CERTAINE PLAINE, briefe, and comfortable Notes vpon euerie Chapter of Genesis. GATHERED AND LAID DOWNE for the good of them that are not able to vse better helpes, and yet carefull to reade the worde, and right heartilie desirous to taste the sweete of it.

By the Reuerend Father Geruase Babington, Bishop of Landaph.

PSAL. 119.103.

O how sweete is thy worde vnto my mouth? sweeter then honie vnto my throte.

EZEK. 3. verse 3.

Then did I eate the rowle, and fill my bowels with it, and it was in my mouth as sweete as honie.

LONDON Printed for Thomas Charde. 1592.

To the godly disposed Reader.

I Haue often desired to haue some good occasion offered me, wherby I might at the least in word s [...] God knowes in deed I am [...] to testifie my vnfeigned zeale and goodwill to the Authour of this booke, for the comforts and sweet instruc­tions I haue receiued by his most holy labors. And alth [...]ugh my [...]udgement be but slender, and therefore my sentence little worth, yet vnder the Authours correction, with whom I am vnacquainted, and without whose knowledge I am [...]ld thus farre to presume, I dare giue this testimo­nie of all his workes, and so of this amongst the re [...]t, that he doth therein vtter as great loue to the Church of God and as feruent zeal vnto the truth, as euer did any Engli [...] man that hath writen. I humblie beseech God that his faithfull trauaile [...] may prou [...]ke others of his calling to followe his steps in the like care of gods people cōmitted to their cha [...]ge. One thing is necessarie, al the rest are but accidents and [...] ­taine [...]s, the Lord make vs more carefull to the attaining thereof, and increase in this Reuerend Authour zeale and heauenly strength, to proceed as he hath begun to helpe for­ward the Lordes haruest, which lieth withering vpon the ground in many places for want of workemen. The Lord for his elects sake, hasten the comming of his son Iesus Christ to iudgement, confound all his obstinate enemies, and vntill then graunt vs his peace, with Christian constancie and obedi­ence to his truth▪ Amen.

Thine in the Lord, Edm. [...] student in diuinitie.

The Preface to the Christian Reader, shewing a­mongst other things the most necessarie vse of such easie commentaries, and the intendment of the Author.

ALthough (gentle Reader) God and man both may look for at our hands that al of vs should be able to prophecie (as Moses speaketh,Heb. 5. and al of vs haue our wits so exercised in ye word, that we could euen without a guide, wade in the deepe places thereof, nowe, I s [...]y, that the light of the Gospel hath bene set on a candlestick so long, and not onely Moses and the Prophets, but also the Apostles and Euangelists haue in euery citie almost,Act. 15.21. such as preach them vp­on the Sabboths and festiuall dayes: yet for al that, to true it is▪ and with griefe of heart be it spoken, as well as to their shame that are faultie, the greatest part haue no knowledge in the scriptures, to account of, & the vision, I meane the doctrine of the olde & new testament, is a booke that is sealed,Esay. 29. [...]1. as the Pro­phet speaketh. The causes whereof as they are common and not vnknowne: first our owne naturall corruption, whereby we loue darknes more then light, and ease more then paynes taking, next the malice of our ancient enemie, who because he could not hinder the winds from blowing, & the seede frō be­ing sowne vpō the earth (which he principally aymed at) ther­fore hee bestirreth himselfe so much the more egerly to take that which is sowne, out of mens hearts, and to make it vnpro­fitable: so are the remedies as easie to be discerned, I pray God they may be at length as well thought vpon, & attained And what be they▪ The first and chiefest is the holy spirite of God, who being giuen to a man, searcheth all things euen the deepe things of God. 1. Cor. 2. But vntil he be giuen there remaineth a vaile ouer the heart vntaken away in the reading of Gods booke, and so that which should haue beene for our light,2▪ [...]er. 3. is made vnto vs an occasion of falling. What shall we say then? Is the letter dark, or doth it turne any out of the way? No, our minds are darke, euen darknes it selfe. Iohn 1.5. And though there appeare vnto vs a great light, as there did vnto Saul, at noone day, yet vntill by the finger of the holy ghost, as it were by the hands of Ananias, the scales of naturall ignorance bee [Page] taken away frō our eies, wel we may suffer our selues to be led by others, but we shall not be able to see our way our selues. For this cause S Paul praied for the Ephesians,Ephes. 1. that the spirit of wisdome and reuelation might be giuen thē, & that the eies of their vnderstanding might be lightned, &c. And for this cause are we to pray with all maner of praier and supplication, and with al earnestnes, that this key of Dauid, of ye true Dauid Iesus Christ might be giuen vs. For if the spirit once open no man shutteth, but if he shut, & so long as he shutteth no man can o­open; nay as Austen saith, though god himself should appeare vnto vs in some likenes of man, and speak vnto vs, yet if he do not moue vs, & direct vs by his inward grace (the grace of his spirit) he should do vs no good at al with al his preaching.August. 15. de [...]. dei. cap. 6. Ther­fore I say (deare brother) begin here, make praier for Gods en­lightning spirite the first staffe of thy ladder, and the first stone of thy building. Pray for the same early and late, and doubt not but it shalbe giuē the. For if we that be euil can giue good gifts vnto our children, how much more shall our heauenly father giue the holy Ghost to them that desire him?Luc. 11.13. This promise is made by Christ himselfe, and by no worse person, and therfore as he that beleeueth it, hath sealed that God is true▪ Ioh. 3.33. so he that beleeueth it not, yea or doubteth of it, saying, who shall ascend into heauen and fetch me the spirit, the same man maketh Christ a liar, and so dishonoreth the sonne, and the fa­ther to. This may suffice concerning the principal help for the vnderstanding of the Scriptures. Now besides this there are certaine inferior helps and means, which though they be not as effectual as the former, for God forbid we should make any comparison betweene the power of God and the weaknes of man, yet they be most necessarie and no way to be neglected. Nay this is true, that if we should do nothing but pray, as did the Messalians of old, or hold open our mouthes (as it were) & gape after extraordinary inspirations as certaine Enthusiasts do to this day, we should do no lesse then tempt God (like to them that will take no paines with their ground, and yet looke for a good crop) and so in stead of blessing, wee should reape a curse. Therfore though we must begin with praier, yet we may not be content with praier, but we must ioine to it, first a dili­gent hearkning to our pastors & teachers, like as the Israelites [Page] hearkened to the Leuites when they read Gods worde vnto them, and gaue the sence. Nehe. 8. Secondly a diligent reading of the scriptures b [...] our selues like the men of Berea. Act. 17. and like Timothie. 2. Tim. 3. who knew them of a child: thirdly dili­gent questioning and conferring with them that haue more skil then our selues,Hieron in pro [...]m. epist. ad Galat. in which respect Marcella is highly cōmen­ded by Hieronym, because as oft as she came in his sight, shee moued him some doubt or other out of the scripture: last­ly, a diligent searching and perusing of the expositions of the learned set forth in writing, as Ambrosius, Paula, Eustochium and others in the primatiue Church (that I mention none of ye lat­ter times) haue beene so forward this way, that they procured the godly learned, (as Origen, Hieronym and others) to cōment & write vpon diuerse parts of the Scripture for their edifying, which they did not of any perswasion like to that of the Pa­pists, that ye scriptures for hardnes are like to the same cities of the Anakims. Num. 13. which were so strong & so walled that they made the children of Israel quake to thinke of them, and for dāger as perillous in a maner to be medled with as the tree of the knowledge of good and euill, which brought present death to thē that touched it: No, for then they would not haue turned & tossed the bible so as they did, but they would haue beene as soone wearie of it,1. Sam. 5. as the men of Ekron were of the Arke of god. 1. Sam. 5. But partly in respect of their duty, wher­by they were bound not onely not to despise, but euen to vse the gift that was in others; knowing that whether it were Paul, 1. Cor. 3. or Apollos, or Cephas, [...] this minister, or that minister, or whoso­euer, all were theirs, and that all might receiue profite: partlie also for their ease that they might be led forward vnto perfec­tion, the next way by them that by all likelihood knew it bet­ter then they, their vocation leading them especially to tra­uers the ground. These and the like reasons moued them (to haue a respect to the direction of those writers, but not to cap­tiuate their senses to it) which because they still do remaine, yea and will to the end of the world, therefore the commenta­ries of the learned for the more easie vnderstanding of the scripture are alwayes necessarie. Now for them that vnder­stand the tongues, there are so many extant alreadie (the lords [Page] name be blessed) and so many come forth [...], that a man may say of them as Moses sayd of those that offered for the fur­nishing of the Tabernacle,Exod. 36. Exod. 36. The people bring too much and more then inough for the vse of the worke that the Lord hath commanded to be made. Indeed vnneath a mans life will suffice to reade the bookes that are written alreadie vppon the scriptures in the three chiefe tongues, but yet for them that are ignorant of the tongues, there is not as yet (to borrow a fewe of Moses words) an helper found out meete for them. I grant the notes that we haue vpon our English bibles are most sound and profitable; but they want application for the most part, (howe could it be chosen? except the volume should haue beene made not portable) the commentaries also vpon diuerse parts of the Scripture translated into our mother tongue (for I haue not seene many of our mens making; others haue laboured for vs, and we haue entred into their labours) they are right worthie and most woorth the reading, but yet for the more learned and zealous sort of the common people,Iohn 4.38. not for them that were lately weaned from the brest, and must be tolled on by a little at once, and by a small price also. Ther­fore when I vnderstoode that God had put into the heart of this Reuerend & excellent builder (the Author of these notes) to employ his talent this way also, namely by writing vppon the Scripture to profite the common people, I reioyced great­ly and was full of comfort, not onely because of his learning and sufficiencie (being knowne to bee a workeman that nee­deth not to be ashamed) but also for his wise discretions sake, for that he knoweth howe to abound, and how to be sparing, and so to handle the matter, that they for whom it was proui­ded might be most benefited. For this I say, I reioyced (like as the Israelites when they found the well Num. 21. they made a song in the praise of it) yea I confesse I exhorted him to goe forward with this intendment of his,Num. 21.17. though he should omitte many of his sermons & lectures. For I considered that though a mans liuely voice moueth more, yet a mans writing teacheth more: more throughly, because it giueth a man leaue to con­sider of it, and doth not strike his eares onely, and then away, (for which cause wordes are saide by the wise Poet to haue [Page] Winige [...]) more generally, because it reacheth not onely to them that are neere, but also to them that are farre off, not onely to them that are aliue, but also to them that are yet vn­borne. In deede so it is, he that speaketh profiteth his owne congregation, but he that writeth profiteth all: he that spea­keth profiteth for an houre; and he that writeth profiteth for euer. Therefore I say, I perswaded him to redeeme this power of dooing more good, whatsoeuer it shoulde cost him, or rather whatsoeuer it shoulde cost vs by wanting his reading. But nowe when I perceyued for all this talke, and the like, hee was alwayes the same man for assiduitie in preaching, euen as the children of Israel shronke not downe vnder their labour, howsoeuer it were increased, then I gaue glorie vnto God, saying,Exod. 1. Surely the Lord hath done great things for him, yea the Lorde doth great things for the people ouer whom he placeth him. For who is able to speake oftner? who is able to doe more good? Of such as are pain­full, being most readie, of such as are readie being most paine­full, of such as are pithie being most familiar, of such as are fa­miliar being most pithie: learned without ostentation, sweete without glosing, zealous without newfangling, beloued and louing againe, mouing and moued himselfe, comfortable and comforted himselfe. I do not giue him halfe his dew, as they know that know him, and yet happily more then euerie one that knoweth vs both doth thinke fit to proceede out of my mouth, I being so linked to him as I am. But truth is truth who soeuer is the speaker, and of the abundance of the heart,Iohn. 1. the mouth will vtter, & the pen will write howsoeuer it be taken. And yet when Christ himselfe refused not the testimonie of Iohn for all he was his kinsman, because though he had knowē Christ after the flesh, yet he knew him so no more, I trust the like respect neede not make me seeme absurde all the while I yeelde nothing to flesh and bloud, and do not stretch my selfe beyond his measure (as the Apostle speaketh.) Well,2. Cor. 5. this Reue­rend and Honourable man is now remooued from vs, being called to a greater charge of gouernment and ouersight, but so that first he left his owne teares behind him; which shewed how he loued vs, and from vs for the most part he caried away [Page] our verie hearts, not onely our teares, so deare he was vnto vs. We pray therefore for him that God would blesse him, and his labours euerie way, as he did among vs, and that hee may be among his flocke with ioy, and not with griefe: also to him we are s [...]ters that he would not forget vs being absent, but seeke to doe vs good (among others) by publishing his godly labours. Truly (gentle Reader) though I cannot doe thee good by my selfe, yet whatsoeuer fauour or credit I may seeme to be in with him, the same I will gladly employ for thy sake vnto that end; namely I wil be to him (as Socrates sayth he was to the Athenians) a spurre or a stinger to pricke him forwarde, or rather (to speake as Isay speaketh) I will be his remembran­cer, and giue him no rest vntill hee haue gone through the bookes of Moses, at the least. This, if God giue him life so long, and if in the meane time some come not in to his helpe, as Aaron and Hur helped Moses when hee was wearie with hol­ding vp his handes, or as Peters partners helped him, Luke 6. when his net was torne. Farewell (good Reader) and doe thou also blesse and loue this man, who for thy sake doth thus de­base himselfe (because he would not exceede thy capacitie be thou neuer so simple) whereas he could otherwise get him­selfe a great name like the great men of the earth, by wri­ting for the reach of the better learned: againe farewell. Hereford 1. April. 1592.

Thine in the Lord Iesus, Miles Smith.

[Page 1]Certaine plaine, breefe, and comforta­ble Notes vpon euery chapter of Genesis, gathered and layd downe for the good of them that are not able to vse better helpes, and yet are carefull to reade the word, and right heartily desirous to taste the sweete of it.

Genesis, Chap. 1.

The whole Chapter intreateth of the Creation of the World, and particularly deliuereth vnto vs, these poyntes to bee considered of:

  • Who Created.
  • What was Created.
  • When.
  • How.
  • Whereof.
  • To what end.
  • In what space.

TOuching the first, it saith God created, Verse. 1. therein implying the whole Trinity,The Trini­tie crea­teth. God the Father, God the Sonne, and God the holy Ghost: for so we learne by conference of other Scriptures with this.Acts. 4.24. Of the Father giue those Apostls witnes When they lift vp their voyces to God with one accord, and sayd O Lorde thou art the God which hast made the Heauen and the Earth, the Sea & all things that are therin, against thy holy Sonne Iesus, &c. Also [...] he said to Iob, Where wast thou All things that were made [...] of the earth, &c. Iob. 38.4 Of the Sonne and without him was made [...]mselfe what the Psalme saith:Hebr. 1.10. Psa. 102.25 [Page] Thou Lorde in the beginning haste established the Earth, and the Heauens are the works of thy hands. Also that in the Euangelist, all things were made by it, (to wit, by the worde Christ) and without it was made nothing that was made. Of the Holy-ghost witnesseth Iob when hee saith,Iohn. 1.3. his Spirit hath garnished the heauens, Iob.. 26.13. and againe: The Spirit of God hath made mee, and the breath of the almightie hath giuen me life. 33.4. And in this place by the iudgement of verye learned,Zanch. de tribus Elo▪ him. 14. pag. 1. par. Metandis. The Spirit of God mooued vpon the waters: by consequence, those words of Ieremie: The gods that haue not made Heauen and Earth, shall perish from the Earth, and from vnder heauen If then the Holy-ghost should not create,Iere. 10.11 hee should bee no God: yea of all the three persons con­clude thus, and so this Prophets testimony shall inferre the crea­tion of each person. Austen saith, Sicut personae sunt insepe­rabiles, In Genes. ita inseperabiliter agunt: as the persons are insepe­rable among themselues so doo they worke inseperablye. Againe, [...]. Basil. Opera Trinitatis quoad extra sunt indiuisa & com­munia, with many such testimonies. In this very place that we now looke vpon, the Hebrue word for God is of the plurall num­ber, to note (as some thinke) the pluralitie of persons, & the verbe created, of the singular number, to note the vnity of deitie in them all. And vers. 26. it is said, Come let vs make man, noting the three persons all ioynt creators together, and cannot be vnder­stood of Angels, as spoken to them, because man was not crea­ted according to the Image of Angels, but of God. Now if any should doubt how the first article of our beleefe agreeth with this which attributeth the creation to God the Father, it may be an­swered that it is not so doone there, to the ende to exclude eyther Sonne or Holy-ghost, but onely to shew the order and manner of the creation, and other workes of God: for as the father is the fountaine of the Godhead, and yet not therefore either Sonne or Holy-ghost excluded from the same, but each of them God, & equall with the Father as touching the Godhead: so rightly is the Father made author of creation, and yet neither Sonne nor Holy-ghost idle in the same. But [...] that by a certaine order the [...] [Page 2] first in order, willeth it as it was, the whole fabrick and course of things created. Then he expresseth this will by his Sonne, in whom as the Image of his Father, the decree and order of all [...]he worke shined:Colo. 1.15. he spake and they were made and distinguished in theyr orders. Thirdly the Holy-ghost together with them both, worketh also immediatly, cherishing and nourishing what was created, and giuing motion vnto them. Thus was there an order in the worke, and yet all three persons ioyntly creators of all to­gether. This marked and remembred, both answereth the doubt now in speeche touching our beleefe, and many other places of Scripture also, wherein the creation is ascribed in shew of words but to one person. Iohn saith, All things were made by the sonne. Paule saith, Yet vnto vs there is but one God, 1. Cor. [...].6. which is the Father of whom are all things. And in the same verse he saith of Christ, that By him are all things, and such like Austen saith Filius non agit a se, sed per se. The Sonne dooth not of himselfe, but by himselfe. All which speeches and theyr like eyther in Scripture or Fathers, note an order among the per­sons in their worke, but exclude none from the same.Note. For as we saye the Fire shyneth by the light which commeth from the same, and yet we make not that light any seruile instrument off or to the same fire, but euen his naturall force and power: So is the Father sayde to doo whatsoeuer hee dooth by the Sonne, and yet not as by any vnder instrument and inferiour meanes, as wickedlye the Arians would conclude, but as by his sub­stantiall power and vertue. And againe, as wee saye the fyre shyneth, and the light of the fyre also shyneth: so all which the Father dooth, the Sonne also dooth. Thus much of this poynte.

2 What was created. Heauen and earth, Verse. 1. say these words of Moses heere: And Heauen and Earth and Sea, and all things that are in them, say the Apostles in an other place.Acts. 4.24. But that the generalitie bee not mistaken, you must remember that needefull limitation which the Apostle addeth when hee sayth, All things that were made. By him all things were made, and without him was made nothing, That was made, Iohn. 1.3. [Page] By which clause is made a plaine distinction of things created, from things vncreated. Nazianzene & Epiphanius, with other of the old writers, rightly concluded vpon it against the Arians, that as the Father was not made nor created, so neither Sonne nor holy Ghost were. But especially this clause discerneth and di­stinguisheth the workes of God and good creatures, from sinne and death, and such like, which were not things made, but came o­therwise, not things positiuely, as I may speake of themselues, but a priuation, destruction, and horrible deprauation of the order first made by God.Iohn. 8. Thus teacheth Iohn when he maketh Satan the author of lyes, and saith then he speaketh of his owne. Againe when he saith,1. Epist. 2. the concupiscence of the flesh is not of the Father, but of the world:3.8. and in the next Chapter, He that committeth sinne is of the Deuill, for the Deuill sinneth from the begin­ning. And as for death, By sinne came death, saith the Apostle, and the rewarde of sinne is death, &c. When it is sayd therefore that God made all things, remember to adde this, all things that were made, as S. Iohn dooth, and so shall you exclude from the worke of God, all sinne, death, deformitie, confusion, tyranny, ca­lamitie, and such like, which being neuer made by God, are crept in by Satans malice and mans corruption, as breaches and blots of Gods order.

3 When? In the beginning saith Moses heere, and much a doo haue curious heads made about these words. But if we haue that reuerent feare in vs, that all men ought to haue toward the word of God, they are plaine inough: for if he had said in the end, God created heauen and earth, would we not streight haue con­ceiued, that hee created them last, to wit, in the worke of the sixte day? And why should we not as easily conceiue him, when he saith in the beginning to meane nothing, but first of all, to wit, the first day, and so leaue all vngodly quirkes to a vaine heart, that shall weepe for such wickednes one daye? In principio, say the best in­terpreters, that is, Certo ac definito tempore, atque adeò in princi­pio temporum, non ab aeterno. In the beginning, that is in a cer­taine and definite time, and euen in the beginning of time not from euerlasting. In principio, scilicet creandi. In the beginning, to [Page 3] wit, of creating [...]aith very rightly: Abben Hezra, God created heauen and earth. And let these graue lights of graue and learned men sway more with vs then a thousand subtilties, which as Sy­rach speaketh, are fine subtilties, but vnrighteous. This creati­on of it in the beginning,Syra. 19.24 conuinceth the falshood that it is eter­nall. So do many things mo beside this, and namely that compu­tation which is generally receiued of all men of the yeares which it hath indured, and which be now past since the creation. But ne­uerthelesse on go some with their blinde concepts, and would prooue the contrary. For first say they,The 1. are▪ against the creation of the world. if we grant the world had a beginning, then was God idle euer before, but that is absurd, therefore it was not created, but was eternall. We may answer them first, that the rule which they harpe vpon in this argument, namely that Perfectissima causa non est otiosa: the most perfect cause is not idle, Non est vera dea gentibus voluntariis, is not true of such things as worke by will, or willingly, as the most excellent Carpenter may forbeare his worke and action a time. If they thinke that God was alone, therein they shew themselues carnall and speake carnally. For how should he be alone more then, then now, vnto whome all things are present, though they be future, and things that are not as if they were. Hierom vpon this occasi­on citeth that saying of Scipio. Nunquam minus solus qùam cum maxime solus. Neuer lesse alone then when I am most alone. And cannot this be true much more of God, that he is not alone without these creatures which he made. Could he say it when his countrey was lost, his wife and children, freends and louers, that yet all his good was with him, and cannot the Lord say it much more, that his good standeth not in the presence of creatures, but before euer they were, and now that they are, yet all his is with him without them? Christ sayth, hee is not alone, Iohn. 8.29. not in re­spect of any company of man or creature, but in respect of his Father whome he saith to bee with him. Nowe shall Christ not bee alone in respecte of hys diuine coniunction with hys Father, and shall it not be alike with the Father in regard of his sonne, and with the holy Ghost in regard of them both, and with eache of them in respect of others. Surely that inseperable vnitie of the Trinitie denyeth to euery person a possibilitie to be alone. [Page] And that insearchable mysterie of the fruition of his owne glorye, is other manner of company (if I may so speake) then all the crea­tures of this world can yeeld him.

O but yet say they, what did God euer before. Verely saith Austen, he made Hell for such busie braines & vnreformed harts and toongs, that will so curiously enter into Gods secrets. How much better would the words of the modest and godly Apostle be­come them.Rom. 11.34 O the deepenes of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God: howe vnsearchable are his iudge­ments and his wayes past finding out, who hath knowne the minde of the Lord, or who was his counsell [...]r, &c.

Secondly they reason thus. The moouer & the thing mooued, be relatiues, and the one supposeth the other. But God the moo­uer was euer, therefore the thing mooued, to wit the world. But we answer them to this also truly, that if there be a moouer actu­ally, then there must needes also be a thing mooued. But God though he were from euerlasting himselfe, yet did he not actually mooue in respect of these outward creatures, which are without his essence, but onely was Mouens potentia. It is farre differing therefore to speake of one as was said before, that worketh by wil and freely, & to speake of a thing that worketh naturally, & it is no absurditie to say, yt the relation betwixt the first cause & the world made, began in time, since the creation of the world is an outward action of God, & voluntary. The very same answer may be made vnto the rule, whē the cause is, the effect is, the cause eternal, ther­fore the effect, to wit, ye world. For this holdeth in natural things also, that worke naturally & necessarily, but not in things ye worke freely & willingly, as God did in creating. Otherwise euery house must be as ancient as the Carpenter that made it. No the relatiō ther betwixt ye cause & the effect, beginneth in time after, because he is a voluntary cause, & so is it with God. Silly then & slack are these conclusions you euidently see, and far from demonstrations.

Thirdly they reason thus. That which hath no alteration, is not subiect to generation or corruption: The heauen hath no al­terations for thus many thousand yeares none haue beene ob­serued. Therefore it is not subiect to generation to be made, or corruption, to cease to be. Therefore it is eternall. We aunswer, [Page 4] that all though it might be truly sayde, that many partes of the world are subiect to alteratiōs, as the aire, the water, the earth, &c, and consequently the whole not perpetuall, whose parts be alte­rable. Yet with diuinitie we rather say, that Generatio physica, na­turall generation and creation be two things, and differ much: so do Corruptio physica, naturall corruption and violent destruction, which a renuing shal follow. Therefore although neither genera­tion nor corruption can be without alteration, yet things may be created that haue no alterations, as Angels, stars, soules. And by diuine power celestiall bodies may be destroyed, or at least chan­ged and renued according to the saying: Heauen and earth shall passe, and againe: They all shall waxe old as doth a garment, &c. Behold I create a new heauen, and new earth, and with such like. For the argument then it may be granted, that albeit the world was not Genitus, generated, as I may say, yet it was created by God of nothing, and so their purpose faileth for all this cauill also.

Fourthly they say, Time is eternall, therefore motus, moouing: for time is the measure of moouing: & if motion, then a thing mo­ued, to wit, the world, &c. For answer wherevnto, first the conse­quence may be denyed: for time is not onely taken as philosophy taketh it, for measure of moouing, according to first and later. But sometime it is put simply and absolutely for the continuance of a thing, though it be not the measure of the motion of the same. So may we call eternitie, and that infinite continuance, that I may so speake of God, who hath bin from euerlasting. But this is impro­perly, for indeed the maner that hath taken place in schooles, is to call time the measure of mouing. Now Aristotle not able by na­turall wit, to see rightly what difference was betwixt time & eter­nitie, or what maner of continuance eternitie was, iudged time to be eternall, because he saw an eternitie of a moouer: which is not so, for there may be a mouer eternall, to wit, God, albeit no motus corporis mobilis: for God is not corpus mobile, as the parts of the world are, & as philosophie meaneth. Now Tempus est mensura motus corporis mobilis non dei, according to Philosophy. Second­ly touching the antecedent, that time is eternall, it may truly also be denyed. And for that which is vsually brought to prooue it, that it began with the first moouer in some moment or poynte [Page] of time, which point being a coniunction of passed and future, pre­supposeth a point passed, and so an other infinitely: it may be an­swered that euery point of time is not a continuer & ioiner of pas­sed and future, but it is also sometime [...], amending of time, whether it be at the beginning or ending, for as for exam­ple, the point in the line is not euer a continuer of the same line, ioyning that which followeth after, to that which went before, but also a certaine thing both beginning and ending the line: So in time, there is Nunc initians, a beginning, and an instant, or a pre­sent that beginneth with the thing, as when the world tooke his beginning, then began also such an instant or present, there is also Nunc continuans, a continuing pointe, which is properly called time, because Tempus est fluxio à priori ad posterius, a going from the first to the later, and at last there shall be Nunc terminans, an ending point, to wit, the end of the world now thus created, moo­uing and b [...]ing. Nothing therefore helpeth this argument, to prooue an eternitie of the world, more then the rest did. Many mo might be alleadged to this purpose, but no better then these, and I iudge neither these nor them very pleasant to such as I specially labour to profit, because they conceiue not such consequences. Wherefore I cut them off, and this onely I commend vnto you to be thought of. It is impossible euen by the Philosophers owne rules that there should be mo infinites then one. Now God is one infinite, therefore nothing els in heauen or earth beside. But what­soeuer is else it had a beginning, and many things shall haue an ending also. The rest by his power shall haue an eternitie giuen them to continue not of themselues.

4 How did God create all things? Not by or with any la­bour,Psal. 33. Rom. 4.17. but by his word: for He spake the word (saith the Psalme) and they were made, he commanded and they were created. Liberrime sine vlla coactione, nō necessitate absoluta, sed necessita­te cōsequentiae, nempe suae volūtatis. Freely without any cōstraint, not by an absolute necessitie, but by a necessitie of consequence, to wit, of his owne good wil. Solo nutu sine vlla mutatione aut fa­tigatione. Onely with his beck without any change or wearines in h [...]mselfe, which is the highest and excellentest kinde of working.

[Page 5] 5 Whereof? Not of his essence, neither of any former mat­ter coeternall with himselfe, but of nothing: for if by him all things were made, surely beside him nothing is excepted from making, no not that first matter wherevpon all things were made. But you will say man was made of the dust of the earth, fishes and fowles of the water, woman of man, and then how were all things made of nothing? Damascene answereth, Deus fecit omnia ex nihilo, alia quidem immediate, alia mediate. Lib. 2. ca. 5. God made all things of no­thing, but some immediatly, others mediatly. His meaning is, that God made first of nothing a matter, a first matter whereof he made all other things. Now that first matter is made of no­thing immediatly, but the rest that were formed of that matter were formed of nothing mediatly, because they were made of that which was made of nothing, and so secondarily or mediatly as I say then of nothing. But then you will say againe, Ex nihilo ni­hil fit, Of nothing nothing is made. And I answere you, that so it is in the order of nature, now set and established of God, but in God himselfe this principle holdeth not. Or if you will thus. By man this is impossible, to wit, to make any thing of nothing, but with God all things are possible, and want of matter letteth not him. It is our comfort that he could and can so do: for thereby we know his great abilitie to preserue what so wonderfully he hath made, as also to confound and turne to nothing all subtile and ma­litious practises against his children.

6 To what end? To the prayse of his glory, sayth the A­postle, for in him, and by him, and for him are all things, Prou. 16.1. Psa. 103.22 Rom. 11.36 and this is the generall end. Beside which there be also speciall ends and subordinate ends vnder them againe, as the manifestation, the acknowledging and contemplation of his heauenly and di­uine wisedome and goodnes which appeareth in the Creation. For if the Lord would be celebrated, then must he create things to acknowledge him, and to celebrate and prayse his name beeing knowne and manifested. Therefore he created things reasonable and vnreasonable, that they might prayse him, and be matter of his glory. The heauens declare the glory of God, and the fyr­mament sheweth his handy worke. Agayne,Psal. 19.1. the gouernment of [Page] the world a subordinate end to that againe. For therefore created he the world, that he might gouerne it with his prouidence, and preserue it, and so might euer declare his wonderfull workes which he hath done from the beginning of the world, or now doth, or yet shall do, especially that he might gouerne his Church of elect angells and men.Esai. 40.26. Lift vp your eyes (sayeth the Prophet therefore) and see who hath created these things. Thirdly and lastly,Gen. 1.28. Psal. 8.7. 1. Cor. 3.22 that all other things might serue to the health of body and soule, to the life, pleasure, and necessitie of man, and especially to the good of his chosen, being vnto them as it were meanes and ministers whereby God doing them good, might be honored and praysed of them. Onely man he created for himselfe, and all the rest for man.

Now if any with the Manichees enquire wherefore many things were made whereof they knowe no vse to man, eyther of things in the sea or land, let them consider what S. Austen aun­swereth: namely, that herein they should rather adore the riches of Gods power and goodnes, not only in creating, but also in pre­seruing such a multitude of things as he hath created, & say with ye prophet Dauid, O Lord how manifold are thy works, in wis­dome hast thou made them all, Psal. 104.24.31. the earth is full of his good­nes. Glory be to the Lord for euer: let the Lord reioyse in his workes. Though we know not the vse of them, yet his wisedome doth, and that should content vs. Sure we ought to bee that hee made nothing in vayne, and it is sayd of them all that they were good.

Hurtfull beasts and such like why crea­ted.Yea but what may be sayde for so many hurtfull beasts and creatures as be in the worlde vppon lande, or in Sea? Why did God create them? Surely it was enough for aunswere heere­vnto that was sayde before, that though wee knowe not by and by the good of a creature, yet therefore God may not be condem­ned for creating them, for hee may do with his owne as pleaseth him. Yet neuerthelesse we may further say as some do, that if man had not sinned, no creature had been hurtfull to him, and therefore now his fault to be blamed, not Gods creation. Lac­tantius aunswereth, that in great wisedome God hath made aswell hurtfull things as others,De ira dei. cap. 13. that by contraryes, a fuller [Page 6] knowledge might growe in man to the prayse of God that hath done all so well. And this true aunswere dasheth that greate thunderbolt as hee thinketh, of the Epicure, made to ouerthrowe Gods prouidence and care to gouerne the worlde, and maketh it seeme more foolish then fearefull. God (sayth hee) eyther will take away all hurtfull things and can not, or can and will not, or neyther can nor will, or both can and will. If hee woulde and can not, then wanteth hee power, and is not God: if hee can and will not, then is hee enuiouse, and is not God: if hee neyther can nor will, then both enuiouse and weake, and so no God: if hee both can and will, then how do they yet remayne. This goodly argument is easely aunswered, by saying, hee can and will not, and yet not enuiouse therein, but good and carefull for man, that he might by sight of contrary euill better discerne the good, and so profit thereby both in wisedome and thankefulnesse to the Lorde. Lactantius whose Chapter is very worthy reading.

7 And lastly, in what time, or how many dayes did God create all things, in sixe dayes sayth the Scripture, and euery day some thing sayth this place, till the seuenth day, wherein hee rested. Non vno momento, sed sex dierum spatio, not in one mo­ment, but in sixe dayes space. If you happely thinke or meete with Syrach his wordes, who sayth, Hee that liueth made all things together, the Lord who only is iust &c. You must consider, that he speaketh not of the time, but of the multitude of creatures. Meaning that God made them all together before he rested, and gaue ouer creating, but not meaning that hee made them all in one moment of time, or in one day, for we see both this place and others against it: the Lords owne commaundement written with his owne finger giueth testimonie, that in sixe dayes the whole was made. Thus are we instructed in all these seuen points that I named in the beginning: to wit, who created, what was created, when, how, whereof, to what end, and in how many dayes, or what time.

Now touching the vse, this further.How the creation profiteth vs to the knowing of God. What may be knowne of God sayth the Apostle, is manifest in these creatures, for God hath shewed it vnto them: for ye inuisible things of him, that is, his [Page] eternall power and Godhead are seene by the creation of the world, &c. The quantitie, qualities, course, and perpetuities of things created, how do they shew God, surely sayth the Prophet the heauens declare the glory of God, and the fyrmament sheweth his handy worke. Psal. 19. Agayne the same Prophet teacheth the like, when he goeth from this creation to the viewe and thought of Gods wonderfull and great loue to mankinde, say­ing: When I beholde thy heauens, euen the worke of thy fyngers, the Moone and the Starres which thou hast orday­ned, Psal. 8.3. O what is man Lord thinke I then, &c. Reade the whole Psalme.

Concerning other things to be obserued in this Chapter, some say, how could Moses write of these things that were done so long before he was borne?How Mo­ses could write of these so long be­fore him done. surely not by any wisedome and lear­ning of Aegypt wherein yet he was most excellent, but by that holy spirit of God, whereby he had receyued to be a faithfull Mi­nister in the house of God, being in this aboue all Prophets, that he was inabled not only to gouerne things present, and foretell things future, but thus notably to lay downe things passed from the beginning of the world.Act. 7.22.

Touching those waters aboue the fyrmament, well sayde Beda in his time,Vers. 7. what manner of waters they be, and for what purpose ordayned,Waters a­boue the fyrmament to what vse. he knoweth that made them: thereby geuing vs to learne, what modestie becommeth vs in speaking of the se­crets of God. The same power that is able to vpholde all the frame of this world without any earthy prop, is able to holde those waters there in their place, to that ende that his wisedome hath ordayned them for, and this should content vs.

Because it is sayd, Let the lights be for signes &c. therefore Astrologers catch as though their vnlawfull dealings shoulde therein be warranted.Vers. 14. Astrology not war­ranted. But let them conferre Esay 44. vers. 22. & Ierem. 10. vers. 2. with this, and then it will appeare that herein the Lord meant not to warrant what there he misliketh.Esay 47.12 Eccles. 7.2.8. Chap. Esai. 41.22. Psa. 104.19 But that these words are to be taken in things naturall and politicall, as signes of day and night, Sommer, and Winter, &c. For if the Starres inclined men vnto euill, how should it be said, that God saw them to be good whē he had made thē, nay, how should it not [Page 7] redound euen to the touch of the creator thus farre that he is author of euill. But that be farre from vs to say and therefore, let God be good, and his stars good, and their art wicked and naught, Let Austen speake for all that I could name vnto you.A [...]g. in quest. De ciuit. Dei confess. in Psalmos contra A­cadem. Fugien­dum omnibus modis ab hac arte monemus. Curio [...]i etenim eius, inimici sunt dei et sine solitudine nunquam sunt. Semper enim sus­pensi expectant quod minime certum sciunt. We exhort all men saith he to flie from this arte: for they that are curious thereof, are the enemies of God, & are neuer without fearefull cares, euer expecting what they know not to be certaine. Againe, nothing so contrarie to Christianitie as this arte, for it is against the lawe of God: with a number such like speeches, he himselfe in his youth hauing beene delighted with it, as he confesseth.

What it is for man to be created according to the Image and similitude of God. The Apostle Paul teacheth,Gods I­mage what it is. Ephes. 4.24. and also Coloss. 3.10. Read Iunius for more.

Man is appointed heere his foode of God that he should eate, and some mooue the question how that shall be.How doth God ap­point man foode be­fore his fall. For if man were created immortall if he sinned not, what needed he any meate to be appointed for him, since yet he had not sinned. Answer is made by some, that there be two kindes of Immortall, one that cannot die but euer liue, an other that may liue for euer, a condition being obserued, and die also if that condition be broken. One immortall after the first sort needeth no meate, but he that is immortall after the second sort dooth neede, and such was Adam: if he had not sinned he had not dyed, but sinning he was so made. that he might die, and therfore his flesh and nature not such that could liue with­out meate. Others answer that this appointment of meate was made by God in respect of their fall, which he knew would be. Howsoeuer it was, curiositie becommeth vs not: but this com­fort we may rightly take by it, that what the Lord hath made, he will maintaine and nourish, and casteth for them his prouidence euer to that end, euen as the Prophet sayth, Cast thy care vpon the Lord and he shall nourish thee vp. He is our father and knoweth what we haue need of. He careth for vs, as saith S. Peter. Againe in that he saith, Ego ded [...], I haue giuen, euer may we be put in minde by it, when we sit downe to eate from whence [Page] those gifts and blessings come, surely euen from hence, I haue geuen them, and therefore thankefulnes due, and most due to so good a God and carefull Father.

That it is sayde, when all was made the Lord sawe, and all was good,Vers. 31. yea, exceeding good, the lyke hauing been testified al­so particularly, it may admonish vs as neere as euer we shall ob­tayne strength,Folow God in doing all well. to indeuour to be lyke our heauenly Father, in doing nothing but what may receyue in his mercy such testimony that it is good, for great is the comfort of that, and more then great the discomfort of the contrary.

The making of all things before man, sheweth Gods woon­derfull mercy and loue to man,Gods loue prouideth all readie for man before hee is made. who would as it were prepare e­uery thing for his vse and comfort before he would haue him bee in the world. Not vnlike to a man heere amongst vs, that louing the friend whome he intendeth to haue with him, and to come vn­to him, ere euer he will haue him come, maketh all things ready that may be either for pleasure or necessity to him, & then sendeth for him to come, all things beeing ready. O what is man, frayle man, wretched and miserable man, that God should thus regard him, may we well say with the Prophet, yet thus it was. And shall that God that thus prepared for man ere euer he was, now forsake man when he is, if he be not most vnkindly and too vnkind­ly forsaken of man? it cannot be, it cannot be, and therefore in all distresses cast your eyes vpon him, and thinke of such testimonies of his loue as this was, and be sure that he knowing what you haue neede of, will neuer forsake you.

When the Angells were created, it is not precisely named, but that they were created,Creation of Angells. both by this place it is knowne, and Coloss. 1.16. by Iude also and Peter: the vsuall opinion is, the first day, reade Iunius. And this of this Chapter briefely.

Chap. 2.

The generall heads of this Chapter are three.

  • The institution of the Sabboth.
  • A repetition of some things concerning Creation.
  • The institution of Mariage.

COncerning the first, it is sayde,Verse. 2. GOD rested the seuenth day, and thereupon consecrated it ho­lie to his Church for euer: which rest of the Lord must be vnderstood from creating,How God resteth. not from pre­seruing, and from creating, to weet, of any new kinde, for otherwise dayly he createth the soules of men, and disposeth them to their bodyes.How the Father yet worketh &c. If any question bee made of briers, brembles, and such like, not created at first, but springing vp since, answere may be made, that these, and many other things appertayne to corruption, and heere mention is made only of perfection. These things haue proceded from God punishing, and the sixe dayes works from God not offended.

2 This Sabboth begun thus by the Lords owne example, after it pleased him by a law to ratifie, Exod. 20. it was called The Sabboth of dayes, because it was euery seuenth daye. Beside which,Diuers Sabboths. the Iewes had a Sabboth of yeares euery seuenth yeare, Exod. 23. Leuit. 25. and seuen times seuen yeares made 49. the next yeare after being euer the Iubile, to weet, euery 50. yeare: Then was the Sabbatum magnum, the great Sabboth, when the Passouer fell vpon the Sabboth, as it did that yeare that Christ suffered, Iohn 19.

3 That most strict and precise rest specified in the lawe from all worke, from rosting of meate, gathering of stickes, Exo­dus 16.29.35.3. and Number. 15. from any long iourney, and such lyke, were Ceremoniall, and therefore with other [Page] the Ceremonies of the law are abrogated by Christ, there remay­ning to man now a further freedome, and yet without breach of the Sabboth, as I pray you reade in my treatise vpon that com­maundement at large. The daye also of the Iewes Sabboth was changed from the Saterday to the Sonday by the Apostles thē ­selues, Act. 20.7. 1. Cor. 16.2.

4 The ende and vses of this Sabboth also you may there more at large see,Ends of the Sab­both. to wit:

  • For order in the Church of God, that we might meete toge­ther, and none be freed from seruing God at least one day in seauen.
  • For the reliefe of seruants and brute beasts, which by pitilesse worldlings might else be abused.
  • And lastly to resemble, and still to remember vs of our eternall rest in heauen, to be cared for now, and enioyed then when this life is ended, Esay 58.13.

The exercises also of this Sabboth you may there reade, to weet,Exercises. preaching, praying, reading, singing, conferring, mutuall admonishing, visiting the sick, poore, prisoners, with many such like.

Touching the repetion of things concerning creation, vers. 4. and 5. it is said, that God had not yet caused it to rayne: there­in ascribing it to the Lord as his peculiar power to open and shut the heauens,Rayne, the gift of God. and to send drought or rayne, according to his good pleasure. And in deede so it is very often repeated in the Scrip­tures, that we might duly confesse it, and thankfully euer consider it. I will send you rayne (sayth the Lord) in due season▪ and the earth shall yeeld her increase, Leu. 26.4. Deu. 11.14 yea, I will giue the fyrst rayne and the later, that thou mayst gather thy wheate, thy wine, and thy oyle. The vse of this knowledge we learne by the Pro­phet, euen to say in our hearts. Come, let vs now feare the Lord our God that giueth rayne both earely and late in due sea­son, Iere. 5.24. and which reserueth vnto vs the apoynted weekes of the [Page 9] haruest. That a mist supplied the place of the rayne,God will neuer wāt meanes. and watered all the earth, we learne the great power of our God to furnish and steede himselfe euer with meanes to effect his wyll. If hee haue not one thing, he can take an other, and neuer will he wante con­uenient instruments of mercie for his children.

2 Man was created of the duste of the earth, that so base a matter might euer worke humilitie of minde,Verse. 7. cut the cordes of swelling conceipts (for wherefore should dust and claye be lifted vp) and cause a true remembrance of assured end,Mans base matter should humble him. that earth wee were, earth we are, and to earth againe we shall returne: hee, not we can tell how soone.

3 But ere euer hee made Man,All made ready to man. hee made all thinges for man, as was noted before. The earth to goe vpon, the hea­uens to couer him, the Sea for walles, Fishes and Fowles, Hearbes and Trees, to feede and comforte him, to delight and accompanye him, light by daye, and the like by night, ma­nye a greene and pleasant thing, and what wanted of such crea­tures for man before hee was. Is this God a changeling? was his care for man then so great, and is it nowe nothing. No, no, hee is the same, and though wee haue sinned, yet hee is intreated, and for Christ, as hee was hee will bee, carefull and good for man and to man euermore. Yet this is not all, but consider we further of this thus.God no les carefull of vs then of Adam. That if this dealing shew­ed loue and care to Adam, then howe is it not eache one of our cases at this daye, in some respect. For before euer hee would haue anye of vs to lyue and breathe in this world, wee see, had hee not prouided Parents and Freends, houses and comfortes, and whatsoeuer might bee needefull for vs? O loue then to vs also most kinde, and a care that may assure vs hee will euer care for vs. Loue him and feare him, honour him and serue him, hee is your GOD, who prouided for you be­fore you were borne, thinges needefull for you, against you should bee borne, and wyll hee euer forsake you, nowe when you are borne? O fayth increase, growe and bee s [...]rong. [Page] helpe Lorde, helpe, for fleshe is full fraile, and faynter then I would.

Verse. 7. 4 God breathed in his face the breath of life, & man was made a liuing soule: God both giuer and taker of life. God gaue life then, and who can take it a­waye without his leaue? Can raging tyrants, bluddy persecu­ters, flye Iudases? No, no, till hee will, you cannot dye, thunder they and threaten they neuer so much, and breathe out slaughter euerye houre against you. God gaue life, and God must take it awaye, it is one prerogatiue of his, you neede not feare. Againe, who can preserue lyfe but hee that first gaue it? No man, no meanes. And therefore vsing as you are occasioned,No phisick without God, can profit. what God hath appointed of any helpes, yet caste your eye euer vpon the Fountaine from whome life came at the first. It is an other prerogatiue againe of his, to pre­serue life also, and to giue his blessing for that purpose to his creatures, Hearbes or Plants, meates, or drinkes, men and their counsels whatsoeuer.

Againe, life is the gifte of God, therefore abuse not what God hath giuen you.Life must be accom­ted for. It was not of your selfe, but it was giuen you▪ you must accompt for it, how you haue vsed it to the giuers praise▪ and your owne discharge.

Verse. 8. 5 God made a Paradise, a Garden most pleasaunt as euer was,Paradise made for a figure of Heauen. that it might bee for euer to posteritie after, a figure of a celestiall place, abounding with innumerable comfortes, for the godly prepared in Heauen. Hee made not man in Para­dise, but translated him and put him in it after hee was crea­ted, that it might resemble, that wee also shall bee remooued from the place where wee firste tooke our beeing, to a place with our GOD, where wee shall neuer take ending. God set in this Paradise thinges not onelye profitable for vse, but pleasant also for sight,Verse. 9. thereby assuring vs, that hee disliketh not our pleasures any more then our necessaries,Some plea­sures a­lowed. but most gratiously [...]oweth, that wee should haue both, so that wee will let the Tree of lyfe alone, that is, so that wee doe not swell aboue that [Page 10] which is allowed vnto vs, but be obedient to God, and with praise and thankes vse his creatures.

6 God set man in this Garden, to dresse and keepe it, Verse. 15. not allowing Man in his moste innocencye to be idle: no,Idlenesse hated of God from the begin­ning. hee would not his Angels to wante what to doe, but made them mini­string Spirites. Howe then should hee nowe, when corrupti­on hath caused a cursse, and that cursse giuen cause of force to labour, alowe lothsome idlenesse? Bee sure hee dooth not, bee sure hee will not. And therefore all honest mindes will not looke for nowe, what was not lawfull then. Yet differed that labour then, much from our labour nowe, for that was an in­iunction inferring no greefe, and this is a paine deserued by sinne.

7 God alowed them not to eate of the Tree of knowledge of good & euill, Verse. 17. Man scho­led to obey euen in Paradise. that they might be acquainted euen from their beginning, with obedience and subiection to theyr maker: which as it was first and before all sinne, so should it bee euer of more account to a godlye minde, then all the pleasures of sinne vnder Heauen. If not, wee see the cursse vpon the contrarie, it shall cause vs dye the death, that is, eternall damnation is the due rewarde of the contempt of Gods commaundement by disobedi­ence. Mee thinke wee may profitte thus by it also: to see howe God tooke his course to bring vp these newe created Seruantes of his, and so wee to do to such as God send vs. Hee would invre them with obedience euen from the first,Learne of God howe to bring vp youth. and haue them knowe what awe was to theyr superiour: so let vs doe to our Chil­dren and charge, and wee shall followe a good patterne. Bowe their backes, euen from theyr Cradle, that is, euer as yeares permit, let them learne to obeye, and it shall be well: for he well ruleth that hath well obeyed, and hee commeth the rather to beare that credit, when other cockered wantons haue the wrath of GOD, and the dislike of men against them. This is inough though I saye no more, yet thinke you much more of it, whome you follow, when you invre with obedience, and whome [Page] you refuse to followe, when you make ouer boulde whom you should keepe vnder. Wanton darlings haue made many wee­ping Parentes, and drunke to theyr woe of the Cuppe of shame, when they might haue beene honoured if they had learned subiection. They breake rather then bowe, when once time is past.

Mariage, the third point of the diuision, is also layd downe to vs in this Chapter, and in this sort.

  • 1 Who ordayned it, euen the Lorde: for the Lord said, It is not good for man to bee alone:
    Verse. 18
    let vs make him an helper.
  • 2 For what cause? to bee a helpe a comfort and good vnto Man.
  • 3 When? in Paradise, when man was yet in his in­nocencie.
  • Verse. 21.
    4 Whereof the Woman was made? of the ribbe of mans side, thereby becomming bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh.

The holi­nesse of mariage.All which are great testimonies, proofes and arguments, of the holynesse and goodnes of this diuine institution of mariage, wher­vnto may be added the words of the Lord Iesus in the Gospell. Whom God hath ioyned together, Math. 19. let no man put a sunder. Gods coniunctions be euer holy and good, therfore mariage most commendable and honorable. The wordes of the Apostle, Euery one hath his proper gift, 1. Corin. 7. but all the gifts of God be holy and good, therefore mariage honorable. Againe, The vnbelee­uing husband is sanctified by his beleeuing wife, verse. 14. and the vnbeleeuing wife by the beleeuing husband. Therefore mariage most holye and good. For howe could an impure thing sanctifie and make holye the vsers. It woulde pol­lute them and not sanctifie them if it were suche. Agayne, [Page 11] possesse your vessels in holynesse, meaning of married people:1. Thes. 4. therefore m [...]riage holy. Finally the prohibition dislike or con­tempt of it, is called a doctrine and concept of the deuill:1. Tim. 4. there­fore most holy and honorable is marriage, and euer was since it was ordayned.

The [...]ethings thus note we against all heretikes or Popes and Papists whatsoeuer, [...] that impeache the dignitie of th [...] the Lords ordinance, first in P [...]radice, euen in mans innocency. If [...]ny ig­norantly thinke yet happily, it is not so vnto all men, l [...]t him truly thinke of the words of the Holy-ghost to the contrary, Mariage is honourable among all men, all men I say againe, and ma [...]ke it,Mariage holy in all men, not onely in some. and the bed vndefiled, when whoremongers and adulterers the Lord shall iudge. When God sayth all, dare you say not all? Let him also view with conscience, not to cauill against a truth, the generalitie of the speeche. For auoiding of fornication, let euery man haue his owne wife, and euery woman her owne husband.Euery man Euery wo­man. Euery man, euery woman, without exception, Prophets were maried, Priests were maryed, Apostles were maried, Euange­lists were married, and what calling wholy was euer excepted by God?

This breefely thus noted of this holy institution, for fuller profit, yet by the text consider it further, and marke.

1 How it is not sayde by God that it was not good for A­dam to be alone, but for Man to be alone, Verse. 18. thereby in wisedom inlarging the good of Marriage to man in generall, that is to some of all sorts, and not tying i [...] to Adam alone,See by god what to shoote at in your actions. or to any sorte onelie. Againe, in saying it is not good, you see what the Lord regardeth in his actions and workes, to wit, goodnesse and pro­fit to the vsers, how good it may be, how comfortable, how profi­table, which is a good lesson for all such as regard in theyr deeds their willes, theyr pleasures. Sic volo, sic iubeo. So will I, so commaund I, not respecting at all the good of any other.Abuse of authoritie. Shall sinfull ffeshe disdayne to doo what the Lorde of Lordes dooth. He, though he haue all power and authoritie, yet will not doo onelye according to that, but hee looketh how good it may bee [Page] that hee dooth, and shall sinfull fleshe, duste, and earth, vp­on a little authoritie bee so proude, that theyr will must rule all actions? O carrye wee then this testimonye of our con­sciences with vs euermore, that in our dooings wee regard howe good it may bee vnto others, not to our selues onelye, and that is to bee like God.

2 Marke it with all your heart, how God dooth consider before euer man see the wante himselfe,God con­sidereth mans want before himselfe. what may bee good for man, and entreth into purpose to make for him, and prepare for him what yet he wanted, and had neede of saying, Let vs make man a helper like himselfe. O howe may wee clea [...]e and clinge to the prouidence of this GOD in all comforte of our mindes,Note. that thus thinketh of what may bee good for vs before euer wee thinke of it our selues, and not onelye thinketh of it, but prouideth it, and prepareth it for vs, saying in all matters, as in this, yet my Seruant such an one wanteth such a helpe, it is not good for him to bee without it, come therefore let vs pre­pare it for him, &c. Howe haue you your selfe that read this, [...]a [...]ed of this goodnesse of God ere this in many seuerall things that were in his purpose prepared for you, before you knewe your wante your selfe, and giuen to you in time, you euen nowe at this instance inioying diuers of them? Will you then distrust his cace [...]eereafter, if anye thing yet bee wan­ting to you, hauing founde him so heeretofore? GOD forbid, and followe this note in your meditation long, for it is comfortable.

Verse. 18. 3 That Woman is honoured with the title of a Helper, not onelye sheweth the goodnesse of the institution,Woman a helper. as was noted before, but teacheth also howe deere and beloued shee should bee to her Husbande, for whose good shee was ordayned and giuen. Who wyll not cherishe, foster and loue what is giuen him for a helpe, not by Man, but by GOD him­selfe? Her helpe consisteth cheefely in three things, in bearing [Page 12] him Children, the comfortes of his lyfe, and s [...]ayes of his age,Wherein [...]. which hee cannot haue without her. In keeping his bodye ho­lye to the Lorde, from filthye pollution which the Lorde abhor­reth. The Apostle so teaching when hee speaketh thus: For the auoiding of Fornication, 1. Cor. 7. let euerye man haue his owne Wife: and thirdlye, in gouerning his house, Children, and Fa­milye, and many wayes [...]ending his owne person, both in sick­nesse and health. These all and euerye one, are great helpes, and therefore the Woman iustlye to bee regarded for them. In this last, Man also hath his care, to wit,The man ought to furnish the woman. so to furnishe the Wo­man with direction, and abilitie, that shee maye doe within dores, what of her should bee doone. Wherevpon the man is compa­red to the Sunne that giueth light, and the Woman to the Moone, that receyueth light from the Sunne.The man as the sun. The wo­man as the Moone. Mulier fulget ra­diis mariti, the Womam shineth with the beames of her Hus­bande, is an olde saying, because hee should prouide what shee may dispose and shyne withall in her house, to both his and her comfort and credit. But it is quite contrarye with many idle Drones. that shyne with the beames of theyr Wiues,Idle men spende what their wiues get. that is, idelye lyue by their Wiues sore labour, and wickedlye spende what they truelye get by daye and by night with anye industrye.

4 But wherevpon was Woman made.Verse. 21. Surelye not of an outward but of an inwarde parte of Man,Why of the rib made. that shee might bee most deere to him, euen as his inwardes. Not of the head of Man, least shee should bee proude and looke for superioritie. Not of the foote of Man, least shee should bee contemned and vsed as farre his inferiour, but of hys side, that shee might bee vsed as his fellowe, cleauing to hys side as an inse­perable companion of all hys happes, whylest they two lyue. And as the ribbe receyueth strength from the brest of Man, so dooth Woman from her Husband: hys coun­sell is her strength, his brest should shee accounte of to bee ruled and gouerned by in all her wayes, and seeke to please him and ease hym, from all greefes, as shee [Page] any waye can, knowing euer that shee is most weake without her husbands brest, from which commeth all her strength and good comfort at all times.Note. No creature had his Make made of his owne flesh but Man, and therefore no creature vnder heauen should bee like man in the loue of his mate, but Man aboue them all.

Verse. 22. 5 It is if you marke it, not onely sayde, that God made Woman,What ma­ner of meeting is right mar­riage. but that hee brought her to Man, and thereby we are taught, that marriage is not euery meeting of man and wo­man together vpon theyr owne heades, but when God bringeth them together, eyther to other: and God bringeth not together, except in his feare they meete with consent of Parents, and such as are interessed in them, and all due circumstances and order appointed by God, and vsed by his Church wherein they liue. Againe it teacheth his worke and prouidence, still to be to bring euery man his mate. House and riches (saith Salomon) are the inheritance of the Fathers, Pro. 19.14. but a prudent wife com­meth of the Lord. 19.22. Againe, He that findeth a wife, findeth a good thing, and receiueth fauour of the Lord The Lord ther­fore I saye,It is Gods worke still to bring e­uery man his mate. did not onely at the first bring the Woman to the Man, but euen yet styll▪ and for euer, hee is the bringer of euerye Woman to her Husband, and of euery Husband to his Wife, that meete as they ought in his feare. Praye therefore euer to this Fountaine of mercie, when these matters are in hande▪ that he [...] in his goodnesse would bring a good one,The pra [...]se of a good woman. Meekenes in a wom [...] a Iewell. Eccl. 36.24 &c. For He that hath gotten a vertuous Woman, hath begunne to get a possession, she is a helpe like vnto himselfe, & a Piller to rest vpon. If there bee in her tongue, gentlenesse, meekenesse, and wholesome talke, then is not her Husbande like other men. Where no Hedge is, there the possession is spoy­led, and hee that hath no Wife, wandreth too and froe, mourning, &c.

6 That a man ought to forsake Father and Mother, and cleaue to his Wife:Verse. [...]4. It declareth againe, what neere and deere a [Page 13] coniunction is betwixt them two, what vnitie and agreement ought euer to be, what monsters they be that seeke to seperate their bodyes or mindes that are thus conioyned, with diuers such points. And it is not to be vnderstoode as though mariage freed children from the honor of their parents,How farre Mariage may alow to forsake parents. but onely so farre am I to forsake Father or Mother as the cleauing to them is the forsa­king of my wife: for if these two be repugnant one to the other, then is the wife before the parent, but if both may stand together, then is the b [...]nd to parents firme and fast still, and they to be clea­ued vnto also and not forsaken.

7 The man and his wife were both naked, Vers. 25. and not asha­med. That they were created naked,Three things to be learned by our first nakednes. doth well declare how peaceable we should be amongst our selues, and how contrary to our beginning these weapons and armour be that now we are forced to vse. 1 We were made then and are borne now with no iacks on our backs, no sallets on our heads, nor speares in our hands, but naked, and now we be armed i [...] such sort, that if a beast should be brought forth in resemblance like vs when we be so armed, surely it woulde bee accompted a great monster, and brought foorth for the hurt of all other creatures. 2 Secondly it doth teach vs how we should depart againe, surely naked, for as naked we came, so naked shall we go, and cary no more away then wee brought with vs. 3 Thirdly it stayeth vs with comfort when any losse befalleth vs of these worldly goods, for so did it Iob, when vpon his losse he sayd,Iob. 1. Naked came I out of my mothers wombe, and naked must I returne againe, the Lord gaue, and the Lord hath taken, blessed be the name of the Lord eue [...].

8 That they were placed in Paradise naked so to remayne if they had not fallen,Verse 25. sheweth vs how God would haue vs walke before him, verely naked, without clokes and couers,We should walke be­fore God without couers. maskes and shadowes of any coloured craft. This nakednesse and nuditie not of body but of minde, of counsells, and actions, the Lord euer lo­ued, and the contrary cloking he as hartily hateth. Wo be vnto you that seeke deepe to hide your counsells from God, sayth the Prophet Esay, for your works are in darkenesse, Esay. 29. and you say who seeth vs, and who knoweth vs?

[Page] Verse 25. 9 That they were not for all that ashamed, fauoreth nothing any fantasticall Anabaptists, Innocency maketh bould, and giltines a­shamed. that will go naked, but declared the innocency that then was in them is now lost by sinne, yet re­gayned in measure by Christ, and shall perfitly be inioyed in the life to come, when nakednesse shall shame vs no more then it did at the first. Many and many are the things yet mo that might be noted out of this Chapter, but these shall suffice till heereafter.

Chap. 3.

You haue seene in the former Chapters the creation of our firste Parents and their innocency, now shall you see their sinne, and their fall. And this whole Chapter hath these heads in it.

  • The fall of Man.
  • The manifestation of the same by God, vers. 9.
  • The punishment of it, vers. 14.
  • The restitution by Christ, vers. 15.

COncerning the first, it is sayde, That the Ser­pent was more subtill then any beast of the feeld that God had made. Verse 1. The best things Sa­tan most desirous and busye to abuse. Noting, an extra­ordinarie thing in this beast aboue all others, which when we see Satan to make choyse of, to abuse to mans deceyuing and destruction, it may truly yeeld vs this note carefully to be obserued, that if there be any thing better then an other, any gift and grace more in one then an other, or any thing extraordinary any way that may helpe him, that will Satan diligently by all meanes assay, to make it an instrument to serue his most dangerous and dam­nable purposes. Examples in the Scripture beside this place many, and examples in experience euery day: to note one or two. Satan knoweth that it is a notable meanes to win many to the Lord,The great­nes of men abused by Satan to hurt. to see great men and honorable personages to go before, as [Page 14] also most effectual to the contrary, to see them drawe back, there­fore with might and mayne as the Lord will suffer him, he labou­reth to stop the one, and to further the other, that is to hinder their zeale to go before Gods people in all godly duties, and to increase their coldnes and drawing back, that they being kept in the way of death by him, together with them, by their example many may also dye & perish, which otherwise would do well if they had good guides. He laboreth the Rulers and the Pharisies euen with all his power, that they may not beleeue in Iesus Christ, to the ende that if any begin to draw towards the kingdome of life, and to say we neuer hard mā speake as this man doth, Iohn. 7.46. by and by they may be stopped with this obiection, do any of the Rulers & Pharisies beleeue in him, and so by the deadly power of their hurtfull ex­amples be ouerthrowne againe, & that begun zeale vtterly quen­ched. Another example in the Acts of the Apostles. He might no doubt (Satan I meane) in those darke dayes haue stirred vp many against the Apostles, but amongst all▪ he chose certaine ho­norable and deuout women with the chiefe men of the Citie, that by such outward credit of wealth & pietie, honor and dignity,Act. 13. he might giue a greater blow to the cause of God, & more easily worke the wo of his true seruants, keeping as you see this pesti­lent pollicie, if any man or matter be of accompt, to seeke to win that to serue his purpose. He had rather tempt Demas that hath once folowed Paule, to forsake him againe, then many others: for dayly experiences, I had rather you shoulde thinke of them, then I note them. Conclude we therefore euer to be circumspect and most carefull by this remembrance to preuent Satan, kno­wing that it is his manner, if God haue blessed vs either with knowledge, birth, wealth, office, credit, or any thing whereby our example may do more harme, if wee take a bad course, to labour mightely that he may for this cause the rather win vs to serue his turne, and so abuse that good thing in vs, which should serue to Gods glory, to the quite contrary, as here he did the wisedome of the Serpent.

2 Obserue we heere the meanes whereby as speciall helpes our Mother Eue was drawne to her destruction,The mea­nes of Eue her [...] and all ours in her, and with her.

[Page] Verse 1. 1 The first, is heere her tittle tattle too long and too much with the Serpent,Note. or with Satan in the Serpent: whereas shee should haue suffred no such speech against the rule and order that God had set downe, when once she perceyued it tend that way, but with a zeale of defyance haue flung away from all such confe­rence and perswasion. Let her experience teach vs the danger of such dealings euer.How to a­uoyd euill motions. And first for inward temptations, if any arise▪ as neere as the Lord will assist vs: let vs not debate the matter with them long, but euen quickly reiect them, bend our mindes some other way, and take in hand some thing, worke, or study, or such like, that we can be most earnest about, calling to the Lorde with hartie heate, that he will help vs to quench and auert such fierie darts. For truly if we reason with them, meditate of them, as many do, our fall in the end is greatly to be feared. Then for outward assaults by wicked company and lewd persons the mes­sengers of Satan,Note. How to a­uoyd out­ward as­saults. take heede also by this example of Eue how you tattle with them. They be Serpents as this was, yea sub­tile Serpents, that will deceyue & destroy you, as this did Eue. They speake not, but the Deuill in them. Heare no such char­mers, charme they neuer so sweetly. The enchancers of Egypt neuer hurt Pharaoh as they will hurt you. Away with your care betimes. Let dislike as a fire kindle within you, and cause either your toong very sharply to rebuke, or your steps to turne speedely from such company. O the vertue that hath bin lost for want of this care. They that glistered as the Starres, and were for name as the very Sunne beames, spreading it selfe into all coasts, haue become darkenesse, and as vile as the dung to all goodnesse, by harkning ouer long to the hissing of such Serpents. Be warned therefore, and beware betimes, for the Lord hath sayd it: we can not touch pitch without spot, and euill words corrupt good ma­ners. Experience teacheth, if a man tary long in the Sunne, hee will be sunneburnt, and if he clap coles to his brest he will be sin­ged. Vnskilfull youth beware by Eue, and bid such Serpent [...] leaue their hissing.

2 Secondly, shee wauereth in beliefe of the Lordes truth, she [...] maketh a peraduenture of a certayne truth, and sayth, least yee dye, when the Lord had sayd, yee shall dye, absolutely & flatly. [Page 15] Beware therefore by her in this againe, and what God hath sayde beleeue euer, diminish neuer. If hee say wee shall dye, wee shall finde him true, and if hee promise life, wee may not doubt. Beleeue him stedfastly whatsoeuer hee sayeth, and mince not hys words with our Mother Eue, neyther adde any perad­uentures, for great vantage hath Satan if we incline to a doubt, bee it neuer so little.

3 Thirdly by a bolde lye of a facing Deuill, shee is pulled on to her destruction, for hee telleth her flatly, They shall not dye. And why did hee so? Because as long as shee dreaded any thing the Lordes sentence, as a thing that might fall out if she did eate, shee could not bee brought to disobey, there­fore worketh he away from before her eyes that dread I warrant you with all indeuour. The case is ours euen at this day. As long as the iudgements of God are before our eyes agaynst sinne, we feare to sinne, and this feare is as a strong banke to keepe out the waues of wickednesse from ouerflowing vs. But if once the Deuill shake from our hearts thys dread by any meanes, as by hope of secrecie, impunitie, mercy in God, repentance in our selues, long life, good works, or what soeuer, (as hee hath in­finite meanes) then drawe wee with Eue to a deadly fall, and the will of Satan is almost wrought. See examples of both. Ioseph feared God, and this feare most strongly beat back the waue that woulde haue all to wet him, had hee yeelded to hys Mistresse. The Midwyues the lyke, and many mo. But out of Dauids minde hee got this feare, and hee had his will. From Cayne, from Absolon, Achitophell, Iudas, and thousands dayly hee doth the same, and hath his will. Beware then of such bould lyes, as tend to depriue vs of this holy feare. Such bee these, doo this, or that, consent to mee, yeeld to mee, wee will saue you harmelesse, wee wyll haue a shift, &c.

4 Fourthly the text sayth, Shee sawe that it was good to eate, and fayre to the eye: noting thereby a lusting looke, or a loo­king lust, with a delight in the thing that God had forbidden, another mightie meanes to pull her to hell then, and vs and all flesh now and euer. For that looking eye of Putiphars Wife vppon the bewtie of Ioseph, made a lusting heart, and a sinfull [Page] soule within her. So did it in Dauid when hee sawe Ber [...]abe. Heerevpon the eyes are sayde to bee full of adulterie, and hee that thus looketh to haue committed iniquitie in his heart. 5 Her ambitious minde was an other meanes, noted in the wordes also, and still it continueth a meanes to much euill. Marke Eues fall then, and these helping meanes, beware the one, and escape the other.

How spake the Ser­pent. 3 But how could the Serpent speake, since this power is not geuen to beasts, but only to man? No question it was not the Serpent by his owne power, but Satan in and by the Serpent, which is not impossible.Iliad. 9. We reade of Achilles horse, that fore­tould his mayster of his death, of the flud Causus, which saluted Pythagoras, of the tree that spake to Apollonius, of the oke Dodonaea which spake like a man, of Iupiters Bull, and many such, which who so considereth the guiles of Satan, hee needeth not to reiect as vntrue and impossible. When God permitteth, Satan is able to shrowde himselfe vnder the creatures, as may best fit his purpose. Many wicked Southsayers Satan casteth into pangs and fits of furie, and then speake they by him, or he ra­ther by them what he will.

Wily heds be fittest for the Deuill. 4 In that Satan chose the Serpent rather then an other creature, because he was wily and subtill, me thinke it shoulde giue a good watchword to the crafty heads of this world, to take heed least Satan make also choyse of them for some purposes, as fittest for him, and best able by their guilefull fetches that they a­bound with and excell in, to serue his Deuilship. Surely we see by this they are liker to be assayed, then playne men and true dea­lers are. For playne men and women, that walke playnly, vp­rightly, iustly and honestly, they will not fit the Deuils turne, indeed they are too good for him, and God will not suffer them to be abused by him, but will set hym packing, and sheld them from him, but where there is a crafty companyon, full of subtilties, sleights, wiles, and false patchings, walking deceitfully in all his doings, O there is a seruant for the deuills owne tooth, and at him will he, he shall fit the deuills turne many wayes.

5 How was it that the woman was not afrayde when the Serpent came to her, and offred to talke with her? some thinke, [Page 16] because his shape was then otherwise then it is now, God his cursse vpon him hauing altered both his forme and going.Why the woman feared not when the Serpent spake. Better me thinke answere they, that say, because as yet there was no en­mitie set betwixt the woman and him. Cyrill thinketh, because the woman in simplicitie thought that such other creatures spake aswell as her husband and she.

6 She was thus tempted,Note. seduced and ouerthrowne in Pa­radise, and it may well admonish vs,Where tooke our first mo­ther such a great fall. that if that Paradise coulde not free them from temptation, surely our Paradises heere shall neuer do it. But euen in our Princely Pallaces, our glistering Chambers, our daintie and delicate Gardens, the Deuill will be chatting with vs, and seeking to worke our woe for euer and euer if he can. Nay would God these paynted Paradises were not ra­ther the places and meanes of our wofull faulls, then poorer pla­ces be, wee geuing our selues so much to the pleasure of them, that God is forgotten, and the passage to Satans pleasure layde open a thousand wayes. O how haue they fallen swimming in pleasures, that stoode most holy, when they had fewer delightes? O how haue courts of Princes robbed them of vertue, when in countrey and meaner places no Deuill could violate or defyle? Bewace wee then Satan euen in our Paradises, yea rather I say, then in poorer Cotes: when euery thing about vs is bright and braue, beware wee that enemy that is black and foule. Many pleasures should effect many desires to please the giuer, God almightie, and no pleasures should make me wanton, lus­ting and longing for vnlawfull things. Let Eue bee remem­bred where shee was deceyued, and I say no more, it was in Paradise.

7 In the former Chapters we haue heard nothing but the Lord sayd, the Lord sayd,Verse. 1. but now come we to heare the Serpent sayd, and the Serpent sayd.After the worde of truth, commeth the word of deceipt. Whispe­rers in ser­mon o [...] ser­uice time. So see wee playnely how after the word of God, commeth the word of the Deuill. It was not so then onely, but it hath so continued euer since. When the Lorde hath spoken by the mouth of his Minister, Prophet, Apostle, Pa­stor, or Teacher, then speaketh Satan by his Serpents contra­rye. They in the Church, these assoone as they be out of Church, yea many times euen in the Church they will be hissing in their [Page] eares that sit next them. If God haue spoken to a childe by his parents, to a seruant by his maister, to a man by his freend, what is true and good, streight commeth a serpent, one or other, and ouerthroweth all, leading them captiue to a contrary course. What say these serpents,Seducers of youth. will you be thus vsed, will you beare all this? you are now no childe, do this, and do that, you shall not dye, but you shall liue, and be like Gods, knowing good and e­uill, &c. But as Eue sped by this Serpent, so shall you by those, if you auoyd them not. Such serpents were those yong Coun­sellers that made Rehoboam, 1. King. 12. Salomons sonne, do contrary to the aduise of the old counsellers, to his great losse. Againe marke heere which was first, the word of God, or the word of Satan. Dixit Dominus, Truth el­der then falsehood. the Lord sayd, goeth before Dixit serpens, the serpent sayde, and so you see truth is elder then falsehood, and Gods word before Satans lyes: that is Tertullians rule to know truth by, namely, to looke which was first. Quodcunque pri­mum illud verum, quodcunque posterius illud falsum. Whatsoe­uer was first,De pre­script. hae­retic. that is true, whatsoeuer was later, that is false, and that is first that was from the beginning, and that was from the beginning, that in the writings of the Apostles may finde his warrant. Let it not blinde you then that such an error hath conti­nued a thousand yeares, if it be to be proued that a contrary truth is elder farre.

8 Satan tempteth the woman as the weaker vessell, and if you haue any thing wherein you are weaker,Satan tempteth where wee are wea­kest. then in another, be­ware, for hee will first assault you there. It is his manner lyke a false Deuill to take his aduantage. Happely you are easilyer drawen to adulterie than murder: that then shall please him, hee will begin there. So did he with Dauid, and then brought him to murder after. Dauid was weaker to resist the one, thē the other. Thinke of your fraylties, and be godly wise, where the wall is lo­west he will enter first.

9 He telleth her, they shall be like Gods, &c. And it is his continued practise still with hope of higher climing, to throwe downe many a man and woman. He will tickle you with honor, [Page 17] with wealth, with friends, and many gay things that you shall get by yeelding to him, but whilst you so looke to mount aloft, [...] to better your state, and to inioy promises, downe shall you fall from heauen to hell, and finde a false serpent when it is too late to call againe yesterday, that is to vndoo what you haue done. Our mo­ther Eue whilst she looked to become like God, and her husband with her, she became like the Deuill, [...] marke it. and cast away her husband also, euen so shall you if any vayne hope, promise or speech tickle your heart to offend the Lord, vndo your selfe and friends.

10 When she had eaten, she gaue to Adam. Verse. 6. She was de­ceyued, and so was Adam. Many a man de­ceiued by his friend soonest. Most easi­ly by his wife. H [...]man fo­lowed his [...] coun­sel, and set vp a g [...]l­lows to his woe. Iob denyes to cursse God as his wife bad to his glory. And many a man is deceyued by his friend both in matters of religion, & of the world, when the friend is once deceiued himselfe, and doth not know it. Eue meant him no harme, and yet she hurt him because she was wrong her selfe. Many a Papist maketh a Papist, and thinketh well, but errone­ously. Good is that friendship therefore where no part is wron­ged, and a faire warning is this for all people to beware what they are perswaded to euen by their friends. Agayne, why did Satan not perswade Adam himselfe, but set Eue to do it? be­cause full falsely he knewe there is no easyer way to deceyue the man then by his wife, the husband yeelding to her often what hee will to none. This continueth still a pollicie of his, and many a man still dayly falleth by this meanes. But good wiues wyll learne by this what they perswade their husbands too, and wise men what they consent vnto.

11 When they had both eaten, the text sayth,Verse. 7. theyr eyes were opened, Pilate had done well if he had folowed his wife. How many wayes eies ar opened. meaning the eyes of their minde and vnderstan­ding: but because in other places the like is sayde of the eyes of the body, therefore heere consider you how many wayes both the one and the other are sayd to be opened. For the bodily eyes, they are opened three wayes. First, when of blinde they are made see­ing. So were the blinde mans eyes opened in the ninth of Iohn, and else-where others. Secondly, when a man is made to see that whiche before hee could not see though hee were not blinde.Iohn. 9. Num. 22. As when Balaams eyes were opened to see the Angell in his way [Page] with a drawen sword whome before he sawe not, and yet was not blinde.1. King. 6. When Elizaeus man was made at the prayer of hys mayster to see the fierie chariots and horsses for his maysters de­fence, when the towne wherein he was, was besieged. When Agar was made to see the well where she might giue her childe drinke in the wildernesse,Gen. 21. which before she could not see, though her eyes were good. Thirdly and lastly the bodely eyes are sayde to be opened, when they are made to knowe and discerne what before they sawe playnely, and yet did not knowe. Thus were Elisha his enemyes their eyes opened when they were in Sama­ria, 1. King. 6. and their eyes that were going to Emaus. These men sawe, but they knew not what they so sawe,Luc. 24. till their eyes were opened. Then the first knewe that they were in Samaria, and the other knewe that hee was Christ that had talked with them. Now for the eyes of the minde, they also are opened three wayes. First, by doctrine and teaching. Thus sayth God to Paule, I haue made thee a Minister, Act. 26. and send thee to the Gentiles to open their eyes, that they may turne from darkenesse to light, &c. Secondly, by aduersitie and affliction, for vexation giueth vn­derstanding, Esay. sayth the Prophet. So were the prodigall sonnes eyes opened, to see to take a better course then he did, which in his iolitie he did not see. Thirdly and lastly by conscience and feeling of sinne committed. Thus were these our first parents eyes ope­ned,Fearefull in respect of griefe felt, but profitable in respect of good God, if we rightly re­pent. euen to see how fearefully they had sinned and fallen from God. This of all other is the dreadfullest blindnesse, not to see sinne, and this opening of eyes by pearcing a blowe into my con­science, is consequently most fearefull. Thus againe were Iudas his eyes opened, to see how he had sinned in betraying innocent bloud, and when he sawe it, not able to abide the smart of it, he hanged himselfe. Pray we therefore euer against this blindnesse.

