The VIII. Sermon.
LUKE xviii. 11.
[ D] THat we may set out at our best advantage, and yet not go too far back to take our rise, 'tis but retiring to the end of the 8. verse of this Chapter, and there we shall meet with an abrupt speech, hanging like one of Solomons proverbs, without any seeming de∣pendence on any thing before or after it: which [ E] yet upon enquiry will appear 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, faln down from Heaven, in the posture it stands in. In the beginning of the Eight verse he con∣cludes the former parable, I tell you that he will avenge them speedily; and then abruptly, Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith upon the earth? And then immediately verse 9. he spake another parable to certain that trusted in themselves, where this speech in the midst, when the Son of man comes, &c. stands there by it self, like the Pharisee in my Text, seorsim, apart, as an 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or [ F] intercalary day between two moneths, which neither of them will own, or more truly like one of Democritus his atomes, the casual concurrence of which he accounted the principle and cause of all things.
That we may not think so vulgarly of Scripture, as to dream that any tittle of it came by resultance or casually into the world, Page 106 that any speech dropt from his mouth unobserved; that spake as [ A] man never spake, both in respect of the matter of his speeches, and the weight and secret energie of all accidents attending them, it will appear on consideration, that this speech of his which seems an 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 a supernumerary superfluous one, is indeed the head of the corner, and ground of the whole parable, or at least a fair hint or occasion of delivering it at that time. Not to trouble you with its influence on the parable going before con∣cerning perseverance in prayer (to which it is as an Isthmus or fi∣bula, [ B] to joyn it to what follows) but to bring our eyes home to my present subject. After the consideration of the prodigious defect of faith in this decrepit last age of the world, in persons who made the greatest pretences to it, and had arriv'd unto assu∣rance and security in themselves; he presently arraigns the Phari∣see, the highest instance of this confidence, and brings his righte∣ousness to the bar sub hac formâ.
There is like to be toward the second coming of Christ, his par∣ticular [ C] visitation of the Jews, and (then its parallel) his final com∣ing to judgment, such a specious pompous shew, and yet such a small pittance of true faith in the world, that as it is grown much less than a grain of mustard-seed, it shall not be found when it is sought; there will be such gyantly shadows, and pigmy substances, so much and yet so little faith, that no Hieroglyphick can sufficiently express it, but an Egyptian temple gorgeously over-laid, inhabi∣ted within by Crocodiles, and Cats and carcasses instead of gods; [ D] or an apple of Sodom, that shews well till it be handled; a paint∣ed Sepulchre, or a specious nothing; or which is the contraction and Tachygraphy of all these, a Pharisee at his prayers. And there∣upon Christ spake the parable,* verse 9. there were two men went up into the temple to pray,*the one a Pharisee, &c. verse 10.
Concerning the true nature of faith mistaken extremely now adays by those which pretend most to it, expuls'd almost out of mens brains, as well as hearts, so that now it is scarce to be found upon [ E] earth, either in our lives or almost in our books; there might be fra∣med a seasonable complaint in this place, were I not already other∣wise imbarked. By some prepossessions and prejudices infus'd into us, as soon as we can conn a Catechism of that making, it comes to pass that many men live and die resolved that faith is nothing but the assurance of the merits of Christ applied to every man particular∣ly; and consequently of his salvation: that I must first be sure of Heaven, or else I am not capable of it; confident of my salva∣tion, [ F] or else necessarily damned. Cornelius Agrippa being ini∣tiated in natural magick, Paracelsus in mineral extractions, Plato full of his Idea's, will let nothing be done without the Pythagore∣ans, brought up with numbers perpetually in their ears, and the Physicians poring daily upon the temperaments of the body; the Page 107 [ A] one will define the soul an harmony,* the other a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 saith Philopo∣nus. And so are many amongst us, that take up fancies upon trust for truths, never laying any contrary proposals to heart, come at last to account this assurance as a principle without which they can do nothing; the very soul that must animate all their obedience, which is otherwise but a carcass or heathen vertue; in a word, the only thing by which we are justified or saved. The confuta∣tion of this popular error I leave to some grave learned tongue, [ B] that may enforce it on you with some authority; for I conceive not any greater hindrance of Christian obedience, and godly pra∣ctice among us, than this: for as long as we are content with this assurance as sufficient stock to set up for Heaven, there is like to be but little faith upon the earth. Faith if it be truly so is like Christ himself, when he was Emmanuel, God upon the earth, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, an incarnate faith, cut out and squared into limbs and li∣neaments; not only a spiritual invisible faith, but even flesh and [ C] blood, to be seen and felt, organiz'd for action, 'tis to speak, and breath, and walk and run the ways of Gods Commandments. An assent not only to the promises of the Gospel, but uniformly to the whole word of God, commands and threats as well as pro∣mises. And this not in the brain or surface of the soul, as the Ro∣manist seats it, but in the heart, as regent of the hand and tongue in the concurrence of all the affections. Where it is not only a working faith, an obeying faith, but even a work, even obedience [ D] it self;* not only a victorious faith,* but even victory it self, 1 Jo. 5. 4. This is our victory even our faith: to part with this as a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which is our only business, is sure an unreasonable Thesis. Any faith but this, is a faith in the clouds, or in the air, the upper regi∣on of the soul, the brain; or at most but a piece of the heart; a magical faith, a piece of sorcery and conjuring; that will teach men to remove mountains, only by thinking they are able; but will never be taken by Christ for this faith upon the earth: if it [ E] do walk here, it is but as a Ghost, 'tis even pity but it were laid. Let me beseech you meekly, but if this would not prevail, I would conjure you all in this behalf; the silly weak Christian to fly from this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and call for some light of their lawful pastors, to find out the deceit; and the more knowing illuminate Christian, to examine sincerely and impartially by feeling and handling it throughly, whether there be any true substance in it or no. The Pharisee looking upon himself superficially thought he [ F] had gone on, on very good grounds; very unquestionable terms that he was possest of a very fair estate; he brought in an invento∣ry of a many, precious works; I fast, I tithe, &c. verse 12.* hath no other Liturgies but thanksgivings, no other sacrifice to bring into the temple, but Eucharistical, and yet how foully the man was mistaken!
Page 108God I thank, &c. [ A]
The first thing I shall observe in the words is the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the rational importance of them, as they are part of a rhetorical syllogism, an example or parallel to shew that in the last days, though men think that there is a great deal, yet there is indeed like to be but little Faith upon the earth. And the issue from thence is the Pharisees flattering favourable misconceit of his own estate, and the parallel line to that, our premature deceivable perswasions of our selves, that is ordinary among Christians. [ B]
The second thing is the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the natural litteral importance of the words, and therein the concomitants or effects of those his misconceits.
1. Pride, 2. Censoriousness. Pride noted by his speech, I thank thee that I am not; then his posture pluming up himself, standing by himself he prayed; as the Syriack set the words, and many greek copies, some by making a comma after 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, others by reading 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, standing by himself; as Beza [ C] renders it, soorsim, apart: not as our English, he stood and prayed thus with himself, but as the words will likewise bear it, he stood by himself thus; this posture signifying a proud contemptuous beha∣viour, whilest the Publican stood crouching humbly, and trem∣blingly behind.
2. Censoriousness and insinuating accusations of other mens persons, even as this Publican. To which we may add the occa∣sion of all this, seeing the Publican behind him, (i. e.) comparing [ D] himself with notorious sinners, he was thus proud and censorious.
And of these in their order, as powerfully and effectually to your hearts, as God shall enable me. And first of the first, the Pharisees favourable misconceits of himself, and parallel to these, our deceivable perswasions of our selves, God I thank, &c.
