Sermons preached by ... Henry Hammond.
Hammond, Henry, 1605-1660.
Page  33

The III. Sermon.


PROV. i. 22.
How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity?

THat Christ is the best, and Satan the worst chosen Master, is one of the weightiest, and least con∣sidered Aphorisms of the Gospel. Were we but so just and kind to our selves, as actually to pur∣sue [ D] what upon judgment should appear to be most for our interests, even in relation to this present life: And (without making Heaven the principle of our motion) but only think never the worse of a worldly temporary bliss, not quar∣rel against it for being attended with an eternal: Were we but pa∣tient of so much sobriety and consideration, as calmly to weigh and ponder what course, in all probability, were most likely to befriend and oblige us here, to make good its promise of helping us to the [ E] richest acquisitions, the vastest possessions and treasures of this life, I am confident our Christ might carry it from all the World besides, our Saviour from all the tempters and destroyers; and (besides so many other considerable advantages) this superlative transcendent one, of giving us the only right to the reputation and title of Wisdom here in these Books, be acknowledged the Christians, i. e. the Disciples mono∣poly and inclosure: And Folly, the due brand and reproach and por∣tion of the ungodly.

[ F] The wisest Man, beside Christ, that was ever in the World, you may see by the Text, had this notion of it, brings in Wisdom by a pro∣sopopaeia (i. e. either Christ himself, or the saving doctrine of Heaven, in order to the regulating of our lives, or again, Wisdom in the ordinary notion of it) libelling and reproaching the folly of all the sorts of sin∣ners in the World, posting from the [without in the streets] Vers. 10. Page  34 to the Assemblies of the greatest renown [the chief place of concourse,] [ A] i. e. Clearly their Sanhedrim, or great Council in the 21. from thence to the places of judicature; for that is [the openings of the gates] nay, to [the City] 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the Metropolis and glory of the Nation; and crying out most passionately, and bitterly against all in the loudest language of contumely & satyr, that ever Pasquin or Marforius were taught to speak: And the short of it is, That the pious Christian is the only tolerable wise; and the World of unchristian sinners, are a company of the most wretched, simple Atheistical fools, which cannot [ B] be thought on, without a Passion and Inculcation, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And ye scorners, &c.

The first part of this Verse, though it be the cleanest of three expressions, hath yet in it abundantly enough of rudeness, for an ad∣dress to any civil Auditory: I shall therefore contain my discourse within those stanchest limits, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And in them observe only these three particulars. [ C]

1. The character of the ungodly mans condition, contained in these two expressions, Simple ones, and simplicity; How long, ye sim∣ple, &c.

2. The aggravation of the simplicity, and so heightning of the character, and that by two farther considerations.

First, From their loving of that which was so unlovely, That they should be so simple as to love simplicity.

Secondly, From their continuance in it, that they should not at [ D] length discern their error, That they should love simplicity so long.

3. The passion that it produceth in the speaker (be it Wisdom, or be it Christ, or be it Solomon) to consider it; and that passion, whe∣ther of pity, That men should be such fools; or of indignation, That they should love and delight in it so long. How long &c.

I begin first with the first, The character of sin and sinners, i. e. Of the ungodly mans condition, contained in these two expressions: Simple ones, and simplicity. How, &c. [ E]

Four notions we may have of these words, which will all be ap∣pliable to this purpose: You shall see them as they rise.

First, As the calling one simple, is a word of reproach, or con∣tumely; the very same with the calling one 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Matth. v. i. e. Empty, brainless person, the next degree to the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or thou fool, in the end of that and this Verse. And then the thing that we are to observe from thence, is, What a reproachful thing an unchristian life [ F] is: what a contumelious, scandalous quality.

A reproach to Nature first, to our humane kind, which was an honorable reverend thing in Paradise, before sin came in to humble & defame it; a solemn, severe Law-giver,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in Clemens; the Systeme or Pandect of all Rational notions, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Page  35 [ A] that either likes or commends all that now Christ requires of us, bears witness to the Word of God that all his Commandments are righte∣ous; and so is by our unnatural sins, those 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ignoble disho∣nourable affections of ours (which have coupled together Sins and Kennels, Adulterers & Dogs, Rev. xxii. 15.) put to shame and rebuke, dishonoured and degraded, as it were. Not all the ugliness and poison of the toad, hath so deformed that kind of creatures, brought it so low in genere entium, as the deformed malignantcondition of sin hath [ B] brought down the very nature and kind of men, making them 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the children, i. e. the objects of all the wrath, and hatred in the World.

