Sermons preached by ... Henry Hammond.
Hammond, Henry, 1605-1660.
Page  213

The XIV Sermon.

Rom. I. 26.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile [ D] affections.

-IN this most accurate Epistle that ever the Pen of man could lay title to, in which all the coun∣sels, and proceedings, and methods of God in the work of our salvation are described, our Apostle in his discourse goes on the same way that God is said to do in his Decree; lays the [ E] foundation of it as low and deep as possible, be∣gins with them as it were in Massa, and though they were already Romans and Christians, yet before he openeth Heaven gates to them, and either teaches or suffers them to be Saints, he stays them a while in the contemplation of their impurity, and damn'd neg∣lected estate of the stock they come from; looks upon them as pol∣luted or troden down in their own blood,* as the phrase is, Ezek. xvi. 6. He plows and harrows, and digs as deep as possible, that the seed [ F] which he meant to sow might be firm rooted, that their Heaven might be founded in the Center of the earth; and their faith being secur'd by the depth of its foundation, might encrease miracu∣lously both in height and fruitfulness. Thus in the latter part of this first Chapter doth he shew them the estate and rebellions, and punishment of their heathen Ancestors, that the unregenerate man Page  214 may in that glass see his picture at the length, the regenerate hum∣ble [ A] himself in a thankful horrour, over-joyed, and wondring to observe himself delivered from such destruction. And that all may be secured from the danger of the like miscarriage, he sets the whole story of them distinctly before their eyes, 1. How the law and light of nature was sufficient to have instructed them into the sight and acknowledgement of God, and therefore that they could not pretend want of means to direct them to his worship. 2. That they contemn'd and rejected all the helps and guidances [ B] that God and nature had afforded them, and that therefore, 3. God had deserted, and given them up unto the pride, and luxury, and madness of their own hearts, all vile affections: for this is the force of the illation, They abused those instructions which God had printed in the creature to direct them, and therefore he will bestow no more pains on them to so little purpose, their own rea∣son convinced them there was but one God, and yet they could not hold from adoring many, and therefore he'l not be troubled [ C] to rein them in any longer; for all his ordinary restraints they will needs run riot, And for this cause God gave them up to vile affecti∣ons. So that in the Text you may observe the whole state and histo∣ry of a heathen, natural, unregenerate life, which is a progress or travel from one stage of sinning to another, beginning in a con∣tempt of the light of nature, and ending in the brink of Hell, all vile affections. For the discovery of which we shall survey, 1. The Law or light of nature, what it can do; 2. The sin of con∣temning [ D] this law or light, both noted in the first words (for this cause) that is, because they did reject that which would have stood them in good stead; 3. The effect or punishment of this contempt, sottishness leading them stupidly into all vile affections; And lastly, the inflicter of this punishment, and manner of inflicting of it, God gave them up: and first of the first, the law and light of nature what it can do.