The black sin that hath dyed the Pharisees soul so deep, as to become his characteristick inseparable property, a kind of agnomen, a perpetual accession to his name, is hypocrisie. The proper [ E] natural importance of which word, signifies the personating or acting of a part, putting on another habit than doth properly be∣long to him. But by the liberty we ordinarily allow to words, to enlarge themselves sometimes beyond their own territories, to thrive and gain somewhat from their Neighbours, it is come vulgarly to signifie all that ambitious outside, or formality the colour and varnish of religion, by which any man deceives either others or himself; and accordingly there is a twofold hypocrisie, [ F] the first deceiving others; the second himself. That by which he imposeth upon others is the sin we commonly declaim against, under that name, most fiercely, sometime by just reason, as ha∣ving been circumvented by such glozes, sometime in a natural zeal to truth, preferring plain downright impiety, before the same Page 109 [ A] transfigured by a varnish. Reatus impii pium nomen, his being counted innocent is an accession to his guilt. But then sometimes too, under this odious name we may wound sincere and pure devotion; as the Primitive Christians were by the tyrants put in wild beasts skins that they may be torn in pieces; men may be deterr'd from all the least appearance of purity, for fear they should be counted hypocrites. However this first sort of hypocrisie may deserve its seasonable reprehension, this parable in my text [ B] doth not take it in; but insists mainly upon the other, that colour of piety by which a man deceives himself, and cheats and glozes with his own soul. That first sort, were it not for some hurtful consequences, might for ought I can gainsay, pass for an inno∣cent quality in a sinner. For what great injury doth that man do to any other, or himself? what grand sin against God or the World, by desiring to seem better than he is; by labouring to conceal those sins in himself, which could not be known without [ C] dishonour to God, and scandal to his neighbour? 'Twas a Law∣yers answer being questioned whether it were lawful for a woman to take money for prostituting her self, that indeed 'twas a sin to prostitute her self; but that being supposed as in some kingdoms it is permitted, he thought 'twas no great fault to get her living by it.
Not to justifie his opinion, but apply it by accommodation: In like manner arraign an hypocrite, and muster up all the sins [ D] he hath commmitted in secret, and all these I will acknowledge worthy of condemnation, because sins: nay, if his end of con∣cealing them be to circumvent a welbelieving Neighbour, that shall be set upon his score also, but for the desire itself of keeping his sin from, the eyes of men; so that he do not from the eyes of God, and his ministers upon occasion: for a cautiousness in any one not to sin scandalously, or on the house top, take this by it self, abstracted from the sin it belongs to, and I cannot see [ E] why that should be either a part, or aggravation of a sin. There is nothing that deserves the tears, yea and holy indignation of a godly soul, more than the sight of an immodest boasting sinner, that makes his crimes his reputation; and his abominations his pride, and glory. 'Tis that which we lay to the Devils charge in the times of heathenism; that he strove to bring sin in credit by building temples, and requiring sacrifices to lust, under the name of Venus, Priapus, and the like; that incontinence might [ F] seem an act of religion; and all the prophaness in the world a piece of adoration. And it begins now to be revived in the world again, when bashfulness is the quality of all others most creditably parted with; and the only motive to the commission of some sins is, to be in the fashion, to be seen of men; when men put on affected errors, affected vanities, affected oaths, just Page 110 as they do gay cloaths, that they may be the better counted of: [ A] this indeed is a damnable hypocrisie, when men are fain to act parts in sin, that they are not naturally inclined to; and to force their constitutions, and even to offer violence to their own tender dispositions, that so they may not be scoffed at for punies, or precise persons, as Augustus his daughter, which being admo∣nished of a sin that beasts would never have committed, answer'd that that was the reason they omitted the enjoyment of so preci∣ous a delight, because they were beasts; as if innocence were more [ B] bestial than lust, and ignorance of some sins the only guilt. The horrour and detestation that this sin strikes into me, makes me, I confess, willing almost to become an advocate of the first kind of hypocrisie, whereby men retain so much modesty in their sins (I hope of weakness) as to be willing to enjoy the charitable mens good opinion though undeserved.
But for the second kind of hypocrisie, this couzening of a mans own soul, this tyring and personating in the closet, this inventing [ C] of arts and stratagems to send himself comfortably and believing∣ly to the Devil, this civil intestine treachery within, and against ones self; this is the grand imposture that here the Pharisee is noted for. An easiness and cheatableness that costs the bankrup∣ting of many a jolly christian Soul. He, saith Plutarch, that wants health,* let him go to the Physicians, but he that wants 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 a good durable habit of body, let him go to the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 (the ma∣sters of exercise) otherwise he shall never be able to confirm [ D] himself into a solid firm constant health, call'd thereupon by Hippocrates〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the constitution of wrestlers; without which health it self is but a degree of sickness, nourishment proves but swellings, and not growth, but a tympany. Both these, saith he, Philosophy will produce in the soul not only teaching men 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 (where by the way he repeats almost the whole decalogue of Moses, though in an heathen Dialect) to wor∣ship the Gods, &c. which is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the health of the soul, but [ E] 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that which is above all,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not to be overjoyed or immoderately affected in all this. This which he attributes to Philosophy in general, is, saith Aristotle, an act of intellectual prudence, or sobriety, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not to vouchsafe higher titles to himself than he is wor∣thy of; not to think himself in better health than he is, which is not the dialect of a meer heathen, but the very language of Canaan,*Rom. 12. 3. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the very word in [ F] Aristotle, which cannot be better exprest than by that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to have a moderate sober equal opinion of ones own gifts; not to overprize Gods graces in our selves, not to accept ones own person or give flattering titles to ones self; in Jobs phrase. This Chrysostom calls 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* a word near kin unto the former, Page 111 [ A] the meekness or lowliness of heart, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c. when a man having attain'd to a great measure of grace, and done great matters by it, and knoweth it too, yet 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉fancies no great matter of himself for all this. As the 3. children in Daniel having receiv'd a miracle of graces, which affected even the enemies of God, yet were not affected with it themselves. Enabled to be martyrs, and yet live. Or as the Poet of Callimachus that stood after he was dead— [ B] 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉;* Which is Nebuchadnezzars phrase, walk∣ing in the midst of the fire and yet they have no hurt. Yet in their 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 their Song of praise, all that they say of themselves is this,* and now we cannot open our mouths, ver. 9. for this, saith Chrysostom, we open our mouths, that we may say this only, that it is not for us to open our mouths. By this low modest interpretation every Christian is to make of his own actions and gifts, you may guess somewhat of the Pharisees misconceits.