2. A reproach to our Souls, those immortal vital Creatures in∣spir'd into us by Heaven, and now raised higher, superinspir'd by the Grace of Christ; which are then as Mezentius's invention of punish∣ment, bound up close with a Carcase of Sin, tormented and poisoned with its stench, buried in that noysomest Vault, or Carnel-house. [ C] 'Twas an admirable golden saying of the Pythagoreans, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, what a restraint of sin it would be, if a man would remember the reverence he ought unto himself, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, was their own explication of it; the Soul within thee is that self to whom all that dread and awe, and reverence is due. And O what an impu∣dent affront, whatan irreverential prophaning of that sacred Celestial Beam within thee (that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as the Philosophers call it) is every paultry Oath, or Rage, or Lust, that the secure sinner is so mi∣nutely [ D] guilty of! Every sin, say the Schools, being in this respect a kind of Idolatry, an incurvation and prostitution of that Heavenly Creatute (ordain'd to have nothing but Divinity in its prospect) to the meanest, vilest Heathen Worship, the Crocodile, the Cat, the Scarabee, the Dii Stercorii, the most noysome abominations under Heaven.

3. A reproach to God, who hath owned such scandalous Crea∣tures, hath placed us in a degree of Divinity next unto Angels, nay [ E] to Christ, that by assuming that nature, and dying for it, hath made it emulate the Angelical Eminence, & been in a manner liable to the censure of partiality in so doing; in advancing us so unwor∣thy, dignifying us so beyond the merit of our behaviours, honouring us so unproportionably above what our actions can own, Whilst those that are in scarlet embrace the dunghill,* as it is in the Lamentations, those that are honoured by God, act so dishonourably. 'Twas Plato's affirma∣tion of God in respect of men, that he was a Father, when of all other [ F] Creatures he was but a Maker; and 'tis Arrian's superstruction on that,* that remembring that we are the Sons of God, we should never admit any base degenerous thought, any thing reproachful to that stock, unworthy of the grandeur of the Family from whence we are extracted: If we do, it will be more possible for us to prophane, and embase Heaven, than for the reputation of that Parentage of ours Page  36 to ennoble us: the scandal that such a degenerous, disingenuous Pro∣geny [ A] will bring on the house from whence we came, is a kind of Sa∣crilege to Heaven, a violation to those sacred mansions, a proclaim∣ing to the World what colonies of polluted Creatures came down from thence, though there be a nulla retrorsum, no liberty for any such to return thither.

Lastly, 'Tis a reproach to the very Beasts, and the rest of the Creation which are designed by God, the servants and slaves of sinful Man; which may justly take up the language of the slave to his viti∣ous [ B] Master in the Satyrist, Tune mihi Dominus? Art thou my Lord, who art so far a viler Bondslave, than those over whom thou tyran∣nizest? a slave to thy Passion, thy Lust, thy Fiends, who hast so far dethroned thy self, that the beast becomes more beast when it re∣members thee to have any degree of soverainty over it.

Put these four Notions together, and 'twill give you a view of the first intimation of this Text, the baseness and reproachfulness of the sinners course: and unless he be the most abject, wretchless, for∣lorn [ C] sot in the whole Creation, unless he be turned all into earth, or phlegm; if he hath in his whole Composition, one spark of Ambition, of Emulation, of ordinary sense of Honour; the least warmth of Spirit; impatience of being, the only degenerous wretch of the earth now, and of Hell to all Eternity; if he be not absolutely arriv'd to Arrian's 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* (his practical as well as judica∣tive faculty, quite quarr'd and petrifi'd within him) to that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the Gospel,* that direct ferity and brutality, in comparison of which, [ D] the most crest-faln numness, palsie or lethargy of Soul, were Dignity and Preferment; if he be not, all that is deplorable already, & owned to be so for ever; he will certainly give one vital spring, one last plunge, to recover some part of the Honour and Dignity of his Crea∣tion; break off that course that hath so debased him, precipitated him into such an abyss of filth and shame, if it be but in pity to the Nature, the Soul, the God, the whole Creation about him; that like the seven importunate Women,* Isai. iv. 1. lay hold on this one insensate person [ E] in the eager clamorous style of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉take away our reproach. And let that serve for a first part of the Sinners Character, the consideration of his reproachful, scandalous offensive state, which might in all reason work some degree of good on him, in the firstplace.