12 They are ashamed, and make couers for their nakednesse, had they bin as carefull not to be shamefull,Verse 7. as now they are to couer their shame,Men more carefull of secrecy then of in­nocency. it had bin well. Or were we yet as carefull not to do euill as we [...]re to hide it when it is done, it were also well, but we eate more to couer then to auoyd.

Verse. 7. 13 Their aprons were but figge leaues, and what couers [Page 18] soeuer we deuise for sinne, they be like these aprons,All our co­uers are fig leaues, sely co­uers. that is seely couers and poore shifts God w [...]t, before his eyes that seeth all. Trust not to them, deserue not to looke them.

The second part of the Chapter, Verse 8.

1 WHen they had thus sinned,Verse. 8. God is sayde to haue walked in the garden in the coole of the day. God cal­leth to re­pentance soone whome he [...]. That is nothing else, but God in mercy came to visit these sinners, and to reueale vnto them what state they were in: which except he had done, no question but Satan had drawne them further to more iniquitie, his manner being to go forward to worse and worse, where once he hath begun if God let him not. Such is Gods mercy at this day to vs miserable sinners. We fall and offend him some one way, some another, and all of vs too many wayes. Where it plea­seth him to shewe iustice and wrath, there he letteth them goe on with hardned hearts, brasen browes, and stiffe necks euery day, worse and worse, but where it pleaseth him to shewe mercy, there he commeth to walke in the coole of the day: that is as I sayd, there he visiteth the partie that hath sinned happely the same day, happely the same houre, euen assoone as the deede is done, by smiting the heart, as he did Dauids, with true remorse, sight and sorow of and for what then is done, that albeit that can not be vndone againe, yet it may be lamented with speedy and true re­pentance, and no more added therevnto, as no doubt we should do, if God thus walked not to visit vs with his holy spirit. Happy were we if we could not sinne and offend our God, but since that is not now to this corruption of ours possible, pray we the Lorde with bowed knees that he would visit vs euer, and quickly, yea in the coole of the same day, that is, ere we go to bed, or take any rest, that we may see and sigh for our transgressions that day against his Maiestie.

2 God walked not then silent, but the Text sayeth, they heard hys voyce. No more doth hee now,God is not silent now in his wal­king. but wee also heare hys voyce: for his voyce are his Ministers, Preachers, and cry­ers, crying in hys Churche Repent, for the kingdome of God is at hande. Happye are they that heare them with profit and feeling, and who so contemne them, let them learne by this [Page] place, that they despise God himselfe walking in the garden o [...] his Church, and speaking to them, which contempt he will hotely reuenge one day.

The coole of the day, what it doth signi­fie. 3 Agayne by the coole of the day, we may note if we will the oportunitie of time that God tooke to come to doo good vpon these seduced sinners, to weet, when the heate of the temptation was past. Thereby teaching his Ministers some godly wise­dome, to take their time, and notably discouering our vile cor­ruption, that admit no counsell nor perswasion while the heate of concupiscence & temptation is vpon vs. Happely in the coole of the day we will, that is, when wofull experience hath beate vs, and sinfull heate is abated in vs. But O gracelesse wee that no sooner: Yet better late then neuer, so that wee presume not: which if wee doo, surely it is many to one, that neyther in the coole of the day the Lorde will visit vs, but euen cast vs away for euer, because we presumed, making no more accompt of his Ma­iestie, but to be at our becke, and of repentance, which is his great gift to be at our call.

4 In that they hid themselues from the presence of God. Marke the frute of sinne, it woundeth the conscience, and the conscience wounded,Sinne ma­keth vs hyde from God. feareth, accuseth, vexeth, and tormen­teth a man, distrusteth in God, flyeth from him, and vaynely see­keth a couer from him that admitteth no couers. But let vs bee warned by it how foolish this course is, nay how desperate and daungerous: and when through frayltie, wherewith we are clo­thed as with a garment, we haue offended, runne not from God, but runne to God, hide not from him, but open to him what in­deede he knoweth already. Fall at his footestoole, and cry pecca­ui. I haue sinned, Lord I haue sinned, woe is me that I haue so, but haue mercy vppon me, deere God haue mercy vppon me, yea agayne and agayne haue mercy vppon mee, and ac­cording to the multitude of thy mercyes doo away mine of­fences. Thus may you liue, but by running from him you cannot runne from him, by hiding you can hide nothing, and yet for your indeuour you shall dye the death.

[Page 19] 5 Adam sayd, he was afrayd because he was naked, Verse 10. when hee shoulde haue sayde, because I haue sinned:How hard­ly wee laye the faulte as it is. so waywarde is flesh to confesse a truth, if it touch our selues with any fault, but God folowed him out, and asked him who tould him that he was naked? thereby vrging him hardly to tell truth, and teaching vs all at this day, that except we confesse truly and fully, playnely and faithfully our sinne to God, there is no forgiuenes. Wry­ings and turnings from the matter will not serue, minsings and shiftings before hym were neuer currant, nor euer shall be. A di­rect confession becommeth a sinner, and God requireth it:A dire [...]te confession required euer. Hee that hydeth his sinne sayth Salomon, shall not prosper, but he that confesseth it and forsaketh it, shall haue mercy. Prou. [...]8.

6 But see yet further, when hee was so vrged that hee must needes confesse, then he layeth it vpon the woman and God,Verse 12. say­ing: the woman deceyued me, and,Transla­ting and posting of faultes. the woman whome thou gauest mee. Would God this sinne of translating a fault from our selues to others had dyed with Adam, then had not so many of vs bin so faultie in the same as we are, some blaming one thing and some another, and fewe men as they ought blaming them­selues. To recken vp particulars, were too long, thinke of them your selues, and auoyd the like. Monstrous is that bouldnesse or ingratitude, that rather will blame God then themselues, as heere Adam did, when they should be thankfull to God for as much as he did. The woman doth the lyke, and as Adam layd the matter vppon her, so she vppon the Serpent, both naught, and farre from the course of right repentance.

The third part of the Chapter, verse 14.

IN considering the punishment of each one, marke how first the Serpent is proceeded against,Verse 14. Chiefe ringlea­ders fyrst to be puni­shed. because hee was the cause and beginner of this fault: thereby teaching, that ringleaders to any mischiefe, are first to be dealt against as most worthy: then re­member how before was noted the gifts of God in the Serpent in some respects aboue other creatures, which hee abusing, now is punished thereby. Wee beeing truly taught what shall befall [Page] them that doo the like.Mo gifts, more pu­ni [...]h [...]nt if abused. Some haue wisedome and learning, som [...] haue power and authoritie, some wealth and riches, some birth and parentage, whatsoeuer it is if wee abuse it to serue the D [...] uill, when it should serue God that gaue it, that so doing w [...] smart one day, and the cursse of God shall be vpon it as heere was vpon the Serpent, who beeing more subtill then other beasts, became an instrument for the Deuill to deceyue by.

2 The Lord sayth, Hee will set enmitie betwixt the wo­man and the Serpent, Verse. 15. and betwixt their two seeds for euer: which may well teach vs two things.Not only outward body but inward af­fections ruled by God. Prou. 21.1. First, that not onely the bo­dyes of men and beasts are in Gods hand to doo withall what he list, but theyr very inward affections, passions, and dispositions, are also rul [...]d by him. If hee list hee causeth friendship and loue, if hee please he setteth dislike and hatred, and euer well in respect of hym. The hearts of Kings and all men are in Gods hand as the riuers of water, and hee turneth them which way hee wyll. Secondly, see how iust it is that they two which had ioy­ned in lyking one of an others counsell,Friends in euil becom bitter foes and deede, further then God alowed, should now as farre iarre, and that for euer. Sure­ly such ende will vngodly friendship haue. And euen dayly wee see, that of all others they become most hated, who haue been ac­compted of [...]efore, but in bad counsells conspire [...]s against God, so able is God to set at variance amongst themselues, and to con­tinue their iarre to his good pleasure.

3 Hee could haue destroyed the Serpent quite from off the earth,The Ser­pent not quite de­stro [...]d why. but hee would not, and happely, because by his re­mayning, there might bee continued in vs a liuely remembrance of our most lothsome fall and sinne, so often as wee light of any of them.

The fourth part of the Chapter, Verse 15.

HE shall breake thy head, and thou shalt bruse his heele. Hee,Verse 15. The bene­fite by that is Christ, not shee, that is Mary. This was a pro­mise [Page 20] of a restitution vnto them and to their seede after them, so many as beleeued in Christ and by Christ, [...] who should be borne of the woman to recouer their fall. Yea to breake the Serpents head, that is, the olde Serpents head, the Deuils power strength and might against man by sinne, to quash it, and quell it, that it should not hurt to eternal death so many I say as beleue. Nibble Satan shall at our heeles, but not bite vs to death if wee holde here: yea, al his power against a chosen one shalbe but a nibbling, a very nibbling, rather to shew his malice, then to hurt the heart that thus is settled: and what a comfort is this? He had a power by sinne to quell vs, and vtterly to destroy vs, but now by Christ it is become but a poore nibbling, God make vs thankefull.

2 This being sayd, the Lord goeth on with his punishment agayne,Verse 16 and now dealeth to the woman also as she had iustly de­serued. She was next to the Serpent in offending,Womans punish­ment. and shee is next to him punished of the Lord. This dolor and sorrow, this anguish and payne that is heere inflicted, and inseperably ioyned to the womans trauell, should make both her husband and chil­dren loue her, not adding by vnkindnesse, griefe vnto griefe. Despise not thy Mother, sayde o [...]ld Tobias to his Sonne when I am dead, but Honor her all the dayes of thy lyfe, Chap. 4. and doo that whiche shall please her, and anger her not. Remember how many daungers shee sustayned when thou wast in her wombe, and how canst thou recompence her for that she hath done?

3 The subiection of the woman to the man, and his rule o­uer her was a iust check of that bould taking vpon her both to talke so much with the Serpent, and also to doo as hee had her,Verse 16 Mans au­thoritie, and wo­mans sub­iection. without any priuitie and knowledge of her husband. And it is as much as if God should haue sayde to her: Because thou to [...] ­kest so much vpon thee without aduise of thy husband▪ heereafter thy desire shall be subiect vnto him, and he shall rule ouer thee. Yet this authoritie of the man may not imbolden him any way to wrong his wife, but teacheth him rather what manner of m [...] he ought to bee, namely such an one, as for grauitie, wisedome, [Page] aduise, and all good gouernment, is able to direct her in all things to a good course. And her subiection should admonish her of her weakenesse and neede of direction, and so abate all pride and conceipt of her selfe, and worke true honor in her heart to­wards him whome God hath made stronger then her selfe, and giuen gifts to direct her by. This I say this authoritie in the man, and subiection in the woman should effect. But alas▪ many men are rather to be ruled, then to rule, and many women fitter to rule, then to be ruled of such vnruly husbands. On the other side many men for abilitie most fit and able to rule, yet for pride in the heart where subiection should be,To wit, in the woman shall haue no leaue to rule. So fit we sometimes to the order appoynted of almightie God. Amendment is good on both sides, for feare of his rod, whose order we breake.

Verse 17. 4 In the third place Adam hath his punishment appoyn­ted,Adams pu­nishment. but with mencion of his fault before, to weet, Because thou didst obey the voyce of thy wife, and eat. Thereby geuing a note to Magistrates and Rulers that inflict punishments, to doo the lyke, namely, to be able euer to lay downe a iust cause of theyr sentence. If Herod should haue done thus when he killed Iohn, he would haue seene his owne cruell iniustice: and many in these dayes would be to seeke of true causes, if they would keepe this order.

5 Adam was drawen to it by his wife, and she by the Ser­pent,Other pro­curing no excuse of sinning. yet neither of them excused by that, well and well agayne admonishing vs, that no yeelding to a friend in an euill matter, shall euer be defended by such excuse. The case you see heere, is in the Church this day. Satan stirreth vp his false charmers in holes and corners against the Lorde and his anoynted. They are as this Serpent. Many in simplicitie are abused by them, thin­king all shall be well,Priuie se­ducers. they shall knowe good and euill, &c. these be as Eue. And many yeeld vnto these for fauour and frend­ship, kinred, and liking, &c. and theis are as Adam. But as A­dam was excused because his friend perswaded him, so shall they bee and no otherwise, and would God wee might thinke of it at large, and with a full meditation.

[Page 21] 6 The cursse of the earth is a perpetuall Preacher vnto vs,Verse. 17 how we offended, that we might be humble,The earth punished. and the benefits that we receiue neuerthelesse by labour from it, declare Gods mercy, that we might be thankefull. The labour that is inioyned, tea­cheth how hatefull to God all idlenesse is, and the course beeing so,Men liuing without a vocation. that with the sweate of mine owne brow I should eate my bread, a vocation is inferred for euery man to walke in, and liuing at other mens tables, and other mens trenchers, eating the sweat of theyr browes, and not mine owne is condemned.

7 God made Adam and his Wife coates of Skinnes. The beginning of apparrell is heere to bee noted,Verse. 21. that it was when wee had sinned,The begin­ning of ap­parell when. and so is vnto vs at this daye no other­wise, then if an offender should weare an halter all his life in re­membrance of his faull. What should more coole this vayne de­light of apparell in vs then this? should the theefe that had pur­chased an haulter by his faull, yet had life granted him with a law to weare that halter during life, wax proud of his halter, and dye it red, or greene, or in some braue colour, that he might ruffle it out with his haulter? Surelye so it is with apparell,A silken halter is but a hal­ter. it is our halter and badge of our desert to dye, and wee should not bee so proude with an halter as wee are: Whether it be silke or veluet, siluer or golde, all is but an halter. And it should make vs sighe rather then swell with pride as we doo. It should humble vs tru­lye and serue our neede, it should neuer make vs hawtie and serue for pompe.

8 Adam is thrust out of Paradise to paine and labour.Verse. 23. And it teacheth the iudgement of God vpon all such,Men abu­sing places of honor. as being by hys mercy preferred to places of honour, pleasure and good, graceles­lye abuse them, and themselues in them, to the Lordes disliking. Surely they shall bee thrust out then in the Lordes iustice and wrath, when he seeth his time.

9 The Garden is garded by the Cherubins and the blade of a Sword shaken, that Adam by a visible signe,Verse. 24. being put out of all hope to recouer it and his estate anyemore, might quietly subiect himselfe to the Lords ordinance, and faule to till the earth as he was inioyned.

[Page]If any should thinke the Lord might haue kept the tree of Life from him, and let him neuerthelesse inioye the Garden. Truth it is he could so, but he would not so. Thereby as in figure declaring thus much:A figure. That if any man be not vouchsafed by Gods mercy and sauour to inioy Christ Iesus the true Tree of Life, the same may haue no place in the kingdome of God the true Paradise. And thus much for a taste of the good of this Chapter, being but a li [...]le to that which might be noted, for if either I should seeke to note all, or amplifie these notes as I might I should ouer burden the buyers, whome I seeke to incourage by smalnes of price, and attempt to do what no man can do.

Chap. 4.

The cheefe heads in this Chapter are these three.

  • The propagation of mankinde.
  • The murder of Abell by Cain his brother.
  • And the punishment of the same by God.

1 COncerning the first it is said, that afterward the man knew Heu [...]h his Wife, as if hee should haue sayde,Verse. 1. after man was cast out of Paradise,Mariage not impea­ched. then this was. Which some wick­ed spirites inflamed with venome against the holy institution and ordinance of God, haue snatched at, and thereby sought to blemish godly mariage, say­ing it was then vsed, when paradise was lost and not before, then Adam knew his wife and not before. But these wicked impes should know, that if we should alwayes reason from the order of speeches in the word of God, we should make many absurdities, The maner of the Holy-ghost being so often to speake of that last that was done first, and of that before that was done after. In Samuel it is said,1. Sam. 6.14 They claue the wood of the Cart, and offe­red [Page 22] the Kine for a burnt offring vnto the Lord, and then in the next verse: They tooke downe the Arke,15.and put it vpon the great stone: as if they had clou [...]n the Cart, wherevpon the Arke was before they tooke the Arke downe, which could not bee, yet the order of the wordes are so. A number of such places there be in the Scriptures, in all which, as there is a plaine figure putting that after, that was doone first, so may it be heere very well, that Adam knew her before, although now spoken of, and not before, and so the Act of Mariage nothing impeached by this order of wordes B [...]t suppose it were not so, but that nowe first he knewe her, yet cannot these Spirits denye, but euen in Paradise it was said, Increase and multiplie, thereby authorising and sanctifieng the act if they had neuer fallen: so that holy euery waye standeth Gods ordinance notwithstanding this word: Afterward Adam knew his Wife.

2 When Heuah had borne her first sonne Cain, shee sayd,Verse. I I haue receyued a man from the Lorde. Children the gift of God. The first mother that euer was, abscribing the first Childe that euer was vnto Gods giuing: so then acknowledged, so euer since acknowledged, by the godlye, that children are a blessing comming onely from the Lord: He maketh the barren woman to bring forth, and to be a ioyfull mother of Children, and he onely dooth it.

3 She called her eldest Kaine, which signifieth a possession,Verse. 2. and her second sonne when she had also borne him Habell, Names of children what they often show which sig­nifieth vaine or vnprofitable. By which diuersitie of names eui­dently appeareth a diuersitie of affection in the namers, and so teacheth vs two things. First the preposterous loue that is in manye Parentes, esteeming moste oftentymes of those Chil­dren that are woorste, and least of them that deserue bet­ter. Theyr Kaines be accounted Iewels and wealth, but theyr Habels vnprofitable, needelesse and naught. Secondlye it teacheth the lot of the godlye in this worlde many times, euen [...]rom theyr verye Cradle, to bee had in lesse regarde then the wicked are. So was heere Abell, so was Iacob of his Fa­ [...]her, so was Dauid and many mo.

[Page]Such and so crooked are mens iudgements often, but the Lords is euer streight,A comfort sweete. and let that be our comfort: he preferreth Abell before Cain, whatsoeuer his parents thinke, he loueth Iacob bet­ter then Esau, and hee chooseth little Dauid before his tall bre­thren: hee seeth the heart, and goeth thereafter, when men regard showes and are deceyued. Care away then, if my heart be sounde, God esteemeth me, and let man choose.

Verse. 2. 4 Their trade of life and bringing vp we see, the one a kee­per of sheepe, the other a tiller of the ground, both holye cal­lings alowed of God:Idlenesse hated. Idlenesse hated then from the beginning, both of the godly and such as had but ciuill honestie, or the vse of humaine reason. The antiquitie of Husbandrye heerein also ap­peareth,Antiquitie of husban­drie. to the great praise of it, and due incouragement vnto it. But alas our dayes: many things hath time inuented since, or rather the Deuill in time hatched, of farre lesse credit, and yet of more vse with wicked men, a nimble hand, with a paire of Cards, or false Dise,Dise and Cardes. is a way now to liue by, and Iack must be a gentle­man, say nay who shall. Tilling of the ground is to base for Far­mers Sonnes, and we must be finer. But take heede we be not so fine in this world, that God knowe vs not in the worlde to come, but say vnto vs,Thinke of this yee ouer fine Farmars. I made thee an Husbandman, who made thee a Gentleman, I made thee a tiller of the ground, a trade of life most ancient and honest, who hath caused thee to forsake thy calling wherein I placed thee. Surely thou art not he that I made thee, and therefore I know thee not, depart from me thou wicked one into euerlasting fire.

5 In the next place mention is made of the sacrifice or offring that these two brethren brought vnto the Lord.Verse. 3. The Apostle saith that Habell by faith did offer. Hebre. 11. True wor­ship hath euer God the author Roma. 10. Faith euer presupposeth a word because it is a frute that springeth onely of that seede, and there­fore it necessarily followeth, that albeit wee read not preciselye when God taught them thus to worship him, yet certaine it is that he taught it, and commanded it, otherwise it could not bee doone of faith nor please him. Most like therefore that God taught Adam, and Adam his Children, leauing behind him this [Page 23] holy practise as ancient as the world within a little,How anci­ent instru­ction of parents is, & of what force. that parents should instruct in religion the seede that God hath giuen them: and so looke vnto them, that euen their Cains if they haue anye▪ dare doe no other, but at least make a showe of obedience to God, how wicked soeuer theyr hearts bee. Such care would cut the combe of such vile atheisme as ruleth nowe, and make all cursed spirits at least not to dare to showe their contempt of God and holy exercises appoynted for man to serue God withall, and by, as now they dare and do.

6 But though they both offred,Verse. 4. yet marke you a difference in their dooings. Cain brings an offering, but Abell brings an of­fring of the fat of his sheepe, which the spirit of God noteth by a repetition of set purpose, with an edge of speeche, saying not on­ly that he brought of the Sheepe, but of the fat of them, of the fat of them.Leu. 22.22. Thereby deliuering to vs this difference betwixt a true heart and a false, a true godly man or woman, and a sinner. They both offer, but the one thinketh any thing good inough, and the other in the zeale of his soule, and fulnesse of his Lord,Howe hy­pocrites discouer themselus. think­eth nothing good inough. He bringeth his gift, and of the fattest, that is, of the best he hath, and wisheth it were ten thousand times better. This heate of affection towards God, let vs all marke, and euer thinke of: it vneaseth such as in these dayes thinke any seruice inough for God, halfe a quarter of an houre in a weeke, &c. And such, as if they haue any tithes to pay to their Minister, who is in the place of God to receiue them,Bad ty­thers. whilst that course standeth for his maintenance, choose out the broken and blinde, the halte and lame, the scabbed and scuruye, and the worst of euery thing, thinking that also to good. But these holow harted Cains, and couetous hypocrites God seeth, and their rewarde shall be as Cains was.

7 Of whom it is sayd, that vnto Cain and his offring God had no regard, but vnto Habell he had. Verse. 4 5. See the contempt of God of so vnwilling worship, so colde loue and grudged gifts. Thus [...]ill he serue such holow seruers of him, but euer regarde, blesse and like his true Abels and their offrings, and what wish you more.

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[Page] Verse. 5. 8 Kain was angrie saith the text, when he saw his brothers offring regarded more then his,H [...]pocrits cannot a­bide their due re­warde. yea and exceeding angrie, for his countenance changed and was cast downe. Marke I praye you how hypocrites, though they be hypocrites, yet can they not abide to be serued like hypocrites, no, they will not giue God himselfe (much lesse man) leaue to deale with them as they de­serue. Kaine will fret, and rage and fret, if his false hart be re­iected of God. And all superstitious idolaters will doo the like if theyr fastings and prayers, crossings and creepings, and all theyr worship either in matter or manner, or both disliked of God, bee discountenanced. That which they doe is wicked and naught, and yet neither God nor man may say so, or show so. But we must be content, you see this mallice for telling truth is not of two dayes age, but as olde as Kaine.

How the fauour and dislike of God ap­peared. 9 But how appeared this liking and disliking of their sacri­fices, and whereby knew they of it? The vsuall answer and opi­nion is, that either from heauen fire came downe and consumed Abels offring, as that of Elias in the Kings, of Salomon when hee dedicated the Temple,1. King. 18. 2. Chro. 7. Iud. 6. or out of the Stone wherevpon it laye, as wee reade of Gedeon. But because the Scripture is si­lent,Where the word hath no mouth, haue you no eare, much lesse an itching eare. let not vs be curious. Contented with this, that it did appeare, what waye we knowe not certaynelye. The texte is playne, Kaine sawe the difference, and was highlye displea­sed. Some thing therefore was doone of God, and some signe giuen of his gratious fauour more to Abell and his gift that came from a true heart, then to Kaine and his gift, not from the like proceeding.

Verse. 4.5. 10 It is especially to bee noted, that God is not sayd to haue respected onelye Abel his offring,Men re­garde me [...] for gifts, God regardeth gifts for men. but to haue respected A­bel and his offring, putting a regarde of Abels person, before the regard of his gift. Thereby teaching vs that it is not with God as it is with men: for men regard cheefly the gifts and then the persons according to their gifts, if they giue much, they re­garde them more, if they giue lesse, they loue them thereafter, but God quite contrary. He respecteth first the person, and then the [Page 24] gift, and if the person please him, his gift he accepteth, if not, no gifts of his doth God care for. Now the person pleaseth onely in Christ, and therefore no gifts but the gifts of the godly doth God respect. Base is that minde that is wonne to loue by gifts, or to dislike for want of gifts great inough. Such sinne is not in God, and therefore away with Opus operatum. Opus ope­ratum. Such popish trash of­fendeth God. It is not you see the deed doone that pleaseth God as they say, but the partie that dooth it, must first please God, as you see heere. He had respect to Abell first, and then to his offering, that is, first it pleased him to accept in Christ, Abels person, and then the duties that came from his accepted seruant, he regarded. Like place is that in the prophet:Mala. 1.10. I haue no pleasure in you saith the Lord of hoasts, neither will I accept an of­fring at your hands. First professing the dislike of theyr per­sons and then his neglect of any thing they gaue. Esay the like againe, and many times elsewhere in the Scripture.Esay. 1. Wherefore if euer wee would that any thing proceeding from vs should bee accepted of God, let vs labour first that our selues may be accep­ted, by being truly grafted into him by faith, with whome God is perfitlye pleased and for him, with all that depende vpon him. [...] This dooth not the Papiste, but weareth himselfe in out­warde things, thinking for his manye fastings, much babling and toyles of the flesh to bee regarded, but you see the contra­rye heere.

11 This conceyued wrath in Kaine his brest stayed not s [...]: but hauing leaue to lodge there a while,How dan­ger [...]us an­ger [...]. it brought forth murder bloudy and vnnaturall of his brother: a good warning to all that see it to beware of keeping wrath, and lapping vp closely in theyr bosomes a conceyued displeasure: for questionlesse it is the waye to greater sinne, if God preuent not. Olde anger prooues curs­sed malice, and olde malice wyll haue murther cruell, if other circumstances of time, place, and the like may bee had. Let not the Sunne goe downe then vpon your wrath, but stoppe beginning [...] in a godly zeale, and preuent such ends by a godly care. Marke the meanes to attaine his will: he speaketh to his bro­ther to go into the Fields, and when he had him there he slew him. [Page] Anger that cannot speake is most wicked,A faire speaking anger. but anger that can speake, and faire speake, and meane so ill, is wickednesse it selfe. It is a Cains curtesie to speake faire, and meane ill, to walke with me as a brother, and to cut my throate as an enemy, and euen that should make vs hate it.To set bre­thren at variance how olde a practise of Satan. See also heere and obserue it well, how old a practise of Satan it is to set brethren at variance for religion. Cain hateth Habell, because God made it knowne that his religion and worshipping of God, was better then his. Old satan hath not cast his cote yet, but soweth dislike still for the same cause. Gods word giueth testimony to one brothers truth, and disliketh vtterly the other brothers falsehood. This maketh the worse to gnash at the better, where he should reioyce for him and pertake in his good by yeelding to it.

12 God regarded this iarre in Caine, and expostulateth with him what ayled him. Dooth not God abide it, and will Caine do it? haue we any Cains now that hate theyr brethren and heare this, are they not afraid of Gods eye? are they not ashamed to be like Cain? doe they thinke to iumpe with him in crime, and not to iumpe with him in iudgement? It cannot be.

13 But will Cain confesse to God what is the matter? no I warrant you,To hyde malice as olde as Caine. neither his hatred before, nor his murther after, but concealeth all as much as he could, though in deed from God no­thing can be hid. So old againe is this corruption of hiding and couering, cloaking and shadowing of our sinnes. When wee do it, we resemble Caine, and what fowler patterne to be payn­ted by▪

Verse. 10. 14 Thy brothers bloud cryeth to me (saith God) out of the earth. No secre­sie from God. And doe we hope secresie for want of witnesses? Alas we are deceyued. The wickednesse it selfe will torment vs, as if a thousand knew it. The conscience cannot be bribed to hould his peace, it will giue euidence do what we can. And the very deede we haue doone will giue God no rest, but crie against vs till it bee reuenged and we punished. If you knew your secret sinnes should be cryed at the market crosse assoone as you haue doone them, [Page 25] you would be afraide to sinne and take no comfort in the wante of witnesses, nor hope of rest by the secresie. Nowe you heare with your eares, and see with your eyes, that bee it neuer so secret, and without the knowledge of man, it crieth in heauen, and maketh all heauen ring of it, as Abels bloud did, and shall it not feare you? Care not then for secresie if it be euill: for if God see it and heare it, he is priuie that can do more to you then any man, euen Kill the soule as well as the bodye, and caste them bothe into Hell fire.

15 The iustice of God vpon Cains murder,Ver. 11. &c truly showeth vs how all sinne shall speede. For hee hateth not murther alone,What the marginall notes suf­fice in, heere I passe ouer. but all sinne. Read the words well, and marke the wrath, sharpe is his hand vpon this offender and yet most iust.

16 In Cains building a Citie and calling it after his sons name, we see the care of the wicked euer.Verse. 17. More to desire to mag­nifie themselues, then to glorifie God, more to seeke after a name in earth, then a life in heauen, more to establish their seede with townes and towers, then with Gods fauour. But such course is crooked and like Cains heere. If we d [...]sire a name, the loue of G [...]d and his word, the loue of Christ and his trueth is the waye. You remember a sely Woman that in a true affection to her Lorde and maister, powred vpon him a box of oyntment,Mar. 14.9. and what got she: Verely (saith Christ) wheresoeuer this Gospell shall be preached throughout the world, this shalbe told of the Wo­man for a remembrance of her. Heere was a name well gotten, and firmely continued, to the very world ends.Syrac. 49.6 The memorie of the righteous shall remaine for euer, and the name of the wic­ked do what they ean, in Gods good time shall rot and take an en­ding. For which cause Moses if you marke it,Note. [...]keth no menti­on of the time, that either Cain or any of his Sonnes liued, as he dooth of the godly.Polygamy. Filthy Polygamie you see in this place began with wicked Lamech, that is, to haue mo wiues then one at one time: so old is this euill, that from the beginning was not so: that mention that is made of the children here of the wicked, telleth vs how they flourish for a time with all worldly thing [...] ▪ whome yet [Page] God hateth. The last words show you what eclipses true religi­on suffceth often in this world, and let vs marke it.

Chap. 5.

This whole Chapter, handleth the Genealogie of the Fa­thers before the Flud, and hath also particulars di­uerse worthy marking.

Verse. 1. 1 AGaine it is sayde, God created Adam after his likenesse, which what it was, you hearde in the first Chapter, referring you to the Apostle,Eph. 4.24. who expoundeth it by righteousnesse and true ho­linesse, meaning by those two wordes, all goodnesse, as wise­dome, truth, innocencie, power, and such like, incident to mans nature vnspotted by sinne.

Verse. 2. 2 He called them both Adam, saith the Texte, both the man and the Woman:The vnion of mariage by that one name noting vnto vs, that insepe­rable, holy, and misticall vnion, that is made by marriage of two persons to become but one fleshe: the like in some sorte remai­neth still in vse amongst vs,Why wo­men mari­ed, leaue their owne names, & are called as their husband. in that the wife is called by her hus­bands name, her owne name ceasing, and being vsed no more, as if it should be sayd, nowe that you are maried, though before you were two, yee are become one, and therefore fitte that one name should se [...]ue you both, to note so much bothe to your selues and others. The man is the worthier person, and therefore by his name shall you both bee called, and the womans name shall cease to be as it was, since now shee is changed, and become one fleshe with him, whose name she inioyeth.

[Page 26] 3 Adam is sayde to haue begot a sonne after his likenesse, Vers [...]. 3. which is to bee vnderstood thus,A [...]ams likenesse what. a man as hee was and corrupt as he was. Like him in sex and nature, and like him in corruption, impure of impure.

4 From the 4. verse to the 22: two things cheefely are no­ted. The long life of these Fathers, and their assured death▪ Long life and death at last of the olde fathers. many yeares they continued, yea many hundreds, but at last they dyed. Death long ere it came, but at last it came. And touching their long life▪ some questions are mooued: First why it was so long▪ Secondly whence or howe it came to bee so:Their life whye so long. of the first, two causes are aledged, one for the propagation of man­kinde, so much the faster and more speedely: the other for conti­nuance of remembrance of matters, and deducing of them to po­steritie the better. To the second, answer is made,Howe so long. that as al mens liues at this day are from God and of God, as the fountaine, so was also that long life of theyrs, and by him onely it was produ­ced to and for such terme as it was. Neuerthelesse, if we speake of causes in nature (by which also God worketh when it pleaseth him) diuers and sundry there were then, now to be remembred if we will, wherefore their life might passe ours as it did, and bee so long. The indifferent mixture, equall temperature;Causes in nature of long life. and good disposition of the cheefe and first qualities, heat, colde, moysture, drynesse, is in nature the ground of life, and by all probabilitie in that beginning this was so, more then now. Their dyet better and temperance more from surfetting and fleshlye pleasures, then is now. The region they dwelte in hote in a strength to drye vp and consume superfluitie of humors, when anye were corrupt and rotten:Cura quasi cor rodens Theyr mindes quieter from eating and gnawing cares, the shortners of mans life: since iniquitie then being not so strong manye woes and vexations were vnfounde. And lastly the fruites of the earth, in their puritie, strength, and vertue, not corrupted as after the Flud, and euer since still more and more might be to them a true cause and a most forcible cause of good health, greater strength, and longer life, then euer since by nature could bee.

5 Their certaine death is noted,Their cer­tain death why still noted. to showe the truth of Gods [Page] worde euer infallible and vnmooueable. The Lorde sayd, if they did eate they should dye: they did eate, then death must folow, or God be vntrue, warning vs faire if wee will bee warned, neuer to mince and qualifie what the Lorde pronounceth perempto­rilye and flatlye, for hee wil be true doe what we can, and we shall fi [...]de it so. Adam liued nine hundred yeares and thirtie, but hee dyed. Sheth nine hundred and twelue, and he dyed. Methuse­lah nine hundred 69, and yet he dyed: dyed, dyed is the end of all, that God might bee true, how long soeuer they liued. The [...]ame word of the Lorde is no falser nowe then then, but the same for e­uer: and therefore for this eaten Aple against commaundement, dye we must still, and whilst the world indureth: would God this repetition of death, death, to all these Fathers, might make vs as dulye to remember it, as wee are sure truely to finde it. To finde it I saye, and God knoweth, not wee, how soone. To daye I,A white Mouse. A blacke Mouse. to morrowe thou, saith the Wise man. His conceipte was not vnprofitable, that imagined mans life to be as a Tree at the roote: whereof two Mise lye gnawing and nibling with­out ceasing, a white Mouse, and a blacke. The white Mouse hee conceiued to bee the daye, and the blacke Mouse the night: by which daye and night mans life as a tree by continuall gnawing at last is ended. Who can nowe tell howe farre these two Mise haue eaten vpon him.The vn­certaintie of mans life Happely the Tree that seemeth yet strong, ere night may shake, and ere daye againe fall flat downe. O let vs thinke of this vncertaintie, and that is all I wishe by this speeche. Adams coate of Skins might fitlye remember him of this. And what weare wee still in our most ruffe, which apper­tayned not sometime in some sorte, to a liuing creature, by whose death we being clad, may fitlye thinke of our owne deaths that are so sure. But you see the Snowe howe blinde it makes a man,Our appa­rell maye put vs in minde of death. by his great whitenesse: so dooth this worlde by his mani­folde pleasures, baytes and allurement, dazell our eyes, and blinde vs so, that wee forget to dye, wee dreame of life, when there is no hope, and wee cannot heare of it to goe awaye. O death how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man, that liueth at rest in his possessions, Syrac. 41.1 vnto the man that hath no­thing to vexe him, and that hath prosperitie in all thinges, [Page 27] yea vnto him that yet is able to receiue meate.

6 In the 22. verse it is sayd, that Henoch walked with God: To walke with God sometime, signifieth to obey and serue,To walke [...]ith God. to re­uerence and feare the liuing God, and (by the way) when it dooth so, if godly men be said to walke with God,Mich. 6.8. I pray you with whom walke they that are vngodly? Surely with him, that if they saw him would feare them, and shame them to bee arme in arme with so foule a guest. But what the eye seeth not the heart feareth not, yet the end will finde it, when it is too late. In this place to walke with God, signifieth he was translated out of this life and world, not by death as others, but aliue as were no others then, to liue with the Lord. Which translation to him was insteed of death, that following to him by this rapt, that to others without it after death.Where Henoch and Elias are. The Lord did this to giue vs some signe of the resurrection to a better life prepared, and to be a testimonie of the immortalitie of soules and bodyes. As to inquire where hee became, is meere curiositie. The like wee read of Elias the Prophet, that he also was caught vp into heauen in this extraordinary manner.2. Kin. 2.11. Many vaine motions about them, both by idle heads which I will not scan. Yea euen godly men haue waded further, then by any neces­sitie they were constrained: for where God hath not an answer we should not haue a question, that is, where it pleaseth him to be silent we should not be sifters,Syrach. 44. for he concealeth nothing that may be profitable. Syrach is alledged, where it is said, that Henoch was translated into Paradise. But as the booke is not Canoni­call, so in that is the Latin translation false, the Greeke hauing nothing of Paradise, but simply that he was translated. Other guesses and talkes I take as they be onely guesses, and passe them ouer. Where should they be but with others of the godly where they are: their bodies in the rapt changed, as the Apostle saith all ours shall be, when corruptible shall put on incorruption, and mortall, immortalitie, 1. Cor. 15. and as they that bee aliue at the Lo [...]des comming shall be changed. For wee shall not (saith he) all dye, but we shall all be changed. The Lorde shall descend him­selfe from Heauen with a showte, 1. Thess. 4. and with the voice of the Archangell, and with the Trumpet of God, and the dead in [Page] [...] first. Then shal we which liue and remaine, [...] vp with them also in the cloudes, to meete the Lorde [...] ▪ and so wee shall bee euer with the Lorde. So were these no question, at this time changed: That againe the [...] may be so caught, the Apostle showeth, when he sayth he was so▪ w [...]ther in the bodye or out of the bodye, saith he, I knowe [...] thereby that both might bee. Wee read howe Philip was caught from the Eunuch, Acts. 8. and found at Azotus: but I go no further in this matter.

Verse. 24. 7 God tooke him awaye, saith the 24. verse, and it maye well remember vs of the care that the Lord hath ouer his euer to deliuer them from the woes of this worlde,The Lords care for l [...]fe or death. when it shall be good He seeth and knoweth vs, and our estate: while it may bee good for vs to liue, we shall liue, and when an other place shall be bet­ter for vs, the Lorde as he did Henoch can take vs away, yea and will if we trust in him.

8 Lastlye let vs thinke vpon this occasion, that though all of vs in bodye cannot obtaine this honour to bee thus caught vp to walke with God, yet may we in minde be partakers of this much to ascend vpwarde,Coloss. 3.1.2.3. to haue our hearts aboue, and not beneath, and to walke in spirit amongst those endlesse ioyes that are pre­pared for vs.

Chap. 6.

Hitherto wee haue heard of mans generation, now must wee heare of his degeneration, that wee may well perceiue if wee will see any thing, how vaine a thing man is, rebelling euer against his God. This whole Chapter contayneth cheefelye, but these three thinges.

  • [Page 28]1 Mans degeneration from God in the foure firste verses.
  • 2 The iustice of God ordaining punishment for him from the 5. verse to the 8.
  • 3 The mercie of God euen in this Iustice, from the 8. to the end.

1 TOuching the first, it teacheth vs, as I sayd,Verse. 1.2. the great and greeuous cor­ruption of man,Mās great corruption who the more bound hee is for mercy to serue God trulye, the more apte and prone hee is to of­fend him highlye. The Lorde had nowe increased mankinde▪ & them ma­nye to theyr great comforts, if they could haue vsed it, and nowe without all regarde and thanke­fulnesse for such his goodnesse, headily, and hastilye, wicked­lye and vngodlye they prouoke him to anger and great displea­sure against them, by fleshlye following their owne willes, euerye man marrying as hee best lyked, for outwarde beau­tye, without regarde of Gods liking, and inwarde vertue. The Sonnes of God, that is, the Children of the godlye, sawe the daughters of men, that is, of wicked parents descended, such [...] Kain was, that they were fayre, and they tooke them wiues of all that they liked.

2 Wee see howe greeuous a thing vnequall mariages bee, when the godlye with the vngodlye, [...] all [...] the beleeuing with the Infi­dels, the religious with the superstitious, are vnequally yoaked: surely euen so greeuous to God, that for this cause especially the [Page] whole world was destroyed by the Flud. The Lord is no change­ling, he disliked it euer▪ and disliketh it still. It is a secret poyson that destroyeth vertue more speedily then anye thing. Salomon was ouerthrowne by the daughters of men for all his wisedome. Iehosaphat matched his Sonne to Ahabs daughter, and it was his destruction. Hee forsooke the waye of the Lorde, and wrought all wickednesse in a full measure. Whye? because sayth the Texte,2. Ch▪ 21 6 The Daughter of Ahab was his Wife. Ahab was wicked, but a wicked Wife made him farre worse, for shee prouoked him saith the Texte:2. Cor. 6. Be not vnequally yoaked with the Infidels (saith the Apostle): for what felowship hath righ­teousnesse with vnrighteousnesse? and what communion hath light with darkenesse? what concord hath Christ with Belial: or what parte hath the beleeuer with the Infidell. It is a lawe of mariage that should not bee broken,Thinke of these rea­sons, and mary ver­tue, not wealth nor will. that it bee in the Lorde, that is, with his liking and in his feare, with such as bee godlye, and hould the truth. Our children we allow not to mar­rye against our wils, but our right wee challenge to giue a con­sent. And shall the Children of God seeke no consent of theyr Father in Heauen to theyr marriages? But his consent hee will neuer giue to marrye his enemie, and therefore doe it not. It is not lawfull, it is not expedient, if it were law­full. The Flud came to so much such disobedience, and forget it neuer.

Beautie is vaine. 2 Consider how God hateth it, that in mariage, onely beau­tie and fauour should be respected: for theyr fairenesse the sonnes of God chose wicked Women, saith this place, and God pla­gued it. Fauour is deceitfull, and beautie is vanitie (saith wise Salomon,) but a Woman that feareth God, she shall be praysed. Pro. 31.30

Verse. 3. 3 Marke the worde striue, in the 3. verse: My spirite shall not alwayes striue with man. Gods great patience and long suffering. And see in it, and by it the deep­nesse of Gods goodnesse to vs miserable sinners, he dooth not by and by bring vpon vs the desarte of our sinnes, but beareth with vs, and long beareth with vs, daylye and hourelye, [Page 29] giuing mercy more notwithstanding all those sinnes, yea he stri­ueth with vs, and tuggeth with vs, that wee might be saued and not perish. O what a God is this. Looke how your selfe striue with your childe or friend whome you loue, to bring him to good, and to saue him from euill, euen so doth the Lord with you, yea much and farre more. As I liue, as I liue sayth the Lord, I de­sire not the death of the wicked, Eze. 33.11. but that he may turne from his way and liue: O turne you, turne you from your euil wayes, for why will yee dye yee house of Israell. 2. Petr. 3.9. The Lord of his pro­mise is not slack, as some men count slacknesse, but is patient toward vs, and would haue no man to perish, but would all men to come to repentance, sayth the Apostle Peter. And de­spisest thou O man sayth S. Paule, the riches of Gods boun­tifulnes and patience and long suffering, not knowing that the bountifulnes of God leadeth thee to repentance? Thus good is God, and thus he striueth with vs.

4 Agayne, marke his mercy in the time that hee graunteth heere to repentance:Verse. 3. An hundred and twentie yeares sayth hee shall his dayes bee: that is, though thus greatly and greeuously man hath offended, and euen all the earth is become corrupt, so that with great iustice I might bring a flood foorthwith, and con­sume them all: yet will I not doo so, but still beare longer, and looke for amendment, yea an hundred and twentie yeares yet will I giue him ere I bring the flood vpon him, to see if they will re­turne, and auoid my wrath. What is long suffring if this be not? and this is the sweete nature of our God.

5 Of Gyants and mightie men the word speaketh sundrie times in seuerall places. Heere he sayth,Gyants. of these vngodly mari­ages came many of them, which being mightyer then the vsuall sort of men, vsurped by their might, authoritie ouer others, and did degenerate from the simplicitie wherein their Fathers lyued. In the booke of Numbers, they that went to search the land of Canaan, when they returned made report,Chap. 13.34. that they had seene there Gyants, in comparison of whome, they seemed Gras­hoppers. In Deuteronomie mention is made of Og, the King of Bashan, whose bed was of iron, nine cubits long, Chap. 3.11. and foure [Page] cubits brode. That great Goliah also of the Philistims you re­member. S. Austen sayth: he saw the tooth of a man as great as an hundred of ours, what was the body then? somewhat you may guesse. Plinie reporteth, that in Crete out of a mountayne was digged the remnants of a man by guesse of proportion when hee liued six and fortie cubits, but there were no end to tell you all we reade of this matter. Thus much sufficeth to cause vs to consider Gods power, which mightely and maruelously hath euer shewed it selfe in his creatures.

6 In the fift verse it is sayd, The Lord saw the wickednes of man that it was great. Verse. 5. He euer seeth both good and bad what­soeuer it is:God seeth all. neyther walls nor darkenesse can hinder his sight. To the godly it is a comfort, who are many times wronged by false suspicion, slanders and lyes, but the Lord seeth. To the wic­ked it must be a terror, and a very great one, that cloke they or co­uer they, hide they or hap they their sinnes neuer so much, yet the Lord seeth. And what will hee doo? euer see, and neuer punish? then were he vniust, but that he cannot be for any man, therefore the end will smart, without repentance.

7 If you doubt of this, beleeue the text which telleth vs what fell out when God sawe it would be no better,Verse. 6. it repented him that euer he had made man, that is, speaking after the manner of men. God destroyed man, and in that as it were did disauow him to be his creature. And marke withall how liuely the Lorde doth discouer the corruption that is in vs, saying, all our imagi­nations,Verse 5. and all our cogitations are euill, and only euill, and euer euill.Mans cor­ruption how great. What greater euill then in this sort and measure to be euill? Where is that free will that wilfull men deuise to do good, when our mould and mettall is become thus bad? Away with such dreames, experience is the fooles schoolemaister, and shall not euen that teach vs, but will we gaynesay our owne knowledge? Austen telleth vs, and all the world, that homo male vtens libero arbitrio, & se & ipsum perdidit: man abusing that freewill which before his fall he had, he lost both himselfe and it. We are naught waking, we are naught sleeping, we are sinfull dreaming, and when we do not dreame, and where is our good?

[Page 30] 8 Somewhat conceyue of the measure of sinne that was now in the earth, by these speeches of God, that he repented, The mea­sure of sin then how great. and that he was sory in his heart. Could a small measure make God thus greeued? No, he dayly indureth great wickednes, and yet repenteth not that he made man: wherefore this must teach vs their sinne was great, and warne vs agayne to beware, at the least with great sinne to offend the Lord. If we cannot but sinne through our imperfection, yet let vs not increase the measure without remorse by any wicked malice. But stay to go on, if wee cannot stay to go in. Stop the course as the Lord shall inable, and not by fulnesse of measure, as this people did heere pull ven­geance from heauen whether God will or no. O heauye day and houre to you or me, if the Lord shall say, it repenteth me that I haue made such an one, yea, I am sory, and sory at my heart for it. Beware then of great sinnes, and of heaping sinne vpon sinne, till God be driuen to say thus against you. The contrary is sweet, when the Lord reioyceth at our beeing, and shall say to Satan, hast thou marked my seruant Iob, such a man, such a woman, how they loue me, &c.

9 But why was the Lord sory that he had made man? surely because he must destroy him againe, his sinne is so great. Why then he is sory to destroy man. Truth it is,God [...] [...]ow to anger. if he could with iustice choose. O then what see wee? Cannot God proceed to punish­ment of rebellious sinners, yea of such rebellious sinners as these were, that made the whole earth smell of their sinnes, but with some griefe, with some discontent, with some [...]othnes as it were to haue it so if they would amend, and shall he be hastie and furious, implacable & vnmerciful to a poore sinner that groneth & greueth, sigheth & sobbeth▪ wepeth & crieth for wo that he doth sin,O comfort to an hea­uie spirit. and that he cannot but sin against so good a God, & so deere a Father, and wisheth it better euery day he riseth, and euery night he goeth to bed? No no it cannot be. And therefore be of good comfort thou greeued spirit, the Lord loueth thy longing care to serue him bet­ter, and he can sooner cease to be God, which is impossible, then cast away his eyes of mercy and pitie from thee. He will not pu­nish thee, but he lusteth to exercise thee, that the glory of thy faith [Page] after such assault appearing bright, may receyue a Crowne of comfort brighter then golde or beaten golde, beset with precious stone:Psal. 27. O tary then the Lords leasure, bee strong and hee shall comfort thy heart, and put thou thy trust in the Lord.

10 In the seuenth verse the Lord sayth I will destroy. Be­fore we noted his mercifull striuing to bring to repentance,Verse 7. but now note his iustice if man will not repent,God iust. he beareth long, and saith turne, turne: but at last he catcheth his sword, and sayth, I will destroy. Tempt not the Lord therefore ouerlong you vn­feeling hearts, for you see a fear [...]. Many times admonished, and neuer amended, thinke you heare this word, I will destroy.

Verse 8. 11 In the eyght verse it is sayd, But Noe found grace in the eyes of the Lord. So God iust that euer mer­cifull, and contrary. So then God punisheth, that euer yet he spareth some. So is hee iust that hee forgetteth not his mercy. He spareth Noe and his household with him, and that in mercy. Gratiam inuenit, non meriti mercedem. Grace he founde, but no reward of merit. Yet what God giueth him, we may not deny him, he was a iust man, and vpright in his time, and walked with God. A singular prayse in so corrupt an age to be so vnlike them. Would God it might teach vs the prayse of this, not to be caryed away with corruptions amongst vs, be they neuer so generall, or so imbraced of the greatest men. To walke with God is a precious prayse,Multitude or custom. though none do it but my selfe, and to walke with man, with the world, with a Towne or Parish in wicked wayes, is a deadly sinne, though millions do it. Iustice and vprightnesse will abide the touch, when craft and dissembling will be discerned drosse. Noe in this wicked time, and in this vniuersalitie of sin­ning, was a iust man and vpright, and walked with God, do they all what they would, he would not follow thē, and let vs marke it.

12 In the 24. verse, and so to the end of the Chapter, direc­tion is giuen to Noe how he should be saued,Verse 24. euen in an Arke, which he is commanded to make to that purpose. The prescrip­tion you see, and euery particular as they lye. Let me tell you the resemblance that hath bin made by some, peraduenture not vn­fitly.The re­semblance of the Ark. Noe say they was a fit figure of our Sauiour Christ, for in him was fulfilled most effectually that which was sayd of Noe in [Page 31] the fift Chapter the 29. verse, Lamech begat a sonne, and cal­led his name Noah, saying: this same shall comfort vs con­cerning our worke, and sorow of our hands, as touching the earth which the Lord hath curssed. The Arke a figure of the Church, for as out of that there was no safetie, so out of the Church there is no saluation. The matter of it must not be euery thing, but of Pine trees direction was giuen. The children of the Church are not euery sort, not they which are borne of bloud, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, Iohn. 1.13. but of God. The Pitch represented the loue of the Church, where­with as with glew the members are vnited and fastned together. Within and without the Arke was pitched, and within and with­out a true member of the Church is vnfayned loue. He loueth within, he loueth without, he loueth without, and he loueth with­in, it is not secret and cannot be seene, it is not seene outward and wanteth within, but truth and show, and show and truth go toge­ther in this man. O blessed pitch, would God we were all thus pitched, for the more of this cleaueth to our fingers, the better we. It defileth not, but maketh vs holy before the Lord. In the Arke were diuers roomes, and in the Church are diuers gifts, diuers orders, and degrees of men. In the heauen we seeke for diuers mansions. In the Arke are beasts vncleane, aswell as cleane, and in the true Church and of the true Church, hee that denyeth sinners to be, shall prooue an Anabaptist. The win­dow they say might represent the Gospell, and the preaching thereof, for as by that window came light into the Arke to ligh­ten their bodyes, so by the preaching of the Gospell commeth light into the Church to lighten the hart, and minde, and vnder­standing of those that are within. The dore, Christ. I am the dore, and so as foloweth. The Arke was great and very great. So is the Church of great largenesse, dispersed by God both farre and wide. Reade the 54. of Esay 2. Reioyce thou barren that bearest not, &c. inlarge thy tents. &c. The flood resem­bled Baptisme, which killeth the ould man, and restoreth the new▪ while the Arke was preparing sayth S. Peter, whereby eight soules were saued in the water, 1. Pet. 3.21. whereof the baptisme that now is, answering that figure &c. saueth vs also by the resurrection [Page] of Iesus Christ. Finally and lastly, the Arke was tossed in those waues of water both vp and downe, and so is the Church whilst it heere is militant, too and fro. Yea euery member doth witnesse this, tossed of the world, tossed of flesh, tossed of Satan, and tos­sed by sinne, neuer able to hould together, if God, as he did the Arke, did not defend it, guide it, and keepe it, and gouerne the waues, that they shall not hurt further then in mercy he will heale againe. This is the figure of the Arke, and summe of this Chap­ter.

Chap. 7.

Hauing heard in the former Chapter the sinne of man in those dayes, and the gratious striuing of God with him to bring him to amendment, geuing euen then, when he might iustly haue pu­nished, yet an hundred and twenty yeares to repentance. In this Chapter we shall see how all this goodnes of God was despised and neglected, those hundred and twenty yeares in all wickednesse likewise spent, and therefore God forced as it were at last to bring the flood vpon them. The generall heads may be these two.

  • The entrance of Noah into the Arke.
  • The comming of the flood vpon all flesh.

Verse 1. 1 COncerning the first, it is to be obserued that God biddeth him enter into the Arke, Noah en­tred com­manded. there­by giuing his faith that sure stay of the word, without which it must needs haue wauered, and bin shaken in pieces in that great tryall. And Noah his not entring till he was bidden, teacheth vs truly to take God for our guide in all our actions, and his word for our warrant and assurance in what we go about.

2 The Lord sayth, he saw Noah righteous in that age be­fore him, Verse 1. not meaning thereby that Noah wanted weakenes of humane imperfections,Such God taketh vs as we will to [...]ee a great com­fort. but so calling him in respect of others, and because he had a desire and hartie affection to be such an one. Whereby we haue giuen vs a great comfort, that the Lord doth [Page 32] measure vs according to our will, and not according to our po­wer, and finding vs willing with vnfayned affection to serue him vprightly (which will yet commeth not of our selues) he voutsa­feth vs the honor and title of righteous men, notwithstanding our great weakenes and want of perfection. These and such like pla­ces we should euer haue in store against those fiery darts of our deadly foe, that would perswade vs we are nothing regarded of God, because we labour of some imperfections. How honorable is the remembrance of their faith in the 11. to the Hebrues, all which had their wants, and many infirmities.

3 The addition of the words before me, make his prayse great, and his vertue true: for many seeme glorious before men,Verse 1. True prayse to be righ­teous be­fore God, not before men. which before God are nothing so: that is true righteousnes which before God is so. This if we thought of aswell as we knowe, we would more regard God, and lesse thinke of men, whereas now we prick at it, as our great marke to be approoued of men, and to gayne their prayses.

4 A question is asked why of cleane beasts by seuens, and of vncleane but cupples were taken and preserued?Verse 2. And the best answere is, after the preseruation of seed, because the cleane serued for sacrifices, which God had apointed to be serued by, God then prouided for cōmanded exercises,God ca­reth to maintaine his wor­sh [...]p, and wee care not. that there might [...]e to per­forme them with▪ and we as though we were not his children▪ nor euer meant to be his heires, most carelesly contemne thē, and will prou [...]de nothing for thē: if we prouide any thing, it shalbe how to hinder them & put them downe, and this is our resembling of God.

5 God telleth Noe when he would begin to rayne, and how long he would continue,Verse 5. that his faith might be firme in euery re­spect, and not doubting,God ha­teth doub­ting. since nothing more greeueth God then so to do, as you may remember in diuers examples of the best men, as in Moses and Aron those great pillers, who for their doubting and wauering, went neuer into the land of promise.Num. 20. In Zacha­rias, whose doubting brought him dumbnes for a time, and such like. When God sayth he will do a thing, he would be beleeued, and because he knoweth our weakenes, he prouideth often for vs by such particular circumstances, as heere you see.

[Page] The profit that com­meth by the godly. 6 Noah was not only saued, but his wife, his sonnes, and his sonnes wiues, yet reade wee not of their righteousnes as of Noahs. But this is the good that commeth by the company of the godly, euen to be within the shadow of Gods great mercy for their sakes. So good is the Lord to his louing children, that to their friends also hee will be good.Gen. 1 [...]. So was hee to Lot and to his friends, if they would haue bin ruled. So was hee to Rahab and her fathers house. So is his manner to be in his great mercy. Yet what is so lothsome to wicked wretches, as the company, fel­lowship, kinred, or acquaintance of the godly? But what maruell, since like with like are best pleased.

Verse 9. 7 If you aske how all the beasts were gotten, the text answe­reth, they came of themselues, God compelling them by his di­uine power to present themselues before Noah as before Adam, when he gaue them names, in the second Chapter.

8 In the 11. verse you see the time, In the sixt hundred yeare of Noahs life, Verse 11. in the second moneth, the seuenth day: as we recken about the beginning of May,The flood commeth, and crea­tures con­spire to destroy sinners. when all things flou­rished, and yeelded show, then, euen then began this wofull tra­gedie of mans destruction. So sure shall it be that God sayth, and so inchangeable is his purpose. Then were all the fountaines of the great deepe broken vp, and the windowes of heauen were opened, heauen and earth agreeing together to accomplish Gods will, and to destroy mankinde. O heauie day, when man should so offend God, that the creatures abhorre him, the fountaines and deepes and waters below and aboue. But nothing will warne some men.

Verse 16. 9 When all were entred into the Arke, the text sayth, God shut them in, All safetie from the Lordes shutting in not ours thereby declaring, that by his diuine power they were only saued, and the Arke kept whole against all dangers, and insinuating to vs the like cause of all our safetie euermore. It is not our house, our Castle, or tower when we go to bed that saueth vs, but that the Lord shutteth the dores, and closeth vs in, this is our suretie, that no power can withstand whatsoeuer it wisheth, this is our safetie, that wee may trust vnto. Were the [Page 33] gates of the citie iron or brasse, if he shut them not, they wil neuer hould out, but were they wood or clay, made strong by his defen­ding mercy, no canon can batter them▪ nor man get them open to hurt any within, whome the Lord will haue safe, and to that end hath shut within them.

10 Then all flesh perished that moued vpon the face of the earth sayth the 21 verse.Verse 21. But whether man perished eter­nally or no, that is the question, I meane all that were drowned in the flood, whether were they also condemned to hell, and so pe­rished that way? we may answere truly, that it becommeth dust and ashes to leaue Gods secrets to himself: but for the argument,Like pu­nishment in this life doth not argue lyke in the next world. that therfore it should seeme so because they tasted of his outward iudgement alike, it foloweth not: for the two theeues crucifyed with our Sauiour, had like outward punishment, and yet not one inward condemnation. Many dye the deaths of seuerall of­fences, and yet are saued by mercy in the world to come. God for­bid we should censure men so, as to conclude their eternall death vpon their temporall suffrings. We may not do it: well may wee learne by these words (that all things perished) that if nothing could help it selfe when God was angry,Trust in nothing to saue if god do frowne what shall it be that shal haue strength to helpe vs, and sheeld vs from his wrath? may the strength of a Gyant, gold, siluer, horses, wisedome▪ or any thing do it? no, all these things in this flood could not profit any thing the owners of them, and so shall it euer bee, therfore trust not to them.

11 The rayne from aboue, and the fountaynes beneath, are things we cannot lack, yet see we in this place how they made a flood.Gods fa­uour and anger changeth the vse to vs of crea­tures. Learne we then by it what a great difference Gods fauour and anger make in the same creatures. If in fauour he rayne, we are nurished by it: if in anger he do it, we are destroyed: so is it with the fire, with the aire, with our meates & drinks, and what­soeuer we vse in this mortall life, his mercy maketh, & his wrath marreth the same thing. O how should wee then valew Gods fauour? how should wee seeke to haue it, and feare to loose it. Pray we when we rise, and pray we when we sleepe, that his crea­tures we may enioy in fauour euer.

[Page] 12 Only Noah was left aliue, and they that were with him in the arke. Profit by fearing God a­gainst euil men. Yet say the wicked in the Prophet Malachie, It is vayne to serue the Lord, there is no profit in it. But wee see the contrary in this place and euer. If the Lords wrath be kind­led neuer so little, blessed are all they that trust in him. When mountaynes and hills,Mala. 3.14. Psalm. 2. castles and forts, trees, nor any tall towres can saue a man, this keepeth him close from all harme, and not onely him, but his friends with him, that he was godly and serued the Lord. Let this be our gayne then whilst we see this light, and we shall neuer loose. Doest thou thinke to reigne sayth God, because thou closest thy selfe in Cedar? Iere. 22.15. No, no, thy fathers godlynesse made him prosper, and thy want of that shall make thee perish, be thy Forts neuer so strong, & thy braueries neuer so many, they shall not serue. Reade the 3. of 1. Peter the 20. verse.

Chap. 8.

After mercy commeth iudgement, and after iudgement mercy againe, as we may see in this Chapter, wherein wee haue

  • The ceasing of the flood to the 15. verse.
  • The comming out of Noah, to the 20.
  • His sacrifice, and Gods speech to the end.

COncerning the first, wee see the author, GOD. The meanes, hee made a winde to passe vpon the earth, the fountaines of the deepe, and the windowes of heauen were stopped &c. The time when, after the hundred and fiftieth day, by our computation about the 19. of October, and for other particulars.

Verse 1. 1 It is sayd, the Lord remembred Noah: wherin is disco­uered vnto vs,The Lords care ouer his euer. the most faithfull care, and carefull faithfulnes that is in almighty God for his true seruants euer: he loketh vpō their [Page 34] perils, he seeth their dangers, and in his due time he remembreth to releeue and release them, as he did heere Noah and his family. Can the Bride forget her ornaments, nay can the Mother for­get her childe: these things be hard, and easily are not done, yet suppose they might be done, the Lord for all that cannot forget his, who making him their God, he hath made his seruants,Esay 49.15 and written them in his hand, yea made them as signe [...]s vpon his right finger, that he may neuer forget them.Psalm. 8. O Lord sayth Da­uid, what is man that thou art so mindfull of him, or the sonne of man, that thou so regardest him? Tary then but Gods ley­sure as Noah did, and be sure of remembrance in due time as he had.

2 To strengthen vs in this,Verse 1. consider how it foloweth of the Cattell, that God also remembred them.God ca­reth for the cattell. Math. 6. Alas doth the Lord care for Sheepe and Gotes, yea for creatures many of meaner regard, and forget man in his tribulation and wo? Behould the fowles of the ayre, do they sow or spin to be fed and clothed thereby? yet God remembreth them. O how much more man, that is Lord of all these, if we had faith.

3 When it is sayd, the fountaynes were stopped, Verse 2. and the windowes closed to stay the flood:How to stay sinne. profit by it in a godly policie after this sort, that if any flood of sinne and streame of iniquitie go about to drowne vs, we stop the fountaine, and close vp the win­dowes by which it issueth and getteth out, so shall we stay the course of it in Gods blessing and be free from danger. O that this lesson were learned in Court and countrey, fully, and well,Note. then many a filthy flood would be religiously stayed, and many a sow­sing waue of a sinfull temptation be beaten backe, I say if the fountaines were stopped, and the windowes shut: conceyue of it further, and meditate of it a whole houre by your selfe, I say no more.

4 The Arke stayed about the 26. of October,Verse 4. vppon the mountaines of Armenia, and why?The Arke stayeth. because whē wind bloweth & water faileth, sayling is dangerous, & the rocks may be hit vpō: what a prouidēce then is here for poore Noe in his gratious God, [Page] what a preuention o [...] danger? shall nothing make vs know him [...]nd his sweete goodnes? [...]yle we then on in the sea of this world while God will,A comfort. surely when it shall be good he will make vs to rest, and preuent our perill, if we trust in him, and O Lord giue faith and patience for thy mercy sake.

Verse 5. 5 In the tenth moneth, that is about the 28. of December as we recken,Example of chiefe men. were the tops of the mountaines seene, a good token and comfort of an ende of that water-flood: we may apply it thus, the great men of this world, of a kingdome, of a citie, of a towne, are as mountains & hills in comparison of the lower sort, & if once they wax dry from such fluds of euil as many times they are ouer­flowed withall, it is a good signe, and yeldeth great hope that the waters do decrease, and a better state euen shortly will insue: but whilst they are ouerflowed and couered, what hope of dry land in the valleys? such and so great to good or euill is the example of the great ones.

6 Then after fortie dayes Noah opened the window of the arke, Verse 6. and sent forth some of the fowles. Where was his war­rant thus to do?Some things lawfull without expresse word. surely expressed we see none, and yet is hee not disliked: why? because though it were not prescribed in the word that he should doo so, yet was there no prohibition not to doo so: and beeing not contrary to any word, though it haue no expresse word for it, it is not disalowed: we are taught hereby sayth a lear­ned man, where there is no neede of expresse prescription, as in things not of such moment often there is not, holy men are left suis consiliis & conatibus to their owne discretions, counsell and libertie,Mus [...]. vpon the words. & if the like fall out to vs, we may follow their examples.

Verse 7. 7 He sent first a Rauen which returned not againe, &c. By which fowle some say might be resembled the teachers of the law,What the Rauen might sig­nifye. because they neuer bring any good tidings, but death, death, for want of performance of the lawe, whose promise is annexed onely to fulfilling of the same, and not else. Others say, by the Rauen might be noted such men, as hauing minde of the dead carions, consider not wherefore they were sente, but plying theyr whole care about themselues, and satisfying theyr de­uouring nature with such carion as they see before them, take their pleasure therein, and make their abode, not returning any [Page 35] more to the Arke with testimonie of their course applyed and im­ployed to that ende whereabout they were sent. Such foule Ra­uens no question there are but too many.

8 When Noah sawe no returne of the Rauen,Verse. 8 he tooke a Doue and sent her forth the same day▪ to see if by her he might perceyue any fall of the waters. And the Doue returned to him againe, not finding any rest for her foote vpon the earth as yet, wherby he knew the waters were not abated. This doue they say may resemble fitly the good preachers of the word, [...] which are sent forth by the true Noah Christ Iesus into the world, ouerflowed all with sinne & wickednes, as with a flood: but finding no rest for their foot, that is, finding no acceptance of their labours, nor good to be done by them, mocked & scorned, derided & abused, reiected & contemned, they returne againe, bringing nothing with them, and yet to Noah welcome, who putteth forth his hand, and recei­ueth thē into the Ark,1. Cor. 2.15 for we are a sweet sauour sayth the Apostle to the Lord euen in them that perish: That is, the Ministers of Gods word are deere vnto him, and most sweete in his nostrels, if they do their diligence faithfully, albeit the profit folow not aun­swerable to the same, but euen all that notwithstanding, men pe­rish, and are cast away, a great comfort.

9 When it is sayd,Verse. 9. the doue found no rest for the sole of her foote vpon all the earth that she saw,A fearefull change. let vs consider the mar­uelous change now made frō the estate before and very late, when thousands of doues, men, women, children, & all the creatures of the earth had rest for their feet, yea pleasures and comforts aboue necessities many anone. Now no such matter, all is gone, and there is not so much as rest for one poore doue. What should it fitly admonish vs of, but to the vttermost of our power receyued of God to take heed, least with like sinne we procure like iudge­ment against our selues, our countrey, our townes, and priuate houses, where now is many a comfort and many a pleasure, men women and children not a few haue rest for their feete, that is,Note. all things necessary to their comfortable being, and liue vpon vs, and with vs, and by vs: we with them, and they with vs enioy Gods mercies, blessings & benefits, to his great prais [...] & our great good if we can vse them & be thankfull. Shall the day come that in that [Page] house where many a man hath found his rest, being the seate of an honorable or worshipful personage, no rest shalbe found for a doue, that is, for any creature any place, all being altered by the iudge­ment of a greued God at abuse and vnthankfulnes, at sinne & ini­quitie? God forbid, and as we feare God, let vs thinke of it, for he that so soone could alter in his anger the estate of the whole world, that of a place so full of rest for thousands thousands of creatures, now there should bend rest for the foote of one doue, surely he can change as quickly the seate of any Prince, or noble, or genleman, or other man, that all the honor and comforts beeing wiped away in wrath, there should not be rest for any, but a feare­full sight of horror and confusion vpon euill deserts.

10 The Arke to the doue was like a prison, a place of restraint, & not according to her kind,Verse. 9. which was to flye abrode, yet finding no rest,Better an inconue­nience then a mischiefe. rather then she will perish, she returneth to the same a­gaine. It may teach vs this, that better is an inconuenience then a mischiefe. If we cannot as we would, we must as we can. I speake it against all heathenish and vnchristianlike impatiencie. The heathens rather then they would serue, they would kill them selues. And many in these dayes, rather then they wil suffer what God imposeth, will do what God detesteth, let it not be so. If we cannot be abrode and at libertie, because Gods iudgement against sinne hath taken away our footing in such or such sort, whilst it shall please him, let vs be content, returne as the doue did to the place appointed, and thanke him for mercy euen in that, that yet there we liue, and are not destroyed as others haue been.

11 Noah stayed vpon this 7. dayes, and then sent out the doue againe sayth the text▪ Verse. 10. which returned to him in the euening, bringing in her mouth an oliue leafe which she had pluckt, wher­by Noe knew the waters were abated. This doue may note the preachers also of the word again,The doue with an oliue leafe what. who bring in their mouths some good tidings to the Arke, that is to the Church, and euery good news may be cōpared also to an oliue leafe, & the tellers to doues. That good news yt the women brought to ye disciples that Christ was risen,Matt. 28.8. was like an oliue leafe in their mouth, & they like this doue in this place: so all others. Reade 2. King. 7. of ye good news of the lepers, & 2. Sam. 18.27. he is a good man, sayth Dauid, & commeth with good tidings: so good men & women haue words [Page 36] of comfort in their mouths, when others haue the poyson of aspes vnder their toongs, they haue oliue leaues to cheare vp Noah and his company withall, when others haue wormewood and gall to make their harts ake with the bitternes thereof. Such doues God make vs euermore, & if this be regarded of vs, we will indeuor it.

12 Then wayted he other seuen dayes and sent her againe.Verse 12. When she returned no more vnto him. The diffe­rence of a good ser­uant and a bad. First marke the often sending of the doue, when the rauen goeth but once. It sheweth the difference of a good seruant and a bad. The first is often vsed, because he is faithfull and true, the later but once, because then he is found to be a rauen, more heeding the carions that his nature regardeth, then performing his message which his sender desireth. The prayse of these two fowles, how they differ in this place for their seruice, we all see, and it should thus profit vs, as to pricke vs to the good, and afray vs from the euill. In some place or other we are all seruants as these fowles were, to God, to Prince, to Maysters, to some or other. Let vs be doues that they may often vse vs, let vs not be rauens▪ that they may iustly refuse vs. Se­condly in the doues not returning any more let vs marke a type of the saints of God,A type of the godly. that hauing sundry times discharged the trust of their places, as the doue did, at last haue their departure out of the arke, that is, out of this life and Church militant, and finding rest for their foote in Gods blessed kingdome, returne no more to the Arke againe, but then continue and abide for euer.

13 At last came this comfortable word frō God,Verse 16. Go forth of the ark, thou & thy wife, and thy sonne, and thy sonns wiues, All afflic­tion of the g [...]dly hath his end. and all creatures with thee. So we see there is no affliction or triall yt God imposeth vpō his childrē, but if they indure it quietly, trust in his mercy firmely, & tary his good pleasure obediently, it hath his cōfortable end. If God think it good to say to any man or woman enter into the arke, that is, into this or that try [...]ll of thy faith & patience, into this prison, into that indurance, into this re­straint of liberty, that affliction & trouble, sorow and care, and in­ward nips, or outward pinches, surely he hath also an other word for them, which in due time he will likewise speake vnto them, and that is this: Go forth of the arke now againe thou & thy wife, & al thine, that is, let there be an end of whatsoeuer it was yt tried thee, for I haue seen yt faith, patience, & hope, that hath pleased me. [Page] O our good God, how sure are we of this, and how sweete is it? what else but that which th [...] Prophet Dauid found most certaine, and testified to the world, saying:

Psa [...]m. [...]0.
Though gripes of greefe and pangs full sore
shall lodge with vs all night,
The Lord to ioy shall vs restore
before the day be light.

Confessing herein, yt after sowre commeth sweet, after sorrow ioy, after restraint liberty, after want plenty, & to speak with this place after go in to the Arke, foloweth certainly come forth againe.

14 Yea but when did God bid Noah come forth, surely not before the earth was dry,Verse 13. for so sayth the text. Then there we see againe how wonderfully he disposeth for his children tymes and seasons,Euery th [...]ng in his season hath God for hys childe. all for their good: when the earth is not for them, he hath an Arke vpon the water, and when the earth is fitter then the Arke, he hath the earth againe, all in such times as may be best for vs, and how should we thanke him?

Verse. 20. 15 When Noah was come forth, he buildeth an altar, ta­keth his beasts,Thankful­nes euer in the godly. and off [...]eth his sacrifice: teaching vs this, how most carefull we should be whilst life is in vs, to be thankfull to God for his mercy toward vs, either in deliuering vs out of dan­ger, or any way shewing the light of his countenance toward vs. A thankfull hart becommeth a Christian and pleaseth God, and the very deuills of hell, if they were asked, must needs say the con­trary is a fault.

Verse 21. 16 Then saith the story, God smelled a sauour of rest, that is,Good works ioy­ned to true faith smell sweetly. shewed himself appeased, and his anger at rest: this pietie was in Noahs heart before, but now it smelleth, when it breaketh into worke: so was Abraham for his faith noted of God before, but when that faith flamed out into a willingnes to sacrifice his deere sonne, then God cried out, now, now, I see Abraham thy loue &c. Surely that which powning and beating is to spice, works be to faith in some resemblance: the spice is sweet before it be brayed, but when it is brayed, much more: so is faith in the heart accep­ted of God, before oportunitie serue to worke, but when oportuni­tie doth serue, and holy works come to a godly faith, then smelleth it maruelously, and the Lord sauoreth a rest to his owne good li­king, and our true comfort for euer and euer: let it teach vs, let [Page 37] it schoole vs, and prick vs forward to holy life.

17 And what sayd God, reade the texte, verse 21. he will no more cursse the earth for mans corruption, hee restoreth nature,Verse. 21. Se [...]de time and haruest, cold and heate, winter and summer, The sea­sons of the yere, Gods gift still. day and night, and showeth vs thereby that they are all his gifts, and onely his, to take and giue as pleaseth him. This is some vse of this 8. Chapter.

Chap. 9.

ALl things being doone, as you reade before.Verse. 1. God bles­sed Noah and his familie.Comfort after so­rowe. So follow comforts after sor­rowe, as we noted before: The mourning weede thou tookest me fro, and madest mee to reioyce, Psalm. 30. sayth the Psalme.

2 The feare of you and the dread of you, Verse. 2. (saith God) shall be vpon euery beast: prouiding thereby for mans safetie,Beasts how bridled to hurte no more then they doe. for by the vertue of this commaundement, beasts rage not so much a­gainst man as they would, but many of them serue euen to his vse hereby.

3 In the 3. verse: theyr commission is signed,Verse. 3. yea signed and sealed, to kill and eate, not hearbes as before and no flesh,Flesh al [...]wed to eate. but flesh now also aswell as hearbes. Many men thinking it was not so before.

4 But fleshe with the life thereof, that is, Verse. 4. with the bloud thereof, might they not eate. Crueltie forbidden. God meaning heereby to bridle crueltie, which he euer hated.

5 And as before hee prouided, that man should not be raged against by beasts, so prouideth he heere also,Verse. 6. Murde [...] restrained. that man against man should not be a destroyer. For if he be, Hee that sheadeth mans bloud▪ by man shall his bloud be shed againe. That is, in iu­stice shall either the Magistrate reuenge such iniquitie vpon him, or some other stirred vp in the iust wrath of God, shall measure to [Page] to him as he hath measured to others, that is, kill him, as he hath killed others, and leaue his wife a widowe, and his Children fa­therlesse, as he hath left others.