[ C] For first, were he never so holy and pure, of never so spiritual Angelical composition, yet the very reflecting on these excellen∣cies, were enough to make a devil of him. The Angels, saith Gerson,* as the Philosophers intelligences; have a double habi∣tude, two sorts of imployments natural to them; One upwards, in an admiration of Gods greatness, love of his beauty, obedi∣ence to his will, moving as it were a circular daily motion about God, their Center; (as Boethius of them, mentemque profundam [ D] circumeunt) another downward, of regiment and power in respect of all below, which they govern and move and manage. Now if it be questioned, saith he, which of these two be more honour∣able, for the credit of the Angelical nature, I determine con∣fidently, that of subjection pulchriorem & perfectiorem esse, quam secunda regitivae dominationis, 'tis more renown to be under God, than over all the world besides, As the service to a King is the greatest preferment that even a Peer of the Realm is capable of. And [ E] then if an Angel should make a song of exultance to set himself out in the greatest pomp, he would begin it as Mary doth her Magnificat, For he hath regarded the low estate of his servant: So that the blessed Virgins mention of her own lowliness, was not a piece only of modest devotion, but an 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 of expression, and high Metaphysical insinuation of the greatest dignity in the world. And then let the Pharisee be as righteous as himself can fancy, come to that pitch indeed which the contemptuous opinionative [ F] Philosophers feigned to themselves,*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in Tatianus, which is in the Church of Laodicaea's phrase, I am rich and am increased in spiritual wealth, and have need of nothing; or the fools in the gospel,*I have store laid up for many years; nay to St. Pauls pitch, rapt so high, that the schools do question whe∣ther he were viator or comprehensor, a traveller or at his journeys Page 112 end; yet the very opinion of Gods graces would argue him a [ A] Pharisee; this conceiving well of his estate is the foulest mis∣conceit. For if he be such a complete righteous person, so ac∣complish't in all holy graces, why should he thus betray his soul, by depriving it of this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which the very Heathens could observe so absolutely necessary; this humility and lowliness of mind, this useful and most ingenuous vertue, always to think vilely of himself; not to acknowledge any excellence in himself, though he were even put upon the rack. The Philosophers that [ B] wrote against pride, are censured to have spoil'd all by putting their names to their books.*Modesty, like Dina, desiring never so little to be seen, is ravished. The sanctifying spirit that beau∣tifies the soul, ie an humbling spirit also, to make it unbeauteous in its own eyes. And this is the first misconceit, the first step of Pharisaical hypocrisy, thinking well of ones self on what ground soever; contrary to that virgin grace Humility, which is a vertue required not only of notorious infamous sinners (for what thanks [ C] or commendation is it for him to be on the ground that hath faln and bruised himself in his race? for him that is ready to starve to go a begging?) but chiefly and mainly of him that is most righte∣ous; when he that knows a great deal of good by himself, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a great deal of good success in the spirit, yet 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is not advanced a whit at the fancy of all this.
The Pharisees second misconceit is a favourable overprizing of [ D] his own worth, expecting a higher reward, than it in proportion deserves. When looking in the glass, he sees all far more glo∣rious in that reflect beam than it is in the direct, all the defor∣mities left in the glass, and nothing but fair return'd to him, a rough harsh unpleasing voice smoothed, and softned, and grown harmonious in the Eccho: there is no such cheating in the world, as by reflexions. A looking-glass by shewing some handsom persons their good faces, and that truly, hath often ruin'd them [ E] by that truth, and betrayed that beauty to all the ugliness and rottenness in the world; which had it not been known by them, had been enjoyed. But then your false glasses what mischief and ruine have they been authors of? how have they given authority to the deformed'st creatures, to come confidently on the stage, and befool'd them to that shame, which a knowledge of their own wants had certainly prevented? What difference there may be betwixt the direct species of a thing, and the same reflected, the [ F] original and the transcript, the artificial famous picture of Henry the fourth of France will teach you; where in a multitude of feigned devices, a heap of painted, phantastical Chimaera's, which being look'd on right resembled nothing, being order'd to cast their species upon a pillar of polish't mettal reflected to the spe∣ctators Page 113 [ A] eye the most lively visage of that famous King. He that hath not seen this piece of art, or hath not skill in Catoptricks enough to understand the demonstrable grounds and reasons of it, may yet discern as much in nature, by the appearance of a rainbow, where you may see those colours reflected by the cloud, which no Philosopher will assert to be existent there. And all this brings more evidence to the Pharisees indictment, and demonstrates his opinion of his own actions or merits, to be commonly deceive∣able [ B] and false.
He sees another mans actions radio recto, by a direct beam, and if there be no humour in his eye; if it be not glazed with con∣tempt or envy, or prejudice, he may perhaps see them aright. But his own he cannot see but by reflexion, as a man comes not to see his own eyes, but in the shadow, and at the rebound; where∣upon Alcinous the Platonick calls this act of the soul, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a dialogue of the soul with it self,* and the [ C] knowledge that comes from thence 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a resemblance by shadowing. The soul understands, and wills its object; this act of it by its species is cast upon the fancy, and from thence, as even now from the column of brass, or bell-mettle, 'tis reflected to the understanding: and then you may guess, what a fair re∣port he is likely to receive, when a Pharisees phancy hath the re∣turning of it. He that with his own clearest eyes could take a gnat for a taller unweildier creature than a Camel, and thereupon [ D] strains at it,* Mat. xxiii. 24. What would he do if he should come to his multiplying glass? He that when he sees a mote, and that ra∣dio recto, in others eyes, can mistake it for a beam, how can he think you, improve the least atome of good when he is to look on it in himself? How will his phansie and he; the one a cheat from the beginning, the other full greedy of the bait, fatten and puff up a sacrifice, that he himself hath offer'd? O how fair shall it appear, and ready to devour all the seven f•t ones, though [ E] it be the thinnest of Pharaoh's lean kine, lank and very ill favoured? how shall the reflexion of his beggarliest rags return to his eye the picture of a King? and the ordinariest vapour, or cloud of his exhaling be deckt over withall the beauty and variety of the Rainbow? What Aristotle said of the Sophists that they did 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* though it be a p•zling place for the Criticks, this Censor or Aristarchus in my text, will interpret by his practice; he blows up himself, as they were used to do their meat against a [ F] 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a tribunes or a Sheriffs feast, that it may look the fairer, and not deceive others only, but himself; forgets what he has done, and now thinks 'tis his natural complexion: as the Carpenter in the 13. of Wisdom;* that piece of wood which him∣self had just now carved into an Idol, he presently prays to and worships as a god: or as lyars, that by telling a tale often at last Page 114 begin to believe themselves; so hath he befool'd himself into a [ A] credulity: the farthing Alms he hath given shall be a strange kind of usury (yet not stranger perhaps than what he deals in dayly) be phansied into a mountain of gold; and the bares calves of their lips become Hecatombs. If he have abstained from flesh when the market would yield none; or forborn to eat a supper after a notorious feast,* he will call this fasting twice in the week, ver. 12. and avouch himself an obedient abstemious subject and Christian, though good Friday be witness of his unchristian Epicurism. If he [ B] afford the Minister the tenth of his house-rent, an annual benevo∣lence far below that that his dues would come to, which by taking of a jolly fine at first, is for ever after paired into but a larger sort of quit-rents (though his extortion bring in no revenue to any but the Devil and himself) he will yet be confident with the Pharisee, I pay tythes of all that I possess.
A pittance of vertue in a Pharisee is like the Polypod's head, to which Plutarch compares Poetry,* hath some good, but as much or [ C] more ill in it also, sweet indeed and nutritive, saith he; and so is all vertue though simply moral, good wholsom diet for the soul, but withal 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, it sends up vapours into the brain, and ends in whimseys and strange and troublesom dreams: the man phan∣sies, I know not what, presently of himself; like learning in an ill natur'd man, all about him are the worse for it; one moral ver∣tue tires sometimes the whole vicinity of natural good disposed gifts: 'twere well perhaps for his ingenuity and modesty that he [ D] were not so vertuous, that one drop of water being attenuated in∣to air hath taken up all the room in the bladder: 'twere as good for the heart to be shrivel'd up, as thus distended, it must be squeez'd again to make place for some more substantial guest, and be emptied quite, that it may be fill'd. In brief, 'tis the small measure, and this only of aiery, empty piety, that hath pust up the man. As they say a little critical learning makes one proud; if there were more it would condensate and compact it self into [ E] less room.