A second Notion of this Phrase, and degree of this Character, is the giddiness and unadvisedness of the Sinners Course; as simplicity ordinarily signifies senselesness, precipitousness, as Trismegistus defines it 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a species of madness in one place, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a kind of [ F] drunkenness in another, a wild irrational acting, and this doth express it self in our furious mischieving our selves, in doing all quite con∣trary unto our own ends, our own aims, our own principles of action: and this you will see most visible in the particulars, in every motion, every turn of the sinners life. As

Page  37 [ A] 1. In his malices, wherein he breaths forth such Aetna's of flames a∣gainst others, you may generally mark it he hurts neither God nor man but only himself. In every such hellish breathing, all that malignity of his cannot reach God, he is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, untemptable by evil in this other sence, I mean impenetrable by his malice: All that was shot up towards God, comes down immediately on the sinners own head; and for the Man against whom he is enraged, whose blood he thirsts after, whose ruine he desires, he does him the greatest cour∣tesie [ B] in the World, he is but blest by those curses; that honourable blissful estate that belongs to all poor persecuted Saints, (and conse∣quently the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, matter of joy and exultation) is hereby become his portion; and that is the reason he is advised to do good to him by way of gratitude, to make returns of all civility and ac∣knowledgments, not as to an Enemy, but a benefactor, to bless and pray for him by whom he hath been thus obliged: Only this raving mad man's own Soul is that against which all these blows and ma∣lices [ C] rebound; the only true sufferer all this while: First, in the very meditating and designing the malice, all which space he lives not the life, but the Hell of a Fiend or Devil (that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that enemy∣man, as he is called) his names-sake, and parallel: And again secondly in the executing of it; that being one of the basest, and most disho∣nourable imployments; that of an 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, an Angel or Officer of Satan's, (to buffet some precious Image of God) which is to that purpose fill'd out of Satan's fulness, swoln with all the venemous hu∣mour [ D] that that fountain can afford to furnish and accommodate him for this enterprise. And then lastly, After the satiating of his wrath, a bloated, guilty, unhappy Creature, one that hath fed at the Devils table, swill'd and glutted himself in blood, and now betrays it all in his looks and complexion. And as in our malices, so, Secondly, in our loves, in our softer as well as our rougher passions, we generally drive quite contrary to our own ends and interests; and if we obtain, we find it experimentally, the enjoyment of what we pursue most ve∣hemently, [ E] proves not only unsatisfactory, but grating, hath to the va∣nity, the addition of vexation also; not only the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, no manner of fruit, then at the point of enjoying, an empty paultry no∣thing, but over and above the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, shame, and perturbation of mind (the gripings and tormina of a confounded Conscience) im∣mediately consequent; and 'twould even grieve an enemy to hear the Apostle go on to the dear payment at the close, for this sad nothing, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ex abundanti, and over and above the end of those [ F] things, is death. And oh what a simplicity is this! Thus to seek out emptiness and death, when we think we are on one of our advantagi∣ous pursuits, in this Errour of our ways, as the Wise man calls it, is sure a most prodigious mistake, a most unfortunate errour; and to have been guilty of it more than once, the most unpardonable simplicity.

Page  38 From our loves proceeding to our hopes, which if it be any but [ A] the Christian hope,* than this hope on him, 1 Joh. iii. 3. i. e. hope on God, and that joyned with purifying, it is in plain terms the greatest con∣trariety to it self, the perfectest desperateness; and for secular hopes the expectation of good, of advantages from this or that staff of Egypt, the depending on this, whether prophane, or but ordinary innocent auxiliary, 'tis the forfeiting all our pretensions to that great aid of Heaven (as they say the Loadstone draweth not, when the Adamant is near) 'tis the taking us off from our grand trust and dependance, [ B] setting us up independent from God; and that must needs be the blasting of all our enterprises; that even lawful aid of the Creature, if it be looked on with any confidence as our helper, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Rom. i. beside, or in separation from the Creator, is (and God is en∣gaged in honour, that it should be) struck presently from Heaven, eaten up with worms like Herod, when once its good qualities are deified: broken to pieces with the brazen Serpent, burnt and stampt to powder with the golden Calf:* and the strong shall be as tow, Isa. i. 31. [ C] the fals Idol strength is but a prize for a flash of lightning to prey on. And as St. Paul and Barnabas are fain to run in a passion upon the multitude that meant to do them Worship, with a Men and Bre∣thren, &c. and the very Angel to St. John,* in Rev. xxii. when he fell down before him; vide ne feceris, see thou do it not; for fear if he had been so mistaken by him, he might have forfeited his Angelical estate by that unluckiness; so certainly the most honourable promising earthly help, if it be once looked on with a confidence, or an adora∣tion; [ D] if it steal off our eyes and hearts one minute from that sole wait∣ing and looking on God; 'tis presently to expect a being thunder∣struck from Heaven, as hath been most constantly visible among us; and that is all we get by this piece of simplicity also.