Verse. 9. 6 Then God maketh his couenant with man, and all fleshe, that hee will neuer destroye the world any more by water: and be­cause man is so harde of beleefe, hee adioyneth a signe to his word and promise,Verse. 13 The Raine bowe why giuen. and setteth it in the heauens, euen his bowe, which we vsually call the Raine bowe. By which so dooing of the Lord, first we learne the antiquitie of the mercie, in adding outwarde signes to confirme man by: Secondly the vse of them. The anti­quitie if it had beene no more but from Noah it had been much, but we see it was before, euen in Paradise to Adam, there was the Tree of Life, and the tree of the Knowledge of good and euill. The one assuring him if he obeyed, he should liue, and the other if he sinned, that he should die. A mercy so long continued to his children should bee greatlye regarded with hartie thankes for it▪ The vse of such outwarde signes is not to confirme God in his promise, who though hee neuer added anye seale, yet would bee most true in his worde, but to confirme vs in the beleefe of that promise, which of it selfe and in it selfe is most immooueable. For though he be true to performe, yet wee are weake to beleeue, and a gratious God hee is that will so support vs. Againe, the Rainbowe is taken as a figure of Christ,An allego­rie of the Rainebow. and therefore wee thereby taught, that when either the darke blacknesse of vglye sinne, or the thicke cloudes of greefe and aduersitie, doe threaten vnto vs any fearefull ouerthrowe, wee should clap our eyes streight vpon our Rainebowe Christ Iesus, and bee assured that though that blacknesse of sinne be neuer so great, yet in him and by him it shall bee doone awaye, and neue [...] haue power to caste vs awaye, though those mists and fogges of aduersitie be ne­uer so thicke, yet shall they by him as by a hote and strong sunne, be dispersed, and neuer able to drowne vs. The greatest raine we know, shall end ere it come to such a Flud againe, and so shall these things before we fall.

7 In the 20. verse, you see Noahs trade of life,Verse. 20. hee fell to [Page 38] Husbandrye, an ould, an ancient, a profitable, a godlye, and necessary vocation, as hath beene noted before. Then fol­loweth in the nexte verse his foule fall: when hauing planted a Vineyard, he drunke of the fruite and was drunke, and vnco­uered in his Tente. Such fauls in Gods children,Verse. 21. The fauls of the [...] they profit. though they be theyr shame, yet yeelde they vs weake ones, great comforte. For wee should vtterlye dispayre when wee see our selues, if such blots and spots had not beene in such greatnesse once by mans corruption. Nowe though wee haue no warrant by them to do the like, yet if humaine frailtie ouer carry vs euer, wee neede not to dispayre, for with God there is mercye to repen­tance and amendement, and greater me [...] then wee haue had theyr wants.

8 Marke the filthinesse of drunkennesse, it maketh him lye vncouered in his Tente, vndecentlye, vnseemely,The filthie sinne of drunken­nesse. nay beast­lye, and rather like a beast then a man. And could it so disfigure Noah, a man of such goodnesse, so highly commended before, and not disfigure vs, that are a thousand degrees behinde him? shall once beeing so, bee such a blot, and shall daylye being so, be no blot? Thinke of it, and if you shame in Noahs be­halfe, to thinke howe vnseemely hee laye, take heede to your selfe. For fowle sightes are seene bothe in men and women that are drunke.

9 When Cham the eldest sonne of Noah saw his Fathers nakednesse, he mockingly went, and tould his brethren of it.Verse. 22. In Cham then beholde a true patrerne of all such vilde spirites,Publi [...]hers of other mens wāts as ioye in the publishing of other mens wantes, whome yet for many graces they ought to reuerence, mocking, flyring, and gee­ring at them, with prophane hearts, concepts, and censures, like this Cham. Such hath this worlde had euer, but in these later dayes, as though Satans kingdome were driuen to this shift, he stirreth them vp in euery place most busilye, and seeketh their ser­uice, They most vnwarely not marking whome they serue, and what they doe, are contented to be carried, tempted, and drawne to this curssed course most fully.

[Page] Verse. 23 10 But when Sem and Iaphet heard of it, they tooke a Garment and put it vpon both their shoulders, The good spir [...]t of them that couer as they may [...]heir bre­threns na­kednesse. and wente backward, and couered the nakednesse of their father, with their faces backward, and so they sawe not their fathers na­kednesse. As notable a picture on the contrarye side, of all such milde, modest, louing, godly, and christianlike spirites, which co­uer with loue theyr fathers and brethrens imperfections, infirmi­ties, wants and weakenesse, charitably expounding whatsoeuer may be so taken, either speaking the best, or not the worst, and wi­shing in their hearts all men were amended, and no man disgraced if he will be amended. Such spirits are blessed, when the others are curssed, and shall stande as well liked before his face, who shall retribute to the other in due iustice, the very blacknesse of darke­nesse for euermore.

11 Marke it againe in this place diligently, that a good Fa­ther hath his children not all good,Good men haue euill children. not all alike qualified, not of the same vertuous and honest conditions all, yet this is not the fa­thers fault. It greeueth him full sore, if Cham playe so lewde a part, that procureth a cursse, and not a blessing. But so God pleaseth to exercise his children sometimes, euen with the vndu­tifulnesse and vntowardnesse of their owne flesh, fruite and leede. Abraham had his bad Ismael, aswell as his good Isaac. Isaac a­gaine had his prophane Esau, aswell as his godly Iacob. Iacob had his crosses mo then one in his children, if you marke them, Ruben defiled his bed, Simeon and Leui bloudy and treache­rous, Dina rauished by hir gadding abroade, all of them vnkinde to Ioseph in such [...]ad sorte as you know. Dauid had his Abso­lom, Ammon Adoniah, and many others haue thus been cros­sed, that I name not now. Consider it duly, and greeue not aboue that which is conuenient, if you know the like. Say with an obe­dient heart: Let the Lord doo whatsoeuer pleaseth him, and let no man censure the parents aboue their true proofe, for Childrens faultes.

Verse. 24.Lastly the waking of Noah from his drunkennesse, and finding what was doone,Note. teacheth vs two things. First to do well to [Page 39] euery one as we can, knowing that though when we doo it, they to whome we do it, know it not, regarde it not, esteeme it not, nor vs for it, as being drunke with anger, malice, youthfull temerity, and such like, yet a wakening time may come, when they may do otherwise, see the good and blesse vs for it, whilst we liue, and the very memory of vs when we be dead. Secondly as in figure it may tell vs, that the godly sin not to death, but though they sleepe they awake againe, though they slip, yea fall quite downe, yet they recouer and rise againe, euen seauen times a day. A great com­fort when I am downe, but no imboldning to fall downe.

Chap. 10.

THis chapter wholy consisteth in a descrip­tion of the propagation of mankinde,Verse. 1. by the posteritie of Noah, Gods pow­er & mans forgetful­nes. after they were now released from the Flud, wherein all flesh but they, was perished: which great increase in so shorte a time, noteth vnto vs the wonderfull power of God, and disco­uereth also what most vnkinde forgetful­nesse of the Lordes goodnesse to their fathers, but as it were ye­sterday, was crepte so quickely into some of them.

2 With Sem and Iapheth is curssed Cham, telling vs,In the Church good and bad. that this outward militant church hath hir blots and wrinckles in hir: not onely in respect of the godly, whose regeneration is not fini­shed till they dye, but in respect also of the euill that are mixed and mingled with the good, betwixt Sem and Iapheth, two good men, Cham a caytife hath a place in the world.

3 Cham was yoonger, and so euer is falshood later then truth, sinne later then innocencie, and euill later then good,Truth el­der then falsehood. Cain was ould, but Adam was elder, nay Adam sinning was verye soone, [Page] but yet Adam not sinning was before, first good seede is sowen, and then after Tares.

Oppressi­on howe ould. 4 Nimrod a tyrant starteth vp in this Chapter. When? when he waxed mightie. Ancient therefore is oppression and crueltie, and the abuse of Gods blessings: when God hath increased a man in power and wealth, then most is hee bounde to serue him for it, but quite contrarie it is, the mightier the worse, and the richer the crueller to oppresse the weake ones. Read the 2. of Chron. 26.16. and Deutro. 6.10. verse.

5 His tyrannye is compared to Hunting, and the tyrant to a hunter.Verse. 9. Hunting hath snares, nets, dogges, and diggings of deepe ditches,Tyrannie compared to hunting spyings, and pryings, watchings and wardings, and euer the death of the creature hunted is the game. Tyranny and op­pression hath the like, if yee list to compare them, at least in this they ioyne full iust, the partie hunted must dye at last. But such Nimrods, such tyrants, such hunters God seeth, and such hun­tings of the poore till they haue their bloud, God in his iustice to­gether with the hunters, will repaye.

Sinne groweth by custome 6 In that it is sayde Nimrod was such an one before the Lord. It noteth the nature of sinne and custome, to wit, to gather strength by continuance, and at last not to feare, euen the face of God, nor his holy eyes to looke vpon it. Custome of sinning ta­keth away the feeling of sinne, and therefore if we stay not to doe euill before man, at last it will be sayde of vs as of Nimrod ▪ that euen before God we are become hunters, that is, we are growne to an impudencie and boldnesse of sinning.

In euery towne a Nimrod great or little. 7 As Nettles then Roses be of greater increase, and bad weedes multiply apace. so spred this iniquitie further then vertue, and filled the world with such fruite dayly. To this day they fruc­tifie in a full measure, and what towne is that almost in the world, that hath not a Nimrod one or two at the least in it. That is, a harde, a cruell, a greedy, and couetous man, that grindeth the faces of his neighbours, till both skinne and flesh being of the bare [Page 40] bones, do onely remaine. I say no more, yet thinke you more of it that reade it.

8 Though we see heere diuisions of Countreys made amongst them, and some dwelling here, some there, as they liked, yet one bloud remained amongst them, as a knot euer to ioyne them, what distance of place soeuer seuered them. And is it not so still, though longer time & larger increase haue spred it further? Sure­ly it is so, we cannot deny: and therefore this bond of bloud, stock, house, linage, and kinred in roote, though I saye the degrees bee far, should continue regarde one of an other, and loue more then is. Likewise trading and traphiking, helping and releeuing with mutuall interchange of commodities one of another, desire of tra­ueling no lesse one to finde out and knowe an other, what distance of place soeuer doth seperate. For we be all as we see of one bloud and parent. And should a man placed in France say adewe for e­uer, and in all respect of affeccion, care, and loue to his house in England, out of which he descended? Then might he iustly be ac­compted vnnaturall, currish & vnkinde, aboue the course of a good man: surely euen so in the other, and thus profit by it: for men are not to be thought of, onely according to far or neere dwelling, but according to the roote from which they descended.

9 Againe when we read this chapter, remember Chams cursse by his father, in the former chapter,Earthly glory no true token of Gods fauour. and then marke his worldly e­state layd downe in this, and see howe the one may agree with the other. There I saye hee was curssed, and heere he seemeth more blessed then any of them: for his Children are many, the place of his dwelling most fruitfull, pleasant and fertile. Now he that hath so great a posteritie, as eleuen sonnes, so sweete a portion of the earth as he had, with all the circumstances of these two worldlye felicities, how is he curssed? surely euen as the wicked vsually are curssed, not by denyall of outwarde blessings, but by a taking from them of heauenly fauour: wherefore learne by it this secret euer, that in earth they florish with earthlye pleasures many a time, whome GOD hath marked neuer to loue, but to carrye his cursse for euermore. Feare not therefore though one be made riche, and the glorye of his house bee increased,Psal. 49. for the [Page] fauour of God consisteth not in these things, but for all them hee may be a Cham, and his fathers cursse setled vpon him, and his seede. Blessed are the people (saith the Psalme) that be in such a case, hauing relation to outward blessings named before, but then followeth after as a correction of the former: yea rather blessed are they that haue the Lorde for theyr God: noting the former to bee but blessings in respect, and the later onely the true and certaine happinesse of any flesh. See also how euen in those daies to iudge of the estate of the wicked, and godlye, they had neede to enter in­to the Sanctuarie of God, for if they went by outwarde showe either of the one or of the other, they should be deceyued, as also nowe.

10 But why dooth Moses mention so carefully and precisely the borders or limits of Chanaan or of the Canaanites? Certain­lye it was by the guiding of Gods holy Spirite in respect of the church and children of God,The wick­ed often prouiders for others that shalbe better then they. to whom after it should be giuen, that they might know them the better. Where marke we the depth of Gods hidden and secret prouidence, in such sorte as it peereth out and sheweth it selfe vnto vs. Do wee not see how earthly things are giuen to the wicked, which euen then when they enioy them, by a wise God are appointed in his prouidence vnto others, whome he fauoureth more, and for whome he vseth but those for a time to prouide for them, and to make them readyer to theyr handes? Adore we therefore this secret depth, and say we with the Apostle: O the deepenes of the riches, bothe of the wisedome and knowledge of God, Rom. 11.33 howe vnsearchable are his iudgements, and his wayes past finding out? who hath knowne the minde of the Lord, or who hath beene his counseller, &c. Manye things moe might be noted in this Chapter, if the Genealogies should be stood vpon, wherein with praise many haue traueled, but I chuse rather with him that did so before mee,Caluin. to leaue that dili­gence to them that haue shewed it, and to content my selfe with these few notes at this time.

Chap. 11.

The heads of this Chapter, especiall and principall are two.

  • The confusion of tongues, from the 1. ver. to the 10.
  • The description of S [...]ms ofspring, from the 10. to the ende.

1 TOuching the first, it is sayd, that the earth was all of one language, Verse. 1. and question is made what that was,What lan­guage was first. and whether it remained still or no after the confusion, and with whome: for the first, it is answered, that although it be vncertaine, yet probably it is coniectu­red, that it was the Hebrew. For so say the proper names of men and women, which remaine as yet and are Hebrew, being imposed then and not altered by Moses the relator into any language els. Of this iudgement is Hierom vp­on the 3. of Sephon, when he calleth the Hebrew tongue the mo­ther of all the rest. Augustine thought otherwise, writing thus: Vnam sane linguam primitus fuisse didicimus, Aug. lib. 9. cap. 12 sup Genesin ad literam. antequam super bia turris illius post diluuium fabricatae in diuersos signorum sonos hu­manam societatem diuideret. Quae autem illa lingua fuerit, quid attinet querere. That there was one tongue in the beginning we learne, before the pride of the Towre built after the Flud, had de­uided mans society into diuers sounds of words: but what tongue that was what need we aske. To the second it is answered, that it did remaine, being as is supposed, & inioyed of vs at this day. And to the third, yt it was in the house & family of Sem, Arphaxad, The Chal­die tongue Se­lah & Eber, of whom it had denomination Hebrue. Philo thinketh ye first tongue was the Chaldee, contrary to Hierom as was said before, and Hierom to him. But since Arphaxad was a Prince of the Chaldeans, what hindreth that rather the Chaldee and He­brew [Page] should not be all one at first, though in processe of time some difference grew?

Verse. 4. 2 When it is said to reache vp to heauen, we may not thinke they were so mad as to imagine they could so doe,Hyperbole but wee must know the manner of speech to be a figuratiue amplification often vsed of men without fault, and often vsed in the scripture it selfe: when Dauid saith of them that saile on the seas, & are occupied in great w [...]ters, that they are caried vp to the heauens, & downe againe to the depths:Psal. 107. he doth not meane as he speaketh, that they are caried vp to ye heauens indeed, but by the same figure he mea­neth very highe. So is the former and so are many moe speeches in the word, which if Iulian could haue seene or other such like pro­phane spirits, yet perceiue, their carping impietie had a faull.

3 Vnitie of language was a great mercie of God, by that meanes keeping them by a notable bande knit together,Vnitie of language. whome far distance of place had set a sunder. And if this be a mercy that we speake, as it is a great one: surely far greater it was that they all spake one speech, for so might they continue not onely in a most profitable interchange of any earthly commodities, but euen also in a holy communion of al mercies whatsoeuer, one vnderstanding from an other, and of another, what wonderfull good soeuer the Lord should show. Now as a punishment of pride the case is alte­red, and we neither in the one nor other can do as then they might But as a wonder it is at this daye, that speeche being as it were the image of the minde, where mindes agree, & thoughts do ioyne, speech should differ as now it dooth.

When the tower was built. 4 The time of this tower built, and speech confounded, may be asked, to which, answer is vncertaine. There is a fragment vn­der the name of Berosus (if it should not wrong him to say suche trifles be his) and there it is said, that an hundred and thirty yeares after the Flud it was. Others better like to say, it was three hun­dred and 40 yeares after: so as I sayde, certaintie there is none. I stand not vpon coniectures to s [...]an it out. Agreed it is that ould father No [...]h was yet aliue, to whome no question but it was a great greefe when he heard of it. But so pleased it God euen in his oulde age, to exercise his seruant, that no continuall succes [...]on of [Page 42] woes should make vs faint, if God so please to haue them.

5 It must needs be, that one man gaue this counsell first,Bad coun­sell soone taken. saying to the rest, Come, let vs build, &c. But when once it was bro­ched not one man alowed it, but euen all full quickly yeelded to it. Whereby we see first the vilenesse of man, not onely to deuise that which is naught, but to set it full greedily abroche when it is deui­sed, and to labour to perswade others to imbrace and folowe the same. Again to consent to that which is wickedly deuised of others and to make a particular concept a general iudgement, action and worke at last. Great cause therfore that mens lewd deuises should be restrained from being published, since both the deuisers wishe, and mans great corruption, is so prone to yeeld a wicked consent, and folowing of the same.Iohn. 11. Caiphas counsell when it once sounded of Christs death, was quickly harkened vnto, and from that daye forward consultation had together, howe they might accomplishe the same. Whosoeuer broched it first,Mark. 15. that the people should aske Barabbas and refuse Iesus, it was soone receiued, liked, & folowed of such ignorant spirits, and giddy heads.Acts. 23.12 That a sort should com­bine together and kill the Apostle, had a beginner, and how quickly pleased the plot, such other bloudye mindes and spitefull hearts. How soone imbraced Lots yoonger daughter,Gen. 19. [...]1 the counsell of the elder to do so vile a thing. That vnbrotherly conspiracie against Ioseph was soone yeelded vnto, when once it was vttered.Gen. 37.2 [...] Lye vpon thy bed (said Ionadab) and faine thy selfe sicke, when thy father commeth to see thee, pray him that thy sister Tha­mar may come make thee some meate &c.2 Sam. 13. [...] You know the coun­sel, you know the consent to the same also, how ready it was, & how wel liked Ahitophels deuise,1. Sa. 16.21 that Absolon should enter into his fathers concubines left to keepe the house▪ though it were horrible▪ yet how it pleased & was imbraced, cannot be forgotten. A sort of green heads, Oratores noui▪ stulti adolesc [...]tuli, new orators, fooles yoong counsellers laid a plot for Rehoboam, Salomons sonne to folow, he liked it, he folowed it, and cast away the counsell of the a­ged, experienced, learned and faithful counsellers to his father: but it cost him the setting on, hee bought it deere, and had I wist came as euer it dooth, when it was too late. Thus might we runne on a large and long course if I woulde. But it shall not neede [Page] one example moe shall suffice, and then an end of this note. Doe you remember the murmuring against Moses and Aaron in the booke of Numbers?Chap. 16. how began it? had it not a Captaine▪ then a second, then a third, then a number? once broched, that Moses and Aron tooke too much vpon them, that others were equall with them, and therfore should be in like authority, that the people wronged, and so foorth, soone was it liked, soone was it catched, soone was it prosecuted of proud mindes, that would be aloft, and knew not to obey. But what was Moses & Aron that they should be thus vsed of their brethren? Surely the Lords faithfull mini­sters, his chosen serauants they were, whose cause (when he had thus exercised them with a trial) he tooke into his own hands, his ielousie on their behalfe began to burne, and till hee had shewed a iudgement that should make all eares to tingle that heare of it, & all hearts, not forsaken of God, to feare how they doe the like, hee neuer left them Conclude we then vpon all those that sinne, some be wicked, to broache a wickednesse, and thousands weake to fo­lowe the same when once they heare it, yea though it be to builde a Tower against God, it neuer was, nor euer shall be, either godly pollicie, or christian dutye, to suffer mens braines to broche what they list, and others to folow vnquiet deuises, hatefull to God and hurtfull to his Church in a high degree.

6 It followeth in the text, That we may get a name, see the madnes of the world euer to neglect heauen,Verse. 4. and seeke a name in earth where nothing is firme,Vaine glo­rie how it pricketh to do euil. nothing continueth, but fadeth a­way and perisheth as a thought. This madnesse the Prophet Da­uid mentioneth in his 49. Psalme, and laugheth at it, saying, They thinke their house, Psal. 49.11. and their habitations shall conti­nue for e [...]e [...], euen from generation to generation, and call the lands by their owne names. This their way vttereth their foo­lishnes, yet their posteritie delight in their talke, &c. That saying of Iuuenal is known, Mors sola fatetur quantula sunt [...]ominum corpuscula: onely death acknowledgeth, of what pow­er mens bodyes bee, such are our minds, so greedye of a name, and so blinde in the true course to attaine the same, whereof wee had speeche before. Thys sinne of ambition and vayne glorye [Page 43] pricked the heartes of our first parents, to the very death. It is not rooted out of their posteritie nor euer will. But yet lesse and more it pricketh, although all bee not euill in this respect alike. Would God this vngodly and vntowardlye regarding and desi­ring of a name, had not beene before, and were to this day a cause to make many reiect the truth of God, which they should imbrace. For times past, what said our Sauiour in the 5 of Iohn: Howe can you beleeue which receiue glorie one of an other, and do not seeke that glorie that is onely of God. Verse. 44. For times present I content my selfe with that confession openly at Paules crosse, that amongst some other causes,W. Tedder Seminarie priest. 1. December 1588. pag. 9 which kept one in such disobedi­ence to God and hir Maiestie, this was one chiefe one, the tickling of vaine glory. Which cause said he, I am sure dooth detayne most of the contrary side (meaning Papists) in their peruerse obstina­cie, howsoeuer they bragge, that they seeke nothing by theyr dea­lings but the glory of God, &c, What I could saye, I doe not▪ let them that take bad courses, examine their owne hearts, why they do it, and remember, how deepe hee that made the heart seeth into it. Yea let others also looke that be no Papists, if this hidden con­ceipt to get a name, doe not make them tread awrie: and if secret thoughts giue secret sentence on my side against themselues (be­cause conscience will speake true, though not euer alowde that o­thers may heare) remember his saying, that sayd it well: Melius est de media via recurrere quam semper currere male. Ruff. li. 1.6. Better it is to returne backe, when we haue gone halfe waye, then still to go on, and that ill.

7 They will build they say to saue them, that they be not dispersed: But behould the issew,Verse. 4. this very thing is the cause of their dispersion both farre and wide a sunder.What the wicked feare com­meth vpon them. So crosse shall God turne the counsels of flesh against his glory, liking, and will. For euen that which the wicked feareth shall come vpon him, saith the spirite of God. As in example one, for many beside this place, Christ may not be suffred to liue and goe on, least the Romains came vpon them, Ioh. 11.48. and tooke awaye both their place and the nation. But euen this conspiracie put in practise, brought that which they feared vpon them most trulye, iustly, and heauely to [Page] th [...]ir vtter ouerthr [...]w and subuersion, by Titus and Vespasian. There is no strength▪ there is no counsell▪ wisdome or pollicy against the Lord. If fle [...]h deuise wayes to establish it selfe with­out his feare the folly of flesh shall soone appeare, [...]. 21.30. that verie thing by that meanes being speedily procured, which was intended by the same to be diuected and turned away. O how could I runne this note to the admonition of them, that seeke by such towers as this, not onely to get a name, but to keepe their posteritie from dispersion, that is, to continue thē in that countrey, in that towne, in that house, &c. neuer seking the Lords fauour & mercy, to direct and make strong their desires, neither euer seeking to plante his feare in them that must inioye those things. But their issew is ac­cording: the Lord turneth all crosse in his iudgement, and for that very thing they are dispersed and driuen often, to forsake not one­lye the place, but the verye lande. I saye no more, thinke what you knowe.

8 If they thought by this Tower to preuent drowning when the like Flud came againe,Wicked men neuer see the true cause of Gods iudge­ments. as some thinke they did, though it bee not propable (the reason being expressed before by themselues, to be for to get a name, &c.) then may it admonishe vs howe bad men neuer looke at the true causes of Gods iudgements and plagues, but frame vnto themselues some other concepts, and runne their course according to the same. The true cause of the Flud was sinne,Note. and therefore they should haue sayd: Let vs sinne no more, least a woorse thing happen vnto vs, and not let vs builde a towre. For the cause bring not taken awaye, for which God smiteth, no towers nor steeples, no tops nor top gallants, though they could reache as high as was sayde, can euer deliuer from his blowes. Let theyr folly be our instruction, and whilst we liue, pray that we may, and indeuour when wee haue prayed, to see the true cause of Gods visitation any waye, vpon vs or ours, that that being knowne, wee may take a true course to turne his wrath awaye from vs.Verse. 5.

Magistrats must looke for cause iust before they smite. 9 The Lord descendeth to see, if theyr folly was so great. It is a figure, meaning the Lorde punished not before there was [Page 44] true and due cause. And a good lesson it giueth to all in authoritie that they will looke before they iudge, see, and be sure of the desert▪ before they laye on the censure. So did not Putiphar, and it was his blame. Ioseph is adiudged, and there is no cause.Iohn. 7. So did not the Pharisees when they sent to apprehend Christ, without anye matter of truth against him. So did not Dauid, 2. Sam. [...]6. when vpon flat­tring Ziba his reporte, he condemned his faithfull seruant Me­phibosheth, and gaue awaye his liuing, beeing afterwardes faine to reuerse his sentence with shame, when hee knewe the truthe. So doe manye at these dayes to th [...]ir great discredit. First iudge and then know, but folow we a better patterne in this place.

10 The people is one saith the Lord, and behould we by it,Verse. 6. a bad vnitie, to the ende a glorious name may not dezell our eyes,There is a bad [...] to bee a­uoyded. when the thing in nature answereth not the same. You read of an vnitie in the second Psalme: But it was against the Lorde and his annoynted. A like vnitie againe in Iosephs brethren to deale vniustlye and vnkindlye with their brother. There was an vnitie in Sodom against Lot and his perswasion. And the whole worlde was one against Noah and his preaching. So is it heere and so is it often, the people are one, but not in truth, not in right, not in GOD, and what vnitie is that. Be wee not then as I sayde, amazed at a name, wee knowe who crye, vnitie, vnitie, but wee see no proofe nor euer shall, of veritie. And wee knowe the Fathers speeche, who spake it trulye, Vnitas sine veritate proditio est, Vnitie without veritie is but a con­spiracie.

11 They haue begun sayth God, and they will not giue ouer. Marke how stedfast flesh is in a wicked course. [...] In a good thing I warrant you no such thing, but iust contrary: In the end we will soone begin, or hardlye or not at all giue ouer. In the other eyther not beginne, or most easilye giue ouer. Alas our corruption and our weakenes, waywardnes also if yee will, shall wee thus see our nature described, and not consider it, and not a­mend it as God inableth. I hope we will.

[Page] Feare not [...]he heat of the wicked 12 Yet ouerthrowne are they for all their ill will, to desist and giue ouer. Feare not then with what might and maine soeuer the wicked goe about their wicked purposes, and that they will so hardly be perswaded to giue ouer: for the Lorde is stronger then they, and will make them mauger their hearts to giue ouer at his pleasure: a great comfort to all that are oppressed and pursued. Their tongues are changed, and it hindreth this earthly building, and can it further the spirituall to be ignorant what is said?An vn­knowne [...]ongue. Such a place is Babell saith the Lorde himselfe, that is confusion, and shall we say it is profitable? God forbid. And thus much of this Chapter, not standing now vpon Sem his Genealogie.

Chap. 12.

The generall heads of this Chapter are cheefely three.

  • The calling of Abraham, from the 1. ver. to the 4.
  • His obedience to that calling, from the 4, to the 8.
  • The crosses accompanying and following the same, from the 8. to the end

1 IN the calling of Abraham, consider first who called,God his worke to call. God: and thereby learne wee, that it is the Lordes worke, onely to gather hi [...] a church, to appoint before all times, whome hee will call in time, and make a member of the same. What man dooth in the gathering of the same, he do [...]th but as a minister and seruant vnder him, so farre preuai­ling as he will blesse, and no further. The foundation of GOD standeth sure and hath this seale,2. Tim. 2.1 [...] the Lorde knoweth who are his, &c. And whom He predestinated, them He called, He I saye He, f [...]r it is his worke

[Page 45] 2 Consider whome he calls, Abraham the yonger brother,God loo­keth not at merit in his calling and peraduenture an idolater, more like so then otherwise, though vncertayne. And see we by it that Gods choyse is free, not tyed to circumstances of age, of birth, of degree, or any qualitie in man whatsoeuer: but on whome hee will haue mercy, Rom. 9. on them hee will haue mercy. He looketh not as man looketh, for man many times regardeth the elder brother before the yonger, and the out­ward gift of nature before inward graces of the spirit, as Ishai offred his eldest to Samuel to be anoynted King, and all the rest before he offred Dauid, thinking least of him whome yet God appoynted. And Ioseph would haue had his father layd his right hande vpon his eldest sonne Manasses. But God doth not so, finding nothing in the best to deserue a calling, and therefore v­sing his libertie without all respect of circumstances as I sayde before.

3 Whence was he called? euen out of his owne countrey, All must be forsaken to follow God. and from his fathers house. Teaching vs first thereby, that ney­ther Father, Mother, countrey, nor any thing, may be sticked vnto aboue Gods commandement, for hee that loueth any of these things more then me, sayth the Lord, is vnworthy of me. In the Psalme it is sayd to the Church & to euery member of it,45.11. Harken O daughter and consider, incline thine eare, forget also thine owne people, and thy fathers house: secondly admonishing vs what a perilous thing countrey impietie is,Countrey impietie perilous. able to infect any man if he tary in it. And therefore God draweth Abraham away from them, because with them he should hardly euer haue been good.

4 Whether did God call him, surely to no certayne place, but from his owne, to some strange place,Be not cu­rious when God doth call. which he would apoynt vnto him, thereby making tryall of his loue so much the more, by how much he knew no certayne place wherevnto to go. It tea­cheth vs aboue hope, vnder hope, to cleaue vnto God, and i [...] once we haue a generall commandement, to leaue particularities not yet so manifest to his holy prouidence, and the further manifesta­tion of the same in his good tyme.

5 To what end doth he call him? surely that he might make [Page] of him a mightie Nation, G [...]d euer cal [...]eth vs to our go [...]d, if we folow him. that hee might blesse him, make his name great, and bring to passe that in his seede, that is in Christ, who shoulde descende of him, that blessing might bee recouered which was lost in Adam, and so all the Nations of the world be blessed. So see wee playne how Gods dealings shoote euer at the good, and to the good of them whom hee loueth, and who obey him & are ruled by him. Many a man hath he drawen from home and out of his owne countrey, but to his great good both in body and minde. In body, by honors, preferments and earthly blessings many, wherewith hee hath inriched him in a strange place. In minde, by a true knowledge of his holy truth there attayned vnto and got, which otherwise in likelyhood had neuer beene. How preferred hee Ioseph in a strange lande, with many mo, &c. But marke how the Lord expresseth his fauour further, when he saith, I will also blesse them that blesse thee, and I will curse them that curse thee, Verse. 3. &c. thereby shewing vs what it is to haue him our God, surely to haue a friend of him to our selues, and to all that are friends vnto vs, and a foe to all false harts, harboring and hatching mischiefe against vs. And what can we wish more?

6 How did God call him? by his word: and by this word at this day he calleth vs,God cal­leth by his word. sending vs his messengers earely and late to speake vnto vs, and to intreate vs as the Apostle speaketh in his name, that we would be reconciled to him, not dye but liue, and inioy a place of eternall comfort for euermore, with his owne selfe, his sonne, his holy spirit, one God of maiestie, glory and po­wer, with angells, archangells, Saints and Martirs, the spirits of iust and perfect men. To day then, or any day when we heare his voyce, harden we not our hearts, neyther despise him that speaketh Christ Iesus.Heb. 12.25. For if they escaped not that refused him that spake on earth (to wit Moses) how much more shall we not escape, if wee turne away from him that speaketh from heauen, whose voyce then shooke the earth, and now hath declared saying, yet once more will I shake not the earth only, but also the hea­uen, &c.

Abrahams obedience 7 Hauing considered the Lords calling, in the next place wee must consider Abrahams obedience, which not onely appeareth [Page 46] [...] this [...]e [...]t, but is honored with a most notable remembrance also [...]y ye Apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrues: for by [...]aith saith he, Abraham when he was called, obeyed God, to go out into a place which he should afterwards receyue for an inheritan [...]e, Cap. 11.8. and he went out, not knowing whether he went, &c. A great obediēce to leaue house & home, countrey & friends, where he was [...]ought vy, & such an obedience, as thousands of vs cannot brooke [...]n these dayes, though it were to glorifie God, or serue our Prince and countrey in great measure, but a farre greater, to go he knewe not whether. For what a doo would some of vs haue made at such a motion, what folly, what madnesse would we haue accompted it, to leaue a place we knew and euer had liued in, to go we could not tell whether. But so did not Abraham, he obeyed to go, and to leaue all, yea hee obeyed to leaue all, and goe hee knewe not whether. Marke therefore I pray you the nature of true faith, and the measure of it in Abraham, it wrestleth, it striueth, it o­uer commeth at last all obiections of flesh and bloud, and yeeldeth a holy and sweet obedience to the commandement will and pleasure of almightie God: such faith shall honor vs, as it honored Abra­ham, if being in vs for our measure, there shall flow from it such dutifull obedience to our God, as occasion shall be offered, and we called to now, wherefore euer let vs thinke of it.

8 But when wee speake of this obedience of Abraham in departing,Monki [...]h practise nothing helped by Abrahams leauing all. &c. I pray you let vs remember euer that it was vpon a word, commanding hym and calling hym as hath been sayde, and not vpon his owne head. The fourth verse sayth hee depar­ted, but how? as the Lord spake vnto hym, sayth the text, &c. Cutting thereby and therein the combes of all momish Monks that apply his example to their bad dooings, and their leauing of friends, as they saye, and Fathers house, to his example. For Abraham was commaunded, they not. Abraham had cause, least hee should bee seduced by his idolatrous kinred and countrey, they not. Abraham knewe not whether he went, they full well. Abraham carryed his wife with him, and left her not, they not so in any case. Therefore you see how well this example fitteth them, and how iustly they resemble it.

[Page] Verse. 4. 9 If we note Abrahams age when he thus obeyed, he was as is thought 75. yeares.Abraham patiently tarieth God his leysure. He liued 175. in all. And so it appeareth that a whole hundred yeares he was a traueller, and possest not the breadth of a foote as Steuen sayth of all that was promised to him, and yet his faith fayled not, but by the same he abode sayth the Apostle in the land of promise as in a strange countrey, &c. when we farre vnlike him faynt, and are greeued with euery litle delay in the Lords doings.

10 That Sara went with him, we may see the obedience of a faithfull wife.Verse 5. Not one grudging of her is mencioned, not one ob­iection carnall and worldly either to excuse her selfe,The obe­dience of a faithfull wife. or to hinder him from that wherevnto the Lord had called him. But she trus­seth vp and away with him whither God should apoynt, knowing his lot to be her lot in well or wo: taking her selfe called when her husband is called, as if she had by name bin expressed, because God is no seperater of man and wife, whome himselfe hath ioy­ned till death depart. O honorable Sara for this obedience, with­out crossing, gaine saying, contrarying, repining and murmuring: being a comfort and incouragement to her husband to obey his calling, and no dasher, no cooler, no pulback, no hindrance, no car­nall perswader to the contrary, nor yet any pidling Lots wife, either all day ere she can set out, or yet looking back when she is in her iourney. What a prayse is this for all faithfull wiues to aime at whilst they lyue.

8.10.11. &c The cros­ses of this good cupple. 11 Thus hauing considered both Gods calling, and Abra­hams obedience, thinke we in the third place of the crosses that accompanyed this faithfull couple, Abraham and Sara in theyr iourney. Their remoues are diuers, which cary euer some griefs. There ariseth a famine, a double triall in a strange place frō that it is at home, where a man being knowne and friended, hath many helps. Then smiteth a feare ye hart of Abraham that for his wife he should be killed amongst vngodly men that feared not God, a great crosse. This feare droue him to a shift that was a greater crosse to indanger his wife and her vertue for the safetie of him, which euen that way also could be but vncertayne. The concept was accomplished, and his wife was taken from him to bee Pha­rohs [Page 47] wife, a hellish wound to the harts of both Abraham and Sarah. And what shal we note in al this,The lot of the godly. but first the lot of the god­ly through many feares, many troubles, many tryalls, many gripes and greefes to passe along this life toward the kingdome of rest and ioy, with him whose seruants we are to abide whatsoe­uer it shall please him to exercise vs withall: true obedience to almightie God in any thing, wanting no crosses more or lesse in this world euer to wait vpon it. Secondly we may note againe the weakenesse of Gods chosen many times, not of the smallest faith and place in Gods Church, but euen of the greatest accompt and seruice. For in our great Father Abraham, The weak­nesse of chiefe pil­lers in Gods Church. what a blot was this to cause his wife to make a lye, to denye her mariage, and to cast her selfe into such danger, and himselfe into such griefe, as that course did? but this is our mould & mettall, and these are the wants of great ones often times. Glory we not therefore of flesh euer, for it is too full of imperfection, neyther commit we the like folly euer for any feare.

12 But was Sarah wronged by this wicked King? no, but when mans strength fayled,17 God step­peth in to saue Sarah and both Abraham and Sarah were euen at the pits brinke of great shame and violence, God steppeth in, & taketh the defence of those poore strangers vpon him against a mighty King, and saueth Sarah from all hurt. He plagued Pha­roh and his house with great plagues till she was restored to her husband againe. Shewing thereby that he neuer fayleth to consider the crosses, griefes, wrongs and iniuries of his children, but euer watcheth ouer them, and for them, euer prouideth and eateth to deliuer them so farfoorth as shall be good for them, to the great incoragement of all vs that see it and marke it, to trust in him, and euer to serue him.

13 Passe wee not ouer the iudgement of this heathen King concerning adultery when hee knewe the truth.18 How odi­ous adul­tery to an heathen. Why didst thou not tell me sayth he that shew is thy wife, why saydst thou she is my sister, that I thereby might haue been deceyued and done thee wrong, taking her to be my wife. Insinuating by these words how he abhor [...]ed to thinke of taking an other mans wife, and committing iniquitie with her. And when was this? before [Page] the law, when the light of nature only reigned and taught them. Who was it that made this conscience? surely Pharoh, and Pharoh of Egypt, a heathen King, a prophane King, an vngodly King otherwise, without knowledge, without care or loue of the truth.N [...]te. Shall it not shrike shrill in the Lordes [...]ares, and giue a mightie witnesse against brighter dayes, against other tymes, when knowing, professing, and houlding the truth, called, estee­med, and taken [...]or Christians both of our selues and others, yet wilfully, wittingly, carelesly and presumptuously we do the con­trary, abhorring asmuch any scruple one way, as he made consci­ence an other way. No doubt, no doubt, but this very Pharoh of Egipt will rise in iudgement, and condemne many.

14 Conclude we then quickly, and marke the ende. When he knew the truth that she was his wife,Verse 19. behold thy wife sayth he, take her, The griefs of the god­ly haue a good ende. and go thy way. And hee gaue commandement in his Court concerning them, so that they were conueyed forth both Abraham, his wife, and all that they had in peace. So shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth his word, and foloweth his commandement, calling him whether it pleaseth him. All his troubles should by Gods prouidence bee ended and turned to his good. God shall be for him in the midst of his enemyes as a sure refuge. And what should we say, or what can we say more truly and fitly in this place, then as the Prophet Dauid sayd, Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord deliuereth them out of them all. Psalme. 34. Blessed be that Lord for euer and euer.

15 Heere might we end, if I thought it not good to tell you how some haue made this story of Abraham and Sarah a figure of that which befell their seed after them.A figure in Abraham and Sarah. Abraham and Sarah goe into Egypt, so did their seed in the time apoynted. Sarah is taken to be wronged and iniuried, so was their seed most cruelly oppres­sed in their time. Abraham is fauored for Sarahs sake, so were Iaakob and his family for Iosephs sake. Pharoh is plagued till he deliuered Sarah, so was both king and countrey afterward till the Israelites were let go. Abraham and Sarah are deliuered and sent away, so was their s [...]ede out of Egipt in their tymes. [Page 48] They had gifts giuen which they tooke away, so had their seede when they departed, iewells of gold, and iewells of siluer, and ma­ny things. Very fitly thus do they resemble this to that, and wee may obserue it. Still I must say or might say, in euery Chapter I leaue out more then I note, and I folow no further then thus that which I note, because my purpose was but to try by a little taste, if th [...] [...]urse might profit, and if it might, then further heereafter to inlarge the same, and in such sort, as then should be iudged bet­ter when my drift was seene.

Chap. 13.

The especiall heads of this Chapter are these.

  • The welth of these 2 mē Abr. & Lot, frō the 1.v. to the 7.
  • The dissention betwixt them from the 7. to the 14.
  • The iteration of Gods promise from the 14. to the end.

THe wealth of them sheweth that riches also som­times are bestowed vpon the godly,Verse 2. such as shall be heires and inheritors of the peerelesse ioyes of euerlasting life.Riches giuen to the godly. And therefore though it be hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdome of God, and euen easier for a camell to go through the eye of a nedle, yet it is not impossible, but God with whome all things are possible, can bring it to passe.

2 It teacheth vs that euen with wealth a man may be godly, and folow his vocation, to the good liking of almightie God, and the discharge of himselfe, in such measure as humane frailtie per­mitteth, for neither Abraham nor Lot are hindred heereby from pleasing God. Needlesse therefore it was, and but a Philosophi­call folly or pang, that Crates cast his money into the Sea, and sayde, Ego te mergam, ne mergar a te. I will drowne thee, least I bee drowned of thee: for with money and many worldly blessings moe a man may serue God, as heere Abraham and Lot dyd. Or that our holye Monks thought (at least made the common people thinke) that the touching of money woulde [Page] defile them, and the not touching or dealing with it was great puritie and holynesse. There is no such matter wee see by these two great seruants of God. But there is a rule which wee may farre better folow, and in deede ought to folow, layd downe by the spirit of God in the Prophet Dauid, to wit, If riches in­crease, set not thy hart vpon them, &c. Vse them we may, but loue them we cannot without a fault. That which is sayd in the Gospell, Sell all, and giue to the poore, is vnderstood of a hart willing if neede be, not of a deede when cause concurreth not. Li­ber si sis ab auaritia, omnia vendis licet nihil vendas, sin minus nihil vendis, licet omnia vendas. If thou be free from couetousnes, thou sellest all things though thou shouldest sell nothing, otherwise thou sellest nothing, though thou shouldest sell all things.

Verse 7. 3 The contention betwixt them sheweth an accidēt of wealth through our corruption,Wealth cause of contention sometime. now and then to make strife and disagree­ment, euen where a bond of nature is to the contrary: so it did heere, they were both so wealthy, that the land could not beare them, that they might dwell together.

4 But where began the contention? amongst their seruants, theyr heardmen could not agree together:Seruants set may­sters at variance. and brawles a­mongst seruants at last reach to their maisters, they many tymes harkening to the same more partially then they should: too true this is by dayly experience found in euery coast and countrey, would God either this example, or thousands of euils that growe thereby, might make them amend that yeeld too much to thys mischiefe. It is neither pittie nor charitie to beleeue all reports, much lesse the reports of a man greeued against the partie, who hath greeued him, least of all against him, who hauing nothing at all offended, the mayster I meane, is only abused because his ser­uant hath done what his mayster neither wished nor liked. Let not Lot and Abraham so cruelly iarre and stomack one an other, be­cause their seruants cannot agree together: and what seruants? their heardmen, their dogkeepers, or horsekeepers, or the basest they haue. Where should wisedome appeare if not in this, to dis­cerne persons, causes, times, and occasions, and neuer for a baser to lose a better, for a stranger, a neighbour, for a seruant, and cause of no accompt, a gentleman and loue of most great accompt.

[Page 49] 5 I but what shall a man doo? his seruant is abused, other mens seruants seeke to crow ouer them,Maysters excuses to deale in their ser­uants qua­rells. & to rule the rost as they list. This is an iniury to the mayster, and a shame to suffer it. So a man may be made a foole, and compted a wretch and a dastard of no reputation, and neuer a man care to serue him that will no better sticke to his men, then so. Well sayd flesh and bloud, and ould Adams corruption, I knowe this is the songe thereof, and much more then this to this ende. But either wee bee Christians or none. If wee bee Christians, and care for his word, wee haue heere a direction what to doo, surely euen as godly Abraham did at this time. He considered all circumstances, loued concord, regarded peace, sought it, and insewed after it. Thought it would bee farre more credit for him to haue vnitie and good loue, then the bitter effects of the contrary. Therefore hee hartneth not his seruants and setteth them on, hee taketh not their tales into his bosome, to worke dislyke of Lot his Cosen, hee looketh not bigge vppon Lot, biddeth hym not away from hym, &c. But hee talketh with hym of the matter, and that not hotely, but kindly and friendly, with great meekenesse and loue, knowing in wisedome that speach somewhat, but kinde and soft speach much more cooleth a heate that beginneth to rise,Speech endeth anger, and silence nourisheth & increa­seth it. and doth out a fyre that began to flame. Hee is Lots elder and Vncle, his bet­ter in that respect and all other, yet hee standeth not vpon that, looking when Lot shoulde come vnto him, and stoupe to hym, but as in yeares and euery way hee did excell him, so in wise­dome and mildnesse, in humilitie and temperance of affections hee farre passeth him. Ouerruling himselfe by that vertue thus farre, that hee goeth to hym, and vrging him with that which Lot not so well considered, to wit, that they were brethren, neighbours, friends, kinsfolks, &c. moueth hym thereby as by so many strong reasons, and mightie hands, that loue and peace might remayne betwixt them, and contention and brawles be far away bothe from them, themselues, and from their people: I pray thee sayth hee, I pray thee, let it not be thus, but so, and so forth. He gaue hym his choyse to goe which way hee would, and would accept what hee refused. O paterne of wisedome and all vertues for all Noblemen, Gentlemen, and whosoeuer may say they [Page] bee brethren either in nature, or in Ch [...]ist and Religion. Shall wee not obserue it and folow it? Are wee [...] shamed to bee Abra­hams? so wise, so meeke, such louers of concord and vnitie? Take heed that the God of Abraham be not then ashamed of vs, both [...]eere and in his kingdome for euer. Yet was Abraham a man, I warrant you, and had a sort of tall fellowes that woulde strike, if he bad. As you see when he went to rescue Lot from the furies of them that had taken him prisoner.When ma [...]hood [...]s to bee [...]hewed. But Abraham will neuer shew his manhood and might against his brother, his neigh­bour, his kinsman. He defyeth that manhood and stomack, hee think [...]th nothing can be more reprochfull to him, then to breake such bands of loue, and to iarre with such a person as is so neere vnto him. Would God we would marke it, and remember euer that the bond of one God, one faith, one baptisme, and so forth, is as farre aboue the bond of one father, one mother, and such like, as God is aboue man, spirituall things aboue carnall, and the spirit aboue the flesh. Amplifie it further your selfe in your me­ditation. I may not be long.

6 Marke the estate of these two men now. Remember the famine mencioned in the Chapter before,Verse 10. a cause why these men remoued hither.Pietie ne­uer bring­eth losse in the ende. Haue they now any want? Doo you see any miserie vppon them? Nay doo they not abound with all store, comfort, and plentie? Neuer then can that man or wo­man perish for want, that want not an hart to serue and trust in the Lorde. The Lyons doo lack and suffer hunger, but a man or a woman that feareth God, Psal. 34. shall want nothing that is good. Gayne is not godlynesse, but godlynesse is great gayne, if we be content with that which wee haue, 2. Tim. 6. 1. Tim. 4. and it hath the promise both of this life, and that to come.

7 Let vs marke also Lots yeelding to reason, when it is layd before him,Verse. 10. and acceptance of kindnesse when it is offred hym, without any wayward wilfulnesse in his owne conceipts and dea­lings.Good men yeeld to reason. So should all good men doo, hating to be of the number of them, whome nothing can please, who haue made Will theyr God, and wilfull waywardnesse their plot for euer: yeelding to [Page 50] nothing, accepting of nothing, caring for nothing, but what their owne wits deuise, & their owne tongues motion, yea many times going euen from that also, if it be consented vnto.

8 Lot chose the playne of Iorden for hys place, because it was most pleasant both for water and all commodities,Verse 11. Men ga­ping for pleasure, get payne. euen as the Garden of Eden. But see and marke, when hee thought hee had got Paradise, hee got Hell. Sodom and Gomorrha proued filthye places, and all his pleasures were sowsed with sowre fruites of curssed inhabitants. Sped neuer man thus but Lot? gaping for pleasure, hath none gotten payne? parting from Abraham a faithfull friend, because they were wanton and ouer wealthy. Haue none light of Sodomites and filthy Gomorr­heans, God being iust, and so quitting their folly? Go wee not alwayes then by shew and pleasures, when wee chose a place to a­bide in.Good neigh­bours. But looke we rather at vertue and honestie of our neigh­bours that shall be, for feare of a griefe as great as Lot had by these filthy folowers of all vice and wickednesse. Better is a place with fewer pleasures amongst good liuers, then many mo delightes, with an vngodly neighbourhood. It is a great griefe that is a dayly griefe, yea an hourely griefe, and that at home too, where a man would fayne finde comfort, to oppose to forren woes and troubles.

9 In the repetition of his promise,Verse 14. which it pleased God to make,The conti­nual weak­nes of man, needeth continua [...] comforts from God. Verse 14. wee may first obserue the weakenesse of all mens faith, and what neede there is that with o [...]ten helpes it shoulde bee propped and strengthned. The Lorde vseth no meanes without a cause, and therefore vsing heere the meanes to comforte Abraham, hys wisedome sawe what was neede­full, wee are assured. If Abraham needed, how much more other men, so farre inferiour in strength of fayth to Abra­ham.

10 Againe, we may see ye sweet goodnes of God watching, wat­ching oportunities, & euen then [...] [...]ting Abraham, Gods com­fort [...] [...] in fit times by repe [...]ō of his promise, when Lot was gone frō him, & he by reason therof [Page] might haue bin sad and dismayed. So is the eye of our gracious God euer vpon vs, to spye our distresses, and to helpe vs, when we haue most neede.

Obedience 11 Abrahams obedience, an argument of his faith. You also see heere remouing when God commanded, without euer any grudging or carnall gaynesayings, as before hath beene noted.

Thanke­fulnesse.Lastly, let his building of the altar shewe vs his thankeful­nesse for Gods mercies to quicken our dulnesse, and teach vs his open professing of the Religion he truly imbraced, against all close dissemblers of their consciences,Open pro­fession of religion. yea let it make vs remember alwayes, that it sufficeth not any man to beleeue with the hart vnto righteousnesse, Rom. 9.10. vnlesse also as occasion shall serue he con­fesse with the mouth vnto saluation.

Chap. 14.

The heads of this Chapter are chiefely these two.

  • The warre betwixt the Kings from the 1. verse to the 13.
  • The victory of Abraham from the 13. to the ende.

Verse 4. 1 THE cause of thys warre you see in the text, that by thys meanes they might shake off the yoke that they indured twelue yeares,Rebellion. I meane the one part, for twelue yeares fayth the text, were they subiecte to Cnedor Laomer, but in the thirtenth they rebelled, a bad course to get libertie, where sub­iection is due. For Rebellion God neuer loued, neuer prospe­red, [Page 51] but euer plagued. The issue in this place sayth asmuch. The fearefull destruction of Corah and his company, Abso­lon and his company, and in our owne stories of many an one sayth asmuch. Papists charge vs that wee are no good friends to Princes and Rulers, and it is no newes to heare it of them. Elias had suche measure measured vnto hym by the wicked King, when hee was called a troubler of Israel. Micheas the true Prophet, Ieremy and Amos as true as hee,1. King. 22. Iere. 38.4. Amos 7.10 all of them faithfull to Princes euer, were so accused, and with venemous words if you reade the places, but all most falsely and iniuriously. Wee say, the doctrine of Rome is no friend to Princes, and iudge you how truly. Sanders monarchie freeing subiects from theyr othes to their naturall Princes. The Bull of Pius the fift. The answeres of them that were examined, whether if the Pope inuaded, they would take the Princes part or his. The Oration that Cardinall Poole made to the Emperour. The many many most fearefull, most wicked, most vnnaturall and damnable con­spiracies entred into by them, their rebellions, let them be your lights to leade you to a true verdit and sentence. They that re­belled in King Henry the eyght his dayes,Papists Rebells. in King Edward his sonnes dayes, in her Maiesties most happye dayes that wee haue now long inioyed in the mercy great of our most gracious God, and long long that wee may yet inioy, beseech his goodnes: were they Papists or Protestants, men fauoring the Gospell, or addicted to, and drowned in the dregs of Popery and supersti­tion? They that repented that they were so busye in Queene Maryes dayes, in cutting off the boughes, and still let the stocke remayne, which aboue all rather should haue been he wed downe, meaning her sacred Maiestie, what were they? men helding out the light of Gods holie Gospell, or fighting for his triple Crowne of Rome, that shall neuer be able to saue their soules, from due desert of such disloyall thought and most vndutifull spea [...]h. Shew the Princes the Gospell hath deposed? Shew the Princes that Popery hath not wronged? It is our doctrine that wee firmely holde, and that they fully defye. That hee that ta­keth the sword, shall perish with the sword: that is,Math. 26. hee that taketh it without the bonds of a calling warranting him as all [Page] Rebels euer doo.Rom. 13. That hee which resisteth superiour powers▪ resisteth the ordinance of God, and to his owne damnation, that wee ought to obey and be subiect not for feare, but for conscience sake, that the weapons of subiects be but prayers and teares,Ambrose. and so forth. See then whether Popery or Gods holy Gospell which we hold, stand better with the safetie of P [...]inces, and the florishing estate of Kingdomes.

2 To the man of Sodom this was further the reuenging hand of God for their sinnes.Sinne pu­nished. Long did hee spare, but at last they had this touch by the sword of these Kings against them, and when that would not serue, a finall destruction from heauen by fire and brimstone. Iude applyeth it thus, that if God spared not them, certaynly hee will not spare vs, and let vs thinke of it.

3 Lot is taken prisoner by this occasion, and carryed away, such good is gottē by dwelling amōg ye wicked,Verse 12. euen to pertake in those plagues that the Lord iustly scourgeth their sinnes withall. The euill of dwelling with the wicked. Reade 1. Reg. 22. verse. 32. how neere Iehosaphat was to a shrewde turne, for company­ing with Ahab. Therefore little ioy we for any commodities in such cau­ses of greater woe when once it commeth, then all our profits can counteruayle. Auoyd them as wee can, and auoyd with them the wrath of God that euer foloweth them. But euer remember what our calling permitteth, and let vs not vnder show of this godly care, proue peeuish Anabaptists, without consciences.

4 In the 13. verse it is sayd, that one escaped to tell Abra­ham, where see the prouidence of God for his euer. No sooner is Lot in danger, but one is prepared to procure him rescue. So shall it euer bee with Gods faithfull seruants wee may be as­sured,Verse 13. one or other shall escape by this carefull goodnes of God, that shall worke their helpe so farre as God will haue for hys glory and their good.The Lords care for his. For he is not Lots God alone, neither any partiall regarder of any, with neglect of others that trust in his mercy.

5 When by this messenger Abraham heard it, streight hee addressed himselfe to succour him.Verse 14. Where note the nature of [Page 52] one truly godly. You sawe the i [...]rre betwixt Abraham and Lot before, and how they parted by that meanes one from the other.In d [...]stresse of friend, forget all former faules and helpe. Many a crooked nature would haue thought of this now, and haue let Lot taste of that which his departure in some sort had procured. But doth Abraham so? No, but in his friends dis­tresse all former faults are forgotten, and willing offer of hym and his into danger, with all speede made to releeue and release him from his oppression and danger. This is loue that God lo­ueth, and this is loue that well beseemeth all friends that would be accompted truly true friends.

6 Abrahams thus dealing with Gods alowance, sheweth the lawfulnesse of warre vpon iust occasion,Warre lawfull. against foolish Ana­baptists that thinke the contrary.

7 The diuision of his company, and the taking of the be­nefite of the night, Verse. 15. teacheth vs the vse of godly pollicies as neede shall require,Pollicy in warre. and that also true confidence in God taketh not a­way, but carefully vseth outward meanes. For not to doo it is not faith, but presumption, not trust in God, but a bolde tempting of his Maiestie. Our Sauiour Christ himselfe fled,Math. 2. and in the night also, who yet could haue bin safe from all tyrants if hee would, without such meanes. Iosua came vpon them vnwares,Iosh. 10. Act. 9. and Paule was let downe in a basket by the windowe.

8 Melchisedechs comming to meete Abraham when hee did returne, hauing vanquished the enemyes and deliuered Lot, Verse. 18. bringing with him bread and wyne to refresh them withall,Religion and [...] to­gether. sheweth the kindnesse of a man that is truly godly, euer ready by any meanes he can to comfort and cherish, to relieue and do good to his weary, weake, and needy brother. For godlynesse is louing and comfortable both by wordes and deedes, vngodlynesse is churlishe and harde, parting with nothing, as you see in Na­ball.

9 This place is abused by the Papists as many moe bee, to prooue theyr Masse. But they shewe their wickednesse,Melchise­dechs fact no figure of popish Masse. and want theyr purpose. Behould (say they) a type and figure of the [Page] vnbloudy Sacrifice that Christ offred at his last Supper. This the figure, that the fulfilling of it in truth, and hee remayning for euer a Priest after the order of this Melchisedech, the truth of this figure, that is an vnbloudie Sacrifice, vnder the signes of bread and wyne, must also euer remayne, &c. Wee an­swere them first, that forasmuch as the Apostle so fully discussing this comparison betwixt Christ and Melchisedech, maketh no mention of any such Sacrifice, it beeing yet as themselues say, the chiefest poynt of the comparison. Too much to blame are they, that they shame not to obtrude vnto the Apostle such an vn­knowne Mysterie, and to supply of theyr owne what he directed by the spirit of God quite left out and neuer mencioned. If they denye this consequence, to wit, from the Apostles silence or o­mission to the nullitie of the thing, wee tell them it is most strong by vertue of a rule in diuinitie which they shall neuer improue whilst they lyue.A rule touching types and figures. The rule is this. Of types and figures of the olde Testament, so farre onely and neuer further may a doctrine be established, as the same types and figures by expresse and plaine words of the Apostles shall be expounded and interpreted. For if euery man might expound them as he thought good, varietie of allegories most vncertaine and doubtfull should ouerthrowe all truth amongst vs. If therefore any reliefe for the Masse must be had from this fact of Melchisedech, needes of necessitie they must bring some place of the new Testament where it is so ex­pounded: otherwise they play but with allegories of their owne making, and their speech may bee tearmed allegoricall, but not theologicall. For that fulnesse of perswasion and [...], that is in Diuinitie, stayeth not vpon allegoricall deuises, except they be warranted by God himselfe.

2 Secondly where as they saye Melchisedech offred heere bread and wyne to God, we vtterly deny it, and referre our selues to the words of Moses, wherein is not any such matter. The text is protulit, not obtulit, he brought forth bread and wyne, not he offred bread and wyne. Except to bring forth were to offer and sacrifice, which it cannot be. And that knewe euen that olde Translator whome they make such accompt of, and thereupon translated the Hebrue word to bring forth, not to offer.

[Page 53] 3 Thirdly, if we should graunt all they seeke, to wit, that he of­fred bread and wine (as God forbid we should so be-lye the texte) yet would it not folow what they desire. For how hang these toge­ther Melchisedech was a figure of Christ, and offred bread & wine to God. Therefore Christ in his holy Supper offered him­selfe vnbluddely to God the Father for vs, which also is done still in the Masse. Consider of it, is there any sequele in the world in it? may we not aswell conclude, that Christ ought to be offred dayly vnder the signes of Lambes, of turtle Doues, young Pigeons, Goates, and Calues, and many such things, because once these things were offered, as they, that hee must bee offred vnder bread and wine, because bread and wine were offred by Melchisedech? Surely those burnt offrings of the law, did far far more liuely re­semble and expresse the future sacrifice of Christ, then the offring of any bread could: for in them was suffring, dying, shedding of bloud, and a being slaine and killed, which is not in bread, and therefore if anye should remaine to such an ende as the Papists would, rather they should remaine then the signes of bread and Wine.

4 Againe, if this offring of Melchisedechs were a figure of Christ, either Christ hath fulfilled it or not, if he haue not, then was not all finished as he sayd, which God forbid, and if hee haue then being fulfilled, why should it not cease, as all other figures doo of the ould Testament: shall the figure and the truthe stand both at once? It is straunge diuinitie: nay the contrary is true, and sound diuinitie, to wit, that Christ hauing vpon the Crosse, with his own oblation of himselfe, ended and determined all figures, vsed to show his comming, this also if as they take it, a figure of him, en­ded likewise, and finished, and taken away.

5 Yet further let these men consider their absurdities against themselues: for if their Masse leane vpon this fact of Melchise­dech, their transubstantiation is quite gone, for that which Mel­chisedech offred (if he offered as they say) was not any figure or bare show and accidents of bread and wine, but bread indeed, and Wine indeede, the substance there aswell as the accidents, and therefore if that was any figure of the sacrifice of the Masse, then must that sacrifice be bread and wine indeed, as that was. Againe [Page] if Melchisedech offred any offring, it was an offring of thanks­giuing▪ wherevpon his wordes proceeded, blessed bee the Lorde that hath delyuered thy enemies into thy hande. But they will not haue theyr Masse offring so, but a propitiatorie sacrifice, how then agree these together? Conclude wee then in a better sorte then these men doe, that in truth, Christ is a Priest for euer, after the order of Melchisedech, as the Psalme saith, but this or­der consisteth not in anye reall offring of himselfe daylye, for the sinnes of men (for with one oblation, saith the Apostle, hath hee consecrated for euer them that are sanctified) but this order consisteth in these thinges.Heb. 10.14 The com­parison how it standeth. First, Melchisedech was both a King and a Priest: so was our Sauiour Christ. Secondly, hee was by interpretation, saith the Apostle, King of righteousnes, and King of Salem, Hebr. 7.1. verse. 2. that is, of peace: so is our Sauiour Christ truly and verilye, King of righteousnesse and peace, yea of all righteousnesse and peace.verse. 3. Thirdly, Melchisedec was without father, without mother, without kindred, and had neither be­ginning of his dayes, nor end of life: that is, none of these were left in Scripture to our knowledge, but hee is propounded to vs as eternall, so is our Sauiour Christ eternall indeed, and without all these,verse. 3. in respect of the one or other nature, his Priesthood en­deth, not as Arons did, but is for euer. Lastlye, Melchisedech was in this aboue Abraham, and all the Leuites of Abraham after descended,ver. 5. &c. that hee receiued tithes of him and them, hee paying tithes vnto him, and they also, as the Apostle saith, be­cause they were in his loynes: And hee blessing Abraham, the lesser beeing blessed of the greater: so was our Sauiour Christ aboue Abraham, and aboue all the Leuiticall Priests of the lawe, that descended of Abraham. This resemblance hath warrant as you see in the Scripture, and therefore is [...]ounde thus farre. But if we will goe further, to say, Melchisedech offred Breade and Wine, therefore Christes bodye must bee offred of Priests in the Masse daylye, vnbloudily, vnder the accidents of Bread and Wyne, for the sinnes of the quicke and the dead, wee adde that which the Apostle addeth not, which yet hee would ne­uer haue omitted, if it had beene to bee added, we goe beyond our warrant, and wee must vanishe with our vanitie, that hath [Page 54] no surer staye then our owne deuise and fansie▪ And thus much of this matter.

10 The [...]are lastlye that Abraham had to keepe bothe the credit of himselfe a professor, and the Lordes honor,Care of the credit of a pro­fessor of truthe. whome hee serued, appeareth in this Chapter: For hee will not haue so much as a thred of him, least hee should therevpon speake euill of him, his God, and religion. Such a remembrance should we euer haue by his example of the Maister wee serue, of the office we beare, and of the partyes wee deale with, abhorring bribes that robbe bothe vs, and our God, of good reporte, and set open the mouthes of the wicked against the trueth, whereof wee are professors. Abraham would not, that this wicked King should saye, Hee had made Abraham riche, and wee care not that anye man sayes of vs. Wee can bee content to bee fedde of Papistes, that they may freelye dishonour the Maiestie of God, of Theeues, that they may escape and steale againe:Note. of adul­terers, and filthie lyuers, that they may still transgresse, and neuer thinke what may bee sayde by them, or by others, vppon this occasion of the Lorde, whose name wee professe. Of his truth, which wee saye wee houlde, or of our selues, whome yet wee gladlye would haue men thinke well of. This is nowe farre you see from Abrahams example in this place, and there­fore, except wee learne of him heereafter to amende this course, it maye iustlye bee feared, wee shall neuer come where A­braham nowe is.

Chap. 15.

The heads of this Chapter. In this Chapter there is, the promise renued againe, the faith and iustification of Abraham, from the 1. verse to the 9. 2. The confirmation of him by an outward signe, from the 9. to the end. Particulars as in other chapters many.

1 IN that it is sayd, The worde of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision: note we the manner of Gods reuey­ling himselfe in those dayes. In the 12. of Numbers it is thus sayde.verse. 6. If there be a Prophet of the Lorde a­mongst you: I will be knowne to him by a vision, and wil speake vn­to him by a dreame. Noting the two ordinary meanes in those daies,Aug. de genesi ad liter. lib. 12 vision & dreame. Heere it was by vision, of which S. Au­gustine maketh three kindes, Corporalem, spiritualem, mentalem, corporall, spirituall, and mentall, if I may so speake. The corpo­rall vision is, when corporall things to our corporall eyes appeare and are seene. The Spirituall, when the likenesse of things are seene in spirit, in dreame, or in an extasie. The mentall, as wee terme it, is when vnderstanding is giuen, to know the meaning of such likenesses and formes, when they are seene. As for example, Pharoh saw the fat Kine and leane Kine, Gen. 41. but knew not what they meant, Ioseph knew what they ment, and yet saw them not: Pharoh therefore had a spirituall vision, and Ioseph a mentall. An other example:chap. 40. The two seruants of Pharoh, the Butler and the Baker had theyr spirituall visions, but knew not againe what they pretended, Ioseph did, which had no such appearances made vnto him, and that was a mentall vision. Nabuchadnezar againe had the spirituall vision, Daniel. 2. Daniel bothe the spirituall [Page 55] and the mentall. This vision of Abraham was a corporall visi­on as is thought, and proofe thereof alledged out of the fift verse.

2 Obserue wee the oportunitie of this Vision, when it was. Surely when Abraham was returned from the rescue of Lot, and was now in a great feare what might be faull him by those Kings, whome he had so pursued, conquered, and deliuered his freend from. He was a stranger and they at home, hee but a few, they of great power, alyance, and kindred, howe should it bee, but they would combine together to destroye him, and neuer put vp and digest what he had doone to them. This multiplied in Abra­hams minde, as all feare will, and gaue him many a secret gripe, that all the world felt not so well as hee. But behould a gracious God, a deare and tender father▪ that neuer slumbreth nor sleepeth when his be in agonies and perplexities. In this oportunitie of time he appeareth to his seruant, renueth his promise to his great comfort, and dasheth in sunder, with his wordes of sweete mercy, the bones of all such troubled thoughts, and fearefull concepts. Could Abrahams heart haue wished his comfort, in a more fit time? Did hee not thus againe before, when Lot was departed from him. Let it euer then be one of our notes, in reading the word, how fitly, in respect of time and neede, God comforteth his, and let vs know, that he is one and the same, for euer, to all that put their trust in him. He seeth what Abraham wanteth, and when he wanteth, and seeth he not vs? Hee gaue Abraham what hee wanted, and when he wanted it, and is [...]e onely his God? Stirre we then vp the faith within vs, euer euer to trust in him, to depend on him, and to expect from him our wanted helpes, euen in the ve­ry time they may best steede vs.

3 Let vs marke the manner of comforte, and the wordes themselues. Feare not Abraham (saith he) I am thy buckler, Verse. 1. and thine exceeding great rewarde. How God comfor­teth. He telleth him not that his enemies be wicked and he iust, or that they shall be weake, and he strong, or any such matter, but this he saith onely, I am thy shield. Teaching vs, that this is enough against all the threats of foes, [Page] and terrors of a whole worlde, if God care for vs, and take vppon him to be our shield against them. Earthly hearts do not conceyue this, but they crie: Giue me friends and fauour with men, with Princes, with Noblemen, with Magistrates, and Gentlemen, giue me gold and siluer, giue me alyance and kindred, and such like, and then let me alone, but if we want these all or some, woe be to vs, we cannot liue, we shall be so crossed, so snubbed, so brow­beaten, so pinched a thousand wayes, that death were better a great deale, then such a life. But O carnall wretches, and carnall comforts, is God nothing, and man all, is the Creator so weake, and the creature so strong, where are our eyes: If these things bee had with Gods fauour, they are good meanes, and may bee our comforte, but if these wante, and God loue, is hee all to weake to shielde vs? God forbid. Naye onely his loue is life and libertie, though all the worlde with his power were set a­gainst vs.

And this is that which in this place God would haue Abra­ham to see▪ That hee might not thinke, alas I am a stran­ger, weake and without friendes, great men malice me, and howe shall I doe, howe can I scape their handes, &c. away (saith GOD) Abraham with such concepts, I am thy Buckler, and I tell thee, that is inough against all thy foes, were they neuer so manye and mightie. Truthe Lorde truthe, and farre bee it from vs,Rom. 8. euer to thinke otherwise. If thou be with vs, who can be against vs, to hurt vs. If I walke in the middest of the shadow of death, saith the Prophet Dauid, I will not feare any euill, Psa. 23.4. and why? Quia tu mecum es, Because thou art with mee, and O Lorde it is our songe also, increase our faith for thy merci [...] sake.

4 In that hee saith, hee is his rewarde, and not onely so, but his exceeding great rewarde, No losse in seruing God. wee doe well see there is no losse in seruing God, as the wicked doe complaine in the Prophet Malachie, Mala. 3.14. that there is, but on the contrarye side, this is profi­table and most profitable, yea this is riches, and exceeding great riches. For what hath Heauen or Earth that is not ours, God [Page 56] himselfe is ours, and wee are his▪ and vnto God what may be added for more perfection: D [...]uid saith, The Lorde is his [...]ep­he [...]rd, and therefore hee shall wante nothing. And may not wee say, the Lorde is our God, our Father,Psal. 23. our shield and buck­ler, yea our rewarde, and exceeding great rewarde, therefore we are riche, and loose not by his seruice? Most truly may wee say it euermore, and moste sweetlye should wee taste it, when wee are tempted. It is wealth, to haue Corne, and Wine, and Oyle,Psal. 4. increased, but sure, farre greater wealth, to haue the light of Gods countenance lifted vp vpon vs, in the Prophets iudgement. It is gaine,Psal. 144. To haue our Garners filled with all manner of store, to haue our Oxen strong to labour, no leading into captiuitie, nor anye complayning in our streets, and the people bee happie, that bee in such a case, but surelye, yet farre greater gaine it is, to haue the Lorde for our God, and rather, rather happye bee they, that inioye that mercy, then all the former.

5 When Abraham sayth to God, yea but O Lorde what wilte thou giue mee, seeing I goe childlesse, &c. Verse. 2. We may see the weakenesse of Gods children, euen his deere ones, and cheefe-ones, if things answer not theyr desires. They are a little impati­ent, and thinke lesse of many mercies, that both they haue and are promised after to haue, because they wante some one thing that they would gladlye haue. So was Abraham heere for wante of a Childe: as if hee should haue sayde, O Lorde, what is all thou promisest whilst this wanteth, that I haue no issue. This is a great corruption in vs, and wee must beware. For if God were not mercifull, it were the waye to robbe vs of all, to thinke light of anye for wante of some. Let vs not thinke it is denyed, that is differred. God hath his tymes for all thinges, and bounde are wee to his Maie­stie, for what wee haue till more come, and though neuer more come.

6 When Abraham thus vttered his greefe, for wante of [Page] seede, God telleth him in great goodnesse, hee should haue seede according to his desire, yea farre and farre aboue that which hee could imagine or aske. For as the stars of heauen so should his seede be for number.Verse. 5. A gratious promise to a greeued minde, for that same thing. But when or wherein will not God be good to those that truly serue him:Iustificati­on by faith this promise Abraham beleeued, (saith the text) and it was counted vnto him for righteousnes. By faith then was Abraham iustified, we plainly see, and is there an other way for other men? this were madnes to thinke, & there­fore choose we with him to beleeue, that by faith, as he was, wee may be iustified. For it is not written for him onelye, that it was imputed to him for righteousnes (saith the Apostle) but also for vs, Rom. 4.23. to whome it shall bee imputed for righteousnesse, which beleeue in him, that raised vp Iesus our Lorde from the dead. Againe, I count all things losse, and do iudge them dongue, Phili. 3.8.9 that I might win Christ, & might be found in him, that is not hauing mine owne righteousnes, which is of the lawe, but that which is through the faith of Christ, euen the righteousnes which is of God, through faith, &c. With many such places, if it were not needlesse in many wordes to folowe this doctrine now. Away therefore with whatsoeuer yeeldeth man to boast in, and knowe that the thing that God regardeth in vs, is faith. First because of his eternall purpose, onelye to saue belee­uers, and secondly, because faith euer ascribeth to him the glory, both of truth and power.

Verse. 8. 7 But it is layd downe heere, that Abraham asked a signe. How could that stand with a right faithe:A signe asked. may a man beleeue and yet aske a signe to confirme doubting? aunswer may bee made, that God promised two things: a Seede, and the inheritance of the land of Canaan: Abraham beleeued the first, and was iusti­fied, but somewhat wauered in the second, because hee could not conceiue how he so ould a man should euer be maister of that land. And that a man may haue true faith, though not all faith: it is ma­nifest in all Gods children,Num. 6. Moses himselfe, that was so faithfull in Gods house, and to whome God shewed himselfe so marue­louslie, and spake so familiar lye▪ yet had not all faith: but doubted [Page 57] of water to come out of the rocke, and so greeued God. Truth is sufficient, and perfection falleth not into this life. Looke what your note saith in the Margin.

8 In giuing him a signe,God ac­cepteth an imperfect faith. wee see the great mercie and good­nesse of God, euer ready to supporte mans weakenesse, and neuer snubbing any childe of his for imperfection of faith, in whome there is the truth of fayth, a great comfort. And in the diuision and placing of these beasts, we see the ould manner of making coue­nants in those dayes: They first deuided them, to showe,The man­ner of olde co [...]enants and the s [...]gne of the cere­monies vsed. that such loue and liking, should thencefoorth bee betwixt them two, that made that couenant, as that they could finde in their heart to deuide any commodities or pleasures mutually and equally either to other. Secondly to showe, that they wished euen theyr owne bo­dyes so deuided and cut a sunder, if they should breake that coue­nant: read the 1. of Sam. 11.7. Then they layd one parte answe­ring to an other, to showe the answering, and agreement, and consent, that should be in their two hearts either to other. Last­lie, the Birds were not deuided, to showe, that though all ex­ternall matters might be parted, yet theyr mindes and wils not. Read the marginall note againe in your Bible.

9 The lighting of the Fowles vpon the carkeises to eate them, if they might haue beene suffered,Verse. 11. An allego­rie. shewed Abraham in such sorte, howe both his Seede according to the flesh, and ac­cording to promise, should of the prophane Gentiles, and wick­ed worldlings, bee molested. But as Abraham droue them a­way, so should his Seede by Gods helpe, conquere and ouer­come theyr cruell enemies. Yea God for his promise sake, would driue them away from deuowring his chosen, as Abraham did these from eating the carkeises.

10 That it pleased the Lord, thus long,Verse. 13. to let them be stran­gers in a sorren land, euen foure hundred yeares, First sower and then sweete. to serue a cruell people, and to be euill intreated of them, wee may note the manner many times of the Lordes dealing, with such as hee meaneth to doe much for. Surely then hee vsed, and nowe hee [Page] vseth not to make any man rule before he haue serued, not to giue freedome, but after a taste first of bondage. First must come sower and then sweete, first paine and then pleasure, first trauell and then rest. So knowe wee better what his benefite is, by for­mer experience of the wante, and wee become more thanke­full for it. Ioseph founde it thus, Dauid, Daniell, and ma­nye moe.

Verse. 14. 11 But what foloweth, notwithstanding (saith God) the Nation whom they shall serue, Sinne euer punished, first or last 2. Thes. 1.6 &c. will I iudge. Teaching vs thereby, that neuer any wickednes shall escape alwayes a due pu­nishment. But true it is that the Apostle speaketh: It is a iuste thing with God, to recompense to his childrens enemies tri­bulation and vengeance, and euerlasting perdition, from the presence of God, Gen. 4. Gen. 19. Exod. 14. Num 16. and from the glorie of his power, &c. Remember what you had in the 12. Chapter, and 3. verse. Re­member how Cain sped, how Sodom and Gomorrha sped, how Pharoh and his hoast sped, howe Corah and his company sped, how Miriam Moises sister sped, for her wicked speech against her brethren,2. King. 2. and to go no further, howe those wicked impes of children sped, that cryed to the Prophet, Bauld head, Bauld head. True it is, that God spareth long sometime, but as true a­gaine it is, that he paieth home at last, and as true as either of these that the sharpenesse of his wrath when it lighteth, recompenseth the long stay of it before it light.