And generally the more there is within, the less report they give of themselves; as S. Matthew mentioning himself before his conversion, doth it distinctly, Matth. 9. 9. by the name of Mat∣thew, and his trade sitting at the receit of custom, Matthew the Pub∣lican, by that odious renaming of sin; (whereas all the other Evangelists call him Levi, or the son of Alpheus) but leaves out the story of his own feasting of Christ, (only as Christ sate at meat [ F] in the house) which S. Luke sets down exactly,*and Levi made him a great feast, Luk. 5. 27. or as in the history of S. Peter's fall and re∣pentance in the Gospel, according to S. Mark; (which the pri∣mitive Church agree that S. Peter had a hand in it) his denial is set down with all the aggravating circumstances, more than in all Page 115 [ A] the rest put together, Mar. 14. 71. he began to curse, and swear, I know not this man of whom you speak: two Evangelists say only he de∣nied him the third time; to this S. Matthew adds, he cursed ana¦sware, saying, I know not the man. But he in his own witness, most exactly in aggravating the sin, I know not this, &c. But when he comes to the mention of his repentance, when the two other say, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, he himself, or S. Mark from him, only 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, he wept; always speaking as much bad, and as little good of them∣selves [ B] as can be.
A little windy opinionative goodness distempers the empty brain, 'tis charity must ballast the heart; and that's the grace according to holy Maximius his opinion,* that all this while we have requir'd, but not found in the Pharisee, and that's the reason that the brass sounds so shrill, and the cymbal tinkles so merrily. And this is the Pharisees second misconceit, his over∣prizing his own good deeds and graces. The third is.
[ C] His opinion of the consistence and immutability of his present estate, without any, either consideration of what he hath been, or fear what he may be again, he hath learnt or rather abus'd so much Scripture, as that the yesterday and the morrow must care for themselves; Prometheus or Epimetheus are prophane heathen names to him; he is all in contemplation of present greatness; like the heathen gods which are represented to have nothing to do, but admire their own excellencies. I thank God that I am not, &c. [ D] The Pharisee having a first-borns portion from the hand of God, will not be rude or importunate with him for new and fresh supplies; nor will he disparage himself so much as to suspect the perpetuity of his enjoyment. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, saith Plutarch, a man that is honourably and freely born hath a fair treasure of confidence,* and so a natural advantage of other men; but bastards and men of a crack't race 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that have a great deal of copper or dross mix't with their [ E] or and argent, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉these men are born to be humble and shamefac'd. But amongst these contemplations he may do well to consider the Amorite his father, and his mother the Hittite, the pollutions and blood he was clothed with in the day that he was born Ezek. 16.* the accursed inheritance as well of shame as sin derived unto him. For then certainly he would never so plume himself in his present sunshine. If he have not gotten in the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, among the Adamites in Epiphanius, and there set [ F] up for one of Adams sect before his fall,* or the Valentinians which call'd themselves the spirituals, and the seed of Abel, who indeed never had any natural seed we hear of. If he will but grant him∣self of the ordinary composition and race of men, come down from Adam either by Cain or Seth, I am sure he shall find sins past enough either in his person or nature to humble him, be he never Page 116 so spiritual. And then for the time to come, Christ certainly [ A] was never so espoused to any soul, as to be bound to hold it for better for worse. That if he find ought in that spouse contrary to the vow of wedlock, he can 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 (the word used in divor∣ces amongst the Athenians on the husbands part) send the soul out of his house or temple; especially if she do 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 (the phrase used on the womans part) if she leave or forsake the husband, if she draw back or subduce her self out of his house,*Heb. 10. 38, &c. by an evil heart of unbelief, openly depart from the living God,*Heb. [ B] 3. 12. It is observ'd by the Criticks as an absurd ridiculous phrase in some authors, to call the Emperors Divi in their life time, which saith Rittershusius when the propriety of the Roman tongue was observed, capitale fuisset, had been a grand capital crime. And as absurd no doubt is many mens 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, their canonizing, securing and besainting themselves in this life, upon every slight praemature perswasion that they are in Christ. That which Aphrodisius on the Topicks, observes of the [ C] leaves of trees, may perhaps be too true of the spiritual estate and condition of men, that the Vine and Fig and Plane tree, which have thin broad leaves, and make the fairest shew〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, do thereupon shed them presently: some few indeed, the Olive, Bay and Myrtle, which have narrow solid leaves are able to keep them all the year long 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, always green and flourish∣ing. And God grant such laurels may for ever abound in this Paradise, this garden of the land; that the children of this [ D] mother may environ her like olive plants round about her table; this perhaps you will count an high thing to shed the leaf, but what think you of extirpation, and rooting up? even this you shall hear denounced, and executed on those that cast a fair shadow, either as on degenerous or unprofitable trees; either for bad fruit, or none at all, Cut it down, why cumbreth it the ground?
But to our purpose; When S. Paul therefore resolves that no∣thing should ever separate him from the love of God,*Rom. 8. sin is [ E] there left out of the catalogue; be he never so possest of that in∣heritance, for ought he knows this very confidence may root him out again. His Brethren the Jews thought their estate as irrever∣sible as the Pharisees here; and upon as good grounds as he can pretend; the very promise of God to Abrahams seed indefinitely; and yet by that time this parable was spoken, they can bring him word of the repeal of that promise, within a while seal'd and confirm'd by their 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 their instant utter destruction; [ F] a forerunner of which (if not the cause) was this confidence of their immutable estate.