And it were well when our worldly hopes have proved thus little to our advantage; our worldly fears in the next place, might bring us in more profit. But alas! that passionate perturbation of our facul∣ties stands us in no stead, but to hasten and bring our fears upon us, by [ E] precipitating them sometimes, casting our selves into that abyss which we look on with such horror, running out to meet that danger which we would avoid so vehemently; sometimes dispiriting and depriving us of all those succours which were present to our rescue;* the passion most treacherosly betraying the aids which reason, if it had been al∣lowed admission, was ready to have offered; but perpetually antici∣pating that misery, which is the thing we fear, the terror it self being greater disease sometimes, constantly a greater reproach and con∣tumely [ F] to a Masculine Spirit, than any of the evils we are so industri∣ous to avoid. 'Tis not a matter of any kind of evil report, really to have suffered, to have been squeez'd to atomes by an unremediable evil, especially if it be for well-doing; but to have been sick of the fright, to have lavish'd our constancy, courage, conscience, and all, Page  [unnumbered]Page  [unnumbered]Page  39 [ A] an Indian sacrifice to a Sprite or Mormo, ne noceat, to escape not a real evil, but only an apprehension, or terror; this is a piece of the most destructive wariness, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the greatest simplicity that can be.

I shall not enlarge the prospect any further, as easily I might, to our Unchristian Joyes, that do so dissolve, our Unchristian Sorrows, that do so contract and shrivel up the Soul; (and then as Themison, and his old sect of Methodists resolv'd, that the laxum and strictum, the immo∣derate [ B] dissolution or constipation, were the principles and originals of all diseases in the World, so it will be likely to prove in our spiritu∣al estate also:) nor again to our heathenish 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, rejoycing at the Mischiefs of other men; (which directly transform us into fiends and furies, and reak no malice on any but our selves, leave us a wasted, wounded, prostitute, harrast Conscience, to tire and gnaw upon its own bowels, and nothing else.) I have exercised you too long with so trivial a subject, such an easie every days demonstration, [ C] the wicked mans contradictions to all his aims, his acting quite con∣trary to his very designs, a second branch of his Character, a second degree and advancement of his simplicity.

The Third notion of Simplicity, is that of the Idiot, the Natural, as we call him, he that hath some eminent failing in his intellectuals, the laesum principium, the pitcher or wheel, in that 12. of Ecclesiastes, I mean the faculty of understanding, or reason broken or wounded at the fountain or cistern; and so nothing but animal, sensitive actions to be [ D] had from him. And of this kind of imperfect Creatures, it will be perhaps worth your marking, that the principal faculty which is irre∣coverably wanting in such, and by all teaching irreparable & unim∣proveable, is the power of numbring; I mean not that of saying num∣bers by rote, (for that is but an act of sensitive memory) but that of applying them to matter, & from thence that of intellectual numbring, i. e. of comparing and measuring, judging of proportions, pondering, weighing discerning the differences of things by the power of the ju∣dicative [ E] faculty; which two, seem much more probably the propriety and difference of a man from a beast, than (that which the Philoso∣phers have fancied) the power of laughing or discoursing. To reckon and compute, is that which in men of an active clear reason, is perpe∣tually in exercising per modum actus eliciti, that naturally of its own accord, without any command or appointment of the will, pours it self out upon every object. We shall oft deprehend our selves num∣bring the panes in the Window, the sheep in the Field; measuring eve∣ry [ F] thing we come near with the eye, with the hand; singing Tunes, forming everything into some kind of metre (which are branchesstill of that faculty of numbring) when we have no kind of end or design in doing it. And this is of all things in the world, the most impossible for a meer Natural or Idiot. And so you have here the third, and that is the prime, most remarkable degree of simplicity, that the Un∣christian Page  40 fool, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, whether you render it the animal or [ A] natural man, is guilty of; that pitious laesum principium, that want of the faculty of weighing, pondering, or numbring; that weakness, or no kind of exercise of the judicative faculty, from whence all his sim∣plicity and impiety proceeds. The Hebrews have a word to signifie a wise man, which hath a near affinity with that of weighing and pon∣dering 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 which hath no difference in found from that which signifies ponderavit, whence the Shecle, the known Hebrew word is deduced, to note as the Psalmist saith, that He that is wise, [ B] will ponder things. All the folly and Unchristian Sin, comes from want of pondering; and all the Christian Wisdom, Piety, Disciple∣ship, consists in the exercise of this faculty. Whatsoever is said most honourably of Faith in Scripture, that sets it out in such a grandeur, as the greatest designer and author of all the high acts of Piety,*Heb. xi. and as the Conqueror over the World,* 1 Joh. v. 4. is clearly upon this score, as Faith is the Spiritual Wisdom, or Prudence; (for so it is best defined) and as by comparing, and proportioning, and weighing [ C] together the Promises, or the Commands, or the Terrours of the Gospel on one side, with the Promises, the Prescriptions and Ter∣rours of the World on the other, it pronounces that Hand-writing on the Wall against the latter of them, the Mene tekel upharsin. They are weighed in the balance, and found most pitifully light, in comparison of those which Christ hath to weigh against them; and so the King∣dom, the usurpt Supremacy (that they have so long pretended to in the inconsiderate simple precipitous world) is by a just judgment, [ D] torn and departed from them.