To suppose a man born at large, left to the infinite liberty of a [ E] creature, without any terms or bounds, or laws to circumscribe him, were to bring a River into a plain, and bid it stand on end, and yet allow it nothing to sustain it; were to set a babe of a day old into the world, and bid him shift for a subsistence; were to bestow a being on him, only that he may lose it, and perish, be∣fore he can ever be said to live. If an infant be not bound in, and squeez'd, and swathed, he'l never thrive in growth or feature, but as Hippocrates saith of the Scythians, for want of girdles, run all [ F] out into breadth and ugliness. And therefore it cannot agree either with the mercy or goodness of either God or nature, to create men without laws, or to bestow a being upon any one without a guardian to guide and manage it. Thus, lest any creature for want of this law any one moment should immediately sin against Page  215 [ A] its creation, and no sooner move then be annihilated; the same wisdom hath ordered that his very soul should be his Law-giver, and so the first minute of its essence should suppose it regular. Whence is it that some Atheists in Theophilus ad Auto.* which said that all things were made by chance, and of their own accord, yet affirm'd that when they were made they had a God within them to guide them, their own conscience, and in sum affirm'd, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that there was no other God in the world. [ B] Aristotle observes that in the creatures which have no reason, phan∣tasie supplies its place, and does the Bee as much service to perform the business of its kind, as reason doth in the man. Thus farther in them whose birth in an uncivilized Countrey hath deprived of any laws to govern them, reason supplies their room, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, saith Arius Didymus,*Reason is naturally a law, and hath as soveraign dictates with it,* pronounceth sen∣tence every minute from the tribunal within, as autho∣ritatively, [ C] as ever the most powerful Solon did in the the∣atre. There is not a thing in the world purely and absolutely good, but God and nature within commends and prescribes to our practice, and would we but obey their counsels, and commands, 'twere a way to innocence, and perfection, that even the Pelagi∣ans never dreamt of. To speak no farther then will be both pro∣fitable and beyond exception, the perfectest law in the world, is not so perfect a rule for our lives as this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, [ D] as Methodius calls it,* this law of nature born with us, is for these things which are subject to its reach. Shall I say Scripture it self is in some respect inferior to it? I think I shall not prejudice that blessed Volume; for though it be as far from the least spot, or suspition of imperfection, as falshood, though it be true, perfect and righteous altogether, yet doth it not so evidence it self to my dull soul; it speaks not so clearly and irrefragably, so beyond all contradiction, and demur to my Atheistical understanding, as [ E] that law which God hath written in my heart. For there is a double certainty, one of Adherence, another of Evidence, one of faith, the other of sense; the former is that grounded on Gods Word, more infallible because it rests on divine authority; the latter more clear, because I find it within me by experience. The first is given to strengthen the weakness of the second, and is there∣fore called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* 2 Pet.. 19. A more firm sure word, the second given within us to explain the difficulties and ob∣scurities [ F] of the first, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,*verse 16. we saw it with our eyes: so that Scriptures being conceived into words, and sen∣tences, are subject either not to be understood, or amiss; and may either be doubted of by the ignorant, or perverted by the malicious. You have learnt so many words without book, and say them minutely by heart, and yet not either understand, or Page  216 observe what you are about: but this unwritten law, which no [ A] pen but that of nature hath engraven, is in our understandings, not in words, but sence, and therefore I cannot avoid the inti∣mations; 'tis impossible either to deny or doubt of it, it being written as legible in the tables of our hearts, as the print of huma∣nity in our foreheads. The commands of either Scripture or Emperour may be either unknown or out of our heads, when any casual opportunity shall bid us make use of them: but this law of the mind is at home for ever, and either by intimation or loud [ B] voice, either whispers or proclaims its commands to us, be it never so gag'd, 'twill mutter and will be sure to be taken notice of, when it speaks softliest. To define in brief what this law of nature is, and what offices it performs in us, you are to know, that at that grand forfeiture of all our inheritance, (goods truly real and personal) all those primitive endowments of soul and body upon Adams rebellion, God afterwards, though he shined not on us in his full Image and beauty, yet cast some rays and beams [ C] of that eternal light upon us; and by an immutable law of his own councel hath imprinted on every soul that comes down to a body, a secret, unwritten, yet indeleble Law, by which the crea∣ture may be warn'd what is good or bad, what agreeable, what hurtful to the obtaining of the end of its creation. Now these com∣mands or prescriptions of nature, are either in order to speculation or practice; to encrease our knowledg or direct our lives. The former sort I omit, as being fitter for the Schools then Pulpit to discourse [ D] on, I shall meddle only with those that refer to practice, and those are either common, which they call first principles, and such are in every man in the world equally, & secundum rectitudinem, & notitiam, saith Aquinas:* every one doth both conceive them in his understanding what they mean, and assent to them in his will; that they are right and just, and necessary to be performed; and of this nature are the Worship of God and justice amongst men: for that lumen super nos signa∣tum, in Bonaventures phrase,* that light which nature hath seal'd, and [ E] imprinted on our souls, is able to direct us in the knowledge of those moral principles, without any other help required to perswade us; or else they are particular and proper to this or that business, which they call conclusions drawn out of these common principles; as when the common principle commands just dealing, the con∣clusion from thence commands to restore what I have borrowed, and the like. And these also if they be naturally and directly deduced, would every man in the world both understand, and assent to; [ F] did not some hindrance come in and forbid, or suspend, either his understanding or assent. Hindrances which keep him from the knowledge or conceiving of them, are that confusion and Chaos, and black darkness, I had almost said that Tophet and hell of sen∣sual affections, which suffers not the light to shew it self, and in∣deed Page  217 [ A] so stifles and oppresses it, that it becomes only as hell fire, not to shine but burn; not to enlighten us what we should do, but yet by gripes and twinges of the conscience to torment us for not doing of it.* And this hindrance the Apostle calls, ver. 21. the vanity of imaginations by which a foolish heart is darkned. Hin∣drances which keep us from assenting to a conclusion in particular, which we do understand, are sometimes good, as first a sight of some greater breach certain to follow the performance [ B] of this. So though I understand that I must restore every man his own, yet I will never return a knife to one that I see resolved to do some mischief with it. And 2. Divine laws, as the command of robbing the Aegyptians, and the like, for although that in our hearts forbid robbing, yet God is greater then our hearts, and must be obeyed when he prescribes it. Hindrances in this kind are also sometimes bad: such are either habitude of nature, cu∣stom of Country, which made the Lacedemonians esteem theft a [ C] vertue, or again the tyranny of passions: for every one of these hath its several project upon the reasonable soul, its several design of malice either by treachery, or force to keep it hood-winkt or cast it into a lethargy, when any particular vertuous action re∣quires to be assented to by our practice. If I should go so far as some do, to define this law of nature to be the full will of God written by his hand immediately in every mans heart after the fall, by which we feel our selves bound to do every thing that is [ D] good, and avoid every thing that is evil, some might through ignorance or prejudice guess it to be an elevation of corrupt na∣ture above its pitch, too near to Adams integrity; and yet Zanchy, who was never guest near a Pelagian, in his 4. Tome 1. l. 10. c. 8. Thesis would authorize every part of it, and yet not seem to make an Idol of nature, but only extol Gods mercy, who hath bestowed a soul on every one of us with this character and impression, Holiness to the Lord; which though it be written unequally, in some [ E] more then others, yet saith he, in all in some measure so radica∣ted, that it can never be quite changed, or utterly abolished. However I think we may safely resolve with Bonaventure out of Austin against Pelagius,* Non est parum accepisse naturale indicatorium, 'tis no small mercy that we have received a natural glass, in which we may see and judge of objects before we venture on them, a power of distinguishing good from evil, which even the malice of sin and passions in the highest degree cannot wholly extinguish in us, [ F] as may appear by Cain, the voice of whose conscience spake as loud within him as that of his brothers blood: as also in the very damn'd, whose worm of sense, not penitence for what they have done in their flesh shall for ever bite, and gripe them hide∣ously. This Light indeed may either by, first blindness, or 2. delight in sinning, or 3. peremptory resolvedness not to see, be for Page  218 the present hindred secundum actum, from doing any good upon us. [ A] He that hath but a vail before his eyes, so long cannot judge of co∣lours, he that runs impetuously cannot hear any one that calls to stop him in his career; and yet all the while the light shines, and the voice shouts: and therefore when we find in Scripture some men stupified by sin, others void of reason; we must not reckon them absolutely so, but only for the present besotted. And again, though they have lost their reason, as it moves per modum delibera∣tionis, yet not as per modum naturae, their reason which moves them [ B] by deliberation and choice to that which is good, is perhaps quite put out, or suspended; but their reason which is an instinct of na∣ture, a natural motion of the soul to the end of its creation, remains in them, though it move not, like a Ship at hull and becalmed, is very still and quiet, and though it stir not evidently, yet it hath its secret heavs and plunges within us.