Sorrowe hath an ende. 12 In that God saith, yet they shall come out, and nameth a time, we get this comfort sweeter then honny: that wee may be assured whatsoeuer is our case, Egrediemur tandem, wee shall at last come out, and not loose by our patience, if wee haue performed any. [...] [...]ere. 25.12. & [...]. [...]05.19 The time is knowne to the Lorde, as this was, and appoynted, and shall neuer breake, though not expressed as this was▪

And of [...]en [...] welth 13 With great substance, saith the Texte, and so it was wee knowe: Iewels of sil [...]er, and Iewels of golde they had of the E­giptians at their departure, beside theyr owne which was also [Page 58] great. See and consider the ende of the troubles of the godlye, when God will. Not onely libertie but great substance is giuen to them. So euery thing worketh for the good of them that loue God, saith the Apostle truely.Rom. 8.2 [...]. Ioseph had honor and great wealth, aswell as libertie, when Gods time was come, so had Dauid a kingdome after manye troubles that hee first indu­red: so had Daniel and other manye, if you will remember them. Feare not the issue then of your woe, whatsoeuer it is, if you cleaue to God, and houlde you fast by the worde of this promise.

14 But thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace and shalt be buried in a good age, saith God to Abraham. Verse. 15. Noting vnto vs in the very phrase,The death of the god­ly full of comfort. the comfort to be conceyued in the death of the godlye. It is no perishing nor departing to woe, but a sweete going to our fathers before vs in lasting blisse. It is a walking with God, as an other place saith,Gen. 5. Gen. 49. a gathering of vs to our own people, a sleepe, a rest, yea a resting of the flesh in hope, the waye of all flesh, and so foorth: therefore not to be feared. It includeth feliciti [...], it excludeth miserie, finisheth the toyles of age, preuen­teth the perils of youth. Multis remedium, nonnullis votum, om­nibus finis. To many a remedye, to some a wished thing, to all an ende. It deserueth better of none then of them to whome it com­meth before calling. Heathens haue beene strong, and shall we be weake. The Swans doe sing and shall wee weepe to thinke of death? M [...]r [...] nomen tantum fidelibus, saith the Father. Death to the godlye is onely a name, and no worse is in it.Chrysost. Gen. ho. 29 Surely to dye no man fe [...]eth, but hee that dispayreth of life after death, yet hasten not the time by thy desire, for that is a faulte as farre the other waye. It is the parte of an vnthankefull man, eyther to wyll a good longer, or to bee wearye of it soo­ner then the giuer and lender of the same dooth limit, and is con­tented. No man may breake the prison, and let the soule out, but he that inclosed it in the same. Let all these comfort vs, and let all these staye vs. Feare not when it commeth sente of God, and procure it not till it come for anye dislike and discontent of a weake minde.

[Page] In a good age dooth the Lorde adde, and who maketh ould, but euen himselfe. The hoar [...]e heyres are his gratious gift, and the timely death is also his, to escape the woes to come.

Verse. 16. 14 For the wickednesse of the Amorites is not yet full, saith the 16 verse.God spa­reth, till sinne be ripe. Then God spareth many times, till iniquitie be ripe and at an height. Most true it is, and let vs marke it. It may well daunte those curssed spirites, and stoppe the streame of those wicked hearts, that flatter themselues, because God yet suffreth. What say they, needes all this threatning of the prea­chers, against mens dooings, iwis God is not so hastie as they make him, nor yet so readye to smite as they reporte him. For my selfe haue hither to found him fauourable, albeit I trode awry, &c. But take heede saith the Wiseman,Syrac. 5.4. and say not, I haue sinned, and what euill hath come vnto me: For the almightie is a pa­tient rewarder, but hee will not leaue thee vnpunished. Be­cause thy sinne is forgiuen, be not without feare, to heape sin vppon sinne. And say not, the mercy of God is great, he will forgiue my manifolde sinnes, for mercye and wrath come from him, and his indignation commeth foorth vpon sin­ners. Make no tarrying to turne vnto the Lorde, and put not of from day to day, for suddenly shall the wrath of the Lord breake foorth, and in thy securitie thou shalt be destroyed, and thou shalt perish in time of vengeance. In this place wee see, that God often spareth the wicked, the wicked nation, and wicked person, man or woman, not because hee will not smite, but because they may haue a mightie payment and f [...]ar [...]full venge­ance, together▪ when their sinne is ful, that at once he may destroy them for euer in his great iustice. Knowe you then your selfe to treade awrye, and doth God still suffer? Stande in awe, and goe not on. Make not your sinne full, by continuing of it. For if you do, your death is determined. Many things moe yet hath this chap­ter, but let these suffice now,

Chap. 16.

The principall heads of this Chapter are these.

  • The double mariage of Abraham, to the 4▪ verse.
  • The dispising of Sarah by Hagar, to the 7. verse.
  • Her flight and returne, to the end.

COncerning the first, the occasion of it is noted,Verse. 2. when it is sayd Sarah was barren, Good Spi­rits in men or women, blame them­selues be­fore o­thers. and bare no children to Abraham. Her barrennesse shew­eth the power of God, in after giuing her a Childe, and is noted to that end.

2 In that shee layeth the fault vppon hir selfe, and not vppon her husband, saying, The Lord had restrained her, &c. It shew­eth hir spirit modest and godlye, and telleth vs the better to dis­cerne them, that had rather blame any themselues, and that in a thousand things, then themselues in one. Such Spirites bee proud and arrogant, swelling with vaine concepts of themselues, and poysoned with spite against others. And if they be women, they are no Sarahs we well know, by this good marke of a good Sarah in this place.

3 The Lord restraineth honest Women from child bearing, and none but he, but filths restraine themselues, least their secret whordomes should appeare.

4 If Sarah thought shee was finally restrained, because of age, it was a want in a good woman, and a little spotte in a fayre face. For God is not to be tyed to time, to age, and yeares. But is as able when yeares be many, as when they be fewer. Yea age and youth to him are one, if his pleasure be to haue it so.

[Page] 5 H [...]r giuing her Maide to her husband, noteth the corrup­tion of that time: from the beginning it was not so, for male and female God created them first,Read Mal. 2. vers. 15. one for one, and not mo for either at once.

6 Abraham obeyed his wife, and tooke her maide, saith the texte, and this also was a blemish, though then indured as wee knowe. He should haue sayd▪ no, I will not doe it, we will tr [...]st to Gods promise, who is able to giue vs children though we bee ould, when it pleaseth h [...]m, and wee will tarrye his time. But whome hath not a woman deceyued, if she were hearkened vnto at all times.

Verse. 4. 7 When Agar saw she had conceiued, her Mistresse was despised in her eyes: and so truly verified we see the prouerbe:

Asperius nihil est humili cum surgit in altum,
Pungitur in celsa simia sede sedens.

Nothing more proude, than a beggar set on horsebacke, and a ve­rye Ape, if you place him vp aloft, begins to bridle the matter, and take vpon him maruelously. Secondly it teacheth, that ad­uersitie is better borne then prosperitie, of manye one. Thirdlye it sheweth the end of euill counsell, Sarah is beaten with her owne rodde.

Verse. 5. 8 But dooth shee so applye it, no: but in a rage she flyeth vp­pon Abraham, and chideth him, because her maide abused her. An angrye minde will lay the fault where it is not, and especially an angrie woman.

Verse. 6. 9 Abraham answereth his angrie Wife with meekenesse, a vertue in him, and best for her to appease hir wrath, for fire neuer quencheth fire as we all know. But a soft answer breaketh an­ger saith the Wiseman.

10 Sarah handled her roughly, after Abraham had answered, and behoulde by it the certaintie of Womens affecti­ons. [Page 60] Before she promoted her, and now she plagueth her: before she desired fruite of hir, and now when she seeth the hope of it, it will not serue. To bee woone with the Egge, and lost with the shell, is a great inconstancie. Sarahs cause was better, but yet her hardnesse more then happilye answered the cause as it was.

11 Agar runneth away, when she should haue amended her fault and submitted her selfe to her mistr [...]sse, so take wee the course in the crookednesse of our nature, that wee should auoyde many times. Stubborne stomacks had rather breake then bowe, but we must beware it.

12 When shee was thus fled▪ the Lorde yet rewarded not what she deserued: but by his Angell admonished her in the wil­dernesse▪ to returne againe: so good is hee,Verse. 7. that hee regar­deth all sortes, and contemneth not the poore estate of a ser­uante.

13 When the Angell asked her whence shee came, and whether shee would, she playnely answered and lyed not,Verse. 8. that she fled from her Dame. Such truth is an ornament, where it is found in Man or Woman,Read Iob. 31.15. and such truth in a seruant in these wicked dayes wherein we liue, O how rare.

14 This councell to returne, was not giuen her by and by,Verse. 9. neyther this finding of her in the wildernesse, but after shee had tasted a little smarte, then was it sayde vnto her, tea­ching vs that then is the best time for good counsell, when our owne rodde hath beaten vs, and not before, with manye natures.

15 When hee biddeth her humble her selfe to her Dame, wee see the dutie of seruauntes plainely, and the dutye al­so of Dames, truely to bee content, and accept to bee appea­sed and pacified with the submission of a seruaunt that hath [Page] offended, which some will neuer, so fierce is their nature, and so voyde of remembrance, that euen their maister is also in heauen, read the Epistle to Philemon, for his seruant to bee receyued a­gaine, that had gone awaye.

16 In the 13. verse, behoulde her thankefulnesse, when shee thus vsed of the Lorde. She called the name of the Lorde that spake to her (for this Angell was Christ) Thou God loo­kest on me, and so foorth, a good bringing vp in a good house, maketh some showe in hir manners, more then at these dayes it will do in many.

Lastlye, see howe afliction and good councell will make Hagar come home againe to a good place, and learne to performe more dutie where it is due. So should it make others aswell as her, but that grace is wanting which was in her.

Chap. 17.

The generall heads in this Chapter are these.

  • The change of Abrahams name, from the 1. verse to the 7.
  • The institution of circumcision, from the 7. to the 15.
  • The promise of a Childe to Sarah, from the 15. to the ende.

PArticular thinges worthye our noting, may bee these,Verse. 1. and such others. First the mentioning of his age,Theyr age noted for 2. causes. wherefore it was. Surelye to teach two things: First, that the Seede which God gaue him, was not by strength of nature, but by extraordinary grace, for Sarah and he bothe were of these great yeares.

[Page 61]Secondly to shew how long in patience and faith Abraham ex­pected that gratious promise, not doubting as the Apostle sayth of the same, but strengthned in the faith, giuing glory to God, Rom. 4.19. and being fully assured that he which had promised was able to doo it.

2 The words I am God all sufficient, Verse 1. haue been obserued before to contayne a most strong and sure stay to a christian hart,A comfort by Gods omnipo­tencie. in all perplexities and distresses: for if his promises be great, this power of his assureth vs hee is able to pay and performe them. If wee pray and aske any thing be it neuer so hard in flesh and blouds conceipt, this assureth vs we shall obtayne it if it bee good for vs. For what cannot hee giue that is all-sufficient, if it be his good pleasure to doo it? and so in all things as I say it is a maruellous fortresse to shield a mans faith from the battring shot of Satans assaulting feares and doubts. In iourneying on the way, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, 2. Cor. 12.26. in perils in our owne countrey, in perils in forren countreys, in perils in the Citie, in perils in the wildernesse, and euery euery way it is a stay to vs, that God will either deliuer out of them, or in them, as shall be best, for he is all-sufficient.

3 Obserue wee the couenant betwixt God and Abraham, Verse 1. how it containeth first a condition of Abraham to be performed, and then a promise of God vppon that condition to be expected. The condition that Abraham must performe▪ is this, walke be­fore me, and be thou perfect or vpright. Gods promise is this, I will be God to thee, and to thy seed after thee, vers. 7. This couenant standeth still to all the seede of Abraham after the spirit, that is, to all those that are ingrafted into Christ by a true faith.Godlynes gayneth God to vs and our children, vngodly­nes l [...]seth him to both. And therefore as then hee and all his seede according to the flesh, if they would inioy the promise, were to performe the condition, so still it is with vs, and shall be with all Gods chil­dren to the ende of the world. True religion in the hart of man or woman, shall euer finde God a gratious guide, staffe, and stay, and want of the same a iust neglecter of vs, because wee haue broke the condition. For this cause it is sayde by the blessed A­postle, [Page] that gayne is not godlynes,1. Tim. 4. & 6. but godlynes is great gayne, and profitable to all things, as that which hath pro­mise both of this life, and that to come. For this cause was God euer so carefull by his Prophets and Preachers to call vpon the people for sinceritie in worship and holy obedience, that they performing their part, hee might performe his to be their God, and their childrens after them for euer. And for this cause againe were all those exhortations made by good Fathers to their chil­dren, and charge that we reade of in scripture, that they shoulde feare God, knowe God, and serue God. That they seeking him, he might be found of them, they louing him, he might loue them, they seruing him, he might serue them with his mercy and fauour, with his prouidence and blessings needfull to this life, and with his kingdome and comforts for euer and euer when this life is ended. Maruell not then if either your selfe, your seede, or others and their seede whome you know be reiected of God, and taste of his wrath by sundry iudgements, if you knowe that you and they do not walke before hym as heere hee commandeth Abraham, nor performe the condicion with any care, wherevnto you see God maketh his promise in this place.

Verse 5. 4 The change of Abrams name was for confirmation of his faith touching the promise,His name why chan­ged. that in all hope & assurance hee might expect and recken of what in all truth and certayntie would bee performed on Gods part if hee beleeued, yea euen as surely and verely as now he was called Abraham of Abram, and Sarah of Sarai: so carefull was God euer to vnderprop the faith of his children by all good helps, that it might abide.

5 Concerning Circumcision, which is the second head in this Chapter,Verse 7. note what it was, a cutting away of the foreskin of the flesh of euery male childe.Circumci­sion what, and why there, &c. Consider why in that part of the body, to shew, that whatsoeuer is begotten and procedeth of the seed of man issuing from that part, 1 is corrupt and sinfull, 2 vtterly vncapable of grace and life, except it be renewed and borne againe by the spirit of God through a gracious receiuing it into a graci­ous couenant, freely made with man and his seed by a gracious [Page 62] God that would not the death of a sinner, but that he should know him, serue him, loue him, and liue for euer. 3 Consider how long it indured, but vntill Christ, and no longer of necessitie. What was afterwards done, was in regard of weakenes in the Iewes, till the truth of Christ and the effect of his comming might be better knowen. For what ende, to confirme this promise that now you haue seene, 4 that if they walked befo [...]e God, and were vp­right, verely and verely, yea euen so verely as that signe was in their flesh, would God be their God, and the God of their seed after them.

6 Note how the signe is called by the name of the thing sig­nified. This cut in the flesh is called Gods couenant,Verse 10. when it was but the signe: and the couenant as you haue seene this,The sygne hath the name of the thing signifyed. I will be thy God, &c. This is no new kinde of speaking with God, but vsuall euer in his sacraments: heere you see it in the circum­cision, afterward in Exodus when he commeth to the Passeouer, he calleth the Lambe the Passeouer, which was but the signe of the Angells passing ouer all those houses that were stricked with the bloud vpon the dore cheekes. Exod. 12. 1. Cor. 10. Luc. 8.11. Tit. 3. In the new testament the rock is called Christ, the seed is called the word, the water is called the washing of the new birth. And yet may not God bee alowed by some men in the sacrament of his last supper to speake as euer he did in all sacraments? but because there he sayth the bread is his body, &c. therefore it must be so really, carnally, sub­stantially and grossely by transubstantiation deuised of them­selues. But by these examples of like speach and phrase you well see that their assertion is a reall lye, a carnall lye, a substantiall lye, and a grosse lye: and truly sayd the Father if they woulde re­gard him, Christus non dubitabat dicere hoc est corpus meum, cum fignum daret corporis sui. Christ doubted not to say this is my body, when he deliuered but a signe of his body.

7 That the child was not circumcised before the 8. day, it teacheth vs that God hath not tyed saluation to the sacrament,Verse 12. for it had bin a hard thing in the Lord to deferre it an houre if the childe had perished without it.Saluation not tyed to the Sacra­ment. This answereth the feare of some [Page] good ones, and the false bouldnes of some bad ones in these dayes touching children that dye without baptisme, for God is not worse to vs vnder the Gospell, then hee was to them vnder the Law, neither lesse able to saue now without baptisme, then in those dayes he was without circumcision, the seede of the faith­full. This grace was not then free and now bound, then more and now lesse, then stronger, and now weaker, farre be it from vs so to dreame. Dauids childe when it died before the eight day, he yet for all that iudged not damned, neither cryed out for it as he did for Absolon that was circumcised, but sayd that he should go to it, refreshed himselfe, cheered his wife, and made his ser­uants to wonder at his comfort. And when he sayd he should go to it, 2. Sam. 12.23. we knowe he meant not that it was in Hell, or any hellish Limbus, and that thither himselfe looked to go to it, but rather comfortably he conceyued it was with the Lord, because the pro­mise extended it selfe both to the godly and to their seede: if fur­ther we desire to thinke of this matter, consider we this and the like reasons. 1 No elect can be damned, wee knowe it a principle whatsoeuer foolish men do prattle, but some vnbaptized are elect (a thing that no man will deny) therefore some vnbaptised cannot be damned: which if it be true, then see you plainly that saluatiō is not tyed to baptisme, as some imagine. 2 Againe, he that heareth my word, sayth Christ, and beleueth in him that sent me, shal be saued, cannot be damned, Iohn. 5.24. but this may one doo before he be baptised, therefore before a man be baptised, he may stand in the state of saluation, and out of all danger of damnation. The assumption is euident in the Eunuch, Act. 8· and others. 3 Fortie yeares it was omitted in the wildernesse,Note. and yet hard to say that whosoeuer so dyed was damned, since God in that omis­sion intended no crueltie, but mercie and pitie to his people. 4 How do not these men consider that they put life and death, saluation and damnation in the hand of a mortall man, yea of any Minister, that if he be disposed for malice to the parents to hurt the childe, may be absenting himselfe, and seeking delayes in the weakenesse of the childe, so farre hurt it, as to damne it for euer out of the king­dome of God, and company of all faithfull. O fearefull doctrine, fearefull to all good parents, iniurious to thousands of poore in­fants, [Page 63] and blasphemous against the bottomlesse mercy of a sweet and tender father, who hath sayd, I will be thy God and thy childes, not adding any condition of baptisme, if it cannot be had as it ought. 5 How much sweeter is it that Luther obserued, and long before him Bernard, Epist. 77. in the words of our Sauiour. He that beleeueth and is baptised, shall be saued, Ma [...]. 16.16. and he that beleeueth not shall be damned. Marke sayth Luther how in the affirmatiue he mencioneth baptisme, but not in the negatiue. For he doth not say, he that is not baptised shall be damned, but he that beleueth not, he shall be damned. Are couenants made by Sacraments, or only sealed by them? 6 Did not the Primitiue Church examine those of yeares in the faith before they baptised them. Why so I pray you, but that they might shewe it was the couenant, not the seale, their faith, and not the sacrament, which chiefely was to be regarded, though the seale also in no case to be neglected, much lesse contemned. 7 How many in times past defer­red their baptisme for many yeares, as Constantine, Nectarius, Nazianzene, &c. not therein doing so well as they ought, but yet euidently shewing the faith of the Church then, that God without baptisme is able to saue, and hath not tyed his grace to any signe. 8 If he can saue men of yeares, why not infants? but I will go no further, only this will I say, that if saluation depen­ded vpon the sacrament, it were not only fit that women who are neerest in time of weakenesse, should baptise (who yet are forbid­den by God and well ordred Churches) but also that all sorts of persons, and not only Ministers, should dispense that holy myste­rie, to the end that no poore creature might be cast away for want of it. But blessed be God that hath neither thus inthralled his grace, nor taught his Church in his word, but quite contrary as we see in this place, both by telling Abraham his couenant rea­ched to his seed, and by deferring the seale of the same, to wit, circumcision to the eight day, which hee would neuer haue done, if the want of it simply had bin damnation. Conclude wee there­fore with Austen, Inuisibilis sanctificatio sine visibili signo esse po­test, the inuisible sanctification may be without the visible signe, [...] with Ambrose, who comfortably speaketh of Valentinian dead without baptisme, with Bernard, that not want, but contempt of [Page] baptisme hurteth, and euen with Lumbard himselfe Gratia Dei non est alligata sacramentis, The grace of God is not tied to the sacrament, beside many others that I omit.

Verse. 12. 8 In your generations sayth the text: And why so? Surely to shew the vse of the sacrament to be,Not sinne, but the im­putation of it. not to take sin away quite, that it be no more in the party circumcised, but only the imputatiō of it, that thogh the venom of it remaine so rooted in our nature, that but by death it cannot quite bee rooted out, yet layde to our charge it is not for Christ his sake. As therefore you see the corne cleane wynowed from his chaffe,Note. yet hath in it nature to yeelde chaffe agayne to that which groweth of it when it is sowen: so doth this nature of ours to those that spring of vs yeelde corrup­tion and originall sinne, though we our selues were circumcised or baptized and so purged thereby from it. Because that pur­gation is euer to be vnderstoode thus, Non vt non sit in nobis pec­catum, sed vt non imputetur, Not that wee are cleared from the being of anye euill in vs, but from the imputation of it to vs. Therefore then in your generation, saith the text, shall this signe and sacrament of circumcision be continued, that is, from father to sonne, and then to his sonne againe, and so to euery male, for­asmuch as sinne like chaffe being propagated from the father to the son, the chaffe of that is now sprung vp must be fanned away as well as his was of whome this blade sprung vp.

Verse. 14. 9. Marke in the foureteenth verse, the punishment of them that shoulde contemne this ordinaunce of God,Contempt of sacra­ments. and remember howe God neuer coulde abide the contempt of his sacramentes, and that hee taketh the wrong doone to the outwarde signe as if it were doone vnto the thing it selfe signifyed by it. Be­cause (sayeth hee) such an one hath broken my couenaunt: when he had but neglected the signe of his couenaunt. This may leade vs both to the consideration of that Popish follie, and also to a true answere vnto it that concludeth out of the eleuenth chapter of the first Epistle of Paule to the Corinthians, that be­cause the Apostle sayeth, They that eate and drinke vnwoor­thely are guiltie of the bodie and blood of Christ, &c, [Page 64] Therefore needes it must be, that the wicked eate the body and drinke the bloud of Christ. which they coulde not doe except they were there really, for by faith they can not eate that are voyde of faith. Therefore there is a reall presence by transubstantiation. When all this in very deede prooueth no more then euidently we see in this place, namely, that God attributeth the abuse of the signe to the thing signified, saying, that because the wicked come vnreuerently and vnpreparedly to those holy signes, and receyue them vngolilie wythout fayth, therefore they shall bee guiltie e­uen of the body and blood it selfe, that is, euen as guiltie by abu­sing the signe, as if they had abused the thing signified it selfe: for the contempt of the one redoundeth vnto the other. Circum­cision was a signe of his couenaunt, and here hee sayeth, hee that contemneth that being the signe, is guiltie, and shall bee guiltie of the breach of his couenaunt, which was the thing signified: so are bread and wine the signes of the Lordes bodie and blood, and therefore sayeth the Apostle by the same manner of speaking, hee that abuseth them by eating and drinking vn­woorthily of them, hee shall bee guiltie euen of abuse doone vnto the thing it selfe, the true body and blood of Christ. No more proouing hereby that the signes are chaunged and become really the thing it selfe, than here it is to bee prooued that circumcisi­on was really the couenaunt it selfe, because it is sayde, hee that omitteth the one, breaketh the other. Weake proppes therefore you see Poperie hath, if they bee with a godly indiffe­rencie examined and considered, casting away that most wicked wilfulnesse and preiudice that hurteth so many, and wil let them see nothing.

10 In the fifteenth verse you see God chaungeth also the name of Sarai as well as hee had doone to Abraham, Why Sarai her name was also changed. and sayeth her name shall be no more Sarai, but Sarah, and hee will blesse her, &c. Where wee may note, howe it being a great honour to Abraham, so to haue his name chaunged by God,Verse. 15. hee woulde haue his wife also partaker of the same with him, as teaching thereby that what befalleth the husband, eyther to weale or woe, reacheth it selfe also in some sorte to the wife as a partaker [Page] with him in the same.Women thinke of this. No question but some part of this doctrine soundeth well to women, and they readely catch at it, but I doubt twise, whether all of it doo so or no. My meaning is, they most gladly heare that any honor of their husbands should reach vnto them, and exalt them also, but to pertake with their husbands in affliction and crosses, in sorowes and cares, in reproches and ignominie causelesse, in bitternesse and vnthankefulnesse of an vn­kinde world, is it as sweet a doctrine to them? I doo but moue the question, let all women answere it in their hearts to them­selues in stead of mee.

Verse 18. 11 In the 18. verse, but O that Ismael might liue in thy sight, Fathers affection to chil­dren, and childrens to fathers. sayth this great Patriarke. See and see the heart of a fa­ther to his childe. Though God heere promised more seede vnto him, and that he should be a Father euen of many Nations, and his progenie like the Starres of heauen for number, yet all that remoueth not his affection from that one that hee had alreadie, to wit, Ismael, but still his hart is to him, and O that he may liue also. So are Fathers, but God knoweth so are not euer children to them againe.Note. The parent cryeth for life to the childe, and the childe for death to the parent.O that Ismael may liue sayth A­braham, that I may inioy my childe:’ but O that Abraham may dye will Ismaell say, that I might inherit his land and goods, and be a yong mayster or mistresse, and ruffle it out: yea, when will this ould Father and Mother of mine be gone, I thinke they will liue euer. Too true this is, and let it teach parents wisedome, to moderate affections, though they retayne nature, to doo what shall be necessary and fit for their children.

12 Wee haue heard the commandement of God touching Circumcision,Verse 23. now in the 23. verse marke wee the obedience of Abraham to the same,Great obe­dience. how much soeuer flesh and bloud might startle and stagger at it, marueling why God should inioyne such a thing, and in such a part of the body, &c. Abraham I say casteth no stops, neither admitteth of any humane obiections, but obedi­ently circumciseth both himselfe and his sonne, and all that were in his house, yea euen the same day did he it that God com­manded [Page 65] him, where we thinke it great readynesse, if after many and many biddings, admonitions and warnings, we be brought to doo some thing that God biddeth vs doo. Againe somewhat consider wee heere of the conditions of Abrahams familie, that so willingly suffred their mayster to circumcise them,A godly family. without ei­ther resistance or imagination that their mayster was mad to seeke such a thing at their hands, as to vncouer all their shames, and to cut them there, as some others woulde haue thought. Surely it is a notable token of that instruction and discipline that was in Abrahams family, for had they not bin well trayned in the way of godlynesse, they woulde sooner haue mocked then o­beyed their mayster.

Lastly, but alas why spared hee not his owne sonne, and his onely sonne in this hard action of cutting?Duties to God binde all. surely because the commandement reached to all males, and therefore to him aswell as others. Learne then parents that in obedience to God you must be no more partiall to your owne children then to others, but as streitly require dutie of them, as of any others, yea rather rather though many do it lesse. But I say no more.

Chap. 18.

The generall heads of this Chapter are these.

  • The hospitalitie of Abraham from the 1. to the 9. verse.
  • A confirmation of the promise from the 9. to the 16.
  • Gods wrath against the Sodomites to the ende.

PArticulars many, as first that he sayth the Lord appeared, Verse. 1. and then by and by sayth vpon it three men, noting thereby vnto vs,Verse. 2. How wee see and heare God that as wee heare him, so we must see him. But we heare him onely by his messengers, and so wee see him not in na­ture or essence, but in such testimonies of his pre­sence as it pleaseth him to giue.

[Page] Verse. 2. 2 In that he calleth them men, being indeed Angells and no men, we note that custome of the scripture that a name doth not euer constitute a nature. Circumcision is called the couenant as you heard before, the Lamb the Passeouer, the seede the word, the Deuill is called Samuell, and many such.

How the A [...]gells did eate. 3 For their eating, we know it was but by dispensation for the time, not for any necessitie of nature. And if you aske what became of the meate which they did eate, the Schoolemen will readely answere you that it did vanish in the chawing, as water doth in boyling. Wiser men aske no such questions, and there­fore neede no such answere. In the extraordinary dealings of God what neede wee to sift his secrets, and to bee wise aboue sobrietie?

4 Touching his hospitalitie, you see heere how earnestly he inuiteth them, hee ran to meet them sayth the text, how reue­rently hee vseth them beeing but strangers to him,A hartie househol­der loued of God. hee bowed downe to them, and speaking to one of them in whome appeared to bee most maiestie, hee giueth him the title of Lord, hee ac­compteth it fauour to him if they will turne in to him, & take such as God hath sent, hee tearmeth himselfe their seruant, and in a word he prayeth them not to go from him in any case, all te­stimonies of a curteous and bountifull good housekepers nature, and true tokens of hartie welcome if they came. It is an ould saying, frenum & vestes veniendi sunt tibi testes. When a man catcheth a man by his horsse bridle, or by his owne clothes, and will not part with his hould till hee haue his petition, they bee tokens of no words of course, but inward truth and louing wel­come if a man come, where as, twentie fine phrases with when, and if, and will you, and such like be but court holywater as the prouerb is, a very harty householder therefore was Abraham, and that would the Lord haue noted in these words and gestures in this place to these strangers.

Verse. 5. 5 In that he nameth a morsell of bread, and yet performed better,True wel­come wherein it consisteth. we see the antiquitie of this modestie, that of a mans owne things he should speake with least. So vse wee to inuite men to a [Page 66] pittance, or to some one particular morsell, when yet wee intend somewhat better. But whatsoeuer Abraham made ready, was all but moderate in comparison of that vngodly excesse that some now vse, rather to shewe their owne pride, then to welcome the guest. True welcome neuer consisted in meates and drinks, and multitude of dishes, but in that affection of an inwarde heart, which truly hath appeared in a cup of water, where better abilitie wanted, and which passeth all dishes and meates vnder the sunne.

6 In their answere doo as thou sayest, Verse. 5. we see first how they are content to conceyle a truth for a time, to wit, that they were Angells and not men. Secondly, how they admit of his kinde of­fer, without either prowd contempt, or sterne frowardnesse.

7 Abraham made haste sayth the 6. verse, another token of a good and through hart,Verse. 6. and went to his wife to tell her that shee might do her part, to his wife againe I say Sarah, Women shoulde haue rule in their owne hou­ses, and how. and let them marke it that acquaynt rather euery droy in the house, yea the kitchen mayd rather with any intertaynement to be giuen in their house, then their wiues: their wiues must be syphers to fill vp a place, and make the number thus or so, but haue any rule, disposi­tion or gouernment of such things, as yet properly belong to their place and sexe, or to be acquaynted with their husbands purpo­ses, strangers, cheere, or any thing they may not. Well, good Abraham went heere to his wife when he was to haue guests to meate with him, and hath left behinde him an order of good rule in euery house in so doing, and chawked out such hen huswiues, or such sowre grubs as will not follow him in the like, euer I speake of such, as whose callings are not contrary [...]o this order by height of estate in the common wealth.

8 But where found he Sara his wife?Women keepe in &c. that also in this place may we marke, surely in her Tent: within dores I warrant you and not abroade, not in the Market place, not in the Tauerne, not in the Feelds, not in any place but where she should bee, and where good women for the most part are, in her owne Tent. You know what the Apostle writeth of some women, to wit, that they are idle, & being idle, 1. Tim. 5.13 they learne to go about frō house [Page] to house, yea they are not onely idle, but also pratlers and busy bodies, speaking things which are not comely, &c. Let all good women marke it, and take heed of it. Sara did not so, but was within in her tent, and there her husband seeketh and fin­deth her.

Vers. 6.7. 9 Sara must make ready the flowre, and he goeth to the foulds. Mulieres muliebria curant, & viri mulieribus muliebria committant. Women regard womens matters, and men commit such things vnto them as I noted before, he doth what is fit for him, and not so fit for the woman, and good women vsurp no more vpon the mans office, then they would haue the man to doo vpon theirs. The text sayth hee hasted, Sarah hasteth, the boy ha­steth, and all this teacheth truly the cheerefulnesse of their hearts in that they did, and how kindly and wisely they considered cir­cumstances, that their strangers might be weary, and peraduen­ture wish some refreshing quickly, that they were trauelers, and to passe on their iourney, not to be stayed ouer long, in curiositie to be fine, or prodigalitie to be pompouse. Altogether confirming the common prouerb, Optimum condimentum beneficii celeritas, & bis dat qui cito dat. The best sawce to a good turne is to do it quickly, and who giueth so giueth twise.

Lastly, hee stood himselfe by them, noting his care to see all well, and to haue them tended, and warranting our like cu­stome in some sort either to attend if so there bee neede in our owne houses, or to sit the lowest and last downe. Their eating was touched before, yet heere being mencioned so expressely that they did eate, your marginall note answereth, that as God gaue them bodyes for a time, so gaue he them the faculties of the same bodyes, as to walke, to eate and drinke, and such like, and thus much in the first part of this Chapter shall suffice to haue noted.

2

Verse. 9.The second part of the Chapter I tould you was a renewing or a repetition of the promise touching a childe to be giuen to A­braham ▪ and in this also some things to be noted, as that these [Page 67] Sarah thy wife. Some men thinke that in those dayes women came not so vsually abroade to the tables as now they do amōgst vs. Others marke how after awhile their Angels are bo [...]lder and more familiar then at first,Ministers. and so say they ought the Mini­sters and messengers of God by little and little more and more to acquaint themselues with them to whome they are sent, and to be familiar.

2 In th [...] he sayth he will returne being but a stranger and not requested,Verse 10. we see the honest simplicitie and playne friendship that then was vsuall, farre from our nice curiositie in these dayes, as also the blessing of hospitalitie, he that once receyueth an An­gell and vseth him well, shall haue him againe.

3 Sara heard in the tent dore which was behinde him, Verse 10. a paterne of that curious nature that especially swayeth in women,Women desirous to heare and know euerye thing. they must heare and know euery thing, or else they are not quiet many of them, and to that end, if in presence they cannot be, often they are harkning behinde dores and walls, where they may heare and not be seene, as heere Sara was, a fault many times in a good woman otherwise, that her eare itcheth too much. It is not true in all, but in too many, for some be sad and discrete, both to gouerne what they know, and to be content with ignorance of that which they shoulde not knowe, the number of them I wish farre more, and the number of the other farre lesse.

4 She laughed, and it noteth her incredulitie,Verse 12. wherein she respected rather the order of nature, then beleeued the promise of God, yea a shrowd measure of vnbeliefe it noteth, for laugh­ing is more then not beleeuing, and had she not beleeued, it h [...]d bin▪ her fault, but both to giue no credit and to laugh too, was a more fault.

5 But she laughed within herselfe sayth the text, and it may agayne in her prayse teach vs that modest men and women laugh sometimes, but mod [...]st [...]y▪ How wise men and fooles laugh. Cap. 18.20 and as may become the [...]r places well, not as the foole of whom Iesus Syrach speaketh when hee sayth, a foole lifteth vp his voyce with laughter, but a wise [Page] man doth scarse smile secretly. Not vnlike vnto which is that also in the 19. Chapter.Vers. 27.28 A man may be knowne by his looke, and one that hath vnderstanding, may be perceyued by the marking of his countenance. A mans garment and his exces­siue laughter and going declare what man he is.

6 After I am ould shall I lust? sayeth shee &c. Shewing therein that she considered what is fit for all persons to consider, namely, what is agreeable or not agreeable with their yeares, age, and time, for that becommeth yonger, which will not be­come elder, and contrarywise againe, a good thought then in e­uery age, since I am thus or thus, doth this or that become me? The like might be sayd of diuers estates and callings.

7 In calling him Lord, not I but the Apostle Peter noteth her reuerence and obedience to her husband in an humble wo­manhood: and hee willeth all wiues to learne of her what shall be their great prayse as it was hers if they do it. If the argument folow that because she called him Lord she obeyed him, and regar­ded him in his place, how should it also follow that whome so often we call Lord Lord, our true Lord and God, him we should obey regard and reuerence?

8 The Lorde that knoweth all our secrets, knewe that shee laughed behinde the dore,Verse. 14. and asketh why she did so, adding these words,Priuie mockers marke it. Shall any thing be hard to the Lord? By which words we may remember that vsuall diuision of the things wherein our faith vseth to slip, that they are either matters touching Gods wil, Gods constancie, or Gods power, as also what godly aduise tea­cheth vs to oppose against them, namely these three, his goodnes, his truth, & his power: to a doubt of his will, the first, to a doubt of his stedfastnes in his promise, the second, and to all doubts of his power, his might and omnipotence, the third. Sarah respec­ting too much the course of nature, doubted of the last, and you see how the Angell answereth by his mighty omnipotencie, Shall any thing be hard to the Lord? No. Now because this place is abused by the Papists, iudge I pray you how this argument [Page 68] foloweth. Hee is able to giue a childe, which hee in good will hath promised, therefore hee hath and doth in the Sacrament make bread his body really, which he neuer willed, meant, or promised? He will do it, ergo he can do it, is euer true, but he can do it,A [...]sse ad esse. there­fore he will do it, doth not euer follow. I speake not what God cannot do, and yet no want of power in him, but a more perfit po­wer, as it should be a weakenesse in him, and not a power if hee could do them. But this I say if an argument from his power to his will do not follow, then much lesse from want of both power and will to his deede doth any sequeale lye. I call that power now, which in deede as I sayd were no power but weakenesse if God could do, his word or his nature being to the contrary. But what do they cōsider that bring doctrines to the word, and would haue the word confirme them, not learning all doctrines from the word as they should.

3

The third part of the Chapter beginneth at the 16. verse,Verse. 16. where wee reade that Abraham went to bring them on the way, noted no doubt by the Lord,Perfit cur­tesye. to tell how euery way Abra­ham vsed his guests with hys best kindnesse. Alacriter inuitare, to inuite hartely, liberaliter tractare, to feast chearefully, comi­ter dimittere, and to send away friendly and kindly a stranger or guest, it is perfit hospitalitie, and very true and commendable curtesye. And this we see heere was in Abraham, who vnto the former added this, that at parting he brought them on the way. Surely this mention made of these things by the Lorde, is a very great testimony of his great good liking of them.

2 Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do? Verse. 17. See the loue of the Lord God to his faithfull children & seruants, loue conceyleth nothing. The Lord loueth Abraham, and therefore he cannot hide from him what he is about to do. A friend will im­part his minde to his friend, and whosoeuer regard what God cō ­mandeth as Abraham did, God calleth them his friends,Ihon. 15.14. say­ing, ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoeuer I commaund you.

[Page] 3 [...] the iudgements of God are [...] now and then▪ with their intents and mea­ning [...] men inioy no such blessing. Surely (sayth the Pro [...]h [...]t) the Lord God will doo nothing, but he reueyleth his secret vnto his seruants the Prophets, Amos 3.7. not meaning euer in all things, but sometimes and in some things especially in his iudgements toward that people of the Israelites. So woulde God heere impart his purpose to Abraham his Prophet and seruant.

4 Seeing hee shall be a great Nation, &c. And who shall make him so great a Nation?Verse 18. surely the Lorde, who had nowe alreadye promised and determined it.The Lord will bee good be­cause he hath been so. O sweete. Why then because the Lord hath been good, hee will bee good, and adde mercy to mer­cye? In deed it is so, and what a comfort is this? Can any tongue expresse or hart conceyue thys goodnesse of the Lord? To drawe an argument from his first mercy to a second, and from a second to a third, and so euer on frō mercy to mercy. O sweet­nesse and goodnesse. This knewe Dauid well, and therefore in euery Psalme almost he prayeth hym to be good to hym, because he hath been good to hym before. Thou hast set mee at libertie when I was in trouble, Psalm. 4. therefore still haue pittie vpon mee, and regard me, &c. In the Epistle to the Romanes the Apostle thus reasoneth also,Rom. 8.32. concluding that since God had not spared his owne Sonne, but gaue him for vs to death, therefore it could not be but with him he should giue vs all things also. Man vseth to reason thus, I haue bin good, therefore he may not grate vpon me any more, and I haue done a very great good vnto him, therefore in all equitie & reason I am not further to be vrged. But our sweete and gracious God quite contrary, I haue been good, and therefore I will be still and euer good, and the greater benefites I haue shewed, the more sure it is I will not stand at the lesser, but from the more to the lesse with me shall be euer a sure sequele. And if I haue bestowed mine owne Sonne vpon man euen to death, how should it bee thought that with him I will not giue farre lesser things also. O sweet agayne I must needes saye, for what man or woman hath not thousands of mercyes [Page 69] from the Lord, and therein euen so many comforts to his [...]ealt, that he will neuer forsake him, but I may bouldlye and with a cheerefull heart, say, O Lord be mercifull vnto me, not because I haue beene a good seruant to thee, but because thou hast beene a good God to me. If my obedience were to be the argument why thou shouldest show me fauour, my heart were gone, for I knowe mine owne wickednesse, and my sinne is euer before mee. But since thy former goodnesse in thy sweete mercy, are arguments to thee of more goodnesse to bee showed by thee to the former, O Lorde I abound with such arguments to mooue thy maiestie blessed bee thy name for them, and I praye thee my God and my comfort so gratious and kinde, to adde mercy to mercy, fauour to fauour, and help to help in this neede of mine, that I owing thee now my self, for so many mercies, I may for more owe thee more then my selfe, or my selfe, many and many times to loue thee, to feare thee, to serue thee, and praise thee, whilst I haue a daye to liue. Thus may we chaw this comfort in our mindes, and tast the sweete of it.

5 Yet if wee haue any care of the Lords glorye, surelye the Lorde hath a quicke eye to see it, and euen for that also in mercye he will doo for vs and to vs, for behould what followeth here as a second reason, why the Lord will reueyle his purpose to Abra­ham, and hide nothing from him. For I knowe him saith he, that he will commaund his sonnes, &c. A good thing to moue vs to all obedience generallye, which the Lorde euer seeth, and to this particularly of teaching and instructing our families and compa­nyes,Instructi­on of our families how h [...]gh­ly God liketh. which the Lorde heereby (to set an obseruation of it) moste greatly commendeth. Abraham did it, and God highly extolleth it, we cannot abide it, and shall he likewise prayse vs? Abraham did it, so many hundred yeare a goe, and is it nowe but a new de­uise, that is not needefull? Surely, conclude thus, and it is moste true, he instructed his familie, that they might know as he knew: and religion, and the seruice of God, liue in them to the glorye of God, when hee was gone. And for this God will hide nothing from so carefull a seruant: wee will not do it, but are bothe igno­rant our selues, and let others bee also, caring not what betom­meth [Page] of Gods glorye, either in our life or after our death, and therefore from so carelesse wretches hee will hide all his secrets, all his counsels, yea all his comfortes, and the lighte of his countenance, for euer. Beware, beware then, whilest we haue time to amend and reforme this fault.

6 When the Lorde sayth The crye of Sodome, &c. hee would giue vs thereby to consider well,Verse 20. the horror of sinne. So great and so vglye,The hor­ror of sin. so fowle and greeuous, that it euen cry­eth, and shriketh in the eares of the Lorde for vengeance. Caine thy brothers bloude cryeth to mee out of the earth, &c.

Shall we then nourishe and foster that with such pleasure, that day nor night ceaseth to solicite the Lorde against vs, yea to crye in his eare, that he would awake and plague vs? Sure­lye that man, that woulde crye still against vs but to man, we would abhorre and hate, and that which cryeth lowder then all the men in the worlde can, and that to God himselfe, and for greater punishment then any man can inflict, wee are so farre from hating, that wee hate him that perswadeth vs to hate it.

Thys is straung madnesse, if wee would consider it. The Drunkardes drunkennesse cryeth agaynst him, and will not suffer the Lorde to rest tyll hee punish it, and yet hee loueth it, so dooth the Swearer, Adulterer, and suche like, theyr sinnes crye against them, &c.

7 When the Lorde sayth, Their sinne is exceeding gree­uous, [...]erse 20. wee maye rightlye note the woonderfull patience, and long suffering of the Lorde, [...]ods great [...]tience. who beareth, and beareth, spa­reth and suffereth, holdeth and stayeth, expecting amende­mente, till manye times the sinnes bee horrible and excee­ding greeuous, as nowe they were in Sodome. Nowe hath hee this slownesse towardes sinners, that will not amende, and is he voyde of affection towardes broken heartes, that woulde [Page 70] doe better, if they coulde,Note this and be of good com­fort. and daylye doe better as they can?

Farre be such sowre conceits from vs: and no lesse farre to presume to sinne, because hee is patient. For wee see heere, though hee staye long, yet hee commeth at laste: surelye and truelye, yea dreadfullye and terriblye, with streames of Fire and Brimstone from Heauen, vpon suche as presumed to goe on in theyr wickednesse: notwithstanding anye admoniti­on to the contrarye, tyll theyr sinnes were exceedinge greeuous.

8 But the Lordes phrase is, that Hee wyll goe see if all bee true or no. Verse 21. Not therein imploying any want of know­ledge in himselfe, howe all was,Know­ledge be­fore pu­nishment. who can not bee deceyued or ignorante of anye thing, but by an humaine speeche. After our manner giuing vs to note, howe euer in iustice, know­ledge of a faulte, shoulde goe before punishmente of the same. And credulitie auoyded, to beleeue the worste,Ouermuch credulitie a blot. Read vpon Gen. 11.5. as a horryble vice. It blotted Putiphar, it blotted Dauid, and it blotteth and blacketh who so euer is spotted with it.

9 When Abraham hearde the Lordes iudgementes a­gaynst Sodome, What dooth hee?A true touched heart with regarde of God and his bre­thren. As wee doe in these dayes: Care not who sinke, if wee swimme, passe not who perrishe so wee bee safe. No no, such sinfull vnfeeling­nesse is farre from the heart of so good a man. And the Texte telleth vs, Hee stoode yet before the Lorde, and entreth into a zealous and carefull consideration, bothe of the Lordes glorye, and Iustice, as also of the good of as manye faythfull as might bee founde in Sodome, and with all humi­litye pleadeth for them bothe: his wordes you see, and marke them well. O this hearte, where is it nowe amongst vs, eyther to tender what prophane tongues may speake of our GOD, or to pyttye, and praye, againste the intended punyshmentes of our Brethren? Alas, (as I sayde) wee [Page] care not for any mans woe, but our owne, and this true loue to God and man is decayed amongst vs. Wee will scarse praye for our neere neighbours, that liue dayly amongst vs. Much lesse do the estates of many righteous people in forren countreys affect vs. But learne we in the feare of God, from our father Abra­ham, heere to haue a better heart, whose true touche and hear­tie speeches in this place, shall witnesse against vs, if wee doe not.

Good men hope the best. 10 But why did Abraham dreame of anye righteous in so vile a place? Surely because hee was a good man, and hoped the best of all places. so teaching vs to leaue that iudging vaine, and condemning braine, that we loue too much. A good heart hopeth God hath his portion, and all be not bad.

11 If fiftie, if fortie, if thirtie, if twentie, if ten righteous had beene found, Of what price Gods children are with him. a promise from the Lorde wee see he [...]re, that he would spare the whole Cittie for their sakes, and shall wee not see in it the price of his Children with him, whatsoeuer the world thinketh of them, as also what good commeth many times to the very wicked, by them and for them? The world hateth and maliceth, mocketh and contemneth the godlye, making more ac­compt of one prophane Esau, then of twenty true hearted Iacobs: but the Lord, whose loue is life, and worthy regarde indeed, more esteemeth one Iacob, one true Israelite, one faithfull seruant of his, then hee dooth ten thousand worldlinges of vncircumcised hearts and eares, yea ten of them shall stande before him, euen to turne him and alter him, as I may saye, from anger to mercye, when hee will not vouchsafe, but for their sakes, to respect ten thousand thousand, of such as the worlde hath honoured for mag­nificoes, and men and Women of great accompt. O euer then may my soule and yours, seeke and sue for the Lords lou [...], rather then the worlds liking, and say with the sweet singer of Israell:

The greater sort craue worldly goods,
and riches to imbrace:
But Lord grant vs thy countenance,
thy fauour and thy grace.
[Page 71]For thou thereby shalt make our hearts
more ioyfull and more glad
Then they that of their corne and wine
full great increase haue had.

And let these dogges and swine of Sodome beholde, whether good or euill commeth to a land, a Cittie, a house, by such as feare God. For ten sake they all should haue found mercy, and haue escaped this fearefull plague of fire and Brimstone from heauen, and are these then the hurtes of a place, the woes of a common­wealth, such as must bee not onely weeded out, but digged and rooted out, or els wee shall not bee well? O price with God, and profit to men, of such men and women wheresoeuer they are, more then wee thinke of, and let vs euer heereafter consider it better.

12 In that he calleth them righteous in hope some were so, who yet were not circumsised, plainely it showeth,Saluation not tyed to the Sacra­ment. that in those dayes this popish doctrine was not hatched, ye saluation is tied to the sa­crament. If righteousnes thē might consist without circumcisiō, why may not children now be saued without baptisme, which is in the place of circumcision, so long as no contempt, but Gods spee­dy visitation by death is the cause. This is a new doctrine you see then, & not ours, which was imbraced & held of father Abraham so many hundred yeares agoe. And I warrant you this Angell which was Christ, controlleth not his speech as vntrue, but let­teth it passe as verye right. And as hee tyeth not righteousnesse and saluation to the sacrament, so neither dooth he it to his owne life, but euen then hee knew it true, that Peter after long prea­ched, that though God chose him and his for his peculiar people,Act [...]. 10. yet in all other nations also he might haue, if it pleased him some.

13 When he asketh whether the Iudge of all the worlde should not do right, hee reasoneth from the Lordes office, and teacheth vs, that with humble bouldnesse we may do so in our ear­nest desires: as shall not the father pittie his childe, and helpe him, &c. Lord thou art my father then, for thy place sake, pittie [Page] me, helpe me, saue me, and keepe me, I beseeche thee and praye thee, &c.

With what humilitie God is to be prayed vnto. 14 In his title of dust and ashes, so often applyed to him­selfe, we see all of vs, both the humble conceit that this great Patriarch had of himselfe, as also the reuerent humilitie he spake to his God withall. Two speciall things for our vse in these dayes, wherein we are puffed vp, and swell with filthye pride and forgetfulnesse of our selues, as though wee were made of some farre more precious matter then dust and ashes, and wherein we speake to our God as vnreuerently and rashlye, as euer did anye prophane minde, for many of vs, without any such spirite of low­linesse and dread, as heere was in Abraham, not considering what we are, and what God is, how vnworthy we are, to speake or breath before him. But we swap vs downe in our places most vnreuerently, and then we stare, and looke, and gape, and yawne, and huddle and tumble vp some vnliked prayers of the Lorde, not onely without any profit to vs, but to our great harme, for so vn­dutifully vsing the name of God. Well thinke heereafter of this example of Abraham better, and amend both these faults.

15 It is worthy marking againe, how Abraham iterateth his requests one after an other, from fiftie to ten, and yet the Lorde is not angrie, but heareth him patiently, and kindely maketh an­swer to euery one, he will not do it for so many sake. And is he changed from this kindnesse now, if I do the like vpon occasion. No no, our God is one for euer, not subiect to change, and there­fore bouldly and comfortably doe as your neede constrayneth, hee will abide you, and answer you as shalbe fit.

O comfortLastlye marke it, and forget it neuer, Abraham maketh an end of intreating, before God of hearing him. O sweete, O deere, and gracious God, what ioye is this, can my soule wishe a grea­ter mercy, then that I maye speake on, and he will heare, yea that I shall giue ouer first, and not hee, when once I sue vnto his Ma­iestie? Lord make vs profitable vsers of this mercie.

Chap. 19.

The cheefeheads be three.

  • The care of God for the safetie of his faithfull, to the 24 verse.
  • A fearefull example of his wrath against sinne, to the 29.
  • The faull and fault of Lot, from thence to the end.

PArticular things in this Chapter, obserue wee may many, as in the former.

1 He calleth them Angels, who before were called men, and therein we may note the manner of the scriptures and word of God,Verse. 1. how it vseth by one place to lighten and expounde an other,One place of scrip­ture ex­poundeth an other. expressing more plainely to auoide doubt, what before was more obscure, & might cause doubt. Againe in so expressely saying they were Angels, that foolish conceipt is ouerthrowne, that they were these three, the three persons in Trinitie, as also that most wicked blasphemy of some heathnish spirits, that Sodome was destroyed by Necro­mancie, to wit, by fire procured by that art: when the Lord as he vseth, executed his wrath by his Angels.

2 When it is sayd in the 4 verse, from the yong to the ould, Verse. 4. euen all the people from all quarters. You see the state of that citie, how generall the euill was, and howe fearefully it had spred it selfe, through all the vaines & members of that place, that there was none good, but the spirit of God saith, all, all. A lamentable estate of any place whatsoeur, when iniquitie shall ouerflowe all, and would God we drew not toward such fearefull measure now vnder the Gospell, when it may bee obserued to a maygame, a Beare bayting, a prophane stage playe vpon the Lordes daye, and many such things, how wee compasse the place round about, as heere is sayd these Sodomites did, from the yonge to the ould, euen all the people from all quarters. Verely the words [Page] of the Holyghost to iumpe vppon vs, and may very truly be sayd of vs, and the Lord preuent by mercy and fauour, in chaunging vs from such lewde likings, that such iudgement and wrath doe not iumpe also vpon vs, as it did vpon these men. Marke againe you may, when he sayth all were such, the nature of sinne how it spreadeth and infecteth, first one and then an other, till it haue gone ouer all. It is the deuils leauen, which stayeth not, till it haue leauened the whole lumpe, and therefore happie is the place where it beginneth not: for it spreadeth quickely and largelye and dangerouslie.

3 Their shamelesse speeche to haue the men brought out that they might knowe them, Verse. 5. very notablye discouereth vnto vs,Custome of sinne. the impudencie that sinne affecteth in time, when it once get­teth rule. Surely it taketh all modestie, and shame, and honestye awaye, and prooueth the saying to be most true: Consuetudo pec­candi tollit sensum peccati. The custome of sinne taketh awaye all sense and feeling of sinne. At the beginning men shame to haue it knowne what they doo, though they feare not to doo it, and they will vse all cloakes and couers that possibly they can to hide their wickednesse. But at last they growe bould and impudent as these men did, euen to say, what care we. And why? Certainelie be­cause this is the course of sinne in Gods iudgement, that it shall benum and harden the heart wherein it is suffered, and so feare vp the conscience and conceipt in time, that there shall bee no shame left, but such a thicke visard pulled ouer the face, that it can blush at nothing, eyther to saye it or doe it. Behould these brasen brow­ed wretches heere, who after long vse of sinne (no doubt at first more secret, are now come to require these men openly, and to tell the cause, that they mighe know them, without all shame or sparke of shame, in and at so horrible abhomination. Maruell not then any more, that the adulterer blusheth not, the drunkard sha­meth not, nor the blaspheming swearer, hideth not his face. You see the reason, custome to doo euill in that kinde, hath vtterly be­reaued him of feeling and shame, as it did these Sodomites. A heauy and fearefull case, for Gods plague is euen at the doore of such people, as you see it was heere for these Sodomites.

[...]

Shall Abimelech be cheerefull that his hand is cleane, and as­sure his heart that God both s [...]th it and regardeth it,Comfort in inno­cency how great. and shall not we that know more delight in innocency, and be bould in the comfort of a cleere conscience, [...]ecially when our iust God must be iudge▪ If Abimelech an heathen beleeued God would not smite a faultlesse man, will our deere Father smite his chosen children. when they be guiltlesse? O euer then let it be our ioy to haue cleane bosoms, and our comfort strong vpon that agayne, God will regard it.

4 Euen a thousand tymes consider the manner of hys an­swere heere, how he doth not pleade any preheminence of a King,Verse. 5. or any authoritie to deale with such as were in his countrey as hee listed, but onely pleadeth innocency, and a true meaning.No prero­gatiue hath anie calling to sin. And shall Pagans goe before vs in vnderstanding? Shall wee whiche knowe so much bee of opinion that the figge leaues and poore couers of our Gentry, of our Authoritie, of any thing in our selues, or our friendes, may make our sinnes now a dayes to bee no sinnes? Can wee dash the Lorde out of hys iustice with suche Cards and colours? O learne of Abimeleck a­nother lesson, that sinne is sinne, as foule, as blacke, as vg­ly, as damnable in greate ones, yea, euen in Kings, as in o­ther. And as hote or hoter shall the Lordes wrath bee agaynst vs, happely much more, for mightye ones shall bee punished mightely.

5 Wee may also see in this King Abimelech the com­fort of a cleere conscience. Hee doth not hyde hymselfe as Adam did, but bouldly reasoneth with the Lorde, and sayth: Did not hee saye shee was my Sister? Reade 1. Sam. 22.15. Haue I done any thing but with an vpright minde? Great therefore certaynely is the bould­nesse and peace of a guiltlesse minde when one is wrongfully accused.

6 God knew the integritie of Abimelech, Verse. 6. and doth heere acknowledge it, and will hee not doo the like by vs, if our inno­cency be as good? Surely wee may be certayne he will to our [Page] [...] [Page 81] [...] [Page] great ioye, and euen with his owne good liking. This example telleth vs so, and it is very comfortable if we marke it.

Verse. 5. 7 Yea sayth God further to hym, I haue kept thee, least thou shouldest sinne against me. O heauenly goodnesse of our God thus to care for one that professed not his name.God kee­peth from sinne a heathen, and will hee not vs if we seke it? Can this God suffer vs, or will hee suffer vs to whome hee hath voutsafed the bloud of his owne Sonne, to runne headlong into sinne, if wee had hearts to beg strength to the contrary, and to bee afrayde and loth to fall into so disliked a course of his Maiestie? Neuer, neuer. And therefore by this occasion let vs consider the same, as also whether the world, the flesh, the Deuill, and all sinne ha­leth vs, and with true heate with feruent spirits let vs craue hys defense,Reade 1. Sam. 25. verse 34. bee assured that hee whiche kepte thus Abime­lech an heathen man from sinning agaynst Abraham and hys wife, hee will neuer cast our petition away, so good, so honest, so liked of hys Maiestie: but wyll make vs strong agaynst all fraylties of our nature, yea able to refrayne and stande sounde, though sinne bee euen present as it were, and the oportunitie very great. If wee loue holynesse and puritie wee will aske, hauing such a comfort as thys to moue vs: and if wee loue to fall, wee shall be left, hee will not keepe vs, and woe bee to vs one day.

8 Least thou shouldest sinne sayth hee, and that agaynst mee. Ignorance excuseth not from sinne, but from lesse or more. In the first remember, that if hee had wronged the woman, hee had not knowne it was any mans wife, but tooke her as shee sayde, that shee was his Sister, yet sinne sayth the Lord had it bin, and thou haddest sinned against me in doing it. A good ca­ueat for those that thinke ignorance shall salue sores, &c. Surely they are farre wide. Ignorance may excuse a tanto, but neuer a toto. Ignorance may lessen faults, but not change their natures. Sinne shall be sinne though I doo it ignorantly. The latter teacheth vs,Sinne a­gainst man is sinne against God. that all sinnes against the second Table, and our dutie towards our neighbours, redound to the breach of the first Table also, and are chalenged by the Lord as offences agaynst hys Maiestie. Against mee, against mee, sayeth the Lorde. By [Page 82] name, this sinne of adultery and whoredome, it reacheth to the Lord, and stayeth not at the womans husband, or the mans wife, and the Lord will be reuenged of it. Thinke of it yee adulterers and adulteresses, and knowe it betimes:O note. though yee may de­ceyue man, and bleare hys eyes with a thousand deuises, of loue, of seruice, and profit by you, whilst in the mid way hee loo­seth by you what no golde can redeeme, yet neuer can you blinde the Lorde. The sinne is agaynst hym aswell as the man, and no gifts, no bribes, no cunning, can stoppe hym nor staye hym: as hee is GOD, hee wyll haue vengeance for hys parte, and thou must haue as sowre sawce to thy sweete meate, as his dreadfull iustice can giue thee.

9 Then sayth the story, Abimelech restord the woman to her husband. A true testimonie,Let know­ledge re­forme what igno­rance of­fended in. and in deede the onely testi­monie of a touched heart, when knowledge reformeth what ig­norance committed. Assoone as hee knewe, hee restored her. Contrarywise, when wee persist in that afterknowledge, which want of knowledge let vs fall into, what touch is there, what token or testimonie of God his working spirit? Surely all is dead there, and the vaynes of spirituall life frosen vp: that man or womans ende shall be worse then their beginning, those later sinnes are more vgly then the former, and hell and damna­tion haue euen seazed and taken possession of such soules to e­ternall woe.

10 When God sayth Abraham shoulde praye for Abi­melech: Verse. 7. marke the high price that God maketh of the prayers of such good men if they may bee gayned and gotten. Second­ly, that sinnes done in ignorance, and for want of knowledge, yet neede prayer. Thirdly, how by this meanes God deriu [...]th both honor and safetie to Abraham, a most gracious proui­dence and comfort to all that marke it. And lastly euen chiefe­ly obserue and note it how acceptable to God that the par­tye offended and hurt shoulde praye for hym that dyd hym the wrong. O what an hard case is thys, and what one amongst [Page] vs may bee drawne vnto it: yet euen thus milde and sweete will the Lord haue vs if we please him.

Verse. 7. 11 Thou and thy whole house shall dye sayth the Lorde to this man,Offence a [...]ter knowledge. and yet hee knewe not that shee was an other mans wife. O Lord how assuredly then doo they ouerthrow themselues and theirs, that knowe, and yet offende euen in despite of know­ledge, of conscience, of God, and grace, and what motions so e­uer they haue to the contrary.Iob 31.9 Will you remember what Iob sayth: If my hart haue bin deceiued by a woman, or if I haue layde wayt at the dore of my neighbour, then let my wife grind vnto an other man, and let other men bow downe vpon her. And why, and why? marke what foloweth: for this is a wickednesse and iniquitie to be condemned sayth hee.Verse 11. Verse 12. Yea, this is a fyre that shall deuoure to destruction, and which shal roote out all my increase. O smarting wrath, how should it feare vs.Hebr. 13. Whoremongers and adulterers the Lord shal iudge sayth another place. The Lorde euen the Lorde, whose loue is life, and whose wrath is weeping and gnashing of teeth for e­uermore.

For the sin of superi­ors inferi­ours also smart. 12 Marke agayne how the sinne of the head, redoundeth in punishment vppon the members: and bee sure that it is not onely so with Kings to theyr subiects, but also with Mi­nisters to theyr flocks, Parents to theyr Children, Maisters to theyr seruants, and all degrees. Contrarywise, if the chiefe bee good, see how the blessing reacheth vnto the whole familie in some sort also.Luc. 19.9. For to Zacheus it was sayde: This day is saluation come to this house, not to Zache alone, but to this house, &c.

Verse. 8. 13 Obserue it also how earely this King riseth in the mor­ning, after hee was thus admonished to performe the Lordes will,To def [...]rre amende­ment. and euen hartely consider with your selfe, that if a Pa­gan coulde not thus bee quiet to deferre amendment after hee was wakened and warned by God to reforme hys faulte: how is it possible that Gods spirit should bee in vs, and yet [Page 83] no more touch, feeling, sense, remorse, nor amendment, then was in the dayes of our ignorance and deepest darkenesse? Truly it cannot be but this heathen King will accuse vs in the great day if it be not better with vs.

14 It is sayde agayne in the text if you marke it,A good thing to inferiors the admo­nition of superiors. that when hee was vp thus earely, hee called all hys seruants together and telleth them all: both to take away all suspicion of hys fact with Abrahams wife, and so to cleere her credit which hee was to bee carefull of, and also to teache hys seruants by hys example euer whilst they liued to beware. So carefull are good mindes not onely of themselues, but of theyr charge. And how much the serious and earnest warning of so great a personage may doo, I referre to your experience. Would God such war­nings and speaches were more often made by such. But because you should not doubt of it, the spirit of God hymselfe hath testi­fied so much in this place, and sayth, they were all afrayde. See then the piercing power of a good exhortation or admonition made by a superiour. Therefore agayne I say greatly to be wish­shed they would speake more often.

The third part.

THe 9. verse. These things thus done, the King called for Abraham, and talketh with hym: which teacheth vs,Verse. 9. Religion is humble, and A­theisme prowde. that a true touched heart indeede with the word of God is not prowde nor disdaynfull, but admitteth of farre inferiors vpon occasion to speach. If this King had followed the customes of some in our dayes that be no Kings, nor Gods neyther, hee would haue sent out a message to Abraham by some page, boye or woman, and haue kept his state, with great disdayne that a stranger as Abra­ham was, should come to speach with his owne person. But it is enough, Religion is humble, and Atheisme is prowde and sirly as the Deuill, for such hart, such show.

2 What hast thou done Abraham sayth hee, &c. A phrase and manner of speach if you marke it,Verse. 9. that sheweth a wakened [Page] spirit in Abimelech from that great securitie whereinto hys car­nall affections had cast hym. And it is a speach that would won­derfully profit vs if wee woulde vse it to our selues now and then, demaunding of our selues what we haue done. The drun­kard, if God gaue him an hart to say alas what haue I done, sure­ly hee woulde amend, so the swearer, the slanderer, and such lyke.

3 What haue wee sinned sayth hee, wee, wee. A notable e­state when a Gouernour ioyneth himselfe with his people in this to auoyde sinne,Verse. 9. caring that neyther they nor hee doo any thing that may bee sinne and offend: and still carry your eye vpon it, how hee calleth sinne, sinne in himselfe aswell as any others, no way excusing or shifting or diminishing the matter with respects of yeares, of estate, of frayltie, or any such like, and yet hee an heathen, and wee Christians.

4 Vpon mee and my kingdome sayth hee, full well con­fessing agayne that a superiour sinneth not to the hurt of hym­selfe alone.Verse. 9.

Verse. 9. 5 But how should Abraham bring a sinne vppon them? verely because hee sayde shee was his Sister, Ministring occasion of sinne. and so gaue occa­sion to the King to offend, to his owne harme and his kingdomes. Well then we learne that to giue one occasion to sinne, is to bring sinne vpon him,Note. and therefore wee must make more conscience heereafter of ministring occasions, then happely heeretofore wee haue done.

Verse. 9. 6 Passe it not ouer how this heathen King caulleth taking an other mans wife thus but vpon ignorance not onely a sinne,Adultery by igno­rance a great sin. but a great sinne, a strange sinne, and a thing that ought not to be done. You knowe our dayes, and the manners of the same, I say no more, your selues be iudges whether Heathens and Pa­gans shall not rise in iudgement against some that cannot saye they knewe not that shee was his wife, and yet no remorse. Doo these men thinke there is a God? a hell, any damnation, or sal­uation? [Page 84] would God they did. It would wring some grace out of them, if not for loue, yet for feare.

7 In Abrahams answere, that hee thought the feare of God was not in that place, Verse. 11 The feare of God as a banke. and therefore they woulde kill him for his wiues sake. You see what holdeth out, and what let­teth in all wickednes into a place, be it kingdome, or towne, or house. If the feare of God be there, the banke is strong, the fluds of lewde life cannot ouerflow: but if it be not, no thing so horrible but it will enter: yea euen this in Abrahams iudgement, that a man shall be murdered for his owne wife. Happy then is the place where this feare is, and curssed where it wanteth.

Lastly, the Kings gifts and liberalitie to Abraham, his kinde offer of his land to dwell in, his good nip that he gaue to Sarah for her dissembling, saying, hee was her brother, whome God had giuen her for her husband, and to be a veyle to shield her, and couer her from all harmes, are good fruites of a hart moued with that which God had sayd to him and for our instruction. Also that Abraham prayeth for him hartely and vnfaynedly, and is in per­fit loue and charitie with him, though somewhat he had wronged him is worthy noting. And lastly, how when sinne is reformed, God altereth his punishments, and taketh them away, healeth all the house whome hee had closed vp from bearing of children, with such other things, are matters of profit to vs if wee marke them. Blessed is that man and woman that heareth God war­ning them, obeyeth his warning willingly as this King did, ab­horreth that which is euill with him, and with speede and care re­formeth things amisse, as he did, for such will all godly Abra­hams pray, and God by them will be intreated to take punish­ments away, and to put mercies in their place to his great prayse and their great comfort euermore.

Chap. 21.

The generall heads of this Chapter are these three.

  • The birth of Isaack from the 1. to the 14.
  • The banishment of Agar from the 14. to the 22.
  • The couenant betwixt the King and Abraham.

THe first particular I note is this, the per­formance of that promise in his appoyn­ted time that was made vnto Sarah be­fore in the 18. Chapter verse 10. concer­ning a Sonne.Verse. 1. God euer perfor­meth pro­mise, but in his time not in ours. It doth assure vs thus much, that the word hath not passed Gods lips euer, which proued not true, and shall proue true to the worlds end. Truth being essentiall to him, and he neuer changeling: onely this there is, a season and time appoynted, either reuealed or otherwise, which wee must expect. Tary that and all shall be well, for so did Sara heere, and the godly elsewhere euer, and had their desires.

Vers. 3.4. 2 Isaac is circumcised, and called Isaac at his circumcision, so haue we now our names at baptisme.Our names remember vs to bee new men. That Sacrament then, as this now, are sacraments and signes of our new birth. Fitly therefore by the receipt of our names at such time should we euer when we heare them be remembred, that wee haue promised to God and his Church that we will be new men.

Verse. 6. 3 Sarah reioyseth at this gift of God in her ould age and her husbands age,Children shoulde cause ioy, and not distrust. reproching therein and reprouing playnely the couldnesse and dulnesse, the blindnesse and vnkindnesse of some, that hauing children giuen, not one, but many, not in age onely, but from youth to age almost euery yeare, reioyce not, but [Page 85] murmure fearing and distrusting, and farre farre from this good womans hart. She euen danceth for ioye in her minde, and sayth, who would haue thought, &c.

4 Sara giueth this her owne childe sucke, her selfe,Verse 7. till it was to be weaned. That mo­thers should nurse their owne chil­dren. An ancient and good example to be folowed of all women, that haue no true inabilitie indeed to denye it. For to this end hath God prouided nourishment for it in the mothers brest, that it might be so. The earth also nourisheth the plants and hearbes which she bringeth foorth. The tree no lesse with her sap and suck, the bowes and branches that spring out of her. All other creatures do the like, be they neuer so fearce. The Tygar, the Wolfe, the Beare, and the Lion, yet gentle to their young ones, and giue them suck. Shall onely women more vnkindely then any, deny them nourishment? The mother is content, when shee cannot see it, nor handle it, but hath it in her bodye to nourish it, yea and to abide many a sharpe nip and pinche for it, eating this, and forbearing that, as shall be best for her childe she goeth with: and when it is borne, that they may see it, and h [...]le it, behould it, and ioye in it, yea when it lyeth in theyr lappes and cryeth, houl­deth vp a paire of little handes and eyes, begging as it were, and intreating for Gods sake, to be nurssed and nourished by them, ra­ther then any other, is it not a hard heart, that can cast it awaye, and put it to a stranger whose affection can bee but frosen in com­parison at least for a while? Lastlye the dangers of this are not few, if they were well considered. For manye a disease and ill qualitie is drawne with the milke from a bad Nurse, beside that experience teacheth vs, that many plants will neuer prosper, ex­cept they haue of their owne earth about them. All these things then perswade vs asmuch as may bee, to folowe Sarah heere this good Woman, and to nurse vp our little Isaacs that God dooth giue our selues. Yet necessitie hath no lawe, I knowe it true, but let not wanton vnwillingnesse, nor vnwil­ling, wantonnesse, bee necessitie. Iudge of this thing in a god­lye feeling according to your place, and other true circum­stances, and I leaue it to you, I prescribe to none, neither saye anye more.

[Page] 5 When the wayning time came, Abraham made a feast, yea a great feast, Verse 8. saith the texte, and it teacheth vs the libertie of Gods children,Customes ought not peeuishly to be car­ped at. according to places and times wherein they liue, touching such matters and customes as this is. We our selues haue our fashions and vses at birth, at Baptisme, at the mothers going to church to giue thankes, in hir lying in, &c. What may well bee done, and suffred and liked, let it not be peeuishly, way­wardly, spitefully, and vniustly traduced: For this very feast and fashion of Abraham might be censured, if to finde faulte were to speake true, if malice were zeale, and a frowarde nature were a good minde by and by. Surely as the Apostle saide, To the cleane all things are cleane, Tit. 1.15. so saye I to meeke and modest mindes, all customes that may any waye be charitably interpre­ted are acceptable, & as he sayth againe, but vnto them that are defiled & vnbeleeuing, nothing is pure, but euen their minds & consciences are defiled, so say I vnto those that are waspish, and wayward, spitefull and froward, euery thing that they fansie not, is vncleane and vnlawfull, eyther Heathnish or Iewish, or popish, or somewaye intollerable, and their fansie is regularerum the rule of right, vnto which all mens dooings must be framed, if ther be peace. But there is a rule, that all godly mindes preferre before all such rules, to wit, euen the rule of the blessed Apostle, If any man lust to be contentious, 1. Cor. 11.16. we haue no such custome, neither the Churches of God.

Verse 9. 6 Ismael mocked Isaac and Sarah spyed it. The sonne of the flesh,Mocking and moc­kers bee odious. the sonne of the promise. See in a figure the condition and order of the world. The vngodly are mockers, gibers, flow­ters and flirers, at such as the Lorde hath looked vpon in more mercy, then he hath vpon them, and it is no new thing. Patience must passe it ouer, and God will paye it home as he did this. This mocking they take to be but a small fault, if any at all, but the Apostle saith it is bitter and cruell persecution. Peruse the place, Galat. 4.29.

Verse. 8. Dislyke soone spyeth a fault. 7. That Sarah spied it, and not Abraham, the reason might eyther bee in her more vsuall beeing which the children then A­braham [Page 86] was, or in her affection, which was not so good to Is­maell, as Abrahams was: hee being Father, and not shee mo­ther. Nowe wee knowe it well, that mislike quicklye spyeth a faulte, when affection to the partye is somewhat darker eyed.

8 She craueth of Abraham, that both mother and Childe may for this cause be cast out, Verse. 10. and though it greeued Abraham in respect of his Sonne, yet God in the end ioyned with Sarah, Mocking punished. and admonished Abraham that it should be so. It noteth vnto vs how mocking and scoffing flyring and gyring, pride and vanitie, and the contempt of Gods promises, neuer scapeth Gods iudge­ment, but is both obserued and punished some waye or other, first or last. Naye marke it more, which in deed is more, the Childes fault is the mothers smarte also,Childs fault mo­thers wo also. and she likewise must be cast out by Gods owne sentence. For happilye she sawe and heard these mockes, and rebuked them not, but cockered and dandled such wicked beginnings in hir young impe: but very sure I am in our dayes many foolish mothers doe it, and are so vainelye pleased with theyr children, that euen their faults please them also. But let them marke this example, and prouoke not God. He is as a­ble, and let them feare it, to cast both them and their children out of his house for euer, as heere Abraham was, these two out of his.

9 The Texte sayth,Verse. 11. This thing was greeuous vnto A­braham. And wee see in it,Griefe be­twixt the best cup­ples. what greefes faull out now and then betwixt the best couples. The one desireth and earnestlye see­keth, what greeueth the other to the verye heart. But what then, Matrimonie ceaseth not to bee the holye ordinance of God, though these troubles in the flesh, 1. Cor. 7. as the Apostle calleth them intercurre.

The second part.

1 When God cōmandeth Abraham that he should do so,Ve. 12. &c A notable glasse for parents. then marke how streight Abraham leaueth, and forsaketh all priuate [Page] affection to childe or mother, and obeyeth Gods commaunde­ment. So so must it bee with vs, if Abraham his spirit be in vs. And what an example should this bee to all Parents to gouerne theyr mindes by. Abraham was godlye, Ismael his owne fleshe, and childe, yet he executeth the Lords will vpon his owne childe, to his smart, and vpon the mother also, preferring Gods will be­fore them both, and forsaking them, rather then Gods comman­dement. What shall or can our doting affections answer to this example? Murders, adulteries, blasphemies, and swearings, are suffered by vs, with many mo, and no correction done. No it is to be feared, manye of vs had rather shake of all Gods commande­ments, then once make our children smart a daye. But be wise, be wise, and regarde such good examples as this, when wee meete with them.

Verse 14. 2 It is sayd, that Agar wandred in the wildernesse of Be­ersheba. As nota­ble an ex­ample for seruants well pla­ced. A liuely example of Gods iustice vpon seruantes, that being in good place cannot be thankefull to God, and dutifull to their maisters, but will so behaue themselues, that they loose that place. Such wander many times vp and downe, to theyr great greefe and shame, and want both in back and belly those comforts which they had very easily and largely, if they could haue conside­red it. Nay, which is more, theyr wandring and wante, many times brings heauie and dolefull ends, to their ignominie in this worlde, howsoeuer they escape in the worlde to come. Wherefore let all such as are well, and liue well, be they seruants or other, re­member this example of Agar, thrust out from so good a place, and now desolately, and heauily, wandring with her poore childe vp and downe the wildernesse.