Will you begin with the Promises, and have but the patience a while to view the Scales, and when you have set the Beam Even, removed the carnal or secular prejudices (which have so possessed most of us, that we can never come to a right balancing of any thing; the beam naturally enclines still as our customary wonts & prepossessions will have it:) when, I say, you have set the beam impartially, throw but into one scale the Promises of Christ, those of his present, of his fu∣ture [ E] bliss; of present, Such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor en∣tred into the heart of man to conceive,* 1 Cor. ii. 9. prepared for them that love God, and that at the very minute of loving him (the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, referring to the manna of old; the Hebrew deduced from 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉praeparavit, and therefore described by the Author of the Book of Wisdom,* according to that literal denotation of the Hebrew, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, bread baked, as it were, and sent down ready from heaven to the true Israelite) the gust of every Christian duty, be∣ing [ F] so pleasurable and satisfactory to the palate, as it were, of our hu∣mane nature; so consonant to every rational soul, that it cannot pra∣ctise, or taste, without being truly joyed and ravished with it: and so that which was the Israelites feast, the Quails and Manna, being be∣come the Christians every day ordinary diet, you will allow that to Page  41 [ A] be of some weight or consideration, if there were nothing else but that present festival of a good conscience in the scale before you: But when to that, you have farther cast in the glory, honor, immortality, which is on arrear for that Christian in another life; that infinite, inesti∣mable weight of that glory laid before us, as the reward of the Christi∣an, for his having been content, that Christ should shew him the way to be happy here, and blessed eternally: And when that both present and future felicity is set off, and heightned by the contrary, by the [ B] indignation, and anger, and wrath, that is the portion of the Atheistical fool, and which nothing could have helped us to escape, but this only Christian Sanctuary; when the bliss of this Lazarus in Abrahams bo∣some, is thus improved by the news of the scorching of the Dives in that place of torments; and by all these together, the scale thus laded on one side, I shall then give the Devil leave to help you to what weight he can in the other scale, be it his totum hoc, all the riches and glory of the whole world (and not only that thousandth part of the [ C] least point of the Map, which is all thou canst aspire to in his service) and what is it all, but the bracteata felicitas, in Seneca;〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in Naz.* A little fictitious felicity, a little paultrey trash, that nothing but the opinion of men, hath made to differ from the most refuse stone, or dirt in the Kennel; the richest gems totally beholding to the simpli∣city and folly of men, for their reputation and value in the World. Be∣sides these, I presume the phansies expect to have liberty to throw in all the pleasures and joys, the ravishments and transportations of all the [ D] Senses; and truly, that is soon done, all the true joy that a whole age of carnality affords any man, if you but take along with it (as you can∣not chuse but do in all conscience) the satieties, & loathings, and pangs, that inseparably accompany it (the Leaven, as well as the Hony, under which, the pleasures of sin are thought to be prohibited, Levit. ii. 11.) it will make but a pitiful addition in the scales, so many pounds less than nothing, is the utmost that can be affirmed of it; and when you have fetcht out your last reserve, all the painted air, the only commo∣dity [ E] behind, that you have to throw into that scale, the reputation and honor of a gallant vain-glorious sinner, that some one fool or mad∣man, may seem to look on with some reverence; you have then the utmost of the weight that that scale is capable of; and the difference so vast betwixt them, such an inconsiderable proportion of straw, stubble to such whole Mines & Rocks of Gold and Silver, and precious Stones, that no man that is but able to deal in plain numbers (no need of Logarithms or Algebra) can mistake in the judgment, or think that [ F] there is any profit, any advantage in gaining the whole world, if ac∣companied with the least hazard or possibility of losing his own soul: And therefore the running that adventure, is the greatest idiotism, the most deplorable, woful simplicity in the World.

The same proportion would certainly be acknowledged in the se∣cond place, betwixt the commands of Christ on one side, high, rational, Page  42 venerable commands, that he that thinks not himself so strictly obliged [ A] to observe, cannot yet but revere him that brought them into the World, and deem them 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a Royal and a gallant Law, whilst all the whole Volume or Code of the Law of the Members, hath not one ingenuous dictate, one tolerable, rational proposal in it, only a deal of savage drudgery to be performed to an impure tyrant (sin and pain being of the same date in the world, and the Hebrew〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 sig∣nifying both) and the more such burthens undergone, the more mean submissions still behind; no end of the tale of Brick to one that is [ B] once engaged under such Egyptian Kiln and Task-masters.