Now that the most ignorant, clouded, unnurtured brain amongst you may reap some profit from this Discourse, let him but one [ C] minute of his life be at so much leisure, as to look into his own heart, and he shall certainly find within him, that which we have hitherto talkt of, his own soul shall yield him a Comment to my Sermon; and if he dare but once to open his eyes, shall shew him the law and light of nature in himself, which before he never dreamt of. Of those of you that ever spared one minute from your worldly affairs to think of your spiritual, there is one thought that suddenly comes upon you, and makes short work of all that spi∣ritual [ D] care of your selves. You conceive that you are of your selves utterly unable to understand, or think, or do any thing that is good, and therefore you resolve it a great pain to no purpose ever to go about so impossible a project. God must work the whole bu∣siness in you, you are not able of your selves so much as either see, or move, and that is the business which by chance you fell upon as soon as shook off again, and being resolved you never had any eyes, you are content to be for ever blind, unless, as it was wont [ E] to be in the old Tragedies, some 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, some new su∣pernatural power come down, and bore your foreheads, and thrust, and force eyes into your heads. 'Tis a blessed desire and gracious humility in any one to invoke God to every thought they venture on, and not to dare to pretend to the least sufficiency in themselves, but to acknowledge and desire to receive all from God: but shall we therefore be so ungratefully religious, as for ever to be a craving new helps and succours, and never observe, [ F] or make use of what we have already obtained, as 'tis observed of covetous men, who are always busied about their Incomes, are little troubled with disbursements,*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, without any proportion betwixt their receipts and expences. Shall we be so senseless as to hope that the contempt of one blessing will Page  219 [ A] be a means to procure us as many? I told you that God had written a law in the hearts of every one of you, which once was able, and is not now quite deprived of its power to furnish with knowledge of good and evil: and although by original, and actual, and ha∣bitual sin this inheritance be much impaired, this stock of pre∣cepts drawn low; yet if you would but observe those directions which it would yet afford you, if you would but practice whate∣ver that divine light in your souls should present and commend to [ B] you, you might with some face petition God for richer abilities, and with better confidence approach and beg, and expect the grace that should perfect you to all righteousness. In the mean time bethink your selves how unreasonable a thing it is that God should be perpetually casting away of alms on those who are re∣solved to be perpetually bankrupts: how it would be reckoned prodigality of mercies, to purchase new lands for him that scorns to make use of his inheritance. As ever you expect any boon [ C] from God, look, I conjure you, what you have already received, call in your eyes into your brains, and see whether your natural reason there will not furnish you with some kind of profitable, though not sufficient directions, to order your whole lives by; bring your selves up to that stay'dness of temper, as never to ven∣ture on any thing, till you have askt your own souls advice whether it be to be done or no; and if you can but observe its dictates, and keep your hands to obey your head; if you can be content to [ D] abstain when the soul within you bids you hold, you shall have no cause to complain that God hath sent you impotent into the world; but rather acknowledge it an unvaluable mercy of his, that hath provided such an eye within you to direct you, if you will but have patience to see; such a curb to restrain and prevent you, if thou wilt only take notice of its checks. 'Tis a thing that would infinitely please the Reader to observe, what a price the Heathens themselves set upon this light within them, which yet certainly [ E] was much more dimmed and obscured in them by their idolatry and superstition, then I hope it can be in any Christian soul, by the unruliest passion. Could ever any one speak more plainly and distinctly of it then the Pythagoreans and Stoicks have done, who represent conscience not only as a guide and moderator of our actions, but as 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a tutelary spirit, or Angel, or genius, which never sleeps or dotes, but is still present and em∣ployed in our behalf? And this Arrian specifies to be the reason∣able [ F] soul, which he therefore accounts of as a part of God sent out of his own essence, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a piece or shread,* or as others more according to modest truth call it, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a ray or beam of that invisible Sun, by which our dull, unactive, frozen bodies, after the fall were warmed and re-inlivened. Now if any one shall make a diligent inquisition in himself, shall, as Page  220 the Philosopher in his Cynical humour light a candle to no purpose, [ A] or as the Prophet Jeremy, seek and make hue and cry after a man through all Jerusalem, and yet not meet with him: if, I say, any body shall search for this light in himself, and find all darkness within, then will you say I have all this while possest you with some phansies and Ideas, without any real profit to be received from them; you will make that complaint as the women for our Savi∣our, We went to seek for him, and when we went down all was dark, and emptiness,*They have taken him away, and I know not where they [ B] have laid him. Nay, but the error is in the seeker, not in my di∣rections: he that would behold the Sun must stay till the cloud be over; he that would receive from the fire, either light or warmth, must take the pains to remove the ashes. There be some encum∣brances, which may hinder the most active qualities in the world from working, and abate the edge of the keenest metal. In sum, there is a cloud, and gloom, and vail within thee, like that dark∣ness on the face of the deep, when the earth was 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, with∣out [ C] form and void, Gen. i. 2. or like that at Lots door among the Sodomites, or that of Aegypt, thick and palpable: and this have we created to our selves, a sky full of tempestuous, untamed affections; this cloud of vapors have we exhaled out of the lower part of our soul, our sensitive faculty; and therewith have we so fill'd the air within us with sad, black meteors, that the Sun in its Zenith, the height or pride of its splendor would scarce be able to pierce through it. So that for to make a search for this light within thee, [ D] before thou hast removed this throng, and croud of passions which encompass it, and still to complain thou canst not meet with it, were to bring news that the Sun is gone out, when a tempest hath only masked it, or to require a candle to give thee light through a mud-wall. Thou must provide a course to clear the sky, and then thou shalt not need to entreat the Sun to shine on thee, espe∣cially if this cloud fall down in a showr, if thou canst melt so thick a viscous meteor as those corrupt affections are, into a soft [ E] rain, or dew of penitent tears, thou mayest then be confident of a fair bright Sun-shine. For I dare promise that never humble, tender, weeping foul, had ever this light quite darkned within it, but could at all times read and see the will of God and the law of its creation, not drawn only, but almost engraven and woven in∣to its heart. For these tears in our eyes will spiritually mend our sight; as whatever you see through water, though it be represent∣ed somewhat dimly, yet seems bigger and larger then if there [ F] were no water in the way, according to that Rule in the Opticks, Whatever is seen through a thicker medium seems bigger then it is. And then by way of Use, shall we suffer so incomparable a mercy to be cast away upon us? Shall we only see and admire, and not make use of it? Shall we fence, as it were, and fortifie our out∣ward Page  221 [ A] man with walls and bulwarks, that the inner man may not shine forth upon it? Or shall we like silly improvident flies make no other use of this candle, but only to singe, and burn, and con∣sume our selves by its flame; receive only so much light from it as will add to our hell and darkness? 'Tis a thing that the flintiest heart should melt at, to see such precious mercies undervalued; such incomparable blessings either contemned, or only improved into curses. Arrian calls those, in whom this light of the soul is, [ B] as I shewed you,* clouded and obscured, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉&〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, dead trunks and carkasses of flesh,* and to keep such men in order were humane laws provided, which he therefore calls, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, miserable hard laws to keep dead men in compass,* and again, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Earth and Hell, the places to which dead bodies are committed. And certainly, if so, then by way of contrary, all the life that we possess is but by obedience to this law within us; and 'tis no longer to be called life, but either sleep, [ C] or death, or lethargy, every minute that we move out of the circle of its directions. There is not a step, or moment in our lives, but we have a special use, and need of this law to manage us: eve∣ry enterprize of our thoughts or actions will yield some difficulty which we must hold up, and read, and judge of by this candle, nay, sometimes we have need of a glass, or instrument to contract the beams and light of it, or else 'twould scarce be able to get through to our actions, passion, and folly, and the Atheism of [ D] our lives, hath so thickned the medium. Wherefore in brief, re∣member that counsel,*Mal. ii. 15. Take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth: the wife of his youth, i. e. saith Jeroms gloss, legem naturalem scriptam in corde, the law of nature written in his heart, which was given him in the womb as a wife and help to succour him. Let us set a value on this polar Star within us, which hath, or should have an influence, at least dire∣ctions on all our actions; let us encrease, and nourish, and make [ E] much of the sparks still warm within us. And if Scholars, and Antiquaries prize nothing so high as a fair Manuscript or ancient In∣scription, let us not contemn that which Gods own finger hath writ∣ten within us, lest the sin of the contempt make us more miserable, and the mercy profit us only to make us unexcusable. And so I come to my second part, the sin of contemning or rejecting this law. For this cause he gave them up, 1. because the contempt of his law thus provoked him.

[ F] The guilt arising from this contempt shall sufficiently be cleared to you, by observing and tracing of it not through every particular, but in general through all sorts of men since the fall, briefly redu∣cible to these three heads, 1. the Heathens, 2. the Jews, 3. present Christians, and then let every man that desires a more distinct light descend and commune with his own heart, and so he shall make up the observation.

