these? whereunto answer was made. Humilitas pertransiet; Humility shall pass through them.
  • 3. It makes us conformable to Christ our head,* who from his birth to his death, from his cradle to his cross, was even compounded of humility. He hath set him∣self before us as our Pattern, and commands us to learn Humility of him. Mat. 11.29. we cannot write after a better coppy.
  • 4. 'Tis the Path-way to Peace, both Externall, and Internall. As Pride breeds contention and disquietment; So humility quiets and composeth the soul, and makes it with a holy silence to bear those losses, crosses, reproaches, which would break the back and braines of a pround and wicked man.* As Wool, by its yeelding and softness doth dull bullets, and break their force, so by stooping to God and man, we pacify wrath. He is so little and low in his own eyes, that he cannot fall much lower. Christ tells us; that he that learns of him this Lesson, shall find rest for his soul: though he may have trouble without, yet he shall have Peace within. Mat. 11.22.
  • 5. It helps to prolong our dayes, Impatience and fretfulnesse breed di∣seases, and shorten mens lives; but Humility, Meeknesse, and quietness, are a meanes to prolong them: as we see in Moses, one of the meekest men in the world, who lived 120. yeares, his eye was not dimme, nor his naturall strength abated. Deut. last. 7, God hath promised long life to such. Prov. 32.4. and Hypocrates observes that Gall-less creatures live long.
  • 6. T's the ready way to Exaltation and Honour. Mat. 23.12. He that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 'Tis not he that is humbled against his wil, as Pharaoh, Ahab, and the Israelites were, but he that freely humbleth him∣self; for many are humbled, which yet are not humble; there may be Hu∣miliation without Humility; mens estates may be broken, yet their hearts unbroken, humbled they may be in body, yet high in soule. Many make it their study how they may rise and get promotion, behold the way, humble your selves, and you shall be exalted, even to Honour here,* if God see it good for you. As Ioseph, Nehemiah, David, Daniel; the Lord sets humble Mordecat in Ha∣mans stead, and humble Eliakim in proud Shebna's stead. Isai 22.15, 16, 20, 21. if men would but take this course, it would save them much trouble and travell, with chargeable expences. However it would bring them to Grace and Glory, which is the highest and best preferment. 1 Pet, 5.5. There is no entrance into the Tem∣ple of Honour, but by the gate of Humility, for as Pride goes before a fall, so before Honour is Humility. Prov. 15. ult. and 18.12. and 22.4. God pulls down the high and haughty,* but he exalts the lowly and meek. Luke 1.51, 52. all the world cannot pull down an Humble man, because God will exalt him; and all the world cannot exalt a proud man, be∣cause God will pull him down; if then you will build high, be sure to lay your foundations low.
  • 7. The humble soul is Gods House, where he delights to dwell, 'tis domi∣cilium Spiritus Sancti, the Temple of the Holy Ghost. Isay 57.1. God hath but two Thrones, the highest Heavens, and the lowest Heart. God over-looks the frame of Heaven and earth, to look on a poor, humble, broken heart. Isay 66.1, 2. The Heaven is my Throne, and the earth my foot-stoole. But to him, even to him will I look, &c. q. d. 'Tis true, those are my creatures, I made them, yet do I over-look all these, to look on a truly humbled soule, Page  56 not with a bare look of intuition, or generall prudence, but with a look of favour, and an eye of approbation, complacency, and delight. Though the Lord be the most High,* yet hath he respect to the lowly. Psal. 138.6. these are Gods Jewels, and as we prize one jewell above 10. thousand pee∣bles, so God esteems one humble Moses above 10. thousand other men. The lower we are in our own eyes, the higher we are in Gods. These are Gods Glory. Isay 4.5. they give all Glory unto God, and therefore God loves to exalt them to Honour.
  • 8. These are Gods Schollars, whom he hath promised to direct and teach, Psal. 25.9. these are of his privy Counsel, to them he reveales the secrets and mysteries of salvation, as Abraham, Lot, David, Daniel. with these he familiarly walks. Micah 6.8. He that is most humble, sees most of heaven. He that lyes in the low pits rnd caves of the earth, be∣holds the starres; when those that walk on the tops of mountains, discerne them not. The proud, God leaves to themselves, to be sared in their own imaginations. Luke 1.51. Had we less pride, and more Humility, we should have less Error, and more Truth. This is a comely Grace both in Speakers and Hearers. How many that have affected Metaphysical spe∣culations, and high-spun Notions, have fallen into the pit of Sinne, and Heresy.
  • 9. These are the only prevailing people with God. These are fit to lye in the gap, and to intercede for a Nation. The prayers of one such a meek Moses, Samuel, Iob, &c. may preserve a Nation from ruine. Iob 22.30. 'tis their prayers which he hath promised to hear. 1 Chron. 7.14. Psal. 10.17. God will have communion with none but such. We must humble our selves, if we will walk with him. Micah. 6.8.
  • *10. Such are sure of protection, especially in times of common cala∣mity; Ezek. 9.4. when wicked men are broken and cast down, thou shalt say, there is lifting up, and God will save the Humble man. Iob. 22. 29. the bending reed is preserved, when the stubborn Oakes are pluckt up by the Roots.
    Sic ventos vincit dum se submittit arundo,
    In pulsu quorum robora celsa cadunt.
  • 11. They are Blessed men, Matth. 5.3, 4, 5. Blessed are the poor in Spirit, who are sensible of their own wants and weakness; of their own nakedness, and nothingnesse; these have the promise of Heaven and Earth. And if Heaven and Earth be taken up for the Humble, in what place (think you) shall the proud be billetted? not in Heaven, for it will receive no proud person; they must be like little children, for Humility, that will come thi∣ther. Matth. 18.3.

Now by serious Meditation, work these eleven considerations on thy heart, till they have wrought out pride, and made thee universally Hum∣ble; In Vestures, Gestures, Heart, Words, Works. A man may have it in his Tongue, and be full of complement (as your Servant, Sir, &c.) and yet be full of craft. But the most proper seat of Humility is the Heart: We must learn of Christ to be Humble, not onely in Words, but in Heart. Mat. 11.29, For if the heart be once humbled, all will be humble; if there be a Treasury of Humility within, it will quickly appear in the Words and Works without:* Such will stoop to any employment, whereby God may be glorified. They can well be content to be dishonoured, so God may be honou∣red; to decrease, so Christ may increase. Iohn 3.30. This made Paul to become all things to all men, and make himself a servant to all, that he might gain Page  57 the more. 1 Cor. 9.19, 20. How low did Christ stoop, that he might glorify God in the work of our Redemption, he made himself of no reputation, but laid aside his glory (for a time) and took upon him the form of a servant. Phil. 2.6, 7. he conversed with sinners, talkes with women, heales the sick, & washeth his Disciples feet. Many could be content to serve in places of Ho∣nour, Pleasure, Credit, but a gracious soule can stoop to the meanest service, and lowest place,* so God may be honoured; yea, the Saints in their highest condition, carry humble hearts: David, when a King, yet is as lowly as a weaned child. Psal. 131. we need not levell good men, they will levell them∣selves, and carry low mindes in high estates. The more they have, or have done and suffered for God, the more humble they be, they lay all their Honours, Learning, Riches, Excellencies, &c. at the feet of Christ, as the twenty foure Elders cast downe their Crownes before the Throne saying, Thou art worthy to receive Honour, and Glory, and Power, Revel. 4.10.

Even Agathocles, King of Sicily, being a Potters sonne, would al∣wayes eat his meat in earthen Vessels, the better to mind him of his Originall.

Fictilibus coenâsse ferunt Agathoclea Regent.

That you may learn this choyce Lesson.

  • 1. Be familiar with Humble men, make them thy bosome companions; for as he that toucheth pitch shall be defiled, so he that meddles with rich perfumes, will smell of their sweetnesse.
  • 2. Remember thy last end, remember thou art dust,* and must to dust again; we dwell in hou∣ses of clay, and our foundation is in the dust. Iob 17.14.16. when the house is clay, and the foun∣dation dust, such a house cannot long endure. What made Ierusa∣lem so proud and filthy? Why, She remembred not her last end. Lam. 1.9. Pray that you may know in good earnest, that you are but men. Psalm 9.20. (i. e,) poore, fraile, feeble creatures; what ever thy endowments be,* yet this considera∣tion, that thou art Enosh, a poore, wretched, mi∣serable man, will humble thee. Remember what thou art by sin, and what thou shalt be in thy Grave; and thy Plumes will fall. Every proud man forgets himself.
  • 3. To keep thee from pride in Externalls, and Naturall excellen∣cies, consider how the creatures excell us therein; the Lion in cou∣rage, the Horse in strength, the Birds in singing, the Lillies in Beau∣ty, the Spider in spinning, the Bee in working, the Eagle in Seeing, the Hare in running, the Dogge in smelling, &c.

2. In obedience, every creature excells man in his pure Naturalls. All creatures are Gods servants, and are ready to do whatsoever their Lord and Master shall command them: Even the Winds, and the Seas obey him. Hence the Lord sends us Dullards to learn Industry of the Ant. Prov. 6.6. Prudence of the Stork, Crane, Swallow, Ier. 8.7. and Gra∣titude of the Oxe and Asse. Isa. 1.3.

[Against Pride, see Alsteeds Encyclop. Ethic. lib. 21. cap. 12, 13. Vol. 2. in Folio. p. 12.77. Perkins 2. Vol. on Gal. 6.14. Bernards Thesaurus in the end. p. 134. Mr. Trapps Common-place on Arrogancy, in the end of his Comment on the Epistles. Mr. Woodwards childs Patrimony. 2. Part.Page  58c. 4. Sect. 1. p. 50. &c. Mr. Clerks Mirruor. cap. 102. B. Hall's Ser. on Prov. 29.23. Vol. 2. Fol. p. 399.]

*[For Humility, see Mr. Henry Smith's Serm. on 1 Peter 5.5. p. 203. Mr. Rogers of Dedham his Comment on 1 Pet. 5.5. Bernards Thesaurus in the end. p. 136. D. Ier. Taylor's Rule of Holy Living. c. 2. Sect, 4. Sibelius in Psal, 132. Mr. Cawdry, Humility, the Saints Livery. D. Featly on Matth. 5.3.]

3. Blasphemers. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

This sin is fitly linkt to the former, Sins go not single, but they beget one another; Self-love begets Covetousnesse, Covetousnesse Pride, aud Pride Blas∣phemy. So that Blasphemy is the genuine daughter of Pride;* when men have high conceits of themselves, they are oft punisht with a fall, and Pride being properly a spirituall sin, is punisht with spirituall judgements; God gives them up to a reprobate Sense, so that they fall from one sin to another, till at last they become Blasphemers.

2. Proud persons, are impatient, discontented persons, they can beare no∣thing: if God crosse them, or curse them (as he delights to resist the Proud) they presently fly in his face with Blasphemies. Revel. 16.9.11.27. as Iobs Wife would have had him do. Iob 2.9. As a vile person utters Villa∣ny. Isay 32.6. So a proud Atheist utters Blasphemy.

Quest. But what kind of Blasphemy doth the Apostle here mean, when he saith, Men shall be blasphemers?

Answ. Blasphemy in Scripture is taken many wayes, but especially two.

1. Largely, and generally, for any contumely or indignity which is done to men: so, reproachfull speeches, tending to the disgrace of another mans name,* is in Scripture called Blasphemy. Titus 3.2. that they speak evill of no man; in the Originall 'tis, To blaspheme no man, and so much the derivation of the word imports, viz. to hurt the good name of another.

2. 'Tis taken strictly and most properly for opprobrious words which are uttered to the reproach of God, his Word, his Works, his Spirit, his Ordinances,* his Ministers, his People. Now, though some learned men do take the words in the former sense, viz. for defamers, and slanderers; yet, our Translation renders it truly from the Originall, Blasphemers; as re∣lating to the highest kind of evill speaking, even to all manner of Blasphe∣my against the God of Heaven. In all ages there have been such, but in the last dayes men shall attain to a higher Degree in this Devillish Art of Blasphemy. That the word is thus to be restrained, is cleare from the Context,* both before and after. The Apo∣stle useth a kind of Gradation.

1. He tells us, men shall be Self-lovers, Silver-lovers, Boasters, Proud, insulting over their Brethren, and, which is worse, they spare not God himself, but are Blasphemers of him.

2. The Apostle in V. 3. mentions false accusers, slanderers, and despisers of good men, which he would not (in all rationall probability) have done, if the word Blasphemy had been here restrained onely to slanderers. So that I take the word here to signify Blasphemy against God himself; and this hath many Branches.

  • 1. Gods name is blasphemed Addendo, by adding or attributing that to God, Page  59 which his soul abhorres. As that he is the Authour of sin, and approves of sinne. Psal. 50.21. Mal. 2.17. or that he is cruel, unjust, improvident, not regarding how the affaires of the world go. This is the blasphemy of Epicures.
  • 2. Detrahendo, by denying God that honour which is due to him; as when we deny his Omnipotence, and say God is not able to deliver; this was the blasphemy of the King of Assyria.* 2 Chron. 32.17. or when men deny his Omniscience, Omnipresence, Eternity, Immensity, Immutability, and so upon the point deny all Gods Attributes, as the Socinians do: who hold that the Attributes are not Essentiall, but Accidents and Qualities in God. So when men give the Honour due to the Creator, to the Crea∣ture, as the Israelites who called their Golden Calfe, God; this is called a great provocation, and in the Originall, Blasphemy. Nehem. 9.18.
  • 3. When men abuse the glorious Names and Titles of God, by pro∣phane cursing, swearing, forswearing, murmuring, fretting, and storm∣ing a Gods dispensations, this is to set our mouthes against Heaven. Psalm 73.9. and with Sennacherib, to rage against God. 2 Kings 19.28. Levit. 24.11, 25. Iob 3.1. Ier. 20.14.
  • 4. When men raile on Christ, and revile him, as the Jewes did who lookt upon him as a meer man, and a sinner; as one that was mad, and had a Devill. Mat. 27.39.63. Iohn 9.24. and 10.20.
  • 5. Gods Name is blasphemed, when men speak contumeliously, and dsgracefully of the Word of God, as if 'twere false, imperfect, and no Rule for our lives. Or of the Workes of God, saying, This might have been otherwise, this might have been mended, &c.
  • 6. When men revile the Magistrate, vvho is Gods Vice-gerent, this is called Blasphemy, 1 Kings 21.10. Naboth hath blasphemed God,*yea, and the King. So 2 Peter 2.10. speaking evill of dignities, Blaspheming them saith the Originall. (i. e.) They make it their work, it is their Trade to goe up and downe reviling those in authority. So much the Participle of the Present Tense implyes: this is forbidden. Exod. 22.28.
  • 7. Such as slander and Disgrace the Ministers of Christ, not so much for any personall defects, but because of their office, because they are Ministers of Christ; now Christ takes the contumelies done to his Em∣bassadours, as done to himselfe. Luke 10.16. They are Christs Or∣gans, and primary instruments, to promote and propagate his Glory in the world; they are his Heralds to proclaim his Name and Truth unto the world,* and he will not suffer any to abuse them unrevenged. Thus when the Apostles were defamed, it was called Blasphemy. 1 Cor. 4.13. Rom. 3.8.
  • 8. When men calumniate and traduce the servants of God, meerly for serving him: when they scorne and scoffe at Saints for their sanctity, this is called blasphemy. 1 Pet. 4.4. they speak evill of you, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, blaspheme∣ing you. Such were those. Iob 17.6. and 30.9. Psal. 69.12. and 71.9. Ezek. 5.15. Lam. 3.16. Nahum. 3.6. Mat. 11.18. 1 Cor. 4.9.
  • 9. When men traduce and reproach Gods Ordinances as low, empty, mean things,* so did those false Teachers, 2 Pet. 2.2. by whom the way of truth shall be evill spoken off. [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, blasphemabitur] the Christian Religion is the right way to salvation, yet those by their calumnies laboured to turn men from it. So Acts 13.45. and 18.6. Iames 2.7. Revel. 2.9.
  • 10. When such as professe Christianity, live loosely and licentiously, when they live not up to their principles, nor answerable to their holy pro∣fession, they cause Gods Name to be blasphemed. 2 Sam. 12.14. Ezek. 36.22, 23. Rom, 2.24. and so do those that apostatize, and fall from the truth to Idolatry; Page  60 they do, in an high degree, cause Gods to be blasphemed. Levit. 18.21. Isay 63.7. Ezek. 20.27.28. they disparage the Lords Pastures, and do interpre∣tatively say, There is no lovelinesse, truth, or goodnesse in the wayes and wor∣ship of God, and therefore they forsake it; what greater blasphemy! Thus Hymoneus and Alexander, making shipwrack of Faith, and a good Consci∣ence, are said to blaspheme. 1 Tim. 1. ult. and if those whom Paul peresecu∣ted, that did out of fear renounce the Faith, are yet said to blaspheme. Acts 16.11. oh how sad is their condition, and how high their blasphemy, who do electively, deliberately, and wilully forsake Christ, and his truth, with∣out any such tentation and triall.* These come near to that irresistible blas∣phemy, and upardonable sin against the Holy Ghost. When men through Ignorance, & for want of Light, shall persecute Christ and his people; this blas∣phemy is pardonable, as we see in Paul, who was a persecuter & a blasphemer, but he obtained mercy, because he did it ignorantly. 1 Tim. 1.13. So did many of the Jews. Acts 3.17. But when men shall wittingly, willingly, malici∣ously, and despitefully oppose Christ, and his truth, as the Scribes and Pharises did, this is that blasphemy, which shall never be forgiven. Luke 12.10. Mark 3.29.

Let us now apply this Character of the last times, to our times, and see if all these 10. kinds of blasphemy, may not be found amongst us. The Lord is my Record, that I take no pleasure in the Devils victories, now in raking in this loathsome dung-hill. I desire to write with Teares, what I have read with trembling. I could heartily wish that the Land were clear of all those blasphemies, with which it is charged. But alas, if we go about to plead not guilty in this kind, we shall but double our guilt. Our blasphemies, and blas∣phemers, our Copps, and Coppins, our Colliers, and Nailers, our Foxes, and Farme-worths, our Biddles, and Bests (I might say Beasts) are taken notice of by Forreiners,* as well as by Natives: There needs no secret search, or digging for these abominations, they are Publisht and Printed to the view of all, so that they cannot be concealed, or denied. Had they kept their blas∣phemies in secret, we had been silent, but since they have been so impudent, as to Print blasphemy, it can justly offend none, if we Print against them: 'Tis fit the Remedy should be as large as the Malady. Since Generalls are no charge, let us descend to particulars.

1. Are there not some amongst us, that have Printed, that God is the Au∣thour of sin; not only of the action, but also of the Ataxy, Anomy, Obliqui∣ty, and Sinfulnesse of the Action.* Are there not some that accuse him of cruelty, and unjustice in his Decrees?

2. Are there not others that deny God in his Attributes with the Socinians? and others that give out they are infallible, and equall to God, having no sin in them? Thus Nailer, Fox, and the rest of that Heretical, accursed, blas∣phemous Quaking Crew. Are there not such Ranters amongst us, that by hellish cursing and swearing, tear in pieces that great and dreadfull name of the Lord our God? Are there not such amongst us as have reviled Jesus Christ, and with the Arrians and Socinians, make him a man, whilest they publish to the world, that themselves are Deified, and become Gods? they make themselves perfect, and Christ imperfect. Have we not those that speak basely of the sacred Scriptures, Cry down Magistracy, Rayle on the Ministery, Revile Reall Saints? Lastly, is not Gods Name blasphemed, and that in England by the loose lives, and licentious Tenets even of Professors? and this is one sad aggravation of the blasphemies of our time, that many Professors are turned Blasphemers. Those that have been nurst up in the bo∣some of the Church, for 20, 30, 40. years, and had a form of godlinesse, and (as in Charity we hoped) some of them had the power of it: yet now are Page  61 turned blasphemous Apostates, and have discovered their rottennesse by per∣secuting the Truth, which sometimes they protest. Had they been open enemies, Turks and Tartars, that had thus blasphemed, it might have been easier born, but lo these are the wounds wherevvith Christ vvas vvounded in the house of his (seeming) friends. Zach. 13.6. they that eat of his bread, and drink of his cup, have lift up the heel against him. Had he been thus blasphemed and derided in Egypt, it had been no vvonder. Hos. 7. ult. but to be thus abused and abased in England, vvhere the Gospel hath been preacht above 100. years! for us vvhom the Lord hath made his darling Nation, whom he hath loved and tendred above all the Nations in the world, for vvhom he hath broken the Povver and Policy of mighty ene∣mies, and hath given such successe by Sea and Land, that all the Nations round about us, stand amazed; for us, after all these free and undeserved fa∣vours, to blaspheme the God of our mercies, and vvith the Beast, to crop the tree that shelters us, and bite the hand that feeds us; is an Act of the highest ingratitude, and basest rebellion in the world. Deut. 32.6. Good turnes ag∣gravate unkindnesses, and our guilt is increased by our obligations. Solomons Idolatry vvas far worse then that of his wives, because he had better breed∣ing, and God had appeared twice unto him, 1 Kings 11.9. As our Saviour said sometimes to the Jews. Iohn 10.32. Many good works have I shewed you, for which of these do ye stone me? So may the Lord say to England, O England,* I have been to thee a Rock, and a Refuge, a Sun, and a Shield, I have wrought wonders for thee in Church and State, by Sea and Land; for which of these favours dost thou blaspheme my Name, deny my Word, and overthrow the very Foundations of Religion? hath the Lord been a barren wildernesse to us, or what iniquity have we or our Fathers found in him, that we should rebell against him? Ier. 2.5. as the Apostle said some∣times to the Galatians, am I become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? So is God our enemy, because he hath given us his truth, and all the tokens of his love? what could he do more for England then he hath done? if therefore instead of the grapes o Faith and Obedience, we bring forth the wild grapes of Heresy and disobedience, what can we expect but to have our Vine-yard laid waste?

2. A second Aggravation of our horrid blasphemies, is this. That they have broke forth, since we have made a Covenant to the contrary, and that in the most solemn manner, that ever any Covenant was taken in this Land, with hands lifted up to the most high God, That we would extirpate Heresy, Schisme, and profanenesse, and whatsoever shall be found contrary to sound Doctrine, and the Power of Godlinesse. But alas, many of us act as if we had taken a Co∣venant to promote them.

3. Instead of an extirpation of Schisme and Heresy, there is too much connivence, indulgence, and toleration given them, and that by some of them whose hands are at this day in Print, set to the solemn League and Co∣venant. Durst Hereticks and Blasphemers be so bold to Preach, and Print as they do, if they had not (too) indulgence from some in Authority? Oh that they would no longer bear the sword in vain, but as they are a Ter∣rour to Drunkards,* Swearers, Thieves, and Vagabonds, so the Lord make them a Terrour to those that are Drunk with Heresies and Blasphemies. That Magistrate which hath power to punish such offenders, and yet spares them, becomes partaker with them. Men post the punishment of such of∣fenders one from another; the Magistrate saith, Let the Minister reprove it, the Minister sayes, Let the Hearers reform it, and they say, Let the offerder answer it. Thus, when the Sea breaks in, all the Borderers contend whose right it is to mend the damme; but whilest they strive much, and do no∣thing, Page  62 the Sea hereby gets further in, and drowns the Country. The Ap∣plication is easie. 'Tis long since observed, that England hath golden Lawes, but leaden executioners; and that we yet want one Law. viz. A Law to bind Magistrates to put all the rest of the Lawes in execution.

Vse. Let us be deeply affected with the blasphemies, and dishonours, that are done unto our God, in the land of our Nativity, Let's mourn for all the abominations, and specially for the prodigious blasphemies which are found in the midst of us. Let them deeply affect and afflict our hearts; if we love God, they will do so, for Love is very tender of any wrong, that is offered to the party beloved. Thus Moses burnes with an holy zeal, when he heard that one had blasphemed God, he puts him in Ward, and at last stones him to death. Levit. 24.11, 12. David hated such persons with a perfect hatred, and counts them as his enemies. Psal. 139, 20, 21, 22. Hezekiah hear∣ing of Rabsheka's blasphemies, Rent his cloathes. Isay 37.1. So did Paul and Barnabas, Acts 14.14. when they heard the blasphemy of the Ly∣strians, crying them up for Gods, they rent their cloathes, to expresse the rending of their hearts with grief and indignation, at what they heard. And wicked Iezabel's proclaiming a Fast upon the false accusation of Naboth for blasphemy. 1 Kings 21.10. may teach us to be zealous against Reall blas∣phemy. So the High Priest rending his clothes for conceited blasphemy. Matth. 26.65. if every one of us should do so, when we hear God and his Gospel blasphemed, we should have more rent then whole clothes, and scarce a whole garment to be found amongst us.

2. Let us shew our dislike of blasphemy, by reproving the broachers of it. This is the greatest love that we can shew them; Hence we are command∣ed not to hate our Brother, but rebuking, to rebuke him, (i. e.) freely, plain∣ly, soundly, and sincerely. Levit. 19.17. The converted Thief reproves his fellow for blasphemy. Luke 23.39, 40. So when the Devill began to utter blasphemy, and to challenge all the world for his own, and began to call for worship, our Saviour cuts him short, and in a holy detestation bids him be∣gone, for he would reason no longer with him. Matth. 4.10. yet if we per∣ceive that men are incorrigible, and incurable, Prudence must be used; we may not give holy things to dogs, which will but rend us for our pains. Mat. 7.6. reprove not such, lest you increase the flame, instead of quenching it. This was one Reason why Hezekiah commanded his Commissioners, when they heard the blasphemous Menaces of Rabsheka, not to answer a word, deeming it in vain to make any Reply, when it would but incite him to fur∣ther rage. Isay 36.21. But where we see any to be teachable or Tractable, and may be wonne by our Reproofes; of those let us take compassion, pul∣ling them out of this flame. They will one day blesse God for you, as David did for Abigail, when she stopt him in a way of sin. 1 Sam. 25.32, 33.

3. Let all that professe Religion, be exact and circumspect in all their wayes and walking, lest they cause the Name of God to be blasphemed. The world is apt to accuse us withou a cause, as the Devil did Iob; and to call us blasphemers, as Iezabell did Naboth; 1 Kings 21.10.13. and the Pharises Christ. Matth. 9.3. Iohn 10.33. and the Jewes Steven. Acts 6.11. 13. when themselves were the persons guilty of that crime. So those Hypo∣crites that called themselves Jewes, and seemed to worship God, when they were the Synagogue of Satan, and worshipt the Devill; yet could blas∣pheme and revile the true Saints. Revel. 2, 9. A spot in fine Cambrick is soon seen, and one dead flye marres a whole boxe of pretious oyntment, when a hundred may fall into a barrell of pitch,* and no body regards it. The sinnes of a David will quickly cause Gods Name to be blasphemed, and therefore Gods hand vvas sharp upon him, and upon the Jewes, Page  63 rather then the Gentiles. Ram. 2.9.24. Hence the Apostle exhorts Wives and Servants to walk as becomes the Gospel, that the Name of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2.5. 1 Tim. 6.1. Some are afraid of blasphemous words, but how many live blasphemous lives?* they praise God with their words, and reproach him with their covetous, cruell, unrighteous conversations. These are botches in Christianity. Let the falls of others make us fear, when Ce∣dars fall, let the Firre-tree howle. Zach. 11.2. The Falling-sicknesse was ne∣ver so common as now. One falls to Atheisme, another to Papisme, one falls to Quakerisme, and another to Rantisme. How many professors, that could have pull'd out their eyes, to have done us good, formerly; yet now be ready to pull out their Ministers eyes? Many that prayed, and prized Ordinances formerly, yet now have cast off all, and are become scan∣dalous both in their Practice, and in their Principles. This is a Lamentation. and should be to us all matter of Lamentation: for this our eyes should run down with Tears, even for the slain (in a spirituall sense) of the daughter of Gods people. Ier. 9.9.

4. Instead of blaspheming,* get a habit of good speaking, God loves to do good to those that speak good of his Name. As in our hearts, we should have High and Reverentiall thoughts of God, so with our words we should Blesse him; that is the proper use, and end of the Tongue. Psal. 51, 15. Iames 3.9. with the Tongue we bless and praise God, declaratively, and God blesseth us imparatively; and this is the advantage a man hath, above other creatures, that we can be distinct and explicite in Gods praise. Psalm 145.10. all thy works praise thee, and thy Saints shall blesse thee. The creatures offer the matter, but the Saints publish it; their Tongue is as the Pen of a ready Writer,* to set forth Gods praise. Psal. 45.2. Hence our Tongue is called our Glory. [Psal. 16.9. and 30.13. and 57.9. Gen. 49.6. what David calls his Glory, the Apostle applyes to the Tongue, Acts 2.26.] because with it we should praise and glorify God. Let your words be alwayes modest and Gracious. The Jewes were so carefull of their speeches, and so abhorred blasphemy, that they would not name the word, but by an Antiphrasis, and Eu∣phemisme, they called it by the contrary, and oft put the word Blessing, for cur∣sing and blaspheming; and this did not only holy Iob 1.5. but even wicked Ie∣zabel, 1 King. 21.10. & Iobs wife, Iob 2.9. yea the devil himself. Iob 1.11. we should Answer all Satans Temptations this way, as pious and couragious Polycarp did the Pro-Consul, who bid him deny and blaspheme Christ, and he should live. He sweetly answered, Fourscore and six years have I ser∣ved Christ,*neither hath he ever offended me in any thing, how then can I revile my King, that hath thus kept me? It had been good for wicked men if they had never a∣ny Tongues, rather then to abuse them to the disho∣nour of that God that gave them. Now since the sin of Blasphemy is Epide∣mical, and very common in the land, I shall set down some considerations against it.

1. Consider that the sinne of Blasphemy is one of the highest and most horrid sins in the world.* Some sinnes are more directly and immediately against mens own persons, as idleness, prodigality, &c. some are a∣gainst other mens persons,* as coveting, lying, slandering; but the Blasphemer fights directly against God: Other sinners strike at God, but this pierceth him, and strikes through his name with his maledictions, & execrations, and there∣fore God will have him stricken dead.*Levit. 24.10, 11. Isay 36.6. Hab. 3.14.

2. 'Tis an high contempt of of God, 'tis a desperate flying in his face, and charging him with folly, cruelty, and Tyranny. Iob 1. ult. This pro∣vokes Page  64 God to wrath, so that he beares not with blasphemers as he doth with other sinners, but cus them off more speedily, as a people ripe for ruine.

3. It argues the highest Ingratitude in the world. For a man like a mad dog, to fly in the face of his Master, who keeps and feeds him, and to use that Heart and Tongue which God made for his praise, to the dispraise and disparagement of his Creator, to load him with injuries, who every day loads us with mercies, and to curse him, who blesseth us. What greater Ingratitude? These crucify Christ afresh to themselves. Hb. 6.6. and are in a worse condition then many of those who did actually crucify him; for they did it ignorantly, but these willfully against light and conviction. 'Tis infinite patience that the earth doth not open her mouth, and swallow them up alive; and if the rocks rent, the fonndations of the earth were moved, and the Sun hid its self, when Christ was cru∣cified and blasphemed,* by many that knew him not: Oh how doth the whole Creation groan under the bur∣den of such, as crucify the Lord afresh, and wittingly, and maliciously put him to an open shame?

4. It doth exceedingly debase a man, and makes him viler then the vilest creature, that we tread under our feet; for they in their kind praise God, and shew forth the Wisdome, Power, and Goodnesse of their Creator. But the Blasphemer dishonours him in all his Attributes.

5. 'Tis a most unprofitable sin; other sins have some seeming pleasure and profit to allure, but what pleasure or profit can it be to rage against the Just and Great God?

6. Such are guilty of a most pestilent scandal, they grieve the godly, harden the wicked, offend the weak, who are quickly turned out of the way; and become an ill example to their children, who like soft wax, are ready to be framed to any thing; like Spunges, which suck up any water that comes near them. Now, Woe unto them by whom Scandalls, especially Blasphemous Scandalls come. Matth. 18.6, 7.

*7. 'Tis a sin which makes men most like to the damned in Hell. As the Saints in Heaven being filled with joy, shall Vocally sing the Praises of their Re∣deemer; so the damned in hell being filled with the wrath of God, shall Vocally blaspheme him. Hell is full of blasphemy. 'Tis the very work of the dam∣ned to lye under the intolerable wrath of God, conti∣nually blaspheming him. He that accustomes himself to such language here, let him take heed that he be not put for ever to sing it there:* and if the wicked, that in this world do but taste of the cup of Gods wrath, yet blaspheme him for their torments. Revel. 16.9. how will they be filled with blasphemies, when they shall be filled with the wrath of God for ever?

Lastly, as 'tis the greatest sin, so it makes men obnoxious to the saddest judgements of God, and severest punishments of the Magistrate, when a man shall directly and purposely speak reproachfully of God, denying him in his Attributes, or attributing that to him which is inconsistent with his Nature; this is called direct and immediate blasphemy, and if it be acted not out of Infirmity of nature, the person not being distempered with sicknesse, melan∣choly, or madnesse;* but out of Malice, Deliberation, and Obstinacy; then the party is to dye without mercy. Lev. 24.13, 14, 15, 16. this was no judicial Law, peculiar only to the Jews, but it being of the Law of Nature, is an Universall Law for all Nations. He, who ever he Page  65 be that shall directly and obstinately blaspheme the Name of the Lord; shall surely dye. Hence wicked Iesabel, that she might stone Naboth to death, pro∣claimes him a blasphemer. 1 Kings 21.11.14. this stoning endured till Christs time, as appears by their stoning of Steven. Acts 7. now if every direct and obstinate blasphemers should be stoned to death in England, what showres of stones would there be in all parts of the Land? and if Nebuchadnezzar, a Hea∣then, by the Light of Nature could make a Decree, That who ever blas∣phemed the God of Heaven, or spake any thing amisse concerning him, should be cut in pieces, and his house be made a Dung-hill. Dan. 3, 29. how much more ought Christian Magistrates to make severe Lawes for the pu∣nishing of such high offenders; lest as their light and charge is greater, so they suffer double punishment. We see how carefull Magistrates are to pu∣nish Thieves and Murderers of men; and shall Spirituall Theeves, who rob God of his Honour, deny his Being, and since they cannot kill him yet will smite him with their Tongue, be suffered to go unpunished? We see how tender great men are of their own Names, Honours, Priviledges, and Lives; if any oppose them, he must dye for it, and shall he that abuseth and blasphemeth the King of Kings,* not dye the death? Surely, as this is the grea∣test sin, so it should be punisht with some eminent and remarkable punishment. This Hellish sin defiles the land, and cannot b purged away, but by the death of the Blasphemers. Impunity breeds Blasphemy, and all manner of sin. Eccles. 8.11. Paul must excommu∣nicate such. 1 Tim. 1.1.20. and the Magistrate must cut them off. Levit. 24.6.16. Dan. 3.29. and when men cannot, or will not punish them, God takes the sword into his own hand. He cut off blasphemous Sennacherb, with one hundred fourscore and and five thousand men. 2 Kings 19.35. Blasphe∣mous Arrius voyded his bowells,* and so died. The Syrians blaspheming the God of Israel, and calling him the God of the Mountains, and not of the vallies; many thousands of them fell by the sword. 1 Kings 20.29, 30. and if the Lord be thus terrible in the Camp of the Assyrians for blasphemy, where will blasphemous Christians appear, who sin against greater Light, and greater Love.

Caution, Yet every unadvised speech or act against God, doth not pre∣sently denominate a man a Blasphemer. There be may blasphemy in what is spoken, and yet the person speaking not to be a blasphemer. Iob and Ieremy spake many things unadvisedly (when under a tentation;) yet blasphemed not. Blasphemy properly taken, is ever joyned with an intent to cast re∣proach upon God. As every one is not a lyar, that telleth what is not true; but he that telleth an untruth, knowing it to be an untruth, with an intent to deceive and wrong others: so he that thinks or speaks a thing unbecom∣ing God with an intent to reproach or slander God and his wayes: This is Blasphemy directly against God.

6. Disobedient to Parents. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Parentibus non obedientes.

Next unto God, our Parents are to be loved and obeyed; he that dares blaspheme the one,* will never fear to abuse the other; he that dares revile his Heavenly Father, will not stick to rebell against an earthly one: Hence Haters of God, and disobedient to Parents, are yoakt together in the same Predicament. Rom. 1.30. Page  66 This is a branch of pride, 'tis that which makes men so refractory,* and rebellious, that no perswasions of their superiours, can work upon them, nor any in∣treaties winne them to obedience. The words are in∣definite, and equivalent to an Universall.* In the last dayes, men shall be disobedient to Parents, in the Plurall number. viz.

To Parents.

  • Naturall,
  • Politicall,
  • Spirituall,
  • Domesticall.

1. In the last dayes, men shall be disobedient to their naturall Parents of both sexes,* Father and Mother. Thefe especially are here implyed in the word Parents, though I shall not exclude the latter, since the Character in its fullest Latitude, suits so fully with our times.

1. Was there ever more contempt of Naturall Parents? is not the com∣plaint generall, that the youth of our age is exceeding Haughty, Vaine, Light, Loose, Hypocriticall, and Rebellious to Parents? it may be, whilest they be rich, and can give them something, they will shew some externall Reverence and Obedience out of Self-respects, that they may get something from them: but let those Parents become Poor, Old, Sick, or a little burdensome, to them; then oh what Bitter, Saucy, Re∣proachfull words: what harsh, Vexatious, and Uncivill carriage, do they expresse towards them, as if they were some base Peasants, rather then their naturall Parents? The Storks of Heaven shall rise in Judgement against the rebellious children of this age, for such is their naturall affection to their dams, that they feed them when they are old;* and 'tis but reason, that as our Parents, have nursed and nourished us, so we should do the like for them, if need require; this is called a requiting of their love, and is very pleasing in the sight of God. 1 Tim. 5.4. We must not only love them, and reve∣rence them externally, and internally, but we must shew our love by succouring, and supporting them in all their necessities: and so far as we are able, we must answer their tender cost and care to us by doing good to them again. So did Ioseph, Gen. 47.12. and Christ commends the care of his Mother to Iohn. 19.26, 27. so Ruth 2.18. 1 Sam. 22, 3, 4. con∣sider the heavie curses which God denounceth against such as contemn their Parents. God will suddenly cut them off, they shall not live out half their dayes. Deut. 27.16. Prov. 20.20. As God prolongs the life of the Obedi∣ent. Ephes, 6, 3. So he hath threatned shamefull death to the disobedient. Prov. 30.17. the Ravens shall pick out their eyes. (i. e.) they shall be put to an untimely death,* and hanging on a tree, they shall be meat for Ravens, and the fowles of the aire. So Deut. 21.18, 19, 21, 22. Lev. 20.9. Mark 7.10.

2. As thou hast been ungratefull to thy Parents, so thy children shall be ungratefull to thee.* As men mete to others (especially their Parents) so God raiseth up some usually to mete to them again. A scoffing Ham is punisht with a profane Canaan, and both of them are punisht in the cursed Ca∣naanites that descended from them, and proved Imitatours of their Fathers wickednesse. Gen. 9.25. This was one of those sins which caused the day of Ierusalems sorrow to draw near. Ezek. 22.7. I wish it be not a fore-run-runner of some judgement to this Nation.

Page  672. Magistrates are the politicall fathers of our country. Gen. 45.8. Iudg. 5.7. 1 Sam. 24.11. Lam. 3.3. God commands us to honour them, yet how do those filthy Dreamers (as S. Iude 8. stiles them) despise dominions, and speakevill of dignities; as if God had given them a command to dishonour and abuse them. We have those that shew not so much as externall Reve∣rerence to them. How unlike are these to the Saints of old. Mephibosheth falls on his face before David, 2 Sam. 9.6. and Nathan bowes himselfe before him. 1 Kings 1.23.

Object. Many of our Magistrates are carnall, wicked men.

Answ. Admit they are so, yet they are Magistrates still, and are depu∣ted by God to that office having power and authorite from him, and in this respect, though they be never so vile and wicked, yet, we are to give them all due Reverence and respect both internall and externall. Saul was a wicked man, a persecuter of holy David, and Ionathan; yet David respects him as the Lords anointed still. 1 Sam. 24.6. The sonnes of Heth were Heathens, yet Abraham bowed himselfe unto them. Gen. 23.7. Esau is expressely called a profane man. Heb. 12.16. yet Iacob calls him my Lord Esau, and bowed seven times before him. Gen. 33.3. Festus was none of the best, yet Paul gives him his Titles of honour. Acts 26.25. Most noble Festus, and if we must pray for Nero's and Tyrants, and all in authority, which is the great work. 1 Tim. 2.2. then surely we may bow in a civil way unto them, un∣cover our heads and give them respective language. How then can those Monsters, rather then men, boast of their sanctity, when they have not common civ••ity? or say they love God, when they slight his Vice-gerents,* and Substitutes.

3. Ministers of Christ are spirituall fathers, they are Instruments of our Conversion and Regeneration.* 1 Cor. 4.14, 15. Elisha calls Elijah his Father, 2 Kings 2.12. and 6.21. and 13, 14. Iudg. 18.19. 1 Tim. 1.2. Titus 1.3. now when was there ever more contempt cast upon the Mi∣nisters of Christ solely, because they are his messengers; and that by a company of proud, censorious Sectaries and Seducers; unsetlted, turbulent, arrogant spirits; raging waves of the Sea, foaming out their own shame. Iude 13.* Calling us Witches, Devills, Serpents, Antichrists, &c. They for∣get that Ministers are by Office Elders, and the Apostle would have such to be used with more reverence and respect then ordinary men. 1 Tim. 5.1. But such railing is the Livery we must expect from this ungratefull world. Thus did they revile the Prophets, Apostles, yea and Christ himself; he was called a mad-man, a wine bibber, a devill. And if they have called the Master of the House,*Beelzebub; what may the ser∣vant expect, Matth. 10.25. Thus they called Cyprian, Coprian; Athanasius, Sathanasius; Calvin, Cain; and Forell, Devill; no sooner is a man a faithfull Minister of Christ, but he is half a Martyr. But let such Raylers know, that they carry about them the black marks of unregenerate men, and such as never tasted the Power and comfort of our Ministery; yea, and, except God give them Repentance, of Reprobation.

4. Masters of Families are called Fathers. Thus Naamans servant calls him, My Father. 2 Kings 5.23. How do these also complain of the abuses of their servants? The heeles are now where the head should be. Every Iack looks now upon himself as a Fellow-creature with his Master, and some think themselves Superiour; especially if the Master be a carnall man, and themselves have a little smattering in Religion, then Page  68 they think they may leave their callings, and run from the shop into the Pulpit, contrary to that, 1 Cor. 7.20. let every man abide in his owne calling. 'Tis true, as a Master is a wicked man, and commands wicked things,* as to profane the Sabbath, lye, cozen, &c. he may not be obeyed; 'tis no dishonour to earthly Masters, to see their Heavenly Master preferred before them. Thus we may not be the servants of men. (1 Cor. 7.23.) To obey their wicked commands; he speaks in respect of conscience, and in re∣gard of the inward man: He forbids not bodily service to men, for a wick∣ed Master, though he be never so vile, yet commanding such things, as a Master may command by vertue of his place, is to be obeyed; as appeares, 1 Tim. 6.1, 2. he speaks of servants that had Infidels to their Masters, he would have them so to carry themselves towards such Masters, as account∣ing them worthy of all honour; not derogating ought from their obedi∣ence, because themselves are called to the knowledge and profession of Christ: yea they must the rather be carefull to walk honestly and upright∣ly, that they may credit the Gospel, and winne their Masters to Christ. However it be, yet servants must not faile in their duty, because Masters are carelesse of theirs.

Object. The Anabaptists of our time object, That in Christ all are equall. Gal. 3.28. and therefore there should be no difference between Master and Ser∣vant, for Christ hath purchased Liberty for u▪ and hath made us free from Subjection. Gal. 5.2.

Answ. Subordinata non sunt contraria. Our Spirituall priviledges do not abrogate our civill respects to our Superiours. And though beleevers as they are in Christ, are all one and equall; yet considered as they are members of a Politick body, and in civill respects, so there is an inequality; and though Christ hath freed us from the curse of the Law, and from the Tyranny of sin, and Satan; yet he hath not freed us from subjection to men according to those ranks and callings he hath set us in. Hence even in Gospell-times, we read of Master and Servants, Superiours and Inferiours, with directions how Inferiours should walk towards Superiours. Rom. 13. and Servants toward their Masters. Ephes. 6.5, 6, 7. with promises to reward such as conscienciously perform the duties of their place. V. 8.

Object. But my Master is harsh and cruell.

Answ. Yet you must obey, and so be subject not only to good Masters, but also to the froward, 1 Pet. 2.18. Sarah dealt hardly with Hagar, yet the Angell bids her return and submit her self to her Mistris, Genesis 16.6. 'Tis a crosse and affliction which the most wise God hath allotted to you, and you must bear it patiently.

7, Vnthankefull. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Ingrati.

*The sin of Ingratitude is one of those sins which do more especially render these last times so perilous. Men will be unthankfull to their Benefactours for favours received: and how can it be otherwise? since they that are Blasphe∣mers of God, the great Benefactor of all the world, and disobedient to Pa∣rents, who are the Instruments of their being, must needs be ungratefull to inferiour Benefactours, who have deserved better at their hands.

Quest. What kind of unthankefull persons doth the Apostle here speak of, whether such as are unthankefull to God, or man?

Page  69Answ. To both. In the last dayes men shall be ungratefull to God for peace and the Gospel of Peace; and to Parents Natural, Politicall, Spiritu∣all, and to other their Benefactors. Those that bred them, bare them, and defended them; those that fed them with the bread of life, and spent them∣selves like Lamps, to give light to them; such is, and will be, the ingratitude of the last times, that men will seek their lives, who endeavoured to bring them to life,* and will labour to cast them into prison, and darknesse, who laboured to bring them to light, and liberty; and will tread them under feet, whose feet they shuld esteem pretious, and as for the God of their mercies, either they forget him and his wondrous works, Psal. 106.21.24, 25, 26. or else they ascribe all to themselves, as if if they had merited, and deserved them. Hab. 1.16.

2. They do not once think of the God of their mercies, they forget him dayes without number, he is seldom in their thought; like swine they eat the Mast, but look not to the Tree from whence it comes; like the Lepers, en cleansed, and but one in ten that returnes to give thanks. Luke 17.17.18. Like Patients, when once cured, they forget the Physician. Like Mariners, when landed on the shore, forget what they promised in the storme. Psal. 78.34.36, 37.

2. Instead of acknowledging his favours, they fret and murmur at the least afflictions: if God bestow a thousand curtesies, and lay but one crosse on them, they forget their mercies, to think on the present misery.

3. In their works they render evill unto God for all the good which he hath shewed them,* (which is the highest ingratitude:) no favours can win them; but, if God had been their deadly enemy, they could not have acted more violently, and virulently against him.* This makes men like the Devill. To render good for evill, is Divine. To render Good for Good, is Humane. To render evill for evill, is Brutish. But to render evill for Good, is Devillish. This brings ruine to a man, and his house. Ier. 18.20, 21, 22. We know what befell Sauls family for his ingratitude to David. So true is that of Solomon, Prov. 17.13. Who so rewardeth evill for good, evill shall not depart from his house. Though such may escape the lash of mens Lawes, yet the revenging hand of God will find them out. This we see in the Jewes, who for their Ingratitude to Christ in cursing and crucifying him, who by his doctrine, la∣bours and miracles, would have converted and saved them; are to this day the people of Gods curse, dispersed and despised over the face of the whole earth. And if he deserve punishment who renders evill for evill but to man,* what shall be done to him who renders evill for good, and to his God; who never did him hurt? This is not onely notorious ingratitude, but perfidious violating the very Law of Nature, which the God of Nature will not suffer to passe un∣punisht.

1. Let such consider that Ingratitude is a sin against the very Light of Nature. It's naturally ingraven in the hearts of men, to do good to those that do good to them.*Mat. 6.46. Hence Heathens have condemned it, as one of the vilest sins; call a man an ungratefull man (say they) and you need to call him no more. Some vices are pleasing to Nature, and ap∣plauded by it; but Ingratitude is generally abhorred of all.

3. It debaseth men and sets them below the beasts that perish, all sinne doth so, but this especially. Hence the Lord complaines of ungratefull Is∣rael,Page  70 that they were worse then the Oxe and Asse, two creatures,* the most dull and heavy of all the rest; yet these have some expression of affection to those that feed them, they know and acknowledge them, they be ready to serve and obey them. Isay 1.3. The kindnesse of the Lion to the man which pulled the thorn out of his foot, who lists may read in Aul. Gellius. Noct. At. lib. 5. cap. 14.

4. The Scripture sets a blot and a brand on such. Thus Laban is branded for his ingratitude to Iacob Gen. 31.2. &c. and Saul and Nabal to David. 1 Sam. 19.10. and 25.10. and Pharaoh's butler, who, when he was promoted, forgot Ioseph, Gen. 40.22. and Ioash who slew Zechariah, that had been loyall to him. 2 Chr. 24.22, 23. the Lord suddenly punisht him for it. 2 Chr. 24.25. Especially, the Scripture sets a black mark upon those sordid, unrighteous, disingenious spirits, who fight against God with his own blessings,* and bestow his silver and gold on Baal. Hos. 2.8. with the Israelites, they turn their jewels into an Idoll, and then dance before it, and worship it. Iesurun when fat and full, kicks at the God which fed him. Deut. 32.15. like Mules, which being filled with their dammes milk (matrem calcibus petunt) fall to kicking the damme that fed them. The Hebrewes have a Proverb. In fontem ex quo semel bibisti, ne proji∣cito glebam, much lesse in fontem ex quo semper. God is our Creatour, Preser∣ver, Father, and Friend; and therfore they do very foolishly, who do thus ill requite him. Deut. 32.6. Take heed therefore of this Spunge of the De∣vill (as Austin calls Ingratitude) wherewith he wipes all the favours of God out of our soules.

*5. Unthankfullness stops the Current of Gods mer∣cies, and provokes the Lord to strip us of all. Solomon forsakes the God of his mercies; by it he lost ten parts of his Kingdome, and had adversaries ever after 1 Kings 11.9. Hezekiah, when recovered, rendred not according to mercy received, therefore wrath came upon him from the Lord. 2 Chron. 32.25. It maks the Lord to repent of the blessings he hath given us. 1 Sa. 15.11. It made David repent of his care in protecting the flocks & ser∣vants of ungrateful Nabal from violence.* 1 Saw. 25.15.16.21, 22. In vain have I kept all that this fellow hath, since he requites me evill for good; Ile destroy all that belongs to him. So saith God, in vain have I saved such a man from the Sword, Plague, Famine, therefore I will now destroy him utterly for his rebellion. God cannot endure these Sepulchra beneficiorum, these unthankfull buriers of his benefits.

6. 'Tis a sad aggravation of mens sins; This makes the sins of the Saints so exceeding sinfull, because they are committed against the greatest Light and Love. God Registers all the mercies which he bestowes on us, and when we sin against them,* we shall be sure to hear of it. 2 Sam. 12.7, 8, 9, 10. 'Tis a sinne that levens and sowres our other sins, and makes them farre more loathsome. It stops mens mouthes, and makes them excuselesse, so that they have no∣thing to say for themselves. Ezra 9.9, 10. when he had set forth what God had done for them, and how they had rebelled against him, he cries, and now Lord what shall we say after all this? q. d. We have nothing to say for our selves, since we have again forsaken thy commandements, notwithstand∣ing all thy mercies and deliverances given to us; this brought ruine on them. V. 13, 14.

7. Idolaters will rise in Judgement against such; if they will praise their Page  71 dung-hill-Gods, shall not we praise the living God? Iudg. 16.23.

8. Unthankfull men are unfit for Heaven, for there the Saints do no∣thing but sing Hallelujahs and praises to their God for ever. Revel. 5.12, 13. Luke 2.13.