It was a phansie of the Stoicks mention'd by Plutar.*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that a wise man could do nothing amiss, that all that he did was wise and vertuous. And they that will have Page 117 [ A] men saved and damned by a Stoical necessity, now adays, may borrow this phancy of the Stoicks also: but Homer, saith he, and Euripides long since exploded it. I am sure S. Paul will fairly give any man leave, that takes himself to be in a good estate now, to fear a bad before he dy; to expect a tempest in a calm; or else he would not have been so earnest with him that thinks he stands to take heed lest he fall,* 1 Cor. 10. 12. It was the confidence of a Turk (i. e.) a Stoick reviv'd, in Nicetas Chon. that said he [ B] knew they must overcome,* on now for ever, as having got 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, an habit of conquering: and it was well if this assurance did not take the pains to lose it him again. It is the Rhetorick of discreet Captains to their Souldiers in Thucydides, and other Historians, to exhort them to fight on comfortably and couragi∣ously, as having overcome, in remembrance of their past victo∣ries as pawns, and pledges of the future: but 'tis alwayes on condition and presumptions of the same diligence and valour, [ C] which formerly they shewed. And the same military encourage∣ments and munition, the Fathers frequently furnish us with against our spiritual warfare, but all rather to increase our dili∣gence than security, to set us to work on hope of success; not to nourish us in idleness in hope of a victory. If we should suffer the Devil from this proposition, he will give his Angels charge that a child of his shall not dash his foot against a stone; and then that assumption, thou art the child of God, to conclude that thou [ D] canst not hurt thy self with a fall, he would straight back that with a Mitte te deorsum, Cast thy self down to shew what thou canst do; and then if thou hast not another scriptum est to rejoynder, thou shalt not tempt, (then this confidence is tempting of God) I know not how thou wilt be able to escape a precipice, a bruise if not a breaking. The Valentinian having resolved himself to be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, spiritual, confest indeed that other men must get some store of faith and works to help them to Heaven,*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, [ E] Iren. But they had no need of either, because of their natural spiritualness; that which is spiritual cannot part with its spiritual hypostasis what ever it do or suffer; no more than gold by a sink can lose its lustre; or the Sun beams be defam'd by the dunghil they shine on. They commit all man∣ner of impurity, saith he, and yet they are 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, seeds of the election; the seeds indeed, deep set in the earth that take root downward, but never bare fruit upward; they never [ F] spring at all except it be towards Hell; nor sprout out any branch or stalk of works, unless it be of darkness. These forsooth have grace 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 as their proper possessions, all others but to use, and so it seemed, for they of all others made no use of it. There was another like fancy in the same Irenaeus of Marcus and his fol∣lowers, that by the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 a form of baptizing, that they Page 118 had, that they were become 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉invisible to the judge, [ A] then if ever they were apprehended 'twere but calling to the mother of Heaven, and she would send the helmet in Homer, that they should presently vanish out of their hands. Thus have men been befool'd by the Devil to believe that their sacred persons could excuse the foulest acts, and, as it was said of Cato, even make crimes innocent; thus have some gotten the art of sinning secure∣ly, nay religiously, as he that in our English History would put his Neighbours in a course to rebell legally. But I hope all these fancies [ B] have nothing to do, but fill up the catalogues in Irenaeus and Epipha∣nius; I trust they shall never be able to transplant themselves into our brains or hearts. But pray God there be no credence of them scattered here and there among hasty, ignorant, overweening Chri∣stians. A man shall sometimes meet abroad some reason to suspect it, yet 'twere pitty to fear so far as to set to confute them. There may be indeed a state and condition of Christians so well setled and rivet∣ed by Christ in grace, that their estate may be comfortably believed [ C] immutable, an election under oath, perhaps that mentioned by the Psal∣mist, I have sworn by my holiness, I will not fail David; for spiritual bles∣sings are frequently in Scripture conveyed along with temporal. But it is much to be doubted, that those men that have boldness to believe this of themselves, have not ballast enough of humility and fear to make it good. Porphyry had so much Divinity in him as to observe that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 were the only 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that perpe∣tual washings, and purgings and lustrations, were the only means to [ D] defend or deliver from evil, either to come or present; the only Amulets and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the world; 'tis the rainbow in the Hea∣ven reflected thither from a cloud of tears below, that is, Gods engagement never again to drown the earth. But then there must be also another bow in the heart, that must promise for that, that it shall not be like a deceitful bow, go back again to folly, never again be drowned with swinish,* bestial, filthy lusts. In the 17. of Exodus the Israelites prevailed against Amalek, and that mira∣culously [ E] without any sensible means;* and verse 16. the promise is made for the future, that the Lord will fight with Amalek for ever, where by the way the LXX. put in 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, God will fight against Amalek as it were under hand, by secret hidden strength; which addition of theirs (if it were inspired into the Translators, as S. Augustin is of opinion, all their variations from the Hebrew are 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and so Canon) then happily that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 may signifie some secret infusion of supernatural power into Moses his [ F] hands; that there is promised; answerable to that same effusion of grace, to enable all the people of God in our fight with sin the spiritual Amalek, by which grace Moses and the Christians have assurance to prevail. And this may be ground enough for a Chri∣stian; Christ hath prayed, and God promised that your faith shall Page 119 [ A] not fail. But then all this while, the story of the day will tell us, on what terms this security of victory stood, if so be Moses con∣tinue to hold up his hands; noting 1. the power of prayer; 2. of obedience; 3. of perseverence; and upon these terms even a Pharisee may be confident without presumption: but if his hands be once let down; if he remit of his Christian valour (for so manus de∣mittere signifies in Agonisticks) Amalek prevails,* verse 11. Just as it fared with Samson, he had an inconceivable portion of strength, [ B] even a ray of Gods omnipotence bestowed on him, but this not upon term of life, but of his Nazarites vow (i. e.) as the LXXII. render it Numb.* vi. 2. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a prayer as well as a vow; and that of separating or hallowing purity and san∣ctity to the Lord; and his vow being broken, not only that of his hair, but with it that of his holy obedience; that piece of Divi∣nity presently vanished, and the Philistines deprived him of his eyes and life.* And thereupon it is observable Numb. xv. 9. that [ C] which is in the Hebrew performing a vow, is rendred by the LXXII, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to magnifie a vow, then is the vow or resolution truly great, that will stand us in stead when it is per∣formed. As for all others they remain as brands and monuments of reproach to us; upbraiding us of our inconstancy first, then of disobedience; and withal as signs to warn that Gods strength is departed from us. I doubt not but this strength being thus lost may return again before our death, giving a plunge, as it did in [ D] Samson, when he pluckt the house about their ears at last, Jude xvi.* But this must be by the growing out of the hair again, verse 22. the renewing of his repentance and sanctity with his vow,* and by prayer unto God, verse 28.*Lord God, or as the LXXII. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Remember me I pray thee and strengthen me, but for all this,* it was said before in the 19. verse his strength, and in the 20. verse the Lord was departed from him.* And so now doubt it may from us, if we have no better security for our selves than the present pos∣session, [ E] and a dream of perpetuity. For though no man can ex∣communicate himself by one rule, yet he may by another, in the Canon Law; that there be some faults excommunicate a man ipso facto; one who hath committed them the law excommunicates, though the Judge do not: you need not the application, there be perhaps some sins and Devils like the Carian Scorpions which Apol∣lonius and Antigonus mention out of Aristotle,* which when they strike strangers do them no great hurt,*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, [ F] presently kill their own countrey-men;* some Devils per∣haps that have power to hurt only their own subjects; as sins of weakness and ignorance, though they are enough to condemn an unregenerate man, yet we hope, through the merits of Christ into whom he is ingrafted, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, shall do little hurt to the regenerate, unless it be only to keep him humble, Page 120 to cost him more sighs and prayers. But then, saith the same [ A] Apollonius there,* your Labylonian snakes that are quite contrary, do no great hurt to their own countrey-men, but are present death to strangers; and of this number it is to be feared may presumption prove, and spiritual pride; sins that the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Devils na∣tives, ordinary habitual sinners need not much to fear; but to the stranger, and him that is come from far, thinking himself, as S. Paul was, dropt out of the third Heaven, and therefore far enough from the infernal countrey, 'tis to be feared I say, they may [ B] do much mischief to them. And therefore as Porphyry sayes of Plotinus in his life, and that for his commendation; that he was not ashamed to suck when he was eight years old, but as he went to the Schools frequently diverted to his nurse; so will it concern us for the getting of a consistent firm habit of soul, not to give over the nurse when we are come to age and years in the spirit, to account our selves babes in our virility, and be perpetually a calling for the dug, the sincere milk of the word, of the Sacraments, [ C] of the Spirit, and that without any coyness or shame, be we in our own conceits, nay in the truth never so perfect, full grown men in Christ Jesus. And so much be spoken of the first point proposed, the Pharisees flattering misconceit of his own estate; and therein implicitely of the Christians premature deceivable perswasions of himself; 1. thinking well of ones self on what grounds soever; 2. overprizing of his own worth and graces; 3. his opinion of the consistency and immutability of his condition, without either [ D] thought of what's past, or fear of what's to come. Many other misconceits may be observed, if not in the Pharisee, yet in his pa∣rallel the ordinary confident Christian; as 1. that Gods decree of election is terminated in their particular and individual entities, without any respect to their qualifications and demeanors. 2. That all Christian faith is nothing but assurance, a thing which I toucht 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the preface▪ and can scarce forbear now I meet with it again. 3. That the Gospel consists all of promises of [ E] what Christ will work in us, no whit of precepts or prohibitions. 4. That it is a state of ease altogether and liberty, no whit of labour and subjection; but the Pharisee would take it ill if we should di∣gress thus far, and make him wait for us again at our return. We hasten therefore to the second part, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or natural impor∣tance of the words, and there we shall find him standing apart, and thanking God only perhaps in complement; his posture and language give notice of his pride, the next thing to be toucht [ F] upon.