Page  222 The Heathens sin will be much aggravated, if we consider how [ A] they reckon'd of this law, as the square, and rule, and canon of their actions, and therefore they will be inexcusable who scarce be ever at leisure to call to it to direct them, when they had use of it.* The Stoick calls it 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the promise that every man makes; the obligation that he is bound in to nature at his shaping in the womb, and upon which condition his reasonable soul is at his conception demised to him; so that whosoever puts off this obedience doth (as he goes on) renounce and even pro∣claim [ B] his forfeiture of the very soul he lives by, and by every un∣natural, that is, sinful action, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, destroyes the natural man within him, and by a prodigious regeneration is in a manner transubstantiate into a beast of the field. Which conceit many of them were so possest with, that they thought in earnest, that 'twas ordinary for souls to walk from men into Cocks and Asses, and the like, and return again at natures appointment, as if this one contempt of the law of nature were enough to unman [ C] them, and make them without a figure, comparable, nay coessential to the beasts that perish. 'Twere too long to shew you what a sense the wisest of them had of the helps that light could afford them: so that one of them cryes out confidently,*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c. If all other laws were taken out of the world, we Philosophers would still live as we do, those directions within us would keep us in as much awe, as the most imperious or severest Law-giver. And again how they took notice of the perversness of men in refusing to make use of it: for [ D] who, saith one, ever came into the knowledge of men without this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,*this knowledge and discretion of good and evil, as old in him as his soul? And yet who makes any use of it in his actions: nothing so ordinary as to betray, and declare that we have it, by finding fault, and accusing vices in other men; by calling this justice, this tyranny, this vertue, this vice in another: whilst yet we never are patient to observe or discern ought of it in our selves. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c. Who ever spares to call injustice which he sees [ E] in another by its own name, for his own reason tells him 'tis so, and he must needs give it its title? But when the case concerns his own person, when his passions counsel him against the law within him, then is he content not to see, though it shine never so bright about him; and this was one degree of their guilt, that they observed the power of it in their speculations, and made use of it also to censure and find fault with others; but seldom or never strived to better themselves, or straighten their own actions by it. Again, [ F] to follow our Apostles argument, and look more distinctly upon them in their particular chief sins which this contempt pro∣duced in them, you shall find them in the front to be Idolatry and superstition, in the verses next before my Text: When they knew God they glorified him not as God,* verse 21. But changed his glory into an Page  223 [ A] Image,* &c. verse 24. And then we may cry out with Theodoret in his, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the errors and vanities of their worship hath rased out all the characters that God anciently had written in them. And can any man shew a greater contempt to a book, or writing, then to tear, and scrape, and scratch out every letter in it? The first voice of nature in the creature which it uttered even in the cradle, when it was an infant in the world, and therefore perhaps, as children [ B] are wont, not so plainly, and syllabically, and distinctly, as could have been wished, is the acknowledgment and worship of one eternal God, Creator of that soul we breath by, and world we live in; as one simple, incorporeal, everlasting essence; and thus far (no doubt) could nature proclaim in the heart of every Gentile, though it was by many of them, either silenced, or not hearkned to, which if it were doubted of, might be deduced out of the 19. verse of this chap. God hath shewed unto them,* &c. Now this [ C] light shining not equally in all eyes; some being more over∣spread with a film of ignorance, stupid conditions and passions, and the like, yet certainly had enough to express their contempt of it, so that they are without excuse,*ver. 20. All that would ever think of it, and were not blind with an habit of sottishness, ac∣knowledged a God,* yet none would think aright of him. Some would acknowledge him a simple essence, and impossible to be described, or worship't aright by any Image, as Varr an Hea∣then [ D] observes, that the City and Religion of old Rome continued 170 years without any Images of the Gods in it. Yet even they which acknowledged him simple from all corporeity and compo∣sition, would not allow him single from plurality. Jupiter and Saturn, and the rest of their shole of Gods, had already got in, and possest both their Temples, and their hearts. In sum their under∣standings were so gross within them, being fatned and incrassate with magical phantasms, that let the truth within them say what [ E] it would, they could not conceive the Deity without some quantity, either corporeity, or number; and either multiply this God into many, or make that one God corporeous. And then all this while how plainly and peremptorily, and fastidiously they re∣jected the guidance of nature, which in every reasonable heart, counselled, nay proclaimed the contrary; how justly they pro∣voked Gods displeasure, and disertion, by their forsaking and provoking him first by their foolish imaginations, I need not [ F] take pains to insist on.*Aristotle observes in his Rhet. that a man that hath but one eye loves that very dearly, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and sets a far higher price on it, is much more tender over it then he that hath two; so he that hath but one son, cannot chuse but be very fond of him, and the greatest lamentation that can be exprest, is but a shadow of that which is for ones only Son, as may appear, Page  224Amos viii. 10.*Zach. xii. 10. when 'tis observed that, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 [ A] and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* the only begotten and the beloved are taken in Scripture promiscuously, as signifying all one. And then what a price should the Heathen have set upon this eye of nature, being 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, having no other eye to see by? having neither Scripture nor Spirit, those two other glorious eyes of the world to enlighten them: and therefore being sure by the contemning and depriving themselves of this light to turn all into horrible darkness. 'Twould strike a man into agony of pity and amazement, to see a world [ B] of Gentiles for many years thus imprisoned, and buried in a dun∣geon, and grave of invincible idolatrous ignorance; and from thence engaged in inevitable hell, as 'tis in the Book of Wisdom, and all this directly by contemning this first, and only begotten light in them, which God set in the Firmaments of their hearts, to have lead and directed them a more comfortable way. And this or as bad is every unregenerate mans case exactly, if they be not forewarned by their elder brethren the Heathens example: as we [ C] shall anon have more leisure to insist on.