This is one of the crying sins of England, Ingratitude both to God and man, never raigned nor raged more amongst us then at this day; As the Lord loads us with mercies, so we load him with our Apostasies. No Nation under heaven so beloved as we, and no Nation under Heaven, that have worse requited his love. 'Tis a Miracle of mercy that he yet continues his mercies to us, and that he hath not long agoe stript us naked, as in the day when we were born. Let it therefore repent us of our unkindnesse to our good and gracious God, and, for the time to come, let us expresse our Thankful∣nesse in Reall obedience.* We have nothing else to give unto God but Thanksgiving, that is his Rent and due. Psal. 29.2. and 50.14. every ho∣nest man will pay his Rent, onely take heed that you pay it not to a wrong Land-Lord; ascribe not the glory of what you are, or have to your selves, or to the Creature; all must be given primarily to God: 'tis true, we may thank, and pay the messenger, but not like the Doner. Cant. 8.12. the Keepers of the Vine-yard have two hundred, but Solomon himself hath a thousand. Se∣condarily, we may give Thanks to Gods Instruments, whose hearts he moves to help us. Thus David first blesseth God, and then Abigail. 1 Sam. 25.32, 33. 'Tis the Almes (if I may so say) which we give unto God; in all other things, God blesseth us, but in Thanksgiving, we bless God. Psal. 50.22. Iames 3.9. God blesseth us Imperatively, we bless him Optatively, when we desire and endeavor to set forth his promises. This is the way to increase and preserve our blessings,* both Temporall and Spirituall, and if we merit in any du∣ty, 'tis in Thanksgivings. He that gives Thanks for an old mercy, makes way for a new one. This is more pleasing unto God then all legall Sacrifices. Psal. 50.8. and 69.30, 31. 'Tis one of the most excellent parts of Gods worship, whereby we do in a speciall manner glorify him. Psal. 50. ult. yea in some respects God hath more glory from the Saints on Earth, then from the Saints in Heaven: for they praise him without opposition, in the middest of his friends; but we praise him with much danger and difficulty in the middest of his enemies. This is the end of our Creation. Prov. 16.4. Isay 43.21. every member, every sense, every faculty of soul, and part of our bodies, calls for Thankfulnesse. Quot membra, tot ora. Had we but wanted a Legge, or an Arm, or an Eye, we should know the price of that mercy. 'Tis the end of our Predestination. Ephes. 1.11, 12. The end of our Redemption. Isay 51.11. Luke 1.74. The end of our Adoption. Ephes. 1.5, 6. In a word, 'tis the end of all Gods Mer∣cies, that we should praise him for them, Psal. 50.15. Quot beneficia, tot ora. When the Lord had delivered Israel out of Egypt, he makes it an Argument to quicken them to obey all his commandements. Exod. 20.2. when the Lord plants his Vine-yard in a very fruitfull hill, then he expects the pleasant Grapes of Thankfull obedience. Isay 5.1, 2. Even the Devill could say, Iob had good Reason to expresse his Thankfulnesse in serving God, who had made the hedge of his protection round about him. Iob 1.9.

Rule. 8.

See to the manner of your Thanksgiving, God loves Adverbs better then Adjectives; he regards not so much quàm bonum, sed quàm bene. A good dish may be marred in the Cooking, and a good Duty spoyled for want Page  72 of a right performance. He then that would give Thanks unto God rightly,

Must do it,

  • 1. Cordially,
  • 2. Zealously,
  • 3. Chearfully.
  • 4. Speedily,
  • 5. Beleevingly,
  • 6. Humbly,
  • 7. Holily.
  • 8. Considerately.

1. We must praise God cordially, not cursorily, or customarily, in a ver∣ball formall way, but as God blesseth us Really, so our praise must be Reall, and sincere. God is a Spirit, and will be worshipped in spirit. Hence Da∣vid calls on his Soul to praise God. Psal. 103.1. and the Virgin Mary not only with her soul, but with her Spirit: (i. e.) with her understanding; which (when renewed) is the most noble, sublime, and choycest part of man; not only her Tongue, or Hand, but her soul, yea, her spirit shall praise him.*Luke 1.46, 47. The Spirit is more then the Soul. Hence some by soul, would have the Inferiour part of the soul to be meant, as the sensitive powers, common to us with bruits, which respects naturall things. And by Spirit, the Superiour faculty of the Soul, the Rationall part (especially, when enlightened and renewed by the Spirit of God) which respects di∣vine and spirituall things. So the Apostle distinguisheth between soul and spirit.* 1 Thes, 5.23.

2. Zealously and Transcendently, with the highest intention of affection. As God is the most High, so our Praise must be answerable. We must ex∣toll and exalt his Name. Isay 25.1. as the Angels in heaven do, though not in Equality, yet in Conformity, and Similitude. Hence the Saints call up all the Powers of their soules to this work, and make new songs of praise. Exod. 15. Psal. 69.30. See how Deborah rowseth up and quickens her self that she might the better quicken others. Iudg. 5.12. The reiteration of the words do shew her earnest affection to the work.

3. Speedily; without delay; so soon as ever we recive a mercie, we should presently give Thanks. So did Deborah Iudg. 5.1. the same day that she received a victory, the very same day she sings praise. We may begin too late, we cannot begin too soon. As God loads us daily with mercies, so we should daily praise him, Psal. 68.19, 20.

4. Voluntarily, freely, chearfully: all Gods people are Voluntiers. Psal. 110.3. it's no service that is not Voluntary; compulsive Praise is no Praise. 'Tis for beasts to be driven against their wills, aguntur non agunt. As in alms, God loves a chearfull giver: so in this Spiritual alms, God would have our praises flow as water from a spring freely, not as fire from a flint, with much ham∣mering, and striking.

5. Beleevingly, and in faith. As our Prayers, so our Praises must be put up in the Name of Christ;* he must sweeten our odours with his incense. Revel. 8.3. he is that golden Altar, which sanctifieth all our services. Colos. 3.17. Ephes. 5.20. givnig Thanks unto God alwayes.

1. Habitually and dispositively: our hearts should be kept in such an ho∣ly frame, that on all occasions we should be ready to praise God.

2. For all things, that God shall send on us or ours, for prosperity, and adversity, for sicknesse and health, for poverty and plenty; what ever God doth with us, we must Thank him.

3. In the Name of Christ, these calves of our lips must be offered on this Altar. Hos. 14.2.

6. Humbly, none can give Thanks Rightly, but he that gives Thanks Reverently. Heb. 12.28. our very rejoycing must be mixt with trembling. Psal. 2.10. make a man first Humble, and he'l soon be Page  73 Thankfull, as we see in Iacob. Gen. 32.10. and the Prodigall. Luke 15.19. he counts it an honour to be Gods hired servant.* Such a one looks upon all as mercy, no merit. Hence when the Lord would make men truly Thank∣full, he sets before them their misery. Ezek. 16. and commands the people of Israel to keep the feast of Booths in remembrance of their misery in Egypt, Nehem. 8.17, and to remember that their Father Iacob was a poor perish∣ing Syrian, Deut. 26.5. they must acknowledge the meanness of their Ori∣ginall, that they might the better magnify Gods goodness and free Grace in raising them.

7. Holily, from a pure heart. Praise is unsemly in the mouth of sinners. Their sacrifices are an abomination to God. 'Tis in Sion, and not in Babylon, that praise waits for him. Psal. 65.1. 'Tis only Saints that are called to this work. Psal. 33.1. and 145.10. they have speciall mercies, as Justification, San∣ctification, Salvation, &c. and therefore it much concerns them to be Thankfull.

8. Considerately.* We must weigh and ponder all circumstances, as spi∣ces pounded, smell more sweetly. Hence David descends to particulars. Psal. 136. per totum.

1. Consider the freeness of Gods mercy, when thou wast dead in Trespas∣ses and sins, and hadst no eye to pity thee, nor loveliness in thee, yet then God spread his skirt of love over thee, and said, Live.

2. Consider the fulness of Gods mercies. They are for number numberless. Psal. 139.17, 18. Mercies to soul, to body, in estate, in the Church, and in the Common-wealth, &c. Meditation on these things, will be like oyle to the Lamp, it will inflame and inlarge our hearts, it will sweeten mercies to us. Psal. 104.33, 34. and strengthen us in Gods way. Neh. 8.10. Since this duty is so highly pleasing unto God, be much in it. The repetition of the Act, will intend the Habit, and therefore be practising it on all occasions. Hast children? give Thanks for them. Gen. 29.35. Hast victory over thy enemies? give Thanks for that. 2 Sam. 22.1. Hast good success? give Thanks for that. Gen. 34.48.

[He that would see more for Thanksgiving, may peruse Mr. Sam. Wards Serm. on 1 Thes. 5.18. and Mr. Bridge on the same Text. Mr. Ieanes Thanksgi∣ving Serm. for Taunton. D. Holseworth on Hos. 14.2. Mr. Gataker on Gen. 32 10. Church his Treasury. p. 318. D. Spurstow on the Promises. chap. 20.]

8. Vnholy.

Fitly hath the Apostle yoaked these two together, Unthankfull, Unho∣ly; seeing every act of Unholinesse hath much Unthankfulnesse in it, eve∣ry sinne we commit against God, is a Transgression not onely of the Law of Holinesse,* but also of the Law of love and kindnesse; there is much ingratitude in sin. An unholy man is a profane man, one that slights God and his wayes, one that savours not spirituall things, but is wholly addict∣ed to the world, and its pleasures, preferring these Earthly and Temporall things before Eternall. Now this Unholiness and Profaneness, is twofold.

  • 1. In Doctrinalls,
  • 2. In Practicalls.

1. In Doctrinalls;* In the last dayes men shall publish unholy Doctrines, and profane Principles. Profane men will invent profane Tenets, and profane fa∣bles, which the Apostle commands us to shun. 1 Tim. 4.7. & 6.20. [what pro∣fane doctrines are publisht in our days, who lists may see in Mr. Edwards his Gangreen. 1. Part. p. 15. &c. Edit. 3. and London Ministers Testimony▪ and Mr. Bartlets Balsom in fine,]

Page  742. In the last dayes, men will be profane in Practicalls. No true piety will appear in their lives;* but they will be full of Pride, Self-conceit, Cove∣tousness, Hypocrisy, Malice, and all Unrighteousness. They will violently rush into sin without any Fear of God, or Reverence to man. Hence the Apostle rangeth profane persons amongst the vilest sinners. 1 Tim. 1.9, 10.

3. Such as rend the bowels of their Mother that bare them, these are im∣pious and profane in S. Austins judgement.

4. A prophane man most properly is one that lightly esteems the holy things of God: one that slights God, his Sabbaths, Sacraments, Servants, Ministers,* and all Gods holy things. In a word, he is one that preferres Earth before Heaven, the World before the Word, Gold before Godliness, the body before the soule, and the shadow before the substance. These have their portion in this life, and had rather part with their part in Paradise, then their part in Paris; like the profane Israelites, that preferred the Garlick and Onyons of Egypt, before celestiall Mannah, and with the ungratefull Jewes, preferre Barrabas before Christ upon this account. Esau is stiled a Profane man, [Heb. 12.16.] because he sold his Birth∣right (an heavenly priviledge) for a meales meat,* for a trifle. The Hogs and Dogges of the world, make light esteem of the Holy things of God. Mat. 7.6. we have too many such Esanits in our dayes. But let such know, that as they have prophaned Gods name by slighting him, so he will set lightly by them, and make them profane, by exposing them to publick contempt and shame. Matth. 2.8, 9. and as they had no regard of his honour, so he will have none of theirs.*Psal. 89.39. Isay 43.28. and 47.6. as they trampled Christ and the tenders of his grace under their feet. Heb. 10.29. So they, as vile and contemp∣tible persons, shall be trampled upon by others. Such as despise God shall be despised. 1 Sam. 2.30. So much the Notation of the word implyes. Now for the coer∣tion, restraint, and condemnation of such persons, the Law was made. 1 Tim. 1.9, 10. they are lyable to the curse of God, as profane Esau was. Heb. 12.17, Oh then labour for Holinesse, which is opposite to this prophanenesse. They were set directly one against another. Ezek. 44.23. as profanenesse debaseth a man, so piety exalts a man, and makes him shine like an Angell amongst men. No life so Honourable, Comfortable, and Commendable. [as you may see in my Beauty of Holinesse. chap. 8.]

Page  75

VERSE 3. VVithout Naturall Affection.

IN the last dayes,* men shall be so vile, that no bonds of Nature can bind them, and no wonder, for they that are blasphemers of God, disobedient to Parents, ingratefull to Benefactors, must needs at last come to that height of inhumanity and brutishnesse, as to be without Naturall Affection. They shall not only be without Humane affecti∣on, which is a love to men, as they are men, or Christian affection, which is a love to good men, because they are good; but they shall be with∣out Natural affection towards those, to whom they are bound by the bond of consanguinity and affinity,* and by a speciall instinct of Nature, to shew a tender love and respect unto. These 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, are those inate and tender affections, which are planted in our Nature by the God of Nature, towards those to whom we are conjoyned by the bond of Nature. Such is that naturall affection, which is between Parents and their children, Husband and Wife, Brother and Brother, Kindred and Country, a Governour and his Family.* There is no Nation so base and barbarous, but there are some sparkles of this Naturall affection towards their own. Yea, the very bruit beasts we see, are very tender over their young. The ve∣ry Lionesse, the Beare, the Tygre, the Eagle, the Hen, yea the Bitch will rise up in judgement against those unnaturall Parents that provide not for their own. Men love their Riches, they love their Houses, they love their Horses, ye their Dogs; but not with that naturall affection, as they love their children. And though some may be so unnaturall, as to blo out this natural affection. Isay 49.15. and Saul to his sonne Ionathan, and to David his Son-in-Law. 1 Sam. 19.14, 15. and 20.33. and the Gentiles. Rom. 1.30. yet see how tenderly David is affected even to a Rebellious Absolom, 1 Sam. 18.33. and Paul to his Country-men and Kins-men. Rom. 9.3. and Iacob to Ioseph. Gen. 37.55. and to Benjamin. Gen. 42.38. and 44.22.29, 30. Now is not this unnaturall sin, the sin of our Age? Was there ever more want of Naturall affection in Parents to children, and children to Parents? 'Tis true, many exceed in their love, and are apt to dote upon their children (as David did on Absolom) and are too fond of them. But do not many offend in the Defect for want of natural affection? How many Parents correct their children and servants without moderation or mercy? How many chil∣dren do rise up against their own Parents, and betray them into the hands of persecutors? Mat. 10.1. Luke 21.16. yea and Parents against their children? How many speak against their own Mothers sons. Psal. 50.20. the Brother supplants his Brother, and the Neighbour, his Neighbour. Ier. 9.4. The wife of the bosome, (like Eve) labours to draw the Husband from God, and a mans enemies are those of his own house. Micah 7.5, 6. 'Twas the glory of the Primitive times, that they were so loving and unanimous, that their enemies could say, Ecce quàm se mutuò diligunt? Behold how these Christians love one another! but now we may say, Ecce quàm se mu∣tuò dilacerent! Behold how they torture and teare one another in words and deedes? How many kill the fruits of their wombs? others never pro∣vide for their Families, but spend that on themselves at an Ale-house in a day, which would maintaine their Families a weeke. Unnatu∣rall bruites! nay, worse then the beastes that perish, for even the Sea-monsters Page  76 suckle and support their young. Lam. 4.3. such are worse then Heathens,* let men professe the faith in words, yet if in their deeds they deny it, and be not carefull in a prudentiall, providentiall way, to provide for their owne, they are worse then Infidels in this respect; for they by the light of Nature know, that 'tis their duty to provide for their own, and though they be barbarous, yet are they not so barbarou, as to cast off naturall affection to them. 1 Tim. 5.8. God will surely visit for such sins. Amos 1.9. Obad. 10.11, 12, 13, 14.

Lastly, whereas there is planted in us a naturall affection to the Land of our Nativity, insomuch that Heathens have been pro∣digall of their lives,* for the good of their Country, yet how many are there amongst us, that by destructive courses, seek the ruine of their Mother that bare them, and the land that nurst them? True, we must love our Parents, love our children, love our friends, and neigh∣bours, but the publick good must be preferred before them all,

*This then informs us of their folly, who plead for a Stoicall Apostacy, commending the want of naturall affections as a point of perfection, which the Lord con∣demnes as a great imperfection; accounting that for a Vertue which the Apostle reckons for a great Vice. So that to banish them out of man,* is to banish man out of man, and to make him a stock, rather then a Stoick. The Affections are not sinfull per se, and in themselves, but only by Accident, when they are misplaced and set upon wrong objects, or not kept to their just proportion, so that they neither exceed, nor come short of their measure. So that the Affections of Love, Fear, Desire, Joy, &c. simply considered in themselves, are good.

1. Adam had them in the state of Innocency, when he was free from sinne.

2. Christ himself had them, his Reason excited, directed, moderated, and represt them, according to the Rule of perfect, clear, and undisturbed judgement. He made use of them; he rejoyced. Luke 10.21, he wept. Iohn 11.35. he was angry, Mark 3.5. he feared. Heb. 5.7.

3. God commands us to love. Mat. 22.37. to be angry. Eph. 4.26. to feare. Luke 12.5. to weep. Ioel 2.12. and to be ashamed. Ier. 3.3. 'Tis a great blessing that we have them: what Stocks and Sots, should we be with∣out them? they set the soul on work, and make us active for God. David prepared much for the house of the Lord;* how so? because he set his affe∣ctions on the house of his God. 1 Chron. 29.3. They are as wind to the Sails, as wings to the Bird, and as feet to the Body. [Pes meus affectus meus, eò feror quocunque feror.] Neither doth Grace extirpate, but Regulate them; Grace doth not root out Nature, it onely takes away our drosse, and turnes our brass into gold: it removes the scumme, and takes away the exorbitancy of our Affections. Be angry, but sin not, hold good in all the Affections, Love the Creature, but sin not; sorrow under affliction, but sin not, &c. we are as a dead Sea without them, and as the raging Sea, if they exceed their bounds. As Bias said of the Tongue, that it was the best, and the worst part of the Sacrifice;* so may we say of the Affections, they are the best ser∣vants, but the worst Masters, which our Natures can have. Like the windes which being moderate, carry the ship; but drown it being tempestuous. And we find it experimentally true, that things most usefull, and excellent in their regularity, are most dangerous in their abuse. Let us therefore be∣seech Page  77 the Lord by his Spirit, to set and keep our Affections in tune; and then so many Affections; so many Graces. Our love will be turned into a love of God. Our Joy into a delight in the best things. Our sorrow into sorrow for sin, and our fear into a fear of offending God. And therefore in all your excesses and Defects in this kind, look up unto God for help; 'tis he only that can command the raging Seas, to be still, and they shall be still.

[See more, D. Reynolds on the Passions, and Mr. Fenner on the Affections. M. Herles Policy. l. 2. c. 6.]

10. Truce-breakers.

The words seem to be a Gradation. q. d. The last dayes will be very perilous,* for men will be irreligious towards God, rebellious to Parents, ingratefull to Be∣factours, and at last perfidious; so that it will be to no purpose to make any Compacts or Covenants with them: being once provoked, they become unappeasa∣ble, irreconcileable, violating the Lawes of Peace, and Friendship, to advance their own designes, and inte∣rests. If we take the word both wayes, the Character will suit with our times.

1. In the last dayes men will be implacable,* irrecon∣cileable, (So the Apostle useth the word, Rom. 1.32.) be∣ing once offended, they are hardly ever reconciled, their malice admits no Termes of Truce, much lesse of hear∣ty reconcilement, like those Psal. 120.6, 7. They may peradventure out of policy say, they will forgive; I, but they will never forget; but Esau-like they onely respite their malice, till a sit opportunity of revenge appear. Gen. 27.41. These are unlike to God, who is ready to forgive, and upon Reall Hu∣miliation, easily appeased. 2. It argues a gracelesse frame of spirit, for as the experience of Gods love in pardoning, inclines us to an easie forgetfulnesse of wrongs; so doth the continued prosecution of a revengefull purpose, ar∣gue sufficiently, our little or no feeling of Gods pardoning mercy.

2, The word signifies not only Truce-breakers, (i. e.) such as break those Covenants,* which are made for cessation of Armes, which we call Truces. This exposition is too straite, for in the last times men shall attain to such a height of sin, that they shall not onely be Truce-breakers but Covenant-breakers. In the last dayes men shall be so irreconcileable to the wayes of God, that they will not once bind themselves by Covenant to them: or if, for self-ends, they shall swallow up such a Covenant, yet they will be perfidious, and never keep it; They'l make no more of a Covenant, then a Monky doth of his Collar, which he can slip off and on at his pleasure. In the last dayes, men will not onely be Sermon-proof, and Judgement-proof, but Covenant-proof; no bonds so strong, so sacred, but they can as easily break them, as Sampson did the bonds of the Philistines. 'Tis not Personal, Sa∣cramental, or National Vowes that can keep the men of the last times, within the Circle of obedience: and therefore this also know, that in the last days, perilous times shall come; for men shall be Covenant-breakers both with Gad and man. That this is Englands sin, I wish it were not too apparent, to our great reproach in the world; This sin is written with the Claw of an Adamant, in a Table of remembrance before God and man, to all posterity. Have we not lifted up our hands to the most high, and vowed a Reformation? but behold a Deformation. We vowed an extirpation, and rooting up of He∣resy, Page  78 and false doctrine; yet many act as if they had taken a Covenant for their propagation. We vowed the setting up of Discipline and Govern∣ment in the Church of God; yet it were to be wisht that some which have taken this Covenant, did not oppose it. We have vowed Uniformity; and behold a Multiformity. I hope there is none that thinks the Substance of this Covenant to be out of date; the matter of it is such, that we are bound all the dayes of our lives, zealously to observe it. I suppose every good man thinks himselfe bound to preserve the Purity of Religion, to extirpate Here∣sy and profanenesse, in his place and calling, not onely till our enemies were subdued, but these are duties to be practised all our dayes. A well-ground∣ed Covenant (and such was this) is a sure, firm, and irrevocable Act, 'tis Aeternitati sacrum,* (saith a Reverend Divine) to endure for ever. Hence the Parliament ordered, that it should be taken by all men above 18. years of age, in the three Nations, and that it should be printed in a fair Letter, and hung up in a Table in the Church, for a perpetuall Memoriall. [See more in Mr. Gelaspy's Miscelanies, chap. 16. p. 201, 202, &c. and Mr. Rutherford against Pretended Liberty of Conscience. chap. 22.]

Now for men to violate and vilify such an Oath as this, which for Matter, Persons, and other Circumstances, the like hath not been in any Age, or Oath we read of, in Sacred or Humane stories: is an high provocation, and shall not escape unpunished (as a Reverend Divine hath very well observed) but as they have been notorious in sin,* so shall they be notorious for shame. Hence a Truce-breaker is here reckoned among the vilest of Christians, and a Covenant-breaker, is listed amongst the worst of Heathens. Rom. 1.32. God accounts this so far from service, and duty, that he looks upon it as horrible profanenesse and per∣jury,* what doth more provoke a man, then Treache∣ry and perfidiousnesse? and what greater Treachery, then to break so solemn and sacred a Covenant? this provoked the Lord against Iudah. Hos. 6.7. but they like men have transgrest the Covenant, there (even there) have they dealt treacherously against me. There where they should have been most fast and faithfull, there they were most false and perfidious. What we barely promise, we ought to perform, but a Vow is a double and stronger bond, and so more carefully to be observed. Hence Gods hand hath been remarkable against Covenant-breakers in all ages.*Sauls posterity was plagued for their breach of Covenant with the Gibeonites. 2 Sam. 21.1, 1.6. So the Heathen that were Covenant-breakers, were given up to Reprobate sense. Rom. 1. Sampson breaking his Vow, had his eyes put out by the Philistines, and is made to grind. Iudg. 6.21. Absolon under pretence of a Vow seeks his Fathers life, but it cost him his own. 2 Sam. 15.17. King Zedekiah is punisht with death, for breaking Covenant with Nebuchadnezzar a Heathen, and an Idolater. Ezek. 17.15. to 22. 'tis a signall place,* and worthy our serious meditation. So Ier. 34.18. to 22. God will send a sword on such to avenge the quarrell of his Covenant, Levit. 26.25. 'Tis reported of the Egyptians, that if any man did swear by the life of the King, and did not perform his Oath, that man was to dye without mer∣cy; no gold, no silver, could redeem his life. We have sworne not by a King, but we have lifted up our hands to the King of Kings, and unlesse we mean to dye eternally, we must perform it. The Jewes have a Proverb, Non est poena super Israelem in qua non sit Vncia Vituli aurei. That was such a Transgression, that God remembred it every time he plagued them. So Non est poena super Angliam in qua non sit Vncia foederis. In every punish∣ment Page  79 there's somewhat of the Covenant in it.

I shall conclude with the words of some Reverend Divines, lamenting the Breach of the Covenant amongst us.*

That so solemn a Covenant (say they) so gravely and piously penned, so dreadfully obliging the Conscience (in all sincerity and fidelity, to take and keep it) so ratified by authority of Parliament, ordering of it with in∣structions, exhortations, and satisfactions to scruples: that this Covenant should be by so many without any sense of Religion, both taken and broken, as if it were but a King at Chesse, set upon the board for a game, and so shut up in a bagge, when the game is done; this is that which may make us hang down our heads, and with heavie hearts say, as Ezra 9.6. O our God, we are ashamed to lift up our faults, &c.
So they.

Now, as Covenant-breaking is a God-provoking sin, so Covenant-keeping is a Sacrifice most pleasing and acceptable to him; and the most compendi∣ous way to exalt a Nation, as we see in the times of Moses, and Ioshua, 24, 25, &c. Asa. 2 Chron. 15.12.15. Iosiah. 2 Kings 23.3. &c. Nehem. 9. when they brought their people into Covenant, they prospered presently. No sooner did England enter into Covenant, but from that very day did the Lord blesse us, and gave admirable successe to the Armies of his people. Hag. 2.18, 19. The Reason is, because then we engage God more especi∣ally in our cause; we bring him into the field with us, we put all we are, and have into his hand, we are not now our own people but the Lords peo∣ple, the Lords Kingdome. The Lords Warre, the Lords Castles, the battle is not ours, but the Lords. So long as Creature opposeth Creature, they may make some resistance, but when the Creator comes against the Creature, Omnipotency against Impotency, and Wisdom against Folly; who then can stand? Isay 45.9. when people fall to Covenanting, then woe to Re∣bels. Ezek. 20.37. There's no way to preserve and establish a Nation like this; Hence Moses exhorts the people to give up themselves by Covenant to God, that so he might be their God, and establish them. Deut. 29.12, 13. So when Iehojada had brought the people into Covenant, then the Lord gave them rest. 2 Kings 11.17, 20. This is like a wall of brasse to a Kingdom, or rather like a wall of fire (as the Prophet speaks, Zach. 2.5. which none can scale) to defend us, and to offend our enemies. Now we have speciall interest in the Lord, so that all that he hath is ours; his Wisdome is ours to direct us, his Power to protect us, his Goodnesse to save us, &c. As a woman that's married to a man, partakes of all the Riches and Honours of her husband, and as Laban said to Iacob, Gen. 51.43. so may we say to the Lord, All that thou hast is mine. This appeares excellently. Psal. 132.2. where the Lord sweares to David, and David sweares, and by a Vow devotes himselfe to God, then followes blessings Temporall and Spirituall.

  • 1. They shall have spiritual blessings, they shall have Gods speciall pre∣sence amongst them, God will dwell there. V. 13, 14. yea such is Gods great condescention) that he desires no better habitation then amongst his own people.
  • 2. He will fill them with spirituall joy. V. 16. singing they shall sing (i. e.) they shall greatly, and they shall surely rejoyce.
  • 3. He'l blesse their posterity. V. 11, 12.
  • 4. He'l blesse their provision, and satisfy the poor in Zion with bread. V. 15. (i. e.) with all Temporall blessings needull for them.
  • 5. Since the Priests of God are exposed to more danger then others, therefore he promiseth to them more speciall protection. V. 16.
  • 6. He will subdue their enemies. V. 17, 18. and will make the horne (i. e.) the power and might of his people, to prosper and increase. So that this is the only prevailing way, viz. sincerely to give up our selves to God in Cove∣nant; Page  80 and till this be done, we are undone. 'Tis not Fasting,, Praying, Humiliation, unlesse we really covenant for Reformation of our selves and ours, we do but dodge with God and cannot look to prosper. Hence Ezra 10.1, 2, 3. tells the people they had sinned greatly, yet there was hope, but what must they do? why, make a Covenant, and all shall be well. V. 3. God must and will do great things for his people in Covenant, when they be in distresse. Psal. 105.8, 9, and 106.45. and 111.5. yet he remembred his Covenant, and saved them according to the multitude of his mercies; with a, notwithstanding their Rebellions against him. Hence 'tis, that Gods people in their distress so oft plead the Covenant to move the Lord to pity them. Exod. 32.13. have respect unto the Covenant. Psal. 74.20, 21.

Now that we may Covenant Rightly,

We mst do it

  • 1. Judiciously,
  • 2. Sincerely,
  • 3. Unanimously.

4. Affectionately, with

  • Feare,
  • Love,
  • Joy.

1. Judiciously, in judgement, and Understanding, what we do, Nehem. 10.28. Ier. 4.2. such weighty matters must not be undertaken rashly, rude∣ly, or unadvisedly, but with serious, grave, and mature deliberation.

2. Sincerely; with all plainness and simplicity of spirit, without doubling, or dissembling, 2 Chron. 15, 12. Ier. 4.2. Thou shalt swear in truth (i. e.) Sin∣cerely, without equivocation,* mentall reservations, or any base and sinister Ends, as to save your land from sequestration, to get in favour with some great ones, or to get an office, &c. for such kind of swearing, the land mournes; if we will swear, it must be in Righteousness, Ier. 4.2. (i. e.) Just and Righteous things. The subject or matter of a Covenant must be just and righteous things, such as are agreeable to the Word of God, and tend to his glory, as to serve, feare, obey him. Gen. 28.20. Take heed of putting what sense you please on the Covenant;* we may not take it with such limitations, and qualifications, as are against the Letter, scope, and drift of it. Such may deceive men, but God they cannot deceive. We should therefore have a Jealousy over our selves, and say as Iacob did in another case. Gen. 27.12. My Father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem as a deceiver to him, and I shall bring a Curse upon me, and not a blessing. If our hearts be not right with God, they will never be faithfull and stedfast in his Covenant. Psal. 78.37. Let your hearts chuse the things that please God, and then you will take hold on his Covenant. Isay 56.4. First give a bill of divorce to your Lusts, say to them, as to a menstruous clout, Get you hence. Isay 30.22. Hos. 14.8. Till our old Union with sin be broken, God will not match with us, no so∣ber man will marry with a woman so long as her husband lives, but when her husband is dead, she's free. Rom. 7.2, 3.

3. Unanimously; God loves to see his people, from the highest to the lowest, to joyn themselves to him, like one man. Deut. 29.10, 11, 12. Zeph. 3.9. Ier. 50.5. Ezek. 37.17. 2 Chron. 15.12, 13.15. Nothing stronger then such Unity. Si erimus inseparabiles, erimus insuperables.

4. Affectionately.

1. With Fear; we must come to this duty with Reverence, and godly feare, considering that vast disproportion which is between God and our selves. We have not to do with men, but with the Almighty, and that in his Excellency and Greatnesse. So that as an holy fear must be an ingredi∣ent Page  81 in all our services [Heb. 12.29, 19.] So especially we must bring it, when we come to swear by his Name, Deut. 6.13.

2. With Love; Get your Judgements convinced of the Excellency of a Covenant-condition, and what a high priviledge 'tis to have God for our God, this will make us in love with the Covenant, and Love is strong as death. Cant. 8.6, 7. There is nothing so ennobles us (what ever the Esaus of the world say to the contrary) as to be in Covenant with God. 'Twas a greater honour to Isaac to be in Covenant, then to be the Seed-Royall, and to have Princely issue. Gen. 17.20, 21. Esay may have Princely issue, but my Covenant shall be in Isaac. So Isay 43.4. This will make us remember our Covenants; what we love, we'l never forget. Psal. 119.16. if David love Gods Law, he'l never forget his word. 'Tis not the making, but the minding and keeping of a Covenant, which makes us hap∣py, and we cannot keep it, unlesse we remember it. One reason why the Iewd woman forsakes the guide of her youth is, because she forgets the Co∣venant of her God. Prov. 2.17. Hence God so oft commands, that we for∣get not his Covenant. Deut. 4.23. 2 Chron. 16.15. and 29.18. The heart of man is exceeding prone to back-sliding, now a Covenant is a bond that binds us to God (happy those bonds which bind us to be holy.) It's like a hedge, to ba us from going astray. It's a good answer to a Tempter; I have sworne, and I will perform it: How can I do such wickedness, and break my Covenant with my God?

3. With joy and chearfulness. We must not come with dead hearts to such lively work. As God loves a chearfull giver, so a chearfull Cove∣nanter is prized by him. 2 Chron. 15.14, 15. Iudah, All Iudah, Rejoyced in the Covenant which they had sincerely made with God, to worship him onely, in the purity of Religion. See the good issue, 1. The Lord was found of them. 2. He gave them rest round about, so that albeit they were encom∣passed with enemies, yet none did hurt them; and if it be matter of joy to come to the Ordinances, Isay 30.29. 2 Chron, 29. ult. and 30.13.21, 32.26. Psal. 122.1. much more should we rejoyce in this extraor∣dinary high service. At marriages joy is seasonable, this is the soules marriage day. Hos. 2.19, 20. I will betroth or marry thee unto me. It's thrice repeated for certainty.

  • 1. 'Tis a spirituall Covenant or marriage; and so far more excellent then carnall marriage.
  • 2. 'Tis perpetuall; not for a day, but for ever: when God loves once with a conjugall love, he loves for ever.
  • 3. In righteousnesse and judgement; he'l cloath us with the wedding gar∣ment of Justification, and Sanctification.
  • 4. Though we deserve no such favour, yet of his own free-loving-kind∣ness and mercy, he will do it; and is not this matter of exceeding joy?

2. As for Covenants and compacts with men, there were never greater complaints of falsenes and prodigi∣ousness;* a man can scarce tell who to trust, or where to find a faithfull man. Righteousness is perisht from the earth, and faithfulness from the sons of men. A simple, just, plain-dealing man, is a black swan; if a man buy but a piece of land, he scapes well if he be not made to buy it a second, it may be a third, time. What lying, cosening, cheating, in buying, selling, bargaining? What falfe weights, false wares, false lights, false measures, in every place? Men sell deceit, to purchase Gods wrath. 1 Cor. 6.9. and 1 Thessal. 4.6. they take money not for wares, but for cosenage; such may boast of their profession, and call themselves Saints, but God accounts them worse then Scythians; they are an Page  82 abomination, to him, Deut. 25.13, 14. Levit. 19.13. Some are first Table∣men, others second, but both miscarry; the one for his unrighteous Holi∣nesse, the other for his unholy righteousnesse. Christ hath redeemed us, that we might serve him; not in Righteousnesse or Holinesse, but in Righte∣ousnesse and Holinesse. Luke 1.75. such unrighteous men usually die beg∣gers, treasures gained by such wicked Practises,* profit not. Prov. 10.2, 3. Iob 20.15. Plain honesty is the best profit and policy. For though such gain but little at once, yet it gaines long, and keeps its custom; where∣as he that couzeneth me once, shall not deceive me a second time; he loseth the custom that he had. It's a great ornament to Religion, when the Pro∣fessors of it are just and righteous, when they pay every man his dues; re∣store what they borrow, slander no man, do violence to none, be diligent in their callings, faithfull in their trusts, keep their promises, be mercifull to the poor, and as much as in them lyes, have peace with all men. This is the way to stability, and safety here. Psal. 34.12, 13, 14. Isay 33.14, 15, 16. Ier. 22.15, 16. and happinesse for ever. Psal. 15.1. 'tis made a note of a Citizen of Heaven, that he doth not only walk uprightly towards God, but he worketh righteousnesse towards men. He doth not only know or talk of Righteousnesse, but he worketh Righteousnesse; he doth not onely praise, but he practiseth it; and not only by fits and starts, for a day or two, but [operans justitiam] 'tis his Trade, he's daily at it, he allwayes observes that golden Rule, Matth. 7.12. Whatsoever ye would that men should do to him, even so to do to them: he observes an equall proportion in the things com∣muted, he will not ask twelve pence, for that which is worth but six pence, nor offer four pence for that which is worth but four groats. He desires that every man should live in his calling, and therefore observes an equall pro∣portion both in his buying and selling. This therefore barres all these from Heaven, who Canonize themselves for Saints; yet walk directly contrary to the Rule of Sanctity, Psal. 15. they walk Hypocritically, work un∣righteousness, speak untruths, back-bite their neighbour, countenance the vile, discountenance those that are really good, break their Covenant with God and man, and be great oppressours, and grind their brethren. Let such men professe what they please, all their Religion is vain.

[If any would see more for the Covenant, he may peruse Doctor Burges Serm. on Ierem. 50.5. Mr. Case on Leviticus 26.25. Ierom. 50.5. Master Mockets Serm. on Deuteronomy 29.9. Master Caryll, and Master Colemans Serm. at the taking of the Covenant. Master Shaw's Brittaines Rememb. on 2 Chron. 15.12. Master Ash on Psal. 76.11. Mr. Calamy 1643. on 2 Tim. 3.3.]

11. False accusers.

The last dayes will be perilous, for men shall be false accusers, slan∣derers, back-biters,* or, in plaine English, Devills. The Devill hath many names given him in Scripture, but his most proper and peculiar name, by which he is knowne, and his malicious nature is discovered to us, is, Devill. (i. e.) a Slanderer, or false accu∣ser; because 'tis his great work to slander both God and Man. He slanders God to the Saints, and the Saints to God; since he can∣not ruine them, he will raise lies and false accusations against them. Revel. 12.10.* Hence he's stiled by way of eminency, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Page  83 slanderer of slanderers, the great slanderer and make-bate of the world, the Devill, Matth. 4.1. and 5.5.11. and 25.41. Iohn 8.44. 1 Pet. 5.8.

2. The word is taken in a more large and generall sense, for any one who is like the Devill, of a Devillish quality, especially in slandering, and falsly ac∣cusing others. Hence the Apostle would have women to be grave, not slan∣derers, or Devills. 1 Tim. 3.11. for to carry slanders up and down, is to act for the Devill, and to act like the Devill, no child so like the Father,* as these are like the Devill, and therefore in Scripture they have one and the same name given them. viz. Devills. Thus in the last days men shall be vile, and voyd of goodness themselves, and therefore they will maliciously calumniate the goodness of others, 'Twill be their delight (as 'tis the Devills their Master) to coyne false Reports, and raise lyes against the Saints, misinterpreting them and their actions to the world, putting false Interpretations, on what they do or say.

1. If they see any Vertue in the Saints, they either deny it, or diminish it, or else they put some sinister gloss upon it.

2. If they see any infirmities in them, they presently blaze them, they aggravate and augment them, making them farre greater then they are; they make pounds of pence, and mountains of Mole-hills.

3. If they can find no faults,* they will invent some, as the Devill did by Iob 2.9, 10, 11, and 2.5. and this properly is slandring. Thus Ieremiahs adversaries dealt with him. Ier. 13.18. Come let us devise devices against him. q. d. Though we can find nothing justly against him, yet we'l go and coyne something. So that to slander, is not simply to tell to another, what our neighbour doth or saith (for that may be done for our neighbours good, and for pub∣lick benefit;) thus those that told Eli of his sonnes wickednesse, were no back-biters: nor Ioseph who told his father of his Brethrens ill-doings. Gen. 37. nor those that told Paul of the contentions and fornications of the Corinthians. (1.1.5.) because they did it not cum animo nocendi, maliciously, but out of love, and for their good. But slandering properly is a malicious, bitter, reproachfull spreading of false tales. 'Tis a going up and down with an intent to do them a mishchief. Thus Doeg accused David, and Abimilech to Saul. 1 Sam. 22. and Haman slandered the Jewes to the King, and the Pharises oft traduced Christ and his Apostles. So then, a slander is the Devills arrow, shot by mans bow, he lends him his lyes and malice, and bor∣roweth the slanderers Tongue to utter them. And is not this the great sin of our Age? Do not many cast off their Trades, and make it their Trade, like Pedlars, to go up and down with the Devills pack? at one Town they open their pack, and there they vent Atheisme, they come to another, and there they vent Papisme, they go to a third, and there they cry Ran∣tisme, they go so a fourth, and there they vent blasphemy against God, and railing against Magistrates and Ministers Gratis, they expect no∣thing for their (idle, addle) speaking, I see no reason why they should, unlesse they vented better stuffe. These Rake-hells are the Devills Fa∣ctours, Merchants. Levit. 19.26. Thou shalt not go up and down as a Tale∣bearer; the word is Rachell, (whence our English word Rake-hell) which properly signifieth a Trafficker, that goeth up and down with his wares, so these go from place to place with false Accusations.

2. As those oft blend and mixe their wares, so these oft coyne false Tales against their Neighbours.

Page  843. As those buy at one place, and sell at another, so these Pedling-Devills make merchandise of their words, hearing a false Tale at one house, and selling it at another. The back-biter is (mus nominis saith Plautus) a mouse that is alwayes gnawing on the good name of his neighbour,* Some∣times she whispers in secret, and anon he openly defames, yet subtilly cover∣ing all with a deep sigh, professing his great sorrow for such a ones fall, when they should delight in the vertues of others, they feed upon their vices.

Let such consider, 1. That this sin is hatefull in respect of its Originall, it comes more especially from the Devill, and brings men to him. He at first slandered God to man, man to man, and a man to himself. Other sinnes make men like to beasts, but this makes men like the Devill himself: Hence Gerson calls them Caniuos dentes Diaboli. The Devills dog-teeth, and the Holy Ghost rangeth them amongst the wicked. Psal. 50.20. Rom. 1.30. By such persons and practises, the Devill upholds his kingdom. Lying and slander∣ing, are the pillars of Popery.

2. Such breed great strise in Cities, Families, Kingdomes. Prov. 16.28. and 26.20. especially if it be a son, servant, or bosome friend, and be done maliciously to get an estate, as Ziba when he accused Mephibosheth to Da∣vid. 2 Sam. 16. and Tertullus accused Paul for Self-ends. Acts 24.25.

3. They are the worst kind of Thieves, they robbe a man of his good name, which is a choyce Treasure. Prov. 22.1. Eccles. 7.3. Thieves may be shunned or out-run, but who can avoyd a slanderous Tongue.* A Thiefe may make satisfaction for what he stole, but this sin scarce admits of any sound restitution. Though the fame be false, yet it leaves a scarre behind it. Hence Machiavel taught his Schollars to lye lustily, some dirt would stick however.

4. 'Tis a kind of murder, it's called the poyson of aspes. Rom. 3.13. and the aspe spits poyson a great way off. 'Tis death for one to poyson his neigh∣bour; slandering, is poysening him. Their poysonous mouthes breathe forth nothing but curses,* lyes, reproaches; upon which murders often fol∣low. Rom. 3.13.15.16. Ezek. 22.9. 2 Sam. 10.3.18. Hamans Princes mis∣interpreting, & traducing Davids kindness, brought the sword upon them, & cost many lives. The slanderer kills three at once, viz. The Speaker, the Re∣ceiver, and him that is spoken against. Hence his Tongue is compared to de∣structive things, as a sword, a razor and coales of Juniper (which they say, will keep fire a year about (Psal. 55.21. and 120.3. and Solomon compares the mischief of an evill Tongue, to a hammer (or maule) a sword and an arrow. Prov. 25.18. a slanderous Tongue is no small evill,* it's a hammer to knock out his neighbours braines, a sword to kill him, and a sharp arrow to wound him. A malicious slanderous Tongue, is a most pernicious evill. Prov. 12.18. and 18.8.

5. 'Tis a sin which Gods soul doth more especially abhorre. It's not one∣ly abominable, but an abomination it self (in the abstract) to him. Prov. 6.16.19. especially when 'tis raised against his servants; to traduce any man is ill, but God takes it very ill, when we belye and slander his holy harmless ones. Numb. 12.8. Were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? We should be afraid to defame any, but especially Gods meek Moses's, those are his jewels, and he will not let them and their names lye alwayes in the dirt; David cuts off such from the earth, Psal. 10.1.5. and God shuts them out of Heaven. Psal. 15.1.4. [See more in those that handle the ninth Commandement.]

Page  85

Helps against this sin.

1. Interpret doubtfull things in the best sense,* and put the fairest constru∣ction on them. Where we want certainty, judge charitably. Better offend in being too charitable, then in being too rigid. 1 Cor. 13.5.7. Charity thinks no evill, but hopeth all things, and believeth all things, that can be hoped and borne with a good conscience; it believeth all things, so far as may stand with Reason and Religion. So Iacob, when he saw the bloody coat, did not suspect his sons, but said, some beast hath devoured him. Gen. 37.31.33. Gedaliah was but over-credulous, and too charitable in this kind. Ier. 40.14, &c. He would not entertain a suspicious thought against Ishmael, though it cost him his life. 'Tis a Rule in Heraldry, and it holds good in Di∣vinity, that in blazoning Armes and Ensignes, the Animals must be inter∣preted in the best sense, according to their noble and generous qualities. E. g. If a Lion or a Fox be the charge, we must conceive his quality represented to be wit and courage, not rapine and pilfring: So and much more in bla∣zoning my Brothers name, I must find out what is best, and mention that; if I meet with a sin of iufirmty, and humane frailty, I must conceal it; 'tis the glory of a man to pass it by. Prov. 19.11. Christ excuseth the heaviness of the disciples, The spirit (saith he) is willing, but the flesh is weak; if it be a great sin, and not publick, we may not divulge it, but admonish the party, and shew him his sin, that he may be brought to Repentanc. And if there may be twenty Interpretation made of a thing, if nineteen be naught, and but one good, love will take that which is good, and leave the nineteen bad; when we hear the innocency of our neighbour called in question, we should open our mouthes for the dumb, and plead their cause, else by our silence we shall become accessary to their slanders. When David was accu∣sed and slandered, by Court-Parasites, to Saul, then Ionathan pleads his cause; Why should he dye, what evill hath he done? 1 Sam. 20.32. when Ncodemus saw the rashnesse of the Jewes in condemning Christ unheard, he tells them 'twas against their Law so to do.

2. Shun envy,* which is the Root of slandering and strife. Hence they are joyned together in Scripture. Rom. 1.29, 30. and 13.13. God would have us act nothing from such a Principle. Philip, 2.3. let nothing be done through strife or envie, but let all wrath, and bitternesse, and discon∣tent at the Piety, Parts, and Honour of others, be layd aside, Ephes. 4.15. Two sinnes helpt to crucify Christ, Covetousnesse sold him, and Envie delivered him. They are still two great enemies to the Church of Christ. Covetousnesse sells Religion, and envy prosecutes it.

3. Shun idleness, which makes people slanderers and busy-bodies. 1 Thes. 4.11. Titus 2.3. 1 Pet. 4.15. Peter must look to himself, and not meddle with Iohns businesse. Iohn 21.21. be ever employed either in the generall or particular calling; for when men want work, the Devill cuts them out such work as this; most of the abuses of the Tongue spring from Idleness. Idle persons are usually Tatlers, and busie-bodies, speaking things they ought not. 1 Tim. 5.13.

4. Be not hasty in passing sentence on others acti∣ons, hut weigh all circumstances (for they do much vary a Case) and this makes it so hard to judge of mans actions,* because we know not the person, his Ends, Aymes, Tentations, &c. 'Twas the Barbarians rashness (Acts 28.4.) as soon as the Viper appeared on Pauls hand, to conclude him presently, without any onsideration, a Page  86 murderer. Be not hasty to believe Reports, but stay a little till Mephibosheth can speak for himself. 2 Sam. 16, 2. and 19.17. Do as Alexander was wont to do, when he heard one accuse his Neighbour; he would stop one ear, to hear what the other partly could say for himselfe. Iudge not according to the out∣ward appearance of things. Iohn 7.24. Judge not [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, secundum faciem] by the face or outward aprearance; many a good mans actions have a face set upon them altogether unlike both the man and his actings. There is no judging of men or matters, by bare Reports, and what is said of them. Should we judge concludingly, of men by some mens Reports of them, how base and contemptible would many gracious men appear, and how glori∣ous would many appear, who are truly contemptible? and therefore believe not bare report, it's the greatest lyar in the world. Report nothing upon bare report, else you may soon condemne the generation of the Righteous. Christ was reported to be mad,* and to have a Devill; and the Apostles were counted deceivers, though they were true. If a bare accusation were sufficient to condemn a man, who should be Innocent?

5. Observe what goodnesse thou canst see in thy Brother, and mention that; most men observe the sins of others, but Christ in his observation of the Churches, Rev. 2. and 3. observes their Vertues as well as their Vices; and commends them for the one, before he reproves them for the other. So the Lord commends Iob for his Patience, Iames 5.11. and Sarah for her faith and obedience. 1 Pet. 3.6. passing by the impatient speeches of the one, and the doubting of the other. and 'tis worth observing how David fills his mouth, even with Sauls vertues (though he were his deadly enemy, and Gods too) yet when dead, he makes a funerall Oration in his praise. 2 Sam. 1.19. &c, Many like flyes, passe over the sound parts, and if there be any galled part, they light on that. Like Beetles they flye over the sweet flowers,* but if they can find any dung, they love to creep into that. There is none so vile, but some good or another may be found in him; if with the Chymist, we would set the fire of our charity on work; for as there is some rubbish in the best men, so there is some Oar, something of God in the worst.

*6. Be much in the examination and censuring of your selves, for there are none so ready to censure o∣thers, as those that never judge and censure themselves. Had they spiritual eys to see into themselves, they would find so much work at home, that they would never busie themselves with other mens faults. Now since all that will live godly, must expect slanders, and false accusations from the world, take these few Directions to comfort you against them.

1. Get true Grace, that will meeken and humble you, and make you quietly to bear the vilest reproaches, as Moses did, and Iob (31.35, 39.) his advesaries book of accusation, he accounted a com∣mendation, and therefore resolves to wear it as a Crown in token of triumph.* Christ who was full of Grace, was also full of Patience. 1 Pet. 2.23. Nature is high and haughty, it quarrells with such as oppose it; but Grace doth not only purify, but it also pacifies the soul. It's a Dove-like spirit, and quiets the soul un∣der all indignities; hence the fruits of the Spirit are said to be Love, Peace, Long-suffering, Gentlenesse. Gal. 5.22. This made the Apostles rejoyce, that they were counted worthy of that honour, to be Page  87 dishonoured for the name of Jesus. Acts 5.41. Paul glories in re∣proaches for Christ, 2 Cor. 11.30. It's a dignity above all earthly dignities, it's a greater honour to beare reproach for Christ, then to be a Monarch in the world. Heb. 11.26. Ierom comforts Austin, and tells him 'twas a great honour, that all the Hereticks hated him. All the lyes and reproaches of such,* are as so many badges of honour to us, and we may put every reproach that we undergoe, (not for sin, but be∣cause we will not sin, not for Unrighteousnesse sake, 1 Pet. 4.14.) as Pearles in our Crown of patience. The blind world esteems them evills, but there is no hurt in them, if we be good. Let us keep Gods way, and then he will keep our names for us. Let us do our duty, and let God alone with all we have; he'l defend us from the scourge of the Tongue, and maintain our re∣putation against all opposition. He'l clear our innocency as the light, and if we can but make it good, that we are the servants of the Lord, then every Tongue that riseth against us, we shall condemn. Isay 54.17.* We should therefore walk so uprightly, open∣y, inoffensively, that even our enemies in their owne consciences may clear us. E. G. do men accuse us of Pride, Covetousnesse, Incontinency? we should walk so Humbly, Liberally, Chastly, that all that know us may plead our cause. We should get convincing lives, that none may credit our back-biters, that their slanders may be like water poured on oyled paper,* which runs off as fast as it is cast on. Dan. 6.10, Luther, Calvin, Beza, &c. had a thousand lyes raised against them, but being upright, holy, men, the lyes and reproaches of their enemies returned to the reproachers shame. 1 Pet. 2.12. Ier. 20.10, 11.

Object. They raise such untruths against me, that flesh and blood cannot beare them.

Answ. Gods people can and must bear that which naturall men who are meer flesh and blood cannot do. Matth. 5.47.

2. Since they lay false things to thy charge, as they did to Davids, Psal. 35.11. that's thy comfort. So they dealt with Christ and his Apostles.

Object. They reproach me for naturall defects and infirmities.

Answ. Then they reproach thy Maker, and not thee.

2. There's no reall dishonour in naturall infirmities, it's sin only which dishonours us.

3. It's a sign they want matter, when they reproach thee for Sicknesse, Poverty, and other Infirmities.

Object. They are good men who should comfort me, that do thus revile me.

Answ. That indeed addes somewhat to the affliction,* yet 'tis no new thing, we must look to be counted as Monsters, not only in Babel, but in Israel. Isay 8.18. Iobs friends were good men, yet they censure him for an Hypocrite. You must therefore learn to contemn the contemners of you, and of Gods Image in you. For if you cannot eudure the Tongue of Ishmael, you will never endure the sword of Esau. If you cannot bear reproaches for Christ, you'l never die for him.

2. Consider thou art not alone, it hath been the common lot of all Gods servants in all ages to be slandered. Matth. 5.11, 12. Elijah that was the strength and stay of Israel, yet is called the troubler of it. Ieremy is called a Page  88 Traytor, and a common Barretor.*Ier. 38.4. and Paul a pestilent fellow. Acts 24, 5. and the Primitive Christians were accounted the cause of all the miseries of the times.