Verse. 15. 3 And when the water of the bottle was spent, saith this storie,Affliction foloweth afflict on when God will, and euer grea­ter and greater, & the last, worst.she cast the childe vnder a tree, and went and sat ouer against him a farre of, about a bowe shoote, least shee should see the death of him. First obserue, how affliction foloweth af­fliction, and one greefe in the necke of an other, when once God beginneth to exercise vs. Shee lost her place, shee wandreth in the wildernesse with her childe, comfortlesse and desolate, the water [Page 88] of the bottle is spent, and no more to be had, when the child cryeth for drinke, and is readye to dye for it: and lastly, shee giueth her child vp to death, as she thought, getting her farre of, as vnable to heare the crye of it. The least of all which, was a bitter pange to her that tasted it. Let it schoole vs if the Lord so deale with vs, we are not priuiledged, we haue no immunitie. If the crosse come to vs, as a thing iudged fit for vs of our God, wee may not set him a stint, and say thus much will I beare, and no more: but leaue him to his owne good pleasure, expecting, and induring euen one vpon an other, as thicke, as euer it shall please him to send them. Ta­king hould of his promise by a liuely faith, that he will neuer laye more vpon vs, then hee will make vs able to beare, 1. C [...]. 10. but will giue the issue with the temptation, that wee may indure it. And praying to his Maiestie vpon that promise, that for his mercy sake he would so doe. Naye, marke more heere in this wofull Wo­man, that her last crosse is the greatest of all, namely the casting of her Child downe vnder the tree, that it might dye for wante of drinke, and going from it to be out of the crye. [...] O fathers and mothers, but mothers especially, that know what loue of children meanes, consider of it. What heart had this wofull woman thinke yee, when shee layd downe her childe out of her armes, naye when she cast it downe, as the Terte sayth, like a woman all torne in peeces, and distracted almost with the woe and wound of a payned heart? Howe did shee looke vpon it, howe did shee take her leaue from it, when the Childe cryed, lyfted vp his wa [...]rie eyes vppon hir, stretched out handes and armes to goe with her, and not to bee left there without her? What wringing gripes, what twit­ching payne, when shee turned her backe vpon it to goe awaye▪ What depth of woe came her teares from, when shee set out the crye and wepte so deerely? O heauye mother, if there were euery any in this worlde. O pittifull parting betwixte a mother and her Childe. O sorrowe vpon sorrowe, and the last the grea­test by a thousand degrees. Whose stonie heart bewayieth not, as wee heare it, this ruthfull case, of a poore Mother and her Childe?

Learne wee then carefully, as I sayde before, both howe crosse followeth crosse, and how still greater and greater, and the last the [Page] worst of all, if it please God so, and let vs harden our selues for it, in his holy feare, and not be ouer tender. Secondlye obserue wee againe the diuers passions of loue heerein, either of parents to children,Diuers ef­fects of loue in friends. or freend to freend. Some cannot be drawne from them eyther daye or night, when they are like to dye, and it is a great loue, and a good. But heere it is otherwise, for the mothers heart cannot abide to see the childe dye, and this also because shee loued it. So are manye where they loue intirely. Thus differ our diuers natures euen in one thing, and wee haue our diuers reasons vpon diuers circumstances. Blessed is the partie, whose affections draweth neerest the Lords alowance, and an holy patience. Lastly consider it, & that not a little how in this bitter agonie, & most hea­uie plight,Agar ray­leth not as some do. yet shee neither openeth her mouth against the Lorde, nor against the meanes of her woe Abraham & Sarah, no not a­gainst Sarah, that was the first and cheefe cause indeed, to stirre vp Abraham to put her away. No curssing, no banning, no ra­uing nor railing, is heard out of her. A very great commendati­on of her, and a very great want in our dayes, in some, that thinke themselues no common Christians, for that thing almost hapneth not crosse to theyr mindes, but the verye ayre almost is infected with theyr bannings, bee it neuer so small, and of no accompt. Theyr soule is acquainted with bitternesse altogether, and theyr tongues cannot but take like course. What would these doe, if they were as greatlye greeued as Agar was. Naye whether would they haue sent Sarah, especiallye if they had beene in her case.

Surelye, surelye, neyther Abraham, nor Sarah, nor God I feare me, should haue escaped curses manye and great, but for Sarah, she should haue beene curssed to the deepe pit of Hell ten thousand times and further, if sin ther were any further torment to be had for her. But learne. O si [...]ie and furious Spirites, euen by Agar heere, an other lesson, followe it and vse it with carefull hearts, if you meane not to brue for your selues in hell, what you wishe to others.

Verse. 17. 4 But what nowe of Agar and her childe, in this depthe of di­stresse and danger?When gre [...]fe is at [...]till then God is at hand. O sweete comfort. O mercye and comfort, marke it if wee bee a­liue. [Page 88] When the greefe is at the top, and the case at the worste, when the worlde and all worldlye meanes are giuen ouer, then God is neerest, present, and at hande, and sendeth his Angel to succoure this comfortlesse Woman and her Childe, to his eter­nall prayse and her greater ioye then euer tongue can tell. The Lorde heard the voyce of the Childe, saith the 17 verse, and the Angell cryed from Heauen to her. Who will dispayre of God and his helpe whilst life is in him, that heareth, and seeth, and marketh this? Shall it euer fall out, that the seede of Ia­cob shall wante releefe, when Ismaell the mocker is not neg­lected? Cannot God forget his promise, and let Ismaell dye, and can hee forget all his promises in Christ Iesus sealed, 2. Cor. 1. and deliuered in the bloud of his Testament? yea and amen in him, immutable and inchangeable foreuer, and cast awaye the care of vs? O farre bee it from our soules to thinke it, and our heartes to feare it. This is our warrante with many moe, when our case is worste, hee seeth and pittieth, heareth and helpeth, and will neuer forsake vs.

5 See it againe, howe warelye the Texte speaketh, saying,Verse. 17. God heard, and the Angell spake. It dooth not saye the An­gell hearde the voyce of the Childe, and so cryed. Least wee should haue left the Creator, and fled to the creatures in our di­stresses. Call vpon mee in the daye of trouble, sayth the Psalmist, and I will heere thee, I, I,Psal. 5 [...]. and neyther Angels nor Saintes. They shall helpe as GOD appoynteth them, I meane the Angels, but God heareth and pyttieth, and di­recteth all.

6 When it is sayd, The Lorde opened her eyes, Verse 19. and shee sawe a Well of water to giue the Childe drinke of. It tea­cheth vs all, that except God open our eyes, wee can neyther see nor vse the meanes which are yet before vs. The Childe grewe and dwelte in the wildernesse, sorrowe was turned into comforte by the Lordes mercye, and touching outward things, God caused him to prosper. His mother tooke him a wife also, in his time, to [Page] note the authoritie of parents, and obedience of children in that matter, and those dayes.

The third part.

Verse. 22.COncerning the couenant betwixt Abimeleck and Abra­ham, True piety purcha­seth true reuerence. which is the third generall head in this Chapter, you see the occasion of it in the 22, verse. Namely because they saw God to be with Abraham in all that he did. See we by it, how the godly are feared, euen of men farre greater then themselues, for theyr holy walking before the Lord, and his gratious countenance to them againe.Mark. 6.20. So we read of Herod, that he feared Iohn, and reuerenced him, because he was a iust man and holy, not for any worldly pompe or outward strength that he was able to make, to hurt him by, for his coate was heary, his girdle of a skin: and yet stracke the vertue of his life, & maiestie of his calling through the golden Robes of Herod to his very hart, and made him afraid of him. Great is the power then of true vertue, and would God we would marke it, as also the dignitie of the calling of the mini­sterie, if it be maintained.

2 The kings request being honest, note also how easilye A­braham yeeldeth his consent vnto it. Euer a vertue in good men to be gentle and courteous, and easie to bee intreated, for lawfull things. The contrary, a fowle vice, wheresoeuer it is morositie and frowardnesse euen in euery thing.

Cost is not euer well spared.Lastly that Abraham giueth sheepe and beenes, &c. learne we not onely, howe lawfull, but howe wise a thing it is, and com­mendable, both to get and maintaine peace with our cost some­times, and that it is not euer by and by well spared, that pinching­ly and peltingly is spared. But it is euen verified in that manye and many a time, penny wise and pound foolish. Thus this chap­ter endeth, and we may end also with Dauids remembrance con­cerning wisedom, that the feare of God is the beginning of it, a good vnderstanding haue all they that doe thereafter, Psa. 111.10 and the praise of it endureth for euer.

Chap. 22.

Generall heads in this chapter, these cheefely.

  • The commaundement of God to haue Isaac sacrificed.
  • The obedience of Abraham.
  • The deliuerance yet that God gaue at the pinche.

1 OF particulars this first, that it is sayde af­ter these things,Verse 1. God did prooue A­braham, &c. That is, [...] after so many try­als now already passed and spoken of, yet God tryed him againe, and harder then euer before, namely in the sacrificing of his owne and onely sonne. What should wee learne by it, but this, that there is no time limited, no age freed, no person exempted, no not Abra­ham in his oulde age, but whilst life lasteth, so long shall Gods exercises be incident vnto vs. And euen still the later the greater peraduenture, if so God thinke it good, yet all for the best, for eyther they make our faith and vertue appeare, and so God is glorified for his graces giuen vnto vs, and others are helped by our example, or els our infirmitie showeth it selfe to the greater humbling of vs, and driuing vs to prayer, for greater strength, Remember also the great honour that Abimilech the King had shewed him presentlye before, and nowe marke what followeth the death of his Sonne, for any thing hee knoweth. Thus is the lyfe of Gods Children, a mixture of sweete and sowre, and a continuall interchange of sorrowe and comforte, comforte and sorrowe.

2 Let vs obserue the degrees or amplification of this crosse of Abraham, by some circumstances that are layde downe,The cir­cumstāces that am­plifie this tryall. [Page] as first, that Abraham must take him and sacrifice him his owne selfe, and with his owne handes, a great matter, and far more then if he had giuen him ouer to an other. Secondly of the person to be taken, who was he, thy sonne sayth the Text, and not thy seruant. Thirdly thy Sonne, and not thy wiues Sonne alone, as some sonnes be. Fourthly, vnicum thy onely Sonne Isaac. Fiftlye, whome thou louest, all circumstances of great moment, and greatly to be [...] of vs, that wee may knowe in what sorte God, God will be bould with vs his creatures, and workeman­ship, when it pleaseth him. Wee must not thinke it strange, to be exercised euen in those things that are deere vnto vs. But what­soeuer they are, stil to remember, that he which loueth any thing more then God, Luc. 14.26. is not worthie of him. Sixtlye that hee must goe with him three dayes iourney ere he offred him. For the olde saying is acerbissimae mora quae trahit paenam, & misericordiae ge­nus est cito occidere morti destinatum. Bitter is the delay, when punishment must followe, and it is a kinde of mercy to kill quick­lye, who appointed once is to bee killed. Certainely, the griping thoughts and twitching passions, that Abraham felt in his minde during these three dayes, made this tryall of his farre greater, then it had beene, if presentlye hee should haue smit that blowe. Lastlye, that hee must offer him for a burnte offring: O depth of tryall, able to haue swallowed vs vp, a thousand of vs: bothe to laye his handes vpon his deere Sonne, and then to burne him to ashes, when hee had doone, his owne selfe making and tending the fire, till all was doone, and putting peece after pe [...]ce into the flame, when any was without, and with his owne eyes to see all this, and to looke vpon it. Heere is a tryall, to tell vs what God may doe, if it please him. This hee did to one farre better then anye of vs, and yet wee must bee nice, and tender, and dayntie, and if GOD touche vs but with the ache of a finger, or a toe, wee straight thinke hee dealeth hardelye with vs, and hee hath forgotten his loue. But O learne, learne, and see this.

The second part.

THen Abraham rose vp, sayth the Text, &c.Verse. 3. Heere wee see the most woonderfull obedyence that euer wee read of,A ra [...]e o­bedience. ioy­ned, or rather flowing from a notable faith and both of them held [...]ppe with the ordinarye proppes, no doubte of Gods truthe and omnipotencie. The nature of which, is eyther to vphoulde other. For his truthe vphouldeth his omnipotencie, and hys omnipotencie his truth. And this his obedience is set out euen from the beginning, to the lifting vp of the very knife.

2 Wee maye heere obserue,How the comman­dements of God seeme so harde, [...]r to whome. what maketh the commaunde­ments of God seeme so hard vnto men. Surely not so much the nature of the commaundements, as theyr nature to whome they are giuen, which being crooked and corrupt, maruelouslie fighteth and rebelleth against the same stronglye. For saye to an angrye, furious, and hote bludded man, thou must forgiue, and loue thy neighbour, blesse him, when hee cursseth thee, doo good to him, when hee dooth hurte to thee, &c. Out hee cryeth, it is impossible, howe can a man obey such a lawe? But saye to an Abraham, that is, to one that is borne againe, and regenerated by the Spi­rite of God, in such sorte as Abraham was, who hath now God reigning in him, in steede of oulde corruption, offer thy onelye Sonne, beeloued and deere to thee, euen with thyne owne handes, and burne him when thou hast doone, for a burnte offering, and you see heere, hee will doe it without grud­ging, or gaynesaying. So sure is it, that if the Lorde haue altered our nature, His yoake is easie, Math. 11. and his burthen is light.

Well therefore, maye wee saye it is with vs sinfull men, as it is with sicke folkes, who woonder at the stomackes, myrthe, and cheere, of the whole, and thinke it a verye harde matter to doe so. But where is the hardnesse? Is it in the thing, or in the weakenesse of the sycke?

So I saye is it, when wee thinke anye parte of Gods lawe [Page] so harde and harde, as manye doe.

3 In that it is mentioned, hee rose early, to accomplish this busines, therein hath the Holyghost made manifest, not onely his great obedience, but his woonderfull alacritie and forwardnesse in the same, a strange example in so harde a matter. But what can not Gods spirite effect, if it bee powrefull in Man or woman.

Freends earthly affections must bee warely preuented 4 He maketh not his Wife priuie for anye thing wee can see in the Text, and as we may coniecture, for feare she should hinder him by any womanly weakenesse or motherlye teares, from his bounden and purposed obedience. Which if it were so, fitly dooth it admonish vs to doe the like, when we iustly can thinke, that our freends affections will anye waye tempt vs or totter vs agaynst the Lords commaundements.

5 Abraham tooke the wood of the burnte offring, and layde it vpon Isaac his sonne, Verse 6. to goe towardes the place of death that God had appoynted.A figure of Christ. Behould a liuely figure of Iesus Christ, bearing his owne crosse towards the place of execution, euen as yong Isaac dooth heere the wood to burne himselfe withall, though as yet he knewe not so much, and in the end God preuented it.

Verse. 7. 6 Behoulde the fire, and the wood, saith Isaac to his fa­ther,How to answer in things yet hidden. but where is the Lambe for the burnt offring. O pricke and wounde to the Fathers heart no doubte, when the Childe thus spake. But hee was resolued, God, not naturall affections must now bee obeyed. Therefore hee taketh courage to him in a godly determination, and conceyling all still from the Childe, an­swereth him, My sonne God will prouide him a Lambe for a burnt offring, and so wente on with the Childe still. In which answer of his beeing of Gods prouidence, in a case hidden and se­cret, as yet, wee are notablye taught in all distresses, what to hope, and what to saye: Surelye euen as Abraham did to hys Chylde in this place, Dominus parabit, The Lorde [Page 91] shall prouide. If the wife saye with Tobias wife, what shall we doe, we are poore, where shall wee haue bread for our Chil­dren, where this, and where that. O be content, The Lorde shall prouide, is a good answer, a fit answer, and the answer of father Abraham in this place to his sonne. Lord giue vs faith, and thou neuer prouidest more notably a Lambe to saue young Isaac heere, then thou wilt also prouide necessaryes for vs to saue our liues, till the time appoynted of thee.

7 But now the matter can be no longer hidden: for they are come to the place, and the deed must be doone,Verse 9. Abraham there­fore buildeth an Altar there, and couched the wood, and bound Isaac his Sonne, and layde him vpon the Altar vpon the wood. Though the Texte speake nothing of any speeche of Abraham to his sonne, yet like it is, that ere hee bound him, hee shewed him Gods commaundement, where vnto his sonne readi­lye submitted himselfe.What A­braham said when he bound Isaac. Iosephus taketh vpon him to tell vs more, and supposing so strange a thing could neuer bee done with­out some dialogue betwixt the Father and the Sonne, hee sayth it was in this sort.

First the Father spake to his Childe and sayde: O my sonne, deare and beloued,Ioseph. Antiq. lib. 1 cap. 13. with great care and diligence haue I hetherto brought thee vp, whome with a thousand desires I wished before I had thee. Thinking nothing more happye a comfort for mee, then if I might liue to see thee a man, and leaue thee in my place, the possessor of all that I haue when I goe. But behould, it see­meth good to him nowe, that gaue thee to mee, to take thee from me againe, and that I should loose thee. Which since it is so: O my gratious Childe, indure this sacrifice: for I yeeld to God for my owne parte, who seeketh this seruice of vs, for his continuall fauoure towardes vs, bothe in peace and warre. Thou art borne by nature to dye a death at sometime, and now thy death must not be common, but of thyne owne Father, to the Father of all fleshe thou must bee offred in Sacrifice. As it seemeth, his mercie dee­ming thee vnworthy to dye, eyther by sicknesse, or warre, or anye other calamitie. But taking thy soule from thee in the middest of prayers and holye seruice to his Maiestie, hee will place thee [Page] with himselfe: where as one mindefull of the ende wherefore I haue brought thee vp, thou shalt vnderproppe mine age, and bee my comfort, not of thy selfe and by thy selfe, but thou shalt leaue vnto me God my defence and comforte in thy place. Then an­swered Isaac the worthie Childe of so good a Father, and sayde vnto him.

O my Father, I am content vnworthy euer to haue been borne, if striuing against the will both of God and thee my Father, I should not willinglye indure that determined by you both, which if none but thy selfe would haue my deere father, I would not de­nye thee.

Thus (sayth Iosephus) spake they each to others, and then all things being readye, vp went the knife to giue the blowe, had not God of his infinite goodnesse stayed the hande. But O mercie memorable for euer and euer in the Lorde, who will not the parting of such a father and such a childe as yet, but staying the matter, altereth the greefe into all ioye, and deliuering the father his childe againe, sendeth them both home together with as cheerefull hearts as euer had anye cupple, no question in this worlde after anye danger.Lamentat. 3.27. What two examples bee these for vs to marke? The father showing vs what it is to bee vsed to the yoake from a mans youth as hee was, surelye it maketh harde thinges easie, and euen the verye greatest things to bee better performed then euer they woulde, if such exercises often had not beene. The Sonne teaching vs what grace is effected by such gratious education as no doubte this Childe had. And bothe of them laying before our eyes, such a patterne of obedyence to Al­mightie God, euen to the losse of lyfe, as neuer wee should forget, but beseeche God with daylye prayers, that wee may come as neere vnto, as anye case of ours towardes his Maiestie, shall require euer.

The third part.

Verse. 12.IN that God forbiddeth nowe at this pinche, this sacrifice of Isaac to be made by his Father. Wee may well consider howe [Page 92] carefull the Lorde is, least by anye example of anye commanded thing by him, others should take occasion to doe the like, with­out like warrant from him. Which happilye in this case would haue beene doone, if hee had not stayed Abrahams hand, but suf­fred the matter to bee accomplished and effected. Men would per­aduenture haue rashlye iudged such sacrifices to haue pleased the Lord greatly, and so haue often doone wickedly.

2 Let vs marke heere, when the Lorde came to deliuer heere.Verse. 10. Not till the Knife was vp, and euen readye to strike.Read the note vpon Genes. 21. ver. 17. I [...]. 11. It tea­cheth vs for our selues, euen then especially, to looke for his helpe, when in mans eyes we are but gone. Yet must we trust no further to his helpe, then we make our attempts by his warrant. For wee see he did not the like to Ieptha.

3 The Angell calleth, and forbiddeth,Verse. 11. when as God could haue stayed him by a secret power if hee would.Why can Angell stayeth A­braham. And whye was this? Surely to instruct Isaac further, that what his Father did, was by Gods commaundement. Secondly to showe him what singular care and fauour God had ouer him, and towarde him, who so notablye would deliuer him by an open Angell from Heauen. And thirdlye, that all the worlde might learne by it, that they must haue verye good warrante, eyther to be­ginne, or leaue of, anye thing belonging and doone to honour God by.

4 Nowe I knowe, sayth the Lorde, &c.Verse 12. When hee knewe before verye well, what heart was in Abraham towardes his glorye. But thus would God commend vnto all the worlde, the adioyning of outwarde workes to inwarde fayth. Conso­nant vnto which is Paull the Apostle, when hee requireth a fayth that worketh through loue,Rom. 10.9. and telleth vs that aswell With the mouth wee confesse vnto righteousnesse, as with the heart beleeue vnto Saluation, also our Sauiour himselfe who requireth to the inwarde acknowledging of him in the heart, the outward profession of him before men. Math 10. Iam. 2.27. This is that [Page] which S. Iames meaneth, when he sayth, Abraham our Fathe was iustified by workes, when he offred Isaac his sonne vpon the Altar. Seest thou not sayth he, that the faith wrought with his workes, and through the workes was the fayth made per­fect, How saith dooth iu­stifie and how works &c. That is, Abraham by this meanes was knowne and de­clared to be iustified, and his faith being effectuall and fruitefull by workes, was thereby knowne to be a true fayth, and not a dead faith. For S. Iames speaketh not of the causes of iustification, but by what effects we may know, that a man is iustified. True is the distinction therefore euen of the Schoolemen themselues. Christ dooth iustifie a man effectiue effectually, by working his iustification, faith doth iustifie a man apprehensiue, apprehending­lye because it taketh hould of Christ, who is our iustifier, and workes do iustifie also, but declaratiue, declaringly, because they showe that a man is iustified, as hath beene said. So Christ, faith, and workes, doo all iustifie, but diuerslye. True also is it that Bernard saith, workes are via regni, but not causa regnandi, the waye to the kingdome, but not the cause of reigning there.

Verse. 12. 5 I knowe sayth God, but what dooth hee knowe? That thou Abraham, The foun­taine of obedience to God. saith hee, fearest God. Then behould the fountaine of all obedience, the feare of God, and the witnesse againe of the feare of God, true obedience, which being true, as it is most true, woe and bitternesse to the inhabitants of the earth, if the Lorde bee not mercifull for our obedience beeing turned into daylye, fearefull, and most carelesse rebellion, where is our feare of his Maiestie become? Surelye the Fountaine is dammed vp and stopped, and therefore no frute can flowe therfrom. Let euerye man priuatelye applye this, and saye with himselfe, I thinke I feare GOD, but if GOD giue iudgement of my feare by my obedience, as hee did heere of Abraham, how will all prooue, &c,

Verse. 12. 6 Because thou hast not spared thine onely sonne, saith God,God ac­cepteth will for worke. and yet hee was spared. But this is the nature of our good God, to accept in mercie our wyll for our worke, and a [Page 93] ready indeuour euen for the deede it selfe, if hee would not suffer vs to goe any further: but this, when the word goeth before to guide the will and not else. For those Baals priests beeing desti­tute of the word, though they lanced themselues neuer so deepe, yet neyther in will nor worke pleased the Lord. And it is a good place also of Paule, not sparing the body, &c. Coloss. 2. verse last. So then with this caue at let vs gather great incouragement to serue him, who will in respect of our ready minde acknowledge that we haue not spared this or that, when in deede yet it is spared though not by vs. Can we feare or doubt of reward if wee do it when ready will is thus regarded? Or doth that doctrine of God condemne good works, which thus assureth vs good will is respected? yet euer beware to exclude Gods mercy, and to put in place of it the works merit.

7 Consider what I shall now note vnto you, and regard it with me from your hearts. Is Abrahams willingnesse to offer his Sonne, a token of loue and great affection to the Lord? So sayth the Lord heere, and so hee taketh it, euen as a worke that was done for his sake, and which but for his sake could not haue bin obtayned at Abrahams hands for eyther golde or siluer, by all the men in the world. O harts of ours then that they could feele. O eyes of ours that they could see. What affection was it in the Lord to vs, not to lay onely his owne and onely Sonne be­loued and innocent vpon the altar of the Crosse for vs, and to heaue vp the knife as ready to doo it, but in deede to doo it? O loue of loues, what loue was this, and what affection to vs was this? Abraham was commanded of our God who could com­maund. Abraham should haue sinned if he had refused, so should not God. Therefore if the one shew loue in Abraham a creature, what doth the other in God the creator? Well might it be sayde with a vehemency, So God loued the world. Ihon. 3. So I say and so as no toong is able to speake of it, nor pen write, nor hart thinke. The Lord giue faith and thankefull feeling euermore.

8 Abraham thus stayed from sacrificing his Sonne, yet fayled not of a sacrifice in his roome, but lifting vp his eyes, Verse. 13. hee [Page] sawe a ramme caught by the hornes in a bush, God will prouide for his seruice if we truly purpose it. him hee tooke and offred. Now remember wee what Abraham sayde to hys sonne before, that the Lorde shoulde prouide him a Lambe. Was it not so? Did not God prouide this ramme to supply yong Isaac his place? No question hee did, and no chance but Gods guiding hand brought him thither, and fastned him there. What should we learne then by it, but this, that if our hearts be set in deede to serue the Lorde in our place and calling, certaynly hee will neuer suffer vs to want the thing that shall be necessary and expedient for vs therevnto. A great comfort and a true.

Vers. 13. 9 Abraham taketh the ramme, and yet none of his owne: but Abraham was assured no doubt that it was Gods doing, and being so, he maketh no scruple to accept of Gods offer and proui­dence,1. Kin. 17.4. no more then Eliah made question how the rauens came by the meate which they brought him. We cannot folow Abra­ham, except we had his warrant.

10 Abraham calleth the place, the Lord seeth, or proui­deth, Vers. 14. shewing therein his care to continue the memory of Gods mercy, not of his owne fact, though in deede it was most notable, for if he had, he would haue giuen some other title that should at least haue glaunced that way, but he doth not, and so should wee euer seeke the Lords glory, and not our owne. Surely if wee ho­nor him, he will honor vs inough &c. Mo things might be noted in this Chapter, but let these suffice.

Chap. 23.

Two things in this Chapter especially.

  • The death of Sara, verse 1. and 2.
  • Her buryall 3. to the end.

IN mencioning so precisely the age and death of Sara, we may note the singular accompt that the Lord made of her,Verse. 1. and if we marke it well, wee shall see it a prerogatiue aboue all other wo­men. [Page 94] So would ye Lord by all meanes incourage vs to serue him.

2 In that a woman who by nature is not strong,GOD strong, though wee bee weake. in such troubles and griefes many times as she had, such remoues and trauels through forren countreys should liue so long, how noteth it the power of God greater then any weakenes, and how should it comfort vs against any infirmitie of body whatsoeuer.

3 When it is sayd that Sarah died, though she liued so long,The tale that shall bee tould vpon all. remember euer the tale that shall be told of all flesh first or last, he is dead, she is dead. Thus you hard in the fift of this booke of a great sort that euer they dyed were their yeares neuer so many. Againe it teacheth vs that there is both a better life and a worse death then heere is in this world, otherwise what preheminēce had Gods children ouer the wicked, since they dye aswell as they?

4 But where dyed she? the text nameth the place,Verse. [...]. in Kiriah-Arba in the land of Canaan. Thus did the Lord place and set downe in that countrey certayne pledges and pawnes, to assure the rest that he would in time giue that land vnto them as he had promised, and they should possesse it. So may wee now be assured of the kingdome of heauen, that forsomuch as many of our bre­thren and sisters are already there placed, and haue taken posses­sion before vs, surely wee also shall folow, and hee will giue that land, euen that heauenly Canaan and new Ierusalem for euer and euer.

5 Abraham lamenteth his dead, but not the estate of his dead. So did Christ our mayster sorow for his friend Lazarus. So are we permitted by the Apostle keping a measure as men and wo­men that are not without hope. Ioh. 11▪ 1. Th [...] [...] ▪ Syrach [...] So doth the wise Syrach coun­sell vs, and so hath all laudable custome euer alowed. This mo­deration appeared in Abraham, for in the very next verse it is sayd, Abraham arose, &c.

6 He talked with the sonnes of Heth. [...] Where wee see and learne, that so wee should giue place to sorow, that in the meane while we regard also things necessary, as ye buriall of our frends & such like: otherwise, our passions be impatiences, and as [...] the Lord greatly, so all wise men will mislike vs worthely.

[Page] 7 Hee telleth them hee is a stranger, &c. a great token of his rare humilitie and lowlinesse of minde, though he were in ma­ny respects a very great man. Then he seeketh nothing amongst them, but for his money, as good a testimony that way agayne of a contented minde, though he possessed nothing amongst them.

8 Nay say the Hittites, my Lord thou art a prince of God amongst vs, Verse. 6. take therefore our chiefest places and bury thy dead in, a very great kindnesse and curtesye on their partes a­gayne. And let vs marke in it that humanitie and bountie beare a most glorious shew euen in heathens. O how can such vertues then disgrace Gods seruants and professors of a better doctrine then euer heathen knew?

9 Abraham bowed himselfe vnto them, and yet they were heathens,Verse. 7. Pride and disdayne. to shewe, that he well esteemed both them and their kindnesse. But wee haue not so much good nature many of vs to our owne brethren that are of the househould of faith with vs, what loue soeuer they shewe vnto vs. Pride and disdayne and scorne are the flowers of our garland, and yet none so good Chri­stians as we, if we might be our owne iudges.

Verse. 11. 10 Diuers offers are made him in great good will without any money,Why A­braham would buy and not take of gift. Reade 2. Sam. 24. verse 24. but Abraham would not so accept of them. He will buy for his money, but not take it of gift. And why so? happely because he would not receyue at mans hands as beholden to him for it, what God had so often and so assuredly promised to giue him. He would not preuent Gods gift in any part.

Lastly, you haue heere the name of currant giuen to money, to note the vse of it, not to be hoorded vp and lye in a corner, but to passe from man vnto man according to his name.Verse. 16. We reade that money was first leather,Money why called currant. then brasse, then siluer, then golde: but what sayth one? I pray you note it. Quibus gradibus creuit pecuniae materia, iisdem decreuit antiqua mundi simplicitas, pro­bitas, & integritas. Looke how money increased from baser to better, by the very same steps did the world decrease from good to [Page 95] worser: for the world was first golden, then siluer, then brasse, now leather or lead, or worse if any worse thing you thinke good to name. Money is better and men worse, the chest stored with better substance, and the soule filled with worse sinnes, yea euen with all sinnes that so sinfull a world can bring foorth and infect withall.

Chap. 24.

In this Chapter especially consider these things.

  • The counsell and commandement of Abraham touching a wife to be taken for his sonne.
  • The obedience and care of his seruant in that behalfe.
  • The contract or matrimonie it selfe.

MOre particularly marke in the first verse that Abraham is both ould and rich,Verse. 1. and let the vse of it be this to assure our doubting mindes,God can [...] at all times. that God is able to sustayne vs, when ripenesse of wit, valure of body, and all naturall power to worke, labour, toyle, and drawe with the world are gone. Yea not onely to sustayne vs, but with very great a­bundance to blesse vs, as heere he did Abraham. And therefore tye not God to yeares, nor his mercy euer to the measure of your wit. But feare God in youth, serue him in age, and be assured that neither youth nor age shall want the benefite of his mercifull pro­uidence. Away with that speach, that if we be not growne at 20. wary at 30. & rich at 40. there is neuer hope eyther of strength, wisedome, or wealth, for God is free, and not tyed to times.

2 But how came Abraham by his riches?Verse. 1. the text answe­reth the Lord had blessed him in all things. Gods bless [...]ng maketh rich. Thereby giuing the wealth of Abraham to the Lords mercy, and not to his owne [Page] [...] [Page 95] [...] [Page] industry. So it is sayd elsewhere, Benedictio Dei facit diuites, & benedictio Dei super caput iusti. Prou. 10. The blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and the blessing of the Lord is vpon the iust. Earthly wret­ches ascribe all to their owne labours, pollicies, and fetches, but such vnthankfull harts were there euer.

In a strange Countrey God can inrich. 3 Passe it not ouer also vnnoted where or when God made him rich, surely in strange countreys, and when hee was a very traueler and passer from place to place, not stayed nor placed any where. Euen then in this wandring time which the ould saying is doth not gather mosse, yet God was able to blesse him, & to make his store increase. Surely in such places it had bin great power in God to let him still passe amongst them with life, though hee had left him and let him be poore. But the Lord would euen this also: and therefore where, where, is not God able to doo for hys if they please him?

Verse. 2. 4 Abraham sayd to his eldest seruant &c. Then wee see in Abrahams house,Degrees of seruants and order in Abra­hams house. orders and degrees, respects and regards diuers of such persons as serued him according either to time or qualities, or some circumstance iustly mouing therevnto. This we may folow in our dayes, wise men do it, & God disliketh it not.

Verse. 2. 5 The putting his hande vnder his maysters thigh, no­teth vnto vs the forme and manner of priuate othes ministred priuatly in those dayes of superiors to their inferiors:Putting his hand vnder his thigh, what. for pub­lickly equall persons did otherwise. Or if you will, it sheweth the seruants obedience towards hys mayster, and his maysters power ouer hym.

6 If we consider the titles that Abraham giueth vnto God, heere they set out the terror of his maiestie,Verse. 3. and the might of hys power,What men shoulde thinke of, that take an oth. as also that to hym which is about to sweare, nothing i [...] more fit to be thought of, then the power of God to punish false­hood, if it be auoutched with an oth in his name. The forgetting whereof, maketh many a man and woman cast themselues and their soules headlong into great dangers.

[Page 96] 7 That exception that you see the ould man take heere against the daughters of the countrey,Verse. 4. and his expresse commandement for a wife to be taken to his childe out of the number of the faith­full, teacheth vs notably if wee haue Abrahams spirit in vs,Religion chie [...]ely to be respec­ted in ma­riage. to giue Religion and the true feare of God the vpper hand of all ho­nor, friends, wealth, and glory of the world whatsoeuer, in all matches and mariages that wee shall make either for our selues, or our friends, children, or charge. Conferre it with Gen. 28. Deut. 7. v. 3. 2. King. 8.18. where the like doctrine is taught.

8 Passe not ouer againe in this talke of Abraham about the mariage of his sonne without noting,Parents authoritie in chil­drens ma­riages. what power the parent then had ouer the childe in guiding his choyse, and not leauing him li­bertie directly without cause to stray from his liking, oppose it a­gainst the licentious rage of children in these dayes, whose wit and onely wit in this case must be folowed, say parents to the con­trary by graue experience whatsoeuer they can. Yet standeth it fast euen in this matter as in all other, hee that despiseth me, shall be despised of me, and hee that despiseth parents, despiseth God who hath sayde, thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother &c. Now shall children thinke that honor of word, cap, or knee, is due, and the greatest matter of all others eyther to their owne good or parents comfort, belongeth no further to them then they list? It cannot be. Therefore who so in this matter taketh not parents good aduise and consent, he despiseth God, and the cursse doth rest vpon him without repentance.

9 In the 5. verse the seruant reasoneth with his mayster, and putteth a case. Consider in it I pray you and learne,Verse. 5. how it is not inough onely to beware of forbidden euill, when a man taketh an oth, but care also must be had least in things commanded wee of­fend, not knowing the full drift and scope of the Commandement. And for this cause doth this seruant thus question with hys mayster.

10 Beware sayth he, that thou bring not my sonne thither againe, Verse. 6. meaning into his own countrey out of Canaan And why think you? surely least he should lose the inheritance promised him there by God. Why was ye matter now in any likelyhod? truly no.Abrahams great faith. [Page] Abraham was but a stranger in Canaan yet, neyther had any more possession then the sepulchre that he bought there for to bury his wife in. But by his faith which wauered not one iote in Gods promise, he possessed euen the whole land, and therefore he would not suffer his sonne to be remoued thence to the woman, if the woman would not come to him. O that wee had such faith to be­leeue what is promised vs, and to expect it with assuring hope, then should our hearts be free from many cares that now oppresse them, and we possesse to our good content what yet in mans eyes we haue no hould of.

11 In the 7. verse, Abraham maketh mention of the Lords calling of him out of his owne Countrey,Verse. 7. into that where hee now was, and so stayeth himselfe vpon that, that by no meanes he will doubt but God will go forward with his mercy begun in this and by this his calling. So, so, and euen so should all wee bee in that calling whatsoeuer vnto good that God voutsafeth vs. As for example, if the Lord haue called vs into the land of light by hearing the word preached vnto vs,Note well. or any other good meanes whatsoeuer, neyther should the world, nor wants of men, neyther any thing in this life, make vs returne to the land of darkenesse againe. So of Magistracie, or Ministerie, or such lyke, the cal­ling of God should be our strong stayes to goe through with it against all assalts to the contrary. But especially this is a place, and an example for them that for any earthly preferment in ma­riage of their children, can be very well content that they should bee caried from Canaan euen againe and againe to Mesopota­mia, that is, from the grace and light of God which hee hath gi­uen, and from the place where he hath promised to giue an inheri­tance into the mists and cloudes of ould ignorance againe, and all damnable superstition. Abraham heere abhorreth it though his sonne should lose his wife thereby: and surely as he should be our example to folow euer, so shall he be their condemnation that will not doo it.

The argu­ments of Abrahams faith. 12 Marke againe in this verse the arguments whereby A­braham strengtheneth his faith. First hee aledged the deede of [Page 97] God in these words, qui eduxit me, which brought me out. Se­condly his promise, qui loquutus est & iurauit, which spake vnto me and sware. And why doth hee not alledge his owne doings, and say, because I obeyed hym, and left mine owne countrey for him, or because agayne I offered to kill this sonne of mine when he bad me, and to offer him vp in sacrifice to him or some such lyke? surely because the children of God were neuer acquayn­ted with bragging of their owne works, and putting God in the nose with their owne merits. Some do it, and alas will not see how they offende in it, but men and women possessed with Gods sauing spirit, neuer did it, neither will doo it. Abraham knewe merits in hym were no such props to his faith, as mercies in God, and therefore silent in the one with comfort he aledgeth and remembreth the other. So let vs doo if wee haue no calling but the common calling of Christians. And if wee bee further eyther Magistrates, or Ministers, or such lyke, then consider also how fitly wee may doo it. For as Abraham had the deede of God in bringing hym out, so haue Magistrates and Ministers, in ge­uing them that place. And as Abraham had hys promise, and hys oth, verely so haue they, that hee wyll bee with them in the cause of iustice,2. Chro. 19.6. Matth. 28. and in theyr ministerie to the verye worldes ende. Bee it concluded then in our soules for euer, that the Angell of God shall be with vs, as heere Abraham spea­keth, so long as wee liue, to honor God by a faithfull seruice, and not our owne selues by some subtill seemings, for God seeth.

13 I cannot but remember you of it also, how when the ser­uant putteth the case the woman would not come so farre, A­braham doth not bid him tell her what wealth shee shall haue, what riches and treasure, and that his sonne should haue all, or so forth, but he answereth by his trust and assurance that the Lord would moue her and bring it to passe if it were his liking, and therefore hee sayth, the Lord shall send his Angell, &c. Thus euer euer doth Religion perswade one way, and earth, and flesh, and the world, and other way.

[Page] Verse. 8. 14 But if she will not sayth hee, then &c. Where wee see how fully doubting mindes are to be instructed.Doubting [...]indes should be fully taught. Often times doe we promise good vnto men in the name of the Lord, and wee hope it shall come to passe, yet wisedome would that wee should more fully teach & say as heere Abraham doth. But if she will not &c. That is yet if God will not thus and thus do for causes knowne to his owne wisedome and not vnto vs, then this and this shall be your estate, &c.

15 Onely bring not my Sonne back agayne sayth hee, repeating againe what hee had once giuen in charge before, and we noted it. O constant hart, doth to abide himselfe, and to keepe his posteritie in a strange countrey, being once called thither, al­though with wealth hee might returne, and with his owne kin­dred peraduenture liue more quietly. What a thing in a godly mans hart is a place apoynted hym of God. How is he not fickle and fugitiue onely for greater worldly good, without any direc­tion from a better cause? Yea how must not a man like without God his liking, nor carue for himselfe a portion of this worlde where himselfe liketh, but where the Lorde will be content, re­mayning constant, and with the same contented, till the Lorde giue a going out. Abraham had his griefes heere no doubt, and probably may wee thinke the Cananites were not to hym as hys kindred, nor Canaan as hys owne Countrey. Yet so would the Lorde. And wee see before our eyes that the heart of A­braham answereth to the Lorde,Psal. 27. O my God, I am content to doo it, and his toong chargeth his seruant againe, bring not my Sonne back, &c.

Verse. 9. 16 Then the seruant sware, sayth the text. That is, after hee had inquired, questioned, talked, and was fully instructed concerning his maysters will, and the ende of his othe, then hee sware. A very good example to teach all men how an othe is to be taken. But alas, where is this conscience, and care, and fee­ling, with feare to abuse this dutie? Where is hee that searcheth and secketh to knowe the matter, and the depth of it, how farre it [Page 98] may charge him what hee is requested to sweare vnto. Yet thus doth Abrahams seruant heere, and let vs note it.

The second part.

THe seruant thus instructed and sworne,Verse. 10. prepareth to his iour­ney, and tooke ten Camells, &c. Teaching and shewing this wisedome, that a thing is not onely to be done, but euen all such things also as may be sit to the good bringing of it to passe, are likewise to be cared for and taken with vs, as heere this ser­uant did.

2 His making of his Camells to lye downe as it heere is mencioned,Verse. 11. may remember vs how a good man regardeth euen his beast. The time and the place may shew the seruants diligent care to obserue and regard all good oportunities, to come by any entrance or successe in the matter he goeth about.

3 His prayer to God that hee woulde direct him,Verse. 12. sheweth his faith and bringing vp in Abrahams house. Also, how hee trusted not in his owne indeuours, though yet hee vsed the best, but onely his confidence was in the blessing of God, who is able to effect and hinder what he will.

4 Whilst mens daughters came to drawe water, sayth the text, and afterward in this booke we shal reade,Verse. 13. that Iacob found Rachell keping of sheepe. The sim­plicitie of education in the days of the Pa­triarks. Both these declare vnto vs the sim­plicitie and playnnes of those dayes, touching education of their children. I beseech you where were these golden, silken, pearled, and idle Dames that our dayes yeeld, when waterpots & sherpe­hooks were thought no hurters of womens hands by the very pa­rents themselues. I vrge it not for imitation, but for moderation.

5 The seruant nameth a marke,Verse. 14. wherby he desireth of God he may haue notice, which the woman shalbe, that he should chuse for his maisters sonne. Graunt sayth he that she which saith drink, and I will giue thy Camels drinke also may be she, &c. I pray [Page] you marke the marke that he wisheth in his maysters wife. Is it not a sweete and curteous nature,A marke for to choose a wife by. rather then a gay gowne and a loftie looke? Is it not a lowly and louing minde rather then any wealth and pompe? Surely it is, for he wisheth this, and leaueth out those. And peraduenture touching the last, the seruant had hard it out of the mouth of long experience, that Diuite faemina nihil intollerabilius. There is nothing more intollerable then a rich woman. Except God gouerne, let me adde I pray you: for his grace maketh many ould sayings to fayle of generalitie. Yet something there was or is that such prouerbs arose in times past, and are still called to remembrance in our dayes vpon occasions. Surely all bee not Saints that goe for Saints, before strangers it may be feared.

6 That thou hast ordayned. Marke this word well, and in it obserue the iudgement that this seruant had of Mariage,Verse. 14. namely,Mariage goeth not by hap. that there was no hap nor chance in it, but that euery one is serued according to the ordinance of God, either for comfort or crosse. Is it not all one with that which Salomon sayth: House and riches are the inheritance of the Fathers, Pro. 19.14. but a prudent wife commeth of the Lord? How doth this good iudgement then shew vnto vs the good order in Abrahams house for know­ledge and instruction. He that walketh in the sunne will be sunne­burned saith the prouerb, and surely where good instruction is in a house or towne, the people will sauour of it. Would God our seruants might thus sauour of the talke they heare at our tables or otherwise as this man did. But alas what know I? nay what know ye your selues of your selues? without doubt this, that if carping and gawling of others, if swearing, and filthy speaking, if mocking and censuring of the way of truth, if Papisme or A­theisme be a color worthy carying, our seruāts may learne in our houses and of vs to cary such colors: but as for Religion and a sound iudgement in the seuerall branches of Gods booke, alas, alas, it is not to be had with many of vs, nor amongst vs.

A good hart of a seruant to his may­ster. 7 By the word mercy in the same verse, appeareth the na­ture and hart of an honest and faithfull seruant, that he would not [Page 99] onely haue things fall out to his mayster, but in mercy to fall to him, that is all for the best, and his comfort if it may any way be more then other.

8 Now what successe had this prayer of a true seruant with God? I pray you marke the 15. verse.Vers. 15. Eare hee had left spea­king sayth it, behould Rebekah came out, &c. See then the gratious goodnes of God, and how open his care is to one that is carefull of the credit committed vnto him, be he seruant or what else soeuer. Euen before he had left speaking the Lord an­swereth this seruants desire, and sendeth by his hidden powrefull prouidence this mayde Rebekah to come to the Well to him. Now if wee consider what hee went about, and what the Magi­strates and Ministers heere apoynted in earth amongst vs goe a­bout, is there any comparison? Then with assurance may they go on in their places, that God will regard them and giue them his blessing, when he thus dealt with this seruant?

9 In that she came foorth with a Pitcher to fetch water, the seruant hauing prayed as you sawe before in the 14. verse,Verse. 15. note the wonderfull prouidence of God, how it ruleth euery action, and suffreth nothing to go by chance as many dreame. For was there no time to fetch water but now, when the seruant laye by the Well wayting for Gods direction? Yes many tymes myght shee that daye haue stored her selfe,God dispo­seth times & seasons. had not God di­rected euen to that time. And what God will must come to passe.

10 She goeth downe, filleth her pitcher, and away a­gayne sayth the text. Heere is then no tarying,Verse. 16. no gazing at pas­sers by or strangers, no prittle prattle, nor telling of newes, but modestie, silence, and ready dispatch of that which is gone about. A good example for youth if it were carefully folowed.

11 But the seruant seeing her make such speede, runneth to meete her, and prayed her that he might drinke of her pitcher. 17 &c. She sayth vnto him drinke Sir. Fit beha­uiour for a mayd. In the seruant note still no fore-flowing [Page] of his businesse, but hauing commended his suite vnto God, he beginneth to try the very first that came to see if his mark before mencioned might be found in her. In the mayd marke all gentlenesse and curtesie of nature with speech conuenient, ney­ther a foole to say no thing, nor yet ouerbould to talke at randon. When she had giuen the seruant drinke, then see I pray you how no doubt by Gods very direction she vseth those words that the seruant had prayed God before might bee a marke for hym to knowe the woman that God had apoynted for his maysters sonne by. I will (sayth shee) drawe water also for thy Camells. By whiche the seruant knewe it was his Mistresse that should be, Gods gift and apoynted match for his Mayster Isaac. Then hee wondred to consider Gods mercy and prouidence fitting things so quickly and graciously vpon his prayer,The mani­festation of God his proui­dence is wonderful. and bringing so for­ward the cause of his comming. And in deede the manifestation of Gods prouidence is wonderfull: for which of vs could once euer haue thought that such things should haue come to passe as now we know and see? Happy is that hart that is contented with Gods will, and prayseth his name for well and woe.

Verse. 22. 12 Then the seruant tooke foorth a golden abilement &c. Where we may see, how although hee was perswaded that this was the woman whome God had apoynted for wife vnto his may­ster, yet doth hee vse ordinary meanes, as gifts of golde, to pro­cure her to consent. Therefore wee see the children of God do ne­uer reason thus, if God haue apoynted the matter, it skilleth not what I doo, but they vse the apoynted meanes, and leaue Gods counsells to himselfe. Our Sauiour fled into Egipt from He­rods tyranny,Matth. 2. and yet God had apoynted that hee should not so dye.Act. 27. And in the Acts of the Apostles, they toke broken peeces of the Ship, and so got out, yet foretould that they should not pe­rish, with many such examples in the scripture. Agayne wee may note it heere,Attyre in women. that such golden attiring as this and Iewells, are not simply condenmed in all women. But it is the manner, or measure or calling that maketh things not alowable. Confer this with Peter and Paule forbidding brodered heyre, &c. as also with the third of Esay, and interpret one by an other. Mayster [Page 100] Cranmer in hys booke of the Sacrament sayth, those places of Peter and Paule be denyalls but by comparison, and not sim­ply. But I neede not to speake in this matter. We are too apt to take more then is alowed, when men are but carefull not to re­strayne what is alowed. Both are extremities, and the middle way is the good vertue euer commended.

13 The seruant bowed himselfe when hee saw how all fell out.Verse. 26. And we are to marke in it how Gods children should not on­ly pray in their wants, but also be thankefull in their wealth,Thanke­fulnes to God. for so doth this seruant. He begged Gods assistance, and now that he euidently seeth it, he voweth himselfe, and blesseth the Lord for it. But God forgiue vs our vnkindnesse in this behalfe: for if ten of vs be clensed, nine of vs neuer returne to giue thanks.

14 In the 31. verse, and so on,Verse. 31. it pleaseth the Spirit of God to note Labans kindnesse and good intertainment of this seruant,A notable seruant. The lyke is read of Popilius a Roman, that he re­fused all intertain­ment of King Anti­ochus, vn­till he hard of him that he would be ruled by the Se­nat, about which mes­sage hee was sent. Discretion in doing a message. when once he had heard of him by his sister, and no doubt it is e­uer thus done, to commend vnto vs curtesy and gentlenesse, and to bring vs in dislike with currishnesse and hardnesse. But when meate was set before him, the seruant will not once taste of it till he haue done his message: more carefull a great deale of his may­sters businesse then of his owne belly. Where are such seruants in these dayes.

15 When you come to the seruants tale, I pray you note how hee leaueth out that which happely might haue offended them, namely, how Abraham his mayster gaue him in charge in no case to bring back his Sonne amongst his kindred agayne. It sheweth such a wisedome and discretion in a good seruant when hee doth his message, as is euer to be followed of all that reade it. And it sheweth also, that although no vntruth be to be auoutched, yet neyther is all truth euer and at all times to be declared.

16 Whē the seruāt had thus shewed how all things had hither­to fallen out euen by Gods mighty & merciful directiō, yet leaueth he libertie to the parents & friends if you marke it, to dispose of their child & sister as they would.Vers. 49. So see we in those days how the [Page] godly abhored to wring mens children from them by indirect meanes, if the parents were vnwilling to bestow them for.

17 In the answere of Laban and Bethuel vnto the seruant when he had ended his tale,The vn­derstan­ding and affection of the god­ly when a thing is sayd to them. marke the nature or: manner of the godly, both for vnderstanding and affection: Touching the first, you see they tast a good tale when it is tould them, and discerne God in his works. And touching the second, they seeing the mat­ter was of God, gaue answere thus: Wee can say vnto thee neyther euill nor good, behould Rebekah is before thee, take her and go. Both these are very speciall graces, where God doth graunt them, but rare graces wee must needes confesse in our dayes in comparison of the greater number. For how many sauour nothing whatsoeuer you say out of Gods booke vnto them, but are in this matter euen voyde of all capacitie, though in worldly causes quick inough.Note. Then for affection how many wil­fully striue in minde against that thing that yet in conscience they are conuinced to be the will of God. So that where is the man or woman almost we may say among many, that hearing Gods will tould them, and made rather more manifest then this was heere by the seruant, is stricken, moued and touched with it inwardly, yeeldeth vnto it; and sayth: Sir, I can neyther say good nor euill vnto you, this thing is of the Lorde that you tell mee, I see his will, and farre be it from me to resist him, no my hart is ready, and I am content to doo it? &c. Yet thus doo Gods children as heere you see. Let vs folow it then and folow it euer when a good tale is tould vs.

18 Then the seruant bowed againe toward the earth vnto the Lord, wherein still marke the constant pietie of the seruant, who still, still is thankfull and boweth to God. Agayne in the verses folowing note the custome of those dayes, to giue gifts to the Bride and to her friends.Honest mirth af­ter paines taken. See also how it is lawfull to be honestly merry when once our busines is done, and charge discharged: for now the seruant eateth & drinketh which he would not do before &c.

Vers. 54. 19 In the morning the seruant would be gone, abhorring to [Page 101] loyter and linger in his busines▪ as all good seruants doe. [...] But [...] tarie a little with [...] said [...] goe: which may discouer a [...] fre [...]nds▪ if [...]. For what do many of vs when we heare the worde of God declared to vs by some pla [...] euidence, so that we are mooued with it? I say what do we? Surely euen as these friends did ouer night, go take Rebekah, &c. That is, we consent and yeelde, and we are all in a heate and haste, to promise all obedi­ence to that which wee heare, and a man would thinke wee were wonne for euer. But after a while what do we? Truely euen as you see these friends, in the morning, we are well cooled, or rather euill cooled, our heate and haste is past, and nowe the mayde must tarrie ten dayes, that is, nowe wee will delaye and deferre, what before wee promised and purposed with all speede. So the lon­ger the worse, when it should bee euer the better, if wee were not euill.

20 But the seruant sayth againe, Hinder me not seeing the Lorde hath prospered my iourney, &c. Many seruants if they had beene in his place, would haue taried and feasted, and taken good cheere, and excused the matter well enough, that the maids friends were loth to parte with her. But so would not this most carefull and trustie seruant do: but hauing sped well, he longeth to be with his maister to ease his minde also, which is a speciall good care in a good messenger: for aegrè tristia, sed cito laeta sunt nun­tianda. Slowlye is euill, but with all good speede, glad things are to be tould, saith the olde saying. Againe because God had pros­pered him he would be gone, making Gods mercie a spurre to his faithfulnesse and diligence, and not a stower of him, as no doubt many would.

21 Then they called the maide, and asked her consent therein, leauing this for the godly euer, and all to marke,Verse. 57 that as children owe a dutie to parents, to aske their consents,Children ought not to be for­ced to mary. so euen pa­rents also owe this to their children not violently to force them a­gainst theyr liking: for who so marrieth, marrieth for himselfe, and not for his parents, and good reason then the heart should [Page] loue, whom the life must indure till dying daye. Now loue is not forced, neither euer can bee, but God giueth it reciprocally, if the match be his. No loue, no match of Gods making, let parents thinke, and it is his prerogatiue to ioyne together man and wife. If man will ioyne by force and violence, whom God hath not ioy­ned by consent and loue, what a bouldnesse is that in him that dooth it, and how, will God not indure it, but turne it to his woe. Yet children againe may not bee ouerbould because of this, but like if they possiblye can, where their parents better experienced then they are, iustly like. For if they do not thus, giuing all possi­ble place to their parents iudgements, surely they doe not honor father and mother as they should.

Behauiour for mari­age, when an answer is required 22 The mayde then asked, saith shee will, which was not any lightnesse in hir or easinesse ouermuch to bee intreated, but it was a religious yeelding to that without foolish delayes, which she euidently saw was the Lordes appoyntment for her. It should schoole vs in these dayes to doe the like, and neuer to vse nicenesse and follie, vnder pretense of modestie, when the matter is discussed already by mutuall euiction of either heart secretlye within, that the Lord will haue it so. Such dilly da [...]ly is fitter for Heathens that knowe not GOD, then for sober Christians, who haue vowed obedience in all stayed grauitie to the Lordes good pleasure.

Verse. 59. 23 The honest and orderly sending her away, with her nurse and maides are commendable practises euen with vs. But espe­cially marke in the 60 verse the blessing they gaue her when shee departed.Verse. 60. Our care performeth all things rather then this, and yet this as necessarie as many others. She rode vpon Camels, and was not to tender, but our wanton wayes wil worke vs woe, if God do not change vs.

Verse. 62. 24 In the 62 verse, note howe Isaac not yet maryed (for his wife that should be, was but now cōming towards him with his seruant) liued from his father, and kept house. Now adayes riche [Page 102] mens children eyther marry ere they knowe howe to vse a howse,A good po [...]licie for parents. or neyther marrying, nor keeping house, liue to spoyle and spende what others carefully haue got together. But wise parents may learne of Abraham heere to see, howe they will frame in theyr lyfe time, and then as they like them, leaue them more or l [...]sse.

25 One thing is mentioned heere of Isaac, Verse. 63. which is worthye memorye whilst wee liue. Namely that towarde the euening, O nota [...]le custome. he wente out into the field to praye. It showeth vs the cu­stome of those godlye Fathers of whome he learned it, nowe and then to goe foorth, and all priuately alone, to send vp to God the aboundance of theyr hearts, fraught with his feare, to meditate of his mercie continually tasted, to pray against faults continual­lye committed, and after many holye debatings of his fauours in them, to turne home againe comforted and euen refreshed, that with theyr GOD so good and so kinde, they haue had some conference, as became his Children. O wee, wee, sinnefull and wretched, howe manye are our walkes for vayne pleasure, and howe fewe or none in thys holye or­der.

26 As Isaac was thus walking in the Fields, hee lift vp his eyes, and sawe the Camels comming, Verse. 64 and Rebekah she loo­ked, and saw Isaac walking, and asked who he was, the seruant aunswering, that it was his maister: she lighted downe, coue­red her selfe with a vaile. &c. Both her lighting and vayle, to­kens of her modestye and humilitie. The marginall note is suffi­cient for this, if you ioyne vnto it the 1. of Sam. 25.23. where Abigael meeting Dauid, hasted and lighted also.

27 The seruant declareth all Gods dealing in this matter, and no doubt it both contented & mooued Isaac: whervpon he brought her into his mothers tent, he married her, If God take away one com­fort, he gi­ueth an other. well liking of Gods choyse, hee loued her, a token of Gods matche, and hee was comforted with her after his mothers death, to teache vs for e­uer this good, that if GOD take one thing, hee will giue [Page] an other, to the perpetuall praise of his infinite mercie, and the great incouragement of his children to continue in his feare. What a sort of instructions nowe hath this Chapter yeelded vs, and yet neither in this nor in any, is that halfe noted that might be noted. So plentifull is the spring of this heauenly water, yea such a sea of knowledge & comfort is Gods booke. This much is more then we thinke of euer: and thus much remembred by this occa­sion, and practised better, shall yeeld vs ioy, when all worldly fol­lies shall faile their followers. We haue heere but a time, and how short or long who can tell: spend this well, and we liue for euer: spend this ill, and wee dye for euer. Life and death, differ verye much, mirth and miserie, weale and woe, ioy and paine, I iudge, we iudge not to be like, but euer and neuer are pearcing dartes, if we haue any feeling in blisse to liue, or cursse to remaine, obeying or disobeying the Lords good will. The Lord make vs carefull, and so I end.

Chap. 25.

The cheefe heads of this Chapter are these.

  • Abrahams second marriage,
  • Abrahams death.
  • Iacobs birth.
  • Fsau his selling of his birthright.

TOuching the first, it is a warrant of the lawfulnesse of second mariage,Second mariage lawfull. against anye prophane minde, that wilfully disa­loweth it.Rom. 7.3. 1. Cor. 7.8. v. 39. And the Apostle is as plaine, when he sayth, as long as they liue toge­ther, the man and the woman are each bound to others, but if eyther bee taken away by death, the suruiuer is at libertie [Page 103] to marrie againe in the Lorde.

2 Remember how God sayd, that in Isaac should his seede be blessed, yet nows commeth Keturah with six sonnes on a heape,Ver. 2. &c such euents fall out to trie the children of God, whether they will cleaue to the word or no.

3 Abraham maketh his will and Testament, in his life time, disposing his good in such sort as quietnesse may folow amongst his children, when he is gone.Verse. 5.6 To make a will is wis­dome. So was Ezekias commanded to doe by the Prophet, and it is a thing that euery wise man will be carefull of whilst hee hath time. The neglect of this hath spent whatsoeuer was gathered by him that dyed.

4 Abraham dyeth, and it is the way of all flesh, as hath often beene sayd. Hee dyeth in a good age, sayth the Text,Verse 8. and full of dayes. Long life is good, and yet life will wearie any bodye at last: a fulnes of time will come to them, that most loue this world, though it be long first: for Senium viuendi taedium adfert. Oulde age will wax wearie of life at length.

5 Isaac and Ismael his Sonnes burie him. Verse. 9. A dutie that pa­rents do owe theyr children and children againe to their parents,To burie them, is a debt of all friends. husband must doe this for his wife, and the wife likewise for her husband it is the last curtesie and kindnesse to be showed, and it is not a matter of little regarde with the godly. They know there will be a meeting againe, and therefore they lay vp as it were the bodyes of theyr dead freends, as men laye vp theyr iewels, till such day come. Isaac and Ismael were no great friends once, but yet no iarres hinder them, for this common duty to their Father. We are more crooked and wayward, many of vs if lust do vrge vs in this pointe. Our displeasures priuate hinder vs greatlye from common good, and our anger lasteth from age to age, to our great reproche.

6 Abraham is buried with Sara his wife, Verse. 10. Lying of friends to­gether in buriall. and if they that loued and liued together while they were heere, be also both layde [Page] together in that bed of earth, that all must come to, when they be dead, it is a thing that may well bee doone, and deserueth no iust dislike of any.

7 And after the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac, sayth the 11 verse,Verse. 11. and howe sweete is it to all parents, if they marke it. For since God is not the God of Abraham alone, but of all that feare him: This comfort may you haue in your soules euer, that when you be gone, yet he remaineth and liueth for euer, to blesse and prosper, to defend and comfort your children after you, that are now your care.

Verse. 16. 8 In the genealogie of Ismael, hauing twelue princes descen­ding of him,A comfort [...]or all sac­ [...]otlesse children. see what God can do for a poore boye that was sente out with a bottle of water, and as it were left to the wide worlde, and to his fortune, as some speake. O powrefull God, what can­not he do, and whome cannot hee exalt if it please him? Seruants and all succorlesse children looke at it.

Verse. 21 9 Rebecca was barren long, and had no Childe, both to her owne and husbands greefe no doubt.God tak­eth his owne time to giue children. But so it pleased God then, and so so now it pleaseth him often also, to schoole his children, by withholding theyr wished comforts from them a time. Isaac had a promise, that he should haue seede, and in his seede, the familye and lyne greatlye increased, yet God wyll haue him wayte for it, and tarry his good pleasure in patience, which wee must marke. Isaac prayeth for his wife and the Lorde is intreated to showe vs what cupples should do one for an other in this behalfe, and how well the Lord liketh it, when they do it.

10 Then she conceyued, and being with childe, shee felt them striue in her bodye together,Verse. 22. and marueiling at her case, shee wente to the Lorde to aske him. The onely refuge of the godly. Noting thereby to vs, that there is no refuge to the godly euer in theyr distresses more then this, to get them to the Lorde, and to learne of him some comfort for their case. But how did she aske of the Lord? Surely there is no certayntie layde downe vnto vs, and therefore as wee cannot [Page 104] bee resolued with any certainty, so is the silence vsed an euidence that there is no necessitie: the matter is not to vs materiall. Au­sten saith, whether she went vnto the altar, that Abraham had built, or Melchisedeck was yet aliue, or some such man, or any other way that I cannot remember and thinke of, sayth he, this is certaine, the Scripture is true, and she asked God. Others saye this was before Abraham dyed, and that shee asked of him, and had her answer as foloweth:Abenezra Bona ven­tura de po­litia. cap. 2. others say happilye in a dreame shee was told, or by some inward reuelation, or by some angell,

11 When the children came to be borne, Esau is borne red and hearie▪ So vseth nature sometimes in mens bodyes,Verse. 25. to be­wraye theyr future manners, qualities, and conditions,Why Iacob borne later Iacob is borne the later, whom God could haue made first, if it had pleased him, but he would haue it knowne, that he was chosen meerely of grace, and not as more excellent, because the elder. Hee held his brother by the heele: which heele signified his posteritie, ouer whom the Israelites ruled, not by nature, but by God.

12 Isaac loued Esau, and Rebecca loued Iacob. Verse. 28. Such di­uersitie in affection of parents to theyr Children, wee see daylye.D [...]uers [...] of affect [...] ­on to chil­dren, euen in godlye parents. Sometime with reason, and often without. Heere a reason is ad­ded of the Fathers loue, to wit, because hee loued venison, which Esau often killed for him. But of the mothers no reason is giuen, happily shee loued Iacob more, because God had chosen him be­fore Esau. Whatsoeuer it was, certaine it is, shee loued him whome God loued. But something was in Iacob that pleased hir we may probably thinke,Rom. 5. for this is the difference of Gods loue and mans, that the reason of his, is euer in himselfe, and not in the partie being a sinfull man, but the reason of mans loue, is in the merit of the partie, lesse or more euer.

13 Sell mee thy birthright nowe, &c. Verse. 31. As if he should haue sayd, often hast thou offred it, now performe it, and let me haue it,How may Iacob be excused for the [...] and thou shalt haue to refresh thy hunger withall. But was this a brothers parte, to praye as it were vpon his brother, and to lye in waite for a vantage. Surely if hee had beene but a stranger [...] [Page] humanitie would haue releeued his hunger, either gratis, or for lesse then a birth-right, much more his brother. Howe then may Iacob be excused heere? The answer of good men is, that in an extraordinarie thing, we may not vse an ordinarie measure, iudg­ing of it, as of other things, that are ordinarie. The Lords pur­pose was to deriue the birth-right to Iacob: this occasion and opportunitie falleth out, Iacob taketh it, and let vs leaue all to God, and make no doctrine eyther of rebuke to others, or imitati­on to our selues by extraordinarie facts.

Verse. 32. 14 Lo I am almost dead, what is then this birth-right to to me. A very bad speech of an earthy minde, that measureth all by the belly, and thinketh nothing of vse, that profiteth not that waye? and we cannot better conceiue of this speeche, then by the like. Suppose a Christian in distresse seeketh comfort somewaye of a Turke. He shall say, if thou wilt forgoe thy fayth and profes­sion, thy title and interest in Christ and religion, I wyll releeue thee. The Christian shall thinke and say. My distresse is great, and what good dooth my faith and profession now to me,How world lye men thinke of spirituall graces. can my title and name now releeue me? can I liue by the name of Christiani­tie? is eyther meat in my belly, or money in my pursse by religi­on? No I may dye for hunger, and lye in prison for wante, for all my Christianitie, and therefore better is it for mee to take goulde and siluer, meate and drinke, pleasure and comforts of this life, and be out of this want, then to cleaue and be wedded to my faith still, away then with this that helpeth not▪ and welcome that that neuer fayles. Forgiue me the penny, and I shall want nothing. Were not this a prophane speech of an vntaught minde and man? were not this a most horrible contempt of a most holy profession? Then thinke of Esau by this. What saith he, is this birth-right to me, now that I am like to dye for meate, as if he should say, giue me for my belly, and let it go, that feedes me not, and so foorth. Nowe if this be vgly before our eyes, as I am sure it is, then learne wee by it,Godlines is gaine, and not contrary. neuer to measure spirituall things by worldly profit, to back and belly and pursse, &c, but thinke of spirituall things in theyr kinde, and know, that he that feareth God, shall wante no man­ner of thing that is good. 1. Tim. 4. Psal. 84. Godlinesse hath the promise of the [Page 105] to come and of this life also, that is, of all necessaries heere as shall be best. Seeke first the kingdome of God; and the righte­ousnes thereof, and all these things shall bee cast vnto you. With many and many such promises.

15 Sweare to me, saith Iacob, and why sweare?Verse. 33. Of like be­cause hee knewe the instabilitie and vncertaintie of Esau, With worldly men wee must deale thereafter. nowe in this minde, now in that, neuer constant in the word spoken. Ther­fore he maketh him sure, that he shal not start, with an othe, which doubtles very Esau made religion of, to the condemnation of ma­nie amongst vs, that thinke they be better then Esau, and yet care asmuch for an othe, as for their ordinarie speeches: we may learne by Iacob, with worldlye men to deale somewhat worldly, that is, to make surer of them by such lawfull meanes as we can, then we would of others, whose consciences be better, and constancie in a word spoken, farre otherwise then this mans was.

16 Then he sware and sould it. Preferring,Verse. 33. as worldly men doe, an earthly commoditie, before Gods spirituall graces,The birth­right what it was. which the godly doe not. The preheminence of the birthright was this, Habebant ius Sacerdotii & regni in familia. They were Priests, and kings in the familie after the fathers death.Gen. 49.3.8. &c. They had a prehe­minence aboue the rest, in the diuision of the fathers inheritance, Deutro. 21. They succeeded the father in all dignitie, principalli­tie and honour. They had authoritie ouer theyr yonger brethren, so that they rose vp at theyr presence, and ministred to them. Spect­abat etiam vitam aeternam. It had also his reference and respect to eternall life. All which being great things, this prophane man made little accompt of, but sould his title to them all for an easie price, according to a sillye feeling of spirituall grace.Hebr. 12.16.17. Beware we by him as the Apostle warneth to the Hebrewes, that wee bee not like him. Reade the Apostles wordes your selfe: Many among vs can skill more of Sheepe and Cattell, Corne and Wine, Farmes and rents, then of spirituall regeneration, and death of sinne. Such sayings sauour not ought vnto them, but remember Esau, and I say no more.

[Page] Verse. 34.Lastly, when Esau had sould it, and Iacob gotten it, then falleth he to his meate freshly,Wicked men of what re­morse. that Iacob set before him, and contemned the birthright. See I pray you the remorse in wicked men, when they haue offended. They eate and drinke, laugh and are merry, this is the care they take, and feeling that they haue. A fearefull dulnesse if we thinke of it: not onely to do wickedly, but to be so farre from repentance afterward. Yet is this vsuall with many men, Dauids heart smote him when hee had offended, and it was Gods grace and spirit in him: so shall it be in vs. A stonie heart is a plague of God,2. Sam. vlt. and a fleshie heart his good blessing. The one for his enemies, the other for his children. This feeling heart, and tender sense, when we haue shipped, the Lord giue vs euer, to a true repentance, and rising vp againe.

Chap. 26.

The heads of this Chapter these.

  • The famine, verse. 1.
  • The exile of Isaac and his accidents, to ver. 15.
  • The hatred of the Palestines against him, to 16.
  • The couenant betwixt the king and him.

Verse. 1. 1 TOuching the first, wee remember, and the words remember vs also,The tryals of Gods children are alike. that God tryed Abraham this mans Father be­fore, euen with the same affliction in a strange coūtrey, and now he tryeth his sonne after him with the same. There­by giuing vs occasion to learne, that euen such temptations as others be­fore vs our Fathers and brethren haue tasted of, we also must ex­pect and prepare our selues for. The cup of affliction, is not ap­propriated to some fewe, but made ready euen for the whole num­ber [Page 106] of Gods elect, as the Father of wisedome shall iudge it sit. Now if others also haue drunke with vs both before, and shall af­ter, then false is that peeuish perswasion, that Sathan so faine would fasten in our mindes, that none but we taste of this crosse, or in this sort and such like. It is not so, but as heere, what Isaac is tried with, his father also indured before, so what we abide, others in like sorte haue abidden, and it is no more token of Gods displea­sure to vs, then to them, but his messenger in loue, to invre our faith both to them and vs. The Apostle Peter is very plaine, & let not his wordes depart from before your eyes, day or night:1. Pet. 5.9. whom resist, saith he, stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same, the same afflictions (marke it) are accomplished in your brethrē which are in the world. Both of which place and matter, I haue much more spoken in the last petition of the Lords praier, to your comfort I hope, if you will there see it and consider it.

2 The Lord appeareth to Isaac and saith, Verse. 2. go not downe to Egipt, &c. Gods care for his e­uer su [...]e. where we see the care & prouidence of the Lord for his chosen euer, whom though he exercise as it pleaseth him, yet he ne­uer leaueth destitute of his comfort. His eye sleepeth not, nor his loue fainteth, but euer he is ready to supply an other waye, what wanteth someway to his children. Gen. 41. He admonisheth Pha­roh of a famine to come, by his seruant Ioseph? and whye? But that so he might prouide for his seruant Iacob, a place to be fed in 2. Kings and 8, you haue an other notable example of this mercy. Let the Lord then worke his pleasure with vs, sure we are by these examples, he will not faile vs, but prouide for vs, as shall be best.

3 Dwell in this land, and I will be with thee, &c. Verse. 3. Note the blessing of God vpon men,Dwel wher God pla­ceth thee. when they are where God appointeth them. If we carue for our selues, bee it vnto vs according to our bouldnes. But if we tarrie Gods leasure, & folow his calling, and his directiō, surely it shalbe to vs there according to mercy: a good place to stay flitting minds: no waye respecting the Lord in theyr changes, but their owne pleasures or selfewill.

4 Many blessings he promiseth here to Isaac if you marke them,Vers. 4.5. and why? Because Abraham obeyed my voice, sayth hee,The profit to children of parents pietie. &c. [Page] teaching vs plainely, that there is no more effectuall meanes to prouoke God to mercie toward children, then if their parents be­fore obeyed Gods voyce. This is it that God cannot forget, nei­ther will forget,Read 1. reg 11.34. for his goodnes sake. But euen vnto thousands of their seed that serue him, and keepe his commaundemenes will he be good. O parents marke it, and lay it to your hearts. You see the fruite of your comming to church, of your hearing the worde, receiuing the Sacraments, and of leading your life according to the waye prescribed, it sealeth vp the Lords fauour, not onely to your selues, but to your children after you, to a thousand desents. This cannot raking and scraping vp worldly pelfe do, with neg­lect and contempt of all I haue named, but euen quite the con­trary, and therefore I pray you marke it.

Verse. 7. 5 What might be noted heere in his denyall of his wife, hath sufficiently bin touched in the remembrance of this matter in his Father before him Chap. 20. whether you may resort againe,Verse. 8. Verse. 9. and compare the Father and sonne together: making this note with your selfe that feare and distrust is found in the most faithfull, and therefore no cause we should vtterly dispayre for our own wants.

Verse. 10. 6 Abimelechs iudgement of adulterie, in the 10. verse, will condemne many carelesse sinners in this kinde, that make not the like conscience to offend thus, that this man did. These cursed dayes make but a sporte of this sinne so fowle, in the eyes of very Heathens. But let vs beware, and lay it to our hearts, how in all ages, men that haue not been past all honestie, haue been perswa­ded that Gods vengeance should light of wedlock breakers.

7 Abimelech then gaue charge as you see, for Isaacs safetie, and his wiues also,Verse. 11. threatning death it selfe to hym that should touch them. See Gods mercy to take away his feare, that for his wife he should be killed, and not onely so, but to raise him vp such a friend of the king, as heere wee see. O what is not God able to do for his faithfull seruants, and what is he not willing to doe also for theyr comfort? Let vs cleaue to God then, and hee will cleaue to vs, let vs trust in him, and he will neuer forsake vs.

[Page 107] 8 Isaac thus hauing found grace with the king,Verse. 12. that he might be safe, fell to labour, and sowed a crop. The Lorde was present in that also, and gaue him of his labour increase an hundred fould. So the Lorde blessed him among these strangers, and is that arme shortned, that it cannot nowe blesse our labours in our seuerall callings and trades, if it please him? We knowe it is not, and therefore rather we want Isaacks trauell,It is not lawfull (saith the heathen Xenophon for any that sowe not corne, to praye that they may haue good corne: this verye na­ture spake. who lay not on the one side, and looked to liue, but laboured truly, and sowed his seed, or els we want his good heart toward God and religion, and ther­fore the Lord serueth vs thereafter. Iudge your selues, as you best can, and amend what you finde to be amisse: with sowing, not with sleeping Isaac got his increase, and yet not with sowing nei­ther without Gods blessing, but the Lord blessed him saith ye text ver. 13. and so makes him the author of this fruitfulnes in ye land, as euer he is. His mightie increase also otherwise, the text doth shew you, and marke it well, what God can do.

9 So he increased in very deed, that the Philistins had Enuie at him. Thereby we finding the saying true,Verse. 14. that pouertie breeds pittie, and plentie, spite: yea thereby wee seeing the guise of this world most playne before vs, that if a man want he is contemned, and if God blesse him hee is enuied, for enuie is a greefe at an o­thers well doing. And there is no poyson like this poyson, for all others hurt some others, & not themselues, but enuie rather wa­steth and weareth our owne selues, then hurteth others. Actius Sincerus sayd well of it, when being in company where question was made, what was good for the eyes to quicken the sight, and some sayd Fennell, some Saladine, some glasse, &c. He sayd Enuie was better then all those. Noting thereby, that enuie and spite, is euer busie, to spie quickly, rather with most then least: what re­medy but patience, and patience against spite, shall euer haue vic­torie at the last. Xenophon sayde to one that spake spitefully of him, Tu didicisti maledicere, & ego conscientia teste maledicta contemnere. Thou saith he, hast learned to speake euill, and I in the testimonie of my cleare conscience, to contemne thy spite. So say we, and so do we, and the game will be ours in the end. Paci­entia vincit omnia, non collu [...]tando sed sufferendo non murmuran­do, [Page] sed gratias agendo. Patience ouercommeth all things, not with strugling againe, but with suffring, not with murmuring, but with giuing of thanks. Socrates was merry, when he answered one that asked him, why he put vp an iniury, and cauld not the par­tie into law: What? if mine Asse take vp his heele and hit mee, must I goe to the law with him by and by. Noting what patience is rather to be vsed of wisemen.

Verse. 15. 10 The Philistins stop vp his wels, &c. This being theyr malice, let it harten vs, if euer we finde the like, and teach vs, that it is as true of malice as of loue, that if it cannot go, it will creep: that is it will shew it selfe as it can, and if it cannot do all it would, it will yet doo peeuishly all it can.

Verse. 17. 11 Isaac vpon this changeth his dwelling, and we may learne by it, that quietnesse is to be sought aboue profit.

Verse. 20. 12 In digging of these pits that heere you see, marke theyr names: the first is digged, and he calleth it Esek, that is conten­tion or strife, because they stroue with him for it. Then digged he a second, Verse. 21. and called it Sitnah, which is hatred. But at last, He digged a third, for which they stroue not, and therfore he cal­led it Rehoboth, because the Lord had made him rowme. So then after Esek and Sitnah, strife and hatred, at last hee came to Rehoboth, Verse. 22. rowme and rest, let vs hope the like, after trouble, peace,Nube solet pulsa can­didus ire dies. after strife, rest, and after paine, pleasure, to the praise of Gods mercy, that in time shall moderate what is amisse.