Secondly, among the Jews, under which name I contain all the people of God, from Adam to Christ, 'tis a lamentable contem∣plation to observe, and trace the law and the contempt of it; like a Jacob at the heels supplanting it in every soul which it came to inhabit. Those Characters of verum and bonum which in Adam were written in a statelier Copy and fairer Manuscript then our slow undervaluing conceits can guess at: nay afterwards ex∣plain'd [ D] with a particular explication to his particular danger; Of the tree of knowledge,* &c. thou shalt not eat, Gen. ii. 17. Yet how were they by one slender temptation of the Serpent presently sullied and blurr'd? so that all the aqua fortis, and instruments in the world will never be able to wash out or erase that blot; or ever restore that hand-writing in our hearts to the integrity and beauty of that Copy in its primitive estate. And since when by that sin darkness was in a manner gone over their hearts, and there remain∣ed [ E] in them only some tracks and reliques of the former structure, the glory whereof was like that of the second Temple, nothing comparable to the beauty of the first: instead of weeping with a loud voice,* as many of the Priests and Levites did, Ezra iii. 12. or building, or repairing of it with all alacrity, as all Israel did through that whole Book, their whole endeavour and project was even to destroy the ruins, and utterly finish the work of destru∣ction which Adam had begun, as being impatient of that shelter [ F] which it would yet, if they would but give it leave, afford them. Thus that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, two sparks of that primitive sacred flame, which came from Heaven still alive and warm, though weak in them, intended by God to direct them in his will, and for ever set either as their funeral pile, or their Ordeal fire, their pu∣nishment, Page  225 [ A] or acquittal, either as their Devil, or their God, to accuse, or else excuse them, were both in their practice neg∣lected, and slighted; nay in a manner opprest and stifled. For any natural power of doing good, (God knowes) it was ut∣terly departed, and therefore this thin measure of knowledge or judgment, betwixt good and evil that was left them (which my awe to Gods sincere love of his creature makes me hope and trust he bestowed on them for some other end then only to increase [ B] their condemnation, to stand them in some stead in their lives, to restrain and keep them in from being extreamly sinful.) This, I say, they horribly rejected, and stopt their ears against that charmer in their own bosoms, and would not hear that soft voice which God had still placed within them, to upbraid their wayes, and reprove their thoughts. What a provocation this was of Gods justice, what an incentive of his wrath, may appear by that terrible promulgation of the Ten Commandments at Mount [ C] Sinai. They despised the law in their hearts where God and nature whisper'd it in calmly, insensibly, and softly, and therefore now it shall be thunder'd in their ears in words, and those boiste∣rous ones,* at which the whole mount quaked greatly, Exod. xix. 18. And in the 16.*verse, it must be usher'd with variety of dismal me∣teors upon the Mount, and the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud, so that all the people that was in the Camp trembled. Thus upon their contempt and peevishness was this manuscript put in print, this [ D] Privy Seal turned into a Proclamation, and that a dreadful one, bound and subscribed, with a Cursed is he that continues not in e∣very title of it to perform it. Mean while the matter is not altered, but only the dispensation of it. That which till then had taught men in their hearts, and had been explain'd from tradition, from Father to Son. Adam instructing Seth, and Seth Enoch in all righ∣teousness, is now put into Tables, that they may have eyes to see, that would not have hearts to understand, that the perverse may [ E] be convinced, and that he that would not before see himself bound, may find, and read himself accursed. And after all this yet is not the old law within them, either cast away or cancel'd by the promulgation of the other: for all the book is printed, the old copy is kept in archivis, though, perhaps, as it alwayes was, neg∣lected, soil'd, and moth-eaten, and he shall be censured either for ambition or curiosity, that shall ever be seen to enquire, or look after it. Still I say, throughout all their wayes, and arts, [ F] and methods of rebellions, it twing'd, and prick't within, as Gods judgments attended them without, and as often as sword, or plague wounded them, made them acknowledge the justice of God, that thus rewarded their perversness. Nay you shall see it some∣times break out against them, when perhaps the written law spake too softly for them to be understood. Thus did DavidsPage  226 heart smite him when he had numbred the people; though there [ A] was no direct commandment against mustering or enolment, yet his own conscience told him that he had done it either for distrust, or for ostentation,* and that he had sinned against God in trusting and glorying in that arm of flesh, or paid not the tribute appoint∣ed by God on that occasion. To conclude this discourse of the Jews, every rebellion and idolatry of theirs was a double breach, of a double law, the one in tables, the other in their heart; and could they have been freed from the killing letter of the one, the [ B] wounding sense of the other would still have kept them bound, as may appear in that business of crucifying Christ, where no humane law-giver or magistrate went about to deter them from shedding his blood, or denying his miracles, yet many of their own hearts apprehended, and violently buffetted, and scourged, and tor∣mented them. At one time when they are most resolved against him, the whole Senate is suddenly pricked, and convinced within, and express it with a Surely this man doth many miracles,* John xi. 48. [ C] At another time at the top and complement of the business, Pilate is deterr'd from condemning, and though the fear of the people made him valiant, yet, as if he contemn'd this voice of his consci∣ence against his will, with some reluctance, he washes his hands when he would have been gladder to quench the fire in his heart, which still burnt and vext him. Lastly, when Judas had betray'd and sold him, and no man made huy and cry after him, his con∣science was his pursuer, judge, and executioner, persecuted him [ D] out of the world, haunted him, would not suffer him to live, whom otherwise the law of the Country would have reprived, till a natu∣ral death had called for him.