3. Consider the good Ends which God hath in permitting them.

1. He can use them to the discovery of sin; those sins which Selfe-love will not let thee see, an enemy shall discover them to thee. It's good for every man to have a deadly foe, or a faithfull friend. When Iasons enemy thought to have killed him, by running him through, he cured him of an impostume.* God can make medicines of these poy∣sons, and make this dung to enrich us.

2. To cure us of sin. S. Austins Mother was cured of her drunkenness by her maids calling her, Meribibulam, a Wine-bibber, she took notice of the foulness of the sin,* and left it.

3. It drives us to prayer, Psal. 10.4. mine enemies reproach me, but I Prayer, (i. e,) I give my self up to that duty, I am even compounded, and made up of Prayer. When we are defamed, there's a time to pray. 1 Chron. 4.12.

4. They make us more watchfull over our wayes. Psal, 27.11. Help me because of mine enemies, who watch for my halting, saith David.

4. Remember the day of Judgement is at hand, and then thy innocency shall be publisht to all the world; Then will be a Resurrection of Names, as well as of Bodies. Then the wicked that now revile thee, shall tremble at the sight of thee. Let us then wait patiently, till the Lord arise and plead our cause. Let our moderation be known to all, for the Lord is at hand, the Judge stands before the dores, ready to take vengeance on our enemies. Phi∣lip. 4.5. Iam. 7.7, 8. Though for the present, you and your walking may lye under reproaches, yet there's a day of revelation coming, [Rom. 2.5.] when thy integrity and secret obedience,* shall have open recompence; and the unrighteousnesses and secret contrivances of the wicked, shall be disco∣vered, to their eternall shame. Then all the hidden works of darknesse shall be brought to light. Now Hereticks, Witches, and Devills incarnate have their day, and the world pleads for them as her own. But there's another day coming, when all things shall be reviewed, and scanned over imparti∣ally. Then, and never till then, shall we fully and clearly discern between the righteous, and the wicked, between him that fears the Lord, and him that fears him not. Mal. 3.18. The remembrance of this day made Paul to sleight the censures of men. 1 Cor. 4.3, 4.

[See more cordialls against Reproachfull slander. Doctor Hall's Balme of Gilead. p. 142. &c.*Byfeilds Marrow. p. 319. &c. Burroughes Moses Choyce. p. 343.375.412. &c. Robinson's Essayes, Observe. 41. Beards Theater of Gods Judgements. c. 46. p. 393. Mr. Young's Cure of Prejudice. p. 24. An excellent piece.

12. Incontinent. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Incontinentes, intemperantes, luxuriosi.

*This word in the Originall is Homonimous, and admits of divers acceptations; and therefore some Translations render it Riotous, (so Tindall:) others, Intemperate (so the Geneva Translation, and Beza:) others, Incontinent (so our Translation, and the Vulgar Latin.) In this va∣riety, there is no contrariety, the Reading is Canonicall either way. The word is used two wayes in Scripture.*

  • 1. Largely; for any kind of Intemperance and ex∣cess, Page  89Matth. 23.25. Ye are full of rapine and excesse. [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Intempe∣rantiae & luxus.] And so 'tis opposed to Temperance [Acts 24.25. Gal. 5.23. 2 Pet. 1.16. 1 Cor. 9.25. Titus 1.8.] which consists in moderating of the ap∣petite, so that a man is not a slave to his fleshly, sensuall appetite; but can master himself, and give Lawes to his Lusts, Contra∣ry to these are all intemperate men,* who have no pow∣er or command over themselves▪ but are led like slaves by every lust. So that this achrasy and intemperance in the Text, being opposed to euchrasy and Temperance (which Aristotle makes a comprehensive vertue, wher∣by a man fights against all tentations and allurements to vice) must (by the Rule of contraries) be a compre∣hensive vice, inclining men to Drunkenness, Gluttony, Riot, Uncleannesse, and all manner of excess.
  • 2. The word is taken sometimes strictly and restrainedly, for Inconti∣nent, lustfull persons,* that have no command over their concupiscentiall af∣fections, but like bruit beasts they run into all uncleanness. The word is sometimes opposed to Continency, or Chastity, which is that part of Tem∣perance, which moderates our fleshly lust, and wars against uncleanness, and lasciviousness. So 1 Cor, 7, 5. Now since the word is general, and comprehends all kind of Intemperance,* both in eating, drinking, and concupiscential lusts, I shall take the word in the largest sense, and shall not restrain, where the Scripture doth not restrain. The character is ours in the largest sense.

1. In the last days men shall be intemperate in Eating. Ordinary food will not content them, they must have the Lambs out of the flock, & the calves out of the stall, to maintain their lusts. They'l eat for pleasure, and not for need; to pamper themselves, and not to preserve nature: they'l study how they may please the flesh, and make provision for it, that they may fulfill the lusts thereof. Rom. 13. ult. Elijah was so temperate, that an Angell was sent to bid him arise and eat. 1 Kings 19.9.7. but in our days men are so Intemperate, that we had need of Angells to bid us hold and abstain from our excessive eating and drinking. How many unfit themselves hereby, for the duties of their callings; when a man experimentally knowes that such a Quantity of food will fit him for his calling, and yet he will exceed, that's sinfull. Many look upon drunkenness as a great sin, but as for Gluttony, they make no bones of that, whereas a man may as well offend, and make a beast of himself by excessive eating, as by excessive drinking; hence the Scripture condemns riotous Gormandizing, as well as swinish drunkenness. Rom. 13.13. Gal. 5.21. the Rich Glutton went to Hell, not for any drunkenness that we read of, but for Gluttony. Luke 16.19. 'Tis true; there's difference in Callings, Constitutions, Regions, and Climats, so that some may eat more then others, but under these pretences, for men to give way to excess & riot, will not hold.

Quest. May we not use the Creature more freely sometimes, and may we not feast as occasion requires?

Answ. Yes, the Lord gives us liberty to eat and drink not only for necessi∣ty, but also for delight. Thus Iosephs Brethren used the creature beyond meer necessity,* [Gen. 43. ult.] for delight, not for excess. God hath not only given us water to quench our thirst, but wine to delight and revive us. Psal. 104.15. Prov. 31.6. So that feasting in it self is a thing indifferent, and may lawfully be used as occasion requires: when Isaak was weaned, Abra∣ham made a feast. Gen. 21.8. Iethro made a feast for Aaron, and the Elders of Israel▪ Exodus 18.12. Hester feasted the King, and Haman. Hest. 5.5. Christ himself was at a feast more then once. Luke 5.29. Iohn 2.1.20. Page  90 and the Christians had their Love-feasts. 1 Cor. 10.27. Iude 12. yet these Rules must be observed in our Feasting.

  • 1. It must be done seasonably,
  • 2. Soberly,
  • 3. Discreetly,
  • 4. Religiously,

1. Our Feasting must be at seasonable times; every thing is beautifull in its season, Eccles. 3.11. and a duty not rightly circumstantiated, is marred.

1. 'Tis unseasonable to feast and fare deliciously every day. Luke 16.19. yea, though we be rich, and can afford it, yet we may not do it, we have cal∣lings to follow, & we come not into the world to feast & loyter, but to labour.

2. We may not spend too much time of one day in Feasting,* To sit at dinner till night, and at supper till midnight, is unseasonable, and an abuse of time; God ordained the night for rest, and not to riot. The loss of time is far worse then the loss of money; that cannot be regained, this may. To be prodigall of time is the worst prodigality, and most dangerous. Luther lamented the spending of so much precious time, (as too many do) in Feasting.

3. To feast at such a time when the Lord calls by his judgements to Fast∣ing, is exceeding unsuitable, & unseasonable. Isay 22.12, 13, 14. Amos 6.1. to 7.

4. So to Feast on the Lords day, is unseasonable. He hath given us six days for our own use, he hath reserved but the seventh for himself, how then can we do so great wickedness, and sin against so good a God! This is a day for spiritual, and not for carnal feasting.

*2. Soberly; beware of superfluity and riot, Christians should be famous for good works, and not for revelling and costly banquets. The art of Cookery hath killed many, Variety of dainty dishes, breeds Variety of diseases. Whence come so many Dropsies, Gouts, Rheumes, but from excess?

3. Discreetly; making choyce of our company, not calling rich Atheists, nor profane scoffers at Piety. Psal. 35.16. Christ would have us call the poor rather. Luke 14.13, 14. not that Christ doth simply condemn the calling of our friends, or rich neighbours, but he would have the poor especially re∣membred. q. d. Call not the rich alone, but let the poor have a portion at, or from thy Table. Portions should be sent to those for whom nothing is provi∣ded, (i. e.) who have nothing prepared for themselves. Neh. 8.10. Hest. 9.22. Deut. 16.11.14. One rich man useth to feast another, when in the meane time good David is forgotten. 1 Sam. 25.10, 11.

4. Religiously; in the fear of God, no drinking of Healths, no taunting at Religion, no mocking at such as are in misery. Lam. 3.63. lest we be like to those that feast without fear, either of God or man. Iude 12. all our feasting must be as before the Lord, and in his eye. Exod. 18.12. Deut. 12.7. 1 Chron. 29.22. The want of this holy fear is the cause why either in the time of feast∣ing, or presently after,* some cross or other befalls men, as we see in Nabal, 1 Sam. 25.36, 37. at a feast Absolon caused Amnon to be slain. 2 Sam. 13.28. and the breach was made between Ahasuerus and his wife at a feast. Hest. 1.10. Iob was afraid lest his sons had offended in their feasting. Iob 1.45. and the Lord complains of the Jews for their profane feasting. Isay 5.12. The Harp and the Pipe was in their feasts, but they regarded not the work of the Lord. See the fruits of profane musick, it drives out the thoughts of God, & his works. So Amos 6.5, 6. See their punishment. v. 7. Musick should be sent for (said the Heathen) when men are angry, rather then when they are feasting & merry. Not but that musick in it self is good, especially when we make that use of it, which the Prophet did, when he called for a Minstrill to raise up his heavie Page  61 heart, and make him cheerfull, and the fitter to prophesy. 2 King. 3.15. The end of all our Feasting, must be the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10.31. it must not be to pamper the flesh, or to get the praise of men, as many do that by riotous feasting, waste and weaken their estates, that they may get a name for good house-keepers. To what end is such waste. The end which God would have us to ayme at in our Feasting, is his praise, and not our own. Exod. 34.23. Le∣vit. 23.34. Deut. 16.25. Oh then let us shun all Intemperance and abuse of the creature; An Epicure is fit for nothing, but the service of the devill. There was never any man that made his Guts his God, that ever became famous in Church or State.* 'Tis a sin that besots men, it doth emasculate and weaken the powers of the soul. Hence our Saviour warnes his disci∣ples to take heed of being over-charged with surfetting. Luke 21.34. Peter calls such bruit beasts, Spots and blots, which blemish and disgrace religion. 2 Pet. 2.12, 13. A Scavenger, whose living is to empty, is to be preferred be∣fore him that liveth but to fill Privies. If a man strive but for a corruptible Crown, we see he's temperate not onely in some things, but in all things; in eating, drinking, sleeping, &c. 1 Cor. 9.25. and shall not we that strive for an incorruptible Crowne, keep under our bodies, and be temperate in all things, that we may be allwayes fit for our Masters service. This sobriety of the body, tends much to the furtherance of Grace in the soul,* therefore the Apostle joynes it with Godlinesse. Titus 2.11, 12. we should therefore eat and drink with perpetuall moderation, alwayes taking less, but never more then nature desires, for that measure of meat and drink, which serves to refresh nature, and make us fitter for the service of God and man, is allowed us of God, and no more. To arm you against Intemperance.

1. Consider,* it hurts the body, makes it dull, disea∣sed, drowsy, and unfit for service, Temperance pre∣serves health. Tenuis mensa sanitatis mater.

2. It wastes the Estate, and brings men to Pover∣ry. Prov. 21.17. and 23.21.

3. It unfits the soul for Prayer, Hearing, Meditation, or any spirituall ser∣vice, it besots it, and makes it stupid, secure, senselesse. It brings destruction. Phil. 3.19. it cast our first Parents out of Paradise,*Gen. 3.6. brought the flood upon the old world, Matth. 24.38. fire on Sdom. Ezekiel 16, 49, 50. and the sword on Israel. Amos 6.4.7. and barres men out of hea∣ven. 1 Cor. 6.9, 10.

4. 'Tis a great incentive unto Lust. Whoring and Riot oft go together, Rom. 13.13. when men make provision for the flesh, and cater for cates and delicates, they'l soon fulfill the lusts thereof. V. 14. We read of some that lived in wantonnesse, and what was the reason? why they nourished their hearts, as in the day of slaughter, or sacrifices, when they fared deli∣ciously. Iames 5.5. Gluttony is the very Mother, and Nurse of Lust.

[See more, Trapps Common-place, Abstinence, in the end of the Epi∣stles. Amos &c. l. 3. c. 15, Downams Guide to Godlinesse. l. 3. c. 24. Green∣hill on Ezekiel 16.49. D. Hammonds Practical Catechisme. l. 3. Sect. 3. Bol∣tons Directions for walking, p. 195. Mr. Clerks Mirrour. cap. 1.61. Edit. 3.]

2. As for Intemperance in Drinking; it never abounded more. It hath debased our Nobility, stained our Gentry, beggered the Yeomandry, pollu∣ted the Nation, and made the earth to groan under us, so that it would as fain be deliver'd of us, as a woman with child would of her birth: what place, what Page  92 city, what Town or Village, what Market or meeting, what feasts or faires that are not defiled with Drunkenness? we may take up the Prophets com∣plaint. Isay 28.8. all places are full of vomiting and filthinesse (vomiting is one of the beastly fruits of Drunkenness) so that there is no place cleare. We have Drunkards of all sorts and Sexes, High and Low, Rich and Poor, Old and Young, Men and Women, Gentlemen and Beggars.

1. The universality of a sin is a sad and sure fore-runner of judgement. When sin growes Nationall, it brings Nationall judgements: as we see in Germany,* the floods of Drunkenness and Excess, have brought upon them floods of calamity and War. So that as the Lord said sometime to his peo∣ple. Ier. 7.12. Go to my place at Shiloh, where I set my Name at the first, and see what I have done to it for the wickednesse of my people. So may he say to Eng∣land, Go to my place in Germany, and see what I have done to them for their Drunkenness and riot, and let their falls make you to fear. When All the Old Word was given up to excess,* eating and drinking like beasts, then came the flood. Matth. 24.38. when All Sodom was given to uncleanness, then came fire and consumed them. When the people of Israel assemble themselves by Troops to harlots houses, then God visits them with his judgements. Ierem. 7.5.

*1. When great men are given to sin, that hastens wrath. They draw many away by their lewd Exam∣ple; like great Cedars, when they fall, many branches fall with them. Hence the Lord forbids excess of wine to Rulers, lest they should forget the Law, and so per∣vert judgement. Prov. 31.45. The houses of many Gentlemen that should have been Bethels, houses of God, are become Beth-avens, houses of vanity and iniquity. The old Proverb was, As drunk as a beggar. I wish we might not say, as Drunk as a Gentleman, an Esquire, and Lord, &c.

2. Are there not some Ministers (who by their places are bound to wit∣ness against this sin, both in life and doctrine) that say as those, Isay 56. ult. Come let us fill our selves with strong drink. This made so many erronious Mi∣nisters, (especially in episcopall times) Isay 28.7. The Priest and the Pro∣phet have erred through wine.* This clouds the understanding, darkens the mind, robs men of Reason, and turns them into beasts. Hence the Lord forbad the Priest and Levite the use of wine and strong drink (upon pain of death) when they were to come into the congregation, to execute their of∣fice. Levit. 10.9. why so? V. 10, 11▪ that they may put a difference be∣tween the Holy and Profane, and may be fit to publish all Gods Statutes to his people. Hence the Apostle would not have Ministers to be wine-bibbers, 1 Tim. 3.3.3, 4, 5. Titus 1.7. Drunken Ministers (be they never so learned) are but unsavory salt,* fitter for the Dung-hill, then the Temple; and if other Drunkards deserve double punishment (in Aristotles judgement) first for their Drunkennesse, and then for the sin com∣mitted in their Drunkennesse; what then do drunken Levites deserve? But blessed be God we have lived to see that day, wherein such Sots are cast out of the service of the San∣ctuary.

3. We have Drunkards of all Ages, old, and young; many get such Ha∣bits of this sin, (when young) that they cannot break them when they are old. We have Drunkards of all Trades; Drunken Shooe-makers, Smiths, Naylers, &c. Drunkards of all Sexes; not only Drunken Hosts, but Hostesses, even women-Drunkards:* this sin is base and beastly in any, but abomina∣ble in a woman: such danger their chastity. 'Tis Modesty, and Civility, Page  93 Chastity and Temperance, that commend a woman. Whom Bacchus baths and washeth, Venus lightly warms and dries. A drunken man I doubt is not honest, but a drunken woman without doubt is naught. We read but of one drunken woman in all the Scripture, and she is called a whore, a great whore, the mother of harlots. Rev. 1.1, 2.5, 6.

2. Another Aggravation of the Drunkenness of our Time is, that it is committed against the greatest Light that ever was in the land. Drunken∣ness is a work of darkness, and if men will needs act it, the night is the fittest time for such black work. So 'twas in the Apostles time. 1 Thes. 5.7. Those that were drunk, were drunk in the night. So Acts 2.15. The modest mis∣creants of those times, chusing the darkness and secrecy of the night, to co∣ver their filth, will rise in judgement against those impudent, Noon-day Drunken-Devills of our times, who blush not to act their villany in the sight of the Sun, and alter the course of nature, turning day into night, and night into day. And if to act it in the light of the Sun, be an aggravation, oh what is it to act it against the light of the Gospel? and that now in an Afflicting time, when the Rod lyes upon the Nation for this sin, among the rest. To sin out of ignorance, infirmity and inadvertency, may excuse à tanto, sed non a toto: it may extenuate, but it cannot totally excuse. But he that sin∣ned presumptuously (i. e.) wittingly and willfully, purposely and proudly, desperately and despitefully, out of contempt of Gods Law, was to be cut off by death. (so much the phrase imports) not only a cutting off by ex∣communication) but a cutting off by the sword of the Magistrate. Exod. 31.14. Levit. 17.4. and 20.2, 3, 4, 5. because he did thereby reproach the Lord, and did as 'twere say, that God was not to be regarded, nor his judgements worthy of fear. Exod. 21.14. Numb. 15.30.32. and because Magistrates ma∣ny times are partiall and negligent in cutting off such presumptuous sinners, therefore the Lord himself threatens and undertakes the doing of it. Deut. 21.20, 21. an obstinate glutton, a Drunkard, must die for it.

Quest. But how shall we know a Drunkard?

Answ. By his

  • Affections,
  • Words, and
  • Actions.

1. By his Affections; when mens love and desire is set on strong drink, so that they rise early to follow it. It may be thou hast no money, and so canst not be drunk.* I, but if thy heart be set upon the sin, thou art a Drunkard: for God judgeth of us by our Affections, and not by our Actions; that we are which we resolve and desire to be, whether it be good, or evill. Then a man lives in a sinne when he loves it, though he do not, or cannot act it.

2. By a mans talk; out of the abundance of the heart doth the mouth speak. When men boast how many dozens they have drunk, and how ma∣ny men they have layd asleep;* when men shall inquire for the strongest li∣quor, and encourage each other to the drinking of it. Isay 56. ult. that is one sign of a Drunkard. Men will be discoursing of what they love, be it good, or evill.

3. By a mans Actions.

1. When men stagger and reel by reason of strong drink, so that the same legs which brought him into the house, cannot carry him out again; thus both the Law of God and man, have made a sign of a Drunkard. Psal. 107.17. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man.

2. By their Vomiting, by the rednesse of their eyes, stinking breath, de∣formed Page  94 countenance, gastly looks, fighting and quarrelling, swearing and swaggering. Isay 19.14. Prov. 23.29, 30.

*3. By your companions; if you delight in drunken company, it argues an inclination to the sin. Like will to like, and birds of a feather will flock toge∣ther. As sheep love sheep, and Saints will delight in Saints. Psal. 16.3. So swine will delight in swine, and sinners in sinners.

4. When men delight to make others drunk (as a woe is denounced against such, Hab. 2.15, 16.) and to this end put ingredients into their drink, and by pickle and salt meats, draw men on to this sin; this is to adde drun∣kennesse to thirst, and so become lyable to the curse in the very Letter. Deu∣teron. 29.19, 20.

5. When men call for Healths. A Health to their Master, and a Health to their Mistris, a Health to this man, and to that, and at last a Health to the Devill himself, as * Pope Iohn the thirteenth did, whose Vicar doubtlesse he was. This is a Shiboleth to distinguish between a drunkard, and a sober man. The drunkard drinks Healths so long to others, that at last he leaves none for himself. Such Healthing, hath brought many men out of Health.

Vna salus sanis non est potare salutem,
Non est in potâ vera salute salus.

2. This sin is so odious, that a Heathen condemned it. Hest. 1.8. then drinking was according to the Law which the King had set, viz. That none should be compelled to drink more or oftner, then it pleased himself. The ancient Brittaines drunk no Healths, as Sir Edward Cock observes.

Ecce Britannorum mos est laudabilis iste,
Vt bibat arbitrio pocula quisque suo.

Oh that some strict Law were made for the suppressing this sin! That as Iael was blest for driving a Nayle into the Temples of Sisera; so the ge∣nerations to come may blesse those in authority, for suppressing this In-let to so much sin.

2. All occasion and provocations to sin must be avoyded. [Ephes. 5.15. 1 Thes. 5.22. Iude 23.] But drinking of Healths, is a provocation to sin. viz, to drunkennesse, fighting, murder, &c. Ergo. Many think it a small matter. but there is no sin small simply in it self. A spark of fire is a small matter, and yet it hath set a whole Town on fire.

3. All abuse of the creature must be avoyded, but drinking of Healths is an abuse of the creature; God hath ordained the creature for his Glory, and our comfort, but God hath no Glory, and we have no comfort, by such abu∣sive drinking. Ergo.

4. That which is of ill report amongst the Saints, must be shunned. Phil. 4.8. But drinking of Healths is a thing of ill Report amongst the Saints. Ergo.

5. That whose rise and Originall is from the devill, is to be abhorred, But drunken Healths had their rise and Original from the devill.* The ancients called it, The devills shooe∣ing-horn, to draw men on to drunkennesse. So that 'tis no Novell, Puritanicall precisenesse, but it hath been condemned many hundred yeares agoe, by the Anci∣ent Fathers. Yea the sounder sort of Papists have con∣demned it, and thought it most unreasonable, that another mans belly should be my Rule.

Page  96Object. Suppose a man begin a Health to a Prince, or to the Protectour, will you not pledge him?

Answ. We are commanded to pray for these in Authority, but not to drink Healths unto them. 1 Tim, 2.2. As the Lord Virulam said, I will pray for the Kings Health, and drink for mine own. I will not for drinking in Alexander, stand in need of Esculapius, said Calisthenes. He is the best sub∣ject that prayeth most, not he that drinks, and catouseth most.

Object. Drinking of Healths, is the fashion now adayes?

Answ. We are forbidden to follow the sinfull fashions and customes of the World. Rom. 12.2. nor may we follow multitudes in evill. Exod. 23.2.

[See more. Pryn's Healths, Sicknesse. Mr. Young's Drunkards Character. Sect. 76. p. 3.9. Pryn's Histriomastix, V. Index, Healths. Mr. Gerec against Healths.]

To arm you against Drunkennesse, take these few Considerations.

  • 1. Consider that drunkennesse is one of the vilest sins in the World, the Mother of most abominations. As all waters meet in the Sea, and all the Creatures met in Noah's Ark; so fighting, killing, lying, swearing, &c. meet in this sin. 'Tis a Master-sin which never goes alone. Shew me a lyar (we use to say) and I'le shew you a Thief. So say I, shew me a drunkard, and I'le shew you a whore-master,* a swearer, a dissolute, unteachable person. Isay 28.7, 8, 9. A drunkard is Diabolus explicatus, a Devill in his colours, the devill in his Pontificalibus, a devill cloathed with flesh and blood. He cares not to break all the Commandements.
    • 1. He feares not God.
    • 2. He makes his belly his God.
    • 3. He profanes Gods sacred Name many wayes.
    • 4. He profanes his Sabbath, he's unfit (to say truth) for any service of God, or man.
    • 5. He dis-regards Superiours, he's an ill Example to Inferiours.
    • 6. He's accessory to his own death, he shortens his dayes by his Intem∣perance, and is ready to kill all about him in his drunken fits.
    • 7. He abounds in acts of uncleannesse,* and adultery, the fire of Drunken∣nesse, kindles the fire of Lust.
    • 8. He spends that on himself, which should maintain his family, and so is the worst of Thieves, even worse then an Infidell, which provides for his own.
    • 9. He's apt to belye and slander his Neighbour.
    • 10. His heart is full of lust, a brothel of sin, a sink of uncleannesse, full of wicked devices, against God, and man.
  • 2. Consider the dreadfull curses which God hath denounced against such, every Prophet almost hath a woe to throw at them. Isay 5.11, 22. Hab. 2.15. Isay 28.1. Ioel 1.5. awake and weep ye drunkards here, that ye may not weep for ever; and at last it brings everlasting woe. 1 Cor. 6.10. no drunkard (i. e.) no Habituall,* Impenitent drunkard, shall come in∣to Gods Kingdome. If Turks imprison them, and we'l cast them out of our houses; let none think that God will receive them into his holy Ha∣bitation.
  • 3. Consider the sad effects of drunkennesse. These are excellently set forth. Prov. 23.29. ad finem cap. This Text I may call the Drunkards Looking∣glasse: wherein they may see the woe and sorrow that attends them. To Page  96 whom is woe, to whom is sorrow? (i. e.) who draw all manner of sorrow upon soul and body, but drunkards? They meet to be merry, but the end of such mirth is heavinesse.* It's dear bought, that hath so many curses attend∣ing it. What madness is it for a few moments of pleasures here, to endure eternity of sorrow hereafter? Fur the enjoyment of a little wine here, to drink the Vialls of Gods wrath, and lye in Seas of misery for ever.

2. To whom is strife and wounds without a cause? q. d. Drunkenness breeds contention, quarrelling, and needless wounds.

3. It hurts the Body, and brings Diseases, Rheumes, Dropsies, Apople∣xies, and Redness of eyes, by reason of abundance of hot humours. How ma∣ny have shortned their dayes, and extinguisht the Radicall moysture? much water poured on a little flame, doth soon extinguish it. This makes even Kings sick. Hos. 7.5.2. Verse 30. Solomon tells us how we may know a Drunkard.

1. He loves to tarry at the wine, he spends houres, dayes, and years at it, 'tis his Trade and Calling.

2. He goes and seeks mixt wine. q. d. He goes from house to house to in∣quire after the strongest Liquor.

3. But how may we shun Drunkenness? V. 31. look not on the wine when 'tis red. (i. e.) Shun the occasions and allurements to this sin, set a watch over your eye, and stay the beginnings of it.

4. What hurt will it bring upon us? V. 32. In the end 'twill bite like a Serpent, q. d. Though for a time it may seem pleasant, yet at last 'twill sting thee very sore; it will bring upon thee troubles Internall, Externall, Eternall. Wherefore fly from it, as from a Serpent.

2. 'Twill hurt the soul, and fill it full of noysome Lusts. The soul is the best and noblest part;* which if corrupted, becomes the worst. V. 33. It breeds adultery and lust. Thine eyes shall behold strange women (i. e.) Harlots. Drunkenness, and Whoring, oft go together. A belly filled with wine, foameth out filthiness. Rom 13.13. Lot (though a holy man) yet addes In∣cest to his Drunkenness. And though Adulterers are not Drunkards, yet there are few Drunkards, but are Adulterers. V. 33. It breeds evill speeches. Thy heart shall utter perverse things (i. e.) preposterous, foolish, filthy mat∣ters. V, 34. It makes men stupid, and fearless, secure, and careless in the greatest dangers. He's as one that sleeps on the top of a Mast in the midst of the Sea. Though he be in great and continuall danger, yet he's insensible of it. He's in great danger that sleeps in the midst of the Sea, for he's soon over∣whelmed with waves, and he's like to fall suddenly, that sleeps in the top of a Mast;* yet such is the Drunkards Lethargy, that he cannot feel when he is stricken, nor know when he is beaten. V. 35. which is the height of mi∣sery; it makes men desperate, incorrigible, and incurable. They become impudent in sin; those sins which men tremble to commit, when sober, yet they'l venture on,* when drunk. I will seek it yet again (saith the habitua∣ted Drunkard) q. d. Notwithstanding all these dangers and mischiefs, I will not leave my drunkenness. As perseverance in goodness (in despight of all opposition) is the height of goodness; so perseverance in wickedness, in de∣spight of Judgements, is the height of wickedness. That's our misery which attends on drunkenness, that it's usually accompanied with impeni∣tency. Hos. 4.11.

*4. It robs men of their good name. Call a man drunkard, you need say no more. Hence when the Pharises would accuse Christ as a great sinner, they call him a Wine bibber. Mat. 11.19. of old they were accounted sons of Belial. 1 Sam. 1.14, 15, 16. when Eli thought Hannah mas drunk, count not (said she) thine hand-maid for a daughter of Belial (i. e.) for a lawless, Page  97 loose, disordered person. It takes away the man, and lays a beast in his room, yea it makes a man worse then the Beasts that perish, for you cannot force them to drink more then will do them good.

5. It wastes and weakens the Estate, and so disables men for works of Piety and Mercy. Prov. 21.17. He that loveth wine shall not be rich. Not he that drinketh wine, but he that loves it, so as to set his heart upon it, such lose both Temporal and Eternal Riches.

6. It layes Kingdomes waste. Isay 5.11.13, 14, 15. as a good man is a publick good, so such a wicked man, especially, is a publick evill.

7. The loveliness and beauty of Temperance and sobriety should make us loath excess & luxury,* How sweetly doth the sober, holy man enjoy himself? his soul's in Peace, his house is in Peace, his goods are preserved, his family is the better for him, he's a blessing and ornament to the place where he dwells. His judgement is clear, his memory strong, his affections regulated, he's fit to pray, read, hear, meditate, &c. He hath a healthfull body, and a comely countenance, wise discourse. In a word, he enjoyes himself, and sees God in all the blessings he enjoyes.

There's no sin but hath some pretences,* and so hath this.

1. Object. Ioseph made his Brethren drunke.

Answ. That's false, for Ioseph was a holy man, and one that feared God, and therefore durst not do such a thing for a world. God puts a Spirit of in∣genuity in the hearts of his people,* and writes the Law of love there, which constraines them to be pure and sober in all their actings, and undertakings; they are born of God and cannot sin, viz. deliberately, wilfully and habitually.

2. The word Shacar is taken in Scripture in a good sense, for a free and liberall use of the creature [ad hilaritatem, non ad ebrietatem.] for mirth, and not for madness; for chearfulness, and not for drunkenness. So the word is used. Hag. 1.6. they shall drink, but not to drunkenness (i. e.) not plentifully. So Cant. 5.1. drink ye drink abundantly,* to an holy in∣ebriation. So Ephes. 5.18. be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit. q. d. If ye will be drunk, let it not be with a bodily, carnall, divellish drunkenness; but let it be with a spiritual, holy ebriety; do not sip or taste of the Graces of the Spirit, but be filled with the spirit of Joy, Love, Peace, Temperance, Patience. Acts 2.13.15. compared with V. 4. spiritual joy is there likened to wine,* which revives and quickens dead and drooping spirits. So Cant. 1.2. thy love is better then wine. This is Crapula sacra. The word is likewise used in the New Testament, Iohn 2.10. for a more free and liberal use of the Creature for mirth and comfort, not for excess and riot. God hath given wine to make glad the heart of man. Psal. 104.15. and so far as it refresh∣eth and delighteth us in a sober way, we may use it. Prov. 31.6, 7. Thus and no otherwise, Iosephs Brethren drunk, and were merry. The Philosophers make three cups.* The first of Necessity, the second of Pleasure, the third of Madness. Iosephs Brethren took the first and second, but not the third.

2. Object. Noah and Lot were Drunken. Gen. 9.21. & 19.32.

Answ.* Yet they were not drunkards, 'twas not their Trade to sit at the wine; one action doth not denomi∣nate, or make a man good or bad.* They sinned through weaknes & infirmity, against the bent and resolution of their souls; but thou sinnest wilfully and de∣liberately.

Page  982. These examples are recorded to fright us from sin (that we may shun the rocks where others have split themselves) not to incourage us in sin.*

3. To keep us from despaire, that if through weakness, and for want of watchfulnesse we have fallen, yet we may remember that God which par∣doned penitent Noah, and Lot, will also pardon us upon our Repentance.

Object. 'Tis Physicall.

*Answ. 1. It's a medicine worse then the disease; for a man to destroy his soul, that he may cure his body, is worse then death. 2. We may not do evill, that good may come thereof. Rom. 3.8. 3. Very learned Physitians affirm the contrary; they say that drunkennesse destroyes the health, spoyles the stomack, hurts the braine, makes the blood watrish, dulls the senses, weakens the memory,* and destroyes the understanding.

Object. They are so accustomed to it, that they cannot leave it.

Answ. An evill custom is better broken then kept, and though custom be a second nature, yet the God of nature can change nature; he can make a black more white, and take spots from a Leopard, he can turn a Lion into a Lamb, and water into wine; he can make iron to swim, and Iordan to recoyle. He is El the the strong God, and though our corruptions are too strong for us, yet are they not too strong for him. Spread therefore thy misery before the Lord, and let him see 'tis the unfeigned desire of thy soul as freely to forget sin, as thou wouldst have him to forgive it; and to part with it, as to have it pardoned; and then in due time he'l heal thee of it, what ever it be.

I come now to some brief Rules against it, and so conclude.

1. Kill it in the Root, get a hearty detestation of it, resolve rather to die, then to be drunk. To this end consider the vilenesse of the sin (in the effects before recited) remember the judgements of God, on Nabal, Ammon, Elah, and Belshazar, who died in their Drunkennesse. 1 Sam. 25.36. and 2 Sam. 13.28, 29. and 1 Kings 16.8, 9, 10. Dan. 5.2.30. Let their falls make thee to fear, for God is the same still, to the same sinners.

2. Be diligent in your callings. Idlenesse breeds Drunkennesse. When men have nothing to do,* the Devill comes and calls them out to work. The flying bird is safe, 'tis the bird that sits still, which is in danger. God hath promised to protect us, but then we must keep his way. Psal. 91.11, 12.

Object. We are Gentlemen and cannot worke.

Answ. You must work, or do worse. God hath ordained, that every son of Adam, in the sweat of his brows shall eat his bread. Gen. 3.19. and he that will not (not he that by reason of sicknesse cannot) labour,* shall not eat. 2 Thes. 3.10. and if Adam in the state of Innocency, must work and dresse the Garden; and after the fall, when he was Monark of all the world, yet must he labour; who then can think himselfe free? 'Tis not Idleness which commends a Gentleman, or following of foolish fashions, drink∣ing of Healths, lying in an Alehouse, &c. there's no baseness like this. But the life and soule of Nobility and Gentility consists in noble and vertuous dispositions, in gallantness of spirit (without pride or insoleuce) to do his Country good.

3. In all places, and at all times set a watch against this sin; when men are most secure, they are in most danger: where the watch is most care∣less, there the enemy enters, And if Christs own disciples must watch a∣gainst this sin, who may be secure? Luke 22.34. Many when they go to Fairs and Markets, they go without care or fear, they do not take Antidotes with Page  99 them; hence 'tis, that so many fall by this sin. A man that goes amongst such as have Plague-sores running on them, had need of speciall Antidotes, to keep out the infection.

4. Shun the occasions of this sin, He that will no evill do, must do nothing that belongs thereto. He must not once look on the wine when 'tis red. Prov. 23.31. a little leak may drown a ship, and great fires have come from little sparks. Especially shun the company of Drunkards, be not amongst wine bibbers. Prov. 23.20. we should have no familiarity with them. 1 Cor. 5.11. Eph. 5.7. touch not this pitch, lest you be defiled with it, mingle not with them, lest you learn their work. What Solomon saith of the Harlot, that say I of the Drunkard. Prov. 5.8, 9, 10, 11. remove far from him, come not nigh the door of his house, &c. especially shun Ale-houses, these dens of Devills, and Cages of unclean birds; those stewes and styes of all abomina∣tions. Take heed of the Excessive Use, and the great abuse of Tobacco. Great Tobacconists oft times are great Drunkards.

All drunkenness is not by wine or strong drink,* (as a learned man well observes) the Thracians and Scythians used to burn certain Herbs, that they might be drunk with the smoak thereof. That Barbarisme our English Nation useth too much in a base Indian weed. It's pitty men of good parts should be drunk so. They should leave it to idle, empty, witlesse, worthless heads.
'Tis said of Garlick, that it makes men wink, and drink, and stink; Many use To∣bacco to make them drink, till at last they wink and stink. 'Tis true, the drugge is good in it self, as 'tis Gods creature, and the fume of it taken in a discreet, moderate, physicall way, may be usefull. But taken in that ex∣cessive, intemperate,* irregular way (as most take it) it besots men, and robs them of their Health, Wealth, Wit, Time, &c. I shall therefore give some Reasons against the abuse of the creature, because the sin is Generall, and 'tis the Devills shoeing-Horn, to draw men on to Drunkennesse. Instead of Salt-meat, the Devill feeds his followers now with smoak (fumo pereat, qui fumum vendit) first drink, and then smoake; Then smoak, and after drink; the Pot and the Pipe, and the Pipe and the Pot walk so long, till they have Piped themselves out of all.

1. Consider, that Tobacco is a Physicall root, and hath in it a Poysonous quality, as appeares by its Antipathy against nature. Now he that shall take Physick every day, may soon put an end to his dayes. Physick must be ta∣ken rarely and seldom, else if it become familiar to the body, it looseth its operation. 'Tis a violent purge, which wastes and weakens nature, especi∣ally when taken often. Hence the learned conclude, that frequent using of it is dangerous.

Frequens suffitur Nicotianae exoticae, sanis non est salutaris.
Qnid censum (vereor ne sensum) insumimus herbis?
India quam mittit, sed minus ind boni.
Num sani, insani qui fecimus aspida merces?
Quòd prosit sanis non habet, ager habet.

Rex Platon.

1. All excesses are hurtfull, and are abuses of the Creature, and as exces∣sive eating and drinking is unlawfull, so also is excessive smoaking. Not one of many but takes it for fashion and custome, more then for need. Any action (especially Physicall) if not rightly circumstantiated, is very dangerous. If a Physician should advise his Patient to take a spoonfull or two of such a Potion, and he should take ten or twenty; or if he should prescribe him to take a penny-weight of such or such a thing, and he should eat a pound, he might soon put himself past eating. So when Physicians shall prescribe one or two Pipes a day, and men shall take 20. this is causa adju∣vans Page  100 ad mortem, it's a kind of self-murder, and shortens mens dayes.

3, This immoderate and excessive use of Tobacco, brings with it many discommodities. It overthrowes the state of the body, dryeth the brain, dimmeth the sight, corrupts the smell, hurts the stomack, destroyes conco∣ction, spoyles the spirits, dulls the understanding, confounds the senses, stu∣pifies the body, marres the breath, and turns it into an unsavory stench, ren∣dring it loathsome to their Wives, Friends, and such as come nigh them. It turnes the Nose into a chimney, and makes a Kithin of the body, sooting it with an oyly Unctious kind of soot, as hath been seen in some great Tobac∣conists, that have been opened. It emasculates the spirits, and disables the body for service, when a man cannot go two or three miles without a Pipe smoaking at his Nose. In former ages, what glorious battles have been fought, and to what a great age did they live, who never once heard of Tobacco?

*4. It consumes abundance of pretious time; No losse, like the losse of time. How many spend two or three houres in a day in smoaking, which if they had spent in Repenting, what abundance of comfort might they have had?

5. It wastes mens estates. How many poor might have been succoured with that which is idly and vainly spent in smoak? some spending 10 l. others 20 l. others 100 l. per annum in smoak? To what end is such waste? we must all one day give an account how we have spent our money; our silver is the Lords, and he expects that we improve it to his praise. Hos. 2.8, 9. How sad will it be with many, when they shall see how many pounds they have spent in smoak, and yet how little for Gods honour? It were well if some way could be found to restrain the great abuse of it, if it were but in the younger, and the healthfull sort, who have no apparent need of it.

Object. We are so accustomed to it, that we cannot leave it?

Answ. An evill custome is better broken then kept, and therefore as you came to this custom by degrees, so by degrees you must break it. The use of it (saith a learned Physitian) is only tolerable by way of Physick, and not for pleasure, or an idle custom.

Object. It's the property of a Gentleman to take Tobacco?

Answ. 'Tis now become the guise of the Riff-raffe, and Dregges of men. Every Tinker, Tapster, Crate-carrying Vagabond is not well unlesse he have a Pipe at's Nose.

Object. It drawes away ill and watrish humours, and cures men of most di∣seases.

Answ. God hath ordained watrish humours for the good of the body, and for the most part they are as necessary in the body, as the blood it self, and therefore may not be drawn away in that abundant measure by To∣bacco. Besides, it's dangerous for weak and sickly bodies, they may quickly waste the Oyle of their Vitall Lamps, and spend their radicall moisture. So that instead of curing, it kills many.

2. Grant it to be Physicall in some diseases, doth it therefore follow that it is good against all? and that all must use it; of what age, constitution, and complexion soever. To argue from a Particular, to a Generall, is but sorry Logick. e. g. Such a man hath need of such and such Physick, therefore all men have need of it. Who sees not the vanity of the practice, yet who leaves it? what should young, strong, healthfull bodies do with Physick? They that are whole have no need of the Physitian, but those that are sick; Page  101 and those that ate sick indeed, cannot away with it. One mans Phy∣sick is another mans poyson; One Medicine cannot cure all diseases, yet men are so bewitcht and besotted with Tobacco, that (if you'l be∣lieve them) they'l tell you it's a Panacéa that will cure you of all di∣stempers; and yet those that take it, abound with distempers, as well as other men. I wish therefore, and oh that I could prevaile wth young Stu∣dents especially, that they would use their Pens, rather then Pipes, that we might find them in their Closets Praying, and not in their Chambers smoak∣ing; remembring that time is precious.

[See more against Drunkennesse in that excellent Tract of Mr. Young, sti∣led, The Drunkards Character; 'tis the best that I have seen in this kind. All the labours of that holy man, are worthy the perusall of young Stu∣dents especially, Mr, Iohn Downams four Treatises against Drunkards, Swearers, Whoremongers, and Bribery, Mr. Sam. Wards Woe to Drun∣kards. D. Harris Drunken-cup. D. Ier. Taylor's. Holy-Living. p. 72. Mr. Henry Smith's Serm. on Gen. 9.22. p. 284. Mr. Clerk's Mirrour. cap. 42. Edit. 3. Mr. Rous's Diseases of the Time. cap. 16. p. 173. Folio,

Intemperate, or Incontinent.

The word in the Originall (as I have shewed before) is large and com∣prehensive. It denotes all kinds of lustfull persons, that have no command over their concupiscentiall affections, but are led by their Lusts; such are Adulterers, Fornicators, Incestuous persons, Polygamists, and the like. Now in the last dayes, men will be Incontinent every way. There will be incontinency amongst single persons,* and this is called, Fornication; there will be incontinency amongst married persons, and this is called Adultery. There will be incontinency against nature, viz. when the course of nature, or the Sex, or the kind is altered: all these sins do and will raign in the last dayes. Now the more common these sins are, the greater our praise will be if we keep our selves pure, shining like lights in the midst of a loose genera∣tion. We should therefore be carefull not only to go or run,* but with all our power and speed to Fly fornica∣tion. 1 Cor. 6.18. as Ioseph fled from his Mistris. Other vices are conquered by resisting, but this by flying swiftly, from the objects and occasions of this sin.

To quicken you, consider.

1. That this great sin never goes alone; Idlenesse, Luxury, Lying, and Murder,* usually accompany it, as we see in David, and the Sodomites. Ezek. 16.4.9. the harlot by her inticements, doth not only increase the number of Transgressors, but of their Transgressions also. Prov. 23.23. when a great beast hath made a gap,* the rest follow after. If Solomon delight in Idolatrous women, they will quickly draw his heart from God. If once you give way to this sin, you know not where you shall rest.

2. 'Tis a sin that is most opposite to the nature of God, who is the most Holy, and will dwell in none but chast and Holy ones. Fornication is di∣rectly opposite to Sanctification,* yea 'tis made one part of our Sanctification, to fly fornication. 1 Thes. 4.3. It makes men like the Devill, who is stiled by way of Eminency, The unclean spirit, Matth. 10.1. and 12.43. and that 1. Affectu, because he delights in such uncleannesse.

2. Effectu, because he drawes men to it.

3. Habitatione, because he dwells in unclean soules, he finds them foul, and he makes them worse.

Page  102*3. 'Tis a violation of Gods most sacred Law. Exod. 20.14. which is set down negatively, because it binds most strongly, allwayes, and to all times. The Pope may give dispensations, but God gives none to any, to violate his commands. Every man must keep his vessell pure. 1 Thes. 4.4, 5. even the King must not multiply wives, much less strumpets to himself. Deute∣ron. .17.17.

4. Adulterers are Covenant-breakers; the Marriage knot is called the Covenant of the Lord. Prov. 2.17. Mal. 2.14, 15. now Covenant-breakers are ranged amongst the vilest sinners. Rom. 1.31.

5. 'Tis worse then Theft. The thief steales out of want, the Adul∣terer out of wantonnesse. The one may make satisfaction, this can never Prov. 6.31.

6. 'Tis a sin that doth pollute and defile the body more then any other sin. Hence the Apostle useth many excellent Arguments against it. 1 Cor. 6.13.

2. That which is consecrated to God must not be polluted with whoredome,* but the body is consecra∣ted to God, and made for his honour and service, and not for fornication. Ergo.

2. V. 14. From the Resurrection of our bodies to Glory, thus he argues. If our bodies shall be raised to Glory, then may we not pollute them with fornication. But our Bodies shall be raised to Glory.

3. V. 15. Our bodies are the members of Christ, and therefore 'tis a great indignity and dishonour to him to have them given to an harlot. 'Tis in a manner to make Christ one with an harlot, then which what can be more reproachfull to him?

4. V. 16. He makes himselfe one with an Harlot, and what can be more dishonourable, then for a member of Christ to be joyned to such a creature?

5. V. 18. He sins more especially against his own body.* The body is abused by other sins in part, not wholly, as the Tongue by lying, the Hand by Steal∣ing, Murder; but here the whole body is abused, and abased.

*6. V. 19. If our bodies be the Temples of the Ho∣ly Ghost, then they may in no wise be polluted, or pro∣faned. And if all Temples must be kept clean, then specially the Temples of the Holy Ghost, who is a Pure spirit, and will not inhabit a Swine-stye.

7. From the work of our Redemption. V. 19 20. We are not now our own to live as we please, but we must live unto him that bought us, and hath paid so great a price for us.

*None are given over to these sins, but such as God hates. It's a fearfull sign of his Anger to be given up to Harlots. Prov. 22.14. He that's hated of God, shall fall by her. Oh that young persons would consider this Text, that it might be to them a perservative against this Soul-destroying sin! when young persons grow proud, or walk not answerable to the Light and Means which they enjoy, but are barren and fruitlesse trees in Gods Vine∣yard, then in his fierce wrath he leaves them to this sin, as a punishment of their former sins. Rom. 1.21.26. Amos 7.17, Ephes. 4.18, 19. Let us therefore walk humbly with our God, that he may delight in us, and save us from this exceeding sinfull sin, to such the promise runs. Eccles. 7.26. Who so pleaseth God shall escape the Harlot, but the sinner shall be taken by her. God by his speciall grace will preserve such as are dear to him, from this sin; but Page  103 the sinner that is left to himself, cannot but fall into this pit and snare.

8. Consider the sad Effects of this sin.

  • 1. It destroyes Nations, for this the Lord had a quarrell and controversy with Israel,*Hos. 4.2. and cites them to answer it at his barre. This makes a land to spue out its Inhabitants. Levit. 18.24, 25.28, 29. as a man whose stomack is overcharged, can have no rest till he have eased himself; so the land is sick, till it have eased it self of such Inhabitants. Such sins and sinners put the Justice of God to a stand, so that he knowes not how to pardon them. Ier. 5.7.8, 9. This was one of those sins which made the day of Ierusalems calamity to draw near. Ezek. 22.4.11. This brought the flood on the old world. Gen. 6.2. fire on Sodom. Gen. 19.25. Iude 7. the plague on Israel to the losse of 24. thousand men.*Numb. 25.1.9. and the sword on Benjamin, to the losse almost of the whole Tribe. Iudg. 18. and 19. By all this we may see that this is not so light a sin, and such a small trick of youth, as the profane world makes it.
  • 2. It consumes the Estate. How many great men hath it brought even to a morsell of bread. Prov. 6.26. and 29.3. Luke 15.30. 'tis a fire that burns to the destruction of all that a man hath. Iob 31.12.
  • 3. It robs a man of his good name, which is a pretious jewell, and by all good meanes to be preserved. Prov. 6.33. a wound and dishonour shall he get, and his reproach shall not be wiped away. Though the wound may be cured, yet the scarre will abide? as we see in David, Sampson, Solomon. Neh. 13.26. Lot. So Prov. 5.9. Gen. 49.4. Levit. 21.9. Hos. 1.2. Est peccatum ma∣ximè probrosum. 'Tis a most infamous sin. 1 Sam. 2.22, 23, 24. Neither doth the unclean person only blemish himself, but his posterity also. What disho∣nour is it for a man to have many lovely children, and to have a Bastard stand in the midst of them, claiming kindred of them, and so become a living shame to them. This makes men odious not onely to God, but to all good men. Ier. 9.2. oh that I had a lodging in the wildernesse? and might leave my people. Why so? for they be all Adulterers. This makes a man to be esteemed as a fool in Israel. 2 Sam. 13.12, 13,
  • 4. It destroyes the body. It consumes the radicall moysture, and so shor∣tens the life. It impaires the strength, Prov. 31.3. and wastes the flesh. Prov. 5.11. and makes men lyable to the sword of the Ma∣gistrate, who ought to punish adulterers with death▪*Levit. 20.10. Gen. 38.24. Deut. 22.22, yea the Phari∣ses, though they dispenc't with other sins, yet judged Adulterers worthy of death. Iohn 8.5. The Anabaptists alledge this Text for liberty of conscience, and to destroy the coercive power of the Magistrate, I shall therefore take a little paines to vindicate it.

1. Our Saviour doth not plead for the woman in favour of adultery, for he condemnes even adulterous aspects. Matth. 5.28. and chargeth her to go,* and sin no more in this, or any other kind, viz. willingly and deliberately.

2. Our Saviour doth not say absolutely, that the sin deserved not condemnation,* or no man ought to punish it; but he only tells her; Neither do I condemne thee. q. d. Though the sin deserve punishment, yet that is the Magistrates duty, I have no commission to take his sword into my hand. The end of my comming into the world is not to destroy, but to save; not to punish as a Magistrate, but to forgive; not to take away Temporall life, but to purchase eternall.

3. The Pharises came to ensnare Christ, but he snares them; q. d. The fact is evident, but who are ye that demand Justice against her? Look into the Page  104 book of your consciences, O ye Hypocrites, and see if you be not guilty of the like crime your selves.

4. Christ teacheth us to be compassionate to poor, penitent sinners, who are confounded with shame, and cannot speak a word in their own defence. We should send such away with some comfort and godly admonition, as Christ did this woman. The Magistrate is to do his duty, and pro re nata, as occasion requires, to cut off the workers of iniquity.* This kept Geneva so pure, even their sharp punishing of Adulterers.

5. It destroyes the soule, it besots a man, it robs him of his Gifts, yea of his heart. Hos. 4.11. It blinds the judgement, drawes away the will from goodnesse, and makes the Affections so bruitish, that they mind nothing, and delight in nothing but beastly sensuality: Hence such impure persons are compared to unclean dogges. Deut. 23.18. 2 Sam. 3.8. and to unruly Stallions. Ier. 5.8. How sottish did this sin make wise Solomon? and those great Philosophers. Rom. 1.21.26. It hardens the heart, so that such seldom Repent. Hence the guests of the Harlot are said to be in the depth of hell. Prov. 9. ult. and 7.26, 27. The Whore is a pit, that he which falls into, hardly ever comes out again. Prov. 2.18, 19. her house inclines to death, and her paths unto the dead, none that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. My heart trembles when I read this Text. None re∣turn again. (i. e.) none return ordinarily, they are very few in comparison of the multitude, that are delivered from this pit. Prov. 23.27. like a win∣ter Plague; some do escape, but very few, and that hardly. 'Tis peccatum maximae adherentiae, a sin that sticks close to the soules of such, as it hath once possest.