13 God appeareth to him, & comforteth him, saying, feare not, Verse. 24. &c. See, and see againe, the care of God for a true seruant of his. These crossings and striuings you haue seene, & how gree­uous they were to a poore stranger you can consider, more farre then the like would haue been among his owne friends. God ther­fore speaketh and cheereth him vp, leauing vs this to remember euer, that he seeth our greefes, noteth our wrongs, marketh our strifes, and in most need he will euer comfort vs. O sweete mercy of a gratious father, how may it cheere vs: he is not kind for Isaac alone, but for all them that trust in him, and that haue we found I [Page 108] am sure all of vs, if we will remember, and f [...]ll shall find if we will regarde him. His time he knoweth, and wee may not apoint him,Read Hab­bak. 2. v. 3. his time he will keepe, and we may not doubt him, our pinche hee spyeth, and we shall feele him.

14 Yet see more both of mercy and power in the Lorde to his Childe.Verse. [...]6. That vnkinde king that reuersed his loue towards Isaak and thrust him away, the Lorde maketh seeke to him againe for fauour, & to feare his vertue. So can God do, if it please him,Reade Act. 7.35. with any of vs, when we are most troden downe and abused, by any e­nemies that we haue. But let vs not appoint him: what he doth is euer best, onely let vs see what he can do, if it be good for vs.

15 Isaac when they came, expostulateth with them of his wrong yet he forgiueth it, and feasteth them liberally.Verse. 27. A good example for our eger wraths, that will neuer be appeased. If one of vs be touched, we carrie deadly hatred to our graue with vs,Verse. 30. and haue rooted it also in our posteritie, that they may carrie it. Thus did not Isaac, and God was with him.

16 Concerning Esau in the 34 verse. It biddeth vs marke, who they be that marry against their parents minde,Verse. 34. & also with wiues of a false religion: Surely Esaus not Iacobs, that is, vngodlye children, not godly children, that haue grace in them. Againe, howe bitter it is to a godly parent, to see the degeneration of his childe, and to harbour or countenance daughters in lawe that feare not God. Thirdly, it is very worthie noting, that albeit this matching of Esau in that Countrey with mens daughters, as we may pro­bably thinke, not meane, might haue beene some wordlye strength to Isaac, who was there a stranger, yet being not in the Lorde, hee detesteth such meanes, and wisheth in his heart no such affinitie, but in faith relyeth vpon the sure God.

17 Let vs not passe it ouer vnmarked, how though Isaac had wealth at will, and flowed in aboundance outward, yet wanted be not in his howsehold crosses. But Esau marrieth against his will,Verse. 34. greeueth the heart both of father and mother. So must it be, and so shall it be, for this world is not heauen. The Lord onely knit vs to him in all our crosses. Amen.

Chap. 27.

In this Chapter we haue,

  • The stealing of the blessing from Esau by Iacob.
  • The manner of the blessing.
  • The behauiour of Esau afterward.

Verse. 1. 1 IT is said, that Isaac was old, and his sight was dimme. Isaac dim of sight why? Wherein we may note both a generall prouidence of God, and a particular. A general, that commonly men in age & time should by course of nature waxe darke of sight, that thereby they drawing to­wards an other world, might be wei­ned from earthly matters, and be occasioned more to meditate, by want of bodily sight vpon things that are not seene. A particular, by this meanes to drawe this man to doe that which otherwise peraduenture he would hardly haue done.

Verse. 2. 2 I know not the day of my death, sayth hee, &c. and who dooth knowe it.No man knoweth the day of death. Ideo latet vltimus dies, vt obseruetur omnis dies. Therefore is the last day vnknowne, that we might bee in a readi­nesse euery daye. Nothing more certayne then the thing, nothing more vncertaine then the time, and such like sayings many. Vpon this occasion Isaac will make ready for death, and dispose of his matters according to this vncertaintie. So let vs doe vpon the like cause. For you see wee knowe no more the day of our death then he did.Verse. 4.

Liking of some meat more then others, a­lowed of God. 3 He loueth venison. And to our comfort it teacheth vs, that vsing moderation, & remembring thanks, the Lord is not offended with our fansies.1. Tim. 4. Hee hath sanctified all meates to the vse of his [Page 109] children, and nothing is vncleane that the Lord hath created. And if further wee like this rather then that, euen so also is the Lord pleased, and giuing vs libertie to vse our liking, blesseth with his mercy that particular to vs. O gracious God.

4 Rebecca heard when Isaac spake to his sonne. Verse. 5. Some note of the curiositie in womens natures,Cur [...]si [...] of wom [...] they will be harkening ouer often when they are not called to be of counsell, and it is a tickling desire in too many to knowe all that that is spoken, be it purposely wished otherwise. Sara before a good woman, yet harkning behinde the dore, and now heere Rebecca heard, and of like by some such priuie harkning. All women be not thus, but many graue & wise, to content themselues within their bounds, such as be so may well amend it, and be greatly commended.

5 Now hauing thus ouerheard her husband,Ve. 6. &c. she entreth in­to talke with her sonne Iacob to preuent the ould man,A partiall Mother. and to deriue this blessing from his brother to himselfe. Wherein we see the picture of a partiall Moth [...], more addicted to one childe then an other, when yet both of them are alike derely bought to her. Touching the subtiltie she vseth,Her subtil­tie not a­lowed. I doo not see how it can be iu­stified, for she should haue taryed till God had performed his pro­mise by some direct course.

6 Iacob obiecteth what danger may happen, and thereby we see the common saying true, Plus vident oculi, quam oculus, Verse. 11. More see two eyes then one. more see two eyes then one, and especially if ones minde be vehe­ment vpon the thing in question, for earnest desire to obtayne a thing dazeleth the iudgement often, that it seeth not hidden euill and inconueniences. Therefore if euer I should vse my friend, I would surely vse him, and craue his due consideration to ioyne with me, when I finde my affections hote vpon any thing to effect it or haue it: for euen then sonest as I say by the vehemency of de­sire may my iudgement fayle me, whereas my friend being sway­ed no way with any affection, looketh more throughly into the matter, and with a cleerer eye then I can, so finding and seeing such perill and danger, such euill and inconuenience, as I for my [Page] heate carying me vneuenly could not see. So doth Iacob in this place obiect what in deede in mans guesse might very well haue fallen out, and of like by his mother was not either at all or ear­nestly thought vpon.

Verse. 12. 7 Iacobs care also not to offend his father, and so procure his cursse,The feare of fathers curse. is very worthy noting heere, to the example of all children and youth which in these licentious dayes of ours make little ac­compt of parents displeasure. My father sayth he may possibly feele me, and I shall seeme to him to be a mocker, and one that would deceyue hym, so shall I bring a curse vpon me, and not a blessing. Looke at this yee children that mary against parents minds, and doo many things else to their great griefe. Where is this feare of your parents curse that you see in Iacob, or that they should thinke of you otherwise then well. Thinke you the parents curse now adayes being iust, is not as strong as in those dayes? deceyue not your selfe, for it is true euen in these dayes as euer it was,Syrac. 3.10 That the blessing of the Father establisheth the houses of the children, and the mothers curse rotteth out the foun­dations &c. Reade the Chapter from the beginning, and you shall see more.

8 Vpon me be thy curse sayth his mother my sonne, on­ly heare my voyce &c. Verse. 13. You remember when the children strout in Rebeccas womb,How Re­becca saith that curse, be vpon me what the Lorde tould her concerning the yonger, which promise of his it is to be thought her faith respec­ting, and assuring her selfe God would blesse Iacob, as hee had sayd, she spake thus, fearing no curse to come to him, whome God in mercy had chosen and regarded. Therefore this in her may be lawfull. But can no wise authorise vs either in rage and heate of vnbrideled affections, or in deepe and dead securitie and vnfealingnes to vse like phrase in an euill matter,Math. 27. as those wic­ked Iewes did that cryed, his bloud be vpon vs, and vpon our children, and as many desperate or blinde Friers doe, Semina­ries and Iesuits, Priests and practisers for the man of Rome, that to incourage the people to disobey their Princes lawes,Seminaries & Iesuites. and go­uernments that they liue vnder, bid them lay that burden vpon them, they will indure that danger, &c. Such seducing spirits [Page 110] haue no promise to respect as Rebecca heere had, but a fearefull fulfilling of wrath vpon them for such temeritie as the Iewes found.

9 Iacob sayth he is Esau, and that God hath brought so soone the venison to his hands, all which was vntrue,Verse. 19. to deceiue his blinde father that could not see him.Iacobs lye vnlawfull. The marginall note doth satisfie vs in it,Verse. 20. that although Iacob was assured of this blessing by faith, yet he offended in seeking it by lyes, and the more because he abuseth Gods name therevnto. So see wee the imperfections of good men, that they haue bin euer, and often great.

10 The ould man calleth for him that he might feele him, and yet cannot discerne,Verse. 21. so cunningly had his mother vsed the mat­ter.Our easy­nes to be deceyued. We may marke in it how nothing is able to goe contrary to Gods will and determination. We shall feele and not knowe, we shall heare, and yet be deceyued, yea, when euen our owne mouths shall confesse it to be Iacobs voyce,Verse. 22. yet with an outward coun­terfet shew of Esau his roughnesse, we shall be caried away if the Lord haue so decreed it. Therefore let them that are to perswade others be content, if all beleeue not, and let them that beleeue not in so cleere light, feare least God haue decreed woe to them and hasten, if yet they wil be warned, from such hardnesse.1. Sam. 2.25 The sonnes of Eli are a fearefull example if they will consider it.

11 Let vs consider heere who is blessed,Childrens vsage if they wil be blessed. surely a sonne that feedeth his father. And when doth the father blesse him? surely when his hart is euen light and cheerefull in him. All which tea­cheth vs both how children ought to seeke to win the blessing of their parents, namely, by well vsing them. And also that then is a man most fit to powre out comfort or blessing to others,A cheere­full spirit most apt to blesse o­thers. when his heart is not troubled, but cheerefull, and smelleth euen a sweet sauour in them whome he should blesse and speake vnto, for hard it is to sing one of the songs of Sion in heauynes, but the woe of minde and smart of griefe within letteth greatly the sweete streame of comfort that should flowe to others.Psal. 137.

12 Mark how he sayth that the smell of his son is like a feeld Verse. 27. [Page] that the Lord hath blessed. The Bles­sing. Goods ill gotten. From which gratulation all they are barred, that get their possessions, lands, and reuenewes, by vngodly meanes, as by stealth, bribery, oppression, and wrong, for such are like a feeld which the Deuill hath corrupted and sowen sinne in, to their certayne fall when time shall come, yet may their garments happely smell a great way off by the art of man, but neyther themselues nor their riches by blessing of God.

13 Agayne consider well in this blessing what wealth and what riches the father wisheth to his forme,What wealth hee wisheth. and you shall see it is no pompe, no port, no vanitie of apparell, nor such things as the world now doteth vpon, but he wisheth him of the fatnesse of the earth, and husbandmans frute for husbandmans paynes. Which though it tye not euery man to till with his owne hands, yet tea­cheth it that our godly fathers in those better dayes of theirs, thought it a speciall honor for their children to liue by Gods bles­sings vpon the earth, and not by other idle course and sinister pra­ctises. Marke the blessing well, and you shall see more.

By earthly things o­ther meant 14 In that Isaac nameth nothing but earthly things, be not deceyued as some haue bin, to thinke that eyther himselfe rested in such things, or that he wished no better to his childe, for it is not so. But by and vnder these earthly blessings hee comprised and chiefely prayed for all heauenly and spirituall graces promised of God, and beleeued of Isaac to Abraham and his seed in Christ and by Christ. This manner of speech therefore is no other then vsually the Prophets haue by things outward and subiect to sense and the weakest capacitie, to vnderstand and meane things spiri­tuall, not seene, but subiect to faith aboue many times our slender capacitie. So Esay 11. and many other places.

An alle­gorie. 15 The allegorie in this place that Ambrose maketh, is not amisse. To wit, that as Iacob the yonger is heere blessed in the name of the elder, and the clothes that he hath borowed of his el­der brother, giue a sweete sauour in the nostrills of the Father: so are we in the name of Christ our elder brother, with whose gar­ment of pure righteousnesse being clothed, wee smell sweete also [Page 111] to our heauenly Father, and are accepted. This against indirect righteousnesse, and for righteousnesse of imputation.

16 That which he sayth in the 29. verse,Vers. 29. let people be thy seruants, and nations bow downe vnto thee, &c. may bee a good proofe that Isaac stayed not in these earthly things which he nameth, but loked at higher matters. For how could he conceyue any hope of such dignitie as th [...]s, sauing that hee was assured his posteritie was chosen of the Lorde, and euen for the kingdome that after folowed, that it should be in his stock and line, and be­long to them? Therefore sayth the Apostle▪ that Isaac blessed Iacob by faith, and Esau concerning things to come, Heb. 11.20. as did also Iacob in the ende of this booke when he was a dying. This honor then that heere hee speaketh of, shot at that which was ful­filled afterward in Dauid and Salomon, but chiefely in Christ, vnto whome all people are seruants, and all Nations bow,Philip. 2. euen the knees of all things in heauen and earth, and vnder the earth, Psalm. 2. and to whome God hath giuen the heathen for an in­heritance, and the ends of the earth for a possession, as sayth the Prophet. Yet true also euen of the godly is this which is said, he that curseth thee shall be cursed, and blessed be hee that blesseth thee: Psalm. 15. for euen in his holy tabernacle shall a place be giuen to them that make much of such as feare the Lord. And whosoeuer offendeth one of these little ones that beleeue in me, Math. 18.6. it were better for him that a milstone were hanged about his neck, and that hee were drowned in the bottome of the sea. But chiefely I say it is true in Christ who descended of Isaac that heere speaketh thus, which Christ, whosoeuer curseth by abu­sing his person, or contemning his truth &c. that man shall be cursed, and whosoeuer blesseth him, by imbracing him, and be­leeuing on him &c. that man shall be blessed.

17 Iacob was scarce gone out when Esau came. Verse. 30. Marke I pray you the powrefull prouidence of almightie God,Narrow escapes. how it ru­leth and gouerneth times and seasons, dayes and houres, and moments of time, to the safetie and benefite of his chosen. For doth Esau come before Iacob is gone? No, first Iacob is out of [Page] his walke, and then he commeth. Yet see agayne the narrow es­cape, and let vs learne by it not euer to looke for easy and great passage from perill, but be content if hardly and narrowly God deliuer vs, scarse he was gone, yet gone.

Teares too late. 18 After long debating of the wrong, at last Esau breaketh into teares, but preuayled not. Let it make vs wary and wise, least prophaning the dignitie of our holy calling to Christ, and vilely esteeming spirituall graces, selling them as this man did for some base price, and preferring profit or pleasure before them▪ we at last bewayle the same as now he doth, but all too late. Let the Apostles exhortation sound euer in our eares: Let there bee no fornicator, Heb. 12.16. or prophane person as Esau was, which for one portion of meate sould his birthright. For ye know, how that afterward also, whē he would haue inherited the blessing, he was refused, finding no place to repentāce, though he sought it with teares. Surely such men & womē as hauing bin once zea­lous & great louers of the word,Note. of preachers & professors of the same, with very forward affection in all good causes, and after to please some mens humors, to purchase to themselues this or that profit, or that they may inioy some sinfull pleasure, either forgoe all agayne quite, or in great measure. Let them take heed they be not either in, or very neere the prophannes of this Esau. For what do they else then contemne spirituall things to obtayne earthly, sell their birthright, that is their title to Gods kingdome had by walking in his feare, for such sinfull reward as they gayne by their change. God awake all cooled harts, and giue them heate agayne, that so are slipped and thinke not of it. Remember Esau, and beware Esau.

Verse. 39. 19 This blessing which Esau wringeth from his father, in­cludeth temporall things, [...]sau his [...]lessing. which are common to the wicked with the godly. And that breaking of the yoke from his neck, your margin sheweth you when it was fulfilled.2. Reg. 8.20 That which I note in it,Verse 40. is a certayne vicissitudo rerum, an interchange of things. For hardly hath bin scene or rather neuer, that any man, any stocke, or any countrey, should be euer aloft, or euer below and vnder. [Page 112] But the Lord changeth giuing the yoke, and breaking it away a­gayne according to his good pleasure.

20 Agayne heere in Esau wee may note some properties of a bad man voyde and destitute of any true grace,Notes of wicked man. and learne by them both to examine our selues, and to auoyde them if wee finde them. First, hee hated his brother for this thing, and hee that hateth his brother, is a mansleyer sayth the Scripture. Secondly, hee thinketh in his minde a secret venome of a poy­soned heart, his tong hee stayes, sed loquitur in corde, hee sayth within him some euill. Like as the Prophet sayth, they imagine mischife in their hearts, meaning the wicked. Lastly,Psal. 140.2. hee ap­poynteth a time when hys Father shall bee dead, beeing con­tent to make fayre weather, and to carry murder and suche murder as of hys owne brother tyll that daye. Thys is an hypocrites fashion euer to forbeare euill for feare of men.

21 But his mother heard of it. The Lord discoue­reth trea­cheries against his. He happely afterwardes bolting out some suspicion. This is the Lord still and still, and euermore, in the behalfe of hys, nothing so secret to their harme, which some way or other commeth not out. Thus hath thy po­wer O Lord appeared mightely, and by name in this Kingdome, and the protection of thy faithfull seruant our deere and gracious Souerayne Queene Elizabeth. O Lorde how hast thou ope­ned the darknesse of sinne conceyued agaynst her royall person, agaynst thys lande, and the life of all that feare thy name.English treasons. For wee were sould, wee were sould O Lord by many bloudy mindes, shee thy sacred seruant first as our head and stay vnder thy Ma­iestie, and then wee her poore people, liuing and breathing vn­der her shadowe, not to be for seruants and handmaydes, as complayned that Queene Esther to Assuerus, for then they had not bin so cruell, but to be destroyed after many miserable & mon­strous torments, with bloudy sword of murdering mindes, that should haue licked vs vp, & drunke our bloud til they had vomited againe for fulnes with the same. And from all this thine owne selfe hath saued vs and set vs free, giuing them their portions eyther by Sea or land, by one meanes or other, as they did deserue. [Page] Out thou broughtest Esau his conspiracies at all times to this day, and saued thy true Iacob, whome thou hast blessed amongst vs, and ouer vs, to our vnspeakable comfort ten thousand wayes. Some or other heard of it, as Rebecca did heere, and were in­struments of wisedome, counsell, and seruice, to preuent it [...] Lord wee thanke thee, with the very soules of our foules wee thanke thee, crauing mercy, that wee cannot do it as we should. O Lord continue thy mercy for thy mercy sake, and let the soule of our Souerayne be still deere vnto thee, write her deere Fa­ther in the palmes of thy hands, and regard her euer as the apple of thine eye. Continue thy Gospell to this land, and the light of thy countenance still in our dayes, blessed for euer and euer for what is past.

22 Marke how Rebecca vseth meanes to saue Iacobs life, and yet she had Gods oracle that he should be mightie,Verse. 43. and rule ouer his brother,The godly vse means, and pre­sume not vpon God his apoint­ment. so that if euer any might haue presumed of Gods apoyntment, she for one might: but yet she doth not, but leauing that, vseth ordinary meanes, and sendeth him away. How sense­lesse then is it that some talke of predestination, that if it be to be saued, they cannot be damned, and if to be damned they cannot be saued, and therefore no meanes to be vsed: fye fye of such follies. Do as Rebecca heere doth, leaue God his apoyntment to him­selfe, and take the ordinary course to be saued, heare his word, be­leeue his promises, and indeuour to walke in the wayes of hys will, then shall God performe his apoyntment to your comfort as he did to Iacob, the other is but tempting of God, and deceyuing your selues. Christ himselfe flyeth into Egypt from Herod, and yet apoynted of God to liue his time, which no Herod could pre­uent, with many moe.

Lastly, note Rebeccas words to her husband, I am weary of my life for the daughters of Heth, Verse. 46. &c. See in them, how going about to get Iacob leaue to depart the countrey,Rebeccas godly dis­cretion. she telleth not her husband the true cause, least she should grieue his heart, but maketh an other excuse, yet a iust one. Such wisedome and good discretion is commendable eyther in man or woman. Thus shee [Page 113] had her desire, her husbands minde not troubled, her sonnes both saued, and her selfe in peace and quiet. It was the Lords good­nes thus to direct her: and that Lord in mercy make all these things profitable to vs. Amen.

Chap. 28.

The heads of this Chapter are chiefely these.

  • The Fathers counsell at his sonnes departure.
  • The fact of Esau.
  • The ladder that Iacob saw.
  • The vow which he made.

1 TOuching particulars. First wee may marke how a sweet and temperate na­ture in ould Isaac ruleth and ouerru­leth all his affections,Anger must haue an ende. which otherwise were stirred vp against Iacob, when once hee seeth the will of God, what it is. He is now so farre from raging or rayling agaynst Iacob, that quietly and fatherly hee calleth him vnto him, blesseth him, and giueth him his counsell to direct his match. This is a speciall place for grieued parents to consider of, or friends whatsoeuer, that wee bee not froward and wilfull when children or others haue offen­ded. Anger must haue an ende,Greeued parents or friends. and the sight of Gods wyll must ouerrule vs. I haue heard of parents that neuer woulde re­lent, what circumstances so euer were to moue them. Theyr griefe may be iust, but yet for all that Isaac heere is a better ex­ample then they are, and let vs all thinke of it.

2 Hee blesseth his sonne Iacob agayne the second time,Verse. 3. to [Page] confirme his faith,A second blessing of Iacob. and to strengthen his heart, that the Lorde would be with him so long as hee serued him in all his matters, such comfort were fathers blessings in those dayes to children, which now very little or nothing are regarded.

3 That he calleth him God all-sufficient. See comfort and stay of all trauelers in strange places,The com­fort of tra­uelers. whose trauell lyeth vpon them eyther by any necessitie of their calling, or for the truth and their good conscience sake. Surely it is this, God is all suffici­ent, euer able to protect and saue them wheresoeuer they come: so must Iacob thinke that goeth abrode and be comfortable, so will Isaac thinke that parteth with him, and by the same stay his heart concerning the safetie of his sonne. So let vs &c.

Vnequall mariage. 4 He forbiddeth him mariage with vnbeleeuers, and it still doth remember vs how perfitly those godly Patriarks hated such vnequall matches eyther for lucre or pleasure, as wee in these dayes make no conscience of.

5 It may be agayne our learning to marke the estate of Ia­cob heere.Verse. 5. He is chosen, and his brother reiected, he is the bles­sed of his father,The godly often ba­nished. and the blessed of the Lord, yet must he now goe walke, hee must abrode and shift for himselfe, his countrey, and fathers house are not for him, a banished man must he be. O Ia­cob wee see thy case, and consider the lot very often of Gods deere ones, God make vs blessed as thou wert, for to be banished is no newes.

6 When Esau saw saith the text &c. Now then he seeth, when he had offended,Esau seeth too late his fault. but he should haue seene before he offended. An ouerlate sight is good neither in pietie nor pollicie: for though the prouerb sayd it is neuer too late to do well, yet an other an­swereth, that had I wist commeth euer behinde. So heere &c.

7 Esau seeketh to win his parents loue agayne, but all in vayne and preposterously,Verse. 9. as long as hee taketh not away the cause of their displeasure,To please God, the cause of griefe must be taken away. to wit, his Cananitish wiues. Wee [Page 114] may learne thereby that in vayne also wee our selues shall [...]e [...]ke Gods fauour, and seeme religious, except the cause of his wrath be done away by vs, to wit, our sinnes, and hated offences.

8 He lodged in the feelds, to wit Iacob, Verse. 11. a stone vnder his head, &c.After an humbling, comm [...]s an exalting. In which let vs marke his estate who was afterward rich and wealthy. The wide feeld is his house, the cold earth is his bed, a stone is his pillow &c. Where is our faith when we see this with patience to beare the time of our humbling & triall, knowing this and many mo examples of Gods exaltation of his childrens worldly estate, when hee seeth his time. For who seeing Iacob now woulde haue thought hee shoulde haue bin as hee was af­ter when hee came backe agayne: yet so hee was, and so able is God to any if it be his will. Only beleeue in thy aduersitie, and despayre not.

9 That night in his dreame hee saw a ladder vpon earth, and the top of it reached vnto heauen, Verse. 12. and so the Angels went vp and downe by it. The ladder what it sign [...]fieth. The letter sheweth vs the goodnes of God euer comforting his, and strengthning them, yea then especially when their neede is greatest of comfort, as diuers times we haue seene before in this booke. The mystery of this ladder may bee this. The ladder is Christ. The foote of it in earth noteth his hu­manitie, man of the substance of his mother borne in the world. The top reaching vp to heauen, noteth his diuin [...]ie, God of the substance of his Father begotten before all worlds perfit God, and perfit man, by which vnion of natures,Col. 1.20. he hath ioyned earth and heauen together, that is, God, and man. The ascen­ding and descending of Angells by that ladder, sheweth how by Christ the seruice of Angells is purchased to vs to attend vs and serue vs as he shall thinke good to apoynt them, who onely is, (I meane Christ our Sauiour) the ladder whereby we ascend into heauen. I am the way, sayth he, and no man commeth to the father but by me &c.

10 And behould the Lord stood aboue it and sayd. The Lord, not Ang [...]l [...] kepeth Ia­cob. The Lord doth speake vnto him, & with a most sweet promise comfo [...]t [Page] the hart of Iacob now thus cast off, as it were to goe seeke abrode to get a liuing. By which wee may first note the neede of comfort in respect of weakenesse that the best men haue sometime, for God did not thus cheere vp Iacob for no cause. Secondly, wee may note to our owne comfort the readynesse of God to offer be­fore men aske or see the depth of the griefe they would otherwise fall into. And thirdly, that though Angells ascende vp and downe, yet it is God that keepeth and comforteth, and no crea­ture doth, but what hee is the author of. A good place to lighten our vnderstanding concerning their blindnesse that make Angells their Gods to pray vnto, and to expect helpe from. No sayth this place, it is I, it is I, that am with thee, and will keepe thee whi­thersoeuer thou goest, and will bring thee agayne into this land: for I will not forsake thee, vntill I haue performed that that I haue promised thee. I, I say, I it is and not these Angells that yet ascend and descend by mee to doo what seruice I apoynt, but they are not of themselues to doo any thing, onely they obey my voyce, and are ministring Spirits to do what they are comman­ded. I am the fountayne and author of all. Leaue wee then this folly, nay great and grieuous impietie to our aduersaries, that will not be perswaded by any thing, and cleaue wee to God as the onely giuer of all good, knowing that Angells shall so farre mini­ster vnto vs as he apoynteth, and no otherwise: for he is the Lord, and they are but seruants.

11 But it is a maruelous sweete speech that I haue named, and heere you see in the 15. verse,To vs this also spoken and such as might comfort Ia­cob in deed with a very full comfort. If the Lord would say so to me, I would feare nothing may some man thinke &c. In deed and would it so cheere you if God should say asmuch to you? Looke then what the Prophet Hose sayth,Hose. 12.4. when hee speaketh of this thing, and hereafter performe your promise, neuer feare, but trust in God, for euen thus sayth the Prophet hee spake vnto vs, vs I say all, and not only to him.

12 And I will not forsake thee, till &c. O Lord thus art thou in this,Verse. 15. and thus art thou in all things that thou speakest. Not for a time indureth thy fauour,The Lords loue la­steth. but whome thou louest, to [Page 115] the ende thou louest them,Iohn. 13.1. and neuer wilt thou leaue that man or woman that trusteth in thee.

13 Till I haue performed what I haue promised sayth the Lord. And did he then forsake Iacob? no,I ill for e­uer, not for a time. it is asmuch this word till, as neuer. I will not forsake thee till, that is, neuer will I for­sake thee. Often also is the word taken elsewhere for a perpetui­tie, and doth not limit a time, as in the Gospell, I will bee with you till the ende of the world, that is, euer, and not then to giue ouer when the world endeth, so Psalme. 72.2. and in other pla­ces. Weake therefore is their coniecture, that thinke Ioseph knew his wife after Christ was borne, because it is sayd he knewe her not till she had brought foorth her first begotten sonne. For the word till, there may signifie a perpetuitie aswell as in these places that I haue named, and in others: and the meaning be, he knewe her not till then, that is, he neuer knew her. I will not sayth God heere forsake thee till I haue performed, that is as I sayd I will neuer do it.

14 When Iacob sayth, Surely the Lord is in this place. Verse. 16. He meaneth not to include his infinite maiestie in a finite place,How God is in a place. for God is euery where, and may not locally bee included any where. But Iacob meant of the signe of his presence which hee gaue there, which is vsually sayd in the scripture to be his beeing heere or there. Reade the last of Esay in stead of many mo. And I was not aware sayth Iacob. Whereby wee may gather thys comfort, that if the Lord be so neere his faithfull when they are not aware, that is, before they seeke and looke intentiuely for him, how shall hee absent himselfe when they doo looke for him, yea shrike with their feruent prayers, grones,A comfort. and cryes in his Maie­sties cares, that he would come vnto them and comfort them? O he can neuer doo it, and therefore doubt not of him, but vrge him with this example if you list to Iacob, and be full of faith.

15 Then Iacob arose, Verse. 18. tooke the stone that was vnder his head, and pitched it as a piller, and powred oyle vpon it. Christ is the stone vpō whom we rest. This stone by some is noted as a figure of Christ, for it was one of [Page] the stores of the place, & preferred by Iacob to this vse: so Christ a man of the nature of men, but chosen amongst them to an higher vse and dignitie then any else. This stone was placed in Bethel, that is,Esay 28. in the house of God: and the Prophet sayth of Christ, Po­nam lapidem in Sion, I will put a stone in Sion, &c. Thirdly, this stone had oyle powred vpon it,Psalm. 45. and Christ with the oyle of gladnes was anoynted aboue his felowes.

Di [...]nitie of place not [...] one. 16 The name of the place being before called Luz, Iacob now calleth Bethell, that is, the house of God. But afterward in time we reade how it fel out that by Ieroboam & others, it was made Beth- [...]uen, that is, the house of wickednes and idolatry, 1. King. 13. 1. King. 13. [...]. 18.12. 1. Sa. [...]3.5. And shall wee thinke it an impossible thing for Rome to become Babell, or for any place to be reiected of the Lord, if it reiect him? Rome neuer had the promises that other places had, neyther euer was God more truly serued there then sometimes hee was in Bethel, yet Bethel is changed, and why not Rome? If it may be, then looke not at a place what once it was concer­ning religion, but what presently it is, for a change may be, and we know who sayd it euen of Rome, Quesiui Romam in Roma, & non inueni Romam, I haue sought Rome in Rome, and I haue not found Rome, you may see his meaning.

Verse. 20. 17 Iacob vowed, so will Papists, but see the difference, hee to God,Popish vowes. they to Saints, hee to performe things agreeable to the word, they contrary to it, he maketh his vow no merit, they do &c. Secondly when Iacob saith if God &c. hee meaneth not by that if to make a conditionall proposition,Verse. 22. as not to serue God but for gayne, but his intent is, to shew what retribution he will make for all Gods benefites, surely euen serue him onely for euermore. Thirdly consider heere, that if to make God his God be commen­ded thankefulnes, then to make creatures our God, is condem­ned vnthankefulnes, what coulors soeuer we cast vpon it. Lastly in thankfulnes Iacob will giue tenths to God, and of all that God shall giue him, and we will be iudged thankfull also, and ey­ther pay nothing, or the worst we haue, and but of something.

Chap. 29.

There are layde downe vnto vs in this Chapter generally and chiefely these heads.

  • The cōming of Iacob to Haram, with the circumstances.
  • His seruice there with Laban.
  • His mariages.
  • His children by Leah.

FOr particulars, it is sayd, after God had talked with Iacob as we saw before,Verse. 1. that Iacob lift vp his feete, Iacob che­red with the pro­m [...]s [...], so should we. and came into the East countrey, whiche seemeth to note some alacritie in him to goe forward after he had had so comfortable a promise of the Lords company with him, and gui­ding grace ouer him in all his wayes. If it were so (as sure there was good cause it should be so) we may profit by it in this sort. He had a promise, and we haue a promise, he was cheered, and so should we be with the same, he to goe into a strange countrey, we much more to goe into our owne,Reade Hebr 13. v. 13. & 14. hee to serue many paynefull houres by day and night, wee to rule and reigne in vnspeakeable ioyes with Father Sonne and holy Ghost for euer and euer. Go wee then forwarde with the feete of our affections cheerefully lifted vp towards the place we seeke as Iacob did heere, and wee shall finde rest, not for body alone, but for body and soule eternally.

2 And as he loked about, behould a Well in a seeld. The letter is playne, & we see in it the prouidēce of God,Verse. 2. who directed him, & brought him to Labans house. But mystically some haue vnderstood by the feeld ye Church,The alle­gorie of the Well. & by the well the word of God in the same, which is opened by the chiefe shepherd Iesus Christ, [Page] that his sheepe may drinke, and his flocks be watered. O that we would go to this water to drinke euer, then should wee be sure to finde him ready that sayth, Come vnto mee all yee that thirst, &c. But when wee leaue this sweete well of Gods word, and runne vnto mans traditions,Reade Ie­rem. 2. v. 13 what maruell if wee finde no true comfort, to coole our heate withall.

Ve. 4. &c. 3 The dialogue that you see betwixt Iacob & the shepheards of that place,Cu [...]tesy to strangers. noteth the curtesy of those dayes, and of that people to strangers, euer a good thing as hath bin noted before in Abra­ham and Lot and others. Doggednes and currishnes graceth neyther countrey nor people.

4 When they say, wee may not water till all come toge­ther, Mans lawe more re­garded of­ten then Gods. &c. We see in them more regard and care to obserue the law of shepherds, then I feare me we can finde in our selues to ob­serue the law of the highest. For who being willed to ryot and sur­fet, to quaffe and exceede, to sweare and blaspheme, to commit fornication and whoredome, answereth in earnest as these shepe­heards did, we may not, the lawe is contrary, &c. Looser there­fore I say I feare are we to our woe one day in a greater matter, then these shepheards were in a lesser. Would God we regarded but Princes lawes and ciuill constitutions as these men did their pastorall orders, then would not many do as they do, but answere to all allurers, we may not &c.

The force of affecti­ons. 5 When Iacob saw Rachell and his vncles flocks, he row­led away the stone off the well, he watered the flocks, he kis­sed Rachell, tould her who he was, and lift vp his voyce & wept. See the affections of flesh vnto flesh I meane vnto our carnall kindred, how dull are we that we cannot thus hartely be moued with the sight and presence of brethren in faith. Consider our cold­nesse, and as we know the band is better, so dayly let vs striue to thinke better of it.

6 Rachel runneth & telleth her father, Laban he coms run­ning to meet him. A patterne of the world. Where we compare & resemble vnto Laban [Page 117] this present worlde, which at the first meeteth men as Laban did Iacob, and seeming very ioyfull for them, intertaineth them well, but afterward churlishly altereth vpon them as he did. Flattring world, how many hast thou deceyued, that felt nothing but honye for a time. I say no more: I wis there be mo Labans in the world then haue to name Laban as hee had, hoate at first, colde at last, friendly in the beginning, froward in the ende, bee Iacob neuer so worthie of continued loue vnto him.

7 Laban will not suffer Iacob to serue for nothing, Laborers hyre. but he will needes giue him hyre, at least hee maketh showe so, saying, Though thou beest my brother, Verse. 15. yet shouldest thou serue me for nothing? wherby we may learne, that if a brother of a brother be to bee rewarded, and one kinsman of an other (for so meaneth Laban) if he take paines in truth and industrie for him: then may we not see strangers, that are no waye bounde to vs in nature, as the other be, go without their wages,Syr. 34.23. Deutro. 24.14.15. neyther may we let them go to bed without their hire. And what strangers? Surely our Ministers, that faithfully and truly teach vs, we may not defraud, our seruants we may not rob of theyr due, neither anye labourer that worketh with vs, for this were more iniustice then the other, and yet the other, such as Laban maketh shewe to bee asha­med of·

8 Iacob is content, all other wages set a side, to serue him 7. yeares for Rachell his yongest daughter. Wherein wee see,Verse. 18. how Iacob vseth lawfull meanes to come by his Wife,vse of good meanes to obtaine a mariage. and not vnlawfull, and at the seauen yeares end also, asketh her, and doth not take her by force. Compare it with the damnable libertie of our dayes, wherein gayning our purpose,Verse. 21. is thought both obe­dience to God, and loue to our neighbour sufficient, though wee would be loth our selues to haue such measure, and both God and man abhorre vs for it. That the time seemed so short, sheweth the force of affection when it is set.

9 Laban accepted the condition,Verse. 19. and the yeares being expi­red, the mariage is solemnized: of a feast at mariages,Rites of mariages then. wee reade [Page] here,Verse. 22. and in Iohn 2. of ma [...]riage garments, that is cleaner or ex­traordinarie somewhat, according to our places and abilities. Math. 25. Of Virgins going before with Lampes. Math. 25, and so forth. But I remember yet what Chrysostome noteth, when hee saith, De nuptiis Iacob legimus, de tripudis & chorets non legimus. We reade of Iacobs mariage, but of dancing we reade not.

10 When euening came, Laban deceyued Iacob, and gaue him his daughter Leah in steed of Rachell, Verse. 23. Labans deceit. whome hee could not by anye light then knowe, because of the V [...]les which Virgins were couered with all, in token of chastitie. The simpli­citie of those dayes appeare in it, which I leaue to your owne con­siderations, and thinke we of the world in this place, which maye well be resembled to Laban. Because as Laban promised fayre Rachell, The world like Laban but in the end performed but bleere eyed Leah, so dooth the world promise often mountaines to men, but performe in con­clusion little moulehils, my meaning it is: many men gape and hope vpon promises, for many matters, and in the end are serued with a iugling cast, as here Iacob was, and misse of matter they looked for. Trust not the worlde then, nor all golden promi­ses in the same, for men are false vpon the weights, and Laban is aliue to deceiue still: Beleeue you shall haue a thing when you haue it, and not ouer hastily before you were best.

Why La­ban brake promise. 11 But why would not Laban giue him Rachell as hee pro­mised? we see he pretendeth custome and manner of that place, not to giue the yonger before the elder, but why then had hee not so [...]ould him in the beginning?Verse▪ 26. The truth is plaine, hee ment no truth,Verse. [...]. but finding Iacob such a seruant for his profit, as hee could not well spare,Ve. 28. &c & very gladly would retaine still, he wrought this crafte to continue his seruice to him, for seauen yeares moe. Which was performed of Iacob, and that willingly, for his aff [...]c­tion to Rachell. So Laban had his purpose, though by a bad meanes, and little honestie in him.

12 When the Lord saw that Leah was despised, hee made her fruitefull, Verse. 31. but Rachell was barren, saith the text. First we [Page 118] see the power and strength of affections,Whome man despi­seth, God regardeth. euen in the best men ma­nie times. Here they were so strong in Iacob, that Leah in com­parison of Rachell was despised: which the Lorde saw and misli­ked, giuing vpon that a mercy to her, that he gaue not to Rachell, to be fruitefull and beare. Wherein we see againe, that children are the blessing of the Lord, and his free gift, neuer to bee had by any power but by his. Leah ioyeth in his mercy, and acknowled­geth that it proceeded from God, who looked vpon her tribu­lation, and therefore shee blesseth him,Ve. 32. &c. and giueth her Children names according to her feeling of that goodnesse: so should wee doe, and not so little regarde this mercy as many doe. She ho­peth her Husband will now loue her, and keepe her company, by which wee see what should be, if it be not in all men, children are a Chayne to binde them to their wiues in all loue and affection, and this Chaine is strong with all good men. Lastly shee was conten­ted with her number, and we also must learne to moderate our de­sire by her. Many things els are in this Chapter, which rather pri­uate reading then open speech should note.

Chap. 30.

The cheefe poynts or heads of this Chapter are these.

  • Iacobs children by others.
  • Labans hardnesse to Iacob.
  • Iacobs painfull diligence notwithstanding.

FOr particulars, first the text sayth, that when Rachel saw she bare no children, as her si­ster did, she enuyed her sister. &c. Where both her enuie, and vnaduised speeche to her Husband, to giue her Children, showeth the frailtie of Women when they wante anye thing that they much desire.

[Page] The frailty of women when they want their wils.They are not patient and moderate as they should be, but suffer affections and passions, to carry them headlong both into sinne a­gainst God, and offenses to their husbands. Wee see it heere in Rachell, otherwise, a good woman no doubt of it, and let the foulenes of the spot in hir make vs wise and warie, to auoide it in our selues. It graced not her, it cannot grace vs, nay it disgraced her, and it will all to blurre and blot vs. She wished not to others as to hir selfe, no not to her owne sister: no more doe we I feare me, she praysed not God aswell for his mercy to others, as to her selfe, no more do wee I feare me, yet both she and we bound to do it. Better then is the spirit, that not finding in it selfe what it wi­sheth, ioyeth yet vnfainedly that others haue it.

Verse. 2. 2 The answer that Iacob maketh to her vnaduised speech may very well show vs,Saint ser­uers. what answer all Saint seruers should haue at their Saints hands, if they heard the petitions that are made vn­to them, namely as Iacob answered Rachel, am I in Gods steed to doe this or that for thee. For the anger of Iacob being aliue, may well assure vs of the like now, except heauen haue made him lesse zealous for Gods glory, which no man thinketh. Againe, his earnest speaking,Zeale. or anger that was kindled, may teach vs also, how our hearts should burne, and bee troubled and greeued in vs, when we heare men aske of creatures, what is the creators, both glory and mercy to giue.

Ver. 3. &c 3 The giuing of their maides vnto Iacob, full fowly sheweth the impatience of flesh and bloud,Impati­ence. to stowpe to Gods pleasure, and indure what he dooth appoint vnto vs. They had rather haue chil­dren in this sort, then tarrie Gods time in patience and hope. Ia­cobs act in consenting, may not be our example. Many things in the Fathers God indured, that he alowed not simply, being not so from the beginning. The names of the children show theyr af­fections, which imposed them, and so sometimes still, as yet a­mongst vs.

Verse. 14 4 Ruben goeth foorth in the wheat haruest, and findeth Mandrakes. Mandraks. To discourse whereof, belongeth rather to Phisiti­ons, [Page 119] then Diuines. It is an hearbe, whose roote hath a certayne likenesse of the figure of a man. There is male and female of it: that is, two sorts, differing in greatnesse both of roote, leafe, and fruite, which commonly men call after this sort. The fruite of the female as is written, in quātitie like a Chesnut or Wallnut. The Aple of the male, as great as an Egge: the roote forked as man is: the smell of it very passing pleasant: for the force of it to worke loue, I leaue it to others to iustifie, that so write of it. For the effi­cacie of it, eyther of roote or apple, in helping barrennes in Wo­men, which seemeth to be ascribed to it by these sisters here, (they contending so about it) happily it is not generall. For the Hearbe being very could, cannot haue that effect in all bodyes, but rather the contrarie in some, namely in cold. But in hote countreys, as in Affrike, Spaine, Italy, Egipt, and such like, where the bodies are commonly of extraordinary heate, this may be vsed to bring them to some good temperature, and consequently, if God will, to more fruitefulnesse, immoderate heate being an enemie to conception, aswell as immoderate cold is. But as I saye, I leaue these things to Phisitions. For Ruben that found them, I rather thinke hee brought them for the pleasantnesse of the smell, which is written to be very great, then for secret vertue that he knew to be in them,Cantic. 7. to such an end as we now speake of. I will tell you what one wri­teth of his owne experience, and so leaue this. Leuinus Lemnius saith, he had hanged of the leaues and apples in his studdie,An experi­ence of Mandraks. for the great pleasure of the smell: and in time hee began to be so heauie headed, that hee could not holde open his eyes in his studdie, but must needs sleepe, and thus hee continued rather euery day worse then other. At last, wondering what should ayle him, and striuing with him selfe, by casting his eyes too and fro, vp and downe, hee threw them vpon the Mandrakes, and presently suspecting they were the cause, he remooued them away out of his studdie. Vpon which he euery day amended, and his sleepie pang was gone. So is it surely effectuall, to sleepe by this experience.

5 When Rachel sought some of these Mandrakes of her sister,Verse. 15. she angerly answered,Imperfec­tions [...]n the best. Is it not inough for thee to take awaye myne Husband, except thou take my Sonnes Mandrakes [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] also. Whereby we see how eyther an ould greefe breaketh out, or els howe indeed Iacob was to blame, to accompany the one so much for beautie, that hee greeued and neglected the other, who had borne him children. Euery way it sheweth imperfections of flesh in men and women of the best, note.

6 Iacobs comming late from the Field in the Euening, showeth his painefull seruice,Women, kinde to their hus­bands. to his great praise, and the exam­ple of all seruants that desire to bee compted good, Leah going out to meete him, may well be a paterne to all wiues of kindnes and loue to their husbands, and in her was a fruite of a louing wo­man. It is some comfort to him that hath trauelled truely, to bee welcome home, though his fare bee but silly. And frowarde vn­kindnesse betwixt couples pearceth deepe. Leah is dead, but this kinde meeting of her husband, when he commeth from his labour, with both good face and good heart, may liue and rule in vs, if God will.

God the giuer of children. 7 They both conceiue and haue Children, Leah and Rachell, but it is sayd, God heard them, and remembred, and opened the wombe, all which giue glory to God for children, and not to man, nor any meanes whatsoeuer, as I haue noted before. The desire that here appeareth of children, may bee the poore mans comfort, that hath his house full.

A good conscience in a ser­uant. 8 When Rachell had conceiued, and borne also, Iacob then asketh his wiues, that he may depart, and telleth his vncle Hee knoweth what seruice he hath done. Where we see, how a good conscience maketh his maister iudge, yea a good conscience fea­reth no iudge. The Apostle telleth them, they know after what sorte he hath beene amongst them, Acts. 20. &c. Striue we then euer for this good conscience & cleane hand, that we be not ashamed.

9 If I haue now found fauour in thy sight, saith Laban, tar­rie, Verse. 27. for I haue perceyued the Lorde hath blessed mee for thy sake, Faire speech for profit. &c. See and note, how faire a subtill worldling can speake for his profit, and see how palpable faire flatterie is, when expe­ence [Page 120] hath beene had before of no such nature. Why is not Iacob rewarded all this while for his seruice, being by Labans owne confession so good? Surely the better nature, the sooner abused by kinde speeches drawne along, and nothing giuen, least if he had any thing he should depart. So the old saying was euer true, Bo­nus seruus perpetuus asinus. If he be a good seruant, keep him still vnder, and so shall you inioy him longed. So that be he good, or be he had,Seruants not rewar­ded. the worldly and vnkinde maister will giue little or no re­warde. For if bad, then he deserues nothing saith his Maister, if good, then faire wordes must feede him and his charge, nothing giuen, least he depart. He must be drawne on to serue in expec­tation, that still he may serue. But such Labans are not so wise as they take themselues. For they rob themselues indeed by this course of many an honest heart, that both is with them, and would be with them, if such wicked vnkindnesse were not.

10 In Iacobs answer, note a reuer [...]nt expostulation,Ver. 29.30 but no exprobration,A thankful acknow­ledging of Gods bles­sing. together with a godly obseruation of Gods blessing vpon his seruice, and a careful ascribing of glory to God for it, and let it bee whilst wee liue our imitation in any thing whatsoeuer, wherein we find the blessing of God vpon vs. For gratiarum actio est ad plus dandum inuitatio. A thankefull heart pulleth the Lord on to more mercye, when a proude minde to giue to our selues, what his meere mercye hath giuen to vs, driueth both him and his goodnesse away.

11 But now when shall I trauell for mine owne house, Verse. 30. saith Iacob: Care of family. wherein we see vnder the Lords hand and seale warran­ted, that with care for others, wee may lawfullye ioyne a care for our selues, and those that be ours. For he that prouideth not for his family (saith the Apostle) hath denied the faith, 1. Tim. 5. & is worse then an infidell. Yet so will Iacob care here for his owne, that he is content God shall strike the stroke, and dispose the number of Lambes to his share at his pleasure. Such trust in the Lord, and contented relying vpon his good pleasure, becommeth all men.

12 Then said Laban, what shal I giue thee, worldly minds loue [Page] certainties, for feare any liberalitie should be expected at theyr hands. When a man knoweth his price, thinke they he knoweth his paine, and if I pay that he can challenge no more, I performe promise, but if I leaue it vncertaine, and let him stande to my cur­tesie, happily my credit may be cost to, for I must content him, &c, Thus earthly and base mindes, haue vsually earthlye and base conceipts. Still is their hand vpon their halfepenny.

13 Iacob will no certaintie, but chooseth a way, wholy depen­ding vpon the Lords blessing.Verse. 32. A notable trust in God. Wherin, as I sayd before, he shew­eth his firme trust in Gods prouidence. Which trust we must fo­low, though the manner of couenant binde vs not, being in Iacob an extraordinarie instinct, that Gods power, mercy, and fauour, to him and his truth, and honest seruice to Laban, might the bet­ter appeare,

14 But why saith Iacob, this day will I doe it? was there such hast of it?World­lings be wauering. In respect of Iacob, no. But for Laban, Iacob knew full well riche mens properties most commonly for wages and promises: namely to differre long, and performe hardly then also, therefore hee will take him while hee may haue him, leauing him no second cogitations. But leauing vs an example of lawfull wisedome, when we deale with wretched minded men, that more regarde profit then honestie.

15 So shall my righteousnes answer for me, saith Iacob, &c. Where we all see,Verse. 33. how the godly doubt not of the reward of theyr truth with God,Rewarde inferreth not merit but mercy. though their truth merit not the same, Chap. 32.10. I am not worthie saith this same seruant of God, of the least of thy benefits, &c. Therefore no merit, yet heere my righteousnes shall answer for me neuerthelesse. Why then should a popish eye not see, that denyall of merit, taketh not away rewarde of mercie. But happily they see it, and are not content with reward of grace, except theyr workes may be also meritorious, which if it be so, let them looke to it.Rom. 11.6. For such pride will smart one daye, that will haue Gods grace fall, that theyr merit may stande. The Apostle tea­ching vs, that grace denyeth merit, and merit denyeth grace. And [Page] the Father also, when he saith, Gratia non est gratia nisi omni mo­do sit gratuita.

16 Would God it might be so saith Laban. Verse. 34. See a churle if euer you will see a kindly one. Iacob is his flesh & bloud by birth,A coue­tous man greedy of a good bar­gain at any mans hand and his sonne in lawe by mariage, he hath both his daughters, and their children are many, bone of his bone, yet is hee glad to haue Iacob on the hip for a bad bargaine as hee hoped, and thinking hereby to gaine Iacobs seruice for little or nothing, would God saith he, this bargaine might stand. Where he should rather haue saide in all course of nature and ciuill honestie: Alas my sonne, this will be no great gaine to thy maintenance, and to the main­tenāce of thy wiues & children, which be mine as thy selfe art also, to loue & care for euer, therefore deuise some better way then this, for I would wishe thee farre more, &c. But as true as olde is the saying: Quod facis ingrato perit. What seruice a man dooth to an vnkinde maister it perisheth. And in vaine do the children of God depend vpon worldlye and base minded men for rewarde. Looke we to God, looke we to God, who shall neuer faile vs, as Iacob did.

17 Then Laban went through the flockes, and seperated the spotted frō therest, whereas in ye 32 verse,Couetous­nes bree­deth suspi­cion. Iacob sayd he would do it. What now if Laban would not trust Iacob, was it not a fine reward of his great truth, and might not a man haue ioye to serue such a maister. He setteth them also, when he had parted them three dayes iourney a sunder from the rest, and with his owne sonnes, euery waye as you see preuenting iugling with Ia­cob, which as it seemeth he halfe suspected. But what see you and I, and all flesh, that will consider it? surely that which may be our lasting comfort and sweete ioy: namely, that the more warely and wil [...]ly, subtilly, and cunningly, that worldly men deale with Gods children, the more breaketh out Gods mercy towards them, and theyr cleere truth, innocencie and honestie, to the praise of God, to the comfort of them, and to the confusian of them that thought an euill thought of them. Care away then, when the wicked sift vs & search vs, compasse vs round about, to spie into vs, what they may [Page] rebuke, for they worke for vs, and not against vs. God is on our side stronger then they, and in despite of all their peeuish pollicies he will haue his loue and our truth appeare. O truth then in all our delights to be kept as a iewell, more worth then any treasure.

18 Iacob feedeth the rest sayth the text of Labans shepe, to wit,A quiet minde. with a quiet minde▪ well contented, and nothing discoura­ged with his vncles too too suspicious and vnkinde dealing, hee wayteth with patience and godly comfort of heart for the Lordes blessing vpon his true seruice, and nothing doubteth but that hee who inioyes the earth, and all that is in it, had inough for him and his, and would as his good pleasure should be minister it to him. Let all seruants consider this faith and truth in Iacob, and follow it: and remember, that though they serue men, yet they serue also the Lord in those men,Ephes. 6.7. which Lord, will deale like him­selfe euer.

19 Then Iacob tooke rods of greene popular &c. A fact that at first seemeth great falsehood,Verse. 37. craft and subtiltie in Iacob, and very vnlawfull. But better considered, it is not so. For as touching the warrant of it, the next Chapter telleth vs plaine it was Gods apoyntment,verse 9.10. from whome no vniust thing can pro­ceede. Farre therfore is it from being any couer to their craft that shall be without like author by their owne corruption practised of any. Now if any man go further and thinke such a meanes may not well be ascribed to God, vnlesse wee will make the Lord vn­righteous and faultie, let that man consider and see how hee not onely toucheth Iacob in credit who ascribeth it so, nay the spirit of God who cannot lye, & who directed the pen of Moses to lay this downe, but further, he denyeth the Lord that equitie & right which he see [...]h & confesseth & granteth to man. For what if a iudge cōdemne one that hath wronged or robbed a man, to pay him four fould, is it iniustice in him? no, and why then if the Lord condemne Laban to answere Iacob a portion for the wrong hee hath done him, shall hee bee vniust? May not the Lord giue vnto his seruant his owne blessing without iniustice? Or is God so bound to La­ban to blesse his flocks still that he may not alter his hand without a fault? And what else doth God in this place, but suffer Laban [Page 122] to inioy whatsoeuer hee had gotten by his blessing vpon Iacobs true seruice and for Iacobs sake before, without taking thereof any thing away. Only hereafter he will not dispose his blessing as he had done, but for Labans ill dealing, will translate it from him to Iacob. Is this vnlawfull for the Lord that is bound to none, to vse his libertie? God forbid: and this is all that God doth heere. If you say, O but the meanes seemeth cunning. I pray you con­sider whether man be to apoynt Gods meanes or no, saying thus shalt thou effect thy will, & not otherwise. If not, then both leaue Gods blessing for the cattell, and liking of the meanes free to his owne wisedome, and take euer his will to be a rule most sure of all right. Then is it a question whether this was miraculous, or naturall, or mixt, partly miraculous, and partly by nature, and it is concluded that it was mixt, it being nothing preiudiciall to the power of God to vse a meanes, although euer hee doth not, but sometime with, & sometimes without. Without meanes the Lord wrought when he gaue Manna to the Israelites, when he deuided Iordan, when he made Aarons rod to bud, and such like. So hea­led Christ many other by the power of his word, without any meanes. With meanes, when hee apoynted a plaster of figgs to Ezekias, when Naaman washed in Iordan, when Christ vsed clay and spittle, & such like. Also in the meanes that God vseth, it is to be noted, yt sometimes they are in nature somewhat auayleable to such an effect, sometimes nothing at all, but rather contrary. A­uaylable as oyle & water to heale &c. Nothing auaylable as clay & spittle to giue sight &c. This fact of Iacobs in setting the rods in this sort, was of ye first kinde namely in nature somewhat auay­lable, for great is the power of imagination by conception eyther of reasonable or brute beasts which imagination is affected & mo­ued by sights very much, & [...] was here by these party colored rods For these rods wrought not this effect because they were looked vpon, but because the inward senses were affected by them, & the imagination made as it were like them. Now if any will say, there were some seale in this, if imagination and generation belonged to one and the same facultie, or to one and the same part of the bo­dy, but none now as it is, imagination belonging to the mind,Animae. and generation to nature, imagination also being in the brayne, and [Page] generation in the members of body appointed there vnto much di­stant from the braine: that man must remember that yet they are the actions of one and the same creature, and being so, there is a simpathy and mutuall affecting of parts of the same body, though they be diuers and much distant in place one from an other. Ex­perience you see in the partes of generation, which are affected, mooued and stirred with vncleane thoughts and conceipts in the minde, as is also the thought and minde by those parts, if seede do abound in them to stirre vp lust. And therefore still no maruell but naturall and by course of reason, possible, that the minde affected with a sight, and an impression thereof entred into the imaginati­on, should also haue an operation and an effect in the wombe be­low to frame and forme the thing therein conceyued after that sort. This was euer alowed of Philosophers, Phisitions, and all learned, and examples many related in authors of the same. Ga­len telleth an experience of a woman that had a most faire childe, neither her self nor husband being so. And how? only by an inten­tiue beholding a faire picture. Hyppocrates speaketh either of the same or the like, and sayth, the woman being accused and con­demned in all iudgements as dishonest and adulterous, she was quit by him, who commanding a search to be made what pictures she had in her house, and one being found of a very faire yong man, Hyppocrates assured them of her honesty, by a learned discourse of the power of imagination in these things. Quintilian in his controuersie wherin he defendeth the Matrone that brought forth a black More, vseth this argumēt to clere her with. In Spayne it is well knowne, that by setting before the eyes of their Mares the fairest horse they can possibly get, they haue found it specially pro­fiting to their desire.Ciuit. 18.5. Austen giueth this very reason wherefore in Egipt there is neuer wanting a white spotted Oxe, which they call Apis, De Trinit. lib. 11. & worship for a God. In an other place he much spea­keth of the great things that are wrought heereby, except some grosse corpulence or hard matter hinder in the female. By all which you see it appeareth plainly, that together with ye working power of God, which in this was chiefe, & euer is, yet euen in na­ture & reason this laying of partycolored rods to affect ye imagina­tion of the females at the time of their heate before their eyes, was [Page 123] effectual, to bring to passe a like colored yong one to Iacobs gain, whose bargaine was to haue all such, and onely such.

20 There is another question in this place yet, and that is con­cerning the time when Iacob layde the rods in. And some haue saide he obserued a time of the day, namely the morning, and not the euening, others a time of the yeare, as about September, that they might Lambe about Marche, and not at Marche, that they might bring forth about September. The latter is better., and more agreeable to the text: yet they that houlde the first, would seeme to relye much vpon the benefit of sleepe, which hath gone before. As if by reason thereof, the morning should be better both for a stronger conception, and also for a more quicke affectation of the power imaginatiue. What is true we may thinke of, if we will, and that is this: The most kinde of creatures (that bee for mans vse) sleepe in the night, and feede and labour in the daye, Therfore the morning generation is after sleepe and before meat, the euening, after meate and before sleepe. Wherefore in the mor­ning the seede is better concocted, and the braine wherein the ima­gination is more quick, free, and cleere. For sleepe especially fur­thereth concoction, riddeth away the vapors of the braine, and gi­ueth vigor and strength, to sense and motion. Therefore the seede by reason of better concoction, is more fruitefull, and the imagi­natiue vertue by means of the late refection of the spirits by sleep, and clearing of the braine, more forcible and effectuall. Contrari­wise, at night the meate lying vnconcocted, the head is charged with thicke vapours from the stomack, and the imagination wea­ryed with long watching. And so consequently, the seed neither so fruitefull and strong, neither the imagination so effectually moo­ued and smitten as in the morning. But as I sayd, it is better to referre Iacobs deed, to the stronger and better parts of the yeare, which he carefully obseruing, to laye or not laye the roddes before the sheepe, hee had both moe and more strong, Laban fewer and weaker. And this I hope may suffice, both for this place and this Chapter.

Chap. 31.

In this Chapter we may consider generally.

  • The causes of Iacobs departure.
    • Euill words.
    • Chāge of coūtenāce.
    • Gods cōmandemēt.
  • The manner of the same, together with Labans following.
  • The couenant betwixt Iacob and Laban.

PArticularly. First, these wordes that Labans sonnes speake, Iacob hath taken away all that was our father, &c. together with the counte­nance of Laban, Verse. 1.2. that was not towards him as in time past, and let vs note these things in them and by them.

First and formost the nature of this worldly trash and pelfe, how the loue of it seuereth and sundreth neere and deere friends, maketh them dislike greatly one of an other, and remoue dwelling so farre a sunder,Worldly goods part friends. that seldome or neuer they meete agayne. A most wofull effect of such a cause, and a most horrible corruption in vs, that should ouerrule such earthly affections.

Secondly, how nothing contenteth a couetous minde as long as he seeth an other man thriue by hym. He would haue all, and without he will neuer be pleased.

Thirdly, how like to the father the children be, all of them mut­terers and murmurers against Iacob, for the blessing that God voutsafed him.

And lastly, how hote youth bableth out that which cooler age couereth and keepeth in. Laban as bad in hart as they, but yet he keepeth his toong and dissembleth, so cannot the yong men doo, their bloud is too warme, and wily craft hath not yet possessed them.

Verse. 2. 2 That Labans countenance was changed toward Iacob as the text sayth we see,Face shew­eth what heart thin­keth. Quam difficile est crimen non prodere vul­tu. How hard it is not to bewray in face what lodgeth in hart a­gainst [Page 124] any. Vultus index animi. The countenance declareth the minde, and so heere.

3 When Labans face is changed, th [...]n Iacob of like be thin­keth him of his Countrey, [...] though not presuming to attempt any returne without better warrant. And wee may thus profit by it, euen to consider how good it is sometimes to haue mens faces change, that we may thereby the rather looke vnto better things, as to the Lord, and the light of his countenance, to heauen our country, where no snubs be &c. which happely we are too cold in, as long as mans fauor carieth vs along in ye liking of this world. Why doth Dauid say it was good for him that he had bin in trouble, Psalm. 119. but that he felt the change of man kindle in him a swee­ter thought of that God and his great mercy that cannot change, but yesterday, and to day, and foreuer, is the same. Why sayth he againe so earnestly, but it is good for me to hould me fast by God, by God I say, & to put my trust in him &c. sauing that mans tot­t [...]ring loue, and too fickle frendship smote his hart with a deeper consideration of the comfort therof aboue all earthly things what­soeuer. No doubt againe but it was good for Ioseph that Puti­phar turned vpon him as he did without cause, for he saw therby what man is, and what God is, and how broken a reed he trusteth vnto that maketh flesh his arme, and thinketh all shall be wel with him, because such and such giue him countenance. Alas alas who hath not bin deceiued by mans fickle fauour, and thought all was sure, when and whilst he had that, and rather might many things fall out, then such persons change their loue without iust cause. But their experience at last hath bin euen as Iacobs was heere, that neither truth of seruice, and performance of p [...]ynefull sauour by day & night, neither neerenes in bloud before mariage nor any increase of knot by mariage, neither any blessing of God giuen vnto paines, nor any thing whatsoeuer, could bold that loue that was neuer true, but for respects, or that man or woman that ne­uer made conscience indeed of deserts, to yeeld them due comfort according to their qualitie. But well well, let it be too late to call againe yesterday, yet it is not too late to day to see the word of the Lorde before vs, and to marke this example of Iacob, how hee found a change in his owne vncle, without any iust cause, [Page] and to beware our selues of being ouer farre caried hereafter with that which is so vncertaine in it selfe.

Verse. 3. 4 And the Lord said vnto Iacob, turne againe vnto thine owne countrey, When man forsaketh, God relee­ueth. &c. See the sweete mercie of Almightie God to his true seruant. When man sowreth, he laugheth vpon him, when man hateth, he loueth, and when man looketh away with a face quite altered, he looketh vpon and vnto his true Iacob, with the eyes of his olde mercy and louing kindnesse, rather much in­creased, then any one iotte lesned and diminished. O comfort, a true one, and a great one: for thus I feele it. When the poten­tates of this worlde list to waxe bigge against a poore childe of God, and to swell with dislike against him, they also adde this va­nitie, to that greeuous iniquitie, that they thinke he shall neuer be able to beare their displeasure, but he is euen in their hands to be vsed as they will, and what will they? Surely they intend to beg­ger him and all his, to crush him, and breake his backe, to grinde his face, and play Rex with him at their pleasure. And other mad men are also of that minde, and begin to say, alas how shall he do, such an one is offended with him, and his countenance is changed vp­on him. Surely he is vndoone, and cast away, with other like spee­ches to that end. But let these Nimrods, that so will tyrannize ouer any poore Iacob, and such faithlesse fearefull men, as so be­wayle the oppressed, looke vpon this example here, and consider it well.

Did Iacob perishe, when Labans face changed, and all his children with him, hath Laban power to sinke him and crush him, and doe what hee will? No, but when all these changes are in man, then God steppeth in and looketh vpon him that man will not see, speaketh vnto him, directeth him from them so vnkinde regarders of a true heart towardes them, and wholy taketh him into his owne protection, to his owne care, that neyther they nor any for them shall hurt him, and Iacob shall liue in an other place vnder his blessing and mercye, better then euer hee did there a­mongst them. O God then euer be thou our God, we beseech thee deerely, and wee care not what changes man shall make vpon vs vniustly and vnkindly.

[Page 125] 5 Then Iacob sent for his wiues into the feeld to hym, Verse. 4. Rachel and Leah. Whereby we may note,Husbands should conferre with their wiues. how in matters con­cerning them, it is a good mans part to conferre with his wife, and not to do all vpon a brayne, in a kinde of prowde and vnkinde authoritie ouer the woman, who though she be in subiection vnto her husband by law of sex and mariage, yet is she his fellow and companion and helper also, euen by aduise and counsell many times. Sweet then is the conference of man and wife together about common causes concerning them both, and let it be liked in our eyes euer by this example of Iacob, Reade be­fore vpon Chap. 18. verse 6. that intending a remoue from so vnfriendly a friend, sendeth for his wiues to him, and tal­keth with them. His speach hath in effect bin considered before by his parts, and we shall not neede to stand vpon the particulars a­gayne, only your selfe reade it and consider it: marking in the 6. verse, how a true seruant that hath conscience in him serueth, namely, with all his might, this is opposite to that eye seruice which the Apostle speaketh of, Ephes. 6.

6 Come we therefore to the answere of his wiues,V. 14. &c. who with one consent sayd vnto him,Wiues ought to cleaue to their hus­bands. Haue we any more portion and in­heritance in our fathers house &c. Do whatsoeuer God hath sayd vnto thee. By which ready and full consent, we see the dutie agayne of godly wiues, namely, when their husbands do impart vnto them his purpose grounded vpon iust causes and sufficient warrant, then not to hang back, to crosse him and grieue him, and not to yeeld to him, but rather with these gratious women heere to say, what God hath put in thy minde that do. We are ready, and wee will obey. Thy lot shall be our lot, and the Lords good pleasure all our lots. Agayne let it not be vnconsidered, how Ia­cob finding iust fault with their father, and vpon true cause com­playning of him, the women yeeld vnto truth, and neither cleaue to their father against their husband, nor forsake their husband for to iustifie their father. Heere is no such crossing partialitie, but as God hath made them wiues to Iacob, so they cleaue vnto him kindly, and preferre him before all the world.

7 By which willing consent to forsake father and friendes, [Page] country and all,A type of the Church. and to cleaue vnto their husband, may be happely resembled the nature of the Church the spouse of Christ, which is euer to forsake all and to follow him.

Verse. 19. 8 Rachell departing, stole her fathers idols, which he cal­led Gods, Weakenes in the best. a great fault in a good woman: but weakenes some­times is in the best, and it may not be iustified. This itch of super­stition though good men indeuour, yet can they not euer vtterly extinguish in their deerest, but in long time, if euer.

9 Iacob thus gone and remoued away with all that he had, three dayes after Laban heareth of it, Verse. 22. and pursueth hotely with all his power. What hee meant to doo we cannot tell, because God hath not told vs, but of like he was fiery inough, and concey­ued dislike before, would now prick him forward mightely. But what do we see? truly that which with vnspeakable comfort wee may well note and euer remember,A sweete comfort. to wit, how God cooleth him and tempereth him before he commeth vnto Iacob to ouertake him, charging him in a dreame for his life not only to do no euill, but not to say so much as an euill word to Iacob. Take heed sayth God, take heed. Can a man conceyue of this care and mer­cy in God toward Iacob as it deserueth? O how true sayd the Prophet Dauid, Psa. 144.15 yea rather blessed are the people that haue the Lord for their God &c. for so it is in deede. If God be with a man, little needeth hee to care for vniust rages after him and a­gainst him. The Lord hath a snaffle to put in their [...]a [...]es that pursue his deere ones, and they shall do no iote more then he will. I [...] euer you saw a worlding curb [...]d, you see it heere. Not a word, much lesse a deede must passe against Iacob, saue what is good. Thus restrayned the Lord Saule, and made him a Paule in his hetest pursuite of the godly. Thus euer hath God done, and euer shall do as shall be best. Comfort your hearts then beloued euer with this example, and feare not man: but feare, and loue, honor and serue to your dying day this God that can, this God that will, and now doth so bridle an enemy.

Verse. 27. 10 In the 27. verse, you see what Laban sayth, if hee had knowne of Iacobs departure, [...] hee would haue sent him away [Page 126] with mirth and with songs, with tymbrel & with harp. Thus is his toong changed by the Lords warning, but God knewe his heart. There were many presumptions by former facts how hee would haue liked his departure if hee had bin made acquainted with it, but it is best now to say the best, and gracious is that God that can pull such words out of a man displeased, and force him to speake nothing but faire where hee will haue it so. Let all snuffers and browbeaters of honest men consider this, and see if they can doe what they list.

11 I am able to do you euill sayth Laban, Verse. 29. but God hath forbidden me &c. How the godly and wicked differ. Where wee may see a difference betwixt the godly and vngodly men. The first speake and boast of iustice and equitie, saying, this or that is due to you by right, and to your of­fence, but the second boast and braue it euer with their power and might, saying this and that I am able to doo, as Laban did heere, I trust we are resolued soone whether to follow.

12 In calling those idols his Gods, saying, Why hast thou stolne my gods, Verse. 30. he bewrayeth vnto vs what all idolaters and su­perstitious persons do and thinke, whatsoeuer they say, namely,The gods of idola­ters. euen make and vse, repute and take such things as they worship besides the true God, for their gods. And what skilleth it for the name, when there is proofe of the thing.

13 In Iacobs answere, cary your eye to Labans obiections which were 3. First, that being his seruant, he fled away secretly, Verse. 31. secondly, that hee tooke away his daughters and their children, Iacobs answere to three obiections being so neere to him in bloud without his priuitie, and thirdly and lastly why he stole away his gods, vnto all which Iacob answe­reth, but diuersly, for to the two first hee sayth playnly it was be­cause he was afraid, and thought that Laban would haue takē his two daughters frō him: wherein we may note ye open simpli­citie & vprightnes of Iacob, in telling the truth euen as it was in­deed, without such colors & cunning as mē vse in these days. To the third he answereth by a stout denyall, referring him not only to search all that euer hee had, but offring the party to death with whom any such thing might be found. By which vnaduised speech [Page] he rashly ouershot himselfe,Rashnes in Iacob. Reade Gen. 44.9. and would haue bin as sory as euer was Ieptha when his daughter met him, if Laban had taken him at his word, and found the gods with Rachell, Iacobs deerest wife. Wee learne therefore by it, that hasty speach may worke much woe, and therefore be we not ouer rash. We knowe none so well as our selues, and therefore good to be so bould to promise innocency for none but our selues for feare of reprofe. But yet this is,As one is themselfe so they thinke of others. and this was, and this will be euer, that as euery one is true and good himselfe, so easily thinketh he others to be such, but often deceyued, and so was Iacob heere. Yet as God would it was not then found out, for Rachell made a cunning excuse, as you see in the text, that her father should not search vnder her, where in deede these idols were though vnknowne to Iacob. Reade 1. Sam. 19.13. somewhat to the pur­pose. Such wits haue women often times vpon a distresse, to shift a­way a shame, which in deede were better neuer deserued, then with any deuise, though neuer so fine auoyded.

Verse. 36. 14 Then Iacob was wroth, sayth the text, and chid with Laban, Some ang­er lawfull. a iust anger that hath a iust cause, and is not immoderate. What griefe to a true man to be made a thiefe, and to be burdened with practise that his soule abhorreth. Yet this you see falleth out sometimes, and by name now heere to Iacob, which must worke a stay of minde in vs if a like thing happen.Exo. 32.19. Num. 16.15 1. Sa. 20.34. Moses was angry when he saw the calfe, and when Corah rebelled, Num. 16.15▪ Ionathan for his fathers rage against his friend Dauid, and ma­ny moe examples of lawfull anger hath the scripture, so that all anger is not forbidden, but onely such as hath sinne in it.

15 In the expostulation that Iacob maketh, if you marke it & reade it,From 38. to 43. is notably layd downe the faithfull vsage of a good ser­uant, and the vnkind requitall of a bad mayster. A good seruant is not flitting euery day and changing,Properties of a good seruant, and a bad mayster. but 20. yere in a place some­times as Iacob heere. He wasteth not any wayes his maysters good vnder his hands, but so careth for and regardeth all things, that his mayster prospereth by his faithfull trauell, in the day he is consumed in the heate, and with frost in the night, and his sleepe departeth from his eyes, for thus speaketh Iacob of [Page 127] himselfe. An vnkinde mayster is described thus, cruelly he requi­reth of the hands of his seruant whatsoeuer is lost, without re­gard of circumstances: he changeth his wages often and euer to the worse, and at last he sendeth empty away, whome in all con­science he should reward very liberally. Thus you see is Laban charged heere, and let vs be ashamed of such qualities.

16 Then Laban answered, These daughters are my daugh­ters, &c. Now see a trick of this world agayne,Hollow slattery. when a man is brideled, and dare not hurt, then to pretend fauour and loue, and to smooth the matter as though he neuer meant hurt, which is not so. This iugling the world hath not lost yet, but God seeth truth, and loueth truth.

Finally, a couenant of loue Laban will haue made,A quiet ende of all troubles. because his conscience accused him of euill deserts. Iacob is content, and letting anger go, maketh them good cheere. Laban sweareth like an idolater, and Iacob aright, consider you both: of a rough be­ginning, there is a smooth ending. Laban taketh his leaue, and departeth quietly, and all is well. O able God, and carefull God for thy children euer, make vs thy seruants faithfull and true, that in all stormes we may finde thy fauour, and of all feares no worse an end then in thy mercy may be to our comfort, as this was now to Iacobs.

Chap. 32.

The chiefe things of this Chapter are these.

  • The meeting of the Angells.
  • The meeting of his brother Esau.
  • And his wrestling with the Angell.

FOr particulars, let vs remember that but euen now was en­ded Iacobs feare of Laban, and his bad measure that he was [Page] euer like to offer to him and his,A succes­sion of feare to the godly. had not God restrained him, and now followed presently at the ende of that the feare of his brother Esau, whome hee must meete. What sheweth this vnto vs, but the continuall succession of feare vpon feare, trouble vpon trouble, and tryall vpon tryall vnto the godly, to the true teaching of vs what to expect,Finis vinus mali gra­dus est su­tur [...]. God com­fortable, and in fit time. and wherewithall not to be dismayed if it happen, for it is the lot of Gods deerest.

2 We see heere a multitude of Angells meete Iacob as hee setteth on his iourney. Where first marke the thing, and then the oportunitie of it touching time. For the thing it selfe, it truly con­firmeth this doctrine, that God giueth his Angels charge ouer his elect to attend and defend them as shall seeme best to his great, mercy and infinite wisedome, so saith the Apostle, are they not all ministring spirits, Hebr. 1.14. sent forth to minister for their sakes which shalbe heires of saluation? so saith the Prophet, the Angels of the Lord pitcheth round about them that feare him, Psal. 347. and de­liuereth them: yea, hee hath giuen them charge ouer euery one that putteth his whole trust in God,Psal. 91.11. and committeth himselfe wholy to his protection in all temptations, to keepe such an one in all his wayes. And they shall beare that person in their hands that hee hurt not his foote against a stone. 2 King. 6. Act 12. Ezeck. 19. Examples in Elizeus, in Peter, in many mo. It derogateth therefore greatly from the mercy & care that God hath for his to say euery man hath but one good Angell and one bad, for euery man and woman fearing God hath many as Iacob had heere, and euen so many as any way shall be needfull in his wisedome that euer knoweth what is expedient & fit. Secondly for the oportunitie of this vision, you see how great it was, euen then when Iacob was setting forward to meete with his brother Esau, of whome, he was very greatly afrayde, not only for himselfe, but for those with him that were as deere to him as his life. What they taught Iacob by thus appearing vnto him, we may all very easily conceyue surely euen this, that though he were weake, yet was he strong, strong I say by God, and the might of his power, who should neuer suffer him to miscary, whilst he had an Angell in heauen to send with him, but would so stand on his side against Esau, that all should be well, and with [Page 128] safetie passed ouer. O this God, this God of ours, doo wee not see him? Since this booke began haue wee not seene many testi­monies of his loue, and care not only to help and comfort, but e­uen in the nick to doo it when there is most neede, and when his childs heare is downe in the body by some occasion. Neuer any more notable then this to Iacob heere, and therefore let vs marke it, and of them all conclude how blessed the man is that hath the God of Iacob for his help, & whose trust is in the Lord his God.