And for the terrors in the last place, there are none but those of the Lord, that are fit to move, or to perswade any: The utmost secular fear is so much more impendent over Satan's, than God's Clients (the killing of the body, the far more frequent effect of that which had first the honor to bring death into the world: The Devil owning the title of destroyer, Abaddon, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and inflicting diseases gene∣rally on those whom he possest; and Christ, that other of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 [ C] and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the Physitian and the Saviour, that hath promises of long life annexed to some specials of his service) that if it were rea∣sonable to fear those that can kill the body, and afterwards have no more that they can do, (i. e. Are able by the utmost of their malice, and Gods permission, but to land thee safe at thy fair Haven, to give thee Heaven and bliss before thy time, instead of the many lingring deaths that this life of ours is subject to) yet there were little reason to fear or suspect the fate in Gods service, far less than in those steep [ D] precipitous paths which the Devil leads us thorow. And therefore to be thus low-bell'd with panick frights, to be thus tremblingly dis∣mayed where there is no place of fear, and to ride on intrepid on the truest dangers, as the Barbarians in America do on Guns, is a mighty disproportion of mens faculties; a strange superiority of phansie over judgment: That may well be described by a defect in the power of numbring, that discerns no difference between Ciphers and Millions, but only that the noughts are a little the blacker, and the more for∣midable. [ E] And so much for the third branch of this character.

There is yet a fourth notion of simplicity, as it is contrary to com∣mon ordinary prudence, that by which, the politician and thriving man of this world, expects to be valued, the great dexterity and managery of affairs & the business of this world; wherein let me not be thought to speak Paradoxes, if I tell you with some confidence, that the wicked man is this only impolitick fool, and the Christian generally the most dextrous, prudent, politick person in the world; and the safest Motto, [ F] that of the Virtutem violenter retine, the keeping vertue with the same violence that Heaven is to be taken with: Not that the Spirit of Christ infuses into him the subtleties and crafts of the wicked, gives him any principles, or any excuse for that greater portion of the Serpentine wisdom; but because honesty is the most gainful policy, the mok thri∣ving Page  [unnumbered]Page  [unnumbered]Page  43 [ A] thorow prudence, that will carry a man farther than any thing else. That old principle in the Mathematicks, That the right line comes speediliest to the journeys end, being in spight of Machiavel, a Maxim in Politicks also: and so will prove, till Christ shall resign and give up to Satan the oeconomy of the World. Some examples it is possible there may be of the Prosperum Scelus, the thriving of villany for a time, and so of the present advantages that may come in to us by our secular contrivances; but sure this is not the lasting course, but only [ B] an anomaly or irregularity, that cannot be thought fit to be reckoned of, in comparison of the more constant promises, the long life in a Canaan of Milk and Honey, that the Old and New Testament both have ensured upon the meek disciple.

And I think a man might venture the experiment to the testimo∣ny and tryal of these times, that have been deemed most unkind and unfavorable to such innocent Christian qualities; that those that have been most constant to the strict, stable, honest principles, have [ C] thrived far better by the equable figure, than those that have been most dexterous in changing shapes; and so are not the most unwise 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, if there were never another state of retributions, but this. Whereas it is most scandalously frequent and observable, that the great Politicians of this world are baffled and outwitted by the Pro∣vidence of Heaven; sell their most precious souls for nought, and have not the luck to get any money for them; the most unthrifty improvident Merchandise, that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉folly, Psal. xlix. 13. which the [ D] lxxii render 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, scandal; the most pitious offensive folly, the wretchedst simplicity in the World.

You would easily believe it should not stand in need of a far∣ther aggravation, and yet now you are to be presented with one in my Text, by way of heightning of the Character, and that was my second particular, that at first I promised you, made up of two far∣ther considerations; First, The loving of that which is so unlovely; secondly, The continuing in the Passion so long, How long you simple [ E] ones, will you love, &c.