Pride is a vice either 1. in our natures, 2. in our educations, or 3. taken upon us for some ends: the first is a disease of the soul▪ which we are inclined to by nature; but actuated by a full diet, and inflation of the soul, through taking in of knowledge, virtue, Page 121 [ A] or the like; which is intended indeed for nourishment for the soul, but through some vice in the digestive faculty, turns all into air and vapours, and windiness, whereby the soul is not fed but distended, and not fill'd but troubled, and even tortured out of it self. To this first kind of pride may be accommodate many of the old fancies of the Poets and Philosophers, the Gyants fighting with God, (i. e.) the ambitious daring approaches of the soul toward the unapproachable light, which cost the Angels so dear, and all [ B] mankind in Eve, when she ventured to taste of the tree of know∣ledge. Then the fancy of the heathens mentioned by Athenago∣ras, that the souls of those gyants were Devils;* that 'tis the Devil indeed that old serpent, that did in Adams time, and doth since animate and actuate this proud soul, and set it a moving. And Philoponus saith that winds and tumours (i. e.) lusts and passions, those troublesom impressions in the soul of man, are the accept∣ablest sacrifices, the highest feeding to the Devils; nay to the [ C] very damned in Hell, who rejoyce as heartily to hear of the con∣version of one vertuous, or learned man to the Devil, of such a brave proselyte, I had almost said as the Angels in Heaven at the repentance and conversion of a sinner. This is enough I hope to make you keep down this boyling and tumultuousness of the soul, lest it make you either a prey, or else companions for Devils; and that's but a hard choice, nay a man had far better be their food than their associates, for then there might be some end hoped for [ D] by being devoured; but that they have a villanous quality in their feeding, they bite perpetually but never swallow, all jaws and teeth, but neither throats nor stomachs; which is noted perhaps by that phrase in the Psalmist, Death gnaweth upon the wicked; is per∣petually a gnawing, but never devours or puts over.
Pride in our education is a kind of tenderness and chilness in the soul, that some people by perpetual softness are brought up to, that makes them uncapable and impatient of any corporal or spi∣ritual [ E] hardness; a squeasiness and rising up of the heart against any mean vulgar or mechanical condition of men; abhorring the foul cloaths and rags of a beggar, as of some venemous beast: and consequently as supercilious and contemptuous of any piece of Gods service, which may not stand with their ease and state, as a starcht gallant is of any thing that may disorder his dress. Thus are many brought up in this City to a loathing and detestati∣on of many Christian duties, of alms-deeds, and instructing their [ F] families in points of religion; of visiting and comforting the sick, nay even of the service of God, if they may not keep their state there; but especially of the publick prayers of the Church, nothing so vulgar and contemptible in their eyes as that. But I spare you, and the Lord in mercy do so also.
The third kind of pride is a supercilious affected haughtiness, Page 122 that men perhaps meekly enough disposed by nature, are fain to [ A] take upon them for some ends, a 'solemn censorious majestick garb, that may entitle them to be patriots of such or such a facti∣on; to gain a good opinion with some, whose good opinion may be their gain. Thus was Mahomet fain to take upon him to be a Prophet, and pretend that 'twas discoursing with the Angel Ga∣briel made him in that case, that his new wife might not know that he was Epileptical, and so repent of her match with a beggar, and a diseased person. And upon these terms Turcism first came in∣to [ B] the world, and Mahomet was cried up 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the greatest Prophet (to omit other witness) as the Saracen fragments tells us, that we have out of Euthymius. Thus are imperfections and wants, sometimes even diseases both of body and mind assu∣med and affected by some men to get authority to their persons, and an opinion of extraordinary religion; but rather perhaps more oyl to their cruise, or custom to their trading. But not to flutter thus at large any longer, or pursue the common-place [ C] in its latitude, the Pharisees pride here expresseth it self in three things; 1 his posture, standing apart; 2. his manner of praying al∣together by way of thanksgiving: 3. his malicious contemptuous eye upon the Publican. The first of these may be aggravated against the schismatick that separates from the Church or customs, but especially Service and Prayers of the Church. 'Tis pride certainly that makes this man set himself thus apart, whereas the very first sight of that holy place strikes the humble Publican upon the knees [ D] of his heart a far off; as soon as he was crept within the gates of the Temple, he is more devout in the porch than the Pharisee before the Altar. The 2d. against those that come to God in the pomp of their souls, commending themselves to God as we ordi∣narily use the phrase, commending indeed not to his mercy, but acceptance; not as objects of his pity, but as rich spiritual pre∣sents; not tears to be received into his bottle, but jewels for his treasure. Always upon terms of spiritual exultancy, what great [ E] things God hath done for their souls; how he hath fitted them for himself; never with humbled bended knees in acknowledg∣ment of unworthiness with St. Paul, who cannot name that word, sinners, but most straight subsume in a parenthesis, of whom I am the chief,* 1 Tim. 1. 15. and for the expression of the opinion he had of his own sanctity, is fain to coyn a word for the purpose, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a word not to be met with in all Greek Authors again before he used it;*less than the least of the Saints, Ephes. 3. 8. And [ F] Jacob in a like phrase,*I am less than all thy mercies, Gen. 32. 10. The Litany that begins and ends with so many repetitions impor∣tuning for mercy, even conjuring God by all powerful names of rich mercy that can be taken out of his Exchequer, to have mercy upon us miserable sinners, this is set aside for the Publican; the Page 123 [ A] sinners Liturgy, nay as some say, for the profane people only, not to pray but to swear by. But this only as in transitu, not to insist on. The 3d. expression of his pride is his malicious sullen eye upon the Publican, and that brings me to the next thing pro∣posed at first, the Pharisees censoriousness and insinuated accusa∣tions of all others. I am not as other men, extortioners, &c. or even as this Publican.
'Twere an ingenuous speculation and that which would stand [ B] us in some stead in our spiritual warfare, to observe what hints and opportunities the Devil takes from mens natural inclinations to insinuate and ingratiate his temptations to them; how he ap∣plies still the fuel to the fire, the nourishment to the craving sto∣mach; and accommodates all his proposals most seasonably and suitably to our affections; not to enlarge this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the gross, nor yet 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to each particular; you may have a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or taste of it in the Pharisee.