Such must be cast out of Church-communion here, the people of God must have no fellowship with such here. 2 Cor. 5.9. Ephes. 5.11. and God barres them out of heaven hereafter. 1 Cor. 6.9, 10. Ephes. 5.5, 6. Revel. 21.8. and 23.15. Never any gave themselves to such sensuall lusts, but they paid full dearly for them, their end is bitter as wormwood. Prov. 5.4. as such sins are committed with more sensuall delight and wilfulnesse, so they bring more guilt and horror with them, insomuch as many have despaired under the burden, & have murdered themselves. We should therefore care∣fully fly these fleshly lusts,* because they warre against the soule. 1 Pet. 2.11. the other lusts warre against us, yet none warre against the Peace, and purity of the soule, like this. Let no man then think this sin small, as did the Hea∣then, who numbred fornication amongst things indifferent. Acts 15.20. when scarce any sin is more expressely forbidden, or more severely punisht in the Scripture. Exod. 20.14. Deut. 23.17. let no man deceive you with vain words,*Ephes. 5.5, 6. or make you think this a sleight sin, but get your judge∣ments rightly informed by the word of God, and see how contrary it speaks to the corrupt opinions of the world. God calls it a great wickednesse. Gen. 39.9. and an heinous crime. Iob 37.11, 12. and that which hath been the bane of thousands. Gen. 34.25. Iudg. 20.35. 1 Cor. 20.8.11. it's called an abo∣mination. Ezek. 22.11. and a sin that ought to be severely punisht by the Magistrate. Iob 31.11. Numb. 25.11, 12. and though such sinners may escape the hands of men, yet they cannot escape the hands of a just God. Heb. 13.4. who will punish his servants (who repent) for this sin, with Temporal Judgements, as we see in David and Solomon. Prov. 11. ult. 1 Cor. 11.32. or if they be impenitent, profane violators, and contemners of that Order which God hath planted amongst men, he'l punish them eternally. Rev. 22.15.

Page  105Object. Sir, What shall I do, I am the man that have fallen once, yea, and again into this foul sin, my conscience accuseth me, and God who is greater then my conscience, and knoweth more by me then I do by my self, hath seen my beastly abominations in this kind; so that I am become a Terror to my self, and am even swallowed up with totall desperation, &c.

Answ. Since you have sinned in dayes of so great Light and Love, and against such wooings and warnings to the contrary, your sin is so much the greater, and therefore your sorrow and humiliation for it must be propor∣tionable, and this let me tell thee, if thou canst unfeignedly humble thy self, sincerely confessing and forsaking thy former lewd wayes, God hath promised thee mercy. Prov. 28.13. There is yet hope in Israel, even for this thing. There is a fountain (not a cistern) opened for repentant sinners, to wash away their Vncleannesse, Zech. 23.1. and that vvhether it hath been acted before Conversion, as Rahab was an Harlot before her Conversion, Iames 2.25. yet upon her repentance she was saved. Heb. 11.31. Poor self-condemned Harlots that have no Apology for themselves, yet go to hea∣ven before proud and self-conceited Pharisees. Yea, though you have been as vile sinners, as the Sodomites, yet upon unfeigned humiliation, God hath promised pardon even to such. Isay 1.10. compared with verse 18. God will wash and sanctify such. 1 Cor. 6.11.

2. If you have fallen after conversion, so did David, yet upon his Re∣pentance he was pardoned, and that God which pardoned such sins as we committed before conversion, when we sinned with full consent; will much more pardon our sins, which with reluctancy and unwillingnesse, by the strength and violence of Temptation, we have fallen into, especially since we are humbled, and judge our selves for them.

Preservatives against this sin.

1. Take heed of Intemperance in eating and Drinking,* when men are fed to the full, then like pampered Stalins they neigh after their Neigh∣bours wives. Ier. 5.9. Ezek. 16.49. Take away the fuell and the fire goeth out, take away the provender, and you'l tame the beast. Drunkennesse and Whoring are joyned together. Proverbs 23.31.33. Hos. 4.11.

2. Idlenesse breeds uncleannesse, as standing Pooles doe mudde. Ezek. 16.49. even a David if he be sleeping at home,* when he should be at Warre, may catch a fall 2 Sam. 11.1. Dinah by wandring abroad, exposed her selfe to a Tentation. Gen. 34.2. and the feet that wandred in the streets, became a booty to the Harlot. Prov. 7.5. we should do by our false hearts, as Commanders do by unru∣ly souldiers, they keep them in action, that they may keep them from doing mischief.

3. Take heed of evill company, come not neare the house of the Harlot. Proverbs 5. Verse 8, 9, 10, 11. Hee that would not bee burnt, must not come too neare the fire. Suppose wee had bodies made of Gunne-powder, or Flaxe; oh how Page  106 fearfull would we be of coming nigh the fire for fear of being consumed▪ This made Ioseph so carefull to shun the company of his wanton Mistris:*Gen. 39.10.

4. Set a watch over the Eyes. The Devill gets into our hearts by these windowes of the soul. Eve by see∣ing the forbidden fruits, Gen. 3.6. David by seeing Beethsheba. 2 Sam. 11.2, Sampson by seeing a Harlot. Iudg. 16.1. Potiphars wife by seeing Iosephs beauty, and Herod by seeing Herodias dance, they were all ensnared, and caught. When mens eyes are full of Adultery, they cannot cease to sin. 2 Pet. 2.14. Gen. 6.2. The Eye is the Devills Broker, that gets between the heart and the Object, to make up a sinfull bargain.* Lusting and looking in Greek, differ but in a Vowell. Hence David, a mortified man, prayes the Lord to turn away his eyes from beholding Vanity. Psal. 119.37. and Iob, though a holy man, and in years, yea and married too, yet durst not trust his eys without a Guard. Iob 31, 1.

Quid facies, facies Veneris si veneris ante?
Non sedeas, sed eas; ne pereas per eas.

Sphinxs.

*Take heed of reading evill books, they contain evill words, and evill obscene words corrupt good manners. 1 Cor. 15.33. Ephes. 5.4. Take heed of Stage-playes, where many lewd speeches, and lascivious Gestures are used. They are the very sinks of sin, and Schooles of profanenesse. As you may see in that elaborate Treatise of that industrious Patriot of his countrey, Mr. William Pryn, in his Histrio-mastix, a book that well de∣serves Reprinting, and to be made more common, in these loose times, when lascivious Balls, and profane Practises are so frequent in the chief city of the land.

Take heed of gazing on lascivious Pictures. Beware of Painting, Pouding, Patching, Naked-necks, and other inticements to sin. He that will not be taken with a sin, must shun the occasions. Alexander did very wise∣ly, in refusing to see the beautifull daughters of Da∣rius, that were his Captives, lest he should be ensnared by them, and he that conquered the world, should be conquered by women. Lewd pictures are worse then evill words; for those abide and infect others, when words vanish, and are gone,

5. Stop your eares against profane Songs and Ballads. Suffer not your children once to hear or read them.

Nil dictu foedum, visuque haec limina tangat.
Intra quae puer est.

Juven. Sat. 14.

*Little do people consider how sorely and suddenly the heart is infected with rotten unsavory speeches. Ephes. 4.29. Colos. 3.8. they soon corrupt mens manners.

9. Take heed of mixt Dancing, which is a great incentive to uncleanness, and therefore is oft condemned in Scripture. Iob 21.11, 12. Isay 3.16. 1 Kings 18.26. Exod. 32.6.19. Matth. 14.6. Mark 6.22. Iob made a Covenant with his eye not once to look, and darest thou wantonly dance with a maide? neither are the dancers only themselves, but the spectators also, endangered by beholding those light and immodest embracings, kissings, motions and wan∣ton gestures of the body. The flame of lust is hereby enkindled, and oil is added Page  107 to that flame: and our hearts which are bad enough by Nature, by be∣holding such practises, are made farre worse. The ancients have condemn∣ed it. We read (saith Chrysostome) of Iacobs marriage, but we read of no dancing that was there, and where wanton dancing is, there is the Devill saith he.* None but Mad-men or Drunkards dance, saith a Second, none but Adulte∣rers saith a Third. Saltatio ad Adulteras, non ad pudi∣cas, pertinet.

Promiscuas saltationes Virorum & Mulierum in divinis literis non legimus Pet. Martyr. Loc. Com. Clas. 2. cap. 2. p. 339. De Choreis, Aretius Pro∣blem. 1. Locus 14. Ames. C. C. l. 5. c. 39. Q. Taffin on Amendment. p. 228. Piscat. in Matth. 11, 17. in Observat. Pryn's Histrio-mastix, Index. Dancing.

Lastly, take heed of barrenness under the meanes of Grace, and of being dead under lively Oracles. God oft makes this sin a punishment of other sins.*Rom. 1.21.24. the man that is good, and sincere before God, shall be preserved from the harlot; but the sinner, the careless, secure, formall, hypocritical sinner, shall be taken and ensnared by her. Eccles. 7.26. Oh then let us walk watchfully and humbly with our God, shunning the occasi∣ons and provocations to this sin, then will God preserve us from the sinne it self; but if you will not fly the occasions of sin, God will not preserve you from the sin; and if he keep you not, you are undone.

Otia, mensa, libri, vaga lumina, verba, sodales:
Haec tolle, hanc minus, hos muta, haec cluade, naec fuge, vita hos.

The warre is not done,* so long as the enemy lives. He that will keep the Jewell of Chastity, must fight for it. Let us therefore keep a strict Guard over our hearts. Proverbs 4.23. Resist the first motions to sin. Parle not with a Temptation. Gen. 39.9. Taste not of the Devills Broath, lest you eat of his Beef. Isay 65.4. Kill the Cockatrice in the shell, quench the fire when 'tis a spark, mortify sinne in the Affe∣ction. Colos. 3.5. Pray for supernaturall strength. 2 Cor. 12.9. It's a good sign we hate a sinne, when we can heartily pray against it. Walk allwayes as in Gods eye, that's a speciall preservative against this sinne. Iob. 31.4. Prov. 5.20, 21. Ioseph might have sinned secret enough, but the remembrance of Gods All-seeing eye, awed him. Gen. 39.9. He's a Martyr indeed who can thus conquer his lusts,* and stronger then Sampson who was entangled with them. Chastity in youth, Temperance in plenty, Boun∣ty in Poverty, one calls them Martyrdome, without Blood-shed.

[See more in Mr. Iohn Downams Treatise against Whoredome. Mr. Hildersham on Iohn 4. Lect. 15. p. 66. D. Ier. Taylor's Holy Living. p. 83. Ward on Matth. 5.27. p. 216. Taffin on Amendment. l. 2. c. 17. Capel on Tent. p. 2. c. 11, 12. Sibelius. Tom. 1. conc. 7. in Eccles. 12.2. p. 669▪ &c. Pryn's Histrio-Mastix. Actus 6. Scena 4. p. 376. Mr. Clerks Mirrour. cap. 2. and cap. 20. and 61, 62. Edit. 3..]

Page  108

13. Fierce. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

This is the thirteenth sin which helps to make the last dayes Perilo s. Men will then more especially be of a fierce, rude, savage, barbarous,* inhumane disposition. They will be cru∣elly and bloodily disposed. There will be in them no meeknesse, nor mildnesse, to Regulate the Passions, but like bruit beasts they will be ready to slay all such as oppose them. This is a fruit of that Self-love, and Covetousnesse, before mentioned. This fiercenesse they'l exercise especially against the people of God, whom they hate, persecute, imprison and slay; and when dead, yet burn their bones: and if the Lord were angry with Moab, for burning the bones of the King of Edom, a wicked man, Amos 2.1. then surely he will punish those spitefull Moabites, who burn the bones of his deceased Saints, as Bucer, Phagius, &c.

*This ferity is made one speciall note of the wicked. Prov. 12.10. and 17.3. Gen. 49.7. Hence in Scripture they are compared to Lions. Iob 4.10. to Wolves. Hab. 1.8, Beares. Prov. 17.12. Horses which must be restrained from hurting with bit and bridle. Psal. 32.19. Serpents. Psal. 74.13, 14. Dogs. Phil. 3.2. Mat. 7.6. Boares. Psal. 80.13. Threshers which bruise and oppresse the people of God. Amos 1.3. Milners that grind them with their cruelty. Isay 3.75. and to Butchers, which do not onely fleece, but flay the sheep. To Cooks, which do not only dresse the flesh, but they break the bones to get out the Marrow. Micah 3.2, 3. Hence we read of 23. sorts of trialls which the Saints were exercised with by the bruitish world.*Heb. 11.3. to 39. therefore they chose rather to live in Caves and Wildernesses amongst wild beasts, then amongst those bruits; yea the Saints have found more favour from beasts, as Daniel from the Lions, and Lazarus from Dogs; then from their cruell persecutors. Hence David being in a strait, chuseth the Pestilence (though a sad judgement) rather then to fall into the hands of merciless men. 2 Sam. 24.14.

1. Then let men get Grace, that breeds Humanity, Civility, and candid Carriage towards all. Such will not, dare not hurt their Brethren in body, Soul, Goods or Good name. Psal. 15.3. we need not feare those, that truly fear God. Gen. 42.18. their naturall fierceness is subdued and chan∣ged, so that they which were sometimes Lions, are now become Lambs. Isay 11.6. Hence they are called Sheep, Doves, little children; all which imply harmlesness, and inoffensiveness. They had rather take wrong, then do wrong. Hence the Apostle blames the Corinths for wronging and de∣frauding their Brethren. 1 Cor. 6.7, 8. why do ye not rather take wrong (saith he) why do ye not suffer your selves to be defrauded? Grace changes the roughness and ruggedness of our natures, it makes us kind and affable, full of holy sweetness and gentleness. Iames 3.17. many think Religion makes men harsh and sowre, as if no trees grew in Christs garden, but Crab-trees; when Religion makes men meek and modest (Acts 16.29, 30.33, 34.) curteous and kind. And that

  • 1. In their Censures; where things are capable of a candid Interpreta∣tion, they take them in the best sense.
  • 2. Modest in their opinions; they are not wise above that which is writ∣ten, they hunt not after Novelties,
  • 3. Sweet and lovely in their conversations; they can part with their own for Peace. Gen. 13.8, 9. Psal. 69.4.
  • 4. Ready to yeeld to the counsels of others, when better Reasons are Page  109 discovered. Iob (31.13.) will not despite the counsell of his servant. So Naa∣man harkened to the advice of his servant, and was cured. 2 Kings 5.12. David, wise as an Angell of the Lord, yet, harkens to the counsell of a woman. 1 Sam. 25.33. yea so flexible and docible are they,* that even a child with Scripture-Reason, may lead them. Isay 11.6. Many think it a note of a generous spirit, to render evill for evill, blow for blow, reproach for reproach; but Christ teacheth another Lesson. Matth. 5.38, 39. Resist not evill (he speaks of private revenge) But he that smites thee on the one cheek, turn to him the other also (i. e.) we should be so far from revenge, that we should rather suffer a second injury, then revenge the former. That which the world counts basenesse, and cowardise; the wisest of men calls it our glory.*Prov. 19.11. and 16.19.32. A man of understanding is of a cool spirit, and it is the glory of a man to passe by an offence. 'Tis a dishonour to offer wrong, but none to bear it. The world esteems such men of mettle, as auswer blow for blow; 'tis mettle indeed, but 'tis hellish mettle. Wrong them never so little, and they'l take Gods office out of his hand, they'l be their own Revengers, breaking forth into Duells, which are utterly unlaw∣full, for these Reasons.
    • 1. Reason it self saith, No man may be a Judge in his own cause, especially when he hath lost himself with anger, impatience, and a vin∣dicative spirit.
    • 2. God hath forbidden all private revenge.*Levit. 19.13. Matth. 26.52. Rom. 12.19. telling us that vengeance is his, and he will repay. Deut. 32.35. God hath ordained the Magistrate as his Vice-gerent, to execute Justice on offendors, he beares not the sword in vain. Rev. 13.4. now he should bear it in vain, if every private person might be his own Judge, and if the Ma∣gistrate neglect his duty, then must we commit our cause to God, who judge∣eth righteously.
    • 3. It's a fearful thing to kill, or be killed in our own private quarrell.

1. He that kills is a murderer, and must die for it; now no murderer shall come into Gods Kingdom. Rev. 21.8. and 25.15.

2. If killed, he dies in the height of Passion and revenge, desiring and en∣deavouring to murder another.

[See more Reasons against this sin. Davenant in Colos. 3.13. p. 318. Brochmane C. C. 2. T. p. 125. Sayrus C. C. l. 7. c. 13. D. Hammon's Pra∣cticall Catechisme. l. 2. Sect. 5.]

2. As Grace will keep you from being fierce against others Actively, so it will be a Shield to keep you from the rage of fierce men Passively. Isay 33.15.19. 'tis disobedience which brings fierce men against a people. Deut. 28.50. but when we are obedient, God will restrain their rage, and bound them, as he doth the proud waves of the Sea. Iob 38.11.

3. Promote Learning; even Humane Learning (we see experimentally) civilizeth men, and hath a great influence on their conversations, 'Tis as a blew to the better taking of a right black.* What makes our Welch-men, Wild-Irish, and Indians, so bruitish and barbarous, but want of Learning and Instruction?—Didicisse fideliter artes, &c.

Nemo adeò ferus est qui non mitescere possit,
Si modo culturae patientem accommodet aurem.

Hor.

4. Labour for that Gracefull Grace of Meeknesse, which is opposite to this fierceness. Do not only praise it, but practise it. Put it on as your Garment, Page  110 yea, as your Ornament. Colos. 3.12, 13. 1 Pet. 3.4.

It's an honour to Religion, when the Profesors of it are gentle, placable, clement, ready to forget and forgive injuries. None so mild as the meekened man, Numb. 12.3. Gal. 4.20. 1 Sam. 10. ult. 2 Sam. 16.10, 11. 1 Thes. 2.7. Gen. 50.19, 20. Levit. 10.3. and 13.8. they seek not revenge, nor do they study how to render evill for evill, but what was said flatteringly of Caesar, is really true of them. Nihil oblivisci solet praeter injurias. They forget injuries, and remember nothing but kindnesses.

To incourage you to labour for this Grace.

*1. Consider that Meeknesse is the Path-way to Peace and Joy. Isay 29.19. Psal. 37.11. it brings rest to the Soul. Mat. 11.29. There's no possibi∣lity of living Peaceably in this world without it; we shall meet with so ma∣ny oppositions, Tentations, Injuries, Crosses, Losses, that an unmortified unmeekned Spirit will never endure them. We live not amongst Angells, and perfect persons, but amongst Lions, Dogs, Devills, froward, wayward, knotty, stubborn, surly, sullen peeces; yea, the best have their Passions, so that without great meeknesse and moderation, no Family, City, Society, or Kingdom, can long endure.

2. 'Tis an Evidence of our Election. Colos. 3.12.

3. 'Tis the way to win the most obstinate sinners; the way to break a flint, is to lay it on a soft bed; 'tis the soft wooll, that dulls the Canon shot. Rom. 12. ult. as we must constantly, and resolutely oppose the sins of such as belong to us, so if ever we would winne them, and do them good, it must be done with a spirit of meeknesse, and of mercy. Gal. 6.1. the reproofes that come from spleen and malice never profit, 'tis love and pity, that winnes men.

*Caut. Yet beware of stupidity, for it's Moppishnesse, and not meekness, to be silent when God is dishonoured. A holy Anger against sin, is usefull in its Place. As there is a vitious, inordinate Anger, so there is a Vertuous, well-ordered Anger, which is an excellent gift of God.

4. The promises of the Gospell belong to such. Isa 61.2, 3.

5. They shall have protection in troublous times. Zeph. 2.3. Psal. 76.9. God loves to beautify such with salvation. Psal. 149.4. and to raise them to honour. Psal. 147.6.

6. Instructoin. God will teach them, and make them profit by his Or∣dinances. Psal. 25.8. Iames 1.21. and 3.13.17.

7. They have best Title to the Earth, the meek shall inherit the earth. Psal. 37.11. Matth. 5.5. their meeknesse shall in no wise preju∣dice their Temporall Estate, he dwells at home where ever he is, he's never off his Masters ground: as the fierce unmortified, turbulent man runs out of all, and loseth the Possession of himself, and all that he hath; so meek∣ness keeps a man in possession of himself, his understanding's cleare, his judgement's right, his Affections composed and setled, so that he can live in any soyle; be content with any condition, and endure any hardship.

Lastly, since in the last dayes men will be fierce and cruell.

1. Let us pray the Lord to deliver us from cruell and unreasonable men. 2 Thes. 3.2. beseech him to correct us himself, and not to sell us into the hands of wicked men, whose mercies are cruelties. 2 Sam. 24.14. Pro∣verbs 12.10.

2. Admire the Goodness of the Lord, who preserves his Lambs in the midst of so many fierce Lions. Did not the great Lord Keeper of the world, watch his Vine-yard night and day, the Boar out of the wood would soon lay it waste. The Thornes would soon over-top this Lilly, and the Birds of Prey devoure Gods Turtle.

Page  111Object. We see wicked men are quiet and Gentle.

Answ. So is a Lion in his Grate, but let him out, and you will find him a Lion still. 'Tis not for want of malice, but for want of power, that they are so quiet. God chaines them, and restraines them. Psal. 76.10. But if the Lord should let out their chain,* we should find the Atheists, and Papists of the world, as cruell as ever. As is apparent at this day, in the barbarous, bloody, perfidious dealing of the Papists, towards the Poor, Innocent Pro∣testants in Savoy.

3. Walk wisely towards those that be without. Colos. 4.5. be exact in your walking, give them no just cause of offence. Be wise as a Serpent, that you be not deceived, be Innocent as a Dove, that you prove not a Deceiver. A man that lives in the midst of Wolves, Lions, wild Boares, and Beares, had need to look about him.

14. Despisers of those that are good. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Bonorum osores & hostes.

This is the fourteenth sin which renders the last Times so Perilous. Men will be no Lovers (i. e.) they will be Haters and De∣spisers of good men,* yea, and of goodness it self ('tis a Meiosis, where less is spoken, then is meant) and that not with a light or toothless Hatred, but with a deadly, deep, intolerate hatred. Hence they are called Lions, which greedily tear and devoure the flock of Christ. 2 Tim. 4.17. (as you may see in the preceding Character.)

This must needs be so.

1. If we consider that strong Antipathy and Enmity which is between the righteous and the wicked, there's an irreconcileable Warre and Hatred between them. Gen. 3.15. the righteons man hates not the Person, but the Practices of the wicked; but the wicked hate both the person and the Piety of the just, because by their upright walking, they condemn them, and witness against their sinfull Practises, their purity condemnes the worlds im∣purity; their Loveliness, the worlds maliciousness; their humility, the worlds pride; their Self-deniall condemnes the worlds Self-seeking, and their for∣wardness, the worlds Luke-warmness, Hinc illae lacrymae. This is the ground of the grudge. The godly are the light of the world. Phil. 2.15. and the Judges of it. 1 Cor. 6.2. Now the lewd man hates the light which disco∣vers him. Iohn 3.20. and the Judge which condemnes him. This made Cain to slay his Brother. 1 Iohn 3.12. and the world to hate Christ, be∣cause he testified against its evill deeds. Iohn 7.7.

2. In respect of the dissimilitude of their manners.* They have contrary Principles, Practises, Ends and Aymes. The men of the world savour only the things of the world, being filled with Covetousness, Pride, Idleness, Intemperance, Lust. But the godly savour the things of God, being Holy, Heavenly, Humble,* Chaste, Temperate, &c. now as similitude is the ground of Love, so dissimilitude is the ground of Hatred. Prov. 29. ult. The righteons is an abomination to the wicked, and the wicked is an abomination to the just. So that there is no communion between this light and darknesse, no concord be∣tween Christ and Belial. 2 Cor. 6.14.15. There is a Canonicall truth in that Apocriphall Text. Wisdome 2.12.15, 16.19. 'tis grievous to us to behold the righteous, why so? for his life is not like other mens, and his wayes are of another fashion. q. d. Our wayes are loose, voluptuous, Epicurean wayes; Page  112 but his are precise, strict and pure wayes, directly contrary to ours. We are all for our selves, our own ease and goods; they are all for God, his praise and honour, so that we can never agree. Hence 'tis, that those whom God hates, the world usually loves, and those whom God loves, the world al∣wayes hates. We have a notable instance in our dayes, In the Queen of Sweden, who is now turned Papist, (for what ends she her self best knows) and is blest, pardoned, praised, by Pope, Priests, Jesuites, and is sumpte∣ously entertained by others: when she is blasted, cursed, & abhorred of God, as an horrid Apostate, and gross Idolater now in a time of glorious light, when the nakednesse of the whore, is so palpably discovered to the world.

3. The godly are the salt of the world, by their savory reproof, and counsell, and by their holy Example, they help to keep the world from rotting in sin, yea the whole life of the godly is a kind of tacite reproof of the wicked wayes and customes of the world. 1 Pet. 4.4. Heb. 11.7. Hence comes the hatred. Iohn 15.18, 19.

4. The men of the world are ensnared in many lusts, and lye tumbling like swine in their own filth: Iohn 5.19. So that they cannot arise to that height of Sanctity, Self-deniall, Patience, humility, &c. which the Saints attain. This makes them envie the Saints.

5. The godly are chosen out of the world, and therefore they shunne all needlesse society and intimate familiarity with the wicked. Thus Saul, when he became a Paul and was changed, he changed his company, Acts 9.19. and this makes the world hate them, whilest they look upon them as Apostates from their society. This made the Papists taxe Luther for an Apostate,*Luther confest it, but he was an holy Apostate, one who had not kept his promise made to the Devill, and therefore no more to be blamed then a Heathen for turning Christian, or a Magiti∣an for renouncing his compact with the Devill, and giving himselfe to God.

Now, if despising and despiting of good men, and goodness it self, be a sinne and signe of the last times; then ours surely are the last dayes. Was there ever more despising of good Magistrates, good Ministers, good people? when were the Reall servants of Christ more despited, not for any evill that they have done, but because they will not doe evill, in denying Ordinances, Order, Government, &c. yet be not offended, neither marvell (2 Iohn 3.13.) as if some strange thing had happened to you; you see here it's long since foretold, that it should be so in these last dayes. We are apt to marvell when we see the godly hated, persecuted, tortured, and abused, who ought rather to be loved, ho∣noured, and countenanced for their Grace, but we might rather mar∣vell, if the world should love them, for this is no new thing, it ever hath been so, 'tis so, 'twill be so to the end of the world. There ever will be Cains to persecute Gods Abells, Pharaohs, to opresse Gods Israel, and tares to hinder Gods wheat. God hath so decreed it for the mani∣festation of the glory of his Justice in the downfall of the wicked. Prov. 16.4. he will get himself Glory out of their malice, as the wise Physician extracts a medicine out of Poyson;) their very rage against his people shall turn to his praise, Psal. 76.10. as we see in Pharaoh, Haman, Herod. 'Tis just with him to render tribulation to such as molest his people. 2 Thes. 1.6.

2. To try and exercise the Faith, Hope, Pati∣ence, and Constancy of his people.*Isay 27.9. 2 Thes. 1.4. Dan. 12, 10.

3. To wean them from the world, as the Mother layes wormwood on the breast, to wean the child.

Page  113Now since we live in a time wherein the love of many waxeth cold both to Christ, and to Reall Christians; let us be Gods witnesses a∣gainst a sinfull generation.* The more the world hates the good for their goodnesse, the more let us love them. 'Tis a good evidence that we are Saints, when we can love not onely a Brother or two, but the whole Brother-hood. 1 Pet. 2.17. 1 Iohn 3.14. and all the Saints, be they high or low. Ephes. 1.15. when we can love a Saint in rags, as well as a Saint in Silken robes; a Iob on the dung-hill, as well as a David on the throne. It's easie to love a good man for his Riches, Learning, Parts, Gifts; this is but a carnall love, and springs from carnall Ends, and Principles. Iames 2.1, 2, 3, 4. True love, is a spiritu∣all love, springing from spirituall considerations, it makes men love the Saints for their faith, zeale, &c. and not for any by-respect. As 'tis the property of a Reprobate, to hate a godly man for his godlinesse. 1 Kings 22.3. Ezek. 13.22. Prov. 29.10. 1 Iohn 3.10. So it argues Grace to love a good man simply for his goodness.* 1 Kings 18.3, 4. and 2.4, 9, 10. he that loves one good man truly, will love all. Quatenus ipsum includit de omni. In his judgement he highly prizeth them, though they lye amongst the Pots, and be sullyed with many afflictions, tentations, and reproaches, yet he preferres society and communion with them on the hardest terms, before all the honours and treasures of the world. Heb. 11.25. he looks upon them as the Right Honourable of the world,* as the Pillars of the places where they dwell, Gal. 2.9, the strength and ammunition of a nation, the Chariots and Horse-men of Israel. 2 Kings 2.12. as the Lords Portion, Deut. 32.9. his pleasant Por∣tion. Ier. 12.10. as his Inheritance. Psal. 28.9. and 33.12. Isay 19.25. though all the world be his, yet he esteems it all but drosse, and lumber, in comparison of the godly, who are his jewells; even a people near and dear to him. Mal. 3.17. though they may lye under some affli∣ctions, yet they are under dear affections, (as we see in Iob, David, Paul) though the gold lye in the dirt, yet 'tis gold still, and when we see 'tis gold, we pick it up, and prize it. David esteemed the godly the onely excellent of the world.*Psal. 16.3. and such as truly deserve respect. Psal. 15.3. God himself prizeth them above Kings. Psal. 105.14, 15. he rebukes Kings, yea, and Kingdomes for their sakes. Isay 43.14. For your sakes have I sent to Babylon, and brought down all their Nobles. How did God plague those knowne enemies of his people, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Tyre, Egypt,

Philistia, and Rome

  • Pagan.
  • Arrian.
  • Antichristian.

God hath a precious esteem of his people, their persons are pre∣cious. Zach. 2.3. their prayers are precious. Cant. 2.14. their Services are precious; mean works done in faith, excell the Victories of a Caesar, or Alexander. Their teares are precious. Psal. 56.8. their names are pre∣cious. Proverbs 20, 7. Psalm 112.6. and their death is precious. Psalm 116.15. when one ask't Master Fox whether he knew such an honest poor man? I tell you (said he) I forget Lords and Ladyes to think on such. We should love them [Intensivè & appretiativè, majore af∣fectu & effectu] with the choycest of our affections, and shew it in our Actions. We should doe good to all, but specially to the house∣hold servants of God. Gal. 6.10. we should more freely and fully com∣municate Page  114 to their necessities (si caetera sint paria) then to any others. As God then delights in his Saints, so must we, for Grace puts a lu∣stre on them, which makes them lovely to the godly, and terrible to their enemies; So that there is more comfort and safety in the society of a few good men, then in strong confederacies of the wicked. Psalm 48.2, 3, 4. for God dwells amongst them by his speciall presence. Psalm 76.1, 2. and walks in the midst of them. Revel. 2.1. his spe∣ciall hand of protection is over them, lest any should hurt his Vine∣yard, he keepes it night and day (i. e.) continually. Isay 27.3. It will be our wisdome then to be familiar with them, they will help us Consilio, Prece, & opere; by Direction, Prayer, and Practice. Their good Example will quicken us, and be as a Starre to direct us, so that by acquaintance with them, we may come to be acquainted with God himself. As Iron sharpens Iron, and one living coale sets his fel∣low on fire, and one couragious souldier, quickens another? so good company is a great incouragement against those discouragements, which we meet with from an ungratefull world; and a speciall meanes to keep u from Apostasy. Heb. 3.12, 13. Green wood will hardly burn alone, but put drye wood amongst the green, and all will flame. When the disciples were altogether in one place, with one accord, in an holy communion, then the spirit came on them. Acts 2.3, 4. where Brethren are united, there's the blessing. Psal. 133.1.3.

Page  115

VERSE 4. Traytours.

THE last dayes will be perilous in respect of the many Tray∣tours which will then abound, who shall ascend to that height of wickednesse, that they will betray their dearest friends, like Iudas who betrayed his Master, and is therefore justly called, the Traytour, by way of eminency. Luke 6.16. So themselves may be safe,* they care not who suffers. They'l spy and pry into the wayes of others, that they may betray and de∣stroy them, and reveale their secrets. No bonds of friendship can hold them, but Brother will deliver up the Brother to death, the Father will rise against his children, and children against their Parents, and cause them to be put to death. Matth. 10.21. Christians will betray their fellow-Christians into the hands of persecutors. Luke 21.16. and people will betray their Pastors, and put them to death, as did their fore-fathers of old. Acts 7.52.

Now of these Traytours,* there are three Sorts.

  • 1. Traytors Politicall,
  • 2. Ecclesiasticall,
  • 3. Domesticall.

1. Some are Politicall, State Traytors, such as betray the land of their Nativity, into the hands of its enemies. Subjects are bound by Oath (oft- times) to preserve their native country, to their power. But if they were not sworne, yet naturall and common right calls for it our hands. If the body be in danger, all the parts and members of it will act for its defence; and therefore great is the sin of those unnaturall children,* which betray their na∣tive country (which like a Mother, bred and bare them) to ruine and to mi∣sery. Of this sort are those who betray their trust in delivering up Castles and Garisons into the enemies hands.

2. There are Ecclesiasticall Traytours, such as betray the truth of God, which he hath committed to his Ministers primarily, and then to all the faithfull, to be kept as a sacred depositum, and choyce treasure [1 Tim. 6.20.] esteeming every particle of it above the filings of the finest gold. Now when men through feare and cowardlinesse, dare not professe the truth of God in the midst of a perverse generation that oppose it; God esteems this a betray∣ing of his truth into the hands of its enemies. Such are false Prophets, For∣malists, and Time-servers, which for a time make a shew, but in time of tentation fall away.

3. Domestick Traytors, who betray the lives and estates of their dearest relations into the hands of their enemies. Psal. 55.12, 13, 14. Matth. 10, 21. So that the Poets complaint was never more true.

Non augenda fides, potiùs minuenda videtur,
Vix cum sint homines tot, quot in orbe fides.
Sortitur sibi quisque fidem, sibi quisque Magistrum,
Nunquam plus fidei, perfidiaeque fuit.

It behoves us then to stand upon our Guards, and to watch against false Brethren.* If ever the counsell of the Prophets were in season, 'tis now. Trust not in a Neighbour, a Brother, a Friend, no not in thy dearest friend, the wife of thy bosom; (how many have been drawn aside to errors in our dayes, by their wives) for a mans enemies still be those of his own house. Page  116Ier. 9.4, 5. Micah 7.5, 6. In all ages, Gods servants have been infested by Traytors. David had not only open enemes, that conspired his ruine. Psal. 35.20, 21. but, which was worst of all, his familiar friends did so. Psal. 41.9, Christ was betrayed by Iudas, and Paul by the Jewes his kinsmen in the flesh, Sampson by his wife Dalilah. Iudg. 14.18. and David by his son Absolom. 2 Sam. 1.14.

This may comfort us when we fall into the hands of Traytors, and Ty∣rants, 'tis no new thing. So did Christ, so did the Prophets, so did the Apostles, and so may we.

1. Consider, such cannot escape the revenging hand of God, his Justice wil find them out; Zimri had no peace who slew his Master. Nor Sheba that rebelled against his Soveraign, 2 Sam. 20.22. Nor Absolom who rose against his Father.* 2 Sam. 18.9, 10. nor Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, who rose against Moses. Nor Iudas that betrayed Christ. Matth. 26.24. and 27.5. nor the Papists with their proditorious practises, and principles.

2. They are oft punisht by men, who though they love the Treason, yet hate the Traytour. Though they love the Artifice, yet hate the Artificer, and when he hath done his work he hath oft-times an halter for his paines, or at best, he hath the honour never to be trusted more; when Baanah and Re∣chab had treacherously slain Ishbosheth one of Sauls sons, David commands them both to be slain. 2 Sam. 4.9. to 13.

As for our selves, let us walk as becomes the Gospel in all simplicity and godly sincerity, abhoring all Treachery, falsenesse, and perfideousnesse▪ Let us be faithfull to the truth of God, faithfull to the land of our Nativity, and faithfull in all our Relations. Fidelity is the chiefest bond of Humane Socie∣ty; take away this, and you take away all Peace and Commerce from a∣mongst men. 'Tis only to the faithfull that the promises run. Psal. 31.32. the Lord will preserve the faithfull, and make them to abound with bles∣sings. Prov. 28.10. Let us then resist the Tentations of Satan, 'tis he that observes the Covetousnesse, Hatred, and Malice, which lyeth hid in the heart of man, and accordingly stirres him up to Treachery, and betraying of his dearest friends,* and Relations. Thus he dealt by Iudas, he stirred up his covetous heart to sell and betray his dearest Lord and Master. Luke 22.3, 4. Iohn 13.7.27.

But here a Case and Question may arise, whether all Simulation, Craft, and Stratagems, be unlawfull?

Answ. Simulation is twofold.

  • 1. Unlawfull, when men fain or frame any thing against the truth, and to the prejudice of others, as Peter did. Gal. 2.13.
  • 2. There is a lawfull Simulation, when men do ignify something that is only beside the truth, but not contrary to it. This was the simulation of Io∣seph, who carried himself as a stranger to his Brethren in Egypt. Gen. 42. So Christ when he came to Emaus,* made as though he would go fur∣ther. Luke 24.28. and Paul amongst the Jewes, played the Jew. 1 Cor. 9.20. Iael is commended, who by a wile destroyed Sisera. Iudg. 4.18, 19, 20, 21. and Ionathan for discovering Sauls malicious intents against David. 1 Sam. 16.21. Rahab is commended for hiding the Spies. Iosh. 2.4. Heb. 11.31. The Gibeonites saved themselves by a politick and prudent mana∣ging of their designe. Iosh. 9.3, 4.
Page  117

16. Heady.

In the last dayes men will be heady,* hasty, rash, in∣considerate, they will be carried by the Violence of their Lusts without wit or Reason. They will set upon things too high, and too hard for them, like young birds which flying before they are fledged,* fall to the ground, and so break their bones, so much the word implyes. They will make desperate adven∣tures, they will be rash in their words and works, precipitate and inconside∣rate in all their undertakings,* what they do will be Raw, Rude, Indigested, Unconcocted. Hence the word is rendred, Rash, and unadvised. Acts 19.36. do nothing 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, rashly, The heady man is like to a man that rides on a head-strong horse, which carries him none knowes whither, yet will not suffer him to descend neither; so that if a man should ask such a man whither he is going, he must answer whither my lusts, my profit, pride, and pleasures, will lead me. Hence wicked men are said to break forth with impudence and violence into sin.*Hos. 4.2. they break forth, 'tis a metaphor from Rivers, which in a flood do violently bear down all be∣fore them; or like an army which having made a breach in a wall, rush with violence into it. The wicked set themselves against Christ, and break all those Bonds and Lawes which he hath made to bind them from sin. Psal. 2.2, 3. and 12.4. Ier. 44.16.19. Hence they are compared to the horse which runs dangerously and desperately on the Pikes and Guns. Ier. 8.6. Iob 39.9. to 26. they make childrens play of Gods threatnings.* 2 Pet. 3.3. This heady rashness is one of the sins of youth which we are commanded to fly. 2 Tim. 2.22. every age of man hath its peculiar sins, old age is prone to Covetousness, and youth (for want of consideration and experience) is prone to rashness and headiness. 'Twere giddy young men that gave rash and in∣considerate counsell to Rehoboam, to the loss of his Kingdome. 1 Kings 12.8. he would not hearken to the counsell of his grave and aged Senators, but fol∣lowed the advice of his young gallants, to his destruction. Hence Paul would have young men to be wise, discreet, and sober-minded. Titus 2.6. they must be like those Impostors, Colos. 2.18. that were rashly puffed up with a high conceit of their own opinions and practice: but they must try all things, and be well advised what opinions they take up, and not rashly take or mistake any doctrine. 'Tis a part of the wicked mans Curse, that not onely his devices, but his very counsells which are the results of reason, shall be precipitate, and carried headlong. Iob 5.13. there is nothing more opposit to counsell, then precipitation; long deliberation should go before determination, but these mens counsells shall yet be carried Head-long, they shall either be over-hasty in counsel, or their counsels shall be over-hastily acted to their ruine. Such Heady, willfull, men never want woe: as appeares by the Israelites. Deut. 1.42, 43, 44. yea, good Iehosaphat and Iosiah, paid dearly for their rashnesse. 2 Chron. 20. ult. and those Exor∣cists, Acts 19.13.16. want of consideration brings Kings and Kingdomes to desolation. Isay 1, 3.94. and 5.12. Ier. 12.11. this ruined Ephraim. Hos. 7.2. and as in all things,* so especially in Warre and Marriage, Rashnesse is most dangerous, because if once you erre in them, there is hardly any place left for a second errour. This Headinesse and inconsideration is the cause of so much sin abounding. Lam. 1.9. they are none but fooles and sinners, which consider not what they do. Eccles. 5, 1.

Page  118*Now if you would be free from Rashnesse, 1. Take heed of Ignorance, which is the Root of Rashnesse. Prov. 9, 18.

2. Beware of pride. Colos. 2.18. the best swimmers oft-times are drow∣ned, because they are too bold and ventrous.

3. Ponder and consider your wayes. It's a sign of wisdom so to do. Prov. 13.10. and the way to establishment. Prov. 4.20. 'twas Davids com∣mendation, that he was prudent in his affayres. 1 Sam. 16.18. and the good man orders his affaires with discretion. Psal. 112.5. but the fool aith, Had I wist,* or thought of this before, it should not have been done. This vvill be an Abigail to stop us from doing evill.

1. Consideration puts a barre to sin, by laying open to us all our losses and hurts by sin, as the losse of Gods favour, the loss of Peace of conscience, and the loss of Revvard; and so armes the soul against it. We cannot rush into sin as the wicked do, when we consider the danger that attends it. Ier. 8.6. This consideration is the path-way to saving knovvledge. 2 Tim. 2.7. this religious sequestring and abstracting our selves from vvorldly affaires, is a meanes to get true vvisdome.*Prov. 18.2. This is a spurre to Repentance. Psal. 119.59. Ier. 8.6. Consider thy latter end how short and uncertain thy dayes are. If you are to Pray or Hear, consider what a glorious presence thou art going into. We should Redeem some time of every day for this Soul-enriching duty. The worldling considers a field and buyes it, he con∣siders a good bargain, and compasseth it. The voluptuous man considers how he may satisfy his lust; and the persecutor, how he may catch the godly in his nets. But of all studies and considerations, that's the best; when we study our own hearts, and dwell at home. Hence God not onely commands it,*Psal. 4.4. Zeph. 2. viz. Hag. 1.5.7. Isay 46.8. but he even beseecheth us to practice it. Psalm 50.22. oh consider his dreadfull Judgements to pre∣vent them, and his pretious mercies to improve them. 1 Sam. 12.24. this awed Iob, 23.15.

[See the Excellency of Consideration. Barlow on 2 Tim. 2.7. Baxter's Saints Rest. P. 4. p. 147.179. D. Sibbs's Beames of Light. on Ier. 8.6. p. 103. Fenner on Hag. 1.5.]

17. High-minded.

*The 17. Character of the last times is this, men will be high-minded, being puft up with pride, and high conceits of themselves. Insolent persons that pretend to great depth of knowledge, yet preferre their lusts and pleasures before Christ;* such as make their own wills their Lawes, and preferre their own idle opinions before the judgement of all the Churches of Christ in the world. These are like empty bottles, full of nothing but wind. They are so highly conceited of themselves, that they are even fanatick, and mad again. So much the word signifies. Properly it signifies to puffe up, and metaphori∣cally its taken for Pride. So 1 Cor. 4.6.18, 19. and 5.2. 1 Tim. 3.6. and 6.4. This is a branch of the fourth Character before mentioned, men shall be proud, and they shall shew their pride, by their High-mindednesse, and lofty carriage. Get Love, and then you will be Humble, and not swell with pride because of your Honours, Riches, Gifts, or Graces. Love is not puft up with such vain conceits. 1 Cor. 13.4. 'Tis knowledge without love, that puffes men up. 1 Cor. 8.1.

But I have spoken fully against Pride in the fourth Character, I shall referre you thither for fuller satisfaction.

Page  119

18. Lovers of Pleasures, more then Lovers of God.

This is the 18. sin which renders the last times so pe∣rilous,* men will be so voluptous, that they will prefer their carnall and Temporary delights, before Spiritu∣all and eternall ones. As the Gnosticks in those times did, who were gven up to filthy lusts, and placed their felicity in living de∣liciously; and this is one speciall and signall note, whereby we may know the Hereticks, and Seducers of the last times; they are men given,

  • 1. Not to spirituall delights in God, and his Ordinances, as the Saints are. Psal. 16.11. and 65, 4. and 84.
  • 2. Nor onely to honest and lawfull delights, which God allowes us in the liberall use of the creature. Genes. 49.20. Eccles. 2.1. but
  • 3ly, They will be given up to canall, sensuall, sinfull delights, such as are agreeable to corrupt nature (1 Tim. 6.5.) which consist in drunkennesse, for∣nication, riot, and excesse. They will be given up to loosenesse, and licen∣tiousnesse, which is one Reason they have so many followers.* As Epicurus had more disciples then the rest of the Philosophers, not because of any truth he publisht, but because he invited men to pleasures, and carnall delights, to which our natures are very prone. Such were those Libertines. Iames 5.5. 2 Pet. 2.13. Iude 4.18, 19. peradventure they may give God some exter∣nall worship of Cap and K•••e, but they keep their hearts, and best rooms, for their carnall Lusts and Pleasures. Naturally, all our hearts are full of this spirituall Adultery, from the wombe we run from God, after the vain delights, which cannot satisfy. Iames 4.4. Titus 3.3. How many love their Hawkes, Hownds, Horses, &c. more then Jesus Christ, and are at more cost and pains to maintain them, then they are in maintaining a Minister of the Gospel. Many are so bewitcht with their Lusts and Pleasures, that they do even sacrifice their Time, Wit, Wealth, Lives, Soules, and all unto them. They are even led by them. 2 Pet. 2.10. as an Oxe to the slaughter. Prov. 7.22, 23.* They make them their chiefest good, and place their happinesse in them. How many spend their precious time in Playing, which they should spend in praying, and in serving God in some vocation. Those are dead whilest they live. 1 Tim. 5.6. (i. e.) they are of no use in their places, as Paul said of the wdow that lives in pleasures; though her body be alive, yet her soul is dead. So the voluptuous prodigall,* that spent all on harlots, is said to be dead, Luke 15.24. It argues a noble and a rised spirit, when we can live above them. We are now Kings sons, and being born to more high and noble pleasures, we should contemn these base and low things. If we are Christs, we must crucify our lusts. Gal. 5.24. deny our selves, keep under our bodies. 1 Cor. 9.27. and enter in at the strait gate. Matth. 7.13. To this end consider.

1. That sensuall pleasures are the very poyson and bane of all grace in the soul,* they war against the peace and purity of it. 1 Pet. 2.11. they blind the eye that it cannot attain to saving knowledge. 2 Tim. 3.6, 7. the love of pleasures eates out the love of God and goodnesse out of the soule. There may be a form of godlinesse,* but there can be no power, where pleasures are preferred before God. Rom. 13.13, 14. Ephes. 2.2, 3. such make the rbellies their God, whose end is destruction and woe. Luke 6.25. Rom. 16.18. Philip. 3.19. Page  120 Many would fain joyn God and their lusts together, but they are contraries, which do mutually expell each other. Iames 4.4. 1 Iohn 2.15. Sad it is to consider, that those base impure delights should expell those pure and hea∣venly pleasures; that those poor, fading, low things, should be preferred before God, who is an everlasting fountain, of pure, divine, and spirituall joy. That men should chuse rather to serve this worldly Laban, who so oft changeth their wages, rather then God, who is better then his promise, to his people.

2. 'Tis these sensuall pleasures which stop the eares against Gods call, so that no Reason nor Religion, can work on men. These choak the good seed of the Word, that it cannot grow. Luke 8.14. let a Minister preach never so powerfully, perswade never so convincingly, yet if the heart be stopt, and stuff'd with sensuall delights, we do but preach to deaf men, who have stopt their eares against Christs calls and invitations; so that they can∣not, yea, which is worse, they will not come to him, though he tender them life and salvation. Luke 14.19, 20. Iohn 5.40. those whose hearts were set on their Oxen, Farmes, Wives, had no desire after Christ. Some make excuses, but he that had married a wife, was most peremptory; He could not come. Concupiscentiall lusts draw very strongly, the wife draws more then five yoke of Oxen, so strong are women, that Solomon, the wisest of men, and Sampson the strongest, were yet overcome by them. The Italians have a Proverb, that one haire of a woman, will draw more then a hun∣ded yoke of Oxen.* We had need then to watch over our hearts in these lawfull delights, least they should be stollen from Christ. Licitis perimus omnes. We must be moderate in the use of them, they that have wives should be as if they had none, and they that rejoyce (in lawfull liberties) be as if they rejoyced not. 1 Cor. 1.29, 30. we must do by them as Iona∣nathan did by his honey,* only taste of it for his neces∣sary refreshment. 1 Sam. 14.27. or as the dog doth at Nlus, only lap, and away. Else, if you give your self up to inordinate pleasures, they'l ruine you as they did those Epicures. Amos 6.1. to 8. and the old world. Luke 17.26, 27. and the whore of Babylon, which lives in pleasures, Revel.8.. and those young Jovialists, who gave themselves up to carnall delight. Eccles. 11.9. and the rich glutton. Luke 16. Turn then all your carnall delights into spiri∣tuall ones,* your vain delights, into divine delights, instead of delighting in corne, wine, and earthly possessions, delight thy self in the Lord, and he shall give thee thy hearts desire. Psal. 37.4. That's the best pleasure which springs from the knowledge and love of God. We call not upon you to forsake, but to change your pleasures. Change your sordid, sinfull, sensuall delights, into sublime, spirituall, and noble delights. The pleasures of the soul are more vi∣gorous and masculine; those of the body more soft and effeminate. Sensitive pleasures have more of the dregs, Intellectuall ones more of Quintescence, and so excell all other pleasures in eleven particulars, [as you may see in that learned discourse of the Light of Nature,* by Mr. Culverwell. ch. 17.] 'Tis indeed the Hardest, but yet 'tis the best conquest to conquer sinful pleasures. No victory like this, for he that conquers an enemy, conquers another, and that an external enemy; but he that conquers his lust, con∣quers himself, and so conquers a domestick enemy, which is the most dange∣rous; one enemy within, doth us more mischief then an hundred without.

Page  1213. The better to wean your hearts from carnal pleasures, consider the vanity and shortnesse of them. They are like a fire of straw, a blast, and gone. Solomon, that had made triall of them all, concludes, Vanity of Vani∣ties, all is vanity.*Eccles. 1.2. they are not onely vain, but Vanity; not onely Vanity, but Vanity of Vanities (i. e.) exceeding vain. They are Huks that rather choak, then satisfy the soule. Luke 15.16. The pleasure passeth, and is but for a season, but the sorrow that attends it is perpetuall. Heb. 21.5. Do not then for a mite of pleasure, purchase a mountain of mi∣sery; for momentany joyes, endure eternall sorrows.

4. They do emasculate and weaken the mind. Who ever was made more learned, Wise, Couragious, or Religious by them? They rob man of his Reason, and besot him. Hos. 4.11. they take away the man, and leave a swine or beast in his room.

Vestis pulchra, jocus, potus, cibus, otia, somnus,
Enervant mentem, luxuriámque fovent.

5. This world is a place of weeping, conflicting, labouring, to all the godly, and not of carnall mirth, and rejoycing; carnal mirth must be turned into mourning.*Iames 4.9, 10. the way to Heaven lyes through many afflictions. Acts 14.22. we must sow in teares here, if we look to reap in joy hereafter. 2 Cor. 4.17. Rev. 7.17. we must not expect to enjoy the pleasures of earth and Heaven too. They that have their portion of pleasure here, must look for none hereafter. Iob 21.12, 13. Luk. 16.25. Rev▪ 18.7.