Lastly, even we Christians are not likely to clear our selves of this bill; 'tis much to be feared, that if our own hearts are called to witness,* our Judge will need no farther Indictments. 'Twas an Heathen speech concerning this rule of our lives and actions, that to study it hard, to reform and repair all obliquities and de∣fects [ E] in it, and then 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to set it up strong and firm as a pillar in our hearts, was the part and office of a Philosopher; and then af∣terwards to make use of it in our whole conversation, this was the part of a vertuous man complete and absolute. And how then will our contempt be aggravated, if Christianity, which Clemens calls spiritual Philosophy, and is to be reckoned above all moral per∣fections, hath yet wrought neither of these effects in us? if we have continued so far from straightning, or setting up, or making [ F] use of this rule, that we have not so much as ever enquired or mark't whether there be any such thing left within us or no? The∣odoret in his second 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.* is very passionate in the expression of this contempt of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the light of truth shining in our understandings. There be a sort of birds, saith he, Page  227 [ A] that flie or move only in the night, called from thence Night-birds, and Night-ravens, which are afraid of light, as either an enemy to spy, to assault, or betray them; but salute, and court, and make love to darkness as their only Queen, and Mistress of their acti∣ons, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as a creature sent on purpose to preserve them: and these, saith he, deserve not to be child but pitied, for nature at first appointed them this condition of life, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, 'tis their birth∣right and inheritance, and therefore no body will be angry with [ B] them for living on it: 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c. But for them who were made creatures of light, and, had it not been for their wil∣fulness, had still continued light in the Lord, who are altogether encompast and environed with light, light of nature, light of rea∣son, light of religion, nay, the most glorious asterism, or con∣junction of lights in the world, the light of the Gospel to walk in; for these men meerly out of perversness of wilful hearts, to hate and abjure, and defie this light, to run out of the world almost [ C] for fear of it; to be for ever a solliciting and worshipping of darkness,* as Socrates was said to adore the clouds, this is such a sottishness, that the stupidst element under Heaven would natural∣ly scorn to be guilty of: for never was the Earth so peevish, as to forbid the Sun when it should shine on it, or to slink away, or sub∣duce it self from its rayes. And yet this is our case, beloved, who do more amorously, and flatteringly court, and woo, and solli∣cite darkness, then ever the Heathens adored the Sun. Not to [ D] wander out of the sphere my Text hath placed me in, to shew how the light of the Gospel and Christianity is neglected by us, our guilt will lie heavy enough on us, if we keep us to the light only of natural reason within us. How many sins do we daily commit, which both nature and reason abhor and loath? How many times do we not only unman, but even uncreature our selves? Aristotle observes, that that by which any thing is known first, that which doth distinguish one thing from another à priore,*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, [ E] is to be called the beginning or cause of that thing, and that the light of reason distinguishing one action from another, being the first thing that teaches me that this is good, that otherwise may from thence be termed the beginning of every reasonable action in us, and then where ever this cause or beginning is left out, and want∣ing, there the thing produced is not so called a positive act, or proper effect, but a defect, an abortion, or still-born frustrate issue; and of this condition indeed is every sin in us. Every acti∣on [ F] where this law within us is neglected, is not truly an action, but a passion, a suffering or a torment of the creature. Thus do we not so much live and walk, which note some action, as lie entranced, asleep, nay, dead in sin; by this perversness 'tis perpetual night with us, nay, we even die daily; our whole life is but a multiply∣ed swoon or lethargie, in which we remain stupid, breathless, Page  228 sensless, till the day of death or judgment with a hideous voice [ A] affrights and rouses us, and we find our selves awake in Hell; and so our dark souls having a long while groped wilfully in the Sun, are at last lead to an everlasting, inevitable darkness, whither the mercy or rayes of the Sun can never pierce; where it will be no small accession to our torment, to remember and tremble at that light which before we scorn'd. Thus, I say, do we in a manner uncreate our selves, and by the contempt of this law of our crea∣tion, even frustrate and bring to nothing our creation it self, and [ B] this is chiefly by sins of sloth, and stupid, sluggish, unactive vices, which, as I said, make our whole life a continued passion, never daring, or venturing, or attempting to act or do any thing in Church or Commonwealth, either toward God or our Neigh∣bour; and of such a condition'd man no body will be so chari∣table as to guess he hath any soul, or light of reason in him, be∣cause he is so far from making use of it, unless it be such a soul as Tully saith a Swine hath, which serves it only instead of salt, to [ C] keep it from stinking. For 'tis Aristotles observation, that eve∣ry one of the elements,* besides the earth, was by some Philosopher or other defin'd to be the soul. Some said the soul was fire, some that 'twas air, some water, but never any man was so mad, as to maintain the earth to be it, because 'twas so heavy and unweildy. So then this heavy, motionless, unactive Christian, this clod of earth, hath, as I said, uncreatured himself, and by contemning this active reason within him, even deprived himself of his soul. [ D] Again, how ordinary a thing is it to unman our selves by this con∣tempt of the directions of reason, by doing things that no man in his right mind would ever have patience to think of? Beloved, to pass by those which we call unnatural sins, 1. so in the highest de∣gree, as too horrid for our nature, set down in the latter end of this Chapter, for all Christian ears to glow and tingle at, and I had hoped for all English spirits to abhor and loath. To pass these (I say) our whole life almost affords minutely sins which [ E] would not argue us men, but some other creatures. There be few things we do in our Age, which are proper peculiar acts of men; one man gives himself to eating and drinking, and bestows his whole care on that one faculty which they call the vegetative grow∣ing faculty;* and then what difference is there betwixt him and a tree, whose whole nature it is to feed and grow? Certainly un∣less he hath some better imployment, he is at best but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a plant-animal, whose shape would perhaps persuade you that it [ F] hath some sense or soul in it, but its actions betray it to be a meer plant, little better then an Artichoak or Cabbage: another goes a little higher, yet not far, doth all that his sense presents to him, suffers all that his sensitive faculties lust, and rage to exercise at freedom; is as fierce as the Tyger, as lustful as the Goat, as rave∣nous Page  229 [ A] as the Wolf, and the like: and all the beasts of the field, and fowls of the air, be but several Emblemes, and Hieroglyphicks con∣curring to make up his character, carries a wilderness about him, as many sins as the nature of a sensitive creature is capable of: and then who will stick to compare this man to the beasts that perish? For 'tis Theophilus his note,* that the cattle and beasts of the field were created the same day with man,*Gen. i. 25. to note, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the brutish condition of some men, and that therefore the [ B] blessing was not bestowed on them, but reserved for the man which should have the dominion over them,* verse 26, 28. In sum, every action which Reason, or Scripture, or Gods spirit guides not in us, is to be called the work of some other creature of one of these three sorts; either earthly, the work of a plant, or sensual, the work of a brute, or thirdly,* above the condition of both these, devillish. Thus do you see the sin of the contempt of the light of nature, which although it be dimm'd in us by our corruption, yet [ C] shined so bright in the Heathen, that they were left without ex∣cuse; in the Jews, that even their own hearts accused them for their rebellions; and in us Christians, that unless we move accord∣ing to its directions, we are fallen below the condition of men, almost of creatures. 'Twere now superfluous farther to demon∣strate it, our time will be better spent if we close with some use of it; and that will prove manifold, 1. by way of caution, not to deifie or exalt too high, or trust in this light of nature. It was [ D] once a perfect glorius rule, but is now distorted and defaced; it once was light in the Lord, almost an Angel of light, it shone as the Sun in the Firmament, in majesty and full brightness, but is now only as the Moon, pale and dim, scarce able to do us any service, unless it borrows some rays from the Sun of Righteous∣ness. The fall hath done somewhat with it, I know not what to call it, either much impaired it, and diminisht its light in its es∣sence, or else much incumbred, or opprest it in its operations, as a [ E] candle under a vail, or lanthorn, which, though it burn, and shine as truly as on a candlestick, yet doth not so much service in enlight∣ning the room: the soul within us is much changed, either is not in its essence so perfect, and active, and bright, as once it was; or else being infused in a sufficient perfection, is yet terribly over∣cast with a gloom and cloud of corruptions, that it can scarce find any passage to get through, and shew it self in our actions; for the corruptible body presseth down the soul, &c.* Wisd. ix. 15. And [ F] from this caution grow many lower branches, whence we may ga∣ther some fruit; as in the second place, infinitely to humble our selves before God for the first sin of Adam, which brought this darkness on our souls, and account it not the meanest, or slightest of our miseries, that our whole nature is defiled, and bruised, and weakned: to aggravate every circumstance and effect Page  230 of that sin against thy self, which has so liberaly afforded fel [ A] to the flames of lust, of rage, and wild desire, and thereby with∣out Gods gracious mercy to the flames of Hell. This is a most profitable point, yet little thought on; and therefore would de∣serve a whole Sermon to discuss to you. 3. To observe and ac∣knowledge the necessity of some brighter light, then this of nature can afford us, and with all the care and vigilancy of our hearts, all the means that Scripture will lend us, and at last with all the im∣portunities and groans, and violence of our souls, to petition and [ B] sollicit, and urge Gods illuminating spirit to break out and shine on us. To undertake to interpret any antient Author, requires, say the Grammarians, a man of deep and various knowledge, because there may be some passage or other in that book, which will refer to every sort of learning in the world, whence 'tis ob∣served that the old Scholiasts and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, were most exquisit Scho∣lars. Thus certainly will not any ordinary skill serve turn to in∣terpret and explain many dark sayings, which were at first writ∣ten [ C] in the book of our hearts, but are now almost past reading; only that omniscient Spirit, that hath no shadow of ignorance, the finger that first writ, must be beseeched to read and point out the riddle. We must make use of that rotten staffe of nature, as far as its strength will bear, and that very gingerly too, never daring to lean, or lay our whole weight upon it, lest it either wound with its splinter, or else break under us: our help and stay, and subsistence, and trust must be in the Lord, our eyes must wait on [ D] his inlightning Spirit, and never lose a ray that falls from it. Fourthly, to clear up as much as we can, and reinliven this light within us. And that first,