First, The degree and improvement of the Atheists folly, consists in the loving of it, that he can take a delight and complacency in his way; to be patient of such a course, gainless service; such scandalous mean submissions had been reproach enough to any that had not di∣vested himself of ingenuity and innocence together, and become one of Aristotles〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Natural slaves (which if it signifie any thing, denotes the fools & simple ones in this Text, whom nature hath mark∣ed [ F] in the head for no very honorable employments.) But from this passivity in the Mines and Gallies, to attain to a joy & voluptuousness in the employment, to dread nothing but Sabbatick years and Jubiles, and with the crest-fallen slave, to disclaim nothing but liberty & manu∣mission, i. e. in effect, Innocence, and Paradise, and Bliss; to court and woo Satan for the Mansions in Hell, and the several types and prae∣ludiums Page  44 of them, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the initial pangs in this life, [ A] which he hath in his disposing, to be such a Platonick lover of stripes and chains, without intuition of any kind of reward, any present or future wages for all his patience, and as it follows, to hate knowledge and piety; hate it as the most treacherous enemy that means to under∣mine their Hell; to force them out of their beloved Satan's embraces: This is certainly, a very competent aggravation of the simplicity And yet to see how perfect a character this is of the most of us, that have nothing to commend, or even excuse in the most of those ways, on [ B] which we make no scruple to exhaust our souls, but only our kindness; irrational passionate kindness and love toward them; & then that love shall cover a multitude of sins, supersede all the exceptions and quarrels that otherwise we should not chuse but have to them. Could a man see any thing valuable or attractive in Oaths & Curses, in Drunkenness and Bestiality (the sin, that when a Turk resolves to be guilty of, he makes a fearful noise unto his Soul to retire all into his feet, or as far off as it is possible, that it may not be within ken of that bestial prospect, [ C] as Busbequius tell us.) Could any man endure the covetous man's sad galling Mules, burthens of Gold, his Achans Wedge that cleaves and rends in sunder Nations,(so that in the Hebrew, that sin signifies wounding and incision,*Joel ii. 8. and is alluded to, by his piercing him∣self thorow with divers sorrows,* 1 Tim. vi. 10.) his very Purgatories, and Limbo's, nay, Hell, as devouring and perpetual as it; and the no kind of satisfaction so much as to his eye, from the vastest heaps or treasures, were he not in love with folly and ruin; had he not been [ D] drenched with philtres and charms; had not the Necromancer plaid some of his prizes on him, and as S. Paul saith of his Galatians, even bewitched him to be a fool. would we but make a rational choice of our sins, discern somewhat that were amiable, before we let loose our passion on them, and not deal so blindly in absolute elections of the driest unsavory sin, that may but be called a sin (that hath but the ho∣nor of affronting God, and damning one of Christ's redeemed) most of our wasting, sweeping sins, would have no manner of pretensions to [ E] us; and that you will allow to be one special accumulation of the folly and madness of these simple ones, that they thus love simplicity.

The second aggravation, is the continuance and duration of this fury, a lasting chronical passion, quite contrary to the nature of passions, a flash of lightning, lengthned out a whole day together, That they should love simplicity so long.

It is the nature of acute diseases, either to have intervals and inter∣missions, or else to come to speedy crises; and though these prove [ F] mortal sometimes, yet the state is not generally so desperate, and so it is with sins: Many the sharpest and vehementest indispositions of the Soul (pure Feavers of rage and lust) prove happily but flashing short furies, are attended with an instant smiting of the heart, a hating and detesting our follies, a striking on the thigh in Jeremy, and in Page  45 [ A] David's penitential stile, a [So foolish was I, and ignorant; even as a beast before thee.] And it were happy if our Feavers had such cool seasons, such favorable ingenuous intermissions as these. But for the hectick continual Feavers (that like some weapons (the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) barbed shafts in use among the Franks in Agathias, being not mortal at the entrance, do all their slaughter by the hardness of getting out) the Vultures that so tyre and gnaw upon the Soul, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 that never suffer the sinner fool, to make any approach toward his wits, toward [ B] sobriety again: This passionate love of folly, improved into an habitual, steady course of Atheisticalness, a deliberate, peremptory, final repro∣bating of Heaven (the purity at once, and the bliss of it) the stanch demure covenanting with death, & resolvedness to have their part to run their fortune with Satan, through all adventures; this is that monstrous brat, That (as for the birth of the Champion in the Poet) three nights of darkness more than Egyptian, were to be crowded into one (all the simplicity and folly in a Kingdom) to help to a being in the [ C] World: And at the birth of it, you will pardon Wisdom, if she break out into a passion and exclamation of pity first, and then of indigna∣tion, How long, ye simple ones, &c. My last particular.

The first debt, that Wisdom, that Christ, that every Christian Brother ows and pays to every unchristian liver, is that of pity and compassion; which is to him of all others, the properest dole. Look upon all the sad moanful objects in the world, betwixt whom all our compassion is wont to be divided; First, the Bankrupt rotting in a Gaol; second∣ly, [ D] the direful bloody spectacle of the Soldier, wounded by the Sword of War; thirdly, the Malefactor howling under the Stone, or gasp∣ing upon the Rack or Wheel; and fourthly, the gallant person on the Scaffold or Gallows ready for execution; And the secure, senseless sinner, is the brachygraphy of all these.