6. Consider, those sensuall pleasures end in sorrow. The end of such mirth (what ever the beginning is) is sorrow. Men call them by the name of Plea∣sures, Pastimes, Delights; but in Gods Dictionary their name is, Madnesse. Eccles. 1.17. and 2.2. Sorrow. Prov. 14.13. and is attended with Poverty and misery. Prov. 21, 17. This is Adams apple, which cast him out of Para∣dise; Esaus broth which cost him his Birth-right, Ionathans honey, which being but tasted, had like to have cost him his life. The whore of Ba∣bylons golden cup, which filled her full of all abominations. Iudas sop which made way for the Devill to enter into him. Who say to God depart from us, but those that Dance? Iob 21.10, 11. who are voyd of the spirit, but sen∣suall ones? Iude 18.19. Hence some compare Pleasures to Pills, which are fairly guilt without, and rolled in sugar, but within are full of bitternesse; or like a painted sepulcher, fair without, but within full of stench and hor∣rour. Admit but of one pleasure, and there will follow a thousand Pangs. Too much of this honey breeds loathing. Prov. 25.15. and its love is turned into hatred. 2 Sam. 13.15. they are like the book which Iohn did eat. Rev. 10.9. sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the belly. We should therefore look on pleasures,* not as coming to us, but as going from us: Though they come with a fair shew, yet at parting they leave shame and sorrow behind them. They destroy the health and strength of the body, and the Peace of the soul, what got David by his carnal delights with Bethsheba, but a torment∣ing conscience, which was to him as the breaking of his bones? Psal. 51.8. 'Tis a good observation of Chrysostome, that we are hurt more by the plea∣sures of the flesh, then by the most grievous torments of tormentors; for torments beget Martyrs,* but Lusts doe beget Epicures. The very foundation and beginning of true joy, is to deny our selves in false joy.

7. Even the wiser sort of Heathens have condemned these Page  122 sensuall Pleasures.*Tully calls them the bait of all evill, wth which men are caught as fishes with an hook; so saith another, Carnal pleasures are full of Anxiety, Satiety, and Sorrow. They pervert the judgemen,* are an enemy to reason, and opposite to Vertue; for Vertue is a Lofty, Kingly, Laborious, Unconquerable thing; But pleasure is a servile, sor∣did, idle, weak thing; delighting in Stewes, and Ale-houses, in Baths, and banquets. As, therefore, you love the Peace and Prosperity of your soules, get them mortified to fleshly lusts and pleasures; for if ye live after the flesh, ye must dye. Rom. 6.13. Now that ye may mortify them.

Get an eye of Faith, get a spiritualized soul, that you may taste and see the exellencies that are in Christ, yea in his very crosse, this will make you with Moses to contemn the pleasures which endure but for a season,* and to prefer sufferings for Christ, before the Crowns and Kingdomes of the world. Heb. 11.25, 26. faith raiseth the Heart above these worldly delights. Cant. 1.3. Psal. 4.6, 7. by it we are crucifyed to the world. Gal. 6.14. and long to be out of it, that we may be with God, our Portion and delight. Rom. 8.23. 2 Cor. 5.2. By this we may know whether we love pleasures more then God, by observing what our hearts are most set upon (Matth. 6.21.) and what we make our chiefest delight;* when our greatest care, stu∣dy, and contentment, is in earthly pleasures, and we can sit down satisfied with them, though we want Gods favour; when we are not content with God alone for our Portion, but we must have earthly pleasures to peece out our happi∣nesse withall; its an infallible sign of such as love pleasures more then God.

2. Be diligent in your callings, then you will be out of the reach of many Tentations, and be freed from many noysome lusts, which pursue and pe∣ster idle persons.

3. Shun the company of such as are given to pleasures; for as a man can hardly escape free from Blacking, and Meale, that is familiar with Colliers, and Milners; so he can hardly escape the lusts and pleasures of the world, that is familiar with voluptuous ones. There is a secret poyson and infection in wicked society, when men are mingled with them, they learn their works. Psal. 106.35. Many that have been good whilest they have been in good company (as Iehoash which was good all the time that good Iehojada lived.* 2 Kings 12.2.) yet when they have changed their company, have changed their manners also. Let the daily falls of others in this kind, make you to feare.

Page  123

VERSE 5. Having a Form of Godlinesse, but denying the Power thereof; from such turn away.

THis is the last, but not the least sin of the last times. That we may the better know and avoyd the Impostors of the last times, the Apostle comes now to give us some speciall marks (for the former 18. are common to the seducers, and the seduced) by which they may be known; as

1. By their Hypocrisy, they will be glozing Hypocrites, who, under pretence of piety, will practice all manner of iniquity, making religion a cloak and stale to cover all their villanies. Such were the Gnosticks of old (to whom some conceive the Apostle had an eye) who were fleshly Libertines,* given up to sensuality, and all manner of wickedness, yet made a shew of Piety, and pretended extraordinary holiness, Such are the Papists now on the one hand, and the sectaries on the other; both pretend singular piety, when their lives abound with all manner of iniquity. These painted Sepulchers (in all ages) have been the greatest enemies to Reall Saints, as you may see. Cant. 1.6. Isay 66.5. Matth. 23.34. Iohn 16.1, 2. Acts 13.50.

In these words the Apostle tels us

  • 1. What these men have, viz. A form of Godlinesse.
  • 2. What they want. viz. the Power of it.
  • 3. How we must behave our selves towards them. viz. we must shun their society, from such turn away.

1. For the first,* they have [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] a vain and empty shew of Faith and Holiness. They are not men without the Pale of the Church, such as Heathens and Jewes, which are open enemies to the Gospel; but they have a forme of Godliness, an externall profession of Religion in Words, Ceremonies, and Gestures; they make great shewes, and put on the Vizard of piety; like stage-players, they act the part of a King, but strip them of their robes, and they are beggarly Rogues. They have non 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 sed〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not the true form and essence of Godliness, which consists in an invvard change, and doth denominate and give being to things: but they have formality or an outvvard shevv and shadovv of Holiness. Like Pictures and Images,* vvhich have an external shevv and shape of a man, vvhose lineaments and proportion may be so dravvn to the life, that there vvants nothing but life in∣deed to act them: they vvill be great professors, and look vvhat a sincere Christian hath in Substance, that have these Formalists in Semblance, they have no life, no povver, no principle of operation in them.

2. They vvant the povver (i. e.) the truth of Godliness,* vvhich consists in true faith, purifying the heart. Act. 15.9. in love unfeigned to God & our neigh∣bour. 1 Tim. 1.5. & in the internal & spiritual obedience of the heart, worship∣ping God in Spirit and in Truth. Iohn 4.24. 'Tis a professing of the truth in truth, and walking in the power of it. But alas where shall we find this? The form indeed is frequent, but where shall we find the power of grace, the beau∣ty of Holiness, and the efficacy of the new creature? do not most resist that in∣ward vertue & power of godliness, by which the heart should be renewed, & the conversation rectified? So that formality, formality, formality is the great sin of England at this day, under which the land groans. True, the form & pro∣fession of religion abounds, but alas for the vain, carnal, covetous, proud, censo∣rious, Page  124 sensuall walking of the professors of it. The complaint is generall, there is not that Mortification, Self-deniall, and Circumspect walking as formerly. There's more light, but lesse life; more shadow, but lesse sub∣stance; more profession, but lesse sanctification, then formerly. There is more fasting, praying, preaching; but where's the Practice and Power of Religion? as Isaack said to Abraham, behold the wood, but where's the Lamb? so behold the Duties, but where, oh where's the life, the power, the truth of what is done? The voyce is Iacobs voyce, but the hands are the hands of Esau; for they deny the power of Religion not only in their hearts, but also in their works. Titus 1.16. 1 Tim. 5.8. they so live, as if Godlinesse were but an aery notion, and a matter of fashion without all force or efficacy. The form of godlinesse is easie,* and cheap service, and so hath many fol∣lowers; bodily exercise, and a bare observation of the Letter of the Law, is delightful even to Pharises; but the life and power of Godliness, is hard and hash to flesh and blood. Matth. 7.13. Luke 13.24. 1 Pet. 4.18. it teacheth high and hard Lessons, such as Self-deniall, Mortification, resisting sin and Satan, living by Faith, Patience, yea, joyfulness in sufferings, &c. these spiritual Lessons are distastefull to carnal men, and therefore few they be that goe this way.

The Text may be considered two wayes, Relatively, or absolutely.

1. Relatively, as it relates to the 18. sins before mentioned, so this sin is the cloak to hide and cover them all, men will be lovers of themselves, but under a form of Godliness. Hence Observe. That a man may have a form of Godlinesse, and yet live in all manner of wickednesse. 'Tis true, the Power of God∣liness, cannot consist with the power of Ungodliness; but the more the pow∣er of Godliness is lifted up in the soul, the more the power of Ungodliness will be supprest, as the house of David grows stronger and stronger, so the house of Saul grows weaker and weaker. But yet the form of Godliness, may stand with the power of Ungodliness. A man may be a glorious Professor in the highest form, and yet a Puny in the form of Grace. He may be a bla∣zing Comet for profession, and yet be a Devill incarnate, in life and conver∣sation. The Scribes and Pharises were glorious Professors, and yet but painted Sepulchers, filled with pride and oppression, even when they were murdering Christ, they had a form of godlinesse. Iohn 18.28. they would not go into the Judgement-Hall, lest they should be defiled, yet think it no defilement to crucify Christ, and after they had crucified him, they had a form of godlinesse; when Iudas brought the money to them. Matth. 27.6. they refused to take it, because 'twas the price of blood; and yet they refu∣sed not to crucify Christ. Thus Herod when he beheaded Iohn Baptist, doth pretend Religion, it was for his Oaths sake; and under pretence of a Vow at Hebron, riseth in rebellion against his Father, and Herod under a pretence of worshipping Christ, seeks to kill him. Matth. 2.8. Iehu pretends the destruction of Baal, but intends the Kingdom to himself. Saul made a great shew, and killed Witches, yet at last runs to them for help. Demetrius is zealous for Diana, but 'tis to preserve his own Silver Trade. The Ana∣baptists under pretence of Liberty, destroy Magistracy. The Pope began his Bulls. In nomine Domini. The Papists cry up the Church, that they may the better destroy it. They put on a fair glove on a foul hand, and get on the Vizard of Holiness, the better to deceive. The Devill gets much by such, and therefore he transforms himself into an Angell of light. No sword like Goliahs,* especially when wrapt up in an holy Ephod. Of all Devills, the Sanctus Satanas, the white Devill is the worst, and most dangerous; and therefore when they cry Ave, do thou cry Cave, when they cry Do∣mine,Page  125 remember 'tis but in Nomine. Saul may tell Da∣vid of a marriage,* when he intends his funeral. 2 Sam. 18.21. many are Cato's without, and Nero's within; open enemies are better then such secret ones, for when the dogge barks, we may prevent the biting. The Devill cannot endure that sin should be seen in its pro∣per dress, for then it would be so odious that all men would abhorre it; the Devill therefore puts a garment and cover upon it; Hence we read of a cloak of Covetousness. 1 Thes. 2.3. and a cloak of Ma∣lice. 1 Pet. 2.16. So Pride goes under the cloak of Decency, and Drunken∣ness of good fellowship. Ungodliness could drive no Trade without these cloaks; as a Fisher-man could take no fish, if he had not a bait as well as a hook; so in every sin there is a bait as well as a hook; a bait of profit, pleasure, &c. now the Devill hides the hook, and shews the bait, and so makes it take. How many in our days pretend Religion, but intend their own interest and advancement. Like Maximilian the Emperour, that pretended to Refor∣mation, and thereupon pulled down many golden Images, but (saith Sleiden) it was not out of love to the Reformation, but out of love to the gold of the Images. To make you abhor this sin, consider.

  • 1. That this dissembled Piety, is double iniquity; what a cursed Practice was it for Iesabel to proclaim a Fast, that she might murder Naboth?
  • 2. As his horrible Hypocrisy, so 'tis horrible Atheisme also. 'Tis one of Machiavells Maxims. I would (saith he) have great men to have a shew of Holiness,* because it makes for their advantage; but the power of Godliness is a bur∣den. They may serve themselves with a shew of Ho∣liness, but the truth of Godliness will not abide it.
  • 3. 'Ts a sin that makes Religion a foot-stool to iniquity, and God him∣self a Pander to your lusts.
  • 4. 'Tis blasphemy against Religion, and causeth it to be blasphemed, and therefore God never suffers it to go unrevenged, but sooner or later he will uncase all those that dawb over their wickedness with pretences of Godliness. He will send the sword against such Hypocritical ones, as a people of his curse. Isay 10.6. Oh then let us take heed of this Land-destroying, and soul-murdering sin of Formality, which so exceedingly abounds at this day; if any sin ruine England, 'tis this. 'Tis said of King Shishak (1 Kings 14.25, 26, 27.) that he should take away the shield of gold out of Solomons Tem∣ple, and Rehoboam made shields of brass instead of them. There was a time when the Professors of England were shields of gold, when we lived together, and served God with one heart, aud one way, in sincerity and simplicity of heart: but now our shields of gold are turned into shields of brass (brass may shine more then gold, but there's great difference in their worth) True devo∣tion is now turned into Hypocritical dissimulation; and therefore seriously ask your selves this question, Am I a shield of gold, or of brass? am I a fixed Starre, or a blazing Comet? a painted or a living man? a Formall, or a Reall Christian? if you have only a Form: So had Iudas and the Pharises which are now in hell. Matth. 5.20. This may as soon carry you to heaven, as a dead horse can carry a man a journey, a painted ship save a man from drowning, a painted Helmet save the head from wounding, or painted food keep a man from starving.

Quest. But how shall I know whether I be a meer Formalist, or whether I have the power of Religion in me?

Page  126Answ. First see whether any of those 18. sins before mentioned, do live and raign in thee; if so, thou hast but a form of Godlinesse: for if thou hadst the Power, it would conquer the power of all those sins.* As we say of a furnace; it is of no use, if it sparate not the dross from the silver; and a sieve is of no use, if it separate not the bran from the flower; so may I say of godlinesse, if it conquer not all thy ungodliness, it is but a naked, empty, powerless thing.

2. The formall Hypocrite is all out-side in his most spirituall performan∣ces; all duties must be serviceable and subordinate to his private ends, and interests. View him in his intellectuals or Morals, and you shall find self and formality in all.

1. His knowledge is meerly notional, discursive, and speculative, 'tis in his head,* and not in his heart. Hence it is called a Form of Knowledge, (i. e.) a meer empty shadow, and shew of Knowledge. Rom. 2.20. But he that hath the Power of Godlinesse, hath a Rooted, Affective, Saving, Sanctifying, Experimentall, Practical knowledge. He knowes Christ as the truth is in him. Ephes. 4.21. he knowes, and doth Christs will. Iohn 13.17. 'Tis a soul-convincing and converting, a sin-crucifyng, and conquering Light. Ephes. 5.14. 'Tis not a dimme, glimmering, vanishing Light; but a through, soul-awakening, soul-enlivening Light.

2. The Formalists Obedience and Practice is meerly extenal in words and shews; In their deeds they deny the Power of Godlinesse; they live as if Godlinesse were but an empty name, and matter of fashion, voyd of all force and efficacy. Such are like a wicked Minister in a white Surplice, Ex∣timè lineus, intimè lanius, fair without, but foul within; or like an Inne that hath an Angell without, and a Devill within. Of such we may say as Eras∣mus said of a Friars-cowle, it covers a multitude of sins. But the truly godly man doth all with Life, Spirit, and Power, as David when he danced before the Ark, did it with all his might. 2 Sam. 6.14. so what ever he doth for God, he doth it with all his might. Eccles. 9.11. As they that love the Lord, so they that serve the Lord, are like the Sun when it goes forth in its strength, which consumes & dispells those mists and clouds which hinder its light▪ Iudg. 5. ult. This Power of Godlinesse doth infinitely transcend all Forms, for what is the shadow to the substance, what is the Husk to the Kernell, the Chaffe to the Wheat, or the box to the Jewell? what is darknesse to light, deadnesse to life; the picture to a man, the counter to gold, or Earth to Heaven.

3. He comes short in all Ordinances, if he Read, Pray, Hear, or frequent the Sacrament, 'tis all pro forma. God is nigh to their mouthes, but far from their reines. Ier. 12.2. they perform all the duties of Godliness, without Godliness, they do (externally) what the good man doth, and yet like Iu∣das, they are but Devills. Ordinances may be frequented, and yet no change wrought. Let us therefore labour for the Life and Power of Religion in our souls. Let's not be slothfull in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Rom. 12.11. Let us Hear the word attentively, receive it beleeving∣ly, Practice it conscientiously; Pray with Power, communicate with sin∣cere and earnest desires after Christ, rest not in the outward baptizing with water, but get the inward baptizing with the holy Ghost, which may be like fire, to refine and purify the soul. Rouse up your selves, end shake off that spiritual dulness, and drousiness which clogs you in duties, lets break through all those difficulties, and dangers, which lye in the way of Grace. Like so many spiritual Sampsons, we should break all those cords of Sin and Satan, which would hinder us in our Christian course. To this end consider.

Page  1271. That formality and spirituall sloth is very displeasing to God, it being directly opposite to his nature, who is a spirit infinitely active and stirring, and cannot endure dead services. Seee how contemptibly he speaks of outward services, which separated from inward obedience. Isay 1.11. to 16. To what pur∣pose is your Sacrifices? I delight not in them, who required this at your hands? your Ob∣lations are van, your Incense are abomination, I caunot away with your Assemblies, my soule hates them, they are a trouble to me, I am weary of them. Scarce any sin hath harder terms given it in Scripture, then this of formality, 'tis compared to Idolatry and Murder (two crying sins;) to the offering of a dog or a swine in sacrifice, which (in the time of the Law) had been a hainous offence. Isay 66.3, 4. A bare performance of duties, is cheap and easie, and is prai∣sed in the vvorld; but inward obedience is hard and hateful to corrupt men. Hence like Ephraim (Hos. 10.11.) men love to tread out the corn where they may eat at pleasure, but they love not plowing; that's hard and hungry work.

2. Consider, formality and spiritual sloth loseth all, a man may go a great way in Religion, and yet for vvant of a little more paines lose all. Prov. 12.27. The sluggard roasts not what he took in hunting; he took some paines to hunt for it, but for vvant of a little more paines, he lost all. The wicked and slothfull servant had his Talent taken from him. Matth. 25.26. he lost not his Talent, but because he did not improve it to his Masters advantage, he lost all. 'tis not sufficient we do no hurt, but we must do good, else we are but like painted fire, which as 'tis heatlesse, so 'tis uselesse.

3. He layes himself open to Satans Temptations, by his carelessnesse he Tempts the Tempter, and gives him great advantage against his soul; like secure Laish, which became a booty to its enemies. Iudg. 18.10. we are like men upon a river, if we row not against the stream, we go down; like the Smiths forge; no blowing, no burnig. 'Tis the seething pot which keeps off flyes, as for the field of the sluggard, its growen over with nettles, and the stone-wall thereof is broken down. Prov. 24.30.

4. Consider that formality and spiritual sloth is al∣wayes a fore-runner of ruine to a person,* or Nation; where this sin raigns, destruction is at the heeles of it. Isay 64.7. as soon as ever the Prophet had complain∣ed, There is none that stirres up himself to call on God, he presently addes, Thou hast consumed us because of our iniquities. There's nothing hastens judgement, and provokes the Lord to remove the Gospel like this. Rev. 2.5. and 3.15, 16. This ruined the Prelacy, they were (of late) all for outward pomp, and formall service, in bowing to Al∣tars, setting up Images, reading of Service, &c. but deadly enemies to the Power of Religion, and for this God spued them out. As zeal and favour is a meanes to turn away wrath. Numb. 25.10, 11. So formality and coldnesse increaseth it. Certainly, if England go on to contemn Gods Ordinances, de∣spise his Ministers, prophane his holy things, and to slight the tenders of grace made in the Gospel; God will slight us, and give his Gospel to a people that shall yeeld him better obedience. And since we will not awaken our selves, God will awaken us by some dreadfull judgements; and since we will not strip our selves of our sins, he vvill strip us of his blessings. Hos. 2.3. and consume us after all the good vvhich he hath shevved us; Iosh. 24.20. that as vve have been famous for Priviledges, Victories, and Successe; so novv vve shall become infamous to the Nations round about us, for our abuse of these mercies. If any sinne ruine Eugland, 'tvvill be the Forma∣lity, Hypocrisy, and unfruitfulnesse, under those rich meanes vvhich Page  128 wee enjoy, which will certainly doe it.

Now if the state of those that have but a form of Godlinesse be o dange∣rous, how sad is their condition, that have not so much as a form? that have neither shadow nor substance, but are open Godlesse, Gracelesse, worth∣lesse men, that are hardned, habituated, desperate sinners; such as from top to toe,* inwardly, and outwardly, are nothing but sin; as 'tis said of Anti∣christ, that he's a man of sin. 2 Thes. 2, 3. So are these, men composed an compounded of it; they draw on iniquity with the cords of vanity. Isay 5.18. and are so set on sin, that they use all means and provocation, to draw theselves to a violent acting of it, and continuance in it. He that hath but a form of godlinesse is an Hypocrite, but he that hath not a form, is an Atheist. An Hypocr••e is a masked Devill, and an Atheist, is a Devill un∣masked; such are our Quakers;* an Atheisticall genera∣tion of prophane men, that neither fear God, nor Re∣verence man; Gods Sabbaths they profane, they neg∣lect their callings, contemn the scriptures, vilify Pray∣er, and all Ordinances, never give Thanks at their meales, Rayle on Ma∣gistrates and Ministers, dishonour their Parents, out-run their wives, neglect their families, being full of Lying, Rayling, Idlenes, and all unrighteousnesse. If these be Saints, who are Scythyans? These sin not through weakness, but through wilfulness; not through Passion or precipitation, but deliberately, electively,* resolutely, (they tell the Magistrate to his face, that they will seal their high and horrid blasphemies with their blood; 'tis time such corrupt blood were let out of the body) they devise mischiefe, and set themselves in a way that is not good. Psal. 36.4. as the liberall man deviseth liberall things, and by them is establisht. Isay 32.8. so the wicked man deviseth wicked things,* and by them is ruined. V. 7. Though favour be shewed to the wicked, yet are they so wedded to their sin, that they will not learn Righteousness. Isay 26.16. 'Tis the height of misery when men have sinned so long, that they have brought themselves into a necessity of sinning. These are not on∣ly in a dangerous, but in a damnable condition; what Solomon saith of the Harlots guests, is true of them: they are in the depths of hell. Prov. 9. ult. all such (for present) are far from salvation, such as frequent the Ordinances, and live soberly, though they be not yet alive, yet they sit in the winds way, and there's more hope of them; as Christ said of the discreet Scribe, thou art not far from the Kingdom of Heaven. Mark 12.34.

Now if a man may live civilly, soberly, religiously, confess his sinnes, Fast, Pray, frequent Ordinances, give Almes, and re∣form many things,* and yet come short of Heaven; where then shall the wicked and ungodly appear, who come short of those, that come short of Heaven?

2. Let us shake off this foul murthering sin, and awaken our selves, that we may awaken God; if ever there were a time to cry aloud, 'tis now, when the Lord seems to be asleep, the work of Reformation seems to go backward; children are come to the birth, and there wants strength to bring forth: By our Prayer let us play the Midwife, and help the Man-child of Reformation into the world, let us give the Lord no rest, till he make Ierusalem the praise of the world. Isay 62.1. See how the Church expostulates the case with God, and by an holy violence, doubles and trebles her suit, the better to awaken God. Isay 51.9, 10. Awake O Arme of the Lord, awake, awake, and put on strength. God by his judgements hath made many gaps in the Nation, let us humble our selves, and lye in the gap, and make up the breach; when the Sea hath made a breach, so long Page  129 as the breach continues, the water overflowes the land, but the way to stop it is not to murmur or quarrell one with another, but we must fall every one to his work, and so make up the breach. Remember our time is short, our work is great, and our wages unspeakable, we serve a Ma∣ster, who will not let any man serve him for nought. He'l reward every man according to his works, such as sow liberally, shall reap liberally, and the more active we have been for God, the greater our reward shall be. Let us not then give Satan occasion to insult and say, Lord, my slaves and servants are more active for me, then thine are for thee; mine can spend their Time, their Estates, and their Lives for me, and in my service; but thine grudge at every thing they do, or suffer for thee. Let us by our selfe-denying lives confute this slander, let the zeale for Gods honour, consume us, and all that we have. And if ever there were a time to rowse up our selves out of our formality, 'tis now, when sin is grown so impudent, and insolent.

1. Let us sweep before our own dores, and stirre up our selves against our own personall sinnes, against that Atheisme, Hypocrisy, and Formality, that sticks so close unto us. Let's know the Plague of our own hearts, and arm against the sins of our complexion, constitution, vocations. So did David. Psal. 18.23.

2. Let's stirre up our selves against the sins of the age we live in.* The Apostasies, Heresies, Blasphemies, that we daily hear of, should be as a sword in our bones, we should be deeply affected with them, and shew our dislike of them. Neh. 13.11.17. Ier. 13.17. Ezek. 9.4. Rev. 2.2. We must out of an holy singularity,* witnesse against the sinfull courses of the world, Rom. 12.2. we must do more then others. Matth. 5.47. the way of the righteous is on high, above the reach of carnall men. Prov. 15.24. and therefore when we Pray, it should not be pro forma, but with life and quickening. Hence David prayes, Psal. 80.18. quicken us O Lord, that we may call upon thy Name. We should stirre up our affections in this duty, fire not stirred, dyes; but stirred, gives heat. 2 Tim. 1.7. there's no stir∣ring in formality, and so no heat. Hence Christ baptizeth all his, not only with water, but with fire, Matth. 3.11. which makes them full of activity and zeale.

2. Take heed of Formality in Hearing, attend as for your lives, with Life, Faith, Obedience; come to these lively Oracles, with lively affe∣ctions. Acts 7.38. be transformed into the Image of the word, Rom. 6.17. act the Graces of the spirit in Hearing, when you hear of Judge∣ments, tremble; of the Promise, believe; of the Commandements, obey.

3. In observing the Lords-day, we must not barely do the duties of it in a flat and formall way, but we must make them our delight. Isay 58.13. we should rejoyce that we have such a day wherein to glori∣fie God, and to meditate on his word, and works; we should esteem it as an Honourable day, it's one thing to keep a Sabbath, ano∣ther to keep it as an high day, a day of honour, laying aside all worldly thoughts, words, and works; as too base and meane, for so high a day.

4. In works of Mercy,* we should not barely shew mercy, but Love mercy. Micah 6.8. God loves a chearfull giver. Wee should be glad of an opportunity to expresse our Love and Thankfullnesse to God. We should think nothing too good for God, who hath thought nothing too dear for us. Bring costly services, put him not off with light aud slight duties: which cost you nothing. David would not of∣fer Page  130 to the Lord of that which cost him nothing. 2 Sam. 24.24. The fat and best must be given to him. Levit. 3.9. Numb. 13.12. Learn of worldly men, see how active they be in Seed-time, and Harvest, for a little tempo∣rall gain; consider how active and stirring, the devill is to do mischiefe. Iob 1. 1 Pet, 5.8. and if Heathens have been so resolute to walk in the name of their Dung-hill-Gods [Micah 45.] we should much more resolve to walke in the name of our God for ever, who is a better Master, hath better work, and better wages.

2. Get your Graces quickened,

  • 1. Let your faith be a lively, stirring, operative faith. Gal. 5.6. Iames 2. by this wee conquer the world; to conquer the material world; (with Alexander) is not so great, and so glorious a work, as to to conquer the malignant world.
  • 2. See that your Hope be an active, lively hope; doth it make thee contemn both the worlds promotions and persecutions, its frowns and favours? canst be content to perish, so Christ may flourish; to be nul∣lified, that he may be glorified? then hast thou cause to blesse God. 1 Pet. 11.3. Blessed be God, who hath given us a lively hope.
  • 3. Let your Repentance be sound and saving, even Repentance unto life, a turning from darknesse to light; converted men, are quickened men. Ephes. 2.1.

3. Get all the Powers of your soul quickened and enlivened.

  • 1. Get your understanding enlightened with saving knowledge, this is the life of the mind, Psal. 119.144. Give me understanding, and I shall live.
  • *2. Get your wills conformable to Gods will. 'Tis the happinesse of the Creature, to resemble the Creator. The will is the man, get this bended, rightly byassed and reformed, and all is done.
  • 3. Get your affections quickened, they are the feet upon which the soul runs the way of Gods Commandements. Eccles. 5.1. Psal. 119.32. and the wings by which we fly in his service,* they shew what we are, and do denominate the man; that we are, that we Love and Desire to be.

Object. But methinks I hear some gracious souls bemoaning themselves, and groan under that formality, dulnesse, deadnesse, heavinesse, and in∣disposednesse, which they still find within them, notwithstanding all their stirring and striving, and praying against it.

Answ. This hath been, is, and will be still, the condition of Gods ser∣vants, whilest they are in the world. Heavinesse and Holinesse, weak∣nesse, dulnesse, and dutifulnesse, may subsist together in the same soul; as we see in David, Asa, Iosiah, Iob, Peter, Luther, no Saint on earth; Sine omni macula. Iames 3.2. In many things we offend all. David was a man after Gods own heart, yet how doth he beg for quickening, and for life, which implies a sensiblenesse of dulnesse and deadnesse in himselfe. Psa. 73. and 119. and yet he had an intensive love to God, to his Saints, his truth and worship; what bitter lamentation did Paul make on this ac∣count. Rom. 7. the purest gold hath yet some drosse, the best corn some weeds, the finest wooll some moaths, the best wine some lees. The best man whilest he is in the Vale of Tears will have cause to cry, A necessitatibus meis libera me Domine. Deliver me O Lord from my invincible infir∣mities. viz. Faintness, Drowsinesse, Indisposedness, &c. the best here are like Prisoners, which though they be got out of prison, yet have bolts on their legs still, so that they cannot run so fast as they would. Like a bird with a stone tied to the leg of it, that fain would ascend and be gone, but cannot. Page  131 Though they find sometimes a loathnesse and indisposition to duties; yet have they no loathing of Duties, or decrying of Ordinances. There may be a wearinesse in, but not a wearinesse of Duty. Grace is still predomi∣nant, and so denominates.* We call it a Corne-field, though there be some weeds mixt with it; and white paper, though it have some spots on it. Hence Christ excuseth his sleepy and heavie disciples. Matth. 26.41. the spirit (i. e.) the regenerate part is willing, ready, chearfull, to watch, pray, do and suffer for me; but the flesh (i. e.) the unregenerate part, is weak, impotent, and unwilling to spirituall duties, till grace sub∣due it, and bring it into obedience. Christ in much love and pitty doth pass by and pardon the weaknesses and infirmities of his people. A brui∣sed reed he will not break. Matth. 12.20. he that will not have us to reject such as are weak in the faith, will not reject them himself.*Rom. 14.1. See how gently he deales with Peter, Iohn 21.15. to put him in mind of his threefold deniall, he doth not harshly upbraid him with it, but only in a mild manner ask him thrice, Peter lovest thou me? He takes no notice of the sins and infirmities of the people, so as to impute them to them, or condemn them for them.*Numbers 23.21.22▪ Cor. 5.21. As a Father piteth his chil∣dren, so doth the Lord pitty his. Psal. 103.13. he spares them as a man spares his Son that serves him. Mal. 3.17. and will not reject their Ser∣vices, though mixt with many weaknesses, Zach. 3.3, 4. we have a mer∣cifull High Priest, full of compassion, who is touched with the sense of our infirmities. Heb. 2.17. and 4.15. In all our afflictions, he is afflicted. Isay 63.9. he knowes whereof we are made, and remembers that we are but flesh. To expresse his Pastorall and Paternall affection towards them he hath promised, To gather the Lambs with his arm, and to carry them in his bosom, to bind up the broken, and strengthen the weak, to seek that which is lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and to punish their stout and strong enemies. Isay 40.11. and Ezek. 34.16. Christ will have none to despise his little ones. Matth. 18.5. Be humbled then, but be not de∣jected or discouraged,* for these invincible infirmities of weaknesse, passion, forgetfulnesse, &c. which clog us here. Every Christian carries his clog with him, (saith Luther.) God hath reserved perfection for Heaven, there our hearts shall be alwayes in tune; here our greatest per∣fection is to bewayle our imperfections, and our greatest Righteousnesse, to lament our Unrighteousnesse. We are apt to have hard conceipts of God, and to judge of him by our selves, but his thoughts are not our thoughts, nor his wayes our wayes. Isay 55.8. There is no God like our God, for pardoning, and passing by the sins of his people. Exod. 34.6, 7. Micah 7.18. our distempers cannot distemper him, nor our in∣firmities interrupt his favour. The marriage knot is not broken by eve∣ry falling only, nor the League between Princes broken by the wrongs done by Pirats. The sicknesse or weaknesse of the child, doth not make the Parent reject it, but rather makes him more pittifull, and tender towards him.

Caut. Yet lest any should mistake, and take his Enormities and grosse sinnes for infirmities, I will give you foure differences be∣tween them.

1. He that sins through infirmity, hath the life of Grace begun in him, so Paul, Rom. 7. there is not weaknesse, but deadnesse, where there▪s no life.

Page  1322. That's a sin of infirmity, which is committed against the bent, pur∣pose and resolution of the soul, when we suddenly fall into sin without deliberation, either through Passion, Feare, &c as Peter did. This is cal∣led a falling by an occasion. Gal. 6.1. he doth not run himselfe into sin, but accidentally he stumbles at sin, and catcheth a fall; so that when a man fully resolves against a sin, Prayeth against it, strives against it, groans under it, and useth all means to overcome it, and yet cannot shake off this Thorne in the flesh, this may be thy crosse, it shall never be thy Curse. Suppose a man be sayling on the Sea, his intention is for such a Haven, but there comes a violent gust, and carries him into his enemies coast against his will: so the godly resolve to keep Gods Commandements. Psal. 119.106. and pray against sin. Psal. 19.13. yet through the violence of Temptati∣ons, are oft overcome against their wills. Now 'tis one thing to sell a mans self to do wickednesse, and another thing to be sold. Ahab sold himself, but Paul was sold against his will. Rom. 7. The Virgin that resisted and cryed out, was innocent, Though she were ravisht. Deut. 22.25.27. Quae non pla∣cent, non nocent. The sins that do not please us, hurt us not. The godly and the wicked both sin, as Pearls and Peebles both fall into the dirt; yet the one is a Pearle still, and the other a Peeble. Two men may fall into one and the same sin, yet there's great difference in the manner, though for the matter they may be the same.

3. Even sins of infirmity are displeasing to a gracious soul. As a man that hath a blemish, is ashamed of it, so he's made more humble and watchfull by it. Psal. 73.22. But to plead for an infirmity, is more then an infirmity.

4. He that sins through infirmity, is soon recovered, and easily reclaim∣ed; he's like a light that is newly put out, which is quickly blowen in againe. Let Nathan but once reprove David, and he's presently on his knees.* Let Christ but look on Peter, and he weeps bitterly. They are tru∣ly wise, and so a reproof works more on them then a hundred stripes doth on a fool. Prov. 17.10. A sheep may fall into a puddle, but a swine loves to lye wallowing there. If therefore no admonitions, nor reproofes, can win thee, or work upon thee; it's a sign thy sins are Enormities, and not Infir∣mities, sins of Wilfulnesse, and not of Weaknesse.

Object. I see so much sin in my selfe, that I dare not perform duties, for fear of increasing sin.

Answ. Infirmities are no warrant for us to neglect duties, 'tis a grea∣ter sin wholly to omit a duty, then to fail in the performance of it; for in the one our disobedience is Totall, we fail both in matter and manner, in the other 'tis but partiall

2. Neither do they pray formaly, and for fashion, who see their infir∣mities in Prayer,* and are grieved for them; when in humility we like our services worst, they may please God best. Nehemiah (13.22.) desires to be spared, when he had done excellent service. The sense of our imper∣fections doth more please God, then our imperfections displease him. If thy heart be unprepared, he hath promised to prepare it. Psal. 10.17. and if you be subject to Passions and Infirmities so ws Elias, yet God heard his prayer.*Iames 5.17. Obedience is most pleasing to God, when there is nothing but a bare command to quicken us. Blessed is he that beleeves (saith Christ, Iohn 20.29) and hath not seen; so blessed is he that obeyes simply out of a respect to Gods command, though he can see no benefit (at pre∣sent) by it.

Page  1333. Christ by his Mediation and Intercession perfumes all our servi∣ces (though weak and imperfect in themselves) and makes them accepta∣ble to his Father. Ephes. 1.6. Rev. 8.3. where God findes the mind to be willing, and the heart sincere, there he accepts affecting for effecting, willing for working, desires for deeds, purposes for performan∣ces, pence, for pounds, and mites for millions; a little that the Righte∣ous hath (in a spirituall sense) is better then the, seeming, riches of self-conceited Pharises. A little spring is better then a great Pond. In all duties God ponders the spirit,* and if that be right, all's right (Prov. 16.2. 2 Cor. 8.12.) as we see in Asa, David, Iob, and those that came to the Passeover. 2 Chron. 30.15. This is Evangelicall perfection; Legall per∣fection and Righteousnesse God doth expect from Christ, he onely re∣quires faith and sincerity in us; and then though Satan doe accuse us for our imperfections, yet we may put him over to Christ our husband, who ever lives to make intercession for us. [Vxori lis non intenditur] the wife cannot be sued so long as her husband lives. All that he hath is hers. 1 Cor. 3.22. Vxor coruscat radiis mariti.

Helps against Formality.

1. Go unto God who is a quickening spirit, and beseech him to quic∣ken thy dead heart. So did David of Psal. 119. God can make dry bones to live (Ezek. 37.4. &c.) and raise Lazarus out his grave, when he stinks again. He that at first raised thee out of thy Deadnesse, can much more raise thee out of thy dulnesse. All men and means are but dead things un∣lesse he put vertue in them. Beseech therefore the Lord to abide with you, for as Martha said to Christ, Lord, if thou hadst been here my Brother had not died; so may we say, Lord if thou hadst been here, my soul had not been thus dead, and disordered, nor should I drive on so heavily. When the Sun went down, Abraham fell asleep. Gen. 15.12. and when the Son of Righteousnesse withdrawes his powerfull presence; 'tis night with us, and we grow heavie, but whilest we have Gods Spirit to assist us, our souls are full of Spirit and Life; Christs yoke then is easie, and 'tis meat and drink to us to be doing Gods will.* 'Tis the policy of Satan when he cannot hinder us from Duties: then to make us formall and lazie in Duties; or else he layes clogges on us, to make duties irksome, and un∣pleasing to us; and so to bring us out of love with them, and thus he hath prevailed with too many in our dayes. Let us therefore spread our case before the Lord, and beseech him, who is life it selfe, to put life into our dead and frozen hearts, that they may live unto his praise, and that we may love his wayes, and then nothing will offend us.

2. Act and use your Graces, this is the way to increase and quicken them, bring good motions into resolutions and actions; blow till the spark become a flame. This stirring is Painfull, but Gainfull; drowsy, dead, formall professors lose all, when the active, stirring Christian, goes forth like the Sun in its strength. To him that hath, it shall be given; ex∣ercise your faith daily [vita fidei vera vita] be much in meditation, and self-examination; whetted knives are both bright and sharp; 'tis the di∣ligent hand which makes rich in spirituals, as well as Temporalls. Pro∣verbs 10.4.

3. Delight in quickening company, get acquaintance with humble, ho∣ly, active en; and shun the company of dead, formall, earthly minded men, we must stand up from the Dead, before Christ will give us Life. Ephes. 4.14. There's a quickning vertue in the society of Gods people. Page  134 As one living coal, sets his fellow on fire, So God hath ordained the gifts and graces of his people, for the benefit of others, that those who dwell un∣der their shadow, might return. Hos. 14.7.

4. Get Sincerity, for therein lyes much of the very power of Godlinesse. Let your Faith, Love, Obedience, be unfeigned, and without hypocrisy. Be not onely Nominall, and Formall, but be Reall Christians, be Israelites in∣deed. Christ sayes to us as Alexander said to one of his name, Aut forti∣tèr pugna, aut nomen depone. either fight like Alexander, or never bear his name; so either act like Christians, or else put off that name.

To quicken you, consider that this Grace is

  • Commanded.
  • Commended.
  • Rewarded.

*1. 'Tis often commanded, as 1 Sam. 12.24. Gen. 17.1. be perfect, (i. e.) sincere, he speaks not of an absolute perfection, that's reserved for Heaven; but of an Intentional perfection, when we desire and endea∣vour to walk sincerely before God. Matth. 5.48. be perfect, as your hea∣venly Father is perfect; not by way of equality, (that can never be) but by way of analogy and resemblance; not with a perfection of Degrees, but with a perfection of Parts, q. d. Let grace be sound and sincere in every Part. God doth even beg this of us. Deut. 5.29. O that there were in them a heart to fear me, and keep all my Commandements alwayes, that it might go well with them, and with their children for ever. God doth earnest∣ly seek, and desire such worships. Iohn 4.23, 24.

2. God commends such. He glories in them as a Captain doth in a tri∣ed and faithfull souldier. See how the Lord makes his boast of upright Iob. 1.8. and 2, 3. and glories in David, as a man that fulfilled all his wills and commmands.*Acts 13.22. for this he commends Iacob, that he was Ish tam, a plain, simple, single-hearted, sincere man. Gen. 25.27. for this Christ set an Ecce on Nathaniel. Iohn 1.47. and Paul commends the Romans 6.17.

3. God highly rewards it. Such shall have the Upper and the Nether springs, the blessings of this life, and of a better. Psal. 84.11. and 15.1, 2. to them God will be a Sun for refreshing and consolation, and a shield for protection, they shall have Grace and glory, and as if that were not suffi∣cient, he addes, They shall want no good thing, God will do good to those that are truly good. Psal. 73.1. and 126.1. if Caleb follow God fully, he shall possesse Canaan. Numb. 14.24. such as walk uprightly, their place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks. Isay 33.15, 16. when dan∣gers, come, he shall dwell in a safe place, in an impregnable fort, and may with Luther sing. Psal. 46.

4. 'Tis the Grace of our graces, 'tis not properly a distinct grace, but the perfection of them all. If a man have Faith, Repentance, Obedience, if they be not sincere, they are worth nothing. A Pearle if counterfeit is good for little. Gold if mixt with brasse or baser mettle, is debased. 'Tis sincerity that puts a lustre on all our Duties. 'Tis the salt that seasons them, and makes them savory. God loves Adverbs better then Adjectives, benè bet∣ter then bonum; if the matter be never so good, if we faile in the manner, we marre all. The most glorious actions done in Hypocrisy, are as undone. [Quod cor non facit, non fit] The Pharisees made long Prayers, gave much Almes, &c. yet, because leavened with hypocrisy, they lost all. Amaziah did many good things, but not with a perfect heart (2 Chron.••.2.) that But spoyled all. 'Tis sincerity that crowns all our Duties, when we heare without Guile. 1 Pet. 2.1, 2. and give almes purely out of love to God, and Page  135 Pray in sincerity; such services, (though weak) yet find acceptance. (Psal. 145.18. Prv. 15.8. Cant. 2.14.) for 'tis not the multitude, but the Truth of our services, which God regards. This gives a kind of perfe∣ction to our Duties and Graces. Hence an upright and a perfect man, are made Termes convertible in Scripture. Iob 2.3. Psal. 37.37. and the Hebrewes call sincerity by the name of perfection. Gen. 17.1. what ever then you part withall, resolve not to part with your integrity. Iob 27.5. for 'tis this that will yeeld you comfort in every condition. This Tob leb, this good heart will be a continuall Feast. Prov. 15.15. other Feasts may last for a day, for twelve dayes, or one hundred and fourscore dayes, as Ahasuerus Feast did, but they have an end, but the good man keeps an everlasting Feast; his joy shall no man take away: he sits at a Feast every day, [Omnis dies justi festus] as 'tis the misery of the wicked, that their worm never dies, so 'tis the happinesse of the Saints, that their Peace and Joy shall never end. They feast at home, and they feast abroad; they feast in prosperity, and they feast in adversity; they feast in publick, and they feast in private; they feast by day, and they feast by night; Lo this is the blessing of those that get and keep good hearts, be it clear or cloudy, fair or foul, he enjoyes a continuall serenity, and sits at a per∣petuall feast. He can see light in darknesse, Psal 112.4. food in famine. Hab. 3.17. Joy in sorrow. 2 Cor. 6.10. Riches in Poverty. Prov. 19.1. 2 Cor. 6.10. comfort in discomfort, 2 Cor. 1.12. and life in death. Iob 19.26. Psal. 16.9.

[He that would see more of sincerity, may peruse D. Preston on Gen. 17.1 Ser. 6.7. Mr. Ball on the Covenant. chapt. 11. Mr. Gataker, and Mr. Barlow on Psal. 97.11. Mr. Love on Iohn 1.29. D. Downam on Psalm 15.2. and on Luke 1.57. D. Clerks Ser. on Iohn 1.47. Mr. Scudders day∣ly walking. chapt. 12. Mr. Robinson on Ephes. 6.14. Lect. 9.10. and Mr. An∣thony Burgesse Spiritual Refining. 2 Part. Ser. 8. &c.

5. Let the noyse of Gods judgements awaken thee out of thy sleepy formality, if a man be in a dead sleep, a great noyse will awaken him. Gods judgements have a voyce, and we should mark what it sayes. Mi∣cah 6.9. God brings his judgements to light every day, either on our selves, or on others, these should fear us, quicken us, and mend our pace [timor facit consiliativum. Arist.] when Gods judgements are in the earth, we should resolve to learn righteousnesse. Isay 26.9.

6. Let the signes and fore-runners of Gods departing from us, quicken us, God is making a way for his wrath, he hath taken away lately above 60. precious Ministers, burning and shining Lights. When Pillars goe down, the house cannot long stand. When men are packing up their wares, it's no time to sit still, you must buy then, or never. The Lord is now removing his Gospel to New-England, the Son of Righteousnesse be∣gins to rise there, and set here.

Religion stands on Tip-toe in our Land,
Ready to passe unto th' American Strand.*

1. We begin to contemn Ordinances, and loath them. Those poor In∣dians begin to prize Ordinances, and frequent them.

2. We begin to cry down Sabbaths, and make every day alike; they observe Gods Sabbaths, and make Leagues for the strict observing of them. We meet to wrangle, they meet to pray and instruct Page  136 each other in the things which they have heard.

3. We begin to contemn prayer, and think our selves above it, they set up Prayer in their families, and are earnest in it.

4. We grow weary of the Lord, and begin to deny him in his Attri∣butes; these begin to fear, know, and acknowledge him.

5. We fall away to loose Opinions, and loose Practises, we are barren under all the meanes of grace, dry under all the droppings of the San∣ctuary, and therefore the Lord may justly take away his Gospel, and give it to a people that shall yeeld him better obedience, then we have done. God hath forsaken better Churches then England. The Jewes that were sometimes his peculiar people, and adorned with many rich Priviledges, are now for their unbelief, a dispersed, despised, accursed people. The seven Churches of Asia, once so famous, are now a wilder∣nesse. God hath no need of us, he can call them his people, which were not his people, and them beloved, which were not beloved. Hos. 2.23. God cannot want a people if he please to call, he can raise up out of dead stones, and wild Americans, children to himself. Oh that the poor naked Indians, might quicken our backwardnesse, and their fruitfulnesse rowse us out of our unfruitfulnesse, and their zeale, and power of Religion, shame us out of our formality. As Christ said to Peter, (Luke 7.44.) Seest thou this woman Simon? dost thou observe how bountifull and active, she hath been for me? compare her zeal and love to me, with thine, and learn to be ashamed. As the Lord set Israel to Schoole to learn of the Oxe, the Asse, the Stork, the Ant; So he may set us to learne zeale of Indians. Many are like dead Wether-cocks, they turn, and turn, and turn again, but they never crow against sin, nor be active for God. Esa∣lice, non è quercu orti. They are bending Willowes, not rooted Oakes. The living fish swimmes against the streame, 'tis the dead fish that goeth down. Rest not then content with a form, sit not down content with gifts and parts (as most do) but covet that more excellent way of Holinesse, Humility, and the power of godlinesse 1 Cor. 12.31.

Lastly, Prize all Gods Ordinances, and walk in the power of them. He that despiseth them, shall never thrive in Grace; if you take away this spi∣rituall fuell, the fire of zeale will soon decay. Ordinances are services, though not Saviours; Meanes though not Mediatours; to be used, but not Idolized; we must not cast them away, but cast them down at Christs feet, as the 24. Elders did their crownes. Revel. 4.10. God will be found in his own way, and though he hath promised us grace, yet he hath said, we shall seek it, before we have it. Ezek. 36.37. as Baths have their warmth from the Mineralls which they run through, so the soul by Ordinances draw∣eth a spirituall taste and sweetness from them. We should therefore shew our love to them, by promoting them with our Riches, Prov. 3.9. and coming with the first to them. Luke 1.21. Prov. 8.17.33. Ezek. 47.10. Acts 10.33. Hereby we shall bring glory to God in all his Attributes. We shall continue and increase our communion with God. The repeti∣tion of the Act, will intend the Habit, as fire by blowing, burns the brighter.

Object. We live not now under the Law, but under the Gospel, and so are above Ordinances and Duties, which are poor, low, legall dispensati∣ons, and breed a spirit of bondage in men, and therefore ought to be abolisht, as appeares. Heb. 3.11. 1 John 2.27 Rev. 21.22. [See these Texts answered in my Sal Terrae. cap. 3.]

Answ. Ordinances do not vanish in Gospel-times, but must endure to the end of the world.

Page  139the end of the world. 1. The Ministery must endure so long as the world endures.*Matth. 28. ult. Ephes. 4.11, 12, 13. [See my Sal terrae. cap, 3.]

2. Baptisme is of the same continuance. Matth. 28.19, 20.

3 The Lords Supper must endure till Christs second coming. 1 Cor. 11, 26. and if there shall be Ordinances in the most glorious times of the Church to come, even when the Jews shall be called, and the spirit pow∣red out in an abundant measure. Isay 2.2, 3. & 66. Zach. 14. then much more have we need of them. And though they be outward Forms, yet they are not empty Forms, but efficacious to the salvation of believers. Rom. 1.16.

1. Let such prophane Atheists consider that Ordinances are Formes which Christ hath instituted, they are divine Formes, and when you reject them, you reject Christ himself.

2. They are Forms which are the purchase of the Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ, therefore when you reject them, you reject the purchase.

3. They are such Forms as are made by Christ the Conduict of all grace. Christ and the grace of Christ are ordinarily conveighed by these Forms. They are golden pipes to conveigh grace, and blessed and admirable Instru∣ments in the hand of God for the good of our soules.

4. Having begun in the spirit will ye end in the flesh? was there not a time (and was it not your best time?) when you durst not omit Prayer, Meditation, Self-examination, &c. was it not your best time when you pra∣ctised Self-denial, Mortification, and all holy duties? and will you now turn Libertines and Apostates, and so make your latter end worse then your beginning? may not the Lord expostulate with you as he did sometime with Israel? Ier. 2.5.31. What iniquity have your Fathers found in me, that they are gone after vanity? have I been a barren wilderness, or a land of dark∣nesse to you? So what evill did you ever find in God or his Ordinances, that ye thus grow weary of them? speak now before the Lord, what evill did ye ever find in Praying, Preaching, Sacraments, that ye thus reject and contemn them? Time was when ye frequented them, found joy and sweetnesse in them, if you have lost your taste the fault is in your selves, and not in the Ordinances; you are grown cold, dead, formall, worldly, Prophane, &c. and now instead of falling out with your sins, you fall out with Gods Ordinances; instead of casting off your iniquities, you cast off duties. For such I shall onely say, Remember from whence you are fallen, re∣pent and do your first wrks. Rev. 2.5. Use Ordinances and improve them, but rest not in a naked formall performance of them, beseech the Lord to make you profit by them. Isay 48.17, 18. In Heaven we shall enjoy God immediately without the use of Ordinances, there is (and indeed there needs) no Temple there. Rev. 21.22. but whilst we are on earth, we must serve providence in the use of meanes, and he that despiseth them, despi∣seth his own salvation, both Temporal and Eternal.

[For Ordinances, see Mr. Lawrence for Ordinances. Mr. Bartlets balsom. Mr. Bridge his Treat. for Ordinances. M. Brooks his Remedy against Sat. Dev. Device 11. p. 142. Symonds sight of faith. chap. 15. Mr. Ant. Burges. Spi. Refi∣ning. 1. Part. Ser. 40. Mr. Strong 31. Ser. p. 314. Clapham against the Qua∣kers. Sect. 7. p. 38.42. Mr. Strong Ser. 31. p. 314, 315.]

Against Formality, see D. Preston on 2 Tim. 3.5. D. Hall, and Mr. Hooker on 2 Tim. 3.5. Mr. Hierous Bargain of Salt, the second Sermon. 2 P. p. 484. Mr. Mantons Ser. on Rev. 3.2. preacht before the Parliament. 1648. M. Strong Ser. 31. on 2 King. 31. p. 294. M. Ant. Burges Spiritual Refining. 2 Part. Ser. 32. to 37. and on Iohn 17.8. Ser. 37. Mr. Murcots. Ser. on Ephes. 3.15. and Matth. 25.1. M. Chishals Ser. on Acts 26.28. M. Beesly Ser. on Iohn 12.24.]