By stirring up and blowing, and so nourishing every spark we find within us. The least particle of fire left in a coal, may by pains be improved into a flame; 'tis held possible to restore, or at least preserve for a time any thing that is not quite departed. If thou findest but a spark of Religion in thee, which saith, A God is to [ E] be worship't, care, and edulity, and the breath of prayers, may in time by this inflame the whole man into a bright fire of Zeal to∣wards God. In brief, whatever thou dost, let not any the least atome of that fire, which thou once feelest within thee, ever go out: quench not the weakest motion, or inclination even of reason to∣wards God, or goodness: how unpolish't soever this Diamond be, yet if it do but glissen, 'tis too pretious to be cast away. And then 2. [ F]

By removing all hindrances, or incumbrances that may any way weaken or oppress it, and these you have learnt to be corrupt affections. That democracy, and croud, and press, and common people of the soul, raises a tumult in every street within us, that no voice of law or reason can be heard. If you will but dis∣gorge, Page  231 [ A] and purge the stomach, which hath been thus long op∣prest, if you will but remove this cloud of crudities, then will the brain be able to send some rayes down to the heart, which till then are sure to be caught up by the way, anticipated, and de∣voured. For the naked simplicity of the soul, the absence of all disordered passions is that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* saith Aphro∣diseus, that kindly familiar good temper of the soul, by which it is able to find out and judge of truth. In brief, if thou canst [ B] crop thy luxuriant passions, if thou canst either expel, or tame all the wild beasts within thee, which are born to devour any thing which is weak or innocent, then will that mild voice with∣in thee, in the cave, take heart and shew it self. In the mean time this hurry of thy senses drowns that reason, and thou canst not hope to see, as long as like old Tobit, the dung, and white film doth remain upon thine eyes. If thou canst use any means to dissolve this dung of affections which an habit of sin hath baked [ C] within thee, the scales will fall off from thine eyes, and the blind Tobit shall be restored to his sight. In brief, do but fortifie thy reasonable soul against all the undermining, and faction, and violence of these sensual passions, do but either depose, or put to the sword that Atheistical Tyrant, and Usurper, as Iamblichus calls the affections, do but set reason in the chair, and hear, and observe his dictates, and thou hast disburthened thy self of a great company of weights, and pressures: thou wilt be able to look more [ D] like a man, to hold thy head more couragiously, and bend thy thoughts more resolutely toward Heaven: and I shall expect, and hope, and pray, and almost be confident, that if thou dost perform sincerely what thy own soul prompts thee to, Gods spirit is nigh at hand to perfect, and crown, and seal thee up to the day of redemption.

In the next place, thou maist see thine own guilts the clearer, call thy self to an account even of those things which thou thinkest [ E] thou art freest from; that which the Apostle in this chapter and part of my discourse hath charged the Heathens with: and if thou lookest narrowly, I am afraid thou wilt spy thine own picture in that glass, and find thy self in many things as arrant a Gentile, as any of them. For any sincere care of God, or Religion, how few of us are there, that ever entertained so unpleasant a guest in their hearts: we go to Church, and so did they to their Temples: we pray, and they sacrificed; they washed and bathed themselves [ F] before they durst approach their deities, and we come in our best cloths, and cleanest linen; but for any farther real service we mean towards God there, for any inward purity of the heart, for any sincere worship of our soul, we are as guiltless, as free from it, we do as much contemn, and scorn it, as ever did any Heathen. Again, what man of us is not in some kind guilty even Page  232 of their highest crime Idolatry? Some of them took the brain [ A] to be sacred, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, saith Athenaeus; and therefore hear∣ing some cry God help when one sneezed, the ignorant sort wor∣shipt that noise as an expression of a Deity in the brain; and so as senslesly many of us deify our own brains, and adore every thing that ever comes out of them. Every conceit of ours must be like the birth of Jupiters brain, a Minerva at least; be we never so ignorant or mechanical, every device, every fancie of our own (especially in matters of Religion) is straight of Divine Authori∣ty; [ B] and having resolved our selves the children of God, every cro∣chet we fall upon, must be necessarily Theopneust, and inspired, and others accused for irreligious, or singular, that will not as soon give homage to it. In sum, every imagination becomes an Image, and the Artificer deifies his own handy-work, forgetting that he made it as 'tis described in the 13. of Wisd.* toward the end, and this is one kind of Idolatry. Again who is there that hath not some pleasure in his heart, which takes place of God there? They had [ C] their Sun and Moon most glorious creatures, their Heroes, whose vertues had even deified their memory, and silly men they ad∣mired, and could not choose but worship. The Devil, and a humor of superstition customary in them, fee'd and bribed the law in their hearts to hold its peace, and not recall them. But how basely have we out-gone their vilest worships? How have we outstript them? Let but one appearance of gain like that gol∣den calf of the Israelites, a beautiful woman, like that Venus of the [ D] Heathens, nay in brief, what ever Image, or representation of de∣light thy own lust can propose thee, let it but glance, or glide by thee, and Quis non incurvavit? Shew me a man that hath not at some time or other faln down and worshipt. In sum, all the low∣er part of the soul, or carnal affections are but a picture of the Ci∣ty of Athens, Acts xvii. 16.*Wholly given to Idolatry. The basest, unworthiest pleasure or content in the world, that which is good for nothing else,* the very refuse of the refuse, Wisd. xiii. 13. is be∣come [ E] an Idol, and hath its shrines in some heart or other: and we crouch and bow, and sacrifice to it, and all this against the voice of our soul, and nature within us, if we would suffer it to speak aloud, or but hearken to its whisperings: 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, saith Philoponus,*Nature only bids us feed our selves with suffi∣cient, lust brought in superfluity and pleasure. But this only by the way, lest you might think that part of my Sermon concerning the Heathens contempt of this law, did belong little to you, and so [ F] might have been spared.

Lastly, not to lade every part of my former discourse with its several use, or application, take but this one more. If this Light shines but dimly within us, then let us so much the more not dare contemn it. That Master that speaks but seldom, then surely de∣serves Page  233 [ A] to be obeyed; he that is flow in his reproofs, certainly hath good reason when he falls foul with any body. If Craesus his dumb son in Herodotus,* seeing one come to kill his father, shall by vio∣lence break the string of his tongue that formerly hindred his speech, and he that never spake before roar out an 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Sir kill not Craesus, I wonder not that the Persian held his hand: a very Barbarian would be amazed, and stopt by such a prodigy; it must needs be an odious thing when the child [ B] which can scarce speak expresses indignation. Wherefore if ever our bestial soul, that of our sense, shall seduce us to any thing that our manly soul, that of our reason, which is now somewhat decre∣pit, and dim-sighted, shall yet espy and find fault with: if in any enterprize this natural law within us shall give the check, let us sud∣denly remove our project, and not dare to reject such fatherly, sage admonishments; if all the means in the world can help to a∣void it, let us never fall into the snare. And if at thy audit with [ C] thy own soul, and examination of thy self, amongst the root of thy customary ignorant sins, (and O Lord deliver me from my secret faults) if in that heap and chaos, thy own heart can pick out many of this nature, and present them to thee, which it before forewarn∣ed thee of; then let the saltest, most briny tear in thy heart be called out to wash off this guilt: let the saddest mortified thought thou canst strain for be accounted but a poor unproportionable ex∣piation. Think of this seriously, and if all this will nothing move [ D] you, I cannot hope that any farther Rhetorick, if I had it to spare, would do any good upon you. Only I will try one suasory more, which being somewhat rough may chance to frighten you, and that is the punishment that here expects this contempt, and that a dis∣mal hideous one, all the wild savage devourers in the wilderness, Vile affections, which punishment together with the inflicter, and manner of inflicting it, are the last parts of my discourse, of which together in a word. God gave them up to vile affections.