[ C] To an easy natur'd man whose soul is relax't, and has its pores open to receive any infection or taint, the devil presents a multi∣tude of adulterers, drunkards, &c. thereby to distill the poyson softly into him; to sweeten the sin and secure him in the com∣mission of it, by store of companions: but to a Pharisee, rugged, singular, supercilious person, he proposeth the same object under another colour. The many adulterers &c. that are in the world not to entice, but to incense him the more against the sin; not to [ D] his imitation but to his spleen and hatred: that seeing he can hope to gain nothing upon him by bringing him in love with their sin, he may yet inveigle him by bringing him in hatred with their persons; and plunge him deeper through uncharitableness, than he could hope to do by lust. He knows well the Pharisees constitution is too austere to be caught with an ordinary bait, and therefore puts off his title of Beelzebub prince of flies, as seeing that they are not now for his game; but trouls and baits him with [ E] a nobler prey, and comes in the person of a Cato or Aristarchus, a severe disciplinarian, a grave Censor, or as his most Satanical name imports, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, an accuser and then the Pharisee bites presently. He could not expect to allure him forward, and therefore drives him as far back as he can; that so he may be the more sure of him at the rebound; as a skilful woods-man, that by wind-lassing presently gets a shoot which without taking a compass and thereby a commodious stand, he could never have [ F] obtain'd. The bare open visage of sin is not lovely enough to catch the Pharisee, it must be varnish'd over with a shew of pie∣ty; with a colour of zeal, and tenderness in Gods cause, and then the very devilishest part of the Devil his malice and uncha∣ritableness, shall go down smoothly with him. And that this stratagem may not be thought proper to the Meridian only where Page 124 the Pharisee liv'd; Leo within 500. years after Christ, and other [ A] of the Fathers, have observed the same frequently practised by the Devil among the Primitive Christians; ut quos vincere flammâ ferroque non poterat, ambitione inflaret, virus invidiae in∣funderet, & sub falsâ Christiani nominis professione corrumperet: That they whom persecution could not affright, ambition may puff up, envy poyson, and a false opinion of their own Christian puri∣ty betray to all the malice in the world. Thus have Hereticks and Sectaries in all ages by appropriating to themselves those titles [ B] that are common to all the children of God, left none for any other, but of contumely and contempt: as soon as they fancy to themselves a part of the spirit of God, taken upon them the monopoly of it also. Thus could not the Valentinians be content to be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 themselves; but all the world beside must be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, animal and earthly. 'Twere long to reckon up to you the Idioms and characters that Hereticks have usurped to them∣selves in opposition and reproach, and even defiance of all others; [ C] the Pharisees separati, Sadducees justi, Novatians 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, puri, Messalians precantes. As if these several vertues, separation from the world, love of justice, purity, daily exercise of prayer, were no where to be found but amongst them. Even that judicious, learned, eloquent, yea and godly Father Tertullian is caught in this pit-fall; as soon as he began to relish Montanus his heresie, he straight changeth his style, Nos spirituales, and all other Orthodox Christians Psychyci animal,* carnal men. The Devil could not be con∣tent [ D] that he had gain'd him to Montanism (an heresie which 'tis confest only a superlative care of Chastity, abstinence, and martyrdom, brought him to) but he must rob him of his charity too, as well as his religion. Not to keep any longer on the wing in pursuit of this censorious humour in the Pharisee and Primitive hereticks; the present temper and constitution of the Church of God, will afford us plenty of observation to this purpose: a∣mongst other crimes with which the reformation charge the [ E] Romanists, what is there that we so importunately require of them as their charity? that seeing with the Apostolical seat, they have seiz'd upon the Keys of Heaven also; they would not use this power of theirs so intemperately, as to admit none but their own proselytes into those gates, which Christ hath opened to all believ∣ers. For this cause, saith Eulogius in Photius, were the Keys given to Peter,* not to John or any other, because Christ foresaw Peter would deny him, that so by the memory of his own failings, he [ F] might learn humanity to sinners, and be more free of opening the gates of Heaven, because he himself (had it not been for special mercy) had been excluded; other Apostles, sfaith he, having never faln so foully, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, migkt like enough have used sinners more sharply: but 'twas not pro∣bable Page 125 [ A] that Peter would be such a severe Cato, and yet there is not a more unmerciful man under Heaven than he that now ty∣rannizeth in his chair. Spalatensis indeed, after his revolt from us could ingenuously confess, that he could have expected comfortably, and perhaps have been better pleased, to have been saved in the Church of England, with a 1000. l. a year, as in the Roman with 500. l. But do not all others of them count this no less than heresie in him thus to hope? Cudsemius the Jesuit denies the English Nation to be [ B] Hereticks,*because they remain under a continual succession of Bishops. But alas! how few be there of them, which have so much cha∣rity to afford us? What fulminations and clattering of clouds is there to be heard in that Horizon? What Anathematizing of hereticks (i. e.) Protestants? what excommunicating them with∣out any mercy, 1. out of the Church, then out of the book of life; and lastly, where they have power, out of the Land of the living? And yet, would they be as liberal to us poor Protestants, [ C] as they are to their own Stews and Seminaries of all uncleanness, then should we be stor'd with indulgences. But 'twas Tertullian's of old, that there is no mercy from them to be expected, who have no crime to lay against us but that we are true Christians.* If they would but allow one corner of Heaven to receive penitent humble Protestants, labouring for good works, but depending on Christ's merit; if they would not think us past hopes, or prayers, there might be possibly hoped some means of uniting us all in one fold. [ D] But this precious Christian grace of Charity being now so quite perish't from off the earth, what means have we left us, but our prayers to prepare, or mature this reconciliation? Shall we then take heart also, and bring in our action of trespass? Shall we sit and pen our railing accusation in the form that Christ uses against the Pharisees,*Matth. 23. 13. Wo unto you Scribes and Phari∣sees, Hypocrites, for you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men, for you neither go in your selves, neither suffer ye them that are entring [ E] to go in? This we might do upon better grounds, were we so revengefully disposed; but we fear to incur our Saviours censure, Luke 9. 55.*And he turn'd and rebuk'd them saying, Ye know not what manner of spirits ye are of. We should much mistake our Chri∣stian spirit, if we should not in return to their curses, intercede with God in prayer for them; First, that he will bestow on them the grace of meekness or charity; then sincerity and up∣rightness, without wilful blindness and partiality; and lastly, [ F] to intercede for the salvation of all our souls together.* And this is the only way St. Paul hath left us, Rom. 12. 20. by returning them good to melt them, hoping and praying in the words of Solomon, that by long forbearing this great Prince of the West will be perswaded; and that our soft tongues may in time break the bone. But whilst we preach charity to them, shall we not betray partiality in our Page 126 selves, by passing over that uncharitable fire that is breaking out [ A] in our own chimnies? 'Twere to be wished that this Christian grace which is liberal enough of it self, would be entertain'd as gratefully as it is preacht; we should not then have so many 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉sons of fire amongst us as we have; who being inflam'd, some with faction, others with ignorant prejudice, others with doting on their own abilities, fall out into all manner of intempe∣rate censures 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉words of the sword, all sharp contumelious invectives against all persons, or doctrines, or lives that are not [ B] ordered or revised by them. For what Photius out of Josephus observes among others to have been one main cause or Progno∣stick of the destruction of Jerusalem, the civil wars betwixt the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Zelots and the cut-throats, pray God we find not the same success amongst us. Whilst the Zelots, saith he, fell on the Sicarii, the whole body of the city,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, was bitterly and unmercifully butchered betwixt them; and under one of those two names all the people were brought to [ C] suffer their part in the massacre. I desire not to chill or damp you with unnecessary fears, or to suspect that our sins shall be so unlimited as utterly to outvie and overreach Gods mercies. But, beloved, this ill blood that is generally nourish't amongst us, if it be not a Prognostick of our fate, is yet an ill Symptome of our disease. These convulsions and distortions of one member of the body from another as far as it can possibly be distended, this burn∣ing heat, and from thence raving and disquietness of the soul, are [ D] certainly no very comfortable Symptomes. When the Church and Kingdom must be dichotomiz'd, precisely divided into two extreme parts, and all moderate persons by each extreme tossed to the other with furious prejudice, must brand all for Hereticks or carnal persons, that will not undergo their razor. And then the con∣trary extreme censure and scoff at their preciseness that will not bear them company to every kind of riot. These, beloved, are shrewd feverish distempers, pray God they break not forth into [ E] a flame. When the boat that goes calmly with the stream, in the midst of two impetuous rowers, shall be assaulted by each of them, for opposing or affronting each; when the moderate Chri∣stian shall be branded on the one hand for preciseness, on the other for intemperance, on the one side for a Puritan, on the other for a Papist, or a Remonstrant; when he that keeps himself from either extreme, shall yet be entituled to both; what shall we say is become of that ancient Primitive charity and moderation? [ F] The use, beloved, that I desire to make of all this, shall not be to declaim at either; but only by this compass to find out the true point that we must sail by.* By this, saith Aristotle, you shall know the golden mediocrity that it is complained on both sides, as if it were both extremes; that may you define to be exact liberality, which the Page 127 [ A] covetous man censures for prodigality; and the prodigal for cove∣tousness. And this shall be the sum not only of my advice to you, but prayers for you; that in the Apostles phrase, your modera∣tion may be known unto all men, by this livery and cognizance, that you are indited by both extremes. And if there be any such Sata∣nical art crept in amongst us, of authorizing errors or sins on one side, by pretending zeal and earnestness against their contraries; as Photius observes that it was a trick of propagating heresies, by [ B] writing books intitled to the confutation of some other heresie;* the Lord grant that this evil spirit may be either laid or cast out; either fairly led, or violently hurried out of our coasts.