Page  138
From such turn away,

The Apostle comes now to shew us how we should behave our selves to∣wards such self-seeking, covetous, proud, blasphemous, heady, haughty, formall, glozing Hypocrites, viz. we must shun their society, and have nothing to do with them. Since they erre not through weaknesse, but wil∣fulnesse,, not through infirmity,* but obstinacy, not through ignorance, but against light and conviction; and so are become habituated, hardened, desperate, compounded sinners, its time to shun them, and avoyd them, that so we may testify our dislike of their ways, and walking. Yea, we should not only shun them, lest we be infected by them, but directly op∣pose them, (as the word signifies) and do what in us lyes, to have them corrected, that (if it be possible) they may be amended.

1. This admonition shewes that the Apostle speaks not only of evills to come, but also of present evills; for how could Timothy shun those evills and errors which should arise, when he was dead and gone? It appeares then that the Church began to be troubled, and tortured with those, cor∣ruptions both in doctrine and manners, at its first arising. Though 'tis true those sins, are too much improved in these last and worst times.

1. Observe, That no sooner doth the truth appear, but errour begins to appear also. No sooner doth the wheat arise, but the weeds begin to peep up with it, and (if it may be) to overtop it. As soon as ever the work of Re∣formation began in Germany, what abundance of Sectaries and Hereticks, did the Devill raise to oppose it? if one Heresy die, the Devill (who ne∣ver sleeps, but is is alwayes at his plough) raiseth up seven in its stead.

I my self (saith Luther in his Preface to his comment on the Galathians) who have been 20. years in the Ministery, can truly witnesse that I have been assailed with more then 20. Sects, of which some are already de∣stroyed, others (as the parts and members of Wormes and Bees, that are cut asunder) do yet pant for life. But Satan the God of all discen∣tion stirreth up daily new Sects, and last of all (which I most wonder at) he hath raised up a Sect, that cry down the ten Commandements.
Alas how would this good man have wondred, had he lived to see our dayes, wherein Law and Gospel, Christ and all his Ordinances are cast out of dores: wherein there are so many Deceivers, and Devils incarnate gone forth into the world, white Devils, black Devils, Pyed and skewed Devils, that are white in their words, and black in their works, that halt not be∣tween two, but 20. opinions; Menstruam habent fidem, they change their Religion every month, and are as mutable as the Moon, they are spiritually mad and drunk with errors, and so are truly Lunaticks. Thus the Church of Christ in this world is alvvays militant, it must never look for Peace so long as there is corruption within us, and the Devil and his agents without to oppose us, & therefore marvel not when you hear of Hereticks, blasphemers, &c. such there were in Timothies time, such in ours, & some such there will be to the end of the world; the world will ever be wicked, and like it self.

2. Observe. That Christians must shun familiarity with the enemies of Christ, these compounded sinners are Christs professed enemies, and it be∣comes not the spouse of Christ to hold correspondency with the open-ene∣mies of her head & husband. It may be thou hast not power to punish them, yet thou mayst shun them; perhaps you cannot confute them, yet thou canst and mayest avoyd them, since they are such as are given to changes we should not meddle with them. Prov. 24.21. Hence 'tis that the Ho∣ly Ghost hath given us so many Caveats against familiarity with such Page  139 wicked ones. Prov. 4.14, 15. and 14.7. Rom. 16.17. 2 Iohn 10.1 Cor. 5.11. and 6.9. Ephes. 5.7.11.14. 1 Tim. 6.5. Sometimes our callings may bring us into their company, but then we must do as wise Physitians do, who if they be called amongst such as have the Plague, they fortify themselves against it, they will not go with an empty stomack, but they fill all the Passages, that no emptinesse be found; they usually in such cases, carry some preservatives about them. The Application is obvious. When Saint Iohn went to Ephesus to bathe himself, and saw Cerinthus the Heretick there, he would not stay for fear the bath should fall on him. We should save our selves from an untoward generation. Acts 2.40. Zach. 2.7. and not once sit with them, lest we be tainted by them. Psal. 26.4. in this sense we must not once know a wicked person. Psal. 101.4. though a man be never so great, if he be not good, he's but a vile person, though he be a Monarch. Dan. 4.17. and 11.21. and though they be high in their own eyes, yet they must be little and low in ours. 2 Kings 3.14. Hester 3.2. Psal. 15.4. All their Honour is but a bubble, and all their pomp a fancy. Acts 25.23. Hence the Scripture calls them chaff. Ps. 1.4. dross and scum. Ps. 119.119. Dogs & swine. Mat. 7.6.

Caut. Yet in some cases there is a lawfull society even with open sin∣ners; as first there is a necessary society of civill commerce, as in buying and selling, Trading, and Trafficking; and thus we may be sociable with Turks and Indians, and the men of the world; if 'twere unlawfull to Trade wich such, we must go out of the world. 1 Cor. 5.9, 10. we may and must carry our selves fairely, civilly, affably, and curteously towards all; though we must be familiar and intimate onely with the godly, as they are men, and usefull in their places, in Church and Common-wealth, we ought to reverence and respect them for their gifts; but as they are wicked men, we must shun them.

2. When we have a Call to go amongst them, we may go with safety, comfort, and confidence, when another that goes without a Call, runnes himself into danger. It's one thing electively to chuse wicked company, and another thing by vertue of a Call, to go amongst them. As 'tis in the Case of the Plague, for a man to run desperately without a Call from God into a Pest-house, 'tis a Temptation, and he runs upon his own ru∣ine. But for a Physitian, a Midwife, or a Tender of the sick to go when sent for, they may go boldly, for God hath promised to keep us, whilest we keep his wayes. Psal. 91.11, 12. Thus Ioseph lives in Egypt, Nehe∣miah in the Court of a Heathen King, Lot in Sodom, Iob in a land of Vz, Daniel, in the Court of Darius, God had called them, and he kept them there.

3. We must distinguish of wicked men, some are curable, others are incu∣rable; some are obstinate, desperate hardened sinners, which hate reproof, those shun; others are simple, tractable, and hopefull, these we must pitty. If when we would cure men, they will not be cured, we must forsake them. Ier. 51.9. when Christ saw the Pharisees to be proud, captious and conten∣tious, he denounceth woes against them, and leaves them. But the poor Publicans that were sensible of their low and lost condition, and came to Christ as the sick to the Physitian for health and cure, those Christ deligh∣ted to converse with; for his mission and Commission runs to such. Mat. 15.24. So that 'tis not simply and absolutely unlawfull for a good man sometimes to converse with wicked men, how else should we convince them or convert them if we have not some converse with them? A love then of pitty & com∣miseration we must shew to all, remembring that we also were sometime foo∣lish, disobedient, & as vile as the vilest. Tir. 3.2, 3. But a love of complacency, familiarity & delight we must express only to the godly. Ps. 16.3. & 119.63.

4. See that your ends be good, viz. to convince the wicked of the evill Page  140 of ther way, to convert them & bring them home to Christ, many are fami∣liar with the wicked in their wickednesse, with the Drunkard in his drun∣kennesse, with the Idolater in his Idolatry, &c. such harden and confirm wicked men in their wickednesse, but they will never convert them.

Motives and Disswasives from familiarity with wicked men.

I come now to the Motives.

*1. Consider that familiarity with wicked men, will make us like them, we are very apt to resemble those that we converse with, and as he that walks with wise men, shall be wiser, Prov. 13.20. So he that walks with wicked men, shall be worse. When the Israelites were mingled with the Heathen,* they learned their works. Psal. 106.35. Ioseph living amongst Egyptians, had learnt too much their language. Gen. 42.15, 16. the holy Prophet living amongst a polluted people, complaines of his pol∣lution, by living amongst them. Isay 6.5. we cannot touch such pitch, but we shall be defiled by it, a little of this leaven (tolerated) will quickly sowre the whole lump. 1 Cor. 5.5, 6. one scabby sheep, oft, infects the flock;* one rotten grape, corrupts all such as are near it. Wofull experi∣ence tells us how many that were hopefull, and well given when young, yet by frequenting lewd company, have proved very lewd and profane. There is a secret poyson and venom in ungodly company; if Solomon be familiar with Idolatrous women, they will quickly draw him to Idolatry. Nehem. 13.26. Iehoram was wicked himself, but watching with the daugh∣ter of Ahab, made him worse. 1 Kngs 8.18. Hence such mixing and and marrying with Idolaters, is called an abomination. Mal. 2.11. Ezra 9.14.*Nehem. 13.6. many care not who they match withall, so they have money; no matter how light the Person be, so the Portion be hea∣vie. They make matrimony a matter of money, and so run themselves into many snares and noysome lusts. 1 Tim. 6.9. Remember we are Deni∣zeus of another society, and therefore must have no needlesse society with wicked men.

2. This familiarity with them, may harden them in their sin, God hath ordained our separation, and withdrawing our selves from them, as a means to humble them, and turn them from sin. 1 Thes. 5.22. Withdraw your selves from every Brother that walks disorderly, that he may be ashamed. Our familiarity with Sectaries and Libertines, is a tacite and Interpre∣tative approbation of their lewd principles and practices; thereby we partake with them in their sins, and so become accessary to their Plagues. Numb. 16.26.32. Go not to their meetings, frequent not their houses, read not their books, have as little to do with them as possible may be. Sectaries are called Dogs. Philip. 3.2. now 'tis a debasement for a man to be familiar with Dogs. The best mettles when mixt with baser, are em∣based thereby; mix gold with brass or silver with copper, and you de∣base the coyne; for Saints familiarly to joyn with the limbs of Satan, not onely endangers, but debaseth them. Man is a poor, weak, uucon∣stant creature, and apt to go astray, and therefore we should shun Temp∣tations. The Devill will challenge thee for his, when thou goest to such meetings, as he did the young woman which he found at a Play-house, the Devill carried her away upon this account, [Quia in meo eam inveni] I found her on my ground.

3. There's no comfort to be found in such society, when trouble comes, miserable comforters are they all. When Iudas fell into trouble of consci∣ence, he ran to his wicked associates, but see what miserable comforters they are to him in his extremity. Matth. 27.4.

Page  1414. 'Tis a dishonour to our Lord and Master, to be familiar with knowne Traytors and Rebells to him. Every wicked man rebells against God, there's an enmity and an hatred in him to God, his wayes, his word, his worship, his people. Rom. 8.7. Colos. 1.21. now how can he be a true sub∣ject, who is familiar with open Rebels to his Soveraign? or how can an obedient Spouse delight in her husbands enemies? we cannot approve our selves faithfull to God, unlesse we hate such as he hates.

5. It's impossible that ever we should be good so long as we delight in wicked company; Hence David resolving to keep Gods Commandements, first he bids the wicked depart. Psal. 119.115. when a man is changed, he changeth his company; Paul when converted, forsakes the Pharises, and joynes himself to the Church of God. Acts 9.19. what communion hath light with darknesse? Psal. 1.1, 2. and 26.4.6. if ever we would live the life of Grace here, and glory hereafter, we must forsake the wicked. Prov. 9.6.

6. By familiarity with such we do not onely endanger our Spiritu∣alls, but our Temporall estate also. Lot living amongst wicked Sodomites, suffered with them. Gen. 14.12. when they were plundered and taken pri∣soners: Lot also was plundered and taken prisoner with them. Iehosaphat had well nigh lost his life by loving those that liated God. 1 Kings 22.32. and 2 Chron. 18.31. and 19.2. a companion with riotous persons shall come to poverty with them. Prov. 23.20. David by entertaining a league of ami∣ty with Hanun, for the curtesies he had received from his Father N••hash, had his kindnesse suspected, and his messengers disgraced. 1 Sam. 10.4.

Caution. Yet if God have tyed us by any Relations to wicked persons, we must not presently forsake them, or out-run them. Some children have wicked Parents, some husbands have wicked wives, some servants have wicked Masters; now these Relations must not be contemned or violated.

1. The husband may not leave his wife, nor the wife her husband, for any cause but for adultery. Matth. 19.9. no other cause can annull marria∣ges, and therefore those Sectaries that out-run their wives, pretending they are carnall, they are not Saints, nor called, nor spirituall; such must remember what Christ saith, Whosoever puts away his wife, except it be for adultery, and marries another, commits adultery, and if the husband be wicked, yet the wife must abide still with him, because she may be a meanes to convert him. 1 Cor. 7.16.

2. If a godly child have wicked Parents, he must not out-run them, but by Prayer and Patience, and leading a convincing life, he must labour to win them, shewing all due Honour and respect unto them.

3. If a Religious servant have an Irreligious Master, he may not out-run him, but must, by a holy, just, religious walking, labour to win him. 1 Tim. 6.1. yea, though they be froward and pervense, yet must they be reverenced and obeyed as Masters. We must obey evill men, but not in evill. Saul was a wicked man, yet David gives him all due respect.

2. Caut. When I say we must forsake communion with the wicked, take heed of forsaking Sion instead of Babylon. Many (especially in these loose times) call the Church of England Babylon, a whore, a false Church; which yet the God of Heaven, and his Churches, acknowledge for a true Church. This makes so many turn Separatists, and instead of running from Babylon, they run into Babylon; they run from a supposed, into a Re∣all Babylon of confusion, and disorder. 'Tis ill to ast off communion with one good man without a cause; but to un-church all the Churches of God in the world, and to forsake the Assemblies of Gods people, where he is purely worshipped, is the high way to des••uction; a member cut off from the body, must needs dye. I observe that he first Lesson which the Page  142 Devill teacheth his Schollars, is separation; and after that comes a Troop of errors and miscarriages, both in Doctrine and Practice. Such Practices are very unseasonable, especially now, when all had need to unite against the common enemy.

Object. There are Defects and corruptions in our Church.

Answ. And what Church on earth is free? Had not the Church of Ie∣rusalem, the Church of Corinth, and the seven Churches of Asia, their de∣fects? and yet they were called Holy. Segregatione, because they were separated by God, and set apart for his service and worship, the name of God is called on there, the Oracles of God are taught there, and Reli∣gion is profest there, and therefore they are called Holy.

2. A parte praestantiori fit denominatio, because there are some Saints there; as we call a man a Rational creature from the soul, which is the better part, and a heap of corn is called Wheat, though it have much chaff mixt with it.

3. Iudicio charitatis. When people make an externall profession of Ho∣linesse, in the judgement of charity we must hope they are Holy. Thus 1 Cor. 1.2. the Apostle calls them Saints at Corinth, such was his charity,* that he hoped they were such. It were to be wished, that all Gods people were Reall Saints, but Christ tells us his Church is mixt, it hath Tares as well as Wheat, and will have, do what we can. *Matth. 13.24. It's a dangerous thing to think that there's no Church where there is not perfect Purity, such a man must separate himself from all so∣cieties, and like Acesius, find a new way to Heaven. [Erigito Acesi scalam, & solus in coelum ascendito.] or else joyn himself to a few Hypocrites, and if our Churches and Ministers be not true ones, I wish the Anabaptists would shew us where we may find better. Oh say they, the Anabaptistick Churches are purer, there they are all Saints.

Answ. As Samuel said to Saul when he boasted of his sanctity, and how he had kept the Commandements of the Lord, What means then the bleating of the sheep, and the lowing of the Oxen in my eares? so say I, if the Anabaptists be so pure, what makes them raile on those that are pure in∣deed? what means their railing on the faithfull Ministers and the true Churches of Christ; yea, do not many of them deny Scriptures, Sabbaths, Sacraments, and all Ordinances, &c. If these be Zion, who are Babylon?

2. Were they Saints indeed, they durst not call themselves so. It sa∣vours strongly of spiritual pride, for men Pharisaically, and Donatistically to appropriate to themselves the name of Saints, and the godly party, and the spiritual people. The language of Reall Saints, is more meek and modest in Scripture.

Object. We admit such as are openly prophane to the Sacrament.

Answ. This is easily said, but not so easily proved. To call a man a Drunkard is one thing, but to prove e man a Drunkard, is a harder mat∣ter. Let them prove if they can, that the Ministers of England do admit of such to the Sacrament, as have been convicted (by two competent witnes∣ses at least) of Drunkennesse, Adultery, &c.

2. Admit this were so, yet another mans sin cannot hurt me, if I no way partake with him in it. He that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgemeut to himself, and not to me. Suppose I could have no meat for my body, unlesse I would eat in the company of wicked men, must I famish my self rather then to eat with them? much lesse may I re∣ject Page  143 my spirituall food because some wicked men (without any fault of mine) eat and communicate with me.

Object. The Apostle forbids us to eat with such. 1 Cor. 5.11.

Answ. The Apostle speaks not there of the Sacrament, as the scope and context clearly shew. v. 9, 10, 11. he forbids us intimate, private, voluntary familiarity with wicked ones: for though in respect of publick communi∣on and commerce in Church and State, I cannot avoyd society with such, yet in respect of private, intimate familiarity, 'tis in my power to avoyd them.

The Apostle speaks here of civill familiarity (saith Reverend Mr. Blake, in his Treatise on the Sacraments, Chapt. 7. Sect. 16,) the Apostle speaks not at all of the Lords Supper in this Chapter, and 'tis clear in the Text, that the Apostle gives direction about the common course of our life, to shun all voluntary and free converse with wicked men.
So he.

Let us not then forsake the Assemblies of the Saints, as too many do. Heb. 10.25. forsake not the Lords barne, because there is some chaff there. If once the Devill get you to swallow this errour, you know not where you shall stop. As that great Grand-mother said sometimes, Rise up daughter, and go to thy daughter, for thy daughters daughter hath a daughter. So will you say in a short time, Rise up separation, and go to thy separation, for thy separations separation, hath a separation. Such have no foundation, but run on in infinitum.

[See more against Separation, on Verse 1. Hildersham on Iohn 4.21. Lect. 28. and Lect. 35. Mr. Bernard against Ainsworth and Smith: Pagets arrow against Separation. Ball against Cen. Mr. Gage his Vindication of our Parish Churches. Mr. Vines on Sacr. cap. 2. and c. 20. Mr. Cawdry, In∣dependency a great Schisme.]

[Against familiarity with the wicked. See instar omnium. The Drun∣kards Character. p. 689. to 863. Downams Guide to Godlinesse. l. 5. c. 32. D. Cheynell against Antritin. cap. 10. Downams Warfar. l. 1. c. 17, 18, 19.

Page  146

VERSE 6. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts.

IN these words the Apostle renders a double Reason why they should turn away from those wicked Formalists.

1. Because they were an impudent, insolent, fraudulent gene∣ration.

2. They were already extant, and had a being in the world to the corrupting and defiling of it, and therefore he saith not, they shall onely hereafter creep into the Church, but they do already beginne to creep into mens houses, and there get Proselites to themselves. Here the Apostle begins to set forth the seducers of the last times in their pro∣per colours, having before set down the sins which would be common both to the seducers and the seduced, now he descends (that we may the better know them, and avoyd them) to the particular marks and cha∣racters of these Impostors, whereof the first is impudency, they creep, yea (in a manner) they boldly invade mens houses,* for their belly, private gain and advantage, like those, Titus 1.11. 2 Pet. 2.15. Iude 11. As Au∣stine said of some in his time, they were afraid of being too modest. Et pu∣det non esse impudentes. Good men are modest and must be intreated to come into mens houses. Acts 16.15. the disciples in a meek and modest manner, come to the house where Christ was, and desire him to shew them the meaning of the Parable. Matth. 13.36. they did not interrupt him in his Preaching, (as our fanaticks in a vain-glorious, disorderly manner do) but they consult with him in private. But Impostors are brazen-faced, they intrude themselves, and come without sending for. Matth. 7.15. Nei∣ther do they come to feed, but they creep into mens houses like Ferrets and Weesels, (as the Syriack renders it) to prey upon the Family; and thus do Jesuits on the one hand, and Sectaries on the other,* by flattery, fine words, counterfeit San∣ctity and Humility, deceive the simple.

2. As they are impudent, so they are of a fraudu∣lent, subtle, slye, insinuating temper; they vent not their errors openly (especialy, not at first) but they secretly and slily creep into private houses, and there they sell their wares, Iude 4. they privily bring in damnable Heresies, 2 Pet. 2.1. Gal. 2.4. Truth lo∣veth the light, and seeks no cor••rs. Christ preacht openly in the Synagogues (he was no corner-creep∣ing Preacher) Iohn 7.37. and 18.20. Prov. 1.20, 21. he commands his di∣sciples to preach what he had told them in secret, upon the house top, (i. e.) publickly, plainly, freely, boldly. So did Paul when he disputed openly in the Market with whomsoever he met, and preached in the midst of Mars-hill. Acts 13.14. and 17.17, 22. and 26.26. though the Preach∣ers and publishers of the truth be oft-times bound, yet the truth it selfe cannot be bound. Ephes. 6.19. Phil. 1.13. 2 Tim. 2.9. truth is bold and bare-faced,* when Heresy hides it self, and hates the light. He that publisheth truth is interdianus sator (as Austin speaks) one that spreads his doctrine in the Day-light, when he that soweth Page  145 Tares doth it secretly, whilst men sleep. Matth. 13.25. This Pestilence, like the corporall plagues, walks in darknesse. Psal. 91.6. such as do evill hate the light. Iohn 3.20, 21,

Caution. Not that 'tis unlawfull in times of persecution, when publick preachings cannot be had, to preach in houses, for Christ and his Apo∣stles oft preacht in houses and other places (as occasions served) in those times of persecution, when the Magistrates were Tyrants and enemies to the Gospel, then Christ preacht in a Mount. Matth. 5.1. and out of a ship. Matth. 13.2. and Paul preacht in a house. Acts 20.7, 8. and sometimes by a river side. Acts 16.13. yet this doth no whit countenance or justify those unwarrantable meetings in private houses, and that on the Lords day, where their prime work is to raile on Magistracy, Ministry, Sabbaths, Sa∣craments, Ordinances, &c. such meetings are unlawfull on any day, but abominable on the Lords day. To such 'tis dies Diabolicus non dies Domini∣cus, their sin is double. These are Conventicles (truly so called) and are the Nations shame. If such had lived in the days of Q. Mary, when the pub∣lick Ordinances were abolisht by a Law, they might have had some Plea for private meetings; but now in a time when the Gospell is so openly, fully and faitfully taught, to run from the publick solemnities where the word and Sacraments are dispensed by Ministers whom God himself hath sent; to follow silly, seducing, unsetled Speakers, who feed them with chaff in∣stead of wheat, and Poyson instead of bread; this is a sin of the highest na∣ture, and should be matter of great Lamentation to us all, yet this we may learn from these Factors of the Devill, if they will creep into houses to de∣stroy mens souls; surely we may go to mens houses to preserve them from destruction. So did Paul. Acts 20.20. this is pure Religion, and pleasing to God. Iames 1.27.

3. These Impostors observe a Method in seducing.*silly women,* who being the weaker sex, are sooner won over to their way, as being less able to withstand the shock of a temptation. As warriours go about a city, observing where the wall is woakest, lowest, & unguar∣ded, and there they make their greatest assault. And as thieves set not upon strong, armed me, but upon weak unarm'd ones, so seducers love not to set upon strong, grounded, judicious, discerning Christians, but 'tis the weak and ignorant which cannot discern their frauds, but like children are tossed to and fro with every mind of doctrine, that become their prey, Prov. 14.15. Rom. 16.18. Eph. 4.14. man is (or at leastwise should be) more strong and prudent to resist temptations, then women are.

2. They set upon women first, that they may the better win the hus∣band, herein imitating their father the Devill who first deceived Eve, and then seduced Adam by Eve. Gen. 3.1.6.* So the Jewes stirred up women to hinder men from salvation. Acts 13.50. and this is the practice of the Jesuits and other subtle seducers at this day; they labour to gain the wife, that can may win the husband. Indeed conjugal affections are very strong, and God would have it so. Prov. 5.19. what is it that a lo∣ving husband 〈◊〉 almost deny the wife of his bosom, when he conceives she doth truly love him? what have not women drawn their husbands to? Solomons wives drw him to Idolatry; 1 Kings 11.3.13. the wife drew more then five yoke of Oen,*Luke 14.19, 20. they steal away the heart, they blind the judgement, and so infatuate a man; that he is oft bufotted with them. Iudg. 16.17. They have daily commerce & intimate acquaintance Page  146 with their husbands, and so have many opportunities to compasse their Ends. Now an infected person most easily spreads the infection to those with whom he continually convereth. This is one Reason why women are such dangerous and strong Seducers, as we see in Iesabel, who drew Ahab to such a height of wickednesse, that he became a Non-such for Villany, none like him in the earth. 1 Kings 21.25. Iehoram did wickedly, and one great Reason was, the daughter of Ahab was his wife. 2 Chron. 21.5, 6. So King Ahaziah did wickedly, why so? for his mother Athaliah counselled him so to do. 2 Chron. 22.3. yea even Adam in the state of innocency, yet was seduced by Eve. 1 Tim. 2.14. Solomon from wofull experience of his thousand wives and con∣cubines tells us. Eccles. 7.28. that a man amongst a thousand he had found, but a woman amongst all those he had not found. q. d. I have found out the depths and subtleties of some men, but the subtleties of the har∣lot he could not find.

3. Women are apt to be over-credulous, and to take things upon trust, being led by affection more then judgement; because such a seem∣ing good man holds so and so, therefore they conclude 'tis so.

4. Women are the weaker vessell, and so more prone to unconstancy, and mutability, and more easily seduced.

5. They have strong Affections. 2 Samuel 1.26. and so are more fierce and active in defence of their opinions: Hence they are usually the best, or the worst. We may say of them as 'tis said of Origen, Vbi benè nemo meliùs, ubi malè nemo pejus, or as 'tis said of Ieremies figges (Ier. 24.2, 3.) those that were good, were exceeding good; and those that were bad, were exceeding bad. Like the Tongue which is either the best, or the worst member. These are the Reasons why your Arch-Hereticks have frequently spread their Heresies by women, rather then by men. The Pharisees had their Gynaecea, Colledges or meetings of women,* the better to spread their Te∣nets. They set up some Iesabel to devoure the simple. Revel. 2.20. they insinuate themselves into some prime women, and get an Eudoxia, Iustina, or Constantia on their side, that they may the better prevaile with others▪ Saint Ierom observes, that He∣reticks of old made use of female Instruments,* the better to deceive. Simon Magus had an Harlot called Helena, which helpt to spread his Heresies. Antiochenus the Father and Fator of much filth, had many women following him. Marcin being come to Rome, sent his trull thither before him, that shee might prepare the soyle for his seed. Apelles had his Philumen,*Montanus his Prisca and Maximilla, Arrius the Princes sister, Donatus his Lucillia, Elpidius his Agape, Priscil∣lian his Galla, and our Iames Nailer hath his Minions, his Martha and his Hannah,* to vent his blasphemies, and generally all Arch-He∣reticks have had some strumpet or other, by whom they spread the poyson of their Heresy. By Mistris Dier, and Mistris Hutchinson, how many monstrous and Heretical opinions were spread abroad?* wicked women are the Devils Lime∣twigs, with which many are ensnared to their own destruction.

2. These Seducers set not upon all woemen promiscuously, for some are prudent, solid, sincere, and have profest Christ, when learned Doctors have denied him, as in Queen Maries dayes. So Luke. 8.2, 3. the women support Christ with their substance, when Herod, Pilate, my Lord Annas and Arch-Bishop Caiphas crucified him. Page  147Lydia a good woman entertains the Apostles,* when many men shut them out of doores. Acts 16.14, 15. The time would faile me to tell of Sarah, Ruth, Abigail, the Shunamite, the widow of Sarepta, the Queen of Sheba, Deborah, Bathsheba, Hester, Priscilla, Phaebe. Rom. 16.1, 2, 3,

6. We may not therefore condemn all for some, nor disparage the whole sexe for the miscarriages of a few; for 'tis not all women which these seducers set upon, but they subtilly observe which are most easily wrought upon, and these are, first such silly, sim∣ple women as are corrupted in their Intellectuals,* and so are fitted and disposed for such seducements. They catch not grave and truly pious matrons, but light women which prefer their lusts before Christ, 'tis the light chaffe, which is tossed with eve∣ry wind, when the Massy wheat abides in the floore.

2. They make a prey of such women as are corrupt in their Moralls, such as are laden with sinne, that are not onely vitious, but loaded with Vices, and are almost overwhel∣med with heapes of enormities. Their corrupt practises make way for corrupt principles.* God in his just judgement gives them up to vile af∣fections, which blind the judgement, and so make them fit subjects for seducers to work upon. Who are they that Papists and Sectaries overcome? usually they are loose, ig∣norant, profane persons, who are better lost then found. None worship the beast but those ungodly ones, whose names are not written in the book of Life. Revel. 13.8. and as loose women; so effeminate, idle,* proud men (whom the Poet wittily upbraids with the title of women) are a fit prey for these Harpyes. Iude 18. and therefore let women and weak Christians walk humbly, and not meddle with disputes above their capacity, lest God punish their pride and curiosity with a fall.

3. These silly women are acted and led not by one or two, but by variety of lusts. Their Lusts lead them by one arme, and Sedu∣cers lead them by the other, and God knowes whither these Lead∣ers will lead them.* They are so blinded and besotted, that they act more like bruit beasts, (as the word imports) then Christians. They are so taken with Novelty, Curiosity, Vain-glory, and Fleshly delights, that these Impostors with their Flesh-pleasing doctrines, lead them whither they please. By flattering and cunning delusions, by false perswasions and subtle artifices they sute themselves to their lusts, preaching pleasing things, and so draw many weak and wicked per∣sons after them. These when their consciences begin to stirre, affect ease and deliverance, but not Repentance, they lay out their money but not for bread, and therefore they labour without being saisfied. Isay 55.2. they willingly embrace errour, because it best agrees with their corrupt consciences, and hate the truth because it disquiets them. True Prophets cannot flatter, they commend themselves in sincerity to the consciences of men; they have their sweets, and an find out acceptable, desirable words (Eccles. 12.10.) but then they are ever joyned with boldnesse, to tell men of their faults. 'Tis for wicked men who forsake the Law, to praise the wicked. Pro∣verbs 28.4.

Page  1484. These Impostors do not onely deceive these silly women, but they bring them under the Devils yoke,* they make slaves and prisoners of them, they bind them with the cords of error, and then they lead them whither they please. They deal with their Proselites, as the Devil doth with witches, he promiseth them liberty, but brings them to prisons; promiseth them pleasures, yet gives them pain; promiseth them Riches, yet keeps them poor;* promiseth them life, but gives them Death. They ensnare them with their Pythanalogy, and hold them as fast with their lyes and flatte∣ries, as a Jaylor doth his Prisoner which he keeps in bondage, 2 Tim. 2. ult. or the fisher his fish, which hath swallowed his bait. 2 Pet. 2.14.18. These Satanicall fishers of men put on the Visors of Piety, and preach li∣berty, pleasure,* ease (as other fishers cozen sometimes the eye, and some∣times the taste of the silly fish) so these have variety of baits, but none so catching as that of carnal liberty. Hence they are said to bewitch men, Gal. 3.1. to enchaunt and delude men. Rev. 18.23. and make them drunk. Revel. 17.2. It will be our wisdom then to submit our selves to the word of God, and from the heart to obey its commands, so shall we know the truth, and the truth will keep us free from the power of sin and error. Iohn 8.32. the keeping of a good conscience is the way to keep faith and sound doctrine.* 1 Tim. 1.19. get the heart once establisht with Grace, and then you will not be carried about with every wind of doctrine. Heb. 13.9. get Gods fear once planted in your hearts, and then you will never depart from him. Ier. 32.40.

Page  149

VERSE 7. VVhich [Women] are ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

THe Apostle goeth on to shew what women they are which are brought into bondage by seducers. viz. such as are unconstant, unsetled, and given to seek after novelties and curiosities; they are not content with plain truth revealed in the Scripture, they must have novum aut nihil some new light, some new-found doctrine, or else 'twill not down with them; this unsettles them, and makes them run hither and thither,* after this and that man, but all in vain. They make a great adoe, but to little purpose; they are alwayes learning, yet learn nothing which they should learn. Now the Reason's of their Non-pro∣ficiency are.

  • 1. Either because they have no better Teachers; they follow false Prophets and blinde Guides,* and when the blinde shall lead the blind, no wonder if both fall into the ditch. These may seem wise in their own eyes, when in truth they know nothing, because they know not the truth, which is the foundation of all knowledge.
  • 2. They thrive not for want of a right disposition within. They love their lusts better then the truth, and this barres the heart against holy Learning. Intus existens prohibet alienum. When their judgements are blin∣ded with lusts, and their hearts hardened through sin; how should such thrive? 2 Tim. 4.3.
  • 3. Or else they seek not after sound and saving truth, but all their enquiry is after some curious novelty, they love to heare and learne nothing else, in this point being true Athenians. Acts 17.21. Well they may toyle and take a great deal of pains for some aery notions,* and empty speculations, that they may come ad〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to some kind of knowledge; but never ad〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 (the word in the Text) to such a knowledge as brings forth an acknowledge∣ment of the truth in the power of it.
  • 4. Oft times they are meer Scepticks in Religion, they are ready to question every thing, but they believe nothing, they have no foundation, no resting place, they lay out their mony, but not for bread, and therefore 'tis no wonder if they spend their labour without being satisfied. Error cannot satisfy the soul, we must enquire for the good old way of truth and Holinesse, if ever we would find rest for our souls. Ier. 6.16. God who is the great Lord of all, will have his com∣mands obeyed, not questioned. He loves Currists, and not Quaerists.* He prefers obedience before dis∣putes. We have disputed so long, till we have al∣most disputed all Religion out of doores. We should study rather to live well, then dispute well, therein lyes our happinesse. Mat. 7.24.25. Iohn 13.17, The Spirit of God writes not Notions but Assertions in our hearts, it establisheth them so with grace, that the gates of hell cannot prevaile against it; though such may (by the violence of a tentation) be moved, yet are they like Mount Sion, which can never Page  150 be removed out of its place. Heb. 10.23. and 13.9. [Against Scepticks and Seekers. See that excelent Tract of Mr. Gelaspy his Miscelanies. cap. 10, 11.] yet how many delight in giddinesse, and count it a bondage to fixe a belief; affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the Sect of the Phylosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain cer∣tain discoursing wits which are of the same veines, though there be not so much blood in them, as was in those of the Ancients. The Scepticisme and Affectation of Novelties, is the great sin of England at this day. As many are much taken with new Fashions, so many are much taken with new Opinions, new Doctrines, new Teachers, and new Expressions. Yet the Apostle doth not blame these women simply for seeking after knowledge (for the wiser sort of Heathens have commended that) but he blames them for hunting after Novel∣ties,* and vain speculations, and in the meane time neglecting the sound and saving truths of the Gospel. This is (celeris cursus extra viam) a swift running to destruction. 'Tis true, all the godly are learners, the knowledge of the truth is not Innata,* but acquisita, not born with us, but attained by means; yet they are not ever learning, they know the truth in which they firmly rest, and from which they suffer not themselves to be moved: and never till then have we profited in our learning, when we are made so able to discern the truth as that we are satisfied with it, and our consciences are at rest by it, even in the saddest dangers. Ephes. 4.13, 14. 1 Thes. 1.5, 6. 2 Pet. 1.12.

2. I wish this were not the sin of silly men, as well as of silly wo∣men, to be alwayes learning, yet never come to the knowledge of the truth, how many are men in yeares, yet children in understanding. 1 Cor. 14.20. and when for the time they might have been Teachers,* they had need to be taught the elements of Religion. Heb. 5.12. though the knowledge of the best in this life be imperfect, and we are alwayes learn∣ers here, yet we must strive forward toward perfection, and not al∣wayes stick in the place of bringing forth. Hos. 13.13. nor be like a horse in a mill, still going round in the same place; or like a Picture that growes not, but is the same now, that it was twenty yeares agoe. Such barren trees are nigh to cursing. Luke 13.9. and such unprofit able learners are left by God justly to the power of seducers, as malefactors are to Jaylors. This is the true cause of all those Errors and Sins amongst us. Psal. 95.10. Ier. 9.3. Matth. 22.19. As for our selves, let us enquire for the good way, and when we have found it, sit not still, but be walking from knowledge to knowledge, from grace to grace, and from strength to strength, till at last wee come to our Celestiall Sion.

3. Since seducers are so ready to seduce women, how carefull should that Sexe be to shunne conversing or disputing with them. When Eve once fell to disputing and questioning the Truths of God, the Devill soon overcame her, and was too subtle for her. Genes. 3.1. do not therefore tempt the Lord by entertaining disputes with Ser∣pentine disputants; for though every one be bound to make an open and sincere profession of the truth; yet to be able to defend it against a subtle adversary, and to answer their Cavills, is a gift that is given but to a few. Let every one know his own strength, and if he be wise, keep within his onw bounds.

*4. Since women oft times are Satans Instruments by which he se∣duceth many, take heed of women; let not those Syrens enchant thee Page  151 so, as to leap into the depths of errours. Consider how many of thy betters have fallen by them. Adam (at first) the best man. So∣lomon the wisest, David one of the holiest, and Sampson one of the strongest; all deceived by women; and at this day how many wise, and seemingly holy men, have been drawne aside to errors by their wives. Stop then thy eares against these allurements, and in this sense be as the deafe adder, which stoppes his eare against the voyce of the Charmer, charme he never so wisely. Whosoever they be that seek to draw thee from thy God, let thy heart and thy hand be against them. Deuteron. 13.6, 8, 9.

Page  152

VERSE 8. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so did these also resist the Truth, men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the Faith.

THe Apostle proceeds in describing the false Prophets of the last times, that we may the better know them, he tells us they are such.

1. As oppose the truth, and the Preachers of it. As Iannes and Iambres (the worlds wise men) withstood Mo∣ses, so did these also resist the truth. They do not onely catch at silly women, but they strike at the Shepherd, that so the flock may be scattered. They oppose Moses and Aaron the messengers of God whom he sent to publish his truth to his people. Yea they resist the very truth it self, which is worse then to resist the persons that bring it. The Series of the Speech seemed to require that the Apostle should have said, as Iannes and Iambres resisted Moses,* so do these resist Vs: but he alters his stile, and sayes more Emphatically, they resist the Truth; implying, that the opposition is not so much against the Preachers, as against the truth they preach, and by consequence, against God who is the first Truth; and at whose command they publish it. Exod. 16.8. Neither is it a fri∣gid, infirm resistance, but a violent, vehement opposition springing from malice and rancour, which makes them resist the truth.

1. With their Lyes, Tyranny, and cruell Persecution.

2. By Flatteries, false Miracles, and Sophistry, they cunningly under∣mine the Truth. Thus Iannes and Iambres do the same things by slight and art, which Moses did in Reality: another man would have much adoe to distinguish between the Serpents of Moses, and those of the Magicians, they were so like. Exod. 7.11.

Quest. Some may demand who this Jannes and Jambres were, and how the Apostles came by their Names.

Answ. They were two of the chief Magicians and Egyptian Sorcerers, who by the appointment of Pharaoh, opposed Moses and Aaron in the Mi∣racles which they wrought, that they might obscure the glory of God, and delude the people; they working Miracles seemingly, by sorcery, and the help of the Devill; which Moses did really by the power and fin∣ger of God.

2. As for their Names, they are not to be found in the Old Testa∣ment, nor in the story to which the Apostle alludes. Exod. 7.11. Nei∣ther is it probable, that the Apostle came to the knowledge of them by Extraordinary Revelation (as some imagine) since the bare knowledge of the Names of these Magicians is of so little consequence, and not necessa∣ry to salvation.

3. They might be taken out of some ancient record of the Jewes then extant, as divers other things mentioned in the New Testament were, e. g. Moses his education in Egyptian Learning, and his age of 40. yeares, when he went to visit his Brethren. Acts 7.22. these are not recorded in the Old Testament, but are found in Midrash Rabbi Berischith.* So Iude 14. ma∣keth mention of a prophesy of Enoch which yet is not extant in the Old Testament. So Heb. 11.21. & 12.21. Page  153 So that here is no ground for those Numberless number of old, mouldy, foolish, superstitious, Popish, unwritten Traditions, and that not onely in matters of Rite and History, but of Faith and Man∣ners also,* which tend to the perplexing, but not to the quieting of the soul.

2. They are men of corrupt minds and judgements; their understandings are so perverted and blinded with corrupt and sinful affections, that they can nei∣ther apprehend nor judge rightly of any thing ac∣cording to the truth;* their minds go a whoring af∣ter lying vanities, and then no wonder if they forsake their own mercies. The Understanding is the Eye and guide of the Soul, its the noblest part of Man, if it be corrupted, the Mans undone. Psal. 14.3.

3. See what followes, concerning the faith reprobate. This is the fruit of a corrupt mind, they cannot receive, nor per∣ceive the truth,* they have lost all sound judgement in things pertaining to the faith, they oppose the light which shines into their minds, and with violence rush into sinne as the horse into the battle. This brings Gods sore judge∣ment on them, so that he rejects and forsakes them, and gives them up to a reprobate mind: (Ier. 6.30. Rom. 1.28) insomuch, as they that would not receive the truth, for the truths sake in love, but unthankfully reject it,* now shall not receive it, and as 'tis their sin, that their understanding is corrupt, and they will not see; So now it shall be their pu∣nishment that they shall not approve of the faith, and thus they reject it still actively, and are actually re∣probate to every good work, [Titus 1.16.] not knowing how to goe about any thing that is good. Such corrupt Teachers we must shun and reject, least we be corrupted by them; so much the word implies,* saith Beza, yet must we not cast off rashly all those as absolute Reprobates; for 'tis one thing to be Reprobate concerning the faith pro tempore, at pre∣sent; and another thing to be a Reprobate. Manasses, Paul and those, 1 Corinthians, 6.11. were lewd enough for the time, yet at last were called. These that are now 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, reproveable and unapproved (as the word signifies, 2 Cor. 13.7. Heb. 6.8. 1 Corinthians 9.27.) yet in Gods due time they may be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, accepted and approved. This must teach us to keep our judgements pure, and our understandings clear, for 'tis our guide, and if that mislead us, we must needs fall into the ditch. Corruption in judgement (in some respects) is worse then corrup∣tion in manners,* especially, when the mind hath been enlightned with the knowledge of the truth; for this is the root of those corrupt manners that are amongst us.* In the time of the Law, the Leprosie in the head, was of all other Leprosies the most dangerous and destructive; the man that had it in his hand or feet, was unclean; but if it were in his head then he was to be pronounced utterly unclean, Lev. 13.44. Hence the scripture gives so many caveats against errors, and erroneous ones Deut, 13.3. Philip. 3.2. Colos. 2.8. 2 Pet. 3.17.*Matthew 7.13. Beware of false Prophets; the word implies a di∣ligent study and singular care, lest we be caught by such subtle adver∣saries. Keep your judgements pure, then the pure Word of God will Page  154 delight you, Micah 2.7. you will delight to come to the truth, that your deeds may be discovered, Iohn 3.21. Part not with a good conscience, and a good conversation, lest you make ship-wrack of the faith,* and a gap be opened in your breasts to all sinne and errour, that the Lord knowes where you will rest, it may be not till you come to the highth of sin and depth of misery. Count therefore a corrupt judgement a sore plague; and if God have given thee a sound judgement able to discern the truth,* and a mind ready to receive it, and approve of it when 'tis propounded, this is not a common mercy, but calls for speciall Thankfulness, Psal. 16.7. Proverbs 28.5.

1. Observe, There have been false Teachers in all Ages to oppose the Truth and the Professors of it. As Iannes and Iambres here oppose Moses a meek, a learned, a faithfull servant in all Gods House; So there were four hundred and fifty fals Prophets against one zealous Elijah; four hundred, against good Michaiah, 1 Kings 18.18. and 22.6.14 Hananiah against Ieremy, Amaziah against Amos [7.10.] false brethren against Paul, Hymeneus, Philetus, and Alexander, oppose him, 1 Tim. 1.20. The Church shall never want enemies to war withall, whilest the seed of the Serpent a∣bides in the world. As Pharaoh had his Magitians, who hardned him in his sin, and deluded him to his destruction: so the World will ever have its false Prophets to blinde and harden them in sin to their ruine. Thus in the Primitive times there was a Simon Magus, Scribes, Pharisees, Saddu∣ces, Essens,* Herodians, Nicolaitans, Elymas, Ebion, Cerinthus, the Gno∣sticks, and many others. 2 Peter 2.1. Thus when Luther began to re∣form, thirty severall Sects arose to hinder the worke. We should not therefore be despondent or discouraged, as if some strange thing had hap∣pened to us, but comforted rather in that we are made conformable to Christ, the Prophets and Apostles, Matthew 5.11. Luke 6.22.23. This was, is, and will be the condition of the Church Militant, from her youth up she must looke to be plowed and persecuted by malicious men, Psalm 129.2, 3. Besides, 'tis the condition of Truth in this World to meet with opposition, we can no sooner publish it, but it's enemies appear, Galathians, 4.16. Truth brings hatred, men cannot endure to have Vngues in Vlcer∣re, they are unsound and would not be touched, Truth is a Light which discovers the intents of mens hearts, Hebrewes 4.12. and layes open the evill of mens wayes, and this makes the wicked not simply to oppose, but to rise in open rebellion against the Truth (Iob 24.13.) which reproves their deeds,* and exposeth them to the view of themselves and others. Hence they have alwayes been esteemed the Pests and troublers of a Land that publish Truth, as we may see throughout the Acts of the Apostles; where we finde some disputing against the Truth, Acts 6.9. others blas∣pheming, Acts 13.45. some secretly undermining it, and seeking to draw men from embracing it, (Acts 13.8.) others openly rayling against it, Acts 17.18, 19. and 24.5. Some have opposed it out of ignorance and blind de∣votion, as Paul before his conversion, 1 Timothy 1.13. and some of the Jewes, Acts 3.17. and 13.50. Others deliberately against conviction, and out of malice have resisted the Truth, as Alexander, 2 Timothy 4.15. these are given up to a reprobate sense, the Devil having blinded their eyes, 2 Corinthians 4.4. Some oppose it for their gain, and for their bellies, Rom. 16.17, 18. 1 Tim. 6.5. 2 Pet. 2.3.15, 16. Others from fleshly lusts. 2 Peter 2.18. and 3.3. Others out of pride, loving the preheminence, 3. Page  155Iohn 9.10 1 Timothy 6.3, 4. yet should not we distaste the Truth, because of those oppositions which are made against it, for however some pro∣phanely scorn at the name of Truth, and say with Pilate, what is Truth? Iohn 18.38.

Yet wisedome is justified of her children, and they that are of the Truth, hear his voyce who came into the world to beare witnesse of the Truth. They come with love and teachable hearts to it, and so are made to know the Truth, Iohn 8.52. Let not the great host of Truths enemies make us despair, but know there are more with us, then are with them,* 2 Chronicles 32.7, 8. and the more they are that oppose the Truth, the more illustrious will our conquest be. If I must have an adversary, let it be a wicked one, and then be he never so potent, he cannot stand long, because God is against him, Iob 27.7. Truth may be opprest,* but never conquered, [Praemi po∣test, opprimi non potest] yea oppositions advance and clear it. Veritas impugnata magis elucet, Bern.

2. Observe, That as the Devill hath his Iannes and Iambres to op∣pose the Truth, so God hath his Moses and Aaron to uphold it. As the Devill hath his Domestick Chaplains, so God hath his armed Champions; and as the Devill raiseth up oppressors, so God sends Saviours, Obadiah, 21. If he raise hornes to gore the Church; God will raise Carpenters to saw off those hornes,*Zachary 1.19, 20, 21. The same day that Pela∣gius was born in Brittain, the same day was Saint Augustine born in Afri∣ca, that did confute him. God hath an Athanasius to oppose Arrius, Chrysostome against the Manichees, Basil against Macedomus, Prosper against the Massilians, Salvian against the Libertines, Fulgentius against Faustus, Christ against the Pharisees, Simon Peter against Simon Magus, Paul against false Apostles, Luther, Calvin, Beza, &c. against the Pope; and in these dayes of liberty, God hath something to witness against Heresie.* Thus the Lord in his Wisedom hath so or∣dered it, that there shall be not onely Schismes, but Heresies, to exercise the Gifts and Graces of his peo∣ple, and to discover the rottenness and filthyness of graceless ones, that they who will not believe the Truth, may be given up to the efficacy of errour. This is some comfort, and may help to uphold our spirits in this day of Iacobs trouble.

3. Observe, A corrupt head, and a corrupt heart usually go together;* no sooner are mens minds cor∣rupted, but presently it follows, they are Reprobate concerning the faith; and if once men make ship∣wrack of faith, they will soone part with a good Conscience too, 1 Tim. 1.19. Corrupt Principles breed corrupt Practises; and corrupt practises teach men to invent corrupt Principles.* When men grow lawless and profane, then they turn Antinomians,* and deny the Law; if Mortalists, then they deny the resurrection; if Li∣bertines, then they cry down the power of the Ma∣gistracy, and cry up one Universal Toleration. Hence when Christ had spoken of false Prophets, he presently adds, and ini∣quity shall abound, Mtthew 24. When people go a whoring from God, then follows corporall whoredom, Hos. 4.12, 13. We see this experimen∣tally Page  156 true in our days. How many before they were Sectaries, were civilly just, pious, and (in the judgement of charity) were thought to be sincere Christians; yet now are turned Anabaptists, Socinians, Libertines, Proud, Censorious, Idle, Atheisticall, Unclean. These lusts lay unmortified in their bosomes, and now they rejoyce that they have a time of Liberty to vent them, so that a corrupt life attends on corrupt Principles, both as a Pu∣nishment, and a just judgement of God upon men for resisting the truth; and in the nature of the thing, for as a foul moist head, causeth distillati∣ons of corrupt matter upon the lungs; so loose Principles dispose men to a loose conversation, the doctrine of Godlinesse reproving their Ungodli∣nesse makes them cast it off, as you may see in the Epistles of Peter and Iude; who describing false Teachers and their false Doctrines, presently adde their wicked lives, their filthinesse, covetousnesse, licentiousnesse, turning the Grace of God into wantonnesse. Be sure then to keep your heads pure from errour, if ever you would have your hearts and hands pure from sin.

4. Observe, That false Teachers are very dangerous persons, they are not such meek, innocent, harmlesse persons as some imagine. The Apostle here tells us that they are impudent, fraudulent, resisters of the truth, men of corrupt Heads, Hearts, and Hands; and what could he say more unlesse he should call them Devills? and so he doth verse 3. in the last dayes men, especially seducing men (for all these 19. sins are appliable also to the false Teachers of the last times, as appeares by the context verse 5, 6.) shall be slanderers, or in plain English Devils; and he here compares them to Iannes and Iambres two Egyptian Sorcerers, who were Limbs of the De∣vill; and verse 13. in expresse Terms he calls them Sorcerers, evill men and Seducers,* the words in the Originall are evill men and Sorcerers. [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, incantatores, praestigiatores.] besides, their Heresies are called damnable, and their ways pernicious. 2 Pet. 2.1. and themselves are likened to Balaam the witch. 2 Pet. 2.15. 'Tis true at first they make a shew of extraordinary Sanctity and Self-deniall (the better to deceive the simple) and there∣upon they rayle on all the Churches of Christ amongst us, as being mixt with wicked men; yet after a little time these painted Sepulchers ap∣peare in their proper colours, and the vilenenesse of their lives and do∣ctrine is made known to all. The Anabaptists in Germany at their first arising pretended extraordinary Sanctity, but in a short time their Vil∣lanies, Murders, Polygamies, blasphemies, Heresies, Adulteries, &c. appeared to the world. These are worse then the Sword or Plague; men are afraid and fly from those, but they are naturally prone to em∣brace these.

2. Those hurt but the body, these destroy the soule.

3. God is glorified in his judgements, but he is exceedingly dishonou∣red by seducers.

4. By the sword and persecution the Church increaseth, but by subtle Hereticks the Church diminisheth. Hence Luther calls Hereticks. Pecca∣torum poenam & summam Dei indignationem. Luther in Hos. 9. The greatest Plague, and a sign of Gods indignation against a people. And the Scrip∣ture calls them devouring Wolves, who come to kill and drink the blood of souls. Iohn 10.8, 9, 10. Matth. 7.15. such as make their disciples two-fold more the children of the Devil, then themselves. Mat. 23.15. Such as subvert whole houses.*Titus. 1.11. whose word doth eat as a Gangrene, (2 Tim. 2. which suddenly over-runs the Parts, takes the Brain, and if not quickly cured by Page  157 cutting off the part infected, kills the Patient. Heresie is of a spreading Nature (if it be not speedily and carefully supprest) it runs from one man to another, from one City to another, and from one Kingdome to ano∣ther. Error begets error, such fall from evil to worse, Verse 13. Hence false doctrine is compared to a Leaven (Mark 8.15.) which secretly and suddenly diffuseth it selfe through the whole lump till all be leaven∣ed.* Sometimes seducers are compared to an overflowing flood, which carries down all before it, Revelations 12.15. and anon to Cheaters that beguile silly souls, with their flesh-pleasing doctrine, they catch freshly people, Ephesians 4.14. and to dogs, Philippians 3.2. beware of dogs (i.) beware of false Prophets, who are like unto dogs. Go not un∣armed, get a sword or a staffe to defend your selves against them. If there were ten thousand mad dogs in the Land, you would keep within doores, or go armed and use all means to destroy them. Now they resemble dogs in 14. particulars.