[ E] A punishment indeed; and all the Fiends of Hell could not in∣vent, or wish a man a greater: there is not a more certain presage of a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or total subversion of body and soul, nor a more desperate prognostick in the world.* 'Tis observed in Photius, as a sure token that Jerusalem should be destroyed, because pu∣nishment came upon it in a chain, every link drew on another, no intermission, or discontinuance of judgments, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c. A single judgment that brings no train after it is cheap∣ly [ F] entertained, and is therefore called not a calamity, but a vi∣sitation: but when one plague shall invade, shall supplant another, when the pestilence shall fright out the famine, and the sword pur∣sue the pestilence, that neither may slay all, but each joyn in the glory of the spoyl: then must the beholder acknowledge 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that God is resolved to make them the scene of his rage,Page  234 not only of his wrath. Thus also in the spiritual 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 of the estate [ A] of the soul, some sins may be suffered to invade us, and stick as did the Amorites, to goad our sides, not destroy, but humble us. But when sins shall come like gaol birds linked, and chained together, when our corruptions, and insolent tyrannical passions shall make us contemn the light and law of reason, and nature; when that con∣tempt shall bring forth Idolatry, and the like, either worship of Idol∣gods, or vain conceits, or imaginary delights, every lust of our ba∣ser soul, then can it not be expected that God will have so little to [ B] do, as to take any more care of us, that he will have so much mer∣cy as even to punish us any longer.* The next voice that we can expect, is that horrible mercy of his, Why should you be smitten any more? Any restraint either of chastisement, or instruction would be scarce seen upon us, and therefore 'tis but lost labour to beat the air, or to lay stripes upon the sea with Xerxes. The height of Gods wrath in this world, is but our just reward, and that is di∣sertion, or dereliction, and giving us over, and giving us up, which [ C] will suddenly bring us to that which our corrupt nature posts after, all vile affections.

The issue of all is this; that those that contemn Gods ordinary restraints, God ordinarily leaves to themselves, and suffers them to run into most horrible sins. 'Tis justice that they which delight in errour, should be let alone in their course, that they may see and acknowledge the errour of their delight, that they which have contemned Gods voice, and natures within them, should be for∣saken [ D] and left without either, ungodly, unnatural; that they which lul'd their reasonable soul into a lethargie, for fear it should awake them, or disturb their delights, should not have life enough without it, ever to awake or rouse themselves or it; that they which have maliciously, and contemptuously put out the Sun, should for ever suffer a continued night.* 'Tis Hippoer. his ob∣servation that the Africans are very libidinous: they are neither hardy nor valiant, nor laborious, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Lust hath [ E] so effeminated them, that they are fit for nothing, but for softness: and therefore saith he, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, there be among them beasts of all sorts of strange shapes, the heat and vio∣lence of the same lust makes the very beasts unnatural, the con∣fusion of species is ordinary among them; and so almost every birth a Monster: nature is almost lost amongst them, and many beasts may be found in Africk, which never had any of their kind in the Ark; Africa semper aliquod apportat novi, whosoever hath [ F] a mind to a strange sight, there he shall have store of them. Thus is it in the soul, if the upper, the manly part of it be overswell'd with lust, it straight becomes effeminate, and ener∣vate, hath neither strength, nor sinews, nor courage for any undertaking: and then the beasts of the field, the lower, baser, Page  235 [ A] sensual faculties of the soul are not only lusty, but outragious, having no keeper to govern them, they become wilde: scorn any limits, or bounds of nature, do every day conceive horrid, un∣natural, vile imaginations, and every season grow big, and bring forth Monsters, monstrous oaths, monstrous delights, monstrous vanities. Some new art or trick of sinning that was never heard of before, is invented against every solemn season of our jollity, and this we carry about, and shew, and brag of as a new creature, [ B] or strange sight, and get a great deal of applause, and admiration, and perhaps some money by the employment. 'Twere too long to point out the several sorts of these vile affections, which con∣tempt of this light hath produced in every one of us; only let us strive, and strain, and stretch the eyes that are left us to examine, and observe, every degree and Symptome, and prognostick of them in our selves, and never leave poring till we have pierced through that carnal security that blinded us, and fully humble [ C] our selves in a sense of that desperate estate, and almost the hell that we are fain blindfold into. And if we are still blinded, still unable to see, or move, or relieve our selves, let us then lay hold of the next post or pillar we meet with, and there fix and dwell and weep, and pray, to that omnipotent Physician of our souls, that Restorer of reasonable creatures, that he will by some spiritual eye water, recover us to that sense. 'Tis impossible saith Tobias, for any one to restore us to the Image of the Father which was once on [ D] us,* but him only who was the eternal Image of the Father, he only could 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, turn out that unreasonable blind soul within us, made up of our sins which move us, and reduce us to the dignity of reasonable creatures. He hath already by his incarnation, delivered us from one long night, the dark gloom of our heathen Ancestors, O that he would be born again spiritually in our souls, to deliver us from other more Cimerian darkness, the night, and hell of habituate sin, wherein we [ E] grope. He once breathed on us the breath of life to make us men, O that he would again but breath on us the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, His holy breath, his hallowing breath, his breath of holiness to make us Saints. It is he that must prevent us with his Spirit, or else we run headlong into all vile affections.

O that he would but Sanctifie us, and then the most plausi∣ble flattering sin in the world, nay, the most boystrous, impetuous lust, should not be able to tyrannize over us. In [ F] the mean time, let us remain men till it shall please that free voice to call us into Saints. Grace is never placed but in a rea∣sonable creature; and is therefore said to be sent to make reason see, what by nature only it cannot, never to blemish it in what it can comprehend, as the Learned Bishop hath ob∣served against the Jesuit. Let us make much of all the light Page  236 that nature and reason will afford us, let us not suffer one precious [ A] ray to be cast away upon us, but improve it to the extent of its virtue, for the direction of our lives. And whensoever this light shall fail that it cannot guide us, or our eyes dazle that we cannot follow, let us pray to the father of lights, and God of Spirits, that he will shine spiritually in our hearts, and fulfill us with his light of grace here, which may enable us to behold him, and enjoy him, and rejoyce with him, and be satisfied with that eternal light of his Glory hereafter. [ B]

Now to him which hath elected us, hath created, redeemed, &c.