3 The next thing we may marke, is the counsell of Iacob vn­der Gods blessing, taken of him to pacifie his brother,The godly vse means. and to haue a good meeting. First he sendeth messengers to him,V. 3.4.5. to signifie his comming, least by stealing by him he might iustly offend. Se­condly, he deuideth his people and cattell as you see. Thirdly he prayeth. Fourthly and lastly hee sendeth a present. In all which we may note two things. First, that the godly haue neuer bin despisers of means, though their trust in God, and assurance of his helpe were neuer so great, but wisely and with good polli­cie and discretion they haue disposed themselues to vse the same as God directed. Secondly,In wordly things. My Lord Esau. that it is lawfull to vse submission in some sort to the wicked, and that religion standeth not in stub­bornes and frowardnes, and disdainefull, proude, and vndutifull speaches, as some imagine.

4 These messengers thus sent of Iacob to giue his brother notice of him,Verse. 6. returne againe and tell him that Esau commeth to meet him with 400 men, whereupon sayth the text,Verse. 7. Iacob was greatly afrayd, and sore troubled, How hard it is for the best to cleaue stedfastly & strongly to God. not knowing what Esau meant by bringing thus many with him (which of like Esau did onely for pomp and to shew his power) but fearing the worst, as nature is apt in the very best. The thing that we are to note in it, is, how hard it is euen for Iacob, yt is a very extraordinary mā ▪ to cleaue stedfastly vnto God in perill & danger, and to ouercome by faith such false feares as will muster thēselues before his eyes. We saw before how God had comforted him by yt host of Angles that met him, yet now euen now againe when hee heareth this newes, the infirmitie of flesh appeareth, and Iacob is sore afrayd. Knowe wee then our mould what it is, and if so notable a man [Page] as Iacob, after so many incouragements, haue yet imperfection of faith, set wee it downe that great is our neede farre farre vn­like Iacob to pray for faith, that the Lord may increase it in vs e­uer more and more. See againe in Iacob euer as we go the life of man, feare after comfort, and comfort after feare, ebbings and flowings, risings and fallings, so wee go along, and so wee shall ende.

5 That he falleth to prayer after he had deuided his compa­nies,The right vse of meanes. see both the right vsage of lawfull meanes, and the true cōfort in all distresse whatsoeuer it is. The right vsage of meanes is with prayer, and the right vse of prayer is with meanes if God offer them: these, one exclude not an other, but both ioyne toge­ther as louing friends, and thus ioyned and ioyntly vsed, the Lord giueth his blessing to the best. The true comfort in all distresse, we see heere is to flye to God by prayer, to cast vp our eyes, hands, and harts to his holy Maiestie, that hath written his faithfull in the palmes of his hands, and cannot forget them. This now is Iacobs refuge chiefe and most comfortable. O God of my fa­ther Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, looke vpon me &c. We know how he sped, and what promise we haue at this daye if we knocke, therefore vse we the like in our distresses, and expect in comfort his assistance.

6 In the Prayer it selfe, consider how sweete it is in the childs wo,Verse. 9. for him to be able to remember that his parents were godly and in fauour with the Lord.Parents pietie a comfort to the chil­dren. Then conceiueth hee comfort, that hee which loued the stock, will not cast away the branch, but gra­ciously respect him, and therefore to his comfort he crieth O God of my father, such an one and such an one that went before me, looke vpon me, and haue mercy vpon me, thou wast his God full good and full kinde, euermore, shew mercy now to his seede ac­cording to thy sweet promise, and so foorth. A great cause to make parents godly if there were no other, that their children euer may pray as did Iacob, Prayer hath her strength from pro­mise. O God of my father, &c. 2. Consider how he groundeth both prayer and hope, vpon word and promise, say­ing, Lord, which saydst vnto me returne &c. So let vs doo, and not first do rashly what we had no warrant for, and then pray [Page 129] to God for helpe, wherein we haue no promise: yea it you marke it, he repeateth this promise ouer againe in the twelfth verse, it was such strength vnto him to consider it. Thirdly not merit, but want of merit is his plea.Iacob plea deth no merit. I am not woorthie of the least of al thy mercies, &c. Which beateth downe all Popish pride, and biddeth them learne, that sur [...]ly if Iacob wanted worthines, and worthines of the least, they are no Iacobs but farre behinde him, and therefore much more vnworthie mercies many, and mercies great which yet God bestoweth. Secondly, it mightily comfor­teth vs against that fiery dart of the diuell, wherewith hee often trobleth some weak ones, namely yt they are vnworthy vile & wret­ched, and thus and thus vnworthie, therefore they may not pray to God nor expect frō him any fauour. Ah wicked spirit auant:Note this comfort. for do we see here Iacob driuen away from God with any vnworthines, no no: but in the humble confession thereof, notwithstanding it all he commeth to God, and so doo wee comfortably and boldly. For though our vnworthines bee more then Iacobs, yet is it not the measure onely that God hateth but the thing, and if here we see the thing no reason to driue from God, where it is acknowledged, sure­ly no more is the measure neither where that also is confessed and bewailed truly. Lastly, consider here he alledgeth his weaknes as a reason to moue God to mercy: for I feare him saith he, least hee will come and smite mee and the mother vpon the children. Verse 11. What a comfort is this that wee should haue warrant in the word to vrge God to mercy by reason of our wants? Sathan perswa­deth vs we must runne away by reason of our wantes: but you see he lieth, and the contrary here is our comfort. Yet see this further. Iacob was comforted many waies as you sawe before, that hee should not feare, yea by an hoste of Angels that met him, and yet he feareth. This was a great infirmitie of fraile flesh in Iacob you must needs confesse, and yet so farre is Iacob from being daunted with this to keepe from God, that euen because of it hee goeth to him, and not hiding it nor fearing the discouery of it, layeth it be­fore the Lord as an argument to moue him. How then shall we doo quite contrary to what we set here, and say O I dare not, I dare not, I am so weake and euer fearing that God will not heare mee. Moue him as Iacob moued him, & say as Iacob might haue said. [Page] Truth Lord I haue had many comfortes and helpes of my faith to driue all feare farre from me, and to assure me of thy care, and yet Lord I feare stil, thou maist say therefore to me O thou of li­tle faith I will no more regard thee, but Lorde such is not thy sternnes to thy children. What moued thee therfore first to yeeld me comfort, let it moue thee stil I most humbly beseech thee, for they both stil remaine, to wit thine owne goodnes and my imper­fection. Thine remaineth, and mine is not yet gone quite as it should, Lord then helpe me for yet I feare. Thus shall we follow Iacob rightly in this place, and let him thus profit vs.

Ve. 10. etc Rich mar­chantes consider this. 7 I cannot omit this godly remembrance that Iacob here maketh of his first estate when he came into the countrey, and of his estate present now when hee doth returne. With my staffe saith he, came I ouer this I orden & now haue I gotten two bandes. A notable meditation morning and euening for rich mar­chantes, wealthie lawyers, and men and women of all degrees. whom God hath exalted from litle too much, or from lesse to more any way: and would God we thankfully might thinke of it often

8 By the way also we may consider the difference of times and maners of men.Weapons. Then Iacob traueileth into Mesopotamia, with a staffe or rod in his hand and safe inough. Now if we wil go but to the next towne, swords and speares, and gunnes are ne­cessary, or els we smart for it: so changed are times and men in them.

Verse 13. 9 Then Iacob maketh readie a present for his brother E­sau, Presents and gifts, appease anger. the fourth and last of his Counsels as I noted before. The greatnes of which if ye marke it, sheweth vs how dearely peace in the land of Canaan is to be bought, and what we must be content to depart from for the same. Vnderstand by the l [...]nd Canaan, our own country and home where we haue been born and brought vp, learned and liued in the light of the truth, & how precious in our eyes should the peace therof be? What Sheep and what Goates, what Camels and Coltes, what kine and what bullockes, what treasure and substance of any condition, should we willingly part [Page 130] withall, stil to keepe that? Vnderstand by Canaan, the truth of the figure euerlasting heauen, and what ought we to part withall to purchase that? Surely not with as much as Iacob doth here, but with all that euer we haue, euen life it selfe, if so the case require. For hee that loueth house or land or any thing more then that, is vnworthie of it. So then possesse wealth, that we willingly part with it, if the keeping must part vs and our heauenly country.

10 All thinges thus ordered and the presentes dispatched a­way, night is come,Verse 24. Iacobs wrestling. and hauing gotten ouer his wiues and chil­dren and all that he had, ouer the ford Iabbock, Iacob himself is left alone, when there commeth a man and wrestleth with him. The text saith a man, but it was God in the forme of man. Which wrestling as it was a very extraordinary thing & strange, why it should be to such as doo not vnderstand it: so was it a no­table thing and full of instruction to vs if we do vnderstand it, and consider of the Lords dealings and purpose herein, both with Ia­cob and others his faithful euermore.The doc­trine and vse of this wrestling. First then this wrestling warned and forewarned as it were Iacob, that many struglings remained for him yet in his life to be runne through and passed o­uer, which were not to discomfort him, when they hapned, for as here, so there, he should go away with victory in the end. Second­ly, it described out the condition not onely of Iacob, but of all the godly also with him, namely, that they are wrestlers by calling while they liue here, and haue many & diuers things to struggle withall and against, some outward, some inwarde, some carnall, some spiritual, some of one condition, some of an other, which all, yet through God they shal ouercome and haue a ioyful victorie in conclusion, if with pattence they passe on, & by faith laie hold vpon him euer in whom they only can vanquish, Christ Iesus. Thirdly, it was God, not man, yet man appearing, & God hidden, to tel and teach vs yt in all our assaults, trials, and confl [...]cts, it is God yt we haue to do withal, and yt entreth ye lists to wrestle with vs, to the end our strength may appear, although not God but mā or some other means appear vnto our outward eies: which thing is a mat­ter of great moment to al faithful to be remembred euer: for we shal therby cōceiue great comfort & lesse feare, knowing yt no euil [Page] can come in the end from such an aduersarie, whereas the igno­rance or forgetfulnes of this maketh vs runne too violently vpon the outward causes or causers and so to offend. It mightly stand Iob that he saw it was God yt wrastled with him, & did not bare­ly respect the second meanes. Fourthly, it discouered the strength whereby Iacob both had and should ouercome euer in his wrest­lings, euen by Gods vpholding with the one hand, when he assai­leth with the other and not otherwise: which is an other thing also of great profit to be noted of vs, that not by any power of our own▪ we are able to stand, and yet by him and through him conquerers and more then conquerers. Fiftly, it is said, that God saw how he could not preuaile against Iacob, which noteth not so much strength in Iacob as mercy in God euer kinde and full of mercy. Compare it with a speech not vnlike vnto it in the 19. of Genesis where it is said, I can do nothing till thou be gone, &c. Gods cannot,Ge. 19.22. is his wil not, for loue that he hath vnto his children, and liking to be euen ouercome by their faith. Sixtly, he touched the holow of Iacobs thigh and it was loosed, so that Iacob haulted. Whereby we may see how the godly wrestle with temptations in this life and ouercome, surely sic vincunt vt vulnerentur, so they ouercome, that yet now and then they get rappes, and wipes. Da­uid was a notable wrestler, yet sinful flesh gaue him a foule venye or two, though he rose againe like a good wrestler by true repen­tance, and had the victorie against that fall. So all the godly by one imperfection or other, we see they get wipes, though in the end all is well by the strength of him that gat no rappe vnto sinne, Christ our dear sauiour & true ouercommer. Seuenthly, that the Lord saith to Iacob Let me go, it wonderfully commendeth Ia­cobs tollerance of the Lords wrestlings, till himselfe gaue euer and would depart: and to vs it giueth this doctrine, that when [...]od doth trie with vs by any temptation and crosse, by any as­sault and spirituall exercise, we shuld not be content only for a day or two, or while we thinke good, but euen so long indure his good pleasure, till himselfe do giue ouer of himselfe, not prescribed nor appointed by vs: which because it is a great matter for our frailty to do, therefore we may boldly pray that the Lord would in mercy consider our strength, and according to his promise laie no more [Page 131] vppon vs then hee will make vs able to beare: but giue the issue with the temptation in due time to his glory and our good. Last­ly, that Iacob saith, Hee will not let him go except he blesse him: It teacheth vs to be strong in the Lord when soeuer we are tried, and euen so hartie and comfortable, that wee as it were compell the Lord to blesse vs ere hee go, that is, by his mercifull sweetnes to comfort our hearts, and to make vs more and more confirmed in all vertue and obedience towardes him, yelding vs our praier as farre as it may any way stand with the same, with force and violence as it were offered on our partes to the Lord, he highly esteemeth and richly rewardeth euermore. Thus did the woman of Canaan wrestle with him and would not let him goe, till hee had blessed her in her daughter.Mat. 15. 1. Sam. 1. Cant. 3.4. 2. Kin. 4.30 Thus did Anna wrestle with him for a childe and let him not goe, till shee had him: and so many others faithfull men and faithfull women in their seuerall cases. And thus doe you see how profitable a thing this wrestling of God with Iacob is, if it be well considered. Ma­ny are the conflicts of all them that will serue God with a good conscience, and God knoweth what yet hangeth ouer any man or womans head, that they shall tugge withall before they dye. Whatsoeuer it is turne to this place and consider these thinges, follow and fulfill as the Lord inableth you this course, and Gods truth for your warrant, you shall wrestle well, and to your great comfort in the end.

11 Iacobs halting, some haue resembled, if you list to heare it in this sort.Verse 31. First that it should be token an halting posteritie that should come of him, for many of them. Others haue saide,The Alle­gory of Ia­cobs haul­ting. that his good legge noteth the godly who walke vprightly before the Lord, and his bad legge, the wicked that euer hault and are not sound. Others, that his good legge noteth the spirit in man which is strong and willing, the bad legge, the flesh which is fraile and weake, &c. That the Iewes eate not of that part, was a ceremonie of that people who had many moe. Much bet­ter should they abstaine from all halting in Gods seruice and true religion, then from the part that was touched,Read Heb. 12.13. 1. Re. 11.21 but that flesh and bloud is more busie in matter of shew and outward obseruance, [Page] then in matter of weight, and inward truth. Thus let it suffise to haue profited by this Chapter.

Chap. 33.

The chiefe matter of this whole Chapter, is the reconciliati­on of the two brethren, Iacob and Esau when they met. Which how it was in the discourse thereof we shall see.

Verse 1. WHen hee saw his brother Esau comming and with him 400. men, In peril nor amaze­ment, but counsell is conueni­ent. hee diuided the children to Leah and to Rahel and to the two maides. Wherein wee see thus much, that a wise man is not so smitten out of his wits with a danger when he is in it, that hee cannot tell what hee doth, as many men are, but hee gouerneth his feare and keepeth it within limits, hee ca­steth about in good discretion and abilitie of minde what is best to be done, he concludeth quickly, and executeth speedily his de­termination, and so all being done that he can, for his part he com­mitteth the whole to his gracious God, to blesse and giue successe to as his will shall be. This let vs marke in Iacob heere, and by it hereafter staie such amazements as many of vs vse to be subiect to in a distresse when it commeth.

Verse 2. 2 Hee put the maides and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, The godly haue their affections. and Rahel and Ioseph last. Which if it were done in respect of securitie and safetie to one more then an other, we see then in the godly how affections haue place. To the maides he wisheth well, and to their children, but to Leah better, and to Rahel best of all. Thus are good men, men, and subiect as I say to humane affections in their measure. But if he put Rahel hindermost, because shee had but one childe, then sauoreth it of order as was said before. The former for my part I rather thinke, for we haue seen before his exceeding loue to Ra­hel, & in ye former Chapter this reason was giuen of diuiding the [Page 132] people, That if Esau come to the one company and smite it, the other company shall escape. Verse 8. Therfore euident as I thinke what he meant to Rahel when he set her last.

3 Then hee went before them himselfe, Iacobs go­ing before all, shewed his faith and loue. and bowed to the ground seuen times vntil hee came to his brother Esau. His going before, a notable argument of his faith. For God ha­uing said vnto him, I will bee with thee, in the assurance of this which his heart beleeueth, hee marcheth forward. His loue also appeareth to his charge that followed him. For what part they take he wil take, and that first and formost, yea hee will interpose himselfe betwixt them and the danger, that he may auert it from them if God so will. A paterne of a good shepheard, of a good pa­rent, of a good maister, and in deede the office of a couragious Captaine. His bowing as it was a token of his submission to his brother in worldly thinges, so may it resemble the estate of the Church in this world, stooping and bowing subiect, and vnder their pompe and state in this life, who in the next shalbe most mi­serable for euer and euer. The glory of the wicked is here, and the godly are vnder, the glory of the godly is in the next life, and then the wicked shall be vnder. Haue we patience then and tarry the time till it may appeare what we are.1. Ioh. 3.2.

4 Then Esau ranne to meete him, and imbraced him, Al harts in Gods hand and fell on his necke and kissed him, and they wept. O the power of God to turne all hearts which way he will. Now be we iudges our selues whether it be not true that Salomon saith: The Kings heart is in the hand of God, and as the riuers of water hee turneth it whether soeuer pleaseth him, Pro 21.1. Pro. 15.11. yea hell and destruction, are before the Lord, how much more the hearts of the sonnes of men. Where is that of Esau now, the dayes of mourning for my father will come shortly, and then will I kill Iacob? The Lord, euen the mighti [...] and mercifull Lord, hath wiped it out of his mouth and heart, out of his minde and purpose, and out of his might and power. And here is a change farre fitter for a brother. Glad was Iacobs heart when hee saw this I warrant you, and glad were all his people. Blessed be God that can so cheare his children euer, and so sitteth in the hearts [Page] of their threatners that they cannot moue, but as he will. Who will not trust in this God in all his distresses, that he shall worke for him and chaunge hearts to his best comfort euermore. Is he the God of Iacob alone, are all his promises come to an ende when Iacob is helped? No, no: we also are his, and he is ours, dearer to him then his owne life when time was, and for vs ther­fore also shall he thus worke in the hearts of men as shalbe good for vs if we cleaue to him. What can a thundring scolding ene­my do to you or mee more then Esau could do to Iacob. If you will thinke of nature, God is stronger then nature, and therefore can effect more. Be it vnto vs then in the Lords blessing, euer an increase of our faith this example. Something again as a means consider of Iacobs humilitie, who bowed himselfe so to his bro­ther. Doth not God blesse it to a good effect? Sic vent os [...] vincit, dum se submittit arundo, impulsu quorum robora celsa cadunt. So ouercommeth the reede the windes, by bowing to them, when the mightie Okes are ouerthrowne that bow not. Humilitie then in religion,August. as pronuntiation in Rhethoricke, the first point, the second point, the third point and all in all. Where pride is, there is shame, Pro. 10.2. but where humilitie is, there is wisedome saith Sa­lomon. And surely, It is better to be of an humble mind with the lowly, Pro. 15.19. then to deuide the spoiles with the proud, &c.

5 Then Esau asked him of the women and children, to whom Iacob answered,Verse 6. They were his children whom God of his grace had giuen him. Children the gift of grace. Therein acknowledging children to bee not onely the gift of God, but the gift of his grace to as many as haue them, which is a great comfort if it be well marked to all fa­thers and mothers of children. Againe before a bad man, yet he speaketh religiously, and Esau maketh no iest at it as bad as hee was. Wee frame our selues too much to company and prophane spirits in our daies, scoffe at any thing that sauoureth of religion.

6 Next hee asketh him of the droues which he met: not that he was ignorant,Verse 8. for the seruants that carried them had told him, but yt he wold take occasion to thank Iacob for them after some shew of refusall. Iacobs suing for fauour by them hath been tou­ched [Page 133] before and shewed to be lawfull. Esau his speech that hee had inough, sheweth the pride of rich mens hearts,Verse 9. bragging stil of their plentie. Iacobs faire praying, the policie of the holy Ghost to staie anger. Mollis responsio frangit iram. A soft answere brea­keth wrath, it hath been oft noted. When he saith He hath seene his face as the face of God. His meaning was,Verse 10. that in that chaunge of countenance from that which he feared, hee saw eui­dently Gods face, that is his worke, prouidence and mercie, and therefore his heart ioyed in it. His terming of his present to be a blessing, hath this reason, because gifts were giuen of the god­ly that gaue them willingly,Verse 11. with blessings and praiers and wi­shes of all prosperitie with them.1 Sam 25. Abigael. 1. Sam. 30. Dauid. Contrary to the course of many in our daies, whose presents and gifts by the same reason may bee called cursings, because with them (hand and hart going not togi­ther) they wish euill, as the diuel choake him, or such like.

7 Thus Esau is appeased, and his wrath departed,Manye worse then Esau for anger. meanes haue preuailed, and hee is not obstinate. We haue men and wo­men within compasse of our knowledge, whose wrath can neuer be appeased by any meanes that either the parties themselues or any friends for them can make. No subiection, no submission, no wordes, no deedes, can stirre them a iote. And yet they would be loth to be called Esaus, much more impatient, if a man should say farre worse then Esau. But they see themselues whether in­deed it be not so: when Esau is intreated and they cannot, to that which God and grace and the perill of damnation perswadeth vn­to. God is loue, and without loue, without God, and consequent­ly, cast away for euer.

8 Iacobs care of the cattell to driue as their pase will in­dure,Verse 13. A patterne of a good Pastor. most fitly showeth the duetie of a carefull and good Mini­ster, euer to haue an eye to the weake ones in his flocke, that can­not indure what the stronger can, and so to regard all as he ouer­driue not any. Better it is that the able go more softly, then the weake and feeble ouer fast: for the one hath daunger the other none. Let hastie spirites consider this, that neuer knew what bo­wels in deed a true Pastor hath to the whole,Note. and not to some few [Page] singled out in a partiall affection, and for some shew of that which indeed is not in them. They are all the Pastors care, and he must in conscience driue as the weakest may indure, not hurling & ha­sting to the abilitie of some, & vtterly ouerthrowing the greater part. A good Phisition of the body doth not desire to cure hastily, but surely and soundly: and why must the Phisition of the soule his praise, consist in haste? You may conceiue a fault though I paint it not. Ne sut or vltra crepidam. Let the shoomaker go no further then his shooe. Tractent fabrilia fabri, And let Carpen­ters meddle with Carpenters worke. The Pastors office is a­boue their reach, if they loued not to haue an oare in other mens boats: and he that hath called him to it, counted him faithfull and put him in his seruice, hath indued him with discretion, and as­sisteth him with a conscience to cōsider his charge, who be strong, and who be weake, what might be done, and what is conuenient and profitable to bee done, with the discharge in singlenes be­fore his eyes, that is the shepheard of shepheards, and chiefe Bi­shop of our soules,Rom. 14. Who art thou that iudgest an other mans seruant, he standeth or falleth to his owne maister. Thou art not the Pastor, and therefore hast neither his bowels, nor know­ledge. His course and reasons thereof haue an other iudge. Ia­cob may not haue more care of bruit beasts, then Ministers must haue of Gods people, but he wil not ouerdriue the very weakest, no more must the Minister if he meane to saue and not kill. Haste hath made waste, that I can tell, and more leisure would haue been better speed. Remember Iacob here.

Verse 20. 9 And lastly, still see the practise of faithfull men euer when God hath been mercifull to them,Iacob thankfull after deli­uerance. and deliuered them out of dan­ger. Now Iacob buildeth an aultar in the true thankfulnes of his soule vnto God for this great mercy and deliuerance of him from his brother Esau. And hee calleth it the mightie God of Israel: giuing to the signe the name of the thing which it signifi­ed, which is vsuall in the scripture. Thus would he publish Gods goodnes in his safe-being, with all his after all dangers. Would God it might kindle some heat in our hearts and consciences, to consider our selues, the daungers that we haue been in in our [Page 134] dayes, the daungers of the lande wherein wee inhabite, the daungers of our deare and nurcing mother, her moste excel­lent Maiestie for our sakes, because shee loueth vs with a true loue, not keeping the bodie onely in an earthly safetie and well being for earthly commodities, but chiefely procuring our soules comfort, and defending the same vnto vs against all malice of mightie powers. The daungers of wife, children and friendes, and now our safetie and deliuerance from all our feares, our qui­et sitting vnder our owne Vines, without noyse of Drumme, sound of Trumpet, neying of Horses, roaring of Canon, clat­tering of Armour, cries of the slaine by day and by night. For this hath the Lord done for vs, and whatsoeuer it is in our eyes, surely it is wonderfull euen through the world. All nations see our happines, the wicked gnash their teeth at it, the godly haue sent vs their gratulations, and they blesse GOD for vs. But where now are our Aultars? That is, where are our thankes and most gratefull songes of our deliuerance? We haue found mercie as Iacob did, yea farre more, for greater Esaus haue come against vs, then did against him, not with foure hun­dreth men, but many thousandes, to captiuate vs for euer as their slaues when they had slaine their fill. And yet wee liue, and by God onely who hath straungely reuenged vs vpon them that would thus haue eaten vs vp. Yet with Iacob we build no Aultars. That is I say againe, wee giue not thankes for the custome of our time, as hee did after the manner of his. At the first peraduenture wee did, but it was soone at an end. Now we are fallen into a dead sleepe againe, and both God and his mercy is forgotten. Our daunger also as if it had neuer been. But in the Lord I beseech you, let vs awake againe, looke vpon Ia­cob heere what hee doth, and euery man and woman follow his example. Build God an Aultar, not in earth with lime and stone, but in your heart of most kinde and thankfull remembrance for all his mercies to the land, to our dread soueraigne, to our selues, our soules and bodies, to our wiues and children, to our neigh­bors and friendes, and infinite wayes that wee cannot name. Blesse his Maiestie for them, and let not the remembrance die, till you dye your selfe. A thankfull heart is all that the Lord [Page] seeketh, and it is all that in deed we can doe to him. The childe vnborne hath cause to thanke him, and much more we that enioy his mercy at this present houre. The Lord touch our harts that they may feele, that Lord loose our tongues that they may speake, and the Lord inable both heart and tongue to continue praises vn­to his maiestie, not for a day or tws, but whilest breath goeth through our nostrelles, and we remaine. O our God of mercie, blessed be thou, blessed to day and blessed for euer: blessed with heart, and blessed with soule: yea blessed with the soule of our soules: for we were dead & now liue, yea as sheepe appointed to the slaughter after strange tortures and torments before, so were wee: but the snare is broken and we are deliuered: we released, and our enemies crawling in the bottome of the sea. Thou hast done it O God our God, and to thee be praise for euer and euer for it. Amen, Amen.

Chap. 34.

The chiefe heads of this Chapter are these three.

  • The defiling of Dinah the daughter of Iacob.
  • The fraud and subtiltie of her brethren,
  • The cruel murder they committed for that cause.

COncerning the first, the text saith, Dinah went out to see the daughters of that country. Verse 1. That is, shee went a wal­king to gaze and see fashions,Womens needles going a­broad. as women were euer desirous of nouelties, and giuen to needles curiositie. Shechem the sonne of Hamor Lorde of that countrey saw her, and presently tooke her, laie with her, and defiled her. This was the fruit of her needles ietting abroad being a young woman. A profitable ex­ample to warne all youth honestly minding and meaning, to be­ware, and to keepe within: for it is safe, it is sure, it is cre­dite so to doe. Libertie and loosenes hath spoyled manie [Page 135] an one as it here did her. Which the wise Syrach well knowing,Syrach 7.24. willeth all that haue daughters to keepe their bodies and not to shew any cheerfull face to them, that is, not to be fond ouer them and readie to grant them what libertie witlesse youth may wish to haue, but rather to marry them with all good speed, and then is a weightie worke performed. Salomon indued with such deepe wisedome, noteth it as a propertie of an vnchast woman and gi­uen to filthie delightes,Pr. 7.11. &c that her feete cannot abide within her house, but now she is without, now in the streetes, and lieth in wayt at euery corner. 1. Tim. 5.13 The Apostle Paul againe as a thing that greatly disgraceth any woman liuing layeth it downe, to be i [...]le and to go about from house to house. For this wil make them also pratlers and busie bodies, speaking thinges which are not comely. Dauid compareth a good woman to a vine vppon the walles of the house, because she cleaueth to her house, and keepeth within euen loth to be gotten out except the occasion be good and iust. Others haue compared her to the snaile, that hath euer her house vpon her backe.

2 Obserue the consent of parents regarded here euen by the Heathens.Verse 4. For Shechem beggeth of his father that he wold get him this mayd to wife, that is,Consent of parents that hee would procure Iacob her fathers consent, and giue his owne also. Of which hauing spo­ken els where at large I stand not now. But shame it is for vs to be worse then Heathens.

3 This euil newes is brought to the old man euen to Iacob I meane,Verse 5. [...] that his daughter Dinah was thus taken vp and defi­led. Whose woe what it was for so great a wrong, let parents iudge that know parents hearts? Neuertheles his soones being with his cattel in the field, Iacob saith the text held his peace till they were come. Thereby declaring that a wise man rusheth not by and by into actions according to his griefe, or when his affec­tions are hote but staieth himself, moderateth his heat, and ouer­ruleth his passions til quieter minde may better deliberate of a due course. This is grauitie, this is wisdome, and this is str [...]ngth that greatly adorneth any which hath it. The want of [...]is hath [Page] caused great repentance when it was too late, and daunted the credit of verie many for staied gouernment of themselues. Iacob I say held his peace.

Verse 7. 4 When his sonnes came home they also heare the matter, and it greeued the men saith the text,Whordom of good ones euer abhorred. and they were verie angry, because hee had wrought villanie in Israel, and lien with Iacobs daughter, which thing ought not to bee done. See how wee ought to bee affected to this kinde of sinne, which filthie flesh so ioyeth in. Iacobs sonnes abhorre it, detest it and lothe the verie thought of it: so should wee, they consider circumstances that in­crease the foulenes of it, as that it was in Israel, that is a­mongst a people professing God, that it was with Iacobs daugh­ter that is such a noted mans daughter for pietie and religion, &c. so should wee, and euer knowing sinne to be sinne, yet to knowe that circumstances make sinnes greater and greater. This argueth loue of God, loue of vertue and feeling of sinne, which euer are arguments of Gods holie spirite in vs. Com­pare this detestation and religious anger in Iacobs sonnes a­gainst this sinne, with the iestes and gibes that fleshly word­linges make of it, and with the prettie excuses that our ho­lie fathers in Rome doe vse. Si non castè tamen caute, if not chastly, yet charily, &c.

5 From the 8. verse to the 13. you haue Hamer his Ora­tion or persuasion vsed to Iacob and his sonnes,Ver. 8 &c to obtaine their good wil that Dinah might be married to Sychem. A fond fa­ther ouer his childe. Read it and marke it, and you shal see nothing but a fond speech of a fond fa­ther to satisfie the lust of a loose sonne, who both as he was his fa­ther, and as he was the gouernour and magistrate of the country, should sharply haue punished such behauiour in his childe. But peraduenture it was cat after kinde. Such father in his youth, such sonne in his. Howsoeuer surely the truth is tried, that blan­da patrum segnes facit indulgentia nates. A mallie father, ma­keth a wicked childe. Read the two and twentie of Deutreno­mie.

[Page 136] 6 From the thirteenth verse to the 18. you see the subtill course which the sonnes of Iacob deuised to be reuenged for the villanie done to their sister, and in her to their whole house,Religion made a cloake. their making religion and the ordinaunce of God a cloake to couer their craft, and a meanes to compasse their desire by. No new practise you see, neither yet for age worne out either of memorie or practise in our dayes: who would haue thought such deadly wrath had lodged vnder so reasonable wordes, or suche bloudie murther vnder the show of a marriage. Deepe is the heart of man wee see, and goodly showes haue dread­full treasons, and cruell massacres often vnder them. Euen aliances therefore and offred knots of great good will beware betimes.

7 The conditions agreed vppon betwixt Hamor and Iacobs sonnes.Verse 21. The consent of the residue of the people wan­ted, which Hamor their gouernour to obtaine, assembleth them togither at the gate accustomed, and there by a set O­ration,Priuate re­spects co­uered with cloake of publicke good. showeth them what good should growe to the whole Countrie in generall, and to euerie one in speciall, if they would harken vnto the condition of beeing circumsised, that thereby there might growe aliances with these straungers in marriages with them crosse either with others. Pretendyng cunningly (whiche is the thing I marke) the publike good, when wholly it was a priuate respect that hee had, and a par­ticular pleasure that hee shotte at. Heere is the pollicy then or rather subtiltie, which now in our dayes wee see so rise. If malice possesse vs and wishe a reuenge, if couetousnes haue caught vs, and would haue a benefite, or whatsoeuer it is that wee would effect, still the pretence is a publicke good, thus and so shall the Church bee profited, and thus and so shall the lande bee inriched, if our deuises may haue place, when in­deede they tende to as muche good to eyther, as this perswasion dyd to the Sichemites, beeyng the meanes [Page] whereby crueltie tooke place, malice and wrath had oportunitie and the fearefull destruction of them all was brought to passe and compassed. Trust not therefore ouer hastily such goodly promi­ses and painted showes of publike good to bring in an innouation which as this,Innouati­on dange­rou [...] often may haue danger vnder it and yet not doubted.

8 The silly people consent vnto Hamer his speech, wherby we may learne how dangerous a temptation the promise of gaine and profit is to the ignorant multitude.Verse 24. [...] This winneth and bewit­cheth them, this gaineth and getteth them to doo any thing, yea with this both eyes bee dimmed and eares so stopped, that subtil men may worke their wils, and had I wist come euer too late.

9 Marke againe what power to effect either good or ill, is in the perswasions of great mē to their inferiors.Verse 24. They carry them headlong to destruction if so they wil,Great mens per­swasions. and they carry them com­fortably vnto good if so they wil. Happie be the gouernours that perswade but wel, and so answer not with their own for the bloud of many. Againe marke here what often els may be seene, that when the Lorde determineth to punish, men haue no power to foresee the peril Iniustice be taketh the wisdome from the wise, and counsell from the prudent.

10 Thus the inhabitants being inticed to admit of circum­sition for an earthly commoditie and respect, the third day when they were sore, Simeon and Leuie the sonnes of Iacob, with swordes drawne come vppon them and kil euerie male amongst them. A bloudie fact and a great murther in mans eyes worthie of great blame, that for one mans fault so many should dye, offe­ring them recompence by admitting their condition, and so deeply deluded by so holy a show.Both fa­ther & son are slaine, that filthie lust may haue wor­thie re­compence and sweet meat soure sawce. But altogither we may not esteeme it by this, but somewhat consider the reuenging hand of a iust God in it, who wil neuer suffer the wrongs violently offred to his cho­sen people to escape vnpunished if they cleaue to him. The migh­tie worldlings may imagine they shall do what they list with vs, and proudly wrong vs, imboldned by their might and our weake­nes, but they shalbe deceiued, as is seene to their terror and our [Page 137] comfort in this example. That Simeon and Leuie were so for­ward-summe in nature we may iustly thinke of. For Dinah to them was full sister both by father and mother, where vnto some others, she was but onely by father. Leah was her mother, and the mother of Simeon and Leuie also. Againe wee may see in this example that saying verified, Quicquid delirant Reges ple­ctuntur Achiui. For the sinnes of gouernours the people often smart: and therefore happy people that haue a good gouernour. It is a treasure that of many is little co [...]dered, and a blessing that God is neuer worthily thanked for.

11 Then came the other sonnes of Iacob vpon the dead, and spoiled the Citie. Verse 27 &c. See therein anger how it rageth and in­creaseth, being once incensed and stirred vp. One man by example kindleth an other, and violence vpon violence will increase still,The rage of an of­fended minde. if we stay not quickly. If you marke now the state of this Citie, how the children be fatherles, the women comfortlesse, no house without bloudshead, murther, and death, their goods spoyled in Citie and field, their bodies captiuated which remaine aliue. O heauy wo:Stand in awe and sinne not. would not the heart of any man or woman tremble to offend the Lorde, to feede the flesh that sinfully lusteth with such deadly delight, and carelesse to scorne what so fearefully punished we see of God? How happy Hamor, if his sinning sonne had ne­uer been borne, how happy the sonne, if hee had turned his eyes from euil, and brideled his lusting heart with vertue and honour. How happy all both old and young, both great and litle, men and women, with babes and sucklings, if God had been feared and sinne abhorred. This is sinne in the eyes of the highest, a cryer continually for his wrath, till at last it come. The Lord giue a feeling, that we truly hate what hurteth & harmeth in this sort.

12 Then said Iacob to his sonnes, Ye haue trobled me, &c. Pitifully bemoning the danger which this desperatenes carried with it, both to him and his, had not God been good,Verse 30 &c. whose mer­cy in deed onely affected, that the countries about did not rise vp in armes against him and destroy him quite. The Lord knew how Iacob abhorred this course, and yet how perfectly hee hated the [Page] sinne of his daughter, wherefore in mercy hee prouided for him, staied all euil that might be against him, and kept both him and for his sake, his, that might else haue perished well inough. I note it to my comfort, and the comfort of many, that maye in their houses and seuerall families,Faults committed in families, sore against the will of the rulers. either by children or seruants, or friendes, haue that committed whiche their soules abhorre, and they little knowe of. God is gracious to regarde the in­nocent, and to turne from his faithfull seruantes that whiche euil committed might procure vnto them, as hee heere did from Iacob. Then marke againe in these sonnes of Iacob, whether for their merites God so increased them and made them his peo­ple,The Iewes not chosen for merites. or it onely was mercy and no merit. And remember withall, what by Ezechiel God saith vnto them, I meane to the people descended of them, and of like merite with them for this that we speake of.Ezec. 16.2. &c. Sonne of man, cause Ierusalem to know her abho­minations, & say thus saith the Lord God vnto thee. Thine habitation & thy kinred, is of the land of Canaan, thy father was an Amorite, & thy mother an Hittite. And in thy nati­uitie when thou wast born, thy nauel was not cut, thou wast not washed in water to softē thee, thou wast not salted with salt, nor swadled in cloutes. No eye pitied thee to do any of these vnto thee, for to haue compassiō vpon thee, but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the contempt of thy person in the day that thou wast born, and when I passed by thee, I saw thee polluted in thine owne blood, and I said vnto thee when thou wast in thy blood, thou shalt liue: euen when thou wast in thy blood, I said vnto thee, thou shalt liue. Marke you this repitition, Euen when thou wast in thy blood, I said vnto thee, thou shalt liue. That is, euen when thou werst sinful, wret­ched and vgly to be looked on in thy selfe, yet in mercy I regar­ded thee, turned my face from thy due desertes, and sayd, Thou shalt liue. Now if there were no merite in this first people, why the Lord should chuse them before all others, but that mere mer­cy regarded them in their blood, what merit might be in vs Gen­tiles wild oliues, and behind them far in circumstances sundry of great importance, that we should swell and be puffed vp. Read the whole Chapter in Ezechiel, and thinke in your soule how much [Page 138] rather the Lord might complaine of vs generally or particularly as there he doth of them. And what should haue humbled them, let it humble vs, what should haue made them tenne thousande times thankfull. Let it make vs not onely that way but euerie way dutifull to our liues ende. Moses was a Leuite, and yet hee writeth this of his father Leuie, an argument euident,The scrip [...]ture writ­ten by in­spiration and not flesh and blood. that flesh and blood did not rule in the writing of the scriptures, which hard­ly is drawne to laie downe any shame or blame of their aunce­sters, but that Gods spirite the God of truth and veritie, gui­ded and gouerned the penne of the writer, as best was seeming to his wisedome.

13 Shal he abuse our sister as a whore, say they? No: yet may not thereon be concluded,Verse 31 that against a fault any manner of proceeding is alowed. The fact was wicked,Youth [...] and rash. yet the punishment should haue been orderly, and with their fathers aduise, who chief­ly was wronged, and whose wisedome and discretion would bet­ter haue guided his sonnes, then they any way could direct him. But this is youth, hotte and fiery, rashe and vnbrideled, neuer forecasting what may insue, but egerly harpyng vppon a re­uenge. They neuer thinke of their fathers estate and theyr owne in that countrey, that they were but straungers there, that they were but fewe, and that extreame daunger might a­rise both to theyr father and them by this rage. No no, the heate of youth doth first performe, and then repent when it is too late. Whither did Cain his outragious anger carry him? Surely his brothers blood was nothing, when furie and anger had taken place. Saul against Ionathan, Achab against Na­both, Asa against the Prophet with many moe,2. Chro. 1 [...] 10. declare well the effectes of anger, when once it is kindled and incensed.

Theo-dosius, after his slaughter of seuen thousande at Thessalonica in his anger, by the perswasion of Ambrose, Theodor [...] lib. 5. cap▪ 16. & 17. layde downe a lawe, that whosoeuer after should be condemned to death, should haue execution therof deferred for thirtie daies, to the ende, that if anger had anye way made the iudgement too sharpe, this respite and tyme, myght againe moderate it accordyng vnto iustice. For vt fragilis glacies, Ouid. interit [Page] ira mora. As I se in time doth melt away, so time makes anger to decay.

Lastly, if you marke this answere of Iacobs sonnes, it may shew what naked excuses we content our selues withall,Naked ex­cuses. rather then we will acknowledge that we haue done euil. Againe, how vnprofitable speech is to an angry man til the mood be past. Anger so darkeneth the mind, that reason can haue no place. No, reason to a minde incensed with anger, is like a keye to a locke that is iumbled, that is, it can do no good. And as a theefe choseth often the darkest night, and the fisher the water that is troubled: so sa­than to worke many mischiefs in, chuseth a hart when it is trou­bled with anger. But let thus much suffice of this Chapter.

Chap. 35.

The chiefe matters of this Chapter are these two.

  • The remoue of Iacob away from Shechem.
  • The death of certaine of his dearest friends.

COncerning his remoue, the text saith, that then God sayd to Iacob, Verse 1. that is to say then, euen then when his heart was troubled and full of feare,The care of the lord for his. for the bloudie tact of his sonnes in Scechem. Where see, the vigilant care of the Lord ouer his in all their distresses, doth hee e­uer forsake them that faithfully and hartely cleaue vnto him? No no, hee is at hand and readie euen before the trouble happen to bee comfortable to vs, because this is essentiall in him, and not acces­sory.

Verse. 1. 2 Marke how he biddeth him go to Bethel and there build an Aultar vnto God, that appeared vnto him when hee fled from his [Page 139] brother Esau, Gen. 28. why if you remember or looke the place Iacob there promised, that if God would be with him in the iourney, and keepe him, and giue him bread to eate, and clothes to put on, so that he might come againe vnto his fathers house in safetie, then should the Lord be his God, and that stone which be there set vp as a piller should be Gods house, &c. And hath Iacob beene all this while in the countrey, and not been yet there to performe his vowe, and to giue the Lord thankes, who so gratiously had gran­ted his desire? O great slownesse in so good a man, and verye worthie blame exceedingly. See then and marke it well, [...] how slacke the best of vs are to paye in prosperitie, what we promise in aduersitie, euen with great zeale. Wee saye in sicknesse if we may recouer we will do this both to God and man, and in other perils we promise much: but alas, where is all, when once we are well and out of danger. Hath Iacob dulnesse, and haue we none? thinke of it, and by his faulte in this place that must be called vpon, and spurred vp by God himselfe: let vs amend what is a­misse. Then marke againe in this remembrance made by God, the manner of it. Go vp to Bethell Iacob sayth he, and make there an altar, &c. This is not, why hast thou not done it, and because thou hast forgotten me, I will forsake thee, or any such like sharpe rebuke. Sweete againe, is this if we consider it. For Iacob was now in sorrow, his heart being wounded both for his daughter that was defiled, and for the crueltie of his sonnes, with the perill also that his whole familie was in. In which greefe of his, the God of mercie would not adde greefe vnto greefe: but sparing him kindly, admonisheth him gratiouslye with sweet words,A sweete example. not so much as once quipping him for his faulte, with but halfe a sharpe word. A patterne euer to be followed of vs, one towards an other, that wee bruse not the heart already broken, but too much, that we ins [...]lt not one ouer an other for slippes and wants, but kindely quicken vp, when a harde speech woul [...] crush too much. O sweetest GOD, howe sweete art thou to slagg [...]sh sinners when they doe faull, and shall wee not labour to bee like them, &c.

2 When Iacob had receyued this woord of the Lord, hee [Page] willeth his household to put away theyr strange Gods, plainlye noting that there were such amongst them. And knew Iacob this and reformed it not? Surely the best men then haue theyr affections, and euen good Iacob is not heere without them, Ra­chell his Wife is most deere vnto him, and for her sake eyther he seeth not,Good men oft haue affections too much. or he feeleth not with that heat, or both seeing and fee­ling he lingreth reformation ouerlong. She had stolne hir fa­thers idols as you heard before, and what others they had got­ten in the spoile of the Cittie it is vncertaine. Prone is our na­ture by naturall corruption to such abuse, and if Iacobs people so well instructed, will yet be halting O what are we? This clea­ueth to our bones, and the very marrow to be superstitious and delighted with euill. The Gods that be seene best like our hu­mors, and what hands haue made we repose trust in, but fie of this folly if wee bee aliue, and not dead in heart to God and grace.

3 What then did God abhorre the household of Iacob, and re­fuse it to bee a Church? No, howbeit that familie was thus ble­mished, and the wife of his loue that slepte in his bosome thus all too spotted: yet euer were Iacobs sacrifices acceptable vnto God,Note this well. and his family cared for as his Church. Note we there­by, not to loue idolatrie, or to mingle the wheat with the chaffe, ne yet to extenuate Iacobs fault, nor to followe him our selues in not reforming. But note wee this, and note it agayne, that particular blemishes in some of a Church not yet amended, de­priue not the whole eyther of name or nature of a Church, ney­ther make the good thinges therein done according to the worde, (as were Iacobs sacrifices) of no effect: much lesse do they reach out daunger of death and damnation to all that holde fellowship with that Church, eyther not knowing, or no waie approo­uing what is euill. I could vrge the place harder if I would.

4 In bidding them cleanse themselues and chaunge their garmentes,The vse of cleane clothes on holy dayes. lette vs note how outwarde ceremonies helpe in­warde duties, vse them as helpes, and not make them our rests, th [...]nking all is doone when the outwarde thing is doone, but [Page 140] knowe, that cleane garmentes call for cleane heartes much more, and cleansed bodies, bid cleanse our soules much rather: else are we like the Massing Priestes that washed theyr fingers so so­lempnely, and neglected theyr consciences altogeather, or lyke the hypocriticall Pharisies, that scowred so carefully the outside, and forgot so negligently the inside.

5 Then they gaue vnto Iacob all the straunge Gods which were in their hāds,Verse. 4. Obedi­ence to doctrine, &c. &c. where see a very notable example of prompt and ready obedience to the worde. Blessed therefore he that had them, and blessed they that so willingly hearken vnto hym. Such Iacobs to bid, and such people to obey, would long and long continue these happie dayes of peace and freedome vnto vs, with a gratious Gouernour and Soueraigne ouer vs, in whose dayes wee may truly say, mercie and trueth haue mette togea­ther, righteousnesse and peace haue kissed each other. But why are they so zealous and ready now, hauing beene so dul hitherto? Surely the daunger they sawe themselues in, by that outrage committed, was a great meanes of it.Perplexi­ties profi­table. And therefore well may wee marke howe profitable for vs sometimes are feares and dan­gers, troubles and perplexities in this worlde. Then are wee a­waked and quickened that before were heauie, and then wee both heare the worde, and obey it with alacritie and readinesse. Take then the crosse away, and take our great good away, as we plain­ly may see.

But the text sayth,Exo. 32.20 Iacob hid them vnder an Oke that was in Sichem: when as wee read that Moses tooke the golden calfe that Aaron made, and burnt it in the fire, ground it to powder, and strawed it vppon the waters, and made the children of Israel drinke of it. A zeale indeed against Idolatrie and superstition. For aunswere whereunto it may bee sayde, that good m [...]n haue their wantes, and Iacob himselfe in this was not so prouident as hee might haue beene. Yet with comfort wee see that euen this measure of vertue and pietie in Iacob was accepted of God, the want pardoned and cast out of sight. With comfort (I say) we see it, beeing thereby iustly incouraged to doe good, and to hate euill, seeing there is mercie with God in sweete kindness [...], [Page] to accept what is well, and to turne his face from what is wan­ting. Away therefore with all discouraging thoughts, and verye sowre conceipts, of no acceptance with God, where any blemish or imperfection is. For euen in this example if we had no mo, it is prooued false.

6 When Iacob thus had reformed his house, he tooke his ior­ney from Sechem towards Bethel, Verse. 5. and the text saith: The feare of God was vpon the cities that were round about them, so that they did not follow after the sonnes of Iacob. It is the Lord then that cooleth and quencheth the rage of men against his children, yea it is the Lord that is able to mussell the mouthes of the Lions of this world,It is the Lord that staieth in­tents a­gainst his. whē they bristle themselues beside his liking, to commit any violence or furie vpon the godly. Let him say nay, and they cannot stirre: let him saye I, and they runne a pace.

The Diuels themselues cannot touche the Swine tyll they haue leaue of him: and are porcorum setae: numbred sayth the auncient father, and his chosen children forgotten? No, no, there is no power against the least of them, except it be giuen from aboue. Therefore care away comfortably, sing we and say we, Si deus nobiscum, quis contra nos. If the Lord be with vs, who can be against vs. No doubt these inhabitants had burning harts against Iacob, and his familie for the murder committed, but both hartes and handes are bridled by him, that bridleth the verye diuels, and such a feare is stricken into them by the Lorde, that Iacob goeth safely on his iourney, and not one dare looke out of the doores after him, to attempt any euill against him. O sweete God, O deere God, direct vs aright to be thine truly, and we see here our safetie. Thou wilt defend, thou wilt protect, and migh­tier farre then our selues are, thou wilt make to feare vs for our good. Blessed, blessed be thy name for euer, and let our hearts till death be secure in thee, Amen, Amen.

Verse. 19 7 The next thing I note, is the death of Rachell, the wife of Iacob, Wordlye comforts subiect to change. deere and deere, and twentie tymes deere againe vnto his heart. Who can expresse the woe of this daye, and the bitternesse [Page 141] of this losse to the man of God? Rachel is dead, and is she dead? O death voyde of mercy, or respect of persons. She dyeth vppon childe, an increase of greefe: she calleth the childe the Sonne of hir sorrowe, a heauie worde. But be comforted Iacob, and leaue all to God, who giueth and taketh at his pleasure. And learne wee by thee whilst the world indureth, to knowe worldly comforts whatsoeuer they be, to be subiect to change. Loue with vnfay­nednesse, what may be so loued, but loue neuer too much for feare of a check.

So loue, that wee thinke of losse if the Lorde so will: yet so loue, that we wish no losse if the Lorde so will. Let his liking moderate our affections euer, and so happilye shall wee in­ioye the thing liked a great deale longer. But if thou exceede, werst thou as iust as Iacob, God wyll schoole thee as he heere did Iacob. Thy deerest Wife, thy deerest Childe, thy deerest freend, shall feele theyr mortalitie, that thy heart may be taught, and wish for eternitie, crying heauily, sighing with mournefull voyce: Vanitie of vanitie, and all is but vanitie.

8 Greeuous it is also that we read in the 22. verse,Verse. 22 Ruben the sonne of Iacob to lye with Bilhah his fathers concubine. But such bitter accidents haue in the wonderfull wisedome of God befaullen to these great men,The vse of bitter ac­cidents to the Patri­arkes. that we poore soules might not be oppressed with greefe, when the like befall vs. Fathers and mothers can doe no more then they can doe, that is, instruct, exhorte, admonish, and teache theyr children and charge, and if that will not serue but contrary to it, they will wilfully and wic­kedly offend the Lorde, lewdly and loosely behaue themselues, theyr burden is vpon theyr owne backes, and the God that euer was holy and pure, will paye them home, accepting the industrie of the parents in good woorth.

Moses expresseth not how Iacob greeued, when hee heard this, but onely sayth, it came to Israels eares, that is was doone. Surelye the reason was this, that wee might thereby con­ceiue that the greefe was greater then could bee expressed to haue his bed defiled by his owne Sonne. So reade wee, the Paynter that portrayed the intended sacrifice of Iphigenia, [Page] paynted her father Agamemnons face couered, because it was not possible to expresse will the countenaunce of a man so plun­ged in woe. Thinke wee then earnestly of Iacobs sorrowe, but know that we cannot think how it was. And what crossing griefs the Lord sends vs,Strength against o [...]fences. let vs striue to patience by these examples. Yea let vs growe by these examples to a Christian strength against worldly scandals and offences, not moued by them to wauer vp and downe as some doe, condemning truth, and iudging persons by faults and offences that do happen. As if one should say see the religion of these men, can it be true, can it bee good, when the pro­fessors of it haue such spottes? Simeon and Leui cruell bloud­shedders, Dinah wanton and wantonly defiled, and now Ruben an incestuous person defiling his owne fathers bed. How shoulde the religion of these men be good? Surely the idolatrous igno­rance, and ignoraunt idolatrie of the Gentiles, of the Cananites, Perisites, Iebusites, or such like, was the good religion, and not the way that Iacob serued God by. Were this to reason well, or rather for the fals & faults of men to condemne the truth of God, & to censure men by their imperfections not to be what they are in deed and truth, though thus defiled? Yet this is the common rea­soning of the world, and thus dayly some stumble at mens offen­ces. But let vs bee wise, and learne by this to take a surer course to iudge both of men and of religion. Iacob and his family had the true religion, though thus sinfull flesh offended sometimes. All were not euil in such degrees, though some offended too much. Bewayle the falles wee may of those that professe the trueth, nay bewayle them we ought with a sighing hart, but forsake truth for them, or condemne truth to be no truth, we may not, we dare not, we ought not. Let God be true, & all men lyars. Let truth be truth & all men sinfull, yea such great Patriarks as these were not euer free. Though his iudgement shall be great that giueth the offence yet they shal not be excused that so far take the offence, as for it to forsake the way that is right. Then hauing thus profited, let vs marke againe in this example of Ruben the safetie of sinners, not­withstanding sinne, that truely repent and forsake theyr sinne. Ruben was not a castaway for euer from God hauing thus of­fended, but sorrowing and sighing (as no doubt hee did) for this [Page 142] vgly transgression, the bloud of Christ Iesus beleeued of him then in time to be shed, as we beleeue now that it hath beene shed, wa­shed him cleane, and procured pardon with God, that all sorrow­full sinners might haue fayth, and not dolefully die in despayring wo, if happily they should fal at any time through strength of flesh of world or deuill. Thus therefore againe let vs profite by him, and deny to none that hath fallen comfort, if sight cause sorrow from an heart not fayning.

9 The death of Isaac the father of Iacob is an other thinge mentioned in this chapter, who enioyed the presence of his sonne Iacob to his great comfort before his death.Great faith exer­cised with great cros­ses And Iacob to all his griefes had this also added the death of his father. So that if you thinke of the course of Iacobs life but euen hitherto, surely his griefes were many, and his crosses great, such as we doe not in­dure with that patience that both we ought, & he did, neyther yet with that comfort, as by this example, and others of Gods deare ones we are iustly incouraged vnto. God giues friendes, and God takes friends, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, or what­soeuer, and he spares not any when he will, though hee loue them dearely. Abraham looseth Terah his father, and Sara his wife: Isaac looseth Abraham, & Iacob now Isaac, beside other friends whom each of them lost in their times. This is our estate, we hold these things during pleasure, and are tenantes at will, not other­wise. That the text sayth, Isaac dyed full of dayes, it may well teach vs that there ought to bee a contentment in vs euen with yeares, which indeede is not in too many. But we couet to liue, and still to liue, and euer to liue if it were possible. This world so pleaseth vs, as if we dreamed of no other, these earthly pleasures seeme the ioyes we wish, and death, death, O how bitter is the re­membrance of thee euen in very olde age. Surely olde Isaac was not thus, and I trust we will note it to our good, and thus much now of this chapter.

Chap. 36.

THe principall matter of this Chapter, is the progenie and ofspring of Esau, in the obseruation whereof diuers good things may be noted, respected no doubt of the spirit of God, when hee caused it to bee written. As first it showeth the trueth of Gods promise made concerning Esau, The truth of Gods promise euer. chap. 25. ver. 23. and elsewhere, and yeel­deth vs this sweete comfort, that if the Lorde be so sure to them, that are not of his household and familie, but hated as Esau was, how assured may wee be, that hee will neuer fayle vs in any thing promised, except he fayle to be God.

2 When it is sayde that Esau remooued his dwelling, and gaue Iacob roome,Verse. 6. were it of fauour, or were it for other profita­ble respects in the world to him, we may well note the ouerruling power and prouidence of the almightie for his euer.God his sweet care for his. Had they li­ued together, being both so great, as the 7. verse noteth, in all likelyhood quarrels would haue growne, and perrillous conten­tions. Esau was mightie, fierce and irreligious, and what con­science such men make, to wrong and wringe a good man, the world yet sheweth too much. All this, God preuenteth in mercy to his Iacob, and maketh Esau giue place. Cast we our care then vpon God, and labour to be his, we shall euer bee cared for.

3 Their riches were so great, that they could not dwell together (saith the text) that they could not dwell together,Verse. 7. and the land wherin they were strangers could not receiue their flockes. Gods powrefull proui­dence for his in all places. Let neuer then filthy feare to want in this world, what may be good for vs: wound our soules with distrust in God. The beasts of the field, the foules of the ayre and the fishes of the Sea, be all his, yea the whole earth, and all that is therein is his, as the Psalme sayth. If to Iacob and Esau hee be able to giue such [Page 143] wealth, when went his powerfull might from him, that hee can­not do it againe to you, to me, to whom soeuer his good pleasure is and shalbe. If in a straunge country their flockes be so many, let my soule neuer dispaire for place, but dwell where the Lorde appointeth, and with beleeuing heart remember such examples as this. Yea let it go to bed with you, let it rise with you, write vpon your hand, and print it in the very veines of your hart, what the Psalmist saith: The Lorde God is the Sonne, and shield vnto vs, the Lord wil giue grace and glorie, Psal. 84 11. and no good thing will he withhold from them that walke vprightly.1. Sam. 2.30. He that honoureth me him wil I honour, saith the Lord, and hee will not breake a promise to very Esau, of any good or comfort as you see in this whole chapter. Be not we faithles then but faithfull.

4 A sweete comfort againe I see here in this, that if a man and woman feare the Lord themselues,God is of­ten merci­full▪ euen to the euill children of good parents. if religion be setled in the furrowes of their hearts, as it was in Isaac and Rebecca, surely euen vnto their wicked children, if they haue any, yet for the pa­rents sake, God granteth often worldly fauours, as here to Esau: who would not then with a faithful heart loue such a God He lo­ued Iacob and hated Esau, yet Esau beeing the sonne of a good father, and of a vertuous and religious mother, the fountaine of mercy, and God of all goodnes to his true seruants, euen the God of heauen, wil shew mercy to this Esau, thus farre as in the world to make him a great one, and to giue him riches. Againe I see worldly slate,Worldly glorie, no s [...]re [...]t [...]es of Gods loue. no good cause why men should forget themselues and waxe proud: but euer looke at the inward heart what pietie is there, least painted, port, & glistring glory of this fading world be vnited in my person, with the hatred of God concerning future state, as it was in Esau. I haue hated Esau saith the Lord, and yet his pompe thus great: Were this thought of, peraduenture our hearts would chaunge, and with lesse regarde of earthly showe, make earnest search for the fauour of God, how indeed wee may be assured of it towards vs euer.

5 God promised Iacob that Kings should come out of him,The godly st [...]ll vnder faith and hope. but behold as yet all the glory in Esau. How then, hath God for­gotten, [Page] or will he faile in faithfulnesse toward his seruant? No no: you knowe what glorious Princes came of Iacob in time, and the Prince of Princes that sitteth vppon his throne for euer,Dukes be his sonnes, &c. Ver. 15. &c. Read the Chapter. Christ Iesus. B [...]t as yet Iacobs show is lesse, and Esau his ruffe hath the eyes of men. Thereby wee learning, that Gods vsuall maner is to keepe his children vnder faith and hope in this world euer. What pleaseth him hee performeth in Iacobs life, and the rest his faith is exercised within hope assured of it in time, so with an other and an other after him, and still there is vse of faith and hope in this world with the godly. Bee content then with what God granteth, and beleeue the rest if it be promised.

Mans busie braine. 6 The inuention of mules specified in this Chapter, shew­eth the busie curiositie of some mens natures giuen to newes and straunge inuentions, not contented with simplicitie and plaine­nes, nay discontented with the course of gods nature many times. If wee praise this inuention, take heed wee touch not Gods for­mer distinction of their kindes and sexes which hee had created. Therefore rather blame I, then praise such needles newes as this was.

7 You see in this Chapter as I said before, all the glory in Esau and Iacob hath little, but hereafter these Edomites fall, and the Israelites rise. Therefore thus let vs profit by it, as ne­uer with the lustie bloods of this sinfull world, to despise the slow going forwarde of the children of GOD, or the cause that they maintaine. Sat citò si sat bene. Soone inough, if well inough, that is, fast inough, if with Gods fauour, and better a stable estate that is in longer time atteined, then a fickle fading estate got in hast. Not vnlike the grasse vpon the wall top, that is, soone vp, but assoone withered and gone againe.

Lastly, for genealogies in this Chapter layd downe, I re­ferre them to each mans diligence that list to search them, wi­shing the Apostles counsell followed in this matter euer, 1. Tim. 1. Verse 4. and Tit. 3.9. For our Pedigrees in these dayes as they haue an vse modestly and moderately looked into, so shewe [Page 144] they mens vanities otherwise vsed, who yet would not like to bee called vaine. Maximilian the Emperour forgot himselfe in it, as I haue shewed before, and of his very Cooke hee was reprooued. Let not the wise man glorie in his wisedome, nor the strong man in his strength (much lesse in ioyned Pedigrees) but hee that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord, and that his name is writ­ten in the booke of life, and he reckoned in the rowle of the righte­ous. He that is ouer busie in laying downe his auncestors, whilst he seeketh to be esteemed, as descended of them, is often iustly de­spised as degenerated from them, and not in any measure seeking to expresse the vertues in them. But let thus much serue both of this matter and of the Chapter.

Chap. 37.

The heads of this Chapter are chiefly three.

  • The hatred of the brethren towards Ioseph.
  • Their treacherie against him.
  • The lamentation of Iacob his father for him.

THe causes of their hatred are specified in the Chapter to be these: His complaining of them to his father, verse 2. His fathers great loue to him aboue them, ver. 3. And the dreames which he had, seeming to note a superioritie ouer them like to ensue in him, ver. 5. &c. The greatnes of their ma­lice is also mentioned when it is said, they hated him and could not speake peaceably vnto him, verse. 4. For particulars to beginne with the first cause of their ma­lice towardes him, because he brought their euill as the text saith to his father, it may well teach vs, that although brethren in nature and duetie should moste kindelye loue one an other, [Page] yet not so farre, as that they bolster vp one an other in sinne and euil. For true brotherly loue admitteth an orderly complaint of euil,Rom. 1. Last verse. Winking at euil. yea and euen requireth it. Not only they that do such things saith the Apostle, but they that fauour them, &c. Noting it a most greeuous fault to winke at sin and wickednes, and to beare with it. Veritas odium parit, fratrum quoque gratia rara est. Truth gets hatred, and euen brethren to loue togither (if truth be told) is a hard thing. The second cause of the brethrens malice was their fathers loue to Ioseph aboue them al, an vniust cause again. For it is lawfull for a parent to loue one child more then an other, as for a man to loue one man more then an other. Our Sa­uiour Christ loued Iohn more th [...]n the rest, yet might not the rest therefore haue hated him. Neuertheles Ambrose his coun­sell is good in this matter, to wit, that parents should beware, Ne quos natura coniunxit paterna gratia dixidat, Note it least whom na­ture hath ioyned,Children begotten in age, lo­ued for two causes they by their partiall loue doe seperate and dis­ioyne. There is a cause laid downe why Iacob loued him more then the rest, because hee begot him in his age, old men either not looking for any moe in such yeares, or receiuing suche as they haue besides expectation, both which are causes of intire loue to­wardes such as in olde age are borne to them: so was Iacob to­wards Ioseph. An effect also of this loue in Iacob is laid downe, that he made his sonne a partie coloured coate. A thing likewise lawfull, that parents may attire one childe better then an other, yet stil wisedome and discretion must moderate affection, for feare of such hart burning amongst children, as here we see.

Parentes loue shuld not be to childrens losse. 2 Yet this childe so beloued, went to the field and kept cat­tel as his brethren did sometimes, not finding his fathers affection vnto idlenes in him, which is a thing that may greatly profite vs in these dayes: wherein if in any thing we wil make a difference betwixt our children, surely it is in labour and trauel, and mat­ter of fruitful industry for the time to come. Some shall be put to all hardnes, yea to all drudgery, and others whome wee fauour more, not suffred to do euen good things, wherby hereafter they might bee bettered a great deale, not to learne least they catch cold: not to study, least their wits be dulled: not to do any thing, [Page 145] least we want them to make wantons of. So did not Iacob, though he loued Ioseph, but to the field he went as well as the rest, and did what he could in that course. Iacob ruled his loue to his childes profite, and so should wee, Iacob wanted his companie for his good, and so should we. Iacob hated idlenes in his children, and so do not we

3 The third cause of the brethrens wrath, were the dreams that Ioseph had. The first of sheaues, the second of the Sunne and Moone, and Starres, dooing reuerence to him.God with­out parents helpe exal­teth often their chil­dren. Of dreames hereafter something shall be said: Now concerning his first dreame here, Iosephus saith they were sheaues with­out corne, and therefore the dreame shewed, that not onely he should come to honour, but that honour should be by forreine meanes, not by helpe of anie goods or possessions of his fa­thers. Surely howsoeuer the sheaues did pretend that, so it was, and therefore comfortablie teacheth vs, that God is able without parents helpe (if it please him) to preferre their chil­dren euen to the greatest places, no cause to make parents carelesse, but a verie iust cause to make them not ouer care­full. And a sweete comfort to all that either haue no parents of abilitie to enrich them, or if they haue, yet vniustlie are throwen off, and by sinister practises depriued of their portion, which in nature and equitie is to bee giuen them of their pa­rents. God is in heauen as mightie as euer he was, and as good as euer he was. Let him be my father and mother, and remember Ioseph, &c.

4 What say the brethren, Shalt thou reigne ouer vs, We rather obey stran­gers thē our brethren. and rule vs, or shalt thou haue altogether dominion ouer vs, and they hated him so much the more. And why so, was hee not their brother? Is it so tickle to haue a brother rule ouer his brethren? yea surelie. So cankred is the nature of many men, that they can better endure to be subiect to a Turke, then to their owne flesh and blood, And as our Sauiour said, No Pro­phet is esteemed in his owne Countrey, so may it truely be said manie times, A kinsmans gouernment ouer his kins­men [Page] is enuied and spited. But it is no vertue let them vse it that list. They bewray more corruption then all the water in the riuer will wash off, and of wise men they are estéemed ac­cordingly. Not much vnlike to these brethren of Ioseph be they that had rather anie man should haue a penie-woorth in what they part withall, then their friend, yea a friend may not haue it for anie thing, when a méere stranger shall haue it al­most for nothing. The nature is nought if there be not verie iust cause of such refusall, and as dogged as here were Ia­cobs sonnes.

Knowledge not obeyed. 5 How readily they interpreted his dreames, yea and how rightly? yet they abhorred to yéeld, to them. So do many with the word of God, they perceiue what he meaneth, God I say in his word, and what he requireth, yet no yéelding, no submis­sion, no contentment, but grudge and grieue as much to be subiect thereunto, & to submit their necks to the sceptre there­of as Iosephs brethren did here to there brother, albeit they gessed and that truely, what was intended. A feareful stub­bornnes, and a stifnesse, starting aside with assured danger if it be not reformed. Not to sée the Lords will is a plague, but to sée it, and to refuse to obey it, is death and damnation iust for euermore, without repentance.

6 As the fathers fauour here towards his sonne Ioseph, was the cause why the rest hated him,Gods fauor to his chil­dren, cause also why they are ha­ted in the worlde of some. so is the gracious fauor that God almightie sheweth to his children often the cause of hatred in others towards them. If God be extraordinarie to Moses, euen Aaron his brother, and Miriam his sister will be offended: if Dauid be loued, Saul will enuie him) and séeke his destruction. So in mo, & so in too manie if men were not wic­ked. The lord may not do with his owne as he wil, but our eie is streight euill, if he be good. This is not well in them▪ But to vs let it be no discomfort: for their enuie, malice and hatred shall hurt vs as these mens did Ioseph, that is, God shall turne all to his owne glorie, and our further way vnto such good as in his good pleasure is determined for vs. Be­leeue [Page 146] this example of Ioseph, exalted notwithstanding all their spite.

The second part.

HAuing heard before the hatred growen in the bre­thren against Ioseph, in this second part of ye chap­ter we may sée their execution and practise of the same against him when they had oportunitie. The oportunitie was this.Verse 18. Their father sendeth Ioseph into ye fields to them where they kept their cattel, to sée how they did. Whom when they saw in this sort come into their hands, streight they conspired against him. Now that the father would send him, and that Ioseph would go, hauing had such notice of their dis­liking of his dreames, it plainlie sheweth the simplicitie of the godlie, and such as haue honest minds, that they are farre, and often but too farre from suspecting and forecasting such perils as in déed are towards them, and such euill nature in others as in time sheweth it selfe and bursteth out. It is an old saying, & euen here we sée it true, Vt quis (que) est vir bonus, &c. A man that meaneth truly and honestly himselfe, thinketh all others to meane so likewise. But it was so. Though olde Iacob meane no hurt, neither yet Ioseph, the other brethren doe, and conspire his death, when in loue sent in loue he commeth to sée howe they did. Though simple then it is good to be, yet ouer simple beware to be. Inter spinas calceatu. Amongest thornes haue on thy shooes (sayeth an other prouerbe) and it is wor­thie practise,

2 Out goeth Ioseph and thinketh no harme then as I said,Vr. 16.17 and he séeketh his brethren from place to place,Many seeke one thing and finde another. but he findeth blouddie enimies rather then brethren at the last. So fareth it dayly with manie a man. Wee séeke life, but wee finde death at the Phisitians hands: Wee séeke iustice, we finde oppression: wee séeke truth, wee finde falsehoode, and in a worde, as Ioseph here wee séeke for brethren but finde farre otherwise in the end. So dooth secret sinne couer it selfe euen [Page] in the Church militant to this day. But who so reputed a bro­ther, becommeth a foe, let him thinke what credite Iosephs brethren had with God or man for such hypocrisie, and who so is halted withall, and deceyued, as Ioseph was, meaning no woorse then Ioseph did, let him turne his face from man, and clap holde of God, saying with the Prophet, It is good for me to holde mee fast by God. to put my trust in him: and what protection and safe garde poore Ioseph found, when hee was here alone in the middest of his, no brethren, but bloudie foes, that comfortablie hope for at the same Gods hand, who is one to day, then, and for euer, to all that truelie cleaue to him.

Gods wri­tings and mans wri­tings. 3 But why saith Moses so brodelie that they conspired to slay him. This was much to bee laid in writing against such men. No not a iote. For it being so in déed, the holie spirite of God hath taught vs notablie by it, what difference is betwixt man and God.18 Man in his writings flattereth, and smootheth, and dissembleth faults, yea often, for vice putteth in vertue, and where in deede a dispraise was due, yet there extolleth to the skie. But Gods holie spirite in his writings dooth not so. He speaketh plainly and euer truely of all degrées, what­soeuer. Againe it sheweth that Moses was not directed by flesh and bloud: for if he had he would haue couered the ble­mishes, especiallie these great blemishes of his ancestours. Thirdlie, it is a rule to direct them to doe it, and it is a war­rant to them if they doe it that write stories, and commit to writing facts of present or former times. Trueth was e­uer without shame, what blame soeuer it getteth vnworthi­lie. But filthie flatterie maketh them liue with shame that vse it during life, and shamefullie spoken off euen after death.

Scoffers & mockers. 4 Behold (say they) this dreamer, or maister of dreames commeth. A scoffe, and a lewde scoffe, the dreames of Ioseph being from God to a speciall reuelation of his great mer­cie in time intended to that house. But we may well sée in [Page 147] it the fashions of the wicked, and the lot of the godlie in this world often. How differ these speaches, Behold the dreamer: and Beholde the holy man, the holy woman, the hote gospel­ler, &c Surelie both are scoffes alike from a prophane heart, which God will visite with a whipping rodde in his good time. Thus scoffed the Captaines and their fifties when they called the Prophet in mockerie, Man of God, 2. King. 1.11. but with fire from Heauen the Lorde consumed such moc­kers· If the like fire from Heauen consume not our moc­kers, let them yet bee sure that fire in hell shall neuer faile them.

5 Come therefore (say they) and let vs slay him, and cast him into some pit, &c. Vers. 20. Hatred brings forth murther. See what it is to harbor in our bosoms a dislike of a man and a hatred, in time it leadeth vs euen to blouddie murther of the partie so disliked, or at the least to a willingnes to do it, if we be by meanes kept from the act. For if a brother breath death agaynst his brother, because he ha­teth him: surelie men in further degrées from vs will neuer stand in our handes. Then stoppe betimes if we feare God, and abandon hatred out of our hearts. Let it neuer lie boy­ling within vs and gather strength. Such Patriarchs ouer­come by hatred against their brother may teach vs whilest we liue what hatred is

6 Then shall we see what will become of his dreames. As if they should say, so shall wee proue his dreames false.Striuers a­gainst gods appoint­ment. O blinded men, the determined counsaile of God they will o­uerthrow, and by their power and practise they will preuent what hee will haue come to passe. So thought the blinde Pharisies, Priests, and Elders, that if they could compasse once the death of our Sauiour, all should be well, they should still deceyue the worlde, the Scriptures should bee falle, and whatsoeuer by Christ was effected, shoulde bee preuented. But was it so? or rather did not all their ma­lice woorke to the effecting of Gods purpose. Herode by pollicie or crueltie open, will kill the babe Iesus, and then [Page] all shall be well, yea euen to this day fooles will contende agaynst God and prooue him vntrue. But away betimes with such dreadfull impietie. God will bée true, and his pur­poses shall be perfourmed, when all earthlie creatures shall be confounded that stande agaynst him, Iosephs dreames shall come to passe in despite of all scorners or vnnaturall practisers to the contrarie. So let vs thinke, so let vs know, so let vs liue till life take her leaue, and all bee effected. Our fayth, our cause, our profession and religion, shall stande being the Lordes, though thousandes of our bodyes bee destroyed by raging crueltie, and all is not sure on our aduersaries side as they suppose when once they haue preuai­led against some of vs. Blessed be God.

Verse 21. 7 But when Ruben heard that, hee deliuered him out of their handes,Neuer giue sentence vpō any for one fault.&c. What Ruben was this? Sure­lie euen hee that laie with Bilhah his fathers Concubine, as wée heard in the 35 Chapter. Learne then sayeth Cal­uin vpon the place, Non esse à peccato vno quantumuu atroci estimandos homines vt nobis desperata sit eorum salus. Not to iudge men peremptorilie vppon one sinne, though a verie great one, and their estate to vs seeme verie desperate. For here wee see more vertue, more pietie and feare of God, though before hee had so grieuously fallen, then in all the rest. See againe howe God will euer haue one Ruben or another, that is, one meanes or another to deliuer his out of perils and daungers, as euer shall stande with his blessed pleasure. Let wicked men deuise and determine what they will, the Lorde hath a hande ouer all their purposes, and they shall not preuaile but as hee will. Kil­led to bée, God will not haue haue his seruant, and they can not effect it, but solde into Egypt hee will haue him, and therein they preuaile. So it is his will, not theirs: his counsaile, not theirs, that indeede ruleth. The deuise that Ruben had to saue his life, maie euer bee a warrant to vs to vse good meanes and lawfull pollicyes to the good of our brethren the children of God, eyther in deliuering them [Page 148] from blouddie rages of cruell aduersaries, or otherwise. This was pia fallacia, saith a learned man, a holie deceit, to a good purpose, and we may obserue it.

8 They strippe him, &c. What we are grudged to haue, we are soonest robbed of. Greatlie they spited his par­tie coloured coate, as wee sawe before, and what most men are spited to haue they are first robbed of, if their enuying foes preuayle ouer them. What they sayde to Ioseph when they thus stripped him, or what hee to them when they thus vsed him, is not layde downe. But well wee maie thinke this was dolefull intertainement to his harm­lesse heart, that came in such sort both readilie and kinde­lie to sée howe they did, and to beare to his father what they wanted. Yea questionlesse with wéeping eyes, and a­king heart, hee cryed for pittie,See chap. 42 ver. 21. the anguish of his soule. calling them brethren a name of loue, mercie, and nature, remembring them of God, of nature, of their aged father at home, who had sent him to them, and of what soeuer might mooue com­passion, but it woulde not serue. O Lambe amongest Woolues if euer were anie. O Iacob at home, thou seest not this. Little dreamest thou thy darling is in this per­plexitie amongest his brethren. To thée hee shall come no more, but his coate for him. Thy sorrowe is neare and e­uen at the doore by such cruell children. No God, no brother, no father, no friend is regarded of them. Stonie heartes, and iron bowels are nowe where Nature shoulde haue dwelt. See wee then man, if the Lorde touch not, and prepare to endure what GOD shall sende. Pitie or none, fauour or none, feeling or none, his will be done.