  • 1. A dog is a base contemptible creature; hence the Scripture calls vile persons dogs, 1 Samuel 17.43. 1 Kings 8.13. Matthew 15.26. So such as go about to draw men from the Truth are vile men, however they may have high conceits of themselves, yet God esteems no more of them then we do of a dog: and though he may throw them some off all and bones to picke (as he doth to the blasphemous Turk, that great Dog of a great part of the World) yet his soul abhors both them and their services, Isay 66.3.
  • 2. 'Tis an unclean creature, and might not be offered in sacrifice, Deut. 23.18. So these being themselves unclean, all they do is unclean, Titus 1. ult.
  • 3. 'Tis a libidinous,* impudent creature. Hence unclean persons are called dogs, Deut. 23.8. Revelations 22.15. without are dogs, who are those? Whoremasters are set in the front; this made Abner say to Ishbosheth, am I a dogs-head? (i.) shamelesly libidinous, that I should commit whore∣dom with my Fathers Concubines? 2 Samuel 3.8. yet such unclean, igno∣rant and impudennt Cynicks we have, who though they want Arguments, yet want not impudence, but have brows of brass, and whores fore-heads to vend their wares.
  • 4. 'Tis an angry, snarling creature, so long as you let him alone, perad∣venture he may be quiet, but touch him, stirre him, awaken him, he barks, he bites and rageth so furiously, that (as Plutarch observes) in some Countries they run blind with very fierceness. So erroneous persons so long as you let them alone in their errors, they may be quiet; but let Ma∣gistrates or Ministers once oppose or restrain them, and they bark against them presently, and are ready to fly in the face of a Reprover and teare him in pieces, Matthew 7.6.
  • 5. They make foul havock of the flock, when once let loose. So long as God chains up the Churches enemies they seem meeke and milde, but if once God let them loose, no mad dog makes such havocke of the flocke, as these doe of the Church of God. Witnesse Bohemia, Germany, France, Ireland, Savoy; and Hereticks, especially Papists, have the same nature still, 'tis Gods mercy to chain and muzzel them, else they would be as outragious now as ever. This made David call his malicious, cruel enemies, dogs, Psalm 22.16.20.
  • 6. 'Tis an industrious Creature, it will run over much ground in a short space to get a prey. So seducers are mighty industrious, they com∣pass Sea and Land to make a Proselite, Matthew 23.15. they are Ubi∣quitaries, now in the North, anon in the South; now in the East, and Page  158 anon in the West. They move every stone, and leave no means unassayed to destroy souls. As the Devil is a Peripatetick, Iob 1.7. 1 Peter 5.8. So are his Agents, the Jesuits, Anabaptists, Quakers, &c.
  • 7. 'Tis a fawning Creature: so seducers, that they may the better de∣ceive the simple, come in a fawning, flattering way, pretending much Hu∣mility and Love, Rom. 16.18. When barking and biting will do no good, then they try what fawning will do. But of all dogs, beware of the flat∣tering dog: the barking, biting dog is not so dangerous, men will take heed of such, but 'tis the crouching Cur that under pretence of extraor∣dinary love, undoes men.
  • 8. It returns and licks up it's Vomit, Proverbs 26.11. 2 Peter 2.22. How many in our dayes have we seen that after their publicke Recantations (or rather dissimulations) have returned with the dog to his Vomit, and have been as vile as ever.
  • 9. It's a greedy Creature, hence the Proverb, As greedy as a dog. So false Prophets are exceeding covetous and cruel, Isay. 56.10.11. they are all for gain, Phil. 3.18, 19. Titus 1.11.

    Caution. Yet let none under this pretence accuse the faithfull Mi∣nisters of Christ of covetousness and cruelty for demanding their Tythes, & those dues which by the Law of God and man are due to them. Let us but once demand our dues, yea, less then our dues, yet how many cry out against us as greedy dogs and hirelings, that preach only for mony, when the salvation of souls is our Ultimate end, the receiving of mony is onely in subordination to that, to the end we may be fitted for your ser∣vice. Now 'tis one thing to preach for money, and another thing to re∣ceive money for preaching. The Souldier and Artificer receive pay for their pains,* yet (I hope) they do not make that their principal end and ayme. Never were the Ministers of England so rayled upon for cove∣tousnesse, pride, idleness; and yet there were never more laborious, mer∣ciful, pious, publick spirited Ministers in England (I think I may speake it without flattery) since 'twas a Nation: These must answer for their hard speeches, Iude 15.

    Object. There are some covetous idle proud Ministers.

    Answer, We grant it, and ever will be so do what men can, but will you condemne all for some?* shall we say all the Apostles were Traitours and Covetous because Iudas was so? or that all Souldiers are drunke, be∣cause some are so? every Childe can see the folly of such Logick.

  • 10. Dogs oft times run mad, and then they fly upon their own Masters. So when men have the vertigo and run madding after errors, they fly up∣on Christ, Magistrates, Ministers, every thing.
  • 11. Dogs are apt to quarrel and fight for bones. 'Tis animal pugnacis∣simum, a snarling creature, so the dogs of the world are apt to quarrel for the bones of the world; let a little trespass be done them, they will to law presently. They are Reshagnaim, the troublers of the Families and Towns they dwell in.
  • 12. Many dogs live idle, sleepy lives; other creatures labour, as the Horse, the Oxe, the Bee. So many seducers cast off their callings, and give themselves to an idle wandring up and down like vagabonds.
  • 13. Dogs feed on off-all, garbage, carion, and such things as would poy∣son a man.* So Hereticks rest upon their own merits, righteousness and works for salvation; all which the Apostle calls filth, dung, dogsmeat in com∣parison of Christ and his righteousness, Phil. 3.8.
  • Page  15914. Dogs are fierce against strangers, and such as are not of their fa∣mily. So Impostors bark at those who do not separate themselves from the true Church of Christ, are not Rebaptized, nor of their way and judgement. Iude. 10, Thus we see what dangerous Dog-dayes we live in, and how carefull every one should be to stand upon his watch.

2. As Hereticks are called Dogs for filthinesse, and other evill quali∣ties which have have been named, so they are called Foxes for subtilty and hurtfulnesse. Cant. 2.15. Take us the Foxes, the little Fones that spoyle the Vines. The land was never so full of Foxes (i. e.) of subtle seducing Hereticks, as 'tis at this day. We should all (in our places) arise to the hunting of them. We read of some Hunters in Scripture, as Nimrod, Esau, &c. but never a good one. But the hunting of this Metaphoricall Fox is a pious Hunting, and none but good and prudent men, can rightly pursue this game.

1. Magistrates must not bear the sword in vain, they must be a terrour to evill doers, and so are those. Phil. 3.2.

2. Ministers must arise against them, we are the Lords Huntsmen, and by our industry and spirituall wisdome, we must labour to uncase the Fox, and get him out of his holds and distinctions, what in us lyes, we must labour to deliver the Church from her subtle and secret enemies, not sparing the little Foxes, but killing the very cubs, which seek by their wiles to destroy the Vine when 'tis tender, labouring to pervert young beginners by errours, wine, women, and other licentious courses.

Object. But they are little Foxes, and not so dangerous as old ones.

Answ. Yet kill the little Foxes (saith the Text) kill the old ones, yea and suppress the cubs too, because of that destructive nature that is in them, though for the present they do but little hurt. Babylon must not onely be destroyed, but her brats also. Psal. 137. ult. Arrius was at first but a spark, yet by connivence we see what a great flame he came to. Now subtle seducers resemble Frxes in 10. particulars.

  • 1. The Fox is a very subtle creature, so the Churches enemies are subtle Foxes. Exod. 1.10. 2 Sam. 15.4. Nehem. 6.2. to 10. if Tobiah and Sanballat cannot hinder the work by threatning and force,* then they put on the Fox skin, and try what promises will do. They are Wolves, but in Sheeps cloathing, the better to deceive. Matth. 7.15. Dragons, but with Lambs horns. Revel▪ 13.11. Vipers, which hide their teeth in their gummes. Matth. 3.8. They are like their father the Devill who is an old Fox,* having his Methods and Depths, as he hath mille nocendi artes, a thousand devices to do mischief withall, so are these as full of all subtlety, as the Devill can make them. Acts 13.10.
  • 2. 'Tis a wild creature, and so are these wild, un∣teachable, untractable men. Nomine tenus Christiani, re bellua.
  • 3. Its a ravenous creature, night and day he's ra∣vening for his prey,* he goes from fold to fold, making foul spoyle where¦ever he comes. So these are active to do mischief, they run from Parish to Parish, making foul havock amongst the flock of Christ, doing evill with both hands earnestly. Micah 7.3.
  • 4. The Foxes skin and out-side is better then his flesh. So these Hy∣pocrites have a form and out-side and that's all, within they are full of guile and rapine.
  • Page  1605. Foxes love to live in Deserts and Wildernesses, where none may di∣sturb them. Lam. 5.18. So these delight in ignorant places, where there is no light to discover them, nor preachers to disturb them, 'tis the dark places of the earth, that are habitations for such. Psal. 74.20.
  • 6. The Fox is all for it selfe, it flayes, but never feeds the flock. So these feed themselves, but destroy the flock. Ezek. 13.4, 5.
  • 7. 'Tis a stinking creature [ore & ano foetet] so these have rotten stinking hearts, words and works, and when they are dead, their memo∣riall stinks and rots. Prov. 10.7.
  • 8. It never goeth in a strait path, but turns and winds in and out. So these go not in the strait path of Gods commands, but in the crooked paths of sin and errour. Psal. 125.5. Prov. 2.15. Philip. 2.15. like Thieves they keep not the ordinary road, but now they are in the way, and anon they crosse it.
  • 9. When caught in a snare they look pitifully, they seem to he gentle whilst in a chain, but let them loose and they are Foxes still, and none play such Rekes, as the tame Fox that hath broke loose, and is turned wild again. So these when in prison, or in distresse, they'l submit, re∣cant, do any thing; but no sooner are they at liberty, but they play the Fox again worse then ever.
  • 10. It's an hard thing to catch a Fox, especially an old one. Birds are caught with chaffe, wild beastes in grinnes, (at annosa vulpes haud capitur laqueo.) but an old subtle Fox is not so easily caught; if you pursue him, he hath many holes and dens to hide himselfe in. Matth. 8.19. if you lay for him at one hole, he hath another to creep out at. So these when convinced of their error, yet will not be convinced, but have their holds and distinctions, and evasions to creep out at. Now lay all these together, Seducers are Sorcerers, Thieves, Wolves, Cheaters, Dogs, Foxes; and the point is clear, That seducing Hereticks are very dangerous, and may help to take off that plea which many Sectaries make for them∣selves. viz. That those of their way are Holy, temperate, Religious men.

Answ. So have many Hereticks been seemingly, but pull off the sheep-skin, and you shall find a Wolfe under it. Thus Arrius, Pelagius, Laelius, and Faustus Socinus, with Arminius, were Satans mes∣sengers transformed into the Ministers of Christ.* The Devill never deceives more dangerously, then when he appeares like an Angell of light. 2 Cor. 11.14. nor is he ever more a Devill then when he seems a Saint, even those that came to apprehend our Savi∣our, pretended holinesse, and feined themselves to be just men. Luke 20.20. The Donatists seemed pure in their own eyes, yet held desperate Doctrines. The Anabaptists in Germany pretended they were Saints, yet at last proved to be fire-brands. The glosse of Profession without sincerity will soon fade, as we see in the Scribes and Pharises, and in the Monks, Nuns, Hermites, and many Se∣ctaries of our time. 'Tis a sign men are unsound when they Trumpet out their own abilities, Sanctity, Sufferings, Strictnesse, that they may get the more followers. Rom. 16.18. the Apostle there gives us two marks of false Prophets.

  • 1. They give out that they are the servants of Christ, but saith the Apostle,* they serve not Christ, but seek themselves.
  • 2. They have fine words and fair speeches, to deceive the simple; out of their mouth comes nothing but Gentlenesse, Meeknesse, Love, Liberty, Page  161 Free-Grace, that one would think that God and goodnesse were even confined to their lips. This Sanctus Satanas, this white Devill hath deluded many.* Many follow such as Asoloms followers did him, in the simplicity of their hearts. But if you will walk wisely and safely, you must live by Rule, not by Example. To the Law and to the Testimony. Isay 8.20. The Bereans judged of Pauls doctrine by comparing it with the Scripture, and not by Pauls life. Acts 17.11. Let mens lives be never so seemingly pious and Angelicall, if they bring not purity of doctrine with it, count them accursed. Gal. 1.8, 9. yet how many are carried away with the bare names of men, chusing rather to erre with them, then to speak truth with others.* Whereas we should not pinne our Faith on another mans sleeve, because we know not whither he may carry it. The best men are yet but men still, and have too often their failings, and observable imperfections. They know but in part, they believe but in part, and they are sanctified but in part, and therefore the best may erre and be deceived. 1 Cor. 13.9. Peter an eminent zealous Apostle yet was not in all things imitable, nor did he walk up to the truth of the Gospel, but by his example (which seemed a Law to others) he compelled the Gen∣tiles to be circumcised Gal. 2.11.13, 14. and Christ called him Satan. Matth. 16.23. Origen, Tertullian, Austin, Apollinaris, all learned men, yet had their naevos and failings: Let us therefore take heed how we have mens Persons,* Parts, or Per∣formances, in too great admiration. Love them we may, but not Idolize them, prize them for their gifts and graces, but prize the truth above them all, though they be never so great or good. 'Tis great folly to promise our selves more from the creature, then ever we shall find in them.

5. Observe, That false Prophets may be known, Hence the Lord gives us here so many Characters and Notes of them. And since the land swarms with such, I shall give you twenty marks, by which you may know them, and the better shun them.

1. The first Note of false Prophets is this, They are such as run before they are sent,* they intrude themselves into the work, and come without sending for. Ier. 14, 15. and 23.21. this makes their preach∣ing fruitlesse. verse 32. I sent them not, therefore they shall not profit this people at all; let people follow them never so much, they shall never profit by them. These creep into the Church by the Devills window, they come not in by Gods door. Iohn 10.1. Iude 4. Good men are modest,* they are sensible of the weight of the work, and therefore must be thrust forth. Matth. 9. ult. So Moses, Ieremy, Isay, &c. false Prophets are self-called. Rev. 2.20. when men are Idle, and grow weary of their callings, then they turn Speakers, and as the Monks of old got their livings by singing, so do these by Prating.

2. They come in sheeps-cloathing,* they pretend extraordinary Humility, Innocency, Simplicity, Matthew 7.15. their words are smoother then oyle, they breathe Page  162 out nothing but Free-Grace, Gospel, Heaven and Happinesse; like their father the Devill, they hide their hornes and cloven feeth with the sheep-skin.* The sheep trem∣bles at the sight of a Wolfe, but if the Wolfe get a sheep-skin on his back, 'tis the sooner deceived. Therefore 'tis made a Note of false Teachers, that with fair words they deceive the simple, Rom. 16.18. 2 Pet. 2.3. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* they plaster over foul matters with fair words, like the Harlot. Prov. 7.21. The worst complexions are deepliest painted,* the grossest Heresies have the fairest pretences, that grand Impostor the Devill,* when he intends most mischief, appears like an Angell of light. These study to please men, and therefore they are no servants of Christ. Gal. 1.10. all their fine speeches are but like Poyson given in honey, which destroyes more swiftly. They set a glosse upon their false Tenets as Tradesmen do upon their bad stuffes to make them sell the better. They can cite Scripture to draw you from Scripture, and tempt you to be irreligious, by religious Arguments misapplyed. This is the Devillls great Master-piece which he hath now upon the wheele, he carries his deadliest poyson in a golden cup. Revela∣tions 17.4.

3. They wrest and abuse the Scriptures for their own Ends. They do violence to the Law. Zeph. 3.4 they wrest and wring it, they adde, they detract,* they change the sense, they set it on the tenters to fit it to their fansies, they turn it this way and that way as may best serve their pur∣poses; they set it on the Rack, and so make it speak what it never thought. They compell the Scriptures to go two miles, which of them∣seves would go but one. They deal with them as Chymists do with na∣turall bodies, which they torture to get that out of them, which God and nature never put into them. 2 Pet. 3.16. This is the ground of all that Popery, Arrianisme, Socinianisme, and Anabap∣tisme, that is so rife amongst us.* Now as 'tis a Note of a true Prophet, soundly and savingly to expound the Scripture, and give the sense thereof from Scripture. Neh. 8.8. Matth. 4.7. So its an an infal∣ble note of a false Prophet to torture them.*

4. They cry up carnal liberty and licentiousness. 2 Pet. 2.19. Jude 4. Naturally we cannot endure sound doctrine, because it cuts and curbs our corruptions, therefore these false Teachers mix the wine of the word, with the water of their own in∣ventions, the better to allay it, and abate its strength and efficacy. Isay 1.22, Rat-catchers use to mingle poyson and bread together, that they may catch the sooner. Such Libertines are sent to prove thee, not to guide thee. Deut. 13.3. This liberty or rather licentiousnesse of conscience is the great Diana of these times, but the way is too broad to be good. Matth. 7.13.

5. They seek their own Glory, and not Gods. They cry up Nature, and decry Grace, they cry up a Light within them (which is no better then darknesse) and cry down Gods word without them. Simon Magus sets up himself instead of God. Act. 8.9, 10. they drive at Self in all their actings. Rom. 16.18. 2 Pet. 2.3, 14. Impostours are alwayes great Self-seekers. These are contrary to Gods faithfull Ministers, who alwayes debase na∣ture Page  163 and exalt grace, they are content to decrease, so Gods honour may increase. Iohn 7, 18. and 3.30.

6. They cry down the faithfull Ministers of Christ who spoyle their Markets,* and hinder the spread∣ing of their errours. These stirre up the Magistrate against them, as the false Prophets stirred up the Princes against Ieremy, and Amos 7.10. the false Apostles cry down Paul that they may set up them∣selves. 2 Cor. 10.10. The Wolves (in the Fable) would make a League with the sheep, provided they would put away their dogs. They that would seduce children, first make them out of love with their Guardi∣ans; when the Devill would seduce Eve, he goes about to perswade her that God was too strict and austere, in keeping them from the tree of knowledge of good and evill.

7. They have new-coyned words, and high-flowen Terms, as bright clouds, dark clouds, beamings of glorious lights, they speak great swelling words of Vanity. 2 Pet. 2.18. oft Allegorizing and utter∣ing much learned Non-sense. They use ambiguous termes and dark phrases,* that they may bring disciples to their lodgings, and cover their plots the better, Errour shunnes the light. Misty and cloudy expressions serve only to shadow an igno∣rant mind or an ill meaning. I find Calvin spend∣ing a whole Chapter in complaining of the Gyp∣sian canting and mysticall language of the Secta∣ries of his time, by which we may see that the same spirit breaths in our Sectaries, as did in those Li∣bertines an hundred yeares agoe. I find it so pertinent to this pur∣pose, that I have translated it for the benefit of all.

CALVIN Against the Libertines, CHAP. 7. Of the Peculiar Manner and Form of Speech used by the Quintinists (i. e) a Pack of Libertines then living.

FIrst of all as Juglers and other Vagabonds, such are those who com∣ing out of Bohemiah, wander almost all the world over, and others of that sort use a peculiar kind of speech understood of none but of their own faction and fraternity; so that before a mans face they can deceive and betray, and none perceive them; so the Quintinists use a strange and un-won∣ted form of words, whereby they chatter with no more perspicuity then is in the singing of Birds, I deny not but they use common words, but when they do so, they so disguise the meaning of them, that none can understand the matter whereof they treat, or what they would deny or affirm; and this they do maliciously, that they may closely, as it were by ambush∣ment circumvent silly people, for they reveal to none the mysteries of their abominations, which are covertly couched under those Terms, except to those whom already they have bound by oath unto them: for to those Page  164 that are Novices they discover no such things, but suffer them to gape or mutter, as stupified with admiration of their words, and so they lye hid under those winding forms,* as thieves hide themselves in their dens. These are those swelling words which Peter and Iude compare to Bubbles and froth, which end in nothing. But whilest they study by their lofty stile to lead others into errours, they so mislead themselves, that they understand not their owne bablings. I remember when once Quin∣tin saw me in a great Assembly, sharply reproving his chattering; he desirous to shunne the stroke, said, I reproved his speech, because I did not understand it. To which I answered, that I understood some∣what in it more then he did, for he did not at all perceive those things which he uttered, but I perceived that he meant to bewitch the minds of men with his absurd and pernicious dotages, which will appear to be so, in that he doth so plunge them in, and involve them with such foolish speculations, that neither heaven nor earth can appeare unto them. By this Note they are discerned from others, when they speak, they make a noyse like a Chough, so that nothing they utter can be understood. The tongue was created by God, that we might expresse our Thoughts and communicate them to each other, but they pervert the order instituted by him, and with a confused sound beat the ayre, or by long circumstances they minister matter of such va∣rying and altering to the auditours, that at last they are left whol∣ly in suspence, when the mysteries of God are to be handled, we ought to make the Scripture our Rule; let us then follow the Rule which God hath delivered to us, and not wander out of the compasse of it: for God knowing that if he should use onely such words as become his Majesty, our apprehensions could not reach them; useth therefore such expressions as suit best with our shallow capacities. And as a nurse speaks broken and imperfect words to her Infant, so doth God to his people, that he may be understood. Whosoever therefore in∣verts this order aimes at nothing but to bury the Truth of God, which cannot be perceived any other way, then by that which he hath revealed unto us. See then how we must labour in the explication of their cir∣cumlocutions, so as by force to draw their meaning into light; that so their abominations which they study to cover, may be made manifest to all men. And all Christians ought to be admonished, that when they hear their gagling in this manner, they break off their speech and say, Either speak as the Lord hath taught us, and according to Scripture phrase, or get you gone, and make your speech to stones and trees. So farre pious and judicious Calvin.

8. They preach one thing in publike, and another thing in private. In publike I have heard some call for Duties,* Ordi∣nances, &c. and acknowledge the Deity of Christ: but talk with the same men in private, and they are other men. They are like Fortune (Constans in le∣vitate sua) constant in unconstancy: They are more mutable then the Moon, and change themselves in∣to several shapes like Proteus. As the Jesuite is omnis homo; so these can say and unsay, they can play fast and loose with ease.

9. 'Tis their property to conceal many of their Opinions (especially at first) till they have fitted their Disciples to receive them. They deal with their Proselites as Absalon did with his followers; he at first covers his Treason, with a shew of courteous behaviour, zeal for justice, and the Page  165 pretence of performing a Vow; (2 Samuel 15.2.8.) he never shews himself in open Rebellion till he was sure of the peoples hearts. Error in it self is ugly, and if it should appear (especially at first) in its proper colours, men would detest both it, and those that bring it.

10. They boast much of the Spirit, when upon triall,* 'tis a mere Satanicall, deluding spirit that leads them. For such sensual Separatists as these, have not the Spirit of God, saith Saint Iude 19. They think they know more by the Spirit, then their betters can know by twenty yeers study, who yet are led by a better spirit then they. [V. Tactica S. l. 2. c. 2. S. 8.]

11. They boast much of New-light, and love to vent such things as savour of Novelty. They know that itching eares cannot away with common Truths, they must have novum aut nihil. By this the old Pro∣phet brought the young Prophet into the Lions mouth, by telling him that an Angell spake to him, and had brought him some New-light. 1 Kings 13.18.24. and 'tis an old Policy of the Devill, to cry up sin and errour under the Notion of New-light. Thus he beguiled Eve. Gen. 3.5. this is rather strange Light, then New. 'Tis Light in Name, but Dark∣nesse indeed. Let us examine them, and we shall find that these New-lights are nothing but Old-Errours, and so are Neither Lights, nor New.

1. They are not Light because they are contrary to the Light of Gods word, from whence all true Light springs. Isay 8.20. neither are they New, but rather renewed, for most of them were broached in or before Austins time,* which is above 12. hundred yeares agoe. The Ghosts of those old Hereticks are now come out of their graves to scarre men, and mislead them.

12. They pretend to Miracles and extraordinary Revelations.* When they cannot make good their Tenets by Scripture, then, as the Papists fly to unwritten Traditions, so these fly to Miracles and Revelations. This is no more then what Christ long since foretold, that in the last days false Christs and false Prophets should arise, showing signs and won∣ders and should deceive many, Matthew 24.23. So doth Antichrist with his lying wonders 2 Thes. 2.9. They cry up an extraordinary light within them, and cry down the Scriptures and Preaching as low things, because they discover their works of darkness. Thieves put out the light, because darknesse best becomes their deeds of darknesse.

13. They seem modest at first, they desire you onely to hear them speak, then to separate, and after to be rebaptized, and then farewell all. They drop a little at once into their followers, and never administer their Physicke till they have first given good Preparatives to make it work, and then stronger potions, as they finde the pulse of the Patient. They do not alwayes deny in plain terms fundamental Truths, but of∣ten when they pretend to own the Scripture expressions, they deny the Truth. They desire you at first; but to taste of the Devils broth, Isay 63.4. not doubting but at last to make you eat of his beef. He that saith yea to the Devil in a little, shall not say nay when he pleaseth. Sinne is gradual as well as Grace. As no man attains to a height of Vertue sud∣denly, so neither of Vice. A spark neglected may burn down a Town: Arrius at first a spark, yet being tolerated, at last set the world on fire. As diseases so error must be stopt betimes.

Page  16614. They are mere Scepticks in Religion. They question all things, but beleeve nothing. They question the Law, question the Gospel, Sab∣bath, Sacraments, Magistracy, Ministery, &c. They are all for disputing,* nothing for practising. That time which they should spend in the examination of their Consciences, is laid out in the examination of opi∣nions. They challenge men to dispute, that they may make men doubt of the truth, as the Devil did Eve, by questioning Gods threatnings, Gen. 3.1. they are sick and dote on questions, 1 Timothy. 6.4. God will have his command obeyed, not questioned. How oft doth he command us to be rooted, stedfast, grounded, royall Christians; not tossed to and fro, with every wind of Doctrine Ephes. 4.14.

15. You may guesse at false Teachers by their followers. Who are they that follow them? 1. They are Idle persons that have no callings, or else follow none. 2. Or Ungrounded, Ignorant, Unstable persons, though men in yeares, yet children in Understanding; such uncha∣techised persons are a fit prey for the Devills Instruments. 3. Or else they are Rotten, Proud, Censorious Hypocrites; such as were never found in the faith, but were justly suspected for their loose walking.

16. When at last their folly is discovered to all, then they face about and begin to deny what they hold; or else they mince the matter, they alter it, and new mould it, and say they were not rightly understood, &c.

17. The Devils Instruments usually are subtle Ser∣pents,*Genesis 3.1. 2 Corinthians 11.3. 2 Peter 21. he gets the choycest wits the better to carry on his de∣signs. An unsanctified wit is a fit agent for the De∣vil. Nor is there a likelyer Anvile in all the shop of Hell whereon to forge mischief, then one that is lewd and learned. He must have such as can play the hucksters and juglers, passing that for gold which is but brasse, 2 Corinthians 2.17. Such as walke plainly and honestly are not for the Devils turn, God hath planted his fear in their hearts, so that they dare not sin against him. But 'tis the crafty com∣panion that is full of all subtleties, sleights, wiles and deceitful workings, that can cog a Die, and make it answer what cast he pleaseth: this, this is the man for the Devils turn Ephes. 4.14. the Apostle in three words ex∣presseth the subtlety of seducers.

  • 1. They have a slight 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in cogging the Die, like cunning gamesters they can so pack the Cards, and pervert the scriptures that they can make it speak what they please themselves.
  • 2. Cunning craftinesses 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 they turn every stone and watch all advantages.
  • 3. Lying in wait to decceive 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, they have a method in deceiving, they have all the Arts, of cozenage, so that if 'twere possi∣ble, they would deceive the very Elect.

18. They separate themselves from the true Churches of Christ. The Pharises were rigid separatists and quarrelled with Christ because he would not separate, but was a friend to publicans and sinners, Luke 15.27, 28. They pretend they abhor a mixt company, and yet they revile and fly from reall Saints. They are all for gathering Churches out of Churches, Page  167 which is the very way to destroy Churches. How do we destroy houses, but by pulling one stone, and one piece from another? This schisme grows into an heresie, as a Serpen growes to be a Dragon. This tolerated, will ruine Families, tearing them all to pieces, whilest the husband goes to one Church, the wife to another, the son to a third, the daughter to a fourth, and the servant to an Alehouse instead of a Church. This opens a gap to abundance of profanenesse, when there shall be no cohabitation, but the Church members shall be scattered up and down, some 20. some 30. some 60. some 100. miles off, who shall have the inspection, teaching and guid∣ance of these?* Master Burroughs his Argument for gathering of Churches (in my judgement) is very dilute and weak; 'tis this, Because our Di∣vines hold it lawfull to gather Churches out of the Church of Rome: therefore 'tis lawful to gather Churches out of the Church of England, q. d. because 'tis lawfull to separate from a whore, Ergo, we ought to sepa∣rate from an honest woman also. What more ungodly sacriledge, or man∣stealing can there be, then to purloin from godly Ministers the first-born of their fervent Prayers, and faithful Preaching, the leaven of their flocks, the encouragement of their souls, the Crown of their labours, and their E∣pistle to Heaven? If men will needs gather Churches out of the world (as they phrase it) let them first plow the world, and sow it, and reap it with their own hands, and then the Lord give them a liberall harvest. He is a very hard man that will reap where he hath not sowen, and gather where he hath not strewed, Mat. 24.25. We have no President in the whole Book of God, to gather up one Church out of the cream and quintessence of many Churches, As * a Reverend Divine of ours hath well observed.

19. They dawb with untempered mortar, they preach placentia, and flatter men in their sins Ezekiel 13.10.15. and 22.28. they preach the fan∣cies of their own brain, there is no truth, and so no strength in what they say; 'tis all but arena sine calce, & lutum sine firmitate, the least showre brings it down. These are those Wells without water, and empty clouds, which promise much, but perform nothing, 2 Peter 2.17. Iude 12. but faithfull Pastours are spiritual Clouds which water and refresh the Vine∣yard of the Lord with wholesome, heavenly showers of saving Doctrine. Isay 5.6. and 60.8.20. They are great pretenders to an Extraordinary call. Aske them how they dare presume to meddle with the holy things of God (considering Gods dreadful judgements on Corah and his compa∣ny, on Vzzah and Vzziah for the like presumption) their answer is, they are called; we aske by whom? they answer, by God. If so, then 'tis either in an Ordinary, or an Extraordinary way. They tell us they are called Extraordinary; we reply, then 'twill appear by their Extraordi∣nary gifts: the Apostles were called Extraordinarily, and they shewed it by their extraordinary gifts; they could heal the sick, cast out De∣vils, speak Languges without study; and let these pretenders shew the like abilities, and we shall believe them. But alas, upon Examination, we find they have not so much as Ordinary abilities.* They are inferi∣riour free gifts to many women and children. They are not able to write a line of true English, I have several of their Letters by me wherein there are more Literal and Material Errata's then lines: They had more need to be taught themselves, then to be teachers of others. Thus ex pede Her∣culem, by these twenty marks you may know the Impostors of our time, and knowing them you must avoid them. These are those that poysen Page  168 not bodies, but soules; as the harlot, so these hunt for the precious soul. Prov. 6.26. they hatch the Cockatrice egges, he that eates of their egges, dyes; and that which is crusht, breakes forth into a Viper. Isay 59.5. These are those that make rents and divisions in the Church, whose Peace should be very deare unto us; for though Unity be not the very being, yet it tends much to the well-being of a Church. These hinder the pro∣gresse of the Gospel, when people should be praying, weeping, and humbling themselves together; these set them to disputing, wrangling, and malicing one another. 'Tis Unity that spreads the Gospel, and makes mountains to become a plain, even the seven hills amongst the rest. Were there that sweet Synceretismus, or rather Synchristianismus, that harmony of hearts and wayes, as ought to be amongst the people of God, how terrible would the Church be to her enemies? 'Tis these that breed tumults in the Church, commotions in the Common-wealth, that imbitter mens spirits one against another, waste mens estates, bring men to a morsell of bread, and at last bring themselves to some untimely end. Oh consider the sad Ends of many Hereticks, and let their falls make you to feare. Arrius voyded his bowells, Iulian died blaspheming, Simon Magus an Arch-Heretick, who by his sorcery and feined miracles, deluded many people, who took him for a God, Acts 8.10. attempting on a time to fly in the ayer in the sight of many people, his divelish art failing him,* he fell to the ground, and brake his leg, which was his death. Servetus was burnt for his blasphemies at Geneva. Gibraldus the Heretick was swept away by the Plague. Blandrate, Physician to the King of Pland, a great Patron to Socinus and his followers, was strangled in his bed by his Brothers son. Alciat a Socinian died despairing. Palelo∣gus an Arrian was burnt. Francis David a proud Socinian died mad, and was distracted with the sight of the Devill: Lismanninus an Arrian drow∣ned himself in a well. Olympius that denied the Trinity was burnt to death with three Lightnings. Beold that Anabaptist King with his com∣panions, was tortured and put to death. Humber was burnt, Muntzer and Pheifer beheaded.* So let all thine enemies perish O Lord. Consider Gods hand on Nayler a Quaker, and Sundercomb a Leveller, and Mistris Hutchinson in New-England, who was banisht for her Heresies, and de∣stroyed both she and her family by the Indians. Parnel a Quaker famisht himself in Colchester Jayle, trying to fast 40. dayes as Christ did. Poole a Quaker in Dorcester drowned himselfe.

Quest. If any desire to know the Reasons why God suffers Seducers to abound, he may find good store in Doctor Boltons Arraignment of error. Pag. 5. to 55. in Mr. Brimslyes Spi. Vertigo. p. 37. &c. and Mr. Sherlock against the Quakers. In fine cap. 6. p. 205. &c.

Vse 1. Since false Prophets are such Pestilent per∣sons, the Magistrate must not Tolerate them.* Who will Tolerate such as have Plague-sores running on them, to go up and down infecting others: or that have poyson to go up and down selling it instead of food? Seducing Hereticks are worse, those kill but the body, these with their damnable Heresies de∣stroy the soul. 2 Pet, 2.1. and if such as steal away but their bodies must die. Exod. 21.16. what shall be done to those that ruine the better part? These are called Foxes, Vipers, Wolves, Thieves, troublers of the Church, and there∣fore Page  169 to be cut off,* not tolerated, Galathians 5.12. Christ blames the Church of Thyatire, for give∣ing a toleration to Iesabel, Revelations 2.20. and commends the Church of Ephesus, for not bear∣ing with such as are evil, Revelatons 2.2. and Iosiah is commended for compelling men to the worship of God, 2 Chronicles 34.33. The Magistrate, is the Mi∣nister of God, and must be a terror to them that doe evil, Romans 13. especially, if they be compounded, blasphemous, seducing Hereticks, they must be put to death, Leviticus 24.14. Exodus 22.20. Deuteronomy 13.6.8,* 9. and 17.2.5. 2 Chronicles 5.16. Ezra 7.26. Iosiah slayes the false Prophets, 1 Kings 23.20. Eljah commands the Priests of Baal to be slain, 1 Kings 18.40.

Object. Lest any should think to evade these Proofs as Legall; the pro∣phet Zachary [13.3.] prophesing of Gospel times, tells us that, if any shall be so bold as to teach lies, that his father and mother shall cause him to be put to death, alluding to that Deuteronomy 13. The equity of which Law still remains under the Gospel. Better and with lesse danger is a Thief, an Adulterer, a murderer, a Witch and Sorcerer tolerated, then such an Heretick and Seducer,* (As our large Annotations have it.) 'Tis observed by a learned Divine, That as in things of practice, so of perswa∣sion that are impious, either in themselves, or in their naturall unconstrained consequences, the Plea of conscience is an Aggravation of the crime: if mens consciences are eared and themselves given up to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient, there is no doubt but they ought to suffer such things as to such practices are assigned and appointed. Thus he. And if any shall object that these are tolerated but in corners: The answer is easie, if it be truth they teach, why should it not have Churches? if errour, why should it have Chambers?

See more against Toler. Mr. Ant. Burges, on Iohn 7.21. Serm. 115. Mr. Gee on Prayer, cap. 4. Sect. 7. p. 358. Mr. Iohn Clerk Ser. on Leaven, p. 24.36. See 9. wayes by which the Magistrate may stop the flood of Heresies. Mr. Obad. Sedgwicks Serm. on Revelation 12.15. p. 37. Preacht 1646. Iames 27. Mr. Edwards against Toleration, Calvin contra Serv. inter Opuscul. p. 694. Beza de Haert. puniend. & Epistol. contra Deditium. Prins Treatise in defence of the Magistrates coercive power. Mr. Rudder∣fords Treatise against Liberty of Conscience. Doctor Taylor on Titus 3.1.10. p. 347, 715.

2. Ministers must come forth to the helpe of the Lord against these daring Goliahs. Even a Dogge will barke, when hee seeth his Master wronged: And a Craesus sonne that hath been dumbe all his life, yet will speak when they offer violence to his father. We are the Lords Watchmen, and when we see the Wolf or the Theif approching, we must give warning: seducers are subtle, and people can not easily discover their plots, we must do it for them. One great cause of so many abounding errors amongst us, springs from Ministers. 'Twas whilest the watchmen slept, that the enemy sowed his Tares, Matthew 13.25.

1. Some are ignorant dumb dogs and cannot bark.

2. Others are scandalous and dare not,* for fear of being questioned themselves.

3. Others see which way the times go, and like dead fish they go down the stream, they dare not dis∣please, Page  170 they love to sleep in a whole skin, and say as the great ones say. But let us be the Lords witnesses against a perverse people, this is one end why we came into the world; viz. that we might bear witness to the truth, Iohn 13.37. We are Gods salt, and therefore must by our Prayer, Preaching and Practice, help to season men and keep them from rotting in sin and error. One part of our work is to convince gain-sayers, Titus 1.9. This others of abilities may do, ex charitate, but we ex officio. We are the keepers of the Vineyard, and must take care that the Foxes spoil not the tender Grapes. We are Fathers, and must see that the children have not a stone given them insteed of bread, nor a Serpent instead of a fish. Let the zeal of others quicken us. How zealous was Elijah and Paul against the false Prophets of their times? How zealous was Atha∣nasius against the Arrians; Austin against the Pelagians and the Donatists, Luther, Calvin, Beza, &c. against Papists and Sectaries? of all men it be∣comes not us to be silent and meal-mouthed, when our Lord's disho∣noured.

3. Let every one stand upon his guard, Christ warned his own Disci∣ples to beware of such Matthew 7.15. the best know but in part, and Satan is so subtle, that we may soon be deceived. How quickly did the Gala∣thians fall from the faith to justification by works? in so much that the Apostle wonders they were so soon fallen to another Gospel,*Galathians 1.6. 'Twas Luthers complaint, that an ignorant rayling sot could in a moment overthrow, what we have been building many years. Such is the cursed depravation of mans heart, I shall therefore give you some preventing Physick against the pestilent attempt of seducers.

*1. Get your judgements rightly informed, espe∣cially in the Principles and Fundamentals of Reli∣gion, as Faith, Repentance, Justification, Sanctifi∣cation, and new-Obedience. Our greatest care should be about the greatest things of the Law. Lay a good foundation, else the building will totter. When men are children in understanding then they are tossed to and fro with every winde of Doctrine, Ephes. 4.14. Heresie is most strong where know∣ledge is most weak. 'Tis the weak flies which hang in the spiders web, when the strong break thorough. The simple are apt to believe every thing, Proverbs, 14.15. and like children swallow all that's put into their mouths.* There are 7. things (as a Reverend Divine hath well observed) which are apt to be carried away by the Flood of Heesies. 1. Light things. 2. Loose things. 3. Weak things. 4. Low things. 5. Rotten things. 6. Tottering things. 7. Ventrous things. How many erre for want of knowledge, Psal. 95.10. Matth. 22.19. upon this account the Apostle would not have a Minister to be a novice, 1 Tim. 3.6. The Devil deals with men as the Cow doth by the Lamb, which first picks out the eyes, and then devours it. Or as the Philistims dealt by Sampson, they first put out his eyes, and then they make him grind like a slave. Thus he dealt with Eve, Gen. 3.4, 5. First, he deludes her judgement,* with ye shall not die; and then he easily per∣swades her to eat of the forbidden fruit. We should therefore be wise as Serpents that we be not deceived, and innocent as Doves, that we prove not deceivers.

Vt nulli nocuisse velis imitare columbam,
Serpentem ut possit nemo nocere tibi.

Page  1712. Walke alwayes as in Gods eye, have respect to all his commands, be ready to obey, (in revelatis & in revelandis;) whatsoever God shall discover to you to be his Will: be not Nominall, but Reall Christians, rest not content with the form, but get the Power of Godlinesse. Hereticks are a mere scourge for Formalists and Hypocrites. When men reject Gods call, he gives them up to delusions, Isay 66.4. and the lusts of their own hearts,*Psalm, 81.11, 12. Hosea, 4.12, 13. When men will not be schollars to truth, they shall be masters of errors and teachers of lies, well verst in the blackest and basest Art. 'Tis just with God, that they who will not have Truth for their King, should have falshood for their Tyrant; being given up to the Efficacy of errour, or to errour in the strength and power of it, 2 Thes. 2.10, 11. If Pharaoh will not believe the real Mira∣cles of Moses, he shall be deluded with the false ones of the Magitians. If Ahab will not hearken to Micaiah a true Prophet, he shall be deluded by lying spirits in the mouths of false ones; and this is one end why the Lord suffers not onely Schismes, but Heresies to abound, viz. to disco∣ver mens hearts to themselves and others, Deuterenomy 13.3. So long as the glasse is still, no dregs appear, but stir it, and then they shew them∣selves. Fire discovers the mettle, and storms shew us which were rotten trees. No man fully knows his own heart till a temptation comes: If a man should have told our Apostles 1500. years agoe, that they should have denied the Trinity, Scripture, Sacraments, Ordinances, &c. they would have been ready to say as Hazael, am I a Dog that I should do such things as these?

3. Grow in Grace. This is a special preservative against Apostacy, 2 Peter 3.17, 18. To this end sit down under a sound, soul-searching Ministery; God hath ordained this as a special means to establish us in the truth, Ephes. 4.10. Better have a biting Gospel (said Bradford) then a toothlesse Masse; better it is to sit under the saddest shade of the true Vine, even weeping; then to frolick it under the greenest trees and most pleasant Oakes of Idolatry and Heresie. We have been barren stocks in the Vineyard of the Lord, we have been dead under lively Oracles, like the Smiths Anvill, we are the harder for beating on; such is our corruption that we are the worse for preaching, Isaiah 6.9.10. Now God in his just judgement punisheth sinne with sinne, he pu∣nisheth such contempt of the Gospel with Heresie, Witchcraft, Apo∣stacy, &c.

4. Try before you trust: Tho your Minister be a Holy man, yet 'try what he teacheth; you will tell money and weigh gold after your father, and shall we onely take Doctrines on trust?* Since there are not a few, but many false Prophets gone forth into the world (as Anabaptists, Arrians, Quakers, &c.) it will be our wisedom to try all things, weigh them in the ballance of the Sanctuary, bring them to the touch-stone of Gods Word,* and what upon trial you finde to be sound and right, hold it fast, retain it against all adverse power whatsoever, 1 Thessalonians 5.21. Prov. 23.23. buy the truth at any rate, part with it at no rate, Prov. 4.21. Luke 8.15. Rom. 12.9. 2 Tim. 13.14. Heb. 2.1. and 10.3.3 Rev. 3.3.11. The world was never so full of Spirits as now:* There is the spirit of Errour, the spi∣rit of Fornication, the spirit of Pride, the spirit of Slumber, the spirit of Giddinesse, the spirit of Delusion, &c. Had not we then need to try the spirits? 1 Iohn 4.1. Hath not God given us the anonting of his Spirit? to the end, we may be able to discern light from darkness, and truth from errour? when we hear of many cheaters abroad, we had need to looke Page  172 to our purses. The best may erre, every man's a lyar, both actively and passively, subject to be deceived, and to deceive others, Rom. 3.4. we should therefore with the Bereans try what is taught. I shall sum up all in the words of a judicious Divine, A judgement solidly principled, an heart sin∣cerely renewed, a faith truly bottomed, Truth and love of it cordially matched, profession and practice well joyned, a fear of our selves, and dependance on God still maintained, Gods Ordinances, and the society of humble and growing Christians still frequented, watchfulnesse and prayer still continued, are the best directions to keep us in the truth, and the best preservatives to keep us from errors*

Lastly, forsake not the way of Gods Churches, especially in these fun∣damentals wherein they are unanimous E. g. Suppose the Question be, Whether Infants Baptisme be lawfull?

Answer, All the Churches of God (who should know the sense of Scripture better then any private man) do practise it; or, Whether the Old Testament be authentick? all the Churches of God believe it, &c. It's a dangerous thing to follow the Opinion of any particular man (be he never so holy) against the current and practice of all the true Churches of Christ.

2. Forsake not the government and discipline of the Church, which is Unanimously owned by all the Reformed Churches of Christ; 'Tis the want of this which is one great cause of so many errors amongst us. If this were fully and generally establisht, we should not have an Heresie or blas∣phemy peeping up in the land, but there would be a timely preventing of it. Government, Rule and Order, is the glory of Families, Cities, Churches and all Societies. 'Tis a lovely thing, and if the Apostle rejoy∣ced to see the Order and Ecclesiastical government of the Collossians (2.3.) how would he mourn to see the disorder of our times,* when the Church of God lies as a Vine without an hedge, a City without walls, and a Gar∣den without a fence! God takes it ill when we prefer our own private interest before his publick service, and dwell our selves in seeled houses, when the House of the Lord lies waste, Hag. 1. The greatest sin of this age is the violent opposition against the Kingly Government of Christ in his Church, by his own Officers and Ordinances. All the wicked hate it, because it crosseth their lusts, and the Devil hates it, because it de∣stroyes his Kingdome. But let us (according to our Covenant) en∣deavour in our places the setting up the Government of Christ a∣mongst us. Since our Church hath been as a field without a fence, how many wild beasts have broken in upon it? Its ill having the reins on our own necks; when there was no King in Israel, every man did what pleased himself. Since the reins of Government have been loosed, men have fanci∣ed and found out a thousand by-paths. Its good for every man to be bound, the best are but in part regenerate, and being left to themselves, may fall into dangerous sins and errors. God is the God of Order, and he will have not only some things, but all things done in order, 1 Cor. 14.33.40. he commands Order, commends Order, delights in Order, and would have all his people walk in an orderly way. 'Tis the Devil who is the Author of disorder and confusion,* he knowes if Order goe up, his Kingdome must go down, and therefore he doth his utmost to hinder Government: But Page  173 God will have Order both in Substantialls and Circumstantials, in Reals and in Rituals. This Order is not any superstitious, humane invention, but an Order grounded on the Word of God, and agreeable to that Canon

The Titles given to Gods Church im∣ply some order there. It's called,

  • 1. a House.
  • 2. a Common-wealth.
  • 3. a Garden.
  • 4. a Vine-yard.

1. The Church is Gods house and family. 1 Pet. 4.17. Gal. 6.10. Now what's a house without government, but a little hell above ground? yea worse then hell, for in hell there's some order; there is Beelzebub the Prince of Devills. Yea, there's some Unity in hell, Satans Kingdom is not divided against it self, if it were it could not stand. Luke 11.17.18. now if we have Order in our own houses, is it fit that Gods house should lye in confusion? This brings judgement on a people. Hag. 1.9. At the Reformation of the Lacedemonian state, some perswaded Lycurgus to set up a Democrasy (i. e.) a popular government, where all might have equall power. He answered, Begin first and set up such a government in your own houses.

2. The Church is a spirituall Common-wealth, Ephes 2.12. Strangers from the Common-wealth of Israel (from the Church of God.) Now what's a Common-wealth without Order aud Unity? we see how carefull men are to keep their Common-wealth in Peace and Unity; O that there were a like care to set up Order and Unity in the Church of God!

3. The Church is Gods Garden. Cant. 4.12. and must therefore be hedged and defended with Discipline and Government; else every wild beast and boare, would suddenly spoyle the flowers in it.

4. The Church is Gods Vine-yard. Isay 5.1. &c. least any should hurt it, he himself doth keep it night and day. Isay 5.5. and 27.3. as he doth fence it, so should we in our places and stations, do what in us lieth to pre∣serve it from violence and wrong.

3. Order and Government is the Beauty of a Church. Zach. 11.7. this makes the Church admirable.*Psal. 48. per totum, we should be oft sur∣veying Ierusalem, and observing the glorious power and providence of God in her Order and Protection. What David saith of Unity (one branch of Order) is true of Order it self. Psal. 133.1, 2. behold how comely it is for Brethren to dwell together in Amity and Order! Order is the glo∣ry of all societies: a well-ordered Family, Army, City, Society, are comely sights. Hence God hath set an Order in Heaven, an Order in Hell,* an Order amongst Angells, an Order amongst the Starres, an Order amongst rationall Creatures, an Order amongst the sensitive Crea∣tures, the very Bees have a King and Ruler over them. Take away this, and we shall be all in confusion, if there were not an Order in the Sea, it would overflow the land, and drown all. The ayer would poyson us, the Creatures destroy us, and every man would destroy another.

Object. The Presbyterian Government is Tyrannicall, and curbs men that they dare not vent their errours so freely as now they do.

Answ. This Government is Christs yoke, and so is sweet and easie to a spiritualized soule. As the yoke of his Doctrine, so the yoke of his Discipline is delightfull and pleasant to them. They say as that good man said of the word of God. Veniat, Veniat, disciplina Christi, & submittemur ei sexcenta si nobis essent colla. They willingly obey Church Guides in the Lord, and have them in singular love for their works sake. Heb. 13.17. 1 Thes. 5.12.

Page  174*2. 'Tis the excellency of the Government, that it restraines you from sin and errour, happy are those bonds that bind us to be holy, They are right sons of Belial that have lived so long without Go∣vernment, that now they cannot beare the yoke, they long to be at their Garlick and Onions in Egypt again, and had rather lye under Popery or Prelacy, then Christs Presbytery.

3. This Government rightly managed, is a Meek, Rationall, Religious, Mercifull Government; 'tis so far from being Tyrannicall, that it is a singular remedy against spirituall Tyranny; for if a man be wrong∣ed at home, yet there are Appeales to a Classicall, Provinciall, Nationall Synod.

Object. Synods may erre.

*Answ. True, yet not so soon as a few private, illi∣terate persons; for (caeteris paribus) if Piety, Prayer, Parts and study be equall, then a Synod or Assembly of Divines is likelier to expound Scripture, and de∣cide controversies fuller and clearer then inferiour persons. A whole Court of Justice is lesse lyable to errour, then a particular Judge, a whole Synod then a particular congregation. Two are better then one, and in the multitude of counsellers there is safety. Prv. 11.14. and 15.22. Naturalists observe that creatures which affect solitude and indepen∣dency are oft Birds of prey;* as Hawkes, Kites, Wolves, and Beares; but all creatures the more congregative, the more harmlesse and usefull they are, as Sheep, Doves, Bees.

2. A possibility of erring is no sufficient ground for us to reject Synods, for then, because Ministers, Masters, and Tutours may erre, Ergo we must believe nothing which they say, Now if the Spies which brought up an evill report of the Terrestriall Canaan, were severely punisht, what shall be done to those that reproach the Government of Christ, by which he conducts us to the Celestiall Canaan, calling it Tyranny, Cruelty, Perse∣cution, and what not?

Quest. But how do you prove that the Presbyterian Government is Jure Divino?

Answ. 'Tis sufficiently proved to any unprejudiced man.