You have in him, 1. A rich patrimony and treasure of grace (pur∣chased dear, and setled on him by Christ) most prodigally and contu∣meliously mispent & exhausted. 2. A Soul streaming out whole Rivers [ E] of blood and spirits, through every wound, even every sin it hath been guilty of; and not enduring the Water to cleanse, much less the Wine or Oyl to be poured into any one of them; the whole Soul transfigured into one wound, one 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉congelation and clod of blood. Then thirdly beyond this all the racks and pangs of a tormenting con∣science, his only present exercise: And lastly, all the torments in Hell (the Officer ready hurrying him to the Judg, and the Judg deliver∣ing him to the Executioner) his minutely dread and expectation, the [ F] dream that so haunts and hounds him. And what would a man give in bowels of compassion (to Christianity? or but) to humane kind, to be able to reprieve or rescue such an unhappy creature; to be but the Lazarus with one drop of water to cool the tipof the scalding Tongue, that is engaged in such a pile of flames? If there be any Charity left in this frozen World, any Beam under this cold uninhabitable Zone, it Page  46 will certainly work some meltings on the most obdurate heart; it [ A] will dissolve and pour out our bowels into a seasonable advice, or ad∣monition (that excellent Recipe, saith Themist.〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, That supplies the place, and does the work of the burnings and scarifyings) A cry to stop him in his precipitous course; a tear, at least, to solem∣nize, if not to prevent so sad a fate. And it were well, if all our bowels were thus employed, all our kindness & most passionate love, thus converted and laid out on our poor lapsed sinner-brethrens souls, to seize upon those fugitives, as Christ is said to do, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 [ B] Heb. xi. 16. to catch hold and bring them back, ere it be yet too late; re∣scue them out of the hands of their dearest espoused sins,* and not suffer the most flattering kind of death (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in Gal. de Athl. the Devil in the Angelical disguise) the sin that un∣dertakes to be the prime Saint (the zeal for the Lord of Hosts) any the most venerable impiety, to lay hold on them. Could I but see such a new fashioned Charity received and entertained in the World; every man to become his brothers keeper, and every man so tame, as [ C] to love and interpret aright, entertain and embrace this keeper, this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, this Guardian Angel, as an Angel indeed, as the only valuable friend he hath under Heaven, I should think this a lucky omen of the worlds returning to its wits, to some degree of piety again. And till then, there is a very fit place and season for the exer∣cise of the other part of the passion here, that of Indignation, the last minute of my last particular, as the how long is an expression of Indignation. [ D]

Indignation, not at the men (for however Aristotles〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 [A man ought to have indignation at some persons] may seem to justifie it: Our Saviour calls not for any such stern passion, or indeed any but love, and bowels of pity, and charity toward the person of any, the most enormous sinner; and S. Paul only, for the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the re∣storing, setting him in joynt again, that is thus overtaken in any fault) but Indignation, I say, at the sin, at the simplicity and the folly, that re∣fuse reproachful Creature, that hath the fate to be beloved so passionate∣ly, [ E] and so long. And to this will Aristotles season of indignation be∣long, the seeing favors and kindness so unworthily dispenced (the upstarts, saith he, and new men advanced and gotten into the greatest dignities) knowledge to be profestly hated, and under that title, all the prime, i. e. Practical Wisdom, and Piety, and simplicity, i. e. folly and madness, and sin, to have our whole souls laid out upon it.

O let this shrill Sarcasm of Wisdoms, the [How long, ye simple ones] be for ever a sounding in our ears. Let this indignation at our [ F] stupid ways of sin, transplant it self to that soyl where it is likely to thrive and fructifie best, I mean, to that of our own, instead of other mens breasts, where it will appear gloriously in S. Pauls inventory, a prime part of that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the durable, unretracted repentance, an effect of that godly sorrow that worketh to Salvation. Page  47 [ A] And if it be sincere, O what indignation it produceth in us? What displeasure and rage at our folly? to think how senselesly we have moulted and crumbled away our souls; what unthristy bargains we have made? what sots and fools we shall appear to Hell, when it shall be known to the wretched, tormented Creatures, what ambitions we had, to be but as miserable as they? upon what Gotham arrants? what Wild-goose chases, we are come posting and wearied thither? O that a little of this consideration, and this passion, betimes might ease [ B] us of that endless wo and indignation; those tears and gnashing of teeth, quit us of that sad arrear of horrors, that otherwise waits behind for us. Lord, do thou give us that view of our ways; the errors, the follies, the furies, of our extravagant Atheistical lives; that may by the very reproach and shame, recover and return us to thee. Make our faces a∣shamed, O Lord, that we may seek thy Law; Give us that pity, and that indignation, to our poor perishing souls; that may at length, awake and fright us out of our Lethargies, and bring us as so many confounded, [ C] humbled, contrite penitentiaries, to that beautiful gate of thy temple of mercies, where we may retract our follies, implore thy pardon, de∣precate thy wrath; and for thy deliverance from so deep an Hell, from so infamous a vile condition, from so numerous a tale of deaths; never leave praising thee, and saying, Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Hosts; Heaven and Earth are full of thy glory; Glory be to thee, O God, most high.

To whom with the Son, and the Holy Ghost be ascribed, &c.