9 Then they sate them downe [...]o eate bread (saith the text) Alas they shoulde rather haue sate downe to weepe for their moste wicked behauiour towardes their innocent brother, then to eate and drinke,The sinfull securitie of a dead con­science. but they felt not the sinne as yet, and thus are mens consciences to often lulled [Page] a sleepe through Satans subtiltie: an estate most dangerous and abhorred of God. Such a lethargie was in Dauid, in Ezechias, and others, to their great hurt. Wherefore blessed is the man estéemed of Salomon that feareth alway,Prou. 28. that is, that hath a feeling still of sinne, to auoyde it, and hate it, to sigh and sorrow for it, as becommeth a man or woman that feareth God. But whilest thus they were eating, beholde a meanes to deliuer Ioseph out of the pit, and to saue his life. They lift vp their eies and saw marchants comming, streight they concluded by the motion of one to sell Ioseph to them, and so to be rid of him. So fitte can God make meanes fall out to serue his prouidence euermore. So came Rebecca so came Rachell fitte in their times: so can a thousande knowen experiences full well declare if they be remembred. God hath his tymes, and his opportunities of tymes, to fitte assuredlie, and let it be our comfort. Ioseph then is solde and away he goeth. But God had a purpose vnknowen to Io­seph to his great comfort. Had hee knowen it, his sorrow nothing woulde haue béene so great. Let it comfort vs when aduerse thinges happen, little knowe wee what may insue.

The intire affection of parents to­wards their children. 10 Finallie, the sorrow of Iacob, so great and so grie­uous, so long and so lasting, refusing to be comforted whoso­euer came to him, most plainelie and effectuallie expresseth a fathers heart towards a childe beloued. Iacob had indu­red manie great afflictions in his time, yet neuer ranne out as he did in this. Here hee is euen ouercome with griefe, and his passions vehement, shewe themselues in a dolefull measure. Thus neare lie chldren to their parents hearts. Touch our goodes, or touch our owne bodies, we endure it often with great patience, but touch our children and we are gone: Iob can witnesse it, if our daylie knowledge wan­ted proofe. The comming of friends to comfort him in this we full well commendeth vnto vs a kindenesse and duetie that is most commendable▪ But that his sonnes woulde suffer him thus to sorrow for their brother that liued, O bar­barous [Page 149] hardnesse. Their confession of the trueth, though it might verie iustlie haue wrought them blame, yet most swéetelie it woulde haue refreshed the mourning heart of their aged father. But sée our nature how it abhorreth truth, if it may ought hurt vs, and how obstinate Nature standes in a sinne to face it out, and kéepe it close. Such is our mould, and such is our great corruption. They comfort their father and yet cause his wo, much like our Vsurers that speake so kinde, and cut so déepe into a mans estate till he be vndone. O miserable comforters, and so I ende.

Chap. 38.

The generall heads are these chiefly.

  • The mariage of Iudah, to the 12. verse.
  • The incest, to the 24. verse.
  • The manifestation of the same, frō thence to the end.

TOuching particulars, it is to be obser­ued, first, how Iudah tooke to wife the daughter of a Cananite, which affinitie by God was vtterly condemned. And the children that hee had by such mari­age prospered not. Euen therefore as it should séeme the mariage of the father being mentioned,God pla­gueth vn­godly ma­riages. that we might know how iust cause there was why God should detract his mercie and grace from the issue. Let men then looke vpon this exam­ple, and call to remembrance with it their owne experiences. Hath not God euer hated vngodlie matches? Hath not God sundrie wayes plagued them euen in our dayes? by deniall of issue either to such as so marrie, or to the next children of such marriage, or by withdrawing his grace from them that [Page] [...] [Page 149] [...] [Page] they become wicked and vicious as these were here, Er, and Onan, or by some meanes or other best pleasing his iustice, that striketh in tyme the vnreformed person, though he spare long. Let neuer then either lusting flesh, or couetous heart, or anie respect vnder heauen, draw vs to the match that is not in the Lord. If she be a Canaanite, or the fauourer of Canaanites vnlawfullie, let her neuer bee ours. And so on the womans part.

Verse. 6. 2 It is sayde, Iudah tooke a wife to Er his first borne sonne, Consent of parents. and whie should this bee mentioned in this sort, but of purpose to shew the regard that was had of parents in those daies touching the mariages of their children. A thing that I haue often noted before, and can neuer note too often, so bolde is youth in these daies to take themselues, and not to let pa­rents take for them.

Verse 7. 3 But Er this first borne of Iudah was a wicked man, &c. therefore the Lorde slue him. The end of the wicked to be slaine. Wicked, I say, because it pleased not the Lorde to giue his blessing to the fruite of a wicked matche, and slaine of the Lorde in iustice for his wickednesse, that all like disposed persons might sée in ex­perience what first or last shall befall them for such beha­uiour.

Verse 8. 4 Then the father willed his second sonne Onan to take his brothers wife, An enuious mind, hated of the Lord. and to rayse vp seede to his brother. A thing that after was made a lawe, as wee reade Deuter. 25.5. But what did the wicked man (for euen this same al­so was a wicked man that an vnlawfull mariage of the fa­ther might fullie bee punished) I say what did he. Cursed­lie and sinfullie he spilled his séede vpon the ground. Where­fore the Lorde also slue him. Behold in this man the mali­cious spitefull and enuious nature of manie a man and wo­man in the worlde, who rather make choise to hurt them­selues, then to pleasure another. They crie as the woman did to Salomon, Neither to me nor to her, but deuide it. But let [Page 150] these natures beware, lest god deale with them as he did here with Onan whom in his fierce wrath he slue for such enuying. And concerning the fact of Onan thinke no better of it, then you do that a woman should destroy her fruitfulnesse, for this in man is euen that sinne: an vglie, fowle, and filthie wicked­nes. Manie men are not of Onans minde, who are too soone intreated to raise vp seede to other men: yet I know the dif­ference, but thus much by the way.

5 Iudah had yet a third sonne, but he was young, Verse 11. and see­ing both his other sonnes thus dead, hee was afrayed to giue him to Thamar his daughter in lawe, least hee should also die as his brethren did. Wholie imputing the cause of his sonnes death, not to their owne sinfull wickednesse,We blame readily the vnworthie of blame. as indeed hee should, but to his daughter in lawe, nothing guiltie of the same. Therein teaching vs two things. First howe rea­die it is with partiall man to blame others not blame wor­thie, rather then to lay the fault where in déede it ought. Se­condlie, that when anie crosse befalleth our familie, wee shoulde euer enter into considertion of sinne, and searche carefullie what hath béene committed to prouoke the Lorde in such sort agaynst vs.Seeke sin in our selues. The former he teacheth vs here by his dooing, the latter by his not dooing. Iudah I meane the father of these children. The father in maryage with a Canaanite, and the children otherwise grieuouslie sinned, and yet poste it ouer to the poore woman, as though shee were cause of all. Dauid sayde well, and hath lefte vs a good president when hee cryed in vnfained­nesse, It is I Lorde, it is I that haue sinned, and done euill, these sillie sheepe haue done nothing: 2. Sam. 24. let thy rodde bee agaynst mee, &c. to the like effect. Thus did not Iu­dah here.

6 Then shee put off her widowes apparell (sayeth the text.Verse 14. A kinde of mourning apparell.) Therby instructing vs that euen in those daies widows did vse some graue, sadde and sober apparell, whereby they were knowen to bee widowes, and to carrie in minde their [Page] losse and lacke of their husbands. What it was we know not certainlie, neither if we did is it necessarie that all countries and persons in such outwarde and indifferent things should be a like. Let it thus farre profite vs that wee may vse some graue forme according to the manner of the place where we liue, and we ought not to iudge those that do it.

7 She couered herselfe with a vaile, a thing that in my opinion maketh nothing against the vse of women in some places after childbirth.Womens vayles. For honestlie it may of an honest woman be vsed, that immodestlie of naughtie ones is abu­sed. And so in men. Much more might the vaile that Rebecca cast ouer her be vsed to approue that fashion, then this can anie way be vrged to improoue it. But most plainlie this fact of Thamar teacheth, that wicked women in those daies were not altogither so past shame, either had the Deuill ta­ken such full possession of them, as nowe in ours hee hath of such like. For then they sinned with couered faces, as hauing some shame: but nowe with open faces as past all shame. Then such behauiour shewed some féeling of it, that it was not well, but nowe bolde and bare faces, no­thing blushing to committe such sinne, shewe plainelie to all men wee haue no more féeling then wee haue vayles, no more conscience then wee haue shame, and that is iust of neyther anie iote at all. O fearefull bolde­nesse in so badde a cause, whither will it carrie vs if we take not héede.

8 The reason is alledged, whie Thamar thus wickedlie prostituted her selfe to her father in lawe.The poison of discon­tent. To wit because shee sawe that Shelah the thirde sonne of Iudah was growen vp,Verse 14. and yet she not giuen to him to wife, according to pro­mise. Alas, and shall another mans fault make me offend? If Iudah breake promise, will Thamar forgoe pietie? Surelie this is euen the poyson of discontent. It boyleth, it breweth with man and woman sore and neuer ceaseth vr­ging to some reuenge. Yea heere it preuayleth with her [Page 151] euen to shame her selfe and to sinne damnablie rather then not to be reuenged vpon her father in law. Discontent made Iudas to betray his maister: discontent made Haman set vp the gallowes that by Gods iustice serued himselfe. Discon­tent made Demas forsake Paul, and imbrace the world. And what deadlie sinne hath not discontent made séeme as reaso­nable, equall and iust. O treasons and treacheries against Christian kings and gouernours, O but cherlie bloudinesse and bloudie massacres that discontent hath greedilie drawen vnto men, otherwise qualified with manie gifts. Beware we then euer of discontent, and snubbe it betimes, least it ouer­throw vs as it hath done manie, and here did Thamar. And if we haue anie cause of iust offence, let it neuer draw vs to vn­iust reuenge. If Iudah breake promise with vs, let not vs offend, God séeth our wrong, and God will punish our wrong, if we commit it to him in godlie patience. But if to punish sinne we also will sinne, as we loose the benefite of Gods re­gard of the wrong done vs: so shall wee surelie taste of his rod our selues for so offending.

9 The text saith againe that he knew her not. Yet he tal­ked with her and she with him largelie,Verse 16. Sinners blinded in gods iustice. how then might it bee that he knew her not, she hauing beene the wife of his sonnes and long in his companie? Verelie God angrie with his lewd disposition, had blinded him so that hee knew her not. And shall it not shew vs the wrath of the Lord against filthie concepts. If thou louest sinne and wilt strain thy conscience to drinke of that cuppe, take héede least in iudgement the Lord take knowledge and feeling from thée, that thou no more discernest sinne to be sinne, as it is, then Iudah knew Thamar to be his daughter in law, as she was.

10 The match being made for her sinfull hire, and the sin committed by her sinfull father, the text saith,Verse 20. He sent her his promise by his neighbour the Adullamite. Cole-cari­ers betwixt offenders. Such Cole-ca­riers the worlde is too full of, and I would their occupation were writ in their foreheads, then would there be lesse wic­kednesse [Page] wrought then is by much. The vertue of man or woman hath no such enemie vnder heauen as these cariers be.Such neigh­bors as this be good to scoure an ho [...]e ouen withall. They bring, and they speake, yea they sweare, and fowlie forsweare to worke a shame. What sender cannot, these cariers can haue time and place to discourse at full. They lie, they cogge, they face and flatter, till harmelesse heart re­receyue their venome. O brokers of Sathan, for sinne and wickednesse what will be your ende?True friendship is vsque ad aras, and no further. If the sinner sinning by your procurement bee damned and die, what measure of confusion is due to you that haue brought it about? Spit we then euer with destance heartie vpon such Adullamites as this was.

11 When this carier came, Thamar was gone, and fin­ding her not he returned his cariage vnto Iudah, and told him of it.Verse 23. To whome Iudah answered, Let her take it to her (to wit his pledge) least we be shamed. So shewing plainly what wee finde too true more in our eies to bee the shame of the world then the feare of God. But it is a wrong course if God gaue eyes: for he aboue all is to be feared and regar­ded, that is able not to shame onelie, but to kill both bodie and soule, and to cast into hell fire, &c.

Vers. 24. 12 In time this whoredome draweth to light: for Thamar being with childe after thrée moneths made open shew, and the newes of it is brought to her father in lawe, who by and by stoutlie as if he had beene the honestest man aliue giueth iustlie sentence that shee should be burnt. Shewing as it is thought, that euen by the lawe of nature written in mans heart, whordome should be punished by death, before euer the lawe written was giuen. When she was brought forth to the ende to suffer, shee sent vnto her father in law his tokens left with her when she offended. Which by and by knowing, he changed his sentence absolued her, and condemned him­selfe, saying: She is more righteous then I for she hath done this because I gaue her not to Shelah my sonne. So hastie sentence was soone repealed, and the case being altered he is [Page 152] not so hastie as he was. Such Iudges and iudgements haue béene séene, but the lesse the better. Sinne will be sinne what­soeuer we doe, and God will assuredlie punish sinne whatso­euer we doe. Circumstances may alter sinne from more to lesse, or backe againe, but circumstance neuer can make sinne no sinne, and vnworthie blame. She had cause to com­plaine of wrong done her by her father in lawe, not giuing her a wife to his sonne, but that therefore with her father in law she should commit incest, it cannot be iustified: but i­nough before of this matter. That it followeth streight, He lay with her no more, it was some grace and token of repen­tance. Such as if offenders would euer shewe, no doubt but mercie might be found for passed frailtie. Regard this therefore, and obserue it well, Iudah sinned but he sinned no more, &c.

Last of all, when the time of deliuerance came,A comfort to women with childe in their tra­uaile. her tra­uaile was hard, yea so hard as it is not conuenient fullie to vtter, yet all was well in the end, both mother and twinnes too were in safetie. The vse of it to women to trust in God who is mightie, and almightie, good, and all goodnesse, to regarde his faithfull seruants euer in this busines. Let them not feare, but cleaue fast to his gracious fauour, the rather if before they haue prooued his mercie. For though it be a fault for anie to doubt, yet it is a double fault for one that hath tried, to doe it. Neither Gods mercie nor might wax wea­ker with time, but he is for euer, what euer he was, and if you beléeue it, as here did Thamar receyue a good ende, so shall you. First one, then another, and if there had béene mo, the Lord still all one according to his pleasure. And this of this Chappter.

Chap. 39.

In this Chapter these three things as generals especially are to be noted.

  • Iosephs faithfull and true seruice.
  • His holie and vnuiolated chastitie.
  • His wrongfull and vniust imprisonment.

Verse. 1. COncerning the first, it is said, That he serued Potiphar an Eunuch of Pharaos, and his chiefe steward, who bought him at the handes of the Ishmaelites. Where we see the Lord hath a resting place for his euer in his good time howsoeuer they be tossed and caried vp and downe, euen from piller to post, for a while. Read Esay 39. the seuenth verse, and conferre it with this verse of this Chapter.

Verse 2. 2 The Lord was with Ioseph (saith the text) and he was a man that prospered. Giuing vs to learne therein verie nota­blie, that the fauour of God is the true fountaine of all prospe­ritie. He riseth whom God loueth, if so it be good, and without him no man riseth though they burst their hearts. Yet is not prosperitie a token euer of Gods loue, though no prosperitie come but from Gods will. But here we are tolde in this per­ticular,Ver. 3.4. that Ioseph prospered, because God was with him. Which when his maister saw, he also fauoured him, and made him ruler of his house, putting all that he had vnder his hand, making by that meanes good Iosephs pietie serue for his pro­fite, but not caring for the same to learne it himselfe. A daylie trick of earthlie minded men. Yet God is good to his seruant still,Verse 5. and blesseth euen the Egyptians house for his sake. So [Page 153] gainfull is godlines but in seruants. What should it be in our selues if we also were right hearted with them. Should God forget to be good to such a familie? no, no, he would blesse it certainlie verie graciously.

3 Then did his maister much more trust him,Vers 6. taking no ac­count of any thing that was in his house.Partiall af­fection to our owne Countrimē. A vertue in some sort, and a testimonie of good nature in his master. For there be some that are so partiallie wedded to their owne Country­folke, and so doggedlie hearted towards any strangers, that rather they had endure the doltishnes of the former, then vse the dexteritie of the latter. So was not Potiphar. But séeing gods graces in a stranger, euen there also he yéeldeth fauour, and vseth him fullie according to the same.

4 His person is commended, that he was faire and well fauoured. A grace if God giue it not to be dispised,Beauti [...] a snare, & our eies win­dowes to sinne. for it maketh lightlie whatsoeuer we do to be better liked, according to the old saying: Gratior est pulchro veniens è corpore virtus. Vertue in a comely personage is more esteemed. But sée the malice of Sathan: though hee could not make Ioseph abuse this beautie, either to pride or otherwise, yet he tempteth Poti­phars wife by it, and with it,Verse 7. for it is said shee cast her eyes vpon him, and said, Lie with mee. So that we see our verie senses sucke in our bane, if the Lord assist not, & the eies espe­ciallie. In this booke before, it was said, that the sonnes of God saw the daughters of men that they were faire,Gen. 6.2. and tooke them wiues. Dauid saw from the top of his pallace Beerseba, and by sight sinned in measure streight, and soone after more. Peter speaketh of eies full of adulterie. Iob made a couenant with his eies yt they should not offend in this respect.2 Pet. 2. Iob 31. All these places teaching what windowes for wickednes to enter in at our senses be, if God giue not grace. Well praied Dauid ther­fore, that the Lord would turne away his eies, lest they should behold vanitie. A carefull conscience preuenteth much, and a carelesse person is soone deceiued. Beware we by this wanton mistresse of Iosephs, if we feare God.

[Page] 5 Ioseph abhorred such impietie, and with most good and godly arguments repelleth the temptation.Verse 7. The first drawen from ingratitude & vnfaithfulnes in these words,An honest nature, the more tru­sted, ye more faithful. Behold my maister knoweth not what he hath in the house with me, but hath committed all that he hath to my hand. There is no man greater in his house then I, neither hath he kept any thing frō me but only thee, Verse 8. &c. as if he should haue said, being trusted as I am, and preferred in my maisters house as I am, it were ye greatest vnfaithfulnes, & the foulest ingratitude that might be, in this sort to requite my masters fauours, and so great fa­uours towards me. Therefore I may not do it▪ for I abhorre to be vnfaithfull where I am trusted, or vnthankfull where I am regarded and done for. Here then is a seruant of seruants, if we thinke of our daies, here is a iewell more worth then gold, and a pearle of price for a mans house. Faithfull and thankfull what wish we more. By these two vertues as it were, by two b [...]nds vpon his soule kept from such villany towards his ma­ster as is contrarie quite vnto them both. Liue Ioseph, liue, though long thou art dead, for this thy grace, and liue not with God alone in his shining light, but in the mouths of men till the world haue end, to thy praise and honor most iustly deser­ued, who tast of grace wil folow thée, & who offered thus, prefer their lust, in iudging day shall be condemned by thée.

The second argument.His second argument is drawen from that mariage knot that ought to hold till death doth part. Thou art (saith hee) his wife, as if he should haue said, Such truth should be in thée to­wards thy wedded husband, euen because thou art his wife, that if I would thou shouldest defie me, and againe such stop to me is made by this estate in thee, that if we both would, yet we ought not. A maried woman must haue a maried minde, that as her bodie by orderlie course is appropriated vnto one, so her mind must be also to the same, and to none other. Being then his wife, and so proper vnto him, I may not consent to abuse this knot that God and grace would be inuiolate.

The third argument.His third argument is drawen from the nature of the sinne it is a great wickednesse to touch an other mans wife: and as all wickednes should be abhorred: so great wickednes great­lie [Page 154] abhorred. A true iudgement in Ioseph, and would God we might euer retaine it in our selues. The world maketh but a ieast of it, and at it,Gen. 20.9. being herein behind the verie infidels and heathens, of whom many haue confessed and hated as Ioseph doth. But with these mockers and fleshly wretches the Lord shall not mocke in his due time, when that shalbe fulfilled in the 13. to the Heb. Mariage is honorable amongst all men, but whoremongers and adulterers the Lord shall iudge. Heb. 13.2.

His last argument is drawen from the loue of God.The fourth argument. Thus should I sinne (saith he) against God, which how may I do? As if he should haue said, I loue God who hath euer loued me, and my loue admitteth no such requitall. Many and many are the sweet mercies that I haue found at his hand, if I should tell all, and how then should I sinne against him? Therefore since trusted I am and may not be vnfaithfull, since regarded I am aboue all in the house, and may not be vnthankfull, since thou art a mans wife, and by that knot bound to abhorre all others in such respects, since the sin is great, and therefore with great care to be auoided, and since I loue the lord for his loue to me, which abhorreth such requitall, I must say nay, and thou must not say yea, God must be feared, and these reasons regarded, sinne must be hated and vertue preserued in vs both. O vertue bright in a holy child of God: to speake of it were to say lesse then the thing deserueth, and therefore honouring both it and him that had it, God giue vs grace euer to follow it.

6 It followeth in the text that she spake to Ioseph day by day, and yet he refused.Verse 10. Where not onelie marke her most vgglie vnshamefastnesse, that hauing receyued such answer,Satan tempteth againe and againe, to the same thing. would yet solicite: but sée also plainlie, and obserue it careful­lie, how Sathan ceaseth not to assaie vs againe and againe with the same temptation, hoping in time to win our consent vnto the same, and to giue vs the foile at the second or third as­sault, though stifly we stand & resist the first. Therfore once or twice hauing well fought against filthie assaults, yet be not secure by and by, but euen recken of your enemie yet a­gaine, and prepare like answere to the ende. Ioseph as hartily [Page] and zealously as euer any did repelled the baite that Satan laid for him in his mistresse, yet he giueth not ouer but still worketh in his instrument to attempt him againe, yet doe what both he and his instrument could, Ioseph stoode fast in his holy purpose,Companie to be auoy­ded. and said her nay. Yea marke it with me and forget it neuer, what the text saith, that when he saw her wic­kednesse, he not onely auoided her filthie desire, but euen her dangerous and vncleane companie. Thereby most notablie instructing all men, that if they will not burne, they may not put their fingers in the flame: that is, if they will not be euill, they may not still and daylie be in euill companie.Prou. 13. Syrac. 13. Psal. 18. For com­panie causeth in continuance, what is not clawed off in anie continuance. Let Salomon teach vs, and manie moe. Peter in bad companie denied his Lorde, the skarre whereof in re­membrance liueth yet. Lot in the companie of his lusting daughters is ouerreached, and committeth incest. Beware the woman that is vnshamefast,Pro. 7 from the 6. ver. to the end. if she still may haue place to continue her assaults. Read the seuenth of the Prouerbs, and marke it well, at last she preuailed, and led him home as an Oxe that goeth to the slaughter, and as a foole to the stockes for correction.

7 Then on a time Ioseph entred into the house to do his bu­sines,Ver. 11.12. Impudencyand there was no man in the house. Therfore she caught him by the garment, &c. O strange impudencie & more foule and filthie then that I can speake of it. Marke it & hate it, lothe it and detest it with a perfect hatred, for so it deserueth. And let it teach vs this,Fulgent. epist. 4. ad Prob. pag. 532. de orat. & com­punct. euen to dash the bones of filthie cōceits at the first whilest they be yong. For if we harbor & hatch them vp stil in our bosoms, their strength wil be such in short time, that we shall euen with impudent faces, as here did she, indeuour the accomplishing of them to our shame. Qui semel verecundiae limi­tes. &c. Who once hath passed the bounds of modestie (could the heathen man say) he will euen straight and in verie short space become passing impudent if he take not heed. Againe obserue it diligently, how when Ioseph is about his worke and thinketh not any thing of such matters Satan assaulteth him [Page 155] and would ouerthrow him. Beware therefore euer and be ar­med euer, euen in thy worke Satan will be busie, and not let thée alone, in thy studie, in thy house, in the fielde, and at thy plow make readie for Satan, and thinke it not strange if euen here also thou féele his temptations. He goeth about continu­ally seeking whom he may deuour. Last of all, in the woman obserue it also, that there was none in the house,Solitarines to be auoy­ded, and then she is boldest of all, and bolder then euer she was. So is Sathan helped, and wickednes strengthned by solitarines and want of companie. Therfore though euill companie be euer dange­rous, yet some companie with vs, or néere vs is much profita­ble. We see this example, and we remember also when Satan tempted our sauiour himselfe, euen when in the wildernes he was alone. Thinking solitarines an aduantage euen against Christ, much more agaynst vs, and therefore to be auoyded as we may.

8 This filthie woman hauing receiued a foile,Verse 13. to the end. when in this her so impudent an assault also (for Ioseph stoode vertuous still to the end) sée her deuise. She hauing his garment which in his zealous indignation against her monstrous behauiour flinging away from her, he left behind him, she maketh that a meanes to couler her filthinesse, and to accuse Ioseph, as you sée in the text Therby teaching vs that where incontinence is,Where in­continencie is many vi­ces are. there are many vices. Impudencie, subtletie, slander & trea­cherie, and what not? Againe teaching vs that filthie loue de­nied, her lust turneth to hatred & deadly hatred, not caring to worke the destruction of the denier. So did she. Since she can not haue Ioseph as she desired, she will destroy him if she can as he deserued not: who would think she could find in her hart so to iniurie him whom euen now she so affected? But thus it is, and therefore thinke we of Mantuans verse if wee list, aut te ardenter amat, aut te capitaliter odit. Either she loues thee hartily, or hates thee deadly: the mean is not found of many women.

9 Not only she accuseth him to her seruants, which was too much, but to her husband when he commeth home, which farre [Page] was more:Credulitie a great fault. so malice worketh in madde mindes, from worse to worse. Her foolish husband hauing heard his wife, beleeueth all, and condemneth Ioseph, neuer rewarding his faithfull seruice with due examination of the truth. A fault too common with greatest persons, yet a blot too blacke for such estates. Io­sephs whole course had giuen occasion of better conscience, and shall all be forgotten? Shall the truest seruant and faith­fullest heart in all that house lie presentlie as open to the dart of slaunder as he that was neuer such? What wisdome is this, what honour is this, what conscience is this? Dauid so credulous, or rather iniurious to true Mephibosheth, whom flattering Siba falselie accused, is chaulked out in no worse chronicle then gods booke for an vnwise man to say no more. So euer were they that would measure true hearts no better measure then this. Scite & sapienter Epicharmus: Memēto diffidere, Sharply therefore and wisely said Epicharmus, Remember to be slow of beliefe. And another againe: Nerum est sapientiae non temere credere. Cicero. It is the verie sinew of wisedome not hastily or rashly to giue credite. But this is not obserued or remembred here. All is beléeued against good Ioseph, and as a man most guiltie to prison he goeth. Behold ye seruants and be of good comfort.A comfort to seruants. Not euer to be estéemed and delt withall according to desert, is but the lot of a childe of God, and one that is worthie all loue and good liking, though it be not giuen him. Then passe it ouer as you may the wrong that so wringeth, god is in hea­uen, and in time Ioseph shall out of prison with honor againe. Such snubs as these be little cloudes, that when God hath ex­ercised vs, with his sunne of righteousnes, he wil disperse and cause to vanish. But whither goeth Ioseph to prison in this dis­pleasure?Verse 20. Surely saith ye text: to the place where the kings pri­soners lay bound. O mightie prouidence of almightie God, & sweet sweet to be obserued. You know what after in this storie fell out, when Ioseph expounded ye baker and butlers dreames, and how by that meanes after Ioseph was remembred as a­ble to interprete the kings dreames & so deliuered. This could not haue bene, if he had béene in any prison else, & therfore here God would haue him, as hauing determined both his deliue­rie, [Page 156] and the meanes. Care away then with the Lords elect. For if they go to prison their God gouernes, and euen the place, their end is appointed in his wisdome, and it shall not saile.

10 And the Lord was with Ioseph, shewing him mercy and getting him fauour with the maister of the prison. &c. Verse 21. & to the end. To pri­son he goeth, but yet to that prison that God appointeth as a place fittest to his seruants future & intended good,Euen the prison is di­rected by God. and there euen there the Lord is with him, not ceasing to work his com­fort as might bee good. In his former maisters house hee wrought his fauour whilest it pleased him, and now in this mans house when that is gone he dooth the like. So safe is hee euer that feareth the Lord. And shall he not want fauour with men necessarie that cleaueth to God, and defieth sinne. Loc­ked doores cannot lock God from vs, and that is comfort. Ma­nie things mo might here be noted if I would be long: as that so long a man standeth liked and regarded in place of seruice as God thinketh good,Note these. who hath further to vse and dispose of that man. That disgrace and dislike by God are directed not to hurt, but euen further to preferre his faithfull seruants that e­uer so liued that they well deserued fauour still, though they had it not. That before a rising goeth an humbling, as here in Ioseph, that thankfulnesse may be more, and experience of af­fliction in others, with manie such, but I will not stand anie longer now: onelie this let vs note and ende, that the highest seruices be not the safest seruices for an honest minde.A courti­ers life. No temptations to do euill, more disgrace when there is no euill then meaner places can aford. Yet euerie man would be cli­ming, and pitch we do too often our desires there, from whence we shall sucke the sowrest sorrow that euer wee tasted of in our liues. If Iosephs estate be thus tickle, hauing such ver­tue, and such gifts: Mediocra firma, meane things be best things and surest to continue, sing we euer, and thinke we euer. And so I ende.

Chap. 40,

The heades in this Chapter are chiefly these.

  • The imprisonment of the kings chiefe butler and baker.
  • Their dreames which they had in the prison.
  • The interpretation of the same by Ioseph.
  • The effect and truth according to his interpretation.

Verse. 2. TOuching the first it is said: Pharao was angry with his officers.Great mens anger.&c. Greater men are sooner angrie, and with more danger farre by reason of their power: but princes angers aboue all others are especially dangerous and to bee a­uoided.Pro. 19.12. For the kings wrath (saith the wise Salomon) is like the roring of a li­on, and his fauour againe like the dewe dropping vppon the grasse: Chap. 16.14. yea the wrath of a king is as messengers of death, but a wise man wil pacifie it in another place. This anger of his cast them into prison, & their imprisonment againe teacheth what I ended the former chapter withall, to witte, how dangerous high seruices be in comparison of meaner places, euen to men of all conditions. The meanest places are often meanest to worke great extremities vnto men. These prisoners are put in the place where Ioseph was, and how this doth worke a de­liuerance with honour vnto Ioseph the sequele sheweth. So guideth Gods goodnes his childrens affaires to their good. Io­seph also hath the ouersight of them, that still we might sée how God was with him and got him fauour, though wicked mistres, and too credulous maister did séeke his wo.

Of dreames 2 These two prisoners dreamed (saith the text) either of them a dreame in one night. And it might occasion vs to thinke of [Page 157] the causes of dreames, and matter belonging thereunto, if I would be long. As that dreames flow from ouerruling hu­mors in mans bodie, wherby it falleth out that sanguine con­stitutions dreame of merrie & comfortable matter of loue and lightnes also, with such like: cholericke, of wars, braules & con­tentions, and of fire and such like: Flegmatike, of water, wind and such like, Melancholike, of heauie, dolefull, & sad matters, of death and dead folks, with such like. So that Phisitions ob­serue our dreames verie vsually, as no small helpe to discern what humor ruleth and troubleth vs most. Galen and Boetius write much of it, & vsed it still to their patients. Somtimes of actions and déeds done by vs the day before, according to the saying:

Omnia quae sensu voluuntur vota diurno,
Pect ore sopito reddit amica quies,
Iudicibus lites, auriga somnia currus.

Sometimes of feare, according to the saying also:

Somnia fallaci ludunt temeraria nocte.
Et pauidas mentes falsa timere iubent.

These are naturall dreames, and proceede commonlie from their causes therein. Beside which there are dreames spiritual and dreames diabolicall. Dreames spirituall haue euer some, certaine notes wherby they are knowen and discerned, & either of the partie or of some others haue their true and certaine in­terpretations. Dreames diabolicall, are illusions wherwith sa­tan vexeth his owne especially, as witches, sorcerers, and such like. These dreames of the butler and baker might well be na­turall being so touching their proper functions, and yet spiri­tuall in this respect, that God vsing proper causes, had a spe­ciall drift in causing them, that Ioseph might haue passage to the kings knowledg, and so to such honour as after fol­lowed. Thinke of them as you will, sure and certaine the Lordes finger was in them, and with Ioseph to interprete them to them. So all things worke as the Lorde hath ap­poynted, and by one meanes or other his mercie to his chil­dren shall be effected.

[Page] 3 Hauing dreamed these dreames in the morning, when Ioseph came in to them, they both were sad and looked heaui­lie.Verse. 7. A good na­ture soone spieth o­thers griefe & comfor­teth them. Ioseph spied it by and by, and said vnto them, Why looke ye so sadly to day? Thereby declaring the goodnesse of his na­ture, and the fruit of affliction in himselfe: Vincula qui sensit di­dicit succurrere vinctis. He that hath bene bound himselfe, know­eth the better what belongeth to bands. Neither had he an eie more to see, then a heart to pitie and to inquire what might be the cause, readie no doubt to do them the good that anie way he was able. Such vertue is commendable with God and man, when sowre and sterne dispositions get no such prayse. A comfortable word to a heauie heart God knoweth is swéete, and too much we thinke we can neuer doe for so good a nature. They told him readily their griefe what it was, not thinking (as it séemeth) that he could expounde them. But Ioseph a man instructed aright, answered againe: are not interpreta­tions of God? As if he should say, Can not God stirre vp in this your content: therefore be not sad, but tell your dreames vnto me.No certaine rules of ex­pounding dreames. Somnia ne cures, nam mens huma­na quod op­ [...]a [...], &c. Read Syrach 24 Ecclisiast. 5. Iere. 23. ver. 27. & 27 ver. 9. Cic. de diui­nas. confu­teth, &c. Which streight they did, and receyued a true and cer­taine interpretation of them at his hands. But if here hence we conclude, that with vs also our common dreames are to be expounded, we shal fowlie erre, and who so haue done, haue made themselues spectacles of follie to manie, and shewed no little impietie in themselues, both in speaking and printing: for there is no rule that can holde as certaine in things so va­riable as dreames bee. As for example, that euer when wee dreame of such a beast, of such a matter, or in such a maner, it should signifie the same thing at all times, whereof vnwiselie some haue written too much. But of dreames elsewhere I haue sayde more.

4 Ioseph hauing tolde the chiefe butler his dreame, which showed his deliuerance verie shortly, and restitution to his of­fice againe with credite, beggeth of him but this requitall, that he would shew mercie to a prisoner also as himselfe then was, and to make mencion of him to the king that he might be deliuered. Teaching vs therein not to neglect meanes [Page 158] whensoeuer we néede, but to vse them carefullie, referring all effect to God. The baker séeing his fellows dreame so good, telleth vnto Ioseph his also. But alas the difference. Yet Ioseph is true, and telleth him truely what it was, though it were so bitter. Teaching vs well that truth is to bee preserued howsoeuer the matter is,Sharpe truths must be told. and euen hard and sowre truths to bee tolde if we bee required. Conferre here­withall for proofe and practise but these Scriptures. 2. Sam. 12. the 7. verse. 1, King. 22.17. verse. 2. King. 20.1. and 17. Miche. 2.11. verse. Matth. 3.7. and Chap. 14.7. Galat. 1.10. with such like. Beware we then ministers how we conceale what the Lord reuealeth to vs.

5 What is spoken here of Pharaohs birth-day, and in Matth. 14. of Herods birth-day,Birth daies. sheweth vs the antiquitie and lawfulnesse also of this obseruance if it be in measure. Birth­daies and mariage-daies, maie bee obserued, if wee kéepe a course frée from vanitie and superstition. That Pharaoh deliuereth them both out of prison, one to life, and the other to death, some haue made it a figure of Gods last iudgement when the like shall be done. But I stand not of it. This onely I will note and now ende.Vnthanke­fulnesse. How the butler released forgot Ioseph, a note of disgrace to him iustly, and to all others that in prosperitie forget their comforters in aduersitie. To ma­nie, to manie hath this worlde daylie that exalted to honour, to riches and comforts, forget Ioseph, that is, such persons as are godlie and faithfull, worthie of comfort, and yet oppressed by some straunge Putiphars, who earst haue béene of their great acquaintance.

Chap. 41.

In this Chapter we haue these things especialle to be obserued as chiefe heades.

  • The dreames of Pharaoh the king.
  • The deliuerance of Ioseph out of prison.
  • His gouernment in the land when he was preferred.

The com­pany of the godly profi­table to the wicked. TOuching the first, we sée Pharaoh here by dreame admonished of a great dearth that should insue in his land, & was this think you for Pharaohs sake? no indéed not principally & especially, but it was for Iosephs sake, yt he might be released and preferred, and for Iacob his old fathers sake, with all his fami­lie, who were by this prouidence comforted & prouided for, and brought into Egypt there to remaine an appointed time, ac­cording as was said to Abraham. Sée therfore againe and a­gaine, what profite still comes to the wicked by the godly. For their sakes they haue mercie, and manifold mercies, as here had Pharaoh and all his land, when otherwise the famine had deuoured most of them, as well wee may see if it had not béene told to Ioseph by God, and he directed with wisdome to prouide for it. The king hath two dreames, but all to one end, the doubling being onely for more certaintie and more plain­nesse. Whereby the ministers of the worde may learne of the Lord in matters of weight that ought to be knowen, euen twice to speake the same thing,Preachers to repeate the same thing good. and oftner also if it be néed­full. For this is sure, this is plaine, and this is euen the pactise of the Lord himselfe. Foolish curiositie auoydeth this, and vaineglorie suffereth vs not to submit our selues, but who fol­loweth the Lord he followeth the wisest guide, and let others be no rule against him.

[Page 159] 2 When the morning came his spirit was troubled,Verse 8. which feare was inough to teach him that these visions were sent of god, but none could interpret thē vnto Pharaoh, yt we might thereby learne, how the wise in the world vnderstand not gods secrets, but to his seruants his wil is reuealed. Then spake his chiefe butler, and told him of Ioseph. Better late then neuer,Verse 9. but fie of such hart that so long could forget so good a man,Worldlie wise vnder­stand not God. and one that so friendly had dealt with him. Two yeares (saith the first verse) ere this was done after Ioseph spake vnto him. Delaies in court then, & some Courtiers euen in honest sutes & very reasonable are too old we see.Delayes in court, old. But the best men abhorre them euer, & thākful minds defie forgitfulnes of their friends: twice is it done yt quickly is done, & a readie dispatch doubleth the benefite to the receiuer, & consequently dutie to the giuer.

3 Then sent Pharaoh and called Ioseph. Not much vnlike to manie others,Verse 14. that euer in their néed doe séeke to the godlie and well disposed, to receiue that comfort,The wicked seeke to the godly in their need. or reape that bene­fit which other cannot yéeld them. But in prosperitie they con­temne them, & little regard either them or their vertues. That Ioseph shaued himselfe, and changed his raiment to come vn­to Pharaoh, it may well teach vs with reuerence to regard the Lord much more.Outward reuerence before God Before whom yet wee come not with thus much regard: the more is our fault, and the lesse is our féeling assuredlie. The Lord weigheth not outward gesture, but in­ward hart, yet in respect of our selues outward gesture dooth helpe our inward heart, and stir vs vp rather vnto reuerence▪ as changing of garments, kneeling & bowing with eies, and hands lift vp, and such like, therefore to be vsed.

4 Without me (saith Ioseph) God shal answer for the welth of Pharaoh. As if he should say,Verse. 16. Glorie to be giuen to God. though I expound thy dreame which turneth to thy good, it is yet God & not I that answereth for thy welth. A dutifull speach in a child of god, to giue god the honour that is due to him, fit for vs, and for all beléeuers euer­more. For what haue we that we haue not receiued? doth not euery gift & euery thing in nature good, procéed from god?1. Cor. 4 7. Iam. 1.17. why [Page] then should we rob him of his owne? God forbid. Herod for ta­king to himselfe most vainly the praise of his well speaking,Act. 12. fearfully perished to make vs beware. Yea Ioseph is carefull euen before the vnbeléeuers to commit this sin: & let vs marke it. Therfore in the 28. verse. he repeateth it againe. This is the thing which I haue said vnto Pharaoh, Verse. 28. ye god hath shewed vn­to Pharaoh, what he is about to do, carefully preseruing vnto the Lord his due.

Verse. 35. 5 That Ioseph giueth counsell to Pharaoh to lay vp, &c. Be­side that it sheweth the dutie of gods prophets & ministers, not onely to shew the euils to come, but also the remedies for the same. It doth also further warrāt as lawful & good such laying vp in one yeare as may serue for an other, either of father for his child, man for his familie, or gouernor for his place cōmit­ted vnto him. Only moderation & order that it be kept is to be cared for.Storing lawfull. Which moderation must regard circumstances of person, calling, place, time. &c. Therfore said Ioseph, let there be chosen a man of vnderstanding & wisdom to do this, meaning no doubt which should do with discretion yt which was fit. No warrant therfore this gathering thus limited & for such end, for those scrapings ye greedie cormorants vse amongst vs, neither with measure, nor for good end, or any care of anie godly cir­cumstance.

6 Then said Pharaoh, can we find such a man as this in whō is the spirit of God? Verse 38. Thou shalt be ouer my house, &c. Making this argument,Gifts fit for places to be regarded. that because Ioseph had such gifts, therfore he was fit for such place, and implying the contrarie, that places ought not to go where want of gifts is fit for them. A thing that will accuse manie a giuer in the latter day, when the lord shall recken. That they haue not béene so holy as Pharaoh of Egypt to regard gifts in such men vpon whom they haue be­stowed places of charge, and most great charge. But what did I say? not regard gifs, do not giuers of places in our daies regard their gifts who must inioy them? How haue I erred, since gifts, and gifts, and nothing but gifts, and all for gifts we do what we do, Si nihil attuleru ibis Homere foras: If you haue no gifts the doore is open, and the way before you, packe you [Page 160] hence. But O cursed gifts, and cursed they that regard so much such kind of gifts. My meaning is plaine, and this text is plain. Pharaoh of Egypt, euen Pharaoh of Egypt, I say,Gifts too much re­garded. re­gardeth what was within Ioseph, and not what was without, and shall we be all for the gifts without, and nothing for grace within? for gaine to our selues by sinfull bribes, not for gaine to the Church or common wealth by strength to discharge? Thou and thy gifts perish (said the Apostle once) and thou and thy gifts perish, shall god say one day, when it shall smart. Yea thou with thy gifts that thus giuest for such gifts to an vnwor­thie one, and he for want of gifts that yet giueth thee these gifts to supplie his want of gifts inward in mind, and requi­red of god if he wil haue such place as requireth such gifts to ye discharge of it. The heathens to shew that honour ought euer and onlie accompanie Vertue, built a Temple to Honor,Panormitan. lib. 1. de gestis Alphonsi. and so adioyned therevnto another Temple to Vertue, that by no meanes a man could get into the Temple of Honor, but on­lie through the Temple of Vertue, and alas shall wee that professe more knowledge bee woorse in our practise then all Heathens? God worke with vs for his mercie sake in this respect.

7 Then said Pharaoh to Ioseph, Behold I haue set thee ouer all the land of Egipt. Verse 41.42.43. He tooke his ring & put it vpon Iosephs hand, araied him in garments of fine linnen, and put a chaine of gold about his necke. After a fowl day cōmeth a faire. He set him vpon the best Charet that he had sauing one, & they cried before him Abrech, &c. O god of comfort how art yu one and the same for euer to thy children, sweet and mercifull, kind and gracious, bountifull and liberall in thy good time. Is Ioseph now thus highly exalted? And shal all Egypt be ruled by him? O what are the afflictions of gods children then? are they any thing but such humblings & schoo­lings as the lord their god & most gracious father fitteth them by and with, & vnder to such places,Sweet com­fort in deed in all af­flictions. honors and comforts as he hath apointed for them either here in this life, or in yt to come? No, no, they are no matters of anger any way, but trainings & leadings to other purposes of our swéetest god. Foule daies haue [Page] faire dayes we see it here, and lowring nights to bring bright mornings, we shal euer finde as shall be good for vs. Farewel Putiphar with thy filthie vnkindnes to a true and gainfull ser­uant,O note and feele. farewell mistresse of mischiefe with thy sinfull slaunder, thou hast done thy woorst, and Ioseph liueth, and is out of pri­son, honoured with honour aboue thy selfe, & God taking his pa [...], thy malice hath failed of strength to hurt him, blessed be God. And blessed God blesse vs also, that sinfull vnkindnes to­wards true meaning, or hellish malice against holy life may be indu [...]d with pacience of vs and visited in mercy by shée, towards vs in thy good times, our righteousnesse made open by thy fauours as here it was: yea all thy children inabled by view of this experience to continue carefull, to be vpright, and to cleaue vnto thée before all the world, in loue, in feare, in thankfull feeling and comfortable tast of thy swéete nature towards thine for euer and euer. Amen, Amen.

8 That Ioseph suffered all this honor to be done vnto him, and receiued it,The godly may accept honours in this world, by places, titles, &c. held it, and vsed it, doth it not shew that the children of God may inioy worldly places of high regard, and yet be faithfull? is pietie such a simplicitie, that cannot abide honour in this, or like order amongst men? No, neither yet is such peeuishnes, pietie, that condemneth Gods blessings, as things vnlawfull for his children, and grindeth the téeth at the comforts of Ioseph without a cause. What Anabaptists think and haue put in writing we know more, then we néede to re­gard. Their kindes were diuerse, and their sentences differing accordinglie. Princes and potentates in this world here on earth haue receyued honours, and giuen honour to their infe­riours againe without dislike of God, euer from their begin­ning, so that an order be kept. And to say that princes may not vse any of their subiects seruises according to their gifts, & honour them for their seruices accordinglie, when they haue done, is most derogatorie, not onelie to the princes owne ho­nour, but also to his gouernement and libertie. How did Da­rius honour Mordecai, and how did Mordecai (a faithfull man) accept the same? How did Nabuchadnezzar honour Daniel, [Page 161] and Daniell take it, vse it, and enioy it with thankfulnesse to God, faithfulnes to the king that gaue it,Dan 2.48. and good great to ma­ny a one. Daniel was made a great man, saith the Text by the King, who gaue him many and great giftes, and made him gouernour ouer the whole prouince of Babel, and chiefe of the rulers aboue all the wise men of Babel, Sidrach, Misaak, and Abednago were also honoured and accepted of it.2. Kings 18, 7. Obadiah a good man met the Prophet Eliah, and fell on his face and said: Art not thou my Lord Eliah? & the Prophet refused not this honour. The like said the Sunamite to Elisha, with diuers o­thers. Let not my Lord be angry, saith Aaron to Moses, and here dwelleth in this Towne a Seer, an honorable man,Num. 12.11 saith Sauls seruant of the Prophet Samuel. The iayler in the Acts to Paul and Sylas: My Lords what shall I doe to be saued? [...]. 1 Sam. 9.6. Act. 16.30. Act 14. Ezra. 8. And they startled not at this title, who yet rent their clothes, &c. when vnlawfull honour was giuen to them. To be called Princes of Priests, in that estate was most honorable, and no title greater.Num. 3. Eleazar the sonne of Aaron was called Prince of Princes: Eliasaph, Elizaphat, Suriel are called Princes and Heads. But of this I haue spoken elsewhere,Sermon at P. Crosse. and therefore now goe no further. Hoping that hereby wee see it plaine, that titles and honors accepted of Gods children, as here of Ioseph, are no signes of ambition, nor forbidden as vnlawfull, so the minde be humble and meeke, and a measure kept. And immo­derat it cannot truely be said, which of a chistian Prince for iust cause is voutsafed to ye faithful subiect according to the custome & maner of the Countrey. No, rather it is to the common welth & church both anornament and adiument. The contrary being sought at this day in ministers out of al questiō by ye deep malice of Satan, to the end that all they being brought into contempt, Religion with them might also fall, he hauing his libertie to spit out his venome and blasphemies against it at large, not one being of authority and countenance to oppose himselfe against him, and such his dealinges of the ministers. Who so would haue the foundation of an house and building out, may not im­mediatly begin to strike at that,A similitude for feare all the building fall vpon his head, but he must begin at the top, and first vntile it, [Page] then vntimber it, and so by litle and litle come to the foundati­on, which after this sort he may take away with ease: euen so in this, which wee now haue speech of, if Satan directly should strike at the foundation, Christ and his word, with religion is­suing from the same, then all men espying his malicious drift, would oppose themselues against him, and so his drift be hin­dered by many stones in the building, falling as it were vpon his head. But when he beginneth to vntile it, and to vntimber it, as I haue sayd, that is to debase and disgrace the ministers al­ready in it, and to hinder by their disgraces others of any gifts to come vnto it, with such like proceedinges many and wicked, in time he will haue the foundation with ease, that is Christ and his word out of the same, with all holy worship according to the same, placing for learning barbarisme, and blindnes, and for re­ligion, superstition, with all the blacknes and darknes of Egypt agayne. Wherefore, if euer the comforts of learning and lear­ned men haue nourished to church and common welth sufficient helps, and ye contrary in all ages rooted them out by litle and lit­tle till all were gone: let vs neuer greeue at the meanes that so happie a good followeth after, but blesse God hartily if the place we liue in afford them to vs, and labour to our powers euer to maintaine them. Knowing by Ioseph, Daniel, and all these ex­amples now recited, that in men of all conditions and callings in the church, and common welth, outward thinges, as wealth and riches, honors and dignities, with titles of incouragement, and gracious fauour in religious Princes may be allowed. The true children of God hauing daily learned, to abound & to want, that is in prosperity to vse what the time affordeth to Gods glo­ry, and in aduertsity to imbrace what the Lord then also sendeth without repining. If Israel offend, let not also Iudah sinne herein: that is, if some offend, who should not do so? Let not vs thus hearing, and thus seeing, follow their example, and of­fende likewise. But defye wee Satan and his attemptes, to our last day.

Chap. 42.

In this Chapter consider these Heads especiall and chiefe.

  • Iacobs sending of his sonnes into Egypt for food.
  • Their intertainment there with Ioseph when they came.
  • Their returne againe to theyr father.

TOuching the first, in that Iacob sendeth for food,The godly afflicted as the wicked, yet to other end. wee see that euen he also was subiect to this fa­mine: where wee may note, that the godly often times indure the same afflictions that the wic­ked doe, but far yet differing from them in the end. For vnto the wicked such afflictions are the whips and scourges of God for their sinnes and deserts, vn­to the godly they are tryals of faith and patience that God may be further glorifyed by them. Ieremie, Ezechiel, Daniel, with thousandes moe may be examples vnto vs and proofes hereof. That Iacob sent wee see he tempted not God, but vsed meanes & we must doe the like. The Egyptians sould, and wee kepe, ne­uer contented with the price, that our iudgement may be iust in the day of the Lord, when we shall smart for this greedines and want of loue. To haue trafficke also with strangers & forreners, euen with such as differ from vs in religiō this story warranteth with many moe. But that Iacob would not let Beniamin goe with them, wee see his loue, he loued the mother, & he loueth the child. Beniamin is his ioy now that Ioseph is gone, and he may not be from him. The reason that is alledged least he should die, is common to the others also, if he had regarded them so much. But indeede he did not though all were his children. Beniamin he loued, & for him he feareth loue being euer giuen to feare, ac­cording to the saying: Res est solliciti plena timoris amor.

[Page] 2 Ioseph was gouernour of the lande &c. And why did not Ioseph signify so much vnto his father all this while by let­ter and messenger sent of purpose both for his fathers comfort and his owne by mutuall hearing one from another?Vers. 6. A question. S. Austen moueth this question and answereth it by another. Why (saith h [...]) did not God reueale vnto Iacob his beloued seruant what was become of Ioseph his sonne, and that he was liuing? &c. Surely (saith Austen) because his good pleasure was other­wise, and that thinges might come to passe not onely which God had decreed, but as God had decreed concerning the ma­ner. The selfe same thing it was which gouerned and ruled Io­seph, that he could not like to signify vnto his father his estate, but euen follow the Lordes determined way, and let all fall out as he would.Gods pur­poses come to passe when we thinke not. Chap. 37.5. That the Text sayth also, Iosephs brethren came and bowed their face to the ground before him, it sheweth vs plainly, how prophesies of God doe come to passe, wee litle knowing either to good or to euill. For was not this the dreame of Ioseph, that all their sheaues should do reuerence to his sheafe: and see now if it be not truly fulfilled though they litle thinke of it. They bow, and they bow to the ground be­fore Ioseph, litle thinking that it was Ioseph. So did the Iewes fulfill the Scriptures concerning their dealinges with Christ when he should come, and yet they did not thinke so. So doth the Church of Rome fulfill the Prophesie of the Apostle concerning a departure from the fayth,Act. 4. a forbidding to marry and commaunding to absteine from meates which God hath or­dained to be receaued with thankesgiuing of them which be­lieue and know the truth.1. Tim. 4.1. Doe you remember a litle before how these brethren of Ioseph scoffed at his dreames and said: then shall wee see what shall become of his Dreames. Now let them see what is become of them, they being now with their Faces downe to the grounde before him, doing reue­rence vnto him,Mockers. as the ruler of all Egypt. So so shall all mockers see come to passe what God hath spoken to their iust confusion, if they repent not for such disdaine and vnbeliefe. Let those mockers of whom S. Peter speaketh consider this. They say in their iolitie, where is the promise of his com­ming, [Page 163] tush the day of doome will neuer be &c. Behold, behold yee prophane harts what is come to passe in Ioseph, and what yet shall further follow in his time, and take vp your scoffes in trembling feare to prouoke his wrath, whose truth did neuer fayle, nor euer shall.

3 Ioseph knew his brethren, Vers 7. and made himselfe strange to them, speaking roughly &c. Some condemne him for dis­sembling, and say, wee may not follow him. But others excuse it by our Sauiours dealinges with the woman of Canaan, to whom he meant in the end nothing but good, what showe so euer he made awhile that her faith might appeare. How so euer surely the truth is knowen, that wee may conceale a truth for a time and not by and by vtter all that in time wee will. Therfore hard it is to interpret all the doings of the godly according to outward showe and seeming for a time.Vers. 8. But that Ioseph knew them, and they knew not him,A type of Christ. some haue made it a figure of our Sauiour Christ knowing, but not knowen, at diuers times. Mary knew him not being risen till he called her by her name, yet he knew her: So againe the Disciples going to Emans, and many moe. But the day shall come that he shall be knowen to those that sold him, and vnto all as Ioseph in time was to his brethren.

4 Ioseph telleth them, they are spies, and are come to see the weaknes of the land. Thereby shewing vs how careful all good subiects ought to be of the safety of their countrey,Loue to our countrey. and how ieliouse that any should espy the weaknes or nakednes of the same to the hurt of it euer. Far and far vnlike to such vn­naturall runagates as are borne amongest vs, which dayly and continually are discouering to the enimie our ports and crekes,Popish loue our men and munition, our strength and weaknes, and what so euer wee haue or may haue that may hurt our selues, or profit our foes. But the reward of such is with a iust God that euer hated it since he made man. And for this present time me thinke wee might thus profit by this place: that if rulers and gouer­nours be so carefull to keepe couered the weaknes of the Land [Page] least any aduantage should be taken by the enimy, surely with like wisedome, and very godly discretion should all particular men be carefull of their priuat wantes and weaknes, their im­perfections and infirmities,Our owne priuat wāts to be coue­red. ether to fortify against them that they may cease to be such, or to keepe them couered and warely hidden from aduantage sought, and to be taken by the aduersa­rie. For this is fit, if we care for any thing, and no litle good it would cause in time to the common truth. Many are too weake and wide open, if Satan sailing and seeking a port will enter there. And being thus weake and full of aduantage there is not that care that ought to be to preuent the same. Whereby we fall & with vs the cause that wee should more tender then our selues. Be warned by this and apply wee the care of Gouernours in the land to our selues and our amendment in this respect. We see it good and let a word suffice vs.

Vers. 13. 5 They say to Iosephs face that Ioseph is dead. The yon­gest (say they) is with our father,Truth pre­sent and yet not seene. and one is not. What a blind­nes is this? face to face to speake with a man & yet not to know him. Maruell wee not then if God so will that some see not the truth yt is yet present with them and euen vnder their eies: For their darknes is deep whose eies are blinded in the Lords iudge­ment. When Christ spake to Mary, she knew him streight, but not before. So if Christ touch wee see full bright, but not be­fore.Vers. 14. That Ioseph sweareth by the life of Pharao wee see the experience of pitch pitching the touchers of it.Vers. 16. That be swea­reth agayne the second time wee see how easily sinne entereth twice where it hath entred once. And therefore learne to be­ware betymes not giuing entrance at all to that which is euill if wee can.

6 Then they acknowledged their transgression when time was against their brother Ioseph, Vers. 21. The force of affliction and trouble and said one to another: we haue verily sinned against our brother, in that wee saw the an­guish of his soule when he besought vs, and we would not heare him, therefore is this trouble come vpon vs, shewing in them­selues by such speech that force and fruite of trouble and afflic­tion, [Page 164] euen to make men acknowledge their faults, which other­wise slily they would dissemble. Guiltines in the hart and con­science is fitly compared to a body laid in the graue, for as yt slea­peth and lyeth still, but at last awaketh and ryseth agayne, so doth guiltines & sin, it awaketh, it awaketh & biteth ful sore that earst lay stil and was cleane forgotten. Prosperity lulleth and lappeth it vp, but affliction rouseth it and vnfoldeth all. Ruben as one yt is also wounded, perfectly remembreth them of that which pas­sed against their brother.Vers. 22. Did not I warne you (saith he) not to sin against ye child, & ye would not heare, charging thē in words as worse than himselfe, & yet touching himselfe also very deepe, who both contented in the ende, and kept counsell with them all this while.Fellowes in sin fall out. So vse fellowes in sinne to fall out amongest themselues, when filthye wickednesse hath touched them all. But why did hee wishe them not to hurte the Childe? The reason in him is very well knowen vnto all, because na­ture moued him & the doing was bad. But the reason yt I thinke of might haue bin this, & as yet may be in like case, because chil­dren in time may be men▪ when we may be reckoned withall for our doings. Then Ioseph a child was too weak for ten,Children wil be men, therefore a­buse them not. but now Ioseph a mā is too strong for ten. Therfore so vse children whilst they be yong as wel may be answered when they be men. There is a remembrance of the anguish that pore Ioseph was in when be besought them. A circumstance sure that moueth a good hart very much, and most hard is the hart that yeldeth nothing to teares and anguishe of a troubled minde. Would GOD the sighes and greeuous grones of our perplexed Brethren mooued vs more. Wee should more resemble the GOD of pitie and lesse expresse the manners of these stonie Brethren. Wee knowe the truth of the saying most sure,The petiti­on of a minde in anguish should moue much. that hee which wanteth mercie of mercie shall misse, and hee shall haue mer­cie that mercifull is. Yet grieue wee the soules and wring the Bodies both full hard and sore of our Christian Brethe­ren and Neighbours by vs. But marke these Bretheren of Ioseph here how now it pincheth their verye inwardes, that euer they were so cruell to their Brother, especially that they regarded him not, when in anguishe and woe hee besought [Page] them of fauour and better dealinges. Verily so shall it vs, if we doe ye like, crushing our brethren & grinding their Faces whom wee can ouercome. And who knoweth the end of Gods wrath to such bloudy hardnes of hart?A guilty conscience. Agayne, marke in these Bre­theren the Nature of a guiltye conscience, how it still accu­seth, still stirreth and startleth within a man, and is alwayes gawling his mind with bitter remembrance of deede done. Es­pecially when any thinges doe chaunce or fall out crosse, as here it did. Then it tormenteth vs more within, than the af­fliction wee doe suffer doth without, still suggesting into our mindes, that this befalleth vs for such a thing. So you see were these brethren now tormented, and beware wee by them. Last of all, that Ruben exhorted and warned them when they did offende, and nowe iustifyeth his warning giuen to their Faces: may it not well remember vs of the warnings giuen vnto our selues by Preachers, and by Parentes, by Friendes and welwillers of sundry degrees? Is not Gods Finger in it, that wee are thus warned? And shall not they also one Daye accuse vs certainlye, as here Ruben doth, and witnesse vnto our Faces, that they did admonishe vs, and wee would not heare? Surely they shall: and wee cannot bee ignorant of it any way. Happy is the man then that harkeneth willinglye to all good admonitions, and yeeldeth to them. Ioseph heareth this wofull Dialogue of his Bre­thren,Vers. 24. but little knewe they that either hee was Ioseph, or yet vnderstoode them: And hee turned (sayth the Text) from them,Pitie. that hee might weepe. Shewing thereby (what I wish well noted) that a man possessed with Gods Spirit, hath pi­tie and mercie euer within, what Face or fashion so euer he bee forced to shewe without. Hee speaketh roughly like no Brother for a time, but his affection is brotherly and most tender at all tymes. His wordes be rough, but his meaning smooth, our wordes bee smooth and softer than Oile, when our mindes and meaninges are roughe and cruell. O con­trary course, and therefore contrary end if we take not heede from Ioseph here.

[Page 165] 7 Ioseph then taking Simeon a pledge that they should re­turne commaundeth their sackes to be filled with wheat and e­uery mans money to be put againe into their sackes with vittaile giuen them for their iorney.Vers 25. Benefites done would be secret oftentimes. And why must the money be secret­ly put in their sackes, and not openly giuen them to their hands? The reason was here that they might suspect nothing, his time being not yet to reueale himselfe. But we may truly learne by it this good lesson, euen to steale a benefite vpon our bretheren, doing them good without any trompet blowen before vs. Time shall serue to reueile what God will haue knowen, and till then it is knowen to God which is inough. Wee couet too much many of vs the knowledge of men, when wee doe them good, & if they see it not wee will tell it yea againe and againe rather than it should be secret and vnknowen. But this marreth all,Vainglory. and thus loose wee loue with men of skill and all reward with God Almightie that hateth vaineglory. Wherefore he said it well that said it: Si tanto studio vitia nostra abscondimus, ne hu­manam gloriam amittamus: Bernard. quanto maiori cura dissimulanda virtutes coelestem gloriam amittamus. If so carefully wee hide our faultes least wee should loose the praise of men: how much rather should we couer and keepe secret our vertues least wee loose the praise of God. For as wel is God lost with vaine pub­lishing of our good deedes, as man by reuealing of our euill deedes. A treasure hidden is safer from theeues, and vertue co­uered is safer from Satan.Similitudes The fruite that hangeth by the way side seldome standeth till it be ripe; and vertue published before mē for vainglory sake loseth her bewtie & deserued praise which kept more close she had been sure of. To cōclude, the hen, because she cackleth looseth her egge, and cackling boasters loose their praise with God and man, which Ioseph did not being thus se­cret in his good.

8 Hauing all thinges ready, these brethren set forward to re­turne to their father and being in their first Inne one of them o­pening his sacke to giue his Asse prouender espied his money in his sackes mouth, whereupon a great feare arose in them,Vers. 27.28. The com­moditie of our coun­trey here a­boue others and they were all astonished &c. Their Innes then differed much from ours, yelding them no such prouisiō for their cattell as ours [Page] do, but ye fain euery traueller was to cary for himself: would God this benefit (ye least of ten thousand yt our lād affordeth vs) might stir vs vp to be thākful to God & to preserue ye peace & prosperity of the same to our best powers. They that haue their busines in forein countries know by experience the blessing that wee haue & many times vtter it in our eares, if our harts had feeling of a­ny good. If the word should be vrged, peraduenture our blessing would greatly be amplified: for it forceth not yt they were in any Iune at all, but only abode in a place for the night season & there prouendred their Beastes & refreshed themselues, hauing proui­sion giuen for both. How Iacob lodged you remember before, & what a soft pilow he had of a hard stone vnder his head.Gen. 28. Therfore looke we more at ye good of our countrey, where euery village almost yeldeth cōfortable rest to a weary traueller. Their asto­nishment and feare still,A gauled conscience. still declareth ye gaule of a wounded cō ­science, which being in these brethren great & grieuous, & accu­sing them still without any rest made them thinke yt God would haue brougth them to some trouble by this money. Not to haue therefore thy conscience against thee, is to haue a thousand com­forts with thee. Againe, it sheweth how litle good a multitude doth in distresse except God giue counsell and direct to comfort.Counsel in perplexity. For here are many, & yet all amazed at a matter not great had they considered. Pray we therfore in all perplexities to the Lord of counsell & wisedome, and he wil direct vs assuredly, but trust wee nothing in nūbers of men, for they cannot help. They feare againe wher was cause of comfort had they knowen all: euen so do others to this day stil, & yet all is wel in the end, when God o­peneth matters fully. Euen in feares therefore comfort wee our selues hereafter, & trust in God, hoping the best in the end: their eye cast vpon God in this their perplexitie, saying one to ano­ther: what is this that God hath done to vs, must make vs auoid all drowsie dreames of Lucke and Fortune, and see the Lordes Finger euen in our aduersitie:No fortune or lucke. So did Iob, and so haue all godly done from the beginning. The Lord it is that taketh as well as that giueth, and blessed must bee his name of vs in them both. The greatnesse of their astonishment appeareth in this, that the rest did not looke whether their money also were [Page 166] in their Sackes, but as all amazed are voide of consideration what to doe: when being come home their moneys also were found likewise: the drift of good Ioseph was not to feare either Father or brethren, but to comfort them, and to prouide for their comming agayne, if happely money should be scarce. But what a good man doth to a good end often by mens weak­nes or waywardnes turneth otherwise.

9 Yee haue robbed me of my children (saith olde Iacob. Vers. 36.) When they had told him the whole storie of their trauell, how roughly they were vsed and accompted spies, how Simeon was taken & bound behind them, how Beniamin the yongest must goe to clere them & to release Simeon of his indurāce. Then Iacob cryed (& no doubt he cryed, ye haue robbed, robbed me of my chil­dren, Ioseph is not, Simeon is not,The hart of Paren [...] to their children and Beniamin now ye will haue also from me: all these thinges are against me. Alas good Iacob, thou knowest not yet how God will comfort thy hart ere long, & shew how al these things are for thee, but as yet the time is not. Therefore now do thou shew and let vs learne the pangs & passions of naturall parents. Their children sticke neere to the hartes of them, and with their aduersities they cannot iest, would God their children requited them euer. Some feare to haue and grieue litle to loose children, but it is not so with Iacob nor with any good ones.

10 Ruben steppeth in to appease his Father,Vers. 37. and biddeth him slay his two sons if he bring not Beniamin safe agayne vn­to him. Why, the matter concerned no more Ruben than all the rest. Wherefore then will he offer such a pledge, not know­ing how able he should be to performe? Surely Ruben regar­deth his fathers griefe. Simeons imprisonment in a strange coū ­trey, and their credit to be cracked with Simeons danger for ought he knoweth if Beniamin goe not. Therfore learne by Ru­ben in our parents feares to be comfortable and harty to bring them out, in [...]ur brethrēs distresses not to be forgetful,To be co [...]fortable [...] stout in [...] frends [...] or yet for­mally mindfull as speaking & doing yet nothing earnestly to ef­fect in deede, But as Ruben, be earnest, and impawne euen thy [Page] credit to deliuer effectually a brother and frend in a cause that is good credit againe remember it tenderly, & approue it carefully by this exāple. Spies they were called, & more than once sent to espy ye weaknes of the land for some euill purpose: nothing they knew, but it was in earnest, & being not such, Ruben is careful to make it appear by the course agreed vpon, to wit, by returning with their yongest brother that they were no such. So earnest is he in a matter of supposed treachery agaynst a forren countrey. O faithles wretches then, that feare neither fame nor truth of treason, and treachery agaynst their owne countrey, but wish it and will it, hunt it and seeke for it, and being not able to become traitors rancke inough at home, run ouer sea to the Schollers & nurceries of this damnable sinne, that there they may receiue as deepe a die in this hellish colour, as the blackamore hath of his naturall hue, whom all the water in the Sea cannot wash white.

Vers. 38. 11 But say Ruben what he could, Iacob indureth not to part with his Beniamin, and therefore saith flatly, My Sonne shall not goe downe with you, for his brother is dead, and he is left alone, if death come to him by the way which yee goe, then yee shal bring my gray head with sorrow to the graue.Perplexitie blind a while. Perplexi­tie seeth not by & by what is to be done, and therefore Iacob yet denyeth what after he yeldeth vnto. But why is Iacob so fond o­uer Beniamin more than all the rest, that if he die his gray head wil follow after. Surely the affection that he bare to the mother now dead maketh him loue aboue all the rest the childe hee had by her. So loue to ye liuing sheweth loue to the dead what it was when they liued. And would God it alwaies shewed as it should, Dauid loued Ionathan whilst he liued and for his sake he loued others,2 Sam. 9. making open inquirie for any of his Stocke, that hee might doe good vnto for Ionathans sake. I could say some thing, if your thoughtes themselues coulde not reach farre y­nough in this matter.Loue to the liuing she­weth loue to the dead. If want of loue to the liuing, how want of loue to the dead of whom these liuing came, iudge in your Hartes, without further speech what liues bee written in some foreheades to their endlesse shame, that they neuer lo­ued whom God and dutie bound them vnto whilest they liued. Iacob is not so, Dauid was not so, neuer will any good one [Page 167] be so, and therefore beware that Iacob mentioneth his gray head is greatly patheticall, and telleth vs truly that all parentes are duly to be regarded, that they be not grieued, but the aged father or mother with locks like snow is most tenderly and dere­ly to be regarded. Whose hart then melteth not to see this olde man thus making his mone, that if Beniamin die, hee will die, and his graye head with griefe and woe should followe his Child to the graue that he so loued. God giue children some of this loue.

Chap. 43.

This Chapter containeth these Heads especially.

  • Iacobs content to let Beniamin goe.
  • Their second comming to Ioseph.
  • Their intertainment.

TOuching the first it is sayd,Vers. 1. the famine grew greate,Tryals of faith. and what they brought from Egypt was spent, wher vpon old Iacob wished them to returne &c. Where wee still must marke which was noted before) how this godly pa­triarke with al his houshold is also subiect to the famine, yea to this great famin, wherein, no doubt, notwith­standing this wheat from Egypt, they were glad to eate herbes, and rootes, and beries with many a hungry meale: Yea euen in that land are they thus distressed, wherein God had promised to blesse both Iacob and his posteritie, and was this thinke you no temptation to Iacob? Learne wee then profitably by this ex­ample to stand stedfast in faith whatsoeuer fall out and pre­paring our selues for the worst euentes comfortably wayte for end ioyfull as here it was.

[Page] Vers 7. 2 Could wee know certainly that he would say, bring your brother with you &c. as if he should haue sayd,Inferences vpon our speeches more than we thought of. wee answered but his questions of our kindred & brethrē, not able to guesse before hand what there vpon he would inferre. Therefore speaking no more than we were vrged vnto, we are not to be blamed for his illations. Truth it is, and may teach vs dayly to spare vnde­serued blame, that wee vse many times to bestow vpon men. For so it is, that a man speaking as occasiō iustly moueth him, some­thing is inferred that he neuer dreamed of against his wil. Wee may not lay this to the Speakers charge, but leaue it as a thing besides thought falling out, and excuse the guiltlesse.

3 Then Iudah, another sonne of Iacobs, moueth his Father to consent to the request of Ruben his brother made before for Beniamin to goe with them,Vers. 8. and vseth to this end some argu­ments as first of necessitie. That wee may liue and not die, both wee, and thou, and our children. Secondly, from security, I wil be suretie for him, of my hand shalt thou require him, if I bring him not to thee,Vers. 9. and set him before thee, then let mee beare the blame for euer.Vers. 10. Lastly a damno, of hinderance that com­meth by staye: except wee had made this tarying, doubtles by this wee had returned the second time. Then the Father yel­ded and said,Vers. 11. if it must needes be so, doe thus &c. Where see and marke in Iacob a most Godly course in extremitie and danger,The godly haue euer a yeelding time to e­uery good thing. namely, to vse all honest meanes to relieue our feare, and yet onely to trust in the GOD of Heauen. Iacob sen­deth the best fruites of the Land &c. But as his hold aboue all houldes hee speaketh thus: GOD Almightie giue you mer­cye in the sight of the Man &c. Then againe, obserue it in Iacob here, that in time hee yeeldeth, and cannot resist when GOD had decreed it should be so. Surely so doe wee, and so must wee doe what wee can. Startle we may, and striue a while as Iacob did here, vtterly refusing, and vtterly disly­king to doe this or that, but if GOD haue appointed it to be so, a time will come, that wee shall striue no longer, but say as Iacob said in this place: If so it must be then so be it. Hap­pye are they yt yeeld soonest and striue least agaynst that good [Page 168] which God hath appointed. Obstinacie was neuer constancie, nor wilfulnes witte, as I haue noted before.Obstina­cies not constancie. To change from euill to good, from error to truth, from darknes to light was euer pietie, when contrary course was sinfull obstinacie and the rodde of God vpon the vngodly. But O how hardly is this perswaded. So loue wee the thing wee haue loued long, that needes we must cleaue to our owne damnation, and thinke it holy. So haue wee done, & our fathers long: O constant course,Ezech. 18. but you shall not doe as your Fathers haue done, saith the Lord.

4 The truth of Iacob would also be obserued,Truth in all dealings. who willeth them to take double money with them, least happily the for­mer was an error. This conscience want not onely theeues, and robbers, and open offenders, but some that seeme honest▪ and are not the worst. Who can be content to make an aduan­tage of the error or ouersight, or mistaking of their neighbours. according to the common saying, Si spye, sport &c. But if you spie not, good earnest, and swallowed vp without any re­morse at all. Thus did not Iacob, no this hated Iacob and all good men euer. God seeth, and God must iudge mee one day iustly according to my workes. What profiteth then if my neighbour see not. Beware wee then and keepe cleane handes with a good conscience, that shall neuer bee ashamed.

5 Thus all thinges made ready,Suspicion. these brethren set on and come into Egypt before Ioseph, who when hee saw Benia­min was not a litle glad: yet kept his owne Counsell, and commaunded his Stewarde to make ready for Dinner, that they might dine with him. The Steward did so, and now when it was time he brought the men all to Iosephs house, who straight were afrayde, and sayd to themselues: because of the money that came in our Sackes are wee brought hether that hee may picke a quarrell against vs &c. O filthye sus­picion, howe blottest thou, and spottest thou euen good men? Thus apt to misdeeme are these men.Gen. 20. So was euen Abraham in his time when he said, I thought the feare of God was not [Page] in this place, and that they would kill me for my wife. So was old Heli, 1. Sam. 1. and misiudged Anna, that she was drunke. Where­fore well said the Father and full true: Quanti non dederunt locum errori, Ambrose offic. & dederunt suspicioni: How great men haue with­stood error, and yet giuen place to suspition. Suspicio calumniā parit: Suspicion breedeth slaunder, and is the mother of it in time. Suspicio amicitiae venenum. Suspition is the cutthrote of friendship and euer was.Chrisost. in Math. As hardly doth a good man suspect one to be euill, so hardly doth an euill man imagine one to be good. Againe, see how Ioseph in a meaning so good is misiudged and ill thought of by those men. Then who can auoide this damna­ble suspicion, or what can a man so well intend which some wil not conster quite awry. The man so good, the meaning so good, yet all suspected. Their God giue grace to doe but well, and God giue comfort against cursed misdemers for they cannot be auoided, but will be doing.

6 When Ioseph came home they brought their presentes to him,Vers. 26. and bowed downe to the ground before him, where see the dreame againe fully accomplished.A Glasse for childrē. Now is the yongest also with them, and all bowe. Then asked Ioseph of their welfare, and by & by whether their Father the olde man was in health. Not forgetting I warrant you for any honour his old father. This was a child that had God in him, and this is a glasse for all children to behold them selues in, who now a dayes quickly forget their parents, if neuer so litle welth grow. But if honor also happen to come, O what should wee doe with our old pa­rentes then? Our high places may not thinke of such meane people. But proud Pecocke remember thy selfe, and behold here a man second in the kingdome to the King, a man honored with all the honour that a mighty kingdome could aford, and yet his second word is for his father, his old father, his dere father, and neuer is he well till he haue him with him. Let Courtiers like or dislyke, his frends be his frends, and he will not deny them. God giue Children such hartes.

7 Then Ioseph turned to his yongest brother Beniamin, [Page 169] his brother wholly by father and mother (for Rachel bare both Ioseph and Bēiamin) & Ioseph blessed him with that not able to goe any further his hart so melted vpon his brother,Gods mer­cy maketh a mans hart to melt. but turned aside to weepe a while. See then tears by Gods mercies. Him­selfe deliuered from danger & prison, exalted highly to great ho­nor, his father aliue and in good health, his brethren before him and Beniamin with him, what mercies are these? No maruell then if a good man seeing so sweet a God, be moued to teares in a sweet feeling. And thinke of your selfe. If neuer wet cie hath shewed feeling hart haue you not bene dull? Certainly mercy in a gracious God wringeth out tears from a feeling child, when neither fire nor sword can get them out. The one we ouercome by faith assisted, but ye other quite ouercommeth vs being sweet and comfortable aboue all desert. Then Lord giue feeling.

8 When Ioseph had eased his hart by this tender weping forth he came to dine with them.A state may be maintai­ned lawful­ly. But they prepared for him by him­selfe & for them by themselues, saith the text: which being done to shew his dignity, it teacheth vs our liberty in this respect. What God vouchsafeth may be vsed without pride or blame, or any of­fence. And as great a fault to, is an abiect minde to goe too lowe as an arrogant & haughty to goe to high Dauid exalted main­tained his state though a poore mans child.. Daniel