1. By the Assembly of Divines in their Answer to the Dissenting Brethren.

2. By the London Ministers in their Ius Divinum, and their elaborate Vindication.

3. By Apollonius and Mr. Paget.

4. By Mr. Rutherford and many learned Scottish Divines. Yea Mr. Cotton himself acknowledgeth from Acts 15. (where the Church of An∣tioch was subordinate to the Synod of Ierusalem) that Synods are Gods Ordinances, and that all things belonging to a compleat Synod, were to be found in Acts 15.* Now the proving of the Divine Reason of Synods in generall, doth also prove the Divine Reason of Classicall, Practicall, Nationall, Oeconomicall Synods in Particular: for magis & minus non va∣riant speciem, the Government is still the same, though the extent vary; and if they called for an Oeconomicall Synod, Acts 15. why may not we have lower and lesser Synods, since many cases call for them? and if the Page  175 Jews had their Appeales (Deut. 17.8. to 12.) sure the Gospel doth not put us in a worse condition then the Law;* since Christ was faithfull in all Gods house. Heb. 3.2. Nor were these Jewish, for Apppeales are de Lege Naturae & jure communi, and if they had a Natioanll, why may we not have a Provinciall combination, since there may be a stricter Union between a Province, then between a Nation.

2. 'Tis the way of all the Reformed Churches who are the best ex∣pounders of the word, and whose Example we should esteem. 1 Cor. 11.16.22. All the Churches of God in Germany, France, Scotland, are Pres∣byterian, and there are severall Ordinances of Parliament, unrepealed, that do enjoyne the setting up of Congregationall, Classicall, and Natio∣nall Presbyteries; and all Officers are ordered to apprehend and punish such as shall speak against this Government. Besides, the Nationall Co∣venant binds us to the Government for matter and substance, because 'tis the Government of the Reformed Churches; but for the manner of Practice we must exceed them if we can.

3. 'Tis a Rationall Government, founded in the light of Nature and Right Reason, which tells us that no man should be a sole Judge, Accu∣ser, and Wittnesse in his own cause. Suppose I be offended at the Here∣sies of a Church, to whom shall I complaine? to the same Church? she is both Judge and party and will never do Justice against her self. We can∣not remedy thousands of evills without Appeales. Besides there are ma∣ny wighty causes which cannot be determined by single Cungregations, as Excommunication, Ordination of Ministers, and judiciall determining of controversies. Upon these grounds a Nationall Synod in France (1644.) did judge the Sect of Independency to be prejudiciall to the Church of God, as bringing in confusion, and taking away all meanes of Remedy, dangerous to the state, bringing in as many Religions as Pari∣shes. This sets up Altar against Altar, Church against Church, and Mi∣nister against Minister. Man is a weak creature, yea the best standing alone are apt to go astray, and therefore God in his wisdom hath provided the help and assistance of other Churches. True, a congregational Presby∣tery have power to decide lesser matters, but it stands with reason that greater and weightier matters should be referred to greater Presbyteries. So far as concerns their own private Interest every congregation is a com∣pleat body, yet not in all respects, and to all intents and purposes, exempt from superiour Jurisdiction, but is subordinate, and a member of a Provin∣ciall, Nationall, Catholick Church, else we should run into Anarchy and confusion. E. g. If a Troop should say we are a compleat body within our selves, therefore we'l not be subordinate to a Councill of Warre: or if a child or servant should say, I am a compleat man of my self, therefore I'le not obey the commands of my superiours: what confusion and disorder would this bring in amongst us?

4. 'Tis a charitable Government, 'tis not harsh and rigid, it debarres not those from Ordinances,* which God hath not debarred. It admits the children of Christians to Baptisme, and the Parents which are free from Ignorance and scandalls to the Lords Supper, without the taking of any Church-Covenant, or making any open confession before the congre∣gation. Nor doth it put the Power of the Keyes into the Hands of the people (as Independents do) where all the Church hath power of voting. That house is like to be well governed, where all are Masters.

5. 'Tis a Religious Government, it suppresseth Schisme, Heresie, and all false wayes, and that in the bud; they can no sooner arise, but the same week they are Questioned. Hence King Iames called Presbytery Page  176Haereticorum malleum, and thanked God that he was King of one of the purest Kirks of Christendome. Since then Presbytery is a way of Order against disorder, a way of Peace against division, a way of Truth against error, and a way that sets up Christ and his glory, encouraging all the Saints of Christ in all the wayes of Christ; why should any go about to preferre Prelacy or Independency before it, when this excells them bot as will plainly appear by comparing them with each other.

*1. Presbyterytery is Iure Divino.

Episcopacy is Iure Humano, a Plant which God never planted. King Iames called them his Creatures, and so they were in more Senses then one. Or Iure Pontificio, for D. Heylin tells us that Pope Gregory erected them, they are then by Originall the Popes Creatures.

Independency is Iure Politico. A Politick device lately found out, to gather the choycest flowers out of other mens Churches, and under pre∣tence of Gathering, breaking, and scattering Churches.

2. Presbytery is Aristocraticall, Episcopacy Tyrannicall, Independen∣cie Democraticall, or Anarchicall.

3. Presbytery is the way of the Reformed Churches; Episcopacy goes too wide and High, Independency goes too narrow and strait.

4. Presbytery discountenanceth and punisheth Hereticks and Schisma∣ticks truly so called. Episcopacy indulged such (witnesse the great in∣crease of Arminians, Socinians, and Innovators) and punisht the truly god∣ly under those Notions. Independency is too favourable to most Sects, 'tis the doore by which they creep into the Church, (as sad experience testi∣fies, since the Church hath been Independent, what a flood of errours over-spread the land.) It's the Asylum, the Catholick shield and buckler of erroneous persons. Lest any should think me singular, you shall have the Attestation of an Association of Reverend Divines.

Though we acknowledge divers of our Brethren of the Independent way,* to be Learned, godly and kind to their Presbyterian Brethren, and some of them to be adverse (in a great measure) to such a Toleration as you may truly term intolerable. Yet as we take the Tenet of Independen∣cie to be an errour in it selfe, so do we find it by sound reason, and sad experience to be if not the naturall Mother, yet such a tender Nurse and Patronesse to Hereticall opinions of all kinds, that to it we may (for a great part) ascribe the luxuriant growth and spreading of er∣rors, Heresies, &c. so farre over this Kingdom. As on the contrary, the freedome of the Kingdome of Scotland from the like evills (which is recorded as their happinesse and Honour) to the firm esta∣blishment of a subordinate Presbyteriall Government amongst them.
So they.

[See more in Mr. Pagets Learned Defence of Church-Government. p. 240, 241. &c.]

5. Presbytery hath Appeales to Synods, aad that not only ad consilium, for bare advice and counsell; but ad jurisdictionem also; they determine juridically, and with authority they make Decrees according to the word, which bind the Churches. Acts 15.17.19. and the people cheerfully and willingly submit to this autho∣rity,* being thereby confirmed in the faith. Act. 15.28.31. and 16.4.

Page  1776. In their Sessions they inquire after sinne, not coyne. Episcopall Visitations, were Visitationes nummorum. They lookt more after the Fees, then after the Flock.

7. Presbytery allowes of no dumb dogs, no rayling Sectaries, nor Selfe-called Seducers. Episcopacy ordained many ignorant Sots, and Time-seerving Levites. Independency gives too much approbation to Ieroboams Priests, and Self-called Speakers.

8. Presbytery incourageth painfull, powerfull, orthodox Preach∣ers. Episcopacy silenced such, they might not once be Lecturers in the Land. One Bishop (I remember) gave thanks that he had not a Lecture left in his Diocesse. Independency looks somewhat asquint and soure on plain, powerfull, Orthodox Preachers, that faithfully wit∣nesse against Schisme and Heresie.

9. Presbytery encourageth people to worship God in their families, as well as in the Publick. Episcopacy punisht such as met together to Pray, or Repeat Sermons, under the name of Conventicles, They were too streight; Independency erres as much on the t'other hand, and gives a toleration to forsake the publick Assemblies, and lye speaking error and Heresie in corners without controule.

10. In Presbytery there is no Lording it over the flock of God, there is an order of Priority, but none of Superiority. The President or Moderator pro tempore, if he have the first voyce, yet he hath but one voyce: his Office is to avoyd confusion, not to seek Prelation. But Bishops Lord it over the flock. Independency (they say) looks somewhat high, they will be accountable to none in spirituall things, but onely to Christ, and what could the Pope say more? this is to pull down one Pope, and set up many: and to make the Pow∣er of one Minister equall to the authority of many combined toge∣ther in Synods. Every Naturall man hath in his heart somewhat of Popery, somewhat of Arminianisme, and somewhat of Independency, so farre as it pleads for more Liberty then Christ hath allowed, and 'tis Naturall (I thinke) to every man to desire to be judged by no man.

11. Presbytery is candid and cleare, it feares not the light. Epis∣copacy lyes in the clouds. Independency hath its Reserves, they will not reveale themselves, but conceale their way more then the people of God are wont to do, especially when desired by autho∣rity. They never would shew wherein this New-found way excells the way of all the Reformed Churches.

12. Presbytery is the way of all the Reformed Churches. Epis∣copacy is disowned by them. Independency is Via devia, the Refor∣med Churches look upon it as a New-found by-path, which opens the doore to Schisme, and Heresie. I shall therefore conclude with the words of those Reverend Divines, that long since have borne witnesse to this Truth.*Wee are abundantly convinced (say they) that a well-ordered Church-Government is most necessary and effectuall for the preventing of Errour and Scandall,*and we are well assured that Iesus Christ whom God hath given to be head over all things to Page  178 the Church, hath the government upon his shoulders, having all judge∣ment, and all authority in Heaven and Earth committed to him. And that he hath sufficiently revealed in his word, how he will have his Church governed under the New Testament. And that the Presbyteriall govern∣ment (truly so called) by Presbyteries and Synods, in a due Line of Subordination of the lesser to the greater, with prosperous successe exercised in the best Reformed Churches, is that government which is most agreeable to the mind of Iesus Christ revealed in Scripture. &c. To this agrees that Encomium of this Government given by the Church of Scotland. 'Tis well known (say they) both at home and abroad, what a Wall for defence, and a band for Peace, and progresse of the Gospell, was that heavenly Discipline whereby Brotherly amity and sacred Harmony of Prince, and Professours, was continued and increased, &c. It was the hedge of the Lords Vineyard, and the Hammar whereby the Hornes of the wicked were beaten and bro∣ken, &c. The Government of the Kirk of Tcotland in the Preface, Vbi plura.

[How the Presbyterian Government excells the Independent way in nine particulars, See Ius Divinum Regim. Ecclesiast. in Prae∣fat. p. 6, 7, 8. See Mr. Edwards his Antap. p. 124. &c. Edit. 2. Mr. Cawdry against Independency. And the Vindication of the Pres∣byterian Government by the Provinciall Assembly of London. Nov. 2. 1649. Mr. Baily's Disswasive. 1. P. Chapt. 9, 10. p. 181. &c. The Government of the the Church of Scotland, V. the Preface, &c. Printed 1647. Spanhemeus his Epistle against Independency. Ruther∣fords Plea for, and His Divine Right of, Presbyteries: Mr. Marshals Serm. for Unity on Rom. 12.4. p. 24, 25. calls Independency a great Schisme.

Page  179

VERSE 9. But they shall proceed no further, for their folly shall be manifest to all mn, as theirs also was, The Geneva thus, But they shall prevaile no longer, for their madnesse shall be evident unto all men, as theirs also was.

THe Apostle comes now to conclude this Period with a con∣solatory Epiphonema, and with this cordiall and comfortable promise he encourageth Timothy, and in him all the faith∣full Ministers of the Gospel successively to the end of the world, against those discouragements which they should meet withall, from the Impostors and Seducers of the last times. That they may not be despondent, he assures them of the good issue and comfortable event of these trialls; to this end first he tells them, that God will put a bar to the proceedings of these false Teahers, and stop them in their Career, that they shall proceed no further, though their desire be still to do mischief, yet God by his Almighty power will so chain and restrain them that they shall proceed no further. Truth shall get the upper hand, and shall hinder their prevailing by the discove∣ry of their folly and madnesse; so that albeit there may be a remnant left, yet the rout shall be broken, and the remainder shall moulder away daily more and more; and as the house of David grew stronger and stronger, so the house of Saul shall grow weaker and weaker.

Qest. But how can this agree with verse 13. where the Apostle sayes that wicked men and Seducers shall grow wrse and worse, deceiving and being deceived; yet here he saith, they shall proceed no further?

Answ. To omit those 4, or 5. frivolous conjectures confuted by Estius on the place.* I answer, when the Apostle sayes, evill men shall proceed no further, and their folly shall be made known to all; these are Hyperbolical speeches, and must not be taken simply as they are spoken, as if there should be no more seducing or seducers, or as if their folly should be made so manifest to all the world, that all should leave them, such an exposition would make the Apostle to contradict himself, and is directly contrary to the current of the Scripture. But the drift of the Apostle is this. viz. To animate the faithfull Ministers in their war against seducers, and that up∣on this account, because their labour shall not be in vain, but God will blesse it with successe against the enemies of his truth; yea by their Prea∣ching, the fraud and falshood of those false Prophets should be so plainly discovered to the world, that their folly should be openly knowne, and many seeing the errour of their wayes shall leave them, though some should still be blinded and deluded by them; yet God will open the eyes of his Elect especially, that they shall see their delusions and shun them; in vain is the net laid in the sight of a bird. Prov. 1.17. and though God may suffer these deceivers for a time to prevaile, till they come ad〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to their height, yet then they shall surely and suddenly come down, that Gods glory may be the more perspicuous in their greater downfalls, Now lest any should grow secure, and think that when they have supprest some deceivers, their work is done; the Apostle tells us, Verse 13. there will be seducers still, and some shall be seduced by them; therefore we had need to watch, for no sooner is one Heresie knockt down, but Page  180 two are ready to arise in its stead. So that both these Verses are usefull, the one to comfort us, the other to Caution and Quicken us.

2. They shall proceed no further, viz. in their hypocritical, jugling pra∣ctises, for they shall be all laid plain and naked to the world, so that he which runs may read them, which brings me to the second particular, viz. the Manner How, or the Meanes by which the Lord will effect their down∣fall, viz. by the manifestation of their folly, or mad∣nesse rather (as some Translations accordiug to the Originall render it) for though the word signifie fol∣ly,* yet properly it signifies one that hath lost his mind and right wits, and is therefore rendred mad∣nesse. Luke 6.11. but our Translation following the Vulgar Latine, ren∣ders it, folly. This their folly and madnesse, or foolish madnesse shall be discovered to their confusion, Gods usuall method is, first to make such Impostors naked, and then desolate. Rev. 17.16. First he discovers their juglings, and then he makes them abhorred. Hypo∣crites seldome passe undiscovered before they dye.* Though at first arising Hereticks may get applause (as Simon Magus who was counted for some great man) and may have many followers,* so that they seem to carry all before them; yet such Meteors last not long, God discovers and discards them, so that their end is miserable and igdnominious. Ier. 28.15, 16. and 29.21, 22, 23, 31, 32.* Though this Gan∣greene may creep, yet shall it not so spread as to cor∣rupt the whole Church of God, they shall not be able to deceive Gods Elect, in whose hearts God hath written his Law, and against whom the gates of hell shall not prevaile.

Quest. How is the folly of these Heresiarchs said to be made known to all, when many are still mislead by them.

Answ. The word All is not here taken collectively, for all the world, for it lyes and will lye in blindnesse and wickednesse. But all must be taken distributively, for some of all sorts, as is frequent in Scripture, where by a Synecdoche generis, All is oft put for Many; and especially for all the Elect. So Rom. 5. All in the 18. verse. is called Many in the 19. So 2 Pet. 3.9. q. d. Many that before were abused and mislead, shall by the Light of the word so clearly see the folly and falshood of these Impostors, that they shall forsake them. And if any shall be so besotted as still to follow them, they shall sin against Light and conviction to their greater ruine.

3. He confirms the downfall of these Impostors by an Argument drawn à Pari, from the Example of those Magicians which opposed Moses in Egypt. q. d. As God discovered the Folly and Madnesse of Iannes and Iambres, in opposing Moses and Aaron, when the rod of Aaron devoured the rods of the Magicians (Exod. 7 12.) and when they could not make a louse, which is the smallest and basest of creatures (Exod. 8.18, 19.) this tended much to their confusion, and made the folly of those wise men evident to all men. Now as God confounded those Egyptian sorcerers of old before all the world, so he will confound those that oppose his truth and Ministers, that they shall prevaile no further.

1. Observe, That Hereticks and false Prophets are bounded and limi∣ted by God. They cannot hurt when, where, and whom they please, Page  181 but whom God pleaseth; though the will of hurting and seducing be of man, yet God orders it to his praise. Revel. 7.3, As God set bounds to the Sea, saying, hitherto shall ye come but no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed. Iob 38.11. So he limits the malice and madnesse of men how far they shall prevaile; he onely can stop these seas of errour, and bound these floods of false doctrine which are ready to overflow the face of the world. The flood of the Arrian Heresie had almost overflow∣ed the whole world, but the Almighty bounded it; and though in this age it seem to return, and is ready to overflow the earth again, yet our comfort is, God hath set it bounds which it cannot passe.* All Heresies have their 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, their Non ultra, their limits which they cannot passe. Our comfort is, that both the deceivers and the de∣ceived are ordered by the providence of God. Iob 12.16. he sets down the time when they shall begin, and limits them how long they shall conti∣nue, he orders how far men shall deceive, and to what height they shall come and prevaile, and when to stop them, that they may proceed no further: for as the maliciousnesse, so the deceivablenesse of men would know no bounds, if God did not bound it, but because he doth, there∣fore though they would, yet they shall proceed no further. No man can do good till God assist him, and no man shall do hurt when God will stop him. Rev. 20.3. These seducers in the Text had a mind to proceed fur∣ther, their will was to oppose truth, and propagate errour in infinitum, without end; but they have now gone to the utmost of their line, they are come to their border and bound, they shall proceed no further, but it shall appear to all men that the doctrine which they stood for, was no∣thing else but a bundle of folly, and that the Doctrine which they with∣stood, was the truth and wisdom of God.

2. Observe here the difference that is between Truth and Falshood▪ The one hath its Non ultra, it suddenly riseth, comes to its height, and then vanisheth. 'Tis a plant which God hath not planted, and therefore is rooted up. Matth. 15.13. 'tis no sooner discovered, but 'tis explodd by the people of God especially.* Heresies are seldome Long-lived, such Meteors last not long, such Mushroms soon vanish; witnesse Becold, Knip∣perdolling, Phifer, &c. Though for a time they may deceive many, yet in a short time God discovers their Hypocrisie to their reproach. The Church is like a Lilly amongst Thornes. Cant. 2.2. Tyranny and Popery on one hand, and intestine Hereticks on the other. Yet God in his wisdom so or∣ders them, that not onely their wrath, but their rage shall turn to his praise, and the remainder of their rage he will restrain. Psal. 76.10. Every Heresie is like a cloud which for a little time darkens the Church,* and then vanisheth. We may say of them as Athanasius said of Iulian, Nubecu∣la est transibit citò. But truth though it meet with opposition at first, and hath few followers; yet increaseth and prevailes against all opposition. It hath its Plus ultra,* 'tis perpetuall and endures for ever. The devices of men shall fall, but that which is of God shall stand. Acts 5.38, 39. Heaven and earth may fail, but not a jod or title of Gods word shall fail. This stands more firme then the Pillars of the earth, or the Poles of Hea∣ven. There is nothing so perfect on earth but it hath an end; Wisdome, Beauty, Riches, Strength. David saw an end of such perfections. Psal. 119.96. onely Gods word abides for ever. Isay 40.8. Matth. 24.35. Truth may be prest and opprest,* but never totally supprest, becanse it's built up∣on the word of God, which is an invincible rock. Eph. 2.20. Let not then Page  182 the flood of Heresies which hath overflown the land, make us despondent or despaire, for as we have seen their rise and reigne, so we shall suddenly see their ruine. What's become of the Arrians, Donatiss, Novatians, Pe∣lagians? &c. though like a mighty flood they drowned all for a time, yet like a flood they were quickly dried up again. God is the same to the same sinners, he that brought down the Sects and Schismes of former ages, can and will in his due time bring down ours.

Quest. But when will it once be, we rather see an increase, then a decrease f Sects and Heresies?

Answ. Yet in due time God will arise and will visit their sin upon them, and cast them out as an unprofitable branch.

Quest. But when is that fit time?

Answ. When the Church is lowest, and all seems to make against it, so that all its power is gone, then God appeares. Deut. 32.16. Gen. 22.14. Exod. 3.9. cum duplicantur lateres, venit Moses. God lets things come to extremity for his own greater glory. When Ashur cannot save us, but we are fatherless and helpless, then God loves to shew mercy. Hos. 14.3. Psal. 12.5. and 78.58. when we lye like dry bones in a helpless forlorn conditi∣on, then God comes and breaths upon us, and makes us live. Ezek. 37.11. to 15. when the earth languisheth. Isay 33.9, 10. Now, now, now will God arise. Exod. 14.13, 14. when Iob had lost all, and was poor even to a Pro∣verb, then God appears and gives him double, makeing his latter end bet∣ter then his beginning. Iob 42.12. when the Priest and the Levite passe by, then comes the good Samaritan with the Oyl of gladness. When father and mother forsake us, then God takes us up. There is a wheel in the midst of all these wheels, and when we think they go backward, God can make them go forward. Ezek. 1.16. and when 'tis night with us, he can make it light. Zach. 14.7. at even (when we expect nothing but darknesse) then it shall be light., Tis at mid-night (when he's least expected) that the bride∣groom comes;* when the Ship is sinking, and Lazarus stinks in his grave, and all men forsake Paul, then Christ appears. When we are in the grea∣test danger, then God is nearest to deliver. He's auxilium in angustiis praesen∣tissimum. Psal. 46.1. when there is no visible means by which Iacob should arise, but he's low in Temporals and low in Spirituals, then God appears. Amos 2.5. God is never nearer to his people, then when they are in the greatest extremity. Though the world see it not, and sometimes his own people cannot discern his presence,* and therefore they cry, How long Lord wilt thou hide thy self! God was never nearer to Christ, then when he was on the Crosse. Nor to Ioseph and Peter, then when they were in prison. When trouble is near, God is never far off; hence the godly use this as an Argument, Be not far from us, for trouble is at hand.

2. When the enemy is most high and insolent when he begins to triumph,* blaspheme and rage, his fall is near. Iob 20.5.22. Psal. 12.3, 4, 5. and 37. 1, 2. 8, 9, 10, 20, 35.36. and 94. 2, 3, 4, 5, 23. Rev. 20. 8, 9. Isay 29.7, 8. and 30.13. when Sennacherib began to blaspheme, God cuts him off, when none else could, or would do it. When all creature-comforts faile in point of Prudence and cannot advise, and in point of Power and cannot help, when Parliament upon Parliament is broken, and the floods of He∣resie increase, then God appeares. Hereticks are grown to a great height Page  183 of Pride, and Impudence, they doe not onely Preach but Print their blasphemy;* a signe their end is near. Smoak, the higher it iseth, the sooner 'tis scattered, Psalm 68.1.2. As a beggar dreams he is a King and rich, but when he awaketh, he seeth it was but a delusion, so these may dream of Kingdomes, Honours, and a fifh Monarchy, and reigning here a thousand years in carnal delights, but when God ariseth, they'l see these were but dreams. Fear not then the power and pomp of prosperous wicked men, Psalm 49.16. God hath a thousand wayes to cut them off, he can drown Pharaoh, hang Haman, smite Herod, and make Ierusalem a cup of poyson, a burthensome stone, a torch of ire to con∣sume all that oppose her, Zech. 12.2.3, 6. In patience therefore posesse your souls, for yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come. (i. e.) He will not delay his coming, but in due time, and in the ittest season will deliver Isael from his enemies.

They shall fall

  • 1. Irrecoverably.
  • 2. Easily.
  • 3. Suddenly.
  • 4. Surely.

1. Ungodly men shall fall irrecoverably, they shall fall, and never rise up again, Proverbs 28.14. They shall be broken with a rod of Iron, and dasht in pieces like a Potters Vessel, Psalm 2.9. If a bar of Iron all on earthen pot, it breaks it all to pieces, so as it cannot be sodered together again, as a pot of gold or silver may.

2. Easily with a word of his mouth, Psalm 44.4. God can speak them into confusion, and turn them into nothing. He beholds all Nations as a drop, they are purum nihil compared to him. He can with more ease de∣stroy them, then we can crush a Moth in our windowes, or tread a worm under our feet. Those that will not bend to Christs Scepter, must be broken, Psal. 2.9. a bar of Iron, easily breaks an earthen pot.

3. Suddenly, in a moment, when they promise themselves victory and success, and cry Peace Peace, then comes sudden and swift destruction, Ps. 73.19. when they least think of judgement, then comes fear and sudden desolation, which like a whirlwind speedily, terribly, irresistably carries all before it, Prov. 1.27. How suddenly was Sisera slain by Abimelech by a piece of a milstone: Herod in the midst of his pomp by an Angel: and Senacheribs great Army of an hundred fourscore and five thousand men destroyed by one Angel in one night, 2 Kings 19.35.

4. Surely, they shall not escape, there's no flying when God persues, Amos 9.1, 2, 3, 4. If God be against us, all the Creatures are against us; 'tis not Heaven nor Hell, Sea or Land, Heighth nor depth that can shel∣ter us from his wrath. Some God destroyes by the sword, such as escape the Sword, the Pestilence shall slay them; and such as escape the Pestilence, the Famine shall devour; and if any wicked man should escape punish∣ment here, yet he is sure to be met withall in another world.

2. Observe, That false Prophets and Hereticks are fools and madmen. The word in the Original will bear both, and if false doctrine and here∣sie be folly and madness, then by an Argument ab abstracio ad concretum, false Teachers and Hereticks must needs be fools and mad-men, or mad-fools. However the blind world may admire such, and cry them up for Learned Wise-men; yet in Gods eye, and in the esteem of all such as are truely godly, they are no better then fools and mad-men that have lost Page  184 their wits, and are besides themselves.

1. They are fools, for they forsake the Fountain of living waters, to go to broken Cisterns of mens inventios, which can yield them no re∣freshing in times of trouble. They prefer Chaff before Wheat, Ceremo∣nies before Substance, Dross before Gold, Drunkenness before Light, and False-hood before Truth. They trade in sinne, and so are the worst of fools: of all fools none so vile as the sinful rebellious fool. Sinners and fools are Synonyma's in Scripture language, Proverbs 1.7. and 10.23. and 12.15. and 14.9. Titus 3.3. Hence 'tis that covetous worldling are called fooles, Luke 12.20. because they prefer Counters before Gold, Earth before Heaven, and Temporals before Eternals. Such a fool is the voluptuous man, who for a little momentany pleasure here, will run the hazard of Eternal pain, Proverbs 7.21.22, 23. and is not the Idolater a fool, who worships Gods of wood and stone, which follows lying vanities, and so forsakes his own mercies? Are not the persecutors of Gods peo∣ple fooles, which heave at a burthensome stone that will recoil on them, and crush them to pieces? Zech. 12.2, 3. Hence 'tis that the wise coun∣sellours of Pharaoh are called fools, Isay 19.11. God befools them in their plots against his people, Iob 12.17. and 5.12. So Atheists are called Fools, Psalm 141. and ungratefull persons who sin against the God of all their mercies are called fools▪ Deuteronomy 32.6. yea, when Gods own people for want of watchfulness fall into sin, its called foolishnesse, 2 Samuel 24.10. Psalm 38.5. None are truely wise but gracious men, that can part with all for Christ, Matthew 13.45. The world is apt to call and count such precise fools, 1 Cor. 4.10. but God calls them wise-men, Proverbs 17. Iob 28. ult. He is the wisest man,

  • Who takes the Shortest way.
  • Who takes the Safest way.
  • Who takes the Fairest way.

Now gracious men, 1. Take the shortest and the nearest way to Hea∣ven, they tread the Path of Holiness, which is the direct way to Happi∣ness. 'Tis said of Ahimaaz, that he ran the way of the plain and so out∣ran Cushi, 2 Samuel 18.23. Hypocrites and wicked men go about in the crooked paths of sin, Psalm 125. ult. but the godly goe the way of the plain, and so out-run others.

Qui vadit planè, vadit sanè.

2. He's the wisest man who takes the safest and the surest way. The way of sinne is beset with many dangers, and can assure us of nothing, but misery and ruine. But the Path of Piety brings assured peace and comfort, Proverbs 11.18. To him that worketh righteousness shall be a sure reward,*Isay 64.3. not to him that doth a righteous act or two, (which a wicked man may do) but he that works righteousness and and makes it his trade to be doing good, he shall have a sure and full reward.

3. He's the wisest man that takes the fairest way, now the way of Piety is a pure path, and leads to the God of Purity, Matthew 5.8. But the way of sin is a foul and loath some way, and therefore sin is called filthinesse in the Abstract, 1 Corinthians 7.1. Iames 1.22. Lay aside all filthinesse (i.) all sin, which mars the glory and beauty of the Soul, and defaceth Gods Image in us.

Page  1852. As the wicked are Fools, so they are Madm-men also. Now in Madness there are two things, viz. furor & amentia, false Prophets have both:* First, their judgements are perverted, they have lost their wits, they are so bewitcht with delusions, that they cannot say, Is there not a lie in my right hand, Isay 44.20. Se∣condly, They carry the whole man with furie after them, none more violent in their persecutions, then such men are who have embraced, for doctrines, satanical delusions: Such are said to be Mad, Ier. 50.38. and 51.7. Hos. 9.7. the dayes of Visita∣tion are come (i.) the time is at hand when God will visite the people for their sins; but how doth that appear? why the Prophet is a fool, and the spiritual man is mad; (i.) those false Prophets which fed them with vain hopes of golden times and glorious prosperity, they are but fools, and those spiritual guides which have missed you are no better then mad-men: and why is all this? why, 'tis for the mulitude of their iniquity, and their great hatred. q. d. God justly sends such false Prophets amongst those that will not believe his true ones, as a punishment of their iniquity, for hating the true Prophets and their Doctrine. This makes many to doate and distemper themselves about idle and frivolous questions which breed divisions in the Church of God. Those are said to be sick, or ra∣ther mad about questions (as some render the word,* (1 Tim. 6.4. the part affected is chiefly the imagination, the immediate seat of opinion. These have lost their wits till by repentance they return to them again, as the Prodigal is said to do, Luk. 15.17. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 are of so near affinity; hence wickednesse is called the foolishnesse of madnesse,*Eccles. 7.25. and 1.17. and 3.12. and 9.3. and therefore these drunkards and whore masters that waste their estates and consume their Vitals; blast their reputation, and damn themselves for a litle liquor and lust, are Mad, and the time is at hand that they will curse themselves for so doing: yea, all wickednesse is mad∣ness. Causativè & effectivè, 'tis the cause of madness, which is a judgement attending upon sin, as the effect follows the cause, and the threed the needle; where sin and disobedience go before, there madnesse oft follows in this life, Deut. 28.28. but alwayes in the next, Matt. 8.12. So the perse∣cutors of Gods people are called mad-men, Luke 6.11. 2 Pet. 2.12. and Paul said of himself that before his conversion he was exceeding mad against the people of God, Acts 26.11. and so were Davids enemies, Psal. 102.8.

The wicked are apt to reproach the godly, when they zealously oppose their sins and errors, with the Title of mad-men. 'Tis no new thing, thus they called the young Prophet, 2 King. 9.11. and thus they upbraided Ieremiah (29.26.) and Christ himself (who zealously contented against the sins of the time) is said to be mad, and to have a Devill, Mark 3.21. Iohn 10.20. the Disciple is not above his Master. When Paul was zealous in spreading the Gospel, Festus tells him that mch learning had made him mad, Acts 26.24. and not onely Heathen Festus▪ but even the Christian Corinthians call Paul a mad-man, to whom he mildly answers, if we are besides our selves it is unto God, 'tis out of a zeal to his Glory, and not our own, 2 Cor. 5.13. as St. Bernard said sometimes of the Virgin Mary, Domine propter Te, est extra se: and if this be to be mad, we must resolve to be madder in this kind, 2 Sam. 6.20. So that we see who are the real mad-men of the world, not such as follow Christ fully and faithfully, with∣out turning to the right hand or the left; but such as give up themselves to sin and error.

1. As mad-men use to wound themselves and hurt others; so these Page  186 wound their own souls with their sins, for every sin is a stab, and in their spiritual frenzy they labour by their sinnes and errors to wound and kill others.

As mad-men prefer strawes and feathers before things of greater value, so these prefer the Vanities of the world, before Jesus Christ.

3. As mad-men break their bonds which should keep them in; so these break the bonds of Christs Doctrine and Discipline, and will not have him to reign over them, Psalm 2.3. but they rush into sinne as the Horse doth into the battle fiercely and furiously without wit or reason, Ier. 8.6. 'Tis the nature of sin and error to distract such as embrace it: as we see by sad experience in our dayes, wherein many of the ancient Heresies which have been dead and buried, and lay rotting in the Grave of Obli∣vion for many hundreds of years, are now revived and raised up again, insomuch that many by reason of these ghostly and gastly apparitions, coming out of the bottomlesse pit of Hell, and walking so freely abroad without check or controul even at Noon-day, are even distracted and scared out of their wits.* We pitty the condition of mad-men, and if any of our friends have lost their wits, we lament their condition; but this spirituall madnesse is the most deplorable madnesse; the other is affli∣ctive, but this is destructive: this is a great sinne, and the punishment of sinne.

4. Observe, That God will overthrow false Teachers, by discovering their coverings, and making known their delusions to the World. As a disease discovered is half cured,* so an errour discoverd, is halfe con∣quered. Usually before God overthrows wicked men, he discovers their vilenesse first, that the Glory of his Justice may be the more apparent, and his people may come out from amongst them.

Thus, the preaching of the Word by Christ hath discovered Antichrist to the World, and hath brought him down, so as he can proceed no fur∣ther, but his Kingdome dayly wasts and moulders away, 2 Thessalonians, 2.3.8.9. as he rose Gradually, so he consumes by Degrees, in Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy, &c. Ministers therefore should by their Pray∣ing, Preaching, Disputing, Printing, &c. pluck off the Vizard, and dis∣cover the deceits of those deceivers to the World. We should uncase those Foxes, get them out of their holes, overthrow their distinctions, make bare their absurdities,* hypocrisie, folly & filth to all men. The plainer the better, a wise man desires to speak so as he may be understood, that his Auditours may be convinced of the Truth he pleads for, and the errour which he opposeth. Where the Gospel is plainly and powerfully preach∣ed, there Satans Kingdome suddenly falls, Luke 10.18. When the Sunne ariseth, the Clouds scatter, and where the Son of Righteousnesse is power∣fully preached and published, Hereticks hide themselves, and dare not make that open sale of their Wares, as they doe in dark corners. Let us therefore pull off their Masks of Liberty, their sleeves of Sanctity, and their Trappings of Hypocrisie: Let us expose their errour, stript and naked in their own Natural deformity, and they will soon be exploded by all, so that they shall proceed no further.

5. Observe, As God confounded the Magitians of old, so he will con∣found the Juglers of our time in his due time. They shall not alwayes prosper that oppose the Truth,* the time is at hand when their madnesse shall appear, and they shall proceed no further. As God hath brought down those which were of No Religion, so he will bring down those that Page  187 are of All Religions. — Deus dabit his quoque finem. Babel must down as well as Babylon, and the making of them naked is a preparatory work to the making of them desolate,*Revelations 17.16. God is a just God, he's alwayes like himself; to the like sinners he sends the like pu∣nishments. He's Iehovah, he changeth not, but is the same yesterday, and to day, and the same for ever. So that as the promises made of old to believers must be applied by us, Ioshua 1.5. compared with Hebrewes 13.5. though the Promise was made to Ioshua, yet all the faithful must apply it to themselves, for that which belongs to one believer as a believer, be∣longs to every believer. What he promiseth to one, he promiseth to all which are in that condition; for though some may have more Grace, yet none have more merit. So on the contrary, the judgements of God de∣nounced and executed on sinners of old, must be applyed by us against the sinners and seducers of our time; for whatsoever was written afore∣time, was writen for our Learning, Romans 15.4. Gods judgements on Pharaoh for oppressing Gods people, must comfort us when we lie under the oppressions of Tyrants. Gods judgements on Corah, Dathan and Abi∣ram, who usurped the Priests Office, and opposed Moses and Aaron, en∣deavouring to Level both Magistracy and Ministery, must comfort us who are troubled with the like or worse sinners. He that punisht blasphemers of old, will not suffer the blasphemers of our time to goe alwayes unpu∣nisht. Let this therefore comort us, that as God confounded the Egyp∣tian sorcerers of old, who opposed Moses; so in his due time he will con∣found those that oppose his Truth and Ministers, he will discover their madnesse unto all even as theirs also was, and then they shall proceed no further: for though they Rage, yet our comfort is the Lord Reignes, Psalm 97.1. 'Tis not said the Lord hath Reigned, that we know; nor the Lord will Reign, for that we believe; but the Lord even now in the midst of all these confusions, yet still Reigns. He destroyeth Destroyers, levels Levellers, and spoyles the Spoylers of his people. He is not onely a Titular,* but a Tutelar King, he Rules and commands all the Kingdoms of the World as pleaseth him, he pulls down one, and sets up another in the Throne, and none may say unto him, what dost thou? If the Devil Reigned, we should all be ruined; if the people Reigned, we should be confounded: but that which comforteth Gods people is this, that the Lord still Reigns in the midst of all his enemies: Hence the Church sings five or six Halleluahs together, and all for joy that the Lord God Om∣nipotent Reigns, Revelations 19.1. to 7. Let us not then be despondent, because of the Devil, and his Agents, but remember he is but a Crea∣ture.

2. He's a chained Creature, Iude 6. Revelations 2.10. under the per∣fect subjection of this great King.

3. He's a conquered Creature, Christ hath conquered him for thee, and he hath promised to conquer him in thee, Romans 16.20.

4. He's a cursed Creature, he was cursed in Paradise, and is under the everlasting curse of God,

5. At the last day thou shalt sit in judement on him, 1 Corinthians, 6.3.

Secondly, What though the Devils Agents are many and mighty, yet there is a Wiser and a Mightier then they, who hath set them their bounds which they cannot passe. I have read a Story of a company of men that were at Sea in a great storm, and all being ready to be drowned, and cry∣ing out, there was a little boy, and he was laughing and said, Why are you thus troubled, my Father is Pilate of the ship; and he will have a care that Page  188 the ship do not miscarry. So when we consider though the Church like a ship in a storm be ready to sink, yet that God is the Pilot of the ship and go∣verns all in wisedome, for the good of his people, this may quiet us in the midst of all our Trials.

Object. If God thus limit wicked men and rule over them, how comes it to pass that he suffers wicked men to Tyrannize over his people, as they doe?

Answer, We must not condemn Gods wayes, because we cannot under∣stand the Reason of what he doth. There are mysteries in Gods King∣dome, as in all Kingdoms there are secrets of State not fit for all to know. 'Tis as easie for a man to rake up all the Sea in a Cockle shell, as to know the Reason of Gods actions in his Eternal Counsel: we must not con∣demn what we cannot comprehend, for God is infinitely wise and knoweth how to bring light out of darkness, and order out of confusion.

2. He's infinitely just, though his wayes be secret and full of darkness to us, yet they are alwayes just. When clouds and darkness are round about him, then righteousness and judgement are the Habitation of his Throne, Psl. 97.7. He can make a medicine of the poysenous oppositions of wicked men, their alice shall be as Horse-leeches to suck out the bad blood; as a File to take off the rust, as rubbish to cleanse the vessel and wash away the filth, and as a Touch-stone to try the Graces of his Chil∣dren. And though his Providences seem to cross his Promises, yet wait the Conclusion, and you shall see and say he hath done all things well. We see in a Clock though the wheels run cross and contrary one to ano∣ther, yet they all conduce to the going of the Clock. Iosephs imprison∣ment is the way to his preferment, and Iona's drowning was the means to ave him from drowning. We must not judge of Gods Actions before they be formed and finisht. If a man should come to an Embroyderers shop and behold his work when 'tis half made, it would look ill favoured∣ly, but saith he, stay till it be all done, and you will commend it. When a man puts silver into the Furnace, when 'tis taken out first 'tis all black, bt stay till it's finisht and furbisht, and then it's beautiful. The Lord hath been doing a great work in England for many years past, his wayes have been in the clouds, and where we are yet, whether at the borders of Ca∣naan, or going into the Wilderness again, we cannot tell: it will be our wisedome by Prayer and Patience to wait on the Lord, and then in the conclusion we shall see that all things shall work together for good unto Gods people, Rom. 8.28.

Page  189

VERSE 10, 11, 12. But thou hast fully known my Doctrine, manner of life, purpose, Faith, Long-suffering, Charity, Patience, Persecutions, afflictions which came to me at Antioch, at Ico∣nium, at Lystra, what persecutions I endured; but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea and all that will live godly in Iesus Christ, shall suffer persecution.

WEE are now come to the Second Part and Pe∣riod of this Chapter, wherein the Apostle pre∣scribes the Meanes how Timothy and all the godly may be preserved against Seducers, and their Se∣ducements. viz.

1. By imitating ad confirm∣ing thmselves to Pauls

  • 1. Doctrine.
  • 2. Conversation.
  • 3. Purpose.
  • 4. Faith.
  • 5. Long-suffering.
  • 6. Love.
  • 7. Patience.
  • 8. Persecutions.
  • 9. Afflictions.

2. By considering Gods sore judgements on Seducers, how they are given up to a Reprobate sense, increasing still in all kinds of wick∣ednesse. Verse 13.

3. By a constant adhering to the Scriptures. Verse 14, 15.

But thou hast fully known my Doctrine.

Lest Timothy should be drawn aside by the subtleties of seducers, Paul propounds his own example to him as a pattern for his imitation, and so much the rather because Timothy had experimentally known the truth of his doctrine, and the sincerity of his conversation both in Doing and Suf∣fering for Christ. Now since we are more easily led by Presidents then by Precepts,* the Apostle propounds his own example for our imitation, wherein we have the lively pattern and Pourtraiture of a faithfull Pa∣stour; whose office it is, not only to preach sound do∣ctrine, but also to practise what he preacheth in his own life, that so he may be able to speak from the heart to the hearts of his people; and may not bring his food as birds do to their young ones, in their Beakes, not in their Breasts. The word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is emphaticall, and signifies not a a simple, single, notionall knowledge; but a singular, peculiar, intimate, experimental knowledge of the secrets, counsells, and conversation of a man.* So the word is used. Luke 1.3. it seemed good to me having had per∣fect understanding of things. Luke being guided by the speciall instinct and direction of Gods Spirit, had full and infallible knowledge of the things which he writ. So Timothy did not barely know, but (as our Translations render it) he fully knew the doctrines & vertues of Paul, and therefore none more fit to * follow his Example. q. d. O my beloved Son Timothy, there is none that knoweth me better then Page  190 thou. Thou throughly knowest not onely what I have taught, did and suffered; but also how I was minded and disposed; Thou knowest what my will and desire was, my Faith, Love, Patience, and Perseverance are not hid from thee; thou being an Eye-witnesse and inseparable companion to me in many of my afflicti∣ons: wherefore since the time of my departure is at hand, and I must shortly be offered up as a sacrifice by my Martyrdom for Christ, I now expect all those things from thee, which a tender Father may expect from his beloved Son, or a carefll Master from his obedient Schollar.

*1. Observe, In that Paul propounds his own Example for Timothy to consider and follow. That the Pious Example of the godly must be imita∣ted by us. Younger Ministers especially must observe the doctrine and conversation, the pious wayes and walking of the elder and graver Mini∣sters, and must follow them. Aged Paul propounds his vertues to young Timothy for imitation. Many young men praise the gravity, solidity, wis∣dome, industry, mortification, and self-deniall of ancient Ministers, but they do not follow them. They deal by them as the world doth by Ho∣nesty, they praise it, but they never practise it.

—Probitas laudatur, & alget.

Juven.
As Gedeon said to his souldiers. Iudg. 7.17. look upon me, and do like∣wise; so you that are young and unsetled, rash, and conceited, look up∣on the Doctrine,* Discipline, Haire, Habit; wayes and works of the Holy and the Grave; follow them now you are young, and then you will be good long. Great is the power of the Example of superiours, when one praised the Lacedemonian souldiers for being so orderly, who before had been so injurious, one of them answered; No, the praise is not ours that we are thus changed, for we are the same men still, but we have now another Captain, and he it is that ordereth us. How oft doth God command us to follow our faithfull Guides? Heb. 13.7. 1 Cor. 4.16. Philip. 4.9. Iames 5.10. and commends it. 1 Thes. 1.6. As we must follow Christ, so we must fol∣low all the Saints, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, &c. So far as they fol∣low Christ. God hath set them before us as our Copy to write by, and our Pattern to live by; and we must answer not only for sinning against the light of the word, but against the light of good Example also. It will be one day said, you had such and such to go before you in Paths of Piety, and yet you would not follow. The faithfull are called witnesses. Heb. 12.1. Rev. 12. now if we walk contrary to their light, they will witness against us, as Noah and Lot did against the sinners of their age; but if we walk answerable to their Light, they'l witnesse for us. Their practice may comfort and confirm us in Gods way, they declare the possibility of obtaining such a grace, and make it thereby the more easie, when we have seen it done before us. If a man have a Torch to light him in a dark and dangerous path, how glad is he; the godly shine like lights in the midst of a crooked generation. Phil. 2.15, 16. their life is a Commentary on the Scripture. Now since the nature of man is apter to be guided by Exam∣ple then Precept, and to live non ad rationem, sed ad similitudinem, there∣fore God hath prepared abundance of glorious examples for our imita∣tion; and thus the Saints that are now at rest and triumphant in glory, their lives are to be our Looking-glasses to dresse our selves by, our Com∣passe to saile by, and our Pillar of a cloud to walk by.

*Object. But doth not the Scripture propound Christ as our pattern for our Imitation? Matth. 11.29. 1 Pet. 2.21.

Answ. Christ is a Pattern of Patterns, he's instead of a thousand Ex∣amples, Page  191 he's an Example that had no sin in him; so that we may and must follow him in his Morall Vertues absolutely,* other patterns be imper∣fect and defective, but Christ is a perfect Copy, his steps we must follow, his vertues we must imitate, we must shew forth not a vertue or two, but all those vertues which did shine in the conversation of Christ, and made him glorious in the world, all those must not onely be in us, but must shine forth in our lives also. 1 Pet. 2.9. Matth. 5.16. 2. He's an Example which none can equalize nor sufficiently admire, we are apt to excuse our selves for not imitating Christ, because he's too high, hence God in his wisdom hath provided Examples of a lower rank, of men subject to the like Passions as we are. The Scripture recods what glorious things they have done and suffered for God and his honour. Now these are patterns of our own rank and nature, whom we must not onely imitate, but labour to equalize, and study to out-goe the best pattern of the best Saints that ever were. We can have no excuse in these dayes of light, if we come not up to the best patterns, because we have more of the Spirit, more light, and more clear manifestation of God, then they had.

Quest. How far must we imitate the Saints, and be followers of them?

Answ. We may not follow any Saint whatsoever simply and absolute∣ly, but onely with a Quatenus, so far as he is a follower of Christ. 1 Cor. 11.7. the Saints have had their failings, and the best have a great deale of the old Adam in them. They are Pillars of cloud for us to walk by, but this cloud hath its dark part, which if we follow, we shall fall as they did. There are 4. sorts of actions which the Scripture tells us were done by Saints.

1. Some were sinfull, as Davids adultery, Peters deniall; and these are recorded not for imitation, but for Caution and admonition. 1 Cor. 10.6. these things are examples that we might not lust as they did. Their sins are Sea-marks for men to shun, and not Land-marks to walk by. It's a sad thing to love that in David, which he did abominate in himself. Yet 5. good Lessons we may learn from the falls of the Saints.

  • 1. When thou readest of their sins, it should teach thee not to idolize any Saint, they were men as well as others, and had their naevos, and had need of a Mediatour.
  • 2. It may teach us that the best Saints may fall into the foulest sins if they do not watch; yea into those sins they most abhorre. Of all sinnes Peter thought himself most free from that of denying Christ, and if a man should have come to Solomon when he had made that rare Prayer before all the people (1 Kings 8.22, 23, &c.) and told him, Well Solomon, for all this Prayer that thou hast made, thou wilt turn Idolater before thou dye; would not he have answered with Hazael, Am I a dog that I should do such things? This shewes that the best have in them the Root of the vilest sins, and if we be not upheld and preserved by Gods assisting grace, we shall certainly fall.
  • 3. We may learn what sins are most prejudicial to us. viz. Self-confi∣dence, this brought Peter down, idlenesse and prosperity, this brought David down. Effeminatenesse brought Solomon so low.
  • 4. We learn that a holy fear is necessary to salvation. Prov. 28.14. Phil. 2.12. and to have a holy jealousie over our deceitful hearts, be not high-minded but fear,* for if such great Saints fell to such foul sins, what shall such poor shrubs do?
  • 5. As you that never fell must read these Examples to preserve you Page  192 from falling, so you that are fallen must not despaire, but read them that you may rise again by Repentance, as they did. Let us therefore watch and pray continually, for the best Christian is like a man rowing against Wind and Tyde, if he let go his Oares, he cannot in a great while recover again what he hath lost.

2. Some actions of the Saints were done by speciall instinct and instiga∣tion of the spirit, these are not for our imitation. Elijah calls for fire from heaven, which the disciples desiring were checkt by Christ. Luke 9.54. Sampsons pulling the house on his own and the Philistines heads, was by an immediate instinct of the spirit. So was Phineas his acts. Numb. 25. we must not expect such extraordinary instincts and impulses of spirit in our dayes, we must now to the Law and to the Testimony. Isay 8.20. we must suspect such extraordinary impulses, rather then expect them.

2. Some actions they did by special command from God, and if we have not such an extraordinary command, we may not imitate them. e. g. The Israelites when they went out of Egypt borrowed Jewels of silver and gold,* which they never paid again, because God bid them spoyle them, but we may not do so▪ Psal. 37.21. so God commands Abraham to kill Isaack, we have now the word for our Rule, and must not expect Revelations.

3. Some were occasionall actions, which they were not bound to in the general, but meerly for such a time, and in a case of necessity, so the disci∣ples must carry no scrip nor gold, but preach freely. *Matth. 10.8, 9, 10. 'twas as a Temporary command, as appeares Luke 22.35. such was Pauls practise in working for his living. Acts 13.3. and 20.34.

4. Some actions of the Saints are acts of Holinesse and Righteousnesse grounded on the word of God, and in these it is that we must imitate them. There is a magnetical vertue and hidden excellency in good exam∣ples, to allure us to vertue, as there is a divellish efficacy in lewd exam∣ples to make us wicked, Ieroboams wickednesse drawes Israel to sin, so there is an heavenly efficacy in good examples (when sanctified) to make us holy. Iudg. 2.7. the people serve the Lord all the dayes of Ioshua who was a good man, and the Elders who out-lived Ioshua, so long as they had a good example, they served the Lord. If Crispus the Ruler of the Sy∣nagogue believe, all his house believe with him. Acts 18.8. Theodosius by his holy example made his Court a Nursery of Religion. The patient suffe∣rings of the Martyrs made many Martyrs; Iustin Martyr tells us that the pious lives of the Christians were a meanes to convert him. Hence the Scripture ascribes a converting power to good example. 1 Pe∣ter 3.1.

2. Their example will be a Cordial to comfort us in our distresses. There is no misery that can befall us, but it hath befallen some of the Saints before us. Art deserted in thy own apprehension? so was Heman. Art poor? so was Iob. Art persecuted? so was David. Art called to difficult duties? so was Abraham: so were the Martyrs called to forsake all. If a man be to go through a vast howling wildernesse, this is a sad journey, yet if he see a beaten high way all along, this is a great comfort to him in his jour∣ney. This is our condition, the way to Heaven is through a wildernesse of trouble, our comfort is, 'tis a beaten way, thousands of Saints have gone before us in it.

3. This following of them will evidence our salvation, and assure us of our reigning with him in glory. 1 Thes. 1.4, 5, 6. know Brethren your Electi∣on, but how? because ye became followers of us Peter Martyr tells a story Page  193 of a deformed man had married a very deformed wife, and being desi∣rous to have handsome children, he bought abundance of curious Pictures, and caused his wife every day to view them, and as (he saith) the man had handsome children. The application is plain, Let us set the beau∣tifull examples of Gods Abrahams,*Pauls, &c. before us, and then though by nature we are deformed, yet by the assistance of Gods spirit enabling us to follow the holy examples of his people, we shall become beautifull and lovely in Gods eye.

2. Observe,* That 'tis lawful sometimes, and in some cases to mention those Graces which God hath given us. Paul here to comfort and quicken Timothy tells him of his Faith, Patience, Long-suffering, Afflictions, and how the Lord delivered him out of all. In other places he mentions what he had done and suffered for Christ. 1 Cor. 11. totall. Phil. 1.12, 13, 14, &c. Iob 29. and 31. declares his innocency and integrity to the world. * Self-commendation is lawful in eleven cases.