I have done with the Pharisees censoriousness, I come now in the last place to the ground, or rather occasion of it; his seeing the Publican, comparing himself with notorious sinners, I thank thee that, &c.
That verse 1 Cor. xv. 33. which St. Paul cites out of Menanders [ C] Thais, that wicked communication corrupts good manners, is grounded on this moral essay, that nothing raiseth up so much to good and great designs as emulation; that he that casts himself upon such low company, that he hath nothing to imitate or aspire to in them, is easily perswaded to give over any farther pursuit of ver∣tue, as believing that he hath enough already, because none of his acquaintance hath any more: thus have many good wits been cast away, by falling unluckily into bad times, which could yield [ D] them no hints for invention, no examples of poetry, nor encou∣ragement for any thing that was extraordinary. And this is the Pharisees fate in my text, that looking upon himself, either in the deceivable glass of the sinful world, or in comparison with noto∣rious sinners, extortioners, adulterers, Publicans, sets himself off by these foils, finds nothing wanting in himself, so is solaced with a good comfortable opinion of his present estate, and a slothful negligence of improving it. And this, beloved, is the ordinary [ E] lenitive which the Devil administers to the sharp unquiet diseases of the conscience if at any time they begin to rage, the only con∣serve that he folds his bitterest receits in, that they may go down undiscern'd; that we are not worse than other men; that we shall be sure to have companions to hell; nay, that we need not neither at all fear that danger; for if Heaven gates be so strait as not to receive such sinners as we, the rooms within are like to be but poorly furnisht with guests; the marriage feast will never be [ F] eaten, unless the lame, and cripples in the street or hospital be fetch't in, to fill the table. But, beloved, the comforts with which the Devil furnisheth these men are, (if they were not merely feigned and fantastical) yet very beggarly and lamentable, such as Achilles in Homer would have scorned, only to be chief among the dead, or Princes and eminent persons in Hell. We must set our emulation Page 128 higher than so, somewhat above the ordinary pitch or mark, Let [ A] our designs flie at the same white that the skilfullest marks-men in the army of Saints and Martyrs have aimed at before us; that the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 of the Church, the re∣ligious exercisers and champions and trophy-bearers of this holy mar∣tial field have dealt in. 'Tis a poor boast to have out-gon Hea∣thens and Turks in vertue and good works; to be taller than the dwarfs, as it were, and Pygmies of the world; we must not be thus content, but outvy even the sons of Anak, those tall, gyantly [ B] supererogatory undertakings of the proudest, nay humblest Roma∣nists. O what a disgrace will it be for us Protestants at the dread∣ful day of doom! O what an accession not only to our torments, but our shame, and indignation at our selves, to see the expecta∣tion of meriting in a Papist, nay the desire of being counted vertu∣ous in a Heathen, attended with a more pompous train of chari∣table magnificent deeds, of constant magnanimous sayings, than all our faith can shew, or vouch for us! Shall not the Romanist [ C] triumph and upbraid us in St. James his language,* Chap. ii. 18. Thou hast faith and I have works, and all that we can fetch out of St. Paul not able to stop his mouth from going on, Shew me thy faith without thy works, as our english reads it out of the Syriack and vulgar Latin, and I will shew thee my faith by my works? 'Twill be but a nice distinction for thee then to say, that works are to be separated from the act of justification, when they are found sepa∣rated à supposito, from the person also. But not to digress; the [ D] Pharisee seems here pretty well provided, No extortioner, no adulte∣rer, guilty of no injustice. And how many be there among you that cannot go thus far with the Pharisee? Some vice or other perhaps there is that agrees not with your constitution or education; drunk∣enness is not for one mans turn, prodigality for anothers, and I doubt not but that many of you are as forward as the Pharisee to thank God, or rather require God to thank them, that they are not given to such or such a vice. But if you were to be required [ E] here to what the Pharisee undertakes, if you were to be arraigned at that severe tribunal, I say not concerning your thoughts and evil communications, but even the gross actual, nay habitual sins; if a Jury or a rack were set to inquire into you throughly, how many of you durst pretend to the Pharisees innocence, and confidence, that you are not extortioners, unjust, adulterers? Nay, how many be there that have all the Pharisees pride and censorionsness, and all these other sins too into the vantage? Certainly there is not one [ F] place in the Christian world that hath more reason to humble it self for two or all three of these vices, than this City wherein you live. I am sorry I have said this, and I wish it were uncharitably spoken of me; but though it will not become me to have thought it of you, yet 'twill concern you to suspect it of your selves, that by Page 129 [ A] acknowledging your guilts you may have them cancell'd, and by judging your selves prevent being judged of the Lord. And here Saint Chrysostome's caution will come in very seasonably toward a con∣clusion of all, that the Publicans sins be not preferred before the Phari∣sees works, but only before his pride. 'Tis not his store of moral vertues that was like to prove the Pharisees undoing, but his over-valuing them,*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, saith the Stoick, appliable to this also. 'Tis not his innocence that hath so encum∣bred [ B] him all this while, but his opinion of it. The fasting and the tithing must not be cast away, because the Pharisee was proud of them, this were a furious discipline which would down with all violently, that had ever been abused to idolatry or sin; or with him in Plutarch, that because Poetry had some ill consequences some∣times, would have the Muses and their favourites dispatched into Epicurus his boat.* His counsel was more seasonable, that to prevent drunkenness, appointed them to mix water with their wine, that [ C] the mad god might be allay'd with a tame sober one; and that is the caution that I told you of, that you abstract the Pharisees works from his pride; and then borrow the Publicans humility from his works; that you come to the temple of God with all the provision a Pharisee can boast of, and then lay it down all at the Publicans feet, and take up his miserere, his sighs, his dejection, his indig∣nation at himself instead of it, then shall you be fit to approach to that templum misericordiae which Gerson speaks of, sine simulachro, [ D] &c. that had not a picture or image of a Saint in it, no manner of ostentation or shew of works, non sacrificiis sed gemitibus, &c. not to be visited with sacrifices but sighs, not to be filled with trium∣phant 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, songs of rejoycing and victories, but with the calm and yet ravishing Rhetorick of the Publican,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Lord be merciful to me a sinner. Even so, O Lord, deal thou with us, according to thy mercies, visit us with thy salvati∣on, draw us with thy mercies, and enlighten us with thy spirit, [ E] thy humbling spirit to season us with a sense of our sins and unwor∣thiness; thy sanctifying spirit to fill us here with all holy sincere requisite graces; and in the spirit of thy power to accomplish us hereafter with that immarcessible crown of glory.
Now to him